In Impromptus today, I bring up a slew of issues and personalities — including Sam Donaldson, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Steph Curry, Jessye Norman, Andre Drummond, Frederick Koch, and Clayton Williams. See what catches your fancy.
Last week, I had an item which read,
While in Washington . . . I ran up to the Lincoln Memorial, as is my custom. Took a picture. Tweeted it. Said I was spending a little time with my favorite Republican, and favorite American.
A man from elsewhere — from outside our shores — responded, “For many years I did not understand why Lincoln was so revered by the Americans. And then I read many books about the Civil War and many biographies of Lincoln; and then I understood.”
I thought that was pretty neat.
A reader in Texas writes,
I think it is terrific that you make a point to visit the Lincoln Memorial whenever you are in Washington, D.C. I suppose I have the same tradition myself; but of course, I have only been to D.C. twice, so it is not much of a feat. I will never forget my first visit. Previously, I had not known that the text of the Gettysburg Address is carved on an inside wall. To read it in that setting was profoundly moving (and no, Jay, that was not a tear, just a speck of dirt in my eye).
When I was in college, my freshman English professor gave us an assignment to write our own miniature Divine Comedy — only three chapters long, one each for “Inferno,” “Purgatorio,” and “Paradiso.” Whereas Dante had Virgil and Beatrice, my guide throughout all three chapters was Abraham Lincoln. The focus of my “journey” was the sin of pride, and I thought ol’ Abe would be an ideal counter-example.
Like your “man from elsewhere,” I have done some reading about Mr. Lincoln lately. I am in the middle of a sort of Reading Project — biographies of all the presidents, in order. The reason I bring this up is that for most presidents, one biography apiece has been enough. But one book was never going to be enough for Lincoln. . . . After a brief and unflattering look at Andrew Johnson, I am now in the middle of Ron Chernow’s excellent Grant. I am at a point where I am somewhat reluctant to continue reading, because it is the happiest point in the entire story — Lee has just surrendered and Lincoln is sill alive. Spoiler alert: Events in this story are about to take a dark turn.
Yesterday, I had a piece about pop lyrics, and many readers wanted to add more — more lyrics of note. So, here is a bonus. It comes from a VeggieTales song, “Oh, No! What We Gonna Do?” The princes, counselors, et al. are conspiring against Daniel, who will eventually wind up in the lion’s den:
We could use him as a footstool
Or a table to play Scrabble on
Then tie him up and beat him up
And throw him out of Babylon
That is a winner.
Finally, this is a little braggy, but fun, I hope you agree — adjectival recognition. A reader in Connecticut writes,
Some long time ago, after drifting away from my Massachusetts liberal-Democratic roots, I told many friends I’d become a “Podhoretzian.” Count me proudly now among the “Nordlingerians” . . .