Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Types Of Farts

WARNING: This post may contain objectionable material.  If you are under fourteen years of age, please ask a parent or a guardian before reading it.  (Well, it's probably not that objectionable...Hmmm...just read the title and decide whether you really want to read it.)  And if you like it, I dare you to sing it to your own tune, record it, mix it with some background music, and play it over the P.A. system of the nearest mall.  

Or maybe not.  You decide.  If you are going to do the mall thing, though, try not to get into trouble.  And I want credits, too, because this is gonna be huge.

Anyway, here goes.

TYPES OF FARTS 

Once upon a time
I had to write a rhyme
And I didn't know where to start,
So I thought it's pretty cool
It could make y'all peeps drool
If I write one about how we fart.

Three kinds of farts
One is just like a dart
It rips into the air suddenly
Its smell is kinda sharp
And it sounds like a harp
(But it's not the very best in quality.)

The next one, mind,
Is the silent smelly kind.
Make sure you don't wander too close
It reeks of methane 
Enough to drive you insane
Like a serious Sleeping Draught overdose.
(Harry Potter reference!)

The third one's better
But it's definitely louder
Than the ones I've mentioned above
And even though it's not exactly
Our biggest, hugest fantasy
It's the one we (almost) love!
('Cause it don't smell.)

And if by some misfortune
That's not really opportune
You happen to chance upon one of these,
Don't stay around long,
Just start singing this song,
And make me famous--please!

(Ew, what's that smell?)

~Vruta Gupte


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Two Friends: Part One

She sat beside me on the park bench we'd sat on for so many years.  Since we were eleven, to be precise.

Let me give you a brief idea about how we met.

So she was building this tree house in her backyard. (Her family has an apple tree. How cool is that?)  And-- you guessed it-- she asked me to help her. Me, a bespectacled, nerdy, lanky nine year old who looked like he hadn't played a day in his life-- helping her, the most beautiful girl on the planet. (I don't think she cared about the not-played-a- day-in-my-life part back then, though. She wasn't half as smart then as she is now. Or maybe she cared, but she acted like she didn't.)  Our ‘tree house' was basically a roof made out of sticks atop a floor made out of sticks with no walls in between. Very comfortable. (I'm kidding.) And it wasn't exactly on the tree. It was on the grass, so technically it should've been called a grass house-- but that doesn't sound as inviting.

So anyway, we named it Veronica's and Andre's Little Treehouse. Veronica. What a  beautiful name. No one understands me like she does, and I love her, and that only makes it worse to be with her.
Y'know, accelerated heartbeat, sweaty palms, sweaty forehead, incoherent mumbled speech, that sorta thing. Butterflies. All that.

She doesn't know yet.

I don't even know if she likes me. She talks about that other guy, Cory, a lot. I, personally, would not stand within a five-yard radius of that douche (sorry, couldn't help it). You should see the way he talks to her.  Unfortunately, on this twisted geoid that is the Earth, all girls fall for jerks and the nice guys are left behind.

Sometimes I wonder if my parents named me Andre because they specifically didn't want any girl to be the... person... of my affections (I don't like saying object, it sounds impersonal).
I can tell Veronica likes saying my name for some weird reason, though. Most girls don't know how to.  They say “And-ray" when it's actually “Aand-re" with the “re" like it is in “in re".

I know, very simple.

Anyway, after building that tree house, we did spend quite a lot of time inside it, even though it used to get all itchy after some time. Then we used to go get some cream and rub it all over ourselves. And then we used to go sit in the tree house. Again. Because some things you just can't let go of.

The tree house became too small for us to sit in as we grew older, so we graduated to the park bench, and we've been coming to sit here and talk as often as our schedules permit.

We used to hang out every day, but soon both of us had other things to look after.  She had her boyfriends, and I had my girlfriends.  A few of my exes broke up with me because they thought I spent too much time with her.  To their credit, I did, mostly.

We're both nineteen now.  I'm only a few months older than her, so I'm going to stop being a teenager earlier than she is.

Wow, that's depressing.

“Hey, what are you thinking about?"

