March 28, 2019
Garrison Keillor heads to Steele County for a solo performance to benefit the Historical Society. 7:30 p.m.
February 24, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Crooners. Shows at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fergus Falls, MN
February 23, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at A Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
Detroit Lakes, MN
February 22, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Historic Holmes Theatre. 7:30 p.m.
St. Cloud, MN
February 21, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Pioneer Place on Fifth. 7:30 p.m.
A Child’s Evening Prayer
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
God grant me grace my prayers to say:
O God! preserve my mother dear
In strength and health for many a year;
And, O! preserve my father too,
And may I pay him reverence due;
And may I my best thoughts employ
To be my parents’ hope and joy;
And, O! preserve my brothers both
From evil doings and from sloth,
And may we always love each other,
Our friends our father, and our mother:
And still, O Lord, to me impart
An innocent and grateful heart,
That after my last sleep I may
Awake to thy eternal day!
“A Child’s Evening Prayer” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Louis Braille, born in Coupvray, France (1809). When he was three years old, he was blinded in an accident. He invented a system of six raised dots that could be read by fingers, so that blind people could read easily. His idea didn’t catch on during his lifetime, but it eventually became a worldwide phenomenon.
It was on this day in 1952 that a 23-year-old medical student from Buenos Aires, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, hopped on a motorcycle with his biochemist friend and began his journey through Latin America. For Che, it was a journey that would last nine months and in which he’d traverse 8,000 miles by motorcycle, hitchhiking, steamship, horseback, river raft, and cargo plane. He’d return home a changed man, dedicated to the causes of alleviating poverty, unifying Latin America, and to armed revolution. This journey became the basis for his New York Times best-selling book The Motorcycle Diaries.
Guevara came from a well-off Argentinean family. He didn’t get very good grades in medical school, and he didn’t seem that interested in politics. He really just loved to ride his bicycle and to travel. He’d biked around Argentina all by himself a few years before. So when his older friend, 29-year-old biochemist Alberto Granado, mentioned the idea of taking a motorcycle from the south end of Latin America to the north, young Guevara jumped at the chance. He decided skip his upcoming final exams and put medical school on hold for a year.
And 58 years ago today, Guevara and Granado mounted a rickety old motorcycle, which they nicknamed La Poderosa, the Mighty One, and departed Buenos Aires. On their way out of Argentina, they stopped at a resort where Guevara’s girlfriend’s family was staying for the summer so that he could say good-bye. His girlfriend gave him $15 to buy her a swimsuit from North America, which he swore he’d starve rather than spend on anything else. Weeks later, he handed the money to a homeless couple.
In Santiago, their sputtering motorcycle broke down for good, and they resorted to hitchhiking for the rest of the trip. From Chile they went to Peru, to a leper colony along the Amazon River where they hung around to treat patients. There he spent many nights awake into the wee hours talking with a Peruvian Marxist; he later cited these conversations as having helped to define his politics.
Guevara and Granado traveled on to Colombia and Venezuela, where Granado stayed to work treating people with leprosy. Guevara boarded a cargo plane to fly back to Argentina by way of Miami. But the plane had engine problems, and Guevara was stuck in Miami for several weeks, and he waited tables and washed dishes to survive.
He made it back to Argentina, sat down and reworked his travel notes years after the journey and wrote contemplative commentary around the descriptions of landscape and people that he’d jotted down while he was out on the road years before; his book The Motorcycle Diaries is actually a memoir. There are a few English translations available, including ones by Ann Wright (1996) and Alexandra Keeble (2003).
Che Guevara wrote in his diary: “I will be on the side of the people … I will take to the barricades and the trenches, screaming as one possessed, will stain my weapons with blood, and, mad with rage, will cut the throat of any vanquished foe I encounter.”
Che Guevara died in 1967 at the age of 39, executed by members of the Bolivian army.
It’s the birthday of Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin, (books by this author) born in Brooklyn, New York (1943). She’s the author of the highly acclaimed biographies Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1976), The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga (1987), and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005), as well as The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age Of Journalism (2013), No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (1994), and a memoir. Her latest book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September of 2018.
When she was 20 years old, she landed an internship at the State Department in Washington, and a couple of years later she interned with Congress. At 24, she was working at the White House for the Labor Secretary under Lyndon Johnson’s administration. On the side, she was writing, and one of the articles she co-wrote was called “How to Remove LBJ in 1968.” It was a scathing attack of President Johnson’s Vietnam War policy, and it was published in The New Republic.
And then she met the president at a fancy ball at the White House. He knew that she had written and published harsh things about him. But he asked her to dance anyway. At the end of the evening, he asked her to work for him, as a personal assistant.
She taught government at Harvard and helped Johnson write his memoirs. Three years after he died, she published Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1976). Reviewers raved, and the book was a huge commercial success — a New York Times best-seller. Soon afterward, Simon & Schuster asked her to write a biography of John F. Kennedy. In the meantime, she’d married a former Kennedy speechwriter, Richard Goodwin, and had access to all sorts of new material, including the personal letters of JFK’s father, Joseph Kennedy.
After writing about the Kennedys, she wrote about the Roosevelts, focusing on the marriage of the president and first lady in No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt — The Home Front in World War II (1994). For that book she won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize. She thought she would write a similarly focused book on Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary. But when she started doing research for the book, she found that “during the [Civil] war, Lincoln was married more to the colleagues in his cabinet —in terms of time he spent with them and the emotion shared — than he was to Mary.” She decided to write a book about Lincoln and some of the men he had appointed to his Cabinet. Specifically, she was interested in men he appointed who before the election had been his political opponents and had campaigned against him. She focused on William Seward, who became Lincoln’s secretary of state; Edward Bates, who became Lincoln’s attorney general; and Salmon P. Chase, who became the secretary of the Treasury.
Her book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, was published in 2005. The 944-page book was widely talked about around Washington, and during the next presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama mentioned Goodwin’s book in interviews, saying that it’s essential reading for the Oval Office. After he won the Democratic nomination, he named former opponent Joe Biden as his running mate, and after he was elected, he appointed a handful of former rivals to his Cabinet — including Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and Tom Vilsack as secretary of agriculture. The Chicago Tribune reported that “in Obama circles,” the principle of appointing former adversaries to Cabinet positions “goes by the shorthand ‘Team of Rivals,’ from the title of Goodwin’s book.”
Kearns Goodwin is also the author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age Of Journalism (2013) and a memoir. Her latest book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September of 2018.