2008-01-31 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

His leadership, character and perseverance speak to us today - not simply to our political leaders, but to all of us. In observing our political system today, he might wonder whether it inhibits or encourages people of character and vision to engage in it and seek public office."

Those are the words of Fred Zilian and he was writing about Abraham Lincoln. A Lincoln impersonator, Zilian will be appearing at the Jamestown library next Tuesday as the l6th president's birthday approaches on Feb. 12.

"An Hour with Honest Abe: a Monologue by and Conversation with Him" is of particular meaning as the nation and state gear up for a year-long series of events marking the Lincoln bicentennial of his birth Feb. 12, 2009.

"When in 2006, the Atlantic Monthly asked 10 eminent historians to select the most influential American, it was no surprise that Abraham Lincoln stood above all. Among his notable achievements, Honest Abe kept our country as one when it might have split into two, he emancipated the slaves, and he launched a rebirth of our republic. Furthermore, he reminded us of the high ideals that drove our founding fathers and of the unfinished work before the nation - work that is still incomplete, work that in truth may never be fully finished..

"Though he led the country as our 16th president close to 150 years ago, Lincoln speaks to us as eloquently today as he did then. In his day, our country faced no genuine external threat from a foreign power, our favorable geographical position allowed us time to play out that great Civil War. Not so today. Now that technology has shrunk the globe to such a degree, his view of America as a grand but unfinished experiment can help to shake us today from a complacency which presumes longevity for our republic. We may persevere or perish.

"Lincoln cautions us to tend our democracy and not simple rely on divine providence. Second, he speaks to us by reminding us of our fundamental American ideals, the most basic of which he drew from our Declaration of Indpendence: All men are created equal. He encourages us to reflect on the American creed: What is it? Are we a 'house (fundamentally and irrevocably) divided' or can we agree on a basic creed? How do we translate the American creed into action today at home and abroad?

"Third, though in his day America held itself up as moral and a political example to the world Lincoln asserted that slavery showed us to be hypocrites. He looks upon us today - our treatment of immigrants and our prisoners of war, for example - and reproaches us for our hypocrisies. In facing with the rest of humanity the challenges of global warming, he asks whether the United States is leading by example.

"Lastly, Lincoln by his own account earned his education 'by littles,' totaling about one year. The way he educated himself and his love of words and books can speak to us today - it can serve as a model to help us educate ourselves and our children."

Zilian's presentation next Tuesday runs from 7 to 8:15 p.m. An author and playwright, he is The Lincoln impersonator for the state's Bicentennial Commission of which he is a member.

In his other life he is the dean of faculty at Portsmouth Abbey School.

He said that the Lincoln bicentennial is a time for celebration, remembrance and reflection not simply for Lincoln buffs, but for all Americans "It is my hope that Newport County educators, actors, musicians, dancers, lawyers, historians, historic societies, libraries and the media will engage in suitable events over the next year to commemorate the Lincoln bicentennial.

"Our children deserve it; our country needs it."

*** R.I.P. Ethel Kitts.

***

Next Thursday marks the Chinese lunar New Year, the Year of the Rat. People born in that year are said to be industrious, adaptable and ambitious.

***

Beej X. Dawg says that no one has stepped forward to take over the fireworks. "There's a couple of bucks in seed money for anyone who gets the town's approval to do the shoot."

***

There are ways to dampen your cat's nocturnal activities says Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic.

"Does your cat wake you up at night for food or play? Although cats have a nighttime cycle of activity, you can train them to sleep through the night. Start by playing with your cat before bed. This will work out some of the cat's energy and they will be less likely to play at 3 a.m.

"Also, feed your cat prior to bedtime. After eating, many cats will nap and not need a midnight snack. If your cat is very persistent you may need to keep them out of your bedroom at night. If your cat claws at your door, placing double sided tape, tin foil, or upside down carpet runners (with the knobs up) at your door may discourage them from batting at the door.

"Finally, if your cat is suddenly more active and vocal at night and is eating more or losing weight, they may have developed hyperthyroidism and you should contact your veterinarian for a check up."

MEOW!

***

Carolyn Jaques dropped a note saying that on last Thursday's "Today Show" it gave a website that will remove your name from the list that sends out unwanted catalogs. It's www.catalogchoice.com. Thanks Carolyn, that'll save a few trees.

***

Bob Kinder was in with the answer to last week's poser.

"Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny how you can love,

Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny heaven's above,

You make my sad heart jump with joy"

Bob said that the best version was sung by Wee Bonnie Baker.

***

We received no response to John A. Murphy's poser in the Jan. 17 column. That prompted the following e-mail from the solicitor.

"So, my Walrus, I take it that no one submitted a correct answer. I thought it was a relatively well -known and easily remembered lyric, particularly with a great big fat clue.

"Hmmmm? Perhaps we have an unjustifiably high regard for the readers of the Press."

Let's try it again, guys, and show John that the high regard is justifiable.

"Yes'n" is the slang contraction that starts most lines of this American folk anthem."

***

These are lonely times without football.

*** Giants 31, Pats 28.

*** ...........whatcha got cooking?

*** Be true!

***

Call in your stuff for this column to 423-0383 or 829-2760. You can e-mail us at jtnwalrus@hotmail. com or drop your news off at the Jamestown Press office.

Return to top