“Wha-? Oh, nothing much, really."

“C'mon, Andre."

“Just about our birthdays. About how I'm gonna be twenty before you are.  It's a little unnerving."

She laughed that tinkly laugh of hers.
“And what about all the other birthdays you had before this? You didn't look this, um.... bad before any of them." She cocked her head to one side.

“Thanks, Veronica," I groaned.

She softened a little. “No, but all jokes aside, I'm serious. I have never, in my ten years of knowing you, seen you as dejected as this.  What's wrong?"

“I came home way after curfew last night, and do you know what my father did? He's grounded me for three weeks now, and I have to be home by nine now."

“This is a new development. What'd you do?"

“Nothing, I was just wandering around town with.... with, um, Mike and Cory and all those guys."

“You ran off with Cory, of all people? No wonder your dad was mad at you!"

“Just to make things clear, run off with sounds a little weird, and the last time I checked, Cory McHall was your boyfriend."

“I honestly don't even like him, Andre. I was just with him because I didn't want him to try anything on me. That stupid spoiled brat. I'm surprised he even graduated from high school in the first place."

“You know, if some of his gang happens to be hiding in those bushes right now, they're gonna rat you out real bad."

“Oh, don't worry about that, he already knows."

“What?"

“I broke up with him two days ago."

“Really? Why?"

“ He's too narrow minded to understand that you and I are just friends. What part of just friends did he not understand?" Veronica was positively fuming now.


*


(To be continued...)

Monday, 19 January 2015

The Wall: Part One

The Wall: Part One

Photo Credits: www.wikipedia.org and myself.


She stood in the darkness, alone, cold, and pale.  She wondered who was coming to get her out of this hellhole.

But nobody knew she was here.

They had taken her, taken and fled.  Then they had left her.  Alone, in the darkness.  There was no window in the room.  The room itself had a stone floor.  It was not warm.  The door had a dog flap; they gave her food through it.
She didn't know who they were.  She had given up asking questions a long time ago.  She never saw a hand give her food through the flap--only a plate entering.  They gave her water to drink in a small, sealed bag.

She had tried to escape once, but the alarm had gone off.  She had run outside, but she had seen only bright white light, and nothing else.
Nothing to figure out where they were, or where she was.
Nothing but piercing white light that made her think she was surely going to be blind.  But she had slowly inched forward regardless, and she had felt--bricks.  She did not open her eyes; she couldn't.  So she ran her hand along the bricks.
It had felt like a brick wall of some sort.

Then she had felt a pair of arms dragging her towards the room.  She did not struggle, she had nowhere to go.
She had been here for so long, she didn't remember anything about the world outside.

And now she had felt that wall.

Why were they keeping her inside?  Who were they?  What did they want from her?  Where was she?
Was something wrong with her?

Or was something wrong outside?



(To be continued...)





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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Jack of All vs. Master of One (Survival Showdown)

Disclaimer: No offence is intended to any individual, community, religion, or profession.  Any resemblance to the person(s) and/or objects mentioned in this post is purely coincidental.

I woke up this morning and was meditating upon (amongst some of my other morbid and ghastlier thoughts) what would happen if the zombie apocalypse came a little earlier than expected.  (If you were wondering, if it does happen tomorrow, we're all fried, of course, because you wouldn't have had a chance to actually think about the things I've written about in this post.)

And then, I thought about my chances of surviving (close to 0.1 percent; don't ask me how I know that).  If I were a different kind of person, would I have better chances of surviving?  Then again, in the end, would it really matter what kind of person you are if you have to survive the zombie apocalypse?

'Cause when the zombies come, they won't come in bits and pieces, first in one city, then a state, a country--when the zombies come, all of them will come.

No second chances.  It's either us, or them.  (Although I fail to understand why zombies would want to take over the world anyway, seeing as how they're already dead, and they have graves to live in.)

In the midst of all this chaos inside my brain, one question stuck with me: would it be better if I knew a little bit about everything, or a whole lot about one thing?

Instead of making this just about me, let's make this about everybody.

