Cat Furniture Part Six

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 18, 2011

This is a rendering of Cat’s Cradle. Parts one, two, three, four, and five are previously published.

76 Julian Castle agrees with Newt that everything is meaningless Julian Castle now says that he was just talking to hear himself breathe when he said Jesus was his hero. He takes a painting by Newt Hoenikker, of a cat’s cradle, and throws it out the window. This was not pleasant for PG, who makes pictures. Some people do not like PG, and like to insult his “art work” as a way of getting back at PG. Maybe something you made isn’t the greatest image the world has ever seen, but you don’t have to throw it away.

77- aspirin and boku-maru Julian Castle tells John that almost everyone on the island is a Bokononer. The fact that it is illegal makes it more fun. This is a compelling reason why we should not make murder legal. It would not be as much fun.

78 ring of steel Bokonon and McCabe invented this new religion, because they could not do anything to help the poor people of the island. So, they made up a religion of lies to make them feel better. It was Bokonon’s idea to have the new religion be against the law. Maybe that is the problem with Jesus worship in america. We have this notion of separation of church and state, and religion is legalized. On San Lorenzo, church and state are intimately connected, in the same way that the government here runs the drug trade. Maybe this is what Karl Marx meant by opium of the people.

79-why McCabe’s souls grew coarse So they had this racket. Bokonon was the outlaw high priest, and McCabe was the mean gummint man who crusaded against him. Eventually, they believed their own propaganda and went insane. Not insane enough for McCabe to actually catch Bokonon. He had to have a bad guy to stay in power. This is similar to what the American government faced after the fall of the Soviet Union. They had no enemy, no reason to scare the people and spend tons of money on the military. When 911 fell out of the sky, “radical” Islam was the new enemy. So far, the war on terror has been much less satisfactory than the war on communism.

80 the waterfall strainers Angela Conners, and her brother Newt Hoenikker, like to drink. Angela gets upset about things, and finds solace in playing the clarinet. It turns out that her husband is a drunk who likes to chase women. When John says something about her happy marriage, Newt spreads his fingers and says, see the cat, see the cradle. Things are not always what they appear to be.

81-a white bride for the son of a pullman porter This is where Angela Conners plays clarinet, with a jazz record in the background. Jazz was in bad shape in 1959. It was the music of hipsters and junkies, and respectable white people were not into that. Or so some say, PG was five years old, and they didn’t play jazz records at the ayers dale kindergarten. This kindergarten was run in the basement of a house on Mabry Road in Brookhaven, and the boss lady was named Dot Ayers. When her son went to Oglethorpe University, Dot became the fanatical supporter of Oglethorpe athletics.

82-zah-mah-ki-bo Franklin Hoenikker wants to talk to John immediately, but won’t tell him why. Maybe this is a good time to talk about a website that PG saw a minute ago. FengShuiShopper . “My name is Marina Lighthouse, and I am a certified Feng Shui practitioner of the fourth stage “Black Sect Tantric Feng Shui.” My intention is to support you by helping to create good Feng Shui in your personal and professional life. Find the finest quality products that will guide you to authentic feng shui cures and bring harmony into your environment.”

83- Dr. Schlichter Von Koenigswald approaches the break even point The dictator of the island is dying, in great pain. More drugs would kill him, but fewer drugs will not make him well. Suicide and euthanasia are discussed, and it is mentioned that Mr. McCabe kicked his own bucket. It seems as though the doctor looking out for the dictator is an Austrian, Dr. Schlichter Von Koenigswald. Copy paste is a wonderful thing. The doctor worked for the German government in the war, as a population control specialist. He saves many lives in his work at the San Lorenzo hospital. It is estimated that, if he continues to work at he present pace, the number of lives he saves will be equal to the number of lives he took during the war. It is estimated the break even point will be in 3010.

84 blackout When the power fails in a modern area, the result is a blackout. Like so many sayings, this is the opposite of the truth. It should be black in, because that is where the darkness is.

85-a pack of foma Foma is another of those Vonnegutian concepts. When you google Foma, the first answer is Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. A few stops down is a blogspot facility called Live by the Foma. It has a quote by Bokonon at the top of the page. Foma is defined as a harmless untruth. There is also Mona Foma , an annual festival in Hobart, Tasmania,

86-two little jugs In the foma blogspot place, there was a photo quiz about the golden globes. It shows pictures of breasts, with glamorous dresses over them. ( Some were more covered than others.) The idea was the match the pulchritude to the actress that was behind the display.

