Archive for the March Category

GOING INTO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

This essay should have been written a number of years ago.  It records my resentment and anger at the imposition of daylight savings time.  I hope that there are others who are as dismayed as I am about the imposition of daylight savings time. In my limited field of acquaintances, no one has expressed an appreciation of going into daylight savings time. 

Curiously my resentment has only to do with the springtime version when we enter into daylight savings time.  There is no resentment whatsoever in the fall when we come off daylight savings time and return to standard time.  My anger and resentment have to do with the imposition of daylight savings time which occurs each year at about this time.  As a matter of fact, daylight savings time started only yesterday.  My anger is not yet dispelled which as all of my readers will appreciate how long it must be held in check until November comes and we return to normal time.

My recollection of daylight savings time started during World War II.  One way or another, I still have thoughts of the River Rouge plant run by Henry Ford to make B-24 Bombers.  I suspect that pushing the bombers around so that they could be worked on in daylight may be the reason for the imposition of daylight savings time.  Henry Ford turned out an enormous number of B-24 Bombers and made a vital difference to the defense of this country.  However, I must point out that the war ended in 1945, which was almost 70 years ago.  To have daylight savings time thrust upon us at this time makes no sense at all.

Now the Republican House of Representatives is trying to get in on the act.  Last year, a representative succeeded in having a bill passed that would start daylight savings time a week or two earlier.  So here we are with no war to fight and no bombers to take care of, the imposition of daylight savings time remains with us.  The entry of politicians of either party on a matter such as daylight savings time should be resented.

I know that my anger and resentment will not change things.  It is the way of life in these United States.  For the record, it is my contention that the start of daylight savings time is more than an annoyance.  It has reached the level of a full-fledged detriment to life in this country.   We now have to get up in the dark.  Because so many nations do what the United States does, the fact is that other countries adopted daylight savings time for no other reason than to copy the United States.

As I said at the beginning, this essay should have been written a good many years ago.  We abandon standard time and go toward daylight savings time.  This has always stirred up anger and resentment coming from me.  In the fall, when we return to standard time, my delight is enormous.  But the fact is that we are only able to enjoy standard time for about five months per year, which I must say is a travesty.

My father, always a philosopher, contended that daylight savings time “is not natural.”  I do not agree with much that my father said but in this case he was absolutely right.  It is not natural for free human beings to keep a timetable which I suspect many of us resent.  My thought is that the use of standard time should always be the rule.  In the event of some sort of emergency, we could go to daylight savings time.  That would be an extraordinary circumstance and I see no reason, particularly no political reason, for departing from standard time.

As I said, this is an essay that should have been written many years ago.  The fact that it is slightly out of date does not alter my resentment and anger at the move toward daylight savings time which occurred a day or two ago.  I know that we must live with it, which is living in resentment.  Anytime a politician runs on the platform of only standard time in this country, he will have my vote.  My financial circumstances are limited but I will employ whatever I can spare from my financial resources.  In the end, the imposition of daylight savings time, which started only yesterday, arouses exactly the same anger and resentment that it has always aroused.  This is not a transient affair.  It is anger, which I hope is turned into a political campaign.  In the end, I contend that in agreement with my father, with whom I do not have many agreements, daylight savings time ain’t natural.

 

E. E. CARR

March 11, 2013

Essay 739

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Kevin’s commentary: There is in fact at least one other Essay on the subject. You can find it here. True to form it is written at the tail end of daylight savings time and takes a predictably happier tone.

For my part, I actually liked daylight savings time very much when I was in school, because I generally woke up late enough that it was light out anyway, and sometimes would leave class at 5 or 6pm. If you’re not on daylight savings, sometimes 6pm means the sun is already down, which means it’s dark as you’re walking home. That’s no good.

Now that I work I have yet to really make up my mind. But I am willing to bet that Pop is probably one of the most passionate blind people on this issue, in which he nominally has little stake at this point in his life.

IN MEMORIAM, MARGARET M. MURPHY

It is with a heavy heart that I record the passage of Margaret Murphy from this life.  Margaret was 88 years old and lived a complete life span.  Nonetheless, I am grieved to think that there will be no more happy laughter from Margaret Murphy. 

