Dead Tired

Icelandic horses (don’t call them ponies!) are famous for their extra gait, the tolt, which is unique in the world. But it’s not the only thing unique about them. Unlike horses everywhere else in the world, they do not necessarily sleep standing up. In fact, they often take a break flat on the ground, legs out, in a position most of us associate with dead horses.

Life is tough for Icelandic horses, who stand out in the snow and wind year-round, and rarely enjoy the shelter of a heated barn like horses elsewhere. Do they get dead tired battling the weather all the time? Or are they just clever little horses that know how to below the wind when there’s no shelter to be found?

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Summer Work

Image c/o Gratisography

Summer. Work. I’ve never quite outgrown childhood’s summer vacation mentality, and it’s even harder now that I have kids of my own who get 10 weeks off. It’s a challenge to coordinate their freedom with my work, but I like to think I manage it with the grace and style pictured here.

Um, anyway, I have had a few things published so far this summer. Read on to see what you’ve missed.

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Constitution Article 1 §3.3: Qualifications for Senator

Lately democracy has been taking a global beating, and the U.S. has not been immune, what with a Russian-influenced presidential election and a new president who appears not to understand or even be familiar with the Constitution. I want to be better at democracy than old 45 is, so I’m studying the Constitution, and blogging what I learn. I’d love to make it a study group. After all, in a functioning democracy we should all be Constitutional scholars. Continue reading

Physical Education

Eighties movies were all about stereotypes. The gym teacher was always a brain dead meathead, or a butch lesbian. My own gym teacher didn’t fit the stereotype (morbidly obese, she sat in the shade while we played volleyball or kickball and only interfered by blowing a whistle when things got violent) but was equally useless.

I also grew up steeped in the Christian mind-body split that pitted brains against brawn. My loyalties were strongly with the former.

So maybe I can be forgiven for arriving so late at the conclusion that gym teachers are educators, and like most educators, could be interesting, intelligent, artistic people. The man above is a gym teacher, presenting here in the persona of DJ Tofri, host to Iceland’s largest and most storied heavy metal festival. He is also a musician, and has played in a series of underground bands.

Earlier this year I discovered that “Mr. D,” the P.E. teacher at my daughters’ elementary school, is also a playwright. I found out because I chaperoned a field trip to see a play at Seattle Children’s Theatre (which I have often touted as one of the best theater companies in our theater-strong city) and his name was on the cover of the brochure.

I don’t know if this realization would have made much of a difference in my life – I am and always have been a klutz, so my preference for books over sports was probably a given regardless of world view. But I wonder how many people I might have been friends with had I not made assumptions based on their jerseys?

 

In This Corner of the World

My kids discovered anime this year, and finally being able to share my love for the art form has been a tremendous joy to me. When I saw that a new feature-length anime was to be released in Seattle on August 18, I hesitated to make it a family movie night choice because of the subject matter.

Unlike the childish quest and adolescent romance series with magical and/or martial arts elements that make up our usual fare, In This Corner of the World is a realistic story of one young woman’s experience of World War II. Ultimately, despite the heavy subject, we decided to watch it and I’m so glad we did. Continue reading

Article 1 §3.2: Staggering the Senate

Lately democracy has been taking a global beating, and the U.S. has not been immune, what with a Russian-influenced presidential election and a new president who appears not to understand or be familiar with the Constitution. But people in glass houses should not throw stones, so I’m studying the Constitution, and blogging what I learn. I’d love to make it a study group. After all, in a functioning democracy we should all be Constitutional scholars.

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Past Factories

There was a movie in the 80s, sort of Romancing the Stone crossed with Indiana Jones, but less memorable than that mix should have been, in which the bad guy was always taking photographs of his crimes. In a deep, heavily accented voice, he would say, “A moment, captured in time,” and then leave the heroes to die.

Earlier this summer I read a book called “Time Travel,” by James Gleick. It’s an interesting mix of history, physics, and philosophy that draws from H.G. Wells and Einstein equally to examine the concept of time travel. He talks about “old light,” and the fact that when we look at the sky and see stars, we are seeing light that has traveled millennia. The stars themselves may no longer exist by the time we see them.

I’ve been thinking about that idea lately. The building in this picture was once a fish factory. For years it stood empty, except for a few days each summer when underground musicians tracked extension cords across the puddles on the floor and set up their equipment for a series of off-venue concerts in the middle of the Eistnaflug festival. The rest of the year, the building sat unused, gradually decaying in the wet and cold of Eastern Icelandic weather.

In the year after I stood inside this building watching hooded violinists play black metal, this building was torn down. Some of the bands that played in that building the year I took this picture are world famous now. The building itself is gone, though. I can look at it right now in my picture, but it is long gone, like the music scene it once housed.