Happy birthday to me! Mark Tapio Kines turns 29 years old today. April 26 usually gets a bad rap, and who can blame it? This day marks the anniversary of the death of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, the Chernobyl disaster, the bombing of Guernica (which inspired Picasso's famous painting), and the marriage of Arnold Schwarzenegger. But let's pay tribute to some of the interesting souls who share this birthday.
- Carol Burnett. One of the most popular actresses/comediennes of American television. Her show was a staple of early '70s TV.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein. Austrian philosopher famous for incredibly complex and high-minded theories on language, logic, and mathematics. Led a most interesting life.
- Jet Li. One of Hong Kong cinema's top kung fu stars, now working in sporadically successful American action films.
- John James Audubon. Painter, birdwatcher, and highly influential naturalist; the Audubon Society is still going strong today.
- I.M. Pei. Chinese-born architect who has created some of the greatest buildings of the modern age, including Hong Kong's Bank of China, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and his legendary modern extension of the Louvre in Paris.
- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Roman emperor. One of the "good" ones. I always knew that I had been named after him (honestly!), but only found out a couple of years ago that we shared the same birthday. Neither of my parents was aware of this.
- Rudolf Hess. Adolf Hitler's right hand man - a virtual lapdog - who went insane during World War II and finally committed suicide in a British prison in 1987. No, not only good people were born today.
- Charles Richter. Noted seismologist who developed the Richter scale to measure earthquakes, to the delight of millions of paranoid Californians.
- Gertrude "Ma" Rainey. The "Mother of the Blues", one of the very first artists to record in this new musical genre. Sing it, Ma.