When we worked, we referred to Margaret as Three M and assumed that her middle name was Mary.  If that was a miscalculation, it was never made known to me.

I first became acquainted with Margaret Murphy in the early 1970s.  I think of the 1970s as happening yesterday.  In fact, the 1970s happened more than 40 years ago.  I can allege that time flies and so it does.  The fact is that either Ed Dady or Jim Hurley made arrangements to bring Margaret Murphy into our overseas organization.  During this phase, I was touring every capitol in Europe and some in Asia to sell Teleplan.  Teleplan was simply a device to encourage foreign telephone administrations not to tack on enormous surcharges.  In some cases, the cost of the surcharge was three times the normal cost of the call.

So an arrangement was made called Teleplan for the administration’s overseas to take a much smaller cut of the proceeds, in exchange for which we would advertise the hotels of that nation to the world.  The first two countries to sign on to Teleplan were Ireland and Israel.

Our efforts were met by varying shades of success.  In some instances, there was an agreement such as we reached with Ireland and with Israel.  In other instances, such as Germany, there was an absolute refusal to limit surcharges on telephone calls back to the United States.

I tell you all of this because we swamped the foreign administrations with material in support of Teleplan.  The person in charge of producing that material and putting it together was none other than Margaret Murphy, the Three M Lady.

At that time, I had an older briefcase.  When Margaret Murphy collected the material, she stuffed it very diligently into that briefcase.  It was always my contention that Margaret Murphy was trying to kill me because of the heavy load of material supporting Teleplan that she crammed into that briefcase.  I very much looked forward to the last stop in my tour of European and Asian capitals because I could go home not having to lug that briefcase around.

In all of this, Margaret Murphy was the soul of cheerfulness.  It might be said that Margaret really put her heart into my success in touring the European and Asian capitals.  There were other instances when Margaret performed brilliantly.  But I believe that the Teleplan example is a good case for the way Margaret performed her work.

When Margaret died, she was 88 years old.  In all of her life, she never married.  I deeply regret that because Margaret Murphy would have made someone a wonderful wife.  That is not the way that life turned out for Margaret.

Margaret was a person who gave friendship willingly.  For nearly 60 years, Margaret was a friend of Thelma Dupont, another telephone worker.  As it so happens, Thelma, who had writing skills, died less than six weeks before Margaret, thus the two friends departed almost together.  As they say in racetrack terms, Margaret and Thelma always ran as an entry.  In racetrack terms, the two of them could run in a single race and which one finished higher would be the winner.   In real life, Margaret and Thelma wouldn’t aspire to be first or last, they aspired to be two very good people.

So it was that yesterday I answered a phone call from a Kay Miceli who identified herself as Margaret’s niece.  I hoped that Miss Miceli had not called to tell me that Margaret had died.  That is in fact exactly what happened.   And so it is that I write this tribute to Margaret and to her friend Thelma with a heavy heart.

As I said earlier, it is my belief that American males missed out on two women who would have made wonderful wives.

So now we are left to proceed without the comfort and happiness that Margaret always provided.  According to Margaret’s niece, she was in a coma before her death.  So I suspect that her death was painless.  I genuinely hope so.

And so we close the book on Margaret Mary Murphy and Thelma Dupont, her very close friend.  They were wonderful people and I doubt that we will ever see their likes again.  In saying goodbye to Three M Margaret Murphy and her very close friend of 60 years, Thelma Dupont, I must say that they don’t make them like that anymore.

 

E.E. Carr

March 22, 2013

Essay 724

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Kevin’s commentary: This seems like far and away the worst part of living to 90. I cannot imagine how many friends Pop has had to say goodbye to in this fashion. She seemed like a wonderful woman. Rest in peace .

MORE ON THE MOTHER TONGUE

Whenever I dictate an essay about language, I specifically mean English, which always recalls the words of Sven Lernevall who observed, “The English language is a very rich one.”  

I will try to add three words that will increase its richness.  Two of them are of modern vintage.  The third one goes back to my grandfather’s time.

