Regions of Mind
Self-assured but self-questioning.
Geitner Simmons is an editorial writer with the Omaha World-Herald.
This weblog expresses his personal views only.
He is also
a husband, a father, a son. And always
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Sunday, March 14
Regions of Mind has moved to a new location, here.
Saturday, March 13
Hit and run
The lead editorial at the Omaha World-Herald today has some pointed observations about the way that Capitol Hill politicians treated the Nebraska businessman Bush was considering for the "manufacturing czar" position. The editorial:
Some additional information:
Behlen is a forward-looking company that works hard to involve workers in boosting productivity. Employees have responded well to the company's emphasis on training and financial incentives for productivity gains.
Like most manufacturing companies, Behlen has had to cope with big challenges during the recent recession. Several years ago when orders fell precipitously in the face of the national economic downturn, Behlen sought to limit the layoffs by reducing weekly hours for around 400 factory workers and asking salaried employees to take a 10 percent pay cut. When the economy improved, the company put the workers back on full-time and eliminated the 10 percent pay cut.
Raimondo, who is the board of the National Association of Manufacturers and chairman of the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, can't even be described as a narrow Republican partisan. While he's firmly in the camp of President Bush, he's long been known as an enthusiastic supporter of Sen. (and former Nebraska Gov.) Ben Nelson, a Democrat.
By the way: I posted at my old Blogspot site because my current blog server, Blog-City, was having technical problems at the moment. My current site is now back up.
Thursday, June 12
Regions of Mind has moved to a new location, here.
My thanks to everyone who has stopped by here over the past year.
Wednesday, June 11
I am intending to launch the new site for this blog on Thursday. The name will remain Regions of Mind. An upcoming post here will provide the new URL. See you then.
Tuesday, June 10
Is it the Christian cross -- or only Thor's hammer?
A boar spear could be quite an effective combat tool when wielded by a Viking who understood its qualities.
Not far from the spear’s tip was a short metal bar secured at a perpendicular angle to the spear’s shaft. A Viking fighter could remain at a safe distance, use the metal bar to hook an opponent’s shoulder and rip into it. Or, if the opponent was using a shield, the Viking could use the metal bar to grab the shield’s edge and force the shield aside; with his opponent thus exposed, the Viking could make a quick lunge and skewer him.
The techniques of Viking combat were one of the points explained during a Viking re-enactor program at the recent Tivolifest, a Danish heritage celebration in Elk Horn, Iowa. Two groups of Viking re-enactors (one from Omaha, the other from Minnesota) set up an elaborate 11th century camp, demonstrated medieval crafts and put on a series of mock battles in a nearby field. I and my family were among those in attendance. It was quite a way to spend a late Sunday afternoon.
The mock battle began with two groups of about six Viking fighters each facing each other and shouting provocative remarks (in some Norse tongue). Then, with shields close together in phalanx-like fashion, the two sides slowly moved toward each other, grunting and banging their swords on their shields until the fighters came within striking distance of each other.
The Omaha re-enactors have Web pages here and here.
The most fearsome-looking Viking fighter was covered with black and brown animal skins and was referred to as a “berserker.” Berserkers were infamous as crazed fighters. Some would enter combat naked. Most drank a powerful drink that would narcotize them, feeding their rage even as it heightened their ability to tolerate pain. Berserkers grew increasingly reckless and uncontrollable outside the battlefield, to the point that authorities felt obliged to reign them in:
The re-enactors included a wide range of Viking types, from a Viking who was part of an elite guard for the Byzantine Empire around 1000 to a Viking trader called “Ivor the Rus.” As the re-enactors’ Web site explains,
One female re-enactor, representing a Viking woman in Russia, explained that in Viking culture, married women were obliged to cover their hair.
A male re-enactor, representing an “Anglo-Dane” in medieval England, noted that during the Vikings’ day, chain mail was expensive and used only by the well-to-do, whereas leather was cheap and widely available. Today, though, the opposite is true: Re-enactors who use chain mail, he said, don’t have to pay much for the metal they use. But re-enactors using leather have to pay quite a bit.
