Friday Photo: The Duke

Yesterday my son chose his dorm building and room! So it seems like a good time to post a photo of him with the yard sign that James Madison University sent to all incoming Freshman.

So far, the university is planning to be open for business in late August despite the pandemic, with students on campus, but with social-distancing measures in place and some classes being taught online. So far, only two of his are online, a music theory course and a one-on-one piano lesson. He plans to major in Music Composition, possibly with a double major in something else.

July 31 Writer Birthdays

1875 – Kunio Yanagita, Japanese writer, folklorist, linguist, Esperantist, university teacher, agronomist, anthropologist, and lexicographer who is considered the father of Japanese native folkloristics, or minzokugaku.

1880 – Premchand (pen name for Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava), prolific Indian writer, screenwriter, novelist, essayist, translator, and short-story author who wrote in Hindi and Urdu and also used the pen names Munshi Premchand and Nawab Rai. He is one of the most celebrated writers of the Indian subcontinent, and has been called the “Upanyas Samrat” (“Emperor among Novelists”).

1893 – Fatima Jinnah, Pakistani biographer, dental surgeon, stateswoman, and one of the leading founders of Pakistan; she was widely known as Mader-e Millat (“Mother of the Nation”).

1904 – Bret Halliday, the most famous pseudonym of American author Davis Dresser, who wrote in the mystery, romance and western genres; he wrote under a variety of names, including Asa Baker, Matthew Blood, Kathryn Culver, Don Davis, Hal Debrett, Anthony Scott, Peter Field, and Anderson Wayne.

1912 – Milton Friedman, influential American free-market economist, statistician, writer, and professor.

1912 – Irv Kupcinet (known as “Kup”), American newspaper columnist, talk-show host, author, and Chicago Bears football commentator.

1919 – Primo Levi, Italian chemist, author, and poet who is best known for writing about his time in a Nazi concentration camp; the Royal Institution of Great Britain named his book The Periodic Table the greatest science book ever written.

1926 – Hilary Whitehall Putnam, American philosopher, author, professor, mathematician, and computer scientist who is a central figure in analytic philosophy.

1929 – Lynn Reid Banks, British author of novels for children and adults and of biographies about the Bronte family; Banks is best known for her bestselling children’s book, The Indian in the Cupboard.

1933 – Cees Nooteboom, Dutch novelist, poet, translator, travel writer, and journalist who is considered a Nobel Prize contender.

1938 – Muriel Feelings, American writer and educator whose picture books aimed to introduce children to African culture; a Caldecott Honor Book winner and American Book Award nominee.

1940 – Fleur Jaeggy, award-winning Swiss novelist and translator who writes in Italian.

1943 – Susan Cheever, American novelist, nonfiction author, columnist, essayist, biographer, literary critic, and teacher; novelist and short-story writer John Cheever was her father.

1944 – Jonathan Dimbleby, British writer, political commentator, filmmaker, and radio and TV presenter; he is the son of prominent war correspondent and news commentator Richard Dimbleby.

1952 – Faye Kellerman, bestselling American mystery author.

1956 – Lynne Rae Perkins, Newbery Medal-winning American author and illustrator of children’s books.

1956 – Pam Withers, American-born Canadian author of outdoor adventure and sports novels for young adults; she is also a former journalist, magazine editor, whitewater kayak racer, and whitewater rafting guide.

1959 – Andrew Marr, British broadcaster, journalist, political commentator, and actor.

1965 – Joanne Rowling, phenomenally successful British author best known for the Harry Potter fantasy books (written as J.K. Rowling), which make up the bestselling book series ever, and on which are based the highest-grossing movie series ever; she has also written novels for adults, including the Cormoran Strike detective series (written as Robert Galbraith), and is known for her philanthropy and her support of left-wing causes. In recent times she has come under fire for prejudicial comments about transgender people. (Her character Harry Potter has his birthday today, too.)

1967 – Elizabeth Wurtzel, controversial bestselling American memoirist, essayist, and journalist.