The first one is called “cyber.”  In almost every case, the word cyber is used in juxtaposition to the word “attack.”  For example, a short while ago the Iranians were trying to upgrade their nuclear fuel.  To do so required the use of computers.  The United States or maybe it was the Israelis used computer attacks to alter the enrichment of fuel which made the Iranian effort worthless.

The definition of cyber is not much help.  It reads, “of or relating to computers or computer networks, like the internet.”  I don’t know if my readers can make much sense out of the words of this definition.  But there it is.  Cyber means of or relating to computers or computer networks, like the internet.  In the final analysis, whether it is used for attacks may lead some to believe that it is of serious consequences.

The second word is “drone.”  According to those who view the future, drones are the aircraft of the future.  One person predicted that there would be thousands of drones at every airport.  I shudder to think how the drones will be controlled to avoid mid-air collisions.  But that is sometime in the future and it should cause us no worry at this moment.   Drones are used to advance the cause of the allies in the various theaters of our endeavors.  We read mostly about attacks by drones that silence  opposing leaders.  I know very little about drones but I know a little something about aircraft.  Apparently a drone can carry a two-thousand pound bomb into space and delivers it with unerring accuracy on its target.  The Pakistanis complained about the use of drones but it is reasonably clear that if they controlled the population that wished to do us some harm, there would be no need for the drone attacks.

So here we have two new words called cyber and drone.  Now it is time for a much older word.  The word is “pert’near,” which means pretty close.  Harry Livermore, my friend for 60 years before his death, was born in Omaha, Nebraska and he frequently used the word “pert’near.”   These days, these words are “pretty near” rather than pert’near.  But as far as I can tell, the word “pert’near” is synonymous with pretty near.  And Harry Livermore is among the angels so he will have no opportunity to explain what he meant when he said pert’near.

 

Here are my thoughts on adding to the English language.  There is the word cyber, of which there is not a whole lot of understanding.  Secondly, there is the word drone, which we are fairly quick to understand because it relates to unmanned aircraft.  And finally there is the word pert’near.  I am sorry that Harry Livermore is no longer with us because he would approve of my writing an essay that included the word pert’near.

I suspect that I have commented upon a usage of the English language several times in these essays.  As it turns out, for me this is good news as it suggests that the English language is a vibrant one, adding new words to those that exist.  Unfortunately, the word cyber is not easily understood but what the hell, there are a lot of things that this old timer will never understand.  So let us rejoice in the fact that the English language is alive and well and is adding new words at an amazing clip.  The Latin language that the clerics admire is a static one that is lifeless.  As I say, let us rejoice in the fact that the English language that we try to speak is alive and well.

PS: On the subject of drones, it may be interesting to follow the dictionary concept.  The Miriam Webster dictionary says that the definition of a drone is as follows: “A stingless male bee who gathers neither nectar nor pollen.”  That is the definition of drone and I will say that if possible it should be avoided.

 

E. E. CARR

March 29, 2013

Essay 743

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Kevin’s commentary:  To the best of my knowledge, drones don’t have stingers and they don’t gather nectar or pollen, so I’m going to go ahead and say that they’re close enough.

I’m curious what an ex-airforce fighter thinks of flying machines which could nominally replace his role in a few years, if they haven’t already. Obviously, having a machine in the fight is good because that means you’re not in the fight, but is machines killing people much better than people killing people? And what happens when the enemy gets drones too, so it’s machines versus machines? Combat is evolving and I’m not sure there will ever be something on the scale of WWII again but a war played out in a series of mechanized skirmishes doesn’t seem altogether so unlikely.

Edit: I’m so behind that this essay is published on the March 24th slot, even though it wasn’t written till the 29th! This is a first.

AN ESSAY PAUSE

During the last fifteen years there have been 740 essays composed at this desk.  Actually it is not a desk.  It is a serving tray used by hospitals for holding meals for patients.  For my purposes, the tray serves eloquently.  If my estimate is fairly correct, the first 250 or 300 essays were hand-written.  That of course is when I could see.  Significantly, the essays in the hand-written stage tended to be longer.  As time has gone on, blindness has forced me to resort to a dictating machine.  As a general rule, my essays have reached about four to five pages each, some longer and some shorter.  It depends on what I have to say.

