Mar. 14, 1998

He that is down, needs fear no fall

by John Bunyan


Today's Reading: "He that is down, needs fear no fall" by John Bunyan.

John Steinbeck's novel THE GRAPES OF WRATH was published on this day in 1939 the story of the Joads, a sharecropper's family who load everything they own onto a dilapidated truck and try to escape to a new life in California, leaving the Oklahoma farm that was a part of the Great Dust Bowl of the 30s.

It's the birthday in Baltimore, 1887, of SYLVIA BEACH. Her father was a Presbyterian minister who went to Paris in 1901 to serve a congregation of American students. Sylvia went along and in 1919, right after WWI, opened a book shop called Shakespeare and Company with English language books. Within a few years it was the center of the expatriate community, and Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Archibald MacLeish and Sherwood Anderson all found their way to her store. Her greatest service to literature came in 1922 when she agreed to publish James Joyce's Ulysses after it had been turned down by several others publishers afraid to take the book on because of its explicit language.

It's the birthday of physicist ALBERT EINSTEIN, born in Ulm, Germany, 1879, who when he was 16 failed the entrance exam to a technical school and had to retake it. It was while he was working as a patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland in 1905 that he came out with four important papers, including his most famous one that relates energy to mass, E = mc-squared. He was in California in 1933 when Hitler came to power and stayed in America and accepted a teaching job at Princeton, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Eli Whitney took out the patent for his COTTON GIN on this day in 1794. He was born in Massachusetts and after college at Yale moved south to Savannah, Georgia to teach. When area plantation owners complained of how tedious it was to hand-separate the seed of the cotton plant from the fibers, Whitney started tinkering. The cotton gin he came up with consisted of a cylinder covered with teeth that revolved against a grate of closely spaced bars; the teeth of the cylinder pulled the cotton through the bars and left the seed behind.

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




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