Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Update on “Oxymoronica” and Dr. Mardy Grothe

I make it a practice, whenever I review a book in The White Rhino Report, to send a copy of the review to the author. In most cases, I hear from the author almost immediately, and some interesting relationships have developed from such humble beginnings. So, I was pleased when I heard from Dr. Mardy Grothe, author of “Oxymoronica,” which I reviewed last week. He informed me of his most recent book, "Viva la Repartee," which I plan to read and will review in an upcoming posting.

He also made me aware of a free electronic newsletter that he publishes, to which I now subscribe. I just read the most recent edition, and it contains some memorable quotations from writers who either were born in the month of June or died in the month of June.

I am pleased to share with you some of the ones that meant the most to me.

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[Charles Dickens] wrote many great analogical and metaphorical lines, including:

"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts."

"Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort."

"There are strings in the human heart that had better not be vibrated."

A few of his lines have a special place in my [Dr. Grothe’s] "Words To Live By" file:

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."

"Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule."

"There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth."

On June 10, 1909, Edward Everett Hale died at age 87 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Best remembered as the author of "The Man Without a Country," an 1863 story written to inspire support for the Civil War.

The author of more than 150 books and pamphlets, he was an eloquent orator who preached a Social Gospel that advocated good works, social action, and personal responsibility. He once offered an interesting analogy:

"Sometimes your medicine bottle has on it, 'Shake well before using.' That is what God has to do with some of His people. He has to shake them well before they are ever usable."

Several Hale quotes appear in my "Words To Live By" file, including:

"If you have accomplished all that you have planned for yourself, you have not planned enough."

On June 11, 1572, Ben Jonson was born in London. After working as a bricklayer and soldier, he became an actor and playwright. At age 26, he wrote his first play, "Every Man in His Humour" (the cast included a young actor named William Shakespeare). After some so-so early plays, he went on to become the most important English dramatist after Shakespeare. Like the Bard, he contributed many lines to posterity, including "Drink to me only with thine eyes" and the famous tribute to Shakespeare, "He was not of an age but for all time."

In another wonderful analogy--this one about a leader with inadequate learning--he penned an observation in the 17th century that has clear relevance to modern times:

"A prince without letters is a pilot without eyes. All his government is groping."

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