20 December 2014

Department of Colossal Gall

ou know, it’s really very simple: if you find that your religion keeps you from doing your job, either change your religion or change your job. A certain Dr. Eric Walsh, formerly head of Pasadena’s Public Health Department, appears to me to have been faced with that problem.
His “sincerely held religious beliefs” involved the notion that Satan was behind practically everything he didn’t like—gays, Catholics, single mothers, science, condoms, Oprah Winfrey. I don’t see how a guy with so much hatred for so many people could possibly do his job—or any job—in the public health sector.
Pasadena apparently felt the same way, or maybe he saw that himself, and he stepped down. The state of Georgia offered him a job—and then when they learned of his “sincerely held religious” bigotry, rescinded the offer.
Dr. Walsh is now suing the state claiming that as the remarks he made were said in church, he is somehow immune to having them used against him. According to his attorney, “In America, it is illegal to fire a professional for something he says in church.” I freely admit that I don’t know this particular law—but the issue is not where he said these things. It is that a supposedly professional health care expert holds these views at all. That they are “sincerely held” doesn’t seem to me to improve things in the least. Quite the contrary, in fact.

19 December 2014

Martial on Saturnalia (Yuletide reading)

[Marcus Valerius Martialis (c10040-c10103 HE) suggests some appropriate Saturnalia gifts and their labels:]
o the reader: The whole multitude of presents contained in this thin little book will cost you, if you purchase it, four small coins. If four is too much, perhaps you may get it for two, and the bookseller, Trypho, will even then make a profit. These distichs you may send to your entertainers instead of a present, if money is as scarce with you as it is with me. The names of all the articles are given as headings; so that you may pass by those which are not to your taste.
Lentils: Receive these Egyptian lentils, a gift from Pelusium; if they are not so good as barley, they are better than beans.
Leeks: Whenever you have eaten strong-smelling shreds of the Tarentine leek, give kisses with your mouth shut.
Beans: If the pale bean boils for you in the red earthenware pot, you may often decline the suppers of rich patrons.
Asparagus: The delicate stalks cultivated on the coast of Ravenna will not be more grateful to the palate than this wild asparagus.
Raisins: I am a grape not suited to the cup or to Bacchus; but, if you do not attempt to drink me, I shall taste like nectar
Pine cones: We are the apples of Cybele; keep at a distance, passerby, lest we fall and strike your unfortunate head.
A jar of plums: These Syrian plums, which come to you enclosed in a wattled conical basket, had they been any larger, might have passed for figs.
Damascene plums: Accept these foreign plums, wrinkled with age: they are good for relaxing constipated bowels.
Ducks: Let a duck be brought to table whole: but only the breast and neck are worth eating; return the rest to the cook.
Mushrooms: To send silver or gold, a cloak or a toga, is easy enough, but to send mushrooms is difficult.
Ham: The ham is quite fresh; make haste, and delay not to invite your best friends; I will have nothing to do with a stale ham.
Egyptian beans: You will deride this Egyptian vegetable, with its wool that sticks so closely, when obliged to tear its obstinate filaments with teeth and hands.
Attic honey: The bee that throngs Thesean Hymettus has sent you this noble nectar from the forest of Minerva.
Alban wine: This wine is sent from Caesarean hills, from the sweet vineyard that flourishes on Mount Iulus.
Faleenian wine: This Massic wine comes from the presses of Sinuessa. Do you ask in whose Consulate it was bottled? It was before consuls existed.
Fundi wine: This wine of Fundi was produced in the splendid autumn of Opimius. The consul who saw it made drank of it when matured.
Trifoline wine: I, Trifoline wine, am not, I confess, of the first order but I hold, at least, the seventh place.
Nomentan wine: My Nomentan vineyard yields this wine. If Quintus is your friend, you will drink better.
Pelignian wine: The Pelignian vine-dressers send turbid Marsic wine. Touch it not yourself, but let your freed-man drink it.
Vinegar: Disdain not this amphora of Egyptian vinegar. It was much worse when it was wine.
Caeretan [wine]: Let Nepos place Caeretan wine on table, and you will deem it Setine. But he does not give it to all the world; he drinks it only with a trio of friends.
Perfumes: Never think of leaving perfumes or wine to your heir. Administer these yourself, and let him have your money.

