From the Pages of History

Stories, Pictures, Quotes & Trivia (and more) that tell the story of the world.

Hello world!


Welcome to my blog! This is where I will share interesting, thought-provoking and funny stories, quotations, pictures, photos, cartoons and trivia gleaned from the pages of history. As you browse, you may gain a new perspective, learn something you didn’t know, and get a few laughs. If you were blessed by the site, please do comment and/or and follow!

Interesting license plates 19


IM SPCL 2
HICORY
PRALNES
MT SINAI
SQR DANC
OPOOH2U
CHIK A D
OLD SALT
8HACHI8
I[love]2BFIT
W8ONHIM
I SPEQL8
SHIPWRK
JOOLZVW
PRIUS06
SMEEGOL
LIVNLOV
LVH LTHI
BLAQKNT
SMR MB
B 53
BRK4FSH
PINAPLZ
MOMSBMW
BLUWAEL
SGT INF
BDY CHK
MR2 2003
IM HEER
YYYYYES
USC 2016

An Irish meal and blessing


A yummy Irish meal made by a family at work! Irish soda bread, corned beef, mashed potatoes with cabbage, and a rainbow rice crispie. image

And a craft done by a 3rd grader :)
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Leadership: Challenging Authority


This is a paper I wrote in college; it goes through the 16 leaders in Garry Wills’ book Certain Trumpets, and how they challenged authority or the status quo.

Challenging the status quo is often part of a leader’s job. The writers in Traditional Classics on Leadership reflect on when challenges to authority should be permissible and what those challenges should look like. The leaders in Certain Trumpets demonstrate how successful this can be when done right.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had clear ideas of what he wanted to accomplish and he sometimes “exasperated” those around him on his quest to achieve them (33). However, his unorthodox way of “[drawing] in others around him” resulted in effective, dynamic plans that worked (29).

Harriet Tubman challenged authority in a very obvious way—she actually went out and broke the law by leading slaves to freedom. But she was right in what she did because she was a legitimate leader in pursuit of moral ends and she acted justly, defying unjust leaders and tyrants.

Reform is generally opposed at first and takes a while to be implemented. That did not stop Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most powerful advocates for the fixing of problems in America. She used tact when needed but her commitment to what she saw as necessary reform did not waver.

Diplomatic leader Andrew Young may not have been in the forefront of the civil rights movement, but his behind-the-scenes work made sure everything else ran smoothly. He was just as much a part of the fight for black equality as Martin Luther King, Jr.

If there was anyone who surprised the traditionalists, it was decisive and insightful Napoleon. His dynamic, genius way of fighting won him victories against armies much larger and stronger than his.

David was destined to replace Saul but that king fought hard to keep his position. Described by Wills as a “free spirit” who headed a “rebel band,” David possessed a warrior spirit and his daring attacks solidified his position as the new king of Israel (107).

Businessman Ross Perot used efficient ways to raise sales. His ideas on how to better business were ingenious and extremely profitable. His active management styles were somewhat abnormal, but they made for success.

Being a traditional leader, he was expected to follow Catholic customs closely, but Pope John XXIII still found ways to focus on what he felt was important. Though it made some in the church squirm, “Pope John knew that the church must always be in a process of renewal…to get back to its original inspiration” (143).

General of the Continental Army that challenged the British Empire and won America its independence, George Washington was a determined leader willing to give his all in the fight for freedom. Neither clashes with the British army nor clashes within the new American government deterred him.

Socrates was not one to shy away from confrontations. He would engage anyone who cared to talk with him on philosophical subjects. Both the Wills and Wren texts contain examples of talks he had with those of differing opinions. But he was not afraid to challenge and engage.

Due to a previous devastating sickness and her association with an influential friend, Mary Baker Eddy was not afraid to go out on a limb and start her own denomination, the Christian Scientists. She pushed through opposition to become a part of religious history.

Carl Stotz did not necessarily challenge authority, but he did confront the notion that organized baseball was only for grown-ups. He did something unconventional, he did it with his heart, and he was passionate about sticking to the original vision.

