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I celebrated with lunch with five friends at an outdoor restaurant under a canopy on a perfect summer afternoon and in memory of my frugal parents I ordered the most expensive wines, and the Lord, who prepares a table in the presence of my enemies, prepared an even better one for my friends, and we feasted ourselves silly. My wife was away, tending to the settlement of the estate of a crazy bachelor uncle, and texted me, “I miss you too much,” a very nice touch. I come from fundamentalist people and every year they asked that I be excused from square-dancing in gym class so that I would not be tempted by carnal pleasure, but still they didn’t object to my reading secular literature such as Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. They were gentle people, not like the bearded men with machine guns riding through the streets of Kabul, or the American mujahideen sacking the Capitol in January or Mr. Roseberry in his black pickup parked in front of the Library of Congress Thursday, claiming to have explosives enough to destroy whole city blocks. Afghanistan was a disaster we inherited from old imperialists and most Americans will be glad not to be reading about it on a daily basis. The Taliban is a bunch of thugs, nobody you’d want to move in upstairs, and they captured the flag, and now it’s their problem.
If they want to restore the Middle Ages, good luck, but all of their best people are trying to escape. A Kalashnikov is no substitute for brains. We didn’t have cellphones back in the day and now we do, and so, as the Everlys sing and the GPS lady guides my wife through a maze of colonial streets in small towns on the coast of Connecticut, I can text my daughter and tell her I love and miss her, all simultaneously, and wind up at a nearby café overlooking Long Island Sound. The Writer’s Almanac – Wednesday, August 18, 2021 Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” was published in the United States on this day in 1958 and, in 1920, on this day the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. The Writer’s Almanac – Monday, August 30, 2021 “Satire is the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.” –Molly Ivins, born on this day 1944.
The Writer’s Almanac – Tuesday, August 31, 2021 Manga artist Yumiko Oshima was born on this day, 1947. A member of the Year 24 Flower Group, who revolutionized “shojo manga,” comics for girls. The Writer’s Almanac – Saturday, September 4, 2021 George Eastman received a patent for the first film camera, which he called Kodak, on this date in 1888.
Nobody in Brooklyn speaks Brooklynese, it’s all gentrified. The press came down hard on Mets fans booing their team, one more sign that New York is turning into Seattle. This day, 1773, Phillis Wheatley published “Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral,” the first book ever published by a former American slave. This is a free, daily program produced by the same small media company that brought you A Prairie Home Companion. The Writer’s Almanac – Monday, August 23, 2021 It’s the birthday of the author who gave us “The Spoon River Anthology,” Edgar Le Masters . The work lost him friends in Spoon River, but earned him enough to live as a writer.
If what it means to live in New York is to ride the subway into a waterfall, maybe it’s best to be less stressed in the Upper Midwest and instead of flooded tunnels and tornado funnels, take sanctuary on the prairie. “Satire is the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.” –Molly Irvins, born on this day 1944.