Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Friday, April 29, 2022

Ukraine exchange student

 Anna cam to the high school where I taught for 25  years in 217.  She stayed with our friends John and Joanne  who had dairy farm/ Often on Saturday morning Mrs. T and I would meet them for breakfast at a cafĂ© in a nearby small town. Anna smart beautiful and articulate in English charmed everyone.

  When the unprovoked attack by the Russians against the Ukraine first happened  Anna was in the Univerity at the capitol of  Kyiv. As the bombs grew closer she and many other students sheltered in the basement finally making Molotov cocktail bombs to hold off the Russian tanks. Finally after several weeks as her volunteer father fought as a soldier in the bombs grew closer and closer on I made a decision to leave Ukraine with her mother and younger brother. By train. They fled to the Czech Republic. There she once again she ended up living as a refugee in a farmstead much like her experience in Minnesota. They are now in a small town north of Bratislava, Slovakia Anna and her family have their own space, living on the second floor of the farmhouse and it's really quite wonderful she says there is also now a large population of displaced Ukrainians in the nearby village she noted that they had all gotten together to make Ukrainian Easter eggs and thought it was good for them all to connect talk and do something positive together

   Anna knows that one set of her grand parents lives in a village overrun by the Russians apparently according to her father their apartment is still standing, others are rubble.

Anna asked to say a big thank you to those dear people of Minnesota  who remembered her, and were praying and thinking of her, and her country she noted it. She noted it is an awesome thing to be cared for by people on the other side of the world an!!!Anna's final semester of college has started and will be entirely online. Her classmates are literally her classmates are literally scattered across Europe/ she never seems discouraged in spite of the Russians deliberately bombing civilians she wrote it's always been that way we have always been invaded, or to keep Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. That goes back a long time ago. We do have something everybody needs, the capacity to grow food Stalin said it, can be no Russia, without the food of the Ukraine. And why now? And now Putin wants   to the country of Russia into the Empire of Russia. And he turns the terrible methods of his idol, Stalin, from mass civilian murder, to the forced relocation of people to the north of Russia. Ukrainians have been through this all before.

One of the many things that I have learned and the word has learned is that nothing comes out of Moscow that should ever be believed. Words just by time for what is a really happening underneath was One again Anna reported  "everyone I met in America so kind that is why I do not despair. As to her future plans Anna said our next move will be back to Kyiv brave young brave brave young college student returns to her school hometown and country where men and women young and old are standing together to defend a nation and its democracy against authoritarianism 'because of the war in a faraway Ukraine has become personal because of Anna. But............There is something else in my own  country different in detail but very similar in potential   consequences A political party whose base cult like believes a lie that the recent presidential election was stolen. There was a attack on our national capitol     instigated and  the cult leader of former president. Policemen were murdered and a vice president and leader of the house were threatened to be killed. Democracy came very close to being over throat by a Dr. Goebbels Hitler's Minister of propaganda showed repeatedly that a bald live repeated often enough and loud enough can work to create a fascist totalitarian system


Monday, April 18, 2022

The investigator


Well it seems my two favorite Minnesota best-selling mystery writers have finally crossed paths on the issue of migrants crossing southern American borders illegally. First some years ago William Kent Krueger wrote about that controversial issue in… Sulfur Springs ………... and more recently there is a introductory letty Davenport novel titled the investigator. By John Sanford

 This time around Sanford wrote a spinoff series featuring Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, Letty. She's been working for Senator Christopher Colles (R-Florida) but is getting bored and resigns. As the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Office, Colles decides to enlist her as an investigator for the Homeland Inspector Inspector General and sends her to Texas, along with DHS agent John Kaiser, to look into the suspicion that crude oil thefts in Texas may be a fundraising effort on the part of far right militia groups solve so-called border problem in a manner far more violent manner than building the wall that Mexico would pay for according to one of Trump lying fantasies.

As a long time fan of all of Sanford's protagonist be they detectives Lucas Davenport, Virgil flowers, Letty various phase is a chip off the old block of all of them. Sanford's writing is always well plotted, funny and sharp sometimes over the top in like William Kent Krueger he can draw you into the character often so you'll wonder whether he or she the protagonists will even survive. Of course all of his characters show up and most of his stories even if only briefly but once addicted as I have been it's almost as if they have become family yes talk between cops and their kind is often gritty and even profane but but it seems very real and like me you may stay up far too late at night to see how it all turns out in the end

Friday, April 1, 2022

Mark Twain autobiography


The new Autobiography of Mark Twain is a whopper. It weighs a ton. All 800 pages..... but in any case the subject was known for telling whoppers. And a wonderfully skewed and satirical sense of humor.
As you may know, Twain wanted his writings on his own life to be unpublished for a hundred years after his death. The team of "friends," that published this monster, took numerous pages to explain Twains complicated reasoning for his 'don't publish till death wish." Then, on top of all this, Twain did not believe a chronological life story was the way to go. Another fifty pages by the editors, were required to unravel this convoluted reasoning . Then there were the several authors whose previous biographies of Twain violated his wishes on this subject and using his voluminous notes and discarded autobiographical attempts published anyway. The editors of the current biography required much tut tuting and footnotes to show why the previous authors had screwed up. I figure about half the book is comprised of this kind of editorial gobbledegook. All of that might possibly appeal to those in depth literary experts and analysts who make a career of deciphering hieroglyphics and the like. Not for me though. I ended up skipping thru most of it.

Now as to what Twain actually wrote himself, it's as you might expect wonderfully interesting. I had to laugh out loud (lol) many times and then read it to my spouse who kept on giving me that "so what’s so funny look." There is much here in the way of little anecdotes and short sketches of people, famous and not so famous, that the author knew. Is the book worth purchasing? For the average reader, like myself, probably not. The parts that I read and really enjoyed I got from the book which was obtained at the public library. I reasons why I skipped about half of this book , I’ve already explained. I think Mark Twain might have chuckled at that.....