Views of One

Ambrose Bierce

San Francisco Examiner/October 23, 1905

THIS Hall of Fame matter has become, as was to have been expected, ridiculous. Edgar Allan Poe is denied a place and James Madison is selected by a heavy plurality. It was needless to drag the name of that political imbecile from the sunless pantheon of American presidents and damn him with a deeper obscurity.

Erected by the widow of Colgate, the millionaire soap maker, a tomb “probably the most expensive of its kind In the United States,” will hold the ashes of “Dandy,” her favorite horse, and incidentally keep green the memory of the family product.

I venture to submit the following lines for inscription:

His virtues here inscribed where all may see ’em.

Dandy reposes in his horseoleum.

Whose massive marbles, fit with Time to cope,

Proclaim that even after life there’s soap.

When a President shall have regulated to his taste the American birth rate and done it by talking, and when he shall have set up an Alphonse-and-Gaston code of football etiquette, I should like to invite his attention to the abuses that have crept into the national game of “Simon says thumbs up.” It is not at all what it was when its illustrious inventor left K as a legacy of delight to a grateful posterity, and I was recently beaten at it by an unsportsmanlike conspiracy between a girl of thirteen and a lad of ten. For what have we Presidents?

Mr. Hall Caine explains that he does his best thinking in church. Good, but the doxology and the benediction must have a paralyzing effect on the thing that he remembers with.

“I am convinced that the 2,400-pound projectile fired by the 16-inch gun is more effective in proportion than the 1,000-pound shot of the smaller guns.”—Secretary Taft.

In proportion to what? The expense of firing it? If so, its destructiveness is truly volcanic.

No, Mr. August Belmont’s vermiform appendix may have been “cast as rubbish to the void,” or may have wriggled away into the Incommunicable Afar, but he is not “out of danger.” His life is still shadowed by the imminent peril of remaining what he always was.

“Japan does not wish to disturb the Philippines.” Minister Takahira.

No more did Dewey.

First class in statesmanship stand up.

What is our need of a merchant marine?

To supply the navy with experienced seamen.

And what is the purpose of a navy?

To protect our merchant marine.

Of what advantage are colonial dependencies?

They are a good training school for the army.

Why have an army?

To garrison our colonial dependencies.

Isn’t this what Is called reasoning in a circle?

No, in a spiral: The longer you go on the more you are in the air.

Judge Alexander Hamilton, political almoner for the insurance companies, has had a narrow escape. He came within an ace of sailing from Liverpool on a steamer that arrived safely in New York.

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