Most timely, Charles. We all need to read and heed these quotes. The budget needs to put Education as a top priority. Alas, under the current regime, that won’t happen. One’s head must be buried deeply in the sand to not see the price the nation is paying for ignorance. Thank you for shining some light out into the darkness.
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein
“Humour is a rubber sword – it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.” – Mary Hirsch
While I do realize that the following is a bit out-dated and perhaps Britain has issues of its own at the present… Yet I couldn’t resist pulling this letter out of the files, dusting it off and sharing it. My chapeau is off to John Cleese for the medicine (laughter) he dispenses when we need it most, like now!
Today, 14 July is Fête Nationale du 14 juillet (France). Outside of France, this is frequently referred to as Bastile Day. It is not Bastile day but it does mark the turning point of the French Revolution in 1789. The champagne and the wine will flow, music, and so much more. I’ve no doubt that each and every village will create a way to celebrate safely in this time of Covid-19.
Britain is Repossessing the U.S.A.
A message from John Cleese (British comedian)
To: The citizens of the United States of America:
In view of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown (now Boris Johnson), will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.
- Then look up aluminum, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
- The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the suffix -ise.
Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up ‘vocabulary’).
- Using the same 27 words interspersed with filler noises such as ‘like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.
There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of -ize. You will relearn your original national anthem, God Save the Queen.
- July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
- You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent.
Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.
- Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
- All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.
Holden Monaros are also approved.
- All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humor.
- The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) – roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
- You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick-cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
- The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
- Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
- You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don’t try Rugby – the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you like they regularly thrash us.
- Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
- You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
- An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
- Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never mugs, with high-quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in season.
God save the Queen.
Thank you John Cleese for offering the only remedy currently available for what ails millions of people (Laughter is still the best medicine.)
“I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye – that was the trouble – I wanted to kiss you good night – and there’s a lot of difference.” – Ernest Hemingway
“They love me like a pack of wolves.” – Ernest Hemingway
“Love is forever. Lust is for the moment. Got a moment?” – Michael Gorman
Affair with Hemingway
Remote corners du café
Closerie des Lilas
Summer evenings beneath stars
Sidewalk tables and stories
Late at night – mon chambre
I take you to my bed
Crawl deep inside your stories
I have my way with you
You reach out through time
Together, we do Paris
Huddled in corners
Sipping wine and champagne
Dark Smokey tables shared
Avec Fitzgerald, Ezra et
Ford Madox Ford
War stories, the bulls
Nights at Bricktops
Josephine’s rocking the joint
Champagne et art du jour
Breathless with anticipation
I surrender and plead for more
It is the life – it is life
Bereft, insatiable, pleading for more
“And whenever I’m in a situation where I’m wearing the same as 600 other people and doing the same thing as 600 other people, looking back, I always found ways to make myself different, whether it be having a red lining inside of my jacket, having red shoes, it hasn’t changed.”
– Jeremy Irons
“When in doubt wear RED.”
– Bill Blass
Red’s Own Story
She is the thick
That covers my nails
A pointer when tracing
On bare flesh
She is the sports car
Darting along the highway
Hugging the curves
Turning an eye
She is the ripe
Her flesh firm
Tantalizing dipped in dark chocolate
Suits her best
She is the
Long stemmed, heady fragrance
Her tight buds unfurl
Exposing her inner delicacy
We forget the thorns
She is the creamy dark war paint
On my lips
When and where
I choose to leave my mark
She is fire
On the move
Beckoning me on
“People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.” – Sheila McKechnie
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Teresa
Night on the town
Hunched slightly forward
From the steps
Of the coffee house
An old yarn cap
Hiding shaggy grey hair
Clinging to a small paper cup
Hand out coffee
Mingles with the night
His slight form
The un-cleared table
On the sidewalk
A ragged coat
Nearly swallows him
Side to side
He claims a half-eaten baguette
As his own
In a white plastic chair
He savors this feast
Morsel by morsel
Plucked from a hiding place
Beneath his arm
Tonight will be good
Without the pangs
He can brave the cold
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue.” – Maya Angelou
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose site of the shore.” – William Faulkner
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even that death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid… Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” – Bertrand Russell
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past, that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear it in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Maya Angelou – Still I Rise
With all that is going on in the world, we each must fight battles as our conscience dictates. Thought and rigorous prioritization will help us to know where to direct our thoughts and most of all, our actions. We can tell someone we love them, but our actions usually get their first and are usually much more credible. Ask yourself where your courage is most needed and dispatch it immediately.
