Monday, October 20, 2014

Sometimes you NEED a squirrel. So here's some Greg's Giggles......

LADIES ‘n’ GERMS, Mr. Greg Schankin!

* What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon? A fund raiser.

* Obama shocked the nation over the weekend when he proposed that we replace The Star Spangled Banner with something more contemporary. Apparently, R.E.M’s ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It’ is currently the leading contender.

* They say a lot of people walked out when the President started talking in Baltimore yesterday. Not surprising. Here's how Obama stacks up these days popularity wise. Obama is at 33 percent positive. Mitt Romney is at 43 percent positive, a big bounce back. And the Ebola virus is holding steady at 0.00%.

* A new study found that 16 percent of Americans under the age of 24 don’t have a job. There’s even a name for that group: Art History majors.

* Dutch scientists say they're continuing research into making artificial meat from stem cells, and in about eight months they'll have a complete hamburger patty. When I first heard this, I was shocked. There are Dutch scientists? It's got to be uncomfortable working in a lab with those giant wooden shoes on.

* This weekend I found out that Taco Bell came out with a taco that's wrapped in a Doritos shell. If for some reason that doesn't sound appealing to you, you're not stoned right now.

* On Friday, President Obama spent the night at his home in Chicago for the first time in over a year. It was nice — he even went down to the basement and dusted off some old campaign promises. That’s right, Obama spent the night at his home in Chicago. Of course it got awkward when he left and his housekeeper was like, "So, see you after the election?"

* Forget the Mayans. According to NASA, the world will not come to an end for another 4 billion years — or about the same time your 401(k) comes back.

* The CDC’s press conference on Ebola had its agenda changed at the last minute this morning. The subject was changed to the life cycle of squirrels.

* The Secret Service just sent out a memo reminding President Obama's security detail that they shall not take drugs, get drunk on duty, or hire hookers. If the agents have to engage in such misbehavior, they shouldn't be in the Secret Service. They should be members of Obama's cabinet instead.

* I heard that Al Gore and Tipper got a divorce. They apparently experienced global cooling.

* I’m officially sick of superhero movies. I feel the same about inspirational posters with kitties hanging onto things.

* The Chinese economy has shown signs of slowing down. Experts say that’s what happens when your workforce starts to enter its teens.

* Saw something on Netflix over the weekend. It's "Snow White and the Huntsman." Charlize Theron is the evil queen. She's willing to commit murder just to keep a more youthful appearance. They have a name for that type of person in Los Angeles. It's called everyone.

* President Obama gave the commencement speech at Barnard College the other day. He told graduates their future is bright unless they want jobs.

* Al Gore has a new girlfriend. Apparently, it's getting pretty serious. He's already been over to bore her parents.

Thththththtat’s all, fffffolks!

Plague(?) Diary, Entry 0007: Smart Kid


"Yes son?"

"I noticed something about your blog."

"What's that?"

"Your quote columns have three digits for the chapter numbers."


"Your Plague Diary entries have four digits."


"If you need more digits, do you think that that series will last longer?"


"'You are perceptivo, Court Composer.'"

^^^actual conversation Saturday afternoon


This just in:

Jonathan Last, who is even more, um, concerned about this than I am.

Smart man.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!
Martha A. Kent:
The Arc of a Life

Today would be my Mother's 92nd Birthday.
I first ran this post after my Mom's death in June 2010. It remains one of this blog's most popular postings; I still get at least three hits a day on it. Happy Birthday Day, Mama. You are missed.

It is short. Simple. And will take up but a few column inches in the newspaper.

But it means the world.

Martha Ann Kent
News Death Notice

KENT, Martha Ann formerly of Detroit, MI, Minneapolis, MN and Miamisburg, OH, passed away on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at Sycamore Glen Health Center. Martha was born on October 19, 1922 in Detroit Michigan to the late Frank and Loretta (Dueweke) Remski. In addition to her parents, Martha is preceded in death by her husband, Major William J. Kent and by her sister, Jane DeCosmo. Survivors include her children, William Kent Jr. (Gayle Gyure), Mark Kent, Gerald Kent (Christine), Raphaelle Tamura (Michael), Cecilia Wendler (Tom Johnson), Brian Kent (Linda), John Kent (Susan), Richard Kent (Patricia), Eileen Kent (Ed Stevens); her grandchildren, Thomas, Caroline, Mario, Nicholas, Gregory, Zachary, Andrew, Stephen, Daniel, Jennifer, Abigail, William, Paul and Philip; her brothers and sisters, Helen Cassidy, John Remski (Therese), Mary Rose Carey, Pauline LeTarte (Edward), William Remski (Florence), Frank Remski (Helen), Richard Remski (Julianne), David Remski (Jill) and other loving relatives and friends. Martha attended Marygrove College in Detroit. Before opening her own video production company, Kent Creative Communications, she was a communications and video executive at J.L. Hudson, Bendix Corporation, and Sidney A. Lutz and Associates. Martha was widely recognized in her career by both the Detroit Chapter of the International Television and Video Association (ITVA) and Detroit Producers Association. She was a member of St. Gertrude Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. The family will receive friends and relatives on Monday July 5, 2010 at the ROY J. KAUL FUNERAL HOME, St. Clair Shores from 3:00 to 9:00 PM, with prayers at 7:00 PM. A Mass of Catholic Burial will be on July 6, 2010 at St. Gertrude Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, beginning with a final pre-gathering at 9:30 AM and Holy Mass at 10:00 AM. The Mass will be immediately followed by graveside internment at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, 35800 W. Ten Mile Rd, Detroit, Mi. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Martha’s name to Sycamore Glen Health Center, 2175 Leiter Road, Miamisburg, Ohio 45342.
What an extraordinary woman she was. You can see the arc of her life in the photographs that follow.

You know, there is no 'in the beginning,' just a continuation: "When LAST we left our heroes...."

It was the year 1910. (A very good year.) A ten year old girl named Loretta Dueweke, the youngest of 13 children, was having her first communion. At about the same time, in another parish, Frank Remski, aged 14, was also celebrating his.

In the days that followed the end of the first World War, they met and fell in love.

Wedding Picture of Frank Russell Remski and Loretta Marie Therese Catherine Dueweke, August 16, 1921.

