You will get teary-eyed by the end of this post

We’ve come to the part of the week where I wonder if I could be doing more, right now, to help future me. Future me is the me of next week. And the answer is, no, I can’t do a lot more next week. I could do more. We all could, but where’s the fun in that. But for the version of me that will be task oriented and checking things off lists next week, I can’t help that guy yet. The To Do must still be formulated. The lists are just big piles of things to grade.

And so I wait. And rest. Next week, there will be around 100-140 things to grade. That is not an exaggeration. Seventeen of them will be easy to work through. Another 40 or so can be evaluated rather painlessly. But there will be 40 or so items that will require time and care and repetition. And that’s three days, easy.

There is a valuable lesson in this for me. The next time I build a multi-class semester, there will be flow charts, fact sheets, multiphasic slide decks and calendar overlays, just so that I can make sure key assignments are staggered for everyone.

And by everyone I, of course, mean me.

But you can’t do the work on Thursday that will be turned in Saturday through Monday. And so earlier this week I felt like the carefree grasshopper. By tomorrow, it could be the neurotic ant who is waiting for the other boot to land on his exoskeleton.

That’s probably one of my best remembered fable from Aesop. That and the boy who cried wolf and the lesser known The Writer and Public Domain.

Why hasn’t someone reworked these for a cynical, metal audience? Do you mean to tell me that the world isn’t ready for a version of The Crab and the Fox where the crab wanders into that meadow and doesn’t get eaten by the fox because, I dunno, global warming hardened her shell, or she’s got crrrrrrab power or is about to persuade the fox to leave her alone, big, stupid fox, thereby subverting the patriarchal paradigm of knowing one’s role and overcoming caste systems inherent and explicit while on the way across that meadow and into Red Lobster for a crowd pleasing plate of cheese biscuits, which signifies our consumerist society and a heavy dose of postmodern irony through a crustaceanist lens?

We could churn these out in a few days, get a clever artist to illustrate the thing and be on the late night talk shows by next week, is what I’m saying.

But I’ve got all of that grading to do. Good point.

It turns out we have not two, but four pear trees on our property. Two are well apart from one another. And this one, and its twin, were carefully planted close by one another.

Pear trees need to be in proximity to bear fruit. And, also, they need to be the right sort. Unfortunately, these aren’t the right sort.

Fruit-bearing pear trees would be awesome.

Never mind. I just looked it up and it takes three to five years for a tree to begin producing fruit, and there is an impressive amount of work in between. So while I can’t do next week me any favors today, I just did the me of 2025-2030 a huge solid.

I’ll just go buy pears from a produce store every once in a while.

I am enjoying the blooms on these trees, though. More trees and shrubs should be perpetually in bloom. It’s a cheery thing, really. Particularly right now.

We saw quite a few elephant seals in California last week. Here are some of them now. Hunted to the brink of extinction for oil by the end of the 19th century, their numbers have since recovered.

This beach does look like a nice place to nap. If your seal friends will leave you alone long enough.


These are northern elephant seals, and they grow large. Mature males weighing more than 8,000 pounds!

What do you suppose the largest one in that video weighs?

These guys spend their lives across North America’s Pacific coast. They breed annually and are seemingly habitual. Some of the older ones here have been visiting this beach for a while.

There is so much money involved, and the audience can be so stratified, that it makes sense to see an increasing number of analytics and metrics in play. Fox, Netflix quietly built sports ad deal that wasn’t based on TV ratings:

More advertisers are trying to tie their ads to so-called “business outcomes,” such as making a purchase, visiting a website or showroom, or asking for information to be sent about the product or service being pitched. The thinking on Madison Avenue is that knowing how many people watched an ad just isn’t enough; it’s better to understand how many people took an action that brought them closer to an actual sale. Interest has grown as the size of TV audiences has been cut down by the rise of streaming.

Creativity beats fascism.

To simplify, the Allies used signal counterintelligence, inflatable tanks, audio, and a bluff with Gen. George Patton to convince the Nazis that the 1,1000 members of the 23rd HQ Special Troops were actually two divisions, 30,000 men, massing to attack elsewhere. In more than a dozen engagements in 1944-1945, they feinted, disguised and distracted from actual assaults, tying down enemy units and, it is estimated, saved thousands of lives among Allied ranks in the process.After decades of secrecy, the ‘Ghost Army’ is honored for saving U.S. lives in WWII:

Present at Thursday’s event were: 100-year-old Bernard Bluestein, who joined the visual deception unit from the Cleveland Institute of Art and went on to pursue a career in industrial design; 99-year-old John Christman, who served as a demolition specialist and 100-year-old Seymour Nussenbaum, an avid stamp collector who joined the Army from the Pratt Institute. He helped make the counterfeit patches worn by the unit, and worked in package design for many years after the war.


“The Ghost Army’s tactics were meant to be invisible, but today their constructions will no longer remain unseen in the shadows,” said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., one of the bill’s two Senate sponsors. “Their weapons were unconventional, but their patriotism was unquestionable.”


While the Ghost Army helped liberate Europe and end the war, it wasn’t publicly given credit for another half a century.

“Following the war, the unit’s soldiers were sworn to secrecy, records were classified and equipment packed away,” says the National WWII Museum.

Wormuth said Thursday that immediately after the war, Ghost Army soldiers received a letter of thanks from then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, with a memorable P.S.: “If you tell anyone, I’ll see that you hang.”

Beyer told WUNC before the ceremony that the mission had been so deeply classified that the “Army basically lost it.”

“It kind of forgot about it until the late 80s, when they suddenly rediscovered this and started bringing Ghost Army soldiers to the Pentagon for briefings,” he explained.

I shared an obituary yesterday, and i have one more today, simply because this story should be told over and over and over and over again.

(Amnon) Weinstein was the founder of Violins of Hope, an organization that provides the violins he restored to orchestras for concerts and educational programs commemorating the Holocaust.


“Violins of Hope, it’s like a huge forest of sounds,” he said in a 2016 PBS documentary. “Each sound is standing for a boy, a girl and men and women that will never talk again. But the violins, when they are played on, will speak for them.”

There are more than 60 Holocaust-era violins in his collection.

Some belonged to Jews who carried them in suitcases to concentration camps, and who were then forced to play them in orchestras as prisoners marched to the gas chambers. Others were played to pass the time in Jewish ghettos. One was tossed from a train to a railway worker by a man who knew his fate.

“In the place where I now go, I don’t need a violin,” the man told the worker, in Mr. Weinstein’s telling. “Here, take my violin so it may live.”


One afternoon in the 1980s, a man with a prisoner identification tattoo on his arm arrived with a beaten up violin that had, like him, survived Auschwitz.

“The top of the violin was damaged from having been played in the rain and snow,” Mr. Grymes wrote in “Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust — Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour” (2014). “When Amnon took the instrument apart, he discovered ashes inside that he could only assume to be fallout from the crematoria at Auschwitz.”


During a radio interview, he asked listeners to bring him instruments connected to the Holocaust. Soon, families began showing up at his workshop with violins that had been stored away in attics and cellars, each with its own haunting story.

Mr. Weinstein was especially shaken by those recovered from concentration camps after the Allied invasion of Germany in 1945.

“This was the last human sound that all of those people heard, the violin,” he said in a 2016 radio interview on WKSU in Ohio. “You cannot use the name beauty. But this was the beauty of this time, these violins.”

A previous interview with the famed luthier.

And the concert in Cleveland where the Violins of Hope sang out again. They played Beethoven.


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