Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lemon Tea and the Internet

It never ceases to amaze me how the internet has changed my life. Ask any question and there’s an answer…it’s like that tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Early this morning I made my usual green tea with lemon and was delighted to cut open a lemon which had no seeds. None! So I googled this. I mean…why do lemons usually have so many seeds compared to say…limes? And I got an answer. I could explain that answer here, but why should I? The answer is completely searchable and findable. Knowledge of almost any and every kind is readily available so long as there’s electricity and a wi-fi (which does not mean wireless fidelity, but rather IEEE 802.11x) connection. My little finite brain no longer needs to store infinite facts. I just need to type in the right question and I will get an answer.

The internet goes beyond the facts. It allows us to connect with real people. We can share joys or problems. We can support each other. No longer do we need to feel alone. How in the world did the world work before the internet?  I remember the pre-internet days. Young people today take this connectivity as natural as sunrise and sunset. We’ve been through a revolution…and come out the other end with a whole new way of living. I like it.

But as a child I discovered this yearning to look between the words, past the facts, past the veneer of smiling faces.  I think this is what put the seed in me to want to be a writer. So yes, the internet is an amazing tree of knowledge, but its fruit is full of seeds and seeds are good…they promise new life…unless you’re drinking tea.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Animals and War




I recently finished a book about horses in the Second World War. (Pferd und Reiter in II Weltkrieg by Janusz Piekalkiewicz). Animals...whether horses used in battle, zoo animals exposed to bombs, or family pets left behind during flight...the fate of many animals during the carnage of war was a tragic one.

A couple of children’s books focusing on German shepherds are must-reads that show the misguided revenge against all things German. (Finding Zasha and Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow).  

I came across an article in the BBC News Magazine, where it shares the sad fact that in Britain, 750,000 pets were euthanized within one week at the outbreak of the Second World War. Pets were viewed as a luxury in austere times.

Philip Kerr's book, The Winter Horses, tells the story about rare
Przewalski horses, living on a nature preserve in Ukraine during the Second World War.  It's supposed to become a movie.

The Trakehner horses, an East Prussian breed, almost went extinct at the end of the Second World War when the breeding stock had to flee across the frozen Vistula Lagoon to escape the Soviet advance. 

Many horses died in battle. One of the worst atrocities occurred in May, 1944 in Crimea. German riders were ordered to kill their own horses, rather than let them fall into Soviet hands. Machine gunners shot thirty thousand horses at the edge of a steep cliff, and let their bodies fall into the bloody Black Sea.  

Animals...so loyal and so voiceless.