Case in Point: Jack of All Trades (A Little Bit of Everything)

Let's say you can sew, cook, read, write, juggle, shoot (a gun), program stuff (only a bit, pun intended), solve algebraic inequations (but not the hard ones), know a little Spanish (uno dos tres quatro--that kinda stuff), throw an axe (or knife, whichever you prefer), play basketball (but you're not on the team), and just know a little bit about everything else in general.


You live in a cottage in the countryside that has only the bare minimum supplies: wood, ropes, an axe, water, a bathroom (can't see how that's very useful, 'cause when the zombies come, we'll all pee in our pants anyway), some bread, blueberries, and an iPhone (just kidding).  Also, your cottage has a fireplace.

You hear the zombies knock on your door.  You are taken by surprise (or not).  You look out the window, and you see five of 'em ruddy creatures.  You can't run, there's no back door.

The zombies enter your room.

You're a moderately good actor, so you act all friendly with the zombies--

"Yo, wassup, dude? You want some sandwiches?"

"Man, we came here for you, not yer stupid sandwiches."  The zombies step towards you, sneering menacingly.  You still haven't peed in your pants, which is a good sign (and very favourable), since zombies are most likely to be attracted to the scent of pee.

You realize you have ten seconds to act (because zombies aren't Edward from Twilight and probably won't be ultra-fast).

You grab a burning log of wood from the hearth and swing it all around yourself.  In the process, you accidentally on purpose set fire to one zombie.  The remaining zombies step away from you.  You throw an axe at one, chopping something off, pour water over another (she literally melts).  Now one zombie has your axe and is pursuing you but you quickly step behind the other zombie so he gets hurt instead.

The one zombie who made the mistake of taking your axe from you runs away.

Then, you take everything and run away because you realize he's probably gone to get reinforcements.


Ergo: You survive, mission accomplished.


Case in Point: Master of One (A Lot of One Thing)

Let's say you are very extraordinary at music, and you play the cello every day.  You are moderately good, bordering on bad, at nearly everything else.  You have wood, ropes, an axe, water, a bathroom, some bread, and blueberries.


You see five zombies outside your window.  You start playing Pachelbel's Canon.  The zombies fall asleep.  You sneak out the front door, leaving your cello behind and taking only those supplies that will keep you alive.

Take another case.  You are extraordinary at science, this time.  I think it's a given you'll survive, since you're able to think logically and find a solution to every problem.

(Ergo: You survive.)

Suppose you are extraordinary at writing.


Now somebody tell me what the hell I should do, because I see five zombies outside my window.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Carnival: Part Three

This is Part Three of Carnival.
For Part One of Carnival, click here.
For Part Two of Carnival, click here.



He parked his bike a few shops down the street, not wanting Laura to notice him coming—he'd heard Mr. Marlon saying she'd come back yesterday, so she would still be in the store.  In the back of the store, he hoped, so he wouldn't have to face her.

He opened the door slowly, staring at the floor.

“Hello, good morn—oh, it's you,” Laura said, blushing, “Haven't seen you in a while.”  
He looked up.

“Yeah, me neither.  You, I mean.” 

He groaned inwardly at his foolishness; Laura chuckled.

“What brings you here this late in the afternoon?  Weren't you painting, or anything?”

“No, I—I was, but then I wanted to—I discovered one of my paintings was missing,” Robin mumbled, wondering if he should have said that.

“I—er—I should probably tell you something.”

“Yes?”

“The....painting?  The one with all the snow in it? I....I'd stolen it.”

What? Why?” He asked, even though he already knew the answer.

“I'm sorry, Robin, but it was just there, and—I, er, really liked it,” her voice became smaller and smaller as she said the last few words.

He inhaled deeply, thinking about how he should respond.  He knew he should tell her he had her diary, but she probably knew that anyway.  Even so—

“Oh, well, it's not a problem, really.  You can keep it if you want,” her face lit up in a smile.
“But on one condition.” Her smile faltered.

“What's that?”

“You write a story for me like the ones in your diary.”

“You read it!  Did you....did you like the stories?”

