Thursday, November 27, 2008

Urodziny Marysi

Marysia ma dzisiaj urodziny. Rano śpiewałem jej “Sto lat” i po prace spotkaliśmy się w japońskiej restoracje Sumo z Agnieszką. Dałem Marysie krótko przedtem w centrum handlowym Eau Claire kupione prezenty (restoracja Sumo też jest w centrum Eau Claire), i my trzej mieliśmy fajną kolację razem.

Reconnecting with my "Doktormutter"

I get many phone calls at work, but yesterday afternoon I got a call that was at once most surprising and at the same time most pleasurable. Who was on the line but my dear "Doktormutter" Ewa Czaykowska! (I love the German term "Doktorvater", which hints at a connection between supervisor and supervisee that is totally lacking in the cold English term "doctoral supervisor", but to use the term with respect to Ewa would do violence to her identity as a woman so I prefer the term "Doktormutter".) Now I must confess that I have not been in contact with Ewa since giving up hope of ever getting a permanent university position some four years ago - I may be wrong (and today's chat with Ewa has strenghtened this doubt), but in the back of my mind there is a nagging thought that Ewa must be at least a little disappointed that her first sucessful doctoral candidate has failed to find a position appropriate to his education and her efforts have been for naught - but I have kept going to the conferences of the Canadian Linguistic Association, and at this spring's CLA meeting in Vancouver I saw Leslie Saxon, my former syntax prof and Ewa's colleague at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Victoria, and gave her my business card. So when a publisher recently wrote to Ewa enquiring about the possibility of publishing my dissertation (a possiblity I had never seriously entertained until now) she was able to get my work number from Leslie and call me.

Although the purpose of Ewa's call was to find an email address to which she could forward the message from the publisher (she could have found it on the web page "E-mail addresses of Canadian Linguists", but I am glad she found it by calling me), we also had a nice chat about our respective families, about some common acquantainces now infirm, and about my situation here in Calgary. I mentioned my recent visit to Victoria, found out that not visiting UVic two weeks ago was no loss (it was reading break) and promised to connect when I next come to Victoria. In all, talking with Ewa was a very uplifting experience and has strengthened my resolve to complete the modifications to the digital copy of my dissertation so that it can be shared as a pdf file, to finish off my Esperanto translation of the Lushootseed Reader, and to attend next summer's International Conference on Salish and Neighbouring Languages: in 2009 it will have priority over Canadian Yearly Meeting in session!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Schon seit fünf Tagen leide ich an einer Erkältung, und von Samstag bis Dienstag mußte ich den besten Teil des Tages im Bett verbringen, aber gestern um 5 Uhr nachmittags habe ich mich auf den Weg gebracht, denn es sollte diesen Abend an der Burg Stampedia ein wichtiges Ereignis geschehen: die Junkerprufung des Knappen 59 (und des Knappen 58)! Wie immer bei den Schlaraffen, fing die Sippung damit an, daß der (in Vertretung fungierende) Reychsmarschall den Tamtam schlug, die Sassen das Abendlied sangen (mit Begleitung am Klavier vom Knappen 59), jemand die blaue Kerze anzündete, und der Kanzler seine Berichten machte. Erst dann konnte die Junkersprüfung anfangen. Natürlich mußte alles gemäß Ceremonie gemacht worden: zuerst mußten die Knappen – zusammen mit Junkermeister und Junker Ulli – in die Vorburg gehen und dann, schrittend und beugend sich der Oberherrlichkeit nähern. Der Junker Ulli durfte dann seinen Platz am Junkertisch nehmen, während die Knappen (mit Junkermeister zwischen ihnen) sich auf Stühle vor der Oberherrlichkeit und gegenüber vom Schulrat setzten. Der Schulrat (Ritter Uerige) stellte nun mehrere Fragen, erst dem Knappen 58, dann dem Knappen 59, zurück zum Knappen 58, und wieder dem Knappen 59. Man fragte welchen Titel habe der, der die Fragen stellte (Schulrat), welche Farben habe das Reych Fort Okanagan (blau und rot), wie alt das Reych Rocky Mountania sei (38 Jahre alt), wie man den Junkermeister anspricht (Ihr Gestrenger) und so weiter. Manchmal wußten wir die richtigen Antworte, manchmal mußte man uns etwas helfen (oft konnte der Junker Ulli, der hinter uns saß, sich hilflicherweise nicht zurückhalten). Endlich war die Prüfung zuende. Also marschierten wir hinaus in die Vorburg, damit die Herrlichkeiten in aller Ruhe sich entscheiden konnten, und nach wenigen Minuten mußten wir zurück in die Burg marschieren, wo die Oberherrlichkeit uns Bescheid gab, daß wir die Prüfung bestanden haben. Natürlich seien unsere Kenntnisse der Schlaraffentum noch mangelhaft, aber der gute Junkermeister werde uns alles beibringen, was wir noch lernen müßten. Nächste Woche werden wir als Junker Paul und Junker Al eingekleidet. Und die Sippung ging weiter: viele Fechsungen zum Thema „meine Geburtstadt“ sind vorgestellt worden (ich erhielt einen Ahnen in der Form einer Wasserjungfer für eine kurze Fechsung über meine Geburtstadt Victoria, mein guter Freund und erster Pate, der Ritter Niemand, bekam den Wochenwanderorden für eine Fechsung über seine Geburtstadt Kopenhagen), der Styx Ritter Albertaner gab uns eine schmackhafte Atzung in Form einer Bohnensuppe, die Sassen sangen das Aufmunterungslied (nach der Atzung), das Geburtstagslied (fur Ritter Wiss), und das Schlußlied – allemal mit Begleitung von Knappe 59, einmal am Klavier, zweimal mit der Querflöte. Am Ende durften die Knappen 58 und 59 zusammen die blaue Kerze erlöschen.

