Friday

Jun. 8, 2001

Flight

by Louis Jenkins

FRIDAY, 8 JUNE 2001
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Poem: "Flight," by Louis Jenkins from The Winter Road (Holy Cow Press).

Flight

Past mishaps might be attributed to an incomplete
understanding of the laws of aerodynamics or perhaps even
to a more basic failure of the imagination, but were to be
expected. Remember, this is solo flight unencumbered by
bicycle parts, aluminum and nylon or even feathers. A tour
de force, really. There's a lot of running and flapping involved
and as you get older and heavier, a lot more huffing and
puffing. But on a bright day like today with a strong
headwind blowing up from the sea, when, having slipped the
surly bonds of common sense and knowing she is watching,
waiting in breathless anticipation, you send yourself
hurtling down the long, green slope to the cliffs, who knows?
You might just make it.

It's the birthday of writer Sara Paretsky, born in Ames, Iowa, in1947. She earned a Ph.D. in history, but during the month before her oral exams, she read 24 mysteries—"which," she said, "should have given me a clue about what my real interests were." She started writing detective books. The first was called Deadlock in 1984, followed by Blood Shot and Tunnel Vision. They all featured the detective Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski, known as V.I. Warshawski, or "Vic," a Chicago Cubs fan who is handy with a Smith & Wesson and adept at karate.

It's the birthday of Andrew Weil, born in Philadelphia in 1942, the author of Spontaneous Healing and other alternative health books.

It's the birthday of actor Robert Preston, born in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, in 1918. Preston is best known for playing Professor Harold Hill in the musical comedy The Music Man—on Broadway in 1957 and on the screen in 1962.

It's the birthday of biophysicist Francis Crick, born in Northampton, England, in 1916, who, along with his fellow Englishman, Maurice Wilkins, and American biologist James Watson, made one of the most important discoveries of 20th-century biology: decoding the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. Crick and Watson constructed a molecular model of DNA in 1953 and then five years later, Crick proposed that the DNA determines the sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide. Three years later, he, Watson, and Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine. He was the author of several books in which he discussed the revolution in molecular biology. Of Molecules and Men and What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery.

It's the birthday of John W. Campbell, called "the father of science fiction," born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1910. His first published story was "When the Atoms Failed" in 1930, which contained one of the earliest versions of a computer to appear in fiction. He predicted, in 1939, that atomic energy could be attained through the release of energy from Uranium.

It's the birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect, born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, in 1869. He said, "No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together, each the happier for the other."

It's the birthday of novelist Charles Reade, born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1814. He was the author of The Cloister and the Hearth, and his motto was "Make 'em laugh; make 'em cry; make 'em wait."

(Instapaper)

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