The following story, “A Kidnapped Santa Claus”, was written by L. Frank Baum.
The text today is compliments of Project Gutenberg.
Santa Claus lives in the Laughing Valley, where stands the big, rambling castle in which his toys are manufactured. His workmen, selected from the ryls, knooks, pixies and fairies, live with him, and every one is as busy as can be from one year’s end to another.
It is called the Laughing Valley because everything there is happy and gay. The brook chuckles to itself as it leaps rollicking between its green banks; the wind whistles merrily in the trees; the sunbeams dance lightly over the soft grass, and the violets and wild flowers look smilingly up from their green nests. To laugh one needs to be happy; to be happy one needs to be content. And throughout the Laughing Valley of Santa Claus contentment reigns supreme.
On one side is the mighty Forest of Burzee. At the other side stands the huge mountain that contains the Caves of the Daemons. And between them the Valley lies smiling and peaceful.
One would thing that our good old Santa Claus, who devotes his days to making children happy, would have no enemies on all the earth; and, as a matter of fact, for a long period of time he encountered nothing but love wherever he might go.
But the Daemons who live in the mountain caves grew to hate Santa Claus very much, and all for the simple reason that he made children happy.
The Caves of the Daemons are five in number. A broad pathway leads up to the first cave, which is a finely arched cavern at the foot of the mountain, the entrance being beautifully carved and decorated. In it resides the Daemon of Selfishness. Back of this is another cavern inhabited by the Daemon of Envy. The cave of the Daemon of Hatred is next in order, and through this one passes to the home of the Daemon of Malice—situated in a dark and fearful cave in the very heart of the mountain. I do not know what lies beyond this. Some say there are terrible pitfalls leading to death and destruction, and this may very well be true. However, from each one of the four caves mentioned there is a small, narrow tunnel leading to the fifth cave—a cozy little room occupied by the Daemon of Repentance. And as the rocky floors of these passages are well worn by the track of passing feet, I judge that many wanderers in the Caves of the Daemons have escaped through the tunnels to the abode of the Daemon of Repentance, who is said to be a pleasant sort of fellow who gladly opens for one a little door admitting you into fresh air and sunshine again.
Well, these Daemons of the Caves, thinking they had great cause to dislike old Santa Claus, held a meeting one day to discuss the matter.
“I’m really getting lonesome,” said the Daemon of Selfishness. “For Santa Claus distributes so many pretty Christmas gifts to all the children that they become happy and generous, through his example, and keep away from my cave.”
“I’m having the same trouble,” rejoined the Daemon of Envy. “The little ones seem quite content with Santa Claus, and there are few, indeed, that I can coax to become envious.”
“And that makes it bad for me!” declared the Daemon of Hatred. “For if no children pass through the Caves of Selfishness and Envy, none can get to MY cavern.”
“Or to mine,” added the Daemon of Malice.
“For my part,” said the Daemon of Repentance, “it is easily seen that if children do not visit your caves they have no need to visit mine; so that I am quite as neglected as you are.”
“And all because of this person they call Santa Claus!” exclaimed the Daemon of Envy. “He is simply ruining our business, and something must be done at once.”
To this they readily agreed; but what to do was another and more difficult matter to settle. They knew that Santa Claus worked all through the year at his castle in the Laughing Valley, preparing the gifts he was to distribute on Christmas Eve; and at first they resolved to try to tempt him into their caves, that they might lead him on to the terrible pitfalls that ended in destruction.
So the very next day, while Santa Claus was busily at work, surrounded by his little band of assistants, the Daemon of Selfishness came to him and said:
“These toys are wonderfully bright and pretty. Why do you not keep them for yourself? It’s a pity to give them to those noisy boys and fretful girls, who break and destroy them so quickly.”
“Nonsense!” cried the old graybeard, his bright eyes twinkling merrily as he turned toward the tempting Daemon. “The boys and girls are never so noisy and fretful after receiving my presents, and if I can make them happy for one day in the year I am quite content.”
So the Daemon went back to the others, who awaited him in their caves, and said:
“I have failed, for Santa Claus is not at all selfish.”
The following day the Daemon of Envy visited Santa Claus. Said he: “The toy shops are full of playthings quite as pretty as those you are making. What a shame it is that they should interfere with your business! They make toys by machinery much quicker than you can make them by hand; and they sell them for money, while you get nothing at all for your work.”
But Santa Claus refused to be envious of the toy shops.
“I can supply the little ones but once a year—on Christmas Eve,” he answered; “for the children are many, and I am but one. And as my work is one of love and kindness I would be ashamed to receive money for my little gifts. But throughout all the year the children must be amused in some way, and so the toy shops are able to bring much happiness to my little friends. I like the toy shops, and am glad to see them prosper.”
