Friday marked the birthday of surrealist painter and all-around eccentric Salvador Dali, who was born in Figueres, in the Catalonia region of Spain, on May 11, 1904. Catalonia (rather like Dali himself, whose given name was Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol, though he claimed he was descended from Moors) has an interesting if somewhat confounding etymology, with various theories as to the word's meaning, ranging from "Land of the Goths" to the fact that it has so many castles. Dali, who thanked his "Arab" ancestors for his animating "love of everything that is gilded and excessive," was an accomplished sculptor, filmmaker, and photographer. However, he was probably best known for his various antics, provocations, and overall outré demeanor. He kind of reminds me of John Waters, and I guess I'm not the only one. Apparently, the Salvador Dali Museum resides in St. Petersburg, Florida, so check it out the next time you're at a convention or on spring break—or just taking a break from social convention. There were four misspellings of Dali's first name in OhioLINK, and 101 in WorldCat.
(Portrait of Dali by Carl Van Vechten, 29 November 1939, from Wikimedia Commons.)