Leider wurden keine Aufnahmen bei der Junkerprüfung gemacht, aber ich füge zwei Lichtbilder hinzu, die das Ereignis versinnbildlichen können: im ersten Bild sieht man (links) den Ritter Bar-Bar, der fungierende Oberherrlichkeit bei meiner Junkerprüfung, (recht) den Ritter Rohrbruch, meinen zweiten Paten, und vor ihnen die blaue Kerze; im zweiten Bild sieht man mich, den Knappen 59, so gekleidet wie ich bei der Junkerprüfung war.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

LUMO nun legebla rete ĉe La Esperanta Gazetejo

Pasintan dimanĉon mi finrealigis projekton, kiu atendas jam de kelkaj jaroj: tiun tagon mi enretigis ĉe La Esperanta Gazetejo en la dum pasinta semajno kreita spaco por Lumo ĉiujn kvar numerojn de mi redaktitaj dum la pasintaj tri jaroj, kune kun listigo de la artikoloj (titoloj, aŭtoroj, kaj paĝnumeroj).

Oni povas nun deŝuti numerojn de Lumo, en pdf-formato, de la sekva retejo:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Visit to Victoria

The past long weekend (extra long because I took the workday between the weekend and Remembrance Day off) was spent in Victoria. The main reason for the visit was to spend some time with Dad and help him with yardwork, in particular with sweeping the roof and clearing the gutters, before winter sets in.

The trip started out early Saturday morning. Getting up at 4:30 am was a challenge, but with Maria's help I got out of the apartment by 5 and was able to catch the 5:32 train at Southland Station with about 5 minutes to spare. Because of a misleading sign at Marlborough Station I just barely caught the Airport bus (#57), and long lines to check in baggage and get through security left me only half an hour to compose myself at the gate before we were seated. The flight went well in spite of a bit of turbulence coming into Victoria Airport, and after picking up my suitcase called Enterprise Rent-a-Car, from whom I had earlier reserved a car. Soon I was on my way and reached Dad's house by eleven. We had agreed to go out for brunch, and while waiting for Dad to get ready I took a little walk outside, where I saw a cheeky deer walk through the front garden of 713, along the drive of 711, and then through the back garden where I took its picture.

Dad and I had brunch at Royal Roads Cafe and then drove down to Esquimalt Lagoon where some beautiful scenery enticed me to take some pictures.

On Sunday I had intended to go to Quaker meeting, but feeling rather tired I allowed the viewing of Sunday morning funnies on TV to delay my departure to the extent that it would have had to arrive at meeting indecently late, so I stayed home. When Dad came home from church we drove downtown to Beacon Hill Park, where after some 30-40 minutes playing on the putting green (until Dad got a hole-in-one) we walked around the park, accompanied at times by squirrels.

