Miscellany 37: Time Magazine; Californication; US-Mexico Border Fence; Bush Courts Assassination; Duke Rape Case; Remembering Martin Luther King; US Lies over Iraq; Instate Tuition for Illegal Aliens; Schwarzenegger’s Evil Ploy: Mandatory Health Insurance; Mandated Cowardice; Americans Killed by Illegal Immigrants; Ibuprofin Kills; Cost of the War in Iraq; Environmental Destruction from Immigration; Churchill; Henry Ford and Evolution; All Illegal Aliens Are Criminals; Laotians Eat Dogs; How Can the US Criticize Terrorists?; US Leaders Encourage Destruction of US; Donating Used Clothing Destroys Jobs; Cloned Food Is Dangerous; State of the Union Address on Illegal Immigration; Iran: the US Is a Paper Tiger; Rock and Roll is NOT Black Music!; Rapid Population Growth Destroys Everything; Nikola Tesla; Lou Dobbs Criticized; Snowflakes; Southern Accents; Einstein’s Big Idea; Nostradamus; Childhood Memories
© 2007 Joseph George Caldwell. All rights reserved. Posted at Internet web
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Commentary on recent news, reading and events of personal interest.
When I was much younger, I had a friend who referred to Life magazine as the magazine for people who could not read and Time magazine as the magazine for people who could not think. (For older readers, Life was a weekly current-events magazine containing mainly pictures – Time was the same familiar magazine as exists today). His disparaging remarks were rather on the mark, although USA Today, which did not exist then, may take honors for the top-ranking vehicle for uncritical reporting of current events.
In the latest issue of Time, there was an article in which the term income per head was used, instead of the more common income per capita. This is a good example of how Time dumbs down its vocabulary. When I was a boy, ordinary people knew what the term per capita meant. They knew what capital punishment meant, and what capitation taxes were. It is sad to see the cultural literacy of the country slowly disintegrate, as it is flooded with two million uneducated immigrants each year.
These costs are really high.
The headlines of the
President Bush is playing a very dangerous game. In previous times, war was regarded as the “sport of kings.” No king wanted to be executed in the event that he lost the war, and so kings rarely executed other kings. Bush has chosen to execute his defeated adversary. He has “upped” the ante to a level that more prudent men rarely seek. His action makes it entirely justifiable, even necessary, for the enemy – Sunni Iraqis, Sunni Arabs, disaffected Moslems – to execute him. By making the fight “personal” and executing the enemy’s leader, he has ensured that they will make every effort to kill him, in retaliation. Furthermore, since Bush has caused the killing of Saddam Hussein’s family members, the retaliation will almost surely include assassination of Bush’s family members, in like manner.
It was rumored that
While he is in the White House, Bush is well protected. I would imagine that he will be assassinated
within a year after leaving the White House.
Last year, three members of the
It is a sorry day when the lives of three young college men are seriously disrupted solely on the word of a stripper, who, it turns out, is also an unwed mother, twice over.
On January 15, “Martin Luther King Day,” the role of Rev.
Martin Luther King, Jr. in the
Well, some people may respect Kennedy, but I am certainly
not among them. Early in my career, I
worked at the Research Triangle Institute, near
The difference between Kennedy and King is that Kennedy was a declared politician, whereas King, despite his political activities, was a pastor. As Henry Kissinger once noted, “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Political leaders are constantly barraged by propositions from women, and the public understands their being seduced and their seducing others. But in many cases, for distinguished statesmen of the past, it is a “sometimes” thing, such as Franklin Roosevelt’s affair with Lucy Mercer or Dwight Eisenhower’s affair with Kay Summersby (his wartime driver / secretary). The public can even understand and pardon a succession of affairs, as in the case of Bill Clinton. Kennedy’s sexual exploits are legendary, but then, he was just a politician. On the other hand, a pastor, such as King, is supposed to be a role model. He is not supposed to leave a succession of sexual conquests in his path. Kennedy was not a pastor, and did not represent himself as a religious or family role model. King was a pastor, and preached against adultery. He was a shameless hypocrite. In no way does he deserve personal recognition as a hero of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Day should be renamed as Civil Rights Day or Black Recognition Day or something that does not honor a man who is unworthy of this recognition.
Having seen that all three reasons for the war were untrue,
invalid or impossible to achieve, one would think that we would therefore now
leave. But we cannot, since the real
reason for the war was to obtain access to Iraqi oil, and the government believes
that it still may be possible to achieve that objective. What makes the war difficult for the
government to continue, however, is that the American electorate is unwilling
to spend one hundred billion dollars a year and lose one thousand American
lives each year to achieve the stated objectives in the war – to implement
democracy in Iraq, or reduce terrorism, or make the Middle East region more
stable, or even save Iraq from total destruction (balkanization into its
original three parts – Kurdistan, Sunnistan, and Shiastan). The
As Sir Walter Scott famously remarked, “Oh, what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
Some state universities in the
The government was not content, however, simply to increase
the cost of physician salaries. It
worked diligently to increase the cost of drugs, medical equipment, and
surgical procedures. The reason for this
was twofold – to increase wealth for
As medical costs skyrocketed and the demand for
life-enhancing drugs and procedures increased, medical insurance became very
expensive. Under the
The government has succeeded well in its program of vastly increasing the cost of medical care, and generating massive wealth for doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of medical equipment and supplies. Unfortunately, the cost of medical care is now so great that many firms cannot afford to offer medical insurance as an employee benefit, and middle-class Americans cannot afford medical care at all. So what is to be done?
Well, what is to be done is that the government is now in
the process of passing laws making it mandatory to purchase medical
insurance. Early in Bill Clinton’s
presidency, Hillary Clinton once proposed such an idea, but it was roundly
rejected. Now, the state of
What is wrong with this proposal is that it would gradually wipe out the assets of most unemployed middle-class Americans, unless they are old enough to qualify for Medicare. Any medical insurance scheme would cost $500 – 1,000 per month. An unemployed or retired person with assets, such as a house, furnishings, and a car, would not qualify for assistance, because of these assets. Eventually, all of his retirement savings would be consumed in paying for mandatory medical insurance. The government is determined that much of an average person’s income, and eventually, all of his savings, will be transferred to the wealthy-elite medical establishment. Previously, a person would at least have the option of refusing high-cost medical care. Now, the government is going to force you to pay for it, whether you like it or not, whether you use it or not, or whether you can afford it or not. If you are an average middle-class American, the government is going to transfer almost all of your income and assets to the medical establishment, and there is going to be nothing that you can do about it.
