I’m assuming that most readers here spent their childhood roughly like mine: when not plowing, feeding cattle, or chasing butterflies you chatted from a room in the attic with Russians on Morse Code, using a lashed-together contraption made out of salvaged TV tubes.
Ok, maybe your youth was a bit different; (I used the 6AG7 as an oscillator and the 6V6 as a Class C amplifier stage, but there were other options of course. I know that.
Seriously, Morse Code done got in my mind, camped out there, built concrete foundations… and just, like took the place the hell over. And now I can’t even hear conversational speech without interpreting it as code letters, according to the rhythm of the syllables.
Morse is, as you know, made up of dots and dashes. A dash is three times as long as a dot. We ‘spell out’ the words, but, with an abundance of abbreviations, conversations proceed surprisingly quickly. At 35 (standard 5-letter) words per minute, my usual speed, you know each other’s name, city, weather, and equipment within the first minute. Usually the guy’s name is Vlad. If not, then Val or Yuri. And the more plaintive, chirpy, and weak his signal the more likely it is that your on-line friend is transmitting from the Siberian side of the great Russian expanse. Cubans and Dominicans, in the 60s, were also chirpy as hell. One of the true talents of a good op was to be able to separate an almost un-readably weak station from the overwhelming cacophony of stronger signals very near it in frequency. I learned to appreciate the fact that they too were struggling to copy my signal, and often with a set-up even more primitive than mine.
And now we finally get to the ‘F’ word.
Di di DAH dit. That’s an ‘F’. ‘Fed-er-a-tion’ is an ‘F’ word. Note the ‘longer’ third syllable.
‘Alabama’ and ‘Tallahassee’ are close, but really don’t quite make the cut.
We use ‘CQ’ as a shorthand general query for contacts. Dah di dah dit/ Dah dah di dah. Try saying: ‘Stands to reason, too loose to goose.’ and you can’t help but sound out the rhythm of the two-letter combo, CQ.
‘In a New York minute’, as you can probably guess by this point, is .._ _.. Morse for the question-mark sign. That’s what you send if you suspect the guy’s name isn’t Yuri. Or Val or Vlad.
And just for fun(?) here’s the alphabet, with some quick examples I just thought up which seem to mimic the Morse:
A ._ A-lone
B _… Bees in a box
C _._. Candelabra
D _.. Deal wid-it
E . Eat
F .._. Fotographic
G _ _ . God you’re hot
H …. Hemoglobin
I .. Is it?
J . _ _ _ Jurassic style
K _._ Kangaroo
L ._.. Leviathan
M _ _ Mau-Mau
N _. Normal
O _ _ _ Oh… my… God!
P ._ _ . Parisian nights
Q _ _ . _ Quick, slick, an’ thick.
R ._. Renaldo
S … Satellite
T _ Tea
U .._ Unaware
V …_ Vanilla-gram
W ._ _ What ails you?
X _.._ ‘X’ in the box
Y _ . _ _ Yank a door knob
Z _ _ .. Zebras did it
Whew, dat weren’t easy. (And no, I don’t know what a vanilla-gram is either.) I’m off to California in my
Winnebago to buy some
Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just say ‘F-it!’
I dunno, I remember the alphabet with: ‘A bad child dies every Friday. Good heavens I just know little Manny needs octopus parts quickly, Reader, so that under-water vessels’ll xerox your zebra.’Me:
??? Not sure we’re on the same frequency, Wu. Can you QSY up 5 khz?
“I, like you, like Ike.” I told his wife, Wifi_gurl when we met for this interview.
Ike eeks out a damn good living writing ‘Spike Speaks from Pike’s Peak’, a big-league blog on down-hill bike racing, and it’s an up-hill battle keeping up with this up-and coming writer, who just keeps coming up with Wit with which to watch his rising star rise by, and daily. Just yesterday, Spike spoke on ‘Karma and stopping it.‘:
“Them’s the breaks and them’s the brakes…” he led off, then spoke at length of spokes, spoke-specs, and spooks-in-the-works; the whole works, all in one killer article.
‘Wow‘, I said to myself, “paste this post on your pasta-maker, guy, or you’ll be pissed you didn’t. Or on the front of the fridge.” I did.
Yup, Ike’s in the fast lane and picking up speed as we speak. He needs it to drive traffic to his Mile-high site.
