Posts Tagged ‘1969’

“People Count Themselves to Death in This Life”

September 24, 2012

Image from Today in Literature

Superior Sagas

By INEZ ROBB

This country has run plumb out of frontier. But despite the laments of the pessimists, it has not run out of the bold, freewheeling pioneer spirit before which the frontier vanished.

That, says an expert (borrowing from Freud) is the reason we Americans are crazy about westerns; We read ’em by the thousands to sublimate our intense yearning to pack up the covered-wagon and git for the great open spaces.

And that goes for President Eisenhower, too, who is one of the most consecrated devotees of western fiction in the country.
So says Louis L’Amour (his square name), walking encyclopedia of the Old West and author of “Hondo” and other superior sagas of the wild and woolly.

“The American is still a tough hombre, rough and ready, no matter what sociologists say about the debilitating effects of central heating, can openers and air-conditioned autos,” said L’Amour when I cornered him for luncheon the other day.

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Product of West

A product of the Old West and the descendant of pioneers, at least one of whom lost his hair to the Sioux, the author bases this heartening appraisal of his fellow citizens in part on his experience with them in a tank destroyer unit in Europe during World War II.

“It may take a jolt to waken that tough, rough and ready streak in him, but he’s got it, even here in the effete East,” says L’Amour.

Born in North Dakota, this is one western author who spent his childhood playing cowboy and Indians with real cowboys and bona fide Indians. There he began to collect, subconsciously, the extraordinary range of western lore that makes the background of his western as authentic and factual as a history of the period.

“I’ve got no time for this Hopalong Cassidy stuff,” said L’Amour, who looks as big and rough hewn as any of his heroes. Having committed heresy, he went on to say that his hero gets the girl, if any, and doesn’t have to go around kissing horses in the sunset.

Even though the Indians scalped his great-grandfather, the author has affection and respect for the noble Redskin and treats him as a man with problems, mainly the pale face, in his fiction.

Not only is L’Amour recognized as a real long-hair student of the Old West as pertains to the pioneers but as an expert on the American Indian, his life and hard times. The two fields mesh and L’Amour is toying with the idea of writing a dictionary or encyclopedia on both.

Most Americans today, he pointed out, don’t even know such elementary facts as why the pioneer used oxen rather than horses or mules on the trek west, or how much goods and gear a covered wagon held.

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Lot More Tasty

Fully loaded, the wagon would tote 2500 pounds. And nature provided the oxen with large hoofs which didn’t sink into sand or sod as did the dainty hoofs of horses and mules. And, in addition, oxen were a lot more tasty in the stew pot if worse came to worst and an animal had to be killed for food.

L’Amour always intended to be an author, but never of westerns. His first novels were about the East Indies, on which he is also an expert. In fact, this inexhaustible man is a student and expert on a dizzying number of subjects, Indian archeology and the 12th Century, to name two.

He recently signed a contract to do two novels on the 12th Century theme. But in the intermin, he has a number of novels on the fire for Americans who long for a home where the buffalo roam and who, when they settle down with a good book, begin to hum “Don’t Fence Me In.”

Albuquerque Tribune (Alburquerque, New Mexico) Aug 12, 1954

This Writer’s Life Better Than Stories

By HAL DOYLE

NEW YORK (AP) — “People count themselves to death in this life,” said Louis L’Amour, declining to give his age.

With L’Amour, one of America’s  most prolific adventure writers, keeping his age to himself isn’t a matter of vanity. It’s a philosophy.

“It isn’t the number of years you’ve lived that’s important,” he said, “It’s a mistake to measure living in terms of years. It’s how you’ve spent the years that puts real meaning into existence.”

Judged by most standards, L’Amour has had enough experiences to last the ordinary man through several reincarnations.

The average adventure writer is a swivel chair dreamer who would think twice before picking a quarrel with his dentist.  L’Amour not only looks like the adventure heroes he writes about — he probably could whip one of his own heroes in a fight with either fist or gun.

The big 6-foot-1 inch author weighs 200 and is a judo expert as well as an authority on desert or jungle survival. He has been a sailor, a miner, a hobo, a professional boxer — he won 54 bouts, lost 5 — and an antitank combat officer in World War II.

At 15 he left his home in Jamestown, N.D., and joined a circus as the first step in a search for adventure that has carried him to almost every place in the world.

“Even then I knew I wanted to write,” he recalled. “But I figured I could learn more out of school than in it. I felt I had to see life before I could write about it.”

“I had 200 stories rejected before I sold my first one for $10,” he recalled.

His career has now reached the jackpot stage. He has published more than 400 short stories, turned out half a dozen adventure novels, including “Hondo,” made into a movie starring John Wayne, to whom he bears a strong physical resemblance. Recently he sold a magazine serial for $15,000, sat down and wrote another book, “We Shape the Land,” in 55 hours at the typewriter in 5 days.

L’Amour, whose own experiences have proved a fruitful gold mine, has no patience with people who think of adventure as something limited to the glamerous past.

“It isn’t,” he said soberly. “There is more adventure alive in the world today than there ever was, plenty of unexplored places. Adventure is there waiting for any man with the courage to go and find it. But you’ll never discover it by looking at the calendar — and counting yourself to death.”

