Thursday, October 30, 2008

Missing Out

As far as I’m concerned, winter has already arrived in Boston. It is cold, it is damp, and it is gray. We may have weather like this for the next five months or more.

Since I’m not outside much, I guess it truly doesn’t make much difference—but I like to see the sun once in a while, if only to keep in touch.

One thing I always found funny about my two winters in Minnesota was that winter days often would feature bright, even brilliant sunshine, although the high temperatures for such days might only be one degree Fahrenheit! Further, in Minnesota, the cold was usually a dry, bracing cold. In Massachusetts, the cold is often a damp, penetrating cold.

Our lives are sort of uneventful at present. My life is class and study. Andrew’s life is work and reading. At least we get to spend our time together, even if our noses are pressed into a variety of books for most of each evening and much of each weekend.

After dinner, I study for three hours, and Andrew spends that time reading. We do not have a television and we do not listen to music while we study and read, so our evenings are very quiet, although we often do a bit of talking during our quiet time. An hour before bedtime, we throw the books down and relax.

Andrew is presently reading a biography of Learned Hand. The book is intense and over 800 pages in length, so it will occupy Andrew for the next week or so. Andrew dislikes it. The biography is changing Andrew’s opinion of Learned Hand, and not for the better.

Andrew and I have few plans until Thanksgiving, when we will be in Minneapolis.

This Sunday, we have been invited to Andrew’s boss’s home to spend the afternoon and evening. We are looking forward to it. Andrew’s boss and his boss’s wife are lovely people. Their own children are grown and dispersed, and they appear to enjoy our company, and we enjoy their company. I am glad they have asked us again.

Boston has a musical organization that presents touring orchestras and soloists, and Andrew and I have tickets to attend a performance by the Dresden Staatskapelle on my birthday. We are looking forward to that.

Otherwise, our schedule is filled with study and work. We don’t mind.

We have now been in Boston for two months. Neither of us likes the city at all.

Despite its many universities, Boston is a pure blue-collar town. Boston natives have pure blue-collar habits, pure blue-collar attitudes and pure blue-collar sensibilities. It is all very unpleasant.

Andrew and I are missing out on a good football season.

My brother’s high school team is unbeaten. The Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are enjoying particularly fine seasons. Even the Minnesota Golden Gophers are having a good season.

The Golden Gophers are off to a 6-1 start this year, a major contrast to last year, when Minnesota suffered through its worse season ever in football. Andrew says the Golden Gophers decided to play better this year in order to taunt us, knowing that we would be out of town and unable to attend the games. I think Andrew is right.

Andrew and I are also missing out on the dog.

Andrew’s mother took him to the veterinarian on Monday because she and Andrew’s father had noticed that he seemed to favor his right hind leg on steps last weekend.

Of course, their fear was that the dog may suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition that afflicts about forty per cent of German Shepherds in the United States (in Europe, breeders are not permitted to breed German Shepherds whose family histories evidence the condition, and those higher breeding standards have eliminated the problem in most European countries).

The dog is checked for the condition every six months. His last examination was only in July, but Andrew’s mother had him checked out again on Monday.

Happily, the veterinarian’s tests showed that the dog does not suffer from hip dyslasia. However, the veterinarian said that the dog appears to be developing arthritis, another problem common for German Shepherds. The veterinarian said that Rex has rheumatoid arthritis, not degenerative osteoarthritis, and that his condition may be treated with an antioxidant vitamin, a mild anti-inflammatory agent, and a low-dosage glucosamine supplement.

Consequently, the dog now has a daily pill regimen to observe. He gets one pill with his breakfast, a different pill with his lunch, and a final pill with his dinner.

He’s been taking the various vitamins, supplements and medications since Monday night, and they already seem to be having their intended effect—Andrew’s mother said that he stopped favoring his right hind leg on steps today.

This is excellent news, because he has always been a very energetic and active dog, speeding around the house and yard all day, positively running everyone in the household ragged in the process. I doubt he would be happy leading a sedentary life.

Andrew and I are also missing out on other developments back home.

This Saturday is the day Andrew’s older brother and family permanently depart New York for Minneapolis. They will stay with Andrew’s parents until early next year, when they will get their own place.

Lucky for them, the New York real estate market has remained robust. They were able to sell their apartment for $4.4 million, an outrageous sum. An identical apartment in downtown Minneapolis would sell for a figure between $425,000 and $750,000, depending upon building and location. Also lucky for them, the sale closed in 2008, while taxes remain low.

