4.14.2022 – malice toward none

malice toward none
with charity for all strive
to finish the work

Adapted from Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address.

A speech Mr. Lincoln made on March 4, 1865.

On April 14, 1865, he was shot.

On April 15, 1865, he died.

Here is the speech.

“Fellow countrymen: at this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends is as well known to the public as to myself and it is I trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

“On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it ~ all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place devoted altogether to saving the Union without war insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war ~ seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

“One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves not distributed generally over the union but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered ~ that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses for it must needs be that offenses come but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which in the providence of God must needs come but which having continued through His appointed time He now wills to remove and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him. Fondly do we hope ~ fervently do we pray ~ that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’

“With malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan ~ to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

3.16.2022 – Strong doesn’t mean big

Strong doesn’t mean big
Strong is brave to fight for right
to live decently

This is from one of the few known prints of Van Gogh’s Six Sunflowers – the original was destroyed by bombs on Japan in WW2

Strong doesn’t mean big.

Strong is brave and ready to fight for the life of his citizens and citizens of the world, human rights for freedom, for the right to live decently and to die when your time comes, and not when it’s wanted by someone else, by your neighbor.

I am almost 45 years old. Today my age stopped when the hearts of more than 100 children stopped beating. I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the deaths. This is my mission as a leader of my people. and as a leader of my nation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the US Congress on March 16. Below is a translated transcript of his speech, primarily delivered in Ukrainian, and taken from the C-Span network.

Thank you very much, madam speaker, members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen.

Americans, friends. I am proud to greet you from Ukraine, from our capital city of Kyiv, the city under missile and airstrikes from Russians every day.

It does not give up. We have not even thought about it for a second. Just like many other cities and communities in our beautiful country which found themselves in the worst war since World War II. I have been honored to greet you on behalf of the Ukrainian people and freedom-loving people who for years have been resisting Russian aggression. Those who give their best sons and daughters to stop this full-scale Russian invasion.

Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy. Russia has attacked not just us, not just our land, our cities. It went on a brutal offensive against our values. Basic human values. Against our freedom, our right to live freely, choosing our own future. Against our desire for happiness, against our national dreams.

Just like the same things you have, you Americans. Just like anyone else in the United States. I remember the national memorial Mount Rushmore. the faces of your prominent presidents, those who laid the foundation of the United States of America. Democracy, independence, freedom.

For every person who works diligently, who lives honestly, who respects the law, we in Ukraine want the same for our people. All that is a normal part of your own life.

Ladies and gentlemen, Americans, in your great history you would understand Ukrainians. Understand us now. We need you right now.

Remember Pearl Harbor. The morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Remember. Remember September 11. A terrible day in 2001 when people tried to turn your cities into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked attacked from the air. No one expected it. You couldn’t stop it.

Our country experiences the same every day. Right now, this moment, every night for three weeks, in various Ukrainian cities, Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people. Russian troops have fired 1000 missiles at Ukraine. They use drones to kill us with precision.

“No-fly zone”
This is a terror Europe has not seen for 80 years and we are asking for an answer to this terror from the world. Is that a lot to ask? To create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people. Is this too much to ask? A no-fly zone. Russia would not be able to terrorize our cities.

If this is too much to ask, we offer an alternative. You know what kind of defense systems we need. You know how much depends on the ability to use aircraft to protect our people, our freedom. aircraft that can help Ukraine, help Europe. We know they exist and you have them. They are not in Ukrainian skies.

“I have a dream. I have a need.”
I have a dream. I have a need. I need to protect our skies. I need your help, which means the same you feel when you hear the words I have a dream. Ladies and gentlemen, friends. Ukraine is grateful to the United States for its overwhelming support. Everything your government and your people have done for us, for weapons and training, for leadership to pressure the aggressor economically.

I am grateful to president Biden for his sincere commitment to the defense of Ukraine and democracy all over the world. I am grateful to you for the resolution which recognizes all of those who commit crimes against Ukraine as war criminals. In the darkest times for our country I call on you to do more.

New sanctions are needed constantly every week until the Russian military machine stops. Restrictions are needed for everyone on whom this unjust regime is based: all politicians in the Russian Federation who remain in their offices and do not cut ties with those who are responsible for the aggression against Ukraine from the state duma members upwards.

