Monday 29 May 2017

Crisis? nonsense!

St John oF Kennedy was born 100 years ago this very day May 29 1917. We revere him in Ireland since, in June 1963 he made a progress through Dublin and South Wexford where his ancestral homestead is located. A few weeks later he was dead in Dallas. Lots of people who were of sentient age then will have had a picture of him in the kitchen beside the perpetual flame and/or a picture of a favorite pope.  He had some great speechwriters and has sent numerous quotes down the airwaves of history. Not all of those sound-bytes stands up to critical scrutiny.
  • The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word "crisis". One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.  Hmmmm, not really  brush-stroke is not the same as character and, although the first character wēi is cognate with danger, the second ji means pretty much whatever you want it to mean depending on context.
  • Change is the law of life. Those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. [so much for living in the moment, mindfulness people]
  • But the harsh fact of the matter is that there is also an increasingly large number of young Americans who are neglecting their bodies—whose physical fitness is not what it should be—who are getting soft.
    • also: Only if our citizens are physically fit will they be fully capable of such an effort.
    • etc. many versions of this idea
Maybe if he'd had a second term as President he would have implemented physical training in schools and knocked the obesity epidemic out of the park before it started to balloon. He did have a bit of a thing about the charisma of Hitler
  • “Anyone who has visited these places can imagine how in a few years, Hitler will emerge from the hate that now surrounds him and come to be regarded as one of the most significant figures ever to have lived.”
  • Ich bin ein Berliner doesn't really mean I am a donut unless you are being crassly clever-clogs.
So maybe school rallies and exercises would have supplemented saluting the flag, which US school children used to do by raising a stiff right arm.

He was posthumously notorious for his love of women. Apparently asking the British PM "I wonder how it is with you, Harold? If I don't have a woman for three days, I get terrible headaches."  That was unintentionally cruel because Macmillan's wife had a long-standing affair with another Tory grandee Bob Boothby.  But to end on a more positive note.

  • For of those to whom much is given, much is required.
  • And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
  • My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
  • The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society
  • An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.
  • I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. [prev; prevlier; prevliest; quiz]
  • We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask "why not?". Speech to the Dáil 28 June 1963
  • I am reminded of the story of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.'"

Ave atque vale

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