May 19, 2000
Whose Double Standard Is It Anyhow?
Poems: "No Brainer," and "Whose Double
Standard Is It Anyhow?" by Gerald Locklin, from This
Sporting Life and Other Poems (JVC Books).
Itís the birthday of director and screenwriter Nora Ephron, born in New York City (1941). Her parents were both playwright/scriptwriters who used scenes from Ephron family life in their scripts. In the early 1960s, they based a play called Take Her, Sheís Mine on Noraís letters home from college. Films she has written and/or directed include Heartburn (1985), When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and Youíve Got Mail (1998).
Itís the birthday of diet writer Jane Brody, born in Brooklyn (1941). As a columnist for the New York Times and Family Circle, sheís nudged Americans towards accepting the idea that diet and lifestyleparticularly regular exerciseare major influences on health.
Itís the birthday of writer Paul Erdman, born in Stratford, Ontario (1932)a Swiss banker turned jailbird, turned mystery writer. His first writing attempt while in prison was the Edgar-winning financial mystery The Billion Dollar Sure Thing (1973).
Itís the birthday of playwright Lorraine Hansberry, born in Chicago (1930). A Raisin in the Sun (1959) was the first play by a black woman ever to appear on Broadway.
Itís the birthday of black separatist Malcolm X (originally named Malcolm Little) in Omaha, Nebraska (1925). His home was firebombed by white racists; his father was killed by a trolley car, with murder suspected; three of his four uncles were murdered by whites. Malcolm turned to a life of drugs and petty crime, for which he was imprisoned when he was 21. In jail he was converted by Black Muslims. In the last year of his life, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca, was converted to orthodox Islam, and modified his views, saying he no longer believed whites to be innately evil. He was assassinated the next year while giving a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem (1965). Three years after his death, The Autobiography of Malcolm X came out. Written by Alex Haley based on interviews conducted shortly before the assassination, it was a huge best seller.
Itís the birthday of politician Ho Chi Min (original name Nguyen That Thanh), born in the central Vietnamese village of Kim Lien (1890). He worked as a cook on a French Steamer, and visited many cities, included Boston and New York. He lived in London for two years, then settled in France, where he worked as a gardener and a waiter. During his six years in France he became an active socialist, and later trained as a communist in Moscow. From 1941 he led the Vietminh, first against the Japanese, then against the French, and finally against the United States, until his death in 1969.
Itís the birthday of coloratura soprano Dame Nellie Melba (originally Helen Porter Mitchell), born in Melbourne, Australia (1859). For her operatic debut in Brussels (1887), in which she sang the part of Gilda in Rigoletto, she used the name "Melba," a shortened version of the city where she was born. She was quite a popular diva in her day: she was made a Dame of the British Empire, and Melba Toast and Peach Melba were named after her.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®