10.29.2020 – looking forward back

looking forward back
are there any new ideas
old ideas re-thought

Came across the name Vannevar Bush in my reading the other night.

His entry in Wikipedia states, “an American engineer, inventor and science administrator, who during World War II headed the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), through which almost all wartime military R&D was carried out, including important developments in radar and the initiation and early administration of the Manhattan Project. He emphasized the importance of scientific research to national security and economic well-being, and was chiefly responsible for the movement that led to the creation of the National Science Foundation.

In other words, he was the civil administrator of the operation that delivered the atomic bomb.

But he was an idea guy.

As the entry stated, Mr. Bush saw “the importance of scientific research to national security and economic well-being.

He also envisioned a research tool tor a “device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.”

Mr. Bush advanced this concept in the early 1930’s.

With the tools available at the time, Mr. Bush wondered if somehow microfilm readers could some ‘link’ text to other sources.

When computers were first introduced there were often connected in a network or ‘internet’ that allowed information to be stored and shared.

In 1990’s, the world wide web was launched and that information became open to everyone.

Mr. Bush also predicted a time when “there is a growing mountain of research. But there is increased evidence that we are being bogged down today as specialization extends. The investigator is staggered by the findings and conclusions of thousands of other workers.

The investigator is staggered by the findings and conclusions of thousands of other workers!

I am staggered by the amount of information now online.

I am glad its there though.

Lucky for me the world needs people to help find the way through this mountain of information.

I am here to help folks find their way to Hilton Head Island.

10.27.2020 – picture the graces

picture the graces
winning ways, and rare promise
not the faults and flaws

I love the book Tom Sawyer/

There are passages as full of what makes writing writing that had I written, I could die a happy man/

White washing the fence.

The unearned prize Bible.

Lost in the cave.

Right there with is the scene when Tom, Huckleberry Finn and Joe Harper march down the aisle at their own funeral.

Recent events have allowed me to reveal a great piece of personal news.

Lunch time walk

The comments, congratulations and well wishes of so many friends and family and folks whose comments and friendship I value a lot have reminded me of this scene.

Had I known I would heard such wonderful things I would have arranged to die a long time ago.

Thank you all.

As Mr. Twain put it, “Tom got more cuffs and kisses that day — according to Aunt Polly’s varying moods — than he had earned before in a year; and he hardly knew which expressed the most gratefulness to God and affection for himself.”

I am grateful to God for his affection.

I am grateful to God for your affection.

From The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

As the service proceeded, the clergyman drew such pictures of the graces, the winning ways, and the rare promise of the lost lads that every soul there, thinking he recognized these pictures, felt a pang in remembering that he had persistently blinded himself to them always before, and had as persistently seen only faults and flaws in the poor boys. The minister related many a touching incident in the lives of the departed, too, which illustrated their sweet, generous natures, and the people could easily see, now, how noble and beautiful those episodes were, and remembered with grief that at the time they occurred they had seemed rank rascalities, well deserving of the cowhide. The congregation became more and more moved, as the pathetic tale went on, till at last the whole company broke down and joined the weeping mourners in a chorus of anguished sobs, the preacher himself giving way to his feelings, and crying in the pulpit.

There was a rustle in the gallery, which nobody noticed; a moment later the church door creaked; the minister raised his streaming eyes above his handkerchief, and stood transfixed! First one and then another pair of eyes followed the minister’s, and then almost with one impulse the congregation rose and stared while the three dead boys came marching up the aisle, Tom in the lead, Joe next, and Huck, a ruin of drooping rags, sneaking sheepishly in the rear! They had been hid in the unused gallery listening to their own funeral sermon!

10.27.2020 – walking on the beach

walking on the beach
between me and Morocco
no one else to see

Recent life changes has moved the Atlantic Ocean so close that I have gone walking on the beach everyday for the last couple of days.

Feet in the waves.

Feet in the salt water.

If I look to the east, there is no one to be seen between me an Morocco.

4,200 miles of ocean.

When I think about that to my right, I tip over on my left.

10.25.2020 – refuse to accept

refuse to accept
despair as the final response
to the everyday

Adapted from Dr. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize speech on December 10, 1964.

Dr. King said, “Refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.”

Dr. King was thinking of the efforts for civil and human rights here in the United States and scross the world.

But boil it down to just one person and just one day.

Just today.


Covid fatigue alone how can someone hold off despair.

Refuse to accept it.

That is possible for sure.

Just today.

But how to do it over and over and over again?

Dr. King said, ” I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. “

Unarmed truth.

Unconditional love.


The final word.


