BOB'S BITS

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 12 Oct 2017, 13:17

Yes, to-morrow every Duchess in London will be wanting to kiss me! Ramsay MacDonald to Philip Snowden, August 25, 1931, on the formation of the National government.

Ramsay MacDonald was by no means the first eminent British political figure to have been born on the wrong side of the blanket. But where he differed from his ‘illegitimate’ precursors was that most of them were of noble or even royal blood. MacDonald’s mother was a farm servant, and she birthed her boy (on October 12, 1866) in the back room (the “ben”) of a but-and-ben cottage. She did identify his father as John MacDonald, a farm laborer, but on his birth certificate he was “James MacDonald Ramsay, child of Anne Ramsay.” Soon the boy renamed himself Ramsay MacDonald, and many years later (January 22, 1924) he kissed George V’s hand and became Britain’s first Labour prime minister. The king was not amused, and stepped out of his constitutional role to complain to MacDonald about Labour supporters singing “The Red Flag.” MacDonald replied that if he didn’t let them sing, there would be a riot. That little story neatly encapsulates MacDonald’s political history, and his dilemmas as prime minister (first of a minority government, 1924 and 1929-31, then of the “National” government, 1931-35). He led a party in which one’s ideological stance was a big issue, and as he made his way in politics, he tried several ideologies. Then, as Labour Party Secretary, in 1896. MacDonald negotiated a political deal that, in working-class constituencies, the Liberal Party would stand down, enabling Labour to beat the Tories in that district. It was a fateful compromise because, in the crisis of the Great Depression, MacDonald agreed to lead a new “National” government and, worse in socialist eyes, to adopt savage austerity measures. So it was that Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald was read out of his party and became, forever, a symbol of wrong-headed compromise and failed policies. But really he didn’t do too badly, when you consider that he had begun life as the illegitimate son of a Lossiemouth maid. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 13 Oct 2017, 10:35

Once a hippopotamus and I were on an island together, and I wanted one of us to leave. Mary Kingsley, public lecture at Cheltenham Ladies' College, circa 1896.

Female explorers were such a select group that they attract interest. These notes have already featured Nellie Bly and Gertrude Bell. Another was Mary Kingsley, in her time possibly the most famed of them all. In Kingsley’s case, we could say she was born (London, on October 13, 1862) into a family of adventurers and writers. Her father Charles, indeed, just missed going out on the Little Big Horn with Custer and the 7th Cavalry, but lived to write up the tale because he was delayed by bad weather. So she was raised to travel, and to write, and she prepared for the travel by studying nursing. Her adventurous spirit and a generous inheritance took her to Africa (where she would die in 1900 while nursing Boer POWs), first on two long explorations in the early 1890s. Mary Kingsley traveled alone and lived in African villages, and thus became something of a sensation in Victorian London and among the Africans (who expected European women to have husbands with them). Women’s rights campaigners wanted to make something of her but she stood aloof from them, just as she also refused to endorse (as kinds of cultural imperialism) efforts to “civilize” and Christianize the Africans. Instead, she developed a lively sympathy and deep admiration for traditional African societies and cultures and thought their religions as valid paths to spiritual understanding. That might not have gone down quite so well in London, but her defense of British imperial rule (if it kept its distance) and her ability to translate her experiences into “ripping yarns” ensured that her two books (Travels in West Africa, 1897, and West African Studies, 1900) sold well and made her famous. She also saw her writing and travels as preparatory to finishing her father’s “great book” (as she called it) on adventuring, but POW camp typhus robbed her of that purpose. In June 1900, Mary Kingsley was buried at sea, with full (British) military honors, just off Cape Town. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 14 Oct 2017, 12:46

Early morning over Rouen, hopeful, high, courageous morning . . . Opening line of "Rouen," by May Wedderburn Cannan.

May Wedderburn Cannan’s poem “Rouen: April 26—May 25, 1915,” elliptically about her experience as a war nurse, has often been anthologized (Larkin called it “enchanting” in his Oxford Book of 20th-Century English Verse), and although by 1934 she had published three volumes of poetry and a novel, she’s on no list of “great” writers. Thereby hangs her tale. May Cannan was born on October 14, 1893 in Oxford, the third daughter of a leading university academic. May and her sisters published a literary magazine at home and she put out her first commercially published poetry in 1907. Her first book of poetry, In War Time (1917), arose out of her experience nursing in France. Her other volumes (The Splendid Days, 1919, and The House of Hope, 1923) referenced the war, but she never became anti-war (in honor, she said, of the bravery, gaiety, and dutiful stoicism she saw in her patients). She saw enough heartbreak, and that second volume was dedicated to her fiancée and lover Bevil Quiller-Couch, who survived four years at the front, with heroic distinction, only to fall in the flu pandemic of 1919. May Cannan then married another military man, Percival Slater, in 1924. They retired to a Staffordshire farm where, for decades, they raised a son and a succession of pampered animals. May’s writing bug would not rest, and in 1934 she wrote her novel, really a fictionalized memoir, The Lonely Generation. But as many writers have found, it can be tough (on yourself and on your friends) to be honest. Something in the book offended Percival, who “had a thing about it” and asked May to stop writing. And so she did. Years later, Percival apologized. May replied that “it did not matter, which [by then] had become nearly true.” But only ‘nearly’: May left behind a manuscript autobiography and her love letters to Quiller-Couch, now published as Grey Ghosts and Voices (1976) and Tears of War: The Love Story of a Young Poet and a War Hero (2000). ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 15 Oct 2017, 14:06

