Chamblee54

The Silly Remarks Of The President

Posted in History, War by chamblee54 on November 21, 2013





Tuesday was the sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg Address. This is seven and a half score years ago, which is not as poetic as four score and seven. The famous speech was written on White House stationary, not the back of an envelope. The train ride to the battlefield was too bumpy to write on, so it was written elsewhere. No one is sure what happened to the original.

The text was published in newspapers, and became famous. Relatively few people heard the actual speech. Not everyone was impressed. The Harrisburg Patriot & Union said “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.” The descendent of this paper, The Patriot-News, printed a retraction a few days ago. Better late than never.

Other contemporaries were critical. Presidents are politicians, with allies and enemies, and are not often beloved in their own time. The New York World accused Lincoln of “gross ignorance or willful misstatement” with his declaration of “four score and seven years ago.” The Democratic Chicago Times called the address “a perversion of history so flagrant that the extended charity cannot regard it as otherwise than willful.”

H.L. Mencken had a few unkind things to say about the affair. “But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination—”that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. “

As the rest of the linked essay points out, one motivation for the Confederates desire for self determination is to maintain the ability to own other human beings. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These are Union Soldiers from the War Between the States.




Impeach Nancy Reagan

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on November 20, 2013

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Turn Turn Turn

Posted in History, Music, Religion, Trifecta by chamblee54 on November 19, 2013

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The word Ecclesiastes has a poetic tingle. It’s place in the Old Testament is between the poetry of Proverbs, and the enticements of the Song of Soloman. Richard Brautigan counted the punctuation marks in Ecclesiastes, and found no errors. Ecclesiastes 3 was even the lyrics for a top forty song.

Turn Turn Turn is taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger wrote a melody, and added a line. “There is a time for peace, I swear its not too late”. TTT became a hit for the Byrds in 1965, as the escalation of the Vietnam war was in full bloom.

TTT is about the dualities of life, and how there is a place for all these things. When PG was collecting rocks from destroyed houses, it was a time to gather stones together. TTT can serve as a companion to the vibrations of day to day living.

Pete Seeger is still alive, at the age of 94. PG first heard of him when he was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was during Vietnam, and Mr. Seeger did a song…”Waist deep in the big muddy”… about how “The big fool said to push on, push on”. The CBS censors did not allow this the first time he appeared. Many thought he was talking about Lyndon Johnson.

“Pete Bowers” was a stage name for a young Pete Seeger. This was to avoid making trouble for his father. The band he played in, the Weavers, popularized a gullah spiritual, “Kumbaya”. This is a repost, edited for inclusion in the trifecta writing challenge. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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The Himbo Maid

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on November 18, 2013

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Psalm 67

Posted in Poem, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on November 17, 2013

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The Dharma Bums Part One

Posted in Book Reports, History by chamblee54 on November 17, 2013

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When discussing The Dharma Bums, it is helpful to know how to pronounce the central word of the title. Some say to pronounce the r, while others say the r is silent. The dharmic duality extends to the definition. The number one phrases are “the principle or law that orders the universe” and “the body of teachings expounded by the Buddha.”

Chapter One: Tdb begins in Los Angeles, sometime in 1955. Ray Smith is riding in a freight train. He is going to Berkeley, where he will hang out with Japhy Ryder. These are the central characters of tdb. Ray Smith is Jack Kerouac. Japhy Ryder is Gary Snyder. Mr. Kerouac is long gone. Mr. Snyder is still on the planet. There are several youtube videos of his available. He seems like a wise, gentle man. You can see the younger version of this man in Japhy Ryder.

In chapter one, RS meets a bum on the train. The fellow passenger has a poem by St. Theresa in his pocket, where she promises to return to earth, showering roses on all living things.

On the weekend when part one was produced, PG received a facebook challenge. Someone had written a brief post about a band. When you like the post, you are given a band. The band assigned to PG was The White Stripes. This was the first time PG heard of The White Stripes. He found a video of a live performance. This is the response.

Band I was given: The White Stripes Do I like them: no Seen them?: no Favorite song: Jolene I had never heard of the White Stripes before receiving this challenge. I found a you tube video of a live performance. I did not enjoy it. After fifty minutes, I turned it off, and put Joni Mitchell on.