Pure Evil

ohnny was bad even as a child everyone could tell…
In The Man in the High Castle Mr. Tagomi faces a…
There is no way to put this in perspective. There is no way.
One of the things that history teaches is that there is no justice. Never. The good guys get crushed and the bad guys triumph. Or the bad guys get crushed and the good guys triumph. It doesn’t matter. There is no force minding the wheel of destiny—no matter what historians like the anonymous fellow we call the Deuteronomist likes to say. Our present island of (relative) progress—the end of slavery, for example, of legal sanctions against people of the wrong gender or caste or race or whatever—is a brief bubble in time fueled by millions of years of stored energy that we are expending at an unsustainable rate. And no replacement in sight.
Okay, our country—the good old USA—never had the moral stature we like to think of it as having, but at least in the past you could say that it made the attempt. On this torturegate thing the US hasn’t even made a token effort. Villains in high places—people who (in my book anyway) ought to be facing the death penalty for their crimes—are feted and honored. I’m thinking in particular of Dick Cheney, John Ashcraft, John Yoo, and Donald Rumsfeld. These guys, these war criminals, threw away America’s moral high ground—what was left of it anyway—on a two-bit hood whose crimes were petty in contrast to real villains we’ve faced in the past.
So now—what have we got when the thugs murder school children in Pakistan? When a vacuous gang kills women in Iraq who refuse them sex? When another bunch of criminals sans ideology or sense bombs a mosque in Nigeria and guns down the survivors as they try to escape? I hear the dumbass whiners say this is poverty or oppression or Islam or what-have-you. They say this even though the people who do it aren’t necessarily poor, or oppressed, or Muslims, or whatever—quite the contrary. “This isn’t militancy or unrest or extremism,” as Ophelia Benson puts it. “It’s sadistic slaughter for its own sake, by people who take pleasure in sadistic slaughter.” And the same can be said for the vacuous gang of thugs who thought torture was the answer to America’s problems in the wake of the relatively minor atrocity that was nine-eleven. The absolute horror of that act in no way justifies the horror of the motherfucking city on the motherfucking hill torturing helpless and sometimes innocent people for no reason whatsoever. It isn’t even vengeance. It’s just mindless sadism.
And that’s why I think the US should be cleaning house. Dick Cheney’s head ought to be on a pike somewhere as a warning to those who would pull the same crap in the future. If the US is going to pretend to be the shining city on the hill, the example to everyone, then we should treat our war criminals like the scum they are, to set an example for the rest of the world. Maybe then it would have some moral authority when it condemns foreign barbarians for their atrocities.
As it stands, we got nothing.

18 December 2014

The Republican Gospel

 see by various news reports that Republicans are crying foul on the “partisan” release of the CIA torture report. Apparently torture—its desirability and its effectiveness—is now part of the Republican gospel. Never mind that it is illegal under both American and international law. Never mind that Americans of all parties were at the forefront of making torture an international crime. Never mind that we have been among the first to bring such war criminals to justice when their victims were American citizens. No, opposition to torture is now a partisan issue. Democrats oppose it. And Republicans love it.
If support for torture is now a solid plank in the Republican party platform then I want nothing to do with it. I’ve put up with the anti-science shit. They’ll get over it, I tell myself. It’s a stupid phase. I’ve looked the other way when Republicans have engaged in the worst kind of assaults on the poor and minorities. They aren’t real Republicans—hell, they’re not even real Americans. But I expect more of my party.
What do I expect of my party? What do I fucking well expect of my party? I expect to see the goddamn Republicans take the lead in rooting out crime in high places, not burrowing in deeper and deeper in a vain attempt to cover it up, like a cat trying to bury its excrement by scratching the bare tiles of a naked floor. If it was Republicans who ordered torture, who enabled torture, who did the goddamn torturing, then I expect to see them expel the bastards from the party, I expect to see them take the lead in prosecuting them, I expect to see them clean house. Both the party and the national house.
Well, no I don’t. I’ve lived too long. I expect them to behave like the sniveling cowards they are, like the wretched refuse that all politicians are, to strut and fret their weary hour upon the stage until the whole thing blows over. And it will blow over—indeed, the polls show that it already has. Nobody cares. Eighty percent of the public thinks that torture is no big deal. Eighty percent of the American public anyway.
But Malaysia (of all places) has put George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo on trial for torture in absentia. Tried them and convicted them. Cheney and Rumsfeld and Yoo and the others are now legally war criminals. The lead prosecutor, Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, noted “The tribunal was very careful to adhere scrupulously to the regulations drawn up by the Nuremberg courts and the International Criminal Courts”. What if other countries follow suit? What if the winds of politics change?
Oh, hell, I know nothing’s going to happen. It never does. You can ask Augustine Pinochet about that.

