Chamblee54

An Old Farmer’s Advice

Posted in GSU photo archive, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 12, 2019

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Many of you have heard “An Old Farmer’s Advice”. This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong. Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance. Life is simpler when you plow around the stump. A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor. Words that soak into your ears are whispered…not yelled. Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight. Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads. Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you. It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge. You cannot unsay a cruel word. Every path has a few puddles. When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty. The best sermons are lived, not preached. Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway. Don’t judge folks by their relatives. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time. Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin’ you none. Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’. Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got. The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’. Always drink upstream from the herd. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in. If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to G-d!

Know one knows who the old farmer is, or what he grew. Some say he really worked in an office writing ads for Massey Ferguson. Some say he had a bull farm, and believed in the product. In this age of industrial strength commodity wisdom, or glurge, the first reaction of some is to look to google. In this case, you can go to a forum at Snopes. No one claims to be the grandson of the old farmer.

My father in law is an old farmer. He’s given me some advice. It was more like: Don’t try to fix a broken porchlight in a rainstorm. corrolary: Disconnect power to the sprinkler system before fiddling with the wiring. If you wear longer socks, the chiggers won’t bite you. Cool Whip makes everything taste better. Do whatever your mother in law says.

quote: A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor. ~ Yeah, but you try getting a bumble bee to plow your fields. With the tiny little plows attached to their wings, it could take days.

quote: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly… ~ And above all else, verb adverbly … There’s my problem, I’ve been living deeply, loving simply and speaking generously.

quote: Life is simpler when you plow around the stump. ~ I’m not sure of the lesson here…you should leave a bunch of tree stumps in your farm fields? But then you lose valuable real estate, the crops have to compete with the tree roots, and combine harvesting is significantly more dangerous. Maybe, if you take just a little time to remove the stump properly, it pays dividends and saves you time and energy in the long run. … But life is a lot cooler, and more productive if you go down to the general store, buy a few blasting caps, and blow that mother to kingdom come.

The sentiments aren’t too bad, but they missed “Now get orf moy laaand!” from the end…

quote:Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway. ~ Oh, so I shouldn’t worry about not being able outrun a bumble bee on my John Deere tractor? Thanks.

quote: Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. ~ But not when the waitress is asking what you’d like on your pizza. … Unless the question is “what’s the maximum decibel level a human can stand.” … Especially if you are passive-aggressive.

quote: Always drink upstream from the herd. ~ But, unless your at the absolute source of the river, there’s always another herd further upstream.

This reminds me of the episode of Frasier where he first got paired up with the Standard Issue Sassy Black Woman (SISBW) who kept trotting out mindless aphorisms from her fictional uncle. Never have I felt so much sympathy for the character.

quote: The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’. ~ I knew it. I knew that SOB had a camera in there. I’m going to the police.

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How To Choose A Guru

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Religion by chamblee54 on September 7, 2019








PG has reread How to choose a guru, by Rick Chapman. The book is a look at spirituality of all sorts, with a special emphasis on Meher Baba.

HTCAG can be a frustrating book. The main focus is on finding a “perfect master”, and the path to enlightenment under his guidance. If one is not inclined to this level of dedication, you can be left feeling inferior. This is similar to the despair people feel when they think they are going to go to hell, because they don’t have the correct ideas about Jesus.

Thie book takes a look at spirit from the perspective of all religions. A central concept is the avatar, the idea of G-d become man. (This was long before the movie with a similar title.) The avatars of recorded history include Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. Some say that Meher Baba is the modern avatar.

Mr. Chapman has a knack for phrasing. There are expressions that PG remembers from reading HTCAG in 1978. They are still there 34 years later.

Creation First, there was G-d. Then, there’s you. Then, there is G-d.
Speculation The average persons speculation about consciousness…has “the stink but not the weight of his turd”
Evangelism An authentic Master will encourage you to let your life itself be his message.
Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds Don’t be sidetracked by elaborate creeds and doctrines- the truth is as simple as it is profound. From the ancient teachings of Zoraster to today, these three principles have been the heart of the message of every G-d realized Master.
Books “Excellent guides until you find the Way.”–Abu Sa’id
Books Part Two …the scriptures of the past compare to the writings of a present-day Perfect Master just about the way that dust compares to honey.
Satan Worship If you have been toying with the thought that any form of Satan worship can lead you to higher consciousness, sober up by reading the story of Dr. Faustus. There are many paths to enlightenment, but this back alley isn’t one of them.
Sex A real guru never has any form of sexual relations with his followers. If a person posing as a guru tries to seduce you in the physical sense, then you can have no clearer indication that he is a phony, a pathetic and hypocritical collection of unresolved desires.
Truth, Old and New One time the Buddha was approached by a young man who was skeptical about Gautama’s renowned divine status. “Does the Blessed One teach a path that is new and original?” he asked. One of the Buddha’s close disciples, Sariputta, turned his gaze from the Master to the skeptic and replied, “If the Blessed One taught a path that was new and original, He would not be the Blessed One!” “Well said, Sariputta,” smiled the Buddha, “well said.”

