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 Barbara Crooker
If’ “Heaven is a lovely lake of beer” as St. Bridget wrote,
then dog heaven must be this tub of kibble, where you can push
your muzzle all day long without getting bloat or bellyache,
Where every toilet seat is raised, at the right level
for slurping and fire hydrant and saplings tell you, “Here.
Relieve yourself on us.” And the sun and moon
fall at your feet, celestial frisbees flinging themselves
in shining arcs for your soft mouth to retrieve. Rumi says,
“Personality is a small dog trying to get the soul to play,”
but you are a big dog, with an even larger heart, and you
have redeemed our better selves. Forgive us for the times
we walked away, wanted to do taxes or wash dishes
instead of playing fetch or tugger. ln the green field
of heaven, there are no collars, no leashes, no delivery trucks
with bad brakes, and all the dogs run free. Barking is allowed,
and every pocket holds a treat. Sit. Stay. Good dog.
Barbara Crooker, “Retriever” from Selected Poems. Published by FutureCycle Press. © 2015 Barbara Crooker. (buy now)
On this day in 1952 the British Overseas Aircraft Corporation inaugurated the first commercial jet airliner service. The 36-seat de Haviland Comet 1 was the first jet-powered airplane built specifically to transport large groups of people from Point A to Point B for money, and its first voyage was from London to Johannesburg, with stops in Rome, Beirut, Khartoum, Entebbe, and Livingstone. Compared to our jetliners today, early models were noisy and remarkably inefficient, but compared to the old propeller-driven planes powered by piston engines, they were tremendously fast. The trip to Johannesburg took only 23 hours, and the jet could fly above storms, eight miles high.
The Comet had a sleek silhouette and large windows, and had a fairly comfortable cabin, but it was prone to metal fatigue and was withdrawn from the market after two years and two catastrophic crashes in which planes ripped apart in mid-flight. It was thoroughly tested and redesigned to correct the problem, but sales never fully recovered.
On this day in 2000 President Clinton made Global Positioning System, or GPS, technology freely available for use outside the military. President Reagan had made a similar pronouncement in 1983 stating it was for the common good. This was a big deal in theory, but in practice the highest-quality signal was still only available to the military, with an intentionally degraded signal designated for civilian use. This practice, known as Selective Availability, included several intentional, random errors to prevent enemy military from using it as a weapons guidance system. It wasn’t foolproof though, and President Clinton ordered Selective Availability turned off at midnight on May 1, 2000, saving the FAA millions of dollars a year in maintenance costs.
The GPS receiver calculates its position based on signals from at least four different satellites, by measuring the time it takes for a message to travel between the receiver and the satellite. Most GPS errors are the result of the receiver’s clock being “off” by as little as one microsecond.
GPS technology is now readily and affordably available in a whole host of consumer devices, like cell phones and watches. It’s spawned the sport of geocaching, a treasure hunt where players hide a cache — a waterproof box with a logbook and little souvenirs inside — for others to find using the published GPS coordinates. Beginner caches are usually in public areas and are easy to find, but some more advanced ones require significant off-road hiking and rock-climbing to reach. When you find a cache you sign the logbook and you may take one of the trinkets if you leave one of similar value behind for future players.
On this day in 1536 Anne Boleyn was arrested and imprisoned for high treason, incest, and adultery. Anne was born around 1502 in Norfolk, England, and she was educated in the French court where she served as a lady-in-waiting to the queen. She grew to be quite accomplished in music and dancing, and she had a keen eye for fashion and a knack for flirtation. She was also intelligent, forward, and interested in politics and religious reform. Some people described her as beautiful, although not in the fair, blonde way preferred at the time; she had black hair, olive skin, and big dark eyes. She never lacked suitors, but it was her charm, spirit, and wit that captivated them.
When she was about 20 Anne returned home to the court of Henry VIII, where she joined her older sister, Mary, as lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. Mary was also the mistress of the king for a while, and it didn’t get her anywhere except married off to a dull husband when Henry got tired of her. Anne was clever, though, and when the king turned his attention to her, she refused him. She may have been in love with another man, Henry Percy, but she was also smart enough to look out for her own best interest. The king married Percy off to another woman and began looking for ways to annul his marriage to Catherine, banishing her from court.
Anne gradually took Catherine’s place at court, though not yet in Henry’s bed. For seven years he tried to wear her down, writing many love letters to her when they were apart, even though he hated to write, and for seven years he tried to convince the pope to give him an annulment. Anne gave in before the pope did, and by the end of 1532 she was pregnant. They were secretly married in January, 1533, and Henry denied the authority of the pope, declaring himself head of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury declared the king’s first marriage invalid in May, and the baby was born in September: a daughter, dismissed as a “useless girl,” who would become England’s greatest monarch, Queen Elizabeth I.
Anne never produced the son and heir that Henry needed though, and she suffered three miscarriages in the next three years. Henry turned his attentions to Jane Seymour, Anne’s lady-in-waiting, and began looking for ways to get rid of Anne. He made sure there was no way she would escape execution, accusing her of numerous affairs, incest with her brother, high treason, and witchcraft. The only mercy he showed her was in ordering that she be beheaded by a sword rather than a common axe.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®