Science is cumulative, and it embodies its past. C. P. Snow.

Three years ago I helped design—and still lecture in—a UMSL course that we call “Science Literacy” but the catalog calls “Interdisciplinary 1234.” I find particular pleasures in attending the presentations of my colleagues in the sciences where I find out more than I once knew about time, matter, and mass, the ‘Big Bang,’ and the formation (and later discovery) of the elements. Other than the pleasures of hearing about quite fascinating material, our central aim is to help students bridge the gap between wherever they are (often in the humanities) and the sciences. I blame René Descartes for that gap. His view that “all things in nature occur mathematically” (often confirmed, notably by Lord Kelvin’s dictum that if you can’t count it, it isn’t science) tends to keep the weak-hearted from even trying. But perhaps the most famous attempt to describe the gap, explain it, and urge that it be bridged was C. P. Snow’s The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959). Charles Percival Snow was born on October 15, 1905, in Leicester, and educated at the university there and then Cambridge where he joined the physics faculty in 1930. Then he announced his personal intention of bridging two (or more) cultures by writing novels (some of them academic potboilers, but a couple nominated for prestigious prizes). Come the war, Snow became an eminent bureaucrat and think-tanker (eminent enough to qualify for the Nazi’s Hit List). In the 1950s a couple of his novels and The Two Cultures made him famous for much longer than the proverbial flash and brought him a peerage. After The Two Cultures, Snow finished with further government service, intriguing political analyses, and accomplished essays in literary criticism (especially The Realists, 1978). So Snow, at least, bridged the gap. But as we see all too clearly in US politics, science literacy remains so abysmal as to constitute a clear and present danger. We have our work cut out for us. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 16 Oct 2017, 10:45

Today I know that everything watches, that nothing goes unseen, and that even wallpaper has a better memory than ours. Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum, 1959.

Donald Trump promises to give orders to American soldiers that would break American military law and overturn international conventions on war crime. Should that happen, the question of war guilt would arise, as it did at Nuremberg, and it would be easy enough to find guilty the person who gave the order. But how far down the line of command does that unalloyed guilt go? That thorny issue was explored once again when, in 2006, the German Nobelist Günter Grass confessed (or confirmed what Der Spiegel was about to reveal) that he had, in WWII, served in the 10th Waffen-SS Panzers. The resulting brouhaha was intense, not least because Grass the novelist had also made himself into Grass the moralist whose fiction, essays, and speeches led many to conclude that Germany had indeed struggled successfully to acknowledge the real presence of the Nazi stain and then (painfully) to atone for it. His defenders (including Grass himself) seemed by his death (in 2015) to have won that battle, among other things pointing out that when Grass was drafted into the Waffen-SS he was just 16 and already had been regimented into the war industry labor system. Günter Wilhelm Grass was born in Danzig (by the Versailles Treaty a ‘free city’) of a German father and a Polish mother on October 16, 1927. Whether he was culpable or not (he accepted that he was), by the time he donned the SS insignia the German war machine was doomed, and he has written feelingly about “his” war, much in the vein of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. For young Grass, “blood and soil” spilled out in the blood and guts of his equally young (and guilty-innocent) comrades. After de-nazification (Der Spiegel proved its case in 2006 with US POW documents), Grass trained as a craftsman and, luckily for most of us, turned to writing. His 2006 ‘confession’ may have come too late (and too hurriedly) to be expiation, but perhaps his literature will suffice. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 17 Oct 2017, 13:57

Dark and dismal was the Day// When slavery began// All humble thoughts were put away// Then slaves were made by Man. Jupiter Hammon, An Essay Upon Slavery, 1786.

