St. Michael, MN
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director CHANGE: JULY 4, 2021, 4:00 PM Le Musique Music Room 4300 O’Day Ave. NE, St. Michael, MN 55376 $42/$15 Due to the extreme heat, we have moved this concert […]
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director July 2, 2021, 7:30 PM BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA, BAYFIELD, WI Reserved $60/$52/$42 SOLD OUT Live Stream available (only 7/2 7:30PM) The Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua is a 900-seat […]
Just Added: Stillwater, MN 6-29
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director JUST ADDED June 29, 2021, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM THE AVALON, STILLWATER, MN St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., 525 Main Street South, Stillwater, MN 55082 DINNER, CRUISE, […]
Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
by George Bilgere
Jane, the old woman across the street,
is lugging big black trash bags to the curb.
It’s snowing hard, and the bags are turning white,
gradually disappearing in the storm.
Jane is getting ready to put her house on the market
and move into a home of some sort. A facility.
She’s just too old to keep the place going anymore,
and as we chat about this on the sidewalk
I’m thinking, I’m so glad this isn’t going to happen to me.
It seems like a terrible fate, to drag out your trash bags
and then head for a facility somewhere.
And all the worse to be old in a facility. But then,
that’s the whole reason you go there in the first place.
But the great thing about being me, I’m thinking,
as I continue my morning walk around the block,
is that I’m not going to a facility of any sort.
That’s for other people. I intend to go on
pretty much as I always have, enjoying life,
taking my morning walk, then coffee
and the newspaper, music and a good book.
Europe vaguely in the summers.
Then another year just like this one,
and so forth and so on.
Why change this? I have no intention of doing so.
What Jane is doing-—growing old,
taking out her ominous black trash bags
to vanish terribly in the snow, getting ready
for someone to drive her to a facility—
that may be her idea of the future (which I totally respect),
but it certainly isn’t mine.
George Bilgere, “Jane” from Imperial. Copyright © 2014 University of Pittsburgh Press. (buy now)
“Faultless! Absolutely faultless!” So exclaimed a television announcer on this day
in 1976 as Romania’s 4-foot-11, 88-pound Nadia Comaneci (books by this author) finished her unevenparallel bars routine at the Montreal Olympics. The judges agreed that it was faultless, awarding her the first perfect 10 ever recorded in Olympic history. They did the same for her six subsequent events during that summer’s games, including the balance beam — considered one of the most difficult of all the Olympic events. Comaneci was 14 years old.
The crowd might be forgiven for any confusion they felt at viewing the scoreboard.It was not set up to accommodate the four digits necessary to reflect a perfect 10.00, so instead it read “1.00.” An announcer made it clear. “Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in Olympic history, Nadia Comaneci has received the score of a perfect 10.” Comaneci went home with three gold medals.
She continued to compete, winning more medals and awards. In November of 1989 Comaneci defected from communist Romania with several other Romanians. They had to travel at night, crossing through Communist held Hungary. Finally, they escaped and were able to fly to the United States. Nadia Comaneci became an American citizen in 2001. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma.
It’s the birthday of Jessamyn West (books by this author), born in Jennings County, Indiana (1902). Her parents moved to Orange County, California, when she was young and there she grew up on her father’s lemon grove in Yorba Linda. She was a cousin of future president Richard Nixon and babysat him while he was growing up.
Her first book was a collection of short stories, The Friendly Persuasion (1945), published when she was 43 years old. The tales centered on the lives of rural Quakers Jess and Elia Birdwell, and the collection received high and wide praise.
Her other works include the novels The Witch Diggers (1951), South of the Angels (1960), The Massacre at Fall Creek (1975), The Life I Really Loved (1979), and The State of Stony Lonesome (1984).
The Great Fire of Rome began in the late evening hours on this date in 64 A.D. The fire raged for six days, during which time Emperor Nero either acted heroically to contain the fire and provide for his people, or played his lyre and watched the city burn — depending on whose version you believe. There are no surviving primary accounts of the fire so we have to base everything we know on hearsay.
Most modern scholars tend to believe the account of Tacitus, a historian writing in the year 116. In Tacitus’ version the fire began in a dry goods store near the Circus Maximus. Since it was very windy and dry that night the fire spread quickly through the closely built wooden apartment buildings. Tacitus also reported that looters encouraged the fire, but whether they were acting under orders from Nero or just taking advantage of the situation, he couldn’t say with certainty. Far from setting the fire, Nero rushed back to Rome from his palace in Antium to rescue treasures from his mansion in the city. He opened his private gardens so evacuees would have a place to escape the flames, ordered the construction of temporary shelters, and brought in food from neighboring regions.
But people still wanted someone to blame and Nero was, at the end of the day, still a politician. He pointed the finger at a relatively obscure but troublesome religious sect known as Christians and publicly tortured them to death in Rome’s only surviving amphitheater. He also took the opportunity to rebuild the city in an architectural style that he preferred.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®