LIKE US? To Receive a Monthly DIGESTWORLD Reminder, Click the Link to Send Email Request: SUBSCRIBE
NOTE: Place Cursor over a photo for a few seconds to read text description.
CLICK FLAG TO OPEN FIRST-AID KIT.== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
All the tools you need for a simple Speed Trace
IN ONE PLACE.
Great Way to show Gratitude for this Digest is to use the above Google Search Engine to Search this Site or the entire Web wherever you find it in the Digest pages.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Don Meredith (1938 - 2010) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Dandy Don of Monday Night Football ~~~~~
~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #117 Published July 1, 2011 ~~~== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Beach-going Month of July:
What a wonderful stew is the brain — always some delicious morsel pops into your spoon.
— Bobby Matherne, Amercian Author
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==By Subscription only.== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Editor: Bobby Matherne, Asst. Editor: Del Matherne
[To Contact Editor Click Here!]
To Subscribe, Click Here or copy into your Browser
this URL: http://www.doyletics.com/subscrib.htm
To Unsubscribe, see bottom of Digest.
©2011 by 21st Century Education, Inc, Published Monthly.
To Read All of Bobby's Writings Click Here!
~~ Click on Heading to go to that Section (Allow Page First To Fully Load). ~~
THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #117, July 2011Archived Digests
Table of Contents
1. July's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for July
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Grilled Fish with Green Beans and Potatoes
6. Poem from 1996 in Yes, and Even More!: "Sweet Erato"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for July:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Success Through Failure — The Paradox of Design by Henry Petroski
- ARJ2: WHY? What happens when people give reasons . . . and why by Charles Tilly
- ARJ2: The Struggle: Not to Be Forgotten by Kaisu Viikari
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
3. Primary Theft: Stealing Ideas with Words with Friends
3. 5. Testimony about Plus Lens Glasses from Lucian in Romania
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #117== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB ~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun #1 Jul #2, Aug #3, Sept #4, Oct #5, Nov #6, Dec #7
2001: Jan #8, Feb #9, Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
To Receive a Monthly DIGESTWORLD Reminder — Click Here.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
1. July Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.
The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.
This month Violet and Joey learn about Being Gregarious.
#1 "Being Gregarious" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/062511jv.gif
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
2. HONORED READERS FOR July:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our Good Mountain Press Digest from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for July, 2011:
Patty Lee in New Orleans
Owen Pearn in Australia
Congratulations, Patty and Owen !
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Out Our Way:
RAIN, BEAUTIFUL RAIN! ! !
That was the song we sang when we returned from four days on the beach in Gulf Shores to find water on our driveway. Our rain gauge, the bed of Babe my pickup truck, showed that at least an inch or more of rain had fallen the night before, and we got another strong shower over night again. But that was the last week of the month and in my enthusiasm, I have just jumped ahead of three jam-packed weeks of activities.
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS
That has been the motto for Morton's Salt ever since I can remember. They have the little girl walking in the rain with her yellow umbrella and the salt is pouring freely out the tipped salt box. Few people alive today remember the days when salt used to cake up, and Morton and other companies found a way to add something to keep it pouring freely. But I digress.
On Memorial Day weekend, the three-day holiday weekend, my computer went into a forced shutdown and would not reboot. I tried the RESET button several times which is guaranteed to bring all logic levels (voltages) to zero. Still the computer was dead, the only sign of life was the equivalent of a flat-line on a heart monitor, the red light which shows a disk access. When that light stays on, it's a sure signal that a hard disk drive has its head hung up and won't retract or release.After a half hour of frustration, I decided that if it was really a stuck head on one of my 8-15 year-old hard drives, that a thump on the side of the mainframe cabinet might revive the dead computer. So I powered off, waited ten minutes, powered it on and gave it a thump at the instant the red light lit up and wonder of wonders! It booted up just fine.
That sent a sure signal that it was time for me to upgrade my entire mainframe while it was still running, even if I had to hit it across the head with a 2X4 to get its attention when it balked. That was in the first few days of June, and I had a similar dead computer incident at the end of June, yesterday. This time it was a Blue Screen HALT which said something about a USB problem. I had been trying to get my USB wires all working. With two cameras, two off-site backups, a keyboard, a printer, and a mouse requiring ports, I was trying various ways to combine these. So the computer wouldn't reboot. Stuck in a different way. The red light would go off but nothing. Again this time the DEL key would not show me the CMOS status which can be used to re-align system disk assignments. I systematically removed all the USB connectors and finally the system came up again. WHEW! Another scary event right at crunch time for the Digest. If you are reading this Digest117 on or about July 1, it's because my old system is still running albeit a bit balky at times.
My new System 7 with an INTEL-7 chip and Windows 7, acquired during June, will provide me the computer equivalent of a souped up V-8 monster: 8X8 bits of parallel operation, a full 64-bit processor. Plus 3 TeraByte drives, two internal and one for off-site backup. The two internal hard drives will be run in parallel, each backed up on the other and then backed up on the offsite drive. When I first wanted a Gigabyte drive, the first ones were $3,000 apiece! At that price, to buy a One Terabyte drive, I would have needed 1,000 GB drives and paid $3 million dollars! Now that same capacity costs about 200 dollars.For the first time in 10 years, all three of my disk drives will be brand new. It will take me a month of running parallel with both the XP and Sys7 to get the Sys7 fully loaded with everything I need for my writing, research, and publishing efforts. But at that time, I will know where everything is loaded into my PC and will have full charge of all my backups. The three most important things in Real Estate is Location, Location, Location, but in computers it's Backup, Backup, Backup. Unless you have two backups, one in an offsite location, a Joplin-like tornado can wipe away your life's work. Wish me luck! There are several Unk-Unk's ahead of me (Unknown-Unknowns in aerospace jargon) in addition to the Unk's I am already anticipating, but I am determined to make this move work and there is no looking back. I have had papers served on the XP system and she will have to move away from my desktop within 60 days. Every good thing must eventually come to a new good beginning!
MATHERNE'S GATHER IN BOURG
My Aunt Nancy celebrated her 90th birthday with a Mass at St. Ann's Church in Bourg, Louisiana followed by a spaghetti dinner, desserts, and birthday cake in the community center next door. Born Nancy Marguerite Sanderson, she married my dad's brother Ray Pierre Matherne on June 13, 1943 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Evesham, England. She was a war bride. My mother Annette wrote to her while she waited in England for WWII to end and Uncle Ray to take her with him to Bourg. One memorable note in the letters was when Mom wrote that she had just cooked some Gumbo for supper. Aunt Nan's mother was listening as Nancy read the letter out loud to her and commented, "Oh! Those poor people! They have to eat elephant!" She had heard "Jumbo" instead of gumbo, and thought of the the long-famous elephant in the London Zoo named Jumbo by P. T. Barnum.She and Ray had seven children, 6 boys, Adrian, Raymond, Brian, Tommy, John, and Nathan, and one girl, Anita. All but Anita and Raymond are still alive and were there, John coming all the way from Colorado for his mom's birthday. When Aunt Nan's family has a family reunion, it's a Matherne reunion because the Sanderson half of the family are all in England, so far as I know. We had Matherne and Babin relatives in equal number, but Nancy's kids had only Matherne relatives. This aspect of their lives only occurred to me as we made plans to attend the birthday and reunion event. Our first Matherne reunion was in May 2000, and this reunion called to mind the faces and hugs we were missing from eleven years ago, including my mom, dad, and brother David.
When we arrived the Knights of Columbus had a table set up with coffee and donuts for the Mass which had just ended. We talked to the Commander and other people who were there. For us, Bourg was the "country" — it was where we came whenever Mom and Dad took us to the country. Grandpa Matherne owned a General Store a block from the church, on the corner of Texas-Gulf Road and the highway.After his wife Nora died, he tore down the store and kept a barber shop where he continued to cut hair for the men of Bourg for sixty years. He started at age18 and retired at 78. About a mile away, up Bayou Terrebonne was my other grandparents, Peter and Daisy Babin, my mom's parents. He was a sugar cane farmer and owned 89 acres of land which remains in the family to this day. Bourg was a large place where we could go crabbing down the bayou, fishing in the marshland bayous and lakes for speckled trout and redfish, or just sit under the shady arms of hundred year-old pecan trees and read comic books. Or pick figs with Grandma in her chicken yard.
At the reunion were my four of my five Matherne aunts, Carolyn, Lorraine, Marie, and Lydia, and a whole spate of my cousins and their children. The highlight of the affair was provided by Adrian's son Chris Matherne, who compiled a DVD to celebrate his Grandma's birthday, "Dancing with the Stars." We laughed and laughed as members of Nancy's family had their heads attached to lithe dancing bodies and performed acrobatic maneuvers on the dance floor. My four Aunts did a lively, kick up their skirts Can-Can. Brian, Nathan, John, and Tommy paraded their mostly nude torsos as four Chippendale male strippers — that was hilarious. Then Tommy and Nathan in grass skirt and coconut bras, did the hula with their hairy bellies! We nearly rolled on the floor in laughter as Nathan's dancer dug at lint in his belly button at one point during the hula! Afterward I asked Nathan if he enjoyed the show, and he said, "I almost peed in my pants!"
Another bit of excitement came outside as we watched the thundering skies for the first sign of rain in over a month. Somewhere it rained that day, but not at Timberlane where we had almost a month yet before we would get a soaking rain for the lawn and garden.
A THREE REVIEW MONTH
For the second straight month the stars aligned properly and I was able finish reading three books and get them reviewed in one month. The lead off books, "Success Through Failure" and "WHY?" both intrigued me as I read their blurbs in Labyrinth Catalog of Academic Books, so I ordered them. Petroski's book held me in thrall with his descriptions of how large scale failures in bridges and buildings occurred and how they are so difficult to build to anticipate all the future evolution of machines and men that they might face. Charles Tilly's book was the most titillating of the three books because he punctuated the reasons that people give by defining four categories of reasons: stories, conventions, codes, and technical descriptions.By the time I read Tilly's book, I had just finished with Petroski's giving various reasons for failure using those four categories. Tilly even referenced Petroski's early works in his book. As I read "WHY?" my eyes fell on "The Struggle" waiting on my desk as the next book to be reviewed. I began to fit the things I read of Dr. Viikari's struggle into the four "Why" categories and this helped give me a perspective on how to write my next review. Basically Viikari gave stories of her successes and technical descriptions of how the human body responded to her procedures for removing iatrogenic problems resulting from ill-suited eyeglasses and surgical operations on the eye. All three reviews were interwoven in a way I could not have planned in advance. I hope you, dear Reader, take the time to explore these reviews.
JIM AND GINA ARE MOVING
Our son Jim Hatchett and his wife Gina are selling their house in Kountze, Texas above Beaumont and will be moving shortly to Dallas. This prompted us to pay them a visit to see how the renovations on their house had progressed.Gina's new job in Dallas is a promotion for her and Jim will give up his job with Jefferson County and move up their with Gina and Kirt. On the drive over, we stopped first in Port Allen for a Waffle House breakfast, so much faster and better than Crackerbarrel. Their two eggs over medium and grits is just right for both of us, but her toast is toasted and dry wheat and mine is buttered raisin bread toast. Waffle House is also much better than standing in line at McDonald's for some high school graduate to take our order. Waffle House gives us a polite and cheerful waitress, which makes quite a difference when you want to take a break from a long drive and ordering standing up ain't no fun. The we stopped at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles for our favorite, their crawfish-étouffée-stuffed, deep-fried pistolettes (small french bread).
We visited with Jim and Gina and Amanda (their grown daughter) and got caught up with their plans for the move. That night we drove to the Catfish Barn for supper. The next morning we left for home and after a Waffle House breakfast, we held on for an oyster po-boy at Bubba II's Shell Station in Raceland. Even a Sunday po-boy there was better than a weekday one most other places. We stopped to visit our friend Gail Webb in Luling to see her garden and pick up a purple Crepe Myrtle tree she had dug up and saved for us. I've wanted a deep purple one for decades and this may be the one if we can get enough water on it to survive the summer drought we are having.
STEPPING STONES, PINE BARK MULCH, AND KINGBIRDS
More garden work so, Del and I cranked up the Babe and went to Home Depot.Del bought two dozen stepping stones for her secret garden and 50 bags of mulch for the East Portico's garden. I had them put the stones just inside the tailgate, then the guy with his fork lifted the pallet and placed it down in the Babe's bed ahead of the stones. It was stacked very high (a couple feet above the top of the truck's cab), wrapped with plastic wrap still around the bags. Drove it home slowly with no problems. Stretched the 1,000 lb load limit of the ½ Ton Pickup a bit, and the Babe handled the heavy load just fine. A few days later, I was busy writing at my deck and I looked out my window to see the Babe pull up into the curved driveway and Del getting out of the cab. I went outside and got a short film clip of Del tossing the bags of mulch down to her garden helper Cindy who was spreading the mulch across the garden, in between the Snow-on-the-Mountain Camellias and purple-spiked leriope plants.
Later we were in the kitchen and Del called my attention to a bird in the Louisiana Cypress tree outside the breakfast area. Looked like a mocking bird to me at first, at least the size was right for it to be one. But its habits were different.It sat in the tree for a long time, then would flit to the ground, pick up some snack to eat and immediately fly back to a perch somewhere. I took some close up photos with my new CANON SX30 with its 35X optical zoom and got out the Audubon Field Guide of North American Birds to identify the new visitor. With its near white belly and neck with tiny hints of white lines along its side, it looked to be an Eastern Kingbird. I had never seen or heard of such a bird before. But the photos were conclusive in all accounts. What was icing on the cake was that the field guide exactly described its curious eating habits, the fly down to ground then immediately return to a perch. A week or so later, I was watching the US OPEN because a brash 22-year-old Irish lad was 17 strokes in the lead on the last day. Rory was breaking nearly every record in the book, so I broke my own ten year record of not watching a golf match and caught the last 5 holes. Somewhere around hole 17 a bird had lighted on the green between the next player's ball and the cup, which interrupted the match, but just for a second or so as the bird immediately flew up and from its general size, shape and markings I was able to identify it as an Eastern Kingbird because of its idiosyncratic behavior!
CAT & MOUSE DINNEROne of the events which breaks up the summer is our Annual Cat&Mouse Dinner at Antoine's Restaurant, usually held in June.It's a rare time for an elegant Black Tie & Evening Dress occasion as these usually come in cooler weather, but it pleases the ladies to be included in an elegant dinner in the Rex Room at Antoine's where their men will entertain them with a post-prandial poetic or musical tribute. The food was exquisite, from the Shrimp Remoulade, the Marchand du Vine entree, to the custom-designed Baked Alaska dessert with chocolate drizzled on top of a large scoop from the ice cream and cake topped with browned meringue concoction. We were entertained by a flaming brandy dance of the wine steward's baton in the darkened room before the brandy was poured into our coffee. Each lady received a verbal tribute from their husband, romantic and oft poetic as befit the occasion. As we got up to leave, our way into the narrow hallway outside the Rex Room was blocked by five black men in dark suits whose brightly colored ties with large musical notes reflected their intentions to us.They broke out into song, serenading the ladies in doo wop fashion with "Only You" and other old favorites from the 1950s. It was like a Time Warp into the 50's, but live instead of on scratchy 45s. And next year, God Willing, we will do the Time Warp again!
GULF SHORES BEACH
Our daughter Maureen called and invited us to join her in Gulf Shores in a condo she had rented for five days. Since we lost our Orange Beach home week in July this year, we figured this was our chance to get some beach time on the white sands and in the emerald waters of the Gulf Coast. On the drive down to the beach we stopped in Foley at Tanger Outlet Mall as I hoped to buy a couple of pairs of trousers like I bought last year. Unfortunately the clerk said they were out of them, he thought. So I found a shirt I liked and a jacket and went to check out with the same clerk. He was on his cell phone on an obvious personal call. Usually I just walk away from the counter and out of the store when a clerk is making a personal call while I'm waiting for service. He paused his conversation, but he kept the phone at his ear and began to ring up my purchases. Before asking for my credit card, he gave me the perfect opening when he asked if I wanted anything else, "Yes," I said, "a clerk who is not on a personal call." I walked out of the store. No product is worth being insulted by a clerk who is so bored with his work that a personal phone call is more important than a customer at the counter. I walked over to the next men's store and bought a sporty looking long-sleeved white shirt and was very happy. The clerk was pleasant, talked to me, and wasn't holding onto her phone as if it were a life line as the previous clerk did.