“Sensuality often hastens the ‘Growth of Love’ so much that the roots are weak and easily torn up.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.” – Michel de Montaigne
“Let us give nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.” – Michel de Montaigne
Do you want to live “according to nature”? O you noble Stoics, what a verbal swindle! Imagine a being like nature – extravagant without limit, indifferent without limit, without purpose and consideration, without pity and justice, simultaneously fruitful, desolate, and unknown – imagine this indifference itself as a power – how could you live in accordance with this indifference? Living – isn’t that precisely a well to be something different from what this nature is? Isn’t living appraising, preferring, being unjust, being limited, wanting to be different? And if your imperative “live according to nature” basically means what amounts to “live according to life” – why can you not just do that? Why make a principle out of what you yourselves are and must be? The truth of the matter is quite different: while you pretend to be in raptures as you read the canon of your law out of nature, you want something which is the reverse of this, you weird actors and self-deceivers! Your pride wants to prescribe to and incorporate into nature, this very nature, you morality, your ideal. You demand that nature be “in accordance with the stoa,” and you’d like to make all existence merely living in accordance with your own image of it – as a huge and eternal glorification and universalizing of stoicism! With all your love of truth, you have forced yourselves for such a long time and with such persistence and hypnotic rigidity to look at nature falsely, that is, stoically, until you’re no longer capable of seeing nature as anything else – and some abysmal arrogance finally inspires you with the lunatic hope that, because you know how to tyrannize over yourselves – Stoicism is self-tyranny – nature also allows herself to be tyrannized. Is the Stoic then not a part of nature?… But this is an ancient eternal story: what happened then with the Stoics is still happening today, as soon as a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates a world in its own image. It cannot do anything different. Philosophy is the tyrannical drive itself, the spiritual will to power, to a “creation of the world” to the causa prima |first cause|
– Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil
“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.” – Socrates.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
“To find yourself think for yourself.” – Socrates
Time is precious and each of us is allotted a relatively small portion. Self-examination is crucial and a necessary investment in ourselves, routine maintenance so to speak. If we can’t be firm in our convictions, do we have any? Or do we simply parrot those of another? If we don’t change our minds, from time-to-time, examine our beliefs, are we sure we are capable of doing so. The world does not stand still and we need to be mindful that even the road less traveled bends, rises, and falls.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however, measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau
GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
– Max Ehrmann Original text Copywrite 1927
This beautiful work deserves our consideration and reflection. Open your heart as you delve into these words and be inspired. We are in need of his wisdom even more during this perilous time.
Bisous et bonne santé
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” – The Tempest Act 4, Scene 1
“Lord, what fools these mortals be.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE! In honor of the Bard’s birthday, I offer one of his well known and much-loved sonnets. Yet when I read it, or think of its message, for me it is not just about romantic love but the love of family, friends, humanity, and our struggling environment.
Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
Perhaps you have a favorite, and perhaps there is too much to choose from to eliminate others?
Despite the fact that I had no plan to post today, something delightful occurred yesterday and I wish to share it.
While sitting with my coffee and a worn copy of Ayn Rand’s THE VOICE OF REASON, music began to permeate my thoughts. There is often a delight or two to be noticed at the Place de Ville in Narbonne. I was sitting a few yards away from the Via Domita when I heard the charming sounds of old France.
The time had come to close my book and allow the coffee to grow cold as my attention was riveted to the strains of her squeezebox, her voice and the French tunes from the 1890s and into the turn of the last century.
I approached her and searched for somewhere to deposit a few coins. The laughter in her eyes followed by “I have all I need.” and I knew that she meant it. She laid down her squeeze-box and opened a portfolio that contained many fliers. Her mission was to call attention to a Nuclear Disarmament Rally to be held at the Narbonne Mediathequé. Activities commence at 10:45 on the 29 February and everyone participating is asked to bring an umbrella or parasol. At noon the umbrellas/parasols will be opened in unison and based on personal experience I know a march around the town will factor into the event. The demonstration will culminate in the Place de Ville in front of L’hotel de Ville which contains the office of the mayor. Both locations on a Saturday promise that many will be able to see and join in. Having reached into her portfolio, she gave me fliers for my village and some decals to share.
“The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded.” – Ban Ki-Moon
“It’s useless to disarm the hands, if the heart remains armed.” – Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom
“Ultimately the success of any nonproliferation strategy requires a universal standard. Washington’s “Do as I say, not as I do” approach lacks moral authority and is seen as hypocritical. It is like preaching temperance from a barstool.” – David Cortright
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank
In some countries, elections are in the near future. Do your candidates and politicians know where you stand?
Paix et Bisous,