Monday, October 16, 2017

If history is any guide...................


..................................it will be extraordinary:

"The economic machine that we’ve built in the United States has done extraordinary things and I can’t wait to see what we come up with in the future. "

Opportunities............




















via

A shield of courage....................


"Of all the amazing deeds of bravery of the war, I regard MacArthur's personal landing at Atsugi as the greatest of the lot," Winston Churchill wrote afterward.  The former prime minister, a connoisseur of courage, was speaking of the American general's daring flight to the heart of enemy territory at the close of the Pacific war in 1945.  The Japanese emperor, following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had called on his subjects to cease fighting, yet more than twenty divisions of soldiers, who had been prepared to give their last drop of blood to keep the Americans from securing a foothold on Japan's sacred soil, retained their weapons and their positions on the Kanto Plain.  Kamikaze pilots, some having already received the rites for the dead, awaited only a word to carry out their suicide missions.  Squads of young civilians, outraged at the emperor's call for surrender, stormed about Tokyo and nearby Yokohama vowing to resist to the end.
     Douglas MacArthur, as the commander of the U. S. Army forces in the Pacific, would receive the formal Japanese surrender on board the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.  Prudence suggested he arrive with the ship, its powerful escort and the protection the vessels and their guns provided.  MacArthur refused.  He insisted he would enter Japan ahead of the navy, protected only by the moral force that came with righteous victory.  His aides urged him to reconsider.  Who knew what some bitter-ender might do?  All it took was one bullet, one grenade, and the general would be a dead man.  Worse, an assassination might rekindle the Japanese war spirit.  If he must enter ahead of the navy, he should wait for more army troops.  At the very least, he should be accompanied to Atsugi, the air base for Tokyo, by a substantial guard of well-armed soldiers.
      He waved aside the worries.  He declared that he would travel to Atsugi alone, with only his airplane's crew and his personal staff.  His courage would be all the shield he required.  He knew the Asian mind.  "Years of overseas duty had schooled me well in the ways of the Orient," he later wrote.  The Japanese would understand his action and be more impressed by one man alone than by any number of ships or regiments.

-H. W. Brand,  The General vs. The President:  MacArthur and Truman At The Brink Of Nuclear War

Actually, I check the weather........................



......................................................but the point is taken:






more via

Fifty years ago.......................


At the movies...............................................Night Of The Generals

 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Short stories.......................


Virgil thought about the woman and the daughter as he drove back.  Had Mom been hitting on him, just the lightest, mildest of hits?  What was the sadness in the small girl's eyes?  Had she seen other men spoken to when Dad wasn't there?
     The whole thing seemed less than an invitation to romance than an invitation to a story of some kind.  Not journalism, a short story.  Something Jim Harrison might write.
     Virgil had had an interest in short stories when he was in college, but journalism seemed more immediate, something with its claws in the real world.  The older he got, though, the wider he found the separation between reported facts, on one hand, and the truth of the matter on the other hand.  Life and facts were so complicated that you never got more than a piece of them.  Short stories, though, and novels, maybe, had at least a shot at the truth.

-John Sanford, as culled from Chapter 17 of Heat Lightning

The History Teacher..................


Trying to protect his students' innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.
And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age,
named after the long driveways of the time.
The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
“How far is it from here to Madrid?”
“What do you call the matador’s hat?”
The War of the Roses took place in a garden,
and the Enola Gay dropped one tiny atom
on Japan.
The children would leave his classroom
for the playground and torment the weak
and the smart,
mussing up their hair and breaking their glasses,
while he gathered his notes and walked home
past flower beds and white picket fences,
wondering if they would believe that soldiers
in the Boer War told long, rambling stories
designed to make the enemy nod off.

Tests................................


"Most of life's greatest opportunities come out of moments of struggle;  it's up to you to make the most of these tests of creativity and character."

-Ray Dalio

On fences............................


"Life truly lived is a risky business, and if one puts up too many fences against the risks, one ends up shutting out life itself."

-attributed to Kenneth S. Davis

Begun..............................


"This life is not godliness, but growth in godliness;  not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise.  We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way;  the process is not yet finished, but it has begun;  this is not the goal, but it is the road;  at present all does not gleam and glitter, but everything is being purified."

-Martin Luther

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Certain...............................


“Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible.”

-Pearl Bailey

Opening paragraphs..........................


A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate.  The hour, some little time before sunset, and the place, the West Barricade, at the very spot where, a decade later, a proud tyrant raised an undying monument to the nation's glory and his own vanity.

-Baroness Orczy,   The Scarlet Pimpernel

Fifty years ago...................


At the Movies..............................James Coburn in In Like Flint