Thursday, April 20, 2006

Very First VW Beetle Found Near Frankfurt

I heard in the News recently that the very first Volkswagen Beetle to be manufactured in post-war Germany had been found as part of the estate of an elderly gentleman near Frankfurt. It had been 'retired' in a barn for the last few years, but was in perfect working order when the owner's heirs came to pick it up.

The history of the car is as unique as the condition in which it was found. When it was first rolled off of the assembly line, it realized the great emotional and political burden that had been placed on it's round little top. So it was very careful to always obey the traffic laws, especially in countries that had suffered under the invasion of Germany. It viewed itself as an ambassador for the new, and more peaceable Germany. Unlike the rude and loud Renaults, Fiats and Citroens that soon charged down the highways of Europe, it was always slow and cautious and ever so polite, patiently waiting at crosswalks for pedestrians and never ever beeping its horn. Above all, it prided itself as being the most dependable, if humble transportation that its owner could ever want.

Thus no one was surprised that it started immediately and still had its shiny black paint that looked fresh from the factory, because everyone knows that there is no rust for the wary.


Monday, April 17, 2006

We've been on a family trip to Kentucky to see Grandma Yost for her 95th birthday (note, I originally put that at 96th, my bad -- ed.).

May you have many more, Mildred Yost.

To wind down after two days on the road (with three kids in the car) I watched “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” I didn’t see it in the theatres though I had wanted to, but with family and schedule I had to choose between seeing it by myself, or seeing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” with my oldest son, Nigel. Nigel won. I think I made out as well, as the Narnia stories are wonderful and the film was very true to the original story. So tonight I watched the DVD of Harry Potter, and my first response was that it was time to re-read the books.


For the fifth time.

And that got me thinking.

We have become so used to the overflow of riches that we have in the West. I don’t mean money or goods, though we have those.
We have an amazing amount of knowledge and literature at our very fingertips. Sometimes we make fun of the ‘fans’ who devour popular books and endlessly debate minor points or pick out flaws that the author missed. ‘Trekkies’ are laughed at. HP is ‘just for kids.’ Pick a popular subject, and you can easily find those who will ridicule its followers. I can even remember reading a Dilbert strip where Dogbert chastises Dilbert for rereading a novel; after all, he knew how it was going to end.

Abraham Lincoln grew up owning, reading and rereading maybe a dozen books. Longfellow’s library was in movable cases, and there were so few that all of them were grabbed up and safely removed from a house he lived in when that house caught fire. The known library of Leonardo may have been two dozen books, or less.

Historically, people have read and reread the same bits of non-fiction and literature over and over again. People committed whole books to memory not because they were so much smarter than you and I, but because they read the ink off of the pages.

The bards of old memorized the Iliad and the Odyssey not just because they were the best literature, but maybe because they were the only literature available.

I don’t think we should laugh at the people who wear funny costumes, go to ‘Sci-Fi’ conventions and flash a Vulcan peace sign or sport a lightning bolt on their foreheads. They are a lot closer to the spirit of the ancient poets than we are.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Life During Wartime

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's origonal statement which has since been pulled down from her website in which she talks about changing her hairstyle as an apparent reason (in her mind) that the racist (in her mind) capitol police don't recognize her. She mentions changing her hairstyle six separate times in the single page statement.

Unfortunately she has miss-remembered the Talking Heads' song. The lyrics are "I've changed my hairstyle so many times now, I don't know what I look like."

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