Saturday Snippet

I thought I’d finished writing about Rigi and Co. I thought four books was enough. No. A short-story ambushed me during rehearsal last week. Here’s a tiny tidbit. It does contain two spoilers, so I’ll put it below the fold.

What happened to launch a story-attack was a song. The chorus is singing a choral arrangement of “Ashokan Farewell.” I had always thought this was a folk-song, but it was composed by Jay Unger for Ken Burns’s The Civil War. A few years later words were written for it. Ashokan, New York, was a small town that is now under the Ashokan Reservoir and that is near where the composer has a music camp. In the choral version it is pronounced “Ash OH ken.” It certainly has an American folk-music feel to it, with Southern Harmony/Sacred Harp harmonies in many instrumental versions I’ve heard.

We’ve been battling the notes thus far, and last week was the first time I really had enough brain free to follow the lyrics as well as the notes. Alas. My mind’s eye promptly locked onto a couple dancing to the tune. The couple was Aunt Kay and Uncle Eb. And story ensued.

I couldn’t find an adult choir recording. The lyrics really call for mature voices, not young ones, but that’s purely my opinion. Again, spoiler below the fold.

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What Alma is Reading 9/17

Reading weather has arrived in the High Plains: cool, grey, raining enough to dissuade me from going out and strolling in the cool, grey weather. Yes, I’m writing, but this is the sort of day—week—to settle down in a good chair with your hot beverage of choice and one or more good books. Continue reading

Just War Theory and the Baltic Crusades

Huge Disclaimer – I am not a scholar of Just War theory, nor one of medieval philosophy and warfare. This is information I compiled in order to teach a lesson on the Baltic Crusades.

In 1147, March saw a gathering of the nobles of the Holy Roman Empire in Frankfurt. This was both for the Easter feast, and because the Pope had sent a messenger calling the nobles to a second crusade in the holy land. The nobles were attentive, but not overly enthusiastic for the long journey to the Holy Land. Instead, several of them proposed a closer, but equally urgent, cause. The pagans along the Baltic Shore had threatened Christians in the past, and on at least three occasions had shaken off their conversion, lapsed to paganism, and gone to war. Could His Holiness extend the protections and dispensations granted to those defending Jerusalem from the Seljuks to those defending Christians in the north, and spreading Christianity there? In June, Pope Eugene III agreed, and the Baltic Crusades began. Continue reading

Rain Delay in Progress

Actually, translating some material and trying to summarize changes in Just War Theory between AD 1150 and AD 1415, and grading papers, drained my brain yesterday.

What last night/this morning would have looked like if it had been daytime.

And Athena T. Cat is yowling at the former kitten who is perched on the windowsill looking in.

Leo Lionni’s Frederick

There are a few illustrated children’s books I grew up with that left a very deep mark on me. Tomi di Paola’s books, Ashanti to Zulu about the peoples of Africa, dinosaur and paleontology books, Three Trees of the Samurai, Holling C. Holling’s books, and one called Catundra about an overweight cat and how she slims down.

Leo Lionni’s story Frederick was one of these. The book is fifty years old this year, and is a wonderful story about the importance of Odds in societies. The author was Dutch, and did many children’s books, a lot of them about mice, including Frederick. I discovered it as a audio-tape and read-along book Mom and Dad got at the library. Continue reading