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My own personal “Every time I say ‘F’ you see ‘Q!”

It’s OK. Problem solved and no one lost his announcer’s job as a result. Yet it’s a fascinating story (?), and I shall try to explain:
See, I’m teaching my home-built computer to speak. Morse Code, ideal for a girl with a square-wave vocal tract.
This morning in the final stages of writing the program into labourious EPROMS, I tried a first test of the ‘Sender’ module, using ‘F’ as a test letter. Not even expecting success, I was shocked to hear it proudly sending me ‘Q’ after ‘Q’ until I unplugged it so I could think(!) What on earth could have caused this odd mixup!?
Digging back into the guts of the machine and Morse-ness, I realized that it was simply substituting a Dash for a Dot and likewise. But why?
It’s ‘F’ ‘how-to’ byte contained the hex number $20. That is, in binary ‘0010-0000. The left-most digit is the highest worth; right-most the lowest.
And by feeding it #20 and telling it to see each bit in order as ”1’ = dash and ‘0’ = dot (up to a limit of 4 bits in ‘F’s case)) you can see that I was asking it to output dot dot dash dot. Which is an ‘F’.
Five minutes of head-scratching and I knew the answer: the program was somehow calling a ‘0’ a dash and a ‘1’ a dot! And that would exactly result in dash-dash-dot-dash: a ‘Q’.

Now the beauty of software fixes is that no one need know afterwards that it’s in there, and that no soldering-gun is required.
I simply left the decoder program as written and changed/ reversed all the 26 codes for the letters. Five minutes,
And now the little  horsie says ‘F’ when I say ‘F’, and ‘Q’ when I say ‘Q’.
Even though I suspect that she wuz tres happier FUQing up before the fix, jus’ for the digital hell of it.
And it’s a lovely Hellen Keller moment now that she can finally talk to me.

This is how I talk to her:




JS/ 5 MAR/ 2018 already.


Out-witting Mrs NAND

Imagine if you will (you have a choice?) how much fun our crowd had growing up as little bits on Electric Ave,. We’d go through though whole subdivision almost daily, wreaking innocent havoc. Sidewalk-chalking ‘clever stuff’ in front of ‘important figures’ houses. ‘Ohm sweet Home’ is one I can remember, then later Sara insisted on ‘The Ampere Strikes Back!”
But this story is about one house in particular which just captured our young ‘minds’. Mrs’s NAND.
A small one-story quadriples on TTL Road, it had six sliding windows on each side. A door on the right end of the street-facing side seemed to be used mainly for taking the trash out. The back side. accessible easily by a walk-around deck, looked similar, only that the door was on the opposite end (still the right side though) and that’s where delivery-folk brought supplies, we believed. No one ever saw Mrs NAND (or one of the four identical ladies?) outside.
In fact, her life could be quite completely reduced to: three and only three utterances, her total gamut. “I’m happy”, I’m sad” and when dicked-with (our style) “Oy!”
Dat’s it. Hard to believe how much we loved ‘experimenting’ with her reactions. Me and Sara and Jenny and Mikey, (after his Mom left him tag along, seeing that none of the rest of us had died of childhood ‘digitalis’, as she’d warned Mickey for a good year and a half.)

Of course in the beginning we kinda thought of her as ‘random. The rules, we figured out, were that two of us needed to slide Windows 1 and 2 open, proclaim our emotional state in the simplest terms, and then immediately she’d slide open Window 3 and mutter quietly “I’m sad/happy/ Oy!” The same was true then for Windows 4,5 and 6, and then two groups on the back side, 13, 12, and 11 and the 10, 9, and 8. Guess the doors had numbers also.
Actually. most of the houses in that part of the subdivision had a similar design. Mrs NAND’s house was at #7400, on the corner of Boole Drive, but right down the street, at 7404 was the grumpy Mr Knott. His windows were in pairs; you told the first one you were happy and he yell out “I’m sad!. And vice versa. Great fun. I can see why nobody played there.
Ok, so Jenny comes home from school and decides to get serious about the thing. She even made a list of question we needed to find answers to.
“First off, we develop a ‘table of ‘truths‘”, she called it. Me ‘n Mikey did the grunt work while she recorded the results. After more trials than the two of us thought necessary, she had it:
“Um.. in short, she’s kinda like waiting for two of us to both be happy, then she’s sad!” Jenny conclude triumphantly. “Otherwise, she’s mainly happy, three out of the four possible combinations.”

