clever collection of articles on current events enhanced by entertaining conversations with prominent members of our society.
When I was eight years old my father gave me as a birthday present a 12 volume encyclopedia. I already had the bicycle, the canoe, the roller skates and an old beat up set of golf clubs that even now I have not learned to use properly.
The encyclopedia sat in a pretty bookcase for years. The dark blue and gold lettering of its tomes somehow resembled a platoon of soldiers of H.M Royal Corp of Grenadiers at attention in Buckingham Palace.
I never opened a single volume of the encyclopedia. If I needed a description or other information, I asked my older brother whose own encyclopedia was tattered and decrepit through constant use.
Years later I returned to the old house with my oldest son, who happened to be eight years old at the time, and the first thing I did was to go up to my bedroom. Everything looked the same. There were even some of my old sweaters and jackets hanging in the closet. Then, my son asked me:
“Is that an encyclopedia?”
“Yup” I replied. Sensing his interest I pulled a volume at random and handed it to him. He sat down, opened the volume and yelled:
“Dad! Look what I found!”
He held in his hand an old and wrinkled 20 dollar bill.
Now, I know that there must be a moral in this story. Can you guess what it is?
NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
The elegant Conference Room that had seen so many famous faces, that still retained in the echo of its solid walls the phrases of so many wise men and yes, why not, the cries of terror, the prayers, the laughter and the words of reprimand, was ready for the meeting. Given the alarming news that were continuously received from the field commanders in that far away war, the top military staff had been summoned, along with some of the civilian experts heading some of the agencies directly or indirectly involved with the war.
After the Chairman of the War Committee made a quick review of the communiqués just received, the floor was open for discussion. In some measure, the urgency underlining the meeting responded to popular rejection of a war that had been considered unnecessary and, worst of all, based on erroneous if not false information. The Chairman spoke:
“You gentlemen are aware of the seriousness of the developments affecting this campaign. I believe that it is time that we assess as objectively as possible the reasons why our efforts are not producing the results that most of us expected. Today, I wish to review, as briefly as possible, the causes of this failure that history will certainly associate with all of us and with our Supreme Commander.”