In spite of the second rebuff, the Daemon of Hatred thought he would try to influence Santa Claus. So the next day he entered the busy workshop and said:
“Good morning, Santa! I have bad news for you.”
“Then run away, like a good fellow,” answered Santa Claus. “Bad news is something that should be kept secret and never told.”
“You cannot escape this, however,” declared the Daemon; “for in the world are a good many who do not believe in Santa Claus, and these you are bound to hate bitterly, since they have so wronged you.”
“Stuff and rubbish!” cried Santa.
“And there are others who resent your making children happy and who sneer at you and call you a foolish old rattlepate! You are quite right to hate such base slanderers, and you ought to be revenged upon them for their evil words.”
“But I don’t hate ‘em!” exclaimed Santa Claus positively. “Such people do me no real harm, but merely render themselves and their children unhappy. Poor things! I’d much rather help them any day than injure them.”
Indeed, the Daemons could not tempt old Santa Claus in any way. On the contrary, he was shrewd enough to see that their object in visiting him was to make mischief and trouble, and his cheery laughter disconcerted the evil ones and showed to them the folly of such an undertaking. So they abandoned honeyed words and determined to use force.
It was well known that no harm can come to Santa Claus while he is in the Laughing Valley, for the fairies, and ryls, and knooks all protect him. But on Christmas Eve he drives his reindeer out into the big world, carrying a sleighload of toys and pretty gifts to the children; and this was the time and the occasion when his enemies had the best chance to injure him. So the Daemons laid their plans and awaited the arrival of Christmas Eve.
The moon shone big and white in the sky, and the snow lay crisp and sparkling on the ground as Santa Claus cracked his whip and sped away out of the Valley into the great world beyond. The roomy sleigh was packed full with huge sacks of toys, and as the reindeer dashed onward our jolly old Santa laughed and whistled and sang for very joy. For in all his merry life this was the one day in the year when he was happiest—the day he lovingly bestowed the treasures of his workshop upon the little children.
It would be a busy night for him, he well knew. As he whistled and shouted and cracked his whip again, he reviewed in mind all the towns and cities and farmhouses where he was expected, and figured that he had just enough presents to go around and make every child happy. The reindeer knew exactly what was expected of them, and dashed along so swiftly that their feet scarcely seemed to touch the snow-covered ground.
Suddenly a strange thing happened: a rope shot through the moonlight and a big noose that was in the end of it settled over the arms and body of Santa Claus and drew tight. Before he could resist or even cry out he was jerked from the seat of the sleigh and tumbled head foremost into a snowbank, while the reindeer rushed onward with the load of toys and carried it quickly out of sight and sound.
Such a surprising experience confused old Santa for a moment, and when he had collected his senses he found that the wicked Daemons had pulled him from the snowdrift and bound him tightly with many coils of the stout rope. And then they carried the kidnapped Santa Claus away to their mountain, where they thrust the prisoner into a secret cave and chained him to the rocky wall so that he could not escape.
“Ha, ha!” laughed the Daemons, rubbing their hands together with cruel glee. “What will the children do now? How they will cry and scold and storm when they find there are no toys in their stockings and no gifts on their Christmas trees! And what a lot of punishment they will receive from their parents, and how they will flock to our Caves of Selfishness, and Envy, and Hatred, and Malice! We have done a mighty clever thing, we Daemons of the Caves!”
Now it so chanced that on this Christmas Eve the good Santa Claus had taken with him in his sleigh Nuter the Ryl, Peter the Knook, Kilter the Pixie, and a small fairy named Wisk—his four favorite assistants. These little people he had often found very useful in helping him to distribute his gifts to the children, and when their master was so suddenly dragged from the sleigh they were all snugly tucked underneath the seat, where the sharp wind could not reach them.
The tiny immortals knew nothing of the capture of Santa Claus until some time after he had disappeared. But finally they missed his cheery voice, and as their master always sang or whistled on his journeys, the silence warned them that something was wrong.
Little Wisk stuck out his head from underneath the seat and found Santa Claus gone and no one to direct the flight of the reindeer.
“Whoa!” he called out, and the deer obediently slackened speed and came to a halt.
Peter and Nuter and Kilter all jumped upon the seat and looked back over the track made by the sleigh. But Santa Claus had been left miles and miles behind.
“What shall we do?” asked Wisk anxiously, all the mirth and mischief banished from his wee face by this great calamity.
“We must go back at once and find our master,” said Nuter the Ryl, who thought and spoke with much deliberation.
“No, no!” exclaimed Peter the Knook, who, cross and crabbed though he was, might always be depended upon in an emergency. “If we delay, or go back, there will not be time to get the toys to the children before morning; and that would grieve Santa Claus more than anything else.”
