Jul. 26, 2001
Mark Stern Wakes Up
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Poem: from "Mark Stern Wakes Up," by Frederick Feirstein, from New and Selected Poems (Story Line Press).
Mark Stern Wakes Up
Shining cratefuls of plum, peach, apricot
Are flung out of the fruit man's tiny store.
Behind the supermarket glass next door:
Landslides of grapefruit, orange, tangerine,
Persimmon, boysenberry, nectarine.
The florist tilts his giant crayon box
Of yellow roses, daffodils, and phlox.
A Disney sun breaks through, makes toys of trucks
And waddling movers look like Donald Ducks
And joke book captions out of storefront signs:
Café du Soir, Austrian Village, Wines.
Pedestrians in olive drabs and grays
Are startled by the sun's kinetic rays,
Then mottled into pointillistic patches.
The light turns green, cars passing hurl out snatches
Of rock-and-roll and Mozart and the weather.
The light turns red. Why aren't we together?
It's the birthday of movie director Stanley Kubrick, born in New York City in 1928. His first big film was Spartacus in 1960, which was produced by the star, Kirk Douglas. After that, Kubrick vowed never to make another film unless he had total artistic freedomand he managed to keep that vow. His best-known films are Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange (based on the novel by Anthony Burgess), and The Shining (from Stephen King's horror novel).
On this day in 1908, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was founded within the Department of Justice. In 1924, Justice Department lawyer J. Edgar Hoover became director of the bureau, and ran it for 48 years. After that, Congress limited the term of any FBI director to 10 years.
It's the birthday of writer Paul Gallico, born in New York City in 1897. He wrote about sports, he wrote screenplays, he wrote short stories, and he also wrote a number of works for children. The most popular of these was The Snow Goose, a novella about a crippled painter who lives in a lighthouse on the lonely coast of Essex County in England. One day a girl brings the painter a wounded snow goose, which he nurses back to health. The goose returns each year, as does the girl; a romance develops. But then the artist is killed rescuing soldiers after the evacuation of Dunkirk.
It's the birthday of writer and mystic Aldous (Leonard) Huxley, born in Godalming, Surrey, in 1894, author of Brave New World, Point Counter Point, and other books.
It's the birthday of German artist George Grosz, born in Berlin in 1893, who founded the Berlin wing of the Dada movement. The Nazis were outraged by his drawings, and they drove him out in 1933.
It's the birthday of psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, born in Kesswil, Switzerland in 1875. He collaborated with Freud (from 1907-13), and then went his own way, founding the school of "Analytical Psychology." He gave psychology the terms "complex," "collective unconscious," "extrovert-introvert," "archetype," and '"individuation." He said, "Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
It's the birthday of playwright George Bernard Shaw, born in Dublin in 1856. He devoted many years becoming a novelist, and was a great failure. Finally, he turned to writing plays. All told, Shaw wrote over 50 of them, including Major Barbara, Pygmalion, and Saint Joan.
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