Several of these quotes are available in copy/paste form at Meher Baba Information, for which this reporter says thank you. This site says that Rick Chapman is a follower of Meher Baba, and met him in 1966. This relationship is never made explicit in HTCAG. A glowing chapter is devoted to Meher Baba, and this relationship is not surprising. Still, HTCAG might be a bit more upfront if this relationship was clearly spelled out.

Meher Baba was born February 25, 1894 with the name Merwan Sheriar Irani. The name Meher Baba means “compassionate father”. From July 10, 1925 until his death January 31, 1969, he maintained silence, and communicated by gestures that were interpreted by his followers. Meher Baba believed that he was the avatar of our age.

With all of it’s human imperfections, HTCAG is a valuable book. It is easy to read, will expose you to ideas about spirit, and get you to think. When you grow up in a Jesus Worship tradition, one can be aware of a spirit within. At the same time, you get tired of the obsession with life after death. You sense that there is more to G-d than scheming to live after you die. HTCAG shows one path.

This is a repost. It was written like Vladimir Nabokov. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.







Thursday Racial Polemic

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Race, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 22, 2019

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PG was spending a productive sunday morning. He created a map to the Living Walls grafitti festival. He was in a good mood. Even this link on facebook did not bring our slack blogger down.

Out of a masochistic sense of fairness, PG took a look at the link after he finished the map. “That’s Racist Against White People!” A Discussion on Power and Privilege is the usual headache producing polemic. Here is the third paragraph.

“These are White folks who are claiming that the Obamacare tax on tanning beds is “racist” against White people. These are White folks who are claiming that affirmative action is racist against them. These are the White folks who honestly believe they suffer more racism than people of Color.”

Lets take a look at those three links. In the first, Republican Congressman Ted Yoho complained to John Boehner about what is sometimes called the “Snooki tax”. The second link, about affirmative action, is linked to a feminist blog. The money quote “Ask any White person how they feel about Affirmative Action, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear that it is “racist against White people” and that it is “unfair” or “reverse discrimination” and that they oppose it.” This article is used as a source for the comment “These are White folks who are claiming that affirmative action is racist against them.” Is it prejudice to say “ask any white person”?

The last one, about PWOC thinking they suffer more discrimination than POC, is linked to an article in a British tabloid newspaper. Somebody did a study once, and that was one of the results. The study also showed “Blacks also perceived that racism against themselves had steeply declined from 9.7 in the 1950s to 6.1 in the 90s.”

One of the main points in the Everyday Feminism post was that the word racist is often misused. PG will not argue against that. The article was posted two days before a curious tweet by Chris Brown. “N**** done 6 months community service wit police and the DA racist ass crying to the judge that I didn’t do it. Fuck the SYSTEM! “

The entertainer, who is a POC, got in trouble for publicly beating up his girlfriend. He has had problems with his community service requirement. The amusing thing about this tweet is that the “DA racist ass” is a POC.

This is a repost. Very few things needed to be changed. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These images are Union soldiers from the War Between the States. The primary justification for that gruesome conflict was the abolition of slavery.

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Racism Double Feature

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Library of Congress, Quotes, Race by chamblee54 on August 17, 2019


There was a comment thread on facebook. Here is the comment that started it. “I have a Facebook friend, who is a black Trump supporter, who says he doesn’t care “if he’s racist or not.” I don’t know what to think about that. Maybe there are a few of my black friends who can help me with that?” There were a lot of comments, which is not surprising. Race, and not liking Donald Trump, are two popular topics of conversation.

The conversation started with a link to When Someone Says They Still Support Trump, I Instantly Know 6 Things About Them. The six items, with a parenthetical summary, are: 1. You want to be ruled, not governed (authoritarianism,) 2. You are not someone I would trust to do business with (business ethics,) 3. You’re either a racist or an enabler of racists (racism,) 4. You have issues with women (misogyny,) 5. You aren’t quite as “Christian” as you claim to be (religious exploitation,) 6. You are anti-constitution (respect for rule of law,)

While those six items are more or less true about Mr. Trump, it is a stretch to say they apply to anyone who supports the man. (Many of these character traits are present in people who don’t like Mr. Trump, especially authoritarianism.) What is disturbing to PG is the way that racial attitudes dominates the conversation. This is a problem in a lot of ways. The obsession with screaming racist helped Mr. Trump get elected. Insulting potential voters is not a good campaign strategy.

There seems to be a national verdict that Donald J. Trump is a racist. A non compliant racial attitude is worse than authoritarianism, crookedness, and mental instability. If you are white, and you question this orthodoxy, then you are a racist. If you are black, and don’t believe without question, then you are asking to be insulted.

