Abilene News

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12 – Whether you get your news from the newspapers, television, radio, Internet, or word-of-mouth, today's news is filled with politics and politicians. And most of the broadcast news – whether it is radio or television – is reduced to 15 to 20 second sound bytes by which we are supposed to be able to decide on a person's ability to serve as president, vice president, congressman, governor, etc. Politicians provide us with a fertile field of some of the smartest, funniest, and dumbest quotes.

Smart: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Preamble to the Constitution.

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness . . .” Declaration of Independence

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“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Patrick Henry

“The very essence of a free government consists in considering offices as public trusts, bestowed for the good of the country, and not for the benefit of an individual or a party.” John C. Calhoun

“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. You may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln

“The buck stops here.” Harry S. Truman

“Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Our founding fathers were fortunate in that most of the “dumb” things they said were not recorded for posterity to read. One might argue that they didn't have to deal with same sorts of issues as modern times. But they were dealing with founding of a new nation; wars – the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Jefferson had to deal with the Barbary pirates much as we are dealing with them today.

Funny: President George W. Bush provided a gold mine of material for the late-night comics: “They misunderestimated me.” When asked by a reporter why Osama bin Laden had not be caught, he responded “Because he's hiding.” Vice President Dan Quayle also provided a lot of fodder: “One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.” President Ronald Reagan made good use of his acting background to use humor as a valuable tool: “They say hard work never hurt anybody, but I figure why take the chance.” Ronald Reagan “The tax payer-that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.” About Clint Eastwood's bid to become mayor of Carmel, California: “What makes him think a middle-aged actor, who's played with a chimp, could have a future in politics?” President Jimmy Carter: “I have often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can't get my wife to go swimming.” Senator Barry Goldwater: “In Arizona we have so little water that the trees chase the dogs.”

Dumb: “Solutions are not the answer.” Richard Nixon “A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.” Congressman Everett Dirksen Abraham Lincoln, referring to a lawyer, “He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas better than any man I ever met.” “Thanks for the poncho.” President Bill Clinton, when presented with the Romanian tricolor flag during a visit to that country Hillary Clinton, speaking at a 1996 Democratic fund-raiser: “Give Bill a second term, and Al Gore and I will be turned loose to do what we really want to do.” Senator Bob Dole: “The Internet is a gateway to get on the Net.” And, of course, Vice President Al Gore provided his own treasure chest of “dumb” quotes: “A zebra cannot change its spots.” “We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.” “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." And last, but not least: “I am a jelly doughnut!” English translation of John F. Kennedy's '”Ich bin ein berliner” line at the Berlin Wall. The correct phrase should have been “Ich bin berliner”. The ein makes the sentence refer to a berliner, a type of pastry.

Friends and Neighbors

On Dec. 22, the Abilene Community Club held the drawing for the raffle of the football autographed by Virginia Tech Coach, Frank Beamer. The winner was Timothy Bruce, of Keysville. There were also two runner-up drawings: Jane Rice, of Phenix, won the Virginia Tech cap.(Her birthday was January 1, and they went to the Sugar Bowl) The other drawing was for a Virginia Tech tee shirt which was won by Tech Alumni, Jim (Mercer) Garnett, of Charlotte Court House. We thank all who participated in this project.

On Jan. 1, Faye Nelson's son, Jimmy and his wife, Carol Noonkester, of Charlotte, NC, visited with Faye.

On Jan. 3, the Cardinal Quilt Guild of Prince Edward County met at the home of Madeline Slaydon. The Guild continues to work on quilts for the children at Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation. The Guild meets at 10 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month, September thru May at the Douglas Presbyterian Church. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 7. We welcome visitors, guests, and new members. You do not have to be a “master” quilter to enjoy this group.

On Jan. 6, Judy (Nelson) and Bill Hanlon of Smithfield, visited with family to celebrate Christmas and Wayne Nelson's birthday at Wayne's home. Also present for the celebration were Mildred Nelson Harvey, Faye Nelson, and Marie Elliott of Farmville, sister to Mildred Harvey.

The Abilene Homemakers Club will hold their first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 17. This month we are going to have a soup tasting. The Homemakers Club meets at 1 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Abilene Community Center. Visitors, guests, and new members are always welcome.

Belated birthday wishes go out to Mary Hayes who celebrated on Jan. 1; and Scott Scruggs who celebrated on Jan. 10.

If you have any news or announcements that you would like to share, please call me at 223-2271 or e-mail me at kz5ro@kinex.net