Category Archives: Look Back In History

Cortez at the Pacific Ocean

One of my all-time favorite poems is John Keats’ “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer,” where he expresses the moment of discovery of something unimagined.

The final image is a simile comparing Keats’ awe with that of Hernando Cortez and his men and how they must have felt when they topped a mountain in Darien (now called Panama) and were the first Europeans to sight the awesome power of the Pacific Ocean.


From ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ – BY JOHN KEATS

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.


JFK Throws Out First Pitch – April 8, 1962

The Atlantic has released a 50-picture trove of photographs of John F. Kennedy, from before and during his presidency. Below is JFK getting ready to throw out the ball to start the American League season on April 8, 1962.
What I find particularly interesting is that on Kennedy’s immediate left is Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen (R-IL) who was, at that time, the Minority Leader in the Senate. Can you imagine, in this day and time, a president and the Senate leader of the opposite party (whether Minority or Majority) choosing to sit together through an entire baseball game?
We have become a fractious and infantile society. I think the greatest influence on our political climate, over the last 20 years, has been the World Wrestling Federation.
President John F. Kennedy opening the American League season at a Washington Senators game, April 8, 1962.

President John F. Kennedy opening the American League season at a Washington Senators game, April 8, 1962.



You can view the entire collection at:

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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Look Back In History


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