Mar. 11, 1998


by Charles Harper Webb


Today's Reading: "Spiders" by Charles Harper Webb from READING THE WATER, published by Northeastern University Press.

It's the birthday of DOUGLAS ADAMS, in Cambridge, England, 1952, author of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything, but best known for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...the novel about Arthur Dent who hitchhikes a ride off Earth just as it's about to blow up.

It's the birthday in 1903 of LAWRENCE WELK, in the little German-speaking village of Strasburg, in south-central North Dakota. He taught himself how to play accordion and hit the road with little bands he pulled together to play radio shows and small-town dances around the Midwest. He headed west to Los Angeles and started making TV appearances in 1951. In 1955 ABC hired him to do a weekly hour-long music show that became the longest running program in television.

The legendary BLIZZARD OF 1888 struck New York City on this day 110 years ago. There have been heavier snowfalls since, but the combination of 21 inches of snow, below-zero temperatures, and winds clocked at nearly 80 m.p.h. made it the city's deadliest winter storm. Over 400 people died as the wind drove the snow into 12-foot high drifts.

Mary Shelley published FRANKENSTEIN on this day in 1818, its full title: FRANKENSTEIN, OR THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. Four years earlier the poet Percy Shelley, who was married, asked her to run off with him to France. She did and a year later they were in Geneva, Switzerland where she began to write the story of the young Swiss student, Victor Frankenstein, who builds a human from pieces of corpses. At its moment of creation he says: "I beheld the wretch the miserable monster whom I had created."

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




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