“Who’d have thought he’d have had a head for business?” Wifi asked me, rhetorically.
“Um..nobody?” I offered, foot-in-mouth.
She looked a bit puzzled.
“Sorry, that was tongue-in-cheek.” I quickly added, covering my butt, hoping she hadn’t gotten up-in-arms(?)
“I like Ike and I dig his doggie too.” Wifi summed it up mischievously as I put on my coat.
“Can I put quotes on that?” I asked. She thought a second:
“Sure. I ‘Like’ Ike and I ‘Digg’ his dog.” she smiled.
“Me too, Wiffy, the ‘like’ part, I mean.” I agreed. “I’ll tell everyone in sight on my site, …and cite you as an objective reference.”
“Do that.” Big hug, worth the wait.
And so here I am.
I mean, there I went…
Yes, “We gotz teh data, we win.’
Or maybe not so fast? Let’s wait for the official announcement.
See, I’m doing an experiment myself. Two-liter water-bottles (stolen midnights from the recycling bins), in an attempt to store heat from the Sun (sp?) during the day and radiate it at night to even-out the daily temperature-excursions in my greenhouses. And it’ll pay big shekels, in dye and/or paint, to know, right now, which ‘system’ captures the most heat…if there is in fact much of a difference?
The four options you see here ought to nail the question to the wall, after a few days of careful measurements.
But it occurred to me to add one more bottle; ‘Holy Water’, let’s call it. Normal tap water, but slap on a quick yarmulke and bless G-d for even giving us water, for giving me life and the brains to make it enjoyable, for giving us as a people the long-term sheer guts to return to our geographic cradle, to revive the place after centuries of neglect, and, oh, to invent nifty plastics which our brother, Dustin Hoffman, after suitable graduate degrees and a pool-side tip, could form into the vessels we need here. A-men.
For now, let’s just choose Xanga sides and bet on one of the secular contendas in the picture.
Penn State actually did a relevant study some years ago, which I found on the net. But for some reason I’ll trust my results here over those of the ‘goyim’. Who knows what blessings they mighta used in their lab?
And the Shroud, what’s the deal with the shroud?
Um… if it’s the Real Deal, it oughta be a bit warmer than a Control Shroud; yes, after all these years.
Wonder if anyone checked into that.
One more from my late dinner-guest: I.Emma Lazarus:
Ba Ba Black Sheep, have you any wool?
“Yup, take a look here: half-a-bag full.”
“Half for the government, half for the rent
Half for the kids till the money’s all spent
I am Baba Black Sheep looking at my wool
It’s the best you can do if ya got no strings to pull.”
Duh, Baba Black Sheep, sumpthin happen to yer brain?
The bag’s half emp-ty, hope it doesn’t rain
Nothing for retirement, nada for your wife
Forget about yer health, ‘n hope to have-a short life
Yeah, Bubba Black-Sheep, If-you only had a brain.
Pull the wool out of your eyes; you are gurgling down the drain.
Mary had a little lamb
Slice of ham
Half a yam
All I got was ‘breast of spam’
She fleeced me white as snow
I’d followed her to school that day
Sad to say. I’m-a
fool that way…
Followed her to school that day
Breaking all my rules
See, everywhere that Mary went
She left that scent
Of unpaid rent
Very broke… or badly bent
In debt I-was sure to go.
Now Mary’s in a little jamb
Cute, but damn
I gotz to scram
Scary; ‘Sooo… dat’s who I am?’
Um.. Yes (as well as No)
Flyby Night-School of Cosmetology
1727 RR Ave, Apt 7 (ring bell)
First ten minutes
Things usually go down-hill after ‘Breast O’ Spam.’ / Live and Learn
Wu: Tell me this didn’t happen.
Me: Fine. ‘This didn’t happen’. Cool?
Wu: Glad we cleared that up. I mean, ‘like moths to a plug-in candle, Fly-By attracts only the most leprous lepidoptera from the far side of the tracks…’
Me: Hey, I thought the sign said ‘Cosmology’ They list Emma Lazarus as a founder, you knew that?
Wu: Odd. Mary’s sayin’ you only wanted your nails done for free.
Me: Haha. I can do my own nails. OK, I got screwed.
Wu: Well, at least there’s that…
Dawned on me just now (as the Sun came up?) that one of the cheapest (sorry, ‘least expensive’) little gifts one can give in this Season is a simple acknowledgment of a Xanga comment.
