Moulton Lava

Moultonic Musings

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Location: New England, United States

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Improbable Legend of Barsoom Tork and the Dragon

A land called Shire in Bedford is beset by a voracious dragon who dwells in the nearby Wetlands. The lumbering beast carries an appetite which ravages the land. In order to placate the beast, the good folks of Shire, under the unyielding command of the Governor General, feed the dragon two garlic and onion bagels every day.

Dusty
When the bagels fail to satisfy the hungry beast, the people take turns feeding it their meager lunch of herring and cottage cheese. One day, the lot falls upon the Governor General's irascible puppy, Dusty, to make the daily lunch-wagon delivery.

Fenway
Beside himself with anxiety for the well-being of his beloved puppy, the Governor General begs the residents to nominate a surrogate to deliver the lunch bucket. And so it came to pass that a gentle White Retriever named Fenway was selected to make the dangerous delivery that ominous day.

By incredible chance, Barsoom Tork, the dorky Anthropologist from Mars, happened to saunter past the surreal scene, and stopped to offer his aid. Fenway's keeper tries to send him away, but Tork refuses, and stays with Fenway, preparing to face the dastardly and formidable dragon.

Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello
As they schmooze along the trail to the Wetlands, the demonic dragon rises menacingly out of the murky Detention Pond. Fortified by the Power of the Word, Barsoom Tork charges at the beast, striking a brutal blow with his ludicrous lyrical lance. He then mocks the beast using Fenway's legendary insouciance, and the dragon silently sinks back into the murky depths of the Detention Pond.

Upon their return from the Wetlands, Tork calls out to the stunned population that if they consent to be amused, he will slay the dragon immediately before their disbelieving eyes. They shrug, and Tork mortifies the beleaguered dragon without further libretto.

The Governor crafts a new social contract and signs it on the site where Barsoom Tork stewed the dragon, and from its comity bursts a well-spring of neighborliness, whose therapeutic waters cured all ills.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Little Golf Carts

Barsoom Tork is chagrined to release yet another atrocious song parody for the Bedfordshire Lyric Opera.

Title: Little Golf Carts
Artist: Montana Mouse
Composer: Malvina Reynolds and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Little Boxes ~ Malvina Reynolds

Little golf carts on the driveways
Little golf carts made of fiberglass

Little golf carts on the driveways

Little golf carts all the same.


There's a green one and a fringed one 

And a blue one and a yellow one

And they're all made out of fiberglass

And they all look just the same.

And the people in the condos

Mostly went to the university

Where they enrolled in some curriculum

And they came out all the same.


And there's realtors and lawyers

And business executives

And they all learned out of rule books

And they all think just the same.

And they all play on the golf course

And drink their wine coolers dry

And they all have grown children

And grandchildren who go to school


And the children went to summer camp

And then to the university

Where they enrolled in some curriculum

And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business

And marry and raise a family

In condos steeped in legal codes 

And they all look just the same.


There's a gray one and a gray one

And a gray one and a gray one
But some have different color doors

Still they all look just the same.

CopyClef 2015 Malvina Reynolds and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Bedfordshire Bupkis.  All wrongs reversed.

"At Bedfordshire Bupkis our annoying song parodies are your existential nightmare."


Little Boxes ~ Malvina Reynolds

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fenway and the Mean Trustees

Title: Fenway and the Mean Trustees
Artist: Barsoom Tork
Composer: Jacqueline Steiner, Bess Lomax Hawes, and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Charlie and the M.T.A ~ Kingston Trio

Fellow Neighbors of Bedfordshire,

Spoken:
These are the times that try pet's souls. In the course of Bedford's history, the Unit Owners of Bedfordshire have rallied bravely whenever the rights of pets have been threatened. Today, a new crisis has arisen. The Trustee of Bedfordshire levied a burdensome crisis on the comity of the community. Neighbors, hear me out! This could happen to you!

(Eight bar guitar, banjo introduction)

Well, let me tell you of the story of a pooch named Fenway in a tragic and fateful fray.
He had walkies on his schedule, picked the route and pathway, went to saunter on the green walkway.

Chorus:
Well, did he ever return? No, he never returned and his fate is still unlearned.
(What a pity! Poor ole Fenway. Shame and scandal.
He may wander forever, in a vain endeavor.)
Fenway
He may amble forever 'neath the grief of judgments.
He's the pooch who never returned.