“Ok, when does this story get interesting? you ask.
Well, I kinda think it’s grand so far, but then I was there.
Anyway, so now what?

Try this: We go around the house; whatever she said at Window three we both say in unison at windows four and five, and watch her flip from the previous ‘happy’ to a ‘sad’. And so on all the way around the dumb house until we get tired or hungry.
Another thing: Q: were there four identical and identically-tempered ladies living in ‘7400’ or was she alone, covering all teh windows in real time? A: Certainly appeared that there were four ladies.
Or Q: So what happens if, instead of saying point-blank “I’m happy“, you weasel a bit, telling her that on the one hand, Mrs Lupner did say something nice about your homework, but, on the other hand, you heard it might rain cats and dogs tomorrow.
That was the first time we heard the ‘Oy!”
“You broke the lady!. Sara scolded me,“Way to go Johnnie!”
And indeed I did feel horrible, until it turned out that she was fine, and yeah, she ‘do say dat at times’.
I could go on. The reader probably concludes by now that kids in those days were amused by almost anything. And in fact; yes, we were… an’ I’m proud of it!
My  own ‘invention’ was a kind of semi-circular ‘sound-horn’ as wide as two windows. With it I could ‘transfer’ her reaction from one “answer-window” right to the next window. So with me holding it ‘just right’ and Jenny adding the same sentiment to the other of the pair of window, we could have her ‘reversing herself’ all the way around the house. again, till hunger or fatigue intervened.
In the end, we couldn’t ‘use’ Mrs NAND for much in complex real life. Sara was my girlfriend at the time and we often walked there for old times’ sake to ‘ask the wizard’ a question. If either one of us (or both of us) was/were sad, Mrs NAND would say, (had she a more sympathetic vocabulary), “Don’t worry, kids, be happy. It’ll all work out in time.” And I suppose had we professed in unison total euphoric happiness, she would have chastened “Careful, kids, trouble is sure to strike; the evil eye, y’know!”

Fine. This has been today’s lesson in “Humanizing Digital Electronics. Study it for your next digital examination, ok?


‘So you shouldn’t die stupid’ Poem-lets

The title is one of my most-favoritest phrases. Sounds best in Romanian. Appropriate, a bit too literally, for death-bed requests, like “Yo, son,
so it was you who put that big scratch in my Toyota ten years ago? Tell me the truth!”

Here we’re dealing with trivial scratches by contrast. Words which sound alike. Homo-phones. (offered in pink, with daring
paisley pouches?)

And I’ve merely scratched the surface here, done a ten-minute romp on a playing field littered with verbal triage candidates.

At least I’ve defined the game and the challenge. We’ll call the first one “Patience/Patients” the type-specimen.

So as not to wander into:

“A tear is just a tear
It rhymes with here or there
But screw me if I know… or why..
The fundamental words betray,
As time goes by.”
(Version du jour of my flagship ditty)

Patience: a Virtue, at least metaphorically
But ‘Patients’ are sickos, and I mean categorically

Sentience is ‘cognito’, ergo, and sum
But the ‘Sentients’ are on the watch-list, in your Aliens album.

Presence is ‘being there’ on your birthday, while waiting for:
Presents: rewards; each one has its own rating

Sense: Not too common, but helps quite a lot/ with
Cents, little pennies, to spend them or not?

Continence: when you don’t poop in yer pants
Continents: seven; Antarctica’s last

Hoes are the best tools to dig up a garden
A Hose is to water it, or beg its pardon.

A Rose is a rose; I’ll advise that you plant ’em in
Rows, to keep track of them, Giant or Bantam

Does are girl-deer; they eat all those herbs
It ‘Does’ get annoying, among other verbs…

Reins are the thongs on Caligula’s horsie
His reign saw much rain, but it’s now even worsie.
(the only Drumpf reference?)

Tense is that feeling, with a hurricane at hand
Tents are yer new home, on what’s left of your land.

