Jun. 17, 2000


by Henry Taylor

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: June 17, 2000

Poem: Clerihews by Henry Taylor, from 101 Clerihews (Louisiana State University Press).

It's the birthday of comic novelist Laurie Foos, born in Long Island, New York (1966), and writer of "surrealist fiction". She wrote her first novel, Ex Utero (1995), when she was 27.

It's the birthday of memoir writer Jo Ann Beard, born in Chicago, Illinois (1955). She worked as a secretary at the University of Iowa's physics department . One day in November 1991 she left work early to tend to her sick dog at home, and that afternoon a student shot and killed five members of the department. She wrote about it in an essay for the New Yorker, then in her best seller, Boys of My Youth (1998).

It's the birthday in Great Lakes, Illinois, 1952, of poet David Mura, author of the memoir, Turning Japanese (1992) and collections of poetry, including After We Lost Our Way (1989).

It's the birthday of poet James Weldon Johnson, born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1871, best remembered for The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. He was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance Literary movement of the 20s and 30s.

On this day in 1893, Crackerjack was introduced at the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago—a concoction of peanuts, popcorn, and molasses. It was sold for a nickel a box — in the same size boxes that they're still sold in. In 1908 Cracker Jack was made part of the song "Take Me Out To The Ball Game."

The battle of Bunker Hill was fought on this day, 1775, at dawn, just north of Boston. The British thought they had an easy fight on their hands—they considered the Americans to be the "worst soldiers in the Universe." But the Americans inflicted over a thousand casualties on the attackers, and the British public was shocked at the losses. Bunker Hill was their first awareness that the Americans wouldn't be pushovers, and that this would be full-scale war.

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




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