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+
Somewhat Optimistic Horoscopes
by Kenneth Ronkowitz
Aries: You woke up again today.
Taurus: Nothing bad can happen to you as you read this.
Gemini: Even if you can’t see them, the Sun and Moon are watching over you.
Cancer: In a parallel universe, you are laughing.
Leo: Someone loves you. Perhaps, they will tell you tomorrow.
Virgo: You didn’t notice, but someone noticed you yesterday, and just thought about you again.
Libra: When you are reading this poem, you look quite beautiful.
Scorpio: The stars are aligning for you right now. Concentrate. Can you feel it?
Sagittarius: Like you, the seasons change. But they never end.
Capricorn: Once you were stardust, and some of that is still shining inside of you.
Aquarius: You are a water baby. The rain and the waves are yours. But not yours alone.
Pisces: The rest of today is all the future you need to be truly happy.
“Somewhat Optimistic Horoscopes” by Kenneth Ronkowitz. Used with permission of the poet.
Child shot to fame in 1824 with her historical novel, Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times. It’s the story of Mary Conant, a woman from colonial Salem, who breaks societal norms by marrying a Native American.
Interracial marriage didn’t often occur in early 19th century America. And it wasn’t written about when it did take place. But the controversial topic helped sell the book and launch Child’s literary career.
In 1826, Child launched America’s first children’s magazine, The Juvenile Miscellany. She edited and contributed to the bimonthly publication. It held steady readership through the early 1830s.
Child, an abolitionist, then published An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans. The book came out in 1833. In it, Child denounced slavery and the unequal treatment of blacks in the United States. Though the book helped win others to the abolitionist cause, it also attracted criticism to Child and her magazine. So, in 1834, Child resigned as editor of The Juvenile Miscellany.
Child spent the rest of her life fighting against slavery and poor treatment of blacks and Native Americans. And she continued writing, publishing her last book in 1878.
It’s the birthday of Thomas Alva Edison, born in Milan, Ohio (1847). He eventually amassed 1,093 patents, the most patents ever issued to a single person in American history. His most important inventions were the phonograph, the light bulb, and the movie camera.
On this day in 1905, James Blackstone of Seattle, Washington received a score of 299.5 in a game of bowling. The unlikely incident occurred when on the last ball of a perfect game, one pin split in half. The bottom half of the pin stood in its position while the top half flew off. Judges at the bowling lane credited the bowler for half a pin, ruining his perfect game but leaving a score that has never been achieved in any other recorded game in history.
She did an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was enthralled with Flannery O’Connor. Then she moved to Florida, did research for a U.S. Navy marine laboratory on a barrier island off the central western coast of Florida, and lived alone in a trailer, surrounded by swamps and alligators and snakes. She said: “I was miserable, of course. But it was all very good for my writing. It’s good to be miserable and a little off-balance.”
It was there that she wrote her first novel, State of Grace (1973), which was published when she was age 29. She also wrote a guidebook to the Florida Keys, and many essays about the environment, some of which are collected in Ill Nature: Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals (2001).
She said, “Good writing never soothes or comforts. It is no prescription, neither is it diversionary, although it can and should enchant while it explodes in the reader’s face.”
He went to graduate school at Harvard, and during the summers he got a job writing for a budget travel guidebook. He traveled around England, France, Italy and Greece, living on almost no money and sleeping in the gutters and under bridges. He covered a different town each day, walking its streets and taking notes in the morning and afternoon and writing it up in the evening.
After graduating, he got a job working for Time magazine. He sat in a cubicle all day and wrote articles about places like the Philippine jungles and the Andes Mountains, from reports he got from other writers. He finally got fed up with office work and took a vacation to Southeast Asia, and wrote Video Nights in Katmandu (1988). He’s since published several more books, including the novel Abandon: A Romance (2003) and The Art of Stillness : Adventures in Going Nowhere (2014), the latter of which expands upon a very popular TED Talk given by Iyer in 2013 .
Pico Iyer said: “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing. And though reading is the best school of writing, school is the worst place for reading.”
It was on this day in 1778 that Voltaire (books by this author) returned to Paris after living in exile for 28 years in protest against France’s religious fanaticism. He was a crusader for human rights and one of the most respected people in Europe.
When he was allowed to return home, more than 300 people came to visit him his first day in the city. One of those visitors was Benjamin Franklin, fresh from helping to lead the revolution in the United States of America.
When Voltaire rode in his carriage to the theater to see the premiere of his last play, his carriage could barely move through the streets packed with crowds of his admirers. When he got to the theater, the audience cheered him and an actor placed a crown of laurel on his head. Voltaire died two months later.
It was on this day in 1990 that Nelson Mandela (books by this author) was released from Victor Verster Prison, outside Cape Town, South Africa. He had been imprisoned for 27 years because of his involvement with the African National Congress. The ANC was the main group resisting the apartheid government, and after decades of nonviolence, some members of the group — including Mandela — had begun advocating violence as the only way to deal with the brutal and violent tactics of the government.
When Mandela was released he was 71 years old, and South Africans were shocked to realize that he no longer looked the same as he did in 1964, the last time he was seen publicly. Many of his most enthusiastic supporters hadn’t even been born when he was imprisoned. When he emerged from prison, he was slender and slightly stooped, with a narrow face and white hair. His eyesight and lungs had been damaged by working in limestone quarries.
Mandela was released by South Africa’s new president, F.W. de Klerk, who had spent his whole career as a right-wing conservative. But he saw that times were changing and that South Africa’s economy would collapse if he didn’t end apartheid. He began freeing prisoners, and on February 2nd, 1990, he gave a speech to parliament. He hadn’t told anyone what he was going to say, not even his wife. He announced that he was unbanning the African National Congress and the South African Communist party, and freeing Nelson Mandela. The parliament was shocked, and his fellow conservatives booed. On February 10th, de Klerk met with Mandela to tell him the news that he would be freed the next day. Mandela said he would prefer to be given a full week’s notice. De Klerk said later: “That is when I realized that long hours of negotiation lay ahead with this man.” But in this one thing de Klerk got his way, and at the end of the meeting, he and Mandela shared a glass of whiskey.