The Lloyd family of Long Island was unusual in several respects. They settled there in 1654 when it was under Dutch rule and then stayed, waxing rich, for many generations. They also kept written records, published in 1926 as vols. 59 and 60 of the New York Historical Society Collections, and they kept slaves, too. That’s how we know that one of their slaves, Jupiter Hammon, was born on October 17, 1711. The Lloyds also (we can infer) treated their slaves well, and Jupiter’s father, Obadiah, a Barbadian import, learned to read and write and passed those skills along to Jupiter, who remained a Lloyd “property” (for four Lloyd generations) for the whole of his long life. Along the way, Hammon became a poet, the first African-American poet that we know about, his writing encouraged by his Lloyd masters. He published several long poems, Christian and evangelical in theme and subject, including one in 1782 in which he criticized what Jupiter saw as pagan tendencies in the work of Phyllis Wheatley, another slave-poet. In that poem (a rather interesting piece of Wheatley criticism, by the way) Hammon praised slavery as the institution that (after all) had brought him and Wheatley to Christ, and his revolutionary period Address to the Negroes of the State of New York (1787) spoke similarly of the institution. Still, in that Address Jupiter Hammon (by then 76 years of age) did hope to see young blacks live free, and he also looked forward to heaven as a place that knew no slavery, no chains, no black nor white. And then in 2013 a doctoral student at the University of Texas discovered, in the Yale library, a Hammon manuscript poem, dated November 1786, in which the black poet made clear his hope that he might not have to wait upon heaven to find his own freedom. However, old Jupiter Hammon, aged 95, died in 1806 still a slave, and was buried in an unmarked grave: a property interred in his master’s property. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 18 Oct 2017, 10:46

The Indians said, they beleeved almost all the same things, and that the same power that wee called God, they called Kietitan. Much profitable conference was occasioned hereby. Edward Winslow, 1624.

19th-century Yankees made much of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers,’ their courage, their character, their (dubious) claim to be (via the Mayflower Compact) the founding fathers of American democracy. And yet, paradoxically, they invented for them (when they could) gentle birth and breeding in the mother country. And so Edward Winslow, one of the Plymouth settlement’s undoubted leaders, became a gent with a gent’s coat of arms. In truth Winslow was born (on October 18, 1595, near Worcester) to a yeoman (smallholder) farmer who also dabbled in saltmaking. It was only later, in the 1630s and 1640s, that Winslow (by then a man of prominence in Plymouth and also London agent for the Massachusetts colony) invented a coat of arms and made himself an ersatz gentleman. But never mind his lowly origins. Winslow also made himself into a successful farmer and merchant, one of the “Undertakers” who in 1627 took over the colony’s debts to English backers and pointed the way towards Plymouth’s modest but widely shared prosperity. He would become eminent, too, in England’s Puritan Revolution, and died as Parliamentary Commissioner with the fleet that sailed out to the Americas in 1655 to humble the proud and cruel Spaniards (but had to settle for fever-ridden Jamaica). I know Winslow as the author (1624) of Good Newes From New England, sometimes wrongly grouped as one of those puff pieces (early modern real estate brochures) designed to lure settlers and their money to the new world. But Good Newes is more remarkable for its matter-of-fact—even sympathetic—treatment of the Indians. For in America Edward Winslow not only made himself into a gentleman. Without training or experience, he also made himself into a skillful diplomat and—when needed—a resourceful soldier in Plymouth’s up-and-down relations with the native people amongst whom it needed to live and whose help—or forbearance—it needed if it were to survive. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 19 Oct 2017, 10:37

A good writer is an expert on nothing but himself. And on that subject, if he is wise, he holds his tongue. John le Carré

In John le Carré’s A Perfect Spy (1986), the British spy Magnus Pym defects after attending his father’s funeral. It’s found that Magnus has been, for too long, a double agent, working across Cold War borders for Czech intelligence. In exploring his life, we find he’s worked across many other borders, too, not only the one between truth and lies but the more difficult (in Magnus’s case impermeable yet porous) frontier between father and son. For his father Rick was a con artist who should have been a double agent, a man of immense charm and total fraud, rich when the charm worked and poor when the fraud was discovered. When Magnus disappears, British intelligence discovers that it has had yet another viper in its bosom. And this is the most autobiographical of all le Carré’s novels. John le Carré was born David John Moore Cornwell on October 19, 1931, became a spy while in the army (he started by interviewing defectors!!), then went to Oxford where he was tutored by a spymaster (a Smiley type), met his mother (she’d abandoned him in 1936), and then returned to spying. By the early 60s tired of it all, he wrote (first) two murder mysteries and then a spy thriller, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1963). Still employed by “The Circus,” and bound to secrecy, Cornwell chose a pen name, “John the Square,” and it was as le Carré that he became famous. And David Cornwell’s father, Ronald Thomas Archibald (aka “Ronnie”) Cornwell was Rick Pym incarnate, a con man and ex-con, a friend of the Kray twins, a get-rich quick schemer who often got poor quicker but always strove to put a good—if nouveau riche—face on things. John le Carré, a secretive man, has admitted his father’s influence, benign yet also cancerous, pervasive yet distant. When in 1976 Ronnie died, le Carré paid for the funeral but stayed away. Instead of mourning, he began to write A Perfect Spy, a good deal cheaper and far more profitable, he has said, than seeing a shrink. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 20 Oct 2017, 10:47

That Fool of a Woman. The title of the Duchess of Sutherland's autobiography, 1924.

