Tag: Memory

Join Jim and Greg as they serve up all crazy martinis today!  First, they cringe as Joe Biden literally forgets where is giving a speech, showing more evidence of decline just weeks before Democrats officially nominate him for president. They also dig into the long game of the Democrats and their media allies, as they hammer the COVID responses of the GOP governors of Texas and Florida.  And they get a kick out of how the Joe Kennedy III Senate campaign is lashing out at Boston Globe after the paper endorsed incumbent Democrat Ed Markey.

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While I read When I Whistle by Shusaku Endo this week, I thought I would go in a slightly different direction from reviewing the book. (I also just sat my last, three hour paper of the term and feel rather…interesting). When I Whistle is about memories, about growing into adulthood, and learning how to live […]

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Code Talkers


We are between Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. The first is a minor holiday intended to honor those serving in our military. The second is a major federal holiday and is intended to commemorate our honored war dead. A recent conversation with a younger veteran led to talk of his grandfathers’ service in World War II, and that in turn led to a broader reflection on a seldom remembered or only partially understood group of Americans in the two world wars.

The younger veteran’s Hopi grandfather was a tank mechanic. His Navaho grandfather was a code talker in the Marine Corps. As we talked, I mentioned recently learning of the original WWI code talkers, a small team of Choctaw Indians in the American Expeditionary Forces. The Native American veteran replied that there were Hopi and other tribes also used as code talkers in WWII. It is just that the Navajos were the largest group and became the center of historical attention.

A brief exploration of this little known history revealed that I had missed the recent passing of Navajo Code Talker Fleming Begaye, Sr.

God’s Little Smuggler


“Brother Andrew” is the pseudonym of Andrew van der Bijl, a Christian missionary who smuggled Bibles into communist countries during the height of the Cold War. His story was well known in Evangelical circles; they even made a comic book about him. He told of crossing through border checkpoints, his ancient Volkswagen stuffed with Bibles. It was like a spy thriller. He was never caught. The blindness of the crossing guards seemed miraculous.

Brother Andrew was the perfect hero for a young, deeply conservative, deeply religious boy — which is to say, my 13-year-old self. I longed to be like him. To face danger, to engage in intrigue, to take the battle to an implacable, prodigious foe — that would be glory.

Out of the blue, my shot at glory appeared.

Coffee as Sleep Aid


Friday Food and Drink Post: Calling All Coffee Snobs prompted lively comments and cued a memory. It turns out that @she uses a moka pot, by Bialetti. This simple, rugged design serves up a strong cup of coffee with some froth on top. The action is similar to a percolator, but more vigorous, giving you a froth on top similar to expresso. The device was invented by an Italian in the 1930s and is mostly popular in Europe and Latin America.

Seeing a photograph of @she’s coffee maker reminded me of my first college roommate. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen who got out of Cuba with his parents via Spain. He was also overly ambitious about numbers of classes and activities, so he would get way behind, and suddenly try to buckle down and get assignments, papers, and study done.

You see, we were at the University of Chicago, where, at the time, they had to throw students out of the main library Saturday evening so we would have some social life. More precisely, we were being nudged to have a social life beyond the snack shop in the basement of the library, with everyone seeing if you were slacking or getting a quick snack before diving back into the carrels. So, the university and the student body were all on board for academic rigor and excellence, no slack cut.

Renovating Memories


Scientists now tell us that every time we pull a memory out of long-term storage, we then re-write it, and in this rewriting, it may get changed. This may play into some instances of what has come to be known as the Mandela Effect.

Someone asks, “Does the Coca-Cola logo have a hyphen or dash or even a wavy dash?” You might try to remember and picture the logo. Perhaps because the last option of the question was a wavy dash, you might think that is correct, and you store the logo back in long-term memory, but now with a wavy dash (Coca~Cola). The next time you see the logo, with its high, small hyphen (CocaCola), it looks weird, because you’re now remembering that lower wavy dash.

Sacred Cake


I’d be willing to bet that each of us has, somewhere back when we were very young (I get that that’s probably not as long ago for most of you as it is for me), a special memory that’s stuck with us over the years, of someone we wish we could see again, of a thing we wish we could find again or do again, or a food we wish we could taste again, just once before we shuffle off this mortal coil.

Mr. She, one of the world’s great storytellers is spoiled for choice in this respect. The tales of his childhood (born three floors above a bar on Pittsburgh’s South Side, into the second-generation of a Polish immigrant family, in which almost all the men were furnace operators, stove tenders, and welders at the local Jones and Laughlin Steel Plant), are full of poignant, loving, and sometimes bizarre detail–who here doesn’t want to hear about Father John McKaveny, the Catholic priest with the steel plate in his head (earned in World War I), and his foul-mouthed parrot? Or about how one of Mr. She’s earliest childhood jobs was to take a small handful of coins from his “barrel-shaped Polish grandma” and go up the road to the bookie’s every day to play the numbers as instructed? So many stories, so many characters, and such a life.

An awful lot of Mr. She’s early memories involve food. Lovely, warm memories like that of the pretzel shop at 2316 Carson Street–turning out pretzels by the thousands each day, and selling the “mistakes” and the broken ones, still hot, in brown paper bags, from the back door, for a few pennies each to the kids who’d line up around the block for them. Or of the loaf of bread he’d be sent by Grandma to collect every day, which sometimes smelled so good that by the time he’d reached home with it, most of the soft insides of the loaf had been prized out by his grubby little fingers and eaten, and only the crust was left. Disturbing memories of Kapusta, cabbage soup, an unpopular, but cheap and filling concoction that was, Mr. She swears, left to simmer on the stove for at least a week, quite possibly with a few dirty socks thrown in for a little extra flavor, until the entire building smelled of overripe cabbage and other underlying and even less pleasant odors. Or, czarnina, duck’s blood soup. (That one was a result of the “waste not, want not,” philosophy of the time, the family being anxious to use up every part of the duck, since they purchased it “on the hoof” as it were, and started out their cooking adventures by wringing its neck. Or even of the vegetable dish he thought, for most of his life, was called “suttocush,” thanks to Grandma’s imperfect command of the culinary idiom of her new home. That much-loathed concoction led to an aversion to an admixture of corn and lima beans which persists to this day.

