The Charlotte News

Sunday, November 21, 1937


Site Ed. Note: The first land speed record was set in 1898 at 39.24 mph. Captain Eyston, as mentioned below, of Great Britain, in his Thunderbolt, a mean looking bat-out-of-hell animal up to no good to be sure, broke his own record a year later at 345 mph. Eclipsed just a month after at 350, not to be outdone, he went out the very next day and topped out at 357, which stood for another year. After that, he never again held the record, as it approached 400, taking until 1963 to break that barrier. The current record, set in 1997, is 760, in excess of the speed of sound, albeit accomplished with jet engines. (But see Wicked-pedia, which pegs the speed of sound at sea level as 770 mph or 344 meters per second; Columbia Encyclopedia has it as approximately 300 meters per second, about 670 mph. How do we reconcile the data? Or, disambiguate same? Variations in temperature? Probably, instead, the datum at Wicked-pedia was provided by someone for whom sound travels much faster than for us ordinary mortals. You would hear the sound much faster, too. But it also disappears more quickly down the beauteous vale, the eponymously eponymous Rue de Vallee.) The Thunderbolt was equipped with two Rolls-Royce engines of 2,000 horsepower each, consuming a gallon of gas per mile--similar, that is, to the gas mileage of a Hummer.

The internal combustion engine never topped 393 mph; your car will just have to make do at that speed, even in ballgame traffic.

The electric car is now up to 300. We want one of those for country driving. In the city, we shall use our bike and legs, except when greatly below freezing.

Burt Munro, riding the world’s fastest Indian, set his record for an under 1000 cubic centimeter bore motorcycle, at 183 mph in 1967—and that whole story was made into a nice film a couple of years ago. But it had nothing to do with Cowboys and Indians, if that is what you thought.

Well, maybe it did at that. Get 'em up, Scout.

In any event, how the column got from escargot to land speed records in the course of one day is a mystery. How we got from Indians in Lumberton to Indians on Bonneville Salt Flats in two days is an equivalent mystery. We have the piece below on MAFLO and Davidson. We wonder whether tomorrow might bring Dynaflo and Harley.

And we would have to consider, too, whether Congresswoman Jenckes’s displeasure in 1937 with prior gifts from combatant nations eventually extended to the Statue of Liberty after the fall of France. She should have, while about it, thought, after all, to change some names of places on the map as well: better to call them the District of Alexandria, the continent of North Raleigh (or just Theryego), Flowerland, Jeffersoniana, Dryzone, Coolyhot, for instance.

Trite But True

It was a real contribution to the mechanical knowledge of automobiles, their motive potentialities and behavior at incredible speeds, that Captain George Eyston made on the Bonneville salt flats last Friday. A mile in 11.56 seconds he flashed for a new world's record of 311.42 miles per hour, exceeding Sir Malcolm Campbell's record by 10 miles an hour. It was a demonstration in mechanical perfection and the sheer, foolhardy courage of a slight man in eyeglasses, and we should not care to disparage either.

Even so, and at the risk of being banal, what the motoring world needs today is not the example of such hare-like feats as that performed by Captain Eyston, but to simulate the tortoise. The main thing about driving an automobile is to get there, safe and sound and in one piece. Time consumed is tertiary. And as far as that missing secondary factor, that is, without jeopardizing the safety and soundness of other people on the road.

Spare Those Trees!

Congresswoman Virginia Ellis Jenckes of Indiana proposes to the D.A.R. that every Japanese cherry tree on Federal property at Washington be uprooted and cast out--presumably to the fire.

The Japanese war lords are murdering and looting in China. That offends Virginia's sense of humanity. And so Virginia, having no war lords handy for slapping, proposes to take it out on the Japanese cherry trees. Virginia proposes unforgettably to insult one of the most gracious gestures ever made by a foreign country toward our own. Virginia proposes to rob Washington of one of the vistas which, in blossom time, people go miles to see. And she wants to do all that, mind you, by way of bringing catharsis to her feelings of wounded humanity--by way of once for all establishing her faith, and our national faith, and those qualities of man that distinguish him from the ape and the tiger.

We can think of nothing more ominous for the race of Homo Sap than the kind of lawlessness in which Japan is indulging in China--unless, indeed, it be the kind of moral indignation which knows neither discrimination nor any restraint.

Not Fascist--Yet

The day after Dictator Vargas came into power in Brazil he abolished the freedom of the press, of speech, and of assembly. Then last Monday he got rid of the freedom of the ballot by announcing that hereafter there will be only one party--his own--to which Brazilians who value their health will automatically belong. And again Thursday, he proclaimed the suspension of all the courts of the country pending their reorganization--meaning, of course, their complete subjugation to his will.