1978 – Tui T. Sutherland, Venezuelan-American children’s book author who has written under pen names Heather Williams, Erin Hunter, and Rob Kidd, sharing some of those names with other authors who write for the same popular series; she once won $46,000 as a two-day champion on the Jeopardy quiz show.

Postcards From the World: Bookish

I’m a sucker for a bookish postcard, so I had to share this Postcrossing card I received from a Postcrosser named Paula in Texas. Paula loves to read and to travel, as I do. Though she didn’t have room to say a lot in her card, I got the feeling we’d be friends, if we lived closer together. The card does not identify the location or photographer, but I do love this photo!

This looks like a used bookstore where I could spend hours exploring the shelves. Or maybe just reading in a corner.

July 30 Writer Birthdays

1511 – Giorgio Vasari, Italian writer, historian, painter, and architect who wrote Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-history writing; he was also the first to use the term “Renaissance” in print.

1818 – Emily Brontë, English author and poet whose only novel, Wuthering Heights, published under the name Ellis Bell, is considered a classic of English literature; her sisters Ann and Charlotte are also key literary figures.

1827 – Susan Shelby Magoffin, American writer whose diary, written as she traveled along the Santa Fe Trail in the late 1840s, has been used extensively by historians as a source for information about the lives of the pioneers.

1859 – Julia Frankau, bestselling English novelist and nonfiction author who often wrote under the name Frank Danby; her first novel was controversial because of its satirical portrayal of London Jews and Jewish life and its discussion of euthanasia; she also wrote three nonfiction books about engraving.

1889 – Rosa Borja de Ycaza, Ecuadorian writer, composer, poet, sociologist, essayist, dramatist, and activist for women’s rights and the rights of workers.

1889 – Dorothy Violet Wellesley, Duchess of Wellington (also known as Lady Gerald Wellesley), English author, poet, and literary editor.

1904 – Salvador Novo, influential Mexican poet, playwright, translator, and essayist.

1912 – Anne Ridler, English poet, writer, librettist, and editor.

1913 – Nankichi Niimi, Japanese teacher, writer, and children’s author who was sometimes known as the Hans Christian Andersen of Japan.

1918 – Auður Sveinsdóttir Laxness, Icelandic writer and craftswoman, credited with influencing the design and popularity of the Icelandic Lopapeysa sweater during the mid-20th century; as a writer, she sometimes collaborated with her husband, Nobel Literature laureate Halldór Laxness.

1924 – José Antonio Villarreal, Mexican-American novelist whose books concern Chicano life in the American Southwest; he has been called the “pivotal transitional link between ‘Mexican American’ and ‘Chicano’ literature”, both because of his strengths as a novelist and because of his rediscovery of Latino literature in the 1970s

1931 – Dominique Lapierre, French novelist, memoirist, biographer, history writer, investigative journalist, and world traveler, best known in the U.S. for his collaborations with Larry Collins.

1945 – Patrick Modiano, Nobel Prize-winning French novelist, praised “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

1946 – Barbara Kopple, two-time Academy Award-winning American documentary filmmaker and television director.

1958 – Pattukkottai Prabakar, Indian Tamil writer of crime novels and thrillers who is also a screenwriter for television and movies.

1958 – Claudia Schreiber, German journalist, author, screenwriter, and television presenter.

1960 – Marcus Pfister, Swiss children’s author and illustrator best known for his bestselling Rainbow Fish books.

1962 – Lavinia Greenlaw, award-winning English poet and novelist.

1967 – Ann Brashares, American author of novels for teens and adults, best known for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequels.

1975 – Cherie Priest, American author and blogger who writes in the genres of Southern gothic, horror, and steampunk.

July 29 Writer Birthdays

1605 – Simon Dach, Prussian/German lyrical poet and hymn writer.

1805 – Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian, political thinker, and author, best known for his two-volume work Democracy in America.

1849 – Max Nordau, Hungarian-born author, physician, social critic, and Zionist leader.

1869 – Booth Tarkington, American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams.