All American companies must leave Russia from their market immediately because it is flooded with our blood. Ladies and gentlemen, members of Congress. If you have companies in your district who financed the Russian military machine, you should put pressure. I am asking to make sure the Russians do not receive a single penny they used to destroy people in Ukraine, the destruction of our country, the destruction of Europe. All American ports should be closed for Russian goods. Peace is more important than income, and we have to defend this principle in the whole world.

We have to defend the world. We already became part of the antiwar coalition, the big antiwar coalition that unites many countries, dozens of countries, those who reacted to president Putin’s decision to invade our country. We need to move on and do more. We need to create more tools to respond quickly and stop the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. It would be fair if it ended in 24 hours, that people would be punished, that evil would be punished.

Today the people do not have such tools. Institutions should protect us from war but they unfortunately do not work. We need new alliances and we offer them. We propose to create an association, united for peace, a union of responsible countries to stop conflict immediately, provide all the necessary assistance in 24 hours, weapons if necessary, sanctions if necessary, humanitarian support, finances, everything you need to keep the peace and quickly to save the world, to save life.

Such associations would provide assistance to those who are experiencing natural disasters, who fell victim to humanitarian crisis or epidemics. Remember how difficult it was for the world to do the simplest things just to get a vaccine against covid to save lives, to prevent new strains. The world spent months, years doing things like that much faster to make sure there are no victims.

Ladies and gentlemen, if such an alliance would exist today we would be able to save thousands of lives in our country, in many countries around the world, those who need peace, those who suffer inhumane destruction. I ask you to watch one video. a video of what the Russian troops did in our country, in our land. We have to destroy every single aggressor who seeks to subjugate other nations. Please watch the video.

In the end, to be the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace. Peace in your country does not depend only on you and your people. It depends on those next to you, on those who are strong. Strong does not mean weak. Strong is brave and ready to fight for his citizens as citizens of the world. For human rights. For freedom. The right to live decently and die when your time comes and not when decided by somebody else.

Today the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine. We are fighting for Europe and the world and our lives in the name of the future. That is why today the American people are helping not just Ukraine, but Europe and the world to keep the planet alive. To keep justice in history.

I am almost 45 years old. Today my age stopped when the hearts of more than 100 children stopped beating. I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the deaths. This is my mission as a leader of my people. and as a leader of my nation.

I’m addressing president Biden. You are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.

Thank you.

Slava Ukrayini.

3.14.2022 – think of violence

think of violence
goes nowhere – to not think
about it, absurd

Adapted from the paragraph:

This is the brain fog of war.

It’s impossible to think straight, because thinking about violence goes nowhere, yields no new insight, has no texture.

The alternative would be to not think about violence, an absurd idea.

Everybody’s in the same state.

If you’re not talking about Ukraine, you’re thinking about it, so everything else you say is gibberish.

It’s better just to talk about it, but say what?

Which appears in the article, The impotent fury of watching the war in Ukraine is giving us all brain fog by Zoe Williams in the Guardian today.

She ends with this:

When all this is over, people say, the world will be changed.

We keep saying that about things. Some phrases I don’t understand, because they don’t mean anything (“new normal”).

Others, I’m only beginning to understand as they draw to a close (“rules-based order”).

The brutal truth is as true for Ukraine as it was for Covid: that those who lose the people they love will be changed for ever, and the rest will find 100 really solid reasons why it’s time to move on.

We might be more human while we’re not thinking straight.

BTW, the image is another sunflower image painted by Vincent Van Gogh.

I have been using the sunflowers as folks have pointed out that the sunflower is the national flower or symbol of Ukraine.

Of this painting it is interesting to note that it is one four paintings by Van Gogh made of sunflowers in August,1888, when models hired for the day did not show up.

Of the four paintings, two are famous and been reproduced around the world and in this blog.

One of the four went into private collection (after being last exhibited in Ohio in 1948 and never seen again).

This painting, named Six Sunflowers, was in a private home in Japan when it was destroyed during a US bombing raid in World War 2 on the same day that Hiroshima was destroyed, in a separate bombing attack on Ashiya.

It’s impossible to think straight, because thinking about violence goes nowhere, yields no new insight, has no texture.

The alternative would be to not think about violence, an absurd idea.

3.5.2022 – watching ukraine war

watching ukraine war
watching and waiting for what …
for that shoe to drop

Me and my brother Pete were just over a year apart in age.

We were brothers.

