On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

So, another Friday…the 13th, even!


One great surprise – a lost otmar submission, so once again, we’re at another otmar Friday.

Calooh, callay…

Have a great weekend, everybody!


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Respite Open Thread: A Crack In Everything

I spent a couple weeks in Montreal last month as a half-working half-vacation. I’d never been, but I’d heard such good things, and we got a very good deal on a sublet. Lovely city; I’d happily settle down there, though I’d have to learn French for real, which isn’t la fin du monde.

Anyway–they seem to be very proud of one of their local boys who made good:

A mural of Leonard Cohen fills the side of a building in Montreal's Plateau neighborhood.

Taken in the Plateau neighborhood

I share their love of Leonard Cohen. There’s actually a much bigger mural downtown, but I couldn’t get a good shot of it. I’ve been meaning to share this with y’all, and this gloomy-slow-day-at-work seemed like the right time.

So, without further ado, here’s a song that I find calming and centering, even (especially?) when the world is on fire.

Below the fold, a deep cut live video featuring Sonny Rollins, and a picture from a visit I made to his grave…

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On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

Just-found, lost submission from Luthe – joy!


Have a wonderful day,  everyone.


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September 11, 18 years on

It’s hard to believe that a baby born on that horrible day would now be a legal adult, able to vote and otherwise self-determine. Like most of life, there’s more to the story we might tell such a youngster than a cowardly attack that united us all in some magic unity that we should pursue and recreate.

I went to sleep the night of September 10, 2001 looking forward to what I was hoping would be a transformational part-one special on ABC’s Nightline the following night about the Congo and the ongoing horrors and the promise it held. I had set my TiVO to record it, allocating extra time in case it ran late. I was sure it would. At the time (as now!) conflict was killing hundreds of thousands of people, but because of their color, location, and status in a resource-providing country, we paid them little mind. This was finally set to change, assured Ted Koppel.

My mother was American, raised from 5+ in Colombia, and my father was Swiss. He was stationed in Kinshasa for Gulf Oil and my mother was there until right before my birth. She un-assed to Johannesburg, and so I was born in South Africa. I spent the next few months in Kinshasa, then we moved on to Switzerland, Turkey, and finally the States.

Though white as pale rice, I’ve always felt a kinship with Africa and black Africans, in particular. As far as I can figure, I had infantile exposure that left me feeling comfortable and at peace. I’m not African, but I feel something that few other white Americans I’ve met, know. The two times I’ve been lucky enough to go to South and Eastern Africa, I’ve felt a certain “I’m home” feeling that is strange but genuine. I’m not black, not African, but I have some bond that is real for me.

I later learned the horrors of European occupation, especially in the Congo (though I’d not yet read King Leopold’s Ghost) and the murder and tribal genocide since independence. I knew in 2001 that there were was bloodshed, torture, rape, tribal genocide, etc. going on. In the DRC, the old stories were true. And current. Unspeakable things, to our fellow humans, in the shadow and the light. With impunity.

I was so optimistic – fulfilled – that this dark horror that was murdering thousands of our fellow humans every week in the most horrible and pointless ways was going to be in the spotlight, and we, the U-S-A would make things better. I just knew that the unprecedented focus of Nightline on Sept 11, 2001 and Sept 12, 2oo1 would be a major step to making these horrors disappear.

But reality is fickle and tragedy endures.

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On The Road

I found a few lost submissions, so they will run later this week and early next.  We shall see where things go from there.


Today, a picture from about 1940, taken by my grandmother in Baranquilla, Colombia. It is titled “My baggage transfer at Baranquilla”. This was, I assume, the transfer from water-based transportation (seaplane, ship, etc.) to the airport for a white-knuckle flight to Bogota.



Have a great day, we’ll re-convene tomorrow for some 9-11 memories.