Travels with the iLeash: A Meditation on Communication

This past June was the first time I have gone to Europe with an iLeash (smart phone). It would have been better if I’d left it at home. Not because of cost, since my carrier is DeutscheTelekom, so there are no roaming or other fees aside from the usual data cap type stuff, and that includes calls from there to the US and vice versa. Although the wrong number that called from Pittsburg PA at 0200 German Daylight Time probably wondered what the h-ll happened, since I answered in German. No, it’s because of internet. Continue reading

That Didn’t Take Long

http://www.hcn.org/articles/opinion-tribes-the-forgotten-history-of-racial-oppression-against-native-americans

“Take Down Monuments to Native American Oppression” states the opinion essay by Julian Brave NoiseCat (Secwepemc/St’at’imc) in the High Country Journal. The author argues that once Lee, Jackson, Forrest and other statues are gone, streets re-named, schools re-named, and the human face and valor of those who fought for the Confederacy or who owned slaves have all been eradicated, it is time for Columbus, Father Serra,* Juan OƱate, and others to vanish as well, lest any honor be given to the perpetrators of genocide, slavery, and racism. Continue reading

Disappointed, not Surprised: Doctor Who and the BBC

So it was announced that the Doctor, the humanoid alien main character of the TV series Doctor Who, will be played by a woman beginning next season. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40624288

I’m a little disappointed, not in the BBC’s choice of people to play the role, but in their apparently bowing to pressure to have the character change sexes. I am also not surprised in the least, because the last two times the Time Lord regenerated, activist fans demanded that the character be played either by a minority man or by a woman. One person said she was disappointed when the current actor was cast, because the BBC “missed an opportunity” et cetera et cetera. And that’s what irks me about the decision. Continue reading

And Then some Gods Snuck In

The book about Tycho the trader was supposed to be straight fantasy, very simple magical system. Nothing deep, no scientific underpinnings, just some basic rules that everyone understands and we go from there.

My Muse struck again. Some gods showed up. And they are demanding a bigger part. I should have known I couldn’t get away without religion. Continue reading

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

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

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