Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Yesterday morning I rebelled against cooking breakfast and cleaning up afterward. The only reasonable solution was to go to MickyDee to break my morning fast or break open a bag of Easter Candy from 2011. I opted for the former. As luck would have it, it was a Sunday and some kind soul left the front section of the Seattle Times. I always find it a luxury to read the well-developed (and even well written) stories in the front news section of a major metropolitan paper over my first morning sugar free soft drink, thus keeping me in the running for stroke and dementia despite my advanced years, and salt infused ham, cheese, and English muffin, giving my congestive heart condition a fighting chance in the battle to do me in. (Although in an attempt to give both the sugar substitutes and salt a run for their money I do exercise now. Not much, but enough to make it a fair fight.)
Normally it is the science articles that catch my attention. However, this morning it was an article about the attempts by the digital age to do in the Icelandic Language.
Icelandic is a variant of an old Norse Language spoken by fewer than 400,000 people (I don’t know if the count included my daughter, Ann Marie, or not). At issue seems to be that digital devices do not understand Icelandic as well as they understand English. Consequently, smart refrigerators, smart ovens and smarty pants cannot understand spoken Icelandic and so the poor Icelanders are forced to learn English to communicate properly with their televisions, refrigerators and presumably mix masters. Apparently if one wants to make cordon bleu in Icelandic with an English-speaking range, one ends up with burnt pigs’ feet. Anyway, the point of the news article is that globalization topped off with a good healthy dose of smart devices/appliances is endangering some cultures—Icelandic culture being one of them.
Somewhat ironically, my blogger friend, beetleypete, published a blog lamenting the lack of national pride, or even recognition, if you will, England’s patron saint, St. George’s Day: https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/our-national-day/ .Essentially in a country with other nationalities in the country celebrating their patron saints’ days, England proper not so much. So, I got thinking, the English speak English. Smart this and that understand them so can make cordon bleu without ending up with burnt pigs’ feet.
Both the article about the globalization and digital age onslaught on the Icelandic language and culture and beetleypete’s observation of the blasé manner in which the English don’t make a big deal over their Patron Saint’s Day raise the question of the role of national identity in the modern world. On the one hand, America First, France First, England First, and other groups labeled right wing, seem to want isolation (protection almost) from diverse influences— ‘the rest of the world is sick and wrong and we want them to leave us alone.’ Yes, other than wanting us (name your country) to buy their products, and let folks travel and immigrate at will, globalization does not really have a program, culture or ideology other than free trade and make money. It is often the case that other than the argument ‘they are not like us,” the (Fill in the Blank with your Country of Choice) First folks’ primary arguments are that they want to close their borders for economic reasons. Essentially, they want to keep their money at home. They don’t want to compete with cheap labor from abroad. And, they don’t want to pay the taxes to support foreigners on welfare.
Now keeping in mind that I know nothing about anything and am an expert in even fewer topics, what I think is that these “firsters” in every country are 1) afraid of change. 2) Don’t want to change. 3) Want to be set in their ways. And, 4) missed the day in kindergarten when the rest of us were taught to share and consider others. But then, what do I know?
I do hope this finds you well, healthy, happy and not threaten by “those people.”
Warmest regards, Ed
004 Thomas Aldrich Edison
Fiction in 1052 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Thomas Aldrich Edison was perpetually angry with his parents for not naming him after his very famous ancestor, Thomas Alva Edison of some 800 years earlier. His father told him he was only one 80th of the same blood as the earlier Thomas A. Edison, as the family never intermarried. “Besides,” his father would say, “it is only a freak accident that you ended up with the same last name. You have 1546 cousins who have other last names and as much of old Tom’s blood as you do. Ancestry does not make you special. Besides the Thomas is from your mother’s side of the family and the Aldrich is my father’s name.” But Thomas Aldrich Edison knew he was special because he, like his many times’ great grandfather, was an inventor.
