REDUX: “I’m invisible, and I’m good at it!”

And 3 years later, I’m still VERY good at it.  I must be naturally gifted.  😦

“This is the rule regarding this issue.”

“Oh, okay, thanks.”

Within ten minutes at least 3 people will ask, “So, what’s the rule regarding this issue?”

“This is the company’s policy.  They take it very seriously and you can be fired for breaching it.”

“Oh, okay, thanks.”

By the end of the day, several people will have already breached the policy and laughed when it is pointed out to them.

Yeah, I spend a lot of time just talking to myself because I like the sound of my own voice and have nothing better to do.

If I speak in the office and no one listens, did I actually say anything?


I originally posted this 16 Dec 2016:

“I’m invisible, and I’m good at it!”       (Mia Thermopolis, movie “The Princess Diaries”)

I think one of the most annoying things in my life is when people comment on how much I know, how much they value me and what I have to say, and then they ask me something.  I give my answer, they either tell me they are sure I’m wrong, or simply ignore what I’ve said; and, worst of all, later are told the same thing by someone else and they suddenly recognize it as true, without ever noticing I gave them that very answer quite some time before.

If they don’t think I know the answer, why are they bothering to ask me in the first place?

World War I On the Ground

Americans marked the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War One in 2018.

World War One, also known as the Great War, ended when world leaders at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month signed an armistice ending four years of bloody battles. Americans honor their war heroes, both living and dead, each year on Nov. 11 with ceremonies to mark Veterans Day, a national holiday.      

Whether that anniversary or another reason, a new movie out, “1917”, attests to some renewed interest in that particular war.  There is much that could be said of it, but one of the unusual aspects was that so much was changing in the world just then.

I have the small diary that my grandfather carried during that war, and he mentions the men having to be taught how to drive cars as ambulances.  Today, we can hardly imagine people not already knowing that, particularly in the United States where roads are overflowing.

I can’t speak to certain aspects of the military that he recorded, such as a negligence in seeing to the needs of the men on the part of the officers, or less-than-sanitary practices in the medical facilities (and this not in the midst of warfare when there was no leisure for attention to usual such details).  Those things may or may not have been typical before and after World War I.

Whether due to limited space in the small diary (smaller than a paperback book) or unwillingness to record too much, he skims over a lot of likely horrors he saw during battles and as an ambulance driver.  Other than an occasional focused remark specific to what he was seeing, much of what he recorded was trivia of how he spent his days (a lot of reading).  Here are few snippets.   In brackets [] is me trying to identify locations, or translating something since he threw in French or German words on occasion.

Aug 15, 1917  –  At 2:30 a.m. the guard saw a porpoise which he mistook for a torpedo and set up a terrified alarm.

Aug 20, 1917  –  Sighted Bells Isle [Belle Ile] at 8:20 a.m.  Had a real submarine attack by 5 subs on all sides.  Two French aeroplanes appeared overhead and followed us in.  Some fright.  This afternoon our ship drew up to the docks of St. Nazaire amid the cheering of the crowd.  I stood on the ship and gazed into the faces of a crowd I shall never forget – a crowd of little children, old men, wounded soldiers, and women dressed in black.

Sep 3, 1917  –  Went down to American Base Hospital troop and found the men there having 3 heavy blankets, overcoats and field knives.  They will not go out of the hospital, while we are in the field without knives or overcoats and only two thin blankets – some system.

Sep 10, 1917  –  Had some more excellent training for ambulance driving – worked as a stevedor unloading ammunition – as yet I have learned about everything except the handling of a Ford car.

Sep 15, 1917  –  A French guide came in from the front to take 4 sections to the front (not us – tough luck) and he said, “Always you are shelled, sometimes you are wounded, sometimes you are killed” – as though he were asking for ham and eggs.

Oct 7, 1917  –  Cars run fine except that hobnails left by many soldiers in the road have caused many punctures – largely because the tires are not heavy enough to stand the work.

Oct 9, 1917  –  My first view of trenches and wire entanglements and covered trenches prepared all over this part of the country in case the French are forced to retreat further on.

Oct 12, 1917  –  Left Sandricourt by train and went to Paris.  Drove from there to the American Base Hospital at Nevilly [poss. Neuilly-sur-Seine in NW Paris] where we were held all afternoon and not allowed to go sight-seeing.  Left Paris at 8:00 p.m. for Bar-le-Duc where we arrived at 2:30 in pitch darkness and pouring rain that had fallen incessantly all day.  Were quartered among the French soldiers for the rest of the night.  One does not mention that the officers went to a hotel and retired without finding quarters for the men and also they failed to provide any breakfast for us.

