Jun. 9, 2000
1398 I have no Life but this --
Hard Road Blues
Poems: "I have no life but this," by Emily
Dickinson; and an anonymous blues lyric, "Hard Road
It's the birthday of mystery writer Patricia Cornwell, born in Miami, Florida (1956). Her first 3 novels featured male detectives, and were rejected. Then she created Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner who tracks down deranged killers based on their manner of mangling victims. Scarpetta made her first appearance in Postmortem (1990), which won the John Creasey Award from the British Crime Writers Association, and the Edgar Award in America. Her other Kay Scarpetta bestsellers include Cruel and Unusual (1993) and Cause of Death (1996).
It's the birthday of virtuoso guitarist and inventor Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss), born in Waukesha, Wisconsin (1915). He amplified his acoustic Sears & Roebuck guitar with a phonograph needle wired to a radio speaker. Later he devised the Gibson Company's first solid-body electric guitar (1952), and engineered such innovations as overdubbing, the close-mike technique, the record delay echo, and many other tricks now taken for granted in recording studios.
It's the birthday of cartoonist George Price, born in Coytesville, New Jersey (1901), who drew over 1,200 cartoons, between 1932 and his death in 1995, for The New Yorker magazine. His scenes frequently featured dangling bare light bulbsand scrawny pets, scratching away at themselves in the corner.
It's the birthday of playwright and biographer S(amuel) N(athaniel) Behrman, born in Worcester, Massachusetts (1893). He wrote about a particular strain of upper-class American in two dozen 'comedies of manners,' nearly all of them hits: No Time for Comedy (1939), The Second Man (1927), Meteor (1929), Brief Moment (1931), and Lord Pengo (1962).
It's the birthday of songwriter Cole (Albert) Porter, born in Peru, Indiana (1891). He learned to play the piano at 8, and published his first song when he was 10. He attended Yale, where he composed the football songs, and later wrote musicalsboth the words and the music. Anything Goes (1934), considered his finest show, includes the classic songs "I Get a Kick out of You," "Anything Goes," "All Through the Night," and "You're the Top."
It's the birthday of Austrian novelist Ba roness Bertha von Suttner, born in Prague (1843). Her pacifist novel Die Waffen nieder! (1889"Lay Down Your Arms!"), hugely popular in Europe, had a social impact there as great as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin did in America.
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