We checked in at the Sunrise Condos and unpacked, then walked next door to the Sea-n-Suds restaurant for supper. Nice having a place to eat within walking distance. The next morning we rented some umbrella chairs and set up the umbrella and chair Maureen brought at the water's edge. A couple of times the waves lipped the edge of the sand and sent water under the chair. There was a storm somewhere out in the Gulf causing the surf to be rough. Maureen and I rode the boogie-board a couple of times, but the surf was hitting so hard it rattled my teeth one time just walking out with the board. Too rough to be fun. The next day we had lunch at Hazel's Buffet and were surprised at how good the food was. First time I'd been there and I usually don't like buffets, but there was an appetizing selection of food and if one thing wasn't great you could get something else you liked. I treated myself to some of the soft serve ice cream in a bowl and topped it with the cherry cobbler for a nice dessert. More beach time and in the evenings we played Scrabble and Blokus. Maureen learned the Matherne Rules of Scrabble so well, she outscored me and Del in the second game by over 200 points with a rare double Triple for 169 points in one play, earning the honorary title of Scrabble Champ.
For me the beach time was a time for relaxing away from my computer, from emails, and from writing, mostly sitting on the beach and reading.
I did slip up for a moment one afternoon and sketched out a short poem in the Steiner book, Anthroposophical Medicine, that I was reading.I have placed it below to share it with you. Some of you won't just read it, but will join me on the beach.
On the Beach
Feet in sand
Wind in face
Sun on legs
Hat on head
Surf in ears
Shell in pocket
Book on lap
Pen in hand
Mind in cosmos
Maureen, Del, and I had lunch on the last day at the Crab Trap right over the Florida border on the beach road and it brought up memories of our trip there when 31 of our family converged on the outside tables overlooking the sandy playground where our grandchildren played together as we enjoyed our meal and each other's company. It's hard to get all eight of our offspring and their kids together in one place for a week, but we pulled it off that year.
INCENSE AND MUMBO-JUMBO
We left early on Thursday morning so we could get home for the Pfister Sisters Concert performance for the Thursdays at Twilight in City Park Concert series. Our friends Seth and Mary met us at the Two Sisters Pavilion. It was their first time, and we all enjoyed it. Del and Mary have plans for a regular bridge night for the four of us coming up. It's a card game Del has been wanting to learn to play and one I have avoided playing over the years. With Dad gone, our card playing has been curtailed, so this has caught me in a weak spot and I agreed. Bridge players I have known in the past are like religious fanatics and have given me hives just being around them. I kept expecting them to take up a collection. I'm looking for fun and relaxation when I play cards not incense and mumbo-jumbo. Which brings me up to my motto:
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING . . .
The past month brought us lots of clear skies, blessed rain for our lawn and gardens, a new computer, and visitors to our home like our grand-daughter Katie and her cousin Maggie. The epic flooding of the Mississippi was held to just barely the 17 foot flood stage in New Orleans thanks to the opening of Bonnet Carre and Morganza Spillways. Minor flooding occurred in Atchafalaya flood plain but spared Morgan City and most local towns. We went to the 2011 Matherne Reunion, Twilight Concert in City Park, and harvested, cooked, and ate our largesse of cucumbers, eggplants, bell peppers, okra, and Creole tomatoes from our Veggie Garden. Till August when the Saints Come Marching in the renovated Superdome, and LSU football gears up for another Super Season, God Willing and the hurricanes wend their way harmlessly up the Atlantic seaboard! Whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it chilly or hot, cloudy or sunny, nearing Autumn or Spring, remember our slogan: Enjoy the present moment, it's the only Eternity we have and it's given to us for Free!IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
To those Good Readers who are puzzled by How the Moon could be Rising In Front of a Mountain, Click on Photo. AND if you are puzzled because you No Longer get our Monthly Reminder, you may have Changed Your Email Address Address without notifying us. NOTIFY US NOW by a simple Click Here!
Here's the Sting:
You will NOT receive a Monthly Reminder unless you have Re-subscribed under your new address to DIGESTWORLD.
If you've already receiving DIGESTWORLD Reminders, ignore this message.
If you're not subscribed, and would like to Subscribe to DIGESTWORLD Reminders to receive one short email a month to inform you of the latest ISSUE, now's a good time. SUBSCRIBE NOWby Clicking Here.
Yes, this message does no good to those who changed their email address without notifying me — but it can alert those of you who are going to change your address.
If you've changed or are planning to change your email address, Click Here to SEND NEW ADDRESS. (Alternate way is to copy into your Browser this URL: http://www.doyletics.com/subscrib.htm )
EASE OF VIEWING NOTES:
NOTE: For Internet Explorer Browsers, DIGESTWORLD is best viewed at 100% Zoom and the Window's width sized so that Digest Archives lines are single-spaced, just barely. Adjust Window width so that Mountains almost touch the Archive Numbers, especially if you find some Photos overlapping text.
PHOTO CAPTIONS (CURSOR FLYOVER ISSUE RESOLVED):If you have been enjoying the photos in DIGESTWORLD, but have wondered who or what you were looking at, you will now be able to hold your cursor still over the photo and the photo's description will appear. (Test on Butterfly-Crab Image at Right.) We spend a lot of time writing these photo captions and hope you will read them. All the Archived Issues have been updated to provide descriptions when your cursor rests for a second on a photo. Note that older Reviews have not been updated. If you haven't finished reading text when description disappears, move cursor away and back on photo to finish. We thank you for your patience and hope this pleases you.
New Quotes Added to quotes.htm this month:
- Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead ( 20th-century American Anthropologist ) US writer
New Stuff about Website: Five Featured Reviews:
1. Gertrud Mueller Nelson's To Dance With God
The title of the book come from Gertrud's 4 year old daughter's mouth when she was asked why she was making a banner — "I'm going to have a parade so that God will come down and dance with me." From that seed the structure for this book grew inside her.
In the early chapters she presents the essentials of ritual: in particular, the answer to "why bother?" Her answer comes from the Pantheon (all-gods) in Rome. The dome was constructed by filling the vault with dirt (with occasional coins scattered throughout), building a dome over the dirt, and then excavating the dirt (the coins were incentives to the excavators — may be the origin of the word "in-cent-ive"). At the peak of the dome a group of statues of Roman gods were placed. Over time the statues fell through the dome leaving a gaping hole -the hole through which the gods came to earth. In medieval times on Pentecost the Christians would drop burning straw through the Holy Ghost Hole and release a white dove signifying the entry of God into the realm of mankind.
In modern churches the fire and the dove are painted on the walls or are represented on banners hung for that occasion.
The "hole in space" through which God comes down to dance with humankind is represented in our homes by the fireplace through which a sanctified man (Santa) enters each year to bless our homes. The "hole in time" is the sacred time-out or holy day (holiday) during which we retreat from the day to day cares to a renewing of our spirits: we provide a hole in time for God to enter our lives to dance with us.
In the remainder of the book, Nelson takes us through the year from Advent to Thanksgiving and provides suggestions for family rituals that provide holes in time and space for us to "dance with God."
The book is illustrated throughout with Gertrud Mueller Nelson's artwork. The art will seem very familiar to Catholics as it has been used extensively to adorn the pages of liturgical missals for the past 20 years.
2. Robert Heinlein's Tramp Royale
When Heinlein's wife Ticky insisted that they go around the world by ship instead of airplane, Robert "firmly gave in." When she insisted that two bags were not enough, he did likewise, and they carried ten stuffed suitcases. At every step of the way Ticky flirted with incarceration by the local gendarmes by stretching and twisting points of law much to Heinlein's chagrin. When a customs official asked what she had to declare, she said, "Two pounds of heroin." Luckily the official had a sense of humor and let her by unmolested, which is more that her husband did. But his exhortations after the fact had little effect on his indomitable spouse who reminded me much more of Lazarus Long than Heinlein did. Nothing seemed to faze her disdain for petty tyrants and their Xmas rolls of red tape.
He told her the story of the two dogs who crossed paths at the Chile-Argentina border, each emigrating to the other's home land. "Why would you leave a land where you are so well-fed?" the skinny Chilean dog inquired incredulously. "I thought I'd like to bark," came the answer. But that did little to curb her open dislike for officials at all levels. Somehow Robert managed to smuggle her into and out of Juan Peron's tight-lipped fiefdom of Argentina without her tongue landing them both in jail.
They toured the world mostly in a cargo ship in first class, and their accommodations seemed preferable to most large ocean liners due to the smaller number of passengers and the close, personal service. Most of their travel was below the equator, across South America, South Africa and Australia. Their favorite places were the Panama Canal, Uruguay, and South Africa. Their least favorites were Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. "Dreary Utopia" he referred to NZ in the chapter heading, giving it low marks for hotels, food, and service — even the scenery could be easily matched by the Northwestern section of the US, he thought, and in far more comfort.
At times reading this book I would lapse into a reverie in which I imagined I was reading one of his novels and it was Lazarus Long and his wife Dora visiting earth during the 1950's. Long was on vacation, however, and not much happened — except for one very detailed history lesson of the world during that time period, told by someone who observes everything and reports it with clarity. We see ourselves in the 1950's, the good, the bad, and the ugly — and get to judge how far we have come since then. For the price of this book, we can take a trip around the world without the inconveniences of bad food, seasickness, and interminable customs red tape — quite a bargain all the way around. I was struck by many of the changes in the world in forty years (she would say "Two kilos of heroin" now) — the shrinking of the British Empire, the disappearance of communism, the appearance of US fast food places all over, and many other minor things.
At the end of the book RH says he'd like to take another trip around the world, this time across the Northern Hemisphere, but he'd like to wait till he can travel completely in non-communist territory. If he'd lived only a handful more years, he could have done just that.
3. Humberto Maturana and FranciscoVarela's The Tree of Knowledge
An incredible book of ten chapters arranged in a recursive fashion with a diagram that shows the interconnections of the chapters and chapter concepts with each other. The diagram heads each chapter with the current subjects in dark red. A suggestion to new readers: If you're not sure you want to read the book start with Chapter 10, go back to 1, read to 9 and then 10.
Their first metaphor uses Christ Crowned With Thorns by Hieronymus Bosch to illustrate the great temptations of certainty. The man in the lower right seems to be telling Jesus, "Now listen to me, I know what I'm saying.!" This book deals with how we reach such certainty and how ephemeral such certainty turns out to be. Their next metaphor is the blind spot of the optic nerve: "We do not see that we do not see." (Sounds like one of R. D. Laing's Knots.) The authors point out that ". . . a statement is a scientific one only when it is based on scientific explanations." (As G. B. Madison points out in Understanding, "This is also true if you replace science with religion and magic. Maturana and Varela, being scientists, naturally miss this generalization of their statement.)
The organization-of-life explanations are extremely well-written and valuable in their development of life as a mechanism that exists by maintaining an invariant (or constant) relationship with its environment (which must include other living beings). When this process generalizes up to human life in Chapter 10, we discern that process is what we call love. In the example of the wild girl (or feral children in general), the lack of interaction with other humans (love) causes a maladjustment which can never be fully recovered from. Life and love are inseparable unities. You cannot have one without the other. In the authors' words, "We have only the world that we bring forth with others, and only love helps us bring it forth."
4. Frances Hodgson Bennett's The Secret Garden
This is a delightful story of a dour young girl raised in India by her parents and servants who are all wiped out by a cholera epidemic. She is sent to a 100-room mansion in Yorkshire in the middle of a huge moor. She discovers the entrance to a secret garden and begins to glow as her garden grows. Her nickname, Mistress Mary Quite Contrary illustrates her demeanor until the magic of the secret garden takes effect.
She finds a moor boy Dickon who charms animals (foxes, crows, squirrels, etc) and teaches her the name of plants. She finds an indoor boy — an invalid born when his mother died ten years previously. Colin has accepted over the years that he is sick and spends his days in bed, throwing tantrums and searching for a hump which would indicate that his hunch, his hump was developing — he had been convinced that he would grow into a hunchback.
Mary begins talking to him, takes him into her confidence about the secret garden, and brings Dicken to Colin's room to meet him. Soon Colin is going down to the secret garden every day and developes a plan to surprise his father by walking to meet him when he next comes to visit.
Colin also discovers the concept of magic and does experiments with it which soon convince him that there is no truth beyond magic. Colin decides to be a scientist, an explorer, and an athlete. And so the story goes, predictably unwinding and tremendously enjoyable the whole way.
The magic of the author's writing is in the way she develops the story and in her natural dialogue. She has Dicken and his sister speaking broad Yorkshirese like, "Surely tha' muson know it." and dropping into English so Colin and Mary could understand them. Then Mary and Colin try their hand at Yorkshirese because they like the quick and easy way it flows across their tongue. It seems always true that cultured tongues are made to hop hurdles of precise diction and country dialects from Yorkshire to Cajun flow easily across the tongue.
5. Owen Barfield's Unancestral Voice
The first half of this book takes place on an ocean liner with Burgeon and two of his friends. They hold long conversations on philosophy that seem to go nowhere. Burgeon becomes aware of a voice speaking inside of him, a voice he calls the "Meggid." Soon the Meggid is speaking through him with his own voice and Burgeon finds himself becoming a channel for the Meggid. Similar to the experiences of Jane Roberts with Seth, J. Z. Knight with Ramatha, and Jack Purcel with Lazaris, Burgeon through Meggid describes the duality of thought and action experienced by a channeler.
The Meggid is interested in the ultimate reality of the universe and shines through particularly well in the episode late in the book when the scientist Flume finishes sharing his views in a lecture on the evolution of physics. The Meggid's conversation with Flume is one of the gems of the book. Flume points out that the progressively finer and finer inspection of the physical world provided by modern physicists has culminated in the realization that the finest particle of the physical world must be of zero size or not be a particle at all.
This leads into a discussion of the creative role of imagination in understanding the ultimate reality of the universe. Barfield mirrors Jane Roberts in her views on imagination as expressed in her book, "The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events."
A key concept in Barfield's view of man's relationship with nature. It runs directly counter to the fad environmentalist trend to view man as apart from nature, as a nemesis of nature.
The relationship between yourself and nature is, not a relation between your body and all else in nature, but the relation between yourself on the one hand and, on the other, your body as at once a part of nature and her epitome.
Thus he reminds us that we carry inside our bodies the highest representation of the whole of nature. This attitude is reminiscent of Ralph Waldo Emerson's glorification of the individual.
To know anything — whether a person, a thing, or a process — entails ... that the mind enters into what is known and unites with the spirit that informs and transforms it.
When men cease to look only for continuity they will find that there is this destruction of the form, this momentary return to chaos in every common seed in the article of its germination.
It will be well to keep this Barfield quote in mind as we experience chaos at all levels of civilization at the onset of the new millennium. It reflects the chaos of germination of the seed of nascent consciousness.
Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix.“Love and Other Drugs” (2010) Jamie met thousands of people, and then he met Maggie and his life was changed forever. A roller coaster ride in bed with the drug industry. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Time Cop” (1994) Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself twice, once ten years younger, in this time travel kick’em up with a happy ending.
“Jolene” (2008) was abused, neglected, moved through foster homes, grew up beautiful, and wandered from one disastrous marriage to another, always striving to survive, in her childlike innocence.
“Passchendaele” (2008) — the true story of what Michael Dunn done during that WWI battle when his life intertwined with Sarah and David. Worth wading through lots of blood and guts and mud. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Dinner with Schmucks” (2010) but had trouble figuring out who were the Schmucks, must have been because I was laughing non-stop! RTOFLOL ! ! Had to pause DVD to catch our breaths. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Code” (2009) A predictable heist job by Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas of Romanov Eggs worth 40 million. May the best actor win the contest. Lots of holes in plot filled in with Silly Putty, but overall an okay movie.
