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Friday, 01 December 2017


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"[Y]ou get used to the fact that not every post is for everyone. Some are. Some might interest 80%, others 40%. Some might interest only 5%, but that's okay because everyone's important."

You could be writing about photographs.

I am proud to be part of the 2 1/2 %.

I've saved this article and the Sandlin article to read when I have time.

I don't know whether I will agree with you about how great it is, but I know that I agree with you that clear expository reading is one of the things that makes life worth living.

You've read Baker's _The Peregrine_? Too long to be an article probably, but short and brilliant.

Werner Herzog describes it better than I can : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzYyxY7NksM

Windows 10. Doesn't crash.

Going off-topic, but are you not using a text editor that auto-saves periodically to the cloud service of your choice? Ever since I started doing that I haven't lost whole pieces of work, maybe just 5 minutes of writing.

[Well, I do, sort of. It requires that I remember to do the first save, though. Then the TypePad compositor does an autosave every so often. You'd think I'd do the first save after the first word or the title or something, but I'm not always good about it. At least I didn't lose the post about the new Leica 50mm. --Mike]

I read this, with great interest. I think this off topic stuff is great; it makes the blog more personal and interesting.

I do appreciate the way you avoid the common setup for blog posts, which is title, barely relevant photo, text, repeat. That bores me silly; it's a bit like those posters people make (not so common now) which are like this:

Food! (Clipart of sandwich)
Hot drinks! (Clipart of hot drink)
Pets! (Clipart of....)

While you make posts on a photography blog which work very well with no photos at all.

Strange. Have to read it later and complete. The short sample you present here offers - at least to me - rather strange explanations. y
English not being my mother tongue, I might have missed something, but I do not think that Germans and Japanese were that dumb and superficial. Anyway, could you explain, why do you value that essay so highly? I might be in those 98.5% who just do not see anything like real explanation in there ;-) Is it the writing style, is it the historical content (ehm), or is it something completely different? If I right now proved that I do not understand a joke, well, please excuse me.
Take care

[Hi Robert. I changed the sample for you. Really, no sample does the essay justice—its profundity builds, from its modest beginning until the end.

And in any event, I don't want to get stuck in the position of hectoring anyone to read this. I don't mind what anyone does. All I'm saying is that I think this is a rare find. Please, though, suit yourself, and I mean that with perfect sincerity and no animosity whatsoever. --Mike]

I haven't had the chance to read it fully but it looks exceedingly good - thank you for posting about it here. Skimming through it, it raises interesting points in relation to Brexit.

A classic example of expository writing within fiction (that I am sure you are aware of) is Melville’s description of the rendering of a whale in “Moby Dick”.

Hitler was never an architecture student. He applied to the art academy in Vienna and was rejected, but they told him that he would be a great architect and offered him admission to the school of architecture, which he declined.

He did love architecture, though.

Count me as another fan of John McPhee. Among my favorites are his books on geology and geologists (Rising from the Plains, Assembling California, etc.). One day I went into Barnes & Noble looking for one of McPhee's books. Not knowing what section to look in, I asked an employee. "Oh, we have a special section for him," he said, and led me to it.

Well I read the whole damn thing last evening and have been struggling ever since to figure out how to comment on it. The discussion of Hiroshima did bring back memories of my father who was glad it happened as it saved him from a very likely deployment to the western Pacific. Sandlin is correct that this is just one horror in a huge list that both sides amassed over the course of the war.
I also was reminded of an army buddy from the '60s that I have unfortunately lost track of. He was known in our battalion as a sort of hippy just waiting out his time before being discharged. One day we had a dress parade and he showed up with a whole pile of medals including a Silver Star. This caused quite a consternation among the lifers who accused him of wearing medals he was not authorized for. He referred them to his official 201 file and told them to go to hell. With the help of a fair amount of alcohol we managed to get the gist of the story from him. He was a medic and the medals were for multiple instances of pulling wounded soldiers from burning tanks, a true hero. A rare instance where the gap between combat life and peace life was at least partially breached. Sandlin is on point in exploring this important gap which causes much misunderstanding for both sides.

Just finished "War and Peace." Great recommendation, thanks! Re expository writing, might I return the favor and recommend any and every one of the anthologies by John McPhee: Annals of the Former World; Coming into the Country...

I read the Sandlin essay over this weekend, loved it. The detail on some of the battles, plus the descriptions of the mindset during the war of individuals,as well as large populations, is fascinating.
I was born in the fifties and grew up with uncles and aunts who had lived through the war, but I was listening through the mind of a child to their stories.
This piece made me revisit some memories of their characters, as well as the feelings evoked by their storytelling and reassess some of the recollections in a new light.

As a young man, Hitler mostly painted small pictures of Vienna's architectural wonders. Although the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna rejected his application, it recommended he pursue architecture. ... Being bohemian and living on the margins, Hitler lacked the discipline to pursue a degree in architecture. He continued to drift and eked out enough to survive from sales of his watercolor pictures-- mostly to tourists.

After rising to power, Hitler and Albert Speer, architect, developed a close friendship. Hitler's ideas on modern architecture were delusional, not visionary. His sensibility dovetailed with Speer's aesthetic: reductive bombastic neoclasical oversized buildings.

Hitler was not a licensed architect.

Count me in for the 2.5%
As for 'expository' writing, this software might be of help for you?

As for forgetting to save a file in time, you might check out Google Keep.

Maybe it helps.

PS I find you at your best when you are writing on non pgotographic issues.

Groetjes, Gerard from Vleuten, the Netherlands

It read to me like Science Fantasy; somehow familiar, believable and unbelievable at the same time, a verity sustained by wonderful writing, touching old well-known bases well enough to validate new ones.

A fine read. Thank you.

I found a new perspective on the time span of WWII
Ask a Chinese '31 to '45
Ask a Spaniard '36 to '45
Ask a Russian june 41 to may '45
Ask an American december '41 till august '45
Ask a Dutchman:
If he was living south of the rivers may '40 to September '44
If he was living north of the rivers may '40 to may '45
If he was living in the Dutch East Indies '41 to august '45

The compexity of history.

@HJM Geradts, maybe ask a Pole 1939-1991 or thereabouts :-)

GJM Geradts, some war memorials in England show WWI as 1914-1919, instead of the usual 1914-1918. I've heard that this refers to English forces fighting the Bolsheviks.

I just read Lee Sandin's essay for the very first time. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

Thank you for the recommendation. I will read it with interest.

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