Mr. Sam Weller
The Pickwick Portfolio
In this issue:
- “The International Committee of the Red Cross” by Nathaniel Winkle
- “Thoughts about Fall” by Sam Weller
- Quotes to Note – compiled by Augustus Snodgrass and Sam Weller..
- Note-able Composers – “Josef Strauss” by Tracy Tupman
- Kitchen Korner – “Deep-Fried Chocolate Bar” contributed by Augustus Snodgrass
- Nonsensical Notions – “A Humorous, Short Story” contributed by Sam Weller
- “Jokes” compiled by Sam Weller
- Story Time – “The Garden Party – Part III” by Katherine Mansfield, contributed by Theodore Winstint
- Poet’s Corner – “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802” by William Wordsworth, contributed by Tracy Tupman
- “It’s September!” by Edgar Albert Guest, contributed by Tracy Tupman
This paper is part of a club called “The Pickwick Club.” The Pickwick Portfolio, as this paper is called, is designed for the good of the readers. Its purpose is to serve as a paper of news, entertainment, and fun. Please take note of our continuing series, “The Garden Party,” a short story by Katherine Mansfield and contributed by Theodore Winsint, which we have divided into five parts over five issues. Our other series, “Under the Greenwood Tree,” fan fiction by Sam Weller, based on Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, is paused for this issue. Also, our two poems have been specially selected for this September issue. The first one, “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802,” by William Wordsworth, is a beautiful, old poem “… describing London and the River Thames, viewed from Westminster Bridge, in the early morning…”, as put by Wikipedia. The other poem, “It’s September!”, by Edgar Albert Guest, describes the beauty in nature of September. Additionally, we have a paragraph on Sam Weller’s thoughts about fall, and several of the quotes are also about fall and autumn. Enjoy, and I wish everyone a successful start to the new school year!
READ, LAUGH, ENJOY!
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS
by Nathaniel Winkle
The ICRC seeks to provide humanitarian relief amidst war and conflict to both armies and civilians. The Red Cross was founded by a Swiss man named Henri Dunant who cared for wounded soldiers during the battle of Solferino in 1859; afterwards he wrote a book on his experience, titled “A memory of Solferino.” Dunant then took action to persuade politicians to do more to help war victims, as well as sending them a copy of his book. A few years later Dunant founded the “Committee of Five,” whose role it was to see how Dunant’s ideas could be implemented; a few days later, the committee was renamed “International Committee for Relief to the Wounded.” The committee was held in Geneva, Switzerland, and sought to find ways to get better medical care for soldiers on the battlefield, and in 1876, the name was changed to “The International Committee of the Red Cross.” Henri Dunant was deeply affected by what he witnessed during the battle of Solferino and sought change from politicians as well as taking action himself by forming a committee to come up with and implement ideas to give both sides of conflict better medical assistance.
The ICRC operates in over eighty countries, providing humanitarian services and acting as a neutral conciliator between the warring parties. Their mission is to help and protect civilians caught in conflicts, prisoners of war, and members of the armed forces, and has also expanded to addressing sexual violence, fighting for health care, and providing water and shelter. ICRC is run on voluntary donations funded mostly by Switzerland, the U.S., and the E.U. The Committee (also known as “The Assembly”) meets regularly to talk about how things are going, where improvement is needed, guidelines, strategies, and financial matters. The ICRC has over eleven thousand employees deployed in over eighty countries, as well as many volunteers, though ICRC has been striving to send more trained staff, but being an employee for the Red Cross is a hard and demanding job, and fifteen percent of their staff leave each year. The ICRC can be contacted through their website, which has their headquarters address, worldwide stations, and fax and telephone number. The Red Cross is a key organization in providing medical services to those who need it the most, including the armed forces, prisoners of war, and the millions of civilians caught up in these conflicts.
It was first during WW1 that the Red Cross expanded to help prisoners of war, as well as civilians, in addition to soldiers. During WW1, the Red Cross was actively monitoring warring parties and issuing complaints when standards were not held up, and when chemical weapons were used for the first time, the ICRC vehemently protested against the use of this kind of weapon. After WW1, the ICRC received the Nobel Peace Prize for their outstanding efforts. The Red Cross also helped to establish better treatment for POWs (prisoner of war) during the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia. During WW2, ICRC did many of the things that they had done during WW1, assisting civilians, the armed forces, and POWs; however, they did not respond to the reliable information about the concentration camps and the mass killings going on inside of them; this is still considered the ICRC’s biggest fault in history. The ICRC was active during the Cold War and the Rwandan Genocide; after the Cold War, the Red Cross’s work became more dangerous, and among the fatalities was a Canadian Logistics coordinator, Vatche Arslanian, who was driving through Baghdad in 2001 with some members of the Iraqi Crescent when they were accidently caught in crossfire. The ICRC has since publicly apologized to the survivors of the holocaust and has sought to learn from their mistakes, as well as to continue to do what they can to help those affected by warfare.
