Archive | March, 2012

Cheney Had a Heart Transplant, Doo Dah, Doo Dah

Richard "Dick" Cheney

Former Vice President Richard “Dick” Cheney underwent heart transplant surgery yesterday. Unlike most such operations, Mr Cheney did not have his heart replaced.

“He didn’t seem to have one in the first place,” said Dr Myles Corfendigus. who performed the operation. “Just a mess of veins, arteries and some kind of pulsing sphincter.”

The operation took place at an undisclosed location.

The donor heart, flown ovenight from a MASH unit in Afghanistan, had originally been intended for a 21-year-old Rhodes scholar in Dubai, world headquarters of the Halliburton Corporation. It was rerouted in midair, and arrived at the Vice President’s operating table by 9:00 am yesterday.

“It’s a very strong heart,” said Dr Corfendigus. “It’ll last at least fifty, maybe eighty years.” The Vice President is 71 years old.

“O, that rascal,” said Lynne Cheney.”Always stealing someone’s heart.”

“Dick is one of the most caring guys I know,” said Karl Rove. “He’d give anybody the shirt off his back. This was just another case of the national interest trumping an individual’s comfort.” Both Mr Rove and Mrs Cheney were immediately sealed into six-foot packing crates and shipped to undisclosed locations,

 

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Next: Braille Texting App for Visually Impaired Teens

The Language of Braille

Ever since texting became the lingua franca of adolescence, visually impaired students have felt ‘left out’.

“We feel we’ve been denied one of the basic rights of our generation,” said Howard Smeets, 15. a student at the Flambe-Morganstern School for the Blind, in Emery, Georgia.

Mr Smeets raised a cry. Now, joined by 1500 of his homeboys and sisters, he has brought a class-action suit against Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and Google (“so it shouldn’t be a total loss”), asking the courts to compel the creation of a braille texting app,.

At first, no one would comment on this turn of events. Last week, though, Google released a statement.

“We are very concerned about the rights of the visually-impaired community,” said Google, through Moogle, its press-friendly public relations app. “As a commanding megaconglomerate in the communications industry, it is imperative that we surge into the forefront and dominate this untapped market.”

Moogle went on to issue a preliminary spec sheet listing Google’s requirements to support such a product. Imcluded was a revolutionary screen overlay. Utilizing 3D printer technology, the overlay would produce braille text on top of the touchscreen. This would identify the keys on iphone-style virtual keyboards, as well as displaying the text messages.

Google offered software developers the option of submitting ‘text-to-speech’ apps that recite the typed messages at frequencies above 12kHz, too high for most adults to hear.but within the range of children and adolescents, Moogle said. “We couldn’t preserve their privacy any other way,” said Moogle.

To accommodate blind people who want access to movies and TV shows on their phones, Moogle continued, Google would release the Google Braille Movie Service. In conjunction with Netflix, Google will lay additional narration over action-only scenes on an unused sideband sound track. Usually, these tracks are used for additional languages. Accessed by the Google Braille App, the GBMS track will provide continuity for blind people who insist on “watching” movies on their phones. The app will also come in handy for those sighted people who can’t follow complicated action on a palm-sized screen.

In a related story, Bel-Air Productions has released LipReader. This breakthrough application displays a pair of realistically animated lips on iphone-like screens for deaf people who don’t want to – or can’t – read written words. There is also an option for the message to be displayed in American Sign Language.

 

 

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The Peter Bergman Part Of The Tao

Peter Bergman, Philip Proctor, Philip Austin and David Ossman were Firesign Theater from sometime in the early 60’s till last Friday, when Peter died of leukemia.

Not even his cohorts/conspirators/co-workers knew he was going to do that. You can imagine then, the kind of shock it was for those of us who loved his work from beyond his horizon. And for those who cannot, let me see if this does the trick:

A big light in the sky went out. Not the Sun; I could still see clearly, but the day was noticeably less bright, and a little more drab. After a swift physical assessment told me I’d had no seizure or aneurism or neurological failure, I looked around, to see if a light bulb had crapped out and I’d over-dramatized things, since sometimes I do that. Noting every bulb in the house burning brightly, I turned most of them off. Darned kids, I thought. Why don’t they turn them off when they leave the room? Or, in this case, the house, in 1999? When I returned to the computer, ever-present Facebook – now the brightest thing in the building – held the news.

Apparently, after his Tuesday broadcast on Radio Free Oz, Peter checked in to an LA hospital. He called people, then settled back into his capsule couch and resumed the countdown.

His last broadcast is transcribed at www.radiofreeoz.com, But I’d recommend hearing it here. There’s more love in his voice.

Firesign Theater’s history and origin tales can be found by googling. Instead of reciting old testament, I will tell you how I learned my first three words in Turkish.

Bath.

Towel.

Border. May I see your passport please? Thank you.  Hmm. Would you step this way, please, Sir? Just a few questions…

Firesign Theater was to radio what Escher was to the graphic arts. What was the floor in one sentence became the wall in the next. The entire scene shifted on the various definitions of a single word, and the contexts that surrounded each definition. The story modulated from one key to the next that way, all the time making sense like bebop jazz. This quartet worked as smooth as Gillespie, Parker, Mingus, Powell and Max Roach. that night in Massey Hall. The Quartet. Dave Brubeck. Time, Far Out as You Can Get.

