BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: AMERICANA (PART 2)


         ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S GETTYSBURG ADDRESS
________________________________________________________________

SHERMAN BILLINGSLEY AND THE STORK CLUB (1950’s)

There is a story about the time George Jessel arrived
at the entrance of the Cub Room bringing with him a
beautiful and talented lady, Lena Horne. This caused
a bit of a stir. Billingsley and his headwaiters weren't
very big on racial equality, but Jessel happened to be
a regular. The headwaiter was on the spot. He was trying
to figure out what to do, mumbling and fumbling through'
his reservation book, acting as though there were no
tables left. Of course, Jessel knew what was going on
and I'm sure Lena did too. After a while, the headwaiter
said to Jessel, "Mr. Jessel, who made the reservation?"
And Jessel answered, "Abraham Lincoln." A few people
heard this and chuckled, and Billingsley across the room
finally gave the flustered maitre d' a nod, and Mr.
Jessel and Miss Horne walked in and were seated. That
night the Cub Room was temporarily integrated.

from Honest Abe by Abe Burrows (Boston-Toronto:
Little Brown and Company, 1953.
*****

 ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Abraham Lincoln –
Did he ever have an inklin’
That he wd be known as “Honest Abe”
Or Lone Ranger fans might call him “Kemo sabe’?

***



Abraham Lincoln is the only president in American 
history to hold a patent.

William Herndon spent part of 1848 watching bemusedly 
as his law partner, Abraham Lincoln, sat at his office 
desk intently whittling a strange-looking wooden ship.  
Looking up from time to time, Lincoln would excitedly 
explain how his invention would bring about a revolution 
in the burgeoning steamboat industry.  Lincoln’s design, 
which became U.S. Patent No. 6469, details the invention 
of an inflatable bellows system meant to improve the 
navigation of boats in shallow waters.  In effect, 
four balloons would be collapsed, accordion-like, 
and attached to both sides of a riverboat on either end.  
If the boat found its way obstructed by a sandbar, 
the balloons would be filled with air in order to raise 
the hull higher than the bar, allowing passage without 
having to unload the cargo and carry the boat manually.  
This issue was particularly important to the inventor, 
who had spent part of his youth on the treacherous 
Sangamon River and had twice run aground on high shoals.  Lincoln’s patent was never implemented and was in fact 
lost for many years after a fire in the patent office.  Throughout his life Lincoln expressed a strong 
philosophical love for the patent system.  Lincoln’s 
model and his drawings are now on display in the Smithsonian. 

From the Website 10 FACTS ABOUT ABRAHAM LINCOLN
***
OSCAR WILDE & HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT AMERICA

1) "America had often been discovered before Columbus, 
but it had always been hushed up." 
2) "America has never quite forgiven Europe for having been discovered somewhat earlier in history than itself." 
3) "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between."Nov 30, 2015
***

"What is a liberal? A liberal finds it in his heart
to forgive Jane Fonda for being in Hanoi, but not
for being in Barbarella."
                        David Frost
*
 THE PILGRIMS FROM THE MAYFLOWER

"...the Pilgrims were arrogant and brutal. The bleached
bones of Indigenous Americans who had died in an
epidemic were taken by (WILLIAM) Bradford to mean
that God had cleared the land for his people. It was
a mandate and a responsibility that forbade tolerance.
The maypole belonging to the adjacent plantation at
Merrymount, where standards of devotion were lax,was
destroyed as a pagan idol and the revellers' non-puritan
leader repatriated. Bradford's ruffian enforcer, Myles
Standish, stabbed three Massachusett warriors at a
peace summit and brought back a head as a trophy."

Malcolm Gaskill, reviewing The Puritans: A Transatlantic
Journey by David D. Hall, and The Journey tO The
Mayflower: God's Outlaws and The Invention of Freedom
by Stephen Tomkins (The London Review of Books, 
13 March 2021)
***
JOHNNY INKSLINGER MOURNS THE DEATH
OF BETSY ROSS

Freedom? What a stitch!
Freedom to please the men with money, 
The flag orderers: May 29, 1777.
L 14 ‘for making ships’ colors etc. 

“But don't tread on me"
 For I am body surfing into symbolism: 
13 Stars for Paramount, Republic,M-G-M 
Stripes for our peerless leaders.

1777:
My country at the ragged edge of Liberty, 
Needling England's cry-baby king,

& Here I am stomping at the Savoy 
With Chick Webb and his orchestra,

While The Supreme Court rules
"We do not consecrate the flag 
By punishing its desecration,
By doing so we dilute the freedom
That the cherished emblem represents."
To become a cherished American, 
Become a Statue in the hallway, 
Obituary in the Times,
A two o'clock in the morning footnote. 
Let us mourn for Betsy Ross,
Who once received only two feeble sentences 
In the Encyclopedia Britannica.

What are we going to do about it, 
Betsy? “Oh, hell, 
Let's burn one of my flags!” 
Freedom for the poor? What a stitch!
 

Louis Phillips
(from AMERICAN ELEGIES (World Audience
Publishers)

https://dailydrunkmag.com/2021/04/11/the-bald-eagle-is-no-longer-bald/



**

3 thoughts on “BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: AMERICANA (PART 2)

  1. As always, my day(s) is the better and brighter for having read this. Thanks so much for these illuminating bits and pieces.

    Like

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