Aug. 20, 2000
A Hymn to God the Father
Poem: "A Hymn to God the Father," by John Donne.
On this day in 1940, in Mexico City, Leon Trotsky, a leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, was murdered, on the orders of Joseph Stalin, by a Soviet secret agent.
Also in 1940 on this date, the British first used their new invention, RAdio Detection And Ranging: radar. Using radar, the Royal Air Force was alerted to the approach of Luftwaffe bombers, 75 miles away, and so had enough time to put their planes in the air and meet the Luftwaffe pilots before they could drop their bombs. Winston Churchill paid tribute to the British pilots with his stirring phrase: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
It's the birthday of romance fiction writer Jacqueline Susann, born in Philadelphia (1921). She was 45 when her first novel, Valley of the Dolls (1966) went to the top of the best seller lists.
It's the birthday of psycho-biologist Roger Sperry, born in Hartford, Connecticut (1913)--who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1981) for his studies of the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
It's the birthday of jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden (Weldon John Teagarden), born in Vernon, Texas (1905). Entirely self-taught, he began playing the trombone at 7, and went on to develop a widely imitated style that seemed to have occurred to him fully formed. He performed with Louis Armstrong (1947-51), and was also a great jazz singer.
On this day in 1904, the Abbey Theatre was established in Dublin. The theater was founded to foster Irish drama and culture, and to serve Irish audiences. Yeats's On Baile's Strand and Lady Gregory's Spreading the News were the first plays performed there. In 1924 the Abbey became the first state-subsidized theater in the English-speaking world.
It's the birthday of horror writer H(oward) P(hillips) Lovecraft, born in Providence, Rhode Island (1890)-author of macabre short novels and stories, and the 20th century's first master of the Gothic tale of terror.
It's the birthday of theologian Paul Tillich, born in Starzeddel, Germany (1886), the son of a pastor. He's the author of the 3-volume Systematic Theology (1951-63). Paul Tillich said,
"Faith comprises both itself and doubt of itself."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®