Robert Todd Lincoln was Abraham’s eldest son, and was incredibly successful as a Chicago lawyer and businessman (Chair of Pullman) in his own right. But he stayed away from politics like the plage, as I describe in my essay “Dodging the Shadow of Greatness,” in my new book  of essays presented before the Chicago Literary Club, “Apple Pressings,” now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Booklocker.com.

But Bob Lincoln, as his friends called him, had the heart of a political leader, as evidenced by his speech at the anniversary of the Lincoln/Douglas debate:

He said, “In our country, there are no ruling classes. The right to direct public affairs according to the might and influence and conscience belongs to the humblest as well as the greatest. The elections represent the judgments of individual voters. ..the power of the people.. by their judgments expressed through the ballot box, to shape their own destinies, sometimes makes one tremble.

“But it is in times of danger, critical moments, that brings into action the high national quality of the citizenship of America. The people are always true. They are always right., and I have an abiding faith they will remain so. ”

Let’s hope this carries forward in the coming elections.

 

The political scrambling over the most recent mass shootings in America brings to mind our experience last March, as our cruise ship was pulling into port to visit Christchurch, New Zealand. The captain announced that a mass shooting event had just happened there and we would instead be moving on to the next port. I was shocked to have come so close to such a horrific event.

Then we saw, within a week’s time, the New Zealand government was moving to further tighten already strong restrictions on gun ownership. Now in New Zealand, one cannot have a clip of more than 7 rounds, many combat type weapons are proscribed, and one must have a license to own a gun.

This island country of less than 5 million was able to act quickly and decisively to bring more meaningful control of guns. Yet, in our great nation of 65 times the population, despite dozens and dozens of such major incidents and ongoing gun carnage, we seem unable to legislate even the most moderate of gun control.

Is this a sign that America has become too big and diverse to govern? If not what is it a sign of?

If you check on Amazon to see about buying a copy of my wonderful new book of essays on all sorts of things, ranging from a cheetah on our Landcruiser hood, to a super french fry museum in Bruges, to the story behind Todd Lincoln becoming America’s greatest industrialist, you may find that the prices look high. But, just go to the offerings in small type and you will find lower prices for the softbound and hardback editions.

Cider our curious 18-year-old cat at Applewood Lodge, “confurs” with author Chuck Ebeling, about their new book of essays, “Apple Pressings” which is newly available on Amazon Books. Cider is acknowledged in the introduction for his role as he “trod the keys in attempts to add his random edits.” Author Chuck is more than willing to share the blame for any typos or spacing issues in the newly-published book with his “confuree.”fullsizeoutput_87d3

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My new book  — Apple Pressings — of essays presented before the Chicago Literary Club is now available for ordering, in a paperbound edition. Hardcover coming soon. To order, go to Amazon and then Books; the title is Apple Pressings.  For an even better buy, go the Barnes and Noble’s website, http://www.bn.com and search for Apple Pressings.

If you are a curious person like me, you may enjoy what Samuel Johnson called these “loose sallies of the mind.” Come with me to find out about the “Masai Mara Hood Ornament” we met in deepest Kenya, or the two billion candlepower beacon that once guided aircraft to Chicago, or what is going on with the Electoral College that really elects our Presidents, or how Toyota beat out VW and Detroit in the small car competition, or how Abraham Lincoln’s son became the top corporate magnate of his era, or what really went on in Vietnam in 1968, or the ins and outs of spokesmanship in “Smoke Smoke,” or how we went off the deep end with open offices, or an insider’s relationship with Dick McDonald who designed the Golden Arches, or how the ubiquitous french fry became a global cultural symbol, or what it was like to do public relations during the growth explosion of one of the greatest brands of all time.

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My first book will be published within the next month or so, and it is an anthology of my essays presented before the famed Chicago Literary Club in each of the 15 years I have been a member. Most of these were presented after club dinners at the aptly-named Cliff Dwellers Club, on the 22nd story, overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan.

The topics of the essays range widely: from fries, to Kenya, to Toyotas, to beacons, to Sam Johnson and James Boswell, to political colors, to spokesmanship, to changing office culture, to Belgium frikots to breakfast with Mr. McDonald, to name a few.

Below is my Introduction to APPLE PRESSINGS. Stay tuned for more, as publication approaches.

 

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

I came to think of these writings as the apple pressings of my mind.

In making apple cider, pressings are the remains of the crushed apples after the juice is squeezed out by a press. The essays herein were written at our Wisconsin retreat, Applewood Lodge, thus named because there are more than 200 apple trees of miscellaneous lineage spread across the property. They, or their antecedents, were likely planted by the owners of the fairly ancient house, now reduced to an overgrown foundation of large boulders, which once stood near the entrance,

Not long after Vicki and I acquired Applewood and built our weekend country house in 1989, I put together a traditional hand-operated wooden apple press, in hopes of teasing succulent fresh apple cider from the red, green and yellow apples adorning our trees every fall. Grinding the apples was sweat-busting work, thus the press has now been resting unused in our storage shed for some years.

Just as the pressings – also known as pomace or must – are what is left after the precious juice is squeezed from those hardy apples – these essays are the essence of what remains in the wake of travels, research and reflecting. The yield is these 15 essays, each completed annually between 2005 and 2019, under the auspices of the renowned and historic Chicago Literary Club, of which I’ve been a member over that time.

As for the back story of this compendium, I was invited to join the Literary Club by John Notz, a Lake Geneva friend who noted an article I’d written for a local newspaper about the winter mountain hut restaurants that Vicki and I ravenously visited in our ski trips to Arosa, Switzerland, from the late 1970’s through the early 2000’s. Each of the subsequent Literary Club essays here is also preceded by a short back story on why or how I came to think it worth writing.

I retired from a full-time career in public relations at the stroke of the Millennium, at the tender age of 56. I felt like a 16-year-old on summer vacation, but with a somewhat larger allowance. Yes, I have since been guilty of filling my time with an abundance of leisure activity, but I’ve also become active with several not-for-profit organizations, founded two university award programs in cause-related community relations, and done some travel and writing, much of it here, with the Literary Club.

My sweet wife of more than 40 years, Vicki, has served as my more-than-willing editor and grammatist, and our aptly-named cat, Cider, has often trod the keys in attempts to add his random edits. Each essay indicates the date presented before the Literary Club, and is reproduced as it was presented.

I hope you enjoy these sometimes-tasty, and always tart apple pressings, dried and ready for you to read, inside the covers of this non-edible volume. You might even consider it “must” reading. A glass of crisp apple cider might help them go down all the more smoothly. So, cheers, and enjoy!

 

 

 

Where is the Democratic party Presidential candidate who will advocate for a National Service program?

For example, a two-year National Service program for young men and women in their late teens could accomplish several important things:

1. Provide a workforce to help America restore its failing infrastructure.

2. Reduce youth unemployment by providing useful work in both the military and a federal civilian workforce, giving these young people useful training and experience, an income, opportunity to mature before going on to college, other more advanced training or joining the adult workforce.

3. Expose a wider cross-section of youth with military experience, broadening support and understanding of the military’s role in our society.

4. Create more national pride both in those participating and their families.

5. Reduce violence, drug use and misbehavior among young vulnerable Americans,

6. Demonstrate that federal government can make a positive difference in everyday lives.

7. And not least, advance a dynamic federal program that both Democrats and Republicans should be willing to support, that reaches into the heart of America.

Of course! Then why are 13 states still, after many years, refusing to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which clearly establishes that men and women are born with equal rights. Let’s do it, and this applies to both Democrats and Republicans who consider themselves to be good Americans.

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