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Coolidge's Persistence and the Pitfall of Genius

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination are omnipotent.
--A Proverb often attributed to Calvin Coolidge, but he never said it.

At this time, "Silent Cal" Coolidge is mayor of Northampton. He won with a margin of less than 150 votes by convincing the Irish to vote Republican. He is a farmer's son, so he knows when a man is watering the milk. He can listen, take criticism and joke with the common man because he is one. He refuses to attack his opponent, and keeps plugging away. It all works... just barely. The above anonymous proverb appears this year as a filler for newspapers. It is often attributed to Coolidge because one day he will become famous for his persistence and win the Presidency. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
To echo the proverb... genius is no guarantee of success. It is not magic. It is a measure of the capacity to absorb facts and make connections. It's like drinking a large glass of water in one smooth motion. The genius drinks in knowledge, but only if he is thirsty. If he doesn't care or if he is lazy, his genius will not help him. The person with an average capacity will drink in knowledge in smaller gulps, but with discipline and desire, he is almost as fast and smooth as the genius. Discipline and desire are the keys. I have bested people smarter than myself because I have persisted. When there is a downturn in the economy, I refuse to participate, and when the job market becomes saturated, I don't cry about it. I move to where I am needed. I tell my children, "Keep moving forward and whatever you do... don't stop." Do not wait overlong for someone to create your future. Create your own. [3]

Giving Anarchy a Bad Name

Assassination has become the method of choice for political change. Many assassins claim to be anarchists, so anarchy is becoming a synonym for murder. Let's hit the highlights:

  • 1888: Anarchists derail the train carrying Tzar Alexander the 3rd. His injuries lead to his death. [4] [5]
  • 1890: Union members (read as "anarchist Italians") are suspected of murdering the Chief of Police of New Orleans. [6]
  • 1892: The chairman of Carnegie Steel is shot by an anarchist for union-breaking policies. [7]
  • 1901: President McKinley is shot by a man who had recently attended a lecture on the virtues of anarchy. [8]
  • 1903: Alexander the 1st of Serbia is shot by the Black Hand, the same group that will assassinate Archduke Ferdinand, and kick off World War 1. [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
"Black Hand" was a mixed group sometimes labeled as nihilists. It may have been nihilism rather than anarchy that was driving those assassinations. Nihilism frees one from all limits... including the limit of caring whether someone lives or dies. Unfortunately, the public at that time associated assassinations with anarchy, and unions such as the "Wobblies" (Industrial Workers of the World or IWW). I know it is difficult to imagine, but people were polarized at that time, believing that they had the final truth and everyone else was messing up the world and preventing us from making it right. Yes. I know. Crazy. Thank God we are a lot smarter today. Aren't we? Yes. Somewhat smarter. [10]

Notable Births

  • Mother Teresa (Will help the poor in India and be elevated to sainthood in September 2016. ) [11] [12]
  • Jane Wyatt (Will play Spock's mother in Star Trek.) [13]
  • Momofuku Ando (The patron saint of bachelors. He invents Top Ramen® and Cup Noodles®... one of the inventors. Spread the glory.) [14]

