Thursday, July 19, 2018

“A parking lot attendant who’s a guy makes a lot more money than a child-care attendant who’s a woman.” – Gloria Steinem

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
19 July
At just the right time – timing in politics is everything, isn’t it? - Teddy Roosevelt who already had a political career launched, who had already spent time in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory, volunteered for active duty when the Spanish-American War broke out and was commisioned a colonel; he formed the famous Rough Riders including an odd assortment indeed - his Dakota cowboy friends as well as his upper-class Eastern-Establishment cronies - and led them on the famous and well-publicized charge up San Juan Hill. That charge, unlike much of what took place in that murkey war, was a [simple] clean American victory.
The war itself was short, and with the good press he got from the Hearst newspaper chain, Roosevelt caught the attention of President  McKinley who selected him as his vice-presidential running mate in1900. A few short months after that election McKinley was assassinated, and Theodore Roosevelt became, at age 42, the youngest president in American history.
He was called, with considerable justification, “a steam engine in trousers.” He relished his time in the White House; he even won the Noble Peace Prize for brokering a peace treaty at the end of the Sino-Russian War in 1905.
He easily won the 1904 presidential election in his own right, and almost certainly would have held on to the job he so much enjoyed in 1908, but he decided to chase off to an African safari instead, so he bestowed the job that was clearly his to bestow on his good friend and Secretary of War William Howard Taft.
Then everything changed.
Fate up to this time had, it seemed, favored him; now, it seemed, Fate turned on him. After that short-lived African safari [his enemies pointed out, perhaps fairly, that hunting big game wasn’t enough to satisfy his gargantuan ego] TR came to disagree with the policies of his White House protégé to the point of seeking the Republican nomination for president in 1912. In the process his friendship with Taft soured bitterly - Taft got the nomination for himself, and TR bolted to form the short-lived Bull Moose Party becoming its candidate for president. The ensuing bitter struggle hopelessly divided the Republican Party and gave the election that year to Woodrow Wilson. Despite his heroic efforts, TR’s unwanted retirement was confirmed.
[By the way, that same Fate that seemed to curse TR in 1912 seemed to bless Woodrew Wilson, an academic’s academic with a scant two years of executive experience as New Jersey governor.
One star down, another up.

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” Anonymous

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
July 18
The First major battle of the Civil War took place at the Virginia rail junction of Manassas near a stream called Bull Run a few miles outside of Washington D. C. It was fought against the advice of Lincoln’s generals who said their troops were not ready; Lincoln overruled them, saying, ‘they are green, it is true, but so are the enemy. They are all green alike.’

'It sometimes becomes necessary to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. True, you’re only walking so not making good time; also, there's no view from the valley floor and therefore little in the way of perspective; and of course the death part is enough to terrify anybody. But keep a cool head - after all, the valley of the shadow of death isn't the valley of death, is it?'
- Arnold Kunst

“Harsh reality is always better than false hope.” – Julian Fellows

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
July 19
What came to be called First Bull Run took place about 18 miles from Washington on July 19, a balmy Sunday in 1861, and, hard though it may be for us at this vantage to imagine, all of Washington took picnic baskets with them in their carriages to watch the Rebels get whipped. [The assumption, North and South, was that this was going to be a quick and easy war, each side asserting that the other was no match for them!] Unfortunately, after what looked like a quick Northern victory, it was the Yankees who got whipped. At the end of the day the roads back to Washington were clogged with an odd but profoundly sobering assortment of panicky congressmen, women in their summer finery, members of the diplomatic corps and soldiers flinging their equipment to the four winds – all in headlong flight from what looked very much like abject defeat. Confident Northern boasts were destined to disappear like snow in spring. A world of tranquil certitudes was over, perhaps never to return.

Wisdom comes by disillusionment.’
- George Santayana

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

“Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” – Maya Angelou

“Continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” – Maya Angelou
From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
17 July
The Beatles got it right: we get by, and then some, with a little help from our friends.

“Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.” - Ayn Rand

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
July 17
'You think slavery is right and should be extended while we think slavery is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us.'
- Abraham Lincoln

'When you are in the process of negotiating - job interview, buying a car, ordering a meal, choosing a life's mate – be clear about your priorities and prepared to say, not just imply, “no” and than, if necessary, to walk away from what isn't a fit.'
- Arnold Kunst

Monday, July 16, 2018

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Chanel

17 July
From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
Death: cowardly, the loser dies 0.02% every day, a pinprick at a time.
Death: courageously, the winner lives every day to the fullest and then, one day, will just drop dead.

“All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.” – Sally Ride

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
July 16
‘Before Lincoln's 1860 election the Buchanan administration had done virtually nothing to put down what looked like an incipient rebellion. Buchanan himself, although he viewed secession as flagrantly unconstitutional, could not - or would not - see any way to counter the hemorrhaging of states seceding from the Union [in the ten weeks leading up to Lincoln's inauguration seven states had seceded from the then total of 34]. The lame duck Congress had done little better. To be sure, the House had introduced a bill that would have authorized the president to call out state militias, but the Senate – with the aid of senators from states about to secede - had actually passed a resolution requesting a lowering of the War Department's budget. When Lincoln took the oath he found that he had lost control to those seven states of all federal agencies; they had also seized every federal fortification except Forts Pickens and Sumter. In addition, the Mississippi River was obstructed or in Southern hands. Oh, and Washington, sandwiched between the southern-leaning states of Maryland and Virginia, was virtually defenseless...’
- Arnold Kunst

‘Make sure your attitude is always, “I can handle it.” Whatever “it” is.'
- Anonymous