Fenway handed in his leash at the Golf Course pathway 
And he changed for the Bronze Frog Trail.
When he got there the Trustees told him, "One more Bylaw."
Fenway couldn't shake off those chains.

(Chorus)

Now, all night long Karen goes through the motions, wondering, "What will become of me?!!
How can Adam find time to see his shrink in Braintree or our Rabbi in Roxbury?"

(Chorus)

Their sons go down to Lexington Center every day at a quarter past two,
And near the Minuteman Statue they feed Fenway some kibble 
As their sadness come cascading through.

(Chorus)

Now, you Neighbors of Bedford, don't you think it's a scandal 
How Unit Owners have to bow and pray?
Fight unfair procedures! Fight for rights and justice!
Get poor Fenway off the blacklist today!

(Chorus)

He's the pooch who never returned.
He's the pooch who never returned.
We love you, Fenway!

CopyClef 2015 Jacqueline Steiner, Bess Lomax Hawes, and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware.  All wrongs reversed.

"At Resurrection Hackware, our annoying song parodies are your everlasting earworm."



Charlie and the M.T.A.  ~  Kingston Trio

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Rocky Horror Brain Cafe


Composer's Libretto Notes


The Night Café ~ Vincent van Gogh
I have tried to express the terrible passions of the Rocky Horror Brain Caffiends by means of puns and scenes.

The stage is dull beige and stark mellow with a dream clue fable in the middle; there are four Leiben-Faerie vamps with a Crow of blancmange and spleen.

Everywhere there is a clash and contrast of the most alien dreads and screams, in the figures of brittle creeping hooligans, in the numpty dreary gloom, in violated hues and inscrutable clues.

The dull beige and the stark mellow of the clue fable, for instance, contrast with the soft- centered Garfunkel sheen of the walkout, in which there is a prose forlorn prayer.

The slight hammer of the Concierge, watchful in a corner of that foo-place, turns deja-mellow like pale luminous whipped cream.

Barsoom van Tork, 7 May 2015

Overture

Title: An Emopera Gonna Come
Artist: Moulton
Composer: Sam Cooke and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: A Change Is Gonna Come — Sam Cooke

I was ousted by Becca in a stunning act
Oh, and just like Caprice
I been an outcast ever since

It's been a long
A long time coming but I know Emopera gon' come
Oh, yes it will

It's been too hard rocking but I'm afraid to say
'Cause I don't know what's out there beyond this fray

It's been a long
A long time coming, but I know a hiatus gon' come
Oh, yes it will

I go to Facebook and I GoAnimate
Somebody keep telling me, "Embrace your fate"
It's been a long
A long time coming but I know an Opera gon' come
Oh, yes it will

Then I go to that Martian and I say, "Barsoom help me please"
But he winds up mocking me with song parodies

Caprice ~ The Fantastic Flying Scapegoat for Azazel

Oh, there've been times that I thought
I couldn't last so long
Now I think I'm able to sing this song
It's been a long
A long time coming but I know
Azazel gon' come
Oh, yes he will

CopyClef 2015 Sam Cooke and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All wrongs reversed.


"At Resurrection Hackware, we solemnly swear we are up to no good."



A Change Is Gonna Come — Sam Cooke


Narrator

What we have in mind on this auspiciously suspicious occasion is a Shreklisch 21st Century CyberSpace Emopera, in which the Scooby Gang, played by Barsoom Tork Associates, mount a performance in two or three unnatural acts on the stage of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K) entitled, "Rocky Horror Brain Cafe."

The all-important audience, representing the shadowed silhouettes on the walls of Plato's Cave include Tom Servo, Darth Feuder and Crow T. Foobot, representing the kvetching and trolling commentators in the audience who gleefully egg on the beleaguered and overworked actors on stage.

Your host for tonight's performance is Todd, in the role of the sober-sounding narrator and interpreter, otherwise known as The Stark Illuminati.  Our Theater Proprietor and Concierge is Becca McCall (nee Becca Nicole), who is endlessly at the motherly beck and call of the emotional needs of our sizable and occasionally anhedonic theater audience.

Before introducing the rest of tonight's cast, let's enjoy a musical prelude to our story.

