Feb. 17, 1998

Nursery rhymes

by Anonymous


Today's Reading: Nursery rhymes from THE OXFORD NURSERY RHYME BOOK.

It's the birthday in New York, 1929, of writer CHAIM POTOK author of novels like The Chosen (1967), My Name is Asher Lev (1972) and plays and short stories.

The first issue of THE NEW YORKER hit the newsstands on this date in 1925, costing 15 cents. The founder, Harold Ross, wanted the magazine to be all about New York's social and cultural life, but most agreed the first issue was a flop.

RED BARBER, the great baseball announcer, was born on this date in 1908, Columbus, Mississippi. He started doing play-by-play with the Cincinnati Reds in 1934, and moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939, then to the Yankees in 1954.

It's the birthday of the French statesman, ANDRÉ MAGINOT, born in Paris, 1877. It was his idea to build a wall on France's north-eastern border to prevent any more German invasions. It was called the Maginot Line, and was an elaborate fortification of thick concrete walls with heavy guns on top living quarters, warehouses and underground rail lines connecting the whole thing underneath. It took most of the 1930s to build it. But when the Germans tanks came in the spring of 1940, they simply went around the wall, from the north through Belgium, then crossed the Somme River into France.

It's the birthday in 1781 of the French doctor, RENÉ LAENNEC, who invented the stethoscope. His instrument was a foot-long wooden stick, hollowed out with dozens of little holes drilled into it. He'd place one end on the patient's chest and his ear over the other to hear the heartbeat.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
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