The Trump-is-racist meme follows a cynical decision to make Mr. Trump’s racial attitudes a campaign issue. The best evidence cited is a 1973 complaint, involving discrimination in renting apartments. Other evidence… attacks on nationalities, attacks on religious groups, support of unseemly white people … utilize an elastic definition of racism. Others disagree.

There was a comment: Martin C Ezeonu “Lol… I don’t like Trump cuz he is an asshole. On the other hand we know exactly where there country stands now because of him. This country is still racist as hell. these past years nobody addressed is just politicians smartly covering it up. But now to move forward something has to give. And I like that. Let people stop being deceived. Don’t care if he is racist or not I like the fact that he is not a politician and couldn’t play the game. That’s why both parties want him out.”

Mr. Ezeonu is from Nigeria. He might have little in common with most African Americans, other that his skin tone. That is all many people see. People fail to appreciate the amazing diversity in today’s African America. In the comments, Mr. Exeonu was called an idiot, mentally ill, and many other things. Not agreeing with a national consensus is dangerous.

Mr. Trump has numerous problems. In the list of six things, we see authoritarian tendencies, and ethical shortcomings. Many feel the Democrats made a mistake by screaming racist, instead of focusing on his shady business practices. Many white people were alienated by this campaign tactic. After the Trump victory, many black people feel alienated by his election. The race situation gets worse and worse. Saying that Donald Trump is a racist does not help.

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

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One of the touted TED talks in the weekly email is Color blind or color brave? It is by Mellody Hobson, a POC in the investment business. It is the standard call to talk more about race. Talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. The word listen is not used.

At the 3:13 mark, Mrs. Hobson makes a remarkable statement. “Now I know there are people out there who will say that the election of Barack Obama meant that it was the end of racial discrimination for all eternity, right?” (Yes, this is a TED talk.) It is possible that someone has said that. There are also people who say the earth is flat.

PG asked Mr. Google about this. The top two results are about the TED talk. The third result is an article in Forbes magazine, Racism In America Is Over. It is written by John McWhorter, one of the “black guys at Bloggingheads.tv.” Dr. McWhorter does say racism is over, sort of. The problems that remain are a lot worse. Too much food for thought, for a population with intellectual bulimia.

There is a quote in the Forbes article that is pure gold.
“When decrying racism opens no door and teaches no skill, it becomes a schoolroom tattletale affair. It is unworthy of all of us: “He’s just a racist” intoned like “nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!””
There are a lot more results. PG is getting tired of looking. If you want to see for yourself, google “the election of Barack Obama meant that it was the end of racial discrimination for all eternity.” Except for a rogue title editor at Forbes, almost nobody has said that. This is a repost. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Race by chamblee54 on July 13, 2019






In the spring of 1963, KQED filmed a show, “Take this hammer”, about James Baldwin. The snippet in the video above seems to have been the last three minutes of the show. Here is a transcript. Mr. Baldwin discusses a six letter insult. The n-word is more about the speaker, than the spoken of. A 2010 blogger had this to say.

What resonated with me about this particular video though, is the universal experience we’ve all had being referred to, thought of as, or called something we inherently are not. Not because of something we’ve done, mind you – but because of the way others “interpret” us. Those of us that “transgress” gender norms are often given titles and names that don’t fit who we are – but are more representative of the fears and desires of others. I’ve often felt that people’s projections of me are oftentimes just that – their projections. However, Baldwin’s ending sums up a solution to this perfectly: “But you still think, I gather, that the n****r is necessary. Well he’s unnecessary to me – he must be necessary to you. Well, I’m going to give your problem back to you…you’re the n****r, baby…not me.”

It is now 2019. (All discussions of race must mention the year.) The TV show was fifty sixr years ago. A few things have changed. To many white people, overt expressions of racism are seen as bad manners. The n-word is taboo in polite company. The overall attitudes may not have changed, but most white people are careful how they say things.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These men are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States.





A few weeks ago, this blog published a feature, James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word. At the center was selection of James Baldwin talking about the n word. There was a transcript available, which makes today’s exercise a lot easier.

Mr. Baldwin was discussing this nasty word, and offered an insight into who the user of this nasty word was really talking about. Now, there is another nasty word being casually tossed about these days. This other nasty word is racist. What would happen if you took Mr. Baldwin’s talk, and substituted racist for nasty? It is an interesting way to look at things. What follows is not a perfect fit, and may be offensive to some. A few times, it is very close to the truth.

Who is the racist? Well i know this…and anybody who has tried to live knows this. What you say about somebody else (you know) anybody else, reveals you. What I think of you as being is dictated by my own necessities, my own psychology, my own uhm fears…and desires. I’m not describing you when I talk about you…I’m describing me.

Now, here in this country we got somebody called a racist. It doesn’t in such terms, I beg you to remark, exist in any other country in the world. We have invented the racist. I didn’t invent him, white people invented him. I’ve always known, I had to know by the time I was seventeen years old, what you were describing was not me and what you were afraid of was not me. It had to be something else. You had invented it so it had to be something you were afraid of and you invested me with it.

