Category Archives: This Day in History

Uncle Bill and the Dutchman

February 5, 2014 would have marked William S. Burroughs’s one-hundredth birthday.  Sadly, the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman overshadowed the centenary. Burroughs — famous Beat author, accidental murderer, expatriate, icon for Punk musicians, and an early pioneer of gay … Continue reading

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Kings Crossing

As our days darken and the sun becomes truant, it is important to remember some signs of warmth before the snow and winds of December visit us, so I’d like to share an anecdote known to students of music. On … Continue reading

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A borrow and a lender be

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges The concept of a public library is relatively modern. The first library as we know it in America was the result of an accident. … Continue reading

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Take Five

5 November 2012: composer Elliott Carter died at 103. 5 December 2012: composer Dave Brubeck died at 91 years old. Taking five from writing on literature, I shift my attention to mark time with the passing of these two American … Continue reading

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When Art kills the Artist

“The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way…” “…whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flamelike as theirs” The quotes belong to Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), a writer known mostly for his Faustian … Continue reading

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Old Borax and the Cello

In one of those stultifying moments of “Why did I subject myself to that?,” I finished reading an article about “overrated writers,” which I guess was meant to be entertaining but somehow ended up turning vicious, like a chihuahua turned … Continue reading

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He protests too much

“It was the biggest protest he had ever allowed himself to make against the condition of life.” Graham Greene. “Two Gentle People.” Complete Short Stories. p.427. Ah, ‘the condition of life’ is a phrase apt to sum up Graham Greene’s … Continue reading

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