What the government wants to do is to shift the cost of providing free medical services directly to the taxpayer, so that the massive cost of allowing alien invaders to have access to free services in this country is not so obvious. So what Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hillary Clinton, and others who propose mandatory insurance are in effect saying is that American citizens are going to be forced to pay directly for the free medical services to illegal aliens, whether they like it or not. This is an outrage. A person will no longer have the choice of simply not using medical services and paying nothing. Instead, he will be forced to pay for the average amount of use, via mandatory insurance. What is even worse is that the illegal aliens will pay nothing for the insurance, because they have little income and no assets. Middle-class or poor Americans who have some assets – savings, a house – will be forced to pay for the insurance until they are wiped out, and made as poor as the alien invaders.
Mandatory medical insurance is an evil ploy to force people
to transfer a massive amount of their income and savings to wealthy health care
providers. The government has succeeded
in increasing the cost of medical care to stratospheric levels, so that
middle-class people can no longer afford services, or even medical insurance –
even treatment for ordinary illnesses is now very expensive. And now that the government has allowed the
country to be flooded with illegal aliens who are provided free medical care,
it is going to force all Americans to pay directly for this, directly, via
mandated medical insurance. This movement
is an outrage, and just one more example of how the
In case you object to my use of the word “fascist” to
describe our government, refer to my article, “Is America Fascist”: a fascist
government is one in which the primary interest of government is business, with
little regard for the individual. In the
present case, the government has, in complete abrogation of its vows under the
Constitution, allowed the country to be invaded by tens of millions of illegal
aliens, to whom it is rendering billions of dollars worth of social, economic
and medical services, which it now demands be paid directly by the American
citizens. It is totally aligned with
business, and cares not that mass immigration and massive international free
trade are destroying American environment and culture and the quality of life
for the American middle class. It is a
plutocracy that serves only the wealthy-elite oligarchy – in its view, the
American middle class exists solely to generate income and wealth for the
wealthy elite who own the country. It is
patently clear that the
Just for the record, here follows part of the
PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing that everyone in his state, including those here illegally, be required to purchase health insurance.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R),
VILES: He argues that since the state is obligated to pay for emergency room treatment for illegal aliens, it makes financial sense to force them to buy subsidized health insurance.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Our question, the decisions that our team has made, was not should we treat them or not treat them. The question really is, how can we treat them in the most cost-effective way? We are trying to be realistic here and not live in denial.
VILES: Republicans immediately criticized the governor's plan, saying it would attract and reward illegal aliens.
MICHAEL VILLINES, CALIF. STATE ASSEMBLY: If they break the law coming into our country, they will get benefits that they wouldn't receive if they played by the rules. And that kind of message is a very dangerous message for a nation that supposedly believes in the rule of law to send anywhere around the world, especially in our own neighborhoods.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would be a further validation of saying illegal behavior is OK, and I don't think that's where Californians want to go. Californians have been very clear about that.
VILES: Schwarzenegger estimates
the cost of subsidizing insurance for illegal aliens at roughly $2.5 billion a
In 2004, an estimated 43 percent of all births covered by the state's Medi-Cal program were to illegal aliens. The cost of those 105,000 deliveries was $400 million.
VILES: And Lou, this is a national problem, to be sure. At
DOBBS: Seventy-five percent.
VILES: And this is one of the biggest maternity wards in the
DOBBS: Now, correct me if I'm wrong in this, Pete, but the very generous Governor Schwarzenegger, who now describes himself something as a centrist, even as he proposes something this radical, which is -- you've got to love about California and really American politics -- 43 percent of Medicaid is going to -- say that again -- in California.
VILES: Forty-three percent of the births in this state that are subsidized by the state's health program, 43 percent are to illegal aliens. And that number has been growing a little bit in the past couple of years.
DOBBS: It's remarkable. The reaction to this, I suppose, I think it's fair to say, is only beginning to set in.
Peter Viles, thank you very much, reporting from
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you
Please cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here upcoming.
Toys 'R' Us tonight says it will give a $25,000 prize to the parents of a newborn baby. The prize, part of the store's new year baby contest.
Now, originally, Toys 'R' Us said
it would not give the mother the prize because she is an illegal alien from
An estimated 300,000 babies are born to illegal aliens in
this country each and every year. And as you just heard Peter Viles report from
A Dallas-based pizza chain has decided that the U.S. dollar
is no longer the only currency it will accept at its stores. In
Pesos at Pizza Patron. It's got a ring to it.
A spokesman for Pizza Patron told us the company caters to
the Hispanic community and many of their customers visit
[End of Lou Dobbs segment.]
Last week, two Texas border-patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and
were put in prison – for terms of ten and eleven years – for shooting an
illegal-alien drug dealer. The
illegal-alien drug dealer was given immunity from prosecution for testifying
against the agents, whose “crime” was evidently an administrative error (border
patrol agents must discontinue a chase whenever a suspect breaks a law, such as
running a stop light, and they must contact headquarters for permission to
proceed). The criminal illegal alien is
now suing the
In 2005, the
A rather bizarre incident occurred in
If I were in the Tennessee National Guard, I would be very embarrassed that I was deployed along the border, but prohibited from shooting enemy invaders. I would tear up the award and throw it at the feet of the disgusting leaders who mandate retreat of our soldiers in the face of invading enemies.
Every year, illegal aliens kill an estimated 1,400 - 4,400
Americans (murders and automobile accidents) – precise data are not available,
and the estimates vary substantially.
This is greater than the number of US soldiers being killed in the war
Some time ago I wrote a piece in which I estimated the number of Americans killed by illegal aliens to be about 1,400 per year. I did this by assuming that the murder rate and the deaths from motor vehicle accidents were the same for illegal aliens as for US citizens. This is a very conservative approach, since it is known that Mexicans, who are by far the largest component of the illegal alien group, are reported to be poor drivers (prone, for example, to driving while drunk on the weekend). I constructed this estimate since the government does not issue detailed statistics about the number of US citizens killed, maimed, or assaulted by illegal aliens.
Recently, I came across an article by Joseph Farah that estimates of the number of Americans killed each
year by illegal aliens to be 4,380 per year.
This is quite a number! If true,
more Americans are killed each year by illegal aliens than
It is rather remarkable that Americans are so squeamish
about deaths from the war in
Illegal aliens are slaughtering US citizens at a rate
comparable to the rate at which Iraqi insurgents are killing US soldiers. The really significant difference, however,
is that the
Here follows the article that I read on the estimated number of Americans killed each year by illegal aliens. It is posted at the web site http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53103 .
Though no federal statistics are kept on murders or any other crimes committed by illegal aliens, a number of groups have produced estimates based on data collected from prisons, news reports and independent research.