87-the cut of my jib Frank Hoenikker wants John to be the president of San Lorenzo. John is not sure that he wants the job. Looking at the way people talk about BHO, it makes you wonder why anyone would want to be president of anything.

88-why Frank couldn’t be president Some people think that 8 is a lucky number. It is one more than seven, which is the lucky number in our culture. Eight is the infinity sign at ninety degrees. Eight is two times two times two. Eight the number sounds the same as ate, the past tense of eat. In 1988, George H.W.Bush chose Dan Quayle to be his Vice President. Sometimes eight is not so lucky.

89- duffle This is the last chapter of this rendering for tonight. When today started, this project was up to chapter 44, which is half of 88. Sometimes writing this is fun, but sometimes it is not. PG heard about a man who made pottery once. He only worked when he felt passion for what he was doing. When PG heard that, he thought, If I worked that way I would never finish anything.

Dennis Prager And Conor Friedersdorf

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 17, 2011

PG was driving back from Alpharetta, and turned the radio on. Dennis Prager was on, and his guest was Conor Friedersdorf. PG has heard Mr. Friedersdorf on Bloggingheads, and even saw him drink from a beer bottle. This should prove interesting.

Mr. F recently posted an item where he said kind things about Mr. Prager. There had been an article about travel that Mr. F liked. ( A broken clock is accurate twice a day.) For some reason, Mr. F added this comment:
“It’s nice to be reminded that I shouldn’t fall into the bad habit of disparaging the whole “talk radio right.” There are a few thoughtful voices in that grouping.”
The article praising Mr. Prager was not well recieved by all. PG was just barely paying attention. To him, the terms liberal, conservative, the right, and the left are misleading terms, used to divide and conquer. These terms are nothing to boast about, and should not be used as insults. Mr. Prager seems to disagree, and is proud of it.

Mr. Prager asked Mr. F why he thought conservative radio whiners are a bunch of poopy heads. After all, it is radio, and you cannot see if their lips are moving. Mr. F said something, and was quickly interrupted by Mr. Prager, who then went to a commercial break. This is another thing with talk radio…with the commercials, traffic monitors, and news breaks, the talkers seldom get to chatter for more than ten minutes. (Whether or not this is a problem is left to the individual.)

At one point, the subject was race. When you don’t have anything to say, talk about race. Mr. Prager asked if it was “the right” or “the left” that was making more of an issue about race. The next sentence, it was black people or white people…which one flogged the color donkey more? PG found this odd…which one of the four groups is the man talking about?

After yet another ad, this time for people who owe too much on their credit cards, Mr. Prager played an inflammatory quote by Mike Malloy. Where is something like this to be heard on conservative radio? PG supposes that two wrongs do make a right in talk radio land. Mr. F said something about Glenn Beck, or maybe it was Rush Limbaugh. Mr. Prager interrupted him before he finished.

It should be noted that this piece was finished without the aid of a transcript. It was something heard on the radio, while driving with the crazies on highway 400. While it gets the spirit of the broadcast, it is not an verbatim account. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Peachtree Street 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 17, 2011

PG finished a book, Peachtree Street-Atlanta . The author is William Bailey Williford, and it was published by the University of Georgia Press in 1962. PG found this at the Chamblee library, and this is probably the best way to find this book today.

How this road got the name Peachtree is a good question. Most peaches grow south of the fall line. The story goes that there was a Creek Indian village called Standing Peachtree, located where Peachtree Creek runs into the Chattahoochee. During the war of 1812 Fort Peachtree was built on this site.

There was a trail that ran from Buckhead to an intersection with the Sandtown Trail, at what is now Five Points. A short distance south of this intersection was a settlement known as White Hall. For many years, Peachtree Street south of Five Points was known as Whitehall Road. At some point in the last thirty years, a decision was made to change Whitehall to Peachtree. It did not help the rundown condition of Whitehall Street.

In 1835 Governor Wilson Lumpkin decided that Georgia should build a Railroad that would be centered near the junction of Peachtree Trail and Sandtown Trail. The new town was named “Marthasville”, after the youngest daughter of the Governor. Martha Lumpkin is a resident of Oakland Cemetery today.

