Nov 12

Party of Three — Second Shot

Note — Recently readers had the chance to invite anybody from history to discuss their life and times and why the reader was interested in that person. Language and time are not problems.

Unfortunately, only a few stalwart readers chose to comment. Maybe others were shy. Maybe some folks didn’t know that commenting was as simple as clicking on the word “Comment” at the bottom of the piece or…maybe they just didn’t want to get involved. Maybe they aren’t reading my blog at all because they believe they have more important fish to fry.

If you want this blog to continue, read, participate, comment (or choose not to).

Surely, you are curious about what Bay will say about a subject. Surely, you have some person in history or your life who fascinates you.

Unless you are just not interested, subscribe to this blog. I promise that by subscribing (“Subscribe” is on the right side of the blog) you’ll get a simple heads-up every time a new piece is posted. No harassment, no advertising, just a quick reminder that a new piece has been posted. That’s all.

You may not be interested in a particular week’s subject. If that’s the case, tune in next week. Tell your friends about this blog. I mix the subjects up and always make an effort to keep it interesting and short enough that it won’t be a slog. I always want you to think. Thinking is what makes us human.

With that preamble, on with the show.

Out of the Pages of Life and History —

Who do you invite and why? The invitees speak your language regardless of where they come from, when they lived and no matter the changes that might have taken place in the world. The people you invite can share thoughts and insights with you or with each other. Your selection tells about your values, so you need to think carefully about the three you invite. No doubt there are many people who might be considered, but you can choose only three. Which three will you choose?

Don’t be afraid; there are no right choices, only your choices. We are all different. Your choices reflect your interests; mine reflect my interests. Remember that fear is the mind-killer.

My Choices and Reasons —

There are tens of thousands interesting people who have lived or are alive today. A few examples are: Socrates, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Lao Tzu, Adolf Hitler, Neil Armstrong, Winston Churchill, Muhammad Ali, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mark Twain, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles Lindberg, Mao Tse-tung, Nelson Mandela, Joan Baez, Satchmo Armstrong, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Warren, Jonas Salk, a relative and many more.

In this second round, here are my three choices and the reasons I chose them.

Socrates — This Greek philosopher who lived in the 5th century BCE is best known for his method of teaching through questions. He believed that it taught his students to think for themselves. His philosophy was so disturbing to the politicians of that period that they condemned him to death. Since I strongly share his belief in getting people to think for themselves, I want to engage in a dialogue with him.

Rudolf Nureyev — This famous Russian ballet dancer and choreographer was renowned for his athleticism and astounding leaps. On the two occasions when I attended his Swan Lake ballet, I was blown away by his power and athleticism. Not only did his defection cause an international sensation, America benefitted from his decision. He died of heart inflamation at the young age 56. I would like to learn how he chose dance, why he left Russia and how that affected him.

Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke — This superbly educated, widely traveled and multi-talented woman lived and wrote during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In her engaging book, “Sweet Swan of Avon”, Shakespearean scholar Robin Williams has presented convincing proof that Mary Sidney wrote the sonnets and plays attributed to William Shakespeare, facts that the men put forth as the author lack. I’d like to discuss the anti-female conventions of the period, how she wrote the material that we attribute to Shakespeare and why the mistaken attribution.

These are my choices for some thought-provoking conversations. You will notice that this time there is a female. Although I readily admit that there are many more outstanding women throughout history, there may be room for some psychologizing there.

Harking back to my opening note, let’s hear about your choices. Don’t hold back. Give us a look into your thinking process.

Weekly Sampler—

Go to the Archives on the right side. Click on March 2017.



Skip to comment form

    • Susan on November 12, 2017 at 17:47

    Don , Are you testing us when you wrote “All of my choices are from the past and there are no females among them”?
    There must be a documentary somewhere about Nureyev that would answer your questions for him.
    I’ll look for it, and get back to you.
    I did read a fabulous biography , ‘Nureyev’, I can recommend to you.
    I did choose my relatives from the past. If I were to choose unrelated strangers ,I might want to talk with a saint and a serial killer just to see if there are any similarities. I mean, we all make mistakes, right? I’d chose one serial killer who had never been found. I’d ask how he/she avoided being caught. Perhaps I’d pick Jesus, (the one we shop to remember), and ask him where his bones are. Then I’d go get them and do some speaking tours.
    For my third choice I definitely would want to speak with someone living on another planet. Ask about space travel vehicles, get new recipes, maybe ask some personal questions about reproductive organs and language.
    And if I might have just one more pick please, I’d chose you ,as a teenager. We’d have a night on the town, maybe Ojai, grab a pizza and some beer and do some karaoke. I’ve never done karaoke, have you?

