Monday, February 25, 2008


Sing a song of Hist'ry
pocket full o' lies?
Twenty-four billion Saracens?
Baked in into pies.
When the pies were opened,
They started to attack.
Wasn't that a big mistake
To let them mus'lm'ns back?

(footnotes ** and ***)

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.*

George Santayana

Look at the failures when at fighting against Islam in the past--don't repeat them--and look at the successes: how was it beaten back? Battles and Wars.

BUT, and this is a big BUT:

What we do about history matters. The often repeated saying that those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them has a lot of truth in it. But what are 'the lessons of history'? The very attempt at definition furnishes ground for new conflicts. History is not a recipe book; past events are never replicated in the present in quite the same way. Historical events are infinitely variable and their interpretations are a constantly shifting process. There are no certainties to be found in the past.
Gerda Lerner:

Superb! Post that in your brain!

We can learn from history how past generations thought and acted, how they responded to the demands of their time and how they solved their problems. We can learn by analogy, not by example, for our circumstances will always be different than theirs were. The main thing history can teach us is that human actions have consequences and that certain choices, once made, cannot be undone. They foreclose the possibility of making other choices and thus they determine future events.
Gerda Lerner


I worshipped dead men for their strength,
Forgetting I was strong.
Vita Sackville-West


Brief Interlude:

Take a page from History -1:

How to fight the musulmans. Not exactly the same way, not even parallels, but take ideas and turn them into tactics.

To the Shores of Tripoli

(Fighting the Barbary Pirates 1804 AD)

[United States Navy Lt. Stephen] Decatur and his small crew disguised as North Africans sailed the Barbary ketch into Tripoli harbor on the night of February 15, 1804. The tiny craft bumped into the Philadelphia [a United states vessel captured by the Mahometan pirates] , and Decatur's boarding party flung grappling hooks to lash the rails together. Then yelling and screaming, they leaped onto the deck of the frigate. As a [Mahometan] pirate reported later, the Americans "sent Decatur on a dark night, with a band of Christian dogs fierce and cruel as the tiger, who killed our brothers and burnt our ships before our eyes." Decatur's men wielded tomahawks and killed twenty pirates in as many minutes, chasing the rest over the side. Only one raider was wounded before the Philadelphia was set afire in four places. Then the Americans withdrew (Castor, 1971).

* * *
When British Admiral Lord Nelson heard of the raid, he called it "the most bold and daring act of the age." Decatur, just twenty-five, won promotion to captain-then the highest rank in the navy-and remains the youngest man ever to be so honored (Bobby-Evans, 2001).

[and this while Europeans were still paying tribute to these Saracens]

Read the entire Tripoli campaign against the Mahometan pirates at

Recess 's over, me hearties, let's go back into what we can learn from history about how to fight the Sararacen:

other good quotes about History:

HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
Ambrose Bierce

True or False? Just because somebody said it, and it's quoted, doesn't mean it represents what is true.

The accounts may not be accurate, but the events are often important (Islam defeated at the Gates of Vienna). that the "rulers" were, and are, mostly knaves (self-seeking) we find to be true. But soldiers as fools? No! Soldiers may be dupes, may be pawns, but fools--never! Soldiers are used, let us, the people in arms, make certain that they are used rightly.

History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.
David McCullough:

No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read.
David McCullough:

(I'm changing style of presentation here to save time and effort--mine)

Denise Levertov:
I don't think one can accurately measure the historical effectiveness of a poem; but one does know, of course, that books influence individuals; and individuals, although they are part of large economic and social processes, influence history. Every mass is after all made up of millions of individuals.

On this, see how individuals, influenced by books (ideas), part of the economic and social processes of a country, can influence the present, which will one day soon (all too soon) become "history" at

Edward Gibbon:
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.

Etienne Gilson:
History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought.

Gustave Flaubert:
Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.

Too true! and then we slander our own culture, civilization, country.

Jawaharial Nehru:
A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the sound of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

Nehru: not one of my favorite people (sold out to the Moslems--people of the Bharat, correct me if I err), The first part of that statement holds true for our time. The Age without Islam in our Midst has ended. The second part applies to India throwing off the British Raj. Good or Bad? Good, if only the government of India (like ours, the US's) does not cater to the enemy--within and without.

