Blog

Remembrance

My first name comes from Hjalmer Lindberg.

Had he lived, he would have been a great uncle.

In World War II, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge with the 94th infantry. He was a sniper who was killed by another.

The story I was told was that first, Hjalmer’s helmet was shot off. This revealed the position of the German sniper. Hjalmer quickly pivoted to return fire, but the German was faster. Hjalmer was shot in the head.

Many details are not known to me. A thousand questions have occurred to me after it’s too late to ask.

Hjalmer was very good friends in the infantry with Erich Gerloff. They had such a strong bond that they made a pact. Should one survive the other, the survivor would travel to meet the other’s family.

Erich’s own life had been dramatic at points. He had been born in Germany, and had crossed the Atlantic three times with his family to escape economic hardship.

He was captured at the Battle of the Bulge and was kept briefly at a stalag. He was on a death march when, because he spoke German well enough, German soldiers told him to get out of the line. They thought he was a spy or agent and were afraid of punishment should he be put to death at their hands.

Erich survived the war, rising in rank through battlefield promotions, assuming I’ve understood the details at all.

He also honored his pact with his friend. He travelled from New York to Wisconsin to visit the Lindbergh family in Wisconsin and proposed to one of Hjalmer’s sisters within a few days.

They married and had a family. Their eldest, a son, they named for Hjalmer, who they had both lost.

That man, the son, was on a tour of duty in Vietnam, when his sister, my mother, was pregnant with me. And she wanted her brother to know she loved him.

Hjalmer is my first name. Erich is my middle name.

I always wanted to be a DJ, from the days I listened to my Radio Shack FM radio all day long as a boy. The people pushing out the sounds always seemed to have a finger on a pulse. They seemed to connect to something. I imagined a depth and breadth of knowledge and a currency that I’m sure was impossible to attain in reality.

In the 90s I took a job at a record store, which in some ways was a sort of dream come true. I thought I knew about music. I was an avid consumer of what radio and MTV fed me. But it was then that my education began.

When techno and electronica hit, my DJ dream shifted. I wanted to play the records that moved the people in the moment. I have played with decks and mixers a teensy bit. I played with a friend’s collection of vinyl and did my best to beat-match records during a small gathering.

I’ve made lots and lots of mix tapes, that mostly no one has ever heard, but me.

What’s happened is I’ve collected a lot of music over time. I am infected by people who are enthusiastic about a genre or a scene.

Music is so powerful.

It is a giant river, life-giving and fertile like the Amazon or the Nile. Some of it is written down or recorded, where it lives in the vast ocean.

Just like I can’t read every book, I can’t hear every record.

I have been listening to a series of playlists generated by someone close to my own age, that span years including the four that I spent at the record store.

Boy, is it resurfacing old thoughts and ideas and dreams.

The cool part is I agree with many of the selections.

The cool part is I’m hearing songs I would have never heard, otherwise.

The cool part is there is always such good music.

If you do the Apple Music thing, I’m here and I like to share.

What if you took the opportunity to turn your secure pass-phrase into a positive affirmation?

Or a goal? A mission statement? Your intent?

There is a lot of discussion of justice on the national level.

We have a single case of accountability.

And a lot of work to be done.

From an email subscription today:

So be good to each other. Be humble and kind. Be generous. If you fight for anything, fight for justice and fairness. That’s what we were put here for.

This is what I believe.

When the wind makes it feel colder than it is… 15 degrees Fahrenheit

It doesn’t make sense for the left hand to punch the right hand, nor for the right leg to kick the left. We are part of the same body. We work better together.

Trust no political party.

The evidence continues to suggest they are more interested in having us fight each other than in enacting lasting beneficial change.

Music can return me to times, places, and states of mind in a way that almost no other carrier-of-meaning can. I spent time in motion behind a lawn mower this afternoon while listening to music and letting my mind go free.

I have realized that I am still everything I have become.

But I assert that I am not done becoming.

Settled. Science. Is a contradiction in terms. Science is constantly in motion pushing the frontiers of our body of knowledge. Opinions are settled. Careers are settled. Be alert.

Settled Science offers comfortable anachronisms.

One of my favorite photos, from June 2010.

#michelewhitephotography

Sobering statistic:

The rate of death from COVID-19 for people with Type 2 Diabetes is 12 times higher than in the general population.

I have Type 2 Diabetes.

At a minimum I am at a significantly higher risk for Severe Illness.

I wear mask and I am grateful when you do, too.

File Under “Things I Wish I Had Thought of, Sooner”:

Deadpan Existential Jokes

Would work great as a blog name or profile description

DISC assessment at work, today. The difference between my perception of myself and the perception others have of me is instructive and astonishing at once.

I’m a C when I’m in novel situations or under stress. I’m an I when I’m confortable and in my element.

RTO or Return to Office is what my company is calling it. We are at 10 percent staffing on-site, with the remainder doing remote work. I wear a mask away from my desk, and there are many limits in place throughout the facility. #CubeLife #CivilianMaskCorps #StaySafeMN

I played with a logo generator which worked by combining words, images, fonts and colors in many ways.

For free, it allowed me to download a 200x200 pixel image file of the combination that amused me the most.

New haircut. New glasses. And the cutest photo bomber in the world.

Photo Challenge: Day 1 of 7

Groceries are laid in. Let the snow begin.

I don’t have an ugly Christmas sweater, but I did find this hat… @chrisgzuger

Sending good thoughts forward and hoping for the best good. It’s a privilege to be in a position to help.

“Odin will not save you but he will give you inspiration and courage to save yourself…” I don’t remember where I first read, but I like it. #selfie #bearded #dramamuch

Oh look, it it’s finally at the log in screen. But, wait, no! No it is not …

Springtime. More than eight inches of snow today, because Minnesota. #mnwx #stpaul #bearded #beardstagram #theboldnorth