Friday, August 26, 2022

The Anarchist

   Immediately after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, a great number of books appeared on the shelves turning the dead president into a martyr and turning a quick buck for the authors. I recently came across a beat up old book in a second hand bookstore that had been cranked out immediately after the assassination of President McKinley in 1901.

  The book was definitely a rush job, padded with photographs and purple prose. McKinley was shot twice in the chest on September 6, 1901. He was expected to recover, but died from gangrene on September 14. When the book was published the assassin was still living. The author suggested he be kept alive as an example. No one listened to him and the assassin was electrocuted on October 29 of that same year.

  Anarchism was the Terrorism of McKinley’s day. Teddy Roosevelt, a few years before becoming president upon McKinley's death, said anarchism was the main problem in the country. Anarchism is a philosophy that rejects the authority of the state. Pure communism or libertarianism are synonymous with it. Anarchists will use evolutionary change when they can. Otherwise violent revolution will be their tactic.

  McKinley's assassin was Leon Czolgosz (CHOL-gosh), the son of Polish immigrants. Czolgosz was born in Michigan and came of age during the Depression of 1893. He lost his job as a steelworker and joined a socialist club, taking an interest in anarchism. He became a fan of the popular anarchist Emma Goldman. When he tried to befriend Goldman, she and her group were put off by his odd behavior and thought he was an infiltrator. 

  Czolgosz was rebuffed by other anarchist groups and decided to work alone after being inspired by the assassination of the Italian king by a lone gunman in 1900. Czolgosz bought a revolver and headed to Buffalo in early September, 1901, where McKinley would be speaking at the Pan-American Exposition. Czolgosz attended McKinley's speech on September 5, but was not able to get close enough to the president.

   The next day Czolgosz joined the line that was shaking hands with McKinley. Czolgosz carried his pistol wrapped in a handkerchief as though his hand was injured. This might have alerted the security detail, but the man ahead of Czolgosz in line was a dark-skinned Italian who got most of the guards' attention. As McKinley took his hand, Czolgosz fired two bullets into McKinley's chest. The crowd set upon Czolgosz and probably would have killed him if McKinley had not ordered his guards to protect him.

  McKinley lingered another eight days. The surgeon was unable to find the second bullet. There were no antibiotics then to fight the infection growing in the president's abdomen. McKinley had been a popular president. Prosperity had returned to the country during his first term and there was an outpouring of grief at his death on September 14.

   Czolgoz pleaded guilty and refused to cooperate with his lawyer. His trial was swift and despite obvious signs of insanity, he was condemned to death and electrocuted on October 19. The old book about the assassination has no personal information about Czolgosz. That would only come out in the following months.  The author of the book has to content himself with describing Czolgosz as a "damnable assassin," a "murderer by profession," and "a hissing serpent in the weeds." Correction, that last was the author's description of the assassin of President Garfield in 1881. John Wilkes Booth was simply a "madman." All three assassins were "bloody miscreants."

  The last eight pages of the book are ruled blank pages which I thought were for notes, but were actually a form for ordering additional copies, "bound in extra SILK CLOTH, inlaid Photographs. RETAIL PRICE ONLY .  . $1.50. I only had to pay a dollar for my copy.


From "Illustrious Life of William McKinley"

Sunday Squibs (August 21, 2022)

 You’ll have much better luck getting a spare part from the shop that works on the thing rather than from the place where you bought it. 


The old saints wore prickly hair shirts for penance. We modern saints have as hair shirts our civilization’s bright lights and noises. 


Once I was scornful of pro wrestling. Now I admire it as a rough ballet followed by truly mad balletomanes. 


A mystery movie focuses on who done it. 

A horror flick focuses on who it is done unto. 


The future of the procrastinator is constantly ducking to let his present stride over it. 


When mastering any science, we don’t go down a rabbit hole, rather we dig the rabbit out of his hole. 


