Mar. 11, 2000


by Stephen Dunn

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: March 11, 2000

Poem: "Honesty" by Stephen Dunn from his New and Selected Poems (W.W. Norton & Company.)

It's the birthday of fantasy writer DOUGLAS ADAMS, born in Cambridge, England (1952) — author of a series of mock science fiction books, known collectively as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Hero Arthur Dent hitches a ride from Earth just as it's about to blow up, then runs into characters like Marvin the Robot, and Zaphoid Beeblebrox — the three-armed, two-headed president of the Milky Way, and a man who is continually bewildered over the loss of his ball-point pens. There are four books in the Hitchhiker's series, and Adams spun off a few of its characters into his later novels: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (1987), and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988).

On this day in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed his famous "LEND-LEASE BILL," drawing the United States one step closer to World War Two. It authorized the American government to lend or lease up to $7 billion worth of arms to Britain and Greece in their fight against the Axis powers. Eventually the Soviet Union and China got aid as well all told about $49 billion worth. And even though the bill's name was "lend-lease" most of this aid was given away outright.

It's the birthday of children's writer EZRA J. KEATS, born in Brooklyn (1916), who wrote and illustrated dozens of books for pre-schoolers. His most popular title came out in 1963, The Snowy Day.

It's the birthday of the poet, novelist, and Christian essay-writer, REGINALD JOHN CLEMO, better known by his pen name, Jack Clemo, born in Goonamaris, England (1916), author of memoirs about his boyhood in Cornwall.

On this day in 1818, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley published FRANKENSTEIN, OR THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. Four years earlier, the poet Percy Shelley asked her to run off with him to France. She did, and a year later they were living in Geneva, Switzerland when she began to write the story of the young Swiss student, Victor Frankenstein, who builds a human from pieces of corpses.

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