10.24.2020 – rock in the water

rock in the water
concentric circles, ripples
of possibility

From the eulogy delivered at the memorial service for Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

Known to the world as Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson died on October 24, 1972.

The eulogy was delivered by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Rev. Jackson said:

Jackie, as a figure in history, was a rock in the water, hitting concentric circles and ripples of new possibility.

Jackie, as a co-partner with God, was a balm in Gilead, in America, in Ebbets Field..

When Jackie took the field, something within us reminded us of our birthright to be free.

And somebody without reminded us that it could be attained.

There was strength and pride and power when the big rock hit the water, and concentric circles came forth and ripples of new possibility spread throughout this nation..

No grave can hold this body down.

It belongs to the ages, and all of us are better off because the temple of God, the man with convictions, the man with a mission, passed this way.

Man with a mission, passed this way.

There is also the line:

His body will rest, but his spirit and his mind and his impact are perpetual and as affixed to human progress as are the stars in the heavens, the shine in the sun and the glow in the moon.

His impact are perpetual and as affixed to human progress as are the stars in the heavens, the shine in the sun and the glow in the moon.

I was struck by this line as just having read Dr. ML King’s speech on accepting the Nobel Prize where Dr. King referred to the “the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism.”

The stars in the heavens.

The shine in the sun.

The glow in the moon.

Against the the starless midnight.

As Dr. King said, “Refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.”

That, more of less, in big $4 words, defines the life of one certain baseball player.

Sometimes it can be more than a game.

10.23.2020 – always remember

always remember
that the future comes one day
at a time always

From the quote from Dean Acheson when he said:

The future comes one day at a time.”

Or …

Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.

Or …

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.

I really do not like to quote quotes without attribution.

Without proper context or attribution I might as well go to work for Hallmark.

My bench mark is usually my hardcover copy of Bartlett’s familiar quotations (16th Edition) and somehow Mr. Acheson is not even included though Spiro Agnew is.

According to Wikipedia Mr. Acheson served as the 51st United States Secretary of State under President Harry S. Truman. He served as Secretary of State from January 1949 to January 1953. He helped defend America’s foreign policy during the break of the Cold War.

Acheson’s most famous decision was convincing President Truman to intervene in the Korean War in June 1950. He also persuaded Truman to dispatch aid and advisors to French forces in Indochina, though in 1968 he finally counseled President Lyndon B. Johnson to negotiate for peace with North Vietnam.

He may be more famous for being, along with President Truman, members of the Cowardly College of Communist Containment that Richard Nixon loved to hate.

Nevertheless, how, when or why Mr. Acheson said it will not change the fact that the future comes one day at time.


10.23.2020 – powerful forces

powerful forces
will take us beyond the bounds
of imagination

Adapted from the line:

Within your lifetime powerful forces, already loosed, will take us toward a way of life beyond the realm of our experience, almost beyond the bounds of our imagination.

The line comes from the Commencement Address at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 22, 1964, delivered by President Lyndon Johnson.

It is an address known to history as the “Great Society Speech.”

According to Wikipedia the Great Society was “New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, and transportation were launched during this period. The program and its initiatives were subsequently promoted by him and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s and years following. The Great Society in scope and sweep resembled the New Deal domestic agenda of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

LBJ said:

Within your lifetime powerful forces, already loosed, will take us toward a way of life beyond the realm of our experience, almost beyond the bounds of our imagination.

For better or for worse, your generation has been appointed by history to deal with those problems and to lead America toward a new age. You have the chance never before afforded to any people in any age. You can help build a society where the demands of morality, and the needs of the spirit, can be realized in the life of the Nation.

So, will you join in the battle to give every citizen the full equality which God enjoins and the law requires, whatever his belief, or race, or the color of his skin?

Will you join in the battle to give every citizen an escape from the crushing weight of poverty?

Will you join in the battle to make it possible for all nations to live in enduring peace — as neighbors and not as mortal enemies?

Will you join in the battle to build the Great Society, to prove that our material progress is only the foundation on which we will build a richer life of mind and spirit?

There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth. I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want. But we need your will, your labor, your hearts, if we are to build that kind of society.

Those who came to this land sought to build more than just a new country.

They sought a new world.

So I have come here today to your campus to say that you can make their vision our reality.

So let us from this moment begin our work so that in the future men will look back and say: It was then, after a long and weary way, that man turned the exploits of his genius to the full enrichment of his life.

Over 50 years later it seems like “soulless wealth” is winning out.

Going back to the speech, for better or for worse, this generation has been appointed by history to deal with those problems and to lead America toward a new age.

