Sunday, September 24, 2006


Today was a decent newspaper day. Plus, the Bears won, and L made both chili (for dinner tonight) and Curry Cauliflower soup (for dinner later this week). All in all, not a bad day.

Bolivia, if you did not know, is a landlocked country. It has been since they lost a war with Chile. That was in the 1880s. The Times ran a story about the Bolivian navy, and the fact that Bolivia has not yet accepted the loss of the region. Now their navy patrols rivers, and Lake Titicaca. I said it, "Titicaca." There, I said it again. Anyway, after the word "Titicaca," the funniest thing in the article is: "Watching recruits, mainly Aymara-speaking Indians, emerge shivering after a swim in the lake’s 46-degree water as part of a punishing high-altitude diving course, he explained, 'We now guarantee that almost all of our sailors learn how to swim.'" And that seems to sum up the Bolivian navy.

The Bolivian story makes me think of Miklós Horthy, who was the dictator of Hungary between the wars, ending with the loss of Hungary to the Russians in 1944. During that period, as now, Hungary was a landlocked nation. Nevertheless, Horthy was an Admiral and part of his legitimacy stemmed from his military rank. What's even funnier is that Horthy's legal position was actually regent for the Kingdom of Hungary. In other words, he was acting on behalf of the monarchy in a country without a monarch, while also being an admiral in a landlocked nation. Bravo, Horthy, bravo!

The Times ran a story about the city of Atlanta coming to grips with the 100th anniversary of a race riot that left at least two dozen dead. The riot was not really a "race riot," but rather a rampaging massacre by whites on blacks. What is really fascinating is that the event is not taught as part of Atlanta's history, and within a week of the riot newspapers had already dropped the riot into the memory hole. One Atlanta paper reported "that the 'Negroes' had been 'disarmed and dispersed.'" Another stated that "Atlanta is herself again, business is restored, and the riot is forgotten," two days after the riot. People are only really researching the event now. Before all of us whites in the North get all smug reading the article, Detroit '43, Chicago '19, Tulsa '21, East St. Louis '17, and many others have some essplainen to do.

Finally, the Times had a short travel article on one of my favorite cities-Dresden, Germany. Along with Prague, I thought Dresden was one of the most photogenic cities I could imagine. The Zwinger, the Semper Opera House, the Frauenkirche, and the katholische Hofkirche, make up the Balcony of Europe on the banks of the Elbe River. Dresden also has a fascinating history. Saxony was, for a time, one of the major kingdoms of Germany. Austria and Prussia dominate what we learn about Germany in history, but Saxony was a major player, with the Saxons providing some of the kings of Poland. This is why this overwhelmingly Lutheran area has a Catholic Court Church (the Hofkirche). To maintain the (Catholic) Polish crown, it was necessary to be . . . Catholic. It was hard to convince the Pope or the Poles you were Catholic without a Hofkirche. Anyway, L and I went to Dresden on our honeymoon (along with Freiburg, Aachen, and Göttingen). I took the photo below, and recommend that you go to Dresden immediately.


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