This number is a lovely duet between Becca Nicole and Barsoom Tork, based on the classic duet between Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli.


Prelude

Title: Time To Say Goodbye
Artist: Becca Nicole and Barsoom Tork
Composer: Francesco Sartori, Lucio Quarantotto, and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Time To Say Goodbye — Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli

(Becca Nicole)

Late at night I dream of TBC and words flood over me
There's no insight in a thread where there is no light
And there is no light if trolls persist in teasing thee
From every plaint I learn that you've bewildered some
Into me you poured your plight that long has haunted thee

Time to say goodbye
Operas never sung nor yet composed anew
Create them now I beg of you
Please take a break with your hiatus crew
Two weeks will do
Dawdle not my friend nor tarry: adieu
It's time to say goodbye

(Barsoom Tork)

Late night my screen turns dark and moods flood over me
Of course I know your heart is part of me
You're like my Mom, I sense you're never far from me
You, my concierge, you sometimes fear for me
Dear me, dear me, dear me

Time to say goodbye
Emoperas not yet sprung shall soon emerge from Scooby crew
Time enough to wreak some parodies anew
Reworking old ones until the Muse comes through
It's time to say goodbye

(Both)

To Sandy's box, let's hie, hence to create a few
Atrocious scripts and dreadful puns, whee hoo!
Our gloom shall not persist in spite all night:
Release brings juvenile derring-do
Revival mode: let's craft a Horror Picture Show

You and me

CopyClef 2015 Francesco Sartori, Lucio Quarantotto, and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All songs abused.

"At Resurrection Hackware, our annoying song parodies are your everlasting earworm."


Time To Say Goodbye — Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli


Narrator

Caprice will be playing the role of Scooby Doo, since that's a non-speaking part. Mani, Sabrina, Sandip, and Jen will play the other characters in the Scooby Gang.

Tonight's production will be featuring some random artwork and atrocious song parodies, of course.

Our shreklisch drama begins with an homage to "The Hero's Journey," featuring Mani, Sabrina, Sandip, and Jen as the Scooby Gang, with special cameo guest appearances by Jeffery, Elizabeth, Carol, and Lisa.


Aria

Title: SuperHeroes
Artists: Scooby Gang
Composer: Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: SuperHeroes — Rocky Horror Picture Show

(Mani)

I've done a lot
God knows I'm snide
Let's find the truth
Not magnified
But all I know
Is down inside we're

(Scooby Chorus) 

Bleeding

(Sabrina)

And Super Heroes
Come to feast
Lambaste the mess
Not yet released
And all I know is
Still the beast is

(Scooby Chorus) 

Feeding

(Sandip)

And sprawling with their CyberBrain
Homo Schleppians take the train
Lost in time, it's all in vain
And screaming

(Scooby Chorus with Munch's "Geshrai") 

Screaming

CopyClef 2015 Barsoom Tork Associates.
North American Bupkis. All wrongs reversed.


"At North American Bupkis, Lunatic Drama is our most important offense."


SuperHeroes — Charles Gray, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick


Narrator 

Becca McCall has blown the whistle on Moulton, who vigorously complains that's she's acting in error and in haste without researching the predictable consequences of her prospective action.  Deaf to his cries, Moulton forlornly belts out an atrocious, yet oddly anticipated solo ranticle.


Ranticle

Title: Mother Superior Jumped the Gun
Artist: Moulton
Composer: John Lennon and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Happiness Is a Warm Gun — John Lennon

Becca's not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do do do, oh yeah
She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a gecko on a window pane
The man in the crowd with the multi-coloured mirrors
On his shreklisch blogs
Scrying with his eyes while his fingers are busy
Clacking overtime
A soap opera session which he retched
And donated to the Rational Trust

Down
I need a trick 'cuz I'm going down
Down to the bits that I left uptown
I need a trick 'cuz I'm going down

Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun

Hoopiness is a warm pun (Hoopiness dang, dang, hoot, hoot)
Foofyness is a warm pun, Becca (Foofyness slang, slang, toot, toot)
When I scold you with my charms (Oo-oo oh yeah)
And I tap my keycaps o'er on Blogger (Oo-oo oh yeah)
I know lampoons can do no harm (Oo-oo oh yeah)
Because hoopiness is a warm pun, Becca
(Hoopiness dang, dang, hoot, hoot)
Hoopiness is a warm pun, yes it is (Hoopiness dang, dang, hoot, hoot)
Foofyness is a warm, yes it is, pun (Foofyness slang, slang, toot, toot)
Well, don't you know hoopiness is a warm pun, Becca?
(Hoopiness is a warm pun, yeah)

CopyClef 2015 John Lennon and Barsoom Tork Associates.
North American Bupkis. All songs abused.


