Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
March 4 in Kent, OH Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to The Wayne Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM
High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
Trouble with Math in a One-Room Country School
by Jane Kenyon
The others bent their heads and started in.
Confused, I asked my neighbor
to explain—a sturdy, bright-cheeked girl
who brought raw milk to school from her family’s
herd of Holsteins. Ann had a blue bookmark,
and on it Christ revealed his beating heart,
holding the flesh back with His wounded hand.
Ann understood division ….
Miss Moran sprang from her monumental desk
and led me roughly through the class
without a word. My shame was radical
as she propelled me past the cloakroom
to the furnace closet, where only the boys
were put, only the older ones at that.
The door swung briskly shut.
The warmth, the gloom, the smell
of sweeping compound clinging to the broom
soothed me. I found a bucket, turned it
upside down, and sat, hugging my knees.
I hummed a theme from Haydn that I knew
from my piano lessons ….
and hardened my heart against authority.
And then I heard her steps, her fingers
on the latch. She led me, blinking
and changed, back to the class.
Jane Kenyon, “Trouble with Math in a One-Room Country School” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN. www.graywolfpress.org (buy now)
It’s the birthday of singer-songwriter Chuck Berry, born Charles Edward Anderson in St. Louis, Missouri (1926). He broke into the charts in 1955 with “Maybellene” then followed it with “Roll Over, Beethoven” and “Johnny B. Goode.”
“The gateway to freedom … was somewhere close to New Orleans where most Africans were sorted through and sold. I had driven through New Orleans on tour and I’d been told my great-grandfather had lived way back up in the woods among the evergreens in a log cabin. I revived the era with a song about a colored boy named Johnny B. Goode. My first thought was to make his life follow as my own had come along, but I thought it would seem biased to white fans to say ‘colored boy’ and changed it to ‘country boy.’”
It was on this day in 1954 that the first transistor radio appeared on the market.
Transistors were a big breakthrough in electronics — a new way to amplify signals. They replaced vacuum tubes which were fragile, slow to warm up, and unreliable. During World War II there was a big funding push to try to update vacuum tubes since they were used in radio-controlled bombs but didn’t work very well. A team of scientists at Bell Laboratories invented the first transistor technology in 1947. But the announcement didn’t make much of an impact because transistors had limited use for everyday consumers — they were used mainly in military technology, telephone switching equipment, and hearing aids.
Several companies bought licenses from Bell, including Texas Instruments, who was determined to be the first to market with a transistor radio. Radios were mostly big, bulky devices that stayed in one place — usually in the living room — while the whole family gathered around to listen to programming. There were some portable radios made with vacuum tubes, but they were about the size of lunch boxes, they used heavy non-rechargeable batteries, they took a long time to start working while the tubes warmed up, and they were fragile. Texas Instruments was determined to create a radio that was small and portable and to get it out for the Christmas shopping season. They produced the transistors and they partnered with the Regency Division of Industrial Development Engineering Associates who manufactured the actual radios. Their new radio, the Regency TR-1, turned on immediately, weighed half a pound, and could fit in your pocket. It cost $49.95 and more than 100,000 were sold.
Texas Instruments went on to pursue other projects but a Japanese company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo decided to make transistor radios their main enterprise. They were concerned that their name was too difficult for an American audience to pronounce so they decided to rebrand themselves with something simpler. They looked up the Latin word for sound, which was sonus. And they liked the term sonny boys — English slang that was used in Japan for exceptionally bright, promising boys. And so the company Sony was born. Soon transistor radios were cheap and prevalent.
With transistor radios, teenagers were able to listen to music out of their parents’ earshot. This made possible the explosion of a new genre of American music: rock and roll.
It’s the birthday of New Yorker journalist A.J. (Abbott Joseph) Liebling (books by this author), born in New York (1904). As a young boy he fell in love with the newspapers his father brought home from work every day. He said, “It is impossible for me to estimate how many of my early impressions of the world, correct and the opposite, came to me through newspapers. Homicide, adultery, no-hit pitching, and Balkanism were concepts that, left to my own devices, I would have encountered much later in life.” So he became a newspaper reporter, writing about crime and local tragedies. He said:
“I [would] pound up tenement stairs and burst in on families disarranged by sudden misfortune. It gave me a chance to make contact with people I would never otherwise have met, and I learned almost immediately what every reporter knows, that most people are eager to talk about their troubles.”
He tried to get a job at Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. In order to attract the attention of the editor he hired a man to walk for three days outside the Pulitzer building wearing a sandwich board that said, “Hire Joe Liebling.” Nobody noticed the sign but Liebling got a job there anyway.
He went on to join the staff of The New Yorker in 1935 and he worked there for the rest of his life, writing about gourmet food, bare-knuckle boxing, and World War II, among other things.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®