April 27, 2019
Garrison Keillor celebrates National Poetry Month with poems & song at a benefit for Performing Arts of Woodstock.
CROONERS SUPPER CLUB
April 14, 2019
At 76 years old, Garrison Keillor makes his solo nightclub debut! 5:00 p.m.
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.
Why I Love Being Married to a Chemist
by Barbara Crooker
Because he can still cause a reaction in me
when he talks about SN2 displacements,
amines and esters looking for receptor sites
at the base of their ketones. Because he lugs
home serious tomes like The Journal of the American
Chemical Society or The Proceedings of the Society
of the Plastics Industry, the opposite of the slim volumes
of poetry with colorful covers that fill my bookshelves.
Because once, years ago, on a Saturday before our
raucous son rang in the dawn, he was just
standing there in the bathroom, out of the shower.
I said Honey, what’s wrong? and he said Oh,
I was just thinking about a molecule.
Because he taught me about sublimation, how
a solid, like ice, can change straight to a gas
without becoming liquid first. Because even
after all this time together, he can still
make me melt.
“Why I Love Being Married to a Chemist” by Barbara Crooker from Les Fauves. © C & R Press, 2017. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the soothsayer was referring to today when she said, “Beware the Ides of March.” The word “Ides” was just a shorthand way of saying “15th,” at least in March.
And it was on this day, the Ides of March in 44 B.C., that Caesar was assassinated by a group of about 60 conspirators who called themselves “the liberators.” They wanted to return Rome to a model republic, and they were unhappy with how Caesar had consolidated power in his name, and that he encouraged people to consider him divine. One of the leaders was Marcus Brutus, whose mother had been one of Caesar’s lovers and whom Caesar helped establish in government.
It was on this day in 1956 that the musical My Fair Lady opened on Broadway, starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. The musical was based on the play Pygmalion by the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Pygmalion is the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics living in London. He makes a bet with a friend that he can take a random cockney-speaking flower seller named Eliza Doolittle and pass her off as a perfect lady by teaching her how to speak well. Shaw got the title from the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who makes a statue of a woman who is so beautiful that he falls in love with her. Shaw wrote the play specifically for a famous British actress, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, even though she was 49 years old and his main character, Eliza Doolittle, was supposed to be a young woman.
Pygmalion ends with Eliza furious with Higgins, who teaches her to be a lady but then treats her badly once his project is over and he wins his bet. She tells him that he is a tyrant and a bully and that she will marry a young man who adores her. Higgins is too self-absorbed to believe she will leave him, ordering her to buy him a tie and order a ham, but she walks out on him. Shaw was adamant that the play end that way. He wrote an afterword explaining why Eliza would have married the young man, not Henry Higgins, despite the romantic tension between them. Shaw wrote the afterword after he learned that his leading man was softening the ending of the play by having Henry toss a bouquet of flowers to Eliza at the last moment, suggesting to the audience that maybe they had a future together after all. Shaw fought for his ending over and over, but ultimately he lost.
It’s the birthday of biographer Richard Ellmann, (books by this author) born in Highland Park, Michigan (1918). His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father was a lawyer, and Richard’s two brothers followed their father into law, but Richard was more inspired by his parents’ love of reading, and he decided to become an English professor. He got into Yale and studied literature there, then went to graduate school and started to write his dissertation on W.B. Yeats, who had died in 1939 — there wasn’t much scholarly work on him.
While Ellmann was working on his dissertation, World War II broke out, and he enlisted. He worked for the Office of Strategic Services in London, and he took a leave to go visit Dublin. He wrote a letter to George Yeats, the poet’s widow, totally unaware that she was famous for refusing to answer letters or grant visits. But for some reason, she changed her mind when Ellmann’s letter came along, and she wrote back inviting him to visit her at 46 Palmerston Road in Rathmines, a suburb of Dublin.
After Ellmann was discharged from the Navy in 1946, he got a Rockefeller scholarship to go to Ireland and continue his work on Yeats. He went back to visit George Yeats, and he said, “She produced an old suitcase and filled it with manuscripts that I wanted to examine.” More than that, Mrs. Yeats gave Ellmann access to more or less all of her late husband’s documents, about 50,000 of them — diaries, letters, notes, poems. Ellmann said, “It is hard to know how revolutionary my ideas are, but I do feel that I shall produce the definitive book on Yeats for many years to come.” And so he put together the first comprehensive work on W.B. Yeats. He published it as a critical biography called Yeats: The Man and the Masks (1948).
He followed up his first book with The Identity of Yeats (1954). He considered himself a Yeats scholar, and when he was looking for a new angle on the poet, he remembered the unpublished preface Yeats had written about his meeting with James Joyce. Ellmann said he was struck by “Joyce’s impudence with his distinguished and much older contemporary.” So he decided to write an article about the relationship between Yeats and Joyce. From there, he found himself fascinated by Joyce, and decided to attempt a biography of him. In 1959, he published James Joyce. It won the National Book Award, and Anthony Burgess called it “the greatest literary biography of the century.”
Ellmann published many more studies of Yeats, Joyce, and other Modernists. After 20 years of research, Ellmann finished his last great biography, Oscar Wilde (1987), just before he died. It was published posthumously and won a National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Ellmann wrote about Wilde: “Of all writers, Wilde was perhaps the best company. Always endangered, he laughs at his plight, and on his way to the loss of everything jollies society for being so much harsher than he is, so much less graceful, so much less attractive.”
The first Internet domain name was registered on this date in 1985, by a company called Symbolics.com. Before the Internet, there was ARPANET, which came online in 1969. A project of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPANET originally connected large computers at four universities in California and Utah; it was used by computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians. Email was developed for ARPANET in 1972, and file sharing in 1973. ARPANET expanded and inspired other networks over the next decade. More and more academic and government institutions adopted the networking technology.
Prior to the advent of the domain name system that we use today, hosts were represented by their numerical address on a computer network. But the addresses were hard to remember, and if the site moved to a different IP — Internet Protocol — address, it had to adopt a new string of numbers. Associating the IPs with a name made it easier for people to memorize, and changing a location only required changing the numerical address associated with the name.
A list of early domains is populated by the usual suspects: tech companies like IBM, Intel, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard. But the little-known company called Symbolics.com got there first.
In 1985, only six companies held .com domains. By 1992, there were fewer than 15,000. In 2010, there were 84 million separate domains; in 2019, the count is above 330 million.