“Love Hurts” (2009) Richard Grant who stars as over-serious ENT MD who loses his wife and re-gains his life after a stint of middle-age crazy. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“South from Granada” (2003) Gerald Brenan meets Julianna, falls in love, and writes of the countryside south of Granada. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Secretariat” (2010) Diane Ladd played the housewife in Denver whose dad died and left her the horse farm. She had to flip to see which foal from Bold Ruler would be hers . Checking the heritage she wanted the one from the mare whose ancestry included horses with stamina. She lost the coin flip, but the winner chose the other horse of whom he later said, “Couldn’t outrun my accountants”. The big build-up to the Belmont Stakes is the climax of the movie. Would the stamina of Meadow Stable’s mare allow Secretariat to eke out a Triple Crown at the mile-and-a-half Belmont run? The truth is often stranger than fiction, so if you don’t remember what happened in that race or do, this movie will thrill you! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“War Bride” (2001) in London marries Charlie from Alberta and when she is shipped there during WWII, the war with her mother- and sister-in-law breaks out on the desolate prairie. Can indomitable Lily win this war before Charlie arrives home or will he bring another War home with him? A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“A Bear Named Winnie” (2004) when a bear cub was rescued by the Vet Corps in WWI and taken to England, it had to be placed in London Zoo during the War. Became a favorite of all the kids. One kid visited the zoo and loved Winnie, A. A. Milne, and wrote his famous stories based on her. Here is Winnie’s own story. (Named for Winnipeg, Canada) A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Company Men” (2010) with Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones etal in a story of the financial collapse as it affect the men of a large company: who died, who strived, and who recovered.
“Last Man Standing” (2010) was a woman (JAG’s Mac aka Catherine Bell) who was forced to risk everything to save her husband, even his life! A Cable movie.
“Vision” (2009) is what Hildegarde von Bingen had from childhood, but kept it secret till she was Magistra of the order of nuns. A strong woman, she was constantly rebuffed by the male priests and brothers until a pregnant nun killed herself and Hildegarde decided her nuns needed a separate cloister. Amazing woman who has a large church in Bingen in the Rheingau today dedicated to her.
“Convicted” (2010) of bloody murder, her brother is sent to prison for life and Hilary Swank plays sister who goes to college to become a lawyer to obtain his release. One of the first DNA convictions over turned. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“True Grit” (2010) Anyone who sees this version first should immediately view the first version to see how two great actors, John Wayne and Robert Duvall play the two keys parts. In this film, the girl was convincing and Matt Damon’s talents were wasted on a part that non-actor Glen Campbell did in the first one. Bridges had grit, but Wayne true grit.
“The Love Ranch” (2009) Helen Mirren as the Madame of the Love Ranch and Joe Pesci as Charlie Good Times in this raunchy romp at the Reno Ranch. When Grace gets her life in balance, she gets more life.
>“Glorious 39” (2009) refers both to that glorious pre-war year of 1939 and to the eponymous heroine, Glorious, who uncovers a plot to capitulate her native Britain to Germany, including the fact it is not her native land, and her adopted family is trying to kill her. Can she survive alone in such a world? A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.“Dilemma” (2011) Vince Vaughn’s talents wasted on this awful script full of disingenuous couples except for the gratuitous gay couple cameo, of course. Spying, lying, stupid pratfalls, and specious reasoning make this turkey an AVOID AT ALL COSTS.
“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” (2010) ends in a TKO but exactly who wins in the ersatz Video-Game-turned-movie is not clear. Anyone over 15 would do best to watch reruns of I Love Lucy than this inane techno-turkey.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“The Other Guys” (2010) get a chance to star and stumble through various cases on the way to a Your Call. Great stunts and then movie slows down to a sleeper.
“Salt” (2010) Movie makers took an already incredible script and made it ridiculous by converting the sleeper spy into a woman, the only female of the sleeper spies. You want walking on walls, jumping from speeding trucks to speeding trucks, controlled falls down elevator shaft, Spiderman like? World destruction stopped by a Russian turned American by North Koreans? Take this one with a grain of you know what.
“Another Year” (2010) with Jim Broadbent was a peephole into the life of two middle class professionals outside of London, their unmarried son, oft-married friend Mary, and an assortment of other characters who flow in and out of their lives.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
To understand this story, one needs to know that the Cajun surname DUGAS is pronounced DOO-GAH — the "S" is SILENT. It also helps to know the melody and the Refrain of the old folk song, Camptown, which goes, "Camptown ladies, sing that song, Doo Dah, Doo Dah"
Boudreaux, Broussard and Dugas grew up in the small town of Gueydan, Louisiana. They went to school together, stood in each other's wedding, worked in the oilfield together, and went hunting and fishing together whenever they could.
One day they were going hunting and Dugas showed up with a new dog.
"Wat you go dere?" Boudreaux asked him.
"Mais dat's mah new Lavatory Retriever!" Dugas said proudly, "I done bought him from this Yankee who told me he was the best retriever he ever saw"
Broussard said, "Wahl, let's see if he can swim and brought back all dem poule-doux and dos gris Ah'm gonna shoot down today."
So the three men loaded up their pirogue with their shotguns, shells, decoys, and the Labrador Retriever, then they got in and began paddling out to their duck blind. The dog seemed a little skittish, but everything went smoothly until they reached the Intercoastal canal with its deep water. As they hit the wake of a large barge which had just passed, the dog tried to jump out of the skinny pirogue and capsized it. Into the water disappeared Boudreaux, Broussard, Dugas, the shotguns, shells, and the dog. After a few seconds, up popped Broussard, then Boudreaux, then the dog, and they waited and waited, but no Dugas.
"It looks like our good buddy Dugas done drowned himself," Boudreaux said finally.
"Yeah, Ah tink so me," Broussard replied.
"You gonna have to drive over to Breaux Bridge to tole the widow Dugas dat she's a widow, Broussard, because me, Ah gotta offshore as soon as we got back to de pickup truck."
"But y. . . y . . . y . . . you know Ah ca. . ca . . can't ta . . ta. . talk when Ah'm ne . . . ne. . . ner . . . ner . . . vous!" Broussard stammered out.
"Wahl," Boudreaux replied, "you got to do dat because Ah can't me. Tole you wat you can do. You done heard of the country singer Mel Tillis?"
"Ye. . . . ye. . . yeah. He ta . . . ta. . . talk like me," Broussard finally got out.
"Yeah, but whan he sing, he sing like an Angel. Ah don't got no more time to explain, you just got to do it — find youself a tune and sing de news to Dugas's widow."
All during the trip to Breaux Bridge Broussard thought about how he was going to tell Dugas's that she is now a widow. He remembered what Boudreaux told him and he chose "Camptown Races" since it was the only song he knew how to sing. He got out of his pickup truck in front of Dugas's house and walked up to door. Dugas's wife opened the door and said, "Mais, Broussard, what you doing here?"
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
5. RECIPE of the MONTH for July, 2011 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Grilled Fish with Green Beans and Potatoes
Background on Grilled Fish with Green Beans and Potatoes: I spent an evening with my son-in-law Wes at his Red River Camp. He took some frozen cod out the freezer and threw it on a flat gas-fired grill, added some green beans and chopped potatoes and grilled them all together until done. He let me do the stirring, and I decided this was a great way to prepare a quick meal and tried it a week later when I got home, using frozen tilapia filets.
two tilapia or other fish filets
half dozen small red potatoes
small mess of green beans snapped in half
Bertolli's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tsp of Chopped Garlic
Seasonings: black pepper, Season-All, Tony Chachere's Seasoning
Defrost filets. Chop green beans in half. Chop potatoes in one-eight chunks as show here.
Cover bottom of Wok (or spread over Grill) some Olive Oil.
Add the beans and potatoes and grill until potatoes begin to char a bit using HIGH heat. See here. Then clear a spot in the middle of cooking surface, add more olive oil, then add fish.
When everything is ready to eat, it should look about like here.
Serves two hearty appetites. Add a fresh cucumber salad to accompany the meal.
Use whatever fresh or frozen fish is available.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
6. POETRY by BOBBY from 1996 in Yes, and Even More!:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Written on December 16, 1995 while reading page 113 of Rudolf Steiner’s book, The Arts and Their Mission. He talks about how writers such as Homer could not write except for the inspiration of the gods. Thus does the Iliad and the Odyssy begin with an exhortation to the gods in their very first sentences. Erato is the Muse of lyric poetry and mime.
Sweet EratoSwing low, Sweet Erato
Sing me your melodies and rhymes
Swing low Sweet Erato
Bear me in your Sweet Chariot.
Well, I looked in my poetry
and what did I see,
Coming for to carry my poems,
But a Band of Muses,
Coming after me
Coming for to carry my poems.
Bend low, Sweet Erato
Give me your words and ideas
Bend low, Sweet Erato,
Hum me your songs in my ears.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for July:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.
1.) ARJ2: Success Through Failure — The Paradox of Design by Henry Petroski
During my required two years of ROTC at LSU, I learned one of the biggest lessons of my life: Make your biggest mistakes first. Before that time, I was a perfectionist and never attempted anything until I was sure I would succeed, and when I failed, felt very bad for some time afterward. My lesson came from the most unlikely place: in a Military Science course. In the mortar class, I learned that the field observer who has his sights on the target, always give coordinates to over shoot the target by a wide margin on the first mortar round lobbed at a target. He notes how far the round over shot the target. Then gives coordinates certain to fall short of the target for the next lob. Again he notes how far the round under shot the target. He calculates coordinates now which will overshoot target by half the original overshot, fires a round; repeats same for undershot. By bracketing in on the target this way, the observer minimizes the amount of time necessary to hit the target, not by aiming directly at it (which he cannot do, only guess at), but by purposely failing systematically until a test round hits the target at which time the observer radios back, "Fire for Effect", and a barrage of mortar rounds are unleashed guaranteed to hit within the target area, every one!
Later in one of my careers, as a systems analyst for computer systems, I would learn how to code and specify coding for a Binary Search in order to find an object in a list whose exact location in the list is unknown. After using this technique on several projects, I remembered the mortar sighting lesson and realized that it used, in effect, a Binary Search procedure. The two processes used the same method: overshoot, undershoot, until you have bracketed in on the target in the minimum number of tries.
Failure as the path to success is the theme of Henry Petroski's book. He says on page 3: "Past successes, no matter how numerous and universal, are no guarantee of future performance in a new context."For mortar sighting, this is true because every target represents a new context, and the unknowns of the new context are part of the unknown of hitting the target. But the converse to his statement is also true, as Thomas Edison showed conclusively with his light bulb invention, "Past failures are no guarantee of future failures." If that were not true, we would have no inventions to improve our lives. Few people understand the importance of failures in creating a new design more than inventors.
His look at failures of large scale designs in bridges and buildings provide ample examples for how error-fraught is the process of "success-based design extrapolation."
[page 8] Such examples provide caveats against success-based extrapolation in design. Past success is no guarantee against future failure.
When you extend a successful design, you enter the realm of the unknown which no amount of successes with the original design can make you feel comfortable. Designs are actually maps, and as Alfred Korzybski has emphatically stated, "The map is not the territory." And when the territory is a narrow suspension bridge using the same design of a wider suspension bridge, as was done with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940, a recipe for disaster is but a high wind away.
In his first chapter "From Plato's Cave to PowerPoint" Petroski takes us step-by-step through all the early inventions used to project images on a wall up to the 21st Century's computerized PowerPoint presentations. In the Plato's Cave metaphor, Socrates explains that cavemen are bound in chains to sit on the floor of their cave looking at the shadows cast on the far wall by activities outside in the cave. But they know nothing of the outside world, only the shadows which they examine.
[page 12] Socrates then imagines that the prisoner is taken out of the cave and exposed to the direct experience of the sun and everything that it illuminates. At first the prisoner would be blinded by the brightness, but in time he would come around to see the world outside the cave for what it is. If he then returned to the cave and sat among the prisoners who had remained there, his descriptions of the sources of the shadows and external reality would be met with skepticism. Better to remain in the cave, the prisoners would say, rather than to go away and come back without clarity of vision.
Every inventor or innovator leaves Plato's Cave to view the real world unsuspected by those in the cave, and upon return is mocked by those who remained behind in the cave. The innovator may no longer be invited to discussions of her colleagues when she begins to explain what she experienced outside the cave of her profession.
Petroski goes into detail describing the evolution of devices for projecting images on a wall to audiences. Along the way he takes us from blackboards to Magic Lantern slides, to halotypes, to animated cartoons. In a time before movies, when fading out one slide as another slide rose into view ('dissolving view') was the height of technology, one Mr. Constant became famous for bringing animation to audiences.
[page 23] The English slide painter C. Constant "made himself immortal by painting the original of the world-famous slide of the sleeping man swallowing rats." . . . As one attendee of a "Magic Lantern show given to poor and destitute children" recalled the (rat-swallowing) gentleman a year later, "He was our star turn, our living picture, our cinema. He was everything. He made up for all the long, and sometimes dreary lectures to which we had to listen, even though it was 'accompanied by Dissolving Views.' We wanted life and movement, and when he was thrown on the screen the grand climax of the whole entertainment had been reached, and enjoyment was complete."
The audience reaction to animation seems to match that to the omni-present YouTube movies which have replaced the previous still images of websites. One lecturer claims to have over 2300 lectures on a wide variety of subjects available on YouTube, and schools all over the world are using these lectures in their classrooms. YouTube is the modern day equivalent of the Magic Lantern Show. [I include this short clip below of Del hard at work in our garden this month as an example.]
As Petroski leads us through the evolution of 35 mm slides, overhead projectors using grease pencils, and various other mechanisms, I can recall from my own experience the problems with these various means of presentation over the decades. Now computer projection of PowerPoint slides have completely replaced the 35 mm slides for all new presentations. Welcome to the Age of "Death by PowerPoint" — when speakers give handouts of their PP presentation, display the same slides on the screen, and read the slides verbatim! (Page 37)
Another aspect of success through failure comes when some product, ineffective for the use intended turns out to be wildly successful for an unintended use. The most prominent one I can think of is Post-It Notes. The inventor at 3-M had completely failed at his task of producing an effective glue! But he soon discovered a use for a partially effective glue for attaching these little colorful Post-It notes to various objects in the office and at home. Play Doh was a product that had been used for cleaning certain filters which were going out of use. Someone gave some to his wife and she discovered her kids loved to squeeze it and shape in their tiny hands, and a new kind of toy emerged. Petroski discusses the origin of Teflon, another ubiquitous product in the latter half of the past century.
[page 42] . . . an inventor can stumble across something novel and useful while trying to design something entirely different, the way Roy Plunkett discovered Teflon while looking for a new refrigerant.
When a person walks into a new building, he usually notices the beauty of the place, but if he be an engineer, he notices the problems with the place and how the place could be improved. Every design an engineer sees suggests novel designs based on that design. One can always notice the output of new graduate engineers in the design of packaging, handles, shapes, and functionality of traditional objects. Sometimes the new designs work, sometimes they are dismal failures. Fiskars made a new and improved garden shears. I bought one to replace my old one which kept losing its handles. The new shears broke within a month. One of the 18" blades was made of a fragile pot metal and it simply broke off under normal use. I complained to the company and they sent me a new shears. I kept the handles from the broken shears and use them to replace the handles on my old shears which had both blades made of tempered steel instead of the new, improved Fiskars shears which had only one blade of tempered steel. Seven years later my old shears with the new handles are still being used and I avoid the fragile newer shears.
[page 42, 43] Designs always beget designs. However, since design is a human activity, it is also an imperfect one. Everything designed has its limitations and its flaws. This fact of design is what leads to constant change in the things around us and our behavior involving them. Inventors, engineers, and other professional designers are constantly criticizing the world of things, which is what leads to new designs for new things. The successful new thing is one that does not fail in the way that what it is intended to supersede did. This is why failure is the key to design. Understanding how things fail-and might fail-provides insight into how to redesign them successfully. But today's successful design will be tomorrow's failure, for the expectations of technology are themselves constantly being revised.
In my essay Art is the Process of Destruction I analyzed the two aspects of being, namely, process and content. Content is basically things you can manipulate and carry, like a bag or a bicycle. Process is some manipulation you do, some action in real-time, in the present. Content is always a thing of the past, many only milliseconds ago, but definitely the past: all things exist in past. Look away from a table and it exists in the past — it might not be there when you look back. Look is a process. Everything has a content and process. You can carry a bag (bag as content) or you bag some groceries (bag as process). You can carry a bicycle (content) or you can us it to bicycle (process) to the grocery store. Our language has nouns (content) and verbs (process). The word verb can be used as content: How many verbs in the previous sentence? The word noun can be used as a verb: Every verb can be nouned. As Petroski quotes Epictetus as saying, "Everything has two handles — by one of which it ought to be carried and by the other not." Content can be carried, but process not, as it does the carrying.