Twelve Americans are murdered every day by illegal aliens,
according to statistics released by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. If those numbers
are correct, it translates to 4,380 Americans murdered annually by illegal
aliens. That's 21,900 since
But the carnage wrought by illegal alien murderers represents only a fraction of the pool of blood spilled by American citizens as a result of an open border and un-enforced immigration laws.
While King reports 12 Americans are murdered daily by illegal
aliens, he says 13 are killed by drunk illegal alien drivers – for another
annual death toll of 4,745. That's 23,725 since
While no one – in or out of government – tracks all U.S. accidents caused by illegal aliens, the statistical and anecdotal evidence suggests many of last year's 42,636 road deaths involved illegal aliens.
A report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study found 20
percent of fatal accidents involve at least one driver who lacks a valid
Statistically, that makes them an even greater danger on the road than drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked – and nearly as dangerous as drunk drivers.
King also reports eight American children are victims of sexual abuse by illegal aliens every day – a total of 2,920 annually.
Based on a one-year in-depth study, Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the Violent Crimes Institute of Atlanta estimates there are about 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each. She analyzed 1,500 cases from January 1999 through April 2006 that included serial rapes, serial murders, sexual homicides and child molestation committed by illegal immigrants.
As the number of illegal aliens in the
According to Edwin Rubenstien,
president of ESR Research Economic Consultants, in
While the federal government doesn't track illegal alien
murders, illegal alien rapes or illegal alien drunk driving deaths, it has
studied illegal aliens incarcerated in
In April 2005, the Government Accountability Office released a report on a study of 55,322 illegal aliens incarcerated in federal, state, and local facilities during 2003. It found the following:
The 55,322 illegal aliens studied represented a total of 459,614 arrests – some eight arrests per illegal alien;
Their arrests represented a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses – some 13 offenses per illegal alien;
36 percent had been arrested at least five times before.
"While the vast majority of illegal aliens are decent people who work hard and are only trying to make a better life for themselves and their families, (something you or I would probably do if we were in their place), it is also a fact that a disproportionately high percentage of illegal aliens are criminals and sexual predators," states Peter Wagner, author of a new report called "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration." "That is part of the dark side of illegal immigration and when we allow the 'good' in we get the 'bad' along with them. The question is, how much 'bad' is acceptable and at what price?"
[End of Joseph Farah article.]
Some time ago I wrote an article on the danger of ibuprofen. This dangerous drug has caused serious damage to my wife’s kidneys, to the point where she has “stage 4 renal disease” – one step away from stage 5, which requires kidney dialysis.
Here follows an article appearing in the
FDA: Use caution when taking acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen. Sterner warnings proposed: Remedies still safe, effective when taken properly. By Andrew Bridges.
The over-the-counter drugs remain safe and effective when used as directed, the Food and Drug Administration said. However, overdoses of acetaminophen can cause serious liver damage, even death, the FDA said.
For aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, there is a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney injury even when patients take the correct dose. The drug are linked to thousands of deaths a year. The FDA said the risk is rare when compared to the number of patients who take the drugs.
The drugs are found in hundreds of products sold to treat pain, headache and fever. Health officials worry that the wide availability of those combination products allows patients to unwittingly overdose.
The FDA has updated the labels on the drugs multiple times in the past to warn patients of their risks. In 2004, some of the warnings contained in the new proposal were included in pharmacy brochures and public service ads - a move that some critics said at the time didn't go far enough.
The latest proposed changes largely would beef up and highlight those warnings on the labels of the drugs. They also would require the more prominent disclosure, using fluorescent or bold-faced type, the presence of the drugs among a medication's ingredients.
For acetaminophen, the labels also would warn of the risk of severe liver damage if patients take more than the recommended dose or consume three or more alcoholic drinks a day while on the drugs. The labels also would warn patients not to take multiple medicines that contain acetaminophen. In any given week, an estimated 48 million Americans take an acetaminophen product.
For aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, their labels would have to contain additional warnings of the risk of stomach bleeding.
The labels would note the risk is higher in patients older than 59, or in those who have stomach ulcers, take blood-thinning drugs or steroids, use other drugs that contain an NSAID or remain on the medications for an extended period. An estimated 17 million Americans take an NSAID daily.
Acetaminophen is sold under the brand name Tylenol and in multiple generic versions. Acetaminophen sends an estimated 56,000 people to the emergency room each year, the FDA said. About 100 people die each year after unintentionally overdosing on the drug.
Ibuprofen is sold under the brand names Advil and Motrin and in generic form as well. Naproxen is best known as. Aleve, but is also sold generically. The NSAIDs are blamed for sending more than 200,000 Americans to the hospital every year, and are linked to an estimated 16,000 deaths; the FDA said.
While all the affected rugs are available without a prescription, they also are used in multiple combination products sold: only with a doctor's note.
The proposal won't take effect until a year following its: scheduled Dec. 26 publication, in: the Federal Register.
[End of Andrew Bridges article.]
On television these days, an ad is being shown for Children’s
Motrin (a brand of ibuprofen). It is
criminal that the
The war in
Ever since the time of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, US
presidents have striven for mass immigration to the
President John F. Kennedy was strongly in favor of increased
immigration from non-North European cultures.
He wrote a book, Nation of
Immigrants, in which he set forth his views. After his assassination, his brother, Senator
Edward Kennedy, worked hard for passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which
opened the floodgates to mass immigration from alien cultures. The Kennedys were
Catholics, and resented the domination of
By 1965, when the Act was passed, the birth rates of Americans
– both whites and nonwhites – had dropped to near-replacement levels. Prior to 1965, most of the population growth
Immigrants destroy natural land, and immigrants kill
Americans. Each immigrant to the
Here is a list showing the
Date Population Pop. Chng. % Change
According to this table (and extrapolating to present time),
Johnson (1965-1972): 15.6 million
Nixon (1973-1974): 3.9 million
Ford (1975-1976): 4.2 million
Carter (1977-1980): 9.2 million
Reagan (1981-1988): 17.2 million
Bush (1989-1992): 10.4 million
Bush (2001-2006): 15 million
These numbers are indicators of the destruction of
I heard an interesting quotation the other day, attributed
I read once an interesting anecdote about Henry Ford. He sent a team of men to automobile junk yards to examine worn-our Fords, and assess the condition of each part. After completing the survey, the team reported back to him with the result that all parts of the junked cars showed ranges of wear, often extreme wear, with the exception of a single part – the king pin (a rod holding a front wheel on). He then instructed his design engineers to reduce the diameter of the king pins on all future models.
