Nov. 2, 2000


by C. K. Williams

Broadcast date: THURSDAY, 2 November 2000

by C.K. Williams, from Flesh and Blood (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

More and more lately, as, not even minding the slippages yet, the aches and sad softenings,
I settle into my other years, I notice how many of what I once thought were evidences of repression,
sexual or otherwise, now seem, in other people anyway, to be varieties of dignity, withholding, tact,
and sometimes even in myself, certain patiences I would have once called lassitude indifference,
now seem possibly to be if not the rewards then at least the unsuspected, undreamed-of conclusions
to many of the even-then-preposterous self-evolved disciplines, rigors, almost mortifications
I inflicted on myself in my starting-out days, improvement days, days when the idea alone of psychic peace,
of intellectual, of emotional quiet, the merest hint, would have meant inconceivable capitulation.

On this day in 1960, a British jury acquitted Penguin books of obscenity charges for the publication of D.H. Lawrence's controversial novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover.

On this day in 1950, George Bernard Shaw died at his home in Hertfordshire, England, from complications following a fall. His last words were, "You're trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I'm done, I'm finished, I'm going to die." Theaters were darkened in his honor.

On this day in 1948, Democratic President Harry S Truman confounded the experts and defied the polls, and handily won his campaign for election against Thomas Dewey.

On this day in 1920, KDKA in Pittsburgh became the first regular broadcasting radio station in the world, reporting the election returns of the Harding-Cox presidential race.

It is the birthday of actor Burt(on) Stephen Lancaster, born in New York City (1913), who grew up in a tough neighborhood and went to New York University on athletic scholarship, playing basketball, baseball, boxing, track and gymnastics. He dropped out after two years, and formed an acrobatic team with a friend, performing in circuses, including the Ringling and Barnum and Bailey troupes. He was drafted in 1942, and was sent to North Africa and Europe. He was recruited into acting while still in the service, and achieved major Hollywood stardom with his first role in The Killers (1946). He played many tough guy roles, performing his own stunts, but soon sought out more complex roles, saying, "I want to do things that will help me as an actor, against the time when I have to give up all this jumping around." He starred in more than 70 movies spanning 45 years, including From Here to Eternity (1953), Bird Man of Alcatraz (1962), Atlantic City (1981) and Field of Dreams (1989).

Today is the birthday of the 29th President of the United States, Warren G(amaliel) Harding in Blooming Grove, Ohio (1865), elected on a Republican platform promising a "return to normalcy" after World War I. He was also the first President to speak on the radio. His term ended abruptly while he was on a cross-country goodwill tour and he quite suddenly became ill and died. His wife refused to permit an autopsy. His life ended before the corruption of the Teapot Dome Scandal could disgrace the office. He is quoted as saying, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here."

Today is the birthday of English mathematician George Boole in Lincolnshire, England (1815). A self-taught scholar with a knack for mathematics, he opened a school when he was only 20 years old, and produced original mathematics proposals after studying the subject for only 5 years. His "The Mathematical Analysis of Logic" (1847) originated the subject of modern symbolic logic. His work produced Boolean algebra, important today in such diverse areas as probability, combination theory and computer design.

Today is the birthday of early American frontiersman and explorer Daniel Boone, born in Berks County, Pennsylvania (1734), who helped forge a trail through a notch in the Appalachian Mountains called the Cumberland Gap. He learned to hunt and trap when he was young, and learned to read and write without any formal education.

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




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