Radience, the smile of your sweetheart from college
Radians? math-something? to the best of my knowledge


What’s Mine is Urine

 Took the first pee test of my life yesterday; a new requirement for re-upping a low-level security clearance. And… well, I needn’t have studied all night for it!
All that Grey’s stuff on ureters, bladders, kidney function? It wasn’t on the test! Jus’ kidding of course.
But seriously, I hadn’t much clue going in about the ‘depth’ of the inquiry. Maybe I expected an exhaustive work-up on kidney function, creatine and Billy Rubin, stuff like that there? Didn’t happen.
Luckily I don’t use any drugs, so no need to frantically drink Drano (or other internet advice) to ‘cleanse’ my piss.
One thing I did do was to studiously not drink a beer for 24 hours (!). Took a bit of will-power, but then that’s what they need in an occasionally ‘life-and-death’ operative, no?

Four Panel Strips:


After waiting two hours, all the time afraid to ‘drain my radiator’, I was invited to fill a plastic cup. Un-watched. (OK, I was too busy to look for sneaky cameras)
The pleasant official then dipped the ‘miracle of chemistry’ labelled strip into the cup for ten seconds, and that was it. Asked me to dump the rest of the precious data into the toilet. End of Test?

Came home and, as is my wont, became, within an hour, an arm-chair Googlexpert on drug-test-tech:
The four carefully-prepared ‘fingers’ of the test strip are each ready to scream ‘Gevalt!’ upon detecting their own family of false drugs: opiates, THC, benzo-diazopines, amphetemines, etc. Companies and agencies who are willing to fork over bigger bucks can buy strips which also look for alcohol and the wide range of synthesized drugs folks apparently take these days.
I now doubt that my test gave a hoot about ethanol, but no big deal, my abstinence saved a meaningful pile of shekels in any event.
Looking for a truly salient point here:
Yo, I can buy the goddamn strip myself, online!
And I’m seriously considering it.
Next time someone asks me to sign off on a lucrative (for me or for him?) construction contract…
Or I’m being accused by a deranged Israeli motorist who just plowed into my rear bumper of having ‘you backed into me in Reverse!’
Or, hey, who knows, even a predatory woman declaring love at first sight.. (Not one of my immediate problems; this example included as a pubic-service announcement)

I shall pull out my handy test kit. (25 units fot $49.95)
And request, nay ‘require‘ an on the spot urine sample!
Hey ‘Go with the flow’. In today’s drug-addled world, I at least have a right to know what my adversary was high on.
Please, someone tell me where I’m wrong here?


My new Orange friend

This little mouse-sized kitten was actually dropped squarely on my head from the roof over my back porch by its stupid(?) mother.
Child of a second-litter-in two-months from a truly  horrid feline, who breaks into the house nightly to savage my shelves and overturn the trash-can. A few nights ago she pried open the refrigerator door and took one rabid bite out of each hot dog, along with doing an un-planned ‘de-frost’.

So I wasn’t in the mood to meet her progeny. Even thought of desperate measures, but wisely relented . I don’t need any more Manson murders on ‘repeat’ when I try to sleep these days.


The mother totally ignores the waif, and realizing that it will die on my watch without intervention… hey, I had a choice?
An hour or so in my lap and we were already ‘bonded‘. And ten minutes ago I watched the miracle of life as the junior carnivore learned, in ‘real time’ to eat canned chicken hearts(!) This event has got to be one that the little bugger will tell its grandchildren: he went from ‘Oy!’ to ‘Oh boy!’ in the span of one smoke and a quarter can of beer.
(Yes, he might as well get used to the ‘micro-environment’ and his Savior’s time-keeping system.
Purring ensued (probably another ‘first’ for the guy, and he is as we speak sleeping like the baby he is. The End (for now).

ADD: maybe the impetus for my burst of inter-species compassion was noting, this morning, yet another ‘Cute Kitty Pix’ Word Press site’s subscribing here. I now have about 20 of them. I don’t know, I fantasize that this last ‘random fan’ knew somehow that Jxsolberg was a sucker for lost little furry orange purr-balls. And I damn well don’t want to disappoint her. ‘Her’?    Guess that’s another stereotype I need to work on overcoming.

