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 Charles Simic
That was the year the Nazis marched into Vienna,
Superman made his debut in Action Comics,
Stalin was killing off his fellow revolutionaries,
The first Dairy Queen opened in Kankakee, Ill.,
As I lay in my crib peeing in my diapers.
“You must’ve been a beautiful baby,” Bing Crosby sang.
A pilot the newspapers called Wrong Way Corrigan
Took off from New York heading for California
And landed instead in Ireland, as I watched my mother
Take a breast out of her blue robe and come closer.
There was a hurricane that September causing a movie theater
At Westhampton Beach to be lifted out to sea.
People worried the world was about to end.
A fish believed to have been extinct for seventy million years
Came up in a fishing net off the coast of South Africa.
I lay in my crib as the days got shorter and colder,
And the first heavy snow fell in the night
Making everything very quiet in my room.
I thought I heard myself cry for a long, long time.
“Nineteen Thirty-eight” by Charles Simic from Master of Disguises. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, © 2010. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of novelist Marilynne Robinson, (books by this author) born in Sandpoint, Idaho (1943), whose first novel, Housekeeping (1980), was nominated for the Pulitzer. Robinson seemed to have come out of nowhere, and people couldn’t wait to see what she would write next. But instead of writing another novel, she wrote a book of nonfiction about nuclear waste in England, and a collection of essays about philosophy and theology. She took a teaching job in Iowa and worked on the side as a deacon at her church. It took her more than two decades to write her second novel, Gilead, which came out in 2004, and it won the Pulitzer Prize.
Her other books include Lila (2014) and essay collections including The Givenness of Things (2015) and What Are We Doing Here? (2018).
It’s the birthday of the science writer Jonathan Weiner, (books by this author) born in New York City in 1953. In the late 1980s, global warming and climate change weren’t talked about very much, so Weiner wrote a book to help ordinary people understand these issues. It was called The Next One Hundred Years: Shaping the Fate of Our Living Earth (1990). Then he wrote The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time (1994), which won the Pulitzer Prize.
The tomb was located in a place along the Nile River known as the Valley of the Kings — near where the ancient city of Thebes was and the modern city of Luxor is. In the early 20th century, the prevailing wisdom among Egyptologists was that all of the ancient pharaohs’ tombs had been found. But Howard Carter was convinced that not all had been discovered, and he kept searching. His benefactor, Lord Carnarvon, grew impatient after years of financing Carter’s fruitless expeditions and announced that he was cutting off Carter’s funding.
Then, in early November 1922, Carter was supervising archaeological diggers sifting through debris above some ancient workers’ huts when a young Egyptian boy bringing them jars of drinking water uncovered a limestone step. The workers dug up the debris and stones and uncovered an entire staircase, which led to a tomb. In the plaster that sealed the door the tomb was the seal of the royal necropolis police from the 18th dynasty, which lasted from 1555–1305 B.C.
Lord Carnarvon came to Egypt from England, and on this day in 1922, Carter broke the sealed door and he and Carnarvon entered the tomb of King Tut, the first people to do so in more than 3,000 years. Carter later recounted:
“At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold — everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment — an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by — I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.'”
Inside were golden chariots, funeral beds, little ships for the pharaoh’s journey to the otherworld, plates shaped like lions and cows, a gold throne, gold statues, jewelry, and the child pharaoh’s toys. There was also the sarcophagus, used at the funeral to house the corpse (from the Greek, “flesh-eating”), a solid gold coffin, and the mummy of King Tut. It was the greatest array of treasures ever discovered in a pharaoh’s tomb.
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