Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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I think we should make a big deal out of it on Monday. I am not watching that docudrama though because I hate anything that mixes fact and fiction.

We have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot, and our whole body is like a five-pointed star. So maybe 5 means something. And it's a long time but not a real long time. It's long enough to know that it's in the past, but recent enough to remember in detail.

I didn't have a TV then so I missed a lot. I felt like the only American who didn't see the towers collapse a thousand times that week. The TV was on in a conference room at work, and I watched as a tower burned for a long time, uneventfully. I went back to work, and then someone told me the building had fallen. I never heard of a building falling.

Everyone left work early in the afternoon. I was on some kind of spiritual mailing list at that time, and messages poured on to the list abut how America deserved the attacks, America is bad. I spent a lot of time arguing with them. I had not realized how many non-traditional Americans hate their own country.

I knew nothing about Bin Laden at that time, or Muslim terrorists organizations. I wasn't too good on Middle East history either. I really learned a lot since then. I wanted to find out if America really is evil and deserved the attacks.

During the past 5 years, my sympathy with liberalism and progressivism has decreased. I do not hate America or think it's evil. Nations are like people -- they have personalities and a mixture of good and bad traits. Their personalities are not easily changed. And like people, nations see themselves as good and their adversaries as bad. And most of them mean well. America definitely means well.

I also can sympathize with the terrorists, although I passionately hate them. I can see where they're coming from, sort of, and still know they're a dangerous invading germ that our immune system has to kill.


It was not only a Tuesday, but also one of the most strikingly beautiful mornings I can remember. The air was clean and fresh, and the sky was so achingly beautifully blue it almost hurt to look at it. I remember thinking, "This is a perfect day!"

I had been up the whole night for some reason, a very rare event, tossing and turning with no idea of why I was so...awake. At 8am, I was on the computer and a friend in DC IMed me that a plane had struck the first tower. I turned on the TV and Imed her back saying, "This is a terrorist attack. Tell your husband to come home." He worked near the Pentagon. And sure enough, it was hit also, though the husband was not near it at the time. The second tower left no illusion that it was not an accident.

I never write about this, but I watched the TV movie version of Flight 93 two nights ago, and I was in tears at the courage of the passengers and crew, and the sorrow of those they called on their cell phones.

May God have mercy on them all.

Ya Haqq!


real --

I also can sympathize with the terrorists, although I passionately hate them. I can see where they're coming from, sort of, and still know they're a dangerous invading germ that our immune system has to kill.

What a pity that more people can't hold both those ideas in mind.

Irving --

Yes, it was a perfect, perfect day. That was a big part of the horror of it. For a long time afterward, days like that made me flinch. (If you go to that link, scroll a short way down to "Thursday, September 12, 2002"; the permalinks aren't working.) Where my husband grew up in Romania, the Transylvanian Saxons had an expression -- "lichtblau himmel kreutzig donnerwetter" -- crisscross lightning out of a clear blue sky.

You seem to have sensed something coming, and I think I did too. An article I'd written about my husband's survival story had hit the newsstand in the October issue of "O: the Oprah Magazine" on Monday the 10th. That was supposed to be a big, good thing for us, for the possibility of making a movie of his story, for instance. That evening I was wondering why I wasn't happier and more excited about it, why I had a dull feeling of fatalistic foreboding instead.

The next morning I was up worrying about a sick cat and I heard the first plane go right over my head. It sounded too low and all wrong and I thought it was a crippled plane about to crash into the city -- a longtime idle fantasy of mine living on flight paths into both LaGuardia and Newark. I waited for the shattering crash, and instead heard this chillingly neat, distant, metallic thud.

I couldn't imagine what it was, but I did not go on the roof to look. I turned on the TV and saw the first burning tower. As we were watching, live, and the bewildered anchorpeople were speculating about what kind of plane it was and whether it was an accident, a jetliner in silhouette flew into the picture, banked steeply and smashed into the second tower! What?? At first I thought I was seeing a replay of the first impact -- then I realized the first tower was still/already burning. I turned to my husband and said, "It's Osama bin Laden." (I can't remember now what I had been reading to know that. I remember knowing that he had declared war on America and had enough money to pull it off.)

Maybe the thing to do, and something many people will be doing, is sharing memories in places like this -- "over the back fence."

Horace Jeffery Hodges

Amba, I've quoted you on my September 11th blog entry. I hope that you don't mind.

Jeffery Hodges

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Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes just expressed the typical leftist slant on 9/11. He said so much of the world hates us, and it's all because of our behavior.

Do they really hate us simply because we mistreat them? Does our strength and prosperity really depend on keeping them weak and poor?

I just haven't seen evidence of that. Of course America makes mistakes, and we're in the middle of a giant mistake right now. But our goal has generally been to spread democracy and prosperity.

I personally think we should leave everyone alone and let them stay poor. If we never told the Muslim countries about their oil, never showed them what to do with it, maybe they would be so busy herding goats they wouldn't have time for devising terrorist plots.

Why does Andy Rooney, and most of the left, assume the hatred is caused by immoral behavior on our part? I think America's behavior has been mostly well-meaning bungling. And what about Israel? How can he forget the central reason for their hatred is our friendship with Israel?

I suspect that leftists over-simplify the situation because they desperately want it to be simple. If world chaos and misery is simply the result of the advanced nations' immoral behavior, well that can be fixed. Just stop being immoral. But if things are impossibly complex, if the worst outcomes often result from the most moral intentions, well maybe the answers won't be found so easily.

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