Nature works the same way. No part of an animal’s body is engineered to a strength or capability far beyond the others – all parts are all of comparable quality and capability. They pretty much wear out together. In its design of living creatures, nature is exceedingly intelligent and skillful. Henry Ford realized that Mother Nature is very intelligent and very efficient, and he wisely sought to emulate her.
Someone commented recently (Lou Dobbs Tonight,
While on the golf course a few weeks ago (until recently
this has been a very mild winter), my partner mentioned to me that all of the
dogs had disappeared from this section of town (near
You often hear the
By its policies of mass immigration and massive
international free trade, the
The country is now very crowded – commute times are severe,
quality land is very expensive, there is severe overcrowding, and the wait
times to enjoy our national parks and wild rivers is up to a year in many
places. It now costs thousands of dollars
to take a raft trip down a wild river.
Wildlife has disappeared from most parts of the country. Under its policies of massive international
free trade, the
Under the US Constitution, the President and other leaders
are required to protect the country from invasion. But the country has been invaded by 10-20
million illegal aliens, and the government does nothing. In fact, it encourages more to come, under
its policies of providing free social, economic, and medical services to them,
and by granting birthright citizenship to their newborn children (estimated at
300,000 per year). It is estimated that
illegal aliens are now slaughtering about 1,400 - 4,400
All of the
The flow of illegal aliens across our borders could be
stopped immediately, and all illegal aliens removed by
their own volition in a few weeks, if the government would simply make illegal
immigration a capital crime and start hanging illegal aliens. If we did this, they would stop coming immediately,
and those already here would flee the country as fast as they could. There is no need for a border fence, or any
program to try to “motivate” employers not to hire illegal aliens. This policy would not only immediately solve
the illegal alien problem as almost no cost, but it would save thousands of
American lives each year, since illegal aliens slaughter about 1,400 - 4,400 US
citizens each year. But the
It is understandable why the government wants massive
immigration and massive international free trade, since those programs help
make the wealthy elite much wealthier.
But the hypocrisy over this issue is unbearable. The government claims that it is doing these
things to help US citizens, to make them better off. In fact,
Recently, we have been making threatening gestures toward
A second thing that
The American people are so duped and befuddled by their government, however, that they are being killed at the rate of several thousand per year by the enemy (1,000 per year by the Iraqis, who are simply defending their own country from US invasion, and 1,400 - 4,400 by illegal-alien invaders, whom our government aids and abets), while the illegal-alien invaders are being encouraged to remain, safe and sound, in the US, provided not only with employment, but also with free social, economic and medical services and birthright citizenship for their children.
Why do we allow illegal aliens to remain safe and sound and
well-supported in the
Tokyo Rose would have had a field day with the current
Last week, my wife and I vacationed in
The only thing that bothered me on this trip was the
reference, more than once, that rock-and-role had evolved from “black
music.” Now, I was raised in the South (
In the “Black Pride” movement, we were told that Socrates
and Cleopatra was black and that Greek philosophy had
been stolen from
The Bible tells us that a large population is a king’s
glory. This is true. In order to generate vast wealth, large
populations are required. This is a
principal motivation for the
In the long run, however, endlessly growing populations
destroy everything. You hear from time
to time the
Large populations destroy the natural land. They cause overcrowding, long commute times,
incivility, crime, and pollution. In
earlier times, families could be large because children were lost to disease,
famine and war. Today, the world’s
population is exploding, because none of these factors is working significantly
to counter humankind’s high birth rate.
As the world population explodes, we are seeing more and more examples
of countries that are totally destroyed by large populations.
Even resource rich countries are not immune. With one of the highest birth rates in the
world (a total fertility rate of about seven children born to a female in her
lifetime), Saudi Arabia’s population has skyrocketed from six million in 1970
to 22 million in 2000. Once fabulously
wealthy and able to provide it citizens with much wealth, Saudi Arabia is now
hard-pressed to provide for its citizens, and is facing a future of revolution
and destruction from internal dissent.
It threw it all away. It
squandered the birthright of its people by its policy of explosive population
I recently saw some ads for consulting work in
Organized religions, too, are in favor of massive population
growth, since they spawn poverty, famine and war, which are great for religion. Organized religions wither and die in rich
countries (witness, e.g.,
The West’s population growth rate dropped because of a
phenomenon referred to as the “demographic transition,” under which low mortality
rates encourage low birth rates, and the population eventually stabilizes. But the demographic transition is a phenomenon that occurred only in the West, and before populations
were so large as to destroy the countries. It did not occur in
Population growth is the great destroyer, and the great
enslaver. It is the most powerful weapon
that the West and
Did it ever occur to you how many famous men have the rather unusual name, Nicholas? There is, of course, St. Nicholas (Father Christmas, Santa Claus), followed by Nicolas Copernicus, Niccolò Machiavelli, Nicolaas van Rensburg, Nicholas Roerich, Nicholas Baker (Niels Bohr) and Nikola Tesla.
In a bookstore a few months ago I noticed a book about Nikola Tesla. The book caught my eye as I was walking toward the computer-books section – it was the last book on the row, at eye level, with the cover showing. I stopped, picked up the book, and skimmed through it. It was quite thick, and contained descriptions of many of Tesla’s inventions. I decided not to buy it at the time.
During my college days, I had worked as a guide in the Buhl
In November, my wife and I saw the movie, Who Killed the Electric Car? It
is a fascinating story of the rise and fall of the electric car in
Tesla was born on
In New Age books that I have read recently, there have been increasingly frequent references to Tesla. Here is a sample, from David Icke’s book, The Robot’s Rebellion (Gateway, 1994).
Roosevelt was a close friend of Nikola Tesla, the scientific
genius who was to say that much of his knowledge came from ETs.
One of Tesla's students, Guglielmo Marconi, set up a secret group which claimed to have built
flying saucers in the 1940s, and to have landed on the Moon in the early 1950s.
Interestingly, a ridiculous number of Marconi
scientists and others working in similar areas have had strange and
It worked, but the
crew went hysterical and were sick. Von Neumann asked
for more time to perfect the technology, but the Chief of Naval Operations
insisted it was finished by
The general background to the Philadelphia Experiment has been told in a feature film, and the basic themes of it are said to be correct. In the underground centre at Montauk the Camerons were taken to see Von Neumann, now of course a much older man than the one they had known in 1943. Von Neumann was reported to have died in 1957, but that was part of the cover for his work. He told them that they had to be transported back in time to the Eldridge in 1943 to smash the equipment because the experiment had created a `bubble in hyperspace' which threatened to cause catastrophe on this frequency. Von Neumann had by now (1983) perfected the technology for time travel thanks to the extraterrestrial input since the 1950s, this story claims. The Camerons were transported back to the ship and 1943 where they smashed the equipment. When that happened, the Eldridge reappeared physically. See, I said it was complicated, and it's even more so when you read the full story as documented in other books. It is hard to comprehend all this if we remain stuck with our version of time rather than a version in which the past, present and projected future are happening together. Perhaps most amusing was the fact that when Cameron, back in 1943, told Von Neumann what had happened to him in 1983, his boss refused to believe him!