“It is certain that some wicked creatures have captured him,” added Kilter thoughtfully, “and their object must be to make the children unhappy. So our first duty is to get the toys distributed as carefully as if Santa Claus were himself present. Afterward we can search for our master and easily secure his freedom.”
This seemed such good and sensible advice that the others at once resolved to adopt it. So Peter the Knook called to the reindeer, and the faithful animals again sprang forward and dashed over hill and valley, through forest and plain, until they came to the houses wherein children lay sleeping and dreaming of the pretty gifts they would find on Christmas morning.
The little immortals had set themselves a difficult task; for although they had assisted Santa Claus on many of his journeys, their master had always directed and guided them and told them exactly what he wished them to do. But now they had to distribute the toys according to their own judgment, and they did not understand children as well as did old Santa. So it is no wonder they made some laughable errors.
Mamie Brown, who wanted a doll, got a drum instead; and a drum is of no use to a girl who loves dolls. And Charlie Smith, who delights to romp and play out of doors, and who wanted some new rubber boots to keep his feet dry, received a sewing box filled with colored worsteds and threads and needles, which made him so provoked that he thoughtlessly called our dear Santa Claus a fraud.
Had there been many such mistakes the Daemons would have accomplished their evil purpose and made the children unhappy. But the little friends of the absent Santa Claus labored faithfully and intelligently to carry out their master’s ideas, and they made fewer errors than might be expected under such unusual circumstances.
And, although they worked as swiftly as possible, day had begun to break before the toys and other presents were all distributed; so for the first time in many years the reindeer trotted into the Laughing Valley, on their return, in broad daylight, with the brilliant sun peeping over the edge of the forest to prove they were far behind their accustomed hours.
Having put the deer in the stable, the little folk began to wonder how they might rescue their master; and they realized they must discover, first of all, what had happened to him and where he was.
So Wisk the Fairy transported himself to the bower of the Fairy Queen, which was located deep in the heart of the Forest of Burzee; and once there, it did not take him long to find out all about the naughty Daemons and how they had kidnapped the good Santa Claus to prevent his making children happy. The Fairy Queen also promised her assistance, and then, fortified by this powerful support, Wisk flew back to where Nuter and Peter and Kilter awaited him, and the four counseled together and laid plans to rescue their master from his enemies.
It is possible that Santa Claus was not as merry as usual during the night that succeeded his capture. For although he had faith in the judgment of his little friends he could not avoid a certain amount of worry, and an anxious look would creep at times into his kind old eyes as he thought of the disappointment that might await his dear little children. And the Daemons, who guarded him by turns, one after another, did not neglect to taunt him with contemptuous words in his helpless condition.
When Christmas Day dawned the Daemon of Malice was guarding the prisoner, and his tongue was sharper than that of any of the others.
“The children are waking up, Santa!” he cried. “They are waking up to find their stockings empty! Ho, ho! How they will quarrel, and wail, and stamp their feet in anger! Our caves will be full today, old Santa! Our caves are sure to be full!”
But to this, as to other like taunts, Santa Claus answered nothing. He was much grieved by his capture, it is true; but his courage did not forsake him. And, finding that the prisoner would not reply to his jeers, the Daemon of Malice presently went away, and sent the Daemon of Repentance to take his place.
This last personage was not so disagreeable as the others. He had gentle and refined features, and his voice was soft and pleasant in tone.
“My brother Daemons do not trust me overmuch,” said he, as he entered the cavern; “but it is morning, now, and the mischief is done. You cannot visit the children again for another year.”
“That is true,” answered Santa Claus, almost cheerfully; “Christmas Eve is past, and for the first time in centuries I have not visited my children.”
“The little ones will be greatly disappointed,” murmured the Daemon of Repentance, almost regretfully; “but that cannot be helped now. Their grief is likely to make the children selfish and envious and hateful, and if they come to the Caves of the Daemons today I shall get a chance to lead some of them to my Cave of Repentance.”
“Do you never repent, yourself?” asked Santa Claus, curiously.
“Oh, yes, indeed,” answered the Daemon. “I am even now repenting that I assisted in your capture. Of course it is too late to remedy the evil that has been done; but repentance, you know, can come only after an evil thought or deed, for in the beginning there is nothing to repent of.”
“So I understand,” said Santa Claus. “Those who avoid evil need never visit your cave.”
“As a rule, that is true,” replied the Daemon; “yet you, who have done no evil, are about to visit my cave at once; for to prove that I sincerely regret my share in your capture I am going to permit you to escape.”