When we are talking about something with a visual display on the wall, it is useful to have a pointer to show the person where to look — so you point (process) to something when you make a point (content). Petroski takes us through the history of pointers, from ten foot tall early pointers, to collapsible metal ones, to laser pointers. Some variations of new pointers worked, others didn't. Those that failed succeeded in prompting a new design.
[page 49] Failures are remarkable. The failures always teach us more than the successes about the design of things. And thus the failures often lead to redesigns — to new, improved things. Modern designers and manufacturers can do this on their own, or they can be encouraged to do it by consumers, who essentially are design critics who vote with their purchases.
This would be a good point for a definition of "failure" and Petroski provides with one:
[page 51] "Failure is an unacceptable difference between expected and observed performance," according to the comprehensive definition used by the Technical Council on Forensic Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Good design is thus proactive failure analysis, something that both a designer and the chooser among designs ought to practice. . . . A warehouse with a door narrower than inventory it was built to store is a decided failure.
Every large-scale project needs a prototype of some kind. We'll seen architectural models of new buildings, but consider large chemical plants using a new process: a still architectural model offers no insight into whether the process will operate correctly. A smaller scale working chemical plant is built first to verify that the process will actually work to create the chemical products and that is called a prototype. Today designers of novel objects on a small scale have 3-D Printers to test out their designs. Within minutes of completing a design in Autocad, the design can be output to a 3-D Printer which will mold it into a plastic object in its full three dimensional shape. That kind of prototyping provides instant feedback on shape issues. To paraphrase the famous Boston slogan, Vote often and early for James Michael Curley, the creed of the successful failer is "Fail often and early."
[page 64] Prototyping can be viewed as a "sort of three-dimensional sketch-pad," with the prototype enabling potential backers and users to see the invention as a tangible thing. Dennis Boyle, a studio leader at the design firm IDEO, further sees the construction of "rapid and rough prototypes" as a means of identifying problems early in the design process, when they are less costly to correct. According to Boyle, if a "project is not generating masses of prototypes, including many that clearly won't fly, something is seriously wrong." The creed at IDEO is thus "Fail early, fail often."
How do you react to failure in your own life? This is an important question for you, dear Reader, to ponder. I once met a guy who told prospective employees, "You can hire me — I'm used to being fired." He was a man who learned from his mistakes and wasn't bashful about admitting it. It is never too late to fail at something — and to learn an important life's lesson in the process of failing. Learn to fail and learn from failing and you can move from a user of things to a designer of things, from someone life happens to to someone who makes life happen.
[page 64, 65] How individuals react to failure separates leaders from followers, true designers from mere users of things. Professor Jack Matson of Pennsylvania State University believes so strongly in the role of failure in design that he expects students in his Innovative Engineering Design course to fail in order to pass. The course, nicknamed "Failure 101," requires students "to build and attempt to sell outlandish and frequently useless products," like a hand-held barbecue pit. The most successful students in the course are those who take the most risks and so fail the most.
In the 1980s a popular workshop assignment was to solve the "Nine Dots" puzzle. To create a solution, one had to draw the lines outside of the Nine Dots. Nothing prohibited anyone from doing so, but those of us who had solved the puzzle watched as others struggled to find a solution. Somewhere in time, the real lesson to the "Go beyond the nine dots" has been lost, and Matson in the above passage makes it explicit: It is learning to go "beyond the known into the unknown". The known is a map and the unknown is a territory. When we explore the territory and make mistakes, have failures, we update our maps. If we blindly follow our maps, we endanger ourselves when the territory differs from our map. In the Norwegian Boy Scout Handbook the section on map reading contains a sober warning for those scouts who might be exploring regions where steep cliffs drop some thousand feet to icy fjords below : "If the terrain differs from the map, believe the terrain!"Finding a safe ground between going off map for successful failures and remaining in the safe known is the challenge for all explorers, both scouts and designers. We follow Yogi Berra's advice when he said, "I don't want to make the wrong mistake." (Page 91)
[page 65] Matson hopes to get them to the point "where students learn to disassociate failures resulting from their attempts to succeed from being failures themselves." He believes that, "Innovation requires that you go beyond the known into the unknown, where there might be trap doors and blind alleys. You've got to map the unknown. You map it by making mistakes." It is not unlike being blindfolded in a labyrinth. Smacking into walls may signal a misstep, but the sum of those missteps defines an outline of the maze. The quicker more mistakes are made, the quicker the maze is mapped. Matson is an advocate of "fast failure."
In this next passage, we learned that the width of the standard gauge railroad was determined by two horses' asses.
[page 65,66 italics added] Whether fast or slow, failure and its avoidance have always been central to the development of designs and their far-reaching influence. Though often considered apocryphal, the familiar story of the standard railroad gauge of 4 feet 8 ½ inches serves as an example. This odd distance between rails is believed to be rooted in ancient times, when all Roman war chariots came to have that same wheel spacing, which is said to have been established to be no wider than the rear ends of the two horses that pulled a chariot. This width, which prevailed throughout the Roman Empire, ensured that the horses would not pull a too-wide wagon through an opening only wide enough for them. As the standardized chariots ranged throughout the empire, they wore deeper and deeper ruts in the Roman roads, including those in England. So, the development of English wagons incorporated the same wheel width, lest their wheels not ride in the ruts, the path of least resistance and least damage — and of least failure. . . . The engineer Robert Stephenson . . . [in 1850] adopted what came to be known as the "standard gauge."
We have all heard about how the Titanic was called the "unsinkable ship" until on its maiden voyage, an iceberg pierced the underwater side of the ship from bow to stern, flooding all the carefully separated compartments which were designed to make the ship unsinkable if one of them were to be pierced. Quickly designed were changed on all future ships to prevent such a catastrophe from recurring.
[page 96] Thus, the failure of the Titanic contributed much more to the design of safe ocean liners than would have her success. That is the paradox of engineering and design.
My phrase for this so-called paradox is a caveat: "Remember the pioneers get the arrows!" The more I matured, the more I avoided the latest and greatest innovation, waiting for some time for the new gimmick to prove itself. Don't book a ride on a maiden voyage of a new design, don't buy the latest hybrid auto, the newest recording media, and so on. I recall my buying the earliest LaserVision players and disks. The disks were the size of LP's and gave dependable video and sound, for a time. Within a couple of years, the present DVD designs replaced them and my large disk players were obsolete and disks were useless trash. I learned patience.
There was another failure associated with Titanic that Petroski reveals to us, and that failure led to radio broadcasting. The idea of broadcasting is so familiar that it's hard to imagine a world in which this was a foreign or unknown concept. If it had been a common concept at the time of the sinking of the Titanic, then hundreds of live could have been saved. The reason the distress calls were not answered by nearby ships was that their wireless sets were only used for expected calls from known sources, so after bedtime the wireless was shut off and unmanned.
[page 104] It was not until after World War I that the advantage of broadcasting programs to what came to be called radios was fully realized and exploited.
In building the first trans-Atlantic undersea cable, Bell Laboratories was charged with deciding whether to use the brand-new, ultra-reliable transistor technology which would last for years, or the old vacuum tube technology which would require lifting the many repeater stations along the cable every six months to replace the vacuum tubes which had burned out. Their analysis showed the clear, expected superiority of the transistor over the vacuum tube. Which one did they recommend? The vacuum tube. Why? Because of one salient point: transistors were projected to have a 25-year lifetime, but no transistor had been existence more than a couple of years! Vacuum tubes, on the contrary, had over 25 years in existence with hard Mean-Time-Between-Failure (MTBF) statistics. Transistors had not been around long enough to have MTBF statistics. On projects too big to fail, hard MTBF statistics are invaluable in making decisions.
[page 109] There is another kind of large thing that cannot be readily tested until it is fully built and tried. This is the civil engineering project — the dam, tunnel, building, bridge — whose scale is so large, whose cost is so great, and whose design is so specific to the site that the structure is unique. Because it is one of a kind, not made in a factory but constructed in place, there is no disposable example to test. Scale models may be employed for testing theories or comparing alternative designs, but no model will ever fully replicate conditions of the actual as-built structure. Even if incontrovertibly meaningful models were possible, it is not possible to simulate fully the natural forces of future earthquakes, wind storms, and the like to which the structure might be subjected. In short, the only way to test definitively a large civil engineering structure is to build it in anticipation of how nature will challenge it and then let nature take its course. This fact of large-scale engineering demands careful, proactive failure analyses.
No doubt such a proactive failure analysis is what Japanese officials are going through after the combination of 8.0 Earthquake, 30 foot high tsunami, and 4 Nuclear Plants's destruction in 2011. What we heard as reasons for the disasters immediately afterward from Japanese engineers sounded like their design was based on a success-based analysis, which, as Petroski has so definitely shown, opens up large scale systems to large scale catastrophes. Reports of up to 50,000 deaths have surfaced in recent weeks. The reactor fuel rods still need to be removed to stop the nuclear reaction which is creating heat which must be removed by improvised cooling systems after the tsunami flooded the back-up generators and destroyed the primary cooling pumps. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster showed the USA's wisdom of insisting on heavily reinforced concrete containment buildings. The Russians had access to the same studies the Americans did, but they saw the probability of a catastrophic failure as too small to justify a containment building, and the Americans saw the same probability as large enough to justify one. Too small and too large decisions are not engineering decisions, but decisions by those contracting for the work. People ask me if America's nuclear plants are safe, and I tell them, so far we've made the right decisions, and quote the containment building decision as an example of a right decision.
Physical proof tests, Petroski says on page 111, "fell out of favor in the United States" in the late twentieth century. We went to computerized simulations to prove the worthiness of a structure. At that time I was working for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation which was building their L-1011 Jumbo Jet airliners to compete with Boeing's 747 and McDonnell-Douglas DC-10. At the same time, the DC-10 was being tested via computer simulations, Lockheed had built an entire L-1011 in their Palmdale manufacturing facility which was undergoing a proof test of its projected 20-year flying life by means of hydraulic arms moving the plane's wings up and down for the number of hours the plane would fly in the course of 20 years. Both methods proved to be equally effective, but one can see the concern that Lockheed had: to ensure no plane of its would ever fall apart.
Petroski points out that a proof test of the NYC twin towers was virtually impossible in the 1960s because the conditions existing during their collapse in 2001 had not been created. A full-fueled Boeing 767 flying at unreasonably high speeds could not have been envisioned fifty years earlier.
[page 112] Like any scientific hypothesis, [a proof test of the towers] can never be proved to the extent that a mathematical theorem can be; but it can be disproven ("falsified" in the language of Karl Popper) by a single counterexample. In the engineering of large and small structures alike, that counterexample takes the form of an unambiguous failure.
Failure, not success, then, is the true touchstone of design. It would have been virtually impossible to have devised a proof test of the twin towers of the New York World Trade Center to withstand the combination of physical assault on its structure and the conflagration that ensued on September 11,2001. That is not to say that structural engineers did not consider the possibility of an airplane crashing into the tall buildings. After all, a B-25 bomber did fly into the Empire State Building in 1945. Structural analysis of the effects of an impact of a Boeing 707, the largest airliner flying at the time, was carried out while the twin towers were being designed, and it was concluded that the structure could take such an insult without collapse. In 2001, of course, Boeing 767s were deliberately crashed into the towers, which clearly initially were able to take the considerable structural damage that was inflicted upon them. This confirmed their mechanical robustness, but not their ability to withstand what followed.
This is theme of Petroski's book on the paradox of design, "Things that succeed teach us little beyond the fact that they have been successful; things that fail provide incontrovertible evidence that the limits of design have been exceeded. Emulating success risks failure; studying failure increases our chance of success." The best designs according to Petroski are those based not on the best and most complete assumptions of the successes of previous designs, but rather based on the best and most complete assumption about the failure of the present design under consideration. Only then can we achieve "Success through Failure."
Read the FULL Review with its four footnotes at:
2.) ARJ2: WHY? What happens when people give reasons . . . and why by Charles Tilly
Why do people give reasons? Wouldn't you like to know? Why? Because. Okay, Because is one popular answer to the question Why? One says Because when one chooses not to answer and wants to not give a reason why. For people who actually wish to share their reasons, Charles Tilly gives us four categories of responses to the question Why? These answers form the theme and content of this interesting and useful small book.
Why bother with this book? Well, I have four kinds of reasons to share. First, as a custom, I read books which fall in the category of the evolution of consciousness. The very title of this book tells me that the author has studied the reasons people give for things they do or things which happen to them. Because of a convention I have adopted, I had to buy this book and read it.
Second, let me tell you a story. I have just received a book written by an innovative medical doctor in Finland who had trouble with others in her profession. She writes of her difficulties with her profession in a book, entitled The Struggle: Never to be Forgotten. I helped her to get the English of her book, translated from the original Finnish by a native Finnish translator, into somewhat clearer, colloquial English. As a result of reading her book several times during this copy-editing process, I became aware of the conflicts between her and the authorities who refused to publish her various technical articles in their journals. Through the various letters in the book, I read the reasons which various journal editors gave for not publishing her work.
Third, as a free-lance writer, there are no limits placed on what I can read and review, and since it is my convention to review everything I read, this book feel under my own codes as being okay to read. Which is great since I wanted to read it.
Fourth, having a story to tell of why I wanted to read the book, having a convention of reading which it fell under, and having it qualify under my own codes as being okay to read, the only technical details I had to attend to was to order the book from Labyrinth Book Catalog and wait for it to come.
Why such a tendentious account of my buying a book and reading it? Because the four reasons I give above fall into the four categories of reasons which Tilly describes in this book that we give to the question Why? Namely, 1) Conventions, 2) Stories, 3) Codes, and 4) Technical Accounts. Obviously not every answer to the question Why? need include all four categories of reasons, but any question will evoke at least one of categories of responses. Even the terse answer Because can be seen to be a convention to the person who uses it.
Here's how Tilly describes the four categories:
1. Conventions: conventionally accepted reasons for dereliction, deviation, distinction, or good fortune: my train was late, your turn finally came, she has breeding, he's just a lucky guy, and so on
2. Stories: explanatory narratives incorporating cause-effect accounts of unfamiliar phenomena or of exceptional events such as the 9/11 catastrophe, but also such as betrayal by a friend, winning a big prize, or meeting a high school classmate at Egypt's Pyramids twenty years after graduation
2. 3. Codes governing actions such as legal judgments, religious penance, or awarding of medals
2. 4. Technical Accounts of the outcomes in the first three: how a structural engineer, a dermatologist, or an orthopedic surgeon might explain what happened to Elaine Duch on the World Trade Center's 88th floor after a hijacked aircraft struck the building on 9/11
2. Each of the four ways of giving reasons has distinctive properties. Each of them varies in content depending on social relations between giver and receiver. Each of them, among other consequences, exerts effects on those social relations, confirming an existing relation, repairing that relation, claiming a new relation, or denying a relational claim. But the four sorts of reason giving differ significantly in form and content. Each can be valid in a way that the others cannot.
The responses we give will vary greatly depending our relationship with the person we are giving it to. If we bump into our spouse, a simple "Oops" might suffice, but to a stranger in an office, a more formal "Pardon me" would be necessary.
[page 16] Conventions vary enormously according to the social circumstances; given an identical dereliction, deviation, or good fortune, for example, a reason that satisfies a seatmate on the bus will usually not placate one's spouse. Conventions claim, confirm, repair, or deny social relations. They therefore differ greatly depending on the social relations currently in play.
A student in one of Gregory Bateson's cybernetics classes once asked him how we would know if computers had reached the level of intelligence of a human being. Bateson said, "We would ask the computer a question and it would respond, 'That reminds me of a story.'" The answer is both humorous and insightful. With the benefit of Tilly's four categories, we might add to Bateson's reply, the computer might in addition to a story, offer an explanation of conventions, a delineation of applicable codes, or a technical account of what happened. As expected, the computerized officer Data on the Star Trek: Next Generation TV show was restricted mostly to technical accounts in his answers.
