principles found in an oddly shaped black hat

Great ambition is the passion of a great character.
Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts.
All depends on the principles which direct th
em.
Napoleon Bonaparte


(one of only a handful of Napoleon’s hats that remains / Le Proccope Restrauant /
Julie Cook / Paris, France / 2018)

Well, after a week of here and there babysitting, I’ve finally, however painfully
and reluctantly, returned The Mayor back home to Atlanta.
She was returned home in one piece albeit with her nagging cold still intact.

And so slowly I am now literally picking up the pieces while working on regaining
my thinking brain.

So on Saturday our local news offered the latest breaking state news that has me more
than simply thinking…

But before I get to that story, let me offer up a tiny precursor…
a tiny tale that reminds me of this particular current news situation of ours.

The hat in the image above is but one of a handful of the remaining famous bicorne hats
worn by France’s most famous leader, Napoleon Bonaparte (Marie Antoinette aside).
The last known hat of only 19 that remain, went to auction earlier this year.
It was a hat that was supposedly recovered from the battlefield at Waterloo and
fetched a whopping $325,000 at auction.

History offers us the small tidbit that, whereas most military leaders of the day
wore their hats with points facing forward and back, Napoleon,
on the other hand, preferred wearing his hats sideways.
This allowed Napoleon to be readily identified when on the battlefield.
A rather bold stance given the fact that many military leaders preferred blending in so
as not to be easily “picked off” by the enemy…
because what’s an army without its leader?

But given Napoleon’s ego, it is no surprise that he would prefer to be noticed
rather than not.

And I must confess, I have always had an affinity for France’s most famous,
or perhaps more accurately, infamous little general…
And so since I’ve previously written about that attraction before it should come as no
surprise of the level of excitement I experienced when recently given the opportunity
of seeing one of his earliest bicorne hats up close and personal.

On our recent visit to Paris, we opted to enjoy an evening’s meal at Le Procope, Paris’
oldest consecutively operating restaurant.
Le Procope has been serving discerning pallets since 1686.
They also boast having one of the most synonymous items associated with one of Paris’
most well-known individuals.
One of Napoleon’s earliest bicorne hats.

The story goes that Napoleon would often frequent Le Procope.
But so did Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Rousseau, Robespierre, Marat,
and George Sand to name just a few
But the story goes that as a young soldier, Napoleon would come to eat and in typical
fashion, brood night after night…running up quite the tab.

As payment for his escalating bill, Napoleon paid with what he had…that being his hat.
He informed the proprietors that one day his hat would be world famous because he would,
in turn, become famous.
And obviously, the proprietor took him at his word and accepted the hat.

And so now the oldest restaurant in Paris boasts owning one of the earliest hats
worn by what many consider to be France’s greatest and most brilliant tacticians and
military leaders.

Well, that is how they feel now as we all know that France has had an up and down,
love-hate relationship with her dearest yet height challenged leader.

I say all of this because as an up and coming soldier, Napoleon was like any young
soldier, woefully strapped for cash.
Acknowledging that he needed to pay his debt, he did so by giving what he had, his hat…
coupled with the guarantee that the hat would indeed suffice as payment as it would
certainly, cover his expenses given that his future was on track for fame…

And so this not so modest offering has indeed become quite rare and somewhat priceless
while in the end, Napoleon’s guarantee had come to fruition and then some.

A few weeks back I wrote a post about life in ‘the middle’—
as in our nation’s recent proclivity for being pretty much split down the middle given
our voting persuasions.

There are no clear-cut winners anymore because it’s now a matter of an almost equal tug of war
with an opponent’s toe barely crossing the line when suddenly the other opponent, who’s still
pulling, is proclaimed the victor…

So with more near miss victors than ever before…
a wealth of those having won by only a toe’s length or the proverbial skin of the teeth,
the losing side has taken to the ugliness of temper tantrums.

The problem in all of this is the growing numbers of near-miss victors and their equally
determined tug of war partners unwilling to surrender—despite their toe having crossed
the line.

It just seems there are simply no real clear cut winners any more—no full out right bodies
that come flying over the line after being jerked over by the formidable foe—
rather it’s come down to a constant stream of photo finishes.

Take for instance the recent race for Governor here in Georgia.

The numbers told us that the Republican Brian Kemp won.
The numbers were simply not there for his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams.
Although the numbers were indeed close.

Brian Kemp is a what many consider to be a typical good ol’ boy, Southern politician
while Abrams is a single black woman who was poised to be the first black woman
to hold such a prestigious office here in the deep south…
putting her on the edge for making monumental history.

Lots of unspoken thoughts and opinions are now floating and flying around about both of
these tug of war opponents and their collective sides.

