Nov. 24, 2001

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Poem: "The Cow," by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Cow

The friendly cow all red and white,
    I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
    To eat with apple-tart.

She wanders lowing here and there,
    And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,
    The pleasant light of day;

And blown by all the winds that pass
    And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
    And eats the meadow flowers.

It's the birthday of author and political analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson, born in Minneapolis (1946). In her book Packaging the Presidency: A History and Criticism of Presidential Campaign Advertising (1984), she first reached a national audience with her analysis of how television and advertising shape political campaigns. She followed this up with Dirty Politics: Deception, Distraction, and Democracy (1992) and Everything You Think You Know about Politics—and Why You're Wrong (2000).

On this day in 1940, the German forces occupying Poland sealed off the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. The Warsaw Ghetto had a population of 350,000 in 1940. In three years, 280,000 Jews from the ghetto had fallen victim to starvation, disease, or deportation to the concentration camps. On April 19, 1943, the survivors staged a desperate revolt against the Nazis, and the ghetto was razed.

It's the birthday of motivational speaker and author Dale Carnegie, born in Maryville, Missouri (1888). He was teaching public speaking at the YMCA in New York City, and soon he was lecturing to packed houses of businessmen, doling out practical, commonsense advice on public speaking. His 1936 book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, was a huge success.

It's the birthday of novelist Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett, born in Manchester, England (1849). Her first novel, That Lass o' Lowrie's (1877), was followed by several other realistic novels for adults before she wrote what would become her most successful novel, the children's novel Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886). Her other well-known novels for children include A Little Princess (1905) and The Secret Garden (1911). She wrote: "There ought to be a tremendous lot of natural splendid happiness in the life of every human being."

It's the birthday of English novelist Laurence Sterne, born in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland (1713). As a student at Jesus College, Cambridge, he contracted the incurable tuberculosis that would plague him throughout his life. He became a clergyman with a parish near York, married unhappily, and ruined his chances of advancement in the church by writing a satire of the ecclesiastical courts. With his clerical career in ruins, he began to work on a novel he called The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759), which he published at his own expense and sent off to a bookseller in London. When he visited London in 1760, he was the talk of the town. He was a popular party guest, and was presented with a new parish, in Coxwold, where he settled down in a comfortable house he called "Shandy Hall." In 1767, he published a second novel, A Sentimental Journey, and died in the following year.

It's the birthday of the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, born in Amsterdam (1632). He made a living by grinding lenses for optical instruments, but gained fame as a philosopher. His great work, the Ethics (1677), was an attempt to arrive at a plan for "the perfection of human nature" through careful mathematical reasoning. In the Ethics, he made the famous observations that "nature abhors a vacuum" and that "man is a social animal."

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