1878 – Don Marquis, American poet, humorist, journalist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.

1900 – Eyvind Johnson, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author.

1900 – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (short for Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry), French aristocrat, writer, poet, and aviation pioneer, best known for his children’s book, The Little Prince; the idea for the book came to him in dehydration-induced hallucinations after the plane he was piloting crashed in the Sahara Desert, stranding him and his navigator with no food and water except for the coffee and wine they had been carrying, until their rescue four days later.

1905 – Stanley Kunitz, National Book Award-winning American poet who was twice named U.S. Poet Laureate.

1909 – Samm Sinclair Baker, American author of many how-to and self-help books; notably The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet; he also wrote books on gardening.

1909 – Chester Himes, African-American writer who wrote a series of mystery novels with an African-American detective, a groundbreaking choice for the time; his books dealt with racism, and two of them have been made into movies.

1918 – Edwin O’Connor, American radio personality, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.

1918 – Mary Lee Settle, National Book Award-winning American author who was founder of the PEN/Faulkner Award.

1927 – Jean Karl, American author and editor, best known for science-fiction books for young adults.

1938 – Peter Jennings, Canadian/American journalist, author, and television news anchor.

1941 – Goenawan Mohamad, Indonesian poet, columnist, and magazine editor.

1945 – Sharon Creech, American author of children’s fiction who has won both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal.

1951 – Susan Blackmore, British writer, lecturer, and broadcaster on topics dealing with psychology and the paranormal.

1952 – Kathleen Krull, American author and editor of children’s books, best known for biographies.

1959 – Connie Porter, American author of books for children and young adults; she wrote the “Addy” books in the American Girl series.

1960 – Didier Van Cauwelaert, bestselling French author and libretto writer.

1963 – Caroline Paul, American firefighter, journalist, and author of fiction and nonfiction; her identical twin sister is Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul; her brother Jonathan Paul is an activist who is considered a domestic terrorist by the U.S. government for his militant animal-rights activities.

1965 – Chang-Rae Lee, Korean-American novelist and professor whose books often deal with the experiences of Asian immigrants in America.

1969 – Nathalie Handal, Haitian-born American writer, poet, and playwright.

1970 – Adele Griffin, two-time National Book Award finalist American author of young-adult fiction.

1970 – Lisi Harrison, Canadian author of young-adult novels.

1972 – Wil Wheaton, American actor, writer, memoirist, web-series host, and general internet good guy; he is best known for the roles of Wesley Crusher in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Gordie in the Rob Reiner film, Stand By Me.

Adventures in Autocorrect

I was wondering if I could use Triple-Thick Gloss Glaze Varnish on an exterior surface. I began to type my question into Google, and its helpful predictive software chimed in with a possible end to my question:

“Can I use Triple-Thick Gloss Glaze Varnish on… a dog?”

I laughed about it with my son, and he said he’d had a good one recently. He typed in again, “Help! I’ve accidentally…” and his choices included:

  • …died
  • …joined the Italian mafia
  • …restarted the USSR
  • …joined a peanut-worshiping cult.

Oh, those wacky algorithms.

July 28 Writer Birthdays

1809 – John Stuart Blackie, Scottish professor, scholar, translator, and essayist.

1844 – Gerard Manley Hopkins, English Jesuit priest who was one of the leading Victorian poets.

1864 – Stephen Phillips, popular English poet and dramatist.

1866 – Beatrix Potter, beloved English children’s author and illustrator, famous for her children’s books, including the classic, The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

1874 – Alice Duer Miller, American poetry whose work influenced political opinion, especially in the areas of women’s suffrage and U.S. entry into World War II.

1887 – Willard Price, Canadian-born American author of adventure books for children.

1902 – Sir Karl Raimund Popper, Austrian-British philosopher and professor who was considered one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.

1909 – Malcolm Lowry, English poet and novelist who was best known for his book Under the Volcano, voted 11 on the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list.

1927 – John Ashbery, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.