Andrew and I will not be missing out on the election back home.

Andrew and I chose to vote as Minnesota residents rather than as Massachusetts residents. We did this for two reasons: Massachusetts is a one-party state, so one’s vote has little effect here, while Minnesota is a two-party state with very, very close elections; and we very much wanted to vote against the reprehensible Al Franken, who very well may win a seat in the U.S. Senate, but only because a third-party candidate will siphon 10-12% of the normal Republican vote from Senator Coleman. We have already voted absentee.

If he wins, Al Franken would not be the first person missing essential chromosomes to win a Minnesota election in a tight three-way race. There is a precedent in the state.

Who can forget Jesse Ventura?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lyric Art

I am diffident about attending opera performances.

I generally enjoy listening to recordings of operas, but I have not generally enjoyed most of the opera performances I have attended.

One of the problems I have encountered is that I have never been lucky enough to see and hear a remarkable opera performance. The opera performances I have attended have been pretty mediocre, or even worse. Apparently seeing and hearing a great performance changes one’s opinion about the art form for life. On the other hand, persons—such as myself—who have attended several opera performances without ever encountering anything special tend to become indifferent to the art form.

At this point in my life, I could forego attending opera performances for the next five years and be entirely happy.

I have attended eleven opera performances with Andrew—two just in the last two weeks—and my luck with performances has not been good. Not a single one of those eleven performances was worth attending, although I actually enjoyed a couple of the performances for one reason or another (but not because the performances were artistically fulfilling).

In order, we have attended performances of:

Gioachino Rossini’s “La Donna Del Lago”, performed by Minnesota Opera

Jacques Offenbach’s “The Tales Of Hoffman”, performed by Minnesota Opera

Giacomo Puccini’s “La Boheme”, performed by The Hamburg State Opera

Leos Janacek’s “Jenufa”, performed by The Metropolitan Opera

Leo Delibes’s “Lakme”, performed by Minnesota Opera

Giuseppe Verdi’s “Un Ballo In Maschera”, performed by Minnesota Opera

Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci”, performed by New York City Opera

Gioachino Rossini’s “L’Italiana In Algeri”, performed by Minnesota Opera

Giacomo Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut”, performed by The Metropolitan Opera

Richard Strauss’s “Salome”, performed by The Metropolitan Opera

Carl Maria Von Weber’s “Der Freischutz”, performed by Opera Boston

The operas I most enjoyed were “Lakme” and “Manon Lescaut”, but my enjoyment of those operas had nothing to do with the quality of the performances. Instead, I liked the works themselves very much, and the performances did not manage to destroy my enjoyment, hard as they may have tried.

The most disappointing performance I have attended was “Jenufa”. I got to know “Jenufa” from the Charles Mackerras recording, and I grew to love the opera. I was looking forward very much to a performance of the opera at The Metropolitan Opera, and I was appalled by what I saw and heard on the Met stage that day. That “Jenufa” was my first introduction to The Metropolitan Opera, and I learned, very quickly, what a mediocre institution The Metropolitan Opera is. That “Jenufa” taught me never to carry high expectations to an opera performance, because I would be certain to be disappointed. I have observed this rule ever since.

My scrupulous observance of this rule got me through the awful “Salome” in New York two weeks ago and the even more awful “Freischutz” in Boston last week. Those performances made me wonder whether American opera companies intentionally sabotage their presentations.

I would, nevertheless, like to attend a performance of “Fidelio” one day, and I would also like to attend a performance of “The Magic Flute”. I would also like to attend a good performance of “Der Freischutz”.

I have only heard three “big-name” singers on stage: Ewa Podles, Vivica Genaux and Karita Mattila (the latter three times). Each was admirable in her own way, but Genaux was a star onstage while the other two singers were not.

I have also heard Anja Silja on stage. Silja used to be a “big-name” singer, but that was long before my time. She is now a carnival barker—in voice and in demeanor. I heard her Kostelnicka at the Met, and hers was the single most embarrassing performance I have ever witnessed. She made Wallace Beery look like a paragon of subtlety and restraint. I thought she was going to eat the scenery and, when she was done, start in on the lights.

Andrew has been luckier than me, because he spent a year in Vienna and attended numerous performances at the Wiener Staatsoper that year. He got to see and hear, night after night, how the German repertory should be performed, and to a high standard. My only comparable experiences have come through recordings; I have not experienced equivalent riches in person.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"I Saw Three Ships . . ."

