Thursday, June 13, 2019

Nice day for a drive in the country

The sign read: Snake River.
I asked a couple standing nearby. "Is this really the Snake River?"
They pointed to the sign and nodded affirmatively.
Nothing among my camera work could ever be compared to that of Ansel Adams, who produced some "nice stuff" of the Snake back in 1942, but just to sort of walk in his footsteps in the foothills of the Teton Mountains of Wyoming is good enough for me.
Who writes history?
Which of these is a true statement?
"History is written by the winners."
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
"We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity."
"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach."
There are variations of all four, of course, and since written words are a relatively new feature in the overall scope of time, no one can know with certainty when the concept of each first was realized. There is some truth in each statement, but not one of them is a universal truth. Thucydides, an Athenian general among the Old Greeks, echoed the first; George Santayana and a host of others have parroted the second; Stephen Hawking is credited with the third; Aldous Huxley wrote the fourth in his, "Collected Essays."
My own idea is that history is written by those interested in writing it .... although I would wager a great deal of money that idea hardly is a new one. As the unknown author of Ecclesiastes noted: "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."
It also is a well-known and often-noted fact that eye-witness testimony frequently is contradictory and not always accurate. Ask three witnesses to an armed robbery what happened and it is not unusual to hear three variations of the event. Ask a soldier what he witnessed during a battle then ask another soldier who was five yards away from the first, and do not be surprised if you hear a different story.
What people see and hear depends usually on what is happening specifically to them and to where their attention generally is focused.
So, one more time? Who writes history?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

This probably is not what you expected today

This post probably is not what you would expect today -- the 75th anniversary of D-Day -- the invasion of Europe at Normandy by Allied Forces during World War II. The photograph on the left is of paratroopers Clarence Ware and Charles Plaudo with hair cut in the "Mohawk" style applying "war paint" to each other's faces, while the photo on the right shows other members of the airborne "pathfinder" unit checking their gear.  The idea for the hair and the paint came from James "Jake" McNiece to honor his Native American heritage.
These photographs were printed in the Stars and Stripes and helped form the legend of  "The Filthy Thirteen," the name given to the 1st Demolition Section of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, of the United States Army, which fought in the European campaign in World War II. A demolition section consisted of thirteen enlisted men, and this particular group acquired its nickname by refusing to bathe during the week in order to use its water ration for cooking game poached from the neighboring manor while stationed in England. Incidentally, the unit was the inspiration for the book and subsequent film, "The Dirty Dozen."
About the activities of The Filthy Thirteen, another member, Jack Agnew, once said, "We weren't murderers or anything, we just didn't do everything we were supposed to do in some ways and did a whole lot more than they wanted us to do in other ways. We were always in trouble." They would have made good, wartime Marines ....
Yep .... this post probably is not what you would expect today .... then again, maybe it is exactly what you did expect -- a flicker of memory and a dose of recognition mingled in the essence of irreverence ....



Thursday, May 30, 2019

Being the old-fashioned sort ....

Being the old-fashioned sort, I decided phooey on the three-day weekend and to make note of Memorial Day on its original and traditional date, which from 1868 when it began as a day to honor and to remember Civil War dead until 1970 was today -- May 30. Along the way, the occasion was extended to honor all war dead and gradually evolved into a time to also remember family and friends who no longer walk the surface of the earth. The United States Congress, rationalizing away actual/factual history, changed the date to the last Monday of May in 1970. Having once upon a time been in the Marine Corps, I also decided to use a photograph taken a few years ago of the national cemetery at Quantico, Virginia. It is a national cemetery for veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Quantico National Cemetery is on land bordering Marine Corps Base Quantico. I spent a few of the toughest, most demanding months of my life at Quantico back in the day. As a side note, there are seven memorials at this cemetery. A monument to Colonel Merritt "Red Mike" Edson's Raiders was the first memorial established there. It is dedicated to the 800 members of the First Marine Raider Battalion, which from August 1942 to October 1943, played a major role helping American forces push back Japanese troops. This is actual/factual history.
If you only watch one of the videos, make it the last one. It will leave you with absolutely no misunderstandings about any so-called glory of war.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine

                                                               Images courtesy American Swedish Institute
The most negative element about concerts (for me, anyway) is that they almost always are a singular event -- a certain day, a certain time, a certain place -- which means you must adjust your schedule and your time if you want to attend. The best thing about an exhibition (for me, anyway) is that there is a period of time -- usually at least days and sometimes months -- in which the individual (in this case me) can pick his own day and time to attend. Unfortunately an exhibition most often stays in one place and the individual must go to it rather than it come to him -- but, we cannot have everything the way we want it .... right?
Trying to avoid creating another dispute (there are so many divides these days: abortion, race relations, gender argument, on and on ad infinitum) as an individual primarily of Norwegian descent, I will cross the line which sometimes exists to promote and to attend a Swedish Viking exhibition which began last week and continues through October 27. It is under way at the Swedish American Institute in Minneapolis.
Straight from a press release: The exhibition is a collection of Viking paraphernalia that has never been outside of Scandinavia until this year. Many items in it are around 1400 years old, with Viking helmets, swords and weapons for attack and defense, as well as jewelry, glass vessels, bowls and other objects with magical importance. The relics tell stories both about the society and the people buried with them.
The exhibits are divided into thematic sections on Viking warfare, maritime trade, a ship burial, Norse gods, the Baltic Sea and geo-political relationships to other cultures. New light is shed on how early Viking society was organized, the role of women and the development of maritime innovation that enabled the Vikings to reach faraway lands in the East and the West.
I might add it is beginning to look doubtful that I will be able to produce a post this month about Ole and his Boat as I said I would. I have not even begun a reread of the novel, "The Boat of Longing." I continuously am getting sidetracked, mostly by other books, for instance one I was unaware of until a few days ago by H.G. Wells entitled, "Things to Come." It was written by Wells as his vision/predictions about the future between 1933 and 2106. Some hits; some misses. I am tempted to write a post about the book while it still is fresh in my memory, and probably will do just that.
By the way, this is another post which will be visible to any and to all for two days only before it seeks temporary shelter behind the curtains:
Time flies whether you are having fun or not ....

Saturday, May 11, 2019

"Here's to the future for the dreams of youth"

Sorry .... sometimes pride interferes with plans ....
Progeny: LMV

2016 / Bachelor of Science / South Dakota State University /

2019 / Master of Science / University of Nebraska /
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

Next stop: Idaho State University / Ph.D. program /
Licensed Practicing Counselor
Her brother, incidentally, has bachelor's and master's degrees in environmental engineering ....

Something special ....