Speaking of Monday’s rare eclipse, I quite accidentally ran across the following exchange regarding a similar 1912 phenomenon, between Winston and Clementine Churchill:

Clementine was staying at the Hotel Bristol in Paris, where she had “flitted off with some friends,” after recovering from a miscarriage back in England. In her letter to Winston of April 17th, she commented: “It is so bright and warm, not a breath of wind & a cloudless sky. The (solar) eclipse was weird & it became very dark for a few moments. Everyone out in the street with bits of smoked glass. The light was strange and metallic, like lighting on the stage. Rosie has gone off to see a friend., and I am resting — the horror of the Titanic (which had sunk the night of 14-15 April with the loss of 1,513 lives)  overshadows everything. Goodby my Darling. Your very loving Clem.”

 

Winston wrote back April 18th from 33 Eccelston Square in London: ” My Darling — Your description of the metallic light of the eclipse is perfectly correct. I noticed it myself. It also got much colder. The Titanic disaster is the prevailing theme here. The story is a good one. The story of the great traditions of the sea towards women & children reflects nothing but honor upon our civilization. Always your loving and devoted husband, W.”

Advertisements

Trump last night said we would no longer be nation-building but killing terrorists in Afghanistan going forward. Oddly, several years ago I heard from a general departing to lead Americans in Afghanistan that we were failures at nation-building there, but good at killing.

Sorry folks. America has been trying to nation-build in Afghanistan for 16 years, and in Iraq (how did that go?) and in Vietnam before that (we know how that ended.) It has been about nation-building all along, and that has failed time after time. Despite what Trump said last night, it is still about nation-building in Afghanistan and Pakistan today.

Are we good at killing? Yes. Are we wasting another generation of young American troops in another fruitless war? Yes.  Are we protecting the American way of life in the process? No. Are we wasting more billions, even trillions, that could be used to rebuild our own nation? Yes.

Are we learning anything? Yes. Are we doing anything useful with that learning? Absolutely not. Thanks Trump. The one time where one of your bad ideas — getting out of Afghanistan — might have been positive, you failed us again last night.

If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed.

If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

 

—Mark Twain

(courtesy of Ed Weed)

We visited Budapest several years ago, where the Hungarians took down the major statuary of the communist era and assembled it in a well-designed park outside the city in 1993. Marx, Lenin, Engels and the gang are gathered outside the city limits, where tourists and locals can find them, if they wish, but are not confronted with these symbols of a dark age, unless they wish to seek them out.

What America ought to do with the Confederate monuments being taken down is perhaps something like Memento Park in Budapest.

A journalist friend: Everyone has biases, but reporters and editors are supposed to check that at the door when they do their jobs. As a journalist, I am embarrassed by the actions, statements, editorializing etc. Of the mainstream news media. There has been a complete double standard of coverage on this president vs. The last one. The last one could do no wrong in the media’s eyes and the current one can do nothing right. That is a problem.
Comment from another friend:. Chuck needs more friends like you
·
Charles Ebeling
Charles Ebeling (Journalist above) is a friend, but we disagree. My long career in PR taught me that every media person has a personal bias. Some overcome that, and some don’t, and some use it as a moral compass for their journalism. Most are a bit of all three, to varying extents. I happen to agree with the weight of the current mainstream media regarding Trump, not because of their bias, but because of my own.

Chuck Todd of MSNBC closed his Sunday feature news program this morning by thanking the audience for watching his “show.” This grates me no end. To me, he is degrading an important news program by referring to it as a simple entertainment — a “show!”

Semantics matter, even in this world of reality TV and Trumpness.

A program implies, to me at least, something of importance. A show is just that, some Barnum & Bailey entertainment.

So, let’s call a spade a spade, and let’s call news by the name “programs,” and comedies, etc. “shows.” Such respect of semantics might help us begin to define the difference between the two terms in our contemporary lives, where, thanks to the one who calls himself “the President who is making America great again,” a meaningful “program” has often been denigrated to a mere “show.”

The opening scene in 2012, just five years ago, from the TV series  “The Newsroom,” made me tremble back then, and still does today, as the Trump regime bulldozes its way through the increasing rubble of America’s former greatness.

Wonder what I’m talking about? Take a look: you’ll remember.

It was on this day in 1974 that Richard Nixon turned in his resignation to Henry Kissinger, and Gerald Ford became President. I was somewhat distracted then, as just 5 days before I had gone back to work in public relations in Chicago at Cooper and Golin on the global McDonald's PR account. I was still living on my Chris-Craft, anchored opposite Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park harbor. I would row ashore each morning in my dingy, wearing a three piece suit with my briefcase, then walk across Grant Park to my new office overlooking the Wrigley Building across the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue. Seeing Nixon out was some recompense for the insult of the Vietnam War, but I was too busy getting in the groove of publicizing Ronald McDonald to stop and pay much notice. If Ford hadn't later pardoned Nixon, he might have gone on to become a greater President.

