Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Last week was the Leavenworth (WA) International Accordion Celebration.  Leavenworth is known as “Washington’s Bavarian Village”, and most of its buildings are dressed up in Bavarian Village style.  LIAC consists of four days of accordion competition, performances by local and international groups and individuals, an accordion parade through town, and all sorts of impromptu and organized jam sessions for accordion players and other musicians. In the vestibule of the main concert venue, the “Festhalle:”, accordion dealers set up their tables full of various accordions for sale.  The entire weekend is full of accordions, as far as the eye can see.  Check it out.

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This is a new fountain, in front of the Festhalle.  The shepherd has been given an accordion, so he won’t feel out of place during the Celebration.

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Here are some of the instruments (can you spot the “ringer”?) on offer in the Festhalle lobby.

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Here are the accordionists lining up for the parade through town.

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And, THE PARADE!  Yes, they are marching and playing at the same time.

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Destination for the parade is the Gazebo in the middle of downtown.  They all march there, and play a few songs for the cheering crowds of spectators.  You can see that they range in age from little kids to mature adults.  A wonderful time was had by all.

It’s weird the things you remember from days gone by…Tricks of Memory

Today is June 6.  6/6.  It is the 73rd Anniversary of D-Day, that momentous day in 1944 when the Allies invaded France to re-take Europe from Hitler’s evil forces.  But that’s not what I remember.

In June of 1966, I was a junior in high school in Seattle.  I was taking a ceramics class, with a bunch of really “artsy” students.  I have a very vivid memory of writing on the blackboard, “Today is 6/6/66”.  It got a laugh from the class, but it was a distraction for the teacher, so it only lasted a few minutes.  But I remember that day, even 50 years later.  And I also remember another student, a boy, who wore a pink shirt to school that day.  I remember thinking “pink is for girls”!  But I did like that shirt, and today most guys have at least one pink shirt in their closet.  I don’t, since I hate pink!

I have received the notice of my class’s 50-year high school reunion.  I went to the fortieth, and it was fun.  I got re-acquainted with a girl who I was friends with back then, and we discovered that now we have even more in common now than we did then (I became a Conservative), and we have seen each other fairly often, and plan to go to the reunion together, with our husbands.

Memory…  It ties you to the past, and to old friends.

Friend..ly Photo Challenge

My friend likes to sit on my lap, whenever I’m sitting down.  She leaps very quietly onto the chair or bed I happen to be using, and purrs loudly to get my attention.  My lap is always warm when Kikyo the Aristo-Cat is on my lap.

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Kikyo, keeping me warm while I read

She also likes to snuggle up to her glass “friend”, which is on our high plant shelf.  It takes a long leap across the gap from the banister on the stairs, to the top of the coat closet, for her to get there in the first place, which is quite remarkable.  I’ll bet she doesn’t even know that the glass vase is supposed to be a cat!

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And then, she sprawls out in the most undignified posture I’ve ever seen!

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Fun with Swag…Fuji(i) Memorial Airport

The company where I work is in the Aerospace industry.  A couple of years ago, corporate gave each employee a little rubber airplane with the company logo on it.  One of our test engineering employees came up with a delightful way to deploy those cute little airplanes, on the cabinet next to his desk, often using his desk as overflow.  He obviously got a whole bunch more of those little airplanes, and he labeled his space the “Fuji(i) Memorial Airport”.  He has arranged his planes in dozens of interesting configurations.  Herewith, the Airport.

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Airport Solidarity

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Spider-Plane!DSCN0225

The sign may be hard to read: When Planes Attack 3. Notice that our planes attack with a smile!

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The two below are part of a setDSCN0223DSCN0224

Saint Patrick’s Day, Planes pay their respects to the LeprechaunDSCN0215DSCN0216

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This one was arranged on a day when it snowed and was 28 degrees outsideDSCN0206DSCN0209DSCN0210DSCN0203DSCN0204DSCN0205DSCN0099

Lining up for Takeoff.  See the runway markers?DSCN0100DSCN0202DSCN0085DSCN0086DSCN0098

With a very large Hat Tip to Test Engineer Wes Fuji.  Keep the Airport Coming!

Photo Challenge….Wish

Ever since I returned from Cambridge, England in 1991, I have wished I could go back.  There’s just no other place on Earth like it.  If I was told I only had a year to live, I’d pull up stakes and spend my last days in Cambridge.

