Tag Archives: tomosky

God save the USA (Proper Revisit for Today)

4 Nov

 

GOD SAVE THE USA

by Waldo Tomosky on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 4:35pm

I just saw an empty man,,

Make an empty speech,

He once said “Yes we can”,

But now he does beseech,

The congressmen and women,

On both sides of the isle,

“Please won’t you come together?”

“So I can save my style?”

“I’ve tried to be ambiguous”,

“I have not made a decision”,

He sold out the Dems in congress,

With sureness and precision.

He made them do the dirty work,

While he smiled and winked at all,

Nancy beguiled by a quirky smirk,

Harry wooed by a Whitehouse call.

Boehner wept with ego and pride,

As the tea party leaders and goats,

Marched, sang and chanted outside,

And The Fed printed bond-notes,

While Gerstner re-figured his taxes,

The Pres took another vacation,

And the Repubs sharpened their axes,

The Hoi Polloi voiced consternation,

“Screw them all, We’ve had enough”,

“I think anarchy may have a point”,

“Let’s all get edgy, smarmy and tough”,

Then they collectively lit up a joint,

And they sadly said “Goodby my lovely USA”,

I’m moving to China or Kazakstan,

Where unions don’t demand high pay,

I’ll have a job and act like a man,

“God save the USA.”

  • © Copyright – Waldo Tomosky

Advertisements

The Re-sourcing of America (A review of the necessary)

6 Feb

The Re-Sourcing of America

Waldo Tomosky    12/4/11

It all started as a grass roots movement.

It was not out of political desire but rather necessary for survival.

It occurred so quickly that neither local nor federal governments could stop it.

On the other hand it was those same governments that made it happen.

Must I correct myself so soon? I must if I wish to keep my integrity. It was the federal government who made it occur. On the other hand it was the local governments that allowed it to happen.

We once thought that there are only a few people who understand economies and how they work.

There were several economists each professing opposing ideas on economics. How could such a group of august elites not agree on something so important? It was probably because they worked from a theoretical base. They lived in the ether of learned institutions and were often plucked out of those towers to advise government officials.

It was a closed loop system that walled out reality. They never went to a grocery or clothing store on a regular basis. Therefor they never saw it coming. It was like a bullet train; fast, silent and unable to stop on a dime.

Thankfully others did see the handwriting on the wall. They were not supposed to see it. The Federal Reserve never made a peep about what they were up to. Only a few in the federal government knew about it. However, the common man, the hoi polloi, the people, the rabble, the riffraff, the herd, the great unwashed; they saw it clearly and concisely. Their job was to survive and to ensure that their families survived.

Even those on Wall Street never saw it coming. They, also, were operating with their heads in the clouds. They were joyfull with the idiocy of the Federal Resere System; those short sighted little greedy bastards.

Troubles in Europe were yanking the stock market up and down like a yo-yo. Someone was playing the market for a sucker but the wheeler-dealers saw an opportunity to make a quick buck. The following was their knee-jerk investing scheme.

The stock market would tank one day. They would buy. The stock market reacted to their purchases and prices would rise. They would sell. Day after day, week after week, this was the norm and everyone accepted it; or rather loved it for what it was, devious, almost diabolical.

What Wall Street never saw, due to their greed, was that the Europeans were attempting to save the Euro. That last statement deserves clarification. They were not hiding the fact that they had to save the Euro from the poor policies of Greece and other mismanaged states. What they were doing, in collusion with each other, was controlling the market through a series of planned good and bad decisions; aptly carried out and publicized.

Germany and France would agree to a big bail out. The market would skyrocket on the good news. Greece would decide to have a referendum to determine if the people wanted a bail out. The market would tank on the news of such a stupid idea. Germany and France would put pressure on Greece. The market would skyrocket. Then Italy would claim to be near bankruptcy. The market would tank. The whole European Union would put pressure on the United States to help out with the International Monetary Fund. The market would skyrocket. This went on month after month.

The people in the market were making big money due to these wide swings. However, what was going on in Europe and the United States was a redistribution of money. Those countries were also buying low. Their surreptitious entry into the markets allowed them to fleece pension funds, university endowments and other such large holdings on both sides of the Atlantic. The fleecing of the sheep was exchanged for gold, silver, platinum and other solid commodities. Prices steadily climbed for precious metals and other natural resources.