"In the front row was Best Man Thomas Remski; Groom Frank Remski, Bride Loretta Remski, and her sister Rose Duweke Manquen. In the back row was Matron of Honor Irene Dueweke Steinhoff, Dan McDonald, Albert Dueweke, Mary Remski Allison. The wedding took place at Annunciation Parish in Detroit." - MAK, typewritten note, ca. 1985

And in their love they produced their first of ten children, a daughter, Martha Ann Remski, born October 19, 1922.

The Duewekes were a large clan, the largest in Detroit at the time. This picture was taken in 1930.

"This picture was taken at a Family Reunion at Chandler Park, on Detroit's East Side. It includes all my mother's brothers and sisters and their spouses andchildren, as well as my grandfather, Louis Dueweke [who died in 1939]. "Grampa" is the bow tied gentleman on the far left in the front of the picture; I am fifth from the right, between my brother John (rubbing his eyes) and Mary Rose (facing backward).

"This picture was subsequently submitted to a Detroit News contents looking for the "largest family in Detroit" ... and it won. Our prize was for all of use to be picked up by cab and taken to the Michigan Theatre downtown, where we saw the first talkie version of "Tom Sawyer." The picture was also published in the Annunciation Parish paper in the year of Msgr. Stapleton's Jubilee Year, 1931." - MAK, typewritten note, ca. 1985

A closeup of Mom from the picture above.

Martha learned the love of books under Frank and Loretta's guiding hand; she also was guided at her school by her namesake, Martha Helen Remski, then known as Sister Marie Fidelis, I.H.M. All were loving but uncompromising teachers.

This picture was taken when she was about seventeen, in 1939 or so.
As she grew she blossomed in beauty....

....and grew in knowledge. Her high school graduation photograph, 1940.
She went on to study at Marygrove College in Detroit.

As the clouds of war gathered overseas, business opportunities opened for women here at home. At the time this picture was taken, she had started her career at Hudson's, which ended in 1946 with her as Hudson's senior advertising exec.

Here she is standing with her mother, Loretta, and her younger sister, Janie, who was about 13 years old (note the cut of Janie's blouse--a modified military cut). This picture was taken around 1945 or so--a color picture, unusual for the time, and likely right after wartime rationing had ended.

About this time, she met a charming young gentleman just out of the Army Air Corps, who called himself Bill.... William J. Kent, Sr.

Mom's engagement picture. Mom and Dad were married in 1946.

Mom, November 1946, on her honeymoon, a glamor shot at the top of the Empire State Building.

Mom as Dad saw her. This had rather dramatic demographic effects.....

(Cecilia and Raphaelle.)
As the family grew.....

(Mom & Dad; Mark, Cecilia, Jerry, Raphaelle, Bill.)
...and grew....

(Jerry, Mark, Bill; Brian, John, Raphaelle, Me, Mom, Eileen, Dad, Cecilia.)
...and grew. This picture was taken on June 6, 1966, the day my Dad retired from the Air Force. (I'm the one kicking his heels up.)

(Brian, Jerry, Mark, Bill; John, Raphaelle, Me, Mom, Dad, Eileen, Cecilia.)
Eventually the family stopped growing larger and we all started, well, growing older. This picture was taken in June 1980, when Brian and John (on the far left) graduated from Michigan State University and I (mustachioed and sitting on the ground) graduated from Lakeview High School.

Mom enjoyed her middle years immensely. Here she sits on Bicentennial Day, July 4, 1976, with her sisters in law Pat (Mary Ann Whelan Kent) to her left and with Ginnie (Virginia Potts Kent), standing. Aunt Pat died in the 1980s. Aunt Ginnie died only three weeks before Mom did, and only two days before our Uncle Pat O'Brien, who was the other living Greatest Generation Kent.

(Birth order: Bill, Mark, Jerry, Raphaelle, Cecilia, Brian, John, Me, Eileen; Mom in Front)
But time moves on. This is Mom and the Nine at Dad's funeral in 1991....

(Mark, Michael Tamura, John, Robert Wendler, Trish, moi, Bill, Brian, Jerry; Eileen, Raphaelle, JP's Abigail, Susan, Cecilia, Cecilia's Andy, Mom, Anne,Bill's Caroline, Linda, Brian's Daniel, Brian's Steven; on floor: JP's Jennifer, Cecilia's Zach, and Bill's Thomas.)
....and at a happier occasion, my wedding, in 1993. All 8 of the then-living direct grandkids are in this pic; missing are Jerry's Mario, and Raphaelle's Nicholas and Gregory. (Later we'd gain three more, my sons Will, Paul and Philip. As you can see, the family, uh, started growing again....)

Mama enjoyed much travel before conditions changed. Here she is in 1992 or so.

But Mom was bound and determined to have a joyful time, which she usually did. Here she dances with Cecilia at Eileen's wedding in 2006.

Eileen took care of her in her final days...

And here Mom receives her precious Mary statue back in one piece a few weeks ago.

Mama entered into the new life on June 29, 2010, shortly before one o'clock in the morning. She was the matriarch of both the Kent and Remski families.

These pictures by no means sum up this remarkable woman's life. But her vibrancy and strength can be shown even in her final pictures.

Now THIS is how a life should be led. God love you, Mama, and watch over us as we come to join you in the days ahead.

With love,

Your son,


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fridge Pics: Memes of the Week 10/11 - 10/17, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dreams from My Grandfather:
A. Leo Kent Rediscovered

In my last essay of Wednesday, I mentioned that both my grandfather and great-grandfather were railroad men. Grandfather A. Leo Kent, who is memorialized in the essay below, died in 1929.

There is a passage below on the Great Flu of 1918 that may be of interest.

This was first posted in 2010.


I have come to think that Google is an awesome thing (in spite its many flaws!).

First, by way of background: My grandfather, A. (Alfred) Leo Kent Sr., was a railroad man and a funeral director who died in February 1929, at the age of 49. My father was 9 years old and hardly knew him. A. Leo, when he died, left a 40 year old widow and six living children, as well as one infant, Robert, who predeceased him.

