Monthly Archives: March 2007

Now my Grandma wants more footprints (!)

Start the month of April on a serious note; had there been Xanga, (or internet, or computers, or television screens, or electricity!…or ‘free time’), I’m sure she would have wanted plenty of site-activity/unique page-hits/’friends’…



Lyrics to be rapped to the tune of the Tschaikovsky Sixth (Pathetique) Symphony, Fourth movement. (just before the final chorale.)…..

grandma's unique page hits

…and once again, you wont be able to read the lyrics from the ‘Read Subs’ page, unfortunately. Coming up, the ‘Grandma Rap’ plus detailed footnotes; a ‘Guide to the Perplexed’. 


The translator is a transparent traitor

   OK, here are Frank, (‘Earnestly, I don’t give a damn’) and Ernie, (‘May I be frank?’). They’re twin brothers, which saves time drawing them. Now ‘earnest-ness’ in hebrew is ‘ratsinute‘ and ‘frankness’, ‘kanute’, so to preserve some semblance of the impending word-play, I’ll call them ‘Ratzon‘, a once-popular name in Hebrew, and ‘Knute‘, which is waiting for trendy IKEA-Israel employees to name their kids, let’s suppose. Ha-Aretz, a well-respected Israeli daily newspaper, appears in english also, and the op-ed pieces are just as biting and witty in translation as they are in (the original?) hebrew. One would have to call it ‘seriously transparent translation‘, a high compliment in a tough and sometimes grisly business. I would love to hang out with their  team, spending the day searching for perfect bi-lingual double-entendres. None here (yet) in this pilot sample; just the joke of Ratzon’s sartorial colour-co-ordination, for now. But our team is drinking coffee and cheap knock-off Bailey’s ‘Irish-style’ cream (27 shekels vs. 200!) in preparation for the series… A pleasant weekend and Hag Pesach Kasher u’Sameach le’me’sh’ik’pat’lo.

ADD*  Anyone reading this post from ‘subs’ (so that his mom won’t know he did it… ‘footprints‘, you know) will be missing the cartoon, which is, duh, what the post is about. “IMAGE HERE”, in my case, is almost never a silly little ‘smiley’, just so you know.

frank and earnest

Sombody else ‘title’ this


    This car just drove 2200 kilometers, on 200 litter-ers of gas. ‘Litres‘, whatever. Ok, not all in one sitting. (siting? whatever..) And I helped. (I sat in the front, on the left, and played with the big wheel-thingy. Wheeee!) So what does this mean? Well, to a ‘Merkin’, about as much as ‘6.023 X 10^23 Newtons(F ig)/Farad^3. But then that’s why I’m here, to share my trade secrets.. how to pass the time playing with math here in debtor’s prison. Let’s talk mileage.
And in English, please. In Israel, ‘mileage‘ is what the local-natives call a trowel, as in “Yesh le’cha mileage?” ‘You got a trowel, bud?‘ whenever they come on a job site. I wince when I hear both the pathetic helplessness: (Whatda they do if they don’t find a handy guy to ‘lend’ them basic tools? (And ‘lend’ in quotes, ’cause if you do give ’em yours, you might find it later, who knows, and if you do, it’s mortar-encrusted, bent, and with a broken-off handle.)) ….and the woeful in-exactitude of the language itself. In this case, it’s a mangled, mis-understood loan-word, but real hebrew’s got problems, too An ‘et’, for example, could be a ‘shovel‘, a ‘pencil‘, or a ‘moment in time’. I generally insist mischeviously on taking the last meaning when they cry-baby “Yesh le’cha et?”. I wave away their miming ‘writing with a pencil’ (‘Nah, no need to document.. this is just a private moment, between us..’) or deliberately mistake their  ‘shoveling’ charade-motions (I ‘take my pulse’, then act momentarily relieved, as if the speaker were suggesting a timely ‘pre-need’ grave-dig.)
    Where were we? Oh yeah, metric conversion, or driving a metric convertible. So to make a long story short, that works out to about 25 miles per gallon. But that in itself is only a report on the car’s health. Let’s talk about her loyal pet human; like, what are his needs?
     Well for one, he ‘needs‘ to pay about a buck-fifty for every damn liter. That’s $1.50 a quart! And yes, six bucks a gallon. To fill a car whose annual registration renewal costs more than $200. So he can sit and waste his life in the left turn lane waiting for a guy to finish his sick little phone conversation as the 10 second green ‘window of opportunity’ slams shut for another two minutes. And for that money, he works, (along with others who choose to do so) six days a week, (Sunday thru Friday), finishing out the work-week just in time, again, to see everything ‘slam shut’ for Shabbat, which must under no circumstances be confused with the more common concept “Weekend. We (still) don’t have a weekend. Natan Scharansky proposed, once, early in his political career, making Sunday a secular day-off. Didn’t catch on. I didn’t particularly go for it either. Too goyische, we don’t need to mimic everything from “LiesureWorldAmerica”..but really, there’s a shortage of alternatives. Once you plop the religious day of enforced rest in there on Saturday, and it grabs ‘sundown friday to sundown saturday’ for itself, you can’t, for example, use Friday for anything, cause there’s no friday-night allowed.
   And once again, “Where were we?” Yes, starting to realize why nobody reads me anymore; even when it’s not strange word-play, you still have to work pretty hard to figure what’s his central point. ‘Working pretty hard’, yes, that could be the point. We’ll ‘shovel’ the math, with charts, next time. With an ‘et’ and an ‘et’, when we get a spare… ‘et’,  etc. There, you just learned three new word.