November 7: National Day for the Victims of Communism


On 7 November 2018, Americans dug through election results, slung and deflected stones, and fretted over the future of our country, or not. Almost all of us, including the White House press scrum, failed to note the day’s solemn and deadly significance. But, President Trump did not forget, and he had something to say,  worth our reading.

Presidential Message on the National Day for the Victims of Communism
Issued on: November 7, 2018

On the National Day for the Victims of Communism, we honor the memory of the more than 100 million people who have been killed and persecuted by communist totalitarian regimes. We also reaffirm our steadfast support for those who strive for peace, prosperity, and freedom around the world.

Sin Bin


The other evening, I approached an intersection as the light turned red. A white Dodge Ram 1500 custom van in the right lane caught my eye. As we slowed, I picked up on the silver and blue-gray swirling details air-brushed along the side, below the passenger rows windows. Instantly, “sin bin” popped into my head, along with memories of road-tripping, to a Lou Reed concert in Munich, Germany.

If “sin bin” does not have meaning to you, consider the following:https://i.pinimg.com/736x/90/07/be/9007be091d3b271558584924b60ec3a5--chevy-vans-custom-vans.jpg

The Persistence of Memory: Total Recall and the Mandela Effect


Long before Nelson Mandela died or didn’t in the 1980s, I was familiar with ideas that would come to be known as the Mandela Effect. In 1982, I was 6’1” tall. A couple of years later, I was 5’10” tall. My mother looked at me oddly one day and said, “You look shorter to me.” It was an odd thing to say, followed by a measurement taken, and I was down to 5’10”.

About the same time, someone we knew went through some odd events of his own. He was admiring a car that someone at the refinery he worked at had bought. It was a red LTD. He even stopped in the parking lot to admire it and saw the make and model. A few days later, he saw the cousin of the car’s owner. “Hey, how’s your cousin liking her new LTD?” The cousin looked at him oddly, “She’s liking it fine, Bill, but it’s a Mercury Marquis.” It seemed odd, but Bill shrugged it off and re-inspected the car in the parking lot that evening. It was a Mercury Marquis. Well, anyone could make a mistake, even a careful and precise mechanical engineer. A few weeks later, he ran into the car owner, “How is your Marquis working out for you?” “Um, fine, Bill, but it’s an LTD.” Once again, he went out into the parking lot to look the car over, and it was a Ford LTD again.

On the Perception of the Passing of Time as We Age


As a kid I recall adults – my parents, my grandparents, others – every now and then talk and complain about how time flies by or some similar sentiment. When they made these statements and complaints, they weren’t talking about how quickly their workday went by or how rapidly tonight’s dinner party came and went. Instead, the context of these statements generally referred to longer time frames – how quickly the last week or the last month or six months flew by.

At the time, I didn’t really understand what they were talking about and I figured it was just something adults said. And, although it is something adults say, there is a certain truth to it. I’m in my sixties now, and I understand what those adults were talking about. I’ve understood it for a while now – I don’t know when I first experienced this phenomenon – I imagine I was around 30 years of age. As far as I know, this is a common occurrence – at some point in time most of us (all of us?) experience this perception of the speeding up of time as we age.

Of course, time doesn’t actually speed up as we age. The passing of one minute, one hour, or one day is the same for a 16-year-old as for a 60-year-old, and each would agree on the amount of time elapsed. However, after the passing of some amount of time, the time will seem to have elapsed quicker to the 60-year-old than to the 16-year-old. I don’t know why that is. I never studied psychology, neuroscience, or any discipline that might touch upon the subject. That, however, hasn’t deterred me from hypothesizing on why this is so. I have two theories about this which I wish to present and see what others may think.

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“Do I forget, or do I refuse to remember?” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough I was supposed to write this post back on Sunday, March 4th, and I forgot. I was supposed to write it up yesterday, and I forgot. I’ve been out sick yesterday and today, so I suppose I could blame the fog of my brain […]

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Cards: The Original Flash Drive


“I’m as something as something in something!” Do you recognize the tune? Do you recognize what’s missing?

The syntax is there, but the content is blank. Welcome to my memory. The memory of someone who’ll never grow out of flash cards, for as long as I need to remember, not just structure, but the things that go in it. Whether I’m using them to organize thoughts, or to drill my recalcitrant memory, flash cards are Midge’s little helper. The original flash drive, if you will. Not because a card works like flash memory, but because, like a flash drive, cards are a small, easily-portable way to carry around bits of vital information.

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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is attempting to elbow Dr. Ben Carson aside in brain expertise, claiming that if she’s elected she’ll eradicate Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. It’s a cause close to the former first lady’s heart, as both she and her husband have repeatedly suffered the devastating effects of memory loss when giving […]

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The soft scuffle of tennis shoes across long-abandoned railroad ties fills the silence between the gentle northern breezes. With each step, a light crunch of gravel can be heard, and even the occasional pebble striking the rusty iron rail rings its tone. A cold sun hangs in the sky, the promise of a spring not […]

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I was trying to remember how to do it last night at work, and it remains elusive. I work support in a Hard Drive parts factory. We audit our manufacturing lots regularly through the process for defects. Last night I was tasked with tracking down an elusive problem. In a particular audit we inspect 54 […]

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