John Singer Sargent’s large (8’ x 5’) portrait of Millicent Gower (born October 20, 1867) now hangs in a Madrid museum, and is one of the sights you’d want to see there. She wears a green gown with a deep décolletage and an off-the shoulder cut, and she’s emerging (at dusk or dawn?) from a deeply shaded garden. She looks ruffled, though regal, sports a laurel crown on her dark red hair and an ‘I dare you’ expression on her beautiful face. It was painted in 1904, when she was 37, one of London’s great society hostesses, 20 years married with three children, and the Duchess of Sutherland. She was also a published author and memoirist, and in the next year would become a playwright. None of her literary work was very good, but it was popular, for she was also Meddling Millie, the Democratic Duchess, not happily married (and never would find the right man), a reformer whose reforms started at home. Her Duke, a landed Scots aristocrat, was also a Staffordshire potter, and Millicent won her first fame by making his potteries safe for the workers and his crockery safe for consumers, campaigning against dangerous industrial processes and (ahead of her time) against the use of lead glazes. The Duke died in 1913 and she married an army officer. He turned out to be a philanderer and she soon left him, but she did follow him to France where, in WWI, she became a leading front-line nurse, was captured by the Germans, escaped, returned to battlefield nursing, and then married again (briefly, to a man who turned out to be gay). You can’t keep a good woman down, and our Millie would have further adventures (including being captured by the Germans yet again, in 1940, and escaping through Spain to the USA) before settling down to the life of a dowager British aristocrat in the Basses Pyrennees. The Democratic Duchess died in France at age 88 and was going to be buried at Pere Lachaise (she held the Croix de Guerre) but instead her ashes were returned to rest in the Sutherlands’ private cemetery at Dunrobin Castle. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Tripps
Senior Member
Posts: 2443
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 14:56

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Tripps » 20 Oct 2017, 11:28

Where on earth do you keep finding this seemingly never ending supply of interesting people? Wherever it is - keep digging. :smile:

It'd be a shame not to see the picture after reading that. Millicent Gower

She would make a good film or even TV series - It would have to be Sarah Lancashire.
Born to be mild. . .

User avatar
PanBiker
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 6768
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 13:07
Location: Barnoldswick - In the West Riding of Yorkshire, always was, always will be.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by PanBiker » 20 Oct 2017, 11:47

Tripps wrote:
20 Oct 2017, 11:28
She would make a good film or even TV series - It would have to be Sarah Lancashire.
Indeed, quite a likeness.
Ian

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 21 Oct 2017, 02:12

Not down to me David. Uncle Bob taught me at Lancaster and is a good man. He does these daily pieces for his students and friends.....

Image

Dr Robert Bliss teaching American History at Lancaster in 1982.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 21 Oct 2017, 11:01

Pensive they sit, and roll their languid eyes. John Keats.

The earldom of Derby is one of the oldest in England, first held by the Ferrers (1138 to 1266), then (one of the Ferrers lost his head) transferred to the Stanleys (one of whom in 1485, at Bosworth, switched his loyalties from Richard III to Henry Tudor). Now we have William Stanley, the 19th earl, born in 1962. The earls almost always served as lords lieutenant of Cheshire and/or Lancashire, and often as politicians (notably the 14th earl, three times Prime Minister). The 13th Derby was a naturalist and the lifelong sponsor of the nonsense writer Edward Lear. And then quite a few of them have been ‘sportsmen,’ variously patrons of the ring, of the cockfight, even of hockey (the 16th earl was Governor General of Canada and endowed the Stanley Cup). But the earl who died on October 21, 1834, was Edward Smith Stanley, who in his 82 years became the greatest sportsman of all, a hunter (of fox, deer, and grouse on his estates and other animals where he could find them), a noted cricketer and when he retired from the pitch a cricket patron, a cockfighter (or, rather, breeder of fighting cocks). He was also a gambler and a socializer whose circle included Charles James Fox, Beau Brummel, “Gentleman John” Burgoyne (of Saratoga infamy), and King George IV. But above all the 12th Earl of Derby was a man who loved his horses. His extensive stables at Knowsley produced more than one successful bloodline. He bred horses, he raced them, and he gambled on them, and he was the founder-patron of two of the most famous horse races in the world, both at Epsom, The Oaks and (of course) The Derby itself, a word that has entered the language (and traveled well, too, to Kentucky). Derby also was a clever dealer in urban real estate, so added to his family’s wealth, and (for years after his first wife deserted him) the chaste lover of the actress Elizabeth Farren who (when finally they married) added three further Stanleys to the Derby bloodline. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 22 Oct 2017, 14:25

Whatever is not nailed down is mine, and what I can pry loose is not nailed down. Collis P. Huntington.