1929 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. First Lady during her first husband John F. Kennedy’s term as President; later she became a book editor for Viking and Doubleday.

1932 – Natalie Babbitt, American author of books for children and teens, best known for her novel Tuck Everlasting.

1937 – Francis Veber, French film director and screenwriter.

1938 – Robert Studley Forrest Hughes, Australian-born art critic, writer, and TV documentary producer.

1940 – Anne Mollegen Smith, former editor of such national magazines as Redbook and McCalls; she also writes fiction and blogs about business and finance.

1945 – Jim Davis, American cartoonist; best known for writing and drawing the Garfield cartoon strips and books.

1946 – Robert Asprin, American author of humorous science fiction and fantasy.

1956 – John Feinstein, American sportswriter who writes about basketball and golf.

1959 – William T. Vollman, National Book Award-winning American novelist.

1960 – Jon J. Muth, American author and illustrator of children’s books and comics.

1963 – Michael Ruhlman, American cookbook author who writes about food and restaurants.

July 27 Writer Birthdays

1777 – Thomas Campbell, Scottish poet known for his sentimental poetry and patriotic war songs; he helped create the initial plans for founding of the University of London.

1824 – Alexandre Dumas, son of the French author of the same name, his works have not attained the same acclaim as his father’s. His novel La Dame aux camélias (The Lady of the Camellias) was adapted by Verdi into the opera La Traviata.

1835 – Giosuè Carducci, Nobel Prize-winning Italian poet, teacher, essayist, translator, biographer, literary critic, and senator, influenced by the ancient Greeks and Romans; he is considered the unofficial national poet of modern Italy, despite the controversy he stirred up with his “Hymn to Satan,” which expressed his opposition to the power of the Catholic church and may have been meant metaphorically.

1849 – Vera Ivanovna Zasulich, Russian Menshevik writer, journalist, politician, and revolutionary.

1870 – Hilaire Belloc, Anglo-French poet, satirist, essayist, orator, soldier, sailor, and political activist who was one of the most important “men of letters” in the early twentieth century.

1876 – Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai, Indian Tamil poet, writer, and translator who has been commemorated on an Indian postage stamp.

1908 – Joseph Mitchell, American writer best known for this work in the New Yorker magazine, which focused on eccentrics and people on the fringes of society. He once placed third in a clam-eating tournament after consuming 84 cherrystones and called it “one of the few worthwhile achievements” of his life.

1909 – Hilde Palm, German lyric poet who wrote under the pseudonym Hilde Domin,

1913 – Scott Corbett, American teacher and author of novels for adults and children.

1916 – Elizabeth Hardwick, American literary critic, novelist, essayist, and short story writer; she was married to poet Robert Lowell.

1922 – Norman Lear, influential American television writer and producer who was known for such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Maude, and One Day At a Time.

1924 – Vincent Canby, powerful American film reviewer who was chief critic of the New York Times; he has been named one of the 25 best film critics of all times.

1929 – Jack Higgins, pen name of bestselling British author Harry Patterson, who writes political thrillers and spy novels.

1947 – Kathleen Norris, American poet, essayist, and nonfiction author. (Not to be confused with Kathleen Norris the novelist and columnist.)

1949 – Robert Rankin, British author of humorous novels who refers to his genre as “far-fetched fiction.” His fan club is called The Order of the Golden Sprout.

1958 – Kate Elliott, pen name of American science-fiction and fantasy author Alis A. Rasmussen

1940 – Bharati Mukherjee, Indian-born American novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and professor whose writing explores themes of immigration and alienation.

1948 – Juliet Marillier, New Zealand writer of historical fantasy novels.

1959 – Lawrence M. Schoen, Nebula Award-nominated American author, publisher, psychologist, hypnotist, and expert in the Klingon language; founder of the Klingon Language Institute; his best known works are the novel Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard and a series of novels, novellas, and short stories about a hypnotist, the Amazing Conroy.

1973 – Cassandra Clare, bestselling American author of young-adult fiction, best known for her series “The Mortal Instruments.”