A faith to move mountains? Miracle enough to change hearts of stone into flesh and blood. 


Saying no one loves me is ridiculous. If you say no one loves me like I want to be loved, I will believe you and make a discreet exit. 

A Birthday Bash for Ogden Nash (August 19, 2022)

 



The City of Nashville was named for Uncle Frank

In the war with Great Britain he held a general’s rank

Young Ogden said no to all that doo-dah

So they named after him that town in Utah


   I love Ogden Nash for his name alone. And yes, Nashville was named for his great, great uncle Francis. I also admire him because he made a good living by his very short poems. That was his secret: he encapsulated great truths in a few lines.


A Word to Husbands


To keep your marriage brimming 

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever your wrong admit it:

Whenever you’re right, shut up.


   There's a truth admitted by all to be right. And no one but Ogden Nash could have put it so prettily. It took Nash many years to settle on poetry as an occupation. He claims he started rhyming at the age of six and admitted that finding the right rhyme can be hard. It became easier when he started making up his own words which is the right of any real poet.



Further Reflections on Parsley


Parsley
Is gharsley.


  He tried Harvard but that was too serious a place for him. So he went to New York and tried to sell bonds, but never got the hang of it. In two years he only sold one bond and that one to his godmother. 



Introspective Reflection


I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance
Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.



  He got a job writing the ads on streetcars and started sending his poems to The New Yorker which recognized his genius. In 1931 he got married and published his first book which became a best seller. He never looked back. He led a charmed life appearing on TV, giving lectures, writing screenplays, and of course writing hundreds and hundreds of more poems. 


  When he died at age 68 in 1971 his obituary said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the best-known producer of humorous verse in the country." He could slip a serious one in occasionally.


Old Men


People expect old men to die,

They do not really mourn old men.

Old men are different. People look

At them with eyes that wonder when...

People watch with unshocked eyes;

But old men know when an old man dies.


















The City of Nashville was named for Uncle Frank

In the war with Great Britain he held a general’s rank

Young Ogden said no to all that doo-dah

So they named after him that town in Utah


   I love Ogden Nash for his name alone. And yes, Nashville was named for his great, great uncle Francis. I also admire him because he made a good living by his very short poems. That was his secret: he encapsulated great truths in a few lines.


A Word to Husbands


To keep your marriage brimming 

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever your wrong admit it:

Whenever you’re right, shut up.


   There's a truth admitted by all to be right. And no one but Ogden Nash could have put it so prettily. It took Nash many years to settle on poetry as an occupation. He claims he started rhyming at the age of six and admitted that finding the right rhyme can be hard. It became easier when he started making up his own words which is the right of any real poet.



Further Reflections on Parsley


Parsley
Is gharsley.


  He tried Harvard but that was too serious a place for him. So he went to New York and tried to sell bonds, but never got the hang of it. In two years he only sold one bond and that one to his godmother. 



Introspective Reflection


I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance
Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.



  He got a job writing the ads on streetcars and started sending his poems to The New Yorker which recognized his genius. In 1931 he got married and published his first book which became a best seller. He never looked back. He led a charmed life appearing on TV, giving lectures, writing screenplays, and of course writing hundreds and hundreds of more poems. 


  When he died at age 68 in 1971 his obituary said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the best-known producer of humorous verse in the country." He could slip a serious one in occasionally.


Old Men


People expect old men to die,

They do not really mourn old men.

Old men are different. People look

At them with eyes that wonder when...

People watch with unshocked eyes;

But old men know when an old man dies.














































Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sunday Squibs (August 14)

  



We need at least one friend who scares us to make us appreciate the friends who don’t. 


Covid brain has given respectability to my long-term absent mindedness. 


Some see eternity in a grain of sand. I see it in a dirty dish. 


History gives us an excellent chart of the past but only a rough map of the future. 


The sloth would make the perfect efficiency expert if only he could organize his notes. 