Again I say that I am not suggesting that I believe every word of this. I don't know. There are some amazing stories coming out, but I do believe that at least the Illuminati scientists are working in these sort of areas, including inter-frequency and, possibly, time travel.
It is said that
when the Eldridge returned to the physical world of 1943, it was a nightmare to
behold. The time-space-molecular synchronisation had
been so scrambled by what happened that many of the crew members were found to
be part of the superstructure of the ship. Others were insane and still others
would disappear or burst into flames. Talk about cleverness without wisdom. The
mad professors are out of control. The researchers making these claims say the
project was stopped after the Eldridge disaster and Von Neumann went to
The development of Project Phoenix into the 1980s has, some claim, produced the knowledge and technology to travel through time. One story says they have travelled forward in time, but when they reach 2011 everything enters a dream-like state. 2011 links in with the predictions of the Maya and others for the time of great change. There is so much speculation that looking at the themes rather than all of the detail, claim and counter-claim, is probably far more productive. It is further said that Von Neumann and the secret scientists have also perfected the technique of making a person older or younger by breaking their ‘time lock'. Tesla was working on time locks before he died, or disappeared. We are time-locked at birth into this frequency's version of time. On physical death, the time lock breaks and we are free to move on to other space-time worlds. Without this time lock during a physical life it would be chaos, and the sort of things that happened to the crew of the Eldridge would be happening to all of us. But if you can remove the time lock in a controlled way, you can advance or regress the age of the physical body, or so some investigators have said. The Brotherhood elite know how to change the weather in a limited way, and from the grotesque experiments they carry out on their abducted victims these insane scientists also know how to create clones. Some of the ‘little greys' which people often report seeing could be from their laboratory and I'm sure they have developed the ability to create a human body, Frankenstein-style. To think we are having discussions about the morality of genetic engineering while this is going on! Thousands of people go missing in the world every year and are never seen again. A number of them, I have no doubt, end up in the underground laboratories.
Their understanding of anti-gravity technology - spacecraft - is now very advanced and many of the UFO sightings we hear about will be craft being tested and flown by human pilots. The bright light or glow around a UFO as reported by so many people is caused by the magnetic field produced by the craft which affects the gravitation field to create anti-gravity. There are many different technologies that these craft use to harness the natural energy fields.
Prompted by the repeated glimpses of Tesla, the next time I was in the Barnes & Nobel bookstore I looked for the Tesla book that I had seen before, but, alas, it was gone. I asked the information desk whether they had any other books on Tesla, and they did. One they stocked was a Barnes & Noble edition of Tesla, Man out of Time, by Margaret Cheney (1981, Barnes & Noble edition 1993). This book is really interesting, and I recommend it highly.
My brother, Charles, from
Tesla was an incredible man. He promoted the use of alternating current (AC) to transmit electricity over long distances, and invented the polyphase AC induction motor and radio. He is, in my opinion, the greatest inventor of all time.
I am somewhat of a mystic bent, and so, as a result of the
many coincidences about Tesla, I decided to write a proposal to the
As you can tell from my articles, I often watch CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight on the evening
television. Although I do not always
agree with him, I like Mr. Dobbs’ point of view on many subjects. Dobbs is author of a book, War on the Middle Class, in which he
discusses the fact that the
Listening to Lou Dobbs – the CNN business anchor who has built his show around a straight-talking populism – there is inevitably a moment when you nod your head and think, "Yeah, right on."
One day recently when he was speaking at a luncheon event in Manhattan, my nodding moment came when he complained that the Iraq war has been going poorly, yet "not a single general has been fired for his failure." That seemed like bracing common sense, but with Dobbs, the longer you listen, the more self-discrediting he becomes.
His trick is to spout clichés drawn from the right and the left - any one of which has a 50-50 chance that the average person will agree with it - and give them a patina of freshness by wrapping them in angry and dire rhetoric. That rhetoric is their essential glue, making Dobbs the country's foremost practitioner of apocalyptic centrism.
There are various ways to tap into public disgust with partisan politics as usual. One is with a tonal centrism. That is what is offered by Barack Obama, a liberal who presents himself with a tone of sweet reason. Then there is a technocratic centrism: the bland, policy-oriented politics of the sort former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner would have offered Democrats had he run for president.
an apocalyptic centrism, spiced up with paranoia and economic ignorance and
warning of the end of
Dobbs is in the Perot tradition. He has taken Dennis Kucinich, Pat Buchanan and a dash of John Bolton, thrown them into a blender and come up with a worldview that is nationalist and populist. while giving both of those things a bad name.
Dobbs once made a living
at CNN hosting a show that flacked for corporate
Dobbs is no ordinary corporate basher since he also rails against political correctness, illegal immigration, "Communist China" and radical jihadists. His economic populism is always sold in terms of the middle class and the national interest. Unless we address the foreign economic threat, he warns, "this century will be named for another nation."
Indeed, he says, "We're facing a real crisis that will materialize in a couple of years, and we'd better hope that it takes that long."
Evidence of this imminent crisis is thin. Dobbs basically has to ignore the record stock market, an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent and the 20 years of growth since the early 1980s, interrupted by only two brief recessions.
Anger and outrage
Dobbs is worried
At the luncheon, he thundered: "Ninety-six percent of our clothing is imported. This nation cannot even clothe itself." But if we literally couldn't clothe ourselves, we'd be naked. Dobbs' line is like saying we can't feed ourselves because we buy groceries from supermarkets.
Textiles inherently are not an advanced, high-paid industry, and it is no wonder that an economic superpower doesn't do a lot of textile production. Would Dobbs prefer that more of us were hunched over sewing machines rather than employed in industries like software development, financial services, law, accounting, bio-tech and pharmaceuticals?
But never mind. Dobbs demands action now! We need to "do far more, and do it with a vengeance." For him, what other way is there to do something except vengefully?
Someone in the 2008 primary sweepstakes from one of the parties will probably embrace some of the Dobbs shtick. Meanwhile, he pledges "to continue to raise a lot of hell" - naturally enough, since anger and outrage are mostly what apocalyptic centrism is about.
