For a contest, 15 people, 10 sets of 3 facts, 5 sets of 300-500 words about them
|Tasks 1 and 2
1. Edgar Rice Burroughs - Novelist 1 Sep 1875
a. He wrote the Tarzan series
b. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2003
c. His daughter, Joan, eventually married James Pierce, an actor who played the title role in the film version of Burroughs' Tarzan books.
2. Lily Tomlin – Actor 1 Sep 1939 – see part 3
3. Keanu Reeves – 2 Sep 1964
a. He starred in several movies some of which were panned by the critics, but which were my favorites, including Speed and The Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Point Break with Patrick Swayze.
b. His first name means "cool breeze over the mountains" in Hawaiian and he was born in Beirut, Lebanon.
c. He’s dyslexic!
4. Eugene Field – Author 2 Sep 1850 see part 3
5. Sarah Orne Jewett – Author 3 Sep 1849
a. She is associated with the literary movement known as local color.
b. An American novelist and short story writer, she is known for the coastal Maine settings of her books’
c. She was a novelist, short story and children’s writer.
6. Dick York – TV Actor 4 Sep 1928
a. He earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his role as Darrin Stephens in the series, Bewitched
b. In 1959, while working on a movie, he injured his back. "Gary Cooper and I were propelling a handcar carrying several 'wounded' men down the railroad track. I was on the bottom stroke of this sort of teeter-totter mechanism that made the handcar run. I was just lifting the handle up as the director yelled 'cut!' and one of the "wounded" cast members reached up and grabbed the handle. I was suddenly, jarringly, lifting his entire weight off the flatbed—one hundred and eighty pounds or so. The muscles along the right side of my back tore. They just snapped and let loose. And that was the start of it all: the pain, the painkillers, the addiction, the lost career."
c. Appeared six times on the Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) TV series, but never met the famed director in person.
7. Antonin Artaud – Playwright 4 Sep 1896
a. Wrote The Theatre and Its Double, which describes his concept of The Theatre of Cruelty.
b. Had numerous stays at a mental institution being treated for schizophrenia.
c. Loved reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe.
8. Jack Daniel – Entrepreneur 5 Sep 1850
a. Founded his own line of Tennessee whiskey and the famed Jack Daniel's brand.
b. He died from blood poisoning after injuring his foot and breaking his toe from kicking his safe. He was angry because he could never remember the combination.
c. His real first name was Jasper.
9. Nicanor Parra – Poet 5 Sep 1914 see part 3
10. China Tom Mieville - Novelist 6 Sep 1972
a. He aspires to write a novel in every literary genre.
b. His work is heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft.
c. Best known for his Bas-Lag series which is part of the ‘New Weird Movement.’
11. Angel Gonzalez Muniz – Poet 6 Sep 1925
a. An important 20th-century Spanish poet, he won multiple honors, including the Federico Garcia Lorca Poetry Prize, the Reina Sofia Iberoamericas Prize, and the Principe de Asturias Prize.
b. F amous for Aspero Mundo
c. For twenty years, he was a professor at the University of New Mexico.
12. Elizabeth I of England – Royalty – Queen of England 7 Sep 1533 see part 3
13. Grandma Moses – Painter 7 Sep 1860 see part 3
14. Taylor Caldwell – 7 Sep 1900
a. She wrote Captains and the Kings
b. Started writing at age 8 and finished her first novel by age 12.
c. She was also known as (wrote under) the pen names Marcus Holland and Max Reiner, and by her married name of J. Miriam Reback.
15. Margaret Landon Writer 7 Sep 1903
a. Best known for writing Anna and the King of Siam in 1944.
b. The book inspired The King and I, a Broadway musical with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
c. The Anna in the book was inspired by a real person whom she met while with her husband in Thailand.
1. Lily Tomlin – Actor 1 Sep 1939
Born Mary Jean Tomlin on September 1, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, as a child, she never found ‘cruel’ jokes funny or believable. She never liked the cartoon where the ‘cat ate dynamite and blew up.’ She didn’t find that sort of humor funny at all. What she did find funny, the rest of the world has laughed along with ever since.
As a result of her start on her television debut in 1966 on The Gary Moore Show, Lily Tomlin became one of the first well known female comediennes. During her long and storied career that includes film, stage, and television, she has received numerous awards, including: seven Emmys; a Tony for her one woman Broadway show, Appearing Nitely and a second Tony for Best Actress.