Word Jazz.

Before them, there was this guy. Ken Nordine. He might have been a staff CBC announcer. With vocal pipes like the Great Organ of Chartres Cathedral, he might’ve been a god in some Polynesian sect of fire-worshippers. Nordine made two albums, the first actually entitled “Word Jazz”, the second something like “More Word Jazz”. I guess the first one sold to the “Hi-Fi Stereo” buffs of the 50’s and the hippest jazz fans (including All Those Madison Avenue types), so they figured Brand Recognition demanded a Recognizable Name = the same thing, again, would evoke the same success. After #2 sank without a ripple, Nordine went on to produce radio commercials.  He made a lot of money doing it, I guess.

And, there was Stan Freberg. Stan made a high-production “comedy” album about the “history of the United States”. Again, capitalizing on earlier successes in radio-style productions of deranged versions of fairy tales and TV shows – “St George and the Dragon Net” was a “#1 hit”  in 1953 – the “History” album was just plain cornball. Too late. We were already deranged, and getting weirder.

Firesign Theater, in their first album, “Waiting for the Electrician Or Someone Like Him”, presented a history of Western expansion. Included in it was a journey to (or from) Goshen to The Great Divide along two shining steel rails, slapped down on the Nation’s flank in the name of “Rock. A. Fel. Ler. Rock-a-fel-ler Rock a fel ler Rokafeller Rockafeller” Whoo Whoooo. Leaving the original residents of the place kinda stunned, kinda sad, and shit outta luck.

Their fourth album, “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus”, celebrates the journey of Ah Clem as he visits “FutureWorld” in search of The Answer … I’m not sure, really, what he was doing there, anymore. I know it took me four tries to hear the last line of dialog because I kept tripping out on my own thoughts while listening to it. And, I was straight, three of the four times. The album was Shakespearean in depth. Every word, it seemed, was equally valid in all its definitions. The imagery was holographic, three-dimensional, thoroughly rotational in all axes and so dense it took a calm ear and a steady cortex to sift through all of it, in a hundred hearings.

I haven’t listened to them in years. Still, lines of dialog deeply graven in my brain rattle into being at the oddest moments: “He just passed a gas station.” “Squeeze him again. He may pass another”; “How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all” (lyric to a Tin Pan Alley tune; title of their second album); “Let me take your hat and goat. Just put your mukluks in the crinkling cellophane to dry off” (Catherwood the Butler to Nick Danger, Third Eye, having come in from the winter); “He’s no fun. He fell right over!” Among others.

They explained a good deal of what was happening then, and what would happen for years to come.  They’re an invaluable part of our culture. Their role will, I think, expand, because they affected so many creative lives in this country, elevating the level of consciousness across the board.

We’ll hear from them again. Only a few of us will know where it’s coming from. O well.

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Rush Limbaugh On The Pill

Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke

Ever since Rush Limbaugh’s three day long attack on Sandra Fluke in response to her testimony before Congress supporting the Obama administration’s policy favoring access to medical insurance that covers contraceptives, support has been pouring in for the third-year law student.

“Mr Limbaugh is apparently using something that inhibits correct mental conception,” said a column on the New York Times Op-Ed page yesterday.

Jesus Christ, appearing momentarily Thursday in Jerusalem, said, “Rush! For My sake – shut the fuck up!” Moses and Mohammed, who accompanied the Savior, simply nodded. Mohammed also gestured toward Jesus with his thumb.

“If there’s any justice, Sandra Fluke will graduate from Georgetown Law School in time to take her bar exam before the statute of limitations on slander runs out. Then, she’ll only have to try one case in her career. She could gut him like a grouper,” said a fellow student who did not give his name.

A grouper is a huge, fat, ugly, vicious fish that lives mostly on excrement. O, all right; that part about excrement was a joke. I didn’t really mean it.

“And, if there isn’t any justice, so what?” continued the law student, “She’s a law student, not a justice student. I guess she’d have to file her brief in time to suspend the limitation, and file extensions until she passes the bar. But what do I know?”

According to the latest Passamaquoddy Institute survey, unsolicited advice from unidentified law students is responsible for 6% of all suits filed in civil courts, with 0.06% of those suits ever resulting in settlement. However, the average of those settlements is $61 million dollars. Symmetrical, isn’t it? For crying out loud, don’t take me seriously, I’m just kidding.

When asked if he was ever on The Pill, Mr Limbaugh said, “Not that one. I’m no slut.”

Mr Limbaugh said that his statement was made “in the attempt to be humorous”. In a similar attempt, over 1299 comics have this weekend identified Mr Limbaugh from the stage as “a fat piece of s#!t.”

Mr Limbaugh has, by rough estimate, gained a little over 75 pounds since his last publicity stills were made three years ago.

“Why don’t you pick on someone your own size, “said Lenny Marcuse, addressing the conservative radio host directly from Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. “Go down to Lakehurst and yell at the grease spot!”

Of course, Mr Marcuse didn’t really mean it.

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