"At North American Bupkis, we haven't got time for mopery."


Happiness Is a Warm Gun — John Lennon



Narrator

Meanwhile, the MST3K audience is getting excited.  Tom Servo, unable to contain himself, gets into the act.


Audience Participation

Title: Amida Queen (This Troll Has Grown)
Artist: Tom Servo
Composer: John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Norwegian Wood — The Beatles

I once had a troll, or should I say, she once trolled me
I showed her my blog, isn't it keen, Amida Queen?

She asked me to play and she told me to blog with a flair
So I looked around and I reckoned this wasn't hot air

I sat on the thread, cocking my head, spelunking wry bread
We talked until two and then she said, "There's something to dread."

She gave me a puzzle, then bade me to leave it alone 
So I gave it to Scooby who loves to gnaw on a bone

And when morning came, this troll had a name
So I wrote a tune, isn't it keen, Amida Queen?

CopyClef 2015 John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All songs reused.


"At Resurrection Hackware, our atrocious song parodies are your existential nightmare."



Norwegian Wood — The Beatles


Magnum Farce: "Go Ahead, Make My Play"

Inspector Callaban, played by Jeffery, arrives fashionably late.

Inspector Callaban

Do you have any idea how hard it is to indict a stubborn scientist?

You caffiends have mischaracterized and indicted a dozen annoying scientists this week. What are you gonna do next week?

Caffiends

Scapegoat a dozen more.

Inspector Callaban

Is that what you neuro-topicals are all about, being hard-ass blue meanies?

Caffiends

All our sheriffs are goof-offs. We are the first generation that's learned to game the system. We're simply purging Facebook of dorky scientists that would be caught out and banished anyway if our rules and guidelines worked properly. We began with the MIT geeks that the people know, so that our actions would be understood and applauded. It's not just a question of whether or not to use ostracism. There simply is no other way, Inspector. You of all people should understand that. Either you're for us or you're against us.

Inspector Callaban

I'm afraid you've misbudged me.


Magnum Force — I'm Afraid You've Misjudged Me — Clint Eastwood


The Dog Fight

Title: Scooby Doo vs. Darth Feuder
Artists: Scooby Doo, Darth Feuder, and the Keystone Kops
Composer: Phil Gernhard, Dick Holler and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: Snoopy vs. the Red Baron — The Royal Guardsmen

Achtung!
Jetzt singen wir gemeinsam die Geschichte
Über Darth Feuder, die Funkadoodle von Dysfunktionalität
Und die lästigen Barsoom Tork vom MIT


After the turn of the century
In the theatrical arch of the TBC
Came a liminal drama never seen before
Like the silent scream of a lunatic war

Eins, zwei, drei, vier ....

Up came a scare like a runaway train
Barsoom Tork was his avatar name
Stop Requests tried and Stop Requests fried
Now they're scattered all over the countryside

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty Keystone Kops
The meddlesome Tork was engaging their chops
Valiant Gate Keepers tried to end that spree
Of Barsoom Tork of MIT

Left, two, three, four ....

In the nick of time, a hero arose
A Lissatone Lass with a big fire hose
She raced into the scene to stop that runaway train
But Barsoom shot her down "Curses, foiled again!"

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty Keystone Kops
The meddlesome Tork was engaging their chops
Valiant Gate Keepers tried to end that spree
Of Barsoom Tork of MIT

Now, Darth Feuder had sworn that she'd get that dork
So she asked the Great Concierge for a trident fork
She challenged Caprice to a juicy food fight
And while Barsoom was laughing, bonked him late at night

That engineer quickly
Switch-tracked his trains
He tried every route,
But ran out of refrains
Darth Feuder bonked once
And then rebonked him twice more
And that meddlesome academic
Was again shown the door

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty Keystone Kops
The meddlesome Tork
Was engaging their chops
Valiant Gate Keepers tried to end that spree
Of Barsoom Tork of MIT

Well, ten, twenty, thirty, forty Keystone Kops
Were bound and determined to pull out the stops
Valiant Gate Keepers tried to end that spree
Of that meddlesome geek from MIT

CopyClef 2015 Phil Gernhard, Dick Holler and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All wrongs reversed.