My Uncle Tom Kent (he commemorated in the Memorial Day postings below) left the following about him:
My father, Alfred Leo, attended Pitcher School in Detroit, then Detroit College (later the University of Detroit) where he was captain of their first football team in 1893. He left school, joined the [Michigan Central Rail Road] first as a brakeman, then an engineer on the old Bay City run. (Train engineers were the airline pilots of their day; a very high status job!) He was a Union man -- was secretary for the local Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Just before marrying "Jenny" O'Brien in 1910 he went into a scrap-brass business, which failed, then entered the funeral business. An affectionate (sometimes too generous) father, he was not very well during our growing-up years, dying when his eldest son Alfred was seventeen; at age 49.

My father told me the following story shortly before his own death in 1991:
Your Grandfather nearly worked himself to death in 1918 during the Great Flu--he performed hundreds of funerals in eight weeks in the fall of that year. So Jenny insisted that he take a few days' break and take a train with her to Chicago. When they arrived at Union Station in Chicago, they found, to their horror, that the station was literally filled with coffins, awaiting shipment to home towns across America. She took one look, said to him, 'This is a city of death!' They got back on the train and immediately returned to Detroit.
The picture above is A. Leo Kent. It was taken in 1925, when he was 45 or so, about four years before his death. All he needs is a set of headphones. :0)

The second pic below is the only other known to me. Doesn't do me much good, alas; it appears to be the same pic as above, just flipped and shrunk to fit the obit.

Anyway. It turns out that part of Google's (evil, copyright-violating) effort to scan every single book in the universe includes several railroad journals kept at the University of Michigan Library. I googled "A. Leo Kent" and ... what did I find?

The above pic is from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen's Journal for April 1906. My Grandfather Kent is perhaps 27 or 28 years old. Brown hair, chubby, slightly self important air. Yeah, he's a Kent.

I think this is the first "new" picture of A. Leo discovered in almost a century.

But that was not all. I also came across a few clippings of things he wrote from some articles in other issues of the journal:
LOCOMOTIVE FIREMEN'S MAGAZINE, APR. 1903: "The Charity Ball - (A. Leo Kent, Detroit, Mich.) The charity ball which was given in Detroit, January 6th, for the benefit of aged and disabled railroad men was a success in every way, and everyone who attended was loud in its praise. Thanks to Mr. Hamilton Carhartt and the Detroit Leather Specialty Co., our expenses were light. Mr. Charhartt shouldered the expense of the hall, whcih was the largest and best that could be secured, and the Detroit Leather Specialty CO. furnished the programs, which were gotten up in a very neat manner. Mr. Carhott also speaks of endowing a bed at the Home as soon as arrangements can be made. May he be blessed.

"The amounts raised by the charity ball is between $475 and $500 [about $10,000 2010$] and then there are some we have not yet heard from. I would like to say that these balls, given jointly by the different railroad organizations, have a tendency to promote a btter feeling among the men, and I believe that an effort should be made in the different secions ofthe country to work together for the Home, as more can be accomplished in that way than can be done by individual work."

He also wrote a couple of obituaries in April 1904:
"LODGE 508 - (A. Leo Kent, Detroit, Mich.) Bro. Jonn Smith, formerly a member of Wayne Lodge 508, was killed while in the performance of his duties as a fireman. He had been in the employ of the Michigan Central Railroad for the past ten years, and had just been promoted. His remains were accompanied to his home in Aila Craig, Ont., by a delegation from Wayne Lodge, where the funeral services were read by a member of the delegation. He will be long remembered in the minds of his fellow members, as one who was just and honorable in all his dealings.

"Bro. Chas. Seitz was the second member to succumb to the grim reaper. He had been a member of Lodge 508 for the past ten years, and was known from Minnesota to Louisiana as a brother whose charity to those in need was unbounded, and the members who best know him will hear of his death with sorrow. His death occurred at McDonoughville, La. The remains were accompanied to Detroit by his mother and brother, who is also a member of Wayne Lodge 508, and were interred at Woodmere Cemetery. May he rest in peace."
I should also note that a 1906 note from the same magazine commemorizes his singing to his fellow railroadmen at a lodge meeting--which is in keeping with the musical nature of the Kent family. I should also note that it has always been our family tradition, when saying grace at meals, to add the following, very Irish coda: 'And may the souls of the faithfully departed in the mercy of God rest in peace, amen!' I was always told as a child that we did this in commemoration of A. Leo Kent. I suppose, given his later profession, from 1910, as a funeral director, that it is appropriate that one of the two pieces of writing above are obituaries. Certainly the last 'rest in peace' is very Kent-like.

Now these may seem to be trifles to you all but this is the first I have ever seen of anything written by or about him other than his obit and death notice.

I have to say, I'm delighted. It's not often you rediscover something lost like this.


I've decided to add the following is an essay I sent out to some family and friends six years ago. It ties together the threads of the last few days, about A. Leo Kent, about Memorial Day, and about grief and hope.


On [Memorial Day] Sunday, I took my two older sons to St. Clair Shores, [Michigan,] the little working class town where I grew up, to watch the Memorial Day parade. We had a grand time--overdosing on ice cream and candy, and I ran into some old friends: Chris and Dennis Prost, classmates of mine and friends, along with their parents, of my father's, who still remembered him 13 years after his death. I also received some Memorial Day flags, which we waved of course. I took them back for a "memorable honor" on Monday.

I was glad we went. I had not been very joyful these last months. Back in the second week of February, we lost our last child to miscarriage, an event that remained unspoken-of but profoundly grievous to both my wife and I. This was the first 'fun' time I'd been up to in the long months since our silent loss.

The parade itself was a delight--St. Clair Shores prides itself on giving the largest, longest (and, God bless them all, tackiest) Memorial Day parade in the entire state of Michigan. It was full of wonderful absurdities -- like the enormous inflated Godzilla, the inevitable old guys in bogus-islamic Masonic fezzes on tiny motorcycles, and the go-cart Snoopy on a doghouse chasing a Red Baron around the street (someone next to me shouted 'Shoot that Fokker!' and I almost spit my coke I laughed so hard, then couldn't explain the joke to the kids).

But the high point came even before the clowns and politicians and high school bands... I never in my life thought I would ever see hundreds of people in the middle of Harper Avenue, our main drag, doing the Chicken Dance. Yeah, it looked absurdly stupid--and then I realized that the whole point of our current war was to preserve the right of our silly teenaged girls in t-shirts and jeans and fat middle aged women with small children to do the Chicken Dance in public.

