I was going through my Mac, which is now a backup computer for my HP laptop, which is being repaired because the hard drive died on me, and came across a limerick I wrote in December of 2013. Thought I would share it here, in addition to Facebook and Twitter. You’ll easily recognize the subject:
Fox newscasts, so chock full of hate Render truth an impervious gate They so often dissemble We can’t help but tremble With hope they will soon meet their fate
This is the second post by my long-time friend, Susan Marlow. Her first post was published on 28 March 2020 and this is somewhat of a follow-up.
by Susan Marlow – 18 May 2020
Each morning now after more than three months of restriction and isolation I wake up feeling constricted. As I come to, a small gasp escapes out of me and I realize I am still here and still isolated. I feel saddened as I realize this time is all too precious. I have adapted to this thing we call quarantine and I can continue, but I am not enjoying the isolation as much now.
I grumble my acceptance of this new way of life and stretch my body out on the mattress which we meant to replace months ago when it hit the ten year mark of discomfort. With no store to shop for it this mattress is condemned to continue servicing me. Then I take a deep breath of recognition that my day has begun. I thank God for this day.
Since I began in late February I have continued with my gardening and composting. I have 37 gallons of beautiful, sweet smelling dirt which will soon be ready for my garden. Meanwhile, I am experimenting with how to grow vegetables from food that we eat by planting the roots and stems. I have a big tub of bright green tubers growing from bits of potatoes. No potato famine here at this house. Come to think of it what does one potato cost? No matter . . . this is my victory garden.
The wall surrounding our pool equipment has been painted bright blue. The dog has had his hair cut a little- oh lucky pooch. My hair continues to grow like corn stalks sticking out every which way after the hay is collected into mounds,. Nothing to be done about that. I was already white haired before our quarantine began so I do not have to see one color disappear slowly in an awkward manner.
I am beginning to book zoom meets on my calendar—some back to back. It’s like being back at work with appointments to keep. Two zooms are for Funerals and one is for sitting Shiva. Today I will exercise with ladies in Woodstock, New York via zoom. The next birthday zoom is for someone who turns 100. Life and death continue.
During my long period of study and introspection I have come across two items which tell the story of how others, also restricted and far more deprived, nevertheless found ways to cope with fear, death, and massive loss of personal freedom, They too have left remembrances of a once impossibly difficult time in our not-too-distant past. From these little keepsakes we see the human spirit is quite resilient and forever hopeful.
The first is a delicate small fan, not unlike a cocktail fan, known by the name of a Wagasa. Look closely and you will see a familiar character; the symbol of Camel cigarettes. These delicate little fans were created using the only spare items available-in this case cigarette packages. It took great patience and a fine delicate handwork to create one of these. Even though it now resembles a little mai tai cocktail fan it has far more to say to us. Behind the stark wooden walls of an internment camp in the desert an unknown human spirit lived and created such beauty with whatever they had at hand while they patiently waited to see if their lives would, at some unknown point, resume and in what manner.
I also invite you to look at a tiny deck of cards, pictured below. Each one hand inscribed and beautifully drawn by my father during a perilous escape from Nazi Europe to Palestine, which was a beacon of safety and promise to Jews. This was a working deck of cards created from mini cigarette packages available during WWII. You can see a handwritten inscription in Latin on just one card, the Ace of Spades, Athlit, November 13, 1940. It is a poem and prayer by Horace, the Roman poet.
By then my father had been on that boat between 9-12 months. Those desperate souls were left on board a Turkish coal ship for many, many months. This was not a passenger ship. The bathrooms consisted of “walking the plank” and squatting out over the ocean in full view. There were no private rooms, just a large open space for coal storage. The “rooms” were created by internal scaffolding. This was an exodus boat headed to Israel carrying 2300 Jews from all corners of Europe. Perhaps they would be allowed to land or perhaps they would be turned back—like the St. Louis—to almost certain death. Meanwhile, those on board this boat waited and played cards together with a deck constructed of Chesterfield, Pall Mall, or Lucky Strikes packages patiently collected and artfully created. They waited as we wait.
So I look around and begin to think, what will I leave behind during this time of Covid19 to show my family that, while this isolation may seem like forever, it is actually far less. I try to embrace this time of waiting. I try not to think of the time as lost to me. It is my personal journey yes, but without the cigarettes!
So . . . looks like we’re all going to be confined to our houses, apartments, or wherever we’re lucky enough to have a place to rest our weary bones, much longer than we’ve ever had to hunker down before. I came across this link and thought I would share, as well as memorialize it for my own use as I attempt to entertain myself and my children. Enjoy!
Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 500 museums and galleries around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world. Here’s a link to 12 of them.
NB – This post was written using Dave Winer’s “Little Facebook Editor”, which currently posts to both Facebook and WordPress. It also allows for editing and updating to both sites, concurrently. If I continue using it, I’m hopeful I can remember it uses the entire first paragraph for the title. He’s trying to get Facebook to allow for some kind of textual formatting, which would then provide headline capability within Facebook as well. I edited this one to be only the first sentence.
Assuming the Position!
One of the boys in her class was celebrating his 10th birthday at a local bowling alley. I think this was the first time I’ve been to one where the entire building was given over to birthday parties for kids.
This is a large building, by the way. I didn’t count the lanes, but I did count (well, almost to the end) the large-screen TVs that were lined, almost end-to-end, from the first to the last lane and there were no less than fifty. Content was staggered, as you moved down the line, from one screen showing a music video, then two screens for keeping score of the games, then one screen showing a sporting event, and two screens for scoring again . . . rinse and repeat.
When we arrived, I had to check out the bowling balls. They couldn’t have weighed more than 6 pounds, which works really good for the kids. Might be the perfect weight for adults to bowl . . . overhand. When the kids are bowling – at least the younger ones – there are no gutter balls, because the gutters are filled with lane-length bumpers. Without them, the vast majority of balls would end up in the gutters. That’s not a lot of fun for the kids.
Watching the balls bounce off the bumpers, I envisioned a scaled-up version of a pool table, with the balls being the same size as bowling balls, and imagined playing pool or billiards in the same manner one bowls, the rules following those of standard billiards or pool games. I just did some quick research and calculate the playing field/table would be 34′ x 17′. It would appear such a game would include a de facto dodge ball component.
They had three breaks for the kids to dance, all managed by the man behind the curtain and facilitated by the servers/party guides. The dances included the Chicken dance, YMCA, and the Hokey Pokey, plus some Cha Cha line dance I can’t recall the name of. The organization and precision of the whole thing was simultaneously admirable and eerie. There was an assembly line, automaton feel to some of it.
There were soft drinks and the kind of pizza that kids will devour with no complaint, while adults would likely find fault with. I had three pieces. I was told they close down the bar, so I wasn’t able to quaff a brew or two.
Toward the end, Alyssa was anxious to get home, but she had one more frame, the tenth, to complete. I told her she had to finish, as she was on a team and her teammates were depending on her. She bowled the first strike of her short life, without using the bumpers, then went on to knock down nine pins and pick up the spare. She was so excited she forgot she wanted to leave and joined in on another game.
However, as I said, the precision of the event(s) was near perfect and, precisely at 1:30 (it began at 11:15) everybody had to leave. No doubt they clean up, then either open up for public bowling or begin the birthday assembly line once again. I’m pretty sure we had a good time.
Along with a couple hundred (?) of my best virtual friends, I’ll be in Boston next week for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference. Last Friday I treated myself – for my 63rd birthday – to a new Apple 64Gb, 3G iPad and I’m taking it with instead of my laptop.
At the very least, I expect it will provide me with enough entertainment to keep me occupied on the plane both ways, as well as give me something to do with my time if (God forbid) I should at any time get bored.
As someone who has been constrained to use the technology that was given to me by the company I worked for, and generally only had the same kind of technology at home (inasmuch as my personal life has always been so intertwined with my professional life), this has been a real treat. Additionally, I’ve not had an iPhone so I’m not used to having so many apps available and, this is really fun, I haven’t had a touch screen . . . ever.
I’m going to do what I can to both tweet and blog from the conference, but I expect to spend a lot of time with the carbon-based representations of the many people I have only gotten to know virtually over the past few years. I’m truly excited; no mean feat for a guy like me.
Since my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in 2010, I have spent quite a bit of energy on developing work as a social media marketer for small business, a business manager for an AI software development firm, and as an editor/proofreader for a number of business books and a couple of novels, as well as a two-year return engagement at Rocketdyne from 2015 to 2017.
I have decided to stop actively pursuing business in these fields and am now positioning myself to be a writer. I have done quite a bit of writing over the years, but I’ve never really attempted to make any money at it; at least not specifically. I’m starting out with a couple of memoirs and, currently, I’m studying the craft, creating a detailed outline and timeline, and honing my skills as a storyteller. Pretty sure I’ll be writing some fiction as well.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.