“I did, I loved all of them.  Especially the last one.” Robin answered, clearing his throat a little, hoping she would get the hint.  His palms were sweating.  He wiped them on the front of his jeans, took the note out of his pocket and gave it to her.  

“I need you to read this—not now—after I leave; and if you...” he phrased his sentence carefully in his head, “if you....like it, you...can come meet me near the park fountain at eight?” He raised his eyebrows tentatively.

“Okay.” she said, smoothing out the crumpled paper, careful not to tear it into tiny shreds.

“Alright, see you later then.  Nice seeing you after so many days.”

Laura laughed; the sound was beautiful, and it reminded him of the creek where Rita and Jason met in Carnival.  “You make it sound like we've met each other after a year!”

“Hey Laura, you wanna commack and help me sort the Fizzlies in this box instead of talking to that boyfriend of yours, eh?” Robin jumped at least a foot into the air, out of pure shock alone—he hadn't known Mr. Marlon was there in the back.  His face felt hot; he looked up and saw that Laura's face was pink, too.

“Er—I guess I should go, then--” he began.

“Oh, well.  Here,” Laura tossed him a green apple flavoured lollipop from a carton.

“He won't mind?”

She laughed.  “Of course not, Robin!”  She lowered her voice to a whisper.  “I've nicked a whole lot of them myself, and he hasn't noticed—yet.”  And with that, she turned on her heel and marched to the storage room.

Robin smirked, then ducked out of the door into the sunned, crisp air outside.  He'd never known this side of Laura, sure, she was funny, but she had always been about thoughts and ideas, not people and, well—mischief.  Mischief.  It was a rather absurd way to think of her.


*



In the storage room, Laura waited anxiously for Mr. Marlon to go get his tea, or at least go to the bathroom, so she could read the note Robin had given her.  The opportunity presented itself five minutes after the old man had called her back inside—an important client had called, and Mr. Marlon was not one to leave important clients waiting, even if they were particularly nasty and called him a “blasted ol' slagger” (whatever that meant) in full view of his subordinates in the store.

Laura pulled the note out of her pocket, unfolded it and began reading.


Dear Laura,

I've wanted to say this to you for a very long time, but I couldn't find the words to tell you.  I wish I'd told you sooner.  


First off, I left the painting in plain view because I wanted you to take it—I'll tell you why.

You told me once that you like snow, and that you think winter to be very beautiful.  It is.  The trees are draped in soft white and you said you would rather not lean against them, because your clothes would wipe some of the snow off, and you don't like wiping snow off anything except maybe your driveway, but that's only because you have to.

You said you like a warm mug of cocoa when you get home from the store in December.  And then you watch a detective show on television.  Then after, you write two sentences in your notebook for the stories, and then you purposely drop it onto the counter of the candy store and hope that I will pick it up, and that I will take it home and read it.

You take the painting of snow and children ice skating (you like that, too) from near my window, and you realize, hopefully, that I have hidden your name in the trees.  If you haven't seen that yet, you have plenty of time after this to admire it anyway.

Laura, you and I both know why we did the things we did.  
I told you about my paintings, about my thoughts of you and the things you love, because I love you.

Things will not be the same after you've read this, but then again, I probably wouldn't want them to.

Do you want to go out to dinner tonight at Piazzo's?

Yours,
Robin.



Laura smiled.  “I love you too,” she whispered, “and yes, I would love to go to Piazzo's tonight.”



*

It was seven in the evening.  Laura stood in front of her open wardrobe.  She never seemed to have just the right dress to wear to a fancy place like Piazzo's.  She cocked her head to one side.  Maybe Robin doesn't need me to wear anything fancy, she thought, maybe he's alright with me wearing that velvet navy blue dress with the silver and gold butterfly sequins and lace.  That is fancy.  She giggled.

She put on the navy blue dress made of velvet with the lace and the sequins and looked at herself in the mirror.  She did look very beautiful.  The dress brought out the brown in her eyes.
She fixed her hair into place with a navy-blue-gold barrette and decided that was probably enough for Robin to like her even more.

Laura took her car keys from the table and waltzed out the door.



Robin was already waiting for her near the park fountain.  He wore a black suit with a tie, and a coat on top.  

