Saturday, January 23, 2010

Photo Friday Challenge: Damaged

Still Standing?

This old barn, or maybe a garage, was still standing. I'd be careful before putting anything valuable in it, though.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gulag: A History

I just finished reading Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum. This is a harrowing book, that I had to put down at times. The incredible cruelty of the Soviet state towards its own people was hard to imagine. Years ago, I read Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago and Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I had forgotten just how terrible the Gulag was.

In the introduction Applebaum tries to explain why this story is almost forgotten in the West. She highlights how over the years many progressives were sympathetic to the Soviet Union, which has led them to soft pedal this story. That may be true, but I think more importantly this happened far away from America and most American didn't have a close connection to it.

I think it is too simplistic now to treat this tragedy as the usual liberal vs. conservative controversy. Isn't it more important to ask how a criminal gang could take over and enslave a whole country as big as Russia.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Last Dr. Who with David Tennant

We watched part 2 of The End of Time, the final Dr. Who with David Tennant. Once again the fate of the entire world is at stake as the Doctor faces his old nemesis The Master and, finally, the entire leadership of his home world, Gallifrey. The plot is, as usual, convoluted. This time, in the build-up to the end, the Doctor seemed like he was losing his soul, his essence. I'm glad that in the end he willingly sacrificed himself to save one insignificant person, Wilfrid Mott, and the whole human race. Also, and most importantly, he found a way to prevail without killing anyone with the gun Wilfrid had given him.

It was nice how in the end the Doctor got to say help and say goodbye  to each of his companions in this incarnation. And he seemed to revive Captain Jack from his funk after the end of the last Torchwood series.

It was a little disconcerting to see the new Doctor at the end. He looks like a little boy! It will be interesting to what he can do in the next series.

Friday, January 01, 2010


Originally uploaded by P_Linehan.

Photo Friday challenge on the theme of Squares. Looking into the window of a picture frame show in Shippensburg, PA. December 2007.