“Mormon Sterno”?

    Yes of course I’d love to know what anyone thinks of this song. Worked about 40 hours on it..
mostly the harmony parts take time to record. The idea is from a dream, as is the final chorale,
which I made sure is in the same key as I dreamed it in, (C).. you never know why the brain does
what it does. I’m working on a theory that ‘being understood’ is a more critical and inclusive
human need than just about anything else. (Using myself as a ‘test-subject’, of course, but I’m
not that deviant). Anyway, briefly, the guy in the song is sitting with one-or-more chaps who
‘understand him’, in Margie’s Diner (Yuba City, CA). The spectre of Sue-Ellen is likened to an
amoeba at the table. A suggestion of several ‘travel-destinations’ is made. Certain truths not
necessarily easy to hear or admit, are heard from the chorus. I have a few friends who may
understand me. Recently, it seems there are even one or two ‘on-line’. I write in their
direction. (Oh, and of course, the fascination with words and their innate ambiguity seems to be
a common bond between the old friends inside the song. But we could as easily have been
‘brotherhooded’ by a love of ..oh.. ‘Persian rabbit racing’, it just don’t rhyme as well.)
Thanks in advance for any comments, improvement-suggestions, etc. The song wouldn’t mind being
sung by a guy with an actual ‘singing voice’, for example! I just didn’t find one in the
attic when I looked..

mormon sterno lyrics  

Alphabet Soup and the Zero-decibel ‘Odessa’ Bell

     None of the figuratively hundreds of biographies of that colourful figure, the ‘Man of a
Thousand Names”,
D.B.Bell (1929-1981)
do an adequate job of fleshing out the rest of his
interesting family, to my taste. So busy they be, telling and re-telling the famous episode of
the ‘Odessa Bell’, (which came so close to winning and retiring the fabled Carillon Challenge
(for “a bell whose ring canst not be Heard“)) that they give short shrift to a veritable
alphabet-soup of equally-notable progeny. {DeeBee, ‘die Hee-bee Gee-bee’, the ‘GB‘ a contraction of
Grosse Bell-macher” worked most of his life on the project, well-known in technical circles as
‘un-solvable’: to create a true ‘Zero Decibel Bell’.. his 0dessa Bell had, in the end, only a
barely-perceptible ultrasonic (37,000 Hertz) resonance mode. The Committee, not keen to pay out
the 50,000 pounds ‘in our lifetime’, brought in a Syrian Fruit-Bat, ‘qualified‘ as a
‘Guest Judge’ by some fly-by-night un-accredited Damascus Zoology School, to the incensed
abhorence of D.B, who on his death bed, (the story is told ad nauseum), with his last dying
breath uttered the now-common but often un-attributed ‘catch-phrase’, “Fruit Bats?!!!”.
   We’ll let Dessie rest for a moment with this now-largely-rhetorical question on his desicated
 lips, and turn to Patriarch-of-the-clan Abraham ‘Abie’ Bell’s other sixteen (16!) children,
all of them factorials in their own right. What follows is a departure from the narrative
format, since to my sensibilities, some families are best documented as ‘lists’, owing to their
‘fruit-full’ multiplication. (Sorry for that, DeeBee!)

AB: The Father, already mentioned. His grave-site’s normally somber mood is lightened somewhat
    by a plaque which reads, (one supposes in a parting reference to his famous son), “Ask not
    for whom the bell tolls, I can’t even hear it!
!” Some wit penciled in years ago “Cause I
    ain’t a freaking fruit-bat, mainly, is why
BB: BeeBee was a small fellow; He shot a few modest birds, but if hit at all, they never, like
    ‘got dead’… only ‘mad
CB: CeeBee was one of several talented musicians in the family. He played tuba for forty two
    years in the Springfield Citizen’s Band
DB: Mentioned exhaustingly above
EB: Nice enough gent, taught high-school math, loved to quip “You just think I’m hard, I’m Eaby!”
IB: I.B.Bell was in the exterminating business, with the business-card slogan you’d expect
    from a witty fellow. (Others called him, generally behind his back “Poison IB”. When he
    got wind of it, he thought for a second, then shook his head, “Nah..”
JB: Played alto sax, in blackface, (once!) in James Brown’s backup band. A talented musician,
    though he did like his whiskey.
KB: Partner in the “KayBee Tool Company” (“This one really works… not like the.., remember?)
LB: The eldest of the brood, and first of several to go into the restaurant business. His
    “Elby’s Fat Boy” chain was closed during the political-correctness purge of the ’70s
NB: Not a whole lot is known of this reclusive son. I include him here almost as a footnote.
OB: Obie co-starred with Andy Griffith for half a season. Later he did a pilot for a spin-off
    with his ‘partner’, Goober, which was an artistic, though not commercial, success.
PB: PeeBee moved to Nice (France) where not much was heard from her, except the constant
    complaint “C’est ‘Phoebe!… Merde!”
: Another restauranteur, did well, till swallowed up by a larger chain. “Not to worry“,
    he told this interviewer once, “They were already calling it, ‘Arby’s Roast Barf!’… Sic.”
TB: Yet another ‘food-industry’ pioneer, this time in the ‘All-potato’ specialty-cafe market
    niche. (You have by now certainly seen the ads: TB the Tuber-King.. everything we serve
    we dug outa da ground somewhere..

