The writer Isaac Asimov, who wrote, edited, and compiled more than 500 books in his lifetime, celebrated January 2, 1920, as his birthdate. He was born near Smolensk, Russia, towards the end of 1919 or very beginning of 1920; the record of his birth was either lost or forgotten when the family emigrated to the US in 1923. He himself celebrated today as his birthday. He died in 1992.
He wrote novels (I, Robot) and many, many semi-encyclopedic works of nonfiction. In public libraries, his titles are found in nine of the ten top-level categories that make up the Dewey Decimal System. The ten categories are: 000–Generalities; 100–Philosophy; 200–Religion; 300–Social Sciences; 400–Languages; 500–Pure Sciences; 600–Applied Sciences & Technology; 700–Arts; 800–Literature. The only category without an Asimov title is (after the jump):
Philosophy. He published works about myth and religion, but not philosophy.
He also sported perhaps the greatest muttonchops in the twentieth century.
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Erroll Garner died 40 years ago today. Here he is playing “Misty,” his most famous composition:
Randy California died 20 years ago today. His composition, “Taurus,” was found by a jury last year to have not influenced the writing of “Stairway to Heaven,” at least not to the level of copyright infringement:
Mayor Teddy Kollek died ten years ago today. Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was executed one year ago today.
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Julius La Rosa was born on this date in 1930. (He died on May 12, 2016.)
A singer, La Rosa is perhaps best known for being fired live on air in 1953 by his show’s host, Arthur Godfrey. Whatever the reasons, Godfrey had become angry with the young singer—some sources suggest that La Rosa was receiving more fan mail per week than Godfrey, who at the time was one of those stars whose ubiquity made him appear as reliable as a public utility—and after La Rosa finished his big number one night, Godfrey announced that it was the end of La Rosa’s tenure on the show and that he hated to see him leave. This was news to everyone, including the young La Rosa.
Godfrey’s easy-going image was tarnished from then on, and La Rosa went on to a career as someone who sadly had had his big break yanked from his grasp in front of everyone, yet the fact of losing his one big chance became the one claim to the big chance he could ever capitalize on.
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Roger Miller would be 80 today. “King of the Road”:
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Christopher Durang is 67 today. Lynda Barry is 61. David Cone is 54. Edgar Martínez is 54. Tia Carrere is 50 today. Cuba Gooding Jr. is 49. Christy Turlington is 48. Paz Vega is 41 today.
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Oh, to be as prolific a writer as Asimov… even half so???