100th 11.11.11

1918 … at “the eleventh hour on the 11th day of the 11th month,” an eerie stillness fell across the battlefields of Europe.

Armistice Day, officially recognized by President Wilson in 1919, is still observed throughout the world with many stopping for a moment of silence at the 11th hour of this day to honor those who brought about the end of the “Great War.”

In 1954, after the return of veterans from both World War II and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill rededicating Nov. 11 as Veterans Day and encouraged Americans to commit themselves to the cause of peace and to honor America’s veterans for their courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice.

Amistice Commemoration, National WWI Museum

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Returning to Tolkien Depths

For the past eighteen months, the Void that is my job, sucked all my spare time and forced me to back-burner several personal projects, including a deep dive into all things Tolkien.  Back in May of 2017, I had just discovered the local chapter of the Tolkien Society, the Smial of the Withywindle.  Oddly, they were finishing up their group read of Dune by Herbert, which I had also recently re-read via an excellent audiobook edition.  Over that summer, we read The Tolkien Reader and Tree and Leaf.  I threw in Humphrey’s J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography for good measure.  I kept up with our other group readings, but the work project increasingly encroached on my reading time.  I also didn’t let my employment interfere with our inaugural MiddleMoot on October 6, 2018.

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Within a week, I will have reached the final milestone of my epic project and can return to a somewhat slower pace at work.  And not a moment too soon, since the Tolkien Society of Kansas City is also doing a ‘deep dive’ into The Lord of the Rings by reading, concurrently, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the Shadow.  For the first month (November), our plan is to read the first four chapters of each book and discuss it at our next meeting on November 30th. Continue reading

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Sweet Dreams Are Made of Thirty-Five Years

It’s a Sunday afternoon. I’m depressing myself streaming tragic dramas while consuming dark chocolate and Chianti. Midway through my third creepy twisted love triangle, I found myself distracted and unfocused, missing entire scenes of the movie. I remembered something I promised my husband I would write about this month. And since he’s off visiting our daughter in the serene Pacific Northwest, I’m left with Rottweilers, wine, chocolate and an empty post page on my mostly neglected blog. I paused my mediocre excuse for a movie and grabbed my phone to research what was happening in September 1983 – the month I met the man I married.

I met my future husband at a bar called Backstage on the northeast side of Wichita, out near where the Cessna complex used to be. The song I remember the most from that evening was actually “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy. But the song that dominated the summer charts was the Police’s “Every Breathe You Take” which finally fell to “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” by the Eurythmics at the end of August.

Ghandi won best picture that year, but I remember have fond memories of The Right Stuff and the fact that Sally Ride became the first female astronaut as a member of the Challenge crew that summer. And The FCC authorizes Motorola to begin testing cellular phone service in Chicago. Good thing I had an amateur radio license!

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MiddleMoot Announced for October 2018


Signum University, the Mythgard Institute, and the Tolkien Society of Kansas City are proud to announce the inaugural MiddleMoot 2018, a one-day symposium addressing the role of Nature, Man, and Industrialization in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien on Saturday, October 6, 2018, at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. A mixture of paper presentations, panels, and discussions will be offered along with a keynote address by guest of honor Dr. Corey Olsen, “The Tolkien Professor.”

Dr. Corey OlsenOn his teaching website, The Tolkien Professor, Dr. Olsen brings his scholarship on Tolkien to the public, seeking to engage a wide and diverse audience in serious intellectual and literary conversation. His website features a series of detailed lectures on The Hobbit and recordings of the weekly meetings of the Silmarillion Seminar, which worked its way through the Silmarillion chapter by chapter, as well as more informal Q&A sessions with listeners. His book Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, was published by Houghton Mifflin in September 2012.

Cost is $40 per person, and will include a light breakfast (coffee and pastries), and gourmet boxed lunch. You can select your preferences on the registration page. Registration and information table opens at 8:30am with opening address to start at 9am.

If you wish to be considered for a paper, panel, or presentation at MiddleMoot, please send an abstract of less than 250 words to tolkiensocietykc@gmail.com on any of the above topics related to Nature, Man, or Industrialization (more information to follow on Signum website).