On Monday, there was a more solemn bit of business to attend to. I drove out to the ancestral graveyard--Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, owned and operated for more than 100 years by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

This is a pilgrimage I do alone. The drive out is only about 20 minutes from where I live; it used to be 2 hours from my childhood address before they finished I-696.

The grave site is easily spotted; a 25' sandstone Celtic cross stands over the graves of my father, my great uncle Gerald, my uncle Al, my uncle Tom, his wife, my aunt Pat, my grandfather and grandmother and the unmarked grave of their infant child Robert, my father's brother.

Robert starved to death in 1917 since my grandmother could not produce milk and he could not digest the baby formula available in those days. My father was born with the same condition, and lived only because my grandmother's best friend wet-nursed him in her stead.

God provides.

After saying a prayer or two, I placed the little plastic American flags over the graves. The first flag was for my uncle Tom, an unassuming little man, gentle as you could imagine, who commanded and landed LSTs (Landing Ships, Tank) at North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, the South of France, and finally Iwo Jima, before returning home to be cheerfully lorded over by his socialite wife... whom he had married in 1939, and never saw again until 1946.

There were giants in those days. If only we knew.

Once, shortly after the war, this stoic little man got drunk and told my mother how he landed his LST at Omaha Beach in the front edge of the second wave, and dropped the front of his ship and offloaded his tanks. Do you remember the end of the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan? All the bodies all over the beach? There they lay. In full obedience of orders, knowingly received and fully briefed to do so beforehand, the tankers drove forward, deliberately driving over the bodies of fallen American soldiers--or soldiers everyone HOPED were bodies of the fallen and not just wounded--from the first wave of the landing.

That sight haunted him all his days.

As he pulled his offloaded ship away from the landing zone, they took a German shell amidships. His little ship, not even dignified with a name, just a number, sank like a stone. His entire crew were lost. Only he survived.

To him, a flag.

A second flag was for my Great Uncle Gerald, who died before I was born. Physically, he was said to resemble the guy holding the fork in American Gothic. He too was a war vet. He fought in WWI, which is mentioned on his grave stone. What the grave stone does not mention is that he first saw combat action in the Philippines, fighting against the Islamic Moro rebellion. And it was his memories of that first combat, and not the second, that, as I understand it, kept him in a gentle state of alcoholism his entire adult life after his release from active duty, a ward of his sister, my grandmother, the rest of his days.

The third flag was for my father, a career Air Force officer, gone now, lo, these 13 years, a peaceful man who, in spite of 26 years' service, never left the States during WW2 and never saw a single day of armed combat his whole life.

I was once young and stupid and ashamed of that.

Finally, I had one flag left over. Saluting my Uncle Robert, Uncle Al and Grandfather, who never served, I saw a nearby grave of a WW2 veteran, one without a flag; I left him the last one.

I looked forlornly on my father's grave. Holy Sepulchre Cemetery allows but one large above-ground headstone per family plot; all the rest must be flush to the ground, the better to mow the lawn with, my dear. This has the unfortunate side effect of leaving the flush headstones very vulnerable to being grown over by the grass. I had to fight and rip at the sod to even reveal my father's name; the rest of it was almost invisible. (I have to go back with gardener's tools sometime soon and do the job right.)

Once I cleared Dad's stone, at least enough to make it visible, I went over to Grandfather Kent's to do the same.

A. Leo Kent Sr. was born in 1879 in Detroit, to Thomas Kent, a railroad engineer who, legend has it, was one of the many engineers who drew the Lincoln funeral train. He himself was an engineer in his youth, and later, after he married Jennie F. O'Brien, bought a home at 405 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit, and opened the A. Leo Kent Funeral Home, which remained in business until 1960. There he raised his brood of eight kids, of whom seven reached adulthood. He died in 1929 of blood poisoning after a burst appendix; he had badly planned his final illness for an era where
antibiotics hadn't been invented yet.

He was 49 years old. My father was not yet ten.

At the time of his death, he was president of the Detroit Association of Funeral Home Directors, which accounts for the almost unbecomingly huge Celtic cross over his grave. Had he specified such a stone for himself, it would have been a monument to an enormous, indeed embarassing, ego. As it is, it is a monument to his friends' love for him, for they it was who erected the stone in his memory. For one thing everyone agrees upon: he was a wonderful, loving man, who made a fine living helping great numbers of people through the worst days of their lives.

While the great headstone is clear as to his name, and contains a quote from Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), chap. 45, about how he was "beloved of God and man," there is no more information about him there. As I scrabbled at the sod overgrowing the smaller, flat headstone below, over his actual grave, my heart skipped a beat.


BORN MARCH 31, 1879

In other words, he died 75 years to the *day* before we lost our unborn son Nicholas Leo, who was to be named for him.

I drove home with head held high.

Not a sparrow falls.


Flashback Friday, Part II: A Creature of Legend

I wrote the following on Feb. 25, 2009, my first week of blogging. It only has four hits on it.

Developments of recent days ("You can't catch Ebola on the bus!" "People exposed should not ride the bus!") force me to recall this from obscurity.


Rotters reports the following:

Greeks shut airports, services to protest economy
Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:23am

ATHENS, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Greeks disgruntled by their country's economic woes ramped up protests against the government on Wednesday, shutting down airports and disrupting many public services.

Public schools and tax offices shut down, and services at ministries and public offices were suspended, as hundreds of workers marched to parliament with banners reading "No to pension reforms, privatisations and job cuts".

"Government policy ... only burdens workers, the unemployed and the poor," public sector umbrella union ADEDY, which represents 500,000 members, said in a statement.

How do we explain this behavior?

Through science fiction, of course: Niven and Pournelle's masterpiece The Mote in God's Eye:

(NOTE: Moties are three handed aliens who breed themselves into civil war every few decades or so.)

Renner's Motie seemed to search for a word. Visibly, she gave up "Renner, I must tell you of a creature of legend."

"Say on." Renner ... dialed for coffee. Coffee and stories, they went together.

"We will call him Crazy Eddie, if you like. He is a...he is like me, sometimes, and he is [an engineer], an idiot savant tinker, sometimes. Always he does the wrong things for excellent reasons. He does the same things over and over, and they always bring disaster, and he never learns."

