History this week

I watched the PBS series The War most of yesterday, and David joined me for the last hour. The story only made it to the D-Day invasion.  I suppose WETA will finish the series next week on Memorial Day. 

The series  began this past weekend to honor Armed Forces Day, which was a very important holiday when I was growing up.  With my 8 uncles, the EX’s father and 7 uncles, and David’s brother involved, someone in the family took part in almost every event of WWII.  Amazingly, they all came home, alcoholic and crazy in some cases, but physically intact.

I am fascinated with how Ken Burns organizes PBS version of the tale of WWII with personal recollections, film and photos.  A historical “period” can seen from an economic (commercial);  political (left-right); sociological (organization, demography); psychological; or technological perspective.  Burns tells the story from the popular or micro level…how real people understood the events they experienced.

For example, P. the professor of business history told us a technological anecdote of how the American tanks, although inferior to the German tanks with their Mercedes engines, served the Americans well.  P said when the German tanks broke down, troops had to order new parts and an auto technician to fix them. In comparison, every boy in America knew how to work on a car in those days, so when the American tank broke down, the boys in the field knew how to fix it.  I told David this story and he says, “Yes, the engines in the American tanks were two Cadillac engines wired together.  The boys knew how to work on GM engines.”  Battles and wars are won and lost on technological issues.  This story makes me wonder about all the things we can’t fix ourselves these days.


2004.06.08 Venus Transit, Celestron 8" Ca...

2004.06.08 Venus Transit, Celestron 8″ Catadioptric Telescope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who track heavenly events have a treat in store.  The ‘Transit of Venus‘ is about to occur (June 5-6 2012).  Until a year or two ago I had no idea what the transit of Venus involved. It was then my friend and classmate Mary, a school teacher, took it on as an assignment in our History of Science class. Mary wrote the Wiki article you can see by clicking on the link above. Folks in the Pacific, especially Hawaii will have the best viewing so heads up you guys.

This celestial event set off a scientific revolution among astronomers in Europe when they figured out the transit gave them the means to measure the size of our solar system. 


Lately, strange things have been happening in my bedroom.  This morning, I heard a distinct little bird voice say. “Hello Daddy.” I almost said something back until I realized I must have dreamed it.  We (the birds, me, my kids and grandkids) call David Pops, which is a nickname he had in high school. (His English teacher called him Popsie.) The only person who calls David “Daddy” is his daughter Julie. David’s son calls him Pop.  Julie comes around once in a while and the birds like her high-pitched voice so they copy the things she says.  

However, the other thing that struck me was that I don’t have a bird in my bedroom, they are all downstairs, so how could I have heard a bird voice?  Sometimes I have incredibly vivid dreams. Mostly they are about mundane things. On the other hand, maybe my amazing dog Johnny, who sleeps in my bedroom said “Hello Daddy.”  





13 thoughts on “History this week

  1. Thanks for reminding me about Ken Burns — haven’t seen it, so I think I’ll get it from the library. The thing that gets me is when my kids refer to The War — they’re not talking about WWII, they’re talking about Vietnam. Makes me feel old.

    I read recently that drones actually produce LESS collateral damage than air attacks or even ground troops. But (need I say it?) let’s hope that sometime in the not-too-distant future we get to the point when war itself is history and we won’t need any of these technologies anymore.


  2. If you were half asleep, it was your mind playing tricks; if you were wide awake, I’m a little bit scared 😉

    Loved the story about the tanks. That kind of detail makes events real in a way that a million facts can’t.


  3. Aw, I am sorry I missed Ken Burns. He does such an amazing job that I try never to miss anything he does.
    That voice was a bit spooky. I too have vivid dreams, I live two lives, so I am voting for that.


  4. To clarify…..”…some of the vicious type” refers to vicious battles i.e. using a flame thrower on enemy coming out of caves is one account I recall hearing about.


  5. Interesting bit about WWII mechanical repairs. Not only is trying to repair today’s items with all the digital complications virtually impossible for most of us, even using most items is complicated. Gone are the days when we could just plug an item into a power socket, turn it on and voila! It worked! Now, so many require all sorts of programming input.

    Many WWI warriors came home with their lives permanently screwed up, too, as I recall stories about some in my family. Likewise, I’m convinced some of the WWII vets who saw combat — some of the really vicious type — came home with PTSD that went unacknowledged as well as un
    treated, but their wives and children were subjected to the consequences.

    Perhaps the “…Daddy” comment you heard came from a voice in a different dimension???


  6. Using so many drones in war makes me wonder why we bother to send troops to war. Will we ever see the day when entire wars are done by remote control? I hope to see the day.

    Dreams are hallucinations, so hearing the Daddy voice was imagined. What a vivid dream! I never remember my dreams, but hubby has caught me sleep walking on occasion.


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