Afterwards we drove along the seaboard, to Clover Point where I took some nice pictures, up through Saanich (looping through the university along Ring Road), and ended up in Langford where we had dinner at the Checkered Flag. My how Langford has grown! Just ten years ago the Checkered Flag seemed at the edge of civilization, and now there is a solid wall of big box stores, condominiums, police stations, restaurants etc all the way from there to Goldstream Avenue!

Lunde mi veturis al Norda Saanich, al la domo de Wally kaj Olga du Temple, kie ĉiun lundan tagmezon esperantistoj de la Duoninsulo Saanich kunvenas por babili kaj progresigi sian scion de nia lingvo. Estis tre agrable denove vidi geamikojn kiujn mi konas jam de tiel multaj jaroj ; Wally du Temple kaj Myra Larsen, ekzemple, mi konas jam de 1978, kiam mi ekuzis nian lingvon konversacie. Post la kunveno mi haltis en la parkejo de golfludejo Ardmore, kiu apartenas al gesamideanoj du Temple (kaj aliaj familianoj) kaj kie iam estis arbareto oficiale nomita « Esperanto ».

Tuesday was a work day for me: I spent over an hour on the edge of the roof, cleaning out the gutters on my hands and knees. To celebrate a job well done, Dad and I went out to My-Chosen Cafe for a fish-and-chip supper.

Wednesday was a quiet day. In the morning I looked through my remaining books at 713 and chose a suitcase full to take back to Calgary. Then, after watching Roger Federer defeat his opponent in the Masters Tennis Tournament in Shanghai, Dad and I went out for lunch, and then I headed for the airport, stopping on the way to deposit a cheque, tank up the car, and visit Mom's gravesite. The flight home was uneventful, and I arrived back home shortly after midnight.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quaker, maverick

At meeting for worship this morning, there were more visitors (5) than regular or irregular attenders (4). One of the visitors held a Bible, and I thought that perhaps he and his two companions were here to see how Friends' worship differed from that of their own church - indeed, it turned out that the three were taking a religious studies course of the Christian Missionaries International, and were fulfilling a course assignment to visit other Christian groups and learn of their ways. It occurred to me that it would be good if these visitors could experience more of our worship than the usual silence that oft fills an entire hour at our meeting for worship, and lo!, the Spirit nurtured some seeds of thought and allowed them to grow into ministry.

The first seed was planted by my reading along the road to meeting an article in the Ursula Franklin Reader entitled "Planning and the Religous Mind: 'Der Mensch Denkt, Gott Lenkt'". In this article Franklin argues that the activity of operational planning in our technological society, which has developed out of the post-WWII transfer of military thinking to civil society, sometimes reaches immoral results (such as replacing the Lord's commandment "Thou shalt not kill" with "Thou shalt not kill inefficiently") because being output-oriented it sees society as a mechanism rather than an organism needing to be sensitive to the needs of its members, and sensitivity implies consultation and adaptability uncompatible with a top-down planning model where planners map out directions for future development without allowing for changing needs and on-going discernment of the proper course of action. In the experience of the Religious Society of Friends, the best decisions are reached through a process of discernment in which all members of the community are allowed an equal say, and allowance is made for divine guidance: such a process is hardly possible when all decisions have been made in advance by "authorities" basing their decisions on the advice of "experts".

Whereas making decisions with divine guidance (or at least asking for divine guidance in the making of decisions) may once have been common, in our technological society it is becoming increasingly uncommon. In insisting on allowing for divine guidance and respecting the voice of the individual in our society, we Quakers thus increasingly stand in contrast to the norm of our larger society. In this we engage in what could be called maverick behaviour, behaviour which, according to the Free Online Dictionary is "independent in thought and action". Now being a maverick has not always been seen as a good thing, but until recently - when he sold out his principles in order to get the support of the Republican Party in his quest for the presidency - US presidential candidate John McCain was proud to call himself a maverick, and our Glenbow museum has a permanent gallery celebrating Alberta mavericks, independent thinking men and women who made many important contributions to their society.

It thus seems to me that if Friends insist on making our decisions with God's guidance and encouraging other members of our society at large (Canadian society, humankind) to defy entrapment in a outcome-based, top-down mode of decision-making, we may be in defiance of societal norms, but we are in good company... and on the right path.