Friday, March 12, 2010

The weekend is near...

Good morning:

How are you today, the eve of the weekend?

The picture here is page from Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare's minor plays.

I am almost finished with the biography of Joseph Pulitzer. He came here near the end of the Civil War, as substitute soldier for a Maine person. He survived the war but it made him anti-war, even in 1899 when the New York Journal, a rival to Pulitzer's New York World, rattled the sabers of the nation by promoting the Spanish American war after the Maine battleship exploded in a bay in Cuba.

The New York Journal was owned by William Randolf Hearst after he came from San Francisco to start a paper in New York.

In his late 50's Pulitzer went blind when both of his retinas detached in his eyes. He was born a century too early. I say this because I discovered I had a detached retina in my left eye about seven weeks after my train accident in 1992.

I was in Rehab at General Hospital in Salem when I found my left eye had black lines all around it. I was sent next door to an ophthalmologist who told me there was too much blood in my eye to see anything. A few days later I returned to him and he found the detached retina in my left eye. That same day he sent to a retina specialist to re-attached my retina.

I never heard of retina specialists but I certainly found out that day. The hardest thing to get was the shot in my eye lid to stop me from blinking. That really, really hurt.

Then the doctor shot a green laser into my eye, a pulsing light that repaired my retina.

Joseph Pulitzer did not have access to laser surgery in the early teens of the 20th century.

After being totally involved with the New York World for so many years, making it the biggest newspaper in New York, he became an absentee owner, traveling around the world on the suggestions of doctors to try to heal his eyes.

Joesph Pulitzer was an Hungarian Jew who came to the U.S., as I mentioned, to earn money fighting in our Civil War.

As the owner of the World, he railed against monopolies and the rich, even though he became one of the wealthiest persons in the world through his ownership of the World and his continued ownership of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

This book is a good history of the late 19th and early 20th century. We see all but one of his siblings die before he left Hungry. He watched two of his children die of diseases we can easily cure today.

Joseph Pulitzer endowed the Pulitzer prizes with his wealth upon his death. This is why his name lives on today, even though the World, the Journal, the Herald and all other newspapers at died over time. Only the struggling New York Times survived from that time.

I like to read large biographies to learn about the subject of the book but also to learn about the time that person lived. This author weaves the two together seamlessly.


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