Chapter Two: Asian schools of thought are a theme of tdb. A number of confusing terms are used. One of these is bodhisattva. The spelling can be a challenge. When you break it down, you get bod his att va. A complimentary shorthand for body, third person male pronoun, the phone company, and a government agency. One dictionary says “a being that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others and is worshiped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism.”

In chapter two, RS meets JR. They go to a poetry reading at a gallery. Many of the other characters are at this reading. The most famous is Alvah Goldbook, who read his poem “Wail”. (Spell check suggestion: Allah Goldbrick) You can probably figure this one out by yourself.

The preliminary notes for this post were written during a slow period at work. When it was time to type them, page three was not there. We will assume that nothing important was said.

Chapter Three: RS is staying with AG somewhere in Berkeley. In this book unit, RS goes to visit JR, who lives in a very small house behind a larger house. There is no sitting furniture in this house. You sit on a floor mat.

JR is into asian studies, which is called oriental here. This is the pre-politically correct fifties. At some point in tdb he goes to Japan. In the video, JR mentions living in Japan for twelve years. This is probably connected to the trip in this book.

Tdb is dedicated to Han Shan. On page eighteen, we learn about him. Han Shan was a Chinese poet. He lived over a thousand years ago. JR is translating a poem when RS comes to visit. The verbatim rendering has a zen feel to it. Unfortunately, JR is working for a university. They want a translation that sounds like english speech.

There are a lot of page references in this text. These might not work for all editions of tdb. This is a penguin book. The list price is $11.95 USA, or $15.95 Canada. Tdb was copyrighted by Jack Kerouac in 1958, with a 1986 renewal by Stella Kerouac and Jan Kerouac. The last date, and the probably printing date of this edition, is 1976. The book has three pictures of mountains on the cover. The background is black.There is a green slash, with the title rendered in black letters. The name of the author is in smaller green letters. A quote from Ann Charters, in white text, is at the bottom.

The copy of tdb was owned by a friend of a friend. This person will be called Lenny, and while alive was as much of a character as anyone in tdb. When Lenny died, Uzi took possession of many books.

One day, PG was pulling boxes out of Uzi’s van. The idea was to put a chair in the van. One of the boxes had Lenny’s books. Being a dumpster diving cheapskate, PG was required to look through the box, and take what he liked. And thus PG came to own a copy of tdb.

Chapter Four: On page twenty five, AG says, of JR, “Gee he’s strange.” In this chapter, RS, AG, and Warren Coughlin buy a jug of wine. They proceed to JR’s residence. There is much merriment that evening. This takes place in Berkeley CA, 1955. RS says the school is a conformity factory. This is nine years before the Free Speech Movement, which started the sixties tradition of campus unrest.

In 1973, PG was in Athens, GA. Many of his friends considered Athens to be a modern, hip environment. Some famous person… William F. Buckley, Norman Mailer, or someone else … said that Athens in 1973 reminded him of Berkeley in 1952.

Chapter Five: RS is staying with AG during this part of the story. One night, JR comes by with a gf named Princess. They are going to show RS how to play yabyum. As we learn on page 22, “it’s only thorugh form that we can realize emptiness”. During the yabyum ritual, AG, JR, and Princess sit down cross legged and naked. They stare at each other and chant Om Mane Padme Om. This means Amen the thunderbolt in the dark void. This is the end of the Berkeley part of tdb. Photographs are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Wittiness Or Personality

Posted in Poem, Trifecta by chamblee54 on November 16, 2013

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Knockout

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on November 16, 2013

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One saturday morning, PG was editing pictures from The Library of Congress, and enjoying himself. (The pictures illustrate this post.) He made the mistake of looking at facebook. He saw a post about a new teenage game, knockout.

It seems like some young men like to go up to strangers and hit them on the jaw. It they are hit hard enough the fall to the ground unconscious. This is called a knockout. The young men have a good time.

While watching the video, PG remembered an incident from when he worked at redo blue. A professional Jesus worshiper shouted down and humiliated PG. When it was over, the preacher got a phone call. He picked up the phone and screamed “I never felt better in my life.”