[page 16] Exceptional events and unfamiliar phenomena, however, call up different reasons why; they call up stories. People experiencing an egregious failure, a signal victory, a spectacular faux pas, a shared tragedy, or mysterious sounds in the night do not settle for "It was just the breaks." They, too, try to match reasons to the circumstances and social relations at hand, but now the reasons take on weight. Similarly, major life transitions such as marriage, divorce, or the death of a parent call for weightier accounts than conventions provide. In general, reasons for exceptional events complement explanations with at least hints of justification or condemnation: the company gave me a bigger bonus than you because I worked harder and sold more computers. Implied claims concerning the quality, intensity, durability, and propriety of relations between givers and receivers far exceed the claims tied to conventions.
Often we tell stories in response to a question. George in Marketing might ask me a question and wish me to give him a technical account, but if I judge that such an account would not neither make sense nor be memorable to George, I might tell him a story which explains how we came up with the idea for the product, implemented, and tested it which will lead him to understand the kind of technical details I suspect he needs to sell the product. Or I might tell him a story about how we ignored some code on a previous product and it became unsaleable and had to be discontinued. Or I might tell him a story of how the conventions we followed in the design were stretched so that the product could be both code compliant and innovative. Thus one may use a story to answer any of the other three categories of response to a question.
Answers which specify a code are often the shortest answers one can receive, because a code will often obviate the need for any further pursuit of data or reasons. A company lawyer might tell the engineer who asks if his proposal is okay, "This is against the law." No need for further discussion of the current proposal. A citation of the law code that would be broken is the only technical detail the lawyer need provide. Tilly provides a droll example of his encounter with a bureaucrat in Italy in charge of some century old documents Tilly needed to copy. Codes may create blatantly ridiculous situations, but their guardians will protect them at all costs.
[page 17, 18] When we wanted to copy some crucial and voluminous nineteenth century household records from Milan, Louise Tilly and I had an instructive encounter with codes proposed by Ragionier [Accountant] Ciampan, director of Milan's municipal archives. First the Ragionier dismissed us by insisting that only the city's mayor could authorize outsiders to use the records. When we pulled strings and actually returned with a letter from the mayor, I asked the Ragionier when I could start setting up my camera. The small man strode to a huge book of municipal regulations on their stand by the window, opened to a passage declaring that "no one external to the archives may photograph their contents," placed his hand on the great book, raised his other hand in the air, and declared, "I am bound by the law." We painfully copied the records by hand.
So-called governments, such as that of any modern country today including the one I am most familiar with, the USA, seem to understand the power of codes of law by creating so many of them that any action the bureaucrats who run things can declare any action they deem undesirable as "unlawful." By the time the actual codes are sorted out, if at all, the action will be forgotten, allowing the petty tyrant in the guise of code enforcement to have his will over any lowly citizen. As did the Accountant Ciampan in Milan to the Tillys.
The last of the four categories is Technical Accounts which provide specialized accounts of cause and effect in the course of an answer to a question. "Why did my computer spontaneously reboot itself?" could be answered by a convention, "Oh, that happens a lot." Or maybe Tom tells a story about a thunderstorm which went overhead and he watching the lightning bolts. When he looked back at his computer, it was in the process of rebooting.Or perhaps, Tom explains that Norton Systemworks had just downloaded some vital virus information and the company's codes requires an automatic reboot after a new protective download occurs. The most incredible example of a technical account happened in a large process computer in 1968 where I was working. Our chemical company wrote GE and asked them why their computer was stalling and rebooting itself randomly. GE sent their best technician, who babysat the computer all day and slept in his chair next to the computer mainframe each night for a week until finally one night the computer stalled, and the technician was able to detect a failed flip-flop circuit in the Quotient Register of the Central Processing Unit. A quick printed circuit board was changed out and the answer was available complete in all the technical details.
[page 18, 19] Finally, technical accounts vary enormously with regard to internal structure and content, but they have in common the claim to identify reliable connections of cause and effect. As he reflected on his futile attempt to kick open a fireproof door on the World Trade Center's 76th floor, Gerry Gaeta supplemented his initial story about the terrorists' foresight with a cause-effect account based on his expertise as an architect. Structural engineers center their cause-effect connections in mechanical principles, physicians in the dynamics of organisms, and economists in market-driven processes. Although engineers, physicians, and economists sometimes spend great energy in justifying their expertise when under attack, earnestly demonstrating that they reached their conclusions by widely accepted professional procedures, on the whole they center their giving of reasons on putative causes and effects. Whole professions and organized bodies of professional knowledge stand behind them.
Roughly speaking, then, reasons why distribute this way:
Popular Specialized Formulas Conventions Codes Cause-Effect Accounts Stories Technical Accounts
With this diagram one can see conventions are popular everyday formulas followed by the average person, whereas codes are specialized formulas for which special training and reference books may be required. Stories are popular cause-effect accounts and move to Technical Accounts when given by specialists in some field.
Reason giving methods are dependent on the social relationship between those involved.
[page 24, 25] Reason giving resembles what happens when people deal with unequal social relations in general Participants in unequal social relations may detect, confirm, reinforce, or challenge them, but as they do so they deploy modes of communication that signal which of these things they are doing. In fact, the ability to give reasons without challenge usually accompanies a position of power. In extreme cases such as high public offices and organized professions, authoritative reason giving comes with the territory. Whatever else happens in the giving of reasons, givers and receivers are negotiating definitions of their equality or inequality.
In her book, The Struggle: Never to Be Forgotten, Dr. Kaisu Viikari ,M.D. Ph. D. in Ophthalmology, writes of her experience trying to get a synopsis of her lecture to the Finnish Ophthalmological Society accepted in its Journal. Her innovative work, described in stories and detailed technical accounts, was rejected for this reason: "It differed from prevailing ideas." Here was the editor of the scientific journal falling back on conventions and codes instead of simply allowing Viikari's cause-effect relationships laid out in her stories and technical accounts to simply speak for themselves. In other words, through my reading of this book, I came to see how the forces of opposition took sides: each side used two of the four categories of reasons laid out by Charles Tilly in this book.
In addition there was a negotiating of relationships between the two parties in exactly the manner Tilly describes in this next passage.
[page 16] In each case, acceptability of the reasons given depends on their match with the social relations that prevail between giver and receiver. Just as people involved in unequal relations regularly negotiate acceptable signals of deference or distinction, participants in reason giving maneuver in both directions: generally giving reasons that match the presumed relationship, but also signaling proposed definitions of the relationship by means of reasons given.
One of the popular conventions which drives our social lives is etiquette, the kind Emily Post or Amy Vanderbilt filled their columns with in newspapers for many years.
[page 33] A significant share of good etiquette, it turns out, consists of supplying appropriate, effective reasons why — for things you do, and for things you don't do. Good etiquette incorporates conventional reasons. The reasons need not be true, but they must fit the circumstances.
My wife and I are grandparents, and we receive invitations to more events involving our grandchildren that we can attend. Often we skip some event we had earlier indicated our intention to attend, and we have found that it is not necessary to offer a reason why we didn't attend. We call it "Playing the Grandparent Card." How this works will only become understandable when you, dear Reader, become a grandparent yourself. The more grandchildren you have — we have 19 — the more often you must play the Grandparent Card.
The improvised pantomimes that Goffman describes are recognizable to anyone as conventions giving the semblance of a social life which is not present. These are the routines people go through to avoid giving reasons for their behavior: they are doing one behavior but covering it with the body gloss of another behavior, thereby preempting potentially embarrassing questions. "Drawing on his students' observations, he offered these examples of body gloss:"
[page 35] A girl in a university dormitory, desiring to receive mail although no one is in correspondence with her, may see that she is observed going to the dormitory mailbox, gives the appearance of looking for a specific piece of mail that she presumably has been expecting, and on finding that it isn't there yet, shakes her head in puzzled wonderment — none of which she bothers doing when she thinks no one is observing her hopeless quest. A male participant at a get-acquainted dance, who would say (if he could get to talk to everyone) that he had merely dropped in this once, on his way someplace else, to see what it was like, feels it necessary to buy a drink to hold in his hand and to lean against one of the pillars, as if merely stopping by for a quick drink. A girl entering the table area of a ski lodge wanting to see and be seen by boys who might possibly pick her up, but not wanting to be precisely exposed in these aims, gives the appearance of looking for someone in particular, and she does this by grasping and fixing her sunglasses, which, in fact, remain well above her eyes resting on her hair. (Goffman 1971)
In the Chapter on Stories, we learn about how stories are employed to create reasons, to answer the eponymous question, "Why?" Tilly says, "Stories provide simplified cause-effect accounts of puzzling, unexpected, dramatic, problematic, or exemplary events." He quotes Margaret Atwood talking about the "difference between experiences and the stories we tell about experience." (Page 64, 65)
[page 65] When you are in the middle of a story it isn't a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of a shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story after all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.
The part that Atwood doesn't mention is that telling a story to someone else is also telling it to yourself, especially if it's the first time you tell it, and the most important aspect of telling a story is: that is how you remember the confusing melange of events you experienced! Telling is how we remember things. To tell it, we must become part of the events in the present, to re-attach the events to our body, i.e., we must re-member the events and create a scenario which makes sense to us and others. The first time we undergo this process of re-membering events by telling it to someone else, we also eavesdrop on our own telling and that first telling forms the basis for all future tellings of the same story.
I first encountered this way of understanding the intimate connection between memory and stories in Tell Me a Story by Roger C. Schank. I read this book in 1994, 1996, and again in 2006 when I wrote a detailed review of it. The theme of Roger Schank's book is that telling stories is an essential part of the process of remembering. In a similar vein, Rudolf Steiner , in a book of his lectures, Guardian Angels, tells us that thoughts live inside us and only come out of us when we convert them into language in the process of telling them to someone else.
[page 31 of Guardian Angels] Initially a thought lives within us, and although it is by means of this thought that we relate to the external world, and the secrets of the outer world are disclosed to us through thoughts — the thought initially lives within our inner being. Yet it can be given expression. It comes to expression when we tell it to someone else. Language is an element in human life by means of which we bring our thoughts to external manifestation.
Stories can help achieve things that could not be achieved any other way. Take this story for example. Can you read it without several "Why?" questions being generated in your mind?
A Sufi master and his disciple were sitting at a table one afternoon, and the disciple was hungry and noticed a single, juicy-ripe peach in a bowl on the table near his master. "Master," he asked politely, "would you hand me that peach?" The master reached over, picked up the peach, and proceeded to eat all of the delicious-looking flesh, and when he was done, reached over and handed the peach pit to his disciple.
Why did the man eat the flesh of the peach and then hand the pit to the other man? Why does this tale have anything to do with the nature of stories? Schank explains it well:
[page 11, 12 of Tell Me a Story] Stories illustrate points better than simply stating the points themselves because, if the story is good enough, you usually don't have to state your point at all; the hearer thinks about what you have said and figures out the point independently. The more work the hearer does the more he or she will get out of your story.
If you wish an explanation to the Sufi story, perhaps you are like his disciple, who always wanted an explanation to the stories his master told him. To figure out the point of a story is to eat the flesh of the peach, whereas to have someone explain the story to you is to have them eat the flesh and pass the bare pit to you.
Tilly closes his Chapter on Stories by saying, "When most people take reasons seriously, those reasons arrive in the form of stories." Computers, on the other hand never take anything seriously like humans do. Why? Because computers take everything seriously! Nothing ever reminds a computer of a story because they lack the essential ingredient of being human and always will.
The 14th Century scholar and poet Petrarch gave an interesting reason for his dropping out of law school, "I could not face making a machine of my mind." Somehow he understood the inhuman aspect of codes, especially law codes. Tilly cites the lawyer, professor, and judge John T. Noonan on page 105: "Rules, not persons, are the ordinary subject matter of legal study" (Noonan 2002: 6)
What exactly are codes and how do they work?
[page 101, 102] Reasons based on conventions draw on widely available formulas to explain or justify actions, but include little or no cause-effect reasoning. Story-based reasons, in contrast, build on simplified cause-effect accounts by means of idioms that many people in the same culture can grasp. Reasons stemming from technical accounts likewise invoke cause and effect, but rely on specialized disciplines and claim to present comprehensive explanations. When it comes to codes, reasons given for actions cite their conformity to specialized sets of categories, procedures for ordering evidence, and rules of interpretation. Together, categories, procedures, and rules make up codes.
New codes shake up the current paradigm or rule regime in an organization and create an un-settling period which is then followed by a settling-down. Since people dislike un-settling periods, they avoid them as much as possible, invoking the entire armamentarium of reasons to avoid them, conventions, stories, codes, and technical descriptions.
One study examined regime changes within Stanford University over its first century of existence.
[page 103] Within each rule regime, the Stanford researchers find a declining rate of innovation in rules as time goes on. Their finding suggests a two-phase process: first a shakedown, as people discover discrepancies, gaps, and bad fits within the new regime; then a long phase of settling in as people within the organization gradually find ways of reconciling their own programs to the rules, and the rules to their own programs. Changes of rules in one area, however, continue to stimulate changes in adjacent areas of the organization. Changes of rules governing undergraduate majors, for example, have a good chance of requiring further changes of rules concerning graduation credits.
Codes are dehumanizing, even though they are one of the hallmarks of human civilization. Codes are the bane of innovators in any industry or organized form of human endeavor, whether in social life or in business life. As an individual, we know best our own technical accounts, our convention, and our stories, so when we bang up against some recalcitrant code enforcer waving a rule book in our face, we are rightly indignant.
[page 124] To the extent that we outsiders organize our reasons as conventions, stories, or technical accounts, we are likely to find codes vexing. We complain, as I just have, about "those bureaucrats" who insist on complicating and distorting perfectly sensible facts and reasons. Even from inside, rebel theologians rail against traditional interpretations, rebel physicians against rules that inhibit effective personalized treatment, rebel lawyers against legal dehumanization.
Tilly offers us Thane Rosenbaum's indictment of the legal system which focuses on learning facts not the truth.
[page 124] But facts and truths are two different concepts entirely. Facts don't have to be true. They just need to be found and applied to the law. Facts are artifacts of the justice system, while truths are trademarks of the moral universe. Fact is a legal system; truth is a moral one. The legal system's notion of justice is served by merely finding legal facts without also incorporating the moral dimensions of emotional and literal truth. (Rosenbaum 2004: 16-17)
But lawyer Rosenbaum is also a philosopher and a novelist, and he understands people as human beings rather than mere legal pawns. He states about the law:
[page 124, 125] "they need to be able to experience what the novelist already knows, and what the injured intuitively sense: that there is no way to heal emotionally from an injury if the story goes unheard and victims are denied their moral right to testify to their own pain" (Rosenbaum 2004: 61).
Of the four of the categories which people use to give reasons, the use of codes is the most dehumanizing one, and the one most likely to be abused for personal gain or to cover up personal failings. On the plus side, codes are valuable tools for regulating and governing a society of diverse people coming to live together in a single country such as the United States of America.
[page 125] Codes emerge from the incremental efforts of organizations to impose order on the ideas, resources, activities, and people that fall under their control (Scott 1998). Once in place, they strongly affect the lives of people who work for those organizations, or who cannot escape their jurisdiction. In those arenas, they shape the reasons people give for their actions as well as for their failures to act. Even when we evade or subvert them, codes matter.
The fourth and last category used by people in giving reasons is the technical account. In a trial, whenever an expert witness is sworn in, we know we will be given a technical account, some cause-effect explanation based on the expertise of the witness in some specialty, e. g., medicine, ballistics, psychology, economics, etc. The various specialties may be governed by codes, and often an experts' technical accounts will be based on revealing the codes involved in their specialties.
[page 131] Obviously, technical accounts resemble stories, conventions, and codes in facilitating communication within some group of specialists. Because they assume shared knowledge of previously accumulated definitions, practices, and findings, they economize on references to those definitions, practices, and findings. For that very reason, outsiders often consider technical accounts impenetrable because they are so hermetic or — if the outsider thinks they are actually dealing with subjects she knows well — filled with jargon. When it comes to reason giving, however, technical accounts parallel stories, conventions, and codes by doing relational work. This time they signal relationships with possessors of esoteric knowledge: saying you're one of us to other sympathetic specialists, marking differences within the field from others with whom the author disagrees, providing introductions to the field for aspiring newcomers or clients, and establishing the author's authority vis-à-vis respectful nonspecialists. They establish, confirm, negotiate, alter, or even terminate relations between givers and receivers.
Tilly sums up his chapter on technical accounts by defining the phrase superior stories as the best technical accounts which tell stories in cause-effect relationships which are defensible in terms of the codes and formulas of the technical specialty involved.