This speech greatly surprised the prisoner, until he reflected that it was just what might be expected of the Daemon of Repentance. The fellow at once busied himself untying the knots that bound Santa Claus and unlocking the chains that fastened him to the wall. Then he led the way through a long tunnel until they both emerged in the Cave of Repentance.
“I hope you will forgive me,” said the Daemon pleadingly. “I am not really a bad person, you know; and I believe I accomplish a great deal of good in the world.”
With this he opened a back door that let in a flood of sunshine, and Santa Claus sniffed the fresh air gratefully.
“I bear no malice,” said he to the Daemon, in a gentle voice; “and I am sure the world would be a dreary place without you. So, good morning, and a Merry Christmas to you!”
With these words he stepped out to greet the bright morning, and a moment later he was trudging along, whistling softly to himself, on his way to his home in the Laughing Valley.
Marching over the snow toward the mountain was a vast army, made up of the most curious creatures imaginable. There were numberless knooks from the forest, as rough and crooked in appearance as the gnarled branches of the trees they ministered to. And there were dainty ryls from the fields, each one bearing the emblem of the flower or plant it guarded. Behind these were many ranks of pixies, gnomes and nymphs, and in the rear a thousand beautiful fairies floated along in gorgeous array.
This wonderful army was led by Wisk, Peter, Nuter, and Kilter, who had assembled it to rescue Santa Claus from captivity and to punish the Daemons who had dared to take him away from his beloved children.
And, although they looked so bright and peaceful, the little immortals were armed with powers that would be very terrible to those who had incurred their anger. Woe to the Daemons of the Caves if this mighty army of vengeance ever met them!
But lo! coming to meet his loyal friends appeared the imposing form of Santa Claus, his white beard floating in the breeze and his bright eyes sparkling with pleasure at this proof of the love and veneration he had inspired in the hearts of the most powerful creatures in existence.
And while they clustered around him and danced with glee at his safe return, he gave them earnest thanks for their support. But Wisk, and Nuter, and Peter, and Kilter, he embraced affectionately.
“It is useless to pursue the Daemons,” said Santa Claus to the army. “They have their place in the world, and can never be destroyed. But that is a great pity, nevertheless,” he continued musingly.
So the fairies, and knooks, and pixies, and ryls all escorted the good man to his castle, and there left him to talk over the events of the night with his little assistants.
Wisk had already rendered himself invisible and flown through the big world to see how the children were getting along on this bright Christmas morning; and by the time he returned, Peter had finished telling Santa Claus of how they had distributed the toys.
“We really did very well,” cried the fairy, in a pleased voice; “for I found little unhappiness among the children this morning. Still, you must not get captured again, my dear master; for we might not be so fortunate another time in carrying out your ideas.”
He then related the mistakes that had been made, and which he had not discovered until his tour of inspection. And Santa Claus at once sent him with rubber boots for Charlie Smith, and a doll for Mamie Brown; so that even those two disappointed ones became happy.
As for the wicked Daemons of the Caves, they were filled with anger and chagrin when they found that their clever capture of Santa Claus had come to naught. Indeed, no one on that Christmas Day appeared to be at all selfish, or envious, or hateful. And, realizing that while the children’s saint had so many powerful friends it was folly to oppose him, the Daemons never again attempted to interfere with his journeys on Christmas Eve.
The text below is famous. HT to Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Pictures from The Library of Congress .
DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? VIRGINIA O’HANLON. 115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Until 2009, PG had never heard of Mithras.
Mithras is a Persian deity, from the Zororoaster tradition.(That is pronounced Zor uh THRUS ta. Not much is known about Mithras … did he really exist,or was he a legend? There was a cult of Mithras in the first century Roman empire.
There are supposed to be similarities between Mithras and Jesus. These include the virgin birth, the birth on December 25, and rising from the dead after three days. Some spoilsports say the early christians grafted Jesus onto the legend of Mithras.
One indication that this might be true is “The Catholic Encyclopedia“. “Some apparent similarities exist; but … it is quite probable that Mithraism was the borrower from Christianity.”
This is a repost. Pictures from The Library of Congress .
The story below is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. There is a guest appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. (R.I.P. Betty. She was a merry soul.)
Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic Tuesday. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.
In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.
Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten.( Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one.) The booklet was released anyway, and was a big hit with shoppers.
Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story ( which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.
Gene Autry had a radio show, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch”. He created the “cowboy code”. Number five gets our attention today. Under this code, the cowboy must:
1. never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. always tell the truth.
4. be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. help people in distress.
7. be a good worker.
8. keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
9. respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
10. be a patriot.
“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”. You just can’t get away from race.
The blogger known as Older Eyes put up a post called Me and the Candidates . There was a test to see which POTUS candidate you most agree with. It seemed like a good excuse for some text to go between the pictures. Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” .
