ARA: Influences and historical conversations

We’ll have Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Edison, and Andrew Carnegie.

Dear Lisa says Okay, I’ll play:
Who (living or dead) has had the most influence on your life?

I’d have to say my father. He turned me on to music, which was always in the house. He had a thing for social justice. His moodiness was something I tried to avoid in myself, not always successfully. He could be an unfocused dreamer, something I can be guilty of as well.

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with someone, who would it be? My apologies if you’ve already answered these questions before!

Well, I have, so I’ve decided to change it. I want a conversation with FOUR people, together, in the summer of 1910. We’ll have Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), who would be 21, and Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1947), who would turn 41 in the fall, and Thomas Edison (1847-1931), who would be 63, and Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), who would turn 75 in the fall.

I’d be interested to see what the other three would have to say to young Adolf: Gandhi about non-violence, Edison about creativity, Carnegie about going from being a robber baron to a philanthropist who built libraries.
Tom the Mayor asked:

Have you ever lost your temper with your wife? Or your daughter?

My wife and I almost never fight. We disagree, but not all that often. The last time I remember getting REALLY angry with her, and it was several years ago, was when she was in a conversation in our house with someone else. I piped in with a point, and she said, to the other person, that I had gotten said point from some specific Sunday morning talk show. After the guest left, about a half-hour later, I exploded that I don’t parrot what I see on a given talk show but take in from a variety of sources and develop my viewpoints. THAT ticked me off.

The Daughter is very sensitive; just ask her. When she was younger, just being disappointed with something she did was enough to launch her into tears. Later, when I had to prod her into doing something – doing her homework, cleaning her room – I would use my calmest firm voice, yet she’d start crying, adding “You KNOW I’m sensitive!” which actually made me laugh inside.

So, I’d say I would get agitated with her sometimes, at which point, I will take a timeout from her. To be fair to me, my wife has experienced similar things; sometimes, SHE’S the “bad” parent. Now when The Daughter writes about it, she may have a different take, but that will be HER blog.
A question in my spam folder:

What do you consider the best security defend agency in the country? thanks!

A well-informed populace.

I is for India

Many people falsely believe that Mahatma Gandhi was the first prime minister of India.

I’ve had a long fascination with India. You can read what the CIA World Factbook says about the country.

Maybe I’m drawn in because of the idea of an independence movement that was won, NOT primarily by military means, but rather through a civil disobedience movement practiced by Mohandas K. Gandhi, which he first utilized in South Africa and then in India. I read a Gandhi autobiography in college – I may reread it this year – and I recognize his liberation struggle techniques that were eventually used by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.

Gandhi was disheartened, though, by the partition of India and Pakistan into two separate countries, upon independence in 1947, especially since the severing was based largely on religious beliefs. I always found it really strange that Pakistan was established in two geographic parts, East and West, divided by 1,600 km (994 mi) of India. In 1971, East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

It’s an odd thing: many people falsely believe that Mahatma Gandhi was the first prime minister of India; even JEOPARDY!! contestants have made this mistake. The Mahatma was NEVER a political leader, in that sense. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who led the nation from 1947 until his death in 1964. Here’s a list of all the prime ministers of India. The country is often cited as the largest democracy in the world.

I am intrigued by the so-called Indian renaming controversy. I still have to think, when I hear Mumbai, that it is the former Bombay. I’ll figure it out eventually; I’ve been saying Beijing instead of Peking, China for a good while now.

It’d be impossible to do justice to India here. My interests include everything from the long-standing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir to the many fascinating structures, to sitar music, undoubtedly a function of George Harrison helping introduce Ravi Shankar to America.

I do wish a friend of mine who visited several places around India at Christmastime 2005 would put out a blog. She sent out e-mails to her friends about her findings at the time, and they are quite entertaining. Only a brief snippet I’ll share here: “Delhi is flat, mostly low scale and teaming with traffic of every vehicle imaginable including those with 4 legs. The road rules make Boston driving look polite.”

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

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