There were small sounds of whispering in [Starship] MacArthur's wardroom. [Renner] said, "For instance?"

[Renner's Motie] paused to think. It said, "When a city has grown so overlarge and crowded that it is in immediate danger of collapse...when food and clean water flow into the city at a rate just sufficient to feed every mouth, and every hand must work constantly to keep it that way...when all transportation is involved in moving vital supplies, and none is left over to move people out of the city should the need arise...then it is that Crazy Eddie leads the movers of garbage out on strike for better working conditions."

There was considerable laughter ... [Renner] grinned and said, "I think I know the gentleman...."

(This post dedicated to my good friend Phil Rose.)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Extracts from The Little-Read Book: Chapter 030

Wit, wisdom, pseudonietzscheanistic aphorisms, and bad jokes.

* It sez here that Almost 900 doctors sign Dublin Declaration, affirm abortion is not maternal health ( Well they can kiss their licenses goodbye!

* Loaded Rifle Found in Carry-On Bag at DFW Airport ( Something like 100 million people flew from American airports each year. Statistically gotta happen.

* "I told you I loved you on the day we got married and if I change my mind I'll let you know."

* There is a major difference between a marriage that may be invalid and a marriage that is certainly null ab initio .... plus a movement that engages in THIS kind of behavior is one that a Christian must oppose.....

* I’m not judgmental. I send nobody to hell (got too many sins to my name for the job). I simply warn that there (a) is a moral horizon and (b) some dance too close to it for their own good.

* More importantly however the refusal to stand up for the teachings of Christ when it counts--well, I recall something from Revelations about what happens when ye are neither hot nor cold.

* It sez here: The Orcas Have a New Baby At Last - First One in Two Years for the Southern Resident Orcas! { I'll remember to rejoice when it bites me in half.

* Christ defined marriage as one male, one female, binary and immutable. Go tell Him He lied to you.

* Mark 10. That is all.

* It sez here:  Muslims in Michigan denounce the Islamic State as "enemies of humanity" ( You've been waiting for it. You've demanded it. "Why won't the Muslims denounce the extremists?" Here it is. And the first person to say "Taqiyya" can go jump in the lake. (As for their possible insincerity: They need to at least start to make a try at it. Mind you the crowd DOES need to be larger.....but the journey of a thousand miles etc.)

* So we shouldn't ever enforce any moral laws ever? After all that would be so judgmental.

* Barack Obama Could Be Facing 10 Years to Life in Prison ( Nope. Pardon city. "I have to think of future presidents." - President Boehner

* I can (barely) forgive Obama for Obamacare, for the fall of Iraq, for the death of Ambassador Stevens, even for pushing counterfeit "marriage" on the population.

All of these are reversible.

But if Ebola gets loose and established in the population, for that there shall be no forgiveness.

* If you accuse me of being mentally ill for holding the views I do you are simply too evil to deal with. People like that are why God invented the ‘Block’ function.

* A pet leftist is useful to perform experiments on but eventually it gets nettlesome to have him around.

* There’s a publishing house responsible for most hymnals in the United States: The Oregon Catholic Press (OCP).

RoboCop was created by OmniConsumer Products (OCP).

Coincidence? I THINK NOT!!!!!

(I can remember going to Mass in 1999 and watching the elderly father of a dear friend of mine when the congregation sang this horribly heretical hymn from OCP entitled "Let us sing a new church." The poor man, he looked like they were performing a spinal tap on him. "God saw the Church had no persecutors so He gave her liturgists.")

* In the Byzantine liturgy they make a point of praying for all the different kinds of Saints..."Forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, confessors, ascetics and just spirits made perfect in the faith." No surprisingly, you will note there is no category for "fat right wing lawyers from Michigan."

*  It sez here: What Are You Most Inclined To Be Addicted To? ( Supreme executive power. Duh.

* Road sign for the Twenty-Teens: CAUTION MEN TWERKING

* I have this set of tin scales in my office... the "Scales of Justice." Hah. I've always felt that if that were an honest symbol of American justice there would be a huge pile of money in one no money in the other and the scale would tilt accordingly

* The story goes that the young, future Kaiser Wilhelm II was studying naval engineering. As his senior project, he designed the world's largest, most heavily crewed battleship, six times the size of its nearest competitor, with a crew of 8000 and 20 16' guns, with 30'' of armor. It would have been the most powerful ship on the seas .... if it weren't for the fact that if built it would have sunk like a rock.

See you Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Plague(?) Diary Entry 0006:
Disappearing Railroad Blues

Riding on the City of New Orleans,
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.*

As I write I am sitting in an AMTRAK train from Chicago to Detroit, returning home after an asylum interview. I am sitting in the diner car, half full, with a beer, half empty, a laptop and a beautiful view of what used to be called "Small-Town America" as the train now rockets, now crawls, through one little forgotten Michigan hamlet after another.

I hope that this is not a twilight of a world soon to change.

I must admit I'm quite ambivalent about this series. I don't want to be a panic monger. I certainly don't want to seem like a paranoid nutcase right-wing ranter. But the reality of the situation is such that the world that we have known may be about to undergo, well, change. Not a lot of hope. But possibly a damned, radical change.

All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin' trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.

"There's a fire, sir."

The news sucks.

A second nurse is struck with it.

And she has a fiance'.

And both of them few by airliner the last couple of days, after she spent several days treating our most illegal alien.

And it seems that the nurses, in the first few days of treatment, made up isolation protocol as they went along.

I have no idea what to think.

But I am not going to panic.

But what does this mean?

And should we even be asking this question?

"There's a fire, sir."

Dealin' cards with the old men in the club car.
Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score.
Won't you pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor.

"Life turns on a dime," as Ferris Bueller taught us.

As 9/11 taught us, turn it most certainly does.

Although in this case it's more like turning an aircraft carrier. Or perhaps the Titanic.

Well, clearly, turning it is.  But where?

And are we even allowed to speculate as to where we're going?

Or is that panic-mongering?

And the sons of Pullman porters
And the sons of engineers

Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel.
Mothers with their babes asleep,
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they dream.