Karl Marx:
It is not "history" which uses men as a means of achieving -- as if it were an individual person -- its own ends. History is nothing but the activity of men in pursuit of their ends.

Second sentence is too true.

Karl Marx:
History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this

"history" per se is like "Islam," it does not exist without humans that make it.

Winston Churchill:
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

His fame will grow and grow and grow. How right he was. And he need not embellish history to find his place in it. A man who towers over all of his contemporaries (yet with flaws).

It is more pleasant to read history than to live it.

Why Moslems Cannot Learn Anything from History

Mahathir Mohammad, former president of Malaysia said:

We may want to recreate the first century of the Hijrah, the way of life in those times, in order to practice what we think to be the true Islamic way of life….

As Muslims, we must seek guidance from the Al-Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Surely the 23 years’ struggle of the Prophet can provide us with some guidance as to what we can and should do.”

And that is why Moslems cannot learn from history. They will always go back to try and repeat their successes at the time of, and shortly after, Mohammed. But don't they know? We are no longer in the 7th and 8thCenturies. They still are.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
George Santayana

They, the Moslems, learned nothing from what happened to them after their initial successes. They will always go back and try to repeat those heady early years.

Should've left them in the pies.

then we wouldn't have 'em fluttering all about us now
*This saying appears in many different forms, but the earliest version
is probably that of the poet and philosopher George Santayana: "Those
who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

"Notable Quotations from George Santayana
'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'
Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner's, 1905, page 284"

Collecting and Editing the Works of George Santayana

"The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Studying history is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes. This
saying comes from the writings of George Santayana, a Spanish-born
American author of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."

Bartleby: The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy

"The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996.

NUMBER: 48129
QUOTATION: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
ATTRIBUTION: George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher, poet.
Life of Reason, 'Reason in Common Sense,' ch. 12 (1905-6).

William L. Shirer made these words the epigraph for his Rise and Fall
of the Third Reich (1959)."

Bartleby: The Columbia World of Quotations

Here's an interesting little article about the many versions of this famous quote:

Jaywalker Magazine: Forget the Past!

My Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: santayana "common sense" "to repeat it"

I hope this is precisely what you need to know. Please let me know if
anything requires clarification.

Best regards,

**Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

Lovely words to this children's action nursery rhyme which is often referred to as blackbirds baked in a pie probably because the image that blackbirds baked in a pie would create in a child's mind . The rye ( a pocketful of rye) was purchased to feed birds. Blackbirds, and other song birds, were actually eaten as a delicacy! However a court jester may well have suggested to the court cook to bake a pie pastry crust and place this over some live blackbirds to surprise and amuse the King! It would not be unreasonable for the blackbirds to look for revenge hence "When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!" It is interesting to note that the references to the counting house and eating honey were the common man's perception of what a King and Queen spent their time doing. The nursery rhyme Sing a song of sixpence or blackbirds baked in a pie always end with the tweaking of a child's nose!

Our grateful thanks goes to Rebecca Harris for providing the following additional information:
"During the Medieval times, there were occasions when the cook in the house of a wealthy knight did indeed put live birds (often pigeons, but I'm sure it could just as easily have been blackbirds) inside a huge pastry crust, on his own initiative. This was seen as a great joke and the cook would usually have a real pie waiting to bring in when the birds had been released."

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
They all began to sing.
Now, wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the King?

The King was in his countinghouse,
Counting out his money;
The Queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes.
Along there came a big black bird
And snipped off her nose!

First published in 1744, the rhyme is one of many rhymes depicting bakers putting "suprises" in baked items. Another popular rhyme is Little Jack Horner.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating a mincemeat pie.
He stuck in his thumb
And pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"

Variation: Some versions have Jack eating a Christmas pie instead of a mincemeat pie.

***Urban Legend(s):

The nursery rhyme 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' originated as a coded message used to recruit crew members for pirate ships.

The people who posted it claim it is true, and go to elaborate lengths to provide proof for this. It is, however, by most "authorities" (of sing-a-song-of-sixpence) deemed to be an urban legend, hence untrue.

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