Now if that’s so, no matter what you’ve done to me I can say to you this, and I mean it…I know you can’t do any more and I’ve got nothing to lose…and I know and I have always known you know and really always..…I have always known that I am not a racist…but if I am not the racist…and if it is true that your invention reveals you…then who is the racist?

I am not the victim here. I know one thing from another. I know that I was born, am gonna suffer and gonna die. And the only way that you can get through life is to know the worst things about it. I know that a person is more important than anything else. Anything else.

I’ve learned this because I’ve had to learn it. But you still think, I gather, that the racist is necessary. Well he’s not necessary to me, so he must be necessary to you. So I give you your problem back. You’re the racist baby, it isn’t me.




Dorothy Parker

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 12, 2019








PG first heard of Dorothy Parker in tenth grade. His friend Bob Gibson cut the poem Resume out of the literature text book, and carried it in his wallet. Mrs. Parker had been dead for two years at the time, with her ashes resting in her attorney’s filing cabinet. As the years rolled on, there were stories about the round table at the Algonquin hotel, and a poem about W.R. Hearst … “Upon my honor, I saw the madonna, by the door, in a niche, of a well known whore, and a prominent son of a bitch.” There was another famous comment: Re “The Cardinal’s Mistress” by Benito Mussolini, Dorothy Parker
wrote one of my favorite bon mots: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Wikiquotes lists both of these items as “misattributed.”

It is now 2019, several years after the first DP post. Born Dorothy Rothschild, on August 22, 1893, Miss Parker did nicely without a middle name. Chamblee54 has featured Miss Parker several times (one, two, three, four.) Today, these four posts will be combined into one. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library” and The Library of Congress. If you want a list of clever sayings, google is your friend. The quote investigator has five pages of the alleged sayings of Miss Parker.








It was 5:25 pm. PG had not heard from either person who was supposed to be at his house at 5:30. While muttering things about unreliable people, he started to look at a writing contest. The idea was to write 100 words or less. The challenge was to produce a “a quick, honest and heartfelt response” to an image. The meme is seen below the fold.

The image has a quote. “I hate writing. I love having written. Dorothy Parker.” When PG sees words of wisdom, with a famous name at the end, his impulse is to check it out. When you search the wikiquote page on Miss Parker, and look for hate, love, and writing, you will not see the quote. dorothy.parker-02

There was one item in wikiquotes that made PG laugh. It was in the “Misattributed” section.
“Upon my honor, I saw a Madonna. Standing in a niche, Over the door, Of the glamorous whore, Of a prominent son of a bitch.” Said to have been written in the guest-book of Hearst Castle, referring to the room occupied by Hearst’s mistress, Marion Davies. Parker always denied it, pointing out that she would never have rhymed “honor” with “Madonna”.” Nor would the entertainer.
When PG saw that quote, he knew that this piece would be longer than 100 words. Inserting quotes into a piece will bloat the word count every time. About this time the phone rang. His friends were in the front yard, being eaten by mosquitoes. PG put on a white shirt, and left.

Later that night, 99 sick well chosen words fell out of the fingers, and into the ether.

The quote is suspect. Wikiquotes does not show it, after a search for love, hate, and written. The image is probably manufactured. The image is a piece of paper, coming out of a vintage manual typewriter. The main text is one size. The author credit is another size. Vintage manual typewriters only produced one size of product. This one size is considerably smaller than either size in this image. The text in this image was produced elsewhere. This rendering of a bogus quote is then pasted onto a blank sheet of paper, seen merging from a vintage manual typewriter.

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The other day there was a post here on the dotty subject of Dorothy Parker quotes. The departed dipsomaniac would seem to be a quote magnet.

One quote, that appears to be genuine, is about another quote magnet, Oscar Wilde. “A Pig’s-Eye View of Literature: Oscar Wilde If with the literate I am, Impelled to try an epigram, I never seek to take the credit, We all assume that Oscar said it.” (First printed in Life, (2 June 1927) p. 13 When you can give a source for a quote, the chances of it’s legitimacy go up tremendously.)

The original plan for this post was to do a wikiquotes search of the quotes in this post. This concept very quickly turned out to be too much work. The first paragraph of the original post has a clue.

PG first heard of Dorothy Parker in tenth grade. His friend, Bob Gibson, cut the poem Resume out of the literature text book, and carried it in his wallet. Mrs. Parker had been dead for two years at the time, with the ashes resting in her attorney’s filing cabinet. … there was another comment : Re “The Cardinal’s Mistress” by Benito Mussolini, Dorothy Parker wrote one of my favorite bon mots: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

In the post the other day, it was discovered that the poem about W.R. Hearst was written by someone else. Which brings us to “The Cardinal”s Mistress”. Yes, that was written by Hitler’s BFF, Benito Mussolini. When he wasn’t making the trains run on time, he wrote a sappy novel. And the comment by Miss Parker is great. But did she really say it?