The alcoholic always remembers his first drink. Once dry he always remembers his latest refusal. 


Sickness transports us back to the irritable age of adolescence when we were only able to focus on ourselves. 


Our lives are like those Netflix series that seem to go on forever until they suddenly end, more or less lamely, and after some chatter,  the fans turn to the spin-offs. 


I just updated my phone’s operating system to 15 point something to improve security and fix bugs. 1.0 seemed to work fine way back when but it must have been vulnerable and buggy.

Sunday Squibs (August 7)

  



In the future Americans will be as blended as the Japanese or the Nigerians. Those Americans will romanticize our era as a time when ethnicity meant something. 


We pray continuously to God to let us win the lottery. While God keeps beaming the message: There’s a winning ticket in your pocket.  Go cash it in. 


I don’t tell young people I grew up before the Internet. It only makes me look like one of those dark and alien statues from Easter island. 


Old timers complain about same day surgery. "They used to keep us a week!" But back then there was less surgery attempted, the survival rate was lower, and the hospital held on to you because it needed the business. 


Our once cute baby’s tummy reasserts itself with age; though no one pokes it now to make us giggle. 


After an illness I realize my sunny disposition depends on my feeling well. Let my good health ebb too much and the hulks of sunken ships soon appear. 


Pride without humility: cement without gravel. 


Uncomfortable, disorienting, dangerous: Travel is a form of sickness often self-induced. 


The pious are accused of being cafeteria Christians, in whose food line the order to love one another is as popular as boiled cabbage. 


The spry septuagenarian is still able to be physically nasty. After that, it’s mostly mental. 


A friend is someone who doesn't get mad if you don't read the book he loans you.

But the friendship may be over if you fail to return it. 


My love is like bowl of ripe cherries

I set in her lap. 

-Are they washed?

Of course, my love.

-And destemmed?

Not yet, my love. 

-And pitted?

My love is like a can of cherry pie filling

I poured into her lap. 


Sanity can ruin an artist. If van Gogh had not been a tragic figure, would we pay big bucks now to see his light show?


Eating sugar is compulsive. It feeds our joy not our bodies. 


We and the bees are alike in our love for the flowers. They use them to feed their hive; we, to feed our souls. 


Clean up your mess before you leave or God might go all Hindu and send you back as a dishrag. 


Gringo seniors nip down to Mexico to get their frayed edges snipped. 


The wounded warrior should certainly receive help from the non-combatants. But the non-coms these days are in rough shape too.

Grey Owl (August 5)

  



  The grey owl is an elusive bird. It sits in the shadows then swoops in silently to grab an unsuspecting vole or two. The Native American environmentalist Grey Owl (1888-1938) was somewhat elusive, but he was not silent about the need to change our relationship with nature. 

  Grey Owl made his living as a trapper until he met Anahereo Bernard, a Canadian Mohawk woman who made him see the cruelty of trapping. Grey Owl switched from being a trapper to a writer who in his magazine articles and books stressed the need to protect the environment. Because of the Depression unemployed men were heading to the woods to trap beaver, exterminating them in some areas. Grey Owl saw the beaver as key to the survival of the wilderness and the Canadian identity.

  Grey Owl also campaigned against the forestry corporations who, abetted by the government,  were clear cutting the old-growth forests in the West and replacing them with monoculture plantations.  Grey Owl came to the attention of the parks service and he was made naturalist at Prince Albert National Park in northern Saskatchewan where he lived until his death at age 49.

  Most of us have a secret we keep to ourselves. Grey Owl had a forest full of secrets. Suspicious minds began to inquire into his origins after his death.  He had told his biographer that his father was Scottish and his mother Apache. The part about his father was true enough but his mother was English. His non-native name was Archibald Belaney and he was born in Sussex, England on September 18, 1888.

