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Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!

The Dickens Project. Today is also the birthday of Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870), English novelist, who in his American Notes of 1842 made numerous scathing observations about speech patterns he had noted during his five-month visit to the United States that year. He wrote, for example, that once he had left the more cosmopolitan areas of New York and Boston, nasal drawls were the rule, the grammar was "more than doubtful," and the "oddest vulgarisms" were "received idioms." he was so caustic that the normally mild and diplomatic Ralph Waldo Emerson was moved to defend his countrymen from Dickens's characterizations: "No such conversations ever occur in this country, in real life, as he relates. He has picked up and noted with eagerness each odd local phase that he met with, and when he had a story to relate, has joined them together, so that the result is the broadest caricature."

YEAH Ralph! Back in the day, that was what we would now call a "Verbal Beatdown" (Nas lyrics, probably NSFW)
posted by indiebass on Feb 7, 2005 - 11 comments

Happy Birthday Charles Lindbergh!

Today is Charles Augustus Lindbergh's (1902 - 1974) birthday. A pioneering American aviator, who was dubbed the Lone Eagle. In May 1927 he became the first person to fly nonstop and solo from New York to Paris, making the trip in 33½ hours in his specially built monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis. During the flight he battled extreme drowsiness, a malfunctioning compass, and wing icing. He was well aware that six others had died trying to accomplish this feat. After receiving a tumultuous hero's welcome in Paris, Lindbergh visited several countries on his way home, the last being England. He stopped at Buckingham Palace at the invitation of George V. As they conversed, the king posed numerous questions about the long flight, including one he felt could be asked only in private: "Sir, how did you pee?"
posted by indiebass on Feb 4, 2005 - 32 comments

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