Matthew Josephson called them The Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists (1934). He made the phrase stick, and it fits some of them (Jay Gould, John Rockefeller, James Duke) like a glove. The four who founded the Central Pacific and the Southern Pacific have always been my favorite masked men of the market, masters of watered stock and insider dealing: Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Collis P. Huntington. Huntington, born in Connectictut on October 22, 1821, went west to find gold in 1849 but found it better to sell grub to miners. He partnered with Hopkins, and they teamed up with Stanford and Crocker to found the Central Pacific and push Congress for a transcontinental railway. You get a sense of them in the recent post-modernist The Lone Ranger (2013), a fabrication of course, but see Tom Wilkinson’s villainous Latham Cole character as a Huntington-Stanford-Hopkins-Crocker surrogate and you’ll be getting towards the truth. Not that the real Huntington or his friends ever murdered anyone. They might have, but they are more famed for watering railway stock and then bankrupting the railways by providing (via their own companies) all its construction services, at suitably high prices. Huntington, like Wilkinson in the movie, was actually at Promontory Point in 1869 for driving the Golden Spike, then moved east to do for Virginia what he’d done for California, with the C&O line. Along the way Huntington learned philanthropy and became revered and respectable by showering gifts on black colleges, on Newport News, Virginia (a city he virtually invented) and on New York City. But he also remembered the charms of insider dealing (the C&O’s rolling stock was supplied by a surpassingly profitable Huntington-owned company). Out in California, Leland Stanford worked similar miracles by mixing steel rails with real estate, which is one reason why, in the 1970s, Stanford University students tried (unsuccessfully) to change the school’s nickname to “the Robber Barons.” ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 23 Oct 2017, 10:47

Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football. John William Heisman.

Back in the day when the University of Pennsylvania played big-time football (some things change) and college players were often semi-pro “ringers” (some things don’t), Penn’s center was a distinguished student (he would graduate from the law school) and already a passable Shakespearean actor. In his playing days he weighed in, wringing wet, at 158 lbs. (his chief fear was that one of his guards would fall on him), and in a long career that included little law, a lot of acting, and even more football he never gained weight. But he learned how to swing it around. He was born Johann Wilhelm Heissmann on October 23, 1869. The son of immigrants, he claimed German aristocratic origins, but soon dropped the claim, and we know him as John William Heisman, one of the great quartet of coaches (Stagg, Warner, Camp, and Heisman) who changed the game and made it a contender for the title of “America’s pastime.” He played football in school despite his father’s disapproval (he thought it a “bestial” sport) and continued playing at college. Whether John William ever intended to be a lawyer is a good question. His first coaching job, at Oberlin (1892) interrupted his legal studies (or vice versa), but after that only acting (in the off season and in his pre-game pep talks) diverted him from the game itself. In coaching, he’s most famed for his years at Georgia Tech (then “the Golden Tornado”), 1904-1919, but he coached also at Auburn, Clemson, then Penn again, briefly, before finishing up (1924-27) at Rice. He retired to take up the (then) more lucrative job of director at Manhattan’s Downtown Athletic Club where he established—just before his death—an annual trophy to be awarded to the best college footballer east of the Mississippi. After his death, it became the Heisman Trophy and altered to include the other half of the country, and has today become the subject of unseemly pre-professional hype. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 24 Oct 2017, 10:15

Once you break from the usual way - and this is probably the hardest thing to do—and start on a new track your horizon of new thoughts immediately broadens. Nathaniel Wyeth.