Dedicated dancer Martha Graham’s unconventional inspirations and styles resulted in the revolution of dance. Other experts were skeptical, but she ended up having quite a lasting influence in that area of the arts.

The civil rights moment would not have been the same without Martin Luther King, Jr. He directly confronted the injustices of 1960s southern America, whatever the consequences. From energetic speechmaking to direct challenges, he was unafraid to challenge the unjust authority.

Opportunistic Cesare Borgia shocked many with his “effrontery” and brutal tactics; however, it could not be denied that he got the job done (232). Flexible, a go-getter, and just plain lucky, his career was short but brilliant.

Dorothea Day was driven by a desire to help the helpless. The rough experiences she had in her youth gave her a real understanding of the conditions of the poor and she was unconventional in her desires to help them.

Some of these leaders challenged authority; some challenged the status quo or established beliefs or attitudes. They all had a goal and were able to lead followers in pursuit of it. Though not every leader has to challenge authority, it is often a part of the responsibility and should be prepared for.

Happy Chinese New Year!


Here are some decorations made by the kindergarten kids in the daycare where I work :)

A whole wall of color!
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There are these masks/puppets of lions, dragons, and fish, with paper streamers.
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Hung all around are strings with mini lanterns and paper cutouts.

image

Tiger in the middle


image

Bee, bull, dragon


image

Pig, bull, sheep, dragon


image

Fan, dog, flower, fish


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Flower, tiger, rat, horse


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Bee, butterfly, rooster


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Bird, fish, pineapple

And lastly, a row of Chinese boys and girls.
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Happy Chinese New Year: Gong Hei Fat Choy!

Spot of tea?


A cozy read on tea in different countries!

This is What a Cup of Tea Looks Like in 22 Different Countries

White tiger and lion


20150125-230633.jpg
From Telegraph.co.uk

The 38 United States of America?


In 1973, California State University geography professor George Etzel Pearcy suggested a redrawing of the 50 US states’ borders to rearrange large cities, and a renaming of the 38 resulting states in respect of geography and culture. His proposed map is below.

20150125-220632.jpg
Read more here on MentalFloss.

‘They’ and ‘We’


I have repeatedly told my cabinet and staff that we belong here only so long as we refer to government as ‘they,’ and never think of government as ‘we.’

-Governor Ronald Reagan (Sincerely, Ronald Reagan, 1976)

War, peace, and Ender’s Game


This is a post that has been in the works for a while. It concerns the movie Ender’s Game. Besides being a cool sci-fi film, I thought it raised some interesting ideas. In college, I took a course on international relations. When we watched the movie, the course was fresh in my mind, and I got to thinking about elements of IR in the movie. Here are some of my thoughts :)

20141230-182631.jpg ~ a pic I found online

To start, Ender’s Game is set in a futuristic world in which there has recently been a battle between the Humans and the (intelligent) Bugs. The ever-expanding Bug colony wanted to take over the Humans’ world but the Humans beat the Bugs back, at great cost. The movie opens with a conundrum on how to deal with the factions of Humans vs. Bugs, as the former suspect the latter of an uprising.

There are a few main ways to look at the international system and what goes on in it, whether it be wars, trade, treaties, or the Olympics—two of the most famous are realism and liberalism. Realism sees each nation in the world system as looking out for its own interests first. This can include wars but does not have to; whatever best helps the country will be pursued. Liberalism would like the nations of the world to work together. Cooperation and not war is its preference.

There are elements of both realism and liberalism in “Ender’s Game.” The two extremes are demonstrated in Ender’s siblings. His older brother Peter is aggressive and mean, and his younger sister Valentine is loving and peaceful. Neither is accepted into the training academy. When it is Ender’s turn to go the academy, he must find a balance between these two extremes.

Ender has a good character; he does not seek fights but looks for the diplomatic or peaceful solution. He tries to find win-win situations. However, when forced into fights, he will fight back. When attacked by a gang of bitter boys at the academy, Ender tries to walk away at first, but the leader forces him to fight. When he gets the upper hand, he kicks the leader repeatedly, hoping to beat him so badly he will lose the desire to bully him, thus preventing any future attacks. However, Ender does not enjoy doing this. I like how this illustrates the Proverb “answer a fool according to his folly” (Proverbs 26:5). If all they understand is violence, a lesson must be taught that they will actually learn.