A blogspot facility called Heavens to Mergatroyd has the text from a New Yorker review of TCM. It is a delightful read. However, the landmark quote is not there. The spell check suggestion for mergatroyd is derogatory.

Wikiquotes calls the comment “misattributed”. “Quoted in The Algonquin Wits (1968) edited by Robert E. Drennan, and Try and Stop Me. As noted at Snopes, Drennan’s source seems to be a Parker review which does not seem to contain this quote. If Parker wrote this statement anywhere the primary source seems to have gone missing.”

Try and Stop Me is a newspaper column by Bennett Cerf. The link is to The Dispatch, Lexington N.C., October 12, 1962. Next to the column is The Dispatch Religious Activities, Directory of Churches. The pastor of First Baptist is David Hoke Coon, Jr.

While preparing this commentary, an effort was made to find the text for “Resume”. It is a bona fide quote, first printed in New York World August 16, 1925. While looking for the text, Google suggested a search for “resume dorothy parker analysis.” One result was sponsored by a politician, Michelle Nunn. Another had this to say. “We know that we’re being a bit obvious here. But check it out: almost every single line in this poem offers an idea for a different way to die. When it comes to wordplay, Parker’s not messi…” Maybe she meant to say messy.

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BigO is a site with mp3 downloads. Most of them are concerts. PG found one exception. It was a 1960 interview, STUDS TERKEL WITH DOROTHY PARKER/BOB NEWHART – CHICAGO 1959/1960. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Dorothy Parker is somewhat of a legend. There were the funny sayings, a few poems and stories, and her life. Mrs. Parker was well known as a witty person during the twenties. She drank, a lot, and talked often of suicide. It was surprising to find a 1960 interview.

In fact, Dorothy Parker died in 1967, at the age of 73. By 1960, she was in decline, living at the Manhattan’s Volney Hotel. “Edmund Wilson … paid occasional painful visits to her at the Volney. (“She lives with a small and nervous bad-smelling poodle bitch, drinks a lot, and does not care to go out.”) … She was still revered, a legend, but she had also become a pathetic relic. Yes, “you might as well live,” but for what? And on what? Not only was she running out of old friends, she was running out of money, though uncashed checks, some quite large, were strewn around her apartment (along with the empty bottles), not helping with unpaid bills.”

There were some zesty quotes in the interview with Mr. Terkel. “I can’t call myself a critic. Honestly. I can only put down what I think and pray there isn’t a libel suit.” “I’m not a poet, you know, I just write verse” “The beat boys aren’t saying anything except look at us aren’t we great … I don’t think the beat generation is much worth worrying about. Very soon, in the very near future, they will be as forgotten as mah jongg.”

Towards the end of the interview, Mr. Terkel said “i know some people would want me to ask, did she really say all those things that she was quoted as saying” “… no, no, and it was a curse on me, it was simply awful the things that were attributed to me. I wouldn’t have minded if they had been good. I was, in effect, the shaggy dog of my time.”

Another quote magnet for the meme generation is Thomas Jefferson. PG saw yet another inspiring quote on facebook today. Mr. Google was consulted. It turns out the quote is real.

Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, 22 April 1800 is the source. Vice President Jefferson was going to be elected President later that year. It is not known what effect that had on the quote in the meme. “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” It is not known whether a twenty first century Jefferson would unfriends anyone who says anything unappealing.

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We Can Forgive The Arabs

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 21, 2019


The facebook meme showed a quote about American deaths in a mid-east war, and how Israel is willing to make the *scarifice.* PG remembered a quote from long ago. Something about how the thing Israel hates most is being forced to kill Arab children. Who said it, and when? Veteran readers of this blog should know where this is going.

Golda Meir is a matriarch of the State of Israel. Her wikiquote page has this: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” The attribution says this: “as quoted in A Land of Our Own : An Oral Autobiography (1973) edited by Marie Syrkin, p. 242.” There is a remarkable second attribution. “Harvey Rachlin was unable to find a primary source for this quote and the one below. The Mystery Of Golda’s Golden Gems”

” The one below” is wiki-listed as a “variant” of the first quote. “We can forgive [them] for killing our children. We cannot forgive them from forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with [them] when they love their children more than they hate us.” “As attributed in an Anti-Defamation League advertisement Ad that ran in the Hollywood Reporter.” The source: “Golda Meir (1957.)

The ADL Ad was reported on August 19, 2014. This was during an Israeli visit to Gaza. It was preceded by Bob Schieffer, on a CBS broadcast in July 2014. “Last week, I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel’s early leaders, which might have been said yesterday. “We can forgive the Arabs …” Mr. Schieffer did not give a source for the quote.

When dealing with a quote, you should ask questions. Did they really say it? When and where did they say it? What was the context? What was the original language, and can we trust the translation? Many, many famous quotes fail these simple tests. Brainy Quote is not a valid source.

