Saturday, November 24, 2007

And Another

This one not from A Word A Day:

So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private citizens will occasionally kill theirs. --Elbert Hubbard (06/19/1856 - 05/07/1915) US author and publisher">Elbert Hubbard, US author and publisher (1856 - 1915)

Words Escape Me

...but they land here. These are from A Word A Day.

They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They're not laughing now. -Bob Monkhouse, comedian (1928-2003)

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one. -Colette, author (1873-1954)

That is a good book which is opened with expectation, and closed with delight and profit. -Amos Bronson Alcott, teacher and author (1799-1888)

Every man's memory is his private literature. -Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

On This Date

Strange Days

That's My Party!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

And Coincidentally

Today is the forty-fourth anniversary of the JFK assassination; tomorrow is the forty-fourth anniversary of the premiere of Doctor Who on BBC Television.

Also coincidentally: I have read in my travels, but have not troubled myself to verify, that the first of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series was being prepared for publication when JFK was murdered. At that point, the character was named Dallas McGee, but in the odd estimation of publishers, the fact that JFK was killed in Dallas was an ill omen, and so a last-minute change was effected and Dallas McGee became Travis Mc Gee. Which is a much better name.
    If he were still alive, John F. Kennedy would be turning 90 tomorrow. As an elder statesman, what would he think about our world?

    For a start, he would be puzzled by George Bush’s bubbled White House. Kennedy’s own curiosity was insatiable. He devoured books, took a speed-reading course to absorb more, wanted to know everything. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he held a running seminar at the White House to consider every possible way to avoid a nuclear showdown. Only then did he act.

So writes Robert Stein in an excellent essay, JFK: Bush, War and the Web, on his blog,
Connecting.the.Dots. He wrote the essay back in May, but I discovered it only today, following a link from his equally readible post, Thanksgiving and JFK, at The Moderate Voice. (One quibble, though: He leads by asserting, "For anyone over 50, today is not only Thanksgiving but the day JFK died 44 years ago." Well, I'm not quite over 50 yet--give me another month or so--but I remember the day indelibly. First the news, as I sat at our kitchen table on Hascall Street, Omaha, that the president had been shot. (In those softer times, we were allowed to venture homeward for lunch, provided we lived close enough and it was okay with our folks. We lived right across the street from St. Joan of Arc school.) Later, Sister Geralda came to our room with the news that JFK was dead. Even among second-graders, there was a feeling that he had been hated, and possibly even murdered, because of his religion as much as his politics.)

Anyhow, both of Stein's essays are well worth the read.

I especially like this line from the Connecting.the.Dots piece:

    This could go on like one of those montages on the Daily Show, but the difference between the President we lost too soon and the one we have had in office too long is as simple and as complicated as poetry.

    After JFK’s death, the world’s poets filled a volume with elegies and anguish. That won’t be happening again any time soon.