Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is filled with many conundrums.  First how is the man’s name pronounced? Is it Ove as in “love” and “dove”? Or is it Ove as in “stove” and “drove”? Or is it Ove as in the Yiddish “Oy Vey”? The Yiddish is closest for me since the character in this book is the Yiddish definition, “expressing dismay or exasperation.” Ove exasperates everyone with his ways. When others encounter Ove, they become dismayed with him. He dismays and exasperates himself throughout the novel as he fails to commit suicide on many occasions.
Secondly, this is a Swedish novel and follows closely a Swedish tone of dismay and exasperation. Consider the Swedish detective Kurt Wallander and we have Ove. Ruminate over the Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman’s work. Even little brother Norway produced The Scream. This novel fits in well with these three; they are cut from the same cloth.
The final conundrum is the man himself and his actions. “Instead they had parked here and walked all around the block looking for the café. Because Ove, as Parvaneh had soon realized, was the sort of man who, when he was not quite certain where he was going, just carried on walking straight ahead, convinced that the road would eventually fall into line. And now when they find that the café is directly opposite the spot where they parked, Ove looked as if this was his plan all along.” Ove is a man of principles. He will not pay an extra krona when he doesn’t believe he should and will forgo something or make his life harder. He never ever breaks the law or social more. As we watch all of his interactions with others, our only reaction is “Oy Vey.”
The man called Ove is a curmudgeon. The irony of his life is that he has a big heart, both literally and figuratively. His wife, Sonja, shows him this, much to his own dismay. Even his new neighbor, Parvaneh, provides reasons for Ove to display his big heart in the face of his persistence to be the curmudgeon. He is a man who wants to die and can’t take his own life because he has things to do for others.
This is a very satisfying and reflective read.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Our new Reality

A person who tells us a truth and is arrested and jailed. A person who lies is not arrested nor jailed. Our government knows stuff, we the people, need answers to and yet they withhold this information. Government officials lie under oath, are put in charge of key government positions, are outed, and yet no jail. I'm very confused. Our government is not on our side, it is on its side protecting itself, its job and not looking out for us. Liars tell us the truth is fake when we plainly see they are not lies and that the liars are lying, and yet we do nothing but go along with our merry lives accepting this new reality. Willful ignorance is our new reality and that makes us losers, not winners. Reality winners are in jail, the liars are not. It's all upside down. We are not the United States. This is our partisan government's fault and ours for allowing it and creating it. Willful, loser, ignorance. I see an American flag flying upside down and at half staff. People in power are allowed to stumble and make gross mistakes and continue in their jobs and yet the rest of us are not allowed these passes in error. When will this nightmare end? When will reality be restored?
I need to reread the Emperor's New Clothes.

Monday, May 8, 2017


One sure thing about camping is the ubiquitous whistle of a distant freight train. No matter where I am camping in America, I always hear that unique whistle. I don’t hear it at home, only on the road, like a clarion for the soul, a metaphor for my wanderlust, a symbol of that feeling of freedom for the traveler. I haul my little 16-foot home behind me as I travel. I left home about one in the afternoon on Tuesday to get across Maryland by nightfall. Almost to Hagerstown I camped at Greenbrier SP, a lovely place in the western mountains of Maryland. I cooked dinner, had a fire, and listened to the Rangers dominate Ottawa in Game three and then heard the Yanks complete a comeback. A good evening followed by a good sleep. I woke early and was on the road by six for the long ride and day across to just inside the Illinois border to camp at Kickapoo SP. I arrived in a light rain, set camp, and opened the awning so I could cook dinner. I was tired after the long ride, so after dinner I packed up in the light rain so I wouldn’t have much when I woke in the morning. I’m glad I did. It poured all night and was still pouring when I woke. Broke camp and was on the road by 6:30 and drove out of the heavy winds and rain. It took me nearly an hour and a half of these brutal conditions to arrive in clear skies and little wind. The cross wind was brutal to trucks as I saw them listing ever so. I saw a couple of barn roofs stripped of a panel in two instances. When I cleared the maelstrom, I was overdressed. The temperature had risen fifteen degrees with a bright sun. I changed into shorts and ate shirt. As I crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa and its flat roads, the sky ahead was cloudless. I arrived at Ledges SP in Boone Iowa at two in the afternoon; set camp and then drove into see Tommy in Ames. He is excited about graduating, has a job, is going to a Cubs Yankee game on Sunday with his girlfriend, who is a Chicago girl, and then flying to NYC for a week and will be going to Game six of Rangers-Ottawa series. Then he returns to Ames to start his new job on May 15. As he said, “That’s when life gets real.” But until then, he is grabbing life by the horns and enjoying his last days of school life and its freedoms. He will begin his new life as a catering manager for the Hy-Vee markets in Des Moines. He is excited and happy for a job in catering, his career choice, and to be in the area sharing his dreams with his girlfriend who is following her dreams in broadcasting. I’m so proud of him for where he is now after such a bumpy time of it in the beginning of his college life. I love it, a NYC boy in Des Moines dating a Chicago girl.
He and I went to a local café for a drink and some tapas plates. I then took him and his roommate to dinner, before returning to his favorite bar to watch Game four of the Rangers-Ottawa series. Once again the Rangers dominated as they have in the previous three games. The Rangers should have swept these guys; instead it is 2-2 in games. Hope they clinch for Tommy in Game 6 at MSG.
I am camped in a hickory forest. Some old growth as well as new growth. It is filled with birds and woodpeckers, hammering away. I had breakfast outside watching spring come to life, listening to the clattering of birds, and the soft voices of young kids as they bike around the loops while some seniors are getting their morning exercise. Iowa is celebrating their State Parks this weekend, so the place is filled as they begin another season of outdoor fun and games. I wonder if they celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Iowa? And there is that train whistle.
Graduation weekend is the best. A proud and happy graduate. Proud parents. The emotions are intense.
And then it is over and we all disperse.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sacred Games by Gary Corby

Sacred Games by Gary Corby is about a murder during the 80th Olympiad in 460 BC. Nico is trying to prove an old childhood friend of Athens didn’t kill his arch Spartan rival before their Olympic event. Nico and Diotima are married, but their fathers have yet to approve the marriage. At one point in the investigation, Nico must confer with Pindar, the famous poet.
“Do you like to drink?” Nico asked.
“I’m a poet.” Responded Pindar.
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
And so the games go on. Nico is coupled with Markos, a Spartan, to make the investigation equitable for both the Spartans and Athenians. The scene in Olympia is outrageous and just as bawdy as any modern day Olympics, except toady the athletes compete and walk around clothed, not so then.
One thing that is still the same is that the Olympics were a political event then too.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day

Rabbit rabbit and other such nonsense. I'm reading but not writing much and am getting spring fever and wanderlust. I'll be heading west to watch my son graduate from Iowa State University on May 6. I'll enjoy the drive, the festivities, and celebrating his accomplishments. After the weekend, I'll take the northern route along 90 and parallel roads as I slowly wind my way to the Maine coast and spend some time on a pond east of Rt 1. I have a new kayak and a cottage to help my lady make comfortable by planting a garden, doing chores about the place, and enjoying her company.