Friday, January 05, 2024

A true story

The Black Telephone When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box.. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time. My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. "Information, please," I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear. "Information." "I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.. "Isn't your mother home?" came the question "Nobody's home but me," I blubbered. "Are you bleeding?" the voice asked "No, "I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts." "Can you open the icebox?" she asked. I said I could. "Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice. After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts. Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, "Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?" She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "Wayne , always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." Somehow I felt better. Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please." "Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy. A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle . I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please." Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. "Information." I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?" There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now." I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?" "I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls." I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister "Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally." Three months later I was back in Seattle . A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally. "Are you a friend?" she said. "Yes, a very old friend," I answered. "I'm sorry to have to tell you this," She said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago." Before I could hang up, she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne?" "Yes." I answered. "Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you. The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean." I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant. Never underestimate the impression you may make on others. Whose life have you touched today?

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Positive outcomes in Africa an another one in Thailand: Search and rescue peace, justice and fraternity. Best wishes to you all for 2024 which will probably be rough but we want to be strong with a smile on our faces, for those who will freak out and whom we will soothe.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Yes, Prime Minister : 55 seconds of Oral Comprehension

Watch from 13mn.50sec. to 14'35'' Use the settings'playback speed as well as the script below after a minimum of three careful listening of those 55''. - Prime Minister (PM) : Anything else ? - XXX : Prime Minister, there are some other vital points to bear in mind. A lot of people, eminent people, influential people have argued that such legislation would be a blow against freedom of choice. - PM : Oh Rubbish. I’m not banning smoking itself. Does every tax rise represent a blow against freedom ? - XXX : It depends on how big the tax rises - PM : It’s fascinating. Does 20 pence represent a blow against freedom ? - XXX : Oh Prime Minister - PM : 25 pence ? 30 pence ? 31 pence ? Is something a blow against freedom simply because it can seriously damage your wealth ? - XXX : Prime Minister I must warn you of the difficulties. I foresee all sorts of unforeseen problems - PM : Such as ? - XXX : If I could foresee them, they wouldn’t be unforeseen

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The AI Effect on music

A New Era in Music and Its Unintended Consequences. Just to get an idea if you're in a rush, go straight to 2'50'' Rick Beato and his youtube channel, musician and musicologist praised by Pat Metheny.

video in French

Peut-on vraiment être BILINGUE ? Kudos and keep up the good job linguisticae

Thursday, April 13, 2023

(2) Ruby Bridges- Short film

And a fictional short about her. Few demonstrators but extras are expensive for a low budget film.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Ruby Bridges

After passing the very difficult exam reserved for black kids in New Orleans, Louisiana,(6 had succeeded but five declined, the parents I mean.), Ruby was the only one to attend. Click to enlarge the picture by Norman Rockwell. A painting he did three years later: "The Problem We All Live With (1963)" It says it all. Watch the video below too!

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Supertramp - School

Third studio album from the English rock band, Supertramp. Here are the lyrics for the song "School" [Intro] [Verse 1] I can see you in the morning when you go to school Don't forget your books, you know you've gotta learn the golden rule Teacher tells you stop your playing and get on with your work And be like Johnnie-Too-Good, don't you know he never shirks He's coming along [Verse 2] After school is over, you're playing in the park But don't be out too late, don't let it get too dark They tell you not to hang around and learn what life's about And grow up just like them, won't let you work it out And you're full of doubt [Instrumental] [Bridge] Don't do this and don't do that What are they trying to do? (Make a good boy of you) And do they know where it's at? But don't criticize, they're old and wise Do as they tell you to, don't want the devil to Come and put out your eyes [Verse 3] Maybe I'm mistaken expecting you to fight Or maybe I'm just crazy, I don't know wrong from right But while I am still living, I've just got this to say It's always up to you if you wanna be that Wanna see that, wanna see it that way You're coming along Roger Hodgson who co-authored it stated the song is "basically saying that what they teach us in schools is all very fine, but it’s what they don’t teach us in schools that creates so much confusion in our being. They don’t really prepare us for life in terms of teaching us who we are on the inside. They teach us how to function on the outside and to be very intellectual, but they don’t tell us how to act with our intuition or our heart or really give us a real plausible explanation of what life’s about."

Saturday, February 25, 2023