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 Maxine Kumin
Me in my bugproof netted headpiece kneeling
to spread sodden newspapers between broccolis,
corn sprouts, cabbages and four kinds of beans,
prostrate before old suicide bombings, starvation,
AIDS, earthquakes, the unforeseen tsunami,
front-page photographs of lines of people
with everything they own heaped on their heads,
the rich assortment of birds trilling on all
sides of my forest garden, the exhortations
of commencement speakers at local colleges,
the first torture revelations under my palms
and I a helpess citizen of a country
I used to love, who as a child wept when
the brisk police band bugled Hats off! The flag
is passing by, now that every wanton deed
in this stack of newsprint is heartbreak,
my blackened fingers can only root in dirt,
turning up industrious earthworms, bits
of unreclaimed eggshell, wanting to ask
the earth to take my unquiet spirit,
bury it deep, make compost of it.
“Mulching” by Maxine Kumin from Still to Mow. © W. W. Norton, 2007. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
The hall was packed. Beethoven himself conducted, rather dramatically, stretching to his full height, then crouching down to the floor, flailing his hands and feet. He was deaf and so he was several measures off and a man named Louis Duport stood off to the side and conducted, and the musicians followed him instead. Beethoven got five standing ovations.
It’s the birthday of a woman who — when she was only 28 — wrote a famous poem about growing old: Jenny Joseph, born in Birmingham, England (1932). She wrote:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
The poem, “Warning,” was discovered 25 years later by an aide to Lady Bird Johnson, widow of Lyndon Johnson. Ms. Johnson quoted the poem in Reader’s Digest and it was printed in anthologies and on T-shirts, greeting cards, and it led to the creation of the Red Hat Society, groups of women over the age of 50 who get together for tea parties, wearing purple clothes and red hats.
On this day in 1718, the French Canadian Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville discovered the Crescent City, New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Mahalia Jackson, Harry Connick Jr., and Wynton Marsalis.
On this day in 1952, Geoffrey Dummer first presented the concept of the integrated circuit, also known as the microchip, which was made up of a set of components — a transistor, a resistor, a capacitor, and a diode — linked together in a variety of ways.
Geoffrey Dummer was a radar scientist working for Britain’s Ministry of Defence when he got the idea of making the various parts out of a single piece of silicon, which would speed up the signal, and fit into much smaller devices. He presented his paper at the U.S. Electronic Components Symposium; Americans were willing to take a gamble on the idea, but the British government wasn’t, and it was years before the United Kingdom had a semiconductor industry.
Today we rely on integrated circuits to run our computers, our phones, our watches, and our calculators. They’re also in microwaves, TVs, cars, refrigerators, and implanted in pets’ and farm animals’ skin as location devices. Pretty much anything you plug in is going to have at least one microchip in it.
Today’s the birthday of Angela Carter, born in Eastbourne, England, in 1940. A novelist who moved from magical realism to science fiction to gothic horror whose book The Bloody Chamber (1979) was a feminist reinterpretation of classic fairy tales.