Rich Lowry is editor of National Review. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
[End of Rich Lowry article.]
If the worst that Dobbs can be charged with is being a purveyor of “apocalyptic centrism,” he does not have much to worry about. Lowry is way off base, and Dobbs is pretty much on the mark. Not all Americans can be software developers, financial advisors, lawyers, accountants, bio-tech scientists, as Lowry would evidently propose. Some people, with limited intelligence and ambition, can only do low-skill or menial jobs such as working as servants or operating equipment, but we have exported many of these industrial jobs overseas. Without protective tariffs, we cannot continue to pay low-skill workers high salaries, as we did for many decades before we transferred technology to the rest of the world and, under our policies of massive international free trade, forced our workers to compete with workers making a dollar a day. The only way we can continue to pay middle-class Americans high wages is by restricting the flow of imports from low-wage countries, either by tariffs that equalize the labor component of cost, or by outright banning of products from low-wage countries.
Lowry’s implication that all Americans can work in
high-skill jobs is as absurd as Garrison Keillor’s
Quite some time ago, I wrote an article describing seven natural phenomena that I found quite amazing, and for which I was unaware of any satisfactory explanation. The article was entitled, “The Seven Wonders of the World.” The “wonders” were:
I recently came across another very remarkable phenomenon, which could be added to this list. It is snowflakes. These ice crystals are remarkably varied and amazingly hexagonally symmetric. They are not exactly symmetric. Evidently no two are alike. Even more remarkable, no two arms of the hexagonal crystal are exactly alike, even though they are uncannily similar. They are all of similar size.
What brought snowflakes to my mind was a set, consisting of a small book and a number of Christmas cards, for sale in Barnes & Noble. The book is The Little Book of Snowflakes, by Kenneth Libbrecht (Voyageur Press, 2004). The book is filled with photographs of actual snowflakes, taken by the author with a special photo-microscope.
In order for a snowflake to grow into a highly symmetric design, each part of the snowflake, as it grows, must have knowledge of where it is in the snowflake and what is the nature of the snowflake design in other parts already formed. This is an example of the “nonlocal communication” that transcends space and time and is so fascinating to “New Age” or “quantum” physicists (e.g., the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) effect), or Bell’s Theorem (see Gary Zukav’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Bantam, 1979) for explanations)). It is the same phenomenon as cell growth in a biological organism, such as a human being, that consists of many different types of cells. Each cell in a particular part of the human body is similar to other cells in that part. It is obvious that the cell growth is controlled by a “master plan” or “master controller” or “spiritual template,” which is the spirit that creates physical life from spiritual consciousness. Snowflakes are a similar phenomenon. They are not at all mindless, homogeneous crystal growths, such as solid ice or quartz, but elegant creations, all similar from a “macroscopic” viewpoint, but all different in detail.
Snowflakes are living creatures, such as blades of grass, leaves, amoebas, and human beings.
A few years ago, my wife and I were playing golf with a
lady, here in
A few days ago, in a medical facility, someone spilled something, and the receptionist asked the janitor for some “wops” to “wop it off.” This time, I knew what she was talking about: “wipes.”
Quite some time ago, when my wife was driving through
I feel for the poor French tourist who must cope with southern accents. I was raised in the South, and they still throw me from time to time.
I saw a really interesting docu-drama
on television a few months ago, called Einstein’s
Big Idea. It provides some
background into the history leading up to Einstein’s famous formula relating
matter and energy: E = mc2 . It was based on the book, E = mc2 :
A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation, by David Bodanis (
One of the most interesting parts of the feature is a
segment on the role of Emilie du
Châtelet. The narrator (John Lithgow) says this about
her: “Emilie du Châtelet would have a huge effect on physics in her
tragically short lifetime. Unheard of, for a woman of her time, she would
publish many scientific works, including a translation of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia, the greatest treatise on
motion ever written. Du Châtelet's
translation is still the standard text in
The really interesting thing is that
During the program, the narrator comments, “Du Châtelet learned from the
brilliant men around her, but she quickly developed ideas of her own. Much to
the horror of her mentors, she even dared to suspect that there was a flaw in
the great Sir Isaac Newton's thinking.”
“Despite the overwhelming support for
Judith Zinsser (of
It was almost 30 years ago, about 1978, when the
To prevent the enemy from being able to destroy all of our missiles, it was planned to build many “dummy” or “decoy” silos – so many that it would be very unlikely that the Soviet Union would be able to destroy all of them, even using MIRVs (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles). All of the silos in an area would be connected with a railroad track. A train on the track would carry a real or fake missile, which could be placed in any of the silos at any time. Pictures of the concept usually illustrated the railway in the shape of a racetrack, hence the name “racetrack” system.
Well, I had worked in the field of ballistic missile warfare
(both offense and defense) for some time, and I did not think that the idea was
a very good one. About that time, I won
a contract to do some work in the
At the beginning of some chapters of my book, I decided to
present some quotations from Nostradamus, so I looked
for a copy of his book. At that time, it
was evidently not in print in the
Here follow a few of the quatrains that I included in MX.
Such a great famine due to plague
By a long rain the length of the Arctic Pole
The Samarobryn a hundred places in the hemisphere
They shall live without law, without political order (VI:5)
One of the features of Nostradamus’ prophecies, like most prophecies, is that they are ambiguous, and not very useful for predicting particular events at particular times. It is interesting, however, to consider them in light of history, after the fact. When I wrote MX, I used this quatrain to symbolize a great ballistic-missile nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, and the social and political chaos that would result from it.
To date, the word Samarobryn remains an enigma to students of Nostradamus. As I reread this quatrain recently, it occurred that the word Samarobryn could be a cryptogram of Osama bin Laden: Samarobyn – Osama bin – and referring to the fact that he is located “in a hundred places.” Students of Nostradamus (e.g., Erika Cheetham, John Hogue, Peter Lemesurier) translate this quatrain rather differently from the above. In French, the quatrain is:
Si grand famine par vnde pestifere
Par pluye longe le long du polle arctique
Samarobryn cent lieux de l’hemisphere
Viuront sans loy exempt de pollitique
The key difference is in the word lieux. Cheetham, Hogue, and Lemesurier translate this as the plural of the French word for league: lieue. But the plural of lieue is lieues, not lieux. Lieux is the plural of the word for place. An old French league varied between 2.5 – 4.5 miles, and the common suggestion is that the quatrain refers to a space station a hundred leagues, or 250 – 450 miles, above the Earth. But space stations as close as 250-450 miles are not in synchronous orbits (which are located 22,241 miles from Earth) – they traverse all over both hemispheres (or around the equator, which is in neither hemisphere), and so this does not make a lot of sense.
