“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”—Elie Wiesel
He was a painter, but also a great letter-writer. He wrote about art, of course, but also friendship, religion, prostitutes, interior decorating, and his love affairs. His letters are often lively, engaging, and passionate; they also frequently reflect his struggles with bipolar disorder.
"I have a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out and paint the stars." And he wrote: "What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart."
He wrote thousands of letters to his brother Theo over the course of his life. Theo’s widow, Joanna, published the first complete edition of van Gogh’s letters to her husband in 1913.
Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet who is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. One of the most popular and critically respected American poets of his generation, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick himself was English, not Irish. He was born into an aristocratic family, but was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. Eventually, he escaped, went home, became a priest, and returned to Ireland to convert the natives to Christianity.
Until fairly recently, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated only as a religious holiday in Ireland. People were given the day off from work; they went to church, and then they shared a big roast dinner with their families. The pubs were required to remain closed that day, so no green beer — or beer of any sort, for that matter — was allowed to be served in public. It was the Irish in America and Canada that turned the saint’s day into the full-blown party that it’s become. The first St. Patrick’s Day parades were held in America during the 18th century, as a show of loyalty to the mother country and a way to call attention to the plight of working-class Irish immigrants. Boston organized the first parade in 1737, and New York’s first was in 1762. During the Revolutionary War, General Washington issued a proclamation in 1780 that gave Irish troops the day off for the holiday.
Parades remain a large part of the day’s celebrations, and New York City’s is the largest in the world, with the 69th Infantry Regiment leading 150,000 marchers up Fifth Avenue. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin was held in 1995 to boost tourism. Since then, the parade has grown into a five-day festival and attracts millions of people every year. Consumption of Guinness stout more than doubles on March 17; around 13 million pints will be imbibed worldwide today.