Jul. 30, 2010

The Day She Gets Her License

by Susan Jackson

The car is as long as a city block
and sleek
the fins stretch out as far as the eye
can see
or so she imagines.
It's the early days
of metallic finish
the color of the car
blue frost or silver
depending on the way
light glints
off the surface
or how high
the sun is.
With the top down
the red leather seats shine
like the inside of a flower
like a flag in the wind
and her hair trails out
behind her, flying.
When the guy on the corner,
the cat with the long side-burns,
looks across the street
and whistles
she knows it's for her
she knows
she's beautiful
she will always be

"The Day She Gets Her License" by Susan Jackson, from Through a Gate of Trees. © Cavan Kerry Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

On this day in 762, the city of Baghdad was founded along the Tigris River. In Modern Persian, the word "Baghdad" translates to "God's gift." Baghdad, Iraq, is now the second largest city in the Arab world after Cairo, Egypt.

Almost a millennium later, on this day in 1729, the city of Baltimore, Maryland, was founded along the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is an Anglicized form of the Irish words Baile an Tí Mhóir, which means "Town of the Big House."

The first World Cup final championship match took place on this day in 1930. Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2; thus, 80 years ago today, Uruguay became the first nation ever to win the World Cup. The game happened to take place in Uruguay's capital city, Montevideo, and 93,000 people were at the stadium watching. Today, the World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world. More than 700 million people tune in to see the World Cup's final match on television.

The World Cup tournament, made up of 32 qualifying national teams, happens once every four years. This year's, of course, was in South Africa. The next World Cup, in 2014, will be in Brazil, the only country to have played in every single World Cup tournament since it began in 1930.

On this day 45 years ago, Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965. This law created Medicare and Medicaid, public health insurance for elderly people and for low-income families. It was controversial, but the controversy was nothing new — by the time LBJ signed the bill on this day in 1965, the national health care debate had been going on for well over half a century, since the early 1900s.

It's the birthday of economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen, (books by this author) born in Cato, Wisconsin (1857). He was an economics professor at the young University of Chicago when, in 1899, he published his book The Theory of the Leisure Class, in which he coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption."

Veblen used the term in a sentence of his book like this: "Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure."

It's the birthday of the novelist Emily Brontë, (books by this author) born in Thornton, England (1818). Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights(1847), considered one of the greatest love stories of all time, but she never had a lover.

She said, "I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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