Saul Bellow

"I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, "To hell with you."

~ Saul Bellow


US (Canadian-born) author; wrote novels "The Dangling Man" 1944, "The Adventures of Augie March" 1953, "Henderson the Rain King" 1959, "Herzog" 1964, "Mr. Sammler's Planet" 1970, "Humboldt's Gift" 1975; Nobel Prize in Literature 1976

Manuscripts 'treated as fossils'

"A palaeontologist has come up with a novel way of studying historical manuscripts, by treating them as fossils from an extinct species. John Cisne, writing in Science magazine, says manuscripts from the Middle Ages have a lot in common with animal populations.

For this reason, he claims, he can work out how many copies of a manuscript once existed and how regularly they were destroyed, simply by applying a biological model.

Historians have cautiously welcomed this rare link between the arts and sciences."


March 1, 2005

Arthur Miller

"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."

Arthur Miller


"Arthur Asher Miller, the son of a womens’ clothing company owner, was born in 1915 in New York City. His father lost his business in the Depression and the family was forced to move to a smaller home in Brooklyn. After graduating from high school, Miller worked jobs ranging from radio singer to truck driver to clerk in an automobile-parts warehouse.

Miller began writing plays as a student at the University of Michigan, joining the Federal Theater Project in New York City after he received his degree. His first Broadway play, The Man Who Had All the Luck, opened in 1944 and his next play, All My Sons, received the Drama Critics' Circle Award. His 1949 Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer Prize.

In 1956 and 1957, Miller was subpoenaed by the House of Un-American Activities Committee and was convicted of contempt of Congress for his refusal to identify writers believed to hold Communist sympathies. The following year, the United States Court of Appeals overturned the conviction....

Throughout his life and work, Miller has remained socially engaged and has written with conscience, clarity, and compassion. As Chris Keller says to his mother in All My Sons, "Once and for all you must know that there's a universe of people outside, and you're responsible to it." Miller's work is infused with his sense of responsibility to humanity and to his audience.

"The playwright is nothing without his audience," he writes. "He is one of the audience who happens to know how to speak."

The Queens Theater

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

""February 9, 2005 is the first day of the new year. There are three ways to name a Chinese year: -By an animal (like a mascot). The new year is known as the Year of the Rooster. -There are 12 animal names; so by this system, year names are re-cycled every 12 years. More. -By its Former Name. -The new year is the year of Yiyou. By this system, the Name of the Year is repeated and re-cycled every 60 years. It is Year 4702 by Chinese calendar."

Belated National Handwriting Day

"Who among you still practices the fine art of sending postal letters written by hand? Or for that matter, who can remember practicing handwriting in school? Talk about revealing one’s true age…

Today is John Hancock’s birthday (his 268th if you’re planning on buying candles), and so partly to honor him and his notable signature today is also National Handwriting Day. Started by the Writing Instrument Manufacturer’s Association (WIMA), ostensibly to promote a return to handwriting but obviously intended to benefit the association’s members, the celebration hopes to draw attention to the fact that we as a culture (at least Western culture) have lost some of our personality and individualism in the headlong rush to communicate virtually via keyboards..."

Gary Varner


The White House Calligrapher

"It's likely that you won’t find a "D" in penmanship on the report cards belonging to White House calligrapher Rick Muffler, a third generation White House employee. Rick’s grandfather was President Warren G. Harding’s chauffeur, and his father, John Muffler, has been a staff member for more than 50 years. As a youngster, Mr. Muffler made frequent visits to the White House with his father. He was well known by the staff and even met several Presidents. When he was just 8 years old, Mr. Muffler made a model of California for President Nixon. Later, his father brought him to work to meet the President. President Nixon leaned over to him and said, "It’s nice to have another Richard in the White House."

On a typical day, you might find Rick Muffler penning the descriptions of delicacies for a State Dinner menu, inscribing the name of an honoree to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or printing the name of a new Presidential Appointee on an official document. He is the only left-handed calligrapher at the White House."

The Working White House

Anybody got an invite to the Inaugural Ball? Awesome works of penmanship are welcome.   

Paper vs PDA

"I woke up today, and grabbed my Palm Tungsten E off my dresser after a night of being charged. Before I shoved the PDA into my jeans - I turned it on to see the battery status.

Guess what? It would not turn on. I mumbled under my breath and my wife, once again, started listing why she loves paper more. I also got input from MANY others.

My wife says:


Paper is more secure. Why? Many times I've typed up documents on the computer and have forgot to save it or have hit a button and lost my work. The worst that could happen with paper 1) it can be misplaced (and found) or 2) lost or stolen (never recovered). The same things can happen to a PDA or other technology. Furthermore, most likely someone would want to steal a PDA or computer instead of paper. The chances of theft of paper are much lower than with technology. With a PDA (technology) data can be destroyed due to technology failure - not human. You might wake up one day (as I did) and find your data lost."

"The Fight With My Wife"

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