The village was soon renamed Atlanta, which was a feminine form of Atlantic. Houses, churches, and businesses were soon built on Peachtree Road. In 1856, Richard Peters built a flour mill. To insure a steady supply of firewood, he bought four hundred acres of land, for five dollars an acre. The land was between Eighth Street, North Avenue, Argonne Avenue, and Atlantic Drive.

Another pioneer citizen with a large landholding was George Washington (Wash) Collier. Mr. Collier bought 202 acres for $150 in 1847. The land was between West Peachtree, Fourteenth Street, Piedmont Road, Montgomery Ferry Road, and the Rhodes Center. Much of the land was used for the development of Ansley Park.

In 1854, Atlanta entertained, for the first time, a man who had been President. On May 2, Millard Fillmore arrived from Augusta on a private rail car.

There was some unpleasantness in 1864, which we will not concern ourselves with.

In 1866, there was a shocking murder. John Plaster was found dead, in an area known as “tight squeeze”. This was an area of shanties, at the present location of Crescent Avenue and Tenth Street. A hundred years later, this was near “the strip”, Atlanta’s hippie district, also called “Tight Squeeze”.

As the nineteenth century rolled along, many mansions were built on Peachtree Street. The road was paved, and streetcars ran up and down. Automobiles came, and came, and came. An expressway was built in the 1950’s, and quickly became obsolete. One by one, the mansions were torn down and replaced with businesses and churches.

The book was written in 1962, when the party was just getting started. The High Museum was known then as the Atlanta Art Association. In June of 1962, a plane full of prominent Atlanta residents crashed in Paris, killing all on board. As a memorial to those people, the Memorial Arts Center on Peachtree, at Fifteenth Street, was built.

Another phenomenon which is not explained by the book is the custom of naming everything here Peachtree. There are countless streets and institutions named for a fruit tree that likes warmer climates. Atlanta has a one street skyline, that stretches from Five Points to Peachtree Dunwoody Road, almost at the city limits. PG lives a quarter mile off Peachtree, in Dekalb County, and has no idea why Peachtree is a magic word.

Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” and The Library of Congress. This is a repost. The book “Peachtree Street-Atlanta has been reissued by the UGA Press.

Two Finger Typing

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 16, 2011

There is nothing like a Harlan Ellison foreword. The man has a warehouse of memories, and he can pull one or two out to add flavor to any situation. Most story collections have forewords.

There is a similar word, forehead, for the part of the face between the eyebrows and the hairline. Unless you are a werewolf, the skin is devoid of hair. PG;’s mom was a fine southern lady, who tried to use good english around her spawn. She did, however, refer to this body part as the “fard”. When PG saw forehead in print, he was puzzled.

Back to Mr. Ellison, or HJE, for Harlan Jay Ellison . (Spell check suggestions: HE, HIE, HOE, HUE) The foreword is to a book titled No Doors No Windows . The stories purport to tell crime and suspense stories. This is not the “speculative fiction” that HJE is famous for. And please, if you value your peace of mind, do not use the phrase “sci fi” around this writer.

Back in the day before PG was old enough to buy magazines, there were a number of magazines flogging crime stories. HJE was a two finger typing whore , writing whatever the market would buy. When “No Windows No Doors” was published in 1975, the glory days of crime magazines was over.

By 1983, the edition that PG owns was printed. It has a nifty computer generated cover drawing of a man breaking through a brick wall. The man is bare handed, and morphs into the wall below his navel.

PG has read other HJE collections, but has never bought one. This volume fell into his hands by accident. PG’s friend Uzi bought a chair, and recruited PG to help drag it inside. Before this happened, the old chair went into a van, so that it could go disappear. To make room for the old chair, some boxes had to be shifted around in the van. One of these boxes was a stack of books, once owned by Uzi’s late friend Lenny. PG looked over this box, and took a few books home.

NWND is the classic 4″x6″( actually 4 1/8″x6 7/8″) paperback, that fits in your back pocket. PG was working a temp job, that involved a lot of sitting and waiting. A back pocket book is an essential companion for a day like this.

The intro/foreword starts with a commentary about the insane artist. From Benito Mussolini to Hieronymus Bosch, they have channeled their nuttiness into entertainment. Next, HJE protests being stuck in the SciFi ghetto. Mind you, this was in 1975, before the advent of the speculation convention. HJE is reported to have gotten in a fistfight at Dragoncon a few years back. Maybe this commentary is another form of speculation.

