Quotation Saturday: The Glorious Fourth

Mamacita says:  No matter what the weather might be where you live, today is the Glorious Fourth.  It’s not the weather that makes it glorious.

Fireworks: so beautiful!

Fireworks: so beautiful!

1.  America, thou half-brother of the world, with something good and bad of every land.  –Philip James Bailey

2. America is the country where you can buy a lifetime supply of aspirin for one dollar and use it up in two weeks.  –John Barrymore

3.  The real democratic American idea is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance.  –Henry Ward Beecher

4.  Of all the nations in the world, the United States was built in nobody’s image.  It was the land of the unexpected, or unbounded hope, of ideals, of quests for an unknown perfection.  –Daniel J. Boorstin

5.  I would rather have a nod from an American than a snuffbox from an emperor.  –Lord Byron

6.  Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.  As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.  –Dwight D. Eisenhower

7.  If we Americans are to survive it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green.  If we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won’t.  –William Faulkner

8.  The genius of the American system is that we have created extraordinary results from plain old ordinary people. –Phil Gramm

9.  Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.  –John Gunther

10.  For this is what America is all about.  It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge.  It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the unplowed ground.  –Lyndon B. Johnson

Amber waves of grain and majestic purple mountains

Amber waves of grain and majestic purple mountains

11.  The trouble with us in America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.  –Louis Kronenberger

12.  The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying “the trouble with this country is. . . .”  –Sinclair Lewis

13.  I feel most at home in the United States, not because it is intrinsically a more interesting country, but because no one really belongs there any more than I do.  We are all there together in its wholly excellent vacuum.  –Wyndham Lewis

14.  Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate.  Being here in America doesn’t make you an American.  Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American.  –Malcolm X

15.  America is like one of those old-fashioned six-cylinder truck engines that can be mssing two sparkplugs and have a broken flywheel and have a crankshaft that’s 5,000 millimeters off fitting properly, and two bad ball-bearings, and still runs.  We’re in that kind of situation.  We can have substantial parts of the population committing suicide and still run and look fairly good.  –Thomas McGuane

16.  Double, no triple, our troubles and we’d still be better off than any other people on earth.  It is time that we recognized that ours was, in truth, a noble cause.  –Ronald Reagan

17.  America is a great country, but you can’t live in it for nothing.  –Will Rogers

18.  I sometimes think that the saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities – a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.  –Franklin D. Roosevelt

19.  Europe was created by history.  America was created by philosophy.  –Margaret Thatcher

20.  The biggest difference between ancient Rome and the USA is that in Rome the common man was treated like a dog.  In America he sets the tone.  This is the first country where the common man could stand erect.  –I.f. Stone

Freedom

Freedom

21.  On 16 September 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire died.  –Gore Vidal

22.  America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.  –Oscar Wilde

23.  No, the real American has not yet arrived.  He is only in the Crucible.  I tell you – he will be the fusion of all races, perhaps the coming superman.  –Israel Zangwill

24.  You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.  –Winston Churchill

25.  Americans have different ways of saying things.  They say “elevator,” we say “lift”. . . they say “President,” we say “stupid psychopathic git.”  –Alexai Sayle

26.  We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it.  –Dave Barry

27  We can have no “50-50” allegiance in this country.  Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an american at all.  –Theodore roosevelt

28.  Half of the American people have never read a newspaper.  Half never voted for President.  One hopes it is the same half.  –Unknown

29.  All great change in America begins at the dinner table.  –Ronald Reagan

30.  I don’t measure America by its achievements but by its potential.  –Shirley Chisholm

 

Betsey Ross and the American flag

Betsey Ross and the American flag

31.  I just want to say this.  I want to say it gently but I want to say it firmly:  there is a tendency for the world to say to America, “the big problems of the world are yours; you go and sort them out.”  and then to worry when America wants to sort them out.  –Tony Blair

32.  There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.  –Bill Clinton

33.  America’s one of the finest country anyone ever stole.  –Bobcat Goldthwaite

34.  America is the greatest, freest, and most decent society in existence.  It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.  –Dinesh D’Souza

35.  America has never been an empire.  We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused – preferring greatness to power and justice to glory.  –George W. Bush