By the way: In 1999, at the very end of my North Carolina days, my final historical project at my old newspaper examined a Spanish expedition that traveled through Piedmont North Carolina in the 1560s. In putting that series of articles together, I had the privilege of working with an outstanding historical re-enactment group from Florida. The group specializes in 16th century Spanish explorer re-enactment. I plan to post on Spanish explorer topics here at some point in the not-too-distance future. Fascinating stuff.
No wimpy Dukakis, he
John Kerry may speak dreamily to the ideals of liberal Democrats, but he also knows how to use a gun.
And how to bring down doves.
And then skin ’em and eat ’em.
From the Washington Post:
(via a listserv run by Democratic activist/law student/blogger Wyeth Ruthven)
By the way: In their respective campaigns for the U.S. Senate, Nebraska Democrats Bob Kerrey and Ben Nelson have both played up their hunting enthusiasm during campaign time. Nelson succeeded Kerrey in 2000, when Kerrey opted not to seek re-election.
The wrong niche
Have you ever bought a product that was out of your “demographic”?
That was the case this week when my wife bought a modest cell phone. Although it has a sober silver design and fully meets our needs, the phone is geared toward teen-agers in several ways. One of its features is an option to receive daily updates from MTV.
Like, I don’t think so.
By the way: On a serious note, I heard on the radio program “Marketplace” this morning that teens are beginning to receive a lot of spam in their daily e-mail -- spam that includes pornographic material. I cringe at that, considering how graphic some of the material is that turns up in spam I receive.
Monday, June 9
Trade obstacles to our south
This article from In The National Interest explains how Brazil’s government remains an obstacle in promoting a Free Trade Area of the Americas. The piece also notes how frictions with the United States have undercut Mexico’s clout in promoting regional trade agreements:
Big-media reporters and their city-mice ways
Predictable, but still infuriating: Reporters from the New York and London newspapers were polite in interviewing folks in the North Carolina mountain town where Eric Rudolph was arrested, but in their articles they unfairly trashed the town’s reputation. As described in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article:
Yes, that’s just what they do: The parachute-journalists-as-piranhas find it easy to resort to stereotypes. I’ve seen that happen here in Nebraska, the same as I did back in North Carolina.
GOP anger; high art and urban landscapes; the Brown decision
Sorry, this is all I have time for right now. I’ve spent most of my normal blogging time working on the new site for this blog. The new site will make its appearance in a few days.
Friday, June 6
More on Raines
While the topic of Howell Raines' resignation is still fresh, I'll mention this vivid graf from a Village Voice piece last April on the Raines regime at the NYT (I ran across the article while researching a non-Raines-related topic today):
A familiar irony
The oddity of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, whose membership includes unapologetically thuggish regimes, is frequently pointed out. The same irony was demonstrated this week in a U.N. conference touting the importance of democracy. Democratic change is a legitimate and important topic, but the U.N. gathering was held in Beirut -- the capital of a country with a sham democracy. Did anyone at the conference speak out forcefully against the strangling of Lebanese democracy by Syrian puppet masters? I hope so, but I doubt it.
The article I link to reports that "Butros Butros Ghali spoke of the necessity of instilling the democratic principles inside the United Nations and the participation of non-governmental sides in forming norms and resolutions pertaining to the future of the globe." Handing NGOs even more power on the international stage: Now that would promote U.S. interests and security, wouldn't it?
Onto to Omaha Beach
Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day; hard to believe. Today, of course, marks the 59th.
Shortly after he issued the order for the launch of D-Day, Dwight Eisenhower wrote the following note; he ordered an aide to release it immediately to the press if the invasion proved a debacle:
A facsimile of the message, written in pencil on a plain white pad, is available here. Yes, Eisenhower mistakenly dated the message "July 5."
As I've mentioned here on occasion, Eisenhower and I are directly related. We both have a common 18th century ancestor back in the Palatine region of Germany. Children of that German immigrated to Pennsylvania. Some descendants eventually moved south (my maternal forebears) while others moved west (Eisenhower's forebears).
By the way: This info, including the URL, comes from Friend 3, whose observations have made occasional appearances here and who writes today that he "is looking forward to the new location" of Regions of Mind.
And: My new blog goes up sometime next week. Won't be any radical change from this one. But I hope to say goodbye to the technical problems that have become a hassle for myself and for visitors here. Have a good weekend, everyone.