So you can read my books

Saturday, April 12, 2014


"I would rather be right than president."
- Henry Clay -- who was born on this date in 1777.

In the theme that to be an outlaw is not always to be rich:

On this day in 1857, Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary was published.

The serialization of the novel in the Revue de Paris the previous winter earned Flaubert almost nothing

and generated one of the most famous literary trials in French history.

It also made the author's reputation and vindicated a new style of writing based on the attempt to portray "ignoble reality."

The impish author, Chrys Fey, was born on this day.  What year you ask?  Silly rabbit, you never ask what year a fae was born!

The ghost of Ogden Nash has written a birthday verse for Chrys:

"As through the calendar I delve
I pause to rejoice in April twelve.
Yea, be I in sickness or be I in health
My favorite date is April twealth.     

     It comes upon us, as a rule,
Eleven days after April fool,
And eighteen days ahead of May Day,
When spring is generally in its heyday.

     Down in New Mexico the chapparal
Is doing nicely by the twelfth of Apparal,
And Bay State towns such as Lowell and Pepperell
Begin to bloom on the twelfth of Epperell.

     But regardless of the matter of weather,
There isn't any question whether.
No, not till the trumpet is blown by Gabriel
Shall we have such a day as the twelfth of Abriel."
- Ogden Nash ("Lines in Praise of a Date Made Praiseworthy Solely by Something Very Nice That Happened to It")

The beginning and ending of the American Civil War

(the 4 bloodiest years in American history)

 is tied to this week —

the opening shots fired at Fort Sumter on this day in 1861,

General Robert E. Lee surrendering to General Ulysses Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

1633 -- Galileo was convicted of heresy.  

Foundational scientist and astronomer Galileo was convicted of heresy because he refused to recant his statement that the Earth revolved around the sun, instead of vice versa.

He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.  Sometimes being an outlaw is no fun at all!

1945 -- President Franklin Roosevelt died on this date. 

 Roosevelt died while on vacation, leaving Truman to take over.

Though sometimes controversial, he had brought America through the Great Depression and World War II,

and was one of the most influential presidents.

1954 -- on this day Bill Haley and the Comets recorded Rock Around the Clock:

Often called the first rock and roll record, Rock Around the Clock

became sensationally popular after it was used as the opening song in Blackboard Jungle,

and sold more than 1 million records in one month in 1955 alone.

1981 -- The first space shuttle was launched.  

The Columbia, the first reusable manned spacecraft, was launched for the first time on this day.

It was a major step forward for NASA, and was eventually used to help build the International Space Station.

Tom Clancy was born on this day in 1947.

In 1984, the Naval Institute Press paid Tom Clancy an advance of $5,000 for The Hunt for Red October

There matters might have rested, except that someone handed a copy to the Fortieth President, who (then at the zenith of his great parabola) gave it an unoriginal but unequivocal blurb.

“The perfect yarn,” he said, and the Baltimore insurance agent was on his way to blockbuster authorship.

By the way, I've just sent a copy of FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE to President Obama.

I say K represents KAFKA --

On JULY 3,1883, Franz Kafka was born in Prague.

Few writers have been so closely linked to their home and city, or made so much from it, as Kafka.

But for the months spent in sanitariums and a half-year with a girlfriend, and despite the psychological torture it inflicted, he lived at home with his parents all his life:

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”

― Franz Kafka


  1. As always, many profound reflections here, from the horrors of the Civil War to good old Ogden Nash. Here's a quickie by Nash that I've always loved:

    Two nudists from Dover
    Being purple all over
    Were munched by a cow
    When mistaken for clover.

    At least I think Nash wrote it.

  2. Hi Roland ... lots of historical eclectic facts here - Bill Hailey rocking away, you sending your book to Obama .. it's not April 1st, so let's hope he reads it .. and writes you a forward ..

    Kafka google doodle was very clever, the 2nd one I can't see over here ..

    Great collection of infamous information .. cheers Hilary

  3. With or without wealth, I suspect that infamy is more memorable than mere fame. I hope so anyway.
    Wonderful tribute to Chrys.

  4. Did you really send a copy of your book to Obama? You put the day in another perspective for me :)

  5. The first space shuttle. Sadly I don't remember the launch as well as I remember the event that followed five years later.
    Now to go wish Chrys a happy birthday!

  6. What a very nice surprise it was coming onto your blog today, Roland. :) Thank you so much for including me in the history of April 12th.

    The ghost of Ogden Nash wrote me a birthday verse? I feel very honored. Thank you for making my day! :D

  7. Happy Birthday to Chris!

    Some of my favorite authors and notables are featured today: Kafka, Robert E. Lee, and Galileo. I've read several of Kafka's works, and Lee's biography.

    Love this quote:
    “Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”

    Hope the healing from the surgeries is going well for you. We are dealing with sorting through the memories of MIL's life.

  8. Yikes, sorry I misspelled the name, Chrys. Happy Birthday!

  9. Helena:
    If Ogden didn't write that verse, he approves of it. :-)

    Sorry you couldn't see the mini biography of Robert E Lee. They should post when videos cannot be seen across the seas!

    If I sent my book to Obama, I would probably be visited by the Secret Service!

    Elephant's Child:
    Infamy may be more memorable than fame, but not as profitable ... in the long run! Always nice to see you here.

    Maybe I should send my book to Obama? Naw. Those secret service agents have no sense of humor!

    When Chrys told me today was her birthday some days back, I had to include her!

    Yes, tragedies seem somehow to stick with us more than victories. :-(

    Happy Birthday! May today be filled with only happy surprises.

  10. D.G.:
    I am grieved over the loss of your MIL. Life sometimes seems a series of goodbyes, doesn't it?

    Every Hello has the promise of a goodbye to it -- but in my worldview that goodbye has the promise of a reunion that will never end.

    Kafka had beauty and wisdom to his prose that is often overlooked.

    You have my email should you need a cyber-shoulder.

  11. A Happy Birthday to Chrys!
    FDR did have a lot going on during his presidency, I can not assume I would have fared any differently.
    Let us know if President Obama replies.

  12. David:
    FDR was a complex, driven man with huge virtues and flaws. He kept the country going through the Depression and a war we at first were losing.

    I think I can expect a visit from the Secret Service!