36.  This is the story of America.  Everybody’s doing what they think they’re supposed to do.  –Jack Kerouac

37.  I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason:  I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.  –James  Arthur Baldwin

38.  America’s future will be determined by the home and the school.  the child becomes largely what he is taught; hence, we must watch what we teach, and how we live.  –Jane Addams

39.  American consumers have no proble with carcinogens, but they will not purchase any product, including floor wax, that has fat in it.  –Dave Barry

40.  It cound probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.  –Mark Twain

41.  I think the most un-American thing you can say is, “You can’t say that.”  –Garrison Keillor

42.  I believe America’s best days are ahead of us because I believe that the future belongs to freedom, not to fear.  –John Kerry

43.  Americans have more food to eat than any other people and more diets to keep them from eating it.  –Unknown

44.  What’s right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity – intellect and resources – to do something about them.  –Henry Ford

45. America is a tune. It must be sung together. –Gerald Stanley Lee

46. What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom “to” and freedom “from.” –Marilyn vos Savant

47. When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect. –Adlai Stevenson

48. How often we fail to realize our good fortune in living in a country where happiness is more than a lack of tragedy. –Paul Sweeney

49. This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in. –Theodore Roosevelt

50. Some Americans need hyphens in their names, because only part of them has come over; but when the whole man has come over, heart and thought and all, the hyphen drops of its own weight out of his name. –Woodrow Wilson

Our American Constitution

Our American Constitution

51. We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. –Robert J. McCracken

52. What we need are critical lovers of America – patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it. –Hubert H. Humphrey

53. We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights. –Felix Frankfurter

54. A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. –Edward Abbey

55. Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. –John Quincy Adams

56. It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you. –Dick Cheney

57. Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. –Calvin Coollidge

58. True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. –Clarence Darrow

59. Of all the supervised conditions for life offered man, those under U S A’s constitution have proved the best. Wherefore, be sure when you start modifying, corrupting or abrogating it. –Martin H. Fischer

60. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. –Abraham Lincoln

Washington Crossing the Delaware

Washington Crossing the Delaware

My country, ’tis of Thee,american-flag-picture
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills,
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet Freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of Liberty,
To thee we sing,
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by thy might
Great God, our King.

Our glorious Land to-day,
‘Neath Education’s sway,
Soars upward still.
Its hills of learning fair,
Whose bounties all may share,
behold them everywhere
On vale and hill!

Thy safeguard, Liberty,
The school shall ever be,
Our Nation’s pride!
No tyrant hand shall smite,
While with encircling might
All here are taught the Right
With Truth allied.

Beneath Heaven’s gracious will
The stars of progress still
Our course do sway;
In unity sublime
To broader heights we climb,
Triumphant over Time,
God speeds our way!

Grand birthright of our sires,
Our altars and our fires
Keep we still pure!
Our starry flag unfurled,
The hope of all the world,
In peace and light impearled,
God hold secure!

–Samuel F. Smith

And now, tradition compels me to watch Independence Day again.  It’s one of my favorite movies.

Wallowing in Nostalgia

Mamacita says:  I don’t know why I’ve been wallowing in nostalgia lately, but I might as well go the whole route and talk about the day I became an adult.  This has nothing to do with the day I grew up, because I’m still waiting on that ship, but I can tell you quite specifically – and, unfortunately, quite graphically, about the day I became an adult.  Well, sort of.

Wallowing in nostalgia. . . .

Wallowing in nostalgia. . . .

Fresh out of college, and still believing all the malarky that was in my textbooks, I entered the high school feeling like a grown-up. This lasted until all my old teachers started greeting me, and, oh my gosh, asking me to call them by their first names now that we were colleagues.

“Call me Helen.” “Call me Valera.” “You can call me Byron now.” “Please, call me Pat.”

I couldn’t. The level of fear respect was still so high that to call these people anything that didn’t include a title was beyond my comprehension.  These nice people had been my teachers.  When I saw them, I turned into that little shy student who was afraid to go to class without my homework completed finished.  These people were the bosses of me.  To have them suddenly become colleagues and want to eat lunch with me and ask my opinion about curriculum was mind-boggling.