Home schooling used to be a necessity, as for my grandfather and his siblings growing up on poor land in Ringgold County, IA, circa 1870-1895. It turned out pretty well, in that all seven of them (boys and girls) graduated from college. But for the Wyeth family of Chadds Ford, PA, home schooling was a preference. The parents were devotees of Emerson, and hoped that by keeping their kids at home they could encourage each to develop his or her special genius. And they almost all turned out to be artists. Henriette and Carolyn became well-known painters, Andrew Wyeth a famous one, and Ann a musician and composer. It seems a clear case of like parents, like children, like brothers, like sisters, a conspiracy of genetics and environment: for the paterfamilias was a famed illustrator. And indeed art ran in the family. Henriette, the oldest child, married a painter (who taught young Andrew much of his palette technique), and then there have been several Wyeth grandchildren who have made a day-job living out of their art. Maybe it was deliberate, maybe it was planned, and in Andrew’s case it produced a long lifetime’s canvas of sober beauty, the spare landscapes of his neighbors’ farms and the ambiguous vitalities of his neighbors’ faces. But then there was Nathaniel Wyeth, the middle child (born on October 24, 1911), who was different enough that he came in later life to call himself “the other Wyeth.” He othered himself in various ways but most notably he developed a yen for numbers, for test tubes, and for materials science. Nathaniel majored in mechanical engineering at Penn and then joined DuPont in 1936, becoming (eventually) the company’s senior research scientist. And while Andrew, Henriette, Carolyn, and Ann explored the world of art, Nathaniel littered it with his patented polyethylene terephthalate, aka PET, the plastic drinks bottle. Next time you use one, please dispose of it thoughtfully . ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 25 Oct 2017, 13:18

She will show before the Nobility, Gentry and the Public in general her skills in the use of the needle, scissars, pen and pencil etc. wherein she is extremely adroit. From an early 19th century handbill.

Until the 1950s, the quaint village of East Quantoxhead, on the Somerset coast, had the distinction of being owned by the same family for centuries (indeed, by descent, from the Norman Conquest). Along the way, the family—the Luttrells—produced Narcissus Luttrell (1657-1732), bibliophile extraordinaire, whose journals are among the best sources for parliamentary history during the troubled years of the Popish Plot, the Exclusion Crisis, and the Glorious Revolution. But he was not born in East Quantoxhead, whose most extraordinary child was Sarah Biffen, born to a shoemaker on October 25, 1784. In her long life (she died in 1850) Sarah became a noted miniaturist, patronized by George III, given a Civil List pension by Victoria, and even mentioned in four of Charles Dickens’ novels. Her works can now be seen in several British museums, including the royal collection, the Walker Gallery in Liverpool, and the Royal Academy. Sarah’s self-portrait (a miniature, National Gallery, Edinburgh) shows her fashionably attired, smiling serenely, her ringleted locks peeking out under a Turkish bonnet. What it fails to show is that she was born without arms and with rudimentary legs, a condition called today phocomelia. Goodness knows what that cobbler and his wife thought of their strange child, in 1784, in rural Somerset, but they brought her up to several skills, notably making clothes (using her mouth to thread needles, cut cloth, and sew, and her shoulders as a work surface), and in due course (circa 1796) they apprenticed Sarah to Emmanuel Dukes, who taught her to draw, exhibited her at fairs and sold her work. Dukes (and his family) also treated her kindly, but in 1808 the Earl of Morton saw her at a fair, took her away, and arranged for her better instruction at the Royal Academy. There she learned well from the painter William Craig, and thereby hang both Sarah Biffen’s remarkable story and her delicate miniatures. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 26 Oct 2017, 13:28

And I applaud, I mean I value, I egg you on in, your study of the American life that surrounds you. Henry James to Edith Wharton, October 26, 1900.

One of the most celebrated correspondences in American letters began on October 26, 1900, between Mr. Henry James and Mrs. Edith Wharton. It continued until just before James’s death, ending with a letter in which the older man, dying, begged the younger woman to “push over” (from France, where she heroically nursed the war wounded) “and breathe upon us some of your heroic soufflé.” The correspondence had begun in the 1890s, for Wharton admired, nay revered James’s fiction, and had set herself the same task of producing modernist, psychologically realistic fictions in which an omniscient author could reveal her subjects’ minds and values through precise descriptions of their words, their actions, their styles of life. In this she wanted the Master’s approval. James, who had a dour view of women writers (although in his novels he created memorable female characters and his friendships with women were many), did not at first respond. But if James was indeed “The Master,” Wharton didn’t rest long as mere apprentice. Soon James was seeing her as, at the very least, a junior partner in his enterprise, and quite right. I have taught her The House of Mirth (1905), and will again, as a brilliant rendition of women’s lives—and not only upper-class women—in modern society. At any rate, James was soon looking forward to getting together with this woman writer “to thresh out together much golden grain.” For in 1900 it was Wharton’s story, “The Line of Least Resistance,” that breached the old man’s defenses and won his praises. He thought the story “a little hard,” but that owed to Wharton’s youth. He hoped that as Wharton matured (in 1900 she was “only” 38) her “needlepoint will muffle itself in a little blur of silk.” Those domestic metaphors suggest that James could not quite surmount Wharton’s gender, and so it was that Mr. Henry James and Mrs. Edith Wharton became the closest of friends. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 27 Oct 2017, 10:57

