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

Monday, May 8, 2017

Graduation


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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben


Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben can be summed up in two words: Occam’s razor. This is a good parable concerning the title, one we all know, especially the second part. It is about the second part of that saying that this book addresses in dramatic fashion. It probes the guilty conscience in a cunning way. It is a testament to our military and to those who serve, survive, and carry the war with them forever. This is a book only the reader can evaluate and no review can hope to accomplish for another.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Underworld by Kevin Canty


The Underworld by Kevin Canty is about a town in Washington with a silver mine. Then there is a mining accident and ninety-one men died. Ann and Jordan are surviving wives. Ann is childless and Jordan has two small children. David survives his brother, but his mom and dad don’t do so well. The survivors are known as the “sleepwalkers” as they walk around with blank faces and a distracted look on their faces as they continue conversations, one-sided conversations. As Ann drives Jordan home after they have identified the bodies of their dead mining husbands to the suits, Ann reflects, “It’s strange how everything looks new today. She’s driven this road some uncountable number of times but today she feels like a stranger here and she can see the strange lonely little houses behind chain-link fences, the crumminess, fiberglass speedboats mildewing in the side yards, firewood stacked under blue tarps. Why would anyone live here? Years of smoke from the smelter have killed the trees. A tangle of weeds on the hillsides now. Scraps of snow in the creases of the hills high above, though it is spring in the valley, a season of mud and flowers. Half the cars look abandoned. Dogs bark at passing cars. People stuck around because the money was good, and it was good, but where is it now? This looks like a town of poor people, temporary people, like a good wind might blow them all away.”
Two miners, Terry and Lyle, spent sixteen days underground until they were found. This is a story of the survivors and how they cope and how they don’t cope. It’s about getting out of the hole.
It is so appropriate today as 45 revitalizes the coalmines and one has to wonder why. He certainly can’t be doing it for the miners, that life sucks and is so tragic. He’s doing it for the suits and at the same time changing science. 45 has no regard for nature or mankind, just the almighty dollar. He’s a suit.