The co-worker/supervisor came back from some treatment at the Stanford
University Clinic just as I was leaving for the cafeteria. Later he told me
that he'd taken part in a survey while there; some student gathering data
for a paper. These were some of the questions:
Today's Washington Post reports that "...the Nazi party chairman in Munich enjoyed having naked women circle him on horseback to the music of Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries'." ...(sheepishly) well, wouldn't you? Enjoy that, I mean. I know I would. This news comes from "a sheaf of official documents declassified today by Britain's Public Records Office."
The dinner last night went well. Uncle Crazy says he's broke and seems to be living out of his tent when he can't find friendly lodging; he says he's been on the road for a year and he'll be in the area for a couple more weeks. If pressured, it will be difficult for me to turn away this man - he was an occasionally enlightening presence throughout my early life, and an at-times important counter-influence to my father's stodgy conservatism. He's a mad genius, a visionary and an inventor - he showed us the promotional videotape of his invention, which increases pressurized air's pressure via a rotary mechanism. It works, he's finally perfected the thing, which he's been developing for decades, but he has difficulties getting beyond his past, which has earned him the label of "crackpot". His body is rail-thin <2>, he's come to resemble Uncle Sam, a similarity he seems to be cultivating with his long white goatee and his steely, manic eyes. He showed me a photo in costume with striped trousers and red & white tophat, for a party or protest or something.
I enjoyed prodding them for tales about their days growing up in Kansas and then in Europe with the Army. After that stint (in the late 50s/early 60s) they came to live with us for a while, on & off, for several years; I used to swipe their cigarettes. A great memory was a ride I took with them and my brother J shortly after their initial arrival. We sat in back of the little red VW 1500 Sedan <1> they'd shipped stateside, and they drove to a nearby bar (the "Tick-Tock"). We were just in grade school then, this was a first time inside an adult establishment. There were these little video-jukebox units on the bar and at the tables, a system I just recently learned was called "Scopitone". On the way back they produced cans of 7-Up and a bottle of vodka, which Uncle Crazy explained was a "sweetener", as he added it to his soda.
As I expected, he was eager to quiz me about Y2K. I hope he found the enlightenment I provided satisfactory. Like many who have no seeming contact with computers, he didn't see Y2K as a threat. The anecdote (or worst case scenario) I described for illustration was how Russian missile launching software isn't Y2K compliant, and it supposedly has doomsday triggers which will effect launch if nobody does something within certain time periods. Come 1/1/2000 those computers may think nobody's done anything in a hundred years, so whoosh! Hopefully the one targeted on your city will be a dud.
VW - Volks Wagon
Y2K - Year 2 Kilo
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<1>This was the Type 3, never exported to the US - the "notchback" to the VW aficionado Back
<2> ...in contrast with his little brother's rounded appearance & accompanying heart trouble Back