Has Brazil, then, gone Fascist? Perhaps, but it follows from none of this. For essentially these things have been done, almost in this order, by every dictatorship which ever arose in a democratic or republican, or a pseudo-democratic or pseudo-republican, regime. Draco and Solon did them in Greece 2500 years ago. Rome saw them done many times before Caesar. They were done naturally a thousand times in the festering city states of Middle Age Europe. And they have been done over and over again in South and Central America.

Fascism is something else than the standard dictatorship pattern. The avarice, with reference to internal affairs, probably resides in its steady destruction of private capitalism and its increasing expropriation of property and humanity to the use of the State. And with relation to external affairs, it probably resides in the organization of the people and all the people's resources into a military machine directed to the end of foreign conquest. There is little evidence that Dictator Vargas has moved in either of these directions yet.

Too Much Certainty*

Friday the stock market hit a new bottom, and in that ingenuous way they have of inventing causes to explain effects, the commentators thought that the sharp decline might indeed have been due to uncertainty over governmental happenings.

That was pretty bleak. It isn't as though the present Federal administration were new and untried. By its record of the last four and a half years, certain things are as certain as certain. One of those things is that there will be continued uncertainty. It has become our normal state.

Another is that, while certain alterations may be made in the form of levying taxes, the net take will have to be as large as or larger than it is now. There's a certainty to tie to. And still another is that no matter how much money is taken in, the administration will manage to pay out more. Certainly. Let's look at the record...

And another thing is that as this administration's time runs out, and for that matter under succeeding administrations, there will be more rather than less governmental regulation of business. Take the word of a New Dealer for it, former SEC Chairman James M. Landis. Regardless of what political party is in power, he says, "no one can reverse a trend so deeply rooted as this one."

Maybe, now, we can persuade the Wall Street commentators to accept an amendment to their explanation of what made the market go down so badly Friday. It was too much certainty.

In Our Own Image*

Two nasty side remarks have been gestating within us all week. The first has to do with Zeke Henderson's speech to the Lions Club on the subject of MAFLO, its genesis and genius. "Children," said Zeke, "should honor their parents [Horrid thought! Suppose the parents aren't honorable!] and parents should not provoke their children. Such rules as are made should be enforced in a reasonable and certain manner."

Okay. But all the more should adults honor adults and grown people not provoke grown people. MAFLO provokes us to the point of choler. It expends an inordinate amount of energy and moral fervor on the putting down of petty vices and personal indulgences. But with public order--that is, with real crime jeopardizing the public welfare--it has concerned itself not at all. So much for MAFLO.

The other has to do with a written, and therefore a well considered, statement by Dean Sentelle of Davidson College. In a piece printed in The Davidsonian he sets forth--

"Many ministers and members of the Board of Trustees are saying, ‘There is no such thing as a clean dance, without drinking, drunkenness, immorality and lewdness.’ We believe there can be clean dances dissociated from such evils, and that the Davidson student body can show the world it can be done."

We, for ourselves, believe that the main challenge to Dean Sentelle in this connection is to defend the character of the Davidson student body from the base charges of the misanthropes and to restore his own faith in the essential virtue of young men in general. "Drunkenness, immorality and lewdness" are hard words to apply, or permit to be applied, to the cleanly fellows we know on the Davidson campus.

Balm in Gilead

The case of Mr. Harry Burns, 49, it seems to us, is brimming over with something sententious. What, we don't exactly know. Maybe that it's best to own up to the corn at once. Or maybe that it isn't--that it's best to wait awhile and then own up. Or maybe that not even the immortal gods are incapable of pity. Or maybe that the world ain't a bad place, after all...

Anyhow the case of Mr. Burns somehow leaves us feeling mellow. Thirty-three years ago, in an ill-advised moment, Mr. Burns knocked the locks off some vending machines and helped himself to $30. Thereafter the judge sent Mr. Burns away for three and a half years. But after six months of that Mr. Burns tired of it, and ran away--to remain at large until last Tuesday he voluntarily walked into a Chicago police station and gave himself up. Conscience? Not so, said Mr. Burns indignantly. He was married. He had been married long enough to have eight children. He had a mother-in-law. She lived with Mr. Burns and family. She knew that Mr. Burns was an escaped convict. And so--said Mr. Burns, he decided to go back to jail was the better part.

Whereupon Sunbury, Pa., announced that it didn't want Mr. Burns--that all was forgiven--and after all these years it wished him joy of freedom.

The Best Proof

Yesterday, a news story came out of London to the effect that the British underwriters had sharply reduced marine insurance rates, because of "the virtual disappearance of piracy from the western Mediterranean."