1975 was before the creation of the word processor. Today, you click on a menu item and get a word count. The entry window for this blog provides the same service, whether you click or not. During the Nixon regime, it was a bit stickier. HJE set his margins just so, uses the proper font, and produced 250-300 words a page. ( The internet is just one long page, like the rolls of paper that Jack Kerouac used to type on. PG realizes that he never thinks of his blog posts in terms of pages.)

HJE guesstimates producing 260 words per typed page. The intro is 42 typed pages, 12k words, and occupies 30 pages of the book. On page 30, HJE lists some categories of story length. A short story is under 7.5k words. A novelette is 7.5k to 17.5k, and a novella is 17.5k – 40k. Only those works longer than 40k words get to be called novels.

And the mountain erodes. It would be a while longer before PG has to do anything, but he is tired of writing in this notebook. When you are used to typing in a machine, writing by hand is a drag. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress

Legal Sunday Drugs

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 15, 2011

Every year, the Georgia Lesterslature has a proposal to allow alcohol to be sold on Sunday. This year, like all previous years, it appears that this proposal will not be passed into law .The whining has begun. WAHHHH!!! I WANT MY KOBIR!!!

These crybabies seem to forget that their drug of choice is legal six days a week. You do not have to take a “drug screen” to prove that you have not had a beer in the last month. You cannot lose your home if the police find a bottle of wine in it. You don’t have to buy your poison from criminals, operating on street corners in bad neighborhoods.

There are legal drugs and illegal drugs. This has little to do with the harm done by these substances. It is a matter of who has the lobbyists to bribe the Legislators, to keep their monopoly on legal buzzes. Those who use legal drugs, like alcohol, are druggies with special privileges.

And now the alcohol druggies are screaming because they can’t cop their poison on Sunday! Awww, poor thing. It is not good enough that your addictive substance is legal, advertised on television, and encouraged by society. That is not good enough for you. Now, you want to “right” to purchase your deadly, addictive drug on Sunday.

Alcohol is addictive. If you drink too much it can kill you. If you drink too much and try to drive, you can kill others. And yet, it is legal, and substances like marijuana are illegal. This is despite the fact that marijuana is much less harmful that alcohol.

The laws against marijuana are the root of the erosion of rights in this country. The laws against marijuana are super laws. You can lose your drivers license if you are caught with marijuana. You can lose your car or home. When you try to get a job, you are required to take a “drug screen” that indicates you have not smoked pot in the last month. None of these super laws apply to alcohol, despite the fact that alcohol is an addictive hard drug.

Buy your hooch on Saturday, or wait until Monday. Be happy that your drug of choice is legal. Pictures today are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”

The Intergalactic Love Affair

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 14, 2011

Cat Furniture Part Five

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 13, 2011

This is a rendering of Cat’s Cradle. Parts one, two, three, and four are previously published. Pictures of C.S.A. soldiers are from The Library of Congress.

61-what a corporal is worth The currency on San Lorenzo is denominated in corporals. Given the state of the economy, this might be a form of corporal punishment. We learn in this chapter that Bokonism is illegal in San Lorenzo, and that practitioners of the cult may find themselves impaled on the hook. This is the method of capital punishment here, to have the victim pierced by a large fishing hook. They do not shoot the victims up with sedatives, purchased from sleazy British companies, before performing this procedure.

62- why Hazel wasn’t scared The wife of the bigot was named Hazel. She was not scared when she got off the plane, because San Lorenzo was a Christian country. This would not reassure PG. This story is set in 1959, when PG started Kindergarten. He went to a big church downtown and sang in the cherub choir. This was a big deal at this church, where the choir program started at two and a half.

63- reverent and free In this chapter, three people…the dictator of the island, Franklin Hoenikker, and his fiancee…get off a plane. This is the problem with a lot of short chapters, sometimes there is not a lot of action. That has long been a problem in media happy America, where the amount of time to fill far exceeds the amount of news. On November 24, 1963, all three networks reported on Lee Oswald being moved from one jail to another. They had been on the air since Friday, when the President was killed, and they needed to justify that time investment. So, they had the accused killer being moved to another jail. All of a sudden, a man burst in front of the crowd and shot Mr. Oswald. PG and his father were coming home from church, and just missed the first on camera murder in TV history.

64-peace and plenty The most beautiful woman on the island is Mona. She is the adopted daughter of the dictator, and the fiancee of Franklin Hoenikker. She was in the ad magazine that John saw about San Lorenzo, and John is infatuated with her. The book is now half over.

