Politicians and their foibles

Winston Churchill is my number one idol of all time.   He was so accomplished in many areas and believe it or not was a “working stiff” like the rest of us.  Yes, he was born into a very famous family and they did have wealth but most of it was squandered by his father and the houses, etc, really belonged to others, not him.  If you have ever been to the Cotswold and seen Blenheim castle you would think he was rich as Croesus but not so.  He worked all his life for the funds to support his family and the style they desired.  It was a grand style for sure, but he also labored very hard to achieve it.  He was a writer.  Look up the works that he did.  Many non fiction books and histories.  He also wrote countless magazine and newspaper articles to earn his daily bread.  Oh, and by the way he won a Nobel prize for literature for his history of WWII.  Not a bad record for a writer.   Oh, Blenheim castle is named after the famous battle of the same name in Belgium where his ancestor, John Churchill, won the day against the French and thus became the Duke of Marlborough.   It is a magnificient place.  It was awarded to him by a grateful Queen.

Churchill did have his pecualiar habits.  His late night hours were the bane of his lieutenants and aides.  More often than not he wouldn’t retire until well past midnight.  During the War he would often have many important meetings that wouldn’t even start until 11 p.m. or even later.  Those generals and admirals hated having to attend those.  Of course he often slept later than most and would even start his dictation while taking his morning bath.  He would have the secretaries come he while he read memos and fired off responses.  Those working under him hated his annotations he would often put on these memos with the additional note of ATD.  That stood for “action this day” and he meant it.  He would follow through on all of them and raise old billy hell if something had not been done.   He was known for his love of the occasional glass of champagne or brandy and of course his cigars.  At a dinner party one time a lady remarked on his habits and stated he was just a drunk.  He replied in the stentorian tones only he could evoke that he would be sober in the morning but she would still be ugly.   He had a bad day in New York when they first installed the traffic lights.  Hard to imagine now but they were quite new in the 1920’s.   Between the inevitable confusion about the traffic going the wrong way he also was not familar with the operation of the signals.  He stepped off into the street and was struck by a car.  He was hurt rather badly and  hospitalized for some time with his injuries.

One last little detail that is often overlooked but should never be forgotten is that he was half American.  His mom was American, Jenny Randolph.  

Taft was an interesting fellow.  We forget quickly about the lives of the not famous  leaders.  Here was a man who was President,  a member of the Supreme Court , a Senator and Cabinet member.  Rather remakable record when you think about it.  He didn’t particularly care about running again for President.  He had that “been there, done that” kind of attitude.  Would that more of our politicians would take a hint from him.  He also had the Clinton problem in an era still very strait laced.  He liked the ladies.   At least he kept things quiet and didn’t make a display of himself or his “friends”.   Hard to imagine that he did all this while weighing in a a svelte 300 plus pounds most of his life.  Clinton might have done much better if he had had a zipper lock on his trousers with the key kept by the adults in the house.

Obama takes himself too seriously–way too seriously.  I am not an expert like Carville and all those other smart folks but his handlers need to get him to loosen up if he wants to go anywhere.  Rolling up your sleeves is not exactly doing it.  Its like Fred Astaire taking off his Ascot and thinking he is one of the guys then.  Every comment he makes does not have to be an oration although he sure thinks it does.   It comes across as too ponderous and officious.  People like to be talked to, not down to or given lectures.   The cartoonist and others will have a field day if he is elected.  The gloss will lose its shine with familiarity as it always does. 

The physicists say that time is not linear.  That there is no “beginning” and “end”; that it does not move in one direction.  I have read the explanations a couple of times but admit I am baffled.  Read one that compared it more to a helix that spiraled and looped up and down and could even cross itself.   I just can’t get a handle on it.  If it is not linear then I want to loop back about 20 years and run the cycle again.   And if it is not linear how can we tell the difference between then and now.

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Filed under Culture, history, Politics

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