Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Blank Page

MARRIAGE…AS IN ART OR WRITING…REQUIRES KNOWING HOW TO RELATE TO ANOTHER.

The Nice Thing About Strangers

There are, I hazard, saints of art who have simply waited mutely all their lives rather than profane the purity of a single page with anything less than what is perfectly appropriate and beautiful, that is to say, with anything less than what is true…

Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed in one’s luck.

-Iris Murdoch. The Black Prince.

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The icy surrender: the bitter, frozen end of the Battle of Stalingrad.

I’VE READ ABOUT THIS.

SeanMunger.com

german soldier at stalingrad

Seventy-one years ago today, on January 31, 1943, the Battle of Stalingrad ended. Stalingrad was the largest, bloodiest and most costly battle ever fought on planet Earth, the climax of World War II, and the bitter epitome of man’s inhumanity to man. No military engagement before or since has ever been so consequential. The battle, which raged for over five months in the city on the Volga, ended in the bitter frozen snows of Russia in January, less a formal surrender than the ultimate exhaustion of the defeated German army.

The Battle of Stalingrad is a huge topic. Hundreds of books have been written about it. Various films have been made–in the English-speaking world probably the most famous of them was Enemy at the Gates starring Joseph Fiennes and Ed Harris, but actually a better film, and more realistic depiction of the battle, is the 1993 German-language film Stalingrad

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“New Haven’s Roger Williams: Still Running Since 1956!”

THE MEMORY OF THE NEW HAVEN RAILROAD LIVES ON!!!!!!

Classic Streamliners

The Roger Williams was a streamlined, six car, lightweight, DMU passenger train, built by the Budd Company in 1956 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The train was based on Budd’s successful RDC DMU cars. The end two cars were equipped with streamlined locomotive style cabs and noses, resembling those on the Fairbanks-Morse P-12-42 Diesel locomotives. The four intermediate cars lacked operating controls and cabs. For operation into Grand Central Terminal, the cars were each equipped with third-rail shoes, and small traction motors, allowing them to operate into the terminal under electric power, with their engines shut down. After a short period of time in high speed service, the train was split up, and the cars were used in service with the New Haven’s other RDCs. They worked for the New Haven, Penn Central, and Amtrak, until the last cars were retired in the 1980s. The 2…

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A RAILFAN SUPREME!

A RAILFAN SUPREME!

 

His brother, a railfan supreme,

Is helping to fulfill my dream…

To research a line

From before my time,

Can I backdate my modeling to steam?

My station models need paint,

At the moment, authentic they “ain’t”…

Current green and red

To red and white they said,

As for roofs, it’s okay with the slate.

A salt trestle where there was coal,

Would fill a traffic pattern hole…

Many short lines I like

Had a salt traffic spike

Shortly before all that snow.

He’s graciously given me mugs

For my favorite railroad’s heart tugs…

And four books so far,

Nearly new without mar–

I wonder if the New Haven had rugs?

 

–Jonathan Caswell

 

 

 

(image from www.waymarking.com )

PLUMB BUMFUZZLED!

PLUMB BUMFUZZLED

 

Wordsmith-dot-org had me puzzled

When they introduced “bumfuzzled”…

They thought it all right

To be recondite*

But wanted our knowledge unmuzzled!

 

–Jonathan Caswell

* recondite…to make mysterious (it was on my GRE exam!).

 

FALSE IMPRESSION

FALSE IMPRESSION

(From offhand comments made by Lise, a friend)

 

Looking out at the salt-stained tar,

It seemed lit by our nearest star…

But in fact

The spotlights’ impact

Made nighttime look different by far.

The greyish salt tone mimics snowing

Aftermaths, winter’s bestowing…

In summer, too,

A similar hue

Confuses the seasons ongoing.

 

–Jonathan Caswell