We have the chance never before afforded to any people in any age.

We can help build a society where the demands of morality, and the needs of the spirit, can be realized in the life of the Nation.

We can.

We can?

Can we?

10.21.2020 – thankful for those who

thankful for those who
will plant trees under whose shade
they will never sit

Based on a fragment from a quote that states:

“old men plant trees they will never sit under.”

I came across the quote in the book, His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life by Jonathan Alter,

Mr. Atler considers President Carter as “a man who lived the advice of the columnist Walter Lippman to ‘plant trees we will never sit under.’ “

The book is interesting in its efforts to paint Mr. Carter as the most renaissance President since Thomas Jefferson.

I will not go into that now but I will say that the book is full of interesting historical observations including the fact that Mr. Carter was the first President to be born in a hospital.

Back to the quote.

As I said, Mr. Atler attributes the quote to Walter Lippman.

Mr. Lippmann wrote, “Yet this corporate being, though so insubstantial to our senses, binds, in Burkes words, a man to his country with ties which though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. That is why young men die in battle for their country’s sake and why old men plant trees they will never sit under.”

Mr. Lippman published this thought in a 1955 in a book titled. Essays in The Public Philosophy by Walter Lippmann, Chapter 3: The Derangement of Powers, Section 2: The People and the Voters

First I have to stop and ask does anyone today know who Walter Lippmann was or remember the role he in played in United States Political History?

I know the name from 4 years of college course on United States history.

But today?

Wikipedia says that Mr. Lippmann “was an early and influential commentator on mass culture.”

Mr. Lippmann wrote a nationally syndicated column, Today and Tomorrow, that appeared across the country in US newspapers from 1931 to 1967.

An early and influential commentator on mass culture.

In an age before twitter.

In an age of complete sentences.

In a age of the printed word.

Mr. Lippman somehow was still a person of influence.

A person of influence for 36 years.

And barely remembered today.

Indication for the future of the Kardashians I hope.

ANYWAY, put the quote into the google and versions of the statement are shown to go back to Cicero when he said, serit arbores, quae alteri saeclo prosint, or he plants trees, which will be of use to another age.

It is a good thought.

A lasting thought.

Not a bad way to be described.

Where are these people today?

Let’s look at the entire quote again starting with, “Yet this corporate being.”

Mr. Lippmann is writing about The People as in WE, the People.

Yet this corporate being,

though so insubstantial to our senses,

binds, in Burkes words,

a man to his country with ties

which though light as air,

are as strong as links of iron.

That is why young men die in battle for their country’s sake …

and why old men plant trees they will never sit under.

Sorry to say that one review of this essay referred to Mr. Lippmann’s “Unattainable Ideal.”

Maybe I am just jaded by the leadership available today.

Lots of old men.

Hard to imagine them planting trees that others, let alone not themselves, might sit under.

They are out there.

People who plant the trees for others.

And I am thankful they are there.

Excuse me while I go plant a tree.

19.10.2020 – everyday heroes

everyday heroes
both extra ordinary

Again and again I am reminded of the acts of heroism in everyday life.

Not the type of acts that get noticed.

Not the type of acts that earns a medal.

A heroic act that gets noticed or earns a medal is often an act of the moment.

A heroic action that evolves quickly without thinking of oneself or ones risks in that moment.

But those daily acts of everyday life by ordinary people and not just ordinary people but extra ordinary people.

Daily acts by people who have time to think and to plan and to imagine the results of their actions and then somehow with this in mind, they still get up and back that car out of the driveway.

Sometimes these simple acts can be beyond belief.

Every day acts of every day people.

Ordinary folks.

The online dictionary defines ordinary as something “with no special or distinctive features; normal.

And that is what we see.

People with no special or distinctive features.

People who are so ordinary that they are extra ordinary.

At the same time, these same people are dealing with thoughts and pressures and processes so far beyond ordinary.


Defined online as very unusual or remarkable.

Very unusual!



10.17.2020 – whose hand in Autumn

whose hand in Autumn
painted all the trees scarlet,
leaves red and yellow

Adapted from Henry Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha.

But the fierce Kabibonokka
Had his dwelling among icebergs,
In the everlasting snow-drifts,
In the kingdom of Wabasso,
In the land of the White Rabbit.
He it was whose hand in Autumn
Painted all the trees with scarlet,
Stained the leaves with red and yellow;
He it was who sent the snow-flakes,
Sifting, hissing through the forest,
Froze the ponds, the lakes, the rivers,
Drove the loon and sea-gull southward,
Drove the cormorant and curlew
To their nests of sedge and sea-tang
In the realms of Shawondasee.