Another quatrain that I used was the following well-known one:
At five and forty degrees the sky shall burn
Fire shall descend upon the great
Instantly a great flame shall disperse
The French is:
Cinq et quarante degrés ciel bruslera
Feu approcher de la grand cité neufue
Instant grand flame esparse sautera
Quand on voudra des
When I used this quatrain, I was referring to large-scale
nuclear war (“the sky shall burn”) over the
I was born in
Milk was delivered to your door in bottles, from a milk wagon drawn by a horse or a motorized van, depending on the dairy. The milk bottles had cardboard caps, which had printed designs that differed by dairy and type of milk. The children would collect and trade milk-bottle caps. The milk was delivered early in the morning, and in the wintertime, when we collected it from outside the door, the milk, which was about 1/5 cream on the top, would have frozen and pushed the bottle-top about an inch or two out of the bottle.
Our bread was also delivered by a breadwagon, later in the day. Each horse had a leather-and-canvas “feeding bucket” hanging from its head, and it ate as it moved along. An advantage of a horsedrawn wagon is that the horse learns where to stop, and the delivery man (always a man) did not have to spend much time directing it. One day, a friend of mine and I hitched a ride on the back of wagon. Unknown to us, the “breadman” had seen us in a mirror. He stopped the wagon, ran around to the back, and promptly gave my friend and me a boot in the behind.
Our first refrigerator was not electric. It contained a box, in the bottom, for a large block of ice. The ice was delivered each week by an “ice man,” once again in a horsedrawn wagon.
A “popcorn” man made the rounds of our neighborhood, in a fancy wagon pulled by a horse. Children would buy popcorn from him. At one point, in the late 1940s, the city passed an ordinance banning the sale of food from horsedrawn wagons. (I imagine that the city fathers decided that there was something unhealthy about the horse dung from the horsedrawn wagons. Funny, it never seemed to hurt us, although we did watch where we stepped.) Well, that was the end of the popcorn man. He tried to continue operations from a little shop down on a street several blocks from where we lived, but had to close before very long.
Our telephone was a large black one, mounted on the wall. It had a mouthpiece that was fixed (but could be moved up or down) and an earpiece on a long cloth-wrapped electrical cord. All electrical cords were cloth-wrapped, not plastic-molded.
The toaster was not a “pop-up” one, but one with a door on each side. You opened the door from the top, and placed a piece of bread inside. You watched it until it was toasted on one side, and then turned it over.
A small loaf of bread cost nine cents, and a large loaf cost 11 cents. Sliced bread cost a penny more. My sister and I each got 25 cents allowance each week (Dad was a tool-and-diemaker at the Aluminum Company of Canada (ALCAN), making $2.12 per hour – very good pay in those days). Each Saturday we walked downtown to the movie theater to see the latest movie, including previews, a serial, and a cartoon. The movie cost 10 cents. A soft drink (usually a Coca-Cola) cost a nickel, as did a wide variety of chocolate bars and other confections. If it was raining, we might take the bus back home. The bus cost five cents, which would use the rest of our allowance, and so we rarely did this. A nickel could buy all sorts of things, such as an ice-cream cone or a telephone call from a telephone booth. Most candies, such as Double-Bubble “bubble” chewing gum, were two pieces for one cent. Wrigley’s chewing gum was five cents for five sticks, but Black Cat chewing gum was five sticks for two cents.
Mother’s washing machine was electric, meaning that it had a motor-operated gyrator and motor-operated rollers for squeezing the water from the clothes after they were washed or rinsed. She also had a small washboard for washing occasional items through the week. One day, my friend, Dennis, stuck his arm in the wringer. It pulled him in, but had an emergency release, so that, although startled and frightened, he was not injured.
Many cars in the 1940s still had running boards, and a few older ones had manual crank starters and manual spark advances (on the steering wheel, around the horn button). Dad bought two 1936 Terraplane cars and refurbished them, to make a little extra money. The car of our neighbors across the street and two doors down burned up one day. It took several months before they rebuilt it (plywood, stuffing, fabric, and a new leather top). It was still the “box” style, black, like an old Model T Ford.
Our toys were quite simple. We enjoyed assembling cardboard “service-stations” (Esso, Texaco). For a birthday, getting a cardboard Texaco Fire-Chief hat was really special, along with a cap pistol and a device that generated sparks from flint as you pressed a plunger. The most fabulous present was a brass steam engine, run on Sterno gelled fuel, from my grandparents.
In the 1940s, our relatives who lived on farms in Shawville and Grand Cascapedia,
The first computer had not yet been invented when I was born. My grandparents had an old Royal typewriter. The National Geographic magazines were all in black-and-white. Most people still had a “victory” garden – a carryover from the Second World War. In 1945, everyone had dark green opaque blinds on the windows. Gradually, these were all replaced by translucent beige ones.
Margarine was invented, but the butter lobby got the government to pass a law that it had to be sold uncolored – white. This was the same color as lard, and not very appealing. It was permitted to sell a package of coloring powder with each package. One of the children’s assigned tasks was to stir the coloring into the margarine. This takes a while. My grandparents in the Gaspé still made butter from a churn. This takes a while, but the “buttermilk” byproduct certainly is good!
The wood stoves contained a water tank. For shaving, the men would take some hot water in a shallow enamel bowl, lather with a brush, and use a straight razor. The wood for the stove was cut during the summer, and stacked fairly close to the house. A ready supply (not covered with ice and snow) was kept in a small room or woodbin at the back of the house. My grandmother’s house had a hand waterpump at the kitchen sink – that was really an improvement over having to haul pails of water from the well, as at my aunt’s house.
We made many of our toys by hand – cut-out tommy guns for playing “Commandos,” slingshots, scooters, and kites. Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. A favorite game was marbles – “potsies,” in which the last person to get his marble into the “pot” (hole in the ground) wins all of the marbles. Other favorite toys were India-rubber balls, “Spaldeens” (Spalding) balls, hop-scotch, and red-rover. In wintertime the streets became packed so hard with snow that we would play ice-hockey on them, under the streetlight (it was dark by about 4-5 o’clock). Girls always owned figure skates and boys owned hockey skates (and a hockey stick and puck). Few children owned roller skates (which clipped on to your shoes), because there were not many smooth concrete places to use them. My first tricycle and wagon were used ones that my father had refurbished. I remember when my sister got a store-bought brand new tricycle, and feeling a little short-changed.