65 a good time to come to San Lorenzo PG went looking for a video of “Mona” by Quicksilver Messenger Service. He found a live version, with a film of the band, but the sound was awful. Another had better sound, but a tiresome light show for the visual part. And so it goes…hey, this thing is channelling Vonnegut, you have to say that every once in a while. So, the suggested next song was something by the Jeffeson Airplane called Airplanes. It was horrible!! Those guys should retire, go somewhere and snort their royalties. Fortunately, the youtube search engine can find anything you want to listen to. So, the original Jefferson Starship, Blows against the empire, which PG hasn’t heard in years. Even if the visual is a static picture of the album cover, the music is as great as ever.

66 the strongest thing there is While PG was rhapsodizing the glory of Grace Slick…talk about low standards…the dictator of San Lorenzo collapsed during a military ceremony. People were horrified, except for Mona. She rubbed her foot with the pilot, in a forbidden Bokonon ritual.

67 hy-u-o-ook-kuh! Lowe and Hazel Crosby are the republicans on this ill fated trip to San Lorenzo. They ask the cab driver who Bokonon is. The cab driver wants to stay alive, so he recites his lines carefully…Bokonon is a bad, bad man. The driver is probably a Bokononer in his spare time. Or maybe that is Bokononi, or Bokononer. The latter would account for the population problem on the island.

68-hoon-vera mora-toorz The other legend of San Lorenzo is the Hundred Martyrs to Democracy. It seems that after Pearl Harbor, San Lorenzo decided to join the war as an ally of the United States. One hundred men were drafted for service, and put on a boat the United States. The boat was sunk by a German submarine.

69- a big mosaic The Crosby’s and John check into a beautiful hotel. They are the first people to stay there. A man, with a smart mouth, is creating a mosaic in the lobby of this hotel. The mosaicist is the owner of the hotel, Philip Castle. His grandfather started a sugar company on this island. His father started a hospital, after he gave up being a playboy. Phillip Castle has a negative attitude, is a possible communist, but he owns the hotel.

70-tutored by Bokonon Dear Beloved one, I am Mrs. Oliva Baker an aging widow suffering from long time illness. I have some funds I inherited from my late husband, the sum of US$8,400,000.00 and I needed a very honest and God fearing Christian that will use the fund for God’s work, I found your email address from the internet and decided to contact you. Please if you would be able to use the funds for the Lord’s work, kindly reply for further details.Yours in the Lord, Mrs. Oliva Baker

71-the happiness of being an american H. Lowe Crosby is offended by Philip Castle. He calls him a pissant, which seems to be his favorite insult. (spell check suggestion :croissant) It is a low blow. Mr. Crosby complains about Mr.Castle to the desk clerk at the hotel. The desk clerk tells Mr.Crosby that Mr. Castle owns the hotel.

72- the pissant Hilton This has nothing to do with Paris Hilton. She was minus 25 years old when the story is set. It does describe an activity that Miss Hilton might find amusing, and that the authorities found illegal on San Lorenzo. Two hotel employees were sitting down with their bare feet touching each other. This was punishable by death, which made it that much more exciting. This is also considered a dire insult in the Arab world. Customs can be confusing.

73-black death So Mr. Castle, whose name is temporarily forgotten, came to San Lorenzo and built a hospital. Soon after that, a ship wrecked nearby, and a shipload of rats came ashore. The rats brought bubonic plague, which the hospital was helpless to treat. Finally, Mr. Castle started to giggle. They will welcome us as liberators.

74-cats cradle This is the title of the book. On August 6, 1945, Felix Hoenikker came out of his office, and put on a show for his youngest son, Newton. He took a string, wrapped it around his fingers, and called it a cat’s cradle. Newt ran off crying, and appears to have been traumatized. Of course, his trauma was nothing compared to the children of Hiroshima, but we won’t worry about that. Apparently, some kid, or some adult, somehow somewhere saw a cat in a cradle, where most people saw only a bunch of strings. This compares to other parts of culture, that some people get and others don’t. PG is reminded of the hysterical reaction of Jesus worshipers to talk about life after death. Supposedly, Jesus rose from the dead after a day and a half. If you believe this, you go to heaven. If you don’t believe this, you go to hell. PG has a tough time going from point a to point b. It doesn’t help when Jesus worshipers scream. It is the cat in the cradle.

