May 5, 2000

Impatient with Desire

by George Landsdowne Granville

Broadcast Date: FRIDAY: May 5, 2000

Poem: "Impatient with Desire," by George Granville, Lord Landsdown (1667-1735).

Today, the 5th of May, is celebrated in Mexico and in the American Southwest as the "CINCO DE MAYO" the anniversary of the 1862 Battle of Puebla, in which 2,000 Mexican troops, under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza, drove back the French troops of Emperor Napoleon the Third, even though they were outnumbered 3 to 1.

Itís the birthday of writer MICHAEL PALIN, born in Sheffield, England (1943), a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe.

On this day in 1904, pitching great CY YOUNG PITCHED THE FIRST PERFECT GAME IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL. Throwing for the Boston Americans, he faced the minimum number of batters possible 27in a 9-inning game, and didnít allow a single member of the Philadelphia Athletics to reach first base.

Itís the birthday of the most intrepid American Ďstunt journalistí ever: Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, born in Cochrane Mills, Pennsylvania (1856), who took her byline, NELLY BLY, from a Stephen Foster song. She didn't want to write for the Ladies' Page, she wanted to write for the front page. She got herself committed to the women's lunatic asylum in New York City so she could write about conditions there; she got herself arrested so she could write about jail; she got a job in a sweatshop, so she could write about workers. But Nellie Blyís greatest stunt was also the longest: a trip around the world by steamer, train, sampan and rickshaw to challenge the time of Jules Verneís fictional hero Phileas Fogg in the novel Around the World in Eighty Days, published 16 years earlier (1873). Readers around the globe followed her progress. She made it in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

Itís the birthday of KARL MARX, born in Trier, the Rheinland, (now Germany), in 1818. With his disciple Friedrich Engels he founded the Communist League, which convened in London in 1847. The next year he finished writing The Communist Manifesto. From 1849 he lived in London, very poor and in failing health, supported by Engels. Marx spent the last phase of his life mostly in the British Museum, gathering material for Das Kapital, of which he completed only the first volume (1867). Heís buried in Londonís Highgate Cemetery.

Itís the birthday of philosopher SOREN KIERKEGAARD, born in Copenhagen (1813) often called "the first existentialist." Highly gifted and his father's obvious favorite, the older Kierkegaard subsidized Soren and his work. His books include Either/Or; A Fragment of Life (1843), and The Sickness Unto Death (1849). From his journals:
"There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys; they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked out the sum for themselves."
"It is perfectly true life must be understood backwards. But it must be lived forwards. And if one thinks over that proposition, it becomes more and more evident that life can never really be understood in time simply because at no particular moment can I find the necessary resting-place from which to understand it—backwards."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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