Please help the Tolkien Society of KC as we endeavor to make this moot waste-free!

Every tree has its enemy, few have an advocate.’

– J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 241

Official Signum page: https://signumuniversity.org/event/middlemoot-2018/

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Postcards from the Edge of Islandia

The second third of Islandia suffered middle book syndrome even though it’s not actually a middle book.  Yet it is the middle of this book.  The first third had elements of a travelogue, a natural history explorer, a diplomat and unrequited love.  The second half included the climax of the diplomatic crisis but replaced unrequited love with a rebound romance and the consequences of isolationism.  The protagonist’s predicament becomes more interesting and intriguing as he begins the return journey back from the brink of near total Islandiaic immersion or immolation.

 

 

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Dorna, I had a marvelous visit with Natanna and the Hyths on my way back to The City. Yet I pine for the beauty of Dorn Island.  You have encouraged me to avail myself of all my opportunities.  Warmest regards, John (Ch. 16, The Hyths and The City)

 

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Lessons from History? — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

Once upon a time, I was the staff director of a Congressman’s office. He was a Republican. At that time, the Democrats held an overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 354 more words

via Lessons from History? — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

I woke up to the longest day of the year (summer solstice). I read through Modesitt’s latest blog post, which turned my longest day into perhaps my most frustrating one? Are we truly doomed to repeat history because we choose to ignore it?

I’m old enough to have seen the swing of politics from one abusive majority to another abusive majority of a different party, but most Americans either haven’t lived long enough to see it, don’t care so long as “their” party prevails, or have no idea what I’m talking about.

History would suggest that this kind of situation, unless defused, will only get worse. The only question may be whether we’re looking at a repeat of 1968 or 1861.

Do we really want another bloody brutal Civil War?

I don’t.

But I am not a Republican nor a Democrat and I voluntarily pursue lessons from history because I don’t wish to ‘rinse and repeat’ the mistakes of more predecessors.

I can only hope I’m not alone.

 

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Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep or History Podcasts I Nod Off To

Several weeks ago I decided to stop falling asleep to whatever audiobook I was currently listening to because I spent too much time the following morning figuring out where I drifted off to dreamland.  In other words, what’s the last thing I remembered coherently before losing consciousness?  So I switched to podcasts of a different nature that didn’t require as much of my brain engaged to follow along.

Screenshot_20180605-140351For example, I use Podcast Addict exclusively now for my podcast listening.  I set the sleep timer to thirty minutes and then I review my playlist.  I rearrange it, usually putting the shorter episodes at the top.  Sometimes I just select on of Dr. Corey Olsen‘s Mythgard Academy Tolkien podcasts because they are always nearly two hours long and I can hop in and out of those without too much loss.

One podcast that I really like to fall asleep to, and re-listen to if I nod off too quickly, has been The History of Rome by Mike Duncan. Duncan started the podcast in 2007 so some of the first episode show their age (auditorially  speaking).  This week, I reached episodes 20 (a & b) related to the First Punic War.  The oddest thing I heard last night was the Romans building walls around a city they were besieging because another army had arrived upon the field and now threatened and surrounded them.  The Romans besieged while besieging. This is not going to end well (and unsurprisingly it did not).

Aside from the Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast, I hadn’t been listening to any other history podcasts.  But I enjoyed both of these quite a bit, which got me looking for more history related listening.  This week, I’m testing out three new podcasts, one of them the current endeavor of Mike Duncan, called Revolutions.

I found a short fifteen minute history podcast produced by the University of Texas at Austin.  I’m on the third episode but not sure I’ll continue.  I’ll give it a couple more before unsubscribing.

I have high hopes for Ben Franklin’s World, I just hope they are not all interviews.  The first three episodes are inaugural introductory interviews.

All of these history podcasts have hundreds of episodes under their collective belts so I have a dearth of listening available and won’t need to resort to counting sheep or backwards from one hundred to transition to dream land successfully.

 

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