75- give my regards to Albert Schweitzer The first name of Philip Castle’s father is Julian. He is not an admirer of Albert Schweitzer, even if he tried to do the same hospital building thing. The hero of Julian Castle is Jesus Christ. Those two words are commonly used together, as though Christ was the last name of Jesus. In fact, Christ is a title, given to the messiah. Some cultures believe in prophecies which predict the appearance of this messiah.. PG is not convinced that Jesus is the Christ.

Abraham And Charles

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 12, 2011

Today is the 202nd birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. This used to be a holiday in the US, along with Washington’s BD on February 22. The two were combined into President’s Day.

It is unlikely that the two met, or knew much about the other. ” On the origin of species ” was published in 1859, as the United States teetered on the brink of catastrophe. There is a certain “Darwinism” in the way the unpleasantness of the eighteen sixties went down. The northeast quadrant of the United States gained dominance over a large chunk of North America, at a horrible cost. The concept that a human being could literally own another human being was banished.

There are two other anniversaries of note today. On February 12 , 1733, James Oglethorpe landed a boatload of debtors on the future site of Savannah. This was the start of the Colony/State of Georgia.

There is another that continues the symmetry of Darwin/Lincoln, and was exactly 100 years later. On February 12, 1909, the NAACP was founded. On February 12 1904, Ted Mack, host of the Original Amateur Hour, was born. To make room for all this talent, on February 12, 1942, Grant Wood (painter of “American Gothic”) went to that village in the sky. He left the pitchfork behind.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress

Driver’s Licenses Of Bald Men

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 11, 2011

1. Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 a piece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE 2. Isn’t making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool? 3. OK ….. so if the Jacksonville Jaguars are known as the ‘Jags’ and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are known as the ‘Bucs,’ what does that make the Tennessee Titans? (Will it fit in the Atlanta Braves?) 4. If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea does that mean that one enjoys it?
5. There are three religious truths: a. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah..b. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith. c. Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store or Hooters. 6. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren’t people from Holland called Holes? (The same reason there are no topless women in Brazil.) 7. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled? 8. Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren’t they just stale bread to begin with? 9 Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a race car is not called a racist? 10. Why isn’t the number 11 pronounced onety one? (Because on a football team, only the quarterback gets to say onety one?) 11. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed? ( If the motel in “Psycho” were shut down, the town would be deBatesed). 12. If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP? 13. Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks? 14. What hair color do they put on the driver’s licenses of bald men? 15. I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me … they’re cramming for their final exam. 16. I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks, so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks? 17. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don’t they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail? 18. If it’s true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for? ( To talk on cellphones.) 19. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. 21. Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn’t zigzag?
22. If a cow laughed, would she spew milk out of her nose? 23. Whatever happened to Preparations A through G? ( Or Preparation EZ?) 24. At income tax time, did you ever notice: When you put the two words ‘The’ and ‘IRS’ together it spells … ‘THEIRS’? 25. These thoughts were borrowed from Gartalker’s blog PG added a few thoughts in parentheses.

The Other Cassius Clay

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 10, 2011

PG spends a lot of time working on images, and listening to entertainments on the internet. It is usually more productive than watching soap operas. Sometimes there is something to write about.

Dangerousminds has a rather hokey “virtual interview” with Kurt Vonnegut. While you can snicker about the format, Mr. Vonnegut can be counted on to say some smart things. In a bit of irony, he “came out” as a Luddite…who loves his cell phone.

The part of the chat that hit home with PG was about the payoff for being “creative”. It is not about being famous, or making money, but the reward for creating something is that it makes your soul grow. This is at about the 25:00 minute mark on the video. ( PG was looking for this section while writing this paragraph. To his delight, the verbatim phrase that Mr. Vonnegut used was “make your soul grow”.)

Of course, Kurt Vonnegut has known fame and fortune. Perhaps, the octogenarian author can take this view, without seeming bitter. And writing has always been a low investment activity. The only thing invested in a book is the time of the author. Compared to other forms of expression, like buying paint, or meals for a traveling band, or film stock, there is little capital to pay back when you write a book.

The other piece of work to engage PG was a diavlog on bloggingheadstv. It had a quote about Mitt Romney that PG captured, and made a comment about. This was the second comment on this diavlog. The first comment was the same sound bite, captured by another listener. It was that obvious.