Well, that seems to settle that. Piracy has undoubtedly virtually disappeared from the western Mediterranean. Signor Mussolini, to be sure, had promised a couple of months ago that it would go. But the Signor had kept his promises by breaking them too many times for most of us to put much faith in that. And even when, more lately, the British and French politicians began to suggest that piracy actually was dying out on Mare Nostrum, it was still not easy to feel quite sure--if only because of the general nature of politicians. Though when hard-bitten underwriters begin sharply to reduce rates on which they are willing to undertake the risk of the loss of hard cash--ah, there, masters, is something to lay to. Write it down in the book: piracy is virtually gone from the western Mediterranean.

Site Ed. Note: The rest of the page is here. Ms. Waddell's little bit of prickly poetic prose in the far right column is interesting, if a bit offbeat; her normal contribution to the page was occasional poetry. We have to question what was meant by the "superior race", but that is what prickly poetic prose is all about, after all.

We learn also from one of three great principles of practical social and economic reform within liberal democracy, as imparted by Louis Brandeis via Dorothy Thompson, that which the great Colbert stated. As a matter of coal-bare fact, it seems only yesterday that we heard from the great Colbert, ourselves. One Word, simply put: Accountancy in government, so that libelous, idiotic Bartelemies, eroding all litteræ humaniores as inconsequential, by consistently odious, narcissistic salesmanship, evincing rectitude verily, as told ideationally, valuing evocation as cherished by the Roman consulars and generals, not education as cherished by liberal democracy, will not undermine the demos with false professions of eros and anteros, with loaded claims of reckless and unfrugal spending of the people's hard-earned tax revenue, discounting the Law of Parsimony in the process.

And as for the gent who didn't seem to care much for Cash's writing style on sharks and the merchant marine's lack of discipline, maybe his gnawing knife incision to the editorial, scooping from out its carapace its fleshy tale, was educed from the fact of his being stuck at the Hotel Vaughn in Mullins, South Carolina. It does not, after all, sound as a whale of a time. Maybe he thought the editorial was charged with high interest or something. Anyway, we are glad that the reply was not one pecksnifferously of finned ed.

Although we strenuously seek to practice the maxim suggested by Felix Frankfurter, quoting Holmes, to his Harvard public utilities law class the day after announcement of his appointment to the Supreme Court, the one eschewing to the extent practicable quotation of the dictionary, we nevertheless feel constrained to note also, for accuracy, that, so says Oxford, curr, as a noun, is properly only this: "A curring sound. 1867 Blackw. Mag. Feb. 148 'They'll send the stanes spinnin Wi a whirr and a curr till they sit round the tee.'"


Air.—"Come under my plaidie."

A' nicht it was freezin', a' nicht I was sneezin',
"Tak' care," quo' the wife, ''Gudeman, o' yer cough."
A fig for the sneezin', hurrah for the freezin',
For the day we're to play the Bonspiel on the loch!
Then get up, my braw leddy, the breakfast mak' ready,
For the sun on the snaw drift's beginnin' to blink,
Gie me bannocks or brochan, I'm aff to the lochan,
To mak' the stanes flee to the 'T' o' the rink.
Then hurrah for the curling frae Girvan to Stirling!
Hurrah for the lads o' the besom and stane!
Ready noo! Soop it up! Clap a guard! Steady noo!
Oh curling abune a' the games, stands alane.

The ice it is splendid, it canna be mended,
Like a glass ye can glowr in't an' shave aff yer beard;
And see how they gaither, comin' owre the brown heather,
The master and servants, the tenant and laird.
There's braw J. O. Fairlie, he's there late and early,
Batter curlers than he or Hugh Conn canna be;
Wi' the lads frae Kilwinnin', they'll send the stanes spinnin',
Wi' a whurr and a curr, till they sit roun' the 'T.'
Then hurrah for the curlin', &c.

It's an unco' like story, that baith Whig and Tory,
Maun aye collyshangy, like dogs owre a bane,
An' that a' denominations are wantin' in patience,
For nae kirk will thole to let ithers alane.
But in fine frosty weather, let a' meet thegither,
Wi' brooms in their hauns, an' a stane near the ' T';
Then Ha! Ha! by my certies, ye'll see hoo a' parties
Like brithers will love, and like brithers agree!
Then hurrah for the curlin', &c.

--by Norman MacLeod, D.D.

And, by the hieland, laddie, best restrain yer stanes to us, maddie, and not curl too frenzied them our, from your way, fer the stanes may be hurled back right to ye, staned then be your presence, be it known by them through ye, that upon this stane from which taked we did curlin' long lance, many a furlin' Merlin's chance to mete back when.

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