In Other News

  • The Earth passes through the tail of Halley's Comet. The comet comes within 13 million miles. No one turns into a zombie. [15]
  • Frankenstein's monster is released! The monster has no name except in relation to his creator. This is the first horror film. It runs 16 minutes. [16]
  • The first infrared photographs are published by Robert Wood. That infrared glow around plants is now called "The Wood Effect." [17] [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1910, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Calvin Coolidge Quotes - The Quotations Page. quotationspage.com (2016). Retrieved on 2 December 2016.
  2. Shlaes, Amity. Coolidge. Harper. ISBN 9780061967559. “Coolidge could shake hands too. In those races, he became famous for his style of asking for aid. "I want your help, I need your help, I appreciate your help," he told voters. In the still rural community, he enjoyed the advantage of a man raised on a farm: he knew where the tobacco fields were and what they produced well; he knew when a farmer was watering the milk and when he was giving a customer extra. That knowledge impressed the farmers. They teased Coolidge and allowed him to tease them back.” 
  3. Alex Shrugged notes: I write in the present tense as if I am actively working a job. In fact, I am disabled and retired for the most part.
  4. Alexander III of Russia - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2016. “On 29 October 1888 the Imperial train derailed in an accident at Borki. At the moment of the crash, the imperial family was in the dining car. Its roof collapsed, and Alexander supposedly held its remains on his shoulders as the children fled outdoors. The onset of Alexander’s kidney failure was later attributed to the blunt trauma suffered in this incident.”
  5. Narodnaya Volya - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2016. “The group was the inspiration and forerunner for other revolutionary socialist and anarchist organizations that followed, including in particular the Russian Socialist Revolutionary Party (PSR).”
  6. David Hennessy - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2016. “His assassination in 1890 led to a sensational trial. A series of acquittals and mistrials angered locals, and an enormous mob formed outside the prison the next day. The prison doors were forced open and 11 of the 19 Italian men who had been indicted for Hennessy's murder were lynched.”
  7. Alexander Berkman - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2016. “Newspapers across the country defended the union workers, and the trio decided to assassinate Frick. They believed the assassination would arouse the working class to unite and revolt against the capitalist system. Berkman's was to assassinate Frick and then kill himself; Goldman was to explain Berkman's motives after his death; and Aronstam was to follow Berkman in the event that he failed in his mission. Emulating his Russian idols, Berkman tried to make a bomb, but when that failed, he went to Pittsburgh with the plan to use a handgun.”
  8. Leon Czolgosz - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2016. “Leon Frank Czolgosz was an American anarchist and former steel worker responsible for assassinating William McKinley, President of the United States, in 1901.”
  9. Alexander I of Serbia - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2016. “Apparently to prevent Queen Draga's brother being named heir-presumptive, but in reality to replace Alexander Obrenović with Peter Karađorđević, a conspiracy was organized by a group of Army officers headed by Captain Dragutin Dimitrijević also known as 'Apis', and Norman Perović, a young Greek Orthodox militant who was in the pay of the Russians,[5] as well as the leader of the Black Hand secret society which would assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914.”
  10. Industrial Workers of the World - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2016. “The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), members of which are commonly termed 'Wobblies', is an international labor union that was founded in 1906 in Chicago, Illinois in the United States of America. The union combines general unionism with industrial unionism, as it is a general union whose members are further organized within the industry of their employment. The philosophy and tactics of the IWW are described as 'revolutionary industrial unionism', with ties to both socialist and anarchist labor movements.”
  11. Mother Teresa - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 December 2016. “Teresa was the recipient of numerous honours, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She was canonised (recognised by the church as a saint) on 4 September 2016, and the anniversary of her death, 5 September, was made her feast day.”
  12. Mother Teresa declared a saint before huge crowds in the Vatican - CNN.com. cnn.com (September 4, 2016). Retrieved on 4 December 2016. “Speaking in Latin, Francis said that 'after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint, and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole church.'”
  13. Jane Wyatt - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 December 2016. “She starred in a number of Hollywood films, but likely is best known for her role as the housewife and mother Margaret Anderson on the CBS and NBC television comedy series, Father Knows Best, and as Amanda Grayson, the human mother of Spock on the science fiction television series Star Trek. Wyatt was a three-time Emmy Award-winner.”
  14. Momofuku Ando - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 December 2016. “He is known as one of the inventors of instant noodles, instant ramen, and Cup Noodles.”
  15. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 462-465. 
  16. Frankenstein (1910 film) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 December 2016. “This 16-minute short film was the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The unbilled cast included Augustus Phillips as Dr. Frankenstein, Charles Ogle as Frankenstein's monster, and Mary Fuller as the doctor's fiancée.”
  17. Infrared photography - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 December 2016. “The first infrared photographs (as distinct from spectrographs) to be published appeared in the February 1910 edition of The Century Magazine and in the October 1910 edition of the Royal Photographic Society Journal to illustrate papers by Robert W. Wood, who discovered the unusual effects that now bear his name.[3][4][5] The RPS co-ordinated events to celebrate the centenary of this event in 2010.[6] Wood's photographs were taken on experimental film that required very long exposures; thus, most of his work focused on landscapes. A further set of infrared landscapes taken by Wood in Italy in 1911 used plates provided for him by CEK Mees at Wratten & Wainwright. Mees also took a few infrared photographs in Portugal in 1910, which are now in the Kodak archives.”
  18. Robert W. Wood - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 December 2016. “The slightly surreal glowing appearance of foliage in infrared photographs is called the Wood effect.”

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