In five months, this blog will be seven years old, but at precisely 2:56 AM Pacific Time, I turned 38. I'd love to have a convention of Sept. 21 birthdays one of these years, especially if it could somehow include those who have passed away. H.G. Wells? He'd be 143 today. The imaginative and influential Chuck Jones? 97. The hysterical Henry Gibson? He sadly passed away one week ago, just before turning 64.
I could still have a phenomenal party with just those still alive. Leonard Cohen: Happy 64th. I wish I had half your lyrical talent. Stephen King: Would that I had your writing discipline and prolificacy. Enjoy your 62nd! Ethan Coen: I hope by the time I'm 52 like you I finally have at least a decade's worth of movies under my belt. Bill Murray: I strive for such a quick wit, but maybe there's only so much to go around for people born on our day.
Caleb Deschanel, Ricki Lake, Jerry Bruckheimer, Liam Gallagher, Larry Hagman, Faith Hill, Nicole Richie: Happy Birthday to us all. Luke Wilson and Alfonso Ribeiro both joined the human race on this day along with me. If we were triplets, I wonder who'd be oldest?
And hot off the presses, apparently, the latest member of the 9/21 club, the newborn baby of internet royalty Jason Kotkke and Meg Hourihan. Mazel Tov to you both.
The date has seen lots of other non-person births, some quite interesting to my media sensibilities. Three of the longest rated and (at times) most popular and influential series in TV history premiered on Sept. 21. In 1948, "Texaco Star Theater" came on the air hosted by Milton Berle. Berle became Mr. Television and hosted the show for 19 years, sometimes claiming as much as 75-80% of the viewing audience (of course, the total viewing audience then was less than many network shows still manage to achieve now, but that was because of lack of television sets, not popularity).
Perry Mason premiered in 1957, becoming the all-time iconic TV lawyer and helping to set the stage for courtroom dramas that has lasted more than half-a-century. The year before I was born, ABC took a major risk and in the process changed the face of sports on television premiering Monday Night Football. And apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" was first published on Sept. 21, 1937.
For me, 2009 has been a year of striving for new beginnings. Like most, I had my New Year's resolutions/goals/what-have-you that were going to start on Jan. 1. And then, realizing that with my work schedule, it's impossible to create new habits before at least mid-May, I decided to create Aaron's Fiscal Year, starting June 1, and then I went on to dedicate my summer to becoming ready for a Triathlon, but still not achieving anything close to the balance in all things personal & professional to which I strive.
Well, "all things" is an overstatement for sure, but putting all my faith in the cliche regarding "third time" and all its charms, we're going to start one last reset now. Why not? It's my birthday, and the beginning of my 39th year. It's also Rosh Hashanah and the beginning of the visually numerical pleasing while still slightly asymmetrical 5770. And, as of next Sunday, I will (hopefully) have completed that hard-trained summer goal of my first real (and long) triathlon.
Kurt Andersen's latest book is called "Reset," and I figure I'm in for one too. Third reset of the year; first one that takes? Let's hope. But I figure what better place to start than right here, in my own little corner of the internet where I can get all that crap out of my head that's been clogging it all this time. No promises; no grand statements of intent; not even 100% sure what it will be exactly (although I intend to refocus on film, TV, theater, media with maybe a dash of politics and sports but less of the personal), but the most important thing is for it to be at all. For me. And right now, I think that's the best birthday gift I can give myself.
So Happy Birthday to me and all my birthday mates. Here's hoping regardless of how good or bad the past year has been for any of us, the next 365 take us all uphill with downhill effort.