“Happy Birthday” to my Aunt Jan in Ohio. She’s shown between her two older brothers in the photo below taken a couple of years ago at my dad’s 70th birthday bash:
Incidentally, all of the above are born in the same month — November — as is my husband and my daughter-in-law. I’ve blogged about this before. Here’s a photo from their early days (circa 1953):
I have many fond memories of my Aunt Jan. I remembering spending a summer or part of a summer with my grandparents (her mother and father) in St. Paul, Minnesota, when I was about six (circa 1970) and Jan was still in college (she was probably about 20). Continue reading “Happy Birthday Aunt Jan and C.S. Lewis!”
For the first time in years, Terry and I were not hosting Thanksgiving nor were we dashing 500 plus miles south to North Texas to join our children for the holiday. Our daughter has moved to the northwest and is no longer within easy driving distance. Our son and daughter-in-law had hoped to drive up north from Texas to join us, but the weather was uncertain so they spent yesterday with close friends near them. I phoned my dad on Wednesday night and told him Terry and I were going to take it easy on Thanksgiving day and not have any set schedule. I did promise him one of the two pumpkin pies I planned to make (the recipe makes two pies and Terry and I will not need to eat both of them). The sticky buns, on the other hand, would not survive to be shared. I urged him to spend Thanksgiving with his step-daughter’s family.
British bestselling author Damien Lewis is an award-winning journalist who has spent twenty years reporting from war, disaster, and conflict zones. Now Lewis brings his first-rate narrative skills to bear on the inspiriting tale of Judy–an English pointer who perhaps was the only canine prisoner of war.
After being bombed and shipwrecked repeatedly while serving for several wild and war-torn years as a mascot of the World War II Royal Navy Yangtze river gunboats the Gnat and the Grasshopper, Judy ended up in Japanese prisoner of war camps in North Sumatra. Along with locals as slave labor, the American, Australian, and British POWs were forced to build a 1,200-mile single-track railroad through the most horrifying jungles and treacherous mountain passes. Like the one immortalized in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai, this was the other death-railroad building project where POWs slaved under subhuman conditions.
In the midst of this living hell was a beautiful and regal-looking liver and white English pointer named Judy. Whether she was scavenging food to help feed the starving inmates of a hellish Japanese POW camp, or by her presence alone bringing inspiration and hope to men, she was cherished and adored by the Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her.
Judy’s uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. More than a close companion she shared in both the men’s tragedies and joys. It was in recognition of the extraordinary friendship and protection she offered amidst the unforgiving and savage environment of a Japanese prison camp in Indonesia that she gained her formal status as a POW. From the author of The Dog Who Could Fly and the co-author of Sergeant Rex and It’s All About Treo comes one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.
Quotable excerpt from middle of Modesitt’s blog posting:
The consequences of such absolutist beliefs have always been deadly, and usually terrifying, and that hasn’t changed, either. That was a lesson the Founding Fathers understood, and understood well. Because they didn’t want an absolutist government, they did their best to come up with a system that required a certain amount of compromise to work.
Well… now no one wants to compromise, and guess what… the system doesn’t work. What about that, exactly, is so hard to understand?
But I will have to part ways with some of his thinking, at least as he sums it up in the last paragraph. I do agree that driving at high speeds, while drinking, texting, sleepy, distracted, etc. is a very bad thing, and in most of the United States is illegal, I can’t agree with his stance on guns. A gun is a tool and won’t fire itself. Any harm done by a gun (or any other weapon or bomb or poison or … you get the picture) falls clearly on the person wielding said weapon.
I attended the first book discussion (a second one is scheduled in January) on the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien this past Wednesday night. Please see my previous post about the kick off of the Big Read earlier this month. As is my wont when I attend discussions like this, I record the proceedings so I can concentrate on the lecture and discussion fully. I used to scribble notes constantly, but besides giving me a cramp, it also prevented me from participating and enjoying the experience. I contacted both Terri and Professor Prasch to gain their permission to include the recording and my transcription of the first third of the evening.
A bit about the transcription process: Earlier in my life (say a couple of decades ago), I spent years as a legal secretary. Because I typed so fast, I inherited the most prolific attorneys in whatever office I happened to be employed at. I got to a point where I could literally type faster than most people could talk and I actually increased the speed of my transcription equipment to save time. Those days are long gone, but I still maintain a modicum of my once magical ability to race through a tape. This transcription is mostly verbatim, but I have taken the liberty to clean up some of the structure of the professor’s remarks. Professors and attorneys are very articulate when they speak, so please rest assured I only glossed over the occasional ‘um’ or ‘you know’ or ‘right? ‘ and other such phrases that all of us fall into when we are thinking and talking extemporaneously. For completeness sake, I will include the original audio files if you prefer to listen rather than peruse the transcribed content.
Couple of good excerpts from Modesitt’s latest blog item (link above):
According to poll after poll, around 90% of all Americans are displeased, if not furious, with the American Congress. Yet in the last election, over 96% of all incumbents were re-elected. A little bit of cognitive dissonance there?
As I’ve noted more than a few times, all too many businesses seem unable or unwilling to integrate data and events that indicate that the insistence on higher short-term profits puts them on a long-term course for disaster and lower profits. GM’s faulty starter switch was a perfect example. Saving less than a dollar a car by installing substandard switches in roughly 30 million cars for more than ten years “saved” GM something like $30 million. GM has already paid the National Highway Transportation Board more than $35 million in fines and faces more than one billion dollars in costs, not including additional lawsuits by almost a thousand claimants.
Posted from WordPress for Android via my Samsung smartphone. Please excuse any misspellings. Ciao, Jon