There are many reasons why the young men like to attack strangers. Violence is glamorized, glorified, commodified and celebrated. The pain of the person attacked is not a concern.

One of the institutions distributing verbal violence is the Jesus worship church. Many believers see it as their christian duty to shout down those who disagree with them. Even the sunday morning faithful are yelled at. This verbal violence has an effect on our society.

After PG saw the video, he took a look at the rest of the page. A screen shot is included today. An ad for gospel music was next to the knockout video. You can’t get away from Jesus.

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The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in History, War by chamblee54 on November 15, 2013

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Around this time 147 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire the Scarlet O’Hara flees in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. The pictures, with one exception, are from Shorpy. (Shorpy got them from The Library of Congress ) The 1864 map is from a collection of images at Georgia State University. This is a repost.

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Doctors Are Calling

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on November 14, 2013

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Fruit

Posted in Religion by chamblee54 on November 13, 2013

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It was a cold wednesday morning. The snow did not arrive, and a working day loomed. PG was beginning work on a breakdown of “The Dharma Bums”. There is a youtube of Mr. Kerouac, in his inebriated glory, on a tv show. There is a link on the side to William S. Burroughs. He holds a cane, and talks about Mr. Kerouac.

Towards the end of the video, WSB says that Mr. Kerouac was apolitical, but the movement spawned by his novels was highly political. Somehow, this is the fault of Mr. Kerouac. WSB quotes Jesus, of all people. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Quoting Jesus is a dangerous business. The most popular source is the Bible. Some say, very loudly, that this is the inerrant word of G-d. Others say that is preposterous. There almost certainly is not a verbatim record of the words of Jesus. Even that would not settle the controversy. It is like a Rorschach test. What you see in these quotes says more about you than it does Jesus.

The thesis quote for this discussion is Matthew 7:20. It is part of the sermon on the mount. This is probably the standard stump speech, given many times in many places. Many of the most popular sayings of Jesus here. Several might seem to criticize the religious people of today.

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

The person who taught PG the most about Jesus was a coworker at Redo Blue. A turning point was when PG asked the Bully for Jesus to turn down his radio. PG asked for quiet. BFG gave him seven years of hateful noise.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Broke In Three Places

Posted in Commodity Wisdom, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on November 12, 2013

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A young ventriloquist is touring the clubs and one night he’s doing a show in Arkansas.
With his dummy on his knee, he’s going through his usual dumb blonde jokes when a blonde woman in the fourth row stands on her chair and starts shouting: ”I’ve heard enough of your stupid blonde jokes. What makes you think you can stereotype women that way? What does the color of a person’s hair have to do with her worth as a human being? It’s guys like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and in the community and from reaching our full potential as a person, because you and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against, not only blondes, but women in general…and all in the name of humor!”
The ventriloquist is embarrassed and begins to apologize, when the blonde yells, ”You stay out of this, mister! I’m talking to that little jerk on your knee!”

A man goes into the doctor.He says, “Doc, you gotta check my leg. Something’s wrong. Just put your ear up to my thigh, you’ll hear it!”The doctor cautiously placed his ear to the man’s thigh, only to hear, “Gimme 20 bucks. I really need 20 bucks.””I’ve never seen or heard anything like this before. How long has this been going on?” The doctor asked.”That’s nothing Doc. Put your ear to my knee.”The doctor put his ear to the man’s knee and heard it say, “Man, I really need 10 dollars. Just lend me 10 bucks!!””Sir, I really don’t know what to tell you. I’ve never seen anything like this.” The doctor was dumbfounded.”Wait Doc, that’s not all. There’s more, just put your ear up to my ankle,” the man urged him.The doctor did as the man said and was blown away to hear his ankle plead, “Please, I just need 5 dollars. Lend me 5 bucks, please, if you will.””I have no idea what to tell you. There’s nothing about it in my books,” he said, as he frantically searched all his medical reference books.”I can make a well educated guess though,” he continued. “Based on life and all my previous experience, I can tell you that your leg seems to be broke in three places.”

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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