Archive for January 2014

Zane Grey: Iconic Western Writer Who Was a Republican President's Favorite

Today’s the birthday of Zane Grey Whose frontier  novels once  had cachet. He was read by rich and poor alike. And the favorite of John Q. Public and Ike. In his nostalgic “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-town America”, Bill Bryson observes (with some chagrin) that the last book President Eisenhower read was Zane Grey’s... Read more »

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: He Towers Over All Presidents of Modern Times

Today’s the birthday of  Franklin D.  Roosevelt. When our country the Greatest  Depression was dealt, He found a fresh deck and he opened the seal; Rebooted  the game with what’s called “The New Deal”. New Deal programs with the deepest impact on American life: (1) Social Security Act; (2) Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; (3) Securities... Read more »

Thomas Paine: Firebrand for Freedom

Today’s birthday is Thomas Paine’s. Agent provocateur ‘gainst tyrannical reigns. This  rousing  pamphleteer was  a  clarion call For American independence and freedom for all. One of my favorite Paine quotes is from his pamphlet “The Crisis”. “Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love.”  What inspired cadence and symmetry!  

Jackson Pollock: Action Jackson

  Born today was Jackson Pollock. He painted in the genre of  “Abstract”. Spattering on pigments in a frenzied frolic, He’d splash a bit more when he had to redact. “During these years Jackson Pollock started to paint in a completely new way. He created art that was very physical. In fact, his method is... Read more »

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: "The Perfect Composer"

  Today is the birthday of Wolfgang Mozart Whose music still tops every  classical chart. To his Muse he was wed (at age 5!)  from the start, And he wrote masterpieces till death did  them part. [“The Last Hours of Mozart” by Henry Nelson O’Neil]   “Mozart… is a perfect composer. It’s almost impossible to... Read more »

Jules Feiffer: Avant-garde Cartoonist

Born today was  Jules Fieffer His angst is rife, but his anger rifer. His comics are equal opportunity satire. On what we are driven he shows us the flat tire.

Robert Burns: Voted the Greatest Scot of All Time

  Born today was Robert Burns. His Scottish poems were gifts from heaven. But hellishly drinking and wenching by turns, He died prematurely at age 37.. “My way is: I consider the poetic sentiment, correspondent to my idea of the musical expression, then chuse my theme, begin one stanza, when that is composed—which is generally... Read more »

Edith Wharton: Her Last (Unfinished) Novel Was About Women Like Cora Crawley of Downton Abbey

  Born today was Edith Wharton. Did you read like me with a fine-toothed comb Her novel for high school book reportin’, The tragic tale of Ethan Frome?   “He knew that most young men made nothing at all of giving a pretty girl a kiss, and he remembered that the night before, when he... Read more »

Edouard Manet: "The Painter of Modern Life"

[Can you find Manet in his painting of a concert in the Tuileries Gardens?] Born today: Edouard Manet. His paintings reflect how they lived  in his day The Folies-Bergere in a mirror is viewed Or in anticipation a prostitute nude. “This was the painting with which Manet shocked the art establishment of Second Empire Paris.... Read more »

Lord Byron: English Romantic Poet Who Is a National Hero in Greece

Today’s birthday is poet Lord Byron’s Who was forced into leaving Great Britain’s environs. He wound up in battle for freedom in Greece. Unfortunately there his existence did cease. [Joseph Denis Odevaere: Lord Byron on His Deathbed] [Alexandre-Marie Colin: Byron as Don Juan, with Haidee] A few of my favorite lines from  “Don Juan”: “What... Read more »