At some point in the discussion, someone talked about a speech Rand Paul made in the senate. Senator typewriter talked about two Kentuckians, Henry Clay and Cassius Clay. The only Cassius Clay that PG knows is the retired boxer, known as Muhammad Ali. For a man who was uncertain whether he would vote for the cival rights act, this was a curious subject for a speech. PG felt compelled to comment.
When you can fake sincerity , you have got it made.
Regarding the Rand Paul speech (comparing Henry Clay to Cassius Clay to Rand Paul)…
1- Someone should tell our younger viewers who Cassius Clay was.
2- When Clay the younger converted to Islam, and changed his name to Muhammed Ali, didn’t he denounce his birth name as a “slave name”?
3- Someone should ask Sen. Paul if he would have voted to end slavery. This is about as relevant as asking him if he would have voted for the civil rights act.
4- With the current demonization (spell check suggestions:demonetization, harmonization ,decolonization ,demobilization) of Islam, this is a curious line of rhetoric.
POSTSCRIPT I have looked at the speech from Sen. Paul. Apparently, it is a different Cassius Clay.

Yes, PG should have read the speech, by Sen. Paul, before he expressed his opinions. There was a Cassius Clay that was a cousin of Henry Henry Clay. While Senator Clay compromised, and kept the Union together, Cassius Clay was an abolitionist through and through. Sometimes you have to wonder which is the best course to take.

Arguably, if the war had come in 1820, the south would have won. The fact that the Union was intact until 1860 allowed the North to grow strong enough to whip the South. But, this came at the cost of thirty years of slavery. And no one knew this in 1820, or 1850, or at the Constitutional Convention.

When PG was in the fourth grade ( and Rand Paul in diapers), three events took place that history would remember. John Kennedy was killed. The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show. Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston, for the World Heavyweight Championship. Mr. Clay soon revealed that he was a Black Muslim, and his new name was Muhammed Ali. He was in the spotlights, with controversy close behind, for the next fifteen years.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

Why Telephone Keypads Are Different From Computer Keypads

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 9, 2011

It is a question for the ages…why do telephones have 123 on the top row of the keypad, while computers have 789? The best answer is , we don’t know.

Calculator/computer keypads were an improvement on cash registers. These devices had a matrix of buttons, with the 9 row on top. The row at the far right had single digits, and the row next to them had digits ending in one zero. To ring up a sale for $1.95, you had to push 100, 90, and 5. This evolved into the adding machine configuration of three rows of three buttons, with 0 on the bottom row and 789 on the top row.

When we got started, the telephone used a dial. 1 was at the top, and 0 was at the bottom. The early phone systems used letters as part of the phone number. The first three letters of the seven digit code were two letters and five numbers. (This is what PG remembers from childhood. It may have been different before then).

The two letters referred to an exchange, or part of town where the number was located. The two letters referred to a word. An example would be PG’s grandmother. Her number was TR2 2345. The TR stood for Trinity. Many numbers in midtown Atlanta still start with 87.

In the sixties, ma bell started to develop a keypad to use for what were then called push button phones. In a break with the adding machine tradition, the numbers 123 went on the top row. There are a few ideas why this is, but nothing is certain.

In the early days, the phone switching equipment was not as fast as today. Some thought that by switching the numbers to the top of the keypad, people would have to slow down a bit to “dial” the number. This answer does not make sense to those of us who have grown up with these keypads, and who learned to punch in numbers fast, no matter what system is used. (Anyone using a rotary phone, after getting used to touch tone, is shocked at how slow it is.)

Another concept is the phone company wanting to model the new keypad after the dial phones. This would mean putting the 1 at the top, and 0 at the bottom. Also, with the letters assigned to each number, it would make a lot more sense to have 123/abc def ghi on the top row.

It was suggested that the calculator keypad was patented in the 789-on-top format. Western Electric did not want to pay royalties on this important piece of equipment, so it designed another one. There is also the thought that the calculator was on a desk shelf, where the lower numbers should be at the bottom of the keypad. At the same time, the telephone was on the lower part of the desk, and having 123 on top would be easier to use.

Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” This is a repost. .

Creating Ill Will For Jesus

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on February 8, 2011

This post started out as a comment to another post. While assembling links to include, it becomes clear that there is enough material for a stand alone post. When you declare a book to be the “word of G-d”, you tend to view G-d in verbal terms. A side effect is that many get started writing, and don’t know how to stop. ( And lets don’t even consider talking.)