In the spring and fall we wore sweaters or “windbreaker”
jackets. In the winter we wore
parkas. I remember my favorite winter
trousers. They were called “breeks” and they were grey. They had side flares like “Mounty” pants, a leather patch on the seat, leather patches
on the elbows, and laces near the bottom of the legs. My grandmother would knit me a special sweater
containing two opposing moose on the front.
A year later, when I had grown, she would unwind the entire sweater and
knit it in a larger size. When I was in
the third grade, in 1950, my father gave me a “trench coat” – exactly the same
as Claude Rains wore in
Our shoes in the wintertime were either tall rubber boots or short, stubby rubber shoes. One kid in the neighborhood – Conrad – had a pair of leather boots. He had a paper route, and had purchased them with his own money. In the summertime we wore black sneakers or leather sandals. Some of the kids were lucky enough to own “Doonesbury”-style leather pilot caps with Bakelite earphones in them.
About 1950, a family on our street (my friend Winston) got a television set. The neighborhood children were allowed to peek in the window to see it – children were rarely allowed into other people’s homes back then. My friend Bobby’s family had an 8 mm silent movie projector, but no neighborhood children were ever allowed to watch the movies. Bobby owned his own personal cartoon. I was impressed! On the few times when the weather had been bad for days, we were allowed to invite a friend over for a while. We usually played Chinese Checkers or “tin soldiers,” or read comic books.
Comic books cost a dime, which was a lot of money. Each child owned a number, say 5-20, and we would trade them. Our favorites were Dell Brand (Tarzan, Hopalong Cassidy / Bill Boyd, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Lone Ranger, Johnny Mack Brown, Lash Larue, Wild Bill Hickok, Wild Bill Elliot, Mighty Mouse, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Super Duck, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Woody Woodpecker, Tom and Jerry, Little Lulu, Henry Hawk and Foghorn Leghorn); DC (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, Blackhawks, Aquaman, Submariner, Unknown Worlds); Archie; or Faucett Publications (now owned by DC Comics) (Captain Marvel, Captain America, The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, Ibis the Invincible, Sheena, Nyoka). My favorites were Tarzan, Superman and Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel was rather different from the Captain Marvel of today. Captain Marvel was an ordinary man (Billy Batson) who became Captain Marvel after saying “Shazam.” The word “shazam” was an acronym from the initial letters of some ancient characters (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury). There was also Captain Marvel, Jr. and Mary Marvel, whose ordinary personas were a crippled boy (Freddy Freeman) and a girl (Mary Batson, Billy’s sister). They transformed into their super beings by saying “Captain Marvel.” Some of us collected Classics Illustrated, which cost 15 cents. The Catholic Church would give free Classics Illustrated to all of the Catholic school children. They had the same basic story, but with rather thorough modifications throughout to emphasize Catholic tradition, morality and culture. Propaganda was alive and well in the Catholic Church.
The Sunday comics were quite different from today. They were serial stories, such as Superman, Tarzan, Dick Tracy, Prince Valiant, Mary Worth and the Phantom. Except for Blondie (Dagwood Bumstead), they did not contain the silly “cartoon” type of feature that dominates today’s Sunday comics.
Our records were all 78 rpm. Our friends across the street had some Edison-style cylinders and a player. We would occasionally listen to Victor Borge or Burl Ives or Strauss Waltzes.
Radio was a popular source of dramatic entertainment. During the daytime, my grandmother would listen to the various “soap operas,” such as The Romance of Helen Trent; The Second Mrs. Burton; Mary Noble, Backstage Wife; Ma Perkins; Our Gal Sunday; Lorenzo Jones; Young Doctor Malone; The Guiding Light; Stella Dallas; Just Plain Bill. In the evening, we would listen to the Green Hornet; Hopalong Cassidy; Death Valley Days; Superman; Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons; Fibber McGee and Molly; Father Knows Best; Ozzie and Harriet; Jack Benny; Arthur Godfrey; Baby Snooks; Our Miss Brooks; Bob Hope; The Great Gildersleeve; Michael Shayne; Bing Crosy; the Big Bands; Boston Blackie; Milton Berle; Bob and Ray; One Man’s Family.
I could go on and on, but don’t have the time right now (or the justification). I’ll reminisce further some other time. The thing that strikes me is that very many of the things that we take for granted today either did not exist at all or were in limited availability. No cell phones, no Walkmans or mp3 players, no computers, no tape cassettes or CDs, no calculators, few color prints in magazines, no faxes, no color television, no video games, no microwave ovens, no transistor radios, no transistor anything, no space ships, no artificial satellites. Polio season every year.
Some things, however, have hardly changed at all. Automobiles have essentially the same functionality as they did in the 1940s. Telephones have about the same quality sound (and for me, the same functionality, since I do not use any of the “special features,” and rarely use cell phones at all, unless I am in a less-developed country that has poor land-line access). Clothes are about the same, with the addition of “permanent press.” Basic tools for home or auto repair are about the same. Movies are about the same – Technicolor was invented about 1939 (e.g., The Wizard of Oz), and has never been improved upon. Although special effects (via digital processing) are vastly more exotic, we were just as fascinated by Flash Gordon and Superman in the 1940s as we were by Star Trek and Star Wars several decades later, even though they were in black and white with few special effects.
Home furnishings are about the same. Overall, most household appliances are functionally about the same as 50 years ago – sinks and faucets, toilets, electric lights, telephone, radio, television, stoves, refrigerators, mixers, toasters, tea kettles, pots and pans, utensils, musical instruments, heating systems – although air conditioning was not widespread and available mainly in movie theaters.
Perhaps the biggest change is in the access or availability of telephony, music and video entertainment – of limited access and modest fidelity in the 1940s, but of ready access and very high fidelity today (e.g., cell phones, color television with movies on demand, iPod). With respect to music and movies, the difference is one of degree and not of kind. But interactive video games do represent a difference in kind – there was nothing like them in the 1940s – unless you consider pinball machines! And cell phones represent a substantial change from telephone booths.
It is interesting that the only thing that modern science has been able to do that could not possibly be done in the 1940s, without computers, was to put a man on the moon and return him to Earth. The computer is absolutely necessary to make the rapid orbital computations that are essential to space flight. Many other things have been improved by computers, such as doing accounting by computer rather than by hand and computerized tomography (CT scanners, MRI scanners), but these are just improvements, perhaps even quantum improvements in functionality, and they do not represent new functionality (e.g., the X-ray was already available and widely used in the 1940s). With digital signal processing via computer, it is possible to do incredible image and voice processing, such as Karaoke systems that can change key and tempo, but these, once again are simply dramatic improvements – in the theaters of the 1940s, we had “follow the bouncing ball” Karaoke-type singalongs, although in a single key and tempo.