Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bus bombing in Jerusalem

Shoshie's last few months in Israel may have just taken a dramatic turn. Safety is a big issue for groups like hers and this may lead to restrictions on her freedom to travel.

She has already called to reassure me and I have contacted relatives to spread the reassurance. Pray for victims if you are of a mind. And pray that all can find a way to peace. PRM

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Periodic Table of Videos visits Japan

From our favorite chemists in Nottingham comes an explanation of the nuclear reactor and the difficulties in Japan. PRM

Friday, March 18, 2011

What he said

A Quick Thought on Education (Revised) by Alex Knapp


Charlie Chan

In the Introduction to Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby, Sarah Vowell wrote of reading The House Without a Key, the first book in the 6 book series by Earl Derr Biggers that features Chinese detective Charlie Chan. She writes, "It turned out to be both charming and suspenseful and by the way partially about racism, in that the citizens of prewar Oahu are forced to deal with a kindly, Sherlock-level genius who happens to be Chinese." My interest was piqued when I read this last summer. Two months ago, JP and I were invited to join another couple for a week in Hawaii later this spring. Oh yes, I remembered, I never did read that Charlie Chan book.

Now I have. So evocative of prewar Hawaii. And wistful for an even earlier Hawaii. Except for being incapable of speaking English well, Charlie Chan is skilled and effectual and is respected for that. Sometimes, however, the idiomatic English hits just the right note.
Chan shook his head. "Impossible in Rear Bay at Boston," he said, "but here at moonly crossroads of Pacific, not so much so. Twenty-five years of my life consumed in Hawaii, and I have many times been witness when the impossible roused itself and occurred."
Moonly crossroads, roused impossibilities.

The main character, John Quincy Winterslip of Boston, of course, is a bit of a prig when he first arrives in Hawaii. He examines a clue, a torn out guest book inscription, that reads,
"In Hawaii all things are perfect, none more so than the hospitality I have enjoyed in this house.- Joseph E. Gleason, 124 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria"

John Quincy turned away, shocked. No wonder that page had been ripped out! Evidently Mr. Gleason had not enjoyed the privilege of studying A. S. Hill's book on the principles of rhetoric.
John Quincy mellows during his visit. Hawaii is a little too much perhaps but he gives up the "Rear Bay" for a life in San Francisco.

Also native Hawaiians are insulted numerous times in the book when mainlanders fail to recognize them as fellow US citizens, Hawaii being a territory at the time this book was written. Some people still suffer from ignorance.

This book was a hoot. I am looking forward to a few days at the moonly crossroads of the Pacific myself soon. Maybe I'll read another Charlie Chan book on the plane. PRM

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Old West and the New

Thanks to Chris for pointing out these photos of Western life in the 1890s. They cover much of the area we visited in October.
We had a picnic right by the river in Hot Springs, SD.
JP enjoyed Sturgis. The main street looks a bit different now.However Devil's Tower hasn't changed much.Great trip. And these old photos are cool. PRM

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just like old times

Similar to old times, anyway. No Shoshie. Yakov is home for a few days of spring break. PRM