OE describes the test: “The test offers 11 multiple choice questions with the stated positions of the candidates as answers. There are two questions on the economy, three on national security, one on health care, one on energy policy, one on global warming, one on gay marriage, one on abortion and one on education. If you tend to be a moderate, issues on which you are more liberal tend to go to the president, while issues in which you are conservative tend to be spread over seven Republicans whose opinions are not all that different. Four of my answers aligned with the president’s stated opinions while seven aligned with Republicans, which is about what I’d expect … I’m inclined to be conservative on fiscal and security issues and more liberal on social issues … but because my conservative views aligned with five different Republicans, the quiz said Obama was my man. Hmmm. “
PG should have taken this test before he ate lunch. The winner, to no one’s surprise, is BHO. Second Place is Michele Bachmann. Third Place is Mitt Romney. PG might have to move to Pago Pago after all. The only issue where PG disagreed with BHO was Mexican immigration.
It is a truism that history is written by the winner of the war. This seems to apply to the naming of the conflict. There was a horrific armed struggle in North America between 1861 and 1865. The usual name is Civil War. To many in the South, it is the War Between The States. In PG’s humble opinion, WBTS is a better name.
In fifth grade, PG had to write an essay about the Battle of Atlanta. The essay was a device for teaching grammar, utilized by the english teacher, Miss MacKenzie. The contest was sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy . The expression “Civil War” was not permitted. The proper name for this conflict was War Between the States.
In many ways, this conflict started as soon as the United States became independent from Great Britain. The South was an agrarian society, with slaves to work the fields. The north was becoming an industrial society, with a need for an independent work force. The north wanted high tariffs to protect her industries, while the south wanted to sell it’s cotton to Europe. There were plenty of ways for this conflict to manifest.
Slavery was an important factor. The south wanted to keep “the peculiar institution” intact, while many in the north were horrified. There were numerous compromises over the years, as Congress struggled to keep the Union intact. This ties in with a central dilemma of the american experience … how much power to give to the states, and how much power to give to the federal government.
The phrase civil war is defined as “A war fought between factions of the inhabitants of a single country, or the citizens of a single republic”. By the time the shooting started, the southern states had left the union. They formed a confederacy of independent states, rather than one monolithic union. It was, indeed, a war between the states.
Pictures, of Union soldiers, are from The Library of Congress.
The facebook friend confessed that his “native american name” was crying bone. There was a link supplied, which naturally was connected to a Zuckerberglink (an application inducement, not a town in Belarus). A trip to google city showed an abundance of quiz sites, eagar to advertise product, and fix me up with an injun name.
There are issues of cultural appropriation here. They are summed up by a comment… “I want to see the one where Natives can put their names in and find their white hipster names…” If you google that comment, you will be directed to a post, Baby Teepees are like, totally, in. Some toy manufactorer has the bright idea to make little tipis for backyard use. The comment here was ” All of these are from Design Chic , and there are more on the post, if you need them. So what do you think? Cultural appropriation? Cringe-worthy? Should we just be glad the benevolent design bloggers have deemed us cool for a minute? Should I fly into a uncontrollable rage? NATIVE HULK TEEPEE SMASH!! “
With an acknowledgement that some people will think this is inappropriate, PG is going to see what his native american name is. Blogthings asks two questions, while advertising Extended Stay Hotels. The answer here is Langundo Howahkah, Peaceful One of the Mysterious Voice.
Quizopolis also promotes Extended Stay Hotels. The answer here is Aponivi, where the wind blows down the gap. On a Publix sponsored sidebar, PG gets a Christmas Elf Name: Dingy Candy Lips.
Quizilla asks a few questions. The answer was “Skipping rabbit: You are an honest, likeable person. You can be shy, and keep to yourself at times, but your true happiness shows when you are amongst close friends. You are reserved, but playful and energetic when given the chance.”
Gotoquiz advertises Neutrogena. The name here is “Dog with Tail Between Legs … You seem to let people take advantage of you and it’s hard for you to say no. If you marry then you may very well wear the panties in the family, instead of the pants. You need to become more aggressive in standing up for what you believe. ” Maybe this is what you get when you play with native american culture.
Pictures by The Library of Congress.
Once a week, bloggingheads.tv has a feature called Science Saturday. Some of the best feature John Horgan and George Johnson. They are pals, and say “oh really” a lot. This past week they discussed the business of scientific research, how big money can corrupt the findings. It makes cents sense … when you get government grants to fund your research, it is in your best interests to get the results the government wants. Or, if your employer stands to make billions of dollars from selling a new drug, you want to “prove” that the drug works.
Perhaps it is a semantic issue. People often say prove, when what they should say is indicate. Prove is a murky legalistic concept, full of smoke and mirrors. Indicate is what the numbers on the screen say.