"At Resurrection Hackware, our atrocious song parodies are your existential nightmare."



Snoopy vs. the Red Baron — The Royal Guardsmen



The "Go Jump In the Lake" scene ...

At this point, Scooby Doo turns up, covered in mud.

In barely recognizable dog prosody, Scooby says, "I'm afraid you've mis-smudged me."

Scooby then jumps in the lake, comes out "all washed up," and vigorously shakes his body.

Sitting in the audience, Tom Servo, Darth Feuder, and Crow T. Foobot get all wet.  Darth Feuder is vaguely unhappy.  Tom shorts out and sizzles briefly.


The Finále to "Lacuna Kvetch Party"

Title: The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down
Artist: Montana Mouse
Composer: Robbie Robertson, Joan Baez and Barsoom Tork Associates
YouTube: The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down — Joan Baez

Barsoom Tork is my name, and I rode on the Caffiend Train, 
'Til so much rivalry came and tore up the tracks again. 
In the Spring of Skandalon, we were rollin, just trollin' for bait. 
I took the Train to Becca's Hostel, it was a time I remember, oh so well. 

The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down, and all the bells were ringing, 
The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down, and all the caffeind's were stingin'. 
They went 
Na, 
Na, na, na, na, na, 
Blah, blah, buh blah, 
Buh blah blah, blah blah 

Back with Jen at Indignity, and one day she said to me, 
"Moulton, quick, come see, a-there goes Sandip on a spree!" 
Now I don't mind "Please stop it, Dood!" 
And I don't care if Darth Feuder is crude. 
Just take what ya need and efface the rest, 
But they should never have blasphemed the very best. 

The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down, and all the bells were ringing, 
The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down, and all the caffiends were stingin'. 
They went 
Na, 
Na, na, na, na, na, 
Blah, blah, buh blah, 
Buh blah blah, blah blah 


"True Rebel"
Like my father before me, I'm a working man,
And like Mani before me, I took a rebel stand.
Well, he was just pissed off, proud and brave,
But Becca McCall laid him in his grave,
I swear by the verse below my feet,
You can't raise the Torkel back up when he's in defeat.

The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down, and all the bells were ringing, 
The Night They Drove Old Moulton Down, and all the people were stingin'. 
They went 
Na, 
Na, na, na, na, na, 
Blah, blah, buh blah, 
Buh blah blah, blah blah 

CopyClef 2015 Robbie Robertson, Joan Baez, and Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All wrongs reversed.

"At Resurrection Hackware, we bring the zombies back to life."


The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down — The Band



Walk-Out Music

El Condor Pasa (If I Could) — Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

Away, I'd rather sail away
Like a swan that's here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world its saddest sound
Its saddest sound

I'd rather be a forest than a street
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather feel the earth beneath my feet
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would



El Condor Pasa — Simon and Garfunkel



Curtain Call 

Title: I'm Gamboling Home
Artist: Caprice and the Scooby Gang
Composer: Barsoom Tork Associates
Album: Curried Lava
YouTube: I'm Going Home  Tim Curry


Caprice ~ The Fantastic Flying Scapegoat for Azazel
Caprice: On the day I was sent away

Scooby Chorus: Goodbye

Caprice: Was all I had to say

Scooby Chorus: Now I

Caprice: I want to redact my dossier

Scooby Chorus: Oh my

Caprice:
Smile, and that will mean I may
'Cause I've seen Rocky Horrors
Through the exits out your doors
And I realize I'm gamboling home

Scooby Chorus: I'm gamboling home

Caprice: Everywhere, it's been the same

Scooby Chorus: Oy vey

Caprice: Like I'm outside of the Brain

Scooby Chorus: Cafe

Caprice: Free to fast-track a brief

Scooby Chorus: Delay

Caprice:
Words for sorrow
Words for pain
'Cause I've seen Rocky Horrors
Through the exits out your doors
And I realize I'm gamboling home

Scooby Chorus:
I'm gamboling home
I'm gamboling home
I'm gamboling home

CopyClef 2015 Barsoom Tork Associates.
Resurrection Hackware. All wrongs reversed.