We fought a lot.

And often.

There is a famous scene in our childhood when my future sister-in-law, Judy Beach was visiting us.

Judy had grown up in a nice, calm family with one brother.

She dated my brother Paul who was and is a nice, calm guy.

I suspect Judy was surprised if maybe not overwhelmed when she was at our house ‘to meet the family’ and me and Pete got into it, MMA style.

It wasn’t until we were a little older when we got into Junior High that we learned about wrestling and trying to use our weight (which neither had very much of) to hold the other down.


This was brawling.

This was we-watched-them-do-this-on-tv cowboy in the saloon bar fights.

This was Three Stooges, sitting-on-you-while-trying to bash-your-head-through-the-floor slugfests.

We swung and kicked and bit as best we could.

Screaming all the time.

And no one paid much attention to us.

But it caught Judy’s attention and she was distraught and anxiety gnawed at her.

Was no one going to say anything?

Was no one going to stop this?

I was 9 and Pete was 8.

After a while, my Mom took notice.

“Stop it, stop it, stop it.” said Mom.

Judy later told how relived she was that finally this was over.

She felt she could breathe again.

Then my Mom said, “Give me your glasses.”

Pete and I both wore glasses that got broke often.

We took them off and gave them to Mom who put them on the kitchen counter.

“Okay, get it over with,” she said as she turned back to Judy and we got back to brawling.

It must have been something to see.

I remember another time one of these fights took place in front of my Grandfather.

He stood over saying, “Here here, here here.”

Which struck both me and Pete so funny that we stopped fighting just to laugh.

For a long time we could make the other laugh in church by leaning over and whispering, “Here here.”

SO we watch the war in Ukraine.

The world stands by and says, “Here here, here here.”

The world stands by and says, “Now stop that.”

The world stands by and says, “Now look out for that nuclear power plant.”

We know we aren’t going to do anything.

They know we aren’t going to do anything.

Well, we are going to cut off their allowance if they don’t stop.

What to do?

What can you do?

So we wait for this war to be over.

Though I am not sure what over means.

I think I want Mr. Putin to come to his senses and say, “My bad – So sorry – We are leaving.”

I also want a million dollars (tax free).

I know Mr. Putin is not going to come to his senses.

Mr. Putin wants to make Russia great again.

So what do I want?

Let’s go the movies.

Do I want to be Richard Blaine?

Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and get back into the fight, a fight I know this time our side will win?

Do I want to be Sam Spade?

Humphrey Bogart in Maltese Falcon and say to Putin, “I won’t play the sap for you! I won’t play the sap for you because you’ve counted on it.”

I have to admit I think a lot of problems that people have could be avoided if they had said to themselves, “I won’t play the sap for you.”

On the other hand …

It just occurred to me.

In Maltese Falcon, Bogart wears black suits.

In Casablanca, Bogart wears the white dinner jacket.

How long will it take for the shoe to drop?

Cities bombed.

People killed.

Now here here.

March Madness is about to start and we would really like to just watch it okay?

Boy I wonder who Joe Biden has in his bracket?

I think, in the end, the movie will be the old John Wayne standard, Chisum.

You know the line.

Finally John Wayne has been pushed too far and he is asked what he is going to do and John Wayne says, “What I’d have done 25 years ago.”

3.3.2022 – Kremlin said its war

Kremlin said its war
going according to plan
no Putin plan b

According to the today’s front page of the New York Times:

The Kremlin said its war in Ukraine was “going according to plan” and signaled no intention of backing down. The statement came in a description of President Vladimir Putin’s phone call with President Emmanuel Macron of France.

And …

It Is Very Clear Putin Has No Plan B.

2.24.2022 – at four a m Kyiv

at four a m Kyiv
was bombed, in the spring, the time
when kings go to war

There was a time when school kids learned the verses,

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

In Russia, I am told, school kids learned the verses,

Dvadtstat’ vtorogo iyunya, rovno v chetyre utra,
Kiev bombili, nam govorili, chto nachalas’ vojna

Which is translated,

On June 22, exactly at four in the morning,
Kiev was bombed, we were told that the war had begun

It is from a Russian song about the start of World War 2, when the Germans attacked Russia on June 22, 1941.

This morning, I picked up my Bible to start my day and my reading took up at the book of 1 Chronicles, Chapter 20.

