Oct. 13, 2002
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Poem: "The Pulley," by George Herbert.
When God at first made Man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by -
Let us (said He) pour on him all we can;
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie
Contract into a span.
So strength first made a way,
Then beauty flow'd, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all His treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.
For if I should (said He)
Bestow this jewel also on My creature,
He would adore My gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.
Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.
It's the birthday of playwright Frank Gilroy, born in the Bronx, New York (1925). He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his Broadway debut, The Subject was Roses. It is autobiographical, about his experiences as a young Irish-American Bronx-bred teen who enters the army wet-behind-the-ears. He returns as a veteran at age 21 and when he comes home he has a more mature perspective on his dysfunctional family's conflicts.
It's the birthday of jazz pianist Art Tatum, born in Toledo, Ohio (1910), who, blind in one eye, partial sight in the other, learned to read sheet music with the aid of glasses as well as the Braille method.
It's the birthday of novelist and screenwriter Ernest Kellogg Gann, born in Lincoln, Nebraska (1910). He wrote several novels, mostly about flying, that were made into films, including Island in the Sky (1944), and Twilight for the Gods (1958).
It's the birthday of poet, novelist and children's author Arna Bontemps, born in Alexandria, Louisiana (1902). Bontemps was a major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, serving as head librarian at Fisk University from 1969 to 1972, and developing an archive of African American cultural materials that is a major resource for study in this field.
It's the birthday of singer and songwriter Paul Simon, born in Newark, New Jersey (1941). Simon grew up in Queens, New York. His mother was a schoolteacher; his father worked as a jazz bassist for many years. Ultimately, however, his father became bored with the musician's life and entered academia, receiving a doctorate in semantics.At school, a nine-year old Paul heard Art Garfunkel singing, and by the time they were 13, the pair debuted at a school assembly with an a capella version of "Sh-Boom." Soon after they were singing in a street corner doo-wop group called The Sparks, along with three other neighborhood kids. They later changed their name to The Pep-Tones, and then disbanded. They were also regularly performing at school concerts and dances. In 1957, the duo, performing under the name "Tom and Jerry," had their first big hit: Hey Schoolgirl. It was on Billboard's Hot 100 for over two months, peaked at number 54, sold one hundred thousand copies, and got them an appearance on American Bandstand. They recorded their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m., in 1964, then went their separate ways - Simon to law school and Garfunkel to study architecture. Later, they paired back up (as Simon and Garfunkel) and went on to musical success.
It's the birthday of comedian Lenny Bruce, born Leonard Alfred Schneider in Mineola, New York (1925), who became one of the most controversial entertainers of the 1950s and '60s. George Carlin said about him: "...The greatest gift I derived from knowing him and his work was the importance of honesty, in the words and on the stage."
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