(Jackson Street) Books on 7th is around the corner and on the internet tubes. We strive to be your full-service new and used bookstore, emphasizing good literature, progressive politics, and, of course, books about baseball. Opened in Hoquiam October 1, 2010

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The big storm haz hit

Mid-morning snows.

Poor birdies! We'll dust that off tomorrow and put out water. Birds have a hard time finding non-frozen water at these temps.

Rain is freezing on the windows! I have never seen weather like this!

Update! Car spun out and pedestrians, and other drivers jumped out to help push! I love the friendliest town!

It started snowing at 10:30

Cliff Mass has the best weather blog for daily predictions.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nothing much interesting about Serenity's travels #5

Dear Friends,

Another entry in my travelogue; hope you will find this one interesting. On Wednesday, my mom and I went to a concert by the Dutch artist Herman van Veen. Mom has been a fan for decades and I quite like a lot of his stuff. He certainly is an amazing singer and songwriter. The concert took place in one of East Berlin’s synagogues. I did not take my camera, so no original photos, sorry; but I found this website about the Synagogue. Shame that the pictures are all so small. It is quite an amazing building.

In case you read the website’s text, I would like to add a personal note.
By the time I came about in the early 70s, official policy in the GDR (East Germany) had changed considerably from that of its very early days. For lack of a better description, Stalin had been turned away from and was as a rule not talked about; kind of like the black sheep in a family. Overt Stalinism was not condoned anymore. Kids in my generation were raised in the spirit of antifascism and antiracism. There was no anti-Semitism in my upbringing, not in my private life nor publically. The Holocaust was portrayed to us (e.g., in school) as the biggest crime against humanity in recent history, one that needed to be remembered in order for it to never happen again. There were memorials to it on the grounds of every school I went to, and every school class would go on field trips to concentration camp sites at least once or twice over the years. I do not mean to downplay the fact that a lot of crap went on in the country I grew up in, but the persecution of Jews was not something that existed in my experience. If anything, all religious institutions suffered from the popular spread of atheism during East German times. This, of course, was consistent with public policy in the GDR and often aggressively so, but was something that obviously stuck with the population, as is demonstrated in the persistently large difference in the statistics on religiosity among East and West Germans today.

Another note of interest is the sad fact that all visitors to the concert had to pass through metal detectors—devices not usually seen in Germany outside airports and other high-security facilities. And, of course, there was the police guard outside the building, which, mom tells me, is a permanent fixture outside all synagogues in Germany these days; a sign of
the growing anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism in Germany and the resulting need to protect Jewish facilities on a day-to-day basis.

On this note (and I want to apologise for the length of this post; I really set out at the start to only report on Herman van Veen’s gig, I swear!), since I arrived the following has been a prevalent item in the news: The police chief of the Bavarian town of Passau was attacked and almost killed at his home by a neo-Nazi. A basic theme in the news reporting on the incident has been that neo-Nazism in Germany has “taken on a new quality”. A leftist satirist on TV the other day commented along the lines of asking whether this was to mean that the numerous attacks and even murders of foreigners, or Germans of non-White background, by Nazis over the past years were therefore considered to be of lesser significance...

Back to Herman van Veen. This website has the booklet for the programme he presented. It includes a mini-biography in English and English translations of some of the poems he transformed into songs.
The theme of the evening were the poems written by Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, a young Jewish woman who died in a labour camp in 1942. It was a very impressive evening.

Hope you are all well!

P.S.: Still no snow. :(

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow on the Tracks

Just a light dusting last night and this morning. Nothing like we hear from our friends back in Seattle.
The Hoquiam River, about a block and a half from our house. I love watching the tides come in and ebb out.
The shipyard's old roof seems to be sagging more. I'll be sorry to see the old building go. I hope they fix it this next year.

More Summer Winter comparisons.

The snow starting last night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

happy xmas!

Here's a present for you! Go here to download the pdf and you can make your own facsimile of the ornament Laura refused to put on the White House tree this year. Scroll down and click on the red & white ornament.

cross posted at Mark of the Beast

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear all,

Hope you are well!
Here is instalment #4 in our series “Nothing much interesting about Serenity’s travels”; and in this episode, Serenity actually left the house! ...well, I had to, because my passport is only valid for another couple of weeks, so I tramped to our local (i.e., for this borough of Berlin) town hall to apply for a new one. Our town hall, however, is actually quite pretty, so here are a few pics for you. The building was erected between 1901 and 1903. The internal shot (pic #16) is the entrance hall, just as you get in through the main doors (pic #15).
And, since there was scaffolding covering some of the facade today, I nicked the last pic (#17) from the intertubes. (Ed: that's at the top there now)

The website I stole that final pic from, by the way, seems to be of a local person; the domain translates as Grampa Hagedorn He even greets visitors per audio in the finest of Berlin accents. I recommend having a look. There are a bunch of photos of an exhibition (which had apparently been held in the shopping centre across the street) of stuff inventive people in the DDR had built in their spare time, including a racing car made from the same material as the Trabant ...Duroplast, My family had a Trabbi until just before the wall came down :) ); a home-built computer; a DDRmini-motorcycle disguised as a BMW one; a beer dispenser made from a cement mixer; and other such gems. Oh, the stuff you find through random intertube-picture-stealing! :)

Hugs y’all!

(Editor: Dammint! I know I rotated that picture before uploading. Tip yer head sideways for a moment... Thnx.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Weather Report from Hoquiam

We have a couple inches of snow, and winds haven't been too bad. Overall, we are enjoying the Winter Wonderland.
Here's a comparison, Summer and Winter from the same window.

And another.

Stay warm!

As Promised! Her Pinkness!

In which I get all photos hopelessly confused. But I trust you can figured it out by now. ... instalment #3: “Serenity brings on the X-mas spirit, part 2”. Another traditional German X-mas decoration is the Adventskranz.
This year, to give the whole X-mas spirit a turbo boost, Serenity spontaneously decided to make her own.
Having my friend Andrea there was quite convenient, as this is really a two-woman job. Here is us during the final stages of the project (pic #08), and here is a picture of the finished result (pic #09).
We were quite perplexed about how well it turned out, especially considering how little previous practice (none), planning (15 minutes from getting the idea to having bought all the “ingredients”) and/or skill (well, obviously we are regular Martha Stewarts; just didn’t know it) the whole exercise was benefitting from. This is me lighting the first candle (pic #10)This is me lighting the first candle (pic #10), and
Andrea lighting the second (pic #11).
And finally, the finished Adventskranz on the coffee table (pic #12). In the background, you can see some slices of Stollen (see previous episode) and the Marzipan cake mom got
for my birthday. Tomorrow (Sun, 14 Dec) is the third Advent, so we’ll light the third candle then. :)

(I promise to actually leave the house at some point and send you some
pictures of the area!)