Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kindle Stuff and Mopping Up.

Some blogger I turned out to be. Last post in January, I should be ashamed of myself. I blame it all on Amazon.

My family decided to present me with a most inspired gift this past Christmas, one that I did not realize at the time would become such a mesmerizing and time jealous device. A person like me with a portable library at their disposal at all hours on all days is like the proverbial kid in a candy store. I have gotten fat off of this candy, and have driven myself to near diabetic shock with the sheer volume of literature available at the touch of a button. I found myself downloading my next book while partway through the one I was reading. The Kindle has transformed the distribution of what I consider "me" time very dramatically. It has become a convenient enabler and companion in my natural escapist tendencies. Why get all worked up over things you can't control like oil spills and mosques at ground zero when you can just as easily lose yourself in post revolution France. The worries and frustrations of those pages were the spills and mosques of another time, only they had the guillotine and mad Emperors/Kings to concern themselves with. History has judged these epochs for the most part, and the modern reader can experience these things safely, able to walk away to get a glass of iced tea, never having to hear the blade fall or the dull thud at the bottom of the basket.

I immersed myself in these escapes in a reverie that has lasted for over eight months after which time I wandered around the nearly forgotten landscape of the internet. My foray into escapism had made me nearly blind to current events. Coupled with my banishment of television, radio, newspapers and pop culture in general in my life I discovered that I had missed a lot. Naturally when something on as grand a scale as the Gulf disaster occurred I was aware of what was going on, I just lack the kind of depth to discuss it in an intelligent manner. If you are not absorbing news or discussing it with others much of the common internet appeal vanishes, for me at least. I still like to look at the kitten pictures on lolcats though...

Many months ago a man whom I respect a great deal on EEticket.com forum informed me that I could not just reject the pop culture and hide under a rock with my ideas. I was close my friend, very very close. I may get there yet.

What I did miss about the net was a large cross section of truly decent people that I have been blessed to have come into contact with online. I have been unable to understand properly how folks never seen leave an impression on your life. You all know who you are.

In the Kindle Stuff section of this post I would like to offer what I think are the five best books I have downloaded on my Kindle. These tiles may or may not enter my top five of pre-Kindle times (hereafter referred to as PK times), but they were all damned good.

1. THE COUNT of MONTE CRISTO- Alexandere Dumas.
To those who have read it, have you found any book much better? The precursor to every
bad ass revenge movie. It has it all, and was consumed breathlessly.

2. WAR and PEACE- Leo Tolstoy
OK, it was long. Very very long. Tolstoy proved to be as adept at character development
and transmitting emotion as Dostoevsky. The ending left me a bit hanging though. Did I
mention it was long?

3. COD- Mark Kurlansky
I have a great deal of respect for a non-fiction author who has the skills to make a very mundane subject educational and entertaining. After having read The Big Oyster, Salt and
The Last Fish Tale Kurlansky is in my opinion the master of a possibly non existent genre.

4. CAPE COD- Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau either puts you to sleep or whispers in your ear like a warm spring wind. Cape Cod is great,Walden is possibly my all time favorite, Thoreau to me almost reads lyrically. I had the honor of meeting Kurt Vonnegut many years ago, but Thoreau would still get my vote as the author I would most like to have a beer with. Sorry Kurt.

5. CHARLATAN: AMERICA'S MOST DANGEROUS HUCKSTER, THE MAN WHO PURSUED HIM, AND THE AGE OF FLIMFLAM- Pope Brock
Mix together and old time medical scam artist, a somewhat receptive post patent medicine
populace and the testicles of a goat and what do you get? A true story of absence of human compassion on the one hand, and a generally uneducated, gullible, science can
solve everything victims on the other. Amazing read.

As for mopping up, after much research and many attempts at contacting the family of Edgar and Evelyn it has become apparent that this errand was an abysmal failure. So as a last attempt at matching this photo with a family member I have decided to post their entire names hoping that a google search might stir up a contact. The children are Edgar Kibbe and Evelyn Kibbe Rice both born in Jamestown N.Y. The Rices seemed to have migrated to Cleveland. According to obits I was able to obtain on the Rices, I feel reasonably sure that I found a son who just does not care enough to answer. Several letters to Kibbes and other related surnames in the Jamestown area have also met with no response. Very sad indeed. Perhaps next time we go to Salamanca NY I will stop at the Jamestown Library and Historical Society and try to drum up some new leads. I could not see paying what they wanted for hourly research to give away a picture that I already have a meager investment in. I am sentimental but cheap.

An odd note. Many months ago, as a favor to my son and his cousin Michael I pasted a few paragraphs on the Transylvanian Saxons that I had written for a family history book years ago. A cut and paste pre made blog entry, how easy is that. This particular post has outpaced the second most visited post on my blog by three times. Obviously more of us out there than I had thought.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to throw out a google fishing line for a project that I am working on. Anyone willing to share information, stories and/or pictures of the Displaced Persons Camp in Ansfelden Austria at the close of WWII please feel free to email me directly. This camp was also known as Lager/Haid or DP Camp 121.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading,

D

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