John got mixed up in a controversy about this recently. While discussing this, he quoted an scientific journal to about Why Most Published Research Findings Are False . This caught PG’s ear, and made him put down his photo editing, and make a comment. ( Those pictures from the War between the States have waited 145 years. A few more minutes is not going to hurt.) This comment resulted.
chamblee54 wrote on 12/18/2010 at 02:10 PM Re: Science Saturday: Discovery and Invention (John Horgan & George Johnson) John makes a bold statement .
It seems as if an author, writing behind a paywall , wrote about corruption of the scientific method. At the end, he wrote “Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.” ( John says it here. )
In a touch of irony, George begins the discussion by recalling a visit to California, and a report on the medical marijuana scene. Marijuana is a good example of the government deciding the results, and then commissioning a study to “prove” what had already been decided. If your lab depends on Uncle Sugar for funding, then your study is going to show that Reefer makes you turn purple.
When PG was in tenth grade, he had a geometry teacher. She had participated in LSD experiments (and said a shot of whiskey would do more for you.) Basic geometry is dependent on proofs, or a series of statements that show a theorem to be true. (There is a difference between a theory and a hypothesis.) A foundation concept of geometry is the Pythagorean theorem. This teacher said it was possible to disprove the Pythagorean theorem.
A couple of years later, PG grew shoulder length hair, and went to visit his uncle. The relative was known for being to the right of Herbert Hoover, and was not amused by PG’s fashion statement.
The uncle got into the firewater, and would say, over and over, “What are you trying to proooove with your long hair?”
This is a repost. Bloggingheads TV is having money problems, and is converting into a non profit enterprise. The future of Science Saturdays is in doubt. In another surprising development, research shows that tabloids do not always tell the truth.
PG found a post by a blogger called older eyes . ( PG has depended on glasses since third grade. The idea that his eyes might get less efficient is scary.) The story is about a senior citizen, who asks G-d to help him find parking spaces. The author thought this was silly, but decided to try it on the way home. He let a driver onto a busy road, and the stranger pointed out an empty parking spot. The commentary was:
Now, do I routinely charge into busy mall parking lots, ask G-d for help … and get a parking place? No. Do I believe that G-d follows me around, waiting to be a Cosmic Parking Lot Attendant at my behest? No. But I do believe that G-d sometimes aligns events … such as an elderly man in need of a parking place and an exhausted shopper on the way home … to help out. I call that synchronicity. Larry taught me something about the way life … and G-d … work. I don’t always get what I ask for but if I don’t open myself to the possibility of help, I may miss the very synchronicity that G-d sends my way.
PG has seen gnarly religion. He has also seen synchronicity. Carl Jung coined the phrase to describe meaningful coincidences. Mr. Jung also said “Religion is a defense against the experience of G-d.”
The moonies used to teach that G-d is the difference between a human being, and six dollars worth of chemicals. Some say G-d is the whirlwind, that creates a jet engine out of a junkyard. In the process from the big bang to Lady Gaga, there have been many parts of the puzzle that fell into place, as though an unseen hand was guiding them. Is it synchronicity, is it G-d, the sum of the parts, or all of the above? PG does not know.
The page of quotes on synchronicity has more nuggets. When producing the 2011 repost of this feature, an effort was made to create a document that is easier to read. The mind does not like large blocks of text. The original list has been slimmed down, in an effort to get more people to read it.
The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why. Albert Einstein
Coincidences are spiritual puns. G.K. Chesterton …
Chance favors the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur …
And some quotes by the man himself, Carl G. Jung (1875 – 1961): The connection between cause and effect turns out to be only statistically valid and only relatively true. …
Synchronicity means a ‘meaningful coincidence’ of outer and inner events that are not themselves causally connected. The emphasis lies on the word ‘meaningful’…
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves…
Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble…
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being…
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are themselves…
In studying the history of the human mind one is impressed again and again by the fact that the growth of the mind is the widening of the range of consciousness, and that each step forward has been a most painful and laborious achievement. One could almost say that nothing is more hateful to man than to give up even a particle of his unconsciousness. Ask any person who has tried to introduce a new idea, and survived.
All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination?..
There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion…
I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call G-d…
The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong…
A video embedded with this tale is by The Police. PG was in the Omni audience. The show was filmed for television, and the house lights kept up to film crowd shots. To ensure a fuller house, tickets behind the stage were sold for five dollars. PG was not nearly hip enough to cop tickets to a popular band like The Police, but he could show up with five dollars. PG got a great view of the drummer, and saw bits of the Sting spectacle. A lady in the next row was seen reading a newspaper, while the band played “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”. (PG went to youtube to find the correct title of the second tune. While there, he found a video of the band on Japanese TV.)
