The beginning is always today.”Mary Shelley
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that nothing interesting happened today; I’m telling you, it has, and, moreover, it will:
On this day in 1922, New York City law mandated that all “pool” halls instead be called “billiard” halls. This is because “pool” apparently had an “unsavory” connotation. It was thought a simple change in nomenclature would somehow rectify all that.
A very funny thing, Semantics.
Per Jim Morrison:
Words be quick
Words resemble walking sticks
Plant them they will grow
Watch them waver so
I’ll always be a word man
Better then a bird man
On this day in 1930, Judge Joseph Force Crater became, in the words of History.com, “The Missingest Man In New York.” It is not the appropriate time to go through the many aspects of the Judge Crater mystery here, but I’m just sprinkling bread-crumbs.
On this day in 1939, the scientific journal Physical Review published the first paper on black holes. On this day in 1978, George Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead premiered.
Also in 1979, actor Clayton Moore was legally ordered to stop wearing the mask of the character he portrayed in the 1950’s TV show, Lone Ranger, in public appearances. This move on behalf of the owner of the Lone Ranger character, Wrather Corp., sort of blew up in their faces as it only highlighted elderly Moore’s plight in the media. In 1985 the decision against Moore was lifted.
Now: how much rights did Clayton Moore truly have to Lone Ranger, having essentially made the hero famous on the small screen? Is there such a thing as “natural rights,” here? Does the actor gain a sort of ineffable “connection” to the character they successfully portray—at least in the metaphysical sense? Becoming, in the terminology of Grant Morrison, a “hypersigil?”
This all brings me to the sad and untimely news of actor Chadwick Boseman’s passing several days ago. In addition to portraying the iconic (especially in the current social climate) superhero Black Panther, he had his first starring role in the movie 42, about the life of Jackie Robinson. At the time Boseman was offered the role, he was directing an Off-Broadway play, and was seriously considering quitting acting. 42 put Boseman on the map in Hollywood, which of course led to his high-profile gig in the Marvel movie franchise.
Boseman died, by the way, on Jackie Robinson Day. Coincidence? Is there a link between the actor and the role? The writer and the fiction? The researcher and the event? I’ve only been trying to figure this out for the last…25 years, at least.
Boseman also portrayed Thoth—God of Wisdom, Magic, and Writing—in the 2016 movie Gods of Egypt. In a much-shared quote attributed to the character Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War:
“In my culture, death is not the end. It’s more of a stepping-off point. You reach out with both hands, and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into the green veld where you can run forever.”
On this day in 1923, boxer Rocky Marciano was born. In the 1940s, a pre-2001 Stanley Kubrick took a series of famous photos of Marciano, including this gem that hung in the john of a local pub I used to frequent:
Now: nestled within my family lore was the idea that we were somehow related to Mr. Marciano. Feeling sort of from a nondescript and anonymous lineage, my father tenaciously clung to this notion (which was decades later, thanks to rudimentary genealogical research, revealed to be most likely not-true).
But how real is the Real, and how real is the Lore?
My parents, by the way, met at a disco called “2001.” After which sometime much later that evening, I was most likely rather too-hastily conceived.
There is a general idea that Time, as we know it, is Ending. One off-shoot of this theory is that there are infinite timelines, and that they are presently “collapsing” into each other.
Now: There is another off-shoot of the Time is Ending theory in which instead of all these discrete multiple timelines, there is just the Now—the Eternal Present.
And what is actually happening is that we are increasingly becoming more and more aware of the fact that Everything—all of existence—is taking place right now.
But before we can experience the Infinity of it all…we are cognizant of moments. Anniversaries.
“On this day.”
And it all sort of bleeds through. According to the theory.
Thank you for reading.