There is also a bit on leading by love vs. fear, another issue in IR. The kids are arranged into squads. Because of Ender’s goodness, fairness, strength of character, and likability, he becomes popular with most of the other trainees, but there’s one squad leader, Bonzo, who prefers to rule by fear. Bonzo quickly drops in popularity and seeks to hurt Ender. When Ender acts in self-defense, Bonzo is badly hurt, and Ender is devastated for what he unintentionally did. Even though I think Ender didn’t have to be so upset over the situation that wasn’t his fault, this further demonstrates his gentle character and raises him in favor with the other trainees.

The mantra of the adult in charge of the training academy, Colonel Graff, is realism. His goal is to protect the world from the bugs at all costs. It’s “us vs. them” and he’s determined to win. He sees potential in Ender and wants to develop him into a decisive, skilled leader. He has no problems playing games to do that. He puts Ender in situations to see how he’ll react. He observes Ender’s way of either beating up bullies or cleverly turning them to his side with great interest and approval. Unfortunately Col. Graff also has no problems with lying to Ender and keeping secrets from him in order to make Ender behave the way he wants, all the while showering him with praise. Ender does not appreciate the way the system is set up to mold these kids into military leaders. He also does not like the secrecy and lies that permeate the academy. But who would? Col. Graff wants to make Ender a great military leader, but doesn’t trust him enough to tell him the whole truth of the situation and let him figure it out. Graff still wants to be in control.

There is also a mystery that surrounds the Bugs themselves. They are the enemy, obviously. But most in the leadership of the training academy leave it at that. It’s “us vs. them.” Ender prefers to understand his enemy. He does this in simulations as he returns to the games and analyzes them, wanting to go deeper than just what appears on the surface. Then, once he understands the opposition, he usually ends up sympathizing with them. “When you really know your enemy, then you love him” he says. This is generally a good principle, but we must be careful not to go too far or act unwisely.

Ender’s final test is a battle simulation. He comes on the enemy and sees they are just sitting there, waiting. Wondering at this, but wanting to gain victory, he and his team strike first and destroy the enemy, though at a great cost to his own fleet. However, the situation turns out to not be a simulation—that is, or was, the entire enemy fleet, and Ender has just decimated them. He is hailed a hero, but instead of celebrating he is crushed, exclaiming, “I will bear the shame of this genocide forever!” Through visions, he finds the lair of the Queen bug, and finds her sick and weak and only wanting to care for her baby. The movie ends with him going to find a new home for the bugs, who were not planning to wipe out humanity after all.

Ender was firm that the liberalist way was best in this case. And I agree with him there. The enemy turned out to NOT be all ready to attack, as Col. Graff and the top brass kept insisting. And if Ender had been told the truth at that point about that situation, he would have sent people to reconnoiter and see what the enemy was doing. Once it was ascertained that an invasion was not imminent, parleys could be held, and/or peace terms could have been worked out. This is the liberalist way of doing things. Not that avoiding war at all costs is smart. But “if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18). If there are alternatives to war, it’s best to take them. These are real human lives that are being dealt with. Also, you have to look at the big picture—the long term impacts. And, the fleet’s avoidance or at least postponement of attacking the bugs in this instance would have been a smart thing to do. The enemy’s off-guard position should have been noted, and more effort should have been put out to find out what they were actually doing. Lives on both sides would have been saved.

Demonstrated are interesting cases where a strong stand is better, and the ending demonstrates that war isn’t always the best solution.

So, those are some thoughts of mine on the movie Ender’s Game. I really liked it, not only as a cool sci-fi film, but also for the thought-provoking issues it raised. Have you seen the movie? What do you think?

The Irish care packages of WWI


A bittersweet story of an Irish lady who sent soldiers care packages of handmade gifts and notes during World War I, and the letters they sent her back, containing thanks, stories, and details on the hardships they were facing.

Read it here.

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