Jul. 26, 1998

Polka Dancing Televised Live from Mankato on Saturday Night

by Philip Bryant


Today's Reading: "Polka Dancing Televised Live from Mankato on Saturday Night" by Philip Bryant from SERMON ON A PERFECT SPRING DAY, published by New Rivers Press (1998).

The 25th ANNUAL FAULKNER CONFERENCE begins today at the University of Mississippi. There'll be six days of lectures and discussions by literary scholars and critics, along with a picnic and a dinner at William Faulkner's home (Rowan Oak), where he lived from 1930 until his death in 1962.

It's the birthday in 1928, Cardiff, Wales, of the novelist BERNICE RUBENS, author of The Elected Member which won Britain's Booker Prize in 1970. She's a prolific writer, turning out a new novel every year or two; her latest, Yesterday in the Back Lane.

It's the birthday in New York, 1928, of writer and director STANLEY KUBRICK, who made Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and A Clockwork Orange (1971).

It's the birthday in San Francisco, 1906, of radio and film comedienne GRACIE ALLEN, famous for the scatterbrain role she played opposite her straight-man husband, George Burns. They were on radio for 17 years and made 13 films together, Love in Bloom, College Swing, Two Girls and a Sailor, and others.

It's the birthday in Kesswill, Switzerland, 1875 of psychiatrist CARL JUNG. He was a close associate of Sigmund Freud's, but they fell out in 1912 – Jung disagreeing with Freud's belief that every neurosis was based on sex. Jung went on to explore the world of dreams, studying his own and keeping detailed notes, and developed the theory that dreams came from an area of the mind he called the collective unconscious, something he thought everyone shared. Jung also developed the idea that people are either essentially introverted or extroverted, and that the mind has four primary functions: thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition. His best-known book is the autobiographical Memories, Dreams, Reflections, published just after his death in 1961.

It's the birthday in Dublin, 1856, of GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, the playwright and critic. He left school at 16, moved to London and tried to make it as a novelist, but his first five books and even his magazine articles were rejected. Eventually he found work as a critic, writing about theater, art and music. He thought British theater of the day was stuffy and hypocritical and he made no bones about it in his reviews. He was 36 when his own play, Widower's Houses, debuted and caused a sensation for portraying slum housing so realistically. He followed that with Caesar and Cleopatra, Major Barbara, and St. Joan – 52 plays in all, for which he won the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature.

It's the birthday in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1796, of the artist GEORGE CATLIN, famous for his paintings of Native American life. In 1829 he began visiting various tribes, mostly in the Great Plains, convinced that their way of life was vanishing as settlers pushed west. He made more than 500 paintings and sketches based on his observations and in 1841 he published his best known book, the two-volume Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians.

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




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