So in typical ‘in the middle’ mindset of this nation…Abrams whose toe was pulled slightly
over the line…obviously over the line…refused to let go of the rope despite
the arms raised of the victor Kemp.

Two weeks have now passed despite Kemp claiming the victory in the wee hours of the vote counting,
as Abrams has now dug in and refused to give up her end of the rope.

Mathematically it has been clear that it would be impossible for her to call for a re-count
let alone a runoff.

So finally yesterday, two weeks after the fact, Abrams emerges to make a statement.
She announces that Kemp will be governer but that she will not concede…
in fact, she will file a lawsuit over Georgia’s voting irregularities…
Irregularities for a state that proudly boasts that its voting practices have been on point
for the past oh so many years.

On the one hand, we have someone admitting their opponent has won the prize while they in turn
refuse to admit that they have lost.
A refusal to concede while skirting around the obvious.
A win and a loss…no tie.

No longer do we as a public witness any level of magnanimity between opponents.
There is no graciousness between opponents let alone between one party to another.
No sense of decorum.
No extending of the hand from the vanquished to the victor noting a race well run…

Rather there is refusal.
There is denial.
There are claims of foul play.
There is the stomping of the tantrum’s foot.

No more is there a “may the best man, or woman, win” mentality.

No longer are there lessons of fair play or the lessons of how to win or lose graciously
being offered for our youth.
No examples of taking the high road.
No living with the numbers…
Rather its a matter of refusing to acknowledge defeat.
No more selflessly throwing one’s support behind the victor in order to work together
for the betterment of “the people”…for the sake of both sides of voters.

This current sort of mentality and poor sportsmanship leaves me, a voter, resentful of the
tantrum makers.
It makes me angry.
I am discovering very quickly that I have no tolerance for obstructionists.
Those who are the stalematers, the momentum breakers, the saboteurs of our own successes.
Those who wish to stop the good of the entire nation for the good of themselves.

And so I think of Napoleon.

But not so much for reasons one would assume.

Yes, he was a man who was small in stature but huge in ego.
A man who even I admit hated the notion of losing.
His was a life of battle and conquest with the ultimate goal being his own rising to the top.

Not the most magnanimous of mindsets.

Humility was not a word ever used to describe Napoleon.
No self-deprecating in his corner of the world.

The question of his true motives and his real concern being either for France and her people or
simply for himself…well…only history can help us pick that apart…

And yet here in this tale of an obscure little black and oddly shaped hat,
we learn of a would be great man acknowledging his being in a bit of a tight spot.

We hear the acknowledgment that even those
with great expectations of self can still recognize and even own up to stumbling
while being, in the end, at somewhat of a loss.

In this case, the loss of enough cash to pay one’s bill.
Living fast, loose and large and not being able to afford to do so.
Just like so many in our society today.

And yet we know Napoleon did not run out on his debt…something he easily could have done.
Yet there was the matter of honor and of principles.
Honor and principles that many of us lack today while preferring to live loose and large…
We assume that someone else, such as the government, should come to the rescue
and excuse or even pay for such wanton living.

But here, an otherwise self-centered egotist owns up to owing…
and pays his bill with the only thing he really owns at the time, he pays with a hat.
A hat along with a promise…
All while a gracious proprietor, who at the time, probably rolled
his eyes as he’d heard his fair share of grandiose dreams from one dreamer too many,
in turn, graciously accepted this pitiful payment none the less.

A simple act of give and take.

As we learn that a truthful acknowledgment, albeit hard truths, actually give way to a glimpse
of humility.
And there must always remain humility if there is to be any sense of hope in our society.

So when even just a hair of that toe crosses the line, admitting we’ve been defeated is not only
the right thing to do, it is the only thing.

Fair and square losses…
losses with no amount of whining, fussing and cussing, challenging, foot stomping
or threats of lawsuits can turn a loss into a win…
and if it could, in the end, would the win by hook and crook be worth the cost of our
humanity?

I worry that our society has lost all hope for the glimmer of her principles, those being
foremost graciousness and humility.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but
each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4

oh how the times are a changin’

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-cha
ngin’.
Bob Dylan


(the Mayor’s new ride)

Sadly the Mayor has come and gone…having returned to her official office in Atlanta.
In her wake, this satellite Woobooville office is now in a bit of disarray.

There is washing, cleaning, boiling of bottles and rearranging of a few moved rugs…
chores that this aide must attend to which help to ease the bittersweet sting
that comes with the here then there, the ins and outs of grandchildren coming and going.

Like any grandparent, I obviously love my grandchild.
I see so much wonderment and joy in her existence.

And like her parents…the sun rises and sets in this little girl.

