It is amazing to watch a tiny human, my granddaughter, develop language for herself.

Whenever I finish fixing one thing on my site, a new issue arises. Still, if I tell my perfectionist self to get over it, I can have a good weekend, holiday traffic be damned.

This is just a test post from Drafts.app (MacOS and iOS) to Micro.blog, which will then crosspost to Mastodon and Bluesky. Later, I will hit a Micro.blog button to crosspost to Threads, assuming I’m logged into the latter. (Threads still doesn’t have a public API.)

Cleaning up my blog posts, which I’ve moved to Micro.blog, reveals just how much extra unnecessary garbage markup WordPress.com has dumped into my posts. Yikes! Still lots more to go. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for my domain to point to the new site, and I’m trying to figure out how to place my blog on a custom page, among many other things. There’s a learning curve with the new system, but I’m getting there.

I am migrating my website from WordPress.com to Micro.blog in order to simplify its maintenance, reduce costs, and streamline my online communication. Please pardon my many hiccups during this transition.

Juggling Social Media Platforms

I quit the old bird site last December, and I’ve been a happy Mastodon user instead ever since. Nonetheless, I’ve recently begun dalliances with Threads and Bluesky. I’m not looking for greener pastures, but I’m curious about what’s on offer now, and I want to find some of the people who I don’t see on Mastodon. Juggling social media platforms is inconvenient, but seemingly unavoidable at this particular moment, as people search for new communities and rebuild parts of their old ones. It is a moment of flux, and such flux could very well be the new normal.

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Driving north on Rt. 16, I can still be surprised by the appearance of the White Mountains from a few hilltops between Wakefield and Ossipee. For a moment, today, I was even treated to Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Washington as the dominant figures in a stunning pattern of silhouettes that rose into the late afternoon sky. Chocorua was front and center, and Washington rose up behind it in a pairing that is impossible to imagine in Chocorua’s shadow, where I grew up, let alone in Mt. Washington Valley. where I am now.

Blue sky over a brick and glass building with a roof jutting out to offer some shade to the wall of glass windows and the people sitting outside.

It’s a beautiful day over here in Down East Maine, where my mother is undergoing a two-part procedure while I wait outside. The picture here is of the waiting area wing of the surgery center on Maine Med’s Scarborough campus. (Photo by author.)

Ukrainian Media at War

In the past, I rarely watched YouTube, but the bird site’s corruption has seen me on YouTube much more often, as I search for content about Ukraine. Recently I found a good Ukrainian-made series about how Ukrainians in various kinds of media have adapted to Russia’s full-scale invasion. There are 10 episodes, not counting a 3-minute trailer. All but the last are about 15 minutes long, and the final one is 25 minutes. (I’ve seen half of them so far.) The series is largely in Ukrainian with English subtitles, and partly in English with Ukrainian subtitles, depending on who is speaking. The titles on YouTube are in Ukrainian, but there’s a playlist that has them all in the correct order. Besides, you don’t need to know the Cyrillic alphabet to read the episode numbers (єпізод 1, 2, 3 …) of “Media at War” (Медіа на війні) and to watch Ukrainians speak for themselves.

Sign of Life

My last post was of snow and now August is almost over? Yikes!

After commuting thousands of miles between DC and New Hampshire since my fathers passing, I’ve spent the summer in New Hampshire. The marathon driving sessions wear on me, so I’ve been avoiding them.

The driving was because I haven’t found a good way to have my mother live alone for more than a few weeks at a time. I haven’t worked out a strategy for getting her help while preserving as much of her independence as possible. So I’ve been the help.

Maybe that’s a good thing, even if it often feels like I’m treading water. During my father’s final months, everything had to be about him. Now I’m able to take the time to work out my mother’s specific needs, even as she works out the business of living as a widow after more than sixty-five years of marriage.

Besides, a health issue has come up that we have to deal with.

a farm stand selling young plants at the beginning of spring in Maine A view of the water and granite at Diana’s Baths.
giant labs of granite in the New Hampshire woods Sand dunes in Barnstable, MA
  1. My mother enjoying flowers and the arrival of spring at Weston’s Farm in Freyburg, Maine.
  2. Slabs of granite in the woods next to the upper section of Diana’s Baths.
  3. A view of the water and granite at Diana’s Baths.
  4. Sand dunes in Barnstable, MA. Was taking a break after driving to Cape Cod to see my wife, my son, and my son’s family.

(All photos by author.)

Snow-covered trees with a moon behind them

Snow-covered trees with a moon behind them in Center Conway, NH, on the evening of January 6, 2023. The slightly visible lines in the sky are a light wintry mix of precipitation. (Photo by author.)

Links: Russo-Ukrainian War

Here are some worthwhile articles related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. No paywalls – all links lead to freely available texts.

Under Cover of War: The Kremlin’s Fascist Project" by Nancy Ries, Today’s Totalitarianism, August 2022.

The war is a profound turning point, ending any pretense of “soft” authoritarianism with its modicum of space for resistance. The Kremlin’s fascist project may not succeed in the end, but it is crucial to see its effects within Russia as a fundamental component of the 2022 attack on Ukraine…. The Kremlin structures its war-making machine in ways that deliberately produce atrocity…. [And on TV, there is] a “pedagogy” of exterminist consciousness and practice, a key tool of the fascist project unfolding within and beyond Russia.

In Ukraine, I saw the greatest threat to the Russian world isn’t the west – it’s Putin" by Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, December 17, 2022.

The Kremlin’s imperial war has made its own culture and language a common enemy for people across its former empire.

“The Skill Involved in Zelensky’s Congressional Address” by James Fallows, Breaking the News, December 23, 2022.

The words of the speech were ‘left brain,’ with careful writerly eloquence. The in-person performance was ‘right brain,’ with emotional power beyond the words. The combination was remarkable.

“Special Issue: Weaponizing History in the Russo-Ukrainian War,” edited by Beatrice de Graaf and Lien Verpoest, Journal of Applied History, December 2022.


Drawing in black, white, and red. Child in center with broken pieces of their former life around them, Russian rockets sticking tail-first out of the ground, each marked with a big Z and a rashist message. Captions: 'Stolen Childhood' and 'Stop Rashism'

Art by @neivanmade on Instagram. The term "rashism" is what Ukrainians call Russian fascism.