For those who just joined us, lets bring you up to date. There is a blogger named Frank Turk. PG has had issues with him, and is banned from commenting on his work. While the verbal exchanges with Mr. Turk have been thoroughly unpleasant, the fact remains that Mr. Turk told PG about GIMP, an open source image manipulation program. PG is a devoted user of GIMP, and his blog shows the product of GIMP every day.

Frank Turk is the type of Jesus worshiper who enjoys a good argument. He wades in with weapons blazing from both hands, and a nuclear tongue. When you have been in battle with Frank Turk, you will want revenge when it is over. PG suspects that the verbal combat is what motivates Mr. Turk, and the religious opinions are just a handy excuse.

It should be noted at this point that PG is not a Jesus worshiper, and has two beliefs regarding this religion. G-d does not write books. Opinions about Jesus have nothing to do with what happens after you die. When PG observes these religious battles, he gets the sense that these silly children should put their toys up, and learn to get along. It is similar to the impression PG has of the Shia and Sunnis, who murder each other, because of something that happened 1400 years ago.

Getting back to Mr. Turk, he wrote an “open letter” to a man named John Piper. ( John Piper is the father of Abraham Piper, who writes twenty two words, a highly entertaining blog.). This post begat (at least) two more posts. These are from Mike Ratliff and Karen Butler.

It seems that PG is not the only one offended by the meanness of Mr. Turk’s. At some point in the comment thread at Mike Ratliff’s post, he writes:
“To everyone wanting to comment on this post. While I did not know it when I posted it, there was obviously some opened and ugly wounds opened up from some previous battle that I had nothing to do with. I would appreciate it if you would refrain from any more of that arguing here. It is pitiful when viewed 3rd party. It looks childish and is fleshly to the max. In any case, I will not post any more comments on this thread not directly related to the subject of this post.” When you have been in battle with Frank Turk, you want revenge later.
This brings us to the second post by Karen Butler. This post started out as a comment to that post, and got out of control. As always, if you tire of the text, you can skip over it and look at the pictures, from The Library of Congress. .

The second chapter from Mrs. Butler is a fine piece of work, part of which PG agrees with, and some of which he does not. Maybe the best way to approach this is by “fisking”.

“I have to speak up one last time for the Retards–those like me, those escaping Charismania, who through a lengthy period of having our minds continually offended so that our hearts might be revealed, are thus a little delayed in our critical thinking skills.”
This is also true for those who were raised in a Christian tradition, but decided that they do not agree. It can be a painful process, and you can expect little sympathy or support.
“We are also, unfortunately, usually overfond of rhetoric.”
There is a difference between wisdom and a clever phrase. It is good to know the difference.
“We come with a deep distrust of cessationists, and have been trained to think of them as heartless whitewashed Pharisees, who love their doctrines more than the actual people of God. TeamPyro seems to delight in skewering our logical deficiencies but does nothing to erase the caricatures we have already formed about you all. The focus here seems to be all about who is going to score FTW, but with your curt dismissals and rude behavior to those without your theological training and vast reasoning skills, you sometimes seem to have… forgotten the most important thing. It is edification.”

There are several issues here. As for cessationist/charismatic, that is inside baseball. When you see your religion as a fight for victory, you forget that there are going to be losers, and that these losers are just as much G-d’s children as you are. And, when you have scored your rhetorical victory over this loser, you create ill will, both for yourself, and for Jesus. The production of trust and goodwill should be the most important thing, not edification. When you place edification ahead of good will, you are playing the same game as the doctrine happy folks.

“Please do not forget that some may actually be in dangerous mind-control cults, like IHOP.”
You might want to remember that many people see IHOP and think of pancakes.
“Forget about who scores the winning goal. Win your reader’s hearts. Teach them what a wonderful and exciting thing it is to adore the Lord Our God with all of their mind.”
PG read an interview with Christopher Isherwood once. ( There is no link available) Mr. Isherwood said that religion is a matter of people, not of doctrine. It is the person that converts you, not the teachings of the idol. If a Catholic had influenced him in the same manner as the follower of Vedanta, he would have been a Catholic.

By the same token, if a person makes a negative impression on you regarding a religion, then conversion to that religion will be impossible. The people who have made the largest impressions on PG have been uniformly negative. They love to argue and vanquish, and leave you having lost, crying for revenge. If you want to impress someone with the virtues of a religion, the essential first step is to gain that person’s trust and good will. If you speak without good will, then you are speaking in vain.