Meditations on a Cold Saturday
Posted 4 Weeks Ago
Ah, a snowy Saturday. Determined for once to think my own thoughts, and get a rest from the stresses of moving, and winter, and whatnot, I've been rabbit chasing all afternoon. I won't bore you with the links in the daisy chain, but here are a few titbits I've gleaned that you might enjoy:
- None of this modern religious music can hold a cnadle to a simple song, lyrics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
(I know, I was trying to get ready for choir practice, and I used 'Von guten Maechten' as a mental palate cleanser.) Roughly translated, Bonhoeffer's song's chorus goes, 'Wonderfully surrounded by good powers, we await, comforted, whatever may happen. God is with us, night and morning, and certainly on each new day.' He should know - he wrote that from a Nazi prison, so there. Hitler only outlived him by about three weeks.
- Speaking of Bonhoeffer, which I was, here's a great poem inspired by him, but written by WH Auden:
That poem makes me laugh in all the right places. It might make your head hurt, but in a good way, I think.
- Auden, of course, was the great poet who got fired by Dale Wasserman as lyricist for 'Man of La Mancha'. This is because you can't SING stuff like that.
Think about it. Would you rather sing:
'Once the voice has quietly spoken, every knight
Must ride alone
On the quest appointed him into the unknown.'
'...that one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars...'?
I rest my case. Come to think of it, that song pretty much describes Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
- Bonhoeffer dodged the draft by joining the Abwehr. O-kay...that kind of sounds odd. Kind of like avoiding going to Vietnam by joining the CIA. Of course, the CIA probably doesn't usually hire theologians, anyway. Of course, it was 1944 before Hitler found out the Abwehr's main objective WASN'T to defeat the Allies. It was to kill Hitler. (They weren't very good at it, unfortunately.) When Hitler read Admiral Canaris' diary (You're head of a secret service. You keep a diary? And it's not in unbreakable CODE? I'm speechless. Couldn't you score a spare Enigma machine, Herr Admiral?), the Fuehrer apparently had a conniption fit.
- Two days after Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer went on the radio and made a very good pun about their Fearless Leader. He said Germans had better watch out: the Fuehrer might become a Verfuehrer. Get a German to explain this to you...
Oh, and Bonhoeffer's broadcast was cut off in mid-sentence. I guess Goebbels was listening.
- On the memorial to those executed in Flossenburg, including Bonhoeffer and Canaris, is inscribed 2 Timothy 1:7, 'For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.' I always liked that verse, for personal reasons. You know, if everyone around you is worried you might not be too tightly wrapped, you appreciate the offer of 'a sound mind' from a spiritual quarter. 'Von guten Maechten wunderbar geborgen,' indeed...
Yawn. I really ought to move. It's cold outside, and I'd better check on the snow situation...
May the invisible spirit that guided Bonhoeffer be with you all, in saecula saeculorum.
Intellectual Joke Break
Posted 4 Weeks Ago
What else is there to do while waiting for an email, all alone in the house on a snowy March day?
Why, watch 'Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life' again, naturally. I thought I'd share the link in case it hit the spot for you, too.
'Doctor Who' fans, take note: this award-winning (and hilarious) film won awards for its writer/director, the 12th Doctor, Mr Peter Capaldi. Which explains why BBC Scotland was involved in strange German Expressionism.
Somehow, I can envision The Doctor writing this. Poor Franz, imagining Gregor waking up as a banana, a kangaroo, etc,...could you hear Tom Baker narrating this? Or David Tennant? I could.
If you've seen it before, take a few minutes to watch it again. Ken Stott is wonderfully menacing as the knife sharpener with the pet cockroach, too. He pulls off those mood swings.
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTMHUIN6ciM
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUDD7j8p9RE
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eccLAZvTpk
I'm sure my email will arrive soon, and I'll get back to work. But that was a refreshing imagination break.
Life in the Snowy Boondocks
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
This is a beautiful little town. Think Mayberry. It would be even more beautiful, in my humble opinion, were it not currently buried under several FEET of snow.
More of which fell this morning - though, thankfully, only about an inch. A light dusting, here.
You know that sense of awed wonder you feel as a child when it snows? This disappears quickly when the sight of snowflakes means one thing: snow shovels in your future.
My greatniece and greatnephew thought the best feature of this house was that we had...wait for it...
A Harry Potter closet. We decided to keep our extra wands and magick books in it.
The worst feature? Upstairs rooms with low ceilings. Elektra can put her hand on them. Our box springs wouldn't go up the stairs... however, the house warms up easily. These people obviously built on the model of Rekjavik: snug and small.
Elektra's convinced they were Scandinavians. Some of the kitchen cupboards are too high, even for her to reach. I see ladders in our future...
So, greetings from the snowy forests of Penn's Woods. I hope the rest of you are all snug.
A Word from DG
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
Just a quick note to let you know that we've arrived and are online.
I'm typing this from the northern Appalachians. In other words, we are still hillbillies, only with slightly different accents.
The view from my window showeth sun, gleaming on snow. LOTS of snow...
As Mr Micawber said, 'In short, we have arrived.'
Personal Smiley Request
Posted Feb 5, 2015
Certain internet behaviour kind of reminds me of the hobo I ran across in Cologne back in the 80s. He used to ride the trolley occasionally. This particular hobo was very colourful - he wore a hat with a garland of plastic roses. Otherwise, he was like Red Skelton's Freddy the Freeloader, only with a Koelsch accent.
One day, the guy climbed onto the trolley, turned to the other passengers, and announced solemnly:
'I suppose you're all wondering why I called you here today...'
Getting rid of the 'bo was not easy, even though he hadn't paid the fare. You see, in Germany - at least, back then - riding on public transport was on the honour system. You bought a ticket, or you 'rode black'. Riding black was gambling: if a random inspector showed up, and you had no ticket, the fine was 20 marks. I thought this was an elegant system.
Again, it sort of reminds me of the internet - you know, ugc sites like ours, where we get lazy bums - sorry, less involved users - riding along...unfortunately, we don't have any ticket inspectors...
Nah, that's not fair. After all, this site has tens of thousands of uninvolved readers. We cast our bread upon the waters here...come one, come all.
But just generally, on all websites with fora and chat threads like the 'Atlantic Monthly' one I read yesterday, where the nuts kept derailing a serious historical discussion...don't you get tired of the trolls with the plastic roses on their hats?
I suggest a smiley type with an audio component. The animated smiley should should display Miss Sweety Poo from the Ig Nobel Prizegiving ceremonies, an eight-year-old girl with pigtails. She should be declaiming loudly:
If it shuts scientists up, theoretically, it should work on internet bores.