A few intelligent men caught on; or at least they suspected. Modern communications, social networks and close friendships voiced those suspicions in public. Other voices spoke in a lower tone with Email and closed messaging. It happened so fast that neither the federal or local governments caught on. The feds were too busy listening in on terrorist phone calls and Emails. The locals were too busy filling out forms for federal and state grants.

These critical few women and men decided to take some action. They saw that their currency was becoming useless due to the inflation caused by the feds using “Quantitative Easing.” To nebulize it even farther it became QE1, QE2, QE3, etc.. That was the government’s euphemism for “cranking up the federal printing presses.” The feds tactic of keeping this quiet even lulled them into a false sense of “my God, this is really working as long as we don’t tell the bourgeois, the philistine, the middle class.”

However, the middle class was already on to them, the European tactics, and the One World political strategy.

Bartering had been attempted in the past. The Federal Income Tax had forced people to consider an underground economy. But it was lopsided. The only people who could hide a decent amount of transactions were barbers, restaurateurs and other service industries. Those who worked for others had federal taxes withheld from their wages. It was almost hilarious. The government did not trust the people to pay their income taxes. Yet the government publicly wrung their hands over why the people did not trust them.

Minor amounts of bartering continued at flea markets, swap meets and gun shows. This was not enough to sustain an edge against inflation caused by QE6. Mom and Pop shops started offering goods to each other. First it was a country butcher offering his services to a farmer for part of the livestock that he fileted and packed. Then it was the hardware store owner trading some nuts and bolts for a lube job at the local service station. Soon the fast food franchisee was trading meals with the snow plow guy for a clean parking lot. Bartering soon fanned out to most everyone.

Those who still had gold necklaces, bracelets, rings and other gold trinkets had something to barter with. Because governments were buying up all the gold with other people’s money the price of gold had risen to $4,000 per ounce and the latest QE was pushing it up even farther. Copper, brass, aluminum and junk steel were also on the rise. Farmers were bringing old equipment, which for years had been rotting in the field, to the scrap metal dealers. Common thieves were taking the copper wire from the signal paths along the railroad tracks. Raw materials were becoming King.

Silver was easier to handle because it was not as valuable; therefore, the pieces were a little larger than the gold. It also turned into the currency it once was. Silver coins held their worth. Not because of their face value but because of their silver content. Other forms of silver were also used as currency. Slot machine coins from various casinos started turning up. They had previously been sitting in jewelry boxes gathering dust and recreating memories. Other memories surfaced. The love token was one of those items. Love tokens were made from silver ten cent pieces. Engravers were employed to remove a thin top surface from the coin leaving a pair of initials for the lovers. Small hearts and flowers also adorned the love token. It was amazing how many love tokens still existed. It was even more amazing that people were so desperate that they parted with them.

Several metropolitan areas used transportation tokens for coinage. Antique collectors and pawn shops had bags of these tokens. They never knew what they were going to do with them. They were just too ornate to throw out. Saving them turned out to be a good decision. Material wise they were worth nothing. As a currency they turned out to be priceless. Local teams of people were set up to value various items. They took a shine to the transportation tokens. Each metropolitan area had their own tokens with the identification embossed in them. Identification and authentication was a snap. Counterfeiters attempted to create these but the original material that they were made from was hard to identify and therefore hard to duplicate.

Inflation continued beyond everyone’s wildest nightmare. It was not long before people who had a necklace were cutting it apart, link by link. One link, if it were heavy enough, would buy a slab of meat. If not, then a loaf of bread. Those who trusted each other readily traded gold links for other valuable commodities. Gold, rather than dollars, became the accepted currency. Counterfeiters soon moved in with fake gold. This caused a bonanza for local jewelry store owners. Citizens brought their gold links for the owners to assay and certify. The jewelry assayer took one of every ten links for his services. In return the owner of the gold received a small glassine envelope containing one link. The envelope was stapled to the certification papers which stated the carat value and weight of the gold link.

These became the currency of the common citizen. Those who never owned gold or who had sold their gold much too early were left at the mercy of inflation. It was not kind. Other types of currency came to use; labor, personal service and humiliation. It was much worse than the depression of the early 20th century. Back then even the gypsies found a way to survive. But now there was degradation for those on the lowest rungs.