Queen Victoria and the Princess Duleep Singh. Title of a movie yet to be made

Recently Paulette and I attended—with business faculty friends—Victoria and Abdul, a film in which an aging queen (played queenly by Judi Dench) falls for a young Indian and throws her household (and her prime minister) into a racially-tinged frenzy. It’s presented as a new problem, but the real Victoria years before shown royal grace and favor to Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the Sikh empire. Ironically, he had been deposed with British connivance in 1849 when aged 10, and brought to Britain in 1854. Victoria thought him a beautiful boy (particularly his teeth and skin) appreciated his gift of the Koh-i-nur diamond, made much of him at Osborne, and saw to it that he was well established in a large estate, Elveden, (now owned by the Guinnesses). He married a German-Ethiopian woman, then an Englishwoman, and produced several children most of whom had Queen Victoria as godmother. One child, the Princess Catherine Duleep Singh, was born on October 27, 1871, and with her sisters put in the care of a German governess, Lina Schäfer, who got her ready for Oxford (Catherine was educated at Somerville), taught her to be her own woman, and became Catherine’s intimate friend. Together the two women (and Caroline’s older sister) became noted suffragettes (Victoria, perhaps, was not amused, although the girls still had their debutante presentation at court in 1894), traveled to India to view what had been lost, and settled in Germany, where Catherine lived until Lina’s death and Hitler’s rise forced her to flee. Catherine purchased a Buckinghamshire state where she sheltered German Jewish refugees from Naziism until her death in 1942. She had deposited her cash and her father’s “gold box” in a Swiss bank. Inappropriately, both were uncovered when in 1997 the Swiss were forced to reveal Nazi bank accounts and vaults. Finding Catherine’s heirs is recounted in a recent book, The Maharaja’s Box (2002). Her ashes were buried at Elveden. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
chinatyke
Donor
Posts: 1478
Joined: 21 Apr 2012, 13:14
Location: Pingguo, Guangxi, China

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by chinatyke » 28 Oct 2017, 03:56

Stanley wrote:
21 Oct 2017, 02:12
Not down to me David. Uncle Bob taught me at Lancaster and is a good man. He does these daily pieces for his students and friends.....
Dr Robert Bliss teaching American History at Lancaster in 1982.
I, too, wondered who Bob was. Thanks for enlightening us.

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 28 Oct 2017, 05:44

It's a pleasure China. Like many of us I love Bob's daily notes, you have only to look at the page view to see that a lot of guests access it as well. I send him the figures every now and then and he's delighted to have the audience. Of course, being a teacher through and through he is 'improving' our knowledge in a very painless fashion.....
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 28 Oct 2017, 13:10

How to Talk about Taxes. Title of the appendix to Einhorn's "American Taxation, American Slavery."

Among the many delusions that undergird current Republican tax plans is the idea that hostility to taxation is an American tradition. A book by Robin Einhorn (American Taxation, American Slavery, Chicago, 2007) argues that it is instead a southern tradition, in its origins an obsession of the slaveholders. Southern planters’ monopoly of land and labor created a political mentality that expressed itself in a commitment to small government whose functions were restricted to the protection of the status quo. This arose early and persists late. Not so in the north, where even in the colonial period wide distribution of the means to wealth created concern for the public welfare and thus a willingness to tax in order to finance road building, river and harbor improvement, even chimney viewers and (in New England) stewards of common lands. Later, northern support for a homestead act, land-grant colleges, and federal investment in infrastructure came to fruition only after southern secession. Today it’s especially appropriate to note that this idea of positive, expensive public purpose quickly spread to education. From the very first, New England colonies required even small villages to maintain teachers (for boys and girls). Larger towns were required to establish “grammar” (Latin) schools for boys. All this was supported by public taxation. Then, on October 28, 1636, Massachusetts General voted to establish a degree granting college at Newtown, west of Boston. Today it’s called Harvard, and the town is called Cambridge, because two years later the fledgling college received a bequest of £800 and 400 books from the Rev’d John Harvard, a graduate of Cambridge University. Today Harvard is viewed as the pinnacle of private education, but even today its cash flow is heavily public, and in its origins it was a state school maintained at the expense of ambitious citizens who thought that their government’s positive functions were worth paying for. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 29 Oct 2017, 13:18

Let such, as say our sex is void of reason// Know 'tis a slander now, but once was treason. Anne Bradstreet, "In Honour of that high and mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth," 1643.

