The Old Country: Between The Forceps and The Stone

  • September 3, 2019
The Old Country:  Between The Forceps and The Stone

Former Business Offices Of Prokop Babiy, Burkaniv.


“How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all”?

The Firesign Theatre..

Isn’t that what “Dreaming” is – being cognitively in separate spaces at the same Time – “Anywhere” and “Nowhere” at once? Life then, like the song lyric, may indeed be a Dream, infinitely intertwined along a continuum of separate realities. How many of us right now at this instant are alive on this planet; seven plus billions? Life then, might be a projection of seven billion multiple realties radiating from seven billion human bi-locating sources; finite creatures interlinked via rhizomatic networks along finite timespans, dreaming versions of what is ultimately a non-sequitur: Immortality.

The Old Country: Salt Of The Earth

  • August 11, 2018
The Old Country:  Salt Of The Earth


Here’s a word association experiment — or narrowing the scope a bit we might call it an Ukrainian Haiku since it encapsulates a few uniquely Ukrainian terms however decidedly non-traditional in structure:

Salt >> Chumak >> Galicia >> Ruthenian >> Ukrainian >> Salt of The Earth.

Now there is an expression that was once popular among the precariat in the Detroit area where I grew up: “back to the salt mines” which, since Detroit was built over a large glacial deposit of salt, was a local way of saying “time to get your ass back to work”, associating one’s job with the hard work of mining salt. Of course those salt mines are closed now and those job are gone, along with millions of others sacrificed on the altar of neoliberal capitalism.

Tempus Fugit

  • September 29, 2015
Tempus Fugit


The News.

Ever see the musical “Newsies”? It’s a Disney Theatrical Productions stage musical based on the 1992 musical film Newsies, which in turn was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. Read more...

The Forever War

  • September 4, 2013

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Don Darnell Obituary

  • January 14, 2020

Donald F. Darnell

Morely, Michigan:

Donald F. Darnell, 74, of Morley, passed away unexpectedly while on his farm Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.

He was born July 25, 1945, in Barryton and was the son of Cecil and Lillian (Hart) Darnell.

Don graduated from Barryton High School in 1963. He attended Ferris State College, earning a degree in criminal justice before entering the Michigan State Police Academy.

Don graduated with academic honors in 1968 and accepted his first assignment at the Michigan State Police Post in Bridgeport. Transfers brought him to posts in Rockford in 1970 and Lakeview in 1974.

After a short-term assignment at the Reed City post, Don returned to Lakeview, where he was chosen Michigan Police Officer of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He retired from the Lakeview post as a sergeant in June, 1995.

Don worked for Newago Public Schools from 1996 to 2002, as the GED test administrator.

Don lived on his farm near Morley for over 45 years and, like most men in the Darnell family, loved horses. Don’s devotion to the care and training of his horses is legendary. His sage advice and willingness to help and guide others will be greatly missed.

As a long-time member of the Michigan Horsepulling Boat Association, he not only was a mentor to many, but spent many years as president, serving with dedication to bring his love of horse pulling to many areas in Michigan. His life-time hobby was draft horsepulling which became full-time in retirement.

Don’s love for his horses was surpassed only by the love for his family, especially his grandchildren.

Don was loved and respected by his friends and associates, the horsepulling community and his beloved family, whose members include, his wife of 17 years, Mary Kay; children, Dr. Bart (Dina) Darnell, of East Tawas, Tobin Darnell, of Milan, Charlie (fiancee Katie Smith) Darnell, of Milan, and Dr. Amanda (Mark) Holtz, of Dexter; four grandchildren, Donovan Darnell, Miles Darnell, Sally Holtz, and Henry Holtz; step-daughter, Vicki (Mark) Courts, of Harris, Minnesota; two sisters, Audrey Ritt, of Dexter, and Carol (Don) Rupert, of Marion; and several nieces and nephews.

Don was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Sally, in 2002; a brother, Cecil Darnell; and brother-in-law, Al Ritt.

Funeral services will take place at noon, Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids, with Pastor Frank Taylor officiating. The family will greet friends from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m., on Tuesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Don’s name may be made to his family, the Michigan Horsepulling Boat Association or the charity of the donor’s choice.

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Ruthenia, Galicia and the Babij Surname

  • July 31, 2019
Ruthenia, Galicia and the Babij Surname



Cousin Sue Roth sent me an email recently concering the origins of the famous Hollywood director Billy Wilder. It seems Mr. Wilder (nee Samuel) was originally born in the town of Sucha, Galicia then a province of Austria Hungary. So Mr. Wilder was a Ruthenian by birth. Sue termed the revelation “weird”. Read more...

DNA Test Results Redux

  • January 22, 2019
DNA Test Results Redux

The DNA results have been updated as of 5 January 2019 from 23andMe and they seem more in line with what has been published previously by relatives on the Blashill side and what we have been finding in the Ukrainian archives in Lviv/Ternopil Oblasts. This is not to say that the MyHeritage results were inaccurate (they did have a very cool map display), but the 23andMe analysis is much more detailed and scientifically oriented – if one needs to go there. There are maps, that we originally characterized as “graphically challenged” but since then they’ve been updated and improved. Read more...

Follow The Bouncing Ball

  • January 15, 2019
Follow The Bouncing Ball

Please wait while you are redirected...or Click Here if you do not want to wait.


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Dark Places In Past Light

  • January 8, 2019
Dark Places In Past Light


Two Thousand Eighteen was a year filled with both joy and sorrow; buoyed by success yet scarred by tragedy; suffused with hope but plagued by pessimism; our Future obfuscated by humanity’s obsession with personal gain often at the potential risk of species Omnicide.  We have become the personification of an Ouroboros…obsessed with the Past, its lessons ignored, trapped by our own hubris in a repetitive cycle of self-annihilation. Read more...

The Old Country: In Nomine Patris

  • September 3, 2018
The Old Country:  In Nomine Patris


Upon reaching senescense, we tend to look back on our lives and begin to ask questions of ourselves. Questions that maybe we should have asked of our forebears when they were alive; like where did we come from, and who were we, and the ultimate; what have we become now [not that they would have come up with answers either]? Read more...

The Old Country: Lviv

  • October 1, 2017
The Old Country:  Lviv

Monument to Taras Shevchenko, Lviv.


Having survived the first two days of my insane itinerary, my guide Diana Borysenko had scheduled us for two relatively relaxing days in Lviv consisting of various historical, museum and church tours, a vist to several unique cafes for coffee and confections, the sampling of local cuisine, and an evening at the Opera House to attend a “gala” presentation of the inaugural season of the LvivMozArt Festival.

The Old Country: Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast

  • September 26, 2017
The Old Country:  Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast

Annunciation (The Savior) Church, a 15th Century Carpathian Wooden Church.

Dolyna [Долйна].

Well if the itinerary for Day One was ridiculous — four towns, 350 kilometers or more round trip, and roads that were in places more like obstacle courses — Day Two would prove to be insane. We’re talking about a tour of Sub-Carpathian Ukraine that involves at least 400 kilometers of driving in one day — a weekend day at that — smack in the middle of August which is high tourist season for this part of the world – not the smartest of plans. Read more...

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