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+
by Deborah Digges
Text of this poem is unavailable.
“the coat” by Deborah Digges from The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Audio used with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of the writer Washington Irving, (books by this author) born in New York City (1783). He wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” He was the first person who referred to New York City as “Gotham,” and he created the character of Diedrich Knickerbocker, the Dutch New Yorker. “Knickerbocker” came to describe any New Yorkers who could trace their family to the original Dutch settlers, and that’s where the New York Knicks get their name.
It’s the birthday of a writer whose children’s books have sold more than 20 million copies, Sandra Keith Boynton, (books by this author) born to Quaker parents in Orange, New Jersey (1953), one of whom was an English teacher. She went to Yale where she majored, she said, “happily if unimaginatively, in English.” During the summers, she waited tables. But by the end of her junior year, she couldn’t fathom the idea of doing it yet another summer. She decided to spend the summer designing greeting cards, convinced her uncle to print them, and then went store-to-store around the East Coast selling her cards. She finished her English degree, dropped out of grad school at both Berkeley and Yale, and continued designing cards. A (then) fledgling alternative greeting card company — Recycled Paper Greetings — hired her to design cards.
Between the mid-1970s and mid-90s, she designed about 5,000 greeting cards. In the 1980s, the cards she designed for Recycled Paper Greetings sold between 50 million and 80 million cards each year. Sandra Boynton is the person who designed the “Hippo Birdie Two Ewes” (happy birthday to you) card in 1975, a card that has since sold 10 million copies in its various cartoonish incarnations.
Her first children’s book, called Hippos Go Berserk (1977), was published a few years later. She’s since written many books, including Chocolate: The Consuming Passion (1982), which she says “was largely motivated by the allure of having all my chocolate expenses be tax-deductible for a year,” and Philadelphia Chickens (2002).
In 1999, Boynton composed a book/album called Grunt: Pigorian Chant, which features, in her words, “plainchant and polyphony written in Latin and Pig Latin.” She said, “I like to think of Grunt as the culmination of a lifetime of joyfully squandering an expensive education on producing works of no apparent usefulness.”
It was on this day in 1948 that President Harry Truman signed the European Recovery Program (also known as the Marshall Plan) into law, which allocated more than $5 billion in aid to help revitalize the economy of European countries after World War II. That amount eventually grew to more than $13 billion.
Europe was on the verge of economic collapse. Whole cities had been destroyed, factories had shut down, and the winter of 1947 was one of the coldest on record. Many Europeans were unemployed and homeless, freezing to death. A small group of American strategists and diplomats decided that the only way to keep Europe from descending into chaos would be a huge infusion of cash. So they turned to Secretary of State George Marshall, a well-known war hero and public figure, hoping he could sell the plan to the public.
Marshall immediately bought the idea, and he became its spokesperson. He announced the plan at the commencement ceremony at Harvard on June 5, 1947, and then went on a national tour to promote the plan.
On this day in 1888, the first of London’s Whitechapel Murders was committed. Over the course of three years, 11 women — all of them likely prostitutes — were killed in grisly fashion. The murders have never been solved, but at least five of them are thought to be the work of a single serial killer who became known as Jack the Ripper. The Whitechapel District, located in London’s East End, was a cesspool of crime and poverty, and murders and assaults were commonplace. The first victim, Emma Smith, was brutally assaulted; she survived the attack but died the next day of her injuries. It was later thought by some that she was the first victim of Jack the Ripper, but she reported that she was attacked by a gang, which makes it unlikely.
The investigation into the Ripper killings marks the first attempt, albeit an unsuccessful one, to catch a murderer through the use of psychological profiling. The identity of Jack the Ripper has never been determined, though fascination with him persists and theories abound. The murders stopped in 1891, probably because the killer died, was imprisoned for another crime, or left the country altogether.