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 Jennifer Maier
It happened because he looked a gift horse in the mouth.
It happened because he couldn’t get that monkey off his back.
It happened because she didn’t chew 22 times before swallowing.
What was she thinking, letting him walk home alone from the bus stop?
What was he thinking, standing up in the boat like that?
Once she signed those papers the die was cast.
She should have waited an hour before going in; everyone knows
salami and seawater don’t mix.
He should have checked his parachute a seventh time;
you can never be too careful.
Why didn’t she declare her true feelings?
Why didn’t she play hard to get? She could be out at some
nice restaurant right now instead of in church, praying
for the strength to let him go.
It all started with that tattoo.
It all started with her decision to order the chicken salad.
Why was he so picky?
Why wasn’t she more discriminating?
He should have read the writing on the wall; listened
to the still small voice, had a lick of sense. But how could he when he
was blinded by passion? Deaf to warnings? Really dumb?
Why, why, in God’s name, did he run with scissors?
If only they’d asked Jesus for help.
If only they’d asked their friends for help.
If only they’d ignored the advice of others and held fast
to their own convictions, they might all be here, now,
with us, instead of six feet under; instead of trying to adopt
that foreign baby, instead of warming that barstool
at the Road Not Taken Eatery and Lounge, wondering how it might all
have been different, if only they had done
the right thing.
Jennifer Maier, “Post Hoc” from Dark Alphabet. © Jennifer Maier. Used with permission of Southern Illinois University Press, www.siupress.edu (buy now)
John Adams prepared to set sail to France on this date in 1778. The Continental Congress had asked him to replace Silas Deane, who was trying to convince the French government to lend its aid to the American Revolution. The Congress had begun to suspect Deane of profiting personally from trade negotiations, and of passing inside information to the British. It was the first time John Adams had ever left North America.
Adams brought his 10-year-old son, John Quincy Adams, along on the trip, and also inherited temporary custody of two other boys: 11-year-old Jesse Deane, who was Silas Deane’s son; and another young man who had recently graduated from college and was looking for a business apprenticeship. Adams wrote:
“Thus I find myself invested with the unexpected Trust of a Kind of Guardianship of two promising young Gentlemen, besides my own Son. This benevolent office is peculiarly agreable [sic] to my Temper. Few Things have ever given me greater Pleasure than the Tuition of Youth to the Bar, and the Advancement of Merit.”
It was not a good time of the year for a trip across the Atlantic, and the frigate Boston waited in the harbor at Marblehead for a winter storm to blow over. Adams complained in his journal that it was difficult to keep the men on the ship. “Mothers, Wives, Sisters come on bord [sic], and beg for Leave for their Sons, Husbands, and Brothers to go on Shore for one Hour &c. so that it is hard for the Commander to resist their Importunity.”
The weather eventually cleared and the ship weighed anchor the following day. They ran into bad weather on the journey, and the main mast was struck by lightning, causing several injuries and one fatality, but the Adamses eventually arrived in France, safe and sound, about six weeks later.
It’s the birthday of the printer Giambattista Bodoni, born in Saluzzo, Italy (1740). He came from a family of engravers, and by the time he died, he had opened his own publishing house that reprinted classical texts, and he had personally designed almost 300 typefaces. His typeface Bodoni is still available on almost any word processing program. He said, “The letters don’t get their true delight, when done in haste and discomfort, nor merely done with diligence and pain, but first when they are created with love and passion.”
It’s the birthday of Henry Adams (books by this author), born in Boston (1838). His grandfather was John Quincy Adams and his great-grandfather was John Adams. He wasn’t too thrilled about coming from such a prominent family, but he was encouraged to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a lawyer, historian, and Massachusetts legislator.
Like the three generations before him, he went to Harvard, and then to law school. Then, as John Adams had done for his son, John Quincy Adams, Henry’s father, offered his son a position as his private secretary. He served as his father’s private secretary for seven years, accompanying him to England after Abraham Lincoln appointed the senior Adams as a diplomat.
When Henry returned to America he decided that he did not want to go into politics. Instead, he became a political journalist, and wrote smart and sometimes nasty political editorials. He particularly disliked Ulysses S. Grant, whom he described as “pre-intellectual, archaic, and would have seemed so even to the cave-dwellers.” He became increasingly more frustrated with political life, and decided to be a historian instead. His books included a nine-volume History of the United States During the Administrations of Jefferson and Madison and biographies of George Cabot Lodge and Albert Gallatin. But he is best known for his autobiographical The Education of Henry Adams.
On this day in the year 600, Pope Gregory the Great declared “God bless you” to be the correct response to a sneeze. It was once thought that sneezing was an omen of death, since many dying people fell into sneezing fits. People responded to sneezing with good luck chants. Later, the Hebrew Talmud called sneezing “pleasure sent from God”; and the Greeks and Romans believed that sneezing was a good omen. They responded to sneezes with “Long may you live!” or “May you enjoy good health.” Pope Gregory introduced the response of “God bless you” when the plague was at its height in Europe, hoping that the quick prayer would protect the sneezer from sickness and death. As the plague spread across Europe, the new response spread with it and has survived to this day.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®