Testament of Youth

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In 1914, when World War 1 started, Vera Brittain was a young, middle class girl studying at Oxford.  In 1915, anxious to contribute to the war effort, she enlisted as a nurse.  She was posted to London, Malta and the Western Front.  By the end of the war, her fiancee, her best friend, and her brother had all been killed.  In her later life, she became a tireless peace activist.  Her book, Testament of Youth, is the story of a generation who went off to war with visions of chivalric glory in their hearts, and, if they were lucky, came home with broken bodies and broken minds.  Her story is the story of millions of other women during the war who lost men to a war that, when over, didn’t settle any of the issues surrounding the war.  World War 1 began the cycle of violence that was the 20th Century.  It is important for scholars to understand this war and the people who were most affected by it.

I read this book as an undergraduate in a survey of World War 1 literature class.  It is one of the best books I have ever read, and its haunting tone made me rethink my attitude on war in general.  How can we ask men and women to go fight a war which has no real purpose?  And how do we help those who survive and come home?  This book is a must read for anyone who believes in peace.

Dallas has no Soul

Dallas has no Soul

This sign, that was in front of the Alamo Plaza motel for years on Fort Worth Avenue inDallas, was taken down by a developer who, when asking for tax breaks for his mixed use development, promised to keep the sign intact because of its historic value. After an outcry when he took the sign down after demolishing the building, he had his publicist do a survey about what to do with the sign. Seems now he is breaking the sign up into three pieces and will repurpose them at different parts of the new development. Developers, because they are business people, are only interested in the bottom line, the profit. Oh they may say they want to be good stewards of history, but in the end they are only concerned with how much money it’s going to cost them.

Click on the photo to read the Dallas Observer article about this sign.

NY State of Mind

I didn't take this photo, but I like it

I didn’t take this photo, but I like it

Every time I spend any time in New York, I always want to move there…I remember when I’ve stayed there before, it seems the city sort of vibrates, there is always this general hum that never goes away.  I love that…although I probably would get tired of it.  How much of this desire to move to New York is simply my desire for something different and my romantic view of how wonderful it is, and how much of it is that I really love the city?  When I went to school in London, I never got tired of that city, which is very much like NY (but with an easier to navigate subway system).  It’s a tough city to live in…and one has to make plenty of money to live there.  It’s also a city for young people…20 years ago, it would have totally made sense for me to pick up and move to New York. Now, unless I had a great job there, not so much.