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.
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Butterflies are white and blue
In this field we wander through.
Suffer me to take your hand.
Death comes in a day or two.
All the things we ever knew
Will be ashes in that hour,
Mark the transient butterfly,
How he hangs upon the flower.
Suffer me to take your hand.
Suffer me to cherish you
Till the dawn is in the sky.
Whether I be false or true,
Death comes in a day or two.
“Mariposa” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Public domain. (buy now)
On this day in 1933, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco began. It was finished four and a half years later, in May 1937. The bridge is 8,981 feet (1.7 miles) long, 90 feet wide for six lanes of traffic, and 746 feet high — almost 200 feet taller than the Washington Monument. It’s suspended 220 feet above the water, and it links the city of San Francisco to the County of Marin. The color of the bridge is officially called “International Orange,” a slightly deeper shade of “Safety Orange.” Frommer’s travel guide called the Golden Gate Bridge “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world.”
In 1986, author Vikram Seth (books by this author) published a novel-in-verse called The Golden Gate (1986), a gentle satire on the lives of some San Francisco yuppies.
It’s the birthday of the man who coined the term “Cold War,” Herbert Bayard Swope, (books by this author) born in St. Louis, Missouri (1882). He was a journalist and he was the first person ever to receive the Pulitzer Prize for reporting, which he got in 1917 — in the midst of World War I — after writing a series of articles that ran under the title “Inside the German Empire.”
He spent decades working for The New York Evening World, taking over as editor of the newspaper in 1920. The following year, in 1921, Swope created the first op-ed page. Many people believe that “op-ed” stands for “opinion-editorial,” but it actually means “opposite the editorial page,” which is usually where they can be found in the newspaper.
Swope was also a legendary gambler. Two years after he created the op-ed page, he won $470,300 in a poker game, which took place in a railroad car in Palm Beach against an oil baron, a Broadway impresario, and a steel magnate.
It was on this day in 2007 that the man who invented instant ramen and Cup Noodles, Momofuku Ando, died at the age of 96. He’d eaten instant ramen noodles up until the day before he died, as he’d done nearly every day since inventing them in 1958.
Japan was suffering from food shortages in the decade after World War II, and Ando developed the noodles trying to alleviate this problem. He experimented with flash-frying for months to come up with the perfect way to make precooked noodles that would be ready to eat shortly after opening the package. When the noodles first appeared on grocery shelves in Japan in the late 1950s, they were a luxury item and cost about six times as much as a bowl of udon or soba cost in a restaurant. Now, they’re one of the most inexpensive ready-made foods in the world.
It’s the birthday of Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o (books by this author) born James Ngugi in Limuru, Kenya, in 1938. In 1964, he published the first East African novel written in English. That book is Weep Not, Child, and it’s based on his family’s troubles during the Mau Mau Uprising. He published The River Between (1965) a year later, and A Grain of Wheat in 1967. Around this time, he also renounced any residual colonial ties; he changed his name to Ngugi wa Thiong’o to reflect his Kikuyu heritage, and he stopped writing in English. He was sent to a maximum-security prison in 1977 for the overtly political play I Will Marry When I Want, and while he was there, he wrote Devil on the Cross (1980), the first novel in the Kikuyu language. He was denied paper, so he wrote the novel on prison toilet paper. He later wrote a memoir about his yearlong incarceration, called Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary (1981). His next novel, Matagiri (1986), prompted the government to seize all copies from bookstores and the publisher’s warehouse. His most recent books are Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Memoir of a Writer’s Awakening (2016) and Secure the Base (2016).
Ngugi wa Thiong’o said, “In writing one should hear all the whisperings, all the shouting, all the crying, all the loving and all the hating of the many voices in the past, and those voices will never speak to a writer in a foreign language.”
Today is the birthday of the late Umberto Eco (books by this author), born in Alessandria, in the Piedmont region of Italy (1932). He’s a philosopher, medievalist, literary critic, and best-selling novelist, and the Guardian calls him an “all-round brainbox.”
His book, The Name of the Rose, published in Italian in 1980 and in English in 1983, became an international best-seller. His other novels include Foucault’s Pendulum(1988), Mysterious Flame of the Queen Loana (2004), and most recently, The Cemetery of Prague (2010).
Eco once explained his productivity, saying: “There is a lot of space between atom and atom and electron and electron, and if we reduced the matter of the universe by eliminating all the space in between, the entire universe would be compressed into a ball. Our lives are full of interstices. […] I can work in the water closet, in the train. While swimming, I produce a lot of things, especially in the sea. Less so in the bathtub, but there too.”