17 December 2014

Io Saturnalia

aturnalia and Hanukkah more or less coincide this year, which is indeed a coincidence, except insofar as both of them are seasonal festivals associated with the solstice. Since Julius Caesar, at any rate, the Roman calendar has been fixed to the apparent movements of the sun, while since the Exile the Judean calendar has been based on the (now long-defunct otherwise) luni-solar Babylonian reckoning.
I see from an early nineteenth-century compendium of universal history that the first Saturnalia was celebrated with the dedication of the temple of Saturn in 9407 HE (594 BCE), some 2607 years ago—if that’s at all believable. Of course there’s an arbitrary quality to it all—presumably the Romans were still on their original intercalated lunar calendar, and what date it would have fallen on using a proleptic Gregorian calendar is (as far as I can tell) anybody’s guess. The Penny Cyclopaedia, deriving its information from Macrobius, informs us that Saturnalia “had been celebrated by the Aborigines long before the building of the city, and was instituted by the fabulous king Janus, after the disappearance of Saturnus from the earth” according to some traditions, or was “instituted by the Pelasgians” or possibly by “king Tullus Hostilius, who, after a successful war against the Albans and Sabines, was said to have founded the temple and established the festival of Saturnus at Rome”.
Tullius Hostilius (reigned 9329-9361) was the third king of Rome, and is considered largely legendary, unlike his contemporary Manasseh (reigned 9314-9358), king of Judah, who is considered historical, despite the fact that all we really have for either of them is biased and uncertain testimony of much later documents. Both drew the criticism of their respective historians over religious matters. The Deuteronomist wrote of Manasseh that he “did that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight, after the abominations of the nations whom Yahweh cast out before the children of Israel. … He built altars for all the army of the sky in the two courts of Yahweh’s house. He made his son to pass through the fire, practiced sorcery, used enchantments, and dealt with those who had familiar spirits, and with wizards. He did much evil in Yahweh’s sight, to provoke him to anger.” (II Kings 21) His “persecution” of the Yahweh-alone faction (by allowing the worship of other deities) did not sit well with the historian, who attributed to him all the misfortunes that were to befall Judah later on. And Livy wrote of Tullus Hostilius that at first he “thought nothing less becoming a king, than to busy his thoughts in matters of religion,” and then, toward the end of his life became “a slave to every kind of superstition, in cases either of great or of trifling import, and even filled the minds of the people also with superstitious notions.” Eventually the king tried to restore “certain sacrifices, of a secret and solemn nature, [that] had been performed to Jupiter Elicius,” but screwed them up somehow and “through the resentment of Jupiter, for being addressed in an improper manner, was struck with lightning, and reduced to ashes, together with his house.” (History of Rome, I.31)
Still, regardless of the exact date, it was somewhen in there, two and a half millennia ago, that Saturnalia was first celebrated. When it was last celebrated appears to be an open question. Maybe it still is, in spirit. Like our own Yuletide it was a time of reversals. Our ultra-capitalist society regards looking after the poor with horror gift-giving 364 days of the year—and then welcomes it on the 365th. Roman society observed a strict order in master-slave relations—until Saturnalia, when masters would serve slaves. Saturnalia featured banqueting and gift-giving—and so does our modern Xmas. It is hard to kill a holiday. The puritans tried to kill Xmas—and when that didn’t work, their spiritual descendants worked to christianize the hell out of it.
So, anyway, io Saturnalia, everybody. Io, bona Saturnalia!