After 740 essays have been written, we come to a pause.  It seems to me that I have mentioned previously that I need to stop and make an appraisal.  And this seems to me the time to do it.  As you know, I am a person of advanced age.  I look back over my career as a filling-station attendant, a telephone worker, a soldier, and a carefree civilian wanting to comment on the frailties of life.

I trust that in the 740 essays that have been written, I have not bored you.  After a time, the well tends to run a bit low.  This has happened before.  There have been occasions when the well seems to have run dry, but in a matter of a week or so, new subjects developed.  I have to explain that what we need are some examples of outrageous behavior by our elected representatives to have a proper subject for an essay.

I am not dismayed at the well running low.  I know that in short order the essays will come once again.

I am not in any conversations with other essayists.  I suspect that after 740 essays, their well may have run dry just as mine did.  But be of good cheer.  I am certain that, for example, the Pope may be induced to make a statement or that the religious authorities will do something bizarre, and finally one can always rely upon our Representatives, among which I include Senators, to provide essay material which is also fitting and interesting.

So we have a case of waiting for a choice of great essay material.  But until that time, I wanted my readers to know that after some 740 essays, the well had tended to run a bit low.  As soon as I discover the magic elixir to bring those essays to life, you will have them.  In the meantime, I hope that this pause will be short-lived and that soon we will return to essays published regularly.

E. E. CARR

March 7, 2013

Essay 740

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Kevin’s commentary: The pause was indeed short. He already has another one waiting for me to publish, as a matter of fact. And for any of those who want to read even more of Ezra’s Essays, just check back here daily. I average about seven updates a week even though that’s been a little lumpier lately

 

JOSEPH RATZINGER, POPE EMERITUS

It has been about 600 years since a pope resigned.  Consequently, there is some confusion about what the former Pope should be called.  At the moment, he is simply known as the Pope Emeritus.  Whether he adopts this title as his formal title remains to be seen.

Joseph Ratzinger had been the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church for about eight years.  In that time, I had tried to judiciously appraise his conduct.  It strikes me that Joseph Ratzinger when he was the Pope had two fatal flaws.

The first has to do with his military service in the German Army.  When armies go to war, there are certain rules that must be observed.  Joseph Ratzinger was a late entrant into the war called the Second World War.  He was only 16 years old when he was drafted by the forces of Adolph Hitler and made to serve in the German Army.  At this point, I should emphasize that I have no reservations about a man serving his country.  If he is on the wrong side, it is regrettable.

In the case of Joseph Ratzinger, my complaint with him is that over the years he failed to disclose that during his service in the German Army, he became a member of the SS.  For those of you who are unacquainted with the Holocaust, the SS was responsible for stamping out the Jewish race.  I know that it is impossible to stamp out the Jewish race, or any other race, but Adolph Hitler had an obsession about the Jews and wanted to see them all disappear in his gas chambers.

When Ratzinger became a Pope, there is a certain similarity between what he did to arrange his own selection as Pope and what Richard Cheney did in the United States.  You will recall that in 2000 when George Bush decided to run for president,  he asked Richard Cheney to help him find a vice president.  Significantly Richard Cheney studied the records and concluded that only he, Richard Cheney, was the proper candidate to be vice president of the United States.

Eight years ago, when the former Pope died, it turns out that the committee to locate a new Pope was headed by none other than Joseph Ratzinger.  Ratzinger was an old-timer in Rome, where he headed the Office of the Inquisition.  I have forgotten what the Office of the Inquisition is now called but nonetheless for 25 years Joseph Ratzinger headed that office that formerly had to do with the Inquisition.

Once he was elected Pope, Ratzinger seemed to admit that he was a member of the SS.  This, my friends, is nothing to be proud of.  It has to do with the effort to stamp out the Jewish race.  As time went forward, there was less and less emphasis on his service record during his period with the German Army.  As we proceed into his Popery, the issue of the SS now seems to be forgotten, but I remember.

