Talky Tuesday: Another random batch of birthday call-outs

Here’s another round of famous people born on November 6 who have nothing in common but the birthdate.

Because it was so interesting last time I did it to show how ridiculous Astrology is because these people, despite being born on the same day, have nothing in common despite sharing a sign.

And before anyone starts going on about how, “Astrology isn’t just birthdates. It has to do with the location of planets, constellations, and ‘houses’,” let me stop you right there and ask you this. Would you care to explain, then, exactly how all of those things have any effect at all on a baby being removed from its mother’s womb down on the surface of the Earth?

Not to mention how can those effects be so different for babies born at the exact same moment but half a world away, because the locations of the planets and whatnot are different for both of them?

The only concession I’ll make to the concept is that the time of year that someone is born can affect their perception of the world and life in general, but that’s it, and it’s for very real-world reasons.

“When” is only important in a narrow context

I would go so far as to say that what’s really important to someone at birth is the season in which they are born. It also depends, of course, on societal norms when they were born, so that somebody from an agrarian society in the pre-industrial era is going to have quite a different experience than someone born in a modern, urban, post-information age society.

Looking at the former society, for example, somebody born in winter is going to grow up in early infancy being kept indoors and around family, and this is going to be their perception of the world: Safe comfortable, and warm.

If they’re born in the spring, it’s planting season, so everyone is out seeding the fields. The infants and toddlers don’t have to work but are probably strapped to Mom’s back, and their association here is not a lot of direct human contact, but a lot of sunshine and being outside. Independence and resistance to being controlled, probably.

Summer kids are there for the real work, so they’re probably left home alone or with grandparents while the adults and older kids go out to do the hard work of weeding, fertilizing, and otherwise making sure that the crops don’t die. They don’t even see their parents or older siblings for weeks, so they bond with these other people who smell different, and are probably inclined to become caretakers, as well as to appreciate older people.

Finally, kids born in the fall arrive at harvest time and while they don’t go out I the fields in their infancy, they do experience the immediate boon of successful crops being brought in.

For one thing, this means that the family will now have made enough money to pay off all the debts they’ve accrued over the year in order to grow all that food. For another, it means that they may have enough leftover to live off of through the rest of the year, the long winter, and well into the next spring.

If you’ve ever wondered why we have all of those feasting holidays, like Thanksgiving, in the last three months of the year, this is it. Right around the end of September, it’s time to reap what’s been sown and enjoy the benefits.

So autumn babies also grow up spending a lot of time at home with loved ones, but under more joyous circumstances than their winter counterparts. They’re probably also a lot better fed, so might tend to be taller and stronger as adults in general.

Keep in mind, though, that I’m not tying all of this to any specific dates of birth. Rather, it all applies to season, and all of the effects probably happen within the first five years or so, tied to the child’s own circadian rhythms, sense of time, and possible reminder once a year when they were born.

Cause, effect, etc.

Modern birth and timing

As for how it works in modern societies, we have to shift the calendar off of seasons and go strictly by calendar quarters, which are about ten days off in both directions. For example, winter runs, in general, from December 21 to March 20, but the first quarter of any year is from January 1 to March 31.

Where this becomes important is not in infancy, but in school, because it determines when kids start school, when their birthday falls within the year, and so forth.

For example, kids born in the 4th quarter may actually be too young to start Kindergarten when they’re five, so wind up starting later, meaning that they are always a bit older than a lot of their classmates. One of my best friends in elementary and middle school was like this — born about six weeks before me, but technically a year older when he started school.

I have no idea whether this is really the case, but he always felt like a big brother to me, and certainly looked out for me. On the other hand, I also kind of had to look out for him, because he could also be shy and fearful when I wasn’t. We made a great team, although anyone who wants to say, “Well, he’s Capricorn and you’re Aquarius, so the stars say…” can just STFU.

A quick google tells me that astrologers say that Capricorn and Aquarius cannot be friends or lovers, and I know for a fact fifteen ways from Tuesday that this is dead wrong. Oh well!

As for the rest of the calendar year and school, people who enter on the other end of the scale, when they are as young as possible, might be more prone to bullying or just developing slower and always feeling awkward. Sorry, summer kids!

So who are today’s Scorpio Babies who bear no resemblance to each other? Here we go. Enjoy!

Charles II of Spain (1661—1700)

Probably most famous for being the product of so much incest that the “Hapsburg Jaw” was named after him, and he could barely talk or eat because of it.

He also died fairly young and was infertile, so he left no heir, becoming the last Hapsburg King of Spain. Later researchers determined that many of the inbred members of his family had about 9% of DNA that came from common ancestors shared by both of their parents. Charles II, though, topped out at a whopping 25%, which would be around the same as the child of two siblings.

