The Lessons of History

FOR GOODNESS SAKE, READ HISTORY (Part One)

Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: FURY
Word of the Day prompt: SUSTAIN
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge: EULOGY

Fury, Rage, and Free Press

Sue over at Crooked Creek has done reports on the new books about Donald Trump: TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH written by his niece, Mary L. Trump, and the other, RAGE, by Bob Woodward. I think Sue has done a great job of introducing the books lightly and fairly, without getting into personal opinions about the contents.

Stickler for accuracy that I am, I do object to the subtitle “…the world’s most dangerous man.” It sounds so sensational. No doubt he is one of the most powerful men on the planet but when I think of some dictators, money men, heads of organized crime and drug lords, I’m not so sure who should receive that title. But I’ll leave that where it is.

When I read these book reviews, my thought was: at least we live in a world of free speech. People have compared Donald Trump to Hitler, but there’s so much difference. Read about that history! If any writer wrote a news story calling Hitler a megalomaniac or tried to publish a book about Adolf Hitler, the most dangerous man on the planet (which he was, in his day) the journalist or author would have disappeared in the night and never been heard from again.

I have a book here written by a woman who was a girl in Nazi Germany. Her father, a loyal army officer who had serious misgivings about the whole regime, quietly got involved in a “Schindler’s List” type arrangement with a factory owner. When this was discovered he was arrested and secretly executed. Trump may not respond well to criticism but I’m not hearing anything about vocal Democrats being rounded up and quietly disposed of.

“The Worst Ever” Usually Means “I Haven’t Heard of Anything Else”

We live in a world of sensational superlatives. The media delights in them. “The worst pandemic in history”; “the biggest, the worse, the most devastating storm” ever. Climatic conditions like fires, droughts, hurricanes, are “the most calamitous,” “unsurvivable” and “portents of much worse to come.” Political races may be called “the most contentious” or “the most fateful decision ever.”

It’s rather thrilling to believe we actually live in an era of the worst ever. These days we seem to be surrounded by news and Facebook and Twitter working to sustain panic and fury. Many people are chanting some eulogy for the West — or America. I can’t predict whether things will get worse or better, but I do believe it would be great if more people were studying history.

Speaking of which, I’ve just started reading PROHIBITION: Thirteen Years that Changed America, by Edward Behr. Fascinating era!

Image by MabelAmber — Pixabay

His Last Verse

Ragtag Daily Prompt: FROTH
FOWC Prompt: IMMINENT

Pocket has posted an article from The Atlantic about people’s last words. I don’t know about you, but I’ve though a few times about death and what sort of farewell I might give to a loved one standing near. I’d probably offer some variation of Tom Paxton’s lines:
“I could have loved you better, didn’t mean to be unkind;
you know that was the last thing on my mind.”

Using this morning’s prompt words — and with apologies to Adam Lindsay Gordon — I shall respond with the fuzzy last words of Pete the Poet as he faces his imminent demise:

Life is mostly froth and bubble
two things tossed like foam:
all the money I have made;
the places I've called Home.

Peace in a Troubled Worldt

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is UNPERTURBED

My first thought with regard to this prompt was The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.
“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste…”

This isn’t the easiest thing to do; we do have emotions and sometimes we must react. But it’s a goal to aim for. We can remind ourselves to stop, take a deep breath, and rmember how today’s troubles will look much smaller in the rear-view mirror. And with regard to all the pointless noise around us — oh, for the wisdom to tune it out!

These Bible verses speak of trust in God as the source of peace:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”
Psalm 46:1-5

The poem, IF, by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) also gives
a good picture of a person who lives an unperturbed life.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.

Verbalizing English

As often happens, an article on another blog has fired my mental cylinders and — coupled together with some peeves I’ve already petted — has generated enough sparks to inspire a story.

The culpritical article in this case, is Merriam-Webster’s Great Big List of List of Words You Love to Hate. All your favorite pet peeves in one location.

This has touched a nerve. My past musings, after seeing the word HEROIZE in an article, were about how some writers have such a love of making nouns into verbs, and/or mangling both. Heroize is actually an old word that’s never caught on well, but M-W’s article has given me a few new words to grind my teeth on: CONVERSATE, COMMENTATE, and INCENTIVIZE. Shriek!

Biff has done another Whatnot Wednesday prompt post again; since this post definitely fits in the “Whatnot” class, I’ll give him a nod for that inspiration.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is ZEPHYR. I think I can work a few of those into my tale.

A Page from Mrs Ditz’s Longsuffering Diary…

My car was running rough, so at 10 am I took it to the mechanic to see if he could figure out what was wrong. And since I didn’t want to loiter at the shop while he was mechanizing it, I decided to go for a walk. The morning was warm and sunny with zephyrs swirling around, I felt inspirated to meanderate through the park and enjoy the flowers.

I wonder if my daughter is finding the prom dress fabric she’s looking for. I left her at the mall where she planned to materialize at Fabric Haven. This girl is definitely an accomplished seamstress. You should have seen the gorgeous fitted blazer she seamed for herself last month. A perfect fit!

I’d thought of going back to the mall myself and grabbing a coffee in the food court, but you know how it is when everybody’s cacophoning on their cells. You can’t hear yourself think! So I’ll just stroll along and appreciate these morning breezes zephyrating the flowers and shrubs. I just encounted a nice old lady taking her young grandson for a walk and she commentated, too, on the lovely weather.

This morning my son is engaged in an important work. He’s together with several other scientists who want to scientize a report on our local environment. They’ve got a lot of data to analyze and categorize, then they’ll compilate their findings and present their report to some committee that wants to improvate air quality in our city.

I hope it doesn’t take that fellow long to mechanize my car. My dog’s having pups and the vet tells me Drowsy could be litterating any moment now. Drowsy’s a purebred English Terrier and I was hoping to sell the pups, but I suspicion that the mongrel down the street may have illegitimatized this batch.

I think I’d best rotate and head back in the direction of the garage. I don’t want to incentivize him to bill me for any more time than what’s strictly necessary.

Stay

Dear friend, tomorrow
we shall part – the tides
of time bear you away.
So little yet remains to us,
and so this evening, stay.

Sit awhile, let us share
fond memories – assay
to layer gently in our words
our hearts' deepest desires.
Yes, stay, my old friend. Stay!

Your work may take you far,
my friend – we cannot know
when next we'll chance to say
a hearty welcome home again.
So stay, my brother. Stay.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is STAY