While his many times great grandfather had easy things to invent like light bulbs, primitive voice and image recorders, power stations and something called a ticker tape, he, Thomas Aldrich Edison, had complex and impossible things to invent like a Lazarus Device, a Solid State Non-combustible Propulsion Engines, antigravity shoe inserts, and a few thousand more things his many times great grandfather could not even imagine. He had to invent instantons cargo moving chutes. He called them chutes as everything he put into his almost working model ended up I a pile at the bottom of the device. ‘No matter,’ he thought. ‘It is just a matter of finding the right material to induce some friction to hold the cargo in place in-between terminals. He could get the stuff moved, but it ended up like laundry coming out of a 10-story chute at the other end. After all, Tom40 tested over 6,000 different materials to find one that would burn brightly without burning up. I’ve only tested 572 covering materials for the chute. It is only a matter of time.’
Turning to the young man seated in the chair opposite him, Thomas Aldrich Edison said, “See if you can hook up the resuscitator, please.” Thomas Aldrich Edison then turned to the note taking device he was in the middle of inventing and said, “Make a note to add Be to the elements tried for the cute.”
The notetaking device did nothing then Thomas Aldrich Edison shook his head, ‘I forgot to add a writer whatchamacallit to the thing,’ he thought. So, he pulled out a spool of wire from his pocket and clipped off a small piece and put the wire piece in an arm that moved across a disc on the device. He cinched it, put it down on the disc and then repeated his command. “Make a note to add Be to the elements tried for the cute.”
This time the disc on top of the device turned with the arm holding the piece of wire seeming to hold stationary over the device, but move imperceptibly toward the middle of the disc and then stop.
Thomas Aldrich Edison nodded his head and pulled a large funnel out from under the table. He moved the arm on the note taking device back to its starting point. He secured the large funnel to a hole in the semi-fixed arm resting pm om the disc on the device and turned a switch. The note taking device played back, “See if you can hook the resuscitator, please.” However, smoke and flames shot up from the disk warping it so it no longer rested flat on top of the device.
Picking up a canister Thomas Aldrich Edison dumped sand on the disk putting out the fire, although the disc still emitted smoke and a stench of burning plastic. “Thought I didn’t know you could catch fire. Fooled you, didn’t I.”
Turing to the young man who still rigidly sat doing nothing across from him, Thomas Aldrich Edison said, “I suppose you don’t know what the resuscitator is this being your first day here. When it is finished I will call it a Lazarus Device, but until then it is a resuscitator prototype.” He held up a device resembling tripod with a 2X2 inch solid ice core attached. “This, for future reference my good man is the prototype of a resuscitator. It will give humankind immortality as soon as I work the bugs out of it. It may already if I could only find the people whom I resuscitated with it. Here is how it works. I have assembled a special concoction of vital bodily fluids and frozen them. I then use the device to transfer the vital bodily fluids to a, well err, former live person and then that former part goes away. Neat, aye? I have managed to keep the bodily fluids in a frozen state indefinitely, now the trick seems to be to get them to thaw instantly upon contact with formerly live humans. Like I say, I have no idea of where the previously attempted resuscitations are. They disappear. Here, let me show you.
The young man who was previously seated across from Thomas Aldrich Edison disappeared. “Well, said, Thomas Aldrich Edison to no one in particular, perhaps I should put a note on them so they or whoever finds them can open communications and let me know where they are to be found.”
Outside Glenn’s Shoe and Leather Repair,
a naked, dead man appeared about 12 feet from the curb at 1:03 AM. At least that is the time shown on the clock in the Chevy Van that braked to avoid hitting the naked man lying in the streets in something like a seated position, but seated horizontally, sort of. The drive got out and verified he had not actually struck the man but found the man stone cold. He first called 911. “I would like to report a dead, naked man in the middle of 38th Street in front of Glenn’s Shoe and Leather Repair.” The second thing the man did was make sure the open bottle in his van was capped and he popped a breath mint into his mouth. ‘If this were not real,’ he thought, ‘I’d give up drinking.’
Neither he nor the responding office and ambulance crew noticed Frank Millard taking notes and shooting with a night light camera from the alley between Glenn’s Shoe and Leather Repair and Phil’s Bakery on 38th Street.