Tuesday, December 30, 2008

History #12, Dead Presidents #43

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.

Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress (December 1, 1862)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Alcohol #10, Age of Print #9

Dust jacket to later edition of The Savoy Cocktail Book, by Harry Craddock. The full title of the original was The Savoy Cocktail Book: Being in the main a complete compendium of the Cocktails, Rickeys, Daisies, Slings, Shrubs, Smashes, Fizzes, Juleps, Cobblers, Fixes, and other Drinks, known and greatly appreciated in the year of grace 1930, with sundry notes of amusement and interest concerning them, together with subtle Observations upon Wines and their special occasions.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

America #47

Small islands not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet, and as England and America, with respect to each other, reverses the common order of nature, it is evident they belong to different systems. England to Europe: America to itself.

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Anniverseries #13

Ships burn in Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Scenes from a Life #20

Kennedy administration Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara play squash. (July 1962)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Opening Lines #6

Je forme une entreprise qui n'eut jamais d'exemple, et dont l'exécution n'aura point d'imitateur. Je veux montrer à mes semblables un homme dans toute la vérité de la nature; et cet homme, ce sera moi.

Moi seul. Je sens mon coeur, et je connais les hommes. Je ne suis fait comme aucun de ceux que j'ai vus; j'ose croire n'être fait comme aucun de ceux qui existent. Si je ne vaux pas mieux, au moins je suis autre. Si la nature a bien ou mal fait de briser le moule dans lequel elle m'a jeté, c'est ce dont on ne peut juger qu'après m'avoir lu.

Que la trompette du jugement dernier sonne quand elle voudra, je viendrai, ce livre à la main, me présenter devant le souverain juge. Je dirai hautement: Voilà ce que j'ai fait, ce que j'ai pensé, ce que je fus. J'ai dit le bien et le mal avec la même franchise. Je n'ai rien tu de mauvais, rien ajouté de bon; et s'il m'est arrivé d'employer quelque ornement indifférent, ce n'a jamais été que pour remplir un vide occasionné par mon défaut de mémoire. J'ai pu supposer vrai ce que je savais avoir pu l'être, jamais ce que je savais être faux. Je me suis montré tel que je fus: méprisable et vil quand je l'ai été; bon, généreux, sublime, quand je l'ai été: j'ai dévoilé mon intérieur tel que tu l'as vu toi-même. Être éternel, rassemble autour de moi l'innombrable foule de mes semblables; qu'ils écoutent mes confessions, qu'ils gémissent de mes indignités, qu'ils rougissent de mes misères. Que chacun d'eux découvre à son tour son coeur au pied de ton trône avec la même sincérité, et puis qu'un seul te dise, s'il l'ose: je fus meilleur que cet homme-là.

I HAVE begun on a work which is without precedent, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I propose to set before my fellow-mortals a man in all the truth of nature; and this man shall be myself.

I have studied mankind and know my heart; I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence; if not better, I at least claim originality, and whether Nature has acted rightly or wrongly in destroying the mold in which she cast me, can only be decided after I have been read.

I will present myself, whenever the last trumpet shall sound, before the Sovereign Judge with this book in my hand, and loudly proclaim, "Thus have I acted; these were my thoughts; such was I. With equal freedom and veracity have I related what was laudable or wicked, I have concealed no crimes, added no virtues; and if I have sometimes introduced superfluous ornament, it was merely to occupy a void occasioned by defect of memory: I may have supposed that certain, which I only knew to be probable, but have never asserted as truth, a conscious falsehood. Such as I was, I have declared myself; sometimes vile and despicable, at others, virtuous, generous, and sublime; even as Thou hast read my inmost soul: Power Eternal! assemble round Thy throne an innumerable throng of my fellow-mortals, let them listen to my confessions, let them blush at my depravity, let them tremble at my sufferings; let each in his turn expose with equal sincerity the failings, the wanderings of his
heart, and if he dare, aver, I was better than that man."

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les Confessions, Book I (1782)
English translation, W. Conyngham Mallory

Monday, December 01, 2008

Aviation #12

LZ 129 Hindenburg burns over Lakehurst Naval Air Station, Manchester, New Jersey (May 6, 1937)

My God, I Shot the Wrong Architect #1

Wallace K. Harrison mows his lawn (1947)