Jul. 19, 2001


by Various

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Poem: Limericks

There was a young fellow from Clyde
Who once at a funeral was spied.
    When asked who was dead,
    He smilingly said,
"I don't know. I just came for the ride."

A senora who strolled on the Corso
Displayed quite a lot of her torso.
    A crowd soon collected
    And no one objected
Though some were in favor of more so.

A certain young gourmet of Crediton
Took some pate de foie gras and spread it on
    A chocolate biscuit
    Then murmured, "I'll risk it":
His tomb bears the date that he said it on.

An unpopular youth of Cologne
With a pain in his stomach did mogne.
    He heaved a great sigh,
    And said, "I would digh,
But the loss would be only my ogne."

There was a young lady of Condover
Whose husband had ceased to be fond of her.
    He could not forget
    He had wooed a brunette
But peroxide had now made a blonde of her.

It's the birthday of American novelist and short-story writer Jayne Anne Phillips, born and raised in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 1952. Phillips' first book of stories, Black Tickets, was published in 1979 when she was 26, and won the prestigious Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. Her first novel, Machine Dreams, follows the lives of a small-town West Virginia family from the beginning of the 20 century until the Vietnam War. It was cited by the New York Times as one of the Best Books of 1984.

It's the birthday of medical physicist Roslyn Yallow, born Roslyn Sussman, in New York City in 1921. In a long collaboration with the physician Solomon Berson, she developed the technique of radio-immuno-assay, in which radioactive tracers are used to measure, with great accuracy, quantities of substances in the bloodstream. She was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for this work in 1977.

It's the birthday of poet, playwright, and children's author Eve Merriam, born in Philadelphia in 1916. She was a writer for radio, became fashion copy editor for Glamour magazine, and then her first book was accepted for publication in 1946. This inspired her to devote herself full-time to writing, and she produced many books, both for adults and children, but was recognized foremost as a children's poet. Some of her many collections are It Doesn't Always Have to Rhyme, After Nora Slammed the Door, Mommies at Work, and the controversial Inner City Mother Goose, which Merriam once referred to as "just about the most banned book in the country."

It's the birthday of physician Charles Mayo, born in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1865, the son of Mayo Clinic founder William Mayo. He originated modern techniques in goiter and neuro-surgery, performed cataract operations, and developed a standard for several orthopedic procedures.

It's the birthday of French Impressionist Edgar Degas, born in Paris in 1834, best known for his paintings and pastels of ballet dancers and his bronze sculptures of ballerinas and racehorses. Degas remained a bachelor his entire life, saying, "There is love and there is work, and we only have one heart."

It's the birthday of the indomitable and colorful Civil War hospital worker Mary Bickerdyke, born Mary Ball on a farm in Knox County, Ohio, in 1817. In 1861, she was inspired to volunteer her services because of accounts of the terrible conditions under which the wounded Union soldiers were being treated. She became the chief of nursing under General Ulysses Grant.

On this date in 1799, French soldiers found the famous Rosetta Stone. They were tearing down a wall in the town of Rosetta, 30 miles north of Alexandria in Egypt, and found the famous tablet inscribed with a proclamation honoring Ptolomy V, carved in three alphabetic systems: hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek. It served as the key to decoding hieroglyphics, which had puzzled archeologists up to that time.

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