I've always loved trains. My grandfather A. Leo was an engineer before he went into the funeral business; his father Thomas was also a career railroad man, who by family legend was said to have driven the Lincoln funeral train in 1865.

Maybe he did.

The train is pulling from  Niles. I see a nice little town, nice little houses, orderly and quiet. To my right the rail yard is filled with stacked rails from a torn-up track. To my left, a hillside, marred by occasional litter. The sky is grey. One by one little towns pass us by. A little boy on a street corner waves at us.

You would never guess that we are about to be wrenched.  And admittedly maybe we aren't.
But what if we are?

I hesitate to speculate as to what the future holds. Again, I don't want to be a scare monger. But we need to carefully consider what the meaning of this mess could entail.


And all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news.
The conductor sings his song again,
The passengers will please refrain
This train's got the disappearing railroad blues.

"There's a fire, sir."

I remember that line from so many years ago--Andromeda Strain, a movie that I have only seen the one time, as I remember. The scene is burned in my memory. An immunologist is at a house party, and two FBI agents or something show up to tell him that his services are needed, using a code phrase.

And off he goes to a supersecret government facility under a farm house to fight.... something.

I also remember a much different supersecret government facility: the Stovington Disease Control Center in Stovington, Vermont.  That one I don't remember as fondly.

Fortunately both are completely fictional.

I would like to think that somewhere in Atlanta there is a similar set of offices, well ensconced in obscurity, where brilliant scientists--"top men"--are working on the problem right now.

Frankly, however, I'm not encouraged. Based on what we've seen so far.

Where is C. Everett Koop now that we need him most? or Jonas Salk?


"There's a fire, sir."

Nighttime on The City of New Orleans,
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee.
Half way home, we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rolling down to the sea.

The sun is going down, as is its wont this time of day. Street lights and headlights. People driving home. to be with their families. Schools are out and closed. Kids play in back yards. We pass a corn field, and a high school football team in scrubs run scrimmages.

I listen to the folks in the diner car as I sip my beer and watch the autumn leaves on the trees passing by.

A mother commiserates with her adult daughter about the daughter's pending divorce.

The chief conductor chatters in railroad jargon with the engineer by walky-talky.

A little girl plays with a pink toy car, then turns to her father. "Daddy, I forgot something. I forgot to give Mommy a hug."  He solemnly takes her hand and leads her to the coaches so that she can correct the omission.

Amid the gossip and banalities, technical terminology I've never heard before in regular conversation appear here and there: HAZMAT Gear. Viral loads. Medical waste. Protocols. Suddenly they sprinkle our speech... and our thoughts.

People quietly enjoying themselves--but there's an elegiac air.  We're enjoying our trip, but is it really clear that this has the strange sense of the end of .... something?

Suddenly I have a vision: a clear clean view of the North Sea on a July afternoon in Scotland, in a vacation land a century ago. Diana and Randy make sand castles as Clemmie stretches her eased and lovely limbs in the afternoon sun.

And nearby, in a small cottage, her husband Winston takes a phone call and hears that the Austrians have rejected peace overtures and forlornly turns to tell his wife he's needed back in London.

It must have felt like this back then. It must have.




"There's a fire, sir."

Good night, America, how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

I will continue to write this series. But in the interest in not panic-mongering, I reserve the right not to publish everything that I'm speculating. Not only would I not wish to be thought a false prophet, I would hate even worse to be right.... prematurely.

Because there's a fire.

Or at the very least a hell of a lot of smoke.

* from City of New Orleans, (C) 1971 Steve Goodman. The lyrics herein use Arlo Guthrie's mods from his cover version. For non profit fair use only.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Extracts from The Little-Read Book: Chapter 029

Wit, wisdom, pseudonietzscheanistic aphorisms, and bad jokes.

* It sez here: "They were children when Social Security overpaid their parents. Now the Treasury is targeting taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts"

In law we call that LACHES (pron. "LAY-chez") Wikipedia: "Law French: "remissness", "slackness", from Old French laschesse): an "unreasonable delay pursuing a right or a way that prejudices the [opposing] party" When asserted in litigation, it is an equitable defense, that is, a defense to a claim for an equitable remedy.

Translation into English: You snooze, you loose. This debt collection law is bullshit.

* There are times I think that the churches SHOULD pay taxes. And be free do say WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT AND SUPPORT WHOEVER THE HELL THEY WANT in elections!

* I took renal calculus once. I passed it.

* People have no right to make mistakes. People other than me that is.

* I've come to the conclusion that arguing against gay marriage and marijuana usage isn't going to change any minds at this point. So the only thing to do is keep doing it anyway, so that when the inevitable disasters follow these stupid policies being put into place, I can look people in the eye and say the sweetest words in the English language: "I TOLJA SO!"

* Term limits are exercised every other November. As for the kind most advocate, two words: WINSTON CHURCHILL.....

* MSNBC is why God invented the Off switch. Or if that fails the remote. Or....

"You can turn it off!" Winston exclaimed.

"Yes," O'Brien replied. "We have that privilege."

- 1984

* You say I'm a cissexual heteronormative like it's a *bad* thing....

* I'm not interested in attacking Islam. However I DO object to Islam attacking ME.

* Of course I also feel that way about socialists and socialism, which is much more likely to occur.

* Cop to Heisenberg: "Do you have any idea how fast you were going?" Heisenberg to Cop: "Don't tell me or I’ll get lost!" (Alternative punch line: "No, but I know where I am!") (Schroedinger’s Cat gets to choose.)

* My greater concern is how every election cycle some lawmaker has to show that he's "tough on crime" and passes some obscene law, then slaps the name of a dead child on it so that he can get reelected. "Heidi's Law." "Heather's Law." "Joey's Law." All designating new intrusions into the life of the people and justified because of some child's horrible death.

* The vast majority of leftists don't object to obscene profits. They object that the obscene profits are not exclusively theirs for not doing anything.

* Atheists come in two flavors: those who still believe in Good (even if they can't rationally believe in God), and those who understand that the absence of God allows them to be monsters as no Judgment awaits. The former are generally pretty good people (albeit jerky sometimes); the latter are very dangerous.

* Once again a corrupt politician and the story utterly fails to identify the guy’s political party. Ergo: gotta be a Democrat.