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, Joab led out the armed forces. He laid waste the land of the Ammonites and went to Rabbah and besieged it, but David remained in Jerusalem. Joab attacked Rabbah and left it in ruins.”

I guess the world grows older, but the world never grows up.

I am reminded of the lines of Robert Conway, played by Ronald Colman in the movie, ‘Lost Horizons’ when Conway talks about how he would run Foreign affairs:

You see, the trick is to see who can out-talk the other. Everybody wants something for nothing, and if you can’t get it with smooth talk, you send an army in. I’m going to fool them. I’m not going to have an army. I’m going to disband mine. I’m going to sink my battleships – I’m going to destroy every piece of warcraft.

Then when the enemy approaches we’ll say, “Come in, gentlemen – what can we do for you?” So then the poor enemy soldiers will stop and think. And what will they think? They’ll think to themselves – Something’s wrong here. We’ve been duped. This is not according to form. These people seem to be quite friendly, and why should we shoot them?” Then they’ll lay down their arms. You see how simple the whole thing is?

Centuries of tradition kicked right in the pants — and I’ll be slapped straight into the nearest insane asylum.

Is it any wonder that Frank Capra movies were labeled, Capra Corn?

I grew up enamored of war and the study of battles and the romance of it all.

I am reminded of the scene in the book, Gone with the Wind.

A scene not in the movie.

It takes place at the opening barbecue at the Wilkes Mansion, Twelve Oaks.

Talk of war breaks out and in the movie the only one who speaks out against the war is Rhett Butler.

But in the book, Margaret Mitchell wrote this:

Under the arbor, the deaf old gentleman from Fayetteville punched India.

What’s it all about? What are they saying?”

“War!” shouted India, cupping her hand to his ear. “They want to fight the Yankees!”

“War, is it?” he cried, fumbling about him for his cane and heaving himself out of his chair with more energy than he had shown in years. “I’ll tell ‘um about war. I’ve been there.” It was not often that Mr. McRae had the opportunity to talk about war, the way his women folks shushed him.

He stumped rapidly to the group, waving his cane and shouting and, because he could not hear the voices about him, he soon had undisputed possession of the field.

You fire-eating young bucks, listen to me. You don’t want to fight. I fought and I know. Went out in the Seminole War and was a big enough fool to go to the Mexican War, too. You all don’t know what war is. You think it’s riding a pretty horse and having the girls throw flowers at you and coming home a hero. Well, it ain’t. No, sir! It’s going hungry, and getting the measles and pneumonia from sleeping in the wet. And if it ain’t measles and pneumonia, it’s your bowels. Yes sir, what war does to a man’s bowels–dysentery and things like that–“

The ladies were pink with blushes. Mr. McRae was a reminder of a cruder era, like Grandma Fontaine and her embarrassingly loud belches, an era everyone would like to forget.

“Run get your grandpa,” hissed one of the old gentleman’s daughters to a young girl standing near by. “I declare,” she whispered to the fluttering matrons about her, “he gets worse every day.

Maybe I’ll just go back to bed and crawl under the blankets.

2.21.2022 – start game toss the ball

start game toss the ball
be honest and no whining
the gaga pit rules

There is a school, Red Cedar Elementary, nearby and when we go for a walk, we walk past the school and sometimes, cut through the playground behind the school.

In a field next to the playground is the Red Cedar GAGA Pit.

Lucky for us there is a sign next to the pit or we would not have known what it was.

The rules of the GAGA pit are also listed on the sign.

The pit is used to play a version of dodge ball but the ball has to be bounced before it hits you so a line drive dodge ball throws doesn’t count.

Interesting to note that thinking about the bounce, the GAGA Pit versus Dodge Ball argument is much like the Cricket versus Baseball argument where in Cricket the ball has to bounce before it is batted.

I love rule 9.


There are those who might say that more is expected of the grade school kids at Red Cedar Elementary School than is expected of the so called ‘grown-ups’ in the Government.

There are those who might say that.

But not me.

I want to avoid controversy.

But if the shoe fits …

And I will say that the image of putting everyone on Congress into the GAGA PIT really appeals to me.

Talk about must see TV.

And I will also say that Rule 9 could be abbreviated to just BE HONEST & NO WHINING and I would be happy.

There are those times where important learning takes place at school but not in the classroom.

Lot of life can be learned in the GAGAPIT.

The GAGAPIT Rules rule.