Abilene Reporter News (Abilene, Texas) Apr 25, 1955

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Proving, once again,  that “going to school” is not the same thing as “receiving an education”:

Anderson Daily Bulletin (Anderson, Indiana) Sep 16, 1954

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Panaman City News (Panama City, Florida) Jul 16, 1969

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One of several Louis L’Amour books made into a movie:

Hammond Times (Hammond, Indiana) Sep 27, 1956

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A real “corker” of a quote:

The Daily Intelligencer (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) Dec 27, 1955

Eat Your Peas

February 22, 2012

Eat Your Peas

Abilene Morning News (Abilene, Texas) Jun 11, 1935

HELPFUL HINTS

Eat your peas with honey,
I have done it all my life;
They do taste kind of funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.

Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) Aug 19, 1948

Eat Your Peas

Daily Review (Hayward, California) Aug 30, 1955

Eat Your Peas

Oneota Star (Oneota, New York) Sep 20, 1963

Eat Your Peas

Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Jul 18, 1967

*****

Eat Your Peas

Danville Register (Danville, Virginia) Feb 20, 1969

*****

Eat Your Peas

Anderson Herald (Anderson, Indiana) Dec 20, 1969

*****

 

The Hayakawa column
Law, economics and sin
By S.I. Hayakawa

Aldous Huxley once wrote: “The consistency of human behavior … is due to the fact that men have formulated their desires, and subsequently rationalized them, in terms of words … If it were not for the descriptive and justificatory words with which we bind our days together, we should live like the animals in a series of discreet and separate spurts of impulse.”

Thus, indeed, do we bind our days together. Whether you describe yourself as “machinist,” “policeman,” or “teacher,” you don’t always feel like being a machinist or policeman or teacher. There are days when you would far rather be doing something else. But we continue with our jobs, held there by the words which define our role in life.

Law is the mighty collective effort made by human beings to organize that degree of orderly and uniform behavior that makes society possible.

Law and science are very different from each other. What science predicts (“ice will melt at temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit”) comes true independent of our wishes. What law predicts (“Persons convicted of murder will be hanged.”) comes true only if we are determined to do what we said we would do. At the basis of law is our determination to observe conjunction.

Language of the law is of necessity, therefore, in part a kind of sermonizing. In addition to prescribing certain forms of behavior, it must create in us the will and the desire to follow the prescription. This fact makes the judge, to a large degree, a preacher. The trial is a kind of morality play.

The art of preaching has its own pitfalls. Sermons are almost always faded at a higher level of generalization and with a greater dogmatism than the immediate situation calls for. The reasons for this are largely rhetorical: to get attention and to impress the sermon firmly in the hearer’s mind.

To reduce this matter to a simple example, let us suppose that the purpose of a given directive is to get Junior to eat his peas. If the simple demand, “Junior, eat your peas,” does not work, one proceeds immediately to a sermon on the subject: “Vegetables are good for you,” and “All growing boys should eat plenty of vegetables.”

In other words, the demand that Junior eat his peas is asserted to be not merely a passing whim, but the particularization of a general nutritive principle.

If Junior still leaves his peas untouched, one appeals to history: “You grandfather was a vegetarian and he lived to the age of 99,” and, “Sailors in the old sailing ships used to die of scurvy because they didn’t get enough fresh vegetables.” From here on it is but a short jump to say that God intended that peas be eaten and father be obeyed.

But the great principles we enunciate on one day prove to be extremely inconvenient on another day, as inevitably they must, since they state it so much more than was necessary to begin with.

So, as Father himself leaves untouched his carrots — and raisin salad a few days later, he can say, if challenged: “what I was arguing for all along is not vegetables as such, but a balanced diet — as it is possible to achieve balance without this particular salad. A man can’t keep going on rabbit food. Do you know that millions in Asia are suffering from protein deficiency because they get nothing but vegetables to eat?”

Thus do fathers keep all bases covered and maintain fiction with infallible wisdom. And if the layman regards the law with a mixture of exaggerated respect and exaggerated distrust, is it not because lawyers and judges perform on a large scale as the rest of us do daily?

I write these words as President Ford’s economic summit conference draws to a close. One gets the impression, hearing the summaries of the proceedings, that economics, like law, is not so much a science as it is a branch of homiletic, or the art of preaching.

One speech after another tells us how to save ourselves from inflation, which has come upon us as punishment for our economic sins.

Salvation lies, we are told, in rigid controls over prices and wages — or no controls at all; in relaxing the federal regulation of business; in giving the consumer greater protection; in lower taxes for the poor; in high taxes for everybody; in a balanced budget; in a more abundant flow of money; in eliminating (or increasing) depletion allowances and subsidies.

There are as many economic doctrines as there are Protestant sects, which goes to show that  while economics as a science is not doing well, economics as a religion is doing just fine.

Idaho Free Press (Nampa, Idaho) Oct 5, 1974

Having kids means having to say all the things you swore you’d never say
[excerpt]

I also know why parents don’t make great conversationalists. They only know a few familiar words and phrases: Don’t slam the door. Turn off the lights. Don’t interrupt. Quit running around the house. Close the refrigerator door. Pick up your room. Did you flush the toilet? Eat your peas. Think of the starving people in …

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Apr 20, 1987

Eat Your Peas

The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) May 31, 1989

Offer Choices.
[excerpt]

Children need lots of experience in making their own decisions, and living with the consequences. “Would you like to eat your peas now?” does not encourage a “yes.” A much better technique is, “Would you rather have peas first or carrots first?” Early on, before babies can talk, find ways to offer good choices. As children grow, increase the number and complexity of their options. when toddlers (or grown-ups) feel they have some control over what happens to them, they are much more likely to be kind and friendly.

The Gettysburg Times (Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania) Sep 5, 1996

Image from ARRA News Service

Let’s Move!

Now,  Eat Your Peas!