*  If he were a pubbie it would read, well, like this: "Charlotte's Republican Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested today by FBI agents for alleged violations of federal public corruption laws in connection with his Republican party campaign. The federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, charged Republican Cannon, a member of the GOP, with theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right from his activities with the conservative political movement."

More Thursday. Or Friday, maybe.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Colobus Day, Everyone! Time for GREG'S GIGGLES!

("Hey, nitwit, 'colobus' is spelled with two o's and one u!") ("Sorry.....")

Ladies 'n' Germs, Mr. GREG SCHANKIN!

* Today is "Youth Day" in China, so the kids only have to work a 15-hour day.

* Legendary poker player Amarillo Slim has passed away at the age of 83. His friends were stunned. They thought he was bluffing.

* German authorities report they have discovered digital files hidden in a porn movie that outline al-Qaida's plans for more terrorist attacks. I believe this is the first time that a porn film has ever contained a plot.

* The Secret Service announced that agents will now be assigned chaperones on certain trips. What is that? I thought the Secret Service WAS the chaperone.

* Levi Johnston, recently became a father again — with another girlfriend. They settled on a name, and that name is Breeze Beretta. I'm surprised by this. Levi usually makes sound decisions. Beretta is the name of a gun manufacturer.

* A lady got arrested for bringing her 5-year-old to a tanning salon. Guess what state she is from — New Jersey. Is that a crime in New Jersey? In New Jersey, I think they call that day care, at least they do here in Detroit!

* There is a woman who has lived in the same apartment here in Manhattan for 100 years. She moved in in 1912 right after she broke up with Larry King.

* There's a doctor in Britain who lets his patients watch their favorite DVD during surgery to distract them, and avoid the need for general anesthesia. Here's how it works: it doesn't.

* Time magazine is reporting that Lebanon's most wanted Sunni terrorist has blown himself up in Syria. Wow, a lot of these guys have a short fuse.

* I don't want to say people in Oregon smoke a lot of weed, but the state bird is the iguana.

* Then there is Texas, which recently changed ITS state bird to the construction crane.

* We should make the Secret Service agents travel with their moms. They would be highly trained themselves and will be ready to throw their bodies on any agent who is about to throw his body on a prostitute.

* It could be worse. They say that Osama bin Laden would be alive today if his bodyguards hadn't been screwing around with hookers.

* It turns out that there is a woman in an apartment on the Upper East Side of New York who has lived in the same apartment for 100 years. So congratulations to Barbara Walters.
* The CDC announced today it is taking steps to ensure the recovery of that poor nurse in Texas. So they are sending helium balloons and a get-well card.

* They recently modified the Air Force oath so as to leave out the words "So Help Me God" so that no atheists would be offended. This follows a subtle change made in the Presidential oath in 2013, where "So Help Me God" was changed to "So Help Me Golf."

* Actually, given the current circumstances, everyone saying "So: HELP ME, GOD!" is a good idea.....

Ththththat's all, fffffolks......

Plague(?) Diary Entry 005: Not A Space Suit

In light of today's bad news--another Ebola-Positive patient in Texas, this time one of the nurses that treated our Patient Zero, who was infected in spite of the measures taken. 

This is bad.

The above is an image from the 1970 movie THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN--my very first science fiction movie, I might add. The woman is wearing an isolation suit for treating an individual with a contagious disease. You crawl through a sort of a doorway through a sort of corridor in the back (note arrow).

It's a bit awkward as you have this accordion thingie going directly behind you to the entranceway. On the other hand, YOU ARE COMPLETELY ISOLATED FROM THE PATIENT (and the handy-dandy glass space helmet blocks all spittle and other body fluids from reaching you).

As long as the suit is not breached, you're OK. And if it is, you just cut the seal behind you, lock the door, and join the patient in the bed next to him. FORWARD THIS. Maybe someone in the business will get a clue and set some up before we all die as we bleed from our orifices.

PS. I'm not trying to spread unfounded fear by writing on this subject. All I'm doing is pointing out that this is the sort of thing they need to be doing NOW. This is 1970s technology. USE IT!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Plague(?) Diary Entry 0004: From Patient Zero to Patient One

In the news today:

Health care worker at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas tests positive for Ebola

This is bad.

No word as to how came in contact, if it was the first visit to hospital or second.

What's especially interesting is the following quote:

*****Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to contaminated objects. *****

This is the first time I've seen this admitted.



First, let us give our heartiest congratulations to Malala Yusufzai, who, at 17, was named the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. This young woman was shot in the head by Islamist terrorists, recovered fully, and has become a voice of hope for young women everywhere seeking to be educated.
(And also we congratulate her fellow awardee, Kailash Satyarthi, who also well deserved his recognition.)

I'd like to retell the story of another woman of great courage who deserved this recognition but never got it for some reason.  Her name is Irena Sendlerowa and she saved some 2500 children from the Nazis during World War II.

(Read all about the Tattered Remnants by clicking {here}.)


Irena Sendlerowa (known in English as "Irene Sendler") was a social worker in Poland who was among the tiny minority of Polish Catholics who took direct action to save those trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto from death at the hands of the Nazis during the German Occupation of Poland (1939-1944). Specifically, she headed a group of individuals known as Źegota; approximately two dozen of whom cooperated in the salvation of some 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.

For her efforts, she was captured, tortured, interrogated, was sentenced to death, was beaten so severely by her would be executioners that all her limbs were broken–escaping only when her designated executioners threw her broken body to a Polish underground hideout. It appears her German executioners, having been bribed, had secretly cooperated with the Polish underground to enable her escape.

Poland's long history of anti-Semitism has many bitter incidents to its history, long before the arrival of the German army in 1939. But through that long night of bigotry, many names shone who resisted the popular prejudice against the Jewish people. One of those resistors was Irena Sendlerowa.

Her Catholic father, a physician, died in 1917 of typhus, contracted from treating his Jewish patients, who were suffering from an epidemic in that dark time of the First World War. Others would have used that as an excuse to become anti-Semitic. Irena, on the other hand, remembered her father's sacrifice and became a Judeophile in a land where Jews were held as a bitterly hated and feared minority.

