What’s a Hansa Anyway?

If you drive around (mostly) Germany and the Low Countries, you  see a German (D) license plates with HH on them, and a sticker with a white castle on red.

Like this. Or some sport a custom oval (HH).

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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

Overheard in the Halls: Part Six

Angry Student: Why is it doing that?

Mr. Long-Slavic-Last Name: Because it hates you.

A.S.: Mutter mutter, snarl.

Mr. L-S-L-N: What are you doing in the workroom, pray tell?  [Students are verboten in the workrooms without an adult present. Their adult]

A.S.: Trying to make a copy for Fr. Martinez.

Mr. L-S-L-N: There’s the problem. It knows you are a student and it rejects your imposition on its nap.

A.S. [deflated]: Oh.

The problem with the student’s effort was that A.S. did not have the pass code for the teacher in order to make a copy, and should have gone to She-Who-Knows-All, the school secretary, to have a copy made. Thus the printer’s refusal to function. You can’t skip any steps when dealing with the Printing Gods. Continue reading

Poof! There it Was

I’d taken advantage of the low overcast, brisk, cool wind and time off to indulge in a stroll at noon. Yes, I still wore a hat, dark glasses, and long sleeves. The hawks had been playing, the swallows swooping, and a mockingbird was harassing all and sundry. Two large vans full of preschoolers from one of the churches had taken over the park, generating much noise and stirring up lots of bugs from the grass, to the delight of the birds around. And someone had walked a dog with “digestive distress” and had not bothered to clean the sidewalk. Continue reading

Sunrise Mountains

It is not unusual, especially in spring and early summer, to see mountains on the eastern horizon at sunrise. This is not a mirage, nor is it due to my lack of caffeine while walking at a quarter before sunrise. It has everything to do with Panhandle weather, and when our monsoon-season storms come through. Continue reading