Taxes plummeted due to this underground economy. The governments, both federal and local, attempted to step in. However, it was much too late. The citizenry had known that they were not allowed to create a new currency. Trading and bartering were undetectable. Assaying and certifying the value of gold was “deemed” to be creating a new currency. The jewelers had anticipated this. Discussions had been held as to how to protect the jewelers from governmental charges. The citizens agreed to clog the courts beforehand. They scoffed at parking tickets, moving traffic violations, tampered with electric and water meters, purposely drove through red lights with spy cameras, ignored toll booths; all to the consternation of their local governments.

They filed false income tax forms, refused to file paperwork for the sale of long guns, crossed international borders without proper paperwork, thumbed their noses at useless EPA rules, failed to file any business documents and threw their OSHA manuals in the dumpster. The federal courts also became clogged.

What could the federal and local governments do? Nothing. There no longer was a tax base. All governments, federal and local, atrophied to a skeleton crew. There was no EPA, no OSHA, no Department of Education, no interstate commerce clause; no one to enforce the rules that the federal government had passed to increase its own power. The citizens, realizing that there had to remain some control, kept only their state governments financed. State’s rights had returned to where they belonged.

It was a new day, but in an old way. Freedom from tyranny had won out in the end.

Public employee unions collapsed. Free from regulation, businesses grew in number and flourished with profit. Unemployment figures dwindled. Small crews of public works got the necessary jobs done. States used their own money to build and repair highways and bridges. River masters, mountain masters and other self-proclaimed controllers of man were humiliated out of business. River commissions and other interstate controllers competed for the rights to do whatever was best for the economy, not for what was “nice, decent or human justice.”

The United States became strong again based on the ideals that our founders had left us. The constitution and bills of rights once again held a place of honor and were taught in our schools. The protection of our borders and way of life was maintained with strong state militias. They protected us, as before, from both external and internal enemies. Prayers, Hebrew, Muslim and Christian were once again allowed. Parents did not feel that the public schools had absolute control over their children.

The government had been re-sourced through the natural resources of its citizens.

    • © Copyright – Waldo Tomosky

God save the USA

25 Mar

 

GOD SAVE THE USA

by Waldo Tomosky on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 4:35pm

I just saw an empty man,,

Make an empty speech,

He once said “Yes we can”,

But now he does beseech,

The congressmen and women,

On both sides of the isle,

“Please won’t you come together?”

“So I can save my style?”

“I’ve tried to be ambiguous”,

“I have not made a decision”,

He sold out the Dems in congress,

With sureness and precision.

He made them do the dirty work,

While he smiled and winked at all,

Nancy beguiled by a quirky smirk,

Harry wooed by a Whitehouse call.

Boehner wept with ego and pride,

As the tea party leaders and goats,

Marched, sang and chanted outside,

And Bernanke printed C-notes,

While Gerstner re-figured his taxes,

The Pres took another vacation,

And the Repubs sharpened their axes,

The Hoi Polloi voiced consternation,

“Screw them all, We’ve had enough”,

“I think anarchy may have a point”,

“Let’s all get edgy, smarmy and tough”,

Then they collectively lit up a joint,

And they sadly said “Goodby my lovely USA”,

I’m moving to China or Kazakstan,

Where unions don’t demand high pay,

I’ll have a job and act like a man,

“God save the USA.”

    • © Copyright – Waldo Tomosky

The Re-sourcing of America

16 Mar

The Re-Sourcing of America

Waldo Tomosky    12/4/11

It all started as a grass roots movement.

It was not out of political desire but rather necessary for survival.

It occurred so quickly that neither local nor federal governments could stop it.

On the other hand it was those same governments that made it happen.

Must I correct myself so soon? I must if I wish to keep my integrity. It was the federal government who made it occur. On the other hand it was the local governments that allowed it to happen.

We once thought that there are only a few people who understand economies and how they work.

There were several economists each professing opposing ideas on economics. How could such a group of august elites not agree on something so important? It was probably because they worked from a theoretical base. They lived in the ether of learned institutions and were often plucked out of those towers to advise government officials.

It was a closed loop system that walled out reality. They never went to a grocery or clothing store on a regular basis. Therefor they never saw it coming. It was like a bullet train; fast, silent and unable to stop on a dime.

Thankfully others did see the handwriting on the wall. They were not supposed to see it. The Federal Reserve never made a peep about what they were up to. Only a few in the federal government knew about it. However, the common man, the hoi polloi, the people, the rabble, the riffraff, the herd, the great unwashed; they saw it clearly and concisely. Their job was to survive and to ensure that their families survived.