His parents were niece and uncle, by the way.

Adolphe Sax (1814—1894)

After you get over the icks from the previous entry, you’ll be glad to know that this man was not the result of incest or inbreeding in any way. You can probably guess from his last name what he’s famous for.

The son of instrument makers, he himself went on to become one, and he invented the saxophone, which has since become a staple of jazz music and orchestras.

He almost didn’t get to that point, though. He was so accident prone as a child that nobody thought he would make it to adulthood, but managed to survive falling from three stories, having a stone fall on his head, accidentally drinking acidic water, or sleeping in a closed room with recently varnished furniture.

The universe sure wanted that saxophone.

John Philip Sousa (1854—1932)

Not to be outdone, Sousa had his own namesake instrument, the sousaphone, which unlike a tuba was designed to be worn around the player so that they could march with them. They are not the same instrument, though.

Sousa was known as the March King when marching bands had become very popular, around the end of the 19th century. This was the era when patriotic parades were a big thing, along with community bandstands in the park — remember, no modern media existed yet. It was a way of bringing the concert hall outside to the people.

Marching bands were also easy advertising, and the reason that we all associate one particular song with circuses is because it was frequently used as a “screamer,” which was a loud and brassy song a band would start playing as it marched down a town’s Main Street followed by all of the circus performers in order to let people know they were in town. They were also used in the show itself.

Nowadays, Sousa’s most well-known work is arguably The Liberty Bell March, although you might know it better as the theme song from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Mike Nichols (1931—2014)

One of the more respected and esteemed film directors of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, he gave us such classics as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, Catch-22, Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge, The Birdcage, Primary Colors, and Charlie Wilson’s War.

While every one of those films is very different than the others, all of them shared the same incredible wit and humor in the storytelling. Of course, Nichols had gotten his start in improv comedy along with Elaine May, herself an incredibly accomplished writer and actor. She co-wrote films like Reds, Tootsie, and Labyrinth, and adapted both The Birdcage and Primary Colors.

The film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, an adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1962 stage play, was Nichols’ first-ever film. It was nominated for 13 Oscars, meaning that it was nominated in every category it was eligible for, a feat only accomplished to date by one other film, 1931’s Cimarron, although it only nabbed 7 nominations, which was still a record at the time.

Nichols’ film won five of its awards including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, although it did not win for Film, Director, or Screenplay.

Sally Field (1946—)

Sally Field has had a remarkable career as an actress, starting out by playing silly characters in TV shows like Gidget and the Flying Nun and moving on to become a serious respected actress whom we all “liked!”

Her first serious dramatic role was in the 1976 TV movie Sybil, about a woman with dissociative personality disorder and although it was later proven that the author made most of it up, Field’s performance was still a tour de force.

She eventually won Best Actress Oscars for Norma Rae and Places in the Heart, and  won the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality Award in 2012. Her youngest son, Sam, is gay.

Conchita Wurst (1988—)

You’ve probably forgotten by now, but this young Austrian singer took the world by storm and captured its heart when, in 2014, he won the Eurovision Song Contest while decked out in drag but still with a full beard, long hair and minimal make-up. Watch the performance, and you’ll see why.

In case you’re wondering, Conchita is she/her, but the gay man behind her, Thomas Neuwirth, is he/him, and does not consider himself to be transgender or female at all. And, after watching this performance again, why Conchita has never been asked to write and perform a Bond movie theme song is beyond me.

I mean, hell, the winning song alone already sounds like it is one.

Bowen Yang (1990—)

Bowen has set many records in a short period of time. He started on the show as a writer, then broke out as a featured cast member, the first ever Chinese-American cast member, only the third openly-gay male cast member.

Even more remarkable, he became the first featured cast member to bever be nominated for a Primetime Emmy. He had also been nominated as a writer in 2019, but the featured player thing is kind of a big deal, because these are the performers who are kind of back-benchers, as it were.

That is, they will rarely appear in a prominent role or anchor an entire sketch of their own, and frequently appear as background characters feeding one- or two-liners to the stars, particularly in scenes like opening political parodies or any kind of press conference or talk-show take off.

Apparently, it’s a very stressful position to be in, with quite a lot of the featured players never going on to become regular cast members. It looks like Bowen has a good chance, though, because he has been getting those strong sketch-anchor parts, and he tends to knock it out of the park every damn time.

Happy 31st birthday to him — and do you feel old yet?

Image: Conchita Wurst by Albin Olsson,(CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

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