A few numbered Pointlets, of course:
1) Yes, you read correctly, ‘Goodwill to Men’. No need to worry about women. They are, like with the Egg, only Necessary Chickens in the all-important process of creating ‘Another Egg’. Treat them as nicely as is required until a male offspring has been achieved….
(Yeah, a bit of little-black-dress humor. We can only dream of a world free from gender inequality. Iceland comes to mind, with their ‘Bobbysdotter’ surnames. Still, how can you truly respect a country which names itself after ‘-one of the phases of the H2O molecule, occurring below 0 degrees Centigrade.-‘ Really.
2) I’ve used ‘being un-replied-to’ as a prime example of feeling under-valued in my previous post on Hebrew idioms. And not on a whim; I have an ‘Open-Wound’ file here of folks whose replies I’m awaiting. Perhaps not everyone is as obsessed with the Mutuality of Interaction as I am. And if it don’t bother you to invest a bit of your soul in a comment to zero response, well, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. I envy you, and Happy Holidays.
3) Speaking of which: waiting in line to pay the $600 fee for annual car registration here at the
Post Office, I felt momentarily uneasy from the zombie silence of the Russian behind me in line. What’s an extrovert to do?
“Hag Sameach!” (‘Happy Holiday’) Always appropriate during Chanukhah).. I thought.
No reply. He ignored me like Lenin’s cadaver in Red Square(?).
“Hag Ha-molad?” I back-tracked. (‘Merry Christmas?’, roughly.)
Still no sign of life.
“Tov, a zaftige Zorroaster le’chah!’ (‘Ok then, do have a fat-filled Zorro-Easter, I know?’) I gave up and eyed my updated place in line. But thinking about it, well, any reply, even a demonstrative shrug, would have been better than the icy Soviet ‘no-comment’.
4) And so, QED, as we say. Someone takes the time to type a reaction to your Post? Tell her that you read it at least. (Yes, ‘her’, they’re the ones who lay the eggs… for now.) Even if all you can say is:
“@ dino_gal: Thanks for your input. Frankly, I’m not sure what bio-engineered pterodactyls have to do with my recipe for cookies here, but if they turn out to be relevant, at least I won’t die stupid on that issue.”
A warm and well-lit holiday season to all. Even the Sun has decided to work a bit longer every day from now on. Probably sending @Replies to Venus and Mars as we speak/ js
Wu: Damn. Looks like we got that Lancaster Reader on board again, guyMe: Yeah, I felt the ship list to starboard myself. What’s to do?Wu: Guess just wait for a Comment. Then reply, off course.Me: ‘Of course‘…Wu: Sorry, forgot to spin the wheel.
So much fun working publicly in the Town Square, my car squeezed perilously into a sidewalk spot between the ‘Map of the Village’ sign and the Concrete Cows some elected official decided to purchase as ‘Outdoor Art.’
Main Point: Any passing motorist who doesn’t blow his horn, scream ‘Yo, Yonatan!’ or otherwise acknowledge my Presence must be either a newly-arrived immigrant, or someone who owes me money.
One can bat around forever the advantages/disadvantages of small-town life. Today, I chose to relish the plus side. (…and vowed to make a ‘collect my receivables’ run this evening.)
Last night, feeling inexplicably irate, I fairly blew up at the Super when Cheese-slicer lady put my order on hold in deference to some bozo’s shopping list of crutons(?)
He defended himself: “How was I to know your shopping-cart had priority?”
Of course I stilled my phantoms forth-with, and apologized for being edgy.
Cheese-lady then took my cell #, to install plastic roofing on her porch. Cruton-guy did likewise, recognizing me as the highly-regarded gutter-and-down-spout local expert.
I do keep a safe distance though, from the Frozen Fish aisle . For some reason, statistically, work-contracts negotiated there have a higher percentage of ‘dead-beat’ non-payment.
A sign on my car I should put? ‘Will work for fish’ Nah, could be misconstrued.
Wu: An a-typically brief entry
Me: Yeah, bothers me too. Innocent Readers are forgiven for imagining that my days are spent constructing blog-posts.
Wu: And the horn-blowers? They likewise knoweth not whom they distract?
Me: Absolutely. I had this killer idea for a poem. Now all I remember is the smile.
Wu: Or the simile…