According to Wikipedia, “Chapter II tells a legend of how the warrior Mudjekeewis became Father of the Four Winds by slaying the Great Bear of the mountains, Mishe-Mokwa. His son Wabun, the East Wind, falls in love with a maiden whom he turns into the Morning Star, Wabun-Annung. Wabun’s brother, Kabibonokka, the North Wind, bringer of autumn and winter, attacks Shingebis, “the diver”. Shingebis repels him by burning firewood, and then in a wrestling match. A third brother, Shawondasee, the South Wind, falls in love with a dandelion, mistaking it for a golden-haired maiden.”

I have tried and tried to wade through Hiawatha.

I am familiar with it’s history and place in a American literature but it is shoveling heavy snow to work my way through its 5,314 trochaic tetrameter lines.

Maybe its the words and wording I cannot pronounce.

Maybe it is the names.

Minnehaha, Mudjekeewis, Mishe-Mokwa, Wabun, Wabun-Annung, Kabibonokka, Shingebis, Shawondasee and Nokomis.

Oh brother.

One of my favorite authors, Bruce Catton recalled that when he was in high school he had attempted to write a novel based on the Aztecs.

Mr. Catton noted in Waiting for the Morning Train: A Michigan Boyhood, his autobiography, that he had selected for his main character of the novel, the name Nezahualcoyotl, King of Tezcoco.

Mr. Catton did bit complete the novel and he writes, “ … how could you do a piece of fiction whose name is Nezahualcoyotl? Utterly impossible.”

Then there is this other reason.

I have a problem with Hiawatha due to this other story lurking there in the back of my mind.

I grew up in a neighborhood Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

My family had started going there back in the 30s.

For a good part of my life the Pastor of the Church was wonderful Bible preaching man who had grown up in the state of Maine.

The Pastor was fond of telling stories his boyhood in that great state.

I loved the stories.

If there was a problem for me and the Pastor and any of his stories was that I had this type of brain that remembered the stories.

I might not be able to force my mind to remember spelling words, trigonometry tables or quadratic equations but ask me what happened to the first trout the Pastor caught while fishing for the first time with his buddies along some river in Maine and I will tell you.

ANYWAY, the Pastor had a story he would tell about the poem Hiawatha.

I have to admit I do not remember the point of the story or the illustration created by telling the story but from the first time I heard it, I remembered the story.

I know I remembered it because as soon as he would start the wind up that lead into the story I would lean over to who ever I was sitting next too, my Dad mostly or some friend or sibling.

I would lean over and whisper, “He is going to say LEG PAINT.”

Which got some good silent stares in reply that said, “Are you nuts?”

Then the Pastor would describe how when he was in high school in Maine he recited most of, if not all of the Song of Hiawatha at an all school assembly.

Pastor said that he was dressed for the part.

Pastor said he had feathers in his hair and carried a bow and arrows.

Pastor said he wore moccasins and buckskin pants.

Then it came.

“From the waist up,” he said, “I was covered with … leg paint.”

I think the first time I heard the story I had asked my Mom what leg paint was.

My Mom said that when silk and nylon wasn’t available for stockings during World War 2, someone came up with the idea that brown or tan make up used on legs could look like a nice pair of stockings.

The make up was marketed as Leg Paint.

Let me tell you that that is one hard picture to get out of your mind.

This was only the 2nd Pastor of our Baptist Church that I known.

The first one, I was sure, had weekly meetings with Mrs. Swanson, the Principal at Crestview Elementary School and Lyndon Johnson, President of the United States.

When I read about the BIG THREE, I thought of Pastor, Principal and President.

And you know how it is when you think of older people as younger people.

They have smaller bodies but the same face.

I would look at the Pastor up there in the pulpit and I saw the buckskins, the bow and arrows and … the leg paint.

I wish I could come up with the original reason that the Pastor told the story.

An unexpected positive result was that when I was faced with something goofy or odd that I had to do in High School I would often recall that the Pastor went along with Hiawatha Assembly.

If he could do it, so could I.

He was a good guy.

Much later in life I had an opportunity to give him a Boston Celtics jacket.

Being from Maine, he was Celtics guy but that was okay.

Nothing made me smile more than reports that the Pastor was spotted wearing that jacket.

I had done burst once when a sister of mine told that she ran into the Pastor at a diner near church and he was wearing that bright green and gold jacket.

My sister told me she had to ask, “Where did you get that?”

The Pastor squared his shoulders and straightened the jacket and said, “I’ll have you know your brother Mike gave it to me.”