Given Hamburg’s long maritime history, it is not surprising that Hamburg serves as home to three great historic ships turned into museums.

All three vessels are docked on The River Elbe. Each ship is as long as a football field, and each ship may be toured in depth, bow to stern, and to the bottom-most deck. We devoted an entire day to visiting all three ships, and we very much enjoyed exploring these magnificent specimens of Europe’s seafaring history. We found these ships to be completely fascinating.

The first ship we visited, and the oldest, was the Rickmer Rickmers, a clipper ship built in 1896 by the Rickmers shipyard in Bremerhaven. The Rickmer Rickmers was turned into a maritime museum in 1987, and has been docked in Hamburg Harbor ever since. A permanent exhibition on board recounts the majesty and toil of the sailing ship era.

Created as a full-rigged ship with a steel hull, the Rickmer Rickmers is one of the last remaining tall ship freighters in the world. The ship was first used on the Hong Kong route, bringing rice and bamboo to Hamburg. In 1912, the ship was transferred to the Hamburg-Chile route.

The ship has two engines: one is an old steam engine and one is an old diesel engine. Accordingly, the ship may be powered by wind, steam or fuel. Its length is 97 meters, its width is 12 meters and its salt-water depth is 6 meters. Fully rigged, its sails occupy 3,500 square meters. Its normal crew complement was 22 merchant sailors.

The ship was illegally confiscated by the Portuguese in World War I (Germany was not at war with Portugal) and turned over to the British. The British used the ship for transporting war materials for the remainder of the war. After the war, the British presented the ship to the Portuguese Navy as “war reparations”.

The Portuguese used the Rickmer Rickmers as a cadet training ship until 1962, from which year the ship was used as a naval storage hulk in Lisbon. In 1958, the last major appearance of the ship, it won the “Cutty Sark” tall ship race.

The ship’s current name was only adopted in 1983, after it was purchased by The City Of Hamburg from the Portuguese Navy.

The elegant Cap San Diego is one of the last of the classic cargo ships. During its active sailing days, it was known as “The White Swan Of The South Atlantic”.

Launched in 1961 at the Hamburg shipyards, the Cap San Diego was the last in a series of six brand-new bulk cargo ships. The ships of the “Cap San” class marked the beginning of an era of fast cargo vessels, equipped with capacious cold storage rooms and facilities for 12 overseas passengers. With their sleek hulls and massive sterns, the ships of the “Cap San” class resembled elegant yachts more than heavy freighters. Each ship of the “Cap San” class had a loading capacity of 103,000 tons.

From 1962 to 1982, the Cap San Diego completed more than 120 round trips between Hamburg and South America. At the time, a Cap San ship departed from Hamburg en route to South America every single week.

The demise of bulk cargo ships was due to the inexorable rise of standard shipping containers, which left in their wake less and less business for conventional bulk freighters. The Cap San Diego is the last remaining vessel of the “Cap San” class.

The City Of Hamburg purchased the Cap San Diego in 1986, when it was on the verge of being sold for scrap. Completely overhauled and de-rusted, the ship is still seaworthy—it is fully functional and able to be oceangoing at any time.

U-434, a Russian submarine of the “Tango” Class from the final decades of the Cold War, is one of the largest non-nuclear submarines in the world. It is one of the few remaining “Tango” Class submarines anywhere.

Constructed in only eight months at the Krasnoe Sormovo submarine base in Gorky, U-434 was launched in 1976 and placed into the service of the Soviet North Sea Fleet. It was deployed on espionage missions, and remained an active part of the Russian fleet until 2002.

U-434 possesses a special coating, invisible to radar, allowing it to engage in espionage, reconnaissance, hunting and patrol. The vessel is 92 meters long, 9 meters wide and 15 meters high.

U-434 has three diesel engines, three electric engines and one creeping engine. The diesel and electric engines have 18,000 horsepower. It has a diving depth of 500 meters. Its surface speed is 13 kilometers per hour; its submerged speed is 16 kilometers per hour.

The submarine is still functional. All engines and all on-board equipment were left in place when the submarine was sold to a private consortium in Hamburg, although all weapon systems were, to be sure, dismantled in Murmansk prior to U-434’s arrival in Hamburg.

The submarine carried 24 torpedoes, each 8.14 meters long and each weighing two tons. The torpedo room—288 cubic meters—is the largest room on board the submarine.