Note: Bibliography (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Committee_of_the_Red_Cross, www.icrc.org, www.ifrc.org)
THOUGHTS ABOUT FALL
by Sam Weller
I love fall. Fall means new school supplies, books, pens, pencils, galore! It means a warm quilt on my bed. It means lots of books and lots of tea, while the elements wage war. It means bright fires and movie nights with family. It means chunky knight sweaters and fuzzy socks. It means tall boots and scarves and jackets. It means the leaves change color, and the world seems to curl up and get comfortable before winter. Yes, sometimes it seems like the dark nights and dark mornings will stay forever; it feels like the White Lady will hold us for a hundred years again, but then there is warmth and love and books and all good things. Then there is family and friends. Then there are those nights where you dance past midnight with your friends... Those times where the cold doesn’t matter, because you are warm.
QUOTES TO NOTE
compiled by Augustus Snodgrass and Sam Weller
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” – Mark Twain
“All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.” – Orison Swett Marden
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” – Winston Churchill
“Good questions outrank easy answers.” – Paul Samuelson
“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost.” – Charles Caleb Colton
“If the world seems too cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.” – Lucy Larcom
“Autumn...the year’s last, loveliest smile.” – William Cullen Bryant
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” – Jim Bishop
“There is a harmony in autumn, and a lustre in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!” – Percy Bysshe Shelley
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.” – Andrew Wyeth
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence
“Designers want me to dress like Spring, in billowing things. I don't feel like Spring. I feel like a warm red Autumn.” – Marilyn Monroe
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Note: Quotes from various websites
by Tracy Tupman
Josef Strauss was a brilliant composer born in 1827 in Vienna, Austria, and was the second of three brothers in a highly musical family. Though he eventually became a composer, he received formal training as an engineer and, before pursuing a career in music, worked for the city of Vienna as an engineer and designer. In fact, he even designed a horse-drawn street-sweeper, the predecessor for the street-sweepers use today! In addition, he highly enjoyed painting and art, drama, singing, and poetry. In short, he was a man of many interests, whose talents and creativity covered a broad spectrum. His older brother Johann Strauss, who wrote the famous, enduring “Blue Danube Waltz,” once said of his brother, “(Josef) is the more gifted of us two; I am merely the more popular…”
Josef was forced to take music more seriously when his older brother Johann fell ill, and Josef was compelled to take over the family orchestra. Upon relinquishing the role of conductor to Johann again once he recovered, Josef quit his earlier career altogether to pursue music full-time, like some other members of his family. Apparently, Johann’s illness had provided Josef with the opportunity to discover how much he loved music. Josef became a prolific composer, producing 283 opus works over the course of his lifetime. Mostly, Josef composed light, lovely waltzes, polkas, and other dance music, styles which were profusely popular at the time. Perhaps some of his best works are the “Pizzicato Polka,” which he composed with his older brother, Johann, and the waltz which he gave the fancy name, “The Mysterious Powers of Magnetism (Dynamiden).” The latter makes an unusual but very skilled use of minor keys.
Sadly, Josef was rather sickly for most of his life, frequently experiencing faintness and terrible headaches. After falling unconscious from the conductor’s podium during a tour, he was brought home by his wife, and soon after, on the twenty-second of July, 1870, he died.
Fortunately, though, the legacy he left behind is beautiful and overflows, along with other things, with his marvellous music: sparked with creativity, wonderfully vibrant, and obviously brilliant.
Note: Sources (Wikipedia: Josef Strauss: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Strauss, 52composers.com: http://www.52composers.com/straussfamily.html, The Johann Strauss society: http://www.johann-strauss.org.uk/strauss.php?id=126)
DEEP-FRIED CHOCOLATE BAR
contributed by Augustus Snodgrass
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (Japanese)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 1/4 cups soda water
- 8 (4-ounce) chocolate bars, frozen until solid
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil until it registers 350o F. on a thermometer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together one cup flour, half cup cornstarch, Panko, and baking powder. Whisk in soda water.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine remaining half cup flour and half cup cornstarch. Working with one chocolate bar at a time, dip the chocolate in the batter, then the dry flour mixture, and then dip in batter again. Transfer the battered chocolate bar to the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until evenly golden, four to five minutes. Repeat with the remaining chocolate bars.
- Note: Source (http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/deep-fried-chocolate-bar.html
- A HUMUROUS, SHORT STORY
- contributed by Sam Weller
- “A school teacher injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around his torso. It fit under his shirt and was not noticeable at all. On the first day of the term, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest. He had no trouble with discipline that term.”
- compiled by Sam Weller
- We use a really strong sunblock when we go to the beach with the kids. It’s SPF 80: You squeeze the tube, and a sweater comes out.
- A Scottish mother visits her son in his New York City apartment and asks, “How do you find the Americans, Donald?” “Mother,” says Donald, “they’re such noisy people. One neighbor won’t stop banging his head against the wall, while the other screams and screams all night long.” “Oh, Donald! How do you manage to put up with them?” “What can I do? I just lie in bed quietly, playing my bagpipes.”
- TEXTING ACRONYMS CAN STUMP EVEN THE BEST PARENTS:
- Mom: Your great-aunt just passed away. LOL.
- Son: Why is that funny?