Two of her well known rolls were developed on the TV Show Laugh In: her characterizations of Ernestine, the irascible telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the devilish six year old.
One of her current projects is WOWOWOW.com which is an on-line community which is owned and run by women for women of all ages and origins. She is working with Whoopi Goldberg, Candice Bergen, Liz Smith, Jane Wagner, Peggy Noonan, Marlo Thomas and Lesley Stahl on this project which is near and dear to her heart.
She has a new movie coming out called Grandma in which she plays a grandmother whose name is Elle … as in L … as in Lily. She drives her own ‘cream-puff’ car, a black 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer, wears her own clothing and portrays a character remarkably like Lily herself!
Lily is also involved with the current Netflix show, Gracie and Franke. A self-described dynamo, she loves being busy, involved and in the middle of everything. Married to her longtime partner of forty-two years, Jane Wagner on New Year’s Eve, 2013, she often said that while marriage wasn’t ‘necessary’ that she thought it would be ‘very nice.’
2. Eugene Field – Author 2 Sep 1850
“Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.” – From Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Well known as a writer of children’s poetry, Eugene Field began his career as a newspaper journalist who became well known for humorous columns poking fun at the world outside his beloved Chicago.
One of his short stories, ‘Daniel and the Devil’ took an un-Faustian approach to ‘pact with the devil’ story line where Daniel not only signs a deal with the devil, but convinces the devil to sign a pact as well that if he doesn’t keep to his end of the bargain, fulfilling Daniel’s requests, then he is released from the bond and a 1001 sould in Hell would be freed as well. Daniel then goes on the request only good things of the devil. The devil, due to his signed bond, builds a church and is required to do numerous other good things to the point that he breaks the pact. This story went on to be the inspiration for "The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Stephen Vincent Benét.
Another famous children’s poem, “The Duel” or, as it is more widely known, “The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat” was, in reality, a commentary on the political leaders at the time and how the news would, could and did make moutains out of molehills, and how rumours and gossip fueled the newspaper world.
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw---
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate---
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
An odd thing for an author of children’s poetry to pen was an anonymous short shory, ‘Only a Boy' about a 12-year-old boy being seduced by a woman in her 30's. On the list of banned books for a time, it was republished under Field’s name by Grove Press in 1968.
All across the Midwest are numerous schools, parks, areas and statuary dedicated to him. Given the current state of the world’s addiction to political correctness, one must wonder how well known that short story is!
3. Nicanor Parra – Poet 5 Sep 1914
Nicanor Parra, whose full name is Nicanor Segundo Parra Sandoval is 100 years old. (or will be on September 5th) One of my favorite poets and a major inspiration for me, I had to include him in this list. He’s a Chilean poet, mathematician, and physicist who is considered by many to be an important poet of Spanish language literature.
From an artistically prolific family of performers, musicians, artists, and writers with both a brother and a sister being (among other things) folk music performers.
“In the cage there is food, not much, but there is food-outside are only great stretches of freedom.” He describes himself as an "anti-poet," due to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function—after recitations he would exclaim “Me retracto de todo lo dicho”, or, "I take back everything I said."
Nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, he has won the Cervantes Prize from Spain's Ministry of Culture, which is widely considered the most important literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world.
One of his poems, ‘For Young Poets’ is short and too the point and expounds upon his personal beliefs that the writer should not be consumed by what others write or what is considered ‘right’ or fashionable.
Write as you will(http://www.columbia.edu/itc/spanish/sorensen/3490/lathumreadings/Nicanor%20Parra...)
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing
That only one road is right.
In poetry everything is permitted.
With only this condition of course,
You have to improve the blank page.
(trans. by Miller Williams)
Nicanor Parra's most influential contribution to Latin American poetics has been the theory of "antipoetry." Combining the critical materialism of Brecht with a resolutely colloquial diction, the absurdist fever of Kafka with ironic insights derived from contemporary psychology, Parra's "antipoems" speak personally but stringently, without the intervention of a "sincere" lyrical narrator. For all their critical antecedents, Parra's poems begin from his assumption that "the function of the artist consists in the rigorous expression of his experiences, without commentary of any kind."
