Feb. 15, 2002

709 Publication -- is the Auction

by Emily Dickinson

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Poem: "Publication is the Auction Of the Mind of Man," by Emily Dickinson.

Publication is the Auction Of the Mind of Man

Publication-is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man-
Poverty-be justifying
For so foul a thing

Possibly-but We-would rather
From Our Garret go
White-Unto the White Creator-
Than invest-Our Snow-

Thought belong to Him who gave it-
Then-to Him Who bear
Its Corporeal illustration-Sell
The Royal Air-

In the Parcel-Be the Merchant
Of the Heavenly Grace-
But reduce no Human Spirit
To Disgrace of Price-

It's the birthday of cartoonist Matt Groening, born in Portland, Oregon (1954). Inspired by his cartoonist father, he grew up drawing. He spent his college years at Evergreen State University, in Olympia, Washington, then moved to Los Angeles where he developed a comic strip he called "Life in Hell" (1980). Within a year, the strip was syndicated in 20 newspapers. In 1987, he created an animated family he named "The Simpsons" for the Fox network's The Tracy Ullman Show.

It's the birthday of American composer and pianist Harold Arlen, born Hyman Arluck, in Buffalo (1905), the son of a musician. In the mid-1920s he met lyricist Ted Koehler; together they collaborated on such tunes as "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "I've Got the World on A String." Among his many Broadway and Hollywood songs are "It's Only A Paper Moon," "That Old Black Magic," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

It's the birthday of American reformer Susan B. Anthony, born in Adams, Massachusetts (1820). She was a schoolteacher and liberal Quaker who opposed slavery and favored 'temperance.' She campaigned all her life for women's rights, including the right to vote. In 1869, she organized the National Woman Suffrage Association with her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton. At 80 she retired as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, but remained an advocate and public speaker until her death in 1906.

It's the birthday of John Sutter, born Johann August Suter, in Kandern, Germany (1803). He came over to California, got 49,000 acres of land from Mexico, and built a sawmill, Sutter's Fort (1841), where gold was discovered in 1848. It was the beginning of the Gold Rush of 1849.

It's the birthday of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, born in Pisa (1564). He devised a simple open-air thermometer (1607), but his greatest breakthrough was to improve the refracting telescope (1609). It made possible his confirmation of the theory of Copernicus, who insisted that Aristotle was wrong: it's not the Earth that's the center of things, but the Sun. Galileo's books were banned, and he was summoned to Rome to be tried for heresy. In 1633 he was convicted, sentenced to house arrest for life, and his books were ordered burned. He was forced either to renounce all his Copernican beliefs or be tortured on the rack. While signing his declaration that the earth was stationary, he muttered, "And yet…it moves." Confined to his home, he continued to study physics and astronomy, until, in his seventies, he grew completely blind.

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