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Sunday, 09 August 2020


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Well, English used to be the immigrant language in America.

Oh look, it's only a half-hour drive from Italy to Dresden.

Wow. You lucky duck. You know exactly where and what the perfect project for you is. It's right there. You're a portrait guy. And you know you'd love this gig, right?

Mike. People can sense someones intention. You've got a pure intention. They'd give you a green light. You just have to be brave enough to give yourself a little teeny weeny push. Just a gentle push. The powers that be will sense where your heart is, if you just have a go.

Our prime minister (who's a bit of a... well, he's on the Cretin Spectrum, let me put it that way) often says, "If you have a go, you'l get a go". And for the first time in history, here, for you, he's dead right. Have a go Mike.

Just looked at Yates County on Google Maps - and on satellite view. Not Many People! It looks idyllic. Personally I get agitated if I can't hear a passing taxi in the distance, either in Singapore or London. But there is a side of me that can appreciate the photo-opportunities that living among green leaves can bring. I guess the important thing is to get on well with your neighbours.

[Hey, our metropolis has taxis. I think at least one of them. Could be two.

Plus, the Mennonites hire drivers to take them places—there are guys who make their living ferrying Mennonites around in vans or to make deliveries. Personally I think it's kinda ironic that because Mennonites can't use cars, they end up getting chauffeured. --Mike]

When we travelled in Canada, we often met people, just for a chat or to ask directions. Many times, the first reaction was: “Are you Dutch?”
People recognised our accent, their parents or grandparents seem to talk english the way we did.

That brings me to a short conversation, during same holiday, I had with a very old man. His age was 95, after he’d asked where we came from, he said that he and is brothers were in the army during operation Market Garden (Arnhem). He said his brother was killed then and there and was buried in the war cemetery of Oosterbeek. When I returned home, I went to visit that cemetery. To this day I have regrets for not asking the name and surname of his brother. That would have made a difference. These cemeteries are very serene places and are well kept by volunteers. All in all this was a moving experience for me, meeting some of those man in person to whom we owe so much. The short talk with him and the visit, both were.
Glad that I took a picture of Jimmy, after asking for permission of course.
The sad thing was, that after we parted, we met again some blocks further and maybe 15 minutes later. After my greeting him, the poor man didn’t recognise me. He looked very puzzled when I told him about his and his brothers story. I felt so sorry for him.


While not in your county, the map brought back fond memories of what a lovely area you live in. For three years (‘68-‘70) I attended the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix in Watkins Glen.

Awhile ago, I scanned quite a few of my slides from the races. Here’s one from ‘69. It reminded me just how simple racing was back then. No real barriers separating attendees from the track and unlimited access to the race pits.


Watkins Glen is now a major automotive event center without its’ former charm. However, being a car guy, you could probably get some great photos there.

Mennonite teens often go Jack for a period of drinking and Hell-raising, unlike the Amish they use modern technology when it suits their purpose. Lots of crashed pick up trucks and rushed marriages are the net results.

One of the scariest things I've seen is a Mennonite women in an ankle-length dress using a weed wacker. Accident waiting to happen.

According to Wikipedia the Mennonites take their name from Menno Simens a native of West Frisia so he possibly spoke English as near as dammit, West Frisian being the nearest sister language to English and almost mutually intelligible :-) .

"Bread, butter and green cheese is good English and good Fries", which sounds not very different from "Brea, bûter en griene tsiis is goed Ingelsk en goed Frysk"

"Tom, I think you would particularly enjoy a great book called American Nations by Colin Woodard. (It was recommended to me by a TOP reader.) He generalizes a bit to make his points, and the reality is no doubt less clean than his theories, but it's fascinating stuff, and it sure answered some persistent questions I've always had about my own country."


I have read Joel Garreau's 'Nine Nations of North America', but that's now 30 years old. In any case, that's a different split - more on way of life/economic factors (e.g. life on the plains as against life in the rustbelt, both including Canadians as well as Americans). I shall be interested to read the Woodard.

[Woodard gives credit to Garreau as the antecedent of his book. --Mike]

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