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Ben Franklin's bifocals Thursday, February 18, 2010

filibuster in Senate from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
[1841 - First continuous filibuster begins in U.S. Senate]

Artist Louis C. Tiffany    Louis Tiffany's Holy City stained glass window
[1848 - Louis Comfort Tiffany, artist, designer, born in New York City]

Young Sholom Aleichem    Writer & Humorist Sholom Aleichem
[1859 - Sholom Aleichem (Solomon Rabinowitz), author, born in Pereyaslav (near Kiev), Ukraine]

Young Racer Enzo Ferrari    Commendatore Enzo Anselmo Ferrari
[1898 - Enzo Anselmo Ferrari, racer, car builder, born in Modena, Italy]
Ferrari F-40
[1898 - Enzo Anselmo's Ferraris also were born in Modena, Italy]

Actor Billy De Wolfe
[1907 - Billy De Wolfe (William Andrew Jones),
actor, born in Quincy, Massachusetts]

Actor Jack Palance    Academy Award-winning Actor Jack Palance
[1919 - Jack Palance (Vladimir Palahnuik), Academy Award-winning actor, born in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania]

TV's Bill Cullen    TV's Bill Cullen at work
[1920 - Bill (William Lawrence) Cullen, TV personality & host, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]

The Planet Pluto

[1930 - Pluto, formerly known as the ninth planet, is discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh]

Filmmaker John Hughes    Filmmaker John Hughes
[1950 - John Wilden Hughes, Jr., writer, producer, director, born in Lansing, Michigan]

Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer
[1967 - J. Robert Oppenheimer, physicist, dies]

[1972 - California Supreme Court declares death penalty law in violation of State Constitution]

Why Ships Are She

Why is A Ship Called She?

This older version surfaces periodically. Besides being dated, it is much too paternalistic to be acceptable in our politically correct society. William's version, while slightly less sexist, is equally unacceptable:

Ships are called she because:

You have set eyes on one that will be yours, and whether she is tall with a pleasing silhouette or short and cluttered, whether she is narrow in the waist or broad in the beam, whether she is fresh and unscarred or rusty with age and use, you think her beautiful, love her, and know you always will.

You have spent some time with her and realize that she requires constant attention and is a high maintenance creature with seemingly infinite capacity to consume your energies.

You can accept the fact that you will never understand most of what there is to know about her, and much of what you will learn is trivial.

You understand that you will be with her for a while, and then she may go off with strangers without so much as a backward glance at you.

You have cursed her repeatedly in the foulest language, but punched another sailor's running lights out for making a disparaging remark about her.

You know that although she has sheltered and protected you in the harshest and least forgiving of environments, she can turn on you in an instant, throw things, break your gear, and turn your world upside down, but somehow it doesn't matter any more.

William's Whimsical Words:

You know that you cannot possess her, but want to be with her anyway.

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