“I brought your diary,” he said, and gave it to her. “Do you mind if we walk to Piazzo's?”

“Of course not, I'd love to.”

And then it started snowing.  Robin's golden-brown hair looked good with snow in it, too.  She put her hand in his.  He looked at her.  

They smiled at each other.

It couldn't be more perfect a day, Laura thought, and they walked slowly, together, leaving all their worries behind.





THE END



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Thursday, 1 January 2015

This New Year


It's finally the first of January two thousand and fifteen! (I bet you hadn't seen that coming.) 

I figured I would include some famous speeches from the 1900s in here.

(Disclaimer: The following speeches have been transcribed from their respective recordings.  No changes have been made in the transcripts.)

1. Martin Luther King Jr.

"I Have A Dream."

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!


2. Jawaharlal Nehru

"Tryst With Destiny"

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially.
At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, then an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.
At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries which are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortunes alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortunes and India discovers herself again.

The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?
Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.

The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over
.
And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart.

Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.
The appointed day has come - the day appointed by destiny - and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the east, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materialises. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!

We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrow-stricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people.

On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the father of our nation, who, embodying the old spirit of India, held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us.

We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.

Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death.

We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good and ill fortune alike.

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be.

We are citizens of a great country, on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy.
And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service. Jai Hind.


3. Ronald Reagan

"A Time For Choosing"


Program Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pride in presenting a thoughtful address by Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan:

Reagan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.

I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, "We've never had it so good."

But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.

As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: [up] man's old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, "The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us" what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government" -- this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

Now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- that's regulated and controlled by the federal government. In the last three years we've spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we don't grow.

Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers. He should do his homework a little better, because he'll find out that we've had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. He'll also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free. He'll find that they've also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldn't keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.

At the same time, there's been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. There's now one for every 30 farms in the United States, and still they can't tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.

Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know what's best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of bread goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.

Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a "more compatible use of the land." The President tells us he's now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore we've only built them in the hundreds. But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage foreclosure. For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.

They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks. And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed.

We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?

But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.

Now -- so now we declare "war on poverty," or "You, too, can be a Bobby Baker." Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion we're spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and remember, this new program doesn't replace any, it just duplicates existing programs -- do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Well, in all fairness I should explain there is one part of the new program that isn't duplicated. This is the youth feature. We're now going to solve the dropout problem, juvenile delinquency, by reinstituting something like the old CCC camps [Civilian Conservation Corps], and we're going to put our young people in these camps. But again we do some arithmetic, and we find that we're going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700! Course, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.

But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who'd come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She's eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who'd already done that very thing.

Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always "against" things -- we're never "for" anything.

Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.

Now -- we're for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we've accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.

But we're against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood. They've called it "insurance" to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program. They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people. And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that.

A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until he's 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security. Now are we so lacking in business sense that we can't put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when they're due -- that the cupboard isn't bare?

Barry Goldwater thinks we can.

At the same time, can't we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years? Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband? Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do? I think we're for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.

In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and not 45 cents worth?

I think we're for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think we're against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population. I think we're against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.

I think we're for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but we're against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. We're helping 107. We've spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity. In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.

Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million; and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force employed by government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury? And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.

Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States." I think that's exactly what he will do.

But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.

Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.

Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men -- that we're to choose just between two personalities.

Well what of this man that they would destroy -- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear? Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is? Well I've been privileged to know him "when." I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally I've never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.

This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work. He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.

An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such," and they went down there, and there was a fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in those weeks before Christmas, all day long, he'd load up the plane, fly it to Arizona, fly them to their homes, fly back over to get another load.

During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said, "There aren't many left who care what happens to her. I'd like her to know I care." This is a man who said to his 19-year-old son, "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." This is not a man who could carelessly send other people's sons to war. And that is the issue of this campaign that makes all the other problems I've discussed academic, unless we realize we're in a war that must be won.



Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.

We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.

Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.

Thank you very much.

~ imposter.

Alone on the roads Silent night All the streetlights Flickering, all the crickets chirping Unsteady steps - Nobody notices Maybe I...