Even those on Wall Street never saw it coming. They, also, were operating with their heads in the clouds. They were joyfull with the idiocy of the Federal Resere System; those short sighted little greedy bastards.

Troubles in Europe were yanking the stock market up and down like a yo-yo. Someone was playing the market for a sucker but the wheeler-dealers saw an opportunity to make a quick buck. The following was their knee-jerk investing scheme.

The stock market would tank one day. They would buy. The stock market reacted to their purchases and prices would rise. They would sell. Day after day, week after week, this was the norm and everyone accepted it; or rather loved it for what it was, devious, almost diabolical.

What Wall Street never saw, due to their greed, was that the Europeans were attempting to save the Euro. That last statement deserves clarification. They were not hiding the fact that they had to save the Euro from the poor policies of Greece and other mismanaged states. What they were doing, in collusion with each other, was controlling the market through a series of planned good and bad decisions; aptly carried out and publicized.

Germany and France would agree to a big bail out. The market would skyrocket on the good news. Greece would decide to have a referendum to determine if the people wanted a bail out. The market would tank on the news of such a stupid idea. Germany and France would put pressure on Greece. The market would skyrocket. Then Italy would claim to be near bankruptcy. The market would tank. The whole European Union would put pressure on the United States to help out with the International Monetary Fund. The market would skyrocket. This went on month after month.

The people in the market were making big money due to these wide swings. However, what was going on in Europe and the United States was a redistribution of money. Those countries were also buying low. Their surreptitious entry into the markets allowed them to fleece pension funds, university endowments and other such large holdings on both sides of the Atlantic. The fleecing of the sheep was exchanged for gold, silver, platinum and other solid commodities. Prices steadily climbed for precious metals and other natural resources.

A few intelligent men caught on; or at least they suspected. Modern communications, social networks and close friendships voiced those suspicions in public. Other voices spoke in a lower tone with Email and closed messaging. It happened so fast that neither the federal or local governments caught on. The feds were too busy listening in on terrorist phone calls and Emails. The locals were too busy filling out forms for federal and state grants.

These critical few women and men decided to take some action. They saw that their currency was becoming useless due to the inflation caused by the feds using “Quantitative Easing.” To nebulize it even farther it became QE1, QE2, QE3, etc.. That was the government’s euphemism for “cranking up the federal printing presses.” The feds tactic of keeping this quiet even lulled them into a false sense of “my God, this is really working as long as we don’t tell the bourgeois, the philistine, the middle class.”

However, the middle class was already on to them, the European tactics, and the One World political strategy.

Bartering had been attempted in the past. The Federal Income Tax had forced people to consider an underground economy. But it was lopsided. The only people who could hide a decent amount of transactions were barbers, restaurateurs and other service industries. Those who worked for others had federal taxes withheld from their wages. It was almost hilarious. The government did not trust the people to pay their income taxes. Yet the government publicly wrung their hands over why the people did not trust them.

Minor amounts of bartering continued at flea markets, swap meets and gun shows. This was not enough to sustain an edge against inflation caused by QE6. Mom and Pop shops started offering goods to each other. First it was a country butcher offering his services to a farmer for part of the livestock that he fileted and packed. Then it was the hardware store owner trading some nuts and bolts for a lube job at the local service station. Soon the fast food franchisee was trading meals with the snow plow guy for a clean parking lot. Bartering soon fanned out to most everyone.

Those who still had gold necklaces, bracelets, rings and other gold trinkets had something to barter with. Because governments were buying up all the gold with other people’s money the price of gold had risen to $4,000 per ounce and the latest QE was pushing it up even farther. Copper, brass, aluminum and junk steel were also on the rise. Farmers were bringing old equipment, which for years had been rotting in the field, to the scrap metal dealers. Common thieves were taking the copper wire from the signal paths along the railroad tracks. Raw materials were becoming King.

Silver was easier to handle because it was not as valuable; therefore, the pieces were a little larger than the gold. It also turned into the currency it once was. Silver coins held their worth. Not because of their face value but because of their silver content. Other forms of silver were also used as currency. Slot machine coins from various casinos started turning up. They had previously been sitting in jewelry boxes gathering dust and recreating memories. Other memories surfaced. The love token was one of those items. Love tokens were made from silver ten cent pieces. Engravers were employed to remove a thin top surface from the coin leaving a pair of initials for the lovers. Small hearts and flowers also adorned the love token. It was amazing how many love tokens still existed. It was even more amazing that people were so desperate that they parted with them.