She first showed her courage during the so-called "Ghetto Bench" controversy when in university in the 1930s. In those dark days between the wars, Poland was a dictatorship, run by a shadowy coalition called Sancja ("Sanation" or "The Healing Coalition"), under the iron fisted rule of Jozef Pilsudski, the general who, holding various high political offices, was the true ruler of Poland until his death in 1935. After his death, "Sanation" split into three weak parties as Poland tried to come to terms with the growing Nazi threat to its west.

During this period, German anti-Semitism found a dark echo among students in Polish universities. This resulted, starting from the death of Pilsudski, with demands among nationalist students that Polish Jews in the universities be forced to sit apart from the main body of students, to the left hand of each lecture hall. Organized harassment of Jewish students by nationalists became an ongoing problem, particularly as those running the universities, jealous of their independent status, would not allow local law enforcement to intervene to stop the beatings. Starting in December 1935, Lwow Polytechnic instituted a policy whereby Jewish students were forced to sit in these "Ghetto Benches." Jewish–and Catholic–students who resisted the order were ordered suspended, then expelled from the Universities, in the name of "preventing violence."

Irena Sendlerowa thought the system unconscionable. As a result of her refusal to submit to this organized humiliation of a minority, she was suspended from Warsaw University.

For three years.

When the war broke out, she was working as a social worker in the countryside surrounding Warsaw, and watched in horror as the Germans began to segregate the Polish Jews–first by expelling professional Jews from their work and ordering all to wear a Star of David, then, more ominously, by forcing them to live in a segregated area, the Ghetto–as it developed, the largest in Europe.

The Germans coopted the local Polish city government bureaucracy, and Irena was given an assignment almost unique among Polish Catholics. She was ordered to enter the Ghetto on a regular basis to monitor the appearance of typhus and other diseases–not because the Germans cared if the Jews of the ghetto got sick (they didn't) but because they feared its spread to the civil populace in the rest of the city. She therefore had special papers allowing her to come and go freely in the Ghetto.

While she was inside its walls, she freely chose to wear the Star of David on her arm–both out of sympathy and solidarity for those confined there and out of a desire not to be conspicuous.

What nobody at the city bureaucracy had noticed was that Irena had made contact with the Polish underground.

The Polish underground during the war was actually many "undergrounds." Although most were associated with the Government-in-Exile in London, some were Communist controlled; furthermore, there was much internal division even among those under the London Poles. Most were dedicated to armed resistance against the Germans and thus had few resources (and even less desire) to assist the Jews caught in the grip of the Nazis.

Irena, however, joined a small group, known today as Źegota, the Committee of Aid to the Jews. As part of that group, she began to organize a quiet underground of some two dozen people to assist the Jews in their time of darkest need.

In 1941 and 1942, she commenced an organized effort to remove children from the Ghetto and place them in surrounding farms and families, with convents and parishes. While it was the policy of many to convert Jews in their care to Catholicism, she was determined that these children would retain the birthright of their identities once the war was over. Accordingly, she kept the names of the children she hid, the names of their families, and the places they were hidden in buried jars, so that when the war was over she would be able to reunite them with their birth families. Furthermore, she made specific promises to these children she cared for that they would one day, if possible, be reunited with their parents.

In 1943 the Gestapo captured her, tortured her severely, and sentenced her to death. She was taken to the woods outside Warsaw, where her executioners, possibly having been bribed by Źegota operatives, forewent shooting her, instead beat her severely and left her for almost-dead, breaking both her arms and legs. She was rescued by the Underground and assumed a new identity until the war was over. The Germans listed her among those executed.

The end of the war came and she kept her promise; she dug the jars up and used the information to try to reunite the children with their parents. Alas, however, the parents were almost all killed at Treblinka death camp.

Her work with Źegota was recognized by the new Communist regime: as an agent of the London based Government in Exile, she was declared an enemy of the new Polish state. During this post war period, she lost a child to miscarriage.

In 1965, however, Yad Vashem had obtained enough information to verify her status as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. She was not allowed to travel to Israel to receive recognition for her wartime work until 1983.

It was only in her old age that her work began to gain the recognition it deserved. Again, Wikipedia:
In 2003 Pope John Paul II sent [Sendlerowa] a personal letter praising her wartime efforts. On 10 October 2003 she received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest civilian decoration, and the Jan Karski Award "For Courage and Heart," given by the American Center of Polish Culture in Washington, D.C..

On 14 March 2007 [Sendlerowa] was honored by Poland's Senate. At age 97, she was unable to leave her nursing home to receive the honor, but she sent a statement through Elzbieta Ficowska, whom [Sendlerowa] had saved as an infant. Polish President Lech Kaczynski stated she "can justly be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize" (though nominations are supposed to be kept secret). On 11 April 2007, she received the Order of the Smile[, an international award recognizing adults who performed special acts of heroism on behalf of children] as the oldest recipient of the award.

In May 2009, Irena [Sendlerowa] was posthumously granted the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award. The award, named in honor of the late actress and UNICEF ambassador, is presented to persons and organizations recognized for helping children. In its citation, the Audrey Hepburn Foundation recalled Irena [Sendlerowa]’s heroic efforts that saved two and a half thousand Jewish children during the German occupation of Poland in World War Two.
In 1999, a group of high school students in Kansas were inspired to write and perform a play based on her life, entitled A Life In A Jar. This has led to the creation of The Irena Sendler Project, an ongoing educational program to teach children about the Holocaust. The funds raised by this project are being used to raise a statue to her memory in Warsaw in 2010, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

The best monument to her efforts remain the children she saved. Although they are not remembered as a collective in the way the Schindlerjuden are known, their numbers are even greater than Oskar's accomplishment. Generations will thrive because of her efforts.

Her work with the Warsaw Ghetto children was truly worthy of honor. I must admit, however, that I am almost more impressed with her willingness to resist the segregation of Jews in her university days. One small advantage of resisting tyranny such as Naziism is that the evil is naked and undeniable, with life and death and salvation and damnation all clearly at stake. But who would risk expulsion in this day and age from university studies over a matter of principle?

In the end, only one award, alas, eluded her. In spite of Lech Walensa's and others' enthusiastic support for her nomination that year, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize was granted to Albert Gore, Jr., a noted science fiction/fantasy film maker.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

FRIDGE PICS: MEMES OF THE WEEK 10/5 - 10/11, 2014