Friday, July 04, 2008

John Adams on How to Celebrate Nation's Birth

John Adams on how this occasion should be remembered, the beginning of a nation founded on ideas:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore. 
The 2nd was the day that all the states voted to declare independence.  The 4th was the day the document was actually signed....

How the Declaration Came To Be

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams edited the Declaration that Jefferson drafted.  Thanks to the web site, you can actually see the changes.

Here's the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence with edits:

    When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a^ 

     dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,
  people to ^advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto 

  and to                                             separate and equal
  ^remained, & to assume among the powers of the earth the ^equal and

  independent station to which the laws of nature and of nature's god

  entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires

                                                      the separation
  that they should declare the causes which impel them to ^change.

    We hold these truths to be ^sacred & undeniable; that all Men

                             they are endowed by their creator with 
  are created equal & independent; that ^from that equal creation they

  equal rights, some of which are   rights; that   these
  derive in rights inherent & inalienable ^ among ^which are the

  preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Some special replies for Independence Day (hat tip, a favorite aunt) -

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure - right from Day One! - that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More Terrific Mad Men Previews & Clips

AMC released the first season of Mad Men today!

This is the official preview for the next season:

And these are two of my favorite other promo clips - the first includes great soundtrack (same song was used on the more recent Thomas Crown Affair) with the most amazing shot I've ever seen on television - a shot of a train reflected in a curve on a window, behind which is the protagonist Don Draper, whom we weren't sure if he was going to drive over the rails or not. It's so artful it looks like it belongs in film rather than tv. Check it out:

And then there's this, which captures the style, sexiness and mystery of the series:

Sunday nights at 10, starting July 27th on AMC. See more here.

Eisenhower, D-Day and the Whole Nine Yards

I'm catching up on some old reading and read a great piece on D-Day in the December 2007 issue of the Smithsonian - Ike at D-Day : The rain he worried about. The Camel cigarettes he chain-smoked. The letter he wrote in case of failure. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's defining moment comes to life in an excerpt from Michael Korda's best-selling new biography.

Korda's piece, or perhaps his protagonist, rivets. Makes one yearn for compassionate strong men - both Churchill and Eisenhower cry under the weight of the awesome responsibility of sending men to their death. And the wait for the weather fascinates and the wrongheadedness of the Germans is gross. I knew not of the former but I did of the latter. Korda succeeds in relaying the scope of the preparation and the difficulty of the decision to go forward on June 6th.

Two interesting bits to quote -
When asked what kind of generals he liked, Napolean is said to have replied, "Lucky One." Noby in the room could have known it, but luck was about to strike Eisenhower.
That would be a clearing in the weather that the Germans had no clue about.

Then this -
the belts of .50-caliber ammunition for the heavy machine guns of the American bombers were 27 feet long (whence the expression "the whole nine yards")
I had no idea that's where the expression came from...very cool.

Also the fascimile of a note Eisenhower wrote the morning of the invasion in case of failures shows his edits:
Our landing in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops.
Originally he had written, "and the troops have been withdrawn."