I’ll know more, perhaps, after I send the person a nice thank-you and a link to this post.
Dumb Word-play Department: The kitten above, quite the precocious type, sent me a LETTER, explaining that she was from a LATER LITTER, and, knowing her criminal Mom, decided that she could either become just another LOOTER, or, alternatively, LOITER around until she caught my attention (and my heart.) She confided that she much preferred the LATTER, and awaited my response.
Like I wrote in a song here a while back: “What was I supposed to do?”
(Think I’ll tag this as ‘Cute Kitty Pix’, just for kicks. )

Fluffy Derivative post: “My Mission”

Growing up surrounded mainly by cows, I surveyed the marketing landscape and developed eventually an intuitive feel for “derivative: what’s this?”
My Theoretical model, astonishingly close the those of Newton and Leibnitz, had “Us” as the Prime Movers, followed by the Dairy, which came and emptied the 8000 gallon milk tank for some poorly-understood financial gain, and at the bottom, the Hush-Puppy-ied parasites in New Jersey ‘ranch homes’ who parasitically profited by betting on the ups and downs of the price of milk. I called these human losers ‘second derivative-niks’. Zappa, famous for ‘They can only Edit, they can’t Create’, must have had an even-more derogatory name for them.
Update: the cows themselves, in a policy statement, have now shifted the derivative statuses left-ward; In their pantheon, we farmers were the first-order parasites, they claimed, disingenuously side-stepping the question of what they intended to do  with the tons of milk left after feeding 1/100th of it to their stupid calves.
And all this above aside is simply a preface to my ‘derivative’ post here, which is not ‘Content’, but rather ‘Talking about marketing Content’. Could be worse; I could ‘talk about talking about..’ Oops, I already did!

The Post:
I shall now peek briefly through the ‘fourth wall’ here to share my personal thoughts on blogging with Word Press.
For you lucky Readers, this is the equal of having the actor playing Hamlet suddenly ‘break character‘, turn to the gathered rabble, and confess:
“Yeah, man, I say ‘go with…um… ‘Not to Be’, End of story, and I get to go home early and play with my Nintendo!”
I am blessed with a trio of delightful readers/commenters here. One could do far worse: (I recently came upon a lovely site, a fellow from Pakistan, who has posted careful and thoughtful articles for ‘Five Years!’ with only one Comment. ) Needless to say I am, as we speak, working to address that “got to be frustrating” situation.
El, who has saved me from suicide during equally dark times on Xanga, would likely say something true and wall-hanging-ready: “Get used to it,”
Still, I can’t help but wonder where the community of inspired and empathetic ‘content-creators’ hangs out these days?
‘Arse-buch?’ ‘Twatter’? ‘Instagrum’?
‘Yes, Johnny, this is not your Momma’s Xanga-daze’, I tell myself. No more seeing my face daily in the Front Page, and knowing that folks were, at least, aware that I’d had something new to say.
Here I could announce my death and it would be years until someone would suggest at least putting the sun-bleached bones in, like, a box.
So, what motivates a fellow to continue to write?
Three perfectly fine reasons:
1) The joy of seeing one’s creation formatted and preserved for posterity.
2) The feeling of obligation toward anyone enamored of your persona to continue to broadcast ‘vital signs’. Heaven knows we lose contact with so many once-vital cyber-acquaintances here daily; my job is to not be among those ‘RIP?’ statistics.
And 3) “So what else ya gonna do with yer ‘killer’ neologisms, palindromes, ‘hit’ songs? Stuff ’em in a bottle to toss into the polluted Mediterranean?”

And finally (sarcasm alert) Donnie Drumpf, my hero on all things metaphysical, pointed out a few days ago that every issue has two side, each bearing equal blame.
(To paraphase Wm. F. Buckley, who was being equally sarcastic:
‘What’s the big difference between a guy pushing a cripple into the path of an on-coming truck.. and the guy who frantically pulls her out of danger’s path? After all, both of them are “Pushing ladies in wheel-chairs around.”

Trying to go with the flow here, I’ll state on the record that, while all the absent ‘Non-Readers’ are guilty of a real ‘sin of omission’. (SAD!’) I am of course just as culpable for having deviously provided reading material for them not to read.
For that I do apologize. Perhaps my scheduled lobotomy will help to still my verbal demons.
Update: I may even cancel the procedure if I hear from enough appreciative readers.
Wow, what a perverted ‘site-optimization’ strategy I’ve embraced!

Where’s Solberg? Maps plus scary Zoom-out

 I arrived late for the party.