America’s first poet, Anne Bradstreet, apologized to her (male) readers for her presumption, but in the same poetic breath reminded them that they had once eagerly bended their knee before Queen Elizabeth. Not only did that “great Queen” rule men, but “she ract, she sackt” and she “sunk” a Spanish king’s armada. “She’s argument enough to make you mute,” Anne thundered, and if that were not enough Elizabeth’s cash and courage saved the Dutch republic, whose men now sang her praises. Anne might have added that in homage the Dutch turned over to Elizabeth four “cautionary” Dutch towns, one of which (Brill) gave its name to another whom Anne could have cited as a woman of force and courage, Lady Brilliana Conway, born in 1598 in the English garrison at Brill, and who died on October 29, 1643 as the head of her own garrison during the English civil wars. By then, Lady Conway had become Lady Brilliana Harley, married to a puritan leader in the Long Parliament, and the mother of seven young Harleys, to all of whom (boys and girls) she taught Latin and a deep distrust of crown and church. Brilliana Harley’s surviving letters (375 of them) show her to have been a passionate woman of strongly held opinions that she was not reluctant to put forward. She managed the Harley estates, too, while Sir Robert Harley was in London defying Charles I and Archbishop Laud. Then when civil war broke out, circumstance found her the lady of a house that was fortified and garrisoned and indeed besieged by royalist forces. She played an active role in the negotiations that followed, and when those broke down she ordered “her” troops to level neighboring royalist fortifications and attack the king’s nearby garrison. Lady Brilliana Harley died, a victim of disease, in the same year that, over in a New England, Anne Bradstreet penned praise to another woman “so good, so just, so learn’d, so wise,” as to compel “Masculines” into admiration and obedience. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 30 Oct 2017, 14:20

The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. Ezra Pound, 1913.

One of the odder dismissals in US academic history occurred at Wabash College, where in 1908 a languages instructor was fired for sharing his digs (and his bed?) with a stranded chorus girl. One would like to know how a chorus girl got stranded in Crawfordsville, but the instructor is our concern today, for he was the poet-in-making Ezra Pound, born in Idaho Territory on October 30, 1885 but quickly translated to Pennsylvania. There he enjoyed an haute bourgeois childhood punctuated by short periods in Quaker schools and brought to a full stop by three years in a military academy where Pound learned obedience and, apparently, defiance. Along the way he’d become a poet, and he continued in that vein for the rest of his long life. His higher education began with studies at Penn and Hamilton, and concluded with graduate work back at Penn. Impatient of syllabi and requirements, he did become fluent in several languages and obsessed about translation. Deciding that accurate translation was utterly impossible, Pound was inspired to try for a poetry whose meaning would elemental and thus unmistakable. So Wabash was a mere distraction and didn’t last long. Moving to Europe, Pound devoted himself to minimalist poetry (his “In a Station of the Metro,” 1913, is 14 words long) but later, as an acknowledged leader in the modernist movement (and friend of Joyce, Eliot, Ford, Williams, Hemingway, et al) developed what is better thought of as maximalist verse, loaded to the gills with untranslated quotations (in several tongues) and obscure references. His enthusiasms for fascism and anti-semitism later got him into serious trouble (a treason charge) and then consigned him to a critical wilderness, but I was strangely flattered when a student editor at the honors college likened my (anonymously submitted) poem to Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro.” Of course, I then had to read it, and my flattered feelings were confirmed. It’s good. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 39201
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 31 Oct 2017, 09:48

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it . . . Martin Luther, October 31, 1517.

On 31st October 1517, exactly 500 Hallowe’ens ago, a trick-or-treater all togged out in black robes and a funny hat stopped at the door of the Castle Cathedral in Wittenberg (then the capital city of Saxony) and, instead of shouting “trick or treat” and walking away with a bag of sweets (or soaping the windows, or teepeeing the yard, or stealing the hubcaps) he left a paper, nailed to the door, with 95 “theses” written on it. It was not a late essay, although he was already deeply worried that he might have waited too long. It was a simple act, a declaration of faith, and it would cause a lot of trouble (from one point of view) or herald a new birth of freedom (from another). One could say that the message on the cathedral door effectively announced the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition, and the religious wars of early modern Europe (climaxing with the rise of the Dutch Republic, the wars of the Guise in France, the Thirty Years’ War, and the English Civil Wars). By a slightly longer chain of causation, we can credit that 1517 Hallowe’en vandalism with the scientific revolution of the 17th century, the birth of the modern state, and the rise of capitalism and secularism. In shorthand, those 95 theses helped to bring about what we are pleased (in our parochialism) to call the Modern World. That early trick-or-treater was, of course, Father Martin Luther, on that night (but not for much longer) a priest of the Roman Church, university lecturer in theology, and soon to be the father (pardon the pun) of the Lutheran schism, itself later to split, schismatically, into Calvinism and Anabaptism and etcetera ad infinitum. It just goes to show, I guess, that some graffiti artists are more influential than other graffiti artists. ©
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Post Reply

Return to “General Miscellaneous Chat & Gossip”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users