[page 156] Inspired by Pasternak, Cavalli-Sforza, and Diamond, let this be our rule for superior stories: simplify the space in which your explanation operates, reduce the number of actions and actors, minimize references to incremental, indirect, reciprocal, simultaneous, environmental, and feedback effects. Restrict your account-especially your account of causal mechanisms-to elements having explicit, defensible equivalents within the specialized discipline on which you are drawing. Finally, remember your audience: you will have to tell your superior story differently depending on the knowledge and motivation your listeners will bring to it. Think of your superior-storytelling as relational work.
The sixth and last chapter is Tilly's summary of how we use the various categories of reason. The entire book is a short and valuable read for any serious thinker, scientist, or innovator. It explains in detail how any innovative work will likely deviate from the norm of codes and conventions in a specialty, and will put a speaker or writer at risk of being minimized or even ignored by her intended audience. Tilly gives a robust solution to this conundrum in his suggestion of superior stories. Tilly teaches undergraduates about social processes. Most of his Columbia graduates likely "will become doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, business executives, or public officials".
[page 173] Relationships between my students and me add up to only one small case of a very large phenomenon: the giving and receiving of reasons. But those relationships illustrate this book's two basic arguments. First, appropriate reason giving varies with the relation between giver and receiver; the point holds just as strongly for technical accounts and stories as for conventions and codes. Second, the giving of reasons creates, confirms, negotiates, or repairs relations between the parties. Aristotle's analysis of rhetoric, after all, prepared us for just such an observation. Conventions do much of everyday relational work. We should be glad they do, since constant deployment of codes, technical accounts, and stories would complicate life enormously without improving it. Yet stories are a great human invention, since they provide a medium of explanation that is widely accessible, flexible, and persuasive. When life does get complicated, stories take over the bulk of relational work.
In the case of technical accounts, how can these ever get assimilated by those outside of the field of a specialty who have no access to the arcane terms and jargon which fills the accounts of someone's innovative work? Tilly offers us the example of professional historians, and then points out that one way reaching those new to a field is through the writing of textbooks by various experts.
[page 178] In fact, almost every group of specialists faces its own version of the same problem: how to offer credible, comprehensible reports of findings, recommendations, and explanations it has arrived at by means of specialized codes and technical accounts. For their own work, for example, professional historians depend heavily on esoteric codes: proper use of archives, correct excavation and interpretation of archaeological material, appropriate analysis of art works, and so on (Gaddis 2002, Van de Mieroop 1999). They also construct technical accounts strongly embedded in recognized historical sources, previous research, and knowledge of the settings in which the events they are analyzing occurred. Yet when they turn to writing textbooks or publications for general readers, they have no choice but to suppress or simplify much of their professional expertise. Superior stories serve them well.
What about those other specialties? What are their choices outside of writing textbooks?
[page 178, 179] The same goes for philosophers, theologians, cosmologists, biologists, physicians, lawyers, and generals. They must mix and match among four main alternatives:
1. speak only to fellow specialists
2. educate (some members of) their audiences in their specialized codes and technical accounts
3. recast their reason giving in the form of superior stories
4. count on translators and interpreters who already speak the language to do the recasting
Speaking only to your fellow specialists is the easiest. But it runs the risk that other people will misunderstand, misrepresent, or simply ignore whatever you are doing. Educating audiences in your specialty is a wonderful enterprise if you have the power and skill to do so.Depending on translators and interpreters — science writers, popularizers, and knowledgeable amateurs — saves plenty of grief when the translators and interpreters know their stuff. But for a wide range of specialists, writing your own superior stories has the virtue of making you think about the relevance of your daily work to humanity at large, or at least the humanity with which you make contact outside of your study, laboratory, or conference hall.
In my writing career, I have worked with three innovators, Joseph W. Newman, Doyle P. Henderson, and Kaisu Viikari, M. D. Ph. D. I have acted as an advisor, a translator, an interpreter, a science writer, and as a knowledgeable amateur at various times with each of these specialists in their fields. Each one offers to the world a panacea, a universal cure for some problem. Newman's contribution is a way of converting atoms of copper directly into energy promising unlimited energy. Henderson's cosmological discovery offers us a world free of fear, anger, anxiety, and all the various bodily states which infuse humans before the onset of full cognitive memory at age 5. Dr. Viikari's lifetime of ophthalmological research and ministering to her suffering patients offers us freedom from eye-glass-induced myopia and a spate of other diseases from the resulting pressure by the muscles of the eye, such as macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataracts, and migraines.
In the case of each of these remarkable innovators, the enforcers of conventions and codes have blocked their progress. Newman's patent for his amazing machine was declined, even in the face of overwhelming support by all experts who examined it and excellent technical accounts describing the cause-effects of its operation. Henderson opened a clinic in Los Angeles next to a drug rehabilitation clinic. His clinic took the rejects from the Rehab Clinic and cured them. His process turned alcoholics into social drinkers and lesbians into bi-sexuals.This raised an uproar from those who deemed this to be a violation of conventions and codes, so they threatened prosecution of Henderson for dispensing medicine without a license and shut his clinic down. Alcoholics were free thenceforth to remain alcoholic. Dr. Viikari's innovative approach to prescribing plus lenses for incipient myopia prevented the vicious cycle of stronger and stronger minus lenses which creates the syndrome of pseudo-myopia. She was shouted down in a lecture to her peers for simply using the phrase pseudo-myopia, which was outside of the codes of the optical profession, perhaps even now. In the cases of each of these innovators, in diverse fields, the conventions and codes which their work seemed to violate, caused their work to be suppressed, exactly the way Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis's innovative work in antisepsis was condemned by the director of his hospital in Vienna who subsequently had Semmelweis committed to an insane hospital. All the while women died by the thousands in childbirth as doctors continued, for a time, to go from demonstrating deliveries in cadavers to delivering babies inside of live women, without washing their hands as Semmelweis had already proven effective in saving lives! Semmelweis is known as the Father of Antisepsis today, but the seamy underbelly of the medical profession is rarely mentioned in connection with Semmelweis today. Barbara McClintock, in contrast with Semmelweis, had her innovations recognized and her life's work vindicated within her lifetime. The jury is still out for Newman, Henderson, and Viikari, but when one is confronting entrenched paradigms in any field, one must always think in the long term. Gregor Mendel's ground-breaking work with smooth and wrinkled peas was forgotten about for over thirty years, until William Bateson recognized its value and gave the field its name, genetics.
[page 180] We can also read this book's teachings in the opposite direction. The reasons people give you reflect their approaches to relations with you. Most of the time, conventions and stories confirm relations that you already knew existed: you instantly recognize the "wrong" convention or story, which claims a relationship you prefer not to acknowledge. When someone offers you codes or technical accounts in unfamiliar idioms, you rapidly choose between two interpretations: either this person has misunderstood the relationship between you, or she is claiming superiority and demanding deference by virtue of esoteric knowledge. If, of course, you have asked for a summary of the relevant codes and technical knowledge, you have already established the inequality of your relationship, at least for the purposes of this conversation. A clever, sympathetic interlocutor can shift the relational balance by pushing the account you have asked for toward conventions and stories. Giving reasons does a wide range of social work. That work always includes shaping the relationship between giver and receiver of reasons.
That is why, in fact, I have written this book as a superior story. Since you, I, and every other active human will continue giving and receiving reasons every day of our lives, we might as well understand how reasons work.
The enterprise before us is exploration into life. Where are you bound? What codes and conventions bind you without your being aware of them? Are you like the fish that the frog told, "You are always immersed in water." The fish objected strenuously saying, "What water? If I were in water, I would know it."That describes the situation of civilized humanity with its codes and conventions. We live in them constantly and mostly ignore their existence. When someone dares to suggest a condition outside of a code, we look upon them incredulously, we exorcize them from our presence, we try our best to ignore them, and we make them go away. We may even laugh at them, we may ridicule their work, and we give as reasons for doing so the codes and conventions we judge them violating. But innovation has always proved stronger than conventions and codes, and in the long term, innovations will overcome the doubters, protestors, and detractors to establish a new regime in which people will forget that they enjoy the very benefits they once considered impossible.
3.) ARJ2: The Struggle: Not to Be Forgotten by Kaisu Viikari
This is an English translation of the Finnish book entitled "jotta totuus ei unohtuisi". Why was it translated into English? Because the issue it deals with affects not only Finnish people, but all the people of the world, truly a cosmological issue. What issue does it deal with? The issue is shown clearly on the cover of the Finnish book — an eerie photo of a person wearing glasses in which the side of the person's face is chopped off. We have all seen people wearing such glasses and barely notice them. But those observers of human nature who have studied Dr. Viikari's works know that these strange images are due to the strong minus lens glasses they have on, and that invariably their eyes have an indescribable sadness to them.
This sadness hints at various incipient diseases of the eye and body which are due to the intense strain on the eye muscles and pressure on important nerves radiating out from the eye. The eye muscles under constant strain get locked into a spasm which in a weight lifter we call "muscle-bound". Such muscles are permanently tight, and in the case of the eyes, the muscles keep a tight grip on the eyeballs like a tennis ball being squeezed in a vise and forgotten about for decades, until we open it up and find that the interior surface is deteriorating and a piece of rotten rubber has detached from the inside wall of the tennis ball. When these conditions happen in the human eyeball, we call them, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.
We also know that she has fought to save the eyes and lives of thousands of people who have been saddled with these onerous and often unnecessary minus lenses for over fifty years as a Medical Doctor and Ph. D. specializing in ophthalmology. Early in her career she recognized that the automatic prescription of minus Diopter lenses to her patients did more harm than good, that many of them did not have true myopia (a genetic elongation of the eyeballs), but had a temporary form of myopia induced by doing close work as a child or growing adult. She named this condition pseudo-myopia, and a more perfect name cannot be found to describe a condition which only simulates the condition named.
None of her thousands of patients treated by her over the years complained about her treatment of them, but on the contrary, most of them expressed gratitude for her work which allowed them to see better and to be relieved of various physical symptoms which bothered them, the most prominent one being migraine headaches. People from all over Finland came to her for their migraine headaches and left with healthier eyes and fewer, if any, migraines. Her procedures required extensive followup with each of her patients, especially those with medical problems whose symptoms were being alleviated by her treatment, and she recorded the details of each patients progress. She collected these case studies and compiled over a thousand of them into large volume entitled Panacea, which is available in English for study by medical professionals everywhere<. The cover photo of the book is filled with sad eyes marked by the characteristic vertical furrows which colleague of hers, Matti Saari, has named the "Viikari Syndrome" as it was Dr. Kaisu Viikari who first noted the diagnostic value of those furrows. See closeup of cover image at right.
Her biggest struggle, as documented in this small book, was with most of her own colleagues who tried to squelch her work, to minimize the value of her contribution to the understanding of how prescribing the wrong eyeglasses can cause physical problems through the human body. Why? is a good question. I doubt we will ever know the real reasons, because those will remain in the hearts of those who opposed her work, who stopped her work from being published in scientific journals, and those who ridiculed her contribution to understanding the etiology of many illnesses that originate in the region of the eyes. Here in this book she documents her struggle in her own words and with letters from associates and reports of various meetings. Knowing these things had happened, in her own heart she felt a need to lay them out for the world to see. If her work were worthy, as she knew it was, she could not stand by idly and be grounded by the crippling crowd of seagulls around her, but instead she had to lift herself into the air and soar like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. This book is her flight as the Seagull Jonathan.
Who was the Seagull Jonathan? A seagull who flew higher and faster than his fellow seagulls, even flying on foggy days when other gulls only huddled on the ground, scoffing at his folly. For Jonathan's achievements he was called before a Council. He wanted no honors from them, only the chance to share what he had discovered with his colleagues, to show them the new horizons ahead for them. What he got instead was a deathly shock:
[page 38, 39] "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," said the Elder, "Stand to Center for Shame in the sight of your fellow gulls!"
It felt like being hit with a board. His knees went weak, his feathers sagged, there was roaring in his ears. Centered for shame? Impossible! The Breakthrough! They can't understand! They're wrong, they're wrong!
". . . for his reckless irresponsibility," the solemn voice intoned, "violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull Family. . ."
To be centered for shame meant that he would be cast out of gull society, banished to a solitary life on the Far Cliffs.
". . . one day, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, you shall learn that irresponsibility does not pay. Life is the unknown and the unknowable, except that we are put into this world to eat, to stay alive as long as we possibly can."
Jonathan begged to be allowed to plead his case, but to no avail, the Council had already, before the meeting, made up their minds. They saw in Jonathan someone who had broken the conventions of life as a seagull, had violated the code of seagull-dom, and he was cast out of their midst without a hearing.
If you, dear Reader, felt bad when you read what happened to the fictional Jonathan, a seagull, how much worse you must feel you read of a similar thing happening to a human being, Kaisu Viikari, by a "Council" of her fellow doctors! She only wanted to share with them what she had found, to show the new horizons ahead for eyeglass wearers, horizons of freedom from various scourges of eye-diseases. She knew that her colleagues made huge sums of money "fixing" the results of these diseases, while the patients — the ones Dr. Kaisu Viikari cared most about — suffered through multiple operations, expensive medications, and untold suffering — suffering, which she had come to understand through her research, that could mostly be eliminated. She was ignored, ridiculed, and minimized, but like Jonathan, she did not crawl off in a corner, but continued to fly by writing this book. Its goal is her effort to set the record straight: it is the record of the various "Councils" and "Editor-in-Chiefs" whose censure she had to endure.
The first "Council" was the Meeting of the Finnish Ophthalmological Society which came after the entire body of ophthalmologists had received their copies of Tetralogia, her first book containing over 700 case studies. Kaisu writes, "It was only natural that the Finnish Ophthalmological Society asked me to give a lecture at its meeting." I imagine the good doctor expected a respectful attention to her lecture and some well-reasoned questions afterward. What she got was skewered on a barbeque instead.
The first questioner to rise had no questions at all, but simply denounced her lecture.
[page 11] The date of my lecture was 10 March 1973. . . . after I had finished, the first one to ask for the floor was Arvo Oksala, a Professor from Turku. From his seat in the middle of same minded group, he stood up with a heavy heart to say how he saw the issue of pseudo-myopia as a "matter of belief" and did not consider the lecture worthy of discussion. He found it regrettable that a book like this had ever been written.
Kaisu, like Jonathan, was not in front of the "Council" to be honored, but instead, to be disgraced by a large group of prominent men in the audience. Of the five or six people who asked for the floor, the only support for Kaisu's work came from a female colleague. Pirkko's comments at the meeting were not recorded, but this earlier letter shows the esteem in which she held Dr. Viikari's work.
[page 11] The most memorable one of these was the bold contribution of Pirkko Koivusalo, which showed she had understood the gist of my lecture. At an earlier date, she had written to me: "Since my trip to study abroad, Tetralogia is the best thing that has happened to me in my progress as an ophthalmologist. With extreme thankfulness for finally meeting an honest ophthalmologist, your previously skeptical fellow believer. In the middle of our Christmas preparations, my humblest thanks!"
The next hurdle Kaisu had to face was the Duodecim Medical Journal, whose Editor-in-Chief requested a synopsis of her lecture. She included in her submitted synopsis the following details about migraines.
[page 14] As this should be of interest to every doctor, I present an unselected material of 174 migraine patients, in which every patient was found to have either considerable hyperopia or clear pseudo-myopia. Particular attention should be focused on migraine cases with neurological symptoms.
Three months later, far longer than usual three weeks, Kaisu received a letter from the Editor-in-Chief rejecting her synopsis because it differs from "prevailing views". Instead of publishing the synopsis of her innovative work, they rejected it exactly because it was innovative! Not because it was wrong, not because it was non-scientific, but simply because it was heresy to the very organization that should be devoted to bettering the health and eyesight of patients, not to upholding its dogma. Clearly it infuriated Dr. Kaisu as she writes of her response to the rejection:
[page 16] After waiting for three months, my synopsis was turned down not on its merits but because my work differed from the prevailing ideas. This led me to ask, "Does not all progress in this world come from those who think differently than prevailing ideas?"