UB: Eubie played for years with the likes of Eubie Blake. OK, not exactly ‘with’  Eubie
    Blake, but at least with the likes of him. You could do worse.
XB: The youngest son, caught the PC bug, wrote a splendid operating system, Bell- 
It’s rumored he’s become somewhat unstable recently, converting to
    Christianity, loudly. Somehow “It Restoreth your Soul” doesn’t have a workaday ring when
    encountered unexpectedly in a Dialogue-Box. {ed. needs attribution}
YB: This colorful fellow, possibly feeling his nearness to the end, went to an ashram in
    Katmandu and hasn’t used his return ticket. Meanwhile TWA sold its last Lockheed
to Togo-Air and ‘Why-bee?’ is presumably in a lotus position, chanting his
ZB: ZeeBee says “Tank G-d Abraham don’t know Greek! Let’s see.. a hundred twenty seven thou,
    plus the Olds, split seventeen ways..? Why couldn’t I have been an only child?

       Of course, had he been, you would not be reading this (far). My hope is that this
    ‘fills in the blanks’ (albeit without running the power-tamper over the excavation), on this
    seminal family. And thank you for your time, my faithful elite.

Oh, Nan-o-technology?

   What’s the deal with ‘Carl’s Bad’ Caverns? Like, what’d he do wrong, this Carl Whoever? I can see Meteor Crater bein called ‘bad‘, ’cause, apart from the apochalyptic thrill of seein a couple hundred thousand tons of nickel-steel slam into the ground at Mach 10, the co-lateral damage makes you almost wished you’d just rented the DVD. It’s got a music sound track and all kinds of other stuff, like love interest, subliminal Coke ™ commercials… stuff like that there. But what’s this got to do with our title?, you’re asking.. (If not, ask already!)

    Ok, we all know about ‘Nano-technology’, tiny microscopic robots capable of doing underwater miracles inside of human veins, for example. By the way, the blue whale’s got a heart as big as a VW Bug. I asked one for ten shekels once and he pulled out his life savings and handed it to me. When I asked when he needed it back, he just laughed..”Whenever..” and swam away. Anyway, nano-technology is named after a guy named Onan, the originator of the ‘millions of almost self-replicating robots’. That was a long time ago, and since then we’ve learned not to just spill them onto the tent floor, etc. I almost always put them, nowadays, somewhere where they can, at least according to theory, do some good for humanity. Yet the tent floor does have advantages.. you can ‘arrange’ them, ‘highlight‘ the particularly active ones, use bold-face, italics, underline… choose a border and background color. And wait for comments.. “Nice little robots, solberg; hey, I heard you do interiors.. I got some cracks in the bedroom ceiling maybe we could take a look at.. tonight.. oh, and come alone.. well, actually.. oh, never mind, silly joke. Nine o’clock’s ok?

So yes, we still gotta tie this in with the Cavern and the Meteor Crater somehow. Hmm.. How about if I say that first little part was just a brief episode of verbal (oral? manual?) Onan-o-technology. Think ‘Xanga as a tent carpet’. I know I do…

Pays for itself in less than twenty years

     OK, my older son is back fine-tuning the process of electrolysis of Potassium chloride into its perchlorate, presumably so if we need a big-league oxidizer for some reason, we won’t have to wear a fake nose and a mustache to get it. That plus Icysword’s masterful proof/disproof of my “Last Fermented Theorum” here a week or so ago has got me back into the ‘do something science-ey’ mood. Been six months, at least, since I had the luxury of re-inventing the wheel. By that I mean that me’n my fellow inventor studiously avoid any preliminary research, reading any studies which show exhaustively why it can’t be done, etc. Takes the fun out of it, you know… knowing you’re doomed. I told IcySword I wished Xanga could be more technical.. that you could throw out an idea and get like, free engineering advice. What I want to build, (for the second time actually; the first one lit up a license-plate lamp, barely, but I’m older now) is a simple sawed-off bicycle driving the alternator and 12 volt battery from my de-comissioned ’84 Ford Fiesta. And then monitor the amps, watts, watt/hours, and increase in wattage day-by-day as I build up my human power-plant into a fighting machine capable of crossing the English channel un-assisted, and preferably starting from France, which will give me a good reason to do so… a cultural ‘tail-wind’, so to speak. So, without further adieu, wish me well and wish me, well… um… godspeed. First step is to calculate the gearing needed to get to the alternator’s most efficient RPM. I could look it up, but like I said, that’d take the fun out of it.

elec bike