Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
“How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth” by John Milton. Public domain. (buy now)
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol’n on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits endu’th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster’s eye.
It’s the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, (books by this author) born in Oak Park, Illinois (1899). He was just 22 when he moved to Paris with his wife, Hadley, having taken a job as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Daily Star. Even though he was making decent money, he liked the idea of living like a bohemian, so they moved into an apartment in the Latin Quarter, in a neighborhood full of drunks, beggars, and street musicians. Rent was 250 francs a month, or about $18, which left them plenty of money to travel around Europe when they wanted to.
He rented himself a room in a hotel, and every morning, after breakfast, he would walk to his writing room and work. He said: “I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'” One of those sentences read, “I have stood on the crowded back platform of a seven o’clock … bus as it lurched along the wet lamp lit street while men who were going home to supper never looked up from their newspapers as we passed Notre Dame grey and dripping in the rain.”
It’s the birthday of Hart Crane, (books by this author) born Harold Hart Crane in Garrettsville, Ohio (1899). His mother was a Chicago debutante and his father was a very successful candy businessman. An only child, he was frequently left in the company of various relatives while his parents went off on business trips together.
From the time he was a teenager, he knew that he was gay, and he was fascinated by the life and career of Oscar Wilde. When his parents’ marriage fell apart, Crane dropped out of school and took a train from Cleveland to New York to begin life as a poet. He loved being in New York, hanging out with poets like E. E. Cummings and Allen Tate. But he had trouble making a living there, couldn’t hold down a job. His drinking got worse and worse, and soon he was a serious alcoholic. In 1932, at the age of 33, he killed himself by jumping overboard a steam ship on his way from Mexico to New York. He left behind his masterpiece, The Bridge (1930).
Today is the birthday of Canadian detective novelist Michael Connelly (1956) (books by this author), born in London, Ontario. His father was a frustrated artist-turned-property developer, and his mother was a fan of crime fiction; she’s the one who introduced Michael to detective novels. The family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when Connelly was 11. When he was 16, he saw a man ditch a gun in some bushes, so he followed him to a bar, and then went to get the police. By the time they returned, the suspect was gone, but the incident whetted his interested in police procedure. He never had any thought of writing, though, until he was in college. He discovered Raymond Chandler’s books after he saw the film version of The Long Goodbye (novel, 1953; film, 1973). He went home and read all of Chandler’s books, and he switched his major from the building trade to journalism, with a minor in creative writing. He was a reporter on the crime beat for a series of newspapers and then started writing detective fiction. He’s since written a couple of dozen crime books, many of them featuring cop Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch.
On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first people to walk on the moon. It was actually July 20 in the United States, nearly 11 o’clock p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, but according to Greenwich Mean Time, it was already almost 3 a.m. on the 21st.
Apollo 11 left Earth on July 16, took about three days to reach the moon’s orbit, and then the lunar module, the Eagle, touched down safely on July 20, on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Neil Armstrong had prepared a few words, and he nearly got them right; he had meant to say, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. followed him about 20 minutes later. They spent two hours on the moon’s surface; they took lots of photographs, collected about 50 pounds of moon rock, and set up several devices to take measurements of solar wind and moonquakes. Though they may have wanted to spend more time exploring, there were too many unknowns to allow for wandering. The temperature on the bright side of the moon was about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and they weren’t sure how long their water-cooled suits could keep out the heat. NASA wanted them to stay within range of the fixed camera. And ultimately, they were there on an important — and dangerous — scientific mission, not a sightseeing trip, however tempting this new world must have been. Armstrong later wrote: “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
Before they left, they planted an American flag, and also a plaque, which read, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon — July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
Today is the anniversary of the first Wild West showdown. It happened in the market square in Springfield, Missouri, in 1865. The parties involved were James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok — a professional gambler and former Union scout — and Davis Tutt, a cowboy and former Confederate soldier. The two men had a falling out over a woman and a gambling debt, and finally agreed to settle their differences in a duel. They faced off at a distance of about 75 paces, and fired simultaneously. Tutt’s shot went wild, but Hickok’s hit Tutt through the heart.
A few years later, George Ward Nichols published a story about Hickok in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine that made the gunslinger a household name throughout the country.
An excerpt from the Harper’s profile:
“In vain did I examine the scout’s face for some evidence of murderous propensity. It was a gentle face, and singular only in the sharp angle of the eye, and without any physical reason for the opinion, I have thought his wonderful accuracy of aim was indicated by this peculiarity. He told me, however, to use his own words: ‘I allers shot well; but I come ter be perfeck in the mountains by shootin at a dime for a mark, at bets of half a dollar a shot. And then until the war I never drank liquor nor smoked,’ he continued, with a melancholy expression; ‘war is demoralizing, it is.'”