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A peaceful River Cam bridge, behind Trinity Hall.
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Rear entrance, Trinity Hall.
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Round Church, Cambridge, dating from 11th Century

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King’s College Chapel, back side, from the River Cam

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The Intelligence Operative’s Children

The Intelligence Operative’s Children

I am very fond of Daniel Silva’s thrillers, about his Hero, Israeli Intelligence Operative (and now head honcho), Gabriel Allon.  Gabriel has worked tirelessly for his country, eliminating terrorists of every stripe, all over the world.  His first wife, Leah, who for years has lived in a psychiatric hospital in Israel, was made insane by the terrorist bomb (see A Death in Vienna) that killed his son, Danny, was sane enough to grant him a divorce a few years ago.  Shortly thereafter, he was able to marry Chiara, his fellow intelligence operative.  They are now proud parents of twins, a boy and a girl (see Black Widow).

All through Silva’s novels, the reader is reminded how dangerous the profession of Intelligence Operative (spy) is.  A spy’s enemies are literally everywhere, following his or her every move, and plotting ways to put him or her out of action.  Gabriel Allon was pretty much a ghost for a long time, his movements fairly cleverly concealed by his home Office, and his attempts to stay out of the public eye.  His actions of terrorist elimination were observable.  Once he is exposed, and his picture is splashed all over the press, it becomes more difficult for him to work.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to a spy’s children.  Once he is known, it becomes much more difficult for him to conceal his and his family’s whereabouts and actions.  In fact, if he and his wife choose to become parents, they are putting innocent people at risk. But having children is a primal human need, and it must be a very delicate decision to make, whether to have those children, ensuring your name and memories survive you, or to decline based on the danger to everyone involved.  The thing that makes a spy’s children a dangerous proposition is the fact that his enemies don’t have to kill him to put him out of action.  They can just go after his family.  Gabriel now doesn’t just have to worry about his terrorist enemies trying to find and kill him, and bomb or otherwise attack his country.  He must worry, 24/7, about the safety of his wife and children, who now are prime targets.

I learned, actually, from the movie The Godfather, how easy it is to drive your enemy insane.  Just go after what they love, and you don’t even have to get them (remember the scene with the horse’s head in the bed-gruesome).  Gabriel Allon is fortunate that his wife is also an intelligence operative, and can use her own considerable wiles to protect their children from harm.  But it must be very difficult to be in that situation, where you pretty much cannot ever relax, ever.  You must be vigilant and observant all the time to protect the children from all the bad people out there, just waiting to pounce.  They all now live in Israel, whose defense services are legendary.  But you and I have read the news stories of the continuous attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians by the ubiquitous Arab terrorists, many of whom live in Israel.

So think about it.  If you were an intelligence operative, would you have children?  I think it’s a case of “choosing life”.  You would, because of God’s Commandment to Choose Life.  Life will always conquer Death.

Images…What’s in a Name?

What do these names have in common?

They are both occupations.  Way back in the medieval period in England, people didn’t have “family” names, since there were few enough people around.  They were often known by what they did in the community.  John, the miller, who owned the flour mill by the river and accepted everyone’s grain to grind into flour.  If there were ten people named John in the village, they were distinguished by their occupations so people didn’t get them mixed up.  So you might have John the miller, and John the butcher.  Eventually, when there were enough people around, those occupations became their last names, and their children had two names, a first name and a last name.

For a while now, I have, just for fun, been keeping a list of last names that are occupations.  I’d love it if my followers could add names that I’ve missed.   Here is what I have so far:

Smith (as in blacksmith), or Schmidt the German variation

Miller

Butcher

Baker

Chandler

Glover

Barker

Fletcher (makes arrows)

Driver

Shepherd (or Shepard)

Cooper (makes barrels)

Goldschmidt (goldsmith)

Farmer

Mercer (makes thread)

Fuller (processes cloth)

Pope

King

Fisher

Marshall, or Marshal

Mason (the Masonic order was made up of the specialized stonemasons who built early cathedrals)

Draper

Proctor

Carter

Cook

Collier (miner)

Miner

Porter

Glaser (makes windows)

Tanner

Palmer

Cantor

Singer

Provost

Taylor, or Tailor

Knight

Framer

Warden

Chancellor

Sailor, or Saylor

Weaver

Squire

Forrester

Carver

Steward, or Stewart

Planter

Harvester

Page

Carpenter

Hunter

Clark, or Clerk

Abbott

Potter

Archer

Buyer

Postman

Chamberlain

Falconer

Reeve

Roper

Shoemaker

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