Wednesday, 3 December 2014


“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Today is the anniversary of the birth of:
Julius II, pope (1443);
André Campra, French composer (1660);
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist (1795);
Samuel Butler, English author (1835);
Rainer Maria Rilke, poet (1875);
Hamilton Harty, composer (1879);
Francisco Franco Bahamonde, Spanish dictator (1892);
A. D. Hershey, Nobel laureate (1969) virologist (1908);
Deanna Durbin (Edna Mae Durbin), actress (1921);
Ronnie Corbett, comedian (1930)
Jeff Bridges, actor (1949);
Pamela Stephenson, actress (1949);
Nick Vujicic, author, religious leader (1982).

The birthday plant for this day is cumin, Cuminum cyminum.  It has a long history of culinary use and its ground seeds are an essential ingredient of curry powder and mixed spice mixtures. The seeds are also used to flavour breads, cakes, cheese, sausages and other sweet and savoury dishes.  The cumin symbolises renewed affection and the seed in the language of flowers implies: “I shall await your arrival”.

St Barbara was beautiful young princess who was imprisoned in a high tower so that her many suitors were discouraged.  One of handmaidens smuggled in some Christian books to her and she embraced the Christian faith with much fervour.  When her father learned of her conversion he handed her over to be tortured as she would not renounce her new faith.  In the end, he beheaded her himself, upon which he was instantly struck dead by lightning.  Therefore, she is invoked against tempests and storms and she is the patron saint of artillery men and gunners, makers of fireworks and explosives.

Died on this day: John XXII (Jacques Duäsne), Pope of Rome (1334); Thomas Hobbes, Philosopher (1679); George Peabody, philanthropist (1869); Hannah Arendt, philosopher (1975); Benjamin Britten, English composer (1976); Frank Zappa, Musician (1993).


  1. Today is Mein Namenstag so I obviously blogged about my Saint, Barbara. As a child in Austria, my feast day was always celebrated. St Barbara was relegated to the back benches in 1969 for apparently not having enough scripted about her in early Christian writings. I think it could have had more to do with the fact that it's also said she is the patron saint of masons!