Several metropolitan areas used transportation tokens for coinage. Antique collectors and pawn shops had bags of these tokens. They never knew what they were going to do with them. They were just too ornate to throw out. Saving them turned out to be a good decision. Material wise they were worth nothing. As a currency they turned out to be priceless. Local teams of people were set up to value various items. They took a shine to the transportation tokens. Each metropolitan area had their own tokens with the identification embossed in them. Identification and authentication was a snap. Counterfeiters attempted to create these but the original material that they were made from was hard to identify and therefore hard to duplicate.

Inflation continued beyond everyone’s wildest nightmare. It was not long before people who had a necklace were cutting it apart, link by link. One link, if it were heavy enough, would buy a slab of meat. If not, then a loaf of bread. Those who trusted each other readily traded gold links for other valuable commodities. Gold, rather than dollars, became the accepted currency. Counterfeiters soon moved in with fake gold. This caused a bonanza for local jewelry store owners. Citizens brought their gold links for the owners to assay and certify. The owner took one of every ten links for his services. In return the owner of the gold received a small glassine envelope containing one link. The envelope was stapled to the certification papers which stated the carat value and weight of the gold link.

These became the currency of the common citizen. Those who never owned gold or who had sold their gold much too early were left at the mercy of inflation. It was not kind. Other types of currency came to use; labor, personal service and humiliation. It was much worse than the depression of the early 20th century. Back then even the gypsies found a way to survive. But now there was degradation for those on the lowest rungs.

Taxes plummeted due to this underground economy. The governments, both federal and local, attempted to step in. However, it was much too late. The citizenry had known that they were not allowed to create a new currency. Trading and bartering were undetectable. Assaying and certifying the value of gold was “deemed” to be creating a new currency. The jewelers had anticipated this. Discussions had been held as to how to protect the jewelers from governmental charges. The citizens agreed to clog the courts beforehand. They scoffed at parking tickets, moving traffic violations, tampered with electric and water meters, purposely drove through red lights with spy cameras, ignored toll booths; all to the consternation of their local governments.

They filed false income tax forms, refused to file paperwork for the sale of long guns, crossed international borders without proper paperwork, thumbed their noses at useless EPA rules, failed to file any business documents and threw their OSHA manuals in the dumpster. The federal courts also became clogged.

What could the federal and local governments do? Nothing. There no longer was a tax base. All governments, federal and local, atrophied to a skeleton crew. There was no EPA, no OSHA, no Department of Education, no interstate commerce clause; no one to enforce the rules that the federal government had passed to increase its own power. The citizens, realizing that there had to remain some control, kept only their state governments financed. State’s rights had returned to where they belonged.

It was a new day, but in an old way. Freedom from tyranny had won out in the end.

Public employee unions collapsed. Free from regulation, businesses grew in number and flourished with profit. Unemployment figures dwindled. Small crews of public works got the necessary jobs done. States used their own money to build and repair highways and bridges. River masters, mountain masters and other self-proclaimed controllers of man were humiliated out of business. River commissions and other interstate controllers competed for the rights to do whatever was best for the economy, not for what was “nice, decent or human justice.”

The United States became strong again based on the ideals that our founders had left us. The constitution and bills of rights once again held a place of honor and were taught in our schools. The protection of our borders and way of life was maintained with strong state militias. They protected us, as before, from both external and internal enemies. Prayers, Hebrew, Muslim and Christian were once again allowed. Parents did not feel that the public schools had absolute control over their children.

The government had been re-sourced through the natural resources of its citizens.

    • © Copyright – Waldo Tomosky

The Archives (A multi-media Post)

15 Mar

Waldo J. Tomosky                           THE ARCHIVE                                               12/25/11

(MULTI MEDIA Version)

There are links everywhere and nowhere. Best of luck.

The sky was full of snow that day. The local radio station had been screaming something about a buildup of fourteen inches of the white stuff. I ignored it; or rather, I put it out of my mind. I didn’t want to think about getting all bundled up and then trying to shovel with those heavy motion-restricting clothes on. Besides, if I did not want to shovel then I only had one choice; the snow blower. That method wasn’t really much easier. The blower would toss the snow up in the air. The wind, with equal ease, would blow it back in my face. So my choices were to either shovel and lift or have a man-made blizzard blowing on my face and neck, only to have thawed snow drops fall inside my shirt.