- Mom: It’s not funny, David! What do you mean?
- Son: Mom, LOL means Laughing Out Loud.
- Mom: I thought it meant Lots of Love. I have to call everyone back.
- STORY TIME
- THE GARDEN PARTY – PART III
- by Katherine Mansfield, contributed by Theodore Winstint
- … Perhaps it was extravagant. Just for a moment she had another glimpse of that poor woman and those little children, and the body being carried into the house. But it all seemed blurred, unreal, like a picture in the newspaper. I’ll remember it again after the party’s over, she decided. And somehow that seemed quite the best plan …
- Lunch was over by half-past one. By half-past two they were all ready for the fray. The green-coated band had arrived and was established in a corner of the tennis-court. “My dear!” trilled Kitty Maitland, “aren’t they too like frogs for words? You ought to have arranged them round the pond with the conductor in the middle on a leaf.” Laurie arrived and hailed them on his way to dress. At the sight of him Laura remembered the accident again. She wanted to tell him. If Laurie agreed with the others, then it was bound to be all right. And she followed him into the hall. “Laurie!” “Hallo!” He was half-way upstairs, but when he turned round and saw Laura he suddenly puffed out his cheeks and goggled his eyes at her. “My word, Laura! You do look stunning,” said Laurie. "What an absolutely topping hat!” “Laura said faintly “Is it?” and smiled up at Laurie, and didn’t tell him after all. Soon after that people began coming in streams. The band struck up; the hired waiters ran from the house to the marquee. Wherever you looked there were couples strolling, bending to the flowers, greeting, moving on over the lawn. They were like bright birds that had alighted in the Sheridans’ garden for this one afternoon, on their way to - where? Ah, what happiness it is to be with people who all are happy, to press hands, press cheeks, smile into eyes. “Darling Laura, how well you look!” “What a becoming hat, child!” “Laura, you look quite Spanish. I’ve never seen you look so striking.” And Laura, glowing, answered softly, “Have you had tea? Won't you have an ice? The passion-fruit ices really are rather special.” She ran to her father and begged him. “Daddy darling, can’t the band have something to drink?”And the perfect afternoon slowly ripened, slowly faded, slowly its petals closed. “Never a more delightful garden-party … ” “The greatest success … ” “Quite the most … ” Laura helped her mother with the good-byes. They stood side by side in the porch till it was all over. “All over, all over, thank goodness,” said Mrs. Sheridan. “Round up the others, Laura. Let’s go and have some fresh coffee. I’m exhausted. Yes, it’s been very successful. But oh, these parties, these parties! Why will you children insist on giving parties!” And they all of them sat down in the deserted marquee. “Have a sandwich, daddy dear. I wrote the flag.” “Thanks.” Mr. Sheridan took a bite and the sandwich was gone. He took another. “I suppose you didn’t hear of a beastly accident that happened to-day?” he said. “My dear,” said Mrs. Sheridan, holding up her hand, “we did. It nearly ruined the party. Laura insisted we should put it off.” “Oh, mother!” Laura didn’t want to be teased about it. “It was a horrible affair all the same,” said Mr. Sheridan. “The chap was married too. Lived just below in the lane, and leaves a wife and half a dozen kiddies, so they say.” An awkward little silence fell. Mrs. Sheridan fidgeted with her cup. Really, it was very tactless of father …
- POET’S CORNER
- COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPTEMBER 3, 1802
- by William Wordsworth, contributed by Tracy Tupman
- Earth has not anything to show more fair:
- Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
- A sight so touching in its majesty:
- This City now doth, like a garment, wear
- The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
- Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
- Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
- All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
- Never did sun more beautifully steep
- In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
- Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
- The river glideth at his own sweet will:
- Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
- And all that mighty heart is lying still!
- IT’S SEPTEMBER!
- by Edgar Albert Guest, contributed by Tracy Tupman
- It's September, and the orchards are afire with red and gold,
- And the nights with dew are heavy, and the morning's sharp with cold;
- Now the garden's at its gayest with the salvia blazing red
- And the good old-fashioned asters laughing at us from their bed;
- Once again in shoes and stockings are the children's little feet,
- And the dog now does his snoozing on the bright side of the street.
- It's September, and the cornstalks are as high as they will go,
- And the red cheeks of the apples everywhere begin to show;
- Now the supper's scarcely over ere the darkness settles down
- And the moon looms big and yellow at the edges of the town;
- Oh, it's good to see the children, when their little prayers are said,
- Duck beneath the patchwork covers when they tumble into bed.
- It's September, and a calmness and a sweetness seem to fall
- Over everything that's living, just as though it hears the call
- Of Old Winter, trudging slowly, with his pack of ice and snow,
- In the distance over yonder, and it somehow seems as though
- Every tiny little blossom wants to look its very best
- When the frost shall bite its petals and it droops away to rest.
- It's September! It's the fullness and the ripeness of the year;
- All the work of earth is finished, or the final tasks are near,
- But there is no doleful wailing; every living thing that grows,
- For the end that is approaching wears the finest garb it knows.
- And I pray that I may proudly hold my head up high and smile
- When I come to my September in the golden afterwhile