Jul. 22, 1999

Elvis Kissed Me

by T. S. Kerrigan

Broadcast Date: THURSDAY: July 22, 1999

Poem: "Elvis Kissed Me," by T.S. Kerrigan from Another Bloomsday at Molly Malone's Pub and Other Poems (The Inevitable Press).

It's the birthday in Los Angeles, 1956 of writer David Shields, best known for his 1989 comic novel Dead Languages, the story told by the young Jeremy Zorn, who stutters and is on a quest for a cure. David Shields lives in Seattle, is a big basketball fan, particularly of the Sonics, and his Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season comes out this fall.

It's the birthday in Washington, D.C., 1947 of CAROLIVIA HERRON, author of the novel Thereafter Johnnie (1991), and the children's book Nappy Hair.

It's the birthday in 1943, Holyoke, Massachusetts of mystery writer MARK MCGARRITY, author of the McGarr series of novels, which are set in Dublin and feature the chief detective of the Irish police, Peter McGarr — books that McGarrity writes under the pseudonym of Bartholomew Gill.

The sculptor ALEXANDER CALDER, was born on this day in Lawnton, Pennsylvania, 1898. His parents and grandparents were all sculptors, too, though he didn't show much interest in it growing up. He liked gadgets and mechanical things, and got a degree in engineering in New Jersey, then went to night school to learn drawing. In the mid-1920s he went to Paris to study art, and just for fun, began creating tiny wood and wire animal sculptures, which he fashioned into a miniature circus. Soon he was experimenting with motorized versions of his sculptures, which the artist Marcel Duchamp named "mobiles." For the rest of his life he worked in sculpture, creating larger and larger pieces.

It's the birthday in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1898, of writer STEPHEN VINCENT BENET, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for his famous long narrative poem about the Civil War, "John Brown's Body."

It's the birthday in Heinzendorf, Austria of botanist GREGOR MENDEL (1822), whose work beginning in 1856, crossing different varieties of garden peas, became the basis for the modern science of genetics and heredity. Gregor Mendel was a monk and did most of his experiments in obscurity in his monastery garden. When he died he was still largely unknown, and it was only around the turn of the century that his papers were discovered and botanists began confirming his theories.

It was on this day in 1796 that surveyors, commissioned by General Moses Cleveland, completed the plan for the town of CLEVELAND, OHIO on Lake Eerie.

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