This quote, an excerpt from an article written by Leila Guerriero and published in ‘The Paris Review’ says it all.
Nicanor Parra’s hair is white. He has a long beard and no wrinkles, only furrows in a face that seems to be made of earth. His hands are tanned, no spots or creases, like two roots rinsed in water. Lying on a table is the second volume of his complete works, Obras completas y algo (1975–2006). In its preface, Harold Bloom writes, “I firmly believe that, if the most powerful poet produced by the New World until now is still Walt Whitman, Parra joins him as an essential poet in our Twilight Lands.”
4.Elizabeth I of England – Royalty – Queen of England
7 Sep 1533
The daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558 and ruled England for almost 45 years. Her reign is known as The Golden Age, a time that saw the birth of Shakespeare, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the emergence of England as a world power.
One who was never expected to ever sit on the throne of England, Elizabeth the 1st was known to be a most determined woman and a survivor, having the strength to never give up even under the most difficult of circumstances such as being declared illegitimate (after the beheading of her mother) and surviving time in the Tower of London while her sister, Queen Mary was in power.
A favorite quote of mine that she said is: "I may not be a lion, but I am a lion's cub and I have a lion's heart." She was referring to the fact that she was King Henry VIII’s daughter and a ‘mere woman.’
Known as ‘the Virgin Queen’ because she refused to get married, Elizabeth 1 knew that should she do so, then her husband would become King and she would have to relinquish much if not all of her power to him, something she was unwilling to do. She had waited too long, and survived too much to give up any of her hard won sovereignty to anyone. As she said to Parliament, “I have already joined myself in marriage to a husband, namely the kingdom of England.”
There is much written about Elizabeth I but some of the lesser generally known tidbits about her are as follows.
She reigned as Queen of England from 17th November 1558 to 24th March 1603. Her reign is known as the Elizabethan Age. It was the era of William Shakespeare's plays, Sir Frances Drake's trips to America, and the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
Elizabeth I was considered to be vain. Queen Elizabeth I is sometimes pictured as wearing thick white makeup. Although this look was apparently fashionable at the time, she did it to cover up scars left from a bout of smallpox. In later years, as her hair thinned, she wore especially made wigs in the brilliant red color of her youth, and would only allow a select few of her ladies in waiting to see her without one firmly in place. She was known to forbid mirrors in her homes because she preferred to see herself as she remembered herself looking.
The Elizabethan Age, so named because of the style of the times she set, was known for lively entertainments, masquerades and plays. She loved to hawk, hunt, ride and played a variety of instruments such as the lute and, fittingly, the virginal.
5. Grandma Moses – Painter 7 Sep 1860
The New York Times said of her: "The simple realism, nostalgic atmosphere and luminous color with which Grandma Moses portrayed homely farm life and rural countryside won her a wide following. She was able to capture the excitement of winter's first snow, Thanksgiving preparations and the new, young green of oncoming spring... In person, Grandma Moses charmed wherever she went. A tiny, lively woman with mischievous gray eyes and a quick wit, she could be sharp-tongued with a sycophant and stern with an errant grandchild. "
Grandma Moses, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, began painting at the age of 78. Her work has been featured on magazine covers, been turned into fabric and featured at museums all over the world.
Grandma Moses painted what she called "old-timey" New England landscapes. She would focus on a slice or patch of an area, town or scene and recreate it in her homespun, almost child-like simplicity. One of ‘my’ personal favorites is her ‘Williamstown, MA’ painting. This is one that was made into fabric and as a child, the couch and drapes in our living room were made from that fabric. Discontinued today, the fabric is usually only sold in small swatches and is extremely expensive. I wish I still had the yards and yards of it that were in our floor to ceiling drapes that stretched across out fifteen foot picture windows in that long ago living room!
She was a down-home sort of woman. Frugal, she began painting as a way to bring in a little extra money. She painted because she enjoyed doing it. She couldn't fathom why people paid such high prices for her pictures. By the time she was 80 years old, many people had heard of "Grandma Moses" and had seen her paintings. Paintings which she first sold for about $5 are now sold for upwards of $10,000. Not too shabby for a primitive folk artist who was untrained formally, self-taught and opinionated as to what she liked!
She was awarded the Women's National Press Club Trophy by President Harry S. Truman. She lived to be 101 years of age.