July 26 Writer Birthdays

1856 – George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize-winning Irish playwright who was a co-founder of the London School of Economics; he also wrote music and literary criticism, essays, novels, and short stories.

1872 – George Louis Beer, renowned American historian of the Imperial school; he wrote about British colonialism.

1875 – Carl G. Jung, influential Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded and wrote extensively about the field of analytic psychology, in some aspects a response to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis.

1875 – Antonio Machado (full name Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz), Spanish poet who was one of the leading figures of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of ’98.

1885 – Andre Maurois (born Émile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog), prolific French author of novels, biographies, essays, histories, children’s books, and science-fiction stories.

1892 – Pearl Buck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short-story writer, children’s author, and biographer who grew up in China, where her parents were missionaries, and also lived part of her adult life there; many of her books are based on her experiences and observations in Asia and on the clash between East and West.

1894 – Aldous Huxley, British-born author of the classic science-fiction novel Brave New World who also wrote other novels, nonfiction, poetry, satire, short stories, travel pieces, memoirs, and film scripts; he was nominated for the Nobel Prize seven times but never won.

1921 – Jean Shepherd, American short-story writer, book author, screenwriter, actor, storyteller, and radio and TV personality, best known as co-writer and narrator of the 1983 film, A Christmas Story.

1922 – Chairil Anwar, Indonesian poet and member of the “1945 generation” of writers; he is estimated to have written 96 works, including 70 individual poems, despite the fact that he died at the age of 26.

1922 – Blake Edwards, American screenwriter, film director, and producer who was married to actress and singer Julie Andrews.

1925 – Ana María Matute Ausejo, internationally acclaimed Spanish writer and member of the Real Academia Española; she won the Cervantes Prize for her literary oeuvre.

1954 – Lawrence Watt-Evans, Hugo Award-winning American author of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

July 25 Writer Birthdays

1517 – Jacques Peletier du Mans – French Renaissance poet, translator, mathematician, and humanist who tried to reform French spelling to correct its inconsistencies.

1626 – Geeraerdt Brandt, Dutch poet, playwright, preacher, biographer, church historian, and naval historian who was a well-known writer in his time.

1761 – Charlotte Von Kalb (Baroness Marshal of Ostheim), German writer and Friedrich Schiller biographer whose books were published only after her death; she associated with poets Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, and Jean Paul. Her contemporaries said Von Kalb was judged unfavorably by women, but fascinated nearly every man she knew.

1896 – Elizabeth Mackintosh, influential Scottish author who wrote mystery novels under the pen name Josephine Tey and history-themed plays under the pen name Gordon Daviot.

1900 – Enrique Amorim, Uruguayan novelist and writer best known for his story “Las quitanderas,” whose plot centres on rural prostitution; he was also known for his left-wing politics.

1901 – Ruth Krauss, American author of children’s books and theatrical poems for adults; she is best known for her classic children’s book, The Carrot Seed.

1902 – Eric Hoffer, American author and social philosopher.

1905 – Elias Canetti, Nobel Prize-winning Bulgarian-born Swiss, British, and Austrian modernist writer of novels, plays, memoirs, and nonfiction.

1905 – Denys Watkins-Pitchford, British naturalist, children’s writer, and illustrator who wrote under the pseudonym BB.

1923 – Maria Gripe (born Maja Stina Walter), Swedish author of fantasy and folklore-based books for children and young adults; she was also a screenwriter, adapting many of her own books for television, radio, and film.

1947 – Clyde Watson, American author of children’s books, many of them illustrated by her sister Wendy Watson; they are two of many authors and illustrators in their family.

1961 – Darren Bennett Star, American screenwriter, producer, and director; best known as the creator of popular television series Sex & the City and Beverly Hills 90210.

1964 – Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning American journalist, columnist, and author who has written extensively about Communism and Central and Eastern Europe.

1966 – Rachel Vail, author of books for children and teens

1973 – Mur Lafferty, American podcaster and author of speculative fiction. known for her comic travel fantasies.