So it only makes sense that we as her family look out and around this oddly
changing world of ours a bit warily.
Troubled by what we see and what we hear.

We wish to hold her just a bit tighter.
Holding her in the protection of our arms within a presumed assumption of safety
in this little corner of this world of ours.

As Bob Dylan sang in 1963…the times, they are a changing…

And the changing is not to my liking.

Friday evening I was watching the news.

There was a story complete with video—
because don’t we seem to video everything these days,
don’t we feel we must record every moment rather than simply living it????…
anywhoo, I digress—
…there was a recorded clash between two very different minded individuals…
and the clash was not pretty.

There was a lady standing on a busy street corner in Portland, Oregon who happened to be
wearing an NYPD ballcap.
Some punk, and yes the word punk is most appropriate, came up behind the woman and
began harassing her….all because of the ballcap.

He had a foul angry tirade directed at this woman for her obvious support of law enforcement.

Antifa came to mind and Antifa he was…

He cursed, berated and belittled this woman…He was crude, crass and vile…
all because she seemed linked to the police–a group he obviously held vehement disdain for…

She turned to the punk and told him that the hat was because her husband had been killed in 9/11.
Rather than backing down or even expressing a bit of remorse, his response grew even viler,
cruder and laced with a deep seething hatred.

I immediately felt my own blood pressure shoot up as I wanted to jerk this dude up by
the scruff of his neck and read him my own form of the riot act.

I call it having a ‘Peter moment’…

I really like both Peter and Paul—
I feel very much akin to their often expressed sense of unworthiness due to their faults and sins…
I know all about faults and sins…
all about not living up and yet thankfully all about redemption.

Yet I probably identify more with Peter than I do Paul.
Peter is more of an emotional hot head.
He often lead by the heat of the moment and of his heart whereas Paul was more
calculating in his actions…
he was full of thought and recourse.
A cause and effect sort of leader.

It was Peter during the height of confusion and conflict, on the night in the garden
during the arrest of Jesus, who draws his knife in a fit of rage and proceeds to cut off
the ear of one of the soldiers
He’s reacting as I would…defensive, protecting, frightened and angry.

Jesus screams out to Peter to stop.

Jesus rebukes him and then proceeds to heal the soldier’s ear…
Now why at that moment the soldiers didn’t all drop their swords and run away,
I don’t know… but that wasn’t to be the ending of the story now was it…

But the gist here is that Jesus rebuked that knee-jerk reaction of Peter’s.
Just as he would have rebuked me when I turned and dotted this jackass’s eye…an expression
my students would often say…”I’m going to dot that eye of yours…”

But the woman maintained her cool, for the most part, and only appears to curse the fellow at the
end before the light changes and they both, I assume, go on to cross the street.

That clash, that confrontation bothered me to no end.

First…who whips out a phone to videotape that kind of crap?
Who has a bunch of cronies standing behind them, snickering and laughing
when one of the members tells a widow that he hopes her husband rots in the grave…
all because he’s a cop.

I don’t understand Nancy Pelosi saying that anyone who disagrees with her party’s agenda
will simply be “collateral damage” and that they just don’t matter.

I disagree so therefore I’m collateral damage and I don’t matter.

I don’t understand Eric Holder telling his minions to ‘hit republicans
low and hit um hard’ —because his minions are taking that literally.

I don’t understand Rep Maxine Waters telling crowds to attack any and every republican
that they see out and about…make their lives miserable she extols the crowds.

I don’t understand what is happening.

I don’t understand the loss of civility.

There is a WWI cross memorial in Maryland that has been on public display since the end of the war
erected in 1925 to remember those Maryland boys who had lost their lives in “The Great War”, the war
that was to end all wars…

Its case is coming up for review at the Supreme Court as there is a suit that has been brought forth
attempting to have the cross removed because it now sits on Government property.
Never mind that the cross is a memorial to war dead.

And so now the hairs of the sites are set on Arlington.
What of all those crosses on graves in Arlington?

I think of all those crosses, and stars, in Normandy.
Foreign soil yes, but an Amercian governed Cemetery.

We have forgotten who we are.

From punks on street corners to leaders in office to people who view
memorials…we have lost our humanness… we have lost our sense of sensibility.

Some days I’m left shaking my head.
Some days I just want to keep my head under the covers.
Some days I simply hang my head
But every day, I need to lower my head to pray…
Lord have mercy on our souls…..

**Tomorrow I will have a story about what should and does matter—
It goes far beyond this idiocy we’ve allowed to consume us–
It’s a story that actually has something to do with a kid who loves his
college and his football and whose life is tragically very limited…

http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/10/20/911-widow-harassed-leftist-protester-portland-tucker-carlson-ann-coulter-react