Wishing Bryan and Kathryn joy of their birthday


I already knew thanks to Facebook that today was the birthday of two blog stars, Bryan Caskey and Kathryn Fenner.

Then Bryan told us it’s Alexander Hamilton’s special day, as well. (We know what his birthday was; it’s the year that’s in doubt.) You know, the Broadway star.

I thought I’d do a post about ALL the distinguished people born on this day, but when I Googled it, I got this ridiculous site that listed Hamilton, and a bunch of people I’ve never heard of. See the sample above. I had been hoping for famous people. Was that list put together by a bot from Teen Beat?

Wikipedia took the question more seriously, and yielded up:

Now, see, that’s some distinguished company! A Roman emperor — well, you can’t say fairer than that! And I honor DeVoto as editor of Mark Twain’s papers. And who is cooler than Clarence Clemons?

In any case, happy birthday to all, especially Kathryn and Bryan. I give you joy.

Oh, and a special blog welcome to Colton, Bud’s 6th grandchild!

That's me on the left, Doug on the right, and our birthday kids in the middle, at the 2013 Walk for Life. They were younger then...

That’s me on the left, Doug on the right, and our birthday kids in the middle, at the 2013 Walk for Life. They were younger then…

30 thoughts on “Wishing Bryan and Kathryn joy of their birthday

  1. Bryan Caskey

    Theodosius, you say? Well, as a fellow January 11 birthday member, I am certain he was not to be trifled with.

    To all the officers and ships company of the HMS Commentariat, “A glass of wine with you”.

    Your Most Humble & Obdt., etc., etc.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        He was the last to rule both the Eastern and Western empires.

        I’ve always thought splitting the empire was a bad idea. As y’all will no doubt remember, I was against it at the time…

        1. Bryan Caskey

          “I’ve always thought splitting the empire was a bad idea.”

          Yeah, it’s like splitting tens in blackjack. Sure you can do it, but you’re crazy not to just stand on 20 and wait to win.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    Professor Fenner says in a group of about 19 people, you have a 50% chance that two of them have the same birthday. I don’t think there are 19 regular commenters, are there?
    So we beat the odds! w00t!

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Not that I remember calculus. Or analytical geometry. Or “Algebra 5,” as they called it in Hawaii (it was a one-semester course that came after Algebra 2).

        I remembered that stuff just long enough to use it on the math part of the SAT. Then I flushed it. Not intentionally. It just went away, due to disuse…

        1. Claus

          KInd of like me with the six years of English I had to take, well seven if you count Comp I & II in college. Well and every other liberal arts course I was forced to take… like I’m ever going to use Sociology or History of the US 1776 – 1865.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Now THAT is stuff I use every day. That’s essential. I couldn’t understand my world without it, and I’ll never tire of learning about it.

            It’s the math that I haven’t had any use for, other than the occasional very simple bit of algebra.

            Kind of makes me regret taking those three math courses in my senior year. I felt like I was supposed to take every math course they offered, so I was trying to cram them all in (Algebra 5, analytical geometry and intro to calculus). This occurred because Radford High in Hawaii had courses not offered at my two previous high schools.

            Maybe it was good exercise for my brain, though, even though I never used any of it…

            1. Claus

              Go on… you are good at making small jabs but can’t deliver a knockout blow. It’s like being slapped by a dog’s tail.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        I only remember one thing about calculus, and it’s actually something I learned well before I took it. I remember something about limits.

        One day in Algebra 2 at Robinson High School in Tampa, someone asked Mr. Sanchez (I think that was his name) what calculus was.

        He decided to explain the concept of limits to us. He turned and faced the side wall that was about 12 feet away from him. He said imagine a mathematical operation that repeatedly halves the distance between him and the wall. Then he moved to six feet away. Then he cut it to 3 feet, then 18 inches, 9 inches, 4.5 inches…

        When he got to where his nose was ALMOST touching the wall, he told us that if he repeated the operation infinitely, he would still (in a mathematically pure universe) never touch the wall.

        Which was logical, but still caused in me a sort of Keanu Reaves “Whoa!” moment.

        He pointed to the hyperbola, with which we were already familiar from Geometry. Its arms (or whatever you call them) approach the asymptotes infinitely, but never touch them. Whoa again.

        It must have been him physically standing facing the wall that made that concept so memorable…

      3. Kathryn Fenner

        It’s probability, which comes well before calculus in most curricula, but I guess some schools are just better than others…..

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Perhaps. I attended high schools in three states (and junior high in another), so I might have missed it.

          Interestingly, Bennettsville, SC, was more advanced than New Orleans. In New Orleans, only the most advanced kids, the pick of the college preps, were allowed to take Algebra as early as 9th grade. I attended 7th and 8th in New Orleans, then went to B’ville to stay for a year while my Dad was in Vietnam. All the better students there had had Algebra in the 8th grade. So I took Algebra with the Betas (still kids who would go to college, just not the very TOP ones) in 9th. Then, for 10th and 11th, I was in Tampa.

          Perhaps I never caught up from that, despite those extra math courses I took in Hawaii…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            When did you have probabilities? I have a vague memory of being exposed to them, but I can’t imagine when. Most of the math I had was pretty abstract. Probabilities sound like applied math…

              1. Brad Warthen

                I never took statistics. I think my wife did, in connection with sociology.

                What I know about statistics I learned from being the editor in charge of the SC Poll. Mind you, we had a professional — Emerson Smith — for the numbers. Cindi and I crafted the questions, and did the reporting on results. But I picked up a statistical concept or two by osmosis…

                1. Brad Warthen

                  And Cindi had studied polling some at Chapel Hill. I was the one flying by the seat of my pants. But we complemented each other; we made a good team…

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Probably the worst thing about my moving around in those years was that I was always the underclassman.

            Edna Karr Junior High was 7th, 8th and 9th grades. I suffered through 7th and 8th there, but never got to be a top dog 9th grader. I moved to SC, where there was a middle-school system, and 9th graders were freshmen at the high school, the lowest of the low.

            Then I went to Tampa, where high school was 10th-12th (like Louisiana), and AGAIN I was on the bottom rung.

            Then, when I was ready to be a senior — my class ring is from the school in Tampa, because you ordered them junior year — we moved to Hawaii, where I was a stranger, and didn’t much enjoy the senior social life until the very end of the year. I never even once ate in the Senior Patio (Burl knows whereof I speak) — I walked home every day for lunch.

            So there were aspects of high school life I sort of missed. But I still enjoyed it, by and large. I still remember the sense of loss I felt on the last day of senior year, watching the clock hands crawl toward 3 p.m. Living would never be that easy again, I knew…

  3. Phillip

    This time next week I’ll be seeing the island where Hamilton was born, on the distant horizon. I just started “the” book (a Christmas present) and enjoying it a lot. Have seen Nevis a lot from a distance in the past but never knew of AH’s early life— most amazing thing is that nobody else seemed to either, until 20th-century research—Hamilton seemed not to want to rehash any part of his youth during his career.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Where are you going, Phillip? St. Kitts?

      My youngest daughter is leaving in a few days for Dominica. She’s taken a Peace Corps-related position down there for the next year…

  4. Bart

    I am staying on topic especially after it turned to calculus.

    Happy Birthday to Kathryn and Bryan. Thanks for the challenges that makes me use the “little gray cells” as Poirot would say. Kathryn, my favorite “Bradwarthen.com hall monitor” and Bryan, my favorite “Bradwarthen.com attorney”. Both of you make my life better.

    And congratulations bud on the new addition to your family. I know you are a very proud grandfather. And your grandchild is lucky to have you as a grandfather.

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