With these thoughts Dr. Kaisu decided to resign from the Medical Society Duodecim. She shares her reason for resigning in this book on page 16, "In plain language this meant that a society which, instead of showing interest in progress in the world keeps rehashing the same centuries-old dogmas, is not for me!" A further insult in the form of a thinly veiled bribe came from Assistant Professor Ahti Tarkkanen, who was asked by the Editor to mediate with Kaisu. He offered her a grant for some continuing education in London. She asked him, "Why would you trust my judgment in something like that, if not in this matter? No thank-you!" After several further insults to Kaisu, her husband's synopsis of a letter to the Finnish Surgical Society was left unpublished and was dubbed of "local interest only". This was a lecture by world-renown surgeon, Dr. Sauli Viikari, who performed the first open-heart surgery in Finland. Subsequently Sauli joined his wife in resigning from Duodecim.
Dr. Kaisu Viikari's work has revealed such simple conditions as these: pseudo-myopia comes from doing close work, refractive errors are connected with headaches, migraines can be relieved by the use of reading glasses. (Page 54) I am not eye doctor, but I know a lot about my own eyes. I was an early and avid reader of books and any kind of reading material I could get my hands on. I always took out the maximum number of books allowed from the Public Library while I was in elementary and junior high. I read thousands of comic books, hundreds of old Reader's Digests, and whatever magazines I could find. By the time I was 17, I could not see things in the distance closely. I was diagnosed as myopic and with my first negative lenses, I could see leaves on trees again! I thought these glasses were the best invention ever made! At 36 I tried contact lens for awhile, but they were difficult to keep clean and hard to use when riding a motorcycle so I went back to my simple glasses. I read and tried the Bates Method of seeing without eye glasses, to no avail. Bates' eye exercises offered me no help. Later I went to unifocal lenses which allowed me to see up close and at a distance, but they restricted my vision to a sweet spot in the middle of the lenses, forcing me to move my head from side to side while reading a page! I hated them, but eventually I got used to them.
Finally a year and a half ago, a friend brought Dr. Kaisu Viikari's attention to my review of another innovator's pioneering work and she contacted me. After reading her book Preventing Myopia, I immediately bought myself some reading glasses. I ordered some +.5D on-line, and bought +1.0D glasses at local drugstore (the smallest +D lenses sold in drugstores). What I was doing was counter-intuitive for me! I could read a book without any glasses on. I prided myself on my myopia, that I could read tiny print that other people needed to put reading glasses on to read. And here I was voluntarily putting on reading glasses to read something I could read without them! "How dumb is that?" I thought. Yet, it seemed clear to me as a physicist, that if my eyes were not myopic until I was 17, those 14 plus years of close work could have caused my eye muscles to have elongated my eyeballs, so that without glasses on, I became myopic, not from some genetically elongated eyeballs, but from the action of doing close work without plus lenses on, which is exactly what Dr. Viikari was proposing. So I wore plus lense from morning to night. Carrying around three pairs of glasses was a real pain, needless to say. At least I only needed one pair with my old negative lenses which were -2.0D.
Within a month or so, I noticed that I could see more clearly. After a year, my vision has improved in bright sunlight so much that I no longer wear glasses to drive and I can read the print on street signs and billboards, two things I would have thought impossible just 18 months earlier. I have never had migraines and the last regular headaches I remember were from my early work career when I spent a lot of time poring over computer printouts designing and debugging software. So the plus lenses had no effect other than to allow me to see clearly without glasses when I am outside. Look at all the photos of me in any Digest before 2010 and I will have glasses on, and any since that time, there'll be no photos of me with glasses on. I now carry a pair of +1D reading glasses with me, and have my original pair of +.5D glasses on right now as I am typing on my PC. They remain by my PC as the +1D's require my head to be closer to screen than I am comfortable with. I always have a pair of +2D glasses for reading at home, which I can do comfortably. This simple protocol of using the strongest +D or plus lens eyeglasses has begun to cause my accommodation spasm to release, very gradually, over a year's time. If I sit at computer and forget to put on my plus lens, my eyes have begun to remind me via a vague discomfort which goes away as soon as I slip the pluses on.
The goal with plus lenses is to have your eye muscles as relaxed when you are doing close work as they are when you take them off and look to the distance. If your eye muscles do not have to do work in either the close or far viewing state, your eyes will remain in focus and healthy for the rest of your life.
You cannot feel the Asp, the Accommodation Spasm, in your eyes. I never felt it in my eyes with the -2.0D lenses on for over 50 years. But since going to plus lenses for close work, the reverse is true and I am able to just barely notice a signal from my eyes saying, "Put on your plus lenses." This is my testimony.
There is hope that gradually eye doctors and specialists will come to understand the importance of providing a mean for relaxing their patients' accommodation muscles. The medical consequences of pseudo-myopia are so widespread and the cause so under-recognized as to be considered epidemic proportions. The public institutions that keep longitudinal records of eyesight acuity are the service academies of their cadets. They have noted that while about 19% of cadets begin their studies as myopic, over 50% of them leave with so-called myopia, and that must be close-work-induced myopia, or to give it a proper name, pseudo-myopia.
One way to experience release of the accommodation spasm (Asp) is to put on +D lenses (can be +2 to +10D) and look dreamily at a distant object without trying focus. The eyes cannot focus on anything and the Asp gives up. This is difficult to do in most offices which are completely enclosed, but Dr. Viikari could leave her office door ajar with a view of the street and easily perform this operational test, called fogging. In this next quotation Dr. Viikari tells a colleague about a fogging demonstration she set up in her office.
[20-March-2011 email] I must tell you, that when the Swedish opticians, May 1987, held their meeting at my surgery in Turku, they saw "the miracle of accommodation relaxation" when fogged to the license plates on cars across the street. After going back home, one of them cut out a hole and installed an easily opened hatch over it in the wall of his examination office in order to get a longer distance for examining his patients' eyesight. (edited from personal communication)
Dr. Kaisu Viikari, after over fifty years of helping patients to see and feel better, is hoping that this book, documenting her Jonathan Livingston Seagull-like struggle against the recalcitrant masses of her colleagues, will gradually bring a re-birth in interest in her thousands of documented cases of healing patients without harming them. Professionals like the Swedish optician above and the newspaper reporter below can help bring her work into focus for all those in the optical profession who are more interested in helping people than in making a fortune using the latest laser-guide surgery tools to reshape eyes which provide better eyesight for a few years, followed by the inevitable onset of accommodation spasm and the ills it brings.
[page 25] The most beautiful metaphor for my life's work came from Vieno Räty, a reporter for Turun Sanomat. Her extremely insightful interview dealing with the message of Tetralogy was published under the heading: "We will all need glasses at some point in our lives" in Turun Sanomat in May 1973. As we were talking together, she told me that she had all the time been reminded of Seagull Jonathan, the forty pages of which book it took Richard Bach, a direct descendant of Johann Sebastian Bach, eight years to write. I dashed out to purchase a copy — and indeed, "the flock huddled miserably on the ground" could not fail to bring associations of our meetings. I am grateful to her for this hint.
Dr. Kaisu Viikari is not some "hausfrau" or "society lady with a hobby" as various of her critics have derided her. She is a Medical Doctor with an M. D. and Ph. D. in her field of Ophthalmology. She devoted her life to helping patients and her colleagues for the most part have ridiculed her work instead of learning from it. It is easier to ridicule an innovator than it is to investigate them, besides, investigation might lead to understanding, and that might change the investigator. Most optical professionals are too busy with the latest contact lenses and newest laser tools to investigate a method which involves time-consuming examination and follow ups with the goal of healing a patient by prescribing inexpensive lens they can buy at any local drugstore. When the doctor is not willing to do what's best for a patient, often the patient will rebel and find a way to do it without the doctor. Optical professionals at all levels are threatened by the work of Dr. Viikari, but it is really their cavalier attitude which threatens their patients, who with a simple Google search can do what their eye doctors could not or would not do for them: give themselves healthy eyes and bodies.
Read the FULL Review with its four Footnotes at:
= == == == == == == == == == ==
I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
2.Comments from Readers:
- EMAILfrom Burt Lattimore titled: What Causes the Most Accidents in the USA?
Knowing how safety conscious you are .....
[Burt attached photos of women walking on the street. At right is a salient example. Perhaps she owns the convertible above. Photo by guy who ran his car into a fire hydrant and cooled off.]
- EMAILfrom Kevin Dann after Clicking a +1 on a review of mine:
I clicked the +1 tab and it immediately invited me to sign in to Google and create my own.
I see now that you have a "1" in the tally box next to the tab, and I tried to click it again with no result, so obviously it "took."
BOBBY'S COMMENT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I invite all of my Good Readers around the World to Click on the +1 Google Button which is just above the words A READER'S JOURNAL atop each of my ARJ2/ART reviews. If you read one of my reviews this month, give it a Click! Or if you enjoyed this Digest, follow this link to +1 it. First person to reach 7 becomes an Honored Reader!
- EMAIL from Colonel Jim Webb:
Thanks for the invitation. I will be doing an Aviation Ground School on this date and not be available. Have 38 cadets on a two-week encampment at NAS JRB. Keep us in mind for the next round.
- EMAIL from Jane Warner in Arizona:
Thanks for your e-mail. I am doing as well as can be expected for experiencing a residence rehab (water and mold damage) in these three digit temps that we have been having in Tucson. I do expect to survive it all in fine shape.
So, that's where I live — Tucson, Arizona, USA.
I hope all is well with you and Del. And, I do enjoy your monthly newsletter. Your photos are so excellent.
- EMAIL from George Parigian in Massachusetts, replying to my that my AdSense revenue had climbed 50% in the past month after I followed his advice:
That's great news! Things seems to be going in the right direction for your site with regards to Adsense. I think June should be even better for you.
Thank you for keeping me informed of your progress. If I pick up any more interesting tips for Adsense, I will definitely send them your way.
- EMAIL from/to Luciano "Lucky" Galvan in Verona, Italy:
Ciao Boby and Del, How are you? I'm mastering a live CD from my band and soon I'll send it to you. But the reason I write is a wery good news and a question. My first daughter is pregnant, and she asked me to make a "doyletics" audio training for the baby inside. You know we are a musical family and would be very happy if the new born will be with an absolute ear (perfect pitch) for music.
If I remember correctly I have to play the notes and say their name next to her belly? Is it right? Is this the right procedure? And how many times? only one time, or several times during a given period of time? Now she is in 12 weeks
Thanks if you find the time for a welcome response.
P. S. We'll make an international doyletics experiment.
BOBBY'S REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi Lucky! Congratulations! Great to hear from you.
Is it too soon to call you Grandpa?
I have no procedure for doyletics audio training in the womb, but music and singing in the presence of the baby is good. Simply knowing that everything the baby experiences in the womb will be stored as powerful doyles is an excellent guideline.
Now it occurs to me you are asking about helping the baby achieve perfect pitch. This can be done only after birth, and the procedure you mention is good. Letting them hear a tone, saying the name of the tone, having them repeat the tone can be started by first year when they begin to speak and can learn the names of things. Learning the names of notes after hearing them will store the tones as doyles and give the child perfect pitch.
That is a very worthy international doyletics experiment. May I share your upcoming experiment with the World-Wide Doyletics List and my Good Mountain Digest readers?
Looking forward to your CD!
all the best,
Bobby & Del
LATER Luciano answered: Surely you can share the experiment with the World-Wide Doyletics List and readers
- EMAIL from my sister after she closed out Dad's estate:
Bob, thank you so much for your patience during this difficult time in dealing with the details. I hope Dad is smiling on us knowing that he DONE GOOD! . . lol. Hope you enjoy the money that dad would never use!
Love to you and Del,
- EMAIL from Alex in Germany
I have one minor question about the speed trace.
Let's say you're 23 and counting down to the age of 15 and the doyle shows up(in my case a fear of mathematics caused by some bad experiences with the teacher). So when I came to the age of 15 I remembered the supressed experience where the teacher made me go in front of the class even though he exactly knew I am not able to do the calculation.
So basically, the thing I am asking is whether I should continue counting down in the future with other doyles after the doyle showed up or not? In other words when the feeling stops at a certain point of age.
Best regards from Stuttgart, Germany
BOBBY'S REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If your bad experiences with teacher amount to the level of Post-Traumatic Stress, that may have been stored as a doylic memory. After age five, this can only happen with glutocorticoids flood the hippocampus preventing storage of normal cognitive memory. In that case you would have a doylic memory which was erased by your trace.
Given the unlikelihood of a third-degree teacher with whips and chains threatening to kill you, you probably accessed a recapitulation of a normal pre-five doylic memory, and it will return later. Keep a watch out for the recurrence of the doylic memory, the actual physical body states. And make sure you hold (or constantly re-trigger those states) all the down below five years old, the Memory Transition Age from doylic to cognitive memory.
Check out the doyletics website and email me at doyletic email as I rarely use this way of communicating and don't have a way to keep track of emails sent out this way. Address is on this page: www.doyletics/bobby.htm
The Doyletics Foundation
ALEX'S REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I cannot thank you enough for answering my question. This helps me a lot to better understand the whole process. I will keep in mind what you told me and use it for my future speed trace sessions. I am so glad that I found your video which helped me to mostly overcome my fear of mathematics and my general fear of failure in school.
Even though it's not gone for good I can tell that for sure now, but it's a lot better than it was before. Because the speed trace reduced the intensity of the mental blocks and fears and that makes life much more enjoyable.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Chimera Verite"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?"
Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell. Note that Eastern Bear refers to the non-defunct USSR.
"Should" is the socialist's shibboleth,
The password to the utopian path:
A just distribution should be arranged
For general opportunity and wealth.
Our fragile few private property rights
This socialist chimera would trample —
Ride roughshod over our Bill of Rights
Till all that remains is one great big bill
To create in our Western Hemisphere
The principles the Eastern Bear held dear.
We'll queue for bread and wine and salami
With no time nor money for baloney.
Locked into legalized equality,
We'll grin and bear with forced fraternity
And dream dreams of how we used to be
When private property meant liberty.
On-line Comment by Jean-Michel Decombe:
Why are Scrabble clones like Lexulous and Words With Friends legally on the market?
Jean-Michel wrote:I am also a good Scrabble player, but more importantly I am a firm believer in primary property and it is clear to me that Lexulous, Words with Friends, and their ilk are thefts of the ideas which went uniquely into Scrabble. The person who formulated those ideas owns that primary property is due royalty on a volitional basis from every usage of those ideas which certainly includes the rip-offs I mentioned above. Volitionally means on a voluntary basis out of respect for the ideas. Until this manner of recompense becomes a circadian activity, the forces of coercion will reign supreme. If you like to rail about the coercive effects of our bureaucracy, our so-called government, but don't understand the definitions of freedom and property as put forward by Andrew Joseph Galambos in his landmark course on Volitional Science, then here's a way for you to take a step in the right direction: AVOID USING ANY PRIMARY THEFT RIP-OFFS.I am a rather good Scrabble player, however I do not take part in official competitions, because I am not interested in learning word lists. I prefer to rely exclusively on strategy and an extensive vocabulary properly acquired through purposeful knowledge acquisition.Bobby writes:
These games do not replicate the copyrighted aspects of the original Scrabble, including board layout, tile multipliers (up to x5 vs. x3), tile colors, and possibly rack length (8 vs. 7) and other aspects.
Oh, I understand the sentence above by Jean-Michel that these games do no replicate the copyrighted aspects of Scrabble, which is a game based on the primary property of the innovator. But get this straight: COPYRIGHT does not protect IDEAS! Never have, never will! Only human beings who wish to be moral beings as well can show respect for ideas by not using rip-offs, by not buying a rip-off product, by respecting other people ideas by crediting them with the source of the idea each and every time one uses it. This will only happend in a truly free society, which clearly does not exist on the face of the Earth, up until now.
Want some help sorting out how this idea of ideas as property would work? Start by reading my review of Sic Itur Ad Astra and then by obtaining the book itself or taking the lectures in Volitional Science V50T and matching your wits with Galambos as you try to come up with a better definition of freedom than he did back in 1968. There is nothing more powerful than idea which is respected by everyone as someone's primary property. Only one idea, enscouned in Galambos' words, if it were to go viral is enough to change the world for the better, forever.Bobby writes:
Maybe you remember me. I am one of Dr. Kaisu Viikari over-the-internet pacients.
She once asked me, on behalf of you, to sent you a picture with the Voronetz monastery from Romania (and to let you use it / publish it).
Dr. Kaisu asked me to send you my [brief] testimony about plus lens glasses in order to be reviewed.
