Notes from around the Human Experience…
USA! USA!: For the all of my life, and probably all or most of yours, the United States has been sparring verbally with dictators, from Eisenhower to Trump, from Khrushchev to Saddam Hussein to Kim Jong-un. It’s the way the game is played.
Mine’s Bigger! It’s rare, however, when the dictator has been the one talking sense. Let’s examine this past week’s prattle between the two children leading the United States and North Korea:
This Is Why You Don’t Get Invited To More Parties: As you might expect, we read the president’s speech to the United Nation’s General Assembly. Parts sounded presidential, as Trump can do when he feels like it, parts were a campaign speech and parts were tasteless and gauche.
Tip Your Waitresses, I ‘ll Be In Town All Week: We actually chuckled at this:
The United States will forever be a great friend to the world…
Oh please, Mr President. Right now America is a great friend only to those who have managed to consolidate wealth and power. This is not an indictment. Wealth and power are necessary offshoots of a free market. Actually, they are offshoots of every form of government since time immemorial. It’s the way the world is built.
But America is waging too much war and causing too much despair and tragedy – both here and abroad – to be considered a friend to the world.
LOL: The fun began with this statement:
…but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
Oh dear me, this was not presidential at all, it was childish. Trump, as he showed in his inaugural, parts of which were brilliant, can never seem presidential for too long.
By Jove, I Think He’s Got It: Kim actually issued some accurate statements. He called Trump’s speech:
…unprecedented rude nonsense.
And We Wonder Why People Flew Airplanes Into Our Buildings: Which it was, of course. Dear me, a president of the United States called the leader of a sovereign nation an insulting nickname in front of the world. We are calling people names, we are torturing people, we are now the bad guys, friends.
Nailed It…Dead Solid Perfect: Kim’s thoughtful analysis continued when he said Trump was:
…unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.
It could be noted that Kim isn’t particularly suited to the prerogative, either, but we digress.
The Bottom Line: Towards the end of his speech Trump noted:
History is asking us whether we are up to the task…of a future of dignity and peace for the rest of the world…
USA! USA! No, we’re not. Right now America is taking a flier on being up to the task of anything more than causing war and destruction. We will not have a future of dignity and peace – for ourselves or anyone else – until we have an America at peace.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! History’s first naval battle using artillery, the Battle of Arnemuiden, occurs on this date in 1338. It was also the first naval battle in the Hundred Years’ War
Bloody Hell: Though the English ship Christopher had three cannons and a handgun, they English were outmanned by the French and the English squadron commander surrendered at the end of the day.
FunFact: The Hundred Years’ War would actually last 1337-1453 and while a complete recap is beyond the scope of this column, it began when Charles IV of France died in 1328 and his closest male relative was his brother-in-law, England’s Edward III who saw no reason why he shouldn’t possess the French throne as well. The French had other ideas and for nine years a cousin of Charles ruled but then he had the nerve to interfere with England’s war with Scotland.
Dry, Technical Matter: History refers to this war as the Second War of Scottish Independence because England was really intent on Scotland being independent.
Oh Yeah: The Hundred Years’ War actually lasted 116 years and resulted in a French victory.
We Don’t Know What The Future Holds, But We Know Who Holds The Future: Harvard College, the oldest college in the United States, holds its first graduation ceremony on this date in 1642, even though it first held classes in 1636.
Nine graduates, then called ‘commencers’, were foisted on the real world, with three immediately fleeing to Europe.
FunFact: The tradition of issuing a diploma didn’t start until 1813 and class rank was determined by the social status of your parents.
More Great Moments In British Warfare: British spy Major John Andre is arrested by three American soldiers near Tarrytown, New York on this date in 1780. Andre was returning to British lines after meeting with Benedict Arnold, who was planning to flee to the British.
At about 9am Andre was met by three American soldiers. Based on how they were dressed Andre thought he was addressing British soldiers, so he told them he was a British officer but when the soldiers said they were Americans Andre changed his tune and said he was actually an American, too.
Two of the American soldiers were illiterate but they weren’t complete idiots and arrested Andre, who had papers from Benedict Arnold detailing how to take West Point in his sock.
Hilariously, he was almost to Benedict Arnold for further questioning, but he ended up in front of a board convened by General George Washington and Andre was executed on October 2.
Quotebook: If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end certainties. – Francis Bacon
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Mariano Rivera started ten games in his major league career, all in his rookie season of 1995. He had a record of 3-2 in those games.
Today’s Stumper: Who were the English and French monarchs when the Hundred Year’s War ended in 1453. – Answer next time!