Friday

Apr. 12, 2002

Lines in Praise of a Date Made Praiseworthy Solely by Something Very Nice That Happened to It

by Ogden Nash

FRIDAY, 12 APRIL 2002
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Poem: "Lines in Praise of a Date Made Praiseworthy Solely by Something Very Nice That Happened to It," by Ogden Nash from Selected Poems of Ogden Nash (Little, Brown).

Lines in Praise of a Date Made Praiseworthy Solely by Something Very Nice That Happened to It

As through the calendar I delve
I pause to rejoice in April twelve.

Yea, be I in sickness or be I in health
My favorite date is April twealth.

It comes upon us, as a rule,
Eleven days after April fool,

And eighteen days ahead of May Day
When spring is generally in its heyday.

Down in New Mexico the chapparal
Is doing nicely by the twelfth of Apparal,

And Bay State towns such as Lowell and Pepperell
Begin to bloom on the twelfth of Epperell.

But regardless of the matter of weather,
There isn't any question whether.

No, not till the trumpet is blown by Gabriel
Shall we have such a day as the twelfth of Abriel.


It's the birthday of novelist Scott Turow, born in Chicago (1949). He went to Harvard Law School, and wrote a book about it-One L: An Inside Account of Life in the First Year at Harvard Law School (1977). It has since been called "required reading for anyone contemplating a career in law." While working as a prosecutor for the US Attorney's Office in Chicago, he wrote the novel Presumed Innocent. He still practices law in Chicago.

On this day in 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage after serving only one year of his fourth term. Vice President Harry Truman was told to come at once to the White House, where First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt met him and said, "Harry, the president is dead." Truman asked, "Is there anything I can do for you?" and Mrs. Roosevelt replied, "No, Harry. Is there anything we can do for you? You're the one in trouble now."

It's the birthday of playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, born in London (1939). He grew up in a home in which, he said, "I was surrounded by relationships that weren't altogether stable, the air was often blue, and things were sometimes flying across the kitchen." At seventeen he joined a local theater company, doing bit parts and stage managing. His plays include Absent Friends (1975), The Norman Conquests (1977), Absurd Person Singular (1973), and Comic Potential (2000). His play House & Garden (2000) consisted of two over-lapping full-length plays that perform simultaneously in adjoining theaters. Intimate Exchanges (1985) has 2 first acts, 4 second acts, 8 third acts, and 16 fourth acts - because each episode concludes with a choice.

It's the birthday of Lionel Hampton, born in Louisville, Kentucky (1908). In the early 1930s, he was a drummer in Los Angeles when Louis Armstrong invited him to come and do a recording session. The studio had a set of vibraphones which, at that time, were new to the music business. Armstrong asked Hampton to play them. "I played a song called 'Chinese Chop Suey' and Louie said, 'That sounds good, wait and play it on this record with us.'" It was the first time jazz was ever played on vibes.

It's the birthday of statesman Henry Clay born in Hanover County, Virginia (1777). He served in the U.S. Senate, where he was the author of some important compromises between slave and free states, earning him the title, "the great compromiser."

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