Jul. 12, 1999
Since feeling is first
Poem: "since feeling is first," by e.e. cummings, from 100 Selected Poems (Grove Weidenfeld).
It's Henry David Thoreau's birthday today. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts (1817),and went to Harvard. He tried to make a living by teaching and making pencils. He lived for a time as a tutor for Ralph Waldo Emerson's children, Emerson who lent him the land where he wrote Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854). Thoreau said: "I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." "I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude." Nearing death, when asked if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau replied, "I was not aware that we had ever quarreled."
It's the birthday of inventor George Eastman, born in Waterville, New York (1854), who invented transparent film and made photography available to the masses. He called his first camera Kodak.
It's the birthday of musical comedy lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (1895)grandson of opera impresario Oscar Hammerstein. With Rodgers he collaborated on the musical blockbusters Oklahoma! (1943, Pulitzer Prize 1944), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949, Pulitzer 1950), The King and I (1951), and The Sound of Music (1959).
Today is the birthday of inventor, architect and philosopher R(ichard) Buckminster Fuller, born in Milton, Massachusetts (1895). He's best known for inventing the geodesic dome, combining the tetrahedron (a pyramid shape with four sides, including the base) with octahedrons (8-sided shapes)forming a frame with a strength that increases in logarithmic ratio to its size.
Today is the birthday of comedian Milton Berle, born Milton Berlinger (1908). He started out on vaudeville at age 10, and went on to become a huge hit on television.
It's the birthday of painter Andrew Wyeth, born in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania (1917). Approaching 80, Wyeth commented: "As Edward Hopper said to me the last time I talked to him, 'Andy, I've decided the only thing that really interests me is how the sun hits a white wall.' And that's the way I feel. It's down to the very core of the thing. It's probably good that I am isolated, with nothing around me."
It's the birthday of novelist Doris Grumbach, born in New York City (1918).
It's the birthday of mystery writer Donald Westlake, born in New York City (1933). He devises criminals and cops that are equally incompetent.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®