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.
February 20, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Paradise Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
That I did always love…
by Emily Dickinson
That I did always love
I bring thee Proof
That till I loved
I never lived – Enough –
That I shall love alway –
I argue thee
That love is life –
And life hath Immortality –
This – dost thou doubt – Sweet –
Then have I
Nothing to show
But Calvary –
“That I did always love…” by Emily Dickinson. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of poet William Stafford, (books by this author) born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1914. Among his best-known books are The Rescued Year (1966), Stories That Could Be True: New and Collected Poems (1977), and Traveling Through the Dark (1962). He taught for many years at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon.
Stafford usually wrote in the early morning. He sat down with a pen and paper, took a look out the window, and waited for something to occur to him. He wrote, “In the winter, in the dark hours, when others / were asleep, I found these words and put them / together by their appetites and respect for / each other. In stillness, they jostled. They traded / meanings while pretending to have only one.”
It’s the birthday of Nobel Prize-winning economist George Stigler, (books by this author) born in Renton, Washington (1911), a Seattle suburb. Along with his close friend Milton Friedman, he helped lead the Chicago School of Economics.
He’s most famous for developing the notion of “regulatory capture,” something he talked about in his famous 1971 paper “The Theory of Economic Regulation.” In essence, he wrote that government agencies often have a hard time successfully regulating an industry, since it often happens that the people who are supposed to be doing the regulating have vested interests in the industry being regulated. Stigler wrote, “As a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit.”
There have been a several classic cases of how industry-friendly regulators failed to regulate properly — leading to disastrous results. Recently, there was the case of the Office of Thrift Supervision, a federal agency whose job was to make sure that big financial institutions like AIG and Countrywide were playing by the rules. Another regulatory agency in the news a lot last year, after the BP Gulf Oil Spill: Minerals Management Service, whose job it was to enforce safety regulations of the oil industry and also collect billions of dollars in revenue from it. George Stigler had written about these perils decades prior.
There’s a diet named after Nobel laureate economist George Stigler. The Stigler Diet is actually a mathematical model for the cost of subsistence eating — a linear programming problem on how to get the most nutritional bang for your buck. Specifically, Stigler’s math problem was this: Say you have a man who weighs 154 pounds. Out of 77 foods commonly available, how much of each one should be eaten daily so that the man gets the right amount of nine essential nutrients — at the cheapest cost? The nutrients Stigler took into consideration: calories, protein, iron, and some vitamins.
The solution to the optimization problem: In one year, that man should consume 370 pounds of wheat flour, 57 cans of evaporated milk, 285 pounds of dried navy beans, 23 pounds of spinach, and 111 pounds of cabbage. In 1939, dollars, this would cost about 11 cents a day. Today, it’d be close to $1.75 per day. Stigler was subjected to a barrage of ridicule for suggesting this dull and bland diet, and he tried to remind people that it was just a mathematical model. He issued a statement: “No one recommends these diets for anyone, let alone everyone.”
It was in 1982 that he won the Nobel Prize in economics. His essays are collected in The Intellectuals and the Marketplace (1963), The Citizen and the State (1975), and The Economist as Preacher (1982). He also wrote an autobiography called Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist (1985).
Today is the birthday of Benjamin Franklin (books by this author), born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1706. He only had a couple of years of formal schooling, but he read continuously, and early on, he thought he might become a poet. He didn’t have the knack for it so, later, inspired by the essays of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, he turned to prose. He recalled in his Autobiography (1794) that writing well became “of great Use to me in the Course of my Life, and was a principal Means of my Advancement.” He wrote under a variety of pseudonyms and, as “Richard Saunders,” published Poor Richard’s Almanack every year from 1732 to 1758. It contained weather predictions, household hints, poetry, essays, and adages such as “Marry’d in haste, we oft repent at Leisure”; and “Where there’s Marriage without Love, there will be Love without Marriage.”
Captain James Cook and his crew on HMS Resolution were the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle on this date in 1773. Cook made three exploratory voyages to uncharted areas of the Pacific, making maps as he went. In 1772, he was commissioned by the Royal Society to go in search of the rumored Terra Australis, a hypothetical continent that was first suggested by Aristotle. Cook had already circumnavigated New Zealand, and charted the eastern coast of Australia, but the Royal Society believed that Terra Australis lay farther south. Cook left Plymouth in July 1772 to sail around the bottom of the world. They had some trouble with pack ice, but once the weather warmed up in the southern hemisphere’s midsummer, they were able to cross below the Antarctic Circle. They crossed it two more times on this voyage, and on the third crossing, Cook very nearly discovered Antarctica. They sailed within about 150 miles of the continent, and had hoped to go further, but couldn’t make their way through the pack ice, so they turned back.
Anton Chekhov‘s The Cherry Orchard (books by this author) premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre on this date in 1904. His play The Seagull (1895) had been a big hit for the theater, whose founder Constantin Stanislavski wanted more “naturalistic” plays, rather than the melodramas that were currently popular. The Cherry Orchard (1902) was Chekhov’s last play. It’s the story of an aristocratic matriarch and her family, who return home from Paris to find that their family estate is about to be sold to pay their debts. Though they are all horrified at the idea of losing their beloved cherry orchard — the site of so many happy childhood memories — they essentially do nothing to save it and the estate is sold to the son of a former servant. The play ends with the sound of the orchard being cut down. The image was one from Chekhov’s own life: He developed an interest in gardening later in life, and planted a cherry orchard of his own. When he was forced by his worsening tuberculosis to move to Yalta, he was upset to learn later that his home’s new owner had cut down most of the orchard.
Chekhov wrote the play as a comedy, but Stanislavski insisted on presenting it as a tragedy. Chekhov accused him of ruining it. He had written scene directions indicating that characters were “speaking through tears;” Stanislavski had them all sobbing dramatically, especially in the last act. Chekhov wrote to Stanislavski: “[…] in the second act there are tears in their eyes, but the tone is happy, lively. Why did you put so many tears in my play? Where are they?” In spite of ill health, Chekhov got directly involved with the production, rewriting and editing to try and combat Stanislavski’s tragic tendencies. The Cherry Orchard was an immediate success with audiences, who responded with thunderous applause, but critics were divided, and subsequent directors have been challenged by the play’s delicate balance of tragedy and farce.