Nov. 5, 2001
traditional "Guy Fawkes Day" song
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Poem: Traditional "Guy Fawkes Day" song.
Guy Fawkes Day Song
the fifth of November
is gunpowder treason
I see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Knock at the door,
Ring the bell.
Have you got a penny for
Singing so well?
If you haven't got a penny
A ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny
Then God bless you!
It's the birthday of actor and playwright Sam Shepard, born Samuel Shepard Rogers in Fort Sheridan, Illinois (1943). Shepard grew up an Army brat, moving from base to base around the country, until his father retired from the military and settled on a ranch in California, where Shepard attended high school and one year of agricultural college. Shepard joined a touring company of actors and moved to New York City. It was there that he began writing one-act plays that were produced off-off-Broadway and attracted an immediate following. In 1965 and '66, he won Obie Awards for his plays Chicago, Icarus's Mother, and Red Cross. His latest play, The Late Henry Moss, the story of two brothers remembering their dead father, opened in New York City in September of 2001.
It's the birthday of playwright and novelist John Griffith Bowen, born in Calcutta, India (1924), who is known for exploring the complexity and ambivalence of human motives and behavior. His best-known work is a novel called After the Rain (1958), which is the story of the last nine survivors of a worldwide flood, who founded a new society.
It's the birthday of physician, runner and author George Sheehan, born in Brooklyn, New York (1918), who started the trend toward recreational running in the 1970s with the publication of his best selling book, Running and Being (1978). Sheehan, whose father was a cardiologist, was the oldest of 14 children. He was a track star in college and went on to become a cardiologist himselfas well as a father of 12. Increasingly dissatisfied with his life in medicine, Sheehan broke his right hand when he punched a wall in a fit of temper, and had to give up playing tennis, his favorite sport. Instead, he took up running on the streets of his suburban New Jersey hometown. Five years later, Sheehan became the first man over the age of 50 to run the Boston Marathon in fewer than five hours. He began writing a column on running in the local paper and soon became one of the country's most sought-after experts on health and fitness, who once said, "Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach." He wrote his column for 25 years, served as medical editor for Runner's World magazine, and wrote several books, including The Running Life (1980), How to Feel Great 24 Hours a Day (1983), and Personal Best (1989).
It's the birthday of author Will Durant, born in North Adams, Massachusetts (1885), whose purpose as a writer was always to make large amounts of information available and comprehensive to the average reader. Durant began studying and teaching philosophy at Columbia University, and in 1926 published his lectures as a book called The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greatest Philosophers. The book was widely praised for its readability and sold more than two million copies. In 1932 he published On the Meaning of Life, a collection of correspondences with more than 100 contemporaries, including Sinclair Lewis and H. L. Mencken. But it was in the early 1930s that Durant began his best known work, The Story of Civilization, an integral history of the world, showing each period's culture, institutions, and adventures.
It's the birthday of investigative journalist Ida Tarbell, born in Erie county, Pennsylvania (1857), who graduated from Allegheny College in 1880, the sole woman in her class. Her father, Franklin Tarbell, was an oilman who was forced out of business by a monopolistic conglomerate that undercut his prices. When Tarbell later became a reporter for McClure's Magazine, she wrote a series of articles exposing the ruthless practices of John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company. In 1904, these articles became the book, The History of the Standard Oil Company. Her investigations caused the Supreme Court to look at the situation, and influenced their 1911 decision to break up the Standard Oil Trust.
It's the birthday of poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox, born in Johnstown Center, Wisconsin (1850), who claimed that she was a descendant of the Indian princess Pocahontas. One of the most popular and best known poets of her day, her most famous work is her poem "Solitude," which begins with the lines, "Laugh, and the world laughs with you/Weep, and you weep alone/For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,/But has trouble enough of its own." She was a prolific writer who produced at least two poems every day. She was a lifelong optimist, which, she said, helped her through her most trying times.
In 1930 on this day, Sinclair Lewis became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, for his novel Arrowsmith.
In 1872 on this day, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for attempting to vote in the Grant/Greely election. Anthony and a group of women were arraigned in Rochester, New York.
In 1605 on this day, Guy Fawkes was arrested in London in the conspiracy known as the Gunpowder Plot. It appears that the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament was hatched by Catholics opposed to King James I. The conspirators had hidden 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them in the cellar under the House of Lords. Guy Fawkes was caught coming into the cellar with a lantern, a tinderbox, and three matches. He was captured, tortured, and executed. Today Guy Fawkes Day is still celebrated in England, usually with bonfires, fireworks, and effigies of the "guy."
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