… of German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, born in Frankfurt on this date in 1749. Goethe said, “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
… of Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first American-born Saint, born in New York City on this date in 1774.
… of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, born near Tula on this date in 1828.
… of ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson, born in Jamestown, New York, on this date in 1908.
… of Nancy Kulp, Miss Hathaway of The Beverly Hillbillies, was born on August 28th in 1921. She died in 1991.
Eilleen Regina Edwards was born 49 years ago today. We know her better as Shania Twain.
And so let freedom ring — from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring — from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring — from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring — from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring — from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that.
Let freedom ring — from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring — from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring — from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,
“Free at last, free at last.
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., 51 years ago today
All photos by NewMexiKen
Fort Laramie National Historic Site (Wyoming)
Everglades National Park (Florida)
Fort Union National Monument (New Mexico)
Arches National Park (Utah)
Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee)
Yosemite National Park (California)
Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota)
John Muir National Historic Site (California)
White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)
Maureen O’Hara is 94 today. Once voted one of the five most beautiful women in the world, Miss O’Hara is probably best known now as Natalie Wood’s unbelieving mother in the classic Miracle on 34th Street (filmed when O’Hara was 26); or perhaps as Esmeralda to Charles Laughton’s Quasimodo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul is 82.
Robert De Niro is 71 today. De Niro has been nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar five times, winning for Raging Bull in 1981. He also won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role as the young Vito Corleone in Godfather II. De Niro’s other nominations were for Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Awakenings and Cape Fear, and in 2013 for supporting in Silver Linings Playbook.
Novelist Jonathan Franzen is 55 today. His The Corrections won the 2001 National Book Award.
Sean Penn is 54 today. Penn has been nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar five times, winning for Mystic River and Milk. Penn’s other nominations were for Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown and I Am Sam.
Football coach/commentator Jon Gruden is 51.
Davy Crockett — frontiersman, soldier, three-term congressman, restless soul — was born on this date in 1786. As congressman 1827-1831 and 1833-1835, Crockett opposed many of President Andrew Jackson policies, particularly the Indian Removal Act. Crockett published A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett. Written by Himself in 1834. When he lost reelection that year he went to Texas, where he died at the Alamo on March 6, 1836.
After seeing Mae’s jewelry the coat check girl exclaims, “Goodness, what lovely diamonds!” Mae replies, “Goodness had nothing to do with it.” That’s screen legend Mae West in Night After Night. Ms. West was born on this date in 1893.
Francis Gary Powers was born on August 17, 1929. The CIA pilot was shot down over Soviet airspace on May 1, 1960, flying in a U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. It was a major international incident. He was convicted of espionage but released in 1962 in a prisoner exchange. Upon arriving home he was criticized for not activating the plane’s self-destruct mechanism (he said it didn’t work) and not killing himself. He was largely exonerated and was ultimately highly decorated much of it long after his death. Powers died in 1977 when his Los Angles news helicopter crashed.
… was authorized on this date in 1937.
The area now known as Cape Hatteras National Seashore has a long and rich heritage. The islands that make up the seashore have been home to Native Americans, farmers, watermen, slaves, lighthouse keepers, surfmen, and many others who continue to shape the heritage of the area. The people have witnessed events that include hurricanes, the death of Blackbeard the pirate, Civil War battles, the construction of its now famous lighthouses, the birth of the USCG in the lifesaving stations, hundreds of shipwrecks, Billy Mitchell’s test bombings, Reginald Fessenden’s first radio broadcasts, the building of dunes by the CCC, scientific strides in weather forecasting, u-boat attacks, and much more.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the nation’s first national seashore, was established to preserve significant segments of unspoiled barrier islands along North Carolina’s stretch of the Atlantic Coast. Barrier islands are narrow, low-lying, dynamic landforms which parallel ocean coasts, are separated from the mainland, and are constantly moving and reshaping in response to storms, ocean currents, sea level changes, and wave and wind action. These processes continue to influence the islands today through the processes of erosion and accretion of the shoreline; overwash across the islands; and the formation, migration, and closure of the inlets.
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue — released 55 years ago today (August 17, 1959) —
… is a nearly unique thing in music or any other creative realm: a huge hit—the best-selling jazz album of all time—and the spearhead of an artistic revolution. Everyone, even people who say they don’t like jazz, likes Kind of Blue. It’s cool, romantic, melancholic, and gorgeously melodic. But why do critics regard it as one of the best jazz albums ever made? What is it about Kind of Blue that makes it not just pleasant but important?
Fred Kaplan tells us Why Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is so great.
The sextet consisted of Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), Paul Chambers (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums) and Bill Evans (piano). Wynton Kelly replaced Evans on “Freddie Freeloader.”
Everyone — every one — should own this album (if you own it, you will listen to it). It rarely costs more than $10, and you can get it from iTunes right now for $6.99.
“Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence.” — allmusic
To this day Kind of Blue sells 5,000 copies a week.