The submarine carried supplies for 80 days of maneuvers: 18 tons of foodstuff and 32,000 liters of fresh water. An emergency operating room was on board. The submarine had a complement of 84 personnel: 16 officers, 16 petty officers and 52 sailors.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ancient Hamburg

The city of Hamburg was virtually destroyed during World War II.

The July 1943 Hamburg firestorm, which incinerated much of the city, is one of the most well-known events of the entire war. However, Hamburg was bombed repeatedly both before and after the concentrated sequence of air raids that caused the 1943 firestorm. It is miraculous that any portion of the city survived the widespread bombings that occurred, with dismaying regularity, between November 1940 and April 1945.

The wartime path of destruction through Hamburg was unpredictable. The 1943 firestorms—and there was more than one—occurred mainly in working-class residential districts located between two and five miles from the city center. The city center itself did not experience a firestorm in 1943, although the city center suffered numerous bombing episodes and witnessed its own series of deadly fires throughout the war.

A few areas of Hamburg emerged more or less intact at war’s end.

The Hamburg port, for instance, a chief target of Allied bombers, emerged from the numerous bombing raids relatively unscathed, largely because the port area was so heavily-defended. As a consequence, buildings near The River Elbe tended to escape destruction. In Hamburg, the general rule is that the closer a building’s location to The River Elbe, the greater the likelihood that the building survived the war.

Buildings lining The Alster Lakes also tended to survive the war, no doubt because bombers did not directly target the two sizable lakes around which the city of Hamburg had been erected (although a few lakeside buildings suffered direct hits and were totally destroyed). This accounts for the fact that Hamburg’s great City Hall, the Rathaus, one of the city’s largest and most prominent buildings, located in the very heart of the city, emerged from the war without a scratch (although it had been a specific target of the Allies on numerous occasions).

Buildings near the city-center Flak Tower also survived the war. This was so because Allied bombers deliberately stayed as far away from Flak Towers as possible, since anti-aircraft weapons sitting atop Flak Towers were the deadliest and most effective weapons against enemy bombers. This accounts for the fact that Hamburg’s great concert hall, the Laeiszhalle, was untouched by the war.

Other than buildings in the three noted areas, however, Hamburg saw few buildings make it through the war. Over ninety per cent of the city had to be rebuilt at war’s end. Rebuilding was not completed until the early 1980’s, almost forty years after cessation of hostilities.

Miraculously, throughout the city there are isolated pockets of buildings that somehow made it through the war and are preserved in their pre-war states.

The paths of destruction were random, based upon many factors. Sometimes isolated pockets of buildings survived because shifting winds suddenly changed the directions of raging fires. Sometimes Hamburg fire crews were successful in saving historic structures situated amidst areas otherwise completely decimated by bombs and fires. In a few cases, the proximity of a nearby park or square was all that was necessary to preserve an isolated group of buildings—some, but not all, fires were strong enough to leapfrog green spaces.

Prior to the war, Hamburg was a city packed with structures from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras. After the war, Hamburg possessed only four very small groups of buildings from these historic periods that somehow survived the war.

One such area was Deichstrasse and The Cremon, two ancient streets that parallel and occupy opposite banks of The Nikolaifleet, one of many canals that passes through Hamburg’s city center and connects The Alster Lakes with The River Elbe.

Deichstrasse, an historic street dating back to 1304, is one of Hamburg’s most popular attractions. It is the oldest street in Hamburg and was home to the original Hamburg Harbor. The street has maintained its quaint character over many centuries. It remains the oldest residential area of Hamburg.

The name “Deichstrasse” derives from the Low German “dikestrate” (dike street), a reminder of the many dikes that, from the year 1200 onward, were erected in the immediate area in order to prevent flooding.

Warehouses—half-timbered townhouses, actually—were built on The Nikolaifleet, with their waterfronts bordering the canal and their street fronts bordering Deichstrasse. As a result, small transport vessels maintained easy access to the warehouses. These craft, with the assistance of slewing cranes permanently affixed to the houses, could unload goods directly into the ground floors of the houses. In some houses in Deichstrasse, such cranes may still be seen today.

The houses of Deichstrasse possessed large, dual ground-level doors at opposite ends of the houses, opening onto the river at one end and onto the street at the other. These ground floors served as storage areas and as sales rooms. The inhabitants’s living quarters were located on the floors above (some houses in Deichstrasse had as many as seven floors).