  Not long after his birth, Archibald's parents took off for the US while he was left in the care of his grandmother and two aunts. Archibald's father disappeared for good in America and his mother returned to England but only visited her son occasionally. Archie did well in school and loved being out in nature. He and a friend practiced knife throwing and marksmanship. 

   Archie was known as a prankster.  In chemistry class he made little explosive packets that he called "Belaney Bombs."  After school he worked as a clerk for a timber company where he continued his pranks. One day he lowered fireworks down the office chimney and nearly destroyed the building. He was let go from the timber company and his aunts sent him to Canada to study agriculture. 

  He immediately took off for the woods of northern Ontario to begin his career as a trapper presenting himself as a Native American. He sincerely wanted to live the life of a native. He met and married an Ojibwa woman named Angele Egwuna (this was several years before he met the Mohawk woman Anahereo).  From Angele he learned the Ojibwa language and the ways of the woods. After spending a winter in the woods trapping, he said the tribe had a adopted him as a Ojibwa trapper.

  When WWI broke out he joined the Canadian Army and served as a sniper. He told his fellow soldiers he was native. After being wounded twice, he was shipped back to Canada where he took to drink. Though his best days as a writer were ahead of him, his alcoholism would lead to his early death. Without letting his first wife know he was back, he partnered with Anahereo. 

  After his death, Grey Owl's first wife Angele got his estate which was substantial  But Anahero did alright for herself. She married a Swedish nobleman and wrote two best-selling books about her life with Grey Owl. In her books she claimed she didn't know he was other than what he said he was. She said she was hurt by the revelation. She remained active in the environmental movement and was elected a Member of the Order of Canada a few years before her death in 1986. She is buried beside Grey Owl in Prince Albert Park.

  It's not right to fabricate our past. Grey Owl's stock went way down after the revelations. His publishers removed his books from their lists. But with the passage of time his reputation has been resuscitated. In 1976 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced a documentary about him directed by David Attenborough and starring Pierce Brosnan as Grey Owl. A plaque has been erected in his honor in his home back in East Sussex. 

  Grey Owl's cabin in Prince Albert Park has been preserved and the public is welcome to visit, though it's a 12 mile hike in. It's only 10 miles by canoe. Grey Owl may have been a bit of a devil, but he did his bit to save the wilderness. Thoreau called the wilderness "the preservation of the world."


Grey Owl with his pet beaver




  

  



  







 



  The grey owl is an elusive bird. It sits in the shadows then swoops in silently to grab an unsuspecting vole or two. The Native American environmentalist Grey Owl (1888-1938) was somewhat elusive, but he was not silent about the need to change our relationship with nature. 

  Grey Owl made his living as a trapper until he met Anahereo Bernard, a Canadian Mohawk woman who made him see the cruelty of trapping. Grey Owl switched from being a trapper to a writer who in his magazine articles and books stressed the need to protect the environment. Because of the Depression unemployed men were heading to the woods to trap beaver, exterminating them in some areas. Grey Owl saw the beaver as key to the survival of the wilderness and the Canadian identity.

  Grey Owl also campaigned against the forestry corporations who, abetted by the government,  were clear cutting the old-growth forests in the West and replacing them with monoculture plantations.  Grey Owl came to the attention of the parks service and he was made naturalist at Prince Albert National Park in northern Saskatchewan where he lived until his death at age 49.

  Most of us have a secret we keep to ourselves. Grey Owl had a forest full of secrets. Suspicious minds began to inquire into his origins after his death.  He had told his biographer that his father was Scottish and his mother Apache. The part about his father was true enough but his mother was English. His non-native name was Archibald Belaney and he was born in Sussex, England on September 18, 1888.

  Not long after his birth, Archibald's parents took off for the US while he was left in the care of his grandmother and two aunts. Archibald's father disappeared for good in America and his mother returned to England but only visited her son occasionally. Archie did well in school and loved being out in nature. He and a friend practiced knife throwing and marksmanship. 