Oct 13, 1917  –  Drove from Bar-le-Duc to Le Grange aux Bois [La Grange-aux-Bois] in DeDion trucks and passed through wrecked and ruined villages all the way.  Soldiers’ graves dot the fields partout [far and wide]- all marked with a simple cross of black iron.  Arrived at Le Grange [La Grange] at noon where we relieved a Field section.  Went out to the front apres midi [after noon] for the first time when Bosch [boche – a German, like “Jap”] was shelling battery in the woods behind us, and we could hear them sing over our heads and crash in our rear – uncomfortably close.  Still mere child’s play compared to Verdun.  This sector in the Argonne woods is known as a sector of rest.  Thank heavens for us as we are expected to drive Fiats which most of us never handled before.  We have good winter quarters and expect to be here some time.  The town has never been shelled by aeroplanes, although we see one hovering over us now and then.

Oct 16, 1917  –  Birthday – never could understand why one received congratulations on that day but hope now that I can next year.

Oct 27, 1917  –  Went to La Chalade [Lachalade] with the Lieutenant and from there to the front lines where I climbed an observation tree and had a fine view of Bosche lines.  Also went down into a Marine gun dugout (size 37) fully 20 feet below the surface of the hill.  The man in charge gave me a shell and showed us several unexploded German shells…within 10 yards of his door.  A Bosche shell exploded near us and a tree fell near the unexploded shells – a little more and I would not write this line – c’est la guerre.

Feb 3, 1918  –  Went to see Verdun Fortress and outlying posts at Alsace and La Source – my first view of Death valley and the great battle field of the war.

May 31, 1918  –  Resume:  Four men captured or killed, 2 men wounded, one man sick.  9 cars lost in action.  The Germans advanced practically unopposed to the banks of the Marne – the French failed to blow up the bridges on the Aisne.

Jul 17, 1918  –  Arrived in Ferrieres en Gatinais [Ferrieres-en-Gatinais] for Permission – discovered that all my friends believed that I had died like a hero in battle of Aisne.

Feb 13, 1919  –  Received orders for home.

So much has changed in the world even since 1919.  Cars are commonplace, communication is rapid and usually fairly dependable, and a great deal of warfare is done without ever actually seeing the enemy due to missile or drone strikes.  Even so, for those on the ground, in the middle of it, war is horrifying and traumatizing.

There was a Star Trek episode in the original series wherein a planet engaged in warfare all by computer.  If the computer said a bomb had destroyed a city or town and killed x many people, the side ‘hit’ would randomly round up and send that many people to a death chamber.  It had made war very clean and sanitary, and removed the horror of it from being so ‘in your face’.  Kirk and his crew disrupted that and restored the horror aspect to warfare, indicating it would do more to encourage a peaceful settlement of differences than making it all so clean and tidy.

Whether or not Kirk/Star Trek was right about that, war is not desirable in the eyes of most of us.  World War I was called The Great War, but British author H. G. Wells also dubbed it “the war to end all wars” and that moniker was quickly accepted.  The idea was that it would destroy the sorts of governments and ideas that led to war.  And, yet, a mere twenty years later we found ourselves facing World War II.

We’ve made a lot of progress in many ways since 1917, but in many ways we haven’t changed much at all.  I, for one, think we need to be working harder to make sure there is never a World War III.

Quotes I Like

Another one! you say?  Yes.  This one seemed appropriate leading into the new year.  Though it was specific to running races, it could be more broadly applied to many things in life.  We want instant success, and give up too soon in reaching our goal.  Here’s to being ‘finishers’ in 2020.

“I won’t run if I can’t win.”  – sprinter Harold Abrahams, in the movie Chariots of Fire

“You can’t win if you don’t run!”  – his girlfriend’s response

It’s Decemberthe 24th!

and I haven’t listened to all my Christmas CDs yet.  Oh well, I’ll fall back on my contingency plan for this year (actually the same one I use every year) – just keep listening to them until I decide to stop.  Usually some time in January.

Can it be called a contingency plan when it essentially serves as Plan A every year?  Oh well.

Merry, Happy Whatever you celebrate this time of year, even if it is just the Winter Solstice.  I’m off to listen to The Bells of Fraggle Rock []

Team Teaching and Phase Elective English

When I was in junior high school (quite a few moons ago), they implemented a test program.  The theory was that not all students in a standard classroom size of about 30 would need attention from the teacher all the time, but occasionally more than one might need attention at any given time.  So they made classroom sizes of 60 students with two teachers sharing the responsibilities.  I don’t recall that it was in every class, but I certainly remember that it was in our Civics class.

