Monday, January 30, 2012

All things are connected, especially if you live long enough

Bob Sellars
communicated by Email yesterday
a piece of technical information
he wanted to share
because he was truly amazed by it.

It has to do with the modern VW plant
in Dresden, Germany.

Bob, no longer able to facilely operate
his typing fingers
due to his degenerative muscular problem,
has a willing caretaker
who types what Bob asks him to.

A scientist by profession
Bob has for his lifetime shared 
info on what amazes him.

(He once told us how raccoons
if pursued by dogs in water
will, when it comes right down to survival,
turn and bitingly attach a dog over his snout

and hold the attacker under the water
until it drowns.
And many other intriguing
and useful facts have been imparted
by Bob.)

We welcome Bob's return to
his keyboard, with the help of 
a hired aide.  His faithful wife Libby
is heartened too by the
continuation of Bob's word-smithery.

Yesterday's video was

Bob's Email read as follows:

This is one amazing emails we’ve seen in sometime. We thought you will enjoy watching this.
I have watched a number of advertisements about the new developments of VW. If you are ever in Dresden area, be sure to include this factory in your tour.

          Love, Libby and Bob.
          Received this from Bob. Marshall, whom some of you know.

Subject: FW: A Factory Like You've Never Seen Before

Only the Germans can do this.  INCREDIBLE

Want to see why the Germans have a positive trade balance, in
spite of paying workers some of the highest wages in the world? Watch this: It is truly incredible.


Lt. Les Dix on maneuvers preparatory to landing on D Day in WW II

The below poem arrived 1-30-12 from THE WRITERS ALMANAC:

Letter Home

I love you forever
my father's letter tells her
for forty-nine pages,
from the troopship crossing the Atlantic
before they'd ever heard of Anzio.

He misses her, the letter says,
counting out days of boredom, seasickness,
and changing weather,
poker games played for matches
when cash and cigarettes ran out,
a Red Cross package—soap,
cards, a mystery book he traded away
for The Rubaiyyat a bunkmate didn't want.
He stood night watch and thought
of her. Don't forget the payment
for insurance, he says.

My mother waits at home with me,
waits for the letter he writes day by day
moving farther across the ravenous ocean.
She will get it in three months and
her fingers will smooth the Army stationery
to suede.

He will come home, stand
beside her in the photograph, leaning
on crutches, holding
me against the rough wool
of his jacket. He will sit
alone and listen to Aïda

and they will pick up their
interrupted lives. Years later,
she will show her grandchildren
a yellow envelope with
forty-nine wilted pages telling her

of shimmering sequins on the water,
the moonlight catching sudden phosphorescence,
the churned wake that stretched a silver trail.
"Letter Home" by Ellen Steinbaum, from Container Gardening. © Custom Words, 2008.


Backwards In the Sun

A man loathe to give up the manual typewriter
To bow to the age of computers
Who liked push reel lawn mowers
Wringer washers
And treadle sewing machines:

 I announce that
Something good happened here to mitigate
My reluctant accessions adopting the new over the old
While sitting as a machinist
 Marveling at what my word processor
And color printer can do;

 I like to correspond with fountain pen
And then hang the letter backwards in a sunny window
For a while before sending
To study the line without the ability to read text
As though the right or wrong  will show
And save me from mistake or unmeant innuendo

Hand script, even supposedly horrible hand script
Sometimes dangerous from the front side
Takes on a loveliness when viewed backwards
And this is interesting when one thinks
Of evaluations involving all angles and facets
Rather than merely the most obvious surface

(How often have I sent letters not so carefully inspected)

The thinner the paper for this sunlit viewing
The better:
I remembered a box of old onion skin typing paper
I had from when thinner meant more copies
Yielded by typewriters and carbon paper
Before clicks and double clicks and infinite production

I got this dusty box down and opened the lid
To find nearly a full box of crispy thin sheets
Audibly-crinkling onion skin paper
Talking paper very loud to the touch
After all that time being cooped up

Like a presumed useless ugly duckling
Or love-starved oldster getting dryer
It leaps to respond to the slightest tactility
And you cannot buy it anymore
Who needs it?

On the word processor so novel to me
I can practically put cardboard through
And obtain glorious-looking pages
But they don't talk when I handle them
They are dead except for the images on them
Not so with onion skin
It says something

You must be of an age to appreciate V Mail
From World War II when loved ones communicated
Across seas on government-mandated crackling tissue paper
To keep the weight of transport down
And to reduce bulk
 It was a practical and beautiful medium

I inspected my father's letters then on the flip side to the light
After I had digested all from the most obvious facade
I knew there must be more from him than that
Which showed on just one surface;
 I was only six years old

I searched side-ways both sides and between the lines
 I became familiar with the look, feel and sound of onion skin
My one contact with Dad and so much  preferred
To the dreaded telegram on dead yellow paper;
That bad paper never wanted never came here
And to find a whole box of  lively paper fifty years after
Those haunting hungry scrutinies was a blessing

I had it among my high basement cobwebs
Must have known it had value
It had escaped years of throwing out
In silent peace like a covered bird
 Intact a perfectly good box of now off-white paper

Backwards fountain-penned sheets in sunny windows
Will vibrate while this irreplaceable and
Obsolete box lasts

It will last long this new lost art
Because there are so many dry leaves fitted in the old box
Like memories they are so very thin
But strong
Tearing such gossamer  is  not as easy as you'd suppose

In my cyberspacial kingdom there are many color images
In my computer's memory favorite old snapshots
And vivid drawings I've committed to that realm
And my fountain pen will not quit till I do

A way is pointed to a blending
Validating procedures and leanings  in the doing,
Printing computer-generated transparencies
On talking paper - with penned script -
 And  backlighting these marriages not on an electric monitor
But in the window backwards in the sun

(DD CIRCA 2000]

(When Dee helped June Bjorklund move last year, June gave her a partial box of rare onion skin paper for me)