We woud be very grateful if you could review the testimony.
Thank you very much!
Lucian Damoc (Iasi, Romania)I will simplify the document Lucian sent, editing it for readers not familiar with eye prescriptions or Dr. Viikari's work. Her suggestions for Lucian were utter simplicity, did not require Snellen eye charts, nor any detailed eye examinations. She had tested these procedures on over 2,000 patients and they worked, curing many of serious migraines and other conditions worse than Lucian's. Lucian read her short book, Preventing Myopia, and followed her suggestions by email — he undoubtedly saved himself from a lifetime of eye problems and likely saved his sight as well. NOTE: Plus Lens glasses are what are called simply Reading Glasses which one can purchase for about 15 dollars in any drugstore in the USA.Lucian's Documentation of Saving His Eyes
Minus Lens Progression (RE is Right Eye, LE is Left Eye, omitting sph, cyl, and ax components):
Age 19 2001 RE -0.50 LE -0.25 Wore glasses all the time.
Age 23 2005 RE -5.00 -2.50 Quit them after 1 month (were too strong).
Age 24 2006 RE -3.50 LE -2.50 Quit them after 2-3 weeks (were too strong).
Age 28 April 2010
RE -1.50 LE -0.75 Could only wear them for far and intermediate distances, but were tiring my eyes.
LUCIAN'S STORYLucian's Experience with Plus Lens Glasses
At the age of 19, during university, I was diagnosed with myopia and followed (as long as I could) the widely known and used treatment for this error of refraction: the wearing of minus-lens glasses. Over the years, my condition worsened more and more, until, at the age of 28, my vision and health were ruined.
Most of the ordinary activities became difficult or painful: seeing, blinking, breathing, eating (because of mouth aphtae), staying awake during the day, sleeping during the night (resting), relaxing, playing, traveling, speaking, socializing, focusing, reading, writing, working (using computer), watching TV.
Over the time, I had many “clinical” experiences with the minus lens glasses, that brought me to the following conclusion and truth: minus lens glasses do not cure myopia, but only make it worse. It was very painful to see that most of the oculists and opticians were so blinded and could not see such a common-sense truth and that there were so many people suffering because of this. My experience with some oculists was unfortunate. One oculist even recommended to go to a psychiatrist, although I was convinced that, to a considerable extent, my suffering was caused by my vision problems.
My vision and health had continuously worsened for about ten years, I had suffered much from oculists and opticians, spent a significant amount of money (and effort) and felt no relief, on the contrary, I was in the worst possible condition.
Finally, realizing I was in the impossibility to work in front of a computer anymore, I quit my job, I quit wearing any minus lens glasses and I also quit believing in the majority opinion “minus lens glasses cure myopia” and it’s medical system (oculists, treatment, theory, etc). ). I was forced to quit my profession and it seemed that I would need at least one year of rest and treatment in order to return to a normal condition.My previous painful experience with the minus lens glasses convinced me that these glasses can only worsen the vision. This was the reason why when I heard about myopia prevention using plus lens glasses, I became very interested about this subject. It seemed logical that plus lenses would do exactly the opposite of minus lenses and improve my vision. In September 2009, I found out about Dr. Kaisu Viikari, an ophthalmologist from Turku, Finland. From the 1970s, she has been helping people with all sorts of vision problems through the use of plus lens glasses.Lucian's Vision Improvement (Most of the following information is a summary of my vision journal.)
In May 2010, at the beginning of the sabbatical year I contacted Dr. Kaisu Viikari and presented my case. She immediately agreed to help me for free. Thus, my own experience with the plus lens glasses began.
The first time when I put a pair of plus lens glasses in front of my eyes, I had a very strong, pleasant and relaxing sensation for a few seconds. I have never ever had in my life such a sensation before and after that moment.
In the first days of treatment, I noticed a sudden and obvious improvement in the near distance activities: I felt more relaxed and the tearing and smarting pain caused by reading became less frequent.
In the 1st month (June 2010), the pain and difficulties related to reading decreased in frequency and intensity and, consequently, my reading capacity increased.
In the 2nd month (July 2010), the swelling near my right eye almost disappeared. I also noticed an obvious improvement in my far distance vision. Each week I used to go to a nearby hill where the entire city can be seen. I had chosen some of the buildings as my “optotypes” and looked carefully and regularly at them. Over the weeks, the shapes, the windows and the other details of the buildings became clearer. The same happened when I would look from the balcony of our apartment at the houses from a nearby village.
In the 3rd month (August 2010), I became aware that my intermediate distance vision improved: my vision was obviously clearer indoors. Also, during this month I noticed an overall improvement of my vision (i.e. at far, intermediate and near distance).
In the 4th month (September 2010), the tearing disappeared completely and the smarting sensation almost disappeared.
In the fifth month (October 2010), I noticed that the vision of my right eye became less foggy than that of my left eye (i.e. myopia of the right eye became weaker than myopia of the left eye). This improvement was confirmed by two refractometer tests from October 2010. This was a month full of accomplishments and joy. My vision was getting better and the refractometer tests were confirming this !
In that same month, my supervisor, Dr. Kaisu Viikari, asked me to start wearing at far distance half-glasses with the following parameters: up lens: +0.00 (no lens), down lens: +2.00.
From the 6th month (November 2010), I started to wear the half glasses and my monthly vision improvement doubled from +0.25 in the first months to +0.50 in the following months.
In the months that followed and up to this month (March 2011), I had a constant increase in the glasses of about +0.50 per month. Almost each month I had to change two or three pairs of glasses.
With regard to the vision and eye symptoms, the treatment had a lot of wonderful results. Many symptoms have disappeared completely and other symptoms have weakened: myopia and anisometropia have regressed (confirmed by three refractometer tests performed in October and November 2010), burning sensation in the eyes has disappeared permanently, itching and dust-in-the-eyes sensations have become weaker and less frequent, tearing and smarting pain in the eyes have disappeared permanently.
Lucian's Putting it all togetherBobby writes:
The total improvement of my vision up to this month (March 2011), according to the increase in the spherical value of my near distance glasses, is of +3.00 D. I started with +1.50D and now I wear +4.50D.
The plus lens glasses reconnected me to the world, as they allowed me to see, to read, to write, to use the computer and to communicate without the pain and difficulty that I had before starting the treatment.
Finally and most important, I am not living anymore with the fear of losing my eyes and vision. I am sure that with the help of the plus lens glasses my condition and vision will continue to get better!Having read the experiences of this courageous man, Lucian, and his heart-rending treatment at the hands of the conventional eye practitioners, one can understand better why the same practitioners have out-of-hand rejected Dr. Kaisu Viikari's teaching. The fact is simply this: Eye Doctors cannot make money prescribing Reading Glasses ! ! ! My last prescription for my LE -2.50 and RE -2.00 glasses cost over $800! Now, since following Dr. Viikari's advice, I has spent maybe one hundred dollars total on comfortable reading glasses. I read with +1.00 D lenses, work on the computer with +.50 D and can see clearly in the distance for the first time in over 50 years without any glasses on! I no longer need glasses for walking outside or driving!
Dr. Viikari has recorded the ridicule heaped upon her by her own colleagues in the Finnish eye profession in this book, which I have reviewed this month for your edification: The Struggle: Not to be Forgotten. If her lifelong struggle and the struggles of intrepid followers of hers like Lucian Damoc, among many others, are forgotten, the eyes of the world will continue to suffer from over-prescribed minus lenses and a plethora of eye and body diseases which accompany their use. Minus lenses have their place in the treatment of true myopes which are a very small percentage of the population, under one-tenth of a percent. The rest of the myopes or near-sighted persons in the world are suffering from the consequences of doing close work without wearing plus lenses. The wearing of simple plus lenses should begin as soon as a young child — even below the age of five — begins to be interested in looking at anything nearby! This includes picture books and especially coloring books when the child first begins to use crayons. Unfortunately this rarely happens, up until now.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
9. CLOSING NOTES:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the chemistry which has made this site a glowing endeavor. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good!
By the beginning of 2017, entering its 17th year of existence, the doyletics website has received nearly 17 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !
As of March 1, 2017 we will have received over 16.8 MILLION VISITORS to the Doyletics Website since its inception in August 1, 2001, over fifteen years ago. About 2.5 million in the past 12 months. We are currently averaging about 240,000 visitors a month. A Visitor is defined as a Reader who is new or returns after 20 minutes or more has passed. The average is about one visitor for every 10 Hits.
IMPORTANT NOTES about DIGESTWORLDtm
Our DIGESTWORLD came into existence years before Facebook and all the other social media which interrupt people's schedules many times a a day. All our photos, etc, come to you via one short email Reminder at the beginning of each month. We hope you appreciate how we let YOU choose when to enjoy our DIGESTWORLDs.
We especially want to thank you, our Good Readers, in advance, for helping our readership to grow. NOTE our name is now: DIGESTWORLD. Continue to send comments to Bobby and please do create links to DIGESTWORLD issues and Reviews on LinkedIn, on your Facebook page, and on other Social Media. When you copy any portion of a webpage or review, please include this text: "Copyright 2015 by Bobby Matherne".
Email your friends about the reviews, the handy doyletics Speed Trace, the cartoons, the cajun jokes, the recipes, the poems, and the photos in all the DIGESTWORLD Issues archived on our website. Urge them to subscribe to the DIGESTWORLD Reminder so they won't miss a single issue!
The Subscription Process has been simplified so that no Reply Confirmation is required. An email to the Editor with your First and Last names is all that's required. There is never a charge for viewing any page on our website; nor for any of the guidance we offer to people asking for help with doyletics or other areas.
~~ NOTE: DIGESTWORLD is a Trademark of 21st Century Education, Inc. ~~
The cost of keeping this website on-line with its 100 Gbytes of bandwidth a month is about $50 a month. Thank you, our Good Readers, for continuing to patronize our advertisers when they provide products and services you are seeking as you visit any of our web pages. Remember the ads are dynamically displayed and every time you read even the same page a second time, you may find new products and services displayed for your review. Our reviews, digests, tidbits, etc, all our webpages act as Google magnets to bring folks to the website to learn about doyletics and frequent our advertisers, so they support one another in effect.We wish to thank all Good Readers who have made a contribution to the doyletics.com website! A special thanks to Chris and Carla Bryant of Corpus Christi!
We welcome your contributions to the support of the website and research into the science of doyletics. To obtain our street address, email Bobby at the address found on this page: http://www.doyletics.com/bobby.htm and we will send it to you. Every $25 contribution helps toward keeping this website on-line for another month. If you can't send money, at least show your support by Clicking the Google +1 which appears at the top of this Issue of DIGESTWORLD and every Review pages.
You can read a description of how to do a Speed Trace:
Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here
Or Watch Bobby extemporaneously explain How to Do a Speed Trace on Video:
To make a connection to the Doyletics website from your own website, here's what to do. You may wish to use the first set of code below to link to the site which includes a graphic photo, or to use the second set of code for a text-only link. Immediately below is how the graphic link will look on your website. Just place this .html in an appropriate place on your website.
<CENTER> < — with graphics link — >
<A HREF="http://www.doyletics.com/index.htm">Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here<BR>
<IMG SRC="http://www.doyletics.com/doylepb.gif" width="309" height="102" border="2" TITLE="Learn to Remove Doyles — all those Unwanted Physical Body states of fear, depression, migraine, etc." ALIGN=middle><A/></CENTER>
<CENTER> < — text only link — >
<A HREF="http://www.doyletics.com/introduc.htm">Learn to Do the Speed Trace at doyletics.com <A/>
Check out the new additions to the Famous and Interesting Quotations at:
== == == == == == == == == == ==
My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner reviews are more detailed and my intention is bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.
== == == == == == == == == == ==
The Good Mountain Press Digest is mailed monthly to:
Friends and associates
Individuals who have expressed interest in the Digest
Persons who have subscribed at the Digest Subscription Page.
Please Don't Bug Us Nothing BUGS US more than losing Hale-and-Hearty, Ready-to-Read Good Friends from the DIGESTWORLD Reminder List.
So we've made it easy for Good Readers who have changed their Email addresses and Friends who would like to begin receiving the DIGESTWORLD Reminder at the first of each Month:
IT'S EASY to RE-SUBSCRIBE or SUBSCRIBE:
As of August, 2011 we have begun using a Contact Manager with an Email Merge feature which allows us to send personalized Emails to everyone in our Contact List. For the time being the Topica.com e-mail List Subscription List will remain active, but you will receive the colorful Email containing the DIGESTWORLD Reminder beginning with "Dear [Your First Name]". It is important that we have your First Name, so if the name you are addressed by in your Reminder is not your first name, please notify us of the name you wish us to use. For convenience you can send a quick email to give us your name by Clicking Here. To Contact Bobby, his Email address is visible on this page.
Please do your part by letting us know of any email address change so that you may continue receiving the DIGESTWORLD Reminders. Most of our Readers come from folks who don't get these Reminders, but we offer the DIGESTWORLD Reminder as a service to our regular Good Readers. To send us your new email address, CLICK HERE! .
If you discovered this page by a Google Search and want to SUBSCRIBE NOWIf you have enjoyed a particular issue, let us know, especially around the first of each month when those "lost soul" messages are bugging us, Send us a quick email by Clicking Here!
Simply Click the Link at right to send an Email Request: SUBSCRIBEIf you have a friend or two that you think would enjoy reading the DIGESTWORLD, suggest they view the current DIGESTWORLD Issue and perhaps they'll decide to Subscribe.
To unsubscribe from the DIGESTWORLD Reminder List:
Click Link at right to send a Blank email to: UNSUBSCRIBE
If the above links which provide canned emails don't work on your system, you can send a Subscribe/Unsubscribe request to the address found on this page: http://www.doyletics.com/bobby.htm Please include your first and last name when Subscribing.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
10. GRATITUDE — in Three Easy Steps:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Maintaining a website requires time and money, and apart from sending a donation to the Doyletics Foundation, there are several ways you can show your gratitude and support our efforts to keep doyletics.com on-line.
One would be for you to buy a copy of my Dolphin Novel, The SPIZZNET File. Books May be ordered in hardback or paperback form from Xlbiris the Publisher here:
The best source at the best price is to order your copies on-line is from the publisher Random House/Xlibris's website above.
Two would be for you to use the Google Search Engine for your web searches or to find an item on doyletics.com website. New reviews will have a place to do a Google Search at the top and the bottom of the reviews. Just enter a search phrase in the box below to do a Search. Note you can check whether to Search just this site or all websites.
Three would be for you to let us know you like us by Subscribing to our monthly Reminder. One short email each month with a link to our Latest DIGESTWORLD Issue will keep you apprised of our latest reviews, photography, poetry, Cajun stories, recipes, Movie Blurbs, Travels, and even more! Simply Click Here: Subscribe Me!
Thank you in advance!
Like Us? Subscribe to Receive a Monthly Email
Reminder of New Reviews & New DIGESTWORLD Issues — CLICK
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
16+ Million Good Readers have Liked Us!
~ 16,995,223 as of March 23, 2017 ~
~ Mo-to-date Ave: 7,393 Likes/Day ~
Monthly DIGESTWORLD Reminder:
Subscribe! You'll Like Us, Too!
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Any questions about this DIGESTWORLD ISSUE, Contact: Bobby Matherne
Look at George Burns, Bob Hope, both lived to 100. Doesn't that prove that "He who Laughs, Lasts"? Do you find nothing humorous in your life? Are your personal notes blue notes? Are you unhappy with your life? Fearful? Angry? Anxious? Feel down or upset by everyday occurrences? Plagued by chronic discomforts like migraines or tension-type headaches? At Last! An Innovative 21st Century Approach to Removing Unwanted Physical Body States without Drugs or Psychotherapy, e-mediatelytm !
Does your Face sometimes resemble the Faces Below? If so, Click on the Faces or Flags to Dig into our First Aid Kit.
To follow Research in the science of doyletics, Read our Monthly DIGESTWORLD Issues.
Click Here to get Monthly Reminder.
For Copies of Reviewed Steiner Books, Click on SteinerBooks Logo below.
Visit Bobby's Other Reviews, Articles, and Essays
Books are Lighthouses Erected in the Sea of Time
Visit the Counselor's Corner for Suggestions
on Incorporating Doyletics in Your Work.
e-mediatelytm is a Trademark of 21st Century Education, Inc. Prototyped 2000.