Slightly embarrassed, I lingered on the front porch a minute preparing my defense/excuse. (For ‘flat tire‘ I usually ‘oil and soot’ my hands a bit on the car’s undercarriage; works every time; plausible veracity.)

Though distracted, I none-the-less clearly heard a group of my acquaintances inside asking each other: ‘Where’s Solberg?’
And as luck (or fiction) would have it, I wuz ready!

“Here”, I declaimed, pulling out Map One.

sollberg composite map

After a quick pass-around, the gang was divided:

“Germany?”, one fellow ventured.
“No, asshole, it’s Austria”, ‘Bucky’ corrected him.

“Zoom out, an’ I’ll tell you if I wuz right..”, was the quiet challenge from ‘Asher, something of a world-traveler by local standards.
Map Two:



My next ‘Exhibit’ proved him right. “I knew it was Switzerland!” he almost yelled triumphantly.
A few of the other guests approached, smelling an interesting debate.

“So where the fuck is Switzerland?”, asked ‘Bob’, an American tourist just in from Omaha, dressed so perfectly in ‘period-accurate’ that central-casting couldn’t have out-done his costume.

“It’s, like, ‘over there’, Bucky, feeling somewhat re-invigorated taunted him.

“It’s like ‘not in Kansas'” he added, feeling his oats.

“Omaha’s in Nebraska!”, the tourist retorted, defending his honor.

“Europe, the ‘Eastern Hemisphere” I said calmly, feeling like the ‘student teacher’ who hadn’t been warned that his class was ‘problem-cases’.

I ‘solved’ Bob’s ‘East of what? ‘question with my next Map Three:

from moon

“Nice picture.” Asher asserted, “Who took it?”

“I don’t know, to tell the truth,” I replied, “maybe Buzz Aldrin?”

At that mention, everything changed!
I hadn’t known that this was to be a ‘costume party’!
The guests, those with recognizable arms and legs oozed in my direction, eyes (stalked or otherwise) focused on my sheaf of maps.



“Aha, finally, that one looks familiar!” a synthesized voice poured from the chest-mounted implanted speaker of a creature who tested my ‘nerves-of-steel upon meeting aliens. At least he was green. Somehow comforting, in the absence of other re-assuring familiar signs, like, oh, a ‘Lee Cooper’ tee-shirt.

“I watched you-uns guys with my Predecessor, on the beach, back when I was just a Naiad“. He mused out loud. “Never had the ‘constituents’ to afford a better-resolution See-er. The long-delayed thrill here cause me almost to urinate in my suit.” he shared, and I learned on the spot, blindingly, that some emotions are galactic-universal.

OK, I saw the tentacles slithering toward us from the dining room. Unbelievably, I felt no fear. The host, walking right behind ‘him’/ ‘her’/ ‘it‘, in jeans and cut-offs, hand-signaled me that ‘It’s OK’.
Shaking, I managed to pull out the next map:

milky way

“So where’s Solberg?” the creature asked, in a voice which entered my brain clearly, just not precisely through my ears.
“Kinda right ‘here’!” I said, and felt, before I finished the sentence, that the sentient being had already ‘groked’ me.
Why, you-uns guys is right next door” his speech-creator came up with the perfect colloquialism. “Back in Andromeda we’ve been watching you spin for fucking zoubles!” he joked (?).
Seeing me somewhat mystified by the terminology, he tentacled a button on his right ‘shoulder; that’s what they’re called?‘ and explained, suddenly a bit emotion-less:
“A ‘zouble’ is 10 to the 90th power Hydrogen transitions.”
Well, that cleared ‘that’ up!, I thought. Jezuz, I wonder what they call Pi?
Ok, brave as I am, I left before the‘Dust’ on the floor reached my shoes . The host, proud of my sturdy demeanor in the face of truly WTF? exposure, gave me a small salute as he saw me inch carefully, backward, out the door.
Bucky and Asher were almost finished puking on the lawn as I ran to my car.
Ever the masochist, I did have a fleeting chance to ask the host, waving good-bye at the door: ‘What’s with the Dust, bro?”

Looking ‘cosmically sad’ for once, he waved me off: “You don’t wanna know.. “ and added, as I started the Subaru: ‘It’s not on your maps!”
So there, (whew!).
Any Reader who wanted to know ‘Where’s Solberg?’ Hope this answers your question.