Flooding in Central Europe

Massive flooding throughout central Europe has cost 10 lives and wreaked incalculable damage… and the water is still rising. My thoughts are with all those affected by this widespread disaster. I share some photos from Austria, as I know the country best of all the others currently being affected.


Marbach on Tuesday, June 4th.


Emmersdorf in the neighborhood of Melk.


Building a portable high-water barrier in Spitz. Notice the house in the background.

Hochwasserschutz, Weißenkirchen, NÖ, Wachau

The same house a week later. Without the barrier, it would have been under water.


B138 near Lofer.


Hüttau suffered massive damage.

Click through for a full picture gallery with 103 images.

Seen in the rubble in Moore, OK.



It’s true. No one can appreciate this more than those who have lost things, or those who have lost people. Many individuals lost their lives in Oklahoma today, and many families are grieving. Words like this are scant comfort for them, and only time will – hopefully – transform the bitterness of loss into the sweetness of memory.

Far more people kept their lives but lost everything they had, and their hardships are none the less – but I am sure there is much gratitude being felt by those who survived the ordeal, realizing that things can be replaced and that, in the end, nothing truly belongs to us. We can only preside over our goods for a short time, and then they pass into the hands of others.

My thoughts and prayers are with the good people of Oklahoma and other areas affected by these devastating storms. I have done what I could, and wish only that it could be more. If you want to help, one good place is the United Way of Oklahoma.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Happy Anniversary


Three years ago today, in Palmyra, New York, the most wonderful lady in the world became my bride.

The subsequent three years have been “interesting times” in the “Chinese Curse” sense of the word[1], but I would not trade them for anything. Among other things, we worked for the Census, made new friends, fixed up and sold a home, bought a home, had my elderly mother with us for a year until she moved to a nursing home, endured some injuries, got chickens, raised gardens, suffered through underemployment and discouraging job hunts, held yard sales, endured night-time work schedules, traveled around the country (never rent a Budget truck unless you have a death wish), had children come and go and come and go, painted the house (halfway done!), installed a bathroom in our basement, made countless trips to Savers and Deseret Industries to get rid of stuff (and, unfortunately, pick up more), adopted cats, cooked wonderful things to eat, learned new skills, hosted knitting nights…  and done our best to love, honor and build one another up.

I wouldn’t exchange a minute of it.

Both of us were married before, and we’re happy to have “gotten it right” the second time around. (Cue Ol’ Blue Eyes here.)

To the love of my life: Thank you for three wonderful years – may the next forever be even more amazing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

[1] It is said that an old Chinese curse intones, “May you live in interesting times.” I am fully aware that no such curse exists, but it’s a great way of expressing an idea. Hush.

Tight times, 5 years later

Posted this over at Livejournal on 11/22/2008, but things haven’t changed, so it’s worth a rerun.

Lor’ lumme, times is tough all over. People are actually starting to seriously use the “D” word for the first time since WWII. Today’s “Overboard” was funny, but also caused a cord in my heart to be plucked, because in some ways it’s not funny at all.

I remember reading this book to my kids when they were little, and it made me cry. Today, more folks than I care to count are really struggling, and I even feel the cold breath of economic terror from behind the door on occasion.

I’m hoping and praying that whoever is able to pull the economic strings in our country over the next four years can keep us from total meltdown, because folks, we’re only a couple of degrees away from an economic China Syndrome.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

His Master’s Voice Silenced

On January 15, HMV plc entered receivership, and the hmv.com website displayed a simple legal notice. Stores in Ireland were shuttered.
Several views of His Master’s Voice/HMV in Oxford Street, London, in the 1960’s.

The Wikipedia entry on HMV

Found at Glaserei

The original painting of Nipper by Francis Barraud; the trademark used by Victor (later RCA Victor) and HMV substituted a disc gramophone for the wax-cylinder machine.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


Remembering Aaron Swartz


Official Statement From the Family and Partner of Aaron Swartz

Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment. We are in shock, and have not yet come to terms with his passing.

Aaron’s insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable—these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter. We’re grateful for our time with him, to those who loved him and stood with him, and to all of those who continue his work for a better world.

Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge. He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place. His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.

Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. [1] Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.

Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost.

Read more at the official page.

[1] Aaron was being prosecuted by the US Attorney for illegally downloading 5 million academic articles from a subscription service. A beautiful tribute can be read at Laughing at Chaos, along with an examination of what it means to be “gifted.”