3-Day Quote Challenge Down to One

Alison nominated me for the 3-Day Quote challenge, and I thank her.  But I am going to do some twists on it, because I am a contrary little shit.

First of all, I am only doing one day because I don’t have the attention span to do three.

Secondly, I am going to do make this into a little quiz as compensation. So, here’s the quote.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Now we can debate whether this is a bold statement regarding self-esteem or this is a perfect excuse for victim blaming.  (I think it is both depending on the context.)  But the question I have is, did she really say or write this?

Now, don’t cheat and Google it.  If I were omniscient and you did Google it, I would be all Judgy McJudgerpants on your ass.  Hey, if I am giving myself superpowers, I would have telekinetic ones too, and I would do more to you than bend your spoons.

Yeah, I am talking about you, Uri Geller. I know how to bend spoons. Just give me a tub of hard ice cream. Dweeb. Photo courtesy of Taylor Herring. https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylorherringpr/16098401967
Yeah, I am taking pot shots at you, Uri Geller. I know how to bend spoons. Just give me a tub of hard ice cream. Dweeb. Photo courtesy of Taylor Herring. https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylorherringpr/16098401967

It didn’t help that I had a dad who used to yell at the TV, “He’s rubbing the damn spoon!”

Anyway, back to Eleanor. Did she say it?  Write it?  Cast your vote down below.  I’ll give the answer later today in the comments.

Back in Time on Our Birthdates

Finding out the Chicago Tribune has its archives online for free is going to give me lots of blog fodder, so you are going to have to indulge me. I’m having fun.

Naturally, what do you do when you are confronted with newspaper archives?  You look up what happened on the day you were born, of course.  And what was in the national news?

May 2nd 1973 Pt1 May 2nd 1973 Pt2b

Yay! Watergate!  And there were ads suggesting vacuum cleaners were great gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day.

Meanwhile, The Boffin, as a future American, had this as a headline.

July 16th 1971

Crossing borders and international diplomacy. The highpoint of the Nixon presidency.

Of course, you can’t treat the news like it is a horoscope. I can’t very well say that I inherited my skepticism of national government because I was born in the throes of Watergate anymore than the reason The Boffin holds the importance of globalization is because of the announcement of Nixon’s China visit on his birthdate. That’s daft.

But we are a product of our times, and if anything, these news articles show where it started for us. My thoughts are going back to when we were kids and the era of the Big Bad Soviet Union, the wedding waltz of Reagan and Thatcher, and worrying if those imposing nuclear warheads were actually going to be launched.

I remember a conversation I had with one of my elementary school teachers. The gist of it went like this.

“Why are the grownups fighting so much? We are doing Bad Things too.”

“But Our Bad Things are to stop them doing Their Bad Things.”

“Wouldn’t it just be easier to just do Nice Things?”

“But if we did just Nice Things, they would do Bad Things, and we would lose.”

“Lose what?”

“Our American way of life.”

“But we would shoot missiles at each other, and we would all die.”

“Go talk to your parents, Karen.”

Yes, I was one of those kids.

Be that as it may, I encourage you to go into the link above, and check out the archive.  Put in your birthdate, and see what happened.  (Sorry Britons, it is best to do it American style, i.e.  May 2, 1973).  Feel free to share what you find.  What kind of a world were you born into?

Don’t Forget to Submit Your Expenses.

Ellen Hawley, an American who put down roots in Cornwall, wrote in her blog, Notes from the U.K., about whether there is absurdity in American Politics recently.  Her point steered toward Department of Defense spending.  (By the way, do take the time to check out her other posts.  She has such a bright, engaging wit, and she does a lovely job describing what it is like to be from Here and settle permanently over There.)  Anyway, by coincidence, a gem of wonderful government absurdity came across my Facebook feed courtesy of my friend, Andy.

Col. Buzz Aldrin of the 1969 Moon landing fame posted his travel voucher from his famed journey for all to see on Throwback Thursday a couple of days ago.  Being a little bit of a space nerd at heart, I love Andy for sharing this because I have been suspecting the existence of this document for years. Of course, NASA, being a U.S. Government organization, would make him file an expense report for traveling to the moon.  Let’s check out what it says.

Image courtesy of Buzz Aldrin
Image courtesy of Buzz Aldrin

I love on the first page how it lists that he took “Gov. Air” to the Moon.  As opposed to his Privately Owned Vehicle (POV)?

It looks like he did get mileage and some sort of per diem with a deduction for meals.  By the way, the $33.31 they gave him comes to about $222.00 in today’s money.

I wonder if they pestered him for receipts.

But it only goes to show even one of the greatest feats in our history can get mired in governmental bureaucracy at the end of it.

A Little Mouse of Thought from Sir Winston

"Wc0107-04780r" by Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/churchill/images/wc0107-04780r.jpg - Library of Congress. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
“Wc0107-04780r” by Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/churchill/images/wc0107-04780r.jpg – Library of Congress. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

“A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic. They make frantic efforts to bar our thoughts and words; they are afraid of the workings of the human mind.”

–  Sir Winston S. Churchill, “The Defence of Freedom and Peace (The Lights are Going Out)“, radio broadcast, October 16, 1938

To put this quotation into context, Churchill was not yet Prime Minister and the Germans annexed parts of Czechoslovakia.  What he is describing is how dictators can’t handle people who think for themselves and break the party line.  He was making a speech to the British and American radio public as an appeal to the Americans to shed their isolationist policy just after Neville Chamberlain waived his piece of paper around in the wind and declared “peace in our time”.  Well, we know how all of that turned out.  If you didn’t, go watch Inglourious Basterds.

Certainly, not all of us are dictators and are afraid of mice of thought, but sometimes we encounter ideas and facts that make us reflexively react negatively to them.  The Boffin pointed out to me yesterday that I have a tendency to be, shall we say,  expressive when I learn something new that shocks and unsettles me.   At least that is what I do when I am comfortable with the company around me.  It’s basically reason #467 why I don’t play poker.  And, if it has something to do with the U.K., he just wants to don his figurative deerstalker and give me a right verbal lashing, even he perfectly understands why I feel what I am feeling.  I usually need a minute or two until “Rational Karen” kicks in.

There is a lot to be said about keeping your cool around those you love and stopping to think before you react, especially before saying things like, “That creeps me out,” in the face of years of national tradition and practice. (It’s best that I do not go into examples.  I do not want to reignite any wars from about 200 years ago.)

As an aside…back in 1963, President John F. Kennedy, acting under the authority by an act of Congress, bestowed Sir Winston an honorary American citizenship.  As graciously as Sir Winston accepted the honor, I have always wondered if Churchill found the whole business rather amusing.  Because Churchill’s mother was American, Kennedy was basically giving Churchill something honorary that was already rightfully his.  Go figure.