Monday, December 18, 2017

Boots over New Zealand

Next week we'll be hiking the Queen Charlotte Track a glorious ridge trail above sea-drowned valleys at the top of New Zealand's South Island. It's a comfortable tramp, just 43 miles over four days.

Maybe that explains why Rudyard Kipling's "Boots" was my earworm the other day:
We’re foot—slog—slog—slog—sloggin’ over Africa!
Foot—foot—foot—foot—sloggin’ over Africa—
(Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!)         
There’s no discharge in the war!
Kipling took the viewpoint of a British Tommy soldier in southern Africa in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). His racism is relatively subdued in this poem, but he does what he does best, depicting the "white man's burden."

That got me wondering if New Zealand played any part in the conflict. I learned that New Zealand sent troops to support the British Empire. Some Māori men (the first New Zealanders) wanted to enlist, but were turned down because this was a "white man's war."

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Very Japanese Christmas

Christmas was coming to life when I visited Japan in early November. Colonel Sanders, an integral part of Japan's Christmas traditions, was in his Santa garb. Ticket counters in some train stations were decorated with tinsel and little ornaments. Christmas trees were starting to sprout.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Morning Coffees

From under the duvet, I hear the daily grind. Dwight is edging towards his workday.

It's time for my daily incantation:
"OK Google, what time is it?"
"OK Google, turn on National Public Radio"
"OK Google, turn on bedroom lights"
"OK Google, bring coffee"
OK, I don't ask Google to bring coffee. I stick my head out the door and make my wakeful state known. I make a mental note to program Google to flash a light in the kitchen when I'm ready for my first coffee of the day

A few minutes later, the coffee arrives.