I did get duty on THAT hall – the one that housed THAT staircase.  You know, the staircase that led up to a stairwell and nothing else.  The one that always smelled like pot.  Not that I would know.  But the thing was, my old teachers didn’t know, and they assumed I would.  I am still not sure how I feel about that.

But I did it.  I did everything I was told to do, and by golly, I did it well.  But call these nice people by their first names?  I was still getting used to them HAVING first names.

I was filled with respect. . . and fear.

I was filled with respect. . . and fear.

Also, whenever a student called ME by a title, I got the giggles. I hadn’t yet made the big crossover, you know, to the OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK. That took several years. I mean, the first time I chaperoned a dance, students asked me to dance and I DID. Mistake. But I digress.

Still on that first day of official adulthood, I was trying to navigate the huge new building my old high school was now using. Schedules be damned, the brand new building still wasn’t quite ready to be populated, but that never deters school corporations from opening right up anyway; after all, it’s just kids, not voters PEOPLE.

In other words, the stairs had no banisters and the restrooms were not labeled yet.

A sign would have helped.

A sign would have helped.

I could deal with the banisters, but the restrooms were important; when I have to really, really “go,” I look pregnant. By mid-afternoon, any stranger would have taken me for eight-and-a-half-months, so I decided to take my chances and run for the nearest one before someone called an ambulance and rushed me to obstetrics.

I peeked inside the unlabeled room and the coast was clear. I went into a stall and did my bidness. When I emerged, ten pounds lighter and with a flat stomach (which I really miss. . . .) I noticed for the first time that one wall was covered with urinals. Standing at two of the urinals were two of my former teachers. Two of my former male teachers.

The wall was lined with urinals.

The wall was lined with urinals.

I was in the wrong restroom.

“You might as WELL call us by our first names, now, Janie,” said one of them.

I ran away and sucked my thumb in the corner for a while, and then I emerged, all grown up and unafraid.  Absolutely an adult, and unafraid of the world.

Here’s why, and I’ve never confessed this to a living soul until now.

Anyone with a penis that little was not to be feared.

 

It’s All Poop

Poop. It’s all about poop.

 

Mamacita says:  It’s all poop.  All of it.  Poop.

See this cartoon?

I was forced to do stuff like this for over twenty years and I hated every second of it.

Do you hear me? Every. second. of. it.

I stood outside in the pouring rain and the falling snow and the freezing toe-numbing cold and the blistering heat, taking tickets and selling popcorn and saying things like “Go!” and “Jump!” and “ Oh shit golly whillikers, was I supposed to start the clock before they started doing that?” I was given a score sheet with no instructions. I was given chalk with no instructions. I was given measuring tapes but I wasn’t told what to measure. I was given large sheets of paper and big magic markers with no instructions. I was given a stopwatch; what was it for? I was given remote controls that had something to do with big electric neon things with numbers that made the crowd yell at me, with no instructions. I was put in charge of outdoor things involving stupid costumes uniforms and weird shoes and rules that I didn’t know. I was put in CHARGE of these things.

I wasn’t asked to help out. I was ordered to be there. I had no choice.

Nobody told me how these little games were played. Nobody told me where to stand, or what to write down, or who’s on first. I only knew about “I don’t know.” And I wasn’t sure where third base was.

Something I do know is that a lot of teachers quit the profession because of this kind of thing.

Funny, isn’t it, that we were all required to ‘do our part’ in areas such as this, but if a teacher asked for some help at a concert or play or dance, that teacher got a lot of blank stares and no office backup whatsoever. Sometimes, people laughed.

During those last few years at the public school, teachers were no longer required to do all the athletic gruntwork; what a reeee-leeef.

Did I mention that I hated every microsecond of it? Did I mention that I’m still bitter? Did I mention that the very thought of some of those ‘coaches’ and parents makes me want to scream and yell and throw things?

I will admit that I was forced to run the clock at a basketball game only once. I was so terrible at it, after fifteen minutes NOBODY knew what the score was. We narrowly avoided a riot, in fact.

It would have helped if I’d known the rules, and what all those strange noises and gestures meant. I mean, what did they expect? I avoided gymnasiums like the plague, normally. I don’t even like the way they smell.