There was one more choice; don’t shovel at all. Rather, look into something that had caught my attention several years ago. I had accidentally run across it on the internet; the trial records in John Jay College’s Lloyd Sealy Library. The physical library is located near the corner of 59th Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan. The Sealy possessed a very complete set of microfilm with respect to crimes committed in New York for a one hundred year period starting in 1850.

After spending some time in the NY State Archives in Albany I knew that I had to plan a trip to the Sealy with great care. I had learned that you just don’t walk in and expect everything to be immediately available. You have to know exactly what you are looking for, where it is located in the archives and which hours are good for scanning files. The prime times are hours you can actually draw documents from their sacred holding places. I was lucky in Albany. It made me realize how fortunate I was to have visited on the correct day and hours. I don’t know why I got up at 5 A.M. and drove to Albany on my first visit but it was fortuitous.

Once again I drift. It seems to be  getting more of the pattern than a rarity these days.

Being a little smarter (now that I had the NY archive experience under my belt) I thought it may be better to look at everything listed on the internet first. I wished to learn about the Sealy and visiting hours, as well as what hours the archives were open and available. So that is where I started. Or rather I should say where I meant to start.

I was looking at the Sealy “Crime in New York – 1850 to 1950” and saw the viewing options and types of searches. I started drifting again. My focus was lost because it reminded me of how I had accidentally come across this particular internet page several years earlier. It was because my favorite author, Jorge Luis Borges, had written a story about “Monk Eastman – Purveyor of Inequities.” Oh, there were other very interesting stories in Borges’ “Book of Infamy” but the title of that particular story caught my eye. How does someone “purvey inequities?” I will let Borges tell you that story. Mine is a completely different one.

There I sat, my attention drifting between the snow outside and the crimes inside. How I wanted to read about that purveyor of inequities! So I abandoned my original goal and searched on “names.”

Right there in front of me were the details of what the Sealy was offering about good old Monk Eastman. The Sealy also told me that his real name was William Delaney. I bet the Eastman family, of photography fame, was mortified when they heard about Delaney calling his self an Eastman.

But then an interesting thing occurred. Right there, on Monk Eastman’s data blurb was a highlighted PDF hot link. Could this be true? That particular Eastman trial transcript had been copied and PDF’ed. Was I so lucky as to have all the Sealy records right at my fingertips? I started scrolling up and down the data. Nope; I was not so lucky. However, there were several crimes whose court transcripts had been microfilmed and PDF’ed. Maybe a trip to Manhattan would not be necessary. I hoped.

Right then and there I realized my afternoon had been laid out for me. Oh sure, I would have to go out and shovel snow at some point. It soon became one of my procrastination style projects. After all, I could still shovel in the dark. I gently lifted my PC from my lap and placed it on the floor; I had preparation work to do.

I retrieved a fresh notebook from my stash and grabbed my favorite pen. These I needed to record some items from the Sealy warehouse of information. Sure, I know you younger people would have “copied and pasted” from Sealy to Word but I remain here with one foot in the dark ages. Sometimes I even write things like this longhand in a notebook and then copy, via typing, into Word. I know, I know. It seems redundant to you but to me it is easier to do multiple edits on a notebook than in Word. Go figure. And yes, I had one more item of preparation to do before wandering around in Sealy’s archives. This preparation I must tell in the present tense.

Now you have to follow exactly; no fudging, no changing, no editing. First get yourself a nice wide but shallow tumbler. I would suggest two inches in diameter and three inches deep. Put exactly ten ice thingies in it. Thingies are those ice forms that modern refrigerators make. You know; the half round ones. Oh hell, let’s just give them a name; Ice Arcs. If you are using those old fashioned Ice Cubes then simply fill up the tumbler. Pour three shots of Southern Comfort over the cubes. Careful now, don’t spill any. Take the cap off a bottle of extra dry vermouth. Fill the cap half-way with some vermouth. Once again you have to be careful not to spill and to use exactly one half of a cap full. Finally add one teaspoon of cherry juice. Mix delicately. I had to tell you in present tense to make sure you didn’t screw it up or think it was simply part of the story. Now back to past tense.

I set the tumbler on a coaster right next to my lounge chair. My tablet and pen were also on the same end table. I was now prepared for some serious work.

These are the Sealy highlights of what I came up with:

Ø  140 Abductions

Ø  556 Assaults of both degrees

Ø  164 Third degree burglaries

Ø  957 Grand Larcenies of both degrees

Ø  445