The Mystery Of Golda’s Golden Gems takes a critical look. It turns out that the Schieffer/ADL team was using a combination of two quotes. These were the quotes investigated by Harvey Rachlin. “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” “When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.”

“… many of these cite as their source A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography. … The quote appears, along with several others, on the last page of the book’s text (before the index) under the heading “On Peace.” Its source is given as: National Press Club, Washington, 1957. I wrote to the National Press Club in an effort to obtain a copy of Meir’s 1957 speech. The response I received was that Meir, who at the time was Israel’s foreign minister, did not speak there in 1957….”

“…Curiously, most of the books I looked at, as well as Meir’s own autobiography, My Life, contained no mention of these two most famous Meir quotes. Nor was either of them included in The New York Times’s 4,883-word December 9, 1978 obituary of Meir – although Times reporter Israel Shenker found room for more than three dozen other quotes from Meir.”

“My investigation took a turn when I found a 1970 collection of Meir quotes titled As Good As Golda: The Warmth and Wisdom of Israel’s Prime Minister. In this book there are two quotes that bear close resemblance to the pair in question: “Peace will come when Nasser loves his own children more than he hates the Israelis” and “What we hold against Nasser is not only the killing of our sons but forcing them for the sake of Israel’s survival to kill others.”

“Strangely, there are no citations for any of the quotes in the book, and while I found these two exact quotes in other books (all published in or after 1970) none of the citations were from original sources. Even more bizarre is that As Good As Golda was compiled and edited by Israel and Mary Shenker – yes, the same Israel Shenker who several years later would write the massive New York Times obituary that contained dozens of Meir quotes but, notably, not her two most famous ones. …”

“… In August 2014, in the wake of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza, the ADL placed an ad … The ad had both Meir quotes strung together with the singular attribution “Golda Meir (1957).” The ADL did not respond to repeated requests from The Jewish Press for a statement as to whether the organization possessed any verification of the quotes and why they ran together, as though they were part of the same statement.”

Harvey Rachlin comes to the conclusion that there is no way to verify these quotes from Golda Meir. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Always Take Sides

Posted in Library of Congress, Politics, Quotes, War by chamblee54 on May 15, 2019


“… always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” This meme, illustrated by the gnomic face of Elie Wiesel, turns up on facebook a lot. Some find it inspiring. Others think it is simplistic and manipulative.

There are two questions. Did Mr. Wiesel say that? What was the context? The quote appears in the acceptance speech for the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. The next sentence is “Sometimes we must interfere.” We immediately go from the absolute always, to the conditional sometimes. That is progress, even if it does not fit on a bumper sticker.

“Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania, in 1928. … In May 1944, Wiesel was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp along with his parents and his sisters. Wiesel and his father were slave laborers at Auschwitz. His father died in January 1945 during a forced march to another camp, Buchenwald, and his mother and younger sister were murdered as well. After the war, Wiesel moved to France, where he worked as a journalist.”

The Israel-Palestine problem was just as vexing in 1986 as today. Here is what Mr. Wiesel said in his speech. “More people are oppressed than free. And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land.”

Who is the oppressor in the Middle East, and who is the victim? The many sides can make a case for their cause. Who is the better at persuasion? Who is better at playing the shady game of influence, and money. Often, more noise encourages the tormentor. The answer to age old conflicts is seldom found in bumper stickers, or facebook memes.

“… to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore.” “Always take sides” sometimes means that you pick one side in a conflict, and use the tools of rhetoric to promote that cause. It can be tough to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Human suffering is human suffering. Simplistic rhetoric is *never* the answer.

In 1986, the Iran-Iraq war was raging. Hundreds of thousands of men died. Many said the war was allowed to go on intentionally. Allegedly, if Iran and Iraq were not fighting each other, they would be fighting Israel. The United States was allied with Iraq, while making arms deals with Iran. Israeli dealers participated in the United States-Iran arms trading. The profits from those deals went to supply terrorists in Central America. “Sometimes we must interfere.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

How Twitter Causes Brain Damage

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 26, 2019

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The story starts when Sleepy Joe announces yet another attempt to become POTUS. The announcement focused on the tiki torch rave in Virginia, rather than climate change, financial foolishness, police brutality, endless war, or Donald Trump’s latest hair color. The Foxnews fuddy duddies went on email jihad, focusing on what President tiny hands did, or did not say, after the tiki torches were put out. Meanwhile, the national debt went up by a $8,000,000,000.00.

At the bottom of one of the existential emails was a tag line: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” – Winston Churchill. The last time PG heard that chestnut, truth was putting her shoes on. This sounds like a job for google.

Before you can say trending topic, quote investigator has the answer. “In conclusion, there exists a family of expressions contrasting the dissemination of lies and truths, and these adages have been evolving for more than 300 years. … At this time, there is no substantive support for assigning the saying to Mark Twain or Winston Churchill.”

