Would you believe an American mother?
"If you wouldn't mind, could you please tell us something about your life. Our readers are of course interested in your views on the war, but perhaps we could begin with your early life."
He frowned -- an expression we usually see in his photographs.
"Well, let's get this over with, though I'm not sure whether anyone is really interested in my early, middle or late life.
"My father, a very proper English Lord, Randolph Churchill, scandalized his family and friends by marrying an American. Her name was Jennie Jerome, and she was born in Brooklyn, NY -- hardly a dignified American address. She was remarkably beautiful at age 20, when Lord Randolph married her, and was known as a beauty all her life. I was born some months later. I was present at the time, but don't remember much about it.
"I saw very little of my mother as I grew up. I loved her dearly, but at a distance. Then, as a grown-up, I found her most helpful discussing political matters. But I was, like all my peers, raised by a nurse. To Mrs. Elizabeth Everest I told all my hopes and troubles. I had some wonderful toys, I remember: 1000 toy soldiers, a working steam engine and a magic lantern that I used to put pictures on a wall.
"Then, when I was seven, they sent me away to school. At first I hated it, but then I learned history, horseback riding, swimming, French and poetry -- so it wasn't so bad.
"I nearly died at age 18 when I jumped off a bridge while my brother was chasing me. I fell 30 feet, and as a result was unconscious for three days and couldn't walk for two months.
At age 19 I entered Sandhurst, the Military Academy -- after I twice failed the entrance exam. I went into the cavalry instead of the infantry because horsemen don't have to learn math, a subject I hated. When I'd graduated, I found the pay was abysmally low, so I started writing to supplement my income. When we were at war, I supplied newspapers with news about what was happening, and later I wrote books about these campaigns.
"At that time Queen Victoria ruled an Empire so large it covered one quarter of the Earth's land surface. Canada and India were the biggest countries, but it included 380 million inhabitants all over the earth. We used to say, 'the sun never sets on the British Empire' -- still say it, as a matter of fact.
"My first experience with war occurred when I was 22, in India and then in Egypt. A year later I resigned from the Army, thinking I might try for a career in politics. In 1900 I came back to England and almost immediately won a seat in Parliament.
"A few years later I met Clementine Hozier, a great beauty, extremely bright and kind. We fell in love and were married in 1908. We had five children, four girls and a boy. My most brilliant achievement was my ability to persuade her to marry me.
"The whole world wants to know," we began, "how you believe the war is going."
"And you," he remarked, "represent the whole world?"
"We, the Editors of and subscribers to the American newspaper Gnarly Gnenglish want to know how you believe the war is going,"
The Prime Minister smiled.
"That's better," he said, "and is a question I'll be glad to answer.
"Until last year, the support we had from the United States was feeble, if you'll excuse the expression. Joseph P. Kennedy, the American ambassador to the United Kingdom told his friends that Germany would win the war. America was neutral, despite the dreadful things Adolph Hitler was doing in Europe starting in September, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. We British declared war, as did Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand. The United States declared neutrality, an act I had never before heard of. Soon the Germans invaded France, going around the Maginot Line, an armed position which was supposed to protect France from invasion. In June of 1940 they occupied Paris, and soon after the French surrendered.
"Now what we've called the "Battle of Britain" began, with German planes bombing English and Scottish cities. The defense by the British air force, however, has been gloriously successful because of the use of radar, which Britain had developed in anticipation of German attacks. Our radar systems give our fighter pilots accurate information about incoming German bombers, which lets us attack and shoot them down. By May of last year we had won the Battle.
"But it wasn't until March of last year that America really began to help, with your Lend-Lease program which let President Roosevelt ship us rifles, machine guns and other weapons to help us fight. We are most grateful, though we wish your aid had come sooner.
"Meanwhile there were the Japanese. In 1937 they invaded China and in 1940 signed a war pact with Germany and Italy.
"And then last December they made their terrible mistake: they bombed Pearl Harbor, and sank eight of your battleships, three cruisers and three destroyers, killing over 2300 Americans. They also bombed Guam, sank British ships near Malaya and invaded the Philippine Islands. Britain joined the United States, declaring war with Japan; and the US declared war on Germany.
"The Germans are doomed."
We told him we were sure he was right, thanked him and went on our way, honored to have talked with a truly great man.
"In those days he was wiser than he is now; he used to frequently take my advice."
"I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place."
"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter." (on the eve of his 75th birthday)
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations"
"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
"Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put."
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
"A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen."
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else."
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
"I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
"History is written by the victors. "
"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."
"There is no such thing as a good tax."
"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
"He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
"The short words are best, and the old words are the best of all."
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
"Eating words has never given me indigestion."
NOTE: For one reason or another (difficulty in finding a graphic program to replace the one which no longer works, my great age accompanied by a general loss of competence), I've decided to give up writing the Gnarly English newsletter. Thanks to you many subscribers who seemed to have enjoyed it over the years. The first issue (Gnarly Math) was published in 1999. This will be the last.
So people asked themselves, 'What in the world is a Crash Blossom, that this violinist was linked to?'
The headline-writer meant that the violinist blossomed, not that she was linked to a crash blossom. If he or she had written "Violinist Blossoms after her Father Dies in an Airline Crash" everyone would have understood. But writers must keep headlines short, so mistakes like this often happen.
For decades people found strange meanings in headlines, but now they had a name for such things: they started calling them Crash Blossoms. Here are some more examples:
Here's an example applied to today.)
(To the tune of Auld Lang Syne )
Should all Prime Ministers be forgot
He took his office at a time
He told the Nazis where they could
For auld lang syne, my dear
Perhaps I might look into the future, and imagine what I would remember about these times if I were looking back in the year, say, 2012.
I would remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I was fifteen in '41, and my Mother, Father, Sister and I had just got out of bed. Mother was preparing breakfast, and suddenly we heard sirens. We lived in San Pedro, which was really Los Angeles harbor, and so we climbed the stairs and looked through windows out on the town. It was about 10 am, and we could see searchlights scanning the skies. Looking up, we thought we saw a plane caught in the lights, and anti-aircraft guns (which were located around the harbor) started firing away.
Who lived far away from the Red Sea
He dwelt on an island
That shone like a diamond
Too cold for the growth of a palm tree.
by Carl Sandburg
THE fog comes
It sits looking
(Words in this issue which may be new to some.)
(Note: definitions are often not complete sentences -- they may not have subject and verb.)
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