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+
Write Me a Love Poem
by Connie K. Walle
Fill it with my favorite
flower and perfume,
a glass of champagne,
a bite of caviar.
Whisper sweet words to me,
your back turned
to the other people
in the room.
Let your face light up
thoughts close to your heart,
you will share later
at a better time and place.
After 30 years,
there can still be surprises.
This is your chance
and I am waiting.
“Write Me a Love Poem” by Connie K. Walle from What’s Left. © MoonPath Press, 2018. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Tonight is Midsummer Night’s Eve, also called St. John’s Eve. St. John is the patron saint of beekeepers. It’s a time when the hives are full of honey. The full moon that occurs this month was called the Mead Moon, because honey was fermented to make mead, and that’s where the word “honeymoon” comes from. It is a time for lovers. An old Swedish proverb says, “Midsummer Night is not long but it sets many cradles rocking.
Shakespeare set his play A Midsummer Night’s Dream on this night. It tells the story of two young couples who wander into a magical forest outside Athens. In the play, Shakespeare wrote, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
It was on this day in 1972 that Title IX was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Title IX prohibited sex discrimination in any federally funded education activity or program. This applied to all schools, from elementary to universities, both public and private. Although the original language doesn’t mention sports, the biggest change came for female athletes in high school and college, whose opportunities had been very limited.
In 1969, a part-time lecturer at the University of Maryland named Bernice Sandler was struggling to move up the career ladder. She had a doctorate in counseling psychology, but when she applied for one of her department’s seven tenure-track positions, she wasn’t even considered. One of her colleagues told her that even though she was qualified, she might as well not apply because she seemed “too strong for a woman.” She was rejected twice more after that. One interviewer told her that she wasn’t a real professor, but “just a housewife who went back to school.”
Sandler didn’t back down. Instead, she read everything she could find about workplace discrimination. She read about the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which was intended to equalize pay for men and women — but there was a broad exemption for anyone in “executive, professional, and administrative positions,” including all teachers at any level. She found an executive order that President Johnson had ordered as an expansion of the Civil Rights Act, which made it illegal for companies doing business with the government to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or nationality. It had been amended in 1967 to also prohibit discrimination based on sex. As soon as she read that, Sandler realized that she had found her loophole. She said, “Even though I was alone, I shrieked with my discovery.” Since universities took funding from the government, they could technically be said to be “doing business with the government,” and so they should be subject to Johnson’s executive order as well.
Sandler ordered a class action charge against all universities and colleges in the country. She backed up her case with a long report of data, including statistics like the high ratio of female Ph.D.s to female faculty members. Hundreds of qualified women who had been denied academic positions wrote testimonials. Sandler worried that a federal order could be easily undone, and she believed that sex discrimination should be prohibited by a formal law. Representative Edith Green of Oregon, chair of the House Committee on Education, introduced the bill known as Title IX, requiring gender equity in education, as part of the 1972 Education Act. She actually encouraged women’s groups and other supporters to stay silent on the issue, with the hope that Congress wouldn’t think too hard about the significance of Title IX and just vote for it. That is exactly what happened. Someone raised a brief concern that the bill would require schools to allow women to play football. Once the bill’s sponsors reassured everyone that this would not happen, the bill was passed.
Title IX revolutionized gender equity in education. Since its passage, the percentage of women obtaining degrees in higher education has steadily climbed, and women now outpace men in obtaining both bachelor’s and graduate degrees. By far the greatest impact has been felt in sports. After the passage of Title IX, women’s teams were required to have the same resources as men’s teams — coaches, training facilities, locker rooms, equipment, etc. Spending on men’s and women’s sports had to be proportional to the number of athletes participating. In 1972, there were 170,000 men competing in NCAA sports and just 30,000 women — that number has now grown to 216,378. At the high school level, girls’ participation in sports has increased by more than 900 percent.
On this day in 1868, the first typewriter was patented by Christopher Latham Sholes. It only had capital letters and it took up as much room as a large table. Typewriters were slow sellers at first, but Mark Twain bought one almost as soon as they came out, and in 1883 Twain sent the manuscript of his book Life on the Mississippi (1883) to his publisher in typed form, the first author ever to do so.
It was on this day in 1926 that 8,040 college applicants, in 353 locations around the U.S., were administered an experimental college admissions test. The test was the brainchild of Carl Brigham, a professor of psychology at Princeton. Brigham had been an assistant during World War I for the U.S. Army’s IQ testing movement, the “Army Alpha,” which assessed the intelligence of new recruits. After the war, he tinkered with the test, mainly making it more difficult, but also looking for a measurement of pure intelligence, regardless of the test-taker’s educational background. At that time, college applicants took entrance exams for each college they applied to; Brigham thought one exam for all colleges would be more efficient. The Scholastic Aptitude Test, now known as the SAT, was formally adopted in 1942. Today’s test takes three hours to complete.