"At Resurrection Hackware, our irritating song parodies are your everlasting earworm."


I'm Going Home — Tim Curry



And Now a Word From Our Sponsor ~ The Burnt Umbrage League


Vincent van Gogh Visits the Museum ~ Dr. Who



Hammurabic Disclaimer: The above Guerrilla Theatre Performance Art is a Comic Opera, featuring ridiculous caricatures of some real people. Such silly caricatures are not to be taken seriously.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Adventures in Escalation

A while back, I was given a hand-me-down iPad Mini as a thank-you gift for doing some pro-bono technical work for a cash-strapped professional colleague.

This iPad Mini has WiFi, GPS, and cellular capability. I've been a Bell Atlantic / Verizon customer for 27 years. However, I don't own a cell phone, so I don't have any cell phone service in my name. That meant I could only use the iPad's wireless features when I was in range of a convenient WiFi base station. In particular, one needs cell service to use GPS so that street maps can be downloaded on demand.

While I don't have a cell phone, my brother does, and it occurred to me it might be reasonable for him to add my iPad Mini to his existing Verizon cell phone account (just $10/mo) so that my device could be used in emergencies on the infrequent occasions when I'm away from home.

So my brother instructed his Verizon service rep to put my iPad device on his account. I sent along the requisite mobile device ID numbers and Verizon SIM card number.

But lo! The Verizon service rep said my iPad Mini couldn't be entered into their system. Verizon was rejecting my device ID. But it wasn't just my own device. The Verizon service rep said this had happened a number of times with other customers with similar Apple devices.

So I said I would research the issue to learn what was going on.

Thus begins my adventure.

Over the course of the past week, I've spent about five hours with no fewer than seven Verizon representatives in three states trying to diagnose the glitch, which seems to have pretty much everyone vexed, perplexed, aggravated, frustrated and mystified.

Initially we had at least three plausible hypotheses in the air, with none of them conclusively ruled out.


Christine Berberich, President
New England Region
Verizon Wireless
Last Tuesday, I spoke on the phone with three high-level executives at Verizon Wireless Regional Headquarters for New England. Christine Berberich, the President of the New England Region of Verizon Wireless assured me in no uncertain terms that she was committed to solving this problem. But I soon feared it would turn out to be a major undertaking involving the negotiation of inter-carrier inter-operation agreements between AT&T and Verizon.


Jane Kelley, Director of Sales
New England Region
Verizon Wireless
It seems there are subtle and obscure technical reasons why mobile devices like my iPad Mini may not be compatible with the cell tower equipment of all domestic carriers. According to Jane Kelley, Regional Director of Sales for Verizon Wireless, some Apple device models evidently have transceiver chips that only work with some carriers and not others. So an iPad Mini that was built with a transceiver chip for AT&T may not work compatibly with Verizon, and vice versa.

If that's the problem, then the only realistic solution would be for AT&T and Verizon to negotiate an inter-carrier inter-operation agreement allowing devices to traverse a competitor's network so that a customer can use a device that was originally built for a different carrier's network. This is like praying for an Act of God.

We pray for Acts of God to reverse the hellish situations caused by the Other Guy. In this case the Other Guy is none other than the US Department of Justice.

Forty years ago, there was one high-functioning telephone network known as the Bell System, in which everything was carefully and conscientiously designed to work compatibly with everything else in the network. The Bell System was the highest functioning high-technology system ever conceived, designed, and engineered on the face of the planet.

As a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in the Network Planning Division of AT&T Bell Labs, I took pride in my role of Systems Engineering to ensure that, as the network gracefully and systematically evolved with the measured introduction of new technology, everything continued to inter-operate flawlessly from end to end across the entire nationwide telecommunications network. That was the driving philosophy of Systems Engineering. In those days, it would have been an unforgivable blunder to introduce new technology into the network that did not inter-operate compatibly with the existing network infrastructure.

And then came the US Department of Justice who declared that a high-functioning, highly integrated communication system where everything worked compatibly with everything else was against the law! A high-functioning, highly integrated system, declared the DoJ, was an Illegal Monopoly. And they mandated the breakup of the Bell System, to be replaced by fierce competition between non-cooperating organizations who were sternly instructed not to collaborate or collude to preserve the legendary unity and functionality of the tightly-integrated Bell System.