The oldest houses built on Deichstrasse are from the 14th Century. Several are from the 15th Century. Almost all houses face both the canal and the street. These merchant houses were all built on the premise of simplifying the transport of goods into the city.

By the 17th Century, Deichstrasse had become a major trading center, with merchants living, working and storing their goods in their houses on a widespread scale. Some of the houses on Deichstrasse are from as late as the 17th to the 19th Centuries.

All these Deichstrasse houses are excellent examples of the varying styles of old Hamburg architecture through the centuries.

The Great Fire Of 1842 destroyed about half of Deichstrasse’s original buildings, meaning that half of the houses standing today on Deichstrasse are replicas of the originals, recreated in the mid-19th Century. It was in Deichstrasse that the devastating Great Fire Of 1842 broke out, and it was from Deichstrasse that the fire moved toward the center of the city. The result is that today’s Deichstrasse buildings may be divided into halves: the half nearest The River Elbe are original houses, and the half nearest The Alster Lakes are 19th-Century replicas of original houses.

The houses of Deichstrasse survived Hamburg’s citywide restructuring campaigns of 1900 and 1936. Miraculously, the houses of Deichstrasse also escaped the bombardments of World War II. Had a single building suffered a direct hit, the entire street would have gone up like a match.

There are a host of narrow passageways between the houses, linking Deichstrasse directly to The Nikolaifleet.

Today the houses of Deichstrasse host restaurants and fashionable shops on their ground floors. The upper floors continue to serve as residential housing for hundreds of Hamburg residents.

The photo below shows the canal side of the houses on Deichstrasse.

The Nikolaifleet, at the rear of Deichstrasse, today runs dry at low tide, largely because the water is no longer regulated with a complicated series of dams (Hamburg’s system of canals is no longer used to transport goods; a few of the city’s canals today are dry even at high tide). The Nikolaifleet was the last of the historic canals to be built in Hamburg’s inner city, constructed to provide yet one more avenue of transportation for moving goods between The River Elbe and the center of Hamburg. The canal continued to enjoy heavy use until the end of World War I, when it lapsed into disuse (it had become outmoded by the motor truck).

The photograph below, from 1900, shows The Nikolaifleet brimming with small watercraft, all of which were being used to transport goods up and down the canal. The buildings lining the canal in this photograph are on The Cremon side of The Nikolaifleet.

On the opposite bank of The Nikolaifleet, parallel to Deichstrasse, is The Cremon. This ancient merchant road, which runs along a dike head, dates from 1252. This picturesque residential area is quite characteristic of Hamburg, and lies between two canals, The Nikolaifleet and The Katharinenfleet. (Medieval Saint-Katharinen-Kirche, which I wrote about on July 16, 2008, is nearby.) For all practical purposes, The Cremon is an island, bordered on three sides by water.

All buildings on The Cremon were built after 1646, the year in which the original development on The Cremon was completely destroyed in one of many fires that have ravaged the city of Hamburg over the centuries. As a result, many of The Cremon’s buildings are from the Baroque period. They are among the finest examples of Northern European Baroque architecture anywhere.

Many of the old houses on The Cremon are Kontorhauser (Counting Houses), office buildings of the pre-modern age. Today’s Cremon buildings are divided between office use and residential use. Unlike Deichstrasse, The Cremon’s buildings are not occupied by shops and restaurants at street level.

The Krameramtsstuben are another group of ancient Hamburg buildings. The Krameramtsstuben are located directly behind the rear of Saint-Michaelis-Kirche, which Andrew wrote about on October 3, 2008.

The Krameramtsstuben buildings, along with the Backerbreitergang, are the only lower-class residences in Hamburg associated with the Gangeviertel (Alley Quarter) that were not obliterated at some time or other over the last two centuries, either by The Great Fire Of 1842 or the two great Hamburg urban renovation campaigns of 1900 and 1936 or the bombardments of World War II.

The Krameramtsstuben consist of two rows of terrace houses facing each other across a narrow lane. Each terrace consists of five two-story, half-timbered houses that served as flats for widows of small traders. The twisted chimneys and signs on the houses, in the shape of scales, are original architectural details of the buildings.

Directly translated, Krameramtsstuben means “Shopkeeper Office Flats”. In The Middle Ages, Hamburg’s shopkeepers were organized into a guild, one of the purposes of which was to provide aid to its members and their families in case of need and old age. To provide its poor with humble but safe shelter, the guild built the Krameramtsstuben in 1676.