So yeah, I messed that game up, royally.  But I didn’t know the rules.  I didn’t know how to do it.  They made me do it anyway.  Oh, I know I’m probably the only person in the world who didn’t know how these things were done, but I knew how to do a lot of other things; why couldn’t they let me do those and let sportsy people work scoreboards and measure jumps and stuff?

On the bright side – it was shiny bright, as far as I was concerned – they never made me work a basketball scoreboard again.  What a break for me.  I suspect it was a break for everybody concerned.

If I’d only known that was how to get out of it, I wouldn’t have tried so hard at all the other sports things they forced me to help out at, because I did try.  I tried really hard.  I just wasn’t interested.  I resented being required to do these things.

I didn’t go to university for a million years just to stand outside in the cold and sell M&M’s, or to measure how far a kid jumped in sand that had been pooped in by every cat in the county.

Let their parents do that. They’re the ones who cared about it, anyway. I didn’t. Let them yell at each other, instead of me.

All of my heart and soul and attention and life was directed at those same kids; it was just aimed elsewhere.

But you know, I wouldn’t have minded as much if the joy had been equitable. As in, “You help me with this concert, and I’ll help you with your little outdoor game.”

Since it wasn’t set up that way, I agree with the cats: poop on it all.

Gorilla My Dreams

Mamacita says:  The gorilla was minding his own business.  The child was being a child – mommy looks down and then up and he was gone, like a bullet from a gun.

The actual bullet from a gun came a few minutes later.

Who was to blame?  It could have happened to any parent at any time, with an energetic little boy who disregarded his mom’s order to “stay here.”  Four-year-olds are impulsive.  He saw where he wanted to go and he went there.  That he then plummeted down into the home of the gorilla was unexpected.  It isn’t as if the child plotted and planned to murder the gorilla.

I’m really sorry for the mom, who is being upheld online as the worst mom ever.  I’m sorry for the child, who will forever after be branded as the kid who murdered the beloved gorilla.

But mostly. . . .

Mostly, well, this.

Mostly, well, this.

I know, I know.  Children are unpredictable.  Children do awful things.  Children get away from us and only the Flash could catch them.  They’re fast.  They’re wily.  They’re little geniuses who love to run.  They can be found in the most absurd tight-fitting places.  They crawl up vending machine slots and their moms find them on the other side of the glass, just like Dudley in the reptile house.  They pick the neighbors’ flowers.  They drag home dogs and cats with collars and beg to keep them.  They devour scrambled eggs on Tuesday and scream with fury if you serve scrambled eggs on Friday.

And they run.  They run away.  They run from us in grocery stores and malls.  They run from us in parks and pools and parking lots.  We spend a good part of our lives chasing them.

Wise parents leash their excitable, running-away toddlers in public places.  This prevents them from dashing away like a bullet from a gun.

That way, there wouldn’t have to be a real bullet from a real gun.

Convince me otherwise.  I want you to.  Please.

I don't want anything bad to happen to your child. I don't want your child to make something bad happen to anyone else, either.

I don’t want anything bad to happen to your child. I don’t want your child to make something bad happen to anyone else, either.

The zoo made the right decision.  A child is more valuable than an animal, definitely.  I love children.  That’s why I want them to be safe in a large, crowded public place.

I’m sure the internet will continue to label this mother and this child, but it will eventually forget and the furor will die down.  In the meantime, let us try to remember that children do childish things.  They’re supposed to do childish things – they’re CHILDREN.  Moms do not have a sixth sense, nor do they really have eyes in the backs of their heads – that’s Mary Tyler Moore and the walnuts you’re thinking of.

I seeeeee you. . . . . .

I seeeeee you. . . . . .

Shit Bad things happen. They happen to all of us. I’m so desperately sorry for everyone and everything involved here.

Don’t beat yourself up, mom. Help your child not to feel too badly. Badly enough not to do it again, but not too badly.

And buy a leash.

 

Memorial Day 2016

Mamacita says:  I think many people forget what Memorial Day is actually about.  It’s not about awesome sales.  It’s not about reunions or picnics.  It’s not about the Indy 500.  It’s not about grilling in the back yard.  We all need to stop and remember what Memorial Day signifies.

memorial day

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13