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+
How to Foretell a Change in the Weather
by Ted Kooser
Rain always follows the cattle
sniffing the air and huddling
in fields with their heads to the lee.
You will know that the weather is changing
when your sheep leave the pasture
too slowly, and your dogs lie about
and look tired; when the cat
turns her back to the fire,
washing her face, and the pigs
wallow in litter; cocks will be crowing
at unusual hours, flapping their wings;
hens will chant; when your ducks
and your geese are too noisy,
and the pigeons are washing themselves;
when the peacocks squall loudly
from the tops of the trees,
when the guinea fowl grates;
when sparrows chirp loudly
and fuss in the roadway, and when swallows
fly low, skimming the earth;
when the carrion crow
croaks to himself, and wild fowl
dip and wash, and when moles
throw up hills with great fervor;
when toads creep out in numbers;
when frogs croak; when bats
enter the houses; when birds
begin to seek shelter,
and the robin approaches your house;
when the swan flies at the wind,
and your bees leave the hive;
when ants carry their eggs to and fro,
and flies bite, and the earthworm
is seen on the surface of things.
“How to Foretell a Change in the Weather” is from the book Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985, by Ted Kooser, © 1985. Aired by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press. (buy now)
Microsoft Windows version 1.0 was released on this date in 1985. Bill Gates and Paul Allen had developed an operating system that they called “MS-DOS,” which stood for Microsoft Disk Operating System. It shipped in IBM computers beginning in 1981. But it wasn’t intuitive; users had to memorize a string of commands and get comfortable with the “backslash” key, something most people had never taken any notice of. Microsoft designers began working on a more user-friendly operating system, code name Interface Manager, the following year, and by 1983, they announced that “Windows” was in development. People were skeptical, calling it “vaporware.” Two years later, 1985, the first Windows-equipped computers shipped.
It’s the birthday of astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble, born in Marshfield, Missouri (1889), for whom the Hubble Telescope is named. He went to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and received a law degree. He passed the Kentucky bar exam in 1913, but gave up practicing law after one year to return to Chicago for a doctorate in astronomy. “I chucked the law for astronomy,” he said, “and I knew that even if I were second- or third-rate, it was astronomy that mattered.” Hubble went to work at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, where he discovered that there are other galaxies outside the Milky Way, opening up a whole new field of astronomy.
He later discovered that these distant galaxies were moving away from the Milky Way; in other words, he hit upon the concept of the expanding universe, which has been called “the most spectacular astronomical discovery of the 20th century.”
It’s the birthday of the novelist Nadine Gordimer (books by this author), born in Springs, South Africa (1923), who grew up in a middle-class white community near a gold mine where all the black workers were forced to live in a windowless barracks, guarded by police. She never thought about who those miners were or what their lives were like until the day she read Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, and she began to see the similarities between the meat packers in the book and the miners in her town.
Gordimer eventually moved to the racially mixed bohemian community in Johannesburg and began writing short stories, published in collections such as Face to Face (1949) and The Soft Voice of the Serpent (1952). She watched as many of her black friends were put under surveillance and arrested for treason. She was one of the few white novelists of her generation who did not go into exile. Instead, she began to write about the South African political resistance in a series of novels, including The Late Bourgeois World (1966), The Guest of Honor (1970), and The Conservationist (1974), which won the Booker Prize. She was attacked by South Africa’s government, and her books were banned for years at a time.
For 60 years, she contributed short stories to The New Yorker magazine. She was big fan of the short-story form — saying, “contact is more like the flash of fireflies, in and out, now here, now there, in darkness. Short-story writers see by the light of the flash; theirs is the only thing one can be sure of — the present moment.”
Nadine Gordimer died in her sleep at age 90 in 2014. She said: “Truth isn’t always beauty, but the hunger for it is.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®