One of the odd yet fun assignments I had as head of corporate communications for McDonald’s was in helping build a relationship with Warren Buffett, who had quietly acquired a $1.5 billion position in McDonald’s stock. We decided to award him a rare McDonald’s Gold Card, entitling him to dine free at McDonald’s. We had Tiffany design and make the special card. Then we distributed Buffet’s photo to all the McDonald’s restaurants in Omaha, his home town, so they would recognize him if he presented the card. When I attended  a teacher’s award dinner he sponsored in Omaha, he was asked if he ever carried cash, and he pulled out his McDonald’s special card, telling the teachers he was most proud of it, but never had the courage to actually use it.

In the news story below, Bill Gates tells of the Chinese McDonald’s coupons we once provided Gates and Buffett, who chartered a train to travel together across China with their families. Buffett had contacted us before the trip, saying he knew he’d miss McDonald’s as they traveled through China, so could we please give him a map of the McDonald’s locations along his route. We did, and also gave the families a supply of Chinese McDonald’s coupons to use.

The Rob Lowe story below refers to the inventor of the Egg McMuffin, franchisee and former ad man Herb Peterson. Peterson created McDonald’s first breakfast item in the late 70s, introducing it to chairman Ray Kroc as “a poor man’s eggs benedict.”

 

Headline: Some of the richest billionaires in the world still eat at McDonald’s

1 Hour Ago

These billionaires have all the money in the world -- and they still eat at McDonald's

These billionaires have all the money in the world — and they still eat at McDonald’s

Despite their ability to spend, spend, spend, even some of the richest people in the world stick to a few frugal habits. For a few billionaires, that means opting out of Michelin-starred restaurants in favor of an American classic: McDonald’s.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was spotted eating a grab-and-go McDonald’s meal on the Mignanelli Steps near Piazza Spagna in Rome during his honeymoon with his new wife Priscilla Chan in 2012.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett loves the Golden Arches as well. He visits the restaurant every day for breakfast and never spends more than $3.17.

On his five-minute drive to the office, which he’s been doing for the past 54 years, Buffett stops by McDonald’s and orders one of three items.

Warren Buffett's McDonald's breakfast policy always keeps his meals under $3.17

Warren Buffett keeps his breakfast under $3.17

“I tell my wife, as I shave in the morning, I say, ‘Either $2.61, $2.95 or $3.17.’ And she puts that amount in the little cup by me here [in the car],” he explains in HBO’s documentary, “Becoming Warren Buffett.”

Each amount corresponds with a different option at McDonald’s. For $2.61, he can get two sausage patties, $3.17 gets him a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and $2.95 buys him a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit.

Buffett keeps it frugal even when treating his friends to lunch. In Bill and Melinda Gates’ 2017 annual letter, which they addressed to longtime friend Buffett, Bill tells the story of a particularly economical lunchBuffett took him out for years ago.

McDonald's Quarter Pounder hamburger

Getty Images
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder hamburger

“Remember the laugh we had when we traveled together to Hong Kong and decided to get lunch at McDonald’s? You offered to pay, dug into your pocket, and pulled out … coupons!” he writes.

Both Buffett and Gates are frequent enough patrons to Mickey D’s that they’ve earned the chain’s coveted Gold Cards. In a 2007 interview with CNBC, Buffett shared the contents of his wallet, showing off his card, which lets him eat for free at any McDonald’s in Omaha for the rest of his life.

“So that’s why the Buffett family has Christmas dinner at McDonald’s,” he laughs. “It explains a lot of things.”

Warren Buffett's most eccentric traits

Warren Buffett’s most eccentric traits

The cards are rare. While Buffett’s is only good in Omaha, he explains that Gates’ card gets him free meals anywhere in the world. “Mine is only good in Omaha, but I never leave Omaha so mine is just as good as his,” he says.

Billionaires aren’t the only ones who can boast of Gold Card privileges — although if helps to know someone. In 2015, actor Rob Lowe revealed his own card during a segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “My buddy’s dad invented the Egg McMuffin,” he says. “Which, to me, is like the greatest human achievement.”

Like Buffett’s card, Lowe’s was limited. He could only use it at McDonald’s franchises in Santa Barbara or Goleta, Calif., and it expired after a year, in 2016.

Regardless of your stance on this subject, this post from the Internet is quite amusing.
In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant
Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

 

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet.It’s funny, as well as informative:

 

Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law.

 

I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that
knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of
that debate.

 

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other
elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

 

  1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and
    female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine
    claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you
    clarify?

 

Why can’t I own Canadians?

 

  1. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
    Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair
    price for her?

 

  1. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

 

  1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
    pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.
    They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

 

  1. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus
    35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated
    to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

 

  1. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
    abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than
    homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there
    ‘degrees’ of abomination?

 

  1. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
    have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
    glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

 

  1. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
    around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.
    19:27. How should they die?

 

  1. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes
    me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

 

  1. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two
    different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments
    made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?
    Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family
    affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

 

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy
considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

 

Your adoring fan.

 

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

 

PS: It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian.

December 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 581 other followers