Google is not through creating mischief. NFL’s Colin Kaepernick incorrectly credits Winston Churchill for quote about lies It seems as though knee pad model Colin Kaepernick felt the need to quote Mr. Churchill. This is deep. A tweet, about a false quote, about spreading a lie. Pictures for this deplorable dispatch today are from The Library of Congress. Nobody forced you to read this.

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Thomas Jefferson Said What?

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes by chamblee54 on April 10, 2019

PG was wasting time with facebook when he saw a friend say “Damn I love this quote”. The passage being praised was “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Desmond Tutu. The rhetoric alert started to flash. These days, the wolf and the sheep buy their clothes at the same Walmart. To hear some oppressors talk, they are the ones under attack. It is tough to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Often you can make things worse by getting mixed up. Sometimes the best thing to do is mind your own business.
Ok, now that is out of the way. Some lines sound good, but don’t hold up to a bit of thinking. As for the veracity of the quote, Desmond Tutu may very well have said it. (or maybe one of his rivals said it, and Mr. Tutu copied it.) The quote has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke, Patrick Henry, and probably others. Almost no one has a source, for the quote, from the dead white guys.
A post called MISQUOTING THE FOUNDERS did not mince words.
“The only problem with this scene that has been repeated many times across the country is that Thomas Jefferson never said that, never wrote that, and quite possibly never thought it. Our aspiring politician had fallen victim to the perils of popular misattribution. You could fill a book with misquotes and misattributed quotes we hear repeated regularly today. Right now if I Google “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” the entire first page of results wrongly attribute it to Thomas Jefferson. The quote and its many variants have been attributed in the past to Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke, but no record exists of the quote in any of their writings or contemporary accounts.”
On November 13, 1787, Mr. Jefferson wrote a letter to William Smith. The letter is full of zesty quotes.
“What country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
A few lines above that, Mr. Jefferson said
“God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.” Twenty years after he wrote this, Mr. Jefferson was President. He probably did not want to deal with a revolution when he was President.
Getting back to the quote about tyranny, Martin Porter wrote an entertaining essay, A study of a Web quotation. He gives credit, or blame, to Edmund Burke. First, a list of different versions is presented. This is a clue that something is awry. The conclusion:
“There is no original. The quote is bogus, and Burke never said it. It is a pseudo-quote, and corresponds to real quotes in the same way that urban legends about the ghost hitch-hiker vanishing in the back of the car and alligators in the sewers correspond to true news stories.”
Mr. Porter wrote a follow up essay, Four Principles of Quotation. These principles are:
Principle 1 (for readers) Whenever you see a quotation given with an author but no source assume that it is probably bogus. Principle 2 (for readers) Whenever you see a quotation given with a full source assume that it is probably being misused, unless you find good evidence that the quoter has read it in the source. Principle 3 (for quoters) Whenever you make a quotation, give the exact source. Principle 4 (for quoters) Only quote from works that you have read.
If these principles were to be used, then there would be a lot less hotheaded talking on the intercom. Those who are trying to influence you to the justice of their cause will not want you to read this. Pictures for this feature are from The Library of Congress. These pictures are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States. When war is discussed, all inspiring quotes are in doubt.
This is a repost. It is written like James Joyce. In the past year, doing due diligence on alleged quotes has become a hobby. Many people don’t care who said it, if they agree with the thoughts expressed. The prevailing thought is that an idea becomes more true with a famous name at the end. If the famous person is deceased, and cannot defend his/her reputation, that is not a problem. People do not like being told that Santa Claus does not exist.

Fifteen Minutes

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on February 25, 2019

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Andy Warhol is quoted as saying that “in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” This has become a popular saying. If a celebrity is getting tiresome, people will wonder when their fifteen minutes will be up. After hearing about fifteen minutes his entire life, PG began to wonder if Drella really said that. If you can’t be cynical about Andy Warhol…

Wikipedia is a good place to start. “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” … appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. Photographer Nat Finkelstein claimed credit for the expression, stating that he was photographing Warhol in 1966 for a proposed book. A crowd gathered trying to get into the pictures and Warhol supposedly remarked that everyone wants to be famous, to which Finkelstein replied, “Yeah, for about fifteen minutes, Andy.” Nat Finkelstein was a sketchy character, in the Warhol tradition. His version is suspect. The Swedish museum part is real.

“Andy Warhol’s first European museum solo show took place at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm from February through March 1968. Pontus Hultén curated the exhibition together with Olle Granath. The exhibition came with a catalogue that was, like the show, named ‘Andy Warhol’. Kasper König, who worked for the Moderna Museet as an intern of sorts in New York, developed a basic concept for the book. … After Warhol had given his approval to this first proposal, König proceeded to create a dummy. … When König returned his dummy to the Factory, Warhol scrutinized it carefully but made only a small number of changes. Contrary to what Warhol wanted to be popular belief, those who produced input at the Factory were carefully monitored. … The final edits on the dummy were made in Stockholm by Olle Granath. He compiled a small selection of Warhol quotes and aphorisms from a stack of books and clippings collected by Hultén and placed them in the book as an introduction before the image sections.”