After disbandment of Hamburg’s guilds in 1863, ownership of the Krameramtsstuben transferred to Hamburg’s social welfare institutions. The flats continued to be rented to the elderly until 1969.

Today the Krameramtsstuben are no longer living quarters, but a picturesque courtyard housing a museum, several souvenir shops, an art gallery, an antiquarian bookseller, tea shops, and restaurants serving traditional Hamburg fare.

The Backerbreitergang is a long, narrow alley, the other remnant of the Gangeviertel of ancient Hamburg. Like Krameramtsstuben, this street survived fires, two waves of urban modernization and a world war.

The Backerbreitergang housed the truly poor of ancient Hamburg. The houses are very narrow, and only a few yards deep. The doorways are very narrow and the windows very small. The parents of Johannes Brahms were once forced to reside in the Backerbrietergang during a particularly low period in the family’s fortunes.

Families still reside in the Backerbreitergang. We saw families enter and come out of these tiny homes while we walked through this area of Hamburg. The entrance doorways are so narrow that we observed a woman dismantle a small baby stroller in order to get it through a front door.

The Backerbreitergang is only one block from Hamburg’s primary concert hall, the Laeiszhalle, on the other side of which is a giant urban park.

Miraculously, the Backerbreitergang was completely unharmed during the war.

The street makes it possible for visitors to imagine the atmosphere and poverty of Hamburg’s lower-class quarters in previous centuries.

Peterstrasse is the fourth area of ancient Hamburg that survived the war—or, more accurately, an area that offers a taste of how Hamburg looked before the war.

Peterstrasse was bombed during World War II and renovated after the war. The fine brick and half-timbered houses that line the street today are relatively new and make use of ancient building materials and methods. However, pre-war Peterstrasse never actually existed in the form to be seen today. The current Peterstrasse is an improvement over the buildings that used to occupy this ground, since the post-war reconstructions were distinctly bourgeois, while the original pre-war buildings were distinctly lower-class.

A few of the buildings on Peterstrasse, however, are accurate reconstructions of historic Peterstrasse buildings. The most prominent example of a building reconstructed after the war so as to replicate exactly its pre-war predecessor is The Beyling Stift, an ancient building that provided low-cost housing for the elderly. The Beyling Stift of today looks no different from The Beyling Stift of centuries ago, and still serves its original function.

Johannes Brahms was born on Peterstrasse, and his family lived on Peterstrasse for many years. Hamburg’s Brahms Museum is located on Peterstrasse.

The reconstruction of Peterstrasse was completed only in 1982. It was the final post-war reconstruction project in the city of Hamburg, the last in a series of projects that required the work of two successive generations and was to consume thirty-seven years. Can there be a more telling measure of the city’s wartime destruction?

The 1943 Hamburg firestorm was one of the turning points in the war.

Over 1,250,000 Hamburg residents began flooding into surrounding countryside the morning after the firestorm, not to return to their city until the war was over. The procession of exiting Hamburgers into nearby provinces lasted for ten days. Displaced Hamburgers virtually repopulated an area extending one hundred miles in all directions. On their journey, they informed shocked locals of the depth of the city’s destruction.

Within days, everyone in Northern Germany knew of Hamburg’s destruction—and also understood that, if the great city of Hamburg could be destroyed literally overnight, then indeed the war had been lost.

Reich Radio never broadcast to the German populace the full story of the city’s destruction.

Hitler, despite Goebbels’s many pleadings, never visited the city in an attempt to bolster morale among the workers who remained behind.

Indeed, Hitler never visited a bombed German city for the duration of the war.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


My first-term break will begin after the conclusion of tomorrow’s classes. Classes will resume on Monday, October 20.

I am more than ready for a break.

Late tomorrow afternoon, Andrew and I will drive down to New York, where we will spend the long holiday weekend. We will stay with Andrew’s brother and his family. Andrew’s parents and his other brother will fly in from Minneapolis for the weekend, too.

We all plan to pitch in and help Alec and Lizbeth pack boxes and other things for their move to Minneapolis.

On Monday night, Andrew and I will return to Boston and Andrew’s brother will return to Minneapolis. However, Andrew’s parents will remain in New York for a few days, continuing to help Alec and Lizbeth prepare for their move.

On Friday morning, Andrew’s parents will take the train from New York up to Boston and join Andrew and me for the weekend.