So here we are today, with multiple incompatible technologies, such that Apple evidently had to build two versions of the iPad Mini, one that only talks to AT&T cell towers, and another that only talks to Verizon cell towers, each talking a different "language" on different frequency bands from the other.

Way to go, US DoJ, you fulfilled our dire prediction of 30 years ago that breaking up the Bell System was the dumbest idea the government ever came up with since Prohibition and before being trumped by the idiotic decision to invade Iraq in search of non-existent WMDs.

And the irony, of course, is that the US Government is itself a monopoly. But our bumbling government is not exactly a high-functioning monopoly like the Bell System. Nope. Our US Government is an idiotic dysfunctional monopoly that can't seem to think its way clear to do much of anything right.

So what is Christine Berberich to do? Jane Kelley estimates it will take five years for Verizon and AT&T to successfully negotiate an inter-carrier inter-operation agreement so that any customer's traffic can be transparently handled by any other carrier, with routine monthly "settlements" to balance the books (as had long been customary in traditional domestic telephone service).

And this will also take an Act of God because such an agreement between competing carriers would have to be approved by the US DoJ, the FCC, and the Department of Commerce. These Federal agencies will need Divine Guidance to see their way clear to undo the atrocious blunder the Federal government committed 35 years ago when they broke up the Bell System and created this problem-plagued situation, rife with competing carriers with mutually incompatible network architectures, frustrated customers, and vexed technical personnel who sincerely want to serve their customers and who have to routinely apologize that they are hamstrung by an obstacle ridden network architecture that's beyond their power to conscientiously engineer in a manner that serves the public interest, convenience, and necessity.

Barry Kort
(Retired) Distinguished Member of Technical Staff
Network Planning Division (1968-1987)
AT&T Bell Laboratories

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Spirit of Becoming

The proper name of the God of Moses is יהוה which means "Becoming."

That is to say, the Name of the God of Moses is nominally equivalent to an abstraction that, in English, would be "The Process of Becoming" (or just 'Becoming' for short).

What is 'Divine' in living systems is Becoming (e.g. the phenomenon of growth, transformation, and maturation).

I reckon it's unbecoming not to believe in Becoming.

The Process of Becoming is Awesome.

Let me elaborate ...

As a scientist, researcher, educator, and sentient being, I am fascinated by the following processes, which I seek to understand and participate in:
  1. The Process of Creation in the Cosmos
  2. The Process of Evolution in the Biosphere
  3. The Process of Enlightenment in the Noösphere
  4. The Discovery Learning Process in the Brain and Mind
  5. The Creative Process in the Arts
  6. The Problem-Solving Process in Engineering
  7. The Peace Process in Human Culture
  8. The Nurturing Process in Relationships
  9. The Healing Process in the Human Spirit
  10. The Process of Falling in Love with Life and People
I subsume all of the above under one umbrella term, "The Divine Process of Becoming" (or just 'Becoming' for short).

To my mind, it is unbecoming not to believe in Becoming.

Discovering, experiencing, understanding, and participating in these (and similar) processes not only makes me feel alive and engaged with life, it makes me feel connected to God, Orenda, or whatever you like to call your Higher Spirit.

I like to call it the 'Spirit of Becoming'.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

21st Century Operating Systems

To my mind, our society's cultural models have not evolved in a particularly intelligent manner. We still employ idiotic cultural practices that humankind mindlessly adopted some 4000 years ago. Much to my chagrin, we seem utterly incapable of diagnosing and upgrading those anachronistic and dysfunctional cultural practices to arrive at 21st Century operating systems for human society.

Our profoundly dysfunctional cultural models and practices have generated so much stress that DSM-5 is a catalog (shipping weight 3.4 lbs) of the myriad non-criminal maladaptive ways that humans maladjust, while the criminal code catalogs all the remaining intolerable maladaptive responses. And then, where governments cannot agree, we have stress-inducing political conflicts and bloody war.

We have 250 generations of Homo Schleppians who have been maladapting over the past 5000 years to an increasingly dysfunctional, erratic, and chaotic cultural model.

Isn't it about time we woke up and upgraded Western Civilization to a 21st Century high-functioning model?