Three important people in A-E’s life celebrate birthdays on Jan. 13: Classmate Richard, City Editor Neal and A-E. The most amazing part of that story is that Richard and A-E only discovered the gem of simultaneity a few months ago when Classmates Richard, Pat, Joe and A-E were enjoying a pasta repast at a favored Italian restaurant in Rochester. For the record, the four mentioned in that sentence have known each other for 60 years and just learned of the amazing coincidence that the two of us were born on the same day a long time ago.
Neal is much, much younger but gets honorary membership in the Old Men’s Jan. 13, 1940 club anyhow. As far as A-E knows, Neal suffers none of the assorted aches, pains and occasional memory lapses that are part of long lives. A-E doesn’t remember canvassing club members but suspects we each hope to celebrate O.M. Club membership for another 20 years.
Gift suggestions are simple: For each birthday celebrant, a face cord of well-seasoned maple cut in 18-inch lengths and split. Leave the gifts in the Evening Tribune City Room, attention: Neal. Tribune Reporter Jason said he’ll guarantee delivery.
The Washington POST Style Invitational kicked off in 1993 by asking readers to come up with a more P.C. name for the Washington Redskins. The winner was Douglas R. Miller, with his entry "The Baltimore Redskins.” “No, don't move the team, just let Baltimore deal with it," he said. Almost 25 years later, A-E keeps his Redskins faded memorabilia.
Hits on A-E’s drivel
One reader insulted A-E with the third-grade schoolboy taunt "It takes one to know one" about a column that dealt with a durable delphinium from Frau’s garden. Another equally creative contribution: "Hey, Baldy" accused him of possessing a "yellow shirt, yellow teeth and yellow journalism." The shirt is mustard and his teeth are ecru. Yellow journalism is defined as news articles that slant toward one position. Points of view are welcome on the Opinion Page: That’s where A-E’s nonsense correctly resides.
Another person has strong opinion about the issue: “Anyone who thinks his demented Opinion-Page wanderings are more than blather should see an optician or return to third grade,” Frau sez.
Surprisingly literate A-E recommendation
A-E urges everyone to read Pulitzer prize-winner Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson biography. Gordon A. Wood calls it “probably the best Jefferson single-volume ever written.” Meacham explains that, even with his warts, Jefferson was an extraordinary man in remarkable times.
Here’s the perfect follow-up: "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West," by Stephen E. Ambrose.
New York Times book reviewer Alvin M. Josephy Jr. wrote “For almost 200 years, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark have stood among the first ranks of American heroes. Noble young partners, courageous and self-reliant, they were role models for generations of American youth. Their bold, 28-month, 8,000-mile expedition across largely unknown Western lands from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back in 1804-06 remains one of the most enthralling adventure stories in American history.” Josephy called the work “this grand epic of the youthful days of the Republic.”
An entertaining element of the book include spelling surprises from the early 19th century. Consider these from Clark: “Deckinsery of arts and ciences,” actually A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences that Clark was reading when he penned the entry. Author Ambrose assigned his son the task of assuring all spelling is taken accurately from the journals of the co-captains of the Corps of Discovery.
Fellow cheapskates, the Ambrose book is now available as a hefty paperback, if you’re tighter than two coats of paint or A-E.
A-E’s weakly name-dropping drivel, as Frau calls it, is written on a wood-fired computer in his Canisteo hut