13 May 2011


LBJ. The 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was an influential legislator and a controversial president. His signature interests -- the civil rights movement, immigration reform, and the Great Society -- would have provided a legacy of greatness, had he not inherited the Vietnam War, a hopeless quagmire with which his name and reputation became somewhat unfairly identified. Johnson became so despondent over the struggle that on March 31, 1968, he shocked the nation by announcing that he would not seek nor accept his party's nomination for the presidency in that election year.

The perspective of intervening years have helped to undemonize Johnson, and to humanize him. Clues to his character can be found in the rich treasure trove of wit and wisdom he shared. To sample a bit of Johnson's rough-hewn Texas charm, here is a partial collection of LBJ quotes. Enjoy.

PULITZER. The eponymous Pulitzer Prize, established in 1917, is named after Jewish-American publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who sought to encourage and nurture excellence in journalism, literature and music. To be awarded a Pulitzer is lofty recognition, something to which most journalists, writers, and musicians aspire (whether they admit it or not). And the name itself is something of an enigma, in that one hears it pronounced in either of two ways -- as PULL-it-zer, or as PEW-lit-zer. I'm here to set the record straight. Just as the word n-u-c-l-e-a-r is pronounced NEW-clee-ur (not NEW-cue-lar), the prize founder's name is pronounced PULL-it-zer. So there.

PENDULUM WAVES. This is very cool. Click here to view a very brief but seriously amazing video demonstrating "Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dancing together to produce visual traveling waves standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion." I love science !!

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