In my eyes as a former soldier in World War II, there can be no such thing as forgetting serving in the SS.  The SS was the division in the German Army that owed its allegiance – total allegiance – to Adolph Hitler.  It seems to me that a youngster of 16 or 17 years of age could not forget taking an oath of allegiance in the SS, swearing his fidelity to Adolph Hitler.  That, my friends, just does not happen.  So the fact that Ratzinger over the years concealed his involvement in the SS while he was serving with the German Army tended to be forgotten.  But the fact of the matter is that I have not forgotten.  If I ever meet Joseph Ratzinger, I will bring that matter up as to what happened for him to become a member of the SS.  The SS were fundamentalists who worshipped at the feet of Adolph Hitler.  It might be said that they were zealots intent upon wiping out the Jewish race.

That is my first remark about the career of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope.  Secondly, there is one more flaw in the Ratzinger biography.  As soon as he became the Pope, having taken the title of Benedict XVI, it became obvious that there were American Catholics who were practicing pederasty.  I cannot imagine a more frightening circumstance than to have a grown man performing pederasty on a young child.  But that is what happened.  Ratzinger, shortly after he became Pope, proclaimed that this was a function of the American seminaries.  He was not only putting down the fabric of seminaries in the United States but he was condoning pederasty.  I know he will deny this, but in my eyes, the only eyes that count, this is where I come out.

When Joseph Ratzinger becomes the Pope Emeritus, I will still hold him accountable for two thoughts.  The fact that he tended to not disclose membership in the SS was one thing.  Secondly he failed to straighten out the practice of despicable priestly pederasty.  Over the years as it turns out, the practice of priestly pederasty has spread not only to the United States but to Ireland, and even to Germany.  Ratzinger was accused of transferring priests involved in this epidemic of pederasty.

I have no intention of trying to observe all of the rules of all of the functions that go into becoming a pederast.  I know that it is an outrage for grown men such as priests to become attracted to young boys with the intention of violating their anus.  I wish I could find in my vocabulary some more outrage to assert in this case what I feel.  I believe I have made it fairly clear.

The second thing I would hold against Ratzinger is that he apparently had no intention during his eight years as Pope to stamp out the involvement of his priests in pederasty.  He did what other theologians in the Catholic Church have done, which is to transfer those accused of pederasty from one parish to another.

In the final analysis, when it became obvious that Ratzinger had to deal with the matter of pederasty among his priesthood, he apologized to those youngsters in Ireland who were the victims.  It is nice that he made an apology but the point is he should have excommunicated a number of priests who were involved in the practice of pederasty.  I expect that the point had to do with his covering up his association with the SS and secondly with the failure to vigorously pursue the priests, with the idea of separating them from the Catholic faithful.

Ratzinger has only been Pope Emeritus for one day now, this being Friday, the first of March.  We know that no man is perfect but in the position that Ratzinger held, he should have been outraged by the conduct of his priests that took place in the United States as well as in European countries.  But he elected to treat things as normal.  I do not agree with things being treated as normal when there is pederasty going on.  Apparently that is the way that Ratzinger tended to want it.

Finally as the Pope Emeritus settles into his life of contemplation, I do not wish him ill will.  He was wrong in covering up his association with the SS and he was wrong in failing to use the offices of his Popery to drive pederasts into excommunication.  I guess that I am getting soft because I wish Ratzinger a pleasant reign as Pope Emeritus.  My guess is that the title of Pope Emeritus will be a footmark in the history of the Church.  As one old Second World War soldier to another, I welcome you into your retirement and hope to hear very little from you.  Hearing little of you would assure me that Joseph Ratzinger has at last found peace.

 

E. E. CARR

March 1, 2013

Essay 737

NOTE:  this is the first essay I wrote after a hospitalization for pneumonia and influenza.

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Kevin’s commentary: I am so, so glad that Pop is back home and recovering. Pneumonia and the flu make for a hell of a double whammy for anybody, let alone a 90-year-old. But all of my grandparents seem to be tough as nails so I am not surprised that he bounced back as well as he has. Meanwhile I feel like since the spot of Pope is now open, Pop should volunteer for the role. After all Pop and Pope are only one letter away; I feel like this constitutes sufficient qualification. Moreover he has never attempted to assist in genocide, OR — to the best of my knowledge — had sex with any little boys. Wins all around!