Here is more about that evening… One night in 1983, PG was driving to the Omni to see the Police. He was driving a 1970 Plymouth Satellite, painted gold, just like Dekalb county drove in the early seventies. PG’s friend Bradley was talking about the concept of glacial swiftness. As the car went down Spring Street, near the Varsity, the omnoids noticed a lot of cars on the road, creating a condition of glacial swiftness. It turns out the Georgia Tech had a football game that night, hence the mass of cars, moving with glacial swiftness. PG started to cross North Avenue, when a car decided that red lights were for other people. Since PG started out of traffic lights slowly, this person got by without causing any damage.
In previous posts, PG has borrowed the words … wise and otherwise… of others. One night, the idea light bulb went on. Why not look up quotes about quotes? Many people have bright ideas. It is a few that can express them in a memorable way. It should be noted that not every clever phrase is the truth, or especially profound. In a sound bite culture, the clever phrase gets the attention that the thought deserves There are also misquotes and misunderstandings. Or, the correct quote, with credit given to the wrong person. The title of quote magnet goes to the Oscar Wildes and Mark Twains of history, who really didn’t say all those things. It is also not known how many of those credited with famous quotes actually thought of them, and how many are good listeners and repeaters. ( In the case of politicians, with paid speechwriters, the answer is obvious.) So here we go, with a collection of quotes about quotes. As for the originator, we will trust the source . This is a repost. // After all, all he did was string together a lot of old well-known quotations. — H.L. Mencken on Shakespeare //A half truth is a whole lie. — Yiddish Proverb //A witty saying proves nothing. — Voltaire //Actions speak louder than words.– Theodore Roosevelt // A gram of practice is worth a pound of belief. // Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.– Wilson Mizner, Unknown , 1876-1933 // Godwin’s Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. — Mike Godwin // He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. — Abraham Lincoln // There is one thing that is true about newspapers the world over. They print lies. — Bob Geldof, onstage rant, The Capri Ballroom, Atlanta GA, 1979 // He who trains his tongue to quote the learned sages, will be known far and wide as a smart ass. — Howard Kandel // He who would pun would pick a pocket. — Dr. Maturin, Master and Commander And he will go to the punitentiary. // I got so tired of hearing those proverbs when I was a child. Now I use them all the time. Sometimes they are the best way to say what needs to be said. I teach them to my students. I have a collection of proverbs for class discussion and writing assignments. — Marva Collins // I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things. — Dorothy Parker // If a student submits a paper that is good enough to be published, maybe it has. — Dr. Jefferson D. Caskey // You have two ears, and one mouth. You should listen twice, and talk once. // In places, this book is a little over-written because Mr. Blunden is no more able to resist a quotation than some people are to refuse a drink. — George Orwell, on Edmund Blunden // In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman. — Margaret Thatcher // In the matter of soliloquies we cannot accept Hamlet as an unbiased authority. We merely find in him the possible origin of the belief that talking to oneself is a bad sign. — Max Beerbohm // It is a good thing for an educated man to read books of quotations. — Winston Churchill, Unknown , 1874-1965 // It is better to be quotable than to be honest. — Tom Stoppard, // One should know the difference between wisdom and a clever phrase. // It is not so much the content of what one says as the way in which one says it. However important the thing you say, what’s the good of it if not heard or, being heard, not felt? — Sylvia Ashton-Warner // Light travels faster than sound–isn’t that why some people appear bright until you hear them speak? — Steven Wright // Misquotation is the pride and privilege of the learned — Hesketh Pearson Push push in the bush — Disco Lyrics // Originality is the art of concealing your sources. — Unknown // Quoting: the act of repeating erroneously the words of another. — Ambrose Bierce // Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider – Francis Bacon, Of Studies, 1605 // Francis Bacon was never in a movie with Kevin Bacon. // The cleverly expressed opposite of any generally accepted idea is worth a fortune to somebody. — F. Scott Fitzgerald // The cruelest lies are often told in silence. — Adlai Stevenson // The man who doesn’t read has no advantage over the man who can’t read. — Mark Twain //This feature on quotes will not use Oscar Wilde, Will Rogers, or George Bernard Shaw. Using Mr. Twain is the legal minimum for quote magnets The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. — Thomas Jefferson, // Mr. Jefferson was quoted as saying there should be a revolution every thirty years. He was POTUS in 1806, and would not have appreciated a revolution. // There’s a difference between philosophy and a bumper sticker. — Charles Schulz // To generalize is to be an idiot. — William Blake // Truth fears no questions. — Unknown // Whoever said this has never been interviewed by the police. // We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at each other; until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices. — Richard M. Nixon // Just because someone gets credit for the quote, this does not mean that he actually practiced what he said. //Wise men make proverbs, but fools repeat them. — Samuel Palmer // Names of fools, like monkey faces, are often seen in public places // You ain’t learnin’ nothin’ when you’re talkin’. — Lyndon B. Johnson // You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you. — Unknown // Unknown was a very clever person, who spoke many languages. // …one of the great ironies of Western philosophy. Its founding practitioner, Socrates, wrote nothing down–no philosophy, anyway; and his greatest pupil so distrusted writing that he wrote dialogues, a form that mimics the life of the spoken word. — John Churchill, From the Secretary: Inspiring Conversations in The Key Reporter. Vol 67, Number 4. P. 2., Summer 2002
As you may have heard, Christopher Hitchens died Thursday. He was in a medical facility in Houston TX, ill with esophageal cancer. He was 62 years old, and is survived by a wife, and three children.
