Alexei Leonov was a cosmonaut. In 1965, he became the first person to walk in space.
Woodie Flowers was an MIT professor of Mechanical Engineering. Students of my generation remember him largely for the 2.70 Design Competition, in which we got paper bags full of odds and ends (fasteners, springs, venetian blind slats, and other what-have-you) to fashion into a machine to do something. I remember his advice that it was better if your creation did something like going to pieces spectacularly rather than just sitting there. He later on got involved with STEM programs for younger children and was rather a hero to participants in FIRST Robotics.
Leah Bracknell was a British actress, best known for appearing in a soap opera called Emmerdale. She was on my ghoul pool list because she was widely known to have terminal lung cancer. She earned me 19 points.
Elijah Cummings was a member of the House of Representatives from Maryland. He chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
World Series: The Washington Nationals are in the World Series! This is incredible and will be keeping me sleep deprived for at least the rest of the week.
I Try Things So You Don’t Have To: I like Coke Zero. Vanilla Coke Zero, however, is terrible.
The Grapevine: I made it to The Grapevine (a monthly storytelling show at a venue right at the D.C. / Maryland border) last Wednesday. The featured tellers were Megan Hicks and Jamie Brickhouse. I told a story with a particularly atrocious pun at the end during the open mike. Megan had a great piece about her mother’s music career and Jamie had stories about his mother and his finding his true self to lead a "sissy fabulous life." All in all, it was an excellent evening and worth the next day’s exhaustion.
Storytelling Workshop: I spent Sunday at a storytelling workshop on dealing with complex stories. It gave me lots of time to work on an idea I have. I’ve mentioned my great-aunt Mary Lehrman before. She died, along with 78 other people, in the 1943 wreck of the Congressional Limited near Philadelphia. I will be telling her story in a show in November. But I want to do a longer piece, which will include stories of some of the other victims of the train wreck. There are some interesting stories there. For example, a man in Brooklyn went to the Philadelphia morgue to identify his wife and children, who were killed in the wreck. He returned home, closed all the doors and windows to his apartment, and turned on the gas. There’s also a story about a Marine lieutenant who never let his briefcase out of his site. He was killed and the briefcase was damaged, but an armed group of men came and took both his body and the briefcase, which appeared to have a sheaf of papers.
I was also curious about survivors who were mentioned. When I got home, I googled Lin Yutang, who the newspaper reports had identified as a Chinese author. He’s really an interesting character. He invented a Chinese typewriter, for example. He published a number of books in both Chinese and English and his wife wrote some of the first Chinese cookbooks in English. I am thinking that using some quotes from him might be an interesting way of structuring the piece – and might also provide a lighter touch to such a tragic story.
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