Category: 2023s

    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.

    Another Trip to Scarborough

    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)

    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 father’s 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.

    Ringing in the New Year: Peace and War, Hope and Fear

    1. Puck cartoon marking the new year in 1914. A young man (the New Year) in a smoking jacket and a vest labeled 1914 says to the old year, dressed as Uncle Sam, "Have something on me, old man! Whatll it be?" The choices are two whiskeys, one marked "hope" and the other "fear". They are in a well-furnished upper middle class salon with an overhead electric lamp lighting their faces. Source: Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2011649657.
    2. Cartoon sketch by John T. McCutcheon titled "Is that the best he can wish us?," published in the Chicago Tribune on December 31, 1917. It portrays an old man, 1917, disappearing into the annals of history (literally pages, one marked "history") as he wishes a younger man with a globe for a head ("The World"), "Scrappy New Year!" The new year is dressed as a soldier and is weighed down by infantry kit as well as a few artillery tubes and merchant ships. Source: Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2010717171/.
    3. Red, white, and blue New Year’s poster with Baby 1919 flanked by Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty. Behind them is a big red sun with the text, “World Peace with Liberty and Prosperity 1919.” Europe was still in turmoil and experiencing violence, but Americans had reason to be optimistic. Thus, this lithograph from United Cigars (logo at Liberty’s feet) seems apropos for the time. Source: Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003652819/.