Today is the first day of Vestalia, a nine day festival in Ancient Rome to celebrate the goddess Vesta,the virginal goddess of the hearth, home, and family. She is the daughter of Roman god Saturn and goddess Ops, who loosely correlate with the Greek Titans Cronus, Rhea, and daughter Hestia. During this festival, in hopes of blessings of fertility, Roman women would pay her tribute by walking through the city barefoot and leaving offerings at her temple, which was only open once a year during these handful of days. Also donkeys were trotted out and decorated with garlands. Because nothing says fecundity like virgins and donkeys.
Writer Harry Crews was born in 1935. He famously had a skull tattooed on his shoulder with a line from an E.E. Cummings poem: “How do you like your blue-eyed boy, Mr. Death?” That’s a pretty cool tattoo. Singer Tom Jones followed five years later (1940 if you don’t want to do the math.) “The Salt and Pepper Diner” story by comedian John Mulaney about playing Tom Jones over and over on a jukebox full of unsuspecting diners never fails to make me cry laughing.
Prince was born on June 7, 1958. You know, Purple Rain was the first cassette tape I ever bought. Judging from its release date, I was between seven and eight and owned a Walkman as big as a clock radio. Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes was born today in 1963. Is there anyone out there that who doesn’t like this band? Because I feel like that is impossible. Also, Michael Cera turns 30 years old today. Feeling old now?
English Queen Anne of Bohemia died today in 1394, at the age of 28. Writers Dorothy Parker, E.M. Forster, and Henry Miller died on June 7th: 1967, 1970, 1980, respectively.
June 7, 1954, marked the very strange death of computer scientist Alan Turing. He died by cyanide poisoning, possibly accidental or possibly on purpose. He seems like someone I am going to need to read a biography about. Not only is he considered the father of artificial intelligence, his death is questionable as a suicide because a half-eaten apple was found by his body, and he was known to be interested enough in the tale of Snow White that some people who knew him thought maybe he killed himself with a poisoned apple. I am going to need more information.
Speaking of A.I., I followed my own advice and talked to the Robot Rose yesterday. She told me I had many good virtues. Actually, here is the actual conversation. Things got weird fast, but it wasn’t the most unproductive conversation I’ve ever had.
If today was a newborn, its Apgar score would be: 7 – okay breathing, not altogether colorless, but a little too floppy and seriously zero beat. Turn it around, if not for yourself, for Prince.