Happy Birthday John Steinbeck

It’s the birthday of John Steinbeck. See The Writer’s Almanac for Feb. 27 for more details. 

In Chapter 17 of The Grapes of Wrath, he wrote

The cars of the migrant people crawled out of the side roads onto the great cross-country highway, and they took the migrant way to the West. In the daylight they scuttled like bugs to the westward; and as the dark caught them, they clustered like bugs near to shelter and to water. And because they were lonely and perplexed, because they had all come from a place of sadness and worry and defeat, and because they were all going to a new mysterious place, they huddled together; they talked together; they shared their lives, their food, and the things they hoped for in the new country. Thus it might be that one family camped near a spring, and another camped for the spring and for company, and a third because two families had pioneered the place and found it good. And when the sun went down, perhaps twenty families and twenty cars were there.

In the evening a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream.

It’s the birthday of Judy Blume, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey (1938)

From today’s Writer’s Almanac

It’s the birthday of Judy Blume, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey (1938), the best-selling author of more than two dozen books for young people.

She was 27 years old, with two preschool-aged children, when she began writing seriously. For two years, she received constant rejections. Then in 1970, she had her big breakthrough, with the young adult novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It’s the story of 11-year-old Margaret Simon, the daughter of a Jewish father and Christian mother, and her adolescent attempts to make sense of things like religion, boys, and menstruation. The book was banned in many schools and libraries. It’s one of the most challenged books of the last third of the 20th century. But it’s also beloved by many, and it has been a big best-seller over the years.

She lives mostly in Key West, where she writes at a desk facing a garden. In the summer, she writes in a small cabin on Martha’s Vineyard. She always writes in the morning. When she’s working on a first draft, which she says is the hardest part, she writes seven days a week, even if only for an hour or two a day.

Blume is also the author of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (1972), Blubber (1974), The Pain and the Great One (1974), Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself (1977), Superfudge (1980), Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson (1993), and recently, Going, Going, Gone! with the Pain and the Great One (2008). Her books have sold more than 80 million copies.

Yusef Komunyakaa, Poetry Reading 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23

Where: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 121 Wall St., New Haven

Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection

Celebrated for his powerful and carefully crafted poems, Komunyakaa has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Louisiana Writers Award. About his work, the poet Toi Derricotte wrote for the Kenyon Review, “[Yusef Komunyakaa] takes on the most complex moral issues, the most harrowing ugly subjects of our American life. His voice, whether it embodies the specific experiences of a black man, a soldier in Vietnam, or a child, is universal. It shows us in ever deeper ways what it is to be human.” The Beinecke Library acquired the papers of Yusef Komunyakaa in 2014.

Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Langston Hughes’ birthday today

Today is the birthday of the man known as “The O. Henry of Harlem,” American poet Langston Hughes (1902). In 1926, he was working as a busboy at a hotel in New York City when the poet Vachel Lindsay arrived for dinner. Hughes placed some poems under Lindsay’s dinner plate. Intrigued, Lindsay read them and asked who wrote them. Hughes stepped forward and said, “I did.” And that’s how he came to publish his first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues (1926), at the age of 24.

When asked what he wrote about, Langston Hughes answered, “Workers, roustabouts, and singers, and job hunters on Lenox Avenue in New York, or Seventh Street in Washington or South State in Chicago — people up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten, buying furniture on the installment plan, filling the house with roomers to help pay the rent, hoping to get a new suit for Easter — and pawning that suit before the Fourth of July.”

For more visit www.writersalmanac.org.

Pres. Elect Donald Trump’s actions frighten Americans. We were once a country that felt safe

Today’s New York Times reports that after the Asian nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, announced that preparations for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile were in their “final stage,” President-elect Donald J. Trump responded on Twitter, writing: “It won’t happen!”

What right does he have to say things that might provoke and enrage a world leader and incite that world leader with nuclear capabilities to use weapons of mass destruction? HE HAS NO RIGHT.

Aren’t his actions grounds for stifling him in any way we can? Grounds for taking away his presidential elect status?

Aren’t his bullying actions of a childish nature and not something of the nature we want in our White House?

We should stop looking for stars and galaxies and start looking for planets

To celebrate American Archive Month in October, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has released a collection of images, including this shot of a cluster of stars 20,000 light years from Earth. The blue and green shows cosmic haze where clouds form; x-rays are shown in purple.

(NASA)

(NASA)

Can’t we compromise in 2017? It’s only been 140 years!

 

"Unto that Power he doth belong Which only doeth Right while ever willing Wrong."

A political cartoon by Joseph Keppler depicts Roscoe Conkling as a character Mephistopheles (the Devil) while Rutherford B. Hayes strolls off with the prize of the “Solid South” depicted as a woman. The caption quotes Goethe: “Unto that Power he doth belong Which only doeth Right while ever willing Wrong.”

“… The compromise involved Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives allowing the decision of the Electoral Commission to take effect. The outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining troops from South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left, and the “Redeemer” Democrats took control. They already dominated most other state governments in the South. What was exactly agreed is somewhat contested as the documentation is scanty.
“Black Republicans felt betrayed as they lost power and were subject to discrimination and harassment to suppress their voting. At the turn of the 20th century, most black people were effectively disenfranchised by state legislatures in every southern state, despite being a majority in some.”

From Clarence Darrow’s The Story of My Life:

“Neither government nor political economy is an exact science. They concern the arrangement of human units. If it were possible to demonstrate what sort of an arrangement would be best for the individuals of the state, it would be of no avail. Humans cannot be controlled like inanimate objects, or even like the lower animals. Each human unit is in some regard an independent entity with his own ideas, his hopes and fears, loves and hates. These attitudes are constantly changing from day to day, and year to year. They are played upon by shrewd men, by influential newspapers, by all sorts of schemes and devices which make human government only trial and success, and trial and failure. Human organizations are simply collections of individuals always in motion and always seeking for easier and more harmonious adjustment, and never static …

 

This is a changing world, and still it must maintain a certain amount of consistency and stability or the individual units would separate, and chaos would make any co-operation impossible. “

For more information, visit The Compromise of 1877, or the Tilden/Hayes Compromise

Does the ‘U.S.’ question the worth of the U.N. because Donald Trump says something stupid? Donald Trump is not my spokesperson. What Trump says does not equate with what America thinks.

Pope Francis spoke to children dressed as Magi during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday.

Pope Francis spoke to children dressed as Magi during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday. Tiziana Fabitiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Antonio Guterres took the reins of the United Nations on New Year’s Day, making it clear that his top priority will be preventing crises and promoting peace, Edith M. Lederer of The Associated Press reports.

“As Guterres begins his five-year term facing conflicts from Syria and Yemen to South Sudan and Libya and global crises from terrorism to climate change, U.S. support for the United Nations remains a question mark.”

This is something that enrages me more than anything else. When The AP equates what Donald Trump says with what America thinks!!! No, the U.S. does NOT think the U.N. is a place where people get together and talk. Continue reading

‘To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.’

Sunday, January 1, 2017
“To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.”
~ Pamela Haines, Philadelphia Quaker

I get these great inspirational emails from paceebene.org. Check them out. They’re good for a lot more than inspirational quotes, too.