Dear Diary – Melville, Key and Lincoln

melville

Herman Melville – He’s actually half-way decent looking.

Well well, if it isn’t August 1. It’s also Herman Melville’s birthday. He’s the guy that wrote Moby Dick. I must confess that I’ve never made it all of the way through Moby Dick. I’ll get half-way through and then go, “This is boring. Why am I reading this boring book about a whale”? I know that it’s all supposed to be a metaphor for man’s struggle in life, but still…
Maybe one day I will read it all of the way through. But I doubt it. They didn’t make us read it in high school. They made us read Animal Farm and 1984.

It’s also Francis Scott Key’s birthday. He wrote The Star-Spangled Banner. Well, the words anyway. The music was already there. It was a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club of amateur musicians.
Anyway, you’d think that Francis Scott could have picked an easier song to put the words to. If something is going to be your National Anthem then why would you set it to music that people are going to butcher every time they sing it? Beats me. Personally, as far as the National Anthem is concerned, I prefer the Jimi Hendrix version that he performed at Woodstock the best. Everytime I listen to it I’m like, “Yeah, this is what America is”.

I never made it to Woodstock. I was only 12. I didn’t have a driver’s license yet. Plus, my parent’s were like, “NO”. I had to settle for the album that later came out. My friends would come over and we would listen to the “Fish Cheer” by Country Joe McDonald. I always thought it was stupid that they called it the “Fish Cheer”. Later on it was changed to the “Fuck Cheer”.

It’s also Robert Todd Lincoln’s birthday. He was Abe’s son.
Here’s the weird thing about Robert.

Robert Lincoln was coincidentally either present or nearby when three presidential assassinations occurred.

  • Lincoln was not present at his father’s assassination. But he was nearby and arrived at Ford’s Theater shortly after his father was shot. Robert attended his father’s deathbed at Petersen House, where the President was removed to after the shooting.
  • At President James A. Garfield’s invitation, Lincoln was at the Sixth Street Train Station in Washington, D.C., where the President was shot by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881, and was an eyewitness to the event. Lincoln was serving as Garfield’s Secretary of War at the time.
  • At President William McKinley’s invitation, Lincoln was at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, where the President was shot by Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901, though he was not an eyewitness to the event.

Lincoln himself recognized the frequency of these coincidences. He is said to have refused a later presidential invitation with the comment “No, I’m not going, and they’d better not ask me, because there is a certain fatality about presidential functions when I am present.”

Weird, huh.

In non-birthday news, it’s humid. Super-humid. I was out in the sun for 5 hours earlier today. Thought I was gonna get heat stroke. I had to do the truck at work and we’re getting all of this Halloween crap in. ugh. Fuckin’ glitter everywhere. I was at Hobby Lobby last month and they already had their Christmas stuff out.

Anyway, IBD.