16 December 2014

Waylaid by Frogs, and Other Memories

esperation has made me resort to a random topic generator, and the question it asked me was “What is your earliest memory?” I’ve asked myself that on numerous occasions in the past. The simplest answer is that I don’t know. I have a variety of presumably early memories, but most of them I can’t anchor to anything. I remember waking up in a car, late, in the darkness, to see a dim blue possibly-neon sign in the lower-left corner of a window. (My father thought it might be a time when we were on the road—I would have been three—and I insisted on seeing the lights in town, as I apparently often did at the time before going to sleep. But this was some roadside place miles from anywhere and there was only one sign to see, and it wasn’t much.) I remember refusing to go into a lake with my parents because it was named Bottomless Lake, and I wasn’t about to do anything that dangerous. I remember looking at what my adult knowledge tells me was a typewriter on the floor beside a couch or chair and noting that one of the keys was cracked. Odd fragments of unknown significance, or of no significance at all.
I can date some memories by the place they occurred—following other kids with a pail in my hand to go play in a sandbox at Artesia, New Mexico. The white sand of another New Mexico place. The insects attracted by a large sign made of many small yellow light bulbs rising above me—also New Mexico. The horrible long boring trip in the old convertible with the running-boards when we moved from New Mexico to Washington one hot August. I was three and a half then.
Probably my most vivid memory from those early days was when we were waylaid by frogs one night—possibly on a trip from New Mexico to visit my grandparents in Colorado. I was asleep in the back of the convertible when I woke up abruptly. The car had come to a stop. There was a horrible rasping sound coming from all around us—an indescribably ghastly noise. My father was gone. My mother told me not to worry—it was only frogs croaking. I wasn’t really sure what exactly that meant, but somehow I got the picture my father was out there somewhere in the darkness fighting a host of unearthly creatures, and that those creatures were probably going to get us too.
I don’t actually remember the upshot of it all, except that at some point my father returned safe and sound and we proceeded on our way. I can’t exactly date the event, but I may have been two at the time. My parents remembered it quite well; what had happened was that the road ahead of us was impassable due to a flash flood. The frogs were croaking because, well, there was water there. My father was out to check on the road’s condition; I believe that there were several cars stopped there on account of the flood. Not too long after this, in Colorado, I got a look at frogs, and heard them regularly croaking during the night. I could hear something higher than that (crickets actually) that I thought might be female frogs, and something still higher yet (that when I returned as an adult I could no longer hear) that I thought might be their offspring.
I don’t know that this frog memory is my oldest memory, but it is certainly the most vivid of my early memories. After that I have datable memories of moving in to a small house in Vancouver (3½), my first sight of the ocean (3½), a flash of that Christmas (3½), my fourth birthday at that house (and this one is vivid; I wanted a set of working toy traffic lights and damned if I didn’t get them), my father telling me of the death of my great-aunt whom I had really liked (4), looking over and then moving in to a new house in Portland (4), and so on. I have many memories of things that happened in that house, or while we lived there, but they are a lot harder to date specifically, as we moved out when I was 9.
But the New Mexico memories, faint and fragmentary as they are, must be my oldest. Most of them are mere glimpses of scenes and situations, with some parts in sharp focus and the rest vague and fuzzy. I remember my father heading off during a lightning storm to climb the tower at the radio station and do battle with the elements—something I am assured never happened. (I believe that it never happened, but I also believe that I thought that was what was happening at the time.) I remember seeing rocks in a sandy place by the side of a white building wall. I remember uncovering some small creature covered with spines while digging in the sand. I remember—
At least, I remember remembering these things. Any longer, with most of these memories, I can’t be sure that I am remembering the event itself, or only remembering that I once remembered this thing. I’ve written memories down in the past, and on rereading them years later, realized that my current memory is different from what I wrote then. Things I was vague on then I am certain of now. Things I was certain of then now seem vague or even completely wrong. New details come to me when I muse over it—but are they real? Or are they just something my mind has obligingly supplied me?
So there you have it. My first memory is a time we were waylaid by frogs, and my father had to get out of the convertible to go fight them. It may not be pretty, it may not be true, but it's what I remember.