“Sometime in the autumn of 1967, Pontus Hultén called and asked me if I (Olle Granath) could help him and the Moderna Museet to organize an Andy Warhol exhibition that was due to open in February…. An important part of the exhibition was the production of a book. It was not supposed to be an analytical catalog of Warhol’s work, but a book that conveyed his aesthetics without heavy texts. … One day, Pontus brought me a box, almost the size of a Brillo box, and told me that it contained everything written by and about Andy Warhol (today the equivalent would probably be two truck loads). My job was to read it all and present a proposal for a manuscript with Swedish translations. After a couple of nights of reading and taking notes I delivered a script to Pontus and awaited his reaction with great anticipation. ‘Excellent,’ Pontus said when he called me, ‘but there is a quotation missing.’ ‘Which one?’ I said. ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,’ Pontus replied. ‘If it is in the material I would have spotted it,’ I told him. The line went quiet for a moment, and then I heard Pontus say, ‘If he didn’t say it, he could very well have said it. Let’s put it in.’ So we did, and thus Warhol’s perhaps most famous quotation became a fact.”

“The exhibition in Stockholm attracted a relatively small number of visitors, due to the extremely cold winter, but also to the fact that leftist radicalization increasingly drove the Museets public to mistrust anything American or consumerist. There was no space yet for a more complex reading of Warhol’s relation to consumption. The book, however, became very popular: its enormous edition allowed it to be distributed in nightclubs and record stores, not only museums. A timeless update on the latest from New York, it first became a cult object, then a collectors item.”

Did Andy say that? Probably, but not definitely. Andy was shot by Valerie Jean Solanas on June 3, 1968, a few months after the show in Sweden. Andy survived, and had fifteen more minutes. Pictures today are from Pictures are from The Library of Congress. The 1927 pictures were taken at “California Beauty Week, Mark Hopkins Hotel, July 28 to Aug. 2, auspices of San Francisco Chronicle.”

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More Talk About Racism

Posted in Commodity Wisdom, Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Politics, Quotes, Race, Religion by chamblee54 on February 8, 2019

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It is a cliche among certain pundits that this is not “Post Racial America.” No one seems to know what PRA would look like. PRA might be less noisy, with fewer odors, than the current model. The opinion that we do not live in PRA seems unanimous. After PG heard the denial of PRA one too many times, he began to wonder something. Who said America is Post Racial?

Mr. Google has 119 million answers to the question “who said america is post racial?” The short answer is nobody. The closest thing on the front Google page is an NPR commentary from January 2008. This was the early stages of the BHO run for the White House. The commenter said that the election of a dark skinned POTUS might usher in a post racial era in America.

This piece will not have any fresh opinions about race relations in America. That subject has been worn out elsewhere. If someone finds it to their advantage to denounce “racism”, there will be an audience. The truth is, very few people have ever said that America is Post Racial.

This is a double repost, on the subject that people can’t get enough of. If you can’t say anything good, you can always talk about racism. Pictures for this friday morning are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Some times you see something, and realize that you are being pushed over a line. Today’s straw, landing on the camel’s back, was a meme. It has pictures of a statesman-like BHO, and a goat smiling BS. The text was white comic sans letters, on a black background. “Regarding those who call Obama an illegitimate president because his father was born in Kenya, Bernie Sanders replied: “No one asked me if I was a citizen or not, and my dad came from Poland. Gee, what’s the difference? Maybe the color of my skin.” The comment was from a Las Vegas town hall meeting. Some things that are said in Vegas need to stay in Vegas.

No one denies that white people and black people often do not get along. Few deny that there is systemic inequality. The connection of “birther” speculation to systemic inequality is tough to see. Of course, the definition of racism is elastic, and can fit whatever situation the observer wants to critique.

Are we helping the cause of racial tranquility by making comments like that? Yes, it is foolish for “birthers” to whine about a birth certificate. But entertaining followers in a town hall debate does not mean you are going to be able to govern. Maybe BS should focus on his economic fantasies, and quit scoring cheap shots about racism.

The Color Of My Skin was originally published in February, 2016, when BS was taken seriously. As we all know, HRC eventually got the Democratic nomination, only to lose to DJT in November.

Mr. Trump was one of the original “birthers,” or people disputing the Hawaiian birth of BHO. In the general election campaign, Democrats liked to say that DJT was a racist, with birtherism frequently given as an example. The many other unappealing parts of DJT, like crookedness and mental instability, were brushed aside, in the mad rush to scream racist. Some even went so far as to say that anyone voting for DJT was a racist. When the electoral votes were counted, DJT won.

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