For experimental purposes I'm sticking with Bing this week, but a friend said I really had to see the Google home page before December 15 had passed.  Indeed! I look at it just now and see an unusual green and white flag over the logo. And not just any flag:  Estas la Esperanto flago!  150 years ago today, in the town of Bialystock (then in Russia, now in Poland), L.L. Zamenhof was born -- the idealist and linguist who invented the language of Esperanto and preached it as a means to fraternity and harmony all around the world.

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My wife and I and our small sons cram-learned Esperanto in several weeks in 1986, as a way of getting a visa into China to attend the World Esperanto Congress in Beijing and then travel around the country. We had many adventures, including when kids played with a young girl with English-speaking parents who had decided to raise her as one of the world's few native speakers of Esperanto. "Cu vi volas ludi pupojn kun mi?" she would ask our sons, only to hear "Mi volas jeti pilkon."  ("Do you want to play dolls with me?" "No, let's throw a ball.") If you want to read more seriously about Zamenhof's achievement, you can start here and with some quizzical views here and here. For myself and my family I simply say, Felica Naskotago Dro. Zamenhof!

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