Friday, June 25, 2010

Just following orders?

Put these three words together and let the sadistic madness begin! It was the Nazis who first used this excuse to torture and kill millions of people they considered beneath their Aryan pride and noblility. The Allied countries breathed a sigh of relief when Churchill and Stalin joined up with the Americans to drive the Nazis back and bring as many of them as possible to justice. That's when Humanity first heard this plaintive cry, whined by so many folk who normally probably would've never dreamed of committing such horrible acts on so many people. Perhaps they were just following orders, knowing what would happen to them or to their families if they didn't follow orders. At the end of the day, however, the choices we make now make all the difference in the days to come. Those who were raised Hitler Youth went through an incredible period of disillusionment when they were forced to realized Hitler and his cronies were wrong and that they would have to live with their choices for the rest of their lives - those who survived World War II, anyway.
I'm not limiting this spiel to just the Nazis, however. Stalin was hiding his dark secrets from Churchill and the world in those heroic and tragic days. Churchill had no real love for 'those Bolsheviks', but he needed help from the Soviets to drive the Nazis back. Then Humanity greeted the Cold War with fear and trembling from the 50's to the late 80's (please correct me if I've made an error with the history). These dark secrets, known only to Russia and its Soviet satellites, rose with the coming of the NKVD (which changed its name several times through history), have only come to light since the 80's and 90's. The gulags, the Stasi Files, and KGB minions being found out and brought into the light of day; all these have contributed their elements to paint a terrifying picture of the Soviet Union. While the Nazis had some cunning and plenty of cruelty, the KGB had just as much cruelty and much more cunning.
"The perversion of knowledge' by Vadim Birstein shines a light on how the Soviets worked with their scientists and how they conducted their 'experiements' on hundreds of thousands of people. Their skill in rewriting history and forcing their people to choke it down is horrifying. Persuasion and manipulation par excellence! They didn't need death camps to get rid of people they didn't like - they just sent them to the 'scientists' to try out this or that new poisonous compound or weapon. It quakes the heart to read about these 'test subjects' and what happened to them. And these scientists were usually not the educated intelligensia, for they usually protested or refused to comply with Stalin and his ilk and were bundled off to the gulags and themselves turned into prisoners who 'died of unknown causes' or 'heart attacks'.
All in the name of putting away those who stood in the way of the KGB, and when these folk were brought to justice, guess what most of them used as their excuse? There's a bigger issue here, one of personal responsibility and accountability - enough of this 'It's not my fault' mentality - but for now, I'm going to read more of Birstein's book and cringe with my quaking heart. BYE.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The end's in sight

The school year will be over in a week and a half (less than that for the kids) for me, and I have a ton of phone calls to make. Overdue books have to come in before the end of the year and the late fines have to come in as well. Sometimes the kids don't get it (some just don't care); it's a matter of responsibility.... Of course, how many 12-14 year olds understand responsibility all that well? Many do, but there are some who do not, and they couldn't care less about the consequences of their actions. I keep trying to remember if the kids I grew up with were that annoying, and then I find myself respecting my teachers all the more. I cannot imagine what the librarian thought of us! I do recall how frustrated my classmates were in high school when the librarian would tell them off for being too loud in the library, or when they brought food into the library when they knew they were not supposed to. It's interesting being able to see both sides with such clarity. And of course, we didn't have iPods or cell phones, which aren't allowed in my library either.
I have to admit, there are times when I enjoy annoying the students. Does that make me a bad person, or is that just a perk of the job? Whatever it is, I love when it happens. So, the school year is coming to an end, and I've decided that I am going to take a long break from slavery to the written word this summer. I've done enough scribbling and typing, and the time to take a break from novels has come. Maybe I should try my hand at poetry or something like that. Something shorter... although I don't know if I'd be able to try my hand at a novella or even a short story. The temptation to flesh the short story out might be too much and the next thing I knew, I'd be getting frustrated by writer's block because the story would be getting longer and longer. I don't need a lengthy, complicated project right now. Besides, there are other ways to serve the Muse.
It has been some time since I took an art class or a cooking class. Maybe I could start attending an aerobics program or tried my luck with yoga. Yoga has connections to Buddhism, and might be the next step on my spiritual path. Or I could take up bowling again and join a league. It's been a few years since I've dedicated one a night a week to anything, and might be fun. Call it a case of broadening my worldly horizons, as well as my network horizons. I don't know a lot of people in this area, and meeting new people would be helpful for me on so many levels. So, while an end's in sight, so is a beginning of sorts. Of course, I might also spend the summer holed up in my apartment playing Sims or Oblivion and doing the hermit thing, but that seems pretty depressing, right?
That's all for now. BYE.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Baha'u'llah, Blogs, and Being Bookish

Another foray into matter Baha'i. This book, 'Baha'u'llah and the new era' was published in 1970, while the last Baha'i book I read came out in 1986. I'm hoping to find some newer material down the line, as I have an issue with older books. It's interesting that I'm a library tech. that has such a sensitive nose she cannot stand aging paper. I don't want to call it ironic, for I know someone's going to disagree. I can't think of irony without hearing Alanis' landmark song, but I digress. I'm not sure what this 'new era' that J.E. Esslemont speaks of, but then it's been 40 years since this book was published, and maybe this new era has passed on. Or this book could be speaking to the converted, of which I am definitely not of that number. The language makes me think that all the information mentioned has already been understood by the reader. Nevertheless, I'm reading it and finding a few very interesting, if not amusing, things.
For one, the Baha'i Faith seemed to be very much in favour of Esperanto. I was chatting with a teacher today and he asked about the book I was reading. I started talking a little bit about the Baha'i Faith and mentioned Esperanto, which the teacher had never heard of. He's either my age or maybe a little younger. If it hadn't been for 'Red Dwarf' or 'SCTV' I probably would've never heard of Esperanto either, but these days, even for those who have heard of this language, it is regarded as a joke. I feel that the Baha'i Faith missed the boat in this matter. If they are looking for a Universal language, English is already close to claiming that title. Who needs Esperanto? Actually, that's the only thing that made me laugh. The rest is more curiosity than anything else for this seeking mind. I still like the idea of an established religion that has no clergy or rituals. On the other hand, I really need to study this system and look at what its doing these days.
Blogging takes up some of my time, both writing in and reading. Some of my favourites are as follows:

There are others, but these are the ones I visit quite a bit. Highly recommended by this resident nutjob. Meanwhile, I have some Fantasy books ahead of me. I'll make more mention of them later. Until then, BYE.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Actually, I don't have a whole lot to say right now. My journey through life's doing okay. The weather could be better.
Now for some scenes from my favourite fictional family.
This is Aimee. She might look like she's going to be sick, but that already happened. The baby's coming! That was only the first of two children she had. Actually, she and her mate adopted a son and then had a daughter.
Here are the two in their teens, grooving the weekend away.
That's about all. BYE.