The GAGA PIT rules.

Grand daughter Dallas explores the gagapit

2.12.2022 – saying yes to the

saying yes to the
paradoxes democracy
hopes of government

Salutations on the aniiversary of your birth, Mr. Lincoln.

In remembrance I offer Carl Sandburg’s 1936 poem, Lincoln?

He was a mystery in smoke and flags
Saying yes to the smoke, yes to the flags,
Yes to the paradoxes of democracy,
Yes to the hopes of government
Of the people by the people for the people,
No to debauchery of the public mind,
No to personal malice nursed and fed,
Yes to the Constitution when a help,
No to the Constitution when a hindrance
Yes to man as a struggler amid illusions,
Each man fated to answer for himself:
Which of the faiths and illusions of mankind
Must I choose for my own sustaining light
To bring me beyond the present wilderness?

       Lincoln? Was he a poet?
       And did he write verses?
“I have not willingly planted a thorn
       in any man’s bosom.”
I shall do nothing through malice: what
       I deal with is too vast for malice.”

Death was in the air.
So was birth.

2.5.2022 – red scary moment

red scary moment
all yesterdays lighted fools
way to dusty death

McCarthyism been on my mind of late.

Groundless accusations, unjust charges along with statements having no basis in truth.

Can’t imagine why I was thinking about that era.

A thought came to me that brought me up sharp.

One of those moments when you stop and look over the edge of the cliff.

I had said to myself, what if Joe McCarthy had social media.

What if the Red Scare had facebook.

It is bizarre for me to remember that the Congress of the United States authorized and created an investigative committee named HUAC.

If you don’t remember it stood for House Un-American Activities Committee.

It is even odder when I remember that it was formed in 1938, 12 years before Joe McCarthy came along.

House Un-American Activities Committee.


And this in the era when all the news was in Newspapers.

And when Tail-Gunner Joe came along in 1950 with his list of 300, 786, 938 or was it 1,100 names (Joe couldn’t keep track either) of ‘known communists in the State Department’, HUAC was all set and waiting for him.

Had twitter and facebook been around during the Red Scare maybe this country would have come to an end.

But cooler heads, in the end, prevailed.

I say that because I can get feeling that way now.

I say that because the feelings in play across the nation look to be in place for along time and I cannot imagine where the cooler heads will come from, let alone, prevail.

But I think of other things.

I remember that Mr. Hitler came to power in 1932 and proclaimed a new Germany that would last 1,000 years.

In his novel on the era, The Winds of War, Herman Wouk has his hero, Pug Henry, watching the German army in action and thinking that the 1,000 Reich looked like a good bet to make it.

Then I remember the 1936 Olympics.

The Berlin Olympics.

The Olympics that came up with the Olympic Torch and Olympic Flame.

I remember watching a documentary on the track star Jesse Owens, who won 4 gold medals at the Berlin Olympics.

Mr. Owens got his shot at the 4th medal as part of the 400 Meter Men’s Relay team because the USA Olympic team quietly removed another member who was Jewish but I digress.

There was some controversy that Mr. Hitler did not shake hands with Mr. Owens or congratulate him on his medals.

At the end of the documentary, Mr. Owens stood at the entrance of the Olympic Stadium that stands to this day in the suburbs of Berlin.

As I remember it, Mr. Owen’s talked about Mr. Hitler and said something along the lines of, well, I am here now and he is not.

That 1,000 years of Hitler’s country lasted about 13.

In no way do I mean to say that the current political climate is reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany.

In no way can the current political farce of masks and vaccines and garden parties compare in any way to Hitler’s Germany.

Hitler’s Germany did not last.

Cooler heads did prevail.

In the USA, people realized that the House Un-American Activities Committee was Un American.

Maybe they even realized that the term Un American was as dumb as it sounded.

Cooler heads did prevail.

I guess I don’t need to be too worried today.


Who said it better than Big Bill?

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.

(Macbeth, Act V, Scene V)

1.24.2022 – pathological

narcissism when in office
petty in extreme

Adapted from the line “Once addicted, the pathologically narcissistic politician can become petty in the extreme, taking every slight as a deep personal insult.” in the article, “Where egos dare: Manchin and Sinema show how Senate spotlight corrupts” by Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, and professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

I liked the article as much for what it said as for the word play of the 1967 book, “Where Eagles Dare” by Alistair MacLean.

