Archive for June, 2009

Nephews in classy grad suits

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

A couple of years ago my nephew Jeremy had his high school grad.  I thought he looked very sharp in the red and blue duct tape suit his sister had made for him.

This year my nephew Larsson graduated.  I think his suit is as classy as Jeremy’s.  The wig was a nice touch.

Two Nephews in their grad suits

Really important news

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Dramatization of a conversation I’m likely to hear on my way to work in the morning: “I vaguely remember something in the news, something about a lady in a Persian rug store who got shot. I don’t know. But Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died on the same day? I better catch Larry King interviewing their friends and family members. Let’s see, if I don’t see it tonight, I can probably catch the show tomorrow, or Saturday morning, or later that weekend, or any day next week…”

(National Post: Jonathon Narvey: Forget Iran, something important finally happened)

I have been amazed these last couple of days at the amount of media coverage there has been of pop star Michael Jackson’s death.  I thought the above opinion piece in the National Post stated it well …

… The mullahs in Iran must be loving it. Our evening broadcasts were clear proof that the decadent Westerners have the attention span of children. We decry political tyrants, but we knowingly accept and immerse ourselves in silly cults of personality so long as the icons are celebrities….

I would blame the celebrity-obsessed media, but they are only feeding us what we demand.

Lord have mercy.

A moral dilemma

Friday, June 26th, 2009

And then think of ME! It would get all around that Huck Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if I was ever to see anybody from that town again I’d be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame. That’s just the way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he don’t want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as long as he can hide, it ain’t no disgrace. That was my fix exactly. The more I studied about this the more my conscience went to grinding me, and the more wicked and low-down and ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when it hit me all of a sudden that here was the  plain hand of Providence slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the time from up there in heaven,whilst I was stealing a poor old woman’s nigger that hadn’t ever done me no harm, and now was showing me there’s One that’s always on the lookout, and ain’t a-going to allow no such miserable doings to go only just so fur and no further, I most dropped in my tracks I was so scared. Well, I tried the best I could to kinder soften it up somehow for myself by saying I was brung up wicked, and so I warn’t so much to blame; but something inside of me kept saying, “There was the Sunday-school, you could a gone to it; and if you’d a done it they’d a learnt you there that people that acts as I’d been acting about that nigger goes to everlasting fire.”

I recently finished re-reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, that masterpiece of the satirist Mark Twain, for the first time since my boyhood, and the part that affected me the most was Huck’s moral dilemma over helping to free Jim, the runaway slave.  After resolving to change his ways, straighten up and turn in Jim,  and even going so far as to write a note to the owner betraying the runaway’s location,

I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

“All right, then, I’ll go to hell” — and tore it up.

Of course in retrospect it’s easy to say that Huck made the right moral choice, that slavery was wrong, and that the society that taught its children otherwise was not following Christian biblical teaching on equality.

But I can’t help but wonder what choice I’d have made if I were in Huck’s place in that society.

Graduated and gone

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I know it’s kind of lame to take almost a week to mention it in this space, but yes, Charlotte did graduate last Friday.  Here are a couple of pictures.

Then on Saturday, she flew to England to join her brother Luke on the Isles of Scilly.  They’ll both be working there for at least the summer.  Their plans for winter 2009-2010 are flexible – maybe somewhere else in Europe, maybe another part of England …

Oh to be young again.

It’s different around here, but I’m sure we’ll get used to having an average-sized family.

Genealogy – a good start

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I think most people have some curiosity about their family history.  However most of us, including myself, are reluctant or unable to spend a lot of time researching previous generations.

So I really appreciate coming across people like my 4th Cousin Terry, of the St. Louis area of Missouri.

Terry is the most dedicated (fanatical?) genealogist that I have ever met.  I first bumped into Terry a couple of years ago when a random Google search turned up a reference to my father, Clifford.  I emailed the website’s contact person, volunteering some extra information such as Dad’s death date and more.  Terry emailed back with reams of interesting information, including the fact that he had spent time in the Rindal area of Norway where he had visited some relatives that I’d met on my 1984 trip and subsequently.  Since then we have from time to time emailed back and forth, and this week the time was right for Terry and his wife Barbara to visit our area, timing it to coincide with a visit to my Shell Lake relatives from Norwegian relatives  Jon, Liv and Gunnvor.

I now have a new genealogy software package installed on my computer, and have imported Terry’s GEDCOM, containing data on my family tree back to the early 1600s.  If I were starting from scratch, I would need to devote countless days to accumulate the data that I’m starting out with.  I don’t expect to do a lot of original genealogical research until I’m retired, but I hope to find some time for it.

On a personal note, it was fun getting acquainted with Terry and Barb these last few days.  Here are a couple of pics.

Supper with Terry and Barb

Supper with Terry and Barb at the Yellow Fender Eatery, Christopher Lake

Gunnvor, Barb, Janet, Jon, Terry, Liv

Gunnvor, Barb, Janet, Jon, Terry, Liv

Fufu

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Gerard cooked supper tonight.  It was delicious, including pork ribs in a tomato/cabbage sauce, plantain, and fufu.

Eating with my fingers involves some guilt over violation of hard-earned rules of etiquette, but I’m told that it’s the proper way to eat fufu, so I won’t argue.

Garage sale

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Garage sale.  Tomorrow.  Our place.  Excited?  No.