Apr. 16, 2000
Poem: "Grasshoppers," by Linda McCarriston, from Talking Soft Dutch (Texas Tech Press).
Today is Palm Sunday in the Christian world, commemorating Christ's last entry into Jerusalem, along a path covered with palm frondsa traditional symbol of victorystrewn before him by his devotees. Palm Sunday is the 6th and final Sunday in Lent.
It's the birthday of aviator WILBUR WRIGHT, the older of the two Wright brothers, born near Millville, Indiana (1867). For ten years, the brothers designed, built, and sold bicycles. But they were interested in the idea of designing a plane, too. In 1901, they built their first wind tunnel to test wing designs and cambers. They designed their own 12-horse power engine, and made their own propeller. On December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the brothers took turns flying their biplane. Wilbur, in the last of that day's flights, stayed in the air 59 seconds and traveled 852 feet at a speed of just under 10 miles an hour.
It's the birthday of CHARLIE CHAPLIN, born in South London (1889). His stage career began at age 5 when his actress mother's singing voice cracked to a whisper, and the stage manager led Charlie out to sing in her place.
It's the birthday of playwright JOHN MILLINGTON SYNGE, born in Rathfarnham, near Dublin (1909). His Playboy of the Western World caused riots when it was first produced at Dublin's Abbey Theater in 1907; it was condemned by nationalists as being a travesty of western Irish life. Synge said in response, "We shall have to establish a society for the Preservation of Irish Humor."
It's the birthday of dancer and choreographer MERCE CUNNINGHAM, born in Centralia, Washington (1919). Martha Graham saw him dance in college, admired the lightness and quickness of his movement, and invited him to join her troupe in New York, where he became a soloist.
It's the birthday of abstract expressionist sculptor JOHN CHAMBERLAIN, born in Rochester, Indiana (1927). When he arrived in New York City in 1956, he couldn't afford expensive materials "Then a couple of months later it occurred to me that there were all of those junkyards out there, and it was fantasticjust free material." The next year he made his sculpture Shortstop from two car fenders entwined by a twisted rod.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®