I have read that the book was supposed to be titled “Castle of Eagles” but that a Hollywood producer convinced MacLean to change the title to “Where Eagles Dare” from the line “The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch” from Act I, Scene III in William Shakespeare’s Richard III.

But I bet you a dollar that who ever came up with the title for Reich’s article, was thinking of the movie with the same title that starred Richard Burton and a very young Clint Eastwood.

But this is the trick to the question.

MacLean was contacted by this Hollywood Producer to write an original story directly for the screen.

In this case of chicken-egg, book-movie, it was the MOVIE that came first.

According to online sources [sic], the producer told MacLean that he wanted, “a team of five or six guys on a mission in the Second World War, facing enormous obstacles. I want a mystery. I want a sweaty, exciting adventure movie.’ That’s all I told him, just that.”

I am not sure if there is a specific word or genre’ for this type of book, but I have always regarded it with a bit of awe as it takes place in realtime.

What I mean by that is that the entire book takes place within the time of about 12 hours.

12 hours to land in Germany, get inside a heavily guarded German HQ that is located in a castle on top of mountain accessible only by cable car, free a captured allied spy, capture the top three German spies and get the spies to write out a list of all the German spies in Britain, un-mask the top traitor in the British high command and get away.

A grand case of the suspension of disbelief.

If you can watch the movie and accept that all the Germans speak English, its a small step to accept all the rest.

Also a grand example of my inability to stay on topic and to fall into a digression that has no bearing on the haiku.

Or does it?

The haiku is about narcissism in politics.

The article I link to writes in the voice of an insider who has seen many great efforts brought to unexpected ends because, “Again and again, I’ve watched worthy legislation sink because particular senators didn’t feel they were getting enough credit, or enough personal attention from a president, or insufficient press attention, or unwanted press attention, or that another senator (sometimes from the same party) was getting too much attention.”

I am reminded of a story told by then Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil.

The Speaker was elected to the House seat vacated by JFK in 1952 and was re-elected 12 times.

In politics, or at least in what I used to know as politics, running for Congress in Boston in the District that at one time was represented by John F. Kennedy, like Gerald R. Ford’s district in Michigan, was known as a ‘safe seat.’

Most likely you will be reelected.

Re-elected with very little effort.

My Dad told me how Gerald Ford would come back to West Michigan every couple of months, rent an RV and drive around the district and park in a lot and put up a sign that said “MEET YOUR CONGRESSMAN – NO WAITNG,” and then go back to Washington and forget about Grand Rapids.

The Speaker loved to tell this story about seeing some polling data from his district.

Mr. O’Neil noticed that a neighbor of his in his district, an older lady, someone who had voted the democratic ticket forever, someone that he knew, had indicated that in the last election she had NOT voted for the Speaker.

The next time he was in Boston, the Speaker sought her out and asked what happened?

Why had she not voted for him?

The lady looked at the Speaker and said in a very tired voice, a voice the Speaker never forgot, “Tip,” she said, “Sometimes folks just want to be asked.”

I bring this to up to ponder what if politicians, the House, the Senate, all of them together, somehow asked, on a regular basis, not just every two years, what we wanted.

Mr. Reich writes, “The Senate is not the world’s greatest deliberative body but it is the world’s greatest stew of egos battling for attention.

Every senator believes he or she has what it takes to be president.

Most believe they’re far more competent than whoever occupies the Oval Office.

Out of a 100 Senators, only a handful are chosen for interviews on the Sunday talk shows and very few get a realistic shot at the presidency.

The result is intense competition for attention.

I would like to see an intense competition for our attention.

To get there, all it takes is a grand suspension of disbelief.

Then I thought again about the line, The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.

Written by Big Bill back in 1592.

Written by Big Bill back in 1592 about a King that had died in 1485.

A time when, The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.

And again I realize, I guess, that this world and all that is going has been done before.

Like is says in scripture, “there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV)

PS: Mr. Reich’s paragraph about Lindsey Graham made me laugh out loud. Especially now that Mr. Graham is ‘MY’ Senator.

Reich wrote:

Some senators get so whacky in the national spotlight that they can’t function without it. Trump had that effect on Republicans. Before Trump, Lindsey Graham was almost a normal human being. Then Trump directed a huge amp of national attention Graham’s way, transmogrifying the senator into a bizarro creature who’d say anything Trump wanted to keep the attention coming.