      • Don Bay on November 13, 2017 at 06:39

      Yep, I noticed that goof almost as soon as this piece was posted and changed it to reflect my choices, one of whom was Mary Sidney, a unique woman. My goof was cut and paste from the earlier piece, not a test. You have sharp eyes.

      Regarding Nureyev, all of the stuff we read is filtered through other people: fans, promoters, detractors, journalists. My choice is to hear it from Nureyev himself.

      You are assuming that there are creatures from another planet who are capable of communicating with us. Fits the rules, and what a mystery!

      As for me as a teenager, I’ll have to think about that one…but it’s an interesting thought.

  1. The last time this topic came round I chose famous, exciting, interesting people from the past for the most part. We make choices sometimes based on where our thoughts are at the moment. Right now I’m thinking about people in my own life, many of whom are dead, and since it may have been many, many years since I spoke with them I’m wondering what our conversation might be now. Yes, if limited I would choose people who have moved the world, some of whom you have listed. But now you have given me a second chance, which implies that there could be many chances, and right now I’m thinking about those from my past.

    There were seven women in my entire life that were of great importance to me, girl friends and wives. Of the seven five are dead, one of the living is my wife Chris and the other living is my first wife Georgia. Since I have knowledge of Georgia from our children I’m not particularly curious, and of course I spend most of every day talking with the love of my life Chris. On this go round I would have conversations with the other five women. How did their lives go, how did their values change after we were no longer connected, how did their lives end, etc. etc.

    I suspect this response will disappoint you, but it’s my choice, and these would be my choices as of this moment.

      • Don Bay on November 13, 2017 at 06:12

      As I said, there are only your choices, there are no wrong choices, so if your choices are the women in your life, then that’s what’s important. Will you approve of their life choices or will you be disappointed? We are all free to make choices, so what’s really important is whether we leave this world better off for our having been here. You will leave the world better off for having been here, so you have succeeded.

    • Dave Meyers on November 12, 2017 at 19:17

    This time I’m going with Amelia Mary Earhart, D. B. Copper, and Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr.
    The first name surely familiar to most, the other two maybe not be. All three have an aviation connection.

    Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. During an attempt to make an around-the-world flight in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Electra, Earhart and her navigator disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Speculation and investigations concerning her last days still baffle researchers today. Her life is a fascinating story and worth reading about.
    D. B. Copper is a media epithet used to attach an identity to the hijacker of a Boeing 727 in Washington, on November 24, 1971. ‘Mr. Copper’ demanded $200,000 and three parachutes and used a brief-case bomb (fake) to leverage his demands. He allowed all the passengers to disembark during a fuel stop, holding a lone stewardess as hostage. He directed the plane to head towards Mexico at a low altitude, with it’s wheels down, and configured for slow flight. With the money in a duffel bag, he jumped from the aircraft through a unique 727 back staircase door opened during flight. Never to be seen again. the story of this daring feat is quite interesting and now part of American folklore as the FBI ceased it’s investigation in 2016.
    Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. is my last pick. He is best known as the pilot who flew the Enola Gay when it dropped Little Boy, the first of two atomic bombs used to end the war with japan. I would love to understand the mind set of the day and to discuss the moral implications of his act. I do not see him as a villain, but I’d love to understand what he must have been battling within himself at the time the bomb was about to be dropped.

    OK…There are my three. Their stories are much too long to recount here, but I find them fascinating.

      • Don Bay on November 13, 2017 at 06:21

      Seems that flight has determined your choices…and mystery. Your choices will allow you to scratch the itch that affects many. You have chosen a disparate group who are famous in completely different ways. As a matter of fact, I’d like to be at your party and listen to what your choices have to say.

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