Tag Archives: life

Presidential Curmudgeon Portraits

 

A man can dream, can’t he?

If the United States can elect its oldest president, a man with no political background or experience, why can’t it elect a true elderly curmudgeon?  I can envision the day when, despite the (incorrect) prognoses of all the pundits, I sit in the Oval Office and determine whicih presidential portraits I get to hang on the walls.

I decided that I would pick a curmudgeonly president from each century.

The eighteenth century gives me only two choices – George Washington and John Adams.  Adams is the obvious choice.  He had no slaves; he considered his wife, Abigail, as his equal and he was, by all accounts, a true pain-in-the-ass.  The result is immediate elevation to curmudgeon status.

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Although the nineteenth century has many choices, there really is only one:  Lincoln.  Abraham Lincoln was affected by depression, had a true black sense of humor and was, as I have often said, the greatest prose poet of the nineteenth century.  Alternate choices may include Jackson, Cleveland and McKinley but these pale in comparison.  Nope, Lincoln is my choice.

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The twentieth century also has many choices.  Perhaps TR or Coolidge or LBJ but, again, they really don’t qualify as curmudgeons (in my humble opinion).  My first and clear choice is Harry S Truman (no period after the S. The S stood for nothing; Truman felt the need to have a middle initial.)  Despite the critics who point to his dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima, Truman accomplished many achievements during his presidency (or presidentiary, as Will Ferrell pointed out playing the role of George W. Bush);

  • Creation of the UN and NATO
  • The Truman Doctrine (which stopped the communist threat to Greece and Turkey)
  • The Marshall Plan
  • The Berlin Airlift
  • Establishment of the NSC, CIA and NSA
  • Ended racial segregation in the US armed forces
  • Legislation to allow immigration of 200,000 refugees from World War II

He also had time to pen and mail (by hand) a letter to Paul Hume, who was critical of his daughter’s concert performance.

“Some day I hope to meet you.  When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

Immediate elevation to curmudgeon status.

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For the twentieth-first century, we have only three choices – George W. Bush, Barak Obama and Donald Trump.  The first two are disqualified as being too cheerful.  The third is disqualified, period.  The Donald is many things but being a curmudgeon is not among them.  We have only started the century so we will have to wait on the fourth portrait.  It could be mine.

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In the meantime, let me say to my fellow Americans…

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Halloween at the Airport

Halloween is coming.

Forget wearing a Donald Trump or Lady Gaga outfit.

Try one of these, all available at your airport:

HA1

HA2

HA3

HA4

HA5

HA6

HA7

HA8

HA9

HA10

The scariest part is that these people may be on your flight!

I Wouldn’t Change a Thing…

When I look back at my varied and checkered life and career, I find that, despite all my complaints, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Well…

Except for that time as a youngster when my dad was enlarging a hole with his power drill and I decided to stick my finger in the other side of the hole.

And except for that time that I went with friends into a construction site, fell and knocked out my front teeth.

And the time I rode my bicycle too fast, slipped and broke my foot.

And the time that I missed out on asking out that good-looking girl in high school because I knew she wouldn’t go out with me only to find out later that she liked me.

And not buying Berkshire-Hathaway stock when it was $50 a share, or Apple when it was $4.

Or not taking that acceptance at an Ivy League college because..  I don’t what idiocy kept me from that one.

Or deciding to change jobs because the offer was too good to be true and, as it turned out, WAS too good to be true.

When we think that one little change would make such a significant difference, we assume that it would be for the better. That shattered finger that kept you from being a concert pianist may, in fact, have kept you from being a miserable concert pianist and prevented you from having the success you did achieve (assuming that you did achieve a modicum of success.  If not, it kept you from greater failure.)  As George Bailey found out in It’s a Wonderful Life, even one little change has big consequences.

Dean Acheson took the title of his book Present at the Creation from a quote of Alphonso the Wise, a 13th century king of Spain, who said “Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.” I doubt that the Almighty would ask a curmudgeon for useful hints on the better ordering of the universe but it would not be bad to ask for a rewind button.

Just a simple button to make no into yes.  Or take a right turn instead of a left.

But who knows what that one little change means.  No, no, I’ll leave things just as they are…

Except for that time as a youngster when my dad was enlarging a hole with his power drill and I decided to stick my finger in the other side of the hole.

And that time that I went with friends into a construction site, fell and knocked out my front teeth.

And the time I rode my bicycle too fast, slipped and broke my foot….

 

Think You Can Stack Firewood?

It has been a cold winter in North America.  These people are prepared.

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Nautical Sense of Humor

A nautical sense of humor …

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