Jun. 10, 2001
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Poem: "Leisure," by W.H. Davies.
What is this life, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hid their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stop and stare.
On this day in 1943, the ballpoint pen was patented by the Hungarian inventor Lászlá Biró in Argentina, where he had gone to escape the Nazis. In many languages, the word for ballpoint pen is still simply "biro."
It's the birthday of novelist Philip Caputo, born in Chicago in 1941. He's best known for his book A Rumor of War, an account of his time as a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam in the mid-'60s.
It's the birthday of writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, born in Brooklyn in1928. He was a sickly child who suffered from measles, pneumonia, and scarlet fever, and spent much of his childhood drawing pictures of life he saw outside his window. At the age of nine, he hand-lettered and drew pictures for his stories on shirt cardboards bound with tape. Maurice Sendak, who said: "It is my involvement with the inescapable fact of childhoodthe awful vulnerability of children, and their struggle to make themselves King of all Wild Thingsthat gives my work whatever truth and passion it may have." He is the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and many other books.
It's the birthday of novelist James Salter born in New York City in 1925, the author of Dusk: And Other Stories, A Sport and a Pastime, The Hunters, and his memoir, Burning the Days.
It's the birthday of journalist and novelist Nat Hentoff, born Nathan Irving Hentoff in Boston in 1925.
It's the birthday of Judy Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 1922. She and her sisters changed their stage name to Garland, and she took her new first name from the Hoagy Carmichael song "Judy."
It's the birthday of novelist Saul Bellow, born in Lachine, near Montreal, in 1915. He's the author of Humboldt's Gift, The Dean's December, and he was the recipient of the National Book Award three times for The Adventures of Augue March, Herzog, and Mr. Sammler's Planet. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976.
And it's the birthday of playwright Sir Terence Rattigan, born in London in 1911. He was the master of what is called the 'well made play.' His father agreed to support him in a trial period of playwriting, after which (if he failed) he was to go into banking. Shortly before the trial period expired, he wrote a farce, French Without Tears in1936, which enjoyed one of the longest runs in the history of British theater. Sir Terence Rattigan once said, "A novelist may lose his reader for a few pagesa playwright never dares lose his audience for a minute."
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