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Howdy all. Got in last night. I’m doing wash and sorting mail and books (more of which are coming from Germany via book-rate mail).

The Importance of Hope

Grey.

When I teach the period of Soviet history between Khrushchev’s retirement and 1985 or so, I tend to sum it up as grey. Brezhnev, Andropov, their successors kept watch over a grey country where concrete was the building material of choice, where the snow turned grey in the cities, where conditions slowly grew worse as things went unrepaired or were patched and mended but not really replaced. Individuals fared better, or worse, and had their own stories with color and joy, but as a collective whole? Grey.

Why grey? I’d argue that grey is what is left when hope goes away. Continue reading

Almost Home

Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back on the real computer tomorrow. Right now my brain is saying “Why are you functioning? It’s 0230 vacation time!

 

Because it is 18:30 layover time. And the sun is way up in the sky.

Musings from the Driver’s Seat

How long can a gyre in the middle of the intersection last? A chunk of firewood sat in the middle of the intersection for six months before someone finally stopped and removed it. It sort of swirled around and around, but never moved, like a patch of stagnant water or air. I saw it twice a day for months and the log sat there, despite it being the crossing of a major road and a state highway. Sand joined the log in winter, forming a little pale swirl in the middle of the road, but never went anywhere until early April, when the log and its surrounding detritus disappeared. The debris from a minor wreck have taken their place. Continue reading

The Flat Part of Europe

Quick. When I mention Germany, what kind of landscape comes to mind? Mountains, the big rivers, castles on hills, Neuschwanstein (which falls into “all of the above”). And lots of trees, probably pines, pines on hills, that sort of thing. In other words, Bavaria, the Black Forest, Heidelberg, and similar sites. Actually, more of Germany is rather flat to rolling, while northwestern Germany is pancake flat. In part because it got pancaked by ice, and covered in river sediment after the ice ages ended. It is closer to Holland than to Bavaria in terms of topography, and can be forested, grassy, swampy, or all of the above at once. Continue reading

Quit Changing the Words!

Some days I just want to snarl at someone. Earlier that week, a well-meaning member of the choir asked to change the words of an upcoming anthem because the composer “didn’t quote the text correctly.” That is, if you use only her preferred translation. If you use the King James/Authorized translation, which the composer did, then the lyrics are an exact quote. But she is very sincere, and well-meaning, and no one else was strange enough to look at different translations, and so we all wrote in the “correct” words. Continue reading