15 December 2014

Random Crap

oday is Walt Disney’s birthday, and the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, and Bill of Rights Day, and Zamenhof Day. Unfortunately, none of them exactly inspire me at the moment. I suppose I could translate the Bill of Rights into (bad) Esperanto or something, but it’s probably been done. (I see from the Esperanto Vikipedio that the unua amendo al la Usona konstitucio at any rate reads:
La Parlamento faru neniun leĝon por fari starigon de religio aŭ malpermesi la liberan ekzercadon de ĝi. Nek de la libereco de la memesprimado aŭ de la gazetaro; nek de la rajto de la homoj de pace kunveni kaj peticii la registaron por la ĝustigo de plendoj.
I imagine the rest of it is about somewhere.) From random glances at the internetz I gather that right-wingers think Esperanto has something to do with socialism. I have my problems with Esperanto (that word malpermesi, for example—permesi meaning allow and mal meaning the opposite of it—hence prohibit—seems awkward) but any connection with socialism isn’t one of them.
Mind you, if I were going to do something in the auxiliary language line it would probably be more like Loglan or Lojban or whatever they’re calling it now. A grammar taken from logic, a vocabulary derived from our scientific understanding of the world. That sort of thing. It’s not that I have anything against English (my mother tongue and the only language I’m actually comfortable in), or French, or Greek, or Turkish or Latin or Navaho or Swahili or any of the other languages I’ve had to deal with at some point; I just think we could do better, and why not start with a language that could be everybody’s second tongue? Something flexible enough to serve as a vehicle of translation for languages as diverse as Coptic and Mandarin, something sufficiently regular as to be easily learnable—and I got interrupted here, so I don’t know where I was going with this.
I took my own stab at it decades ago, with a language I called Glossalalia, in which there were essentially only two kinds of words, those that expressed concepts like book or running, and those that expressed grammatical relationships. English words expressed by nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs belonged in the first class, while prespositions, conjunctions, and so on belonged in the second. There were preposition-like words that showed what modified what, or how one thing was connected to another. The vocabulary was built up from a tiny handful of core concepts that could be given a variety of nuances by adding prefixes and suffixes. It was rather hideous-looking, in part because I insisted on having a large variety of consonants and vowels to keep the words short.
All my notes for it vanished a couple of years ago in the great storage disaster. A small loss, I guess.
I see that Vikipedio has articles on the Bostona tea festo and on Valtero Diznej as well, showing that somebody’s still up and using the language, even though I keep seeing it described as a failed experiment and dead as Volapük (or Volapuko in Esperanto). And for that matter there’s a Vükiped member of the Wikifamily.
Trying to write while being talked at under a last-minute deadline is probably not the most effective way of producing a blog entry. I think I’ll give up now…