The other ‘test’ they ran was for English.  They introduced Phase Elective wherein there were different modules you could choose, ranked from 1 to 5 (hardest).  If you were a poor English student, you weren’t allowed to take Phase 5 classes as they were deemed too difficult.  And excellent students couldn’t do the ‘bunny course’ route by taking all Phase 1 classes.  If I remember correctly, you took 2 or 3 modules each semester, things like American Humor, English Literature, American Literature, and so forth.

What’s my point in bringing this up?  I don’t really hear much about it, and aside from those of us who participated in it back then, few people seem to have even heard of it.  Presumably that means they deemed it a ‘failure’ or otherwise unacceptable and it fell by the wayside.

Academically speaking, I can’t address how good or bad it was, but there were some positives.  There are few of my school classes or teachers that I can distinctly remember all these years later.  But I do still vividly recall that Civics class and the two teachers of it.  To a lesser extent, I recall the English classes as well.

In particular, I had forgotten to do the homework overnight of bringing in ‘something humorous’.  Desperate not to get a zero, I asked the teacher if I got credit for the assignment if I turned something in before class ended.  As there wasn’t any way I could go get something she said yes, assuming I couldn’t do it.  Instead, I quickly wrote down an Ogden Nash poem that I had memorized – short and humorous.

Behold the duck
It does not cluck
A cluck it lacks
It quacks.

It is ‘specially fond
Of a puddle or pond
When it dines or sups
It bottoms-ups.

(And, yes, I did just write that down from memory even now, though I checked online to make sure it was accurate.)

Did either of these things take place in schools outside of Kentucky?  Does anyone besides me remember them so clearly?

Either way, thanks Mr. Shepard and Mr. Reynolds for those wonderful Civics classes!

Scandinavians Know How to Deal With Trolls

I love it!  A bullying, narcissistic septuagenarian getting completely owned by a teenage girl!

Go get ‘em, Greta.  Stand up to the trolls.  You’ve got far more courage and integrity than they do.  I’m sure you’d much rather be watching movies with friends, and not having to try to save the world from the greedy and short-sighted, but they haven’t given you and your generation that luxury if you want any kind of a future.

If they find the need to bully you, it means they couldn’t manage to ignore you.  Your voice has been heard, and many are starting to listen and, more importantly, to act in saving our planet.

A Normal Life

I’ve reached the conclusion that I have not lived a normal life.

I hear discussions and see blog posts about things that are completely outside my experience.

People talk of boy books vs girl books, boy clothes vs girl clothes, etc.  I really don’t recall in all of my years that ever particularly being an issue.  I read the books that interested me, regardless of the subject or intended audience (and still do).  I pretty much wore whatever I wanted also.  Yes, girls were required to wear dresses to school, and that is probably the closest I came to such a controversy.  In general, though, it never much mattered to me except in winter (and I helped protest that since we had a very valid reason against it).

I never paid any real attention to someone’s religion or the color of their skin – they were either my friend or not.  Maybe that’s part of why I ‘missed’ all the tensions that existed with others who did notice.  Sure there were areas that weren’t safe for a girl, alone or with friends, during the day or at night.  You avoided those places and situations.

Maybe I’ve just always been too lazy to bother with focusing on unimportant things, and thereby remained oblivious to much of it.

That is not to say that I don’t know and recognize prejudices in the world.  I am well aware of social injustice, and very much saddened by it.  (And, far too often recently, more than a little outraged by it.)

No, I probably haven’t lived a normal life, but I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing when looked at in hindsight.  We could use a lot more people who don’t get hysterical over unimportant things.

Let’s find more ways to be kind, understanding and accepting of others, regardless of how similar or different they are from us.

I started a Pinterest board some time ago just so I could collect images that reflected people going the extra mile, such as this one below.


Quotes I Like

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”

– Winnie the Pooh   (A. A. Milne)

Up for Grabs #7

Wherein I have written something, whether a single line or two, or several paragraphs, but think it highly unlikely I will ever do anything with them beyond that snippet.  Therefore, they are herewith put ‘up for grabs’.  If any of you writers can and wish to make use of them, feel completely free to do so.  I don’t even require any sort of acknowledgement if you do.  You can take a tiny part of them, the thing in its entirety exactly as is, or the basic idea and completely do with it what you will.  It just seemed pointless to let these things sit ignored on my computer until the end of time, knowing full well I won’t do anything more with them.  Rest assured, if there is any idea I have even the vaguest intention of pursuing, I will not be posting it here.  So, no fear that I’ll change my mind.

Seeing as we’re not far from the holiday season (and I’m starting to see Christmas tree lots prepared), this one seemed appropriate to post now.

guy who works at a Christmas tree lot – for extra money?  owns it?  owns it and hires underprivileged teens as day laborers to give them a small income and a little work experience?