Why bother with geneaology? Here’s why

I blog a lot about space — asteroids, planets, the cosmos in general — but I also write about my ancestors. In fact, I think everyone should find out more about their past.

There are plenty of reasons why you should find out more of your family history.

One thing, though: the 23 and me type of DNA tests don’t really reveal much. Why? As the wonderful NY Times article linked above says:

“Culture does not come from DNA. It comes from lived experience, traditions and stories passed down, from actual people who shape our perceptions of the world.”

It’s all about stories. Humans are storytelling creatures. We shape our lives, as our life experiences shape us and those around us. Motivations, desires, hopes, beliefs, fears, dreams…

Look to the past to explain the present and predict the future. Past and future aren’t dichotomous; they’re merely points on a never-ending continuum.

 

You must not go into the Wood at night!

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Check out this free five-minute reading of “The Magic Wood,” by Henry Treece, one of many New Apocalypse poets who influenced Neil Gaiman’s dialogue in Sandman. Available only for the next 29 days.

Truly creepy. With Great Pleasure at Christmas (great title, BBC).

Link courtesy of the wordsmith Neil, himself, @neilhimself. Thanks!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06w8xl5

A farewell journey

Mom

May the roads bring success to you,

May the winds be forever at your back,

May the sunshine be warm on your face,

May the rains fall lightly upon your fields, until we meet again.

And may God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Go n-éirí an bóthar leat

Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl

Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh

Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna

Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,

Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.

Good bye, Mom. Your final journey awaits, and I cannot follow. But your memory will here linger still, until I have the courage to go on.

Farewell, Harlan, y’old so and so

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I remember the only time I met Harlan Ellison.

Well, “met” is perhaps too strong a word. Talked with. Listened to. Got a signature and shook his hand. I was nervous as all hell. Continue reading

The extrasolar immigrants are/have been/will be here

Though discovered nearly four years ago, an asteroid in orbit near Jupiter ( BZ509, or just “bee-zee” for short) is now said to be originally from outside our solar system. The aliens are here (have been here…). Continue reading

Death of a Cherry Tree

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This past Monday, city workers came to cut down a cherry tree near our house. It had been there for years.

We found out later that a neighbor had complained that leaves falling in her backyard were a nuisance to clean. The fact that local children (and adults alike) treasured the cherry blossoms each spring seemed to escape her.

And cherry blossom viewing season is just around the corner. What a shame. A waste.

More’s the shame, I only have two pictures of the tree in full bloom.

Fleeting moments, lost in time and memory.

My children wrote a heartfelt letter to the tree, and I taped it as best I could to the stump:

“To the Cherry Tree,

For always showing your cherry blossoms to us until now, thank you.

We miss you, but we’ll never forget that this stump is the stump of a cherry tree.

If this stump ever grows, we want to see cherry blossoms again.”

Stories are made by fools like me…

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