Wednesday

Dec. 1, 1999

Two Mosquitoes in the Bathtub

by Charles Goodrich

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: December 1, 1999

Poem: "Two Mosquitoes in the Bathtub" by Charles Goodrich from Insects of South Corvallis published by Knot House.

On this day the outcome of the 1824 Presidential election had to be decided by the United States House of Representatives when none of four candidates had won a clear majority of the electoral vote. They elected Andrew Jackson over John Quincy Adams.

It was on this day in 1879 that Gilbert and Sullivan’s fourth operetta, H.M.S. PINAFORE opened in London. Arthur Sullivan, the composer, conducted the orchestra while his librettist, William Gilbert, played the role of a sailor in the Queen’s Navy.

Today is the 112th anniversary of the first appearance in print of detective Sherlock Holmes. The novel, A Study in Scarlet, written by author Sir Conan Doyle, appeared on this day in 1887. Its hero has become a cultural icon — the clever detective who smokes a pipe, wears a deerstalker cap and cape, and plays the violin.

Today is the birthday of American mystery novelist Rex (Todhunter) Stout, born in Noblesville, Indiana in 1886 — who created the unforgettable detective Nero Wolfe, an eccentric, obese, beer-guzzling gourmand who expertly solves crimes between elegant gourmet meals and afternoons tending to his delicate rooftop orchid garden. Wolfe is a somewhat reclusive protagonist, who lives a life of genteel poverty in a rundown New York City brownstone, and only engages in detective work to support the pursuit of his two passions: food and orchids. Wolfe’s assistant, sometime cook and light-hearted side-kick, Archie Goodwin, shoulders a good deal of the work for solving crime, and adds some crude humor to Stout’s stories. Stout wrote 72 novels featuring Nero Wolfe beginning with Fer-de-Lance in 1934.

It’s the birthday of American architect Yamasaki Minoru (mee no’ ruh), born in Seattle, Washington (1912) — lead architect for the design of one of the world’s landmarks of architectural engineering, New York’s World Trade Center (1973-1974). The towers are considered a marvel of design, and supersede the Empire State Building in height by over 100 feet. Yamamsaki was an architect of the modernist school, and attempted to fill his work with what he called "delight, serenity and surprise." In 1986 he died in New York at the age of 73.

Today is the birthday of American film director, writer and actor Woody Allen (Allen Stewart Konigsberg), born in Brooklyn, New York (1935).

The modern Civil Rights movement began on this day in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man in a Montgomery, Alabama bus. This wasn't her first run-in with a Montgomery bus: she'd been evicted before from buses that had "blacks only" entrances, and said: "I didn't want to pay my fare and then go around the back door, because even if you did that, they'd probably shut the door, drive off, and leave you standing there." On December 1, Parks had just finished her day as a seamstress at the Montgomery Fair department store and had her arms full of groceries, and said, "all I was trying to do was get home from work." She was arrested for violating the city's segregation laws. A boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King followed, and a year later the Supreme Court declared segregated seating laws unconstitutional.

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