14 December 2014

Rocks in the Sky

any years ago, when I was maybe twelve or thirteen or so, I got a paperback book with a title something like The World’s Strangest Mysteries. I think somebody gave it to me as a gift—a birthday or something like that—but the details are foggy. It doesn’t matter. The point is, I read a fascinating account of how in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries people observed stones falling from the sky, or at any rate what seemed to be stones that fell from the sky. There was no science, however, that could account for such a phenomenom. How would rocks get into the sky in the first place, in order to fall? According to the story a famous American statesman (and scientist) who read of such an event observed “that it was easier to believe that two Yankee Professors could lie than to admit that stones could fall from heaven.”
I really liked that statement. I have quoted it on various occasions since then; I think I used it in a paper I wrote for some junior high class, though maybe I only considered it. I liked the statement because it asserts the correct position to take when presented with impossible evidence. I don’t know about the lying part, but when people assert things that are impossible it is far more likely that what they say isn’t true, that they are lying or mistaken, than that the impossible is possible. Witnesses can be wrong. The universe, on the other hand, is the way it is.
Of course, the other reason I like it is that its premise is wrong. Stones can, and sometimes do, fall from heaven. Although there was no known mechanism for getting stones into the sky, there was evidence that they had fallen. Multiple eyewitness accounts,  destruction caused by their coming to earth, the stones themselves. It was impossible for them to have fallen, and yet they had. As Dr. Derringer liked to observe, “Eliminate the impossible. Then if nothing remains, then some part of the impossible must be possible.”
Several explanations had been proposed to get over the impossibility of stones getting into the sky in the first place. One proposed that the materials for the stones ascended in the form of vapor, collected in the atmosphere, combusted through some unknown chemical reaction, and fell to earth in the form of a solid precipitate. Another was that volcanoes hurled the stones into the sky, either from the earth, or perhaps from the moon. And then there was the possibility that small unseen bodies were orbiting the earth elliptically like comets, and occasionally burned up when passing through the earth’s atmosphere.
The trouble is that none of these made the impossible possible. Eventually scientists would get the hang of meteors, but that hadn’t happened yet on 14 December 1807. About seven on that morning a Mrs. Gardner of Wenham, Massachusetts, took a look out her western window and observed the moon apparently in the act of falling out of the sky. It was a fleeting impression only; an instant later she saw that what she was seeing was a fireball moving parallel to the horizon. Judge Wheeler at Weston, Connecticut, and Mr. Page at Rutland, Vermont, likewise observed the meteor. Many fragments of the stone were gathered up by eager collectors.
One of these collectors was Daniel Salmon of New York. A large piece of the meteor fell near his house, and he found himself possessed “of the largest fragment of the meteor Stone which has yet or proverbelly Ever will be found wighing 37 pounds”. It was “proved by Inconterable Evidence to have fallen on the Same Day the Meteor passed Over weston”; he and his neighbors had seen “that a Stone fell on the Same field where this fragment was found”. It was a field of rye and oats and the piece “was found 3 feet below the Surface and many Spires of Green Rye & Oat Stibbel at the bottom of the Cavity” as well as on the rock itself.  “[T]his must be an Evidence that it fell from the atmosphere” he wrote excitedly.
Naturally he turned to the President of the United States as the most appropriate person to examine his find. “I Should take Great pleasure in being the bearer of this New Visitor in the united Stats and to Give the Curious an oppertunity of Seing this Mass was not the Distance So Great and my Resorces Small” he wrote to Thomas Jefferson on 8 February 1808. Were it not for the cost he would be happy to exhibit it to the President and Congress.
Jefferson replied on 15 February 1808 with an astonishing letter that should be required reading for any investigator of fringe phenomena. About the stone he noted that “Its descent from the atmosphere presents so much difficulty as to require careful examination. But I do not know,” he continued, “that the most effectual examination could be made by the members of the National Legislature, to whom you have thought of exhibiting it.” A scientific body like the Philosopical Society of Philadelphia would be more likely to be qualified to examine it, and its results would carry more conviction. “We certainly are not to deny whatever we cannot account for. A thousand phenomena present themselves daily which we cannot explain, but where facts are suggested, bearing no analogy with the laws of nature as yet known to us, their verity needs proofs proportioned to their difficulty. A cautious mind will weigh well the opposition of the phenomenon to everything hitherto observed, the strength of the testimony by which it is supported, and the errors and misconceptions to which even our senses are liable.”
Proofs proportioned to their difficulty—exactly. Extraordinary things require extraordinary evidence. “It may be very difficult to explain how the stone you possess came into the position in which it was found,” he noted. “But is it easier to explain how it got into the clouds from whence it is supposed to have fallen?” At that time, judging from the proposed explanations, it clearly was not.
An article by Benjamin Silliman, the chemist who would later be the first person to refine petroleum, proved to be a sensation. He and his fellow Yale professor James Kingsley, had thoroughly investigated the incident, and the evidence presented, including a chemical analysis of the fallen stone, made it hard to avoid the conclusion that a large rock had in fact fallen from the sky. There was enough evidence for Nathaniel Bowditch to form “An estimate of the height, direction, velocity and magnitude of the meteor, that exploded over Weston in Connecticut, Dec. 14, 1807,” published in the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for 1809.
As time went on, more observations were gathered, and more hypotheses put forth, it became clearer not only that stones did fall from the sky, but how they did it and why. By 1874 the situation had changed so dramatically that Silliman’s son (also named Benjamin) could tell the following anecdote:
Thomas Jefferson, then president of the American Philosophical Society, is reported to have said on this occasion, in the well-known language of David Hume regarding miracles, “that it was easier to believe that two Yankee Professors could lie than to admit that stones could fall from heaven”—a remarkable evidence of the limited knowledge of such subjects then prevailing in this country, even in the minds of the most cultivated people.
And this is the actual source of the statement. Not Jefferson, but the son of one of the “Yankee professors” in question, and—as Anna Berkes pointed out, a “Yankee professor” himself. Yeah, it’s another fake quotation, one of those sayings that’s too damn good to be true. Personally, I like what Jefferson actually wrote better—but it doesn’t have the snap of the “Yankee professors” version. Too bad we can’t have both.
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