Sunday, March 17, 2019
Not unexpected, nor a lot to say. Article at the BBC.
I'll miss his songs of enthusiasm, of the early space race days. It was an honor to have seen him play several times however, and at least we still have his recordings. He left an unmatched legacy in founding a genre within rock music. That is something. Hope his family is holding up.
ps: posts on seeing Dale et al play New Orleans in 2012 and 2013.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin tells the story of U.S. Ambassador Dodd's time in Germany during the Nazi regime's mid-30's consolidation of power. Oh, here, just go read the Wikipedia summary of the book. It's not as if you don't already know how this ends so there really can't be any spoilers, and whoever wrote that paragraph distilled things down better than I can.
Now that you're back from that sidebar, the thing that is striking about this book is Larson's portrayal of the atmosphere in Germany, especially Berlin at the time. People there know that bad things are happening, but are unsure as to how bad they are and what should be the proper response. Blame is shifted, questions are deflected by the authorities, and things muddle along toward the cataclysm of World War II. The best that can be said is that at least Dodd and a few others tried to call the bluff. In the end, after being recalled in the late 30's, Dodd expended the last of his strength on an "I tried to tell you so" speaking tour in the U.S. On the whole, it probably did a lot of good, at least as much as one aging college history professor could manage.
The author makes an interesting comment in his closing acknowledgements:
What I did not realize as I ventured into those dark days of Hitler's rule was how much the darkness would infiltrate my own soul.While Larson bore the brunt of this during his deep-dive into the source material while researching for this book, a reader will get a tinge of this darkness too. It's a very good work, but approach with caution if you're in a rough patch of life. Overall though, I highly recommend.
Bonus Link: the author's web page has a few good tidbits and some press blurbs. Again, don't worry about spoilers. You already know how this thing turns out, so go have a look if you're considering this book.
Friday, March 15, 2019
After a brief trip into the Eastern Time zone this week, my phone hasn't changed back to Central. And I use it as a wake-up alarm clock... You can imagine the rest.
This miserable transition week ends soon, but not soon enough.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
At least a few people are talking about restoring some sanity and ending this whole switch-your-clocks-twice-a-year madness. As seen over at the NYT: Springing forward to daylight saving time is obsolete, confusing, and unhealthy critics say If for no other reason than, as mentioned in the article linked at yesterday's post, to avoid the on-average five additional traffic deaths correlated with this idiocy each year.
My take is that there were a lot of bad ideas that came into fashion in the 1910's: personal income tax, eugenics, prohibition, World War I and – minor yet annoying – DST. It's like there was some cultural madness that took hold in that era. It is high time that we reclaim what sanity remains to us and, for a start, simply set our clocks once and leave them there.