It is ironic that Mr. Hitchens left our world as the last US troops are leaving Iraq. (Mr. Obama’s lips were moving when he made the speech.) While the writing of Mr. Hitchens was always sharp, sometimes people wondered about his judgement. As a slack blogger wrote in 2005, while discussing a protest of the war in Babylon : “Christopher Hitchens…bless his heart…is a good place to start. He wastes little time in trashing the organizers of the event. He accuses them of supporting Fidel Castro, the soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, and lots of other nasties. While this may, in a hyper technical way, be true about some of the organizers, these ad hominem attacks ignore the many marchers who simply feel that America is making a ghastly mistake. The thought also occurs to me… is someone paying Mr. Hitchens to shill for the war? Maybe he should get back to trashing beloved celebrities who are recently deceased.”
Christopher Hitchens, and his writing, were well known for two things. One was trashing beloved celebrities, soon after their death. When Mother Teresa checked out, Mr. Hitchens wrote “This profane marriage between tawdry media hype and medieval superstition gave birth to an icon which few have since had the poor taste to question,” In the attached video, Mr. Hitchens expresses himself about the demise of Jerry Falwell. In a pot and kettle moment, Sean Hannity says to Mr. Hitchens, “you are incredibly mean, incredibly selfish, and incredibly thoughtless”.
The other thing Mr. Hitchens is well known for is atheism. Considering the Christian obsession with life after death, the recent rash of comments, speculating about a deathbed conversion, was to be expected. To his credit, Mr. Hitchens stayed true to his beliefs, as the footsteps of the grim reaper got louder and louder.
Hitchens remained steadfast in his criticism of religion even in the face of his grim prognosis. In an August 2010 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg , his colleague at The Atlantic, Hitchens made it known that even if he were to somehow recant his devout atheism on his deathbed, any apparent conversion would be a hollow gesture. “The entity making such a remark might be a raving, terrified person whose cancer has spread to the brain,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that such an entity wouldn’t make such a ridiculous remark. But no one recognizable as myself would ever make such a ridiculous remark.”
PG has written about Mr. Hitchens several times. The pictures are from The Library of Congress. These are Union soldiers from War Between the States. Some of them did not go home, as the American troops, in Iraq, are now doing.
There is a fuss going on now about an article at Forbes magazine, If I Were A Poor Black Kid . The online version has an ad for the Cadillac SRX crossover. PG was reading a facebook discussion of the article, and decided he wanted to read the original. He googled white guy writing about being a poor black kid for freakin’ FORBES, and the fun began.
Or maybe the boring, predictable responses start. Angry Black Lady Chronicles tells of the day when her (white) mother took a day off, from her job as a copy editor, to get young ABL enrolled in a tougher math class. Freethoughblogs chimes in with Forbes’ Gene Marks Needs To Check His Priv. (This piece has advertising for Extended stay hotels.) The last line of this lengthy feature sums up his thoughts… “Or, as in your case, not so smart but privileged.”
If you want to read denunciations of the Forbes article, open your eyes and take a look. You might want to hurry up. because, soon, there will be another article, somewhere, that people don’t like. Maybe you can talk about the War on Christmas. This is an example of Christian Privilege gone awry. It is a safe bet that many poor black kids are Jesus worshipers. Maybe one form of privilege will outweigh another. Maybe people will learn about a grain of salt.
It is ironic that the piece was published in Forbes. Malcolm Forbes was fond of saying that he was loaded with “sheer ability, spelled i-n-h-e-r-i-t-a-n-c-e.” The elder Forbes had a lavish lifestyle, with Elizabeth Taylor as a beard. His son, Steve Forbes, (Malcolm Stevenson Forbes Jr.) was quoted as saying “My father once spent $5 million on a birthday party for himself in Tangiers. Why can’t I spend a few more running for President?”.
Pictures today are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” .