   Archie was known as a prankster.  In chemistry class he made little explosive packets that he called "Belaney Bombs."  After school he worked as a clerk for a timber company where he continued his pranks. One day he lowered fireworks down the office chimney and nearly destroyed the building. He was let go from the timber company and his aunts sent him to Canada to study agriculture. 

  He immediately took off for the woods of northern Ontario to begin his career as a trapper presenting himself as a Native American. He sincerely wanted to live the life of a native. He met and married an Ojibwa woman named Angele Egwuna (this was several years before he met the Mohawk woman Anahereo).  From Angele he learned the Ojibwa language and the ways of the woods. After spending a winter in the woods trapping, he said the tribe had a adopted him as a Ojibwa trapper.

  When WWI broke out he joined the Canadian Army and served as a sniper. He told his fellow soldiers he was native. After being wounded twice, he was shipped back to Canada where he took to drink. Though his best days as a writer were ahead of him, his alcoholism would lead to his early death. Without letting his first wife know he was back, he partnered with Anahereo. 

  After his death, Grey Owl's first wife Angele got his estate which was substantial  But Anahero did alright for herself. She married a Swedish nobleman and wrote two best-selling books about her life with Grey Owl. In her books she claimed she didn't know he was other than what he said he was. She said she was hurt by the revelation. She remained active in the environmental movement and was elected a Member of the Order of Canada a few years before her death in 1986. She is buried beside Grey Owl in Prince Albert Park.

  It's not right to fabricate our past. Grey Owl's stock went way down after the revelations. His publishers removed his books from their lists. But with the passage of time his reputation has been resuscitated. In 1976 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced a documentary about him directed by David Attenborough and starring Pierce Brosnan as Grey Owl. A plaque has been erected in his honor in his home back in East Sussex. 

  Grey Owl's cabin in Prince Albert Park has been preserved and the public is welcome to visit, though it's a 12 mile hike in. It's only 10 miles by canoe. Grey Owl may have been a bit of a devil, but he did his bit to save the wilderness. Thoreau called the wilderness "the preservation of the world."


Grey Owl with his pet beaver





  

  



  














   










   

Sunday Squibs (July 31)

  



Thinking that the grapes in your vineyard would not make good wine is the ultimate sour grapes.


Pre-Big Bang was the egg stage. Now we are larval or maggot. Purgatory will be pupal, and at last we'll be ready to flit, flutter, or buzz around Heaven. 


If a motel claims to be just like home, keep going. 


We must make a basic smell test to determine whether we’re in the presence of God or just in the presence of ourselves. 


We call our political opponents stupid, but intelligence is evenly divided across the spectrum. Application of that intelligence to our various fears is what makes all the difference. 


No nation will ever be great that charges for a second cup of coffee. 


Good writing gently corrals us readers to its logical conclusion. Bad writing forces us over an arid plain till we drop. 


When I’m confounded by science it’s a comfort to know the giant brains of Newton and Einstein were confounded too. 


The alcoholic smashes his last bottle on the bows of the good ship Sobriety


You can’t get away, you cannot escape. 

In life you are only a squatter. 

So be like the fly, when he wants to be safe,

Will land on the nearest fly swatter. 


If you see the universe in a grain of sand, you’ll never get the house cleaned before the guests arrive. 


In trying to save Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction Abraham was brilliant getting God down from fifty righteous people to ten. 

As it turned out there was no profit in bargaining with the odds maker. 


The voyeur of life just looks and he looks. 

The voyeur of the voyeur can at least write us some books. 


We are sometimes revulsed by our leaders’ acts before turning and saying just do it. 


The truth shall make you free. Though in some realms the free all sit in the liar’s prison.


My cogent and heartfelt explanations are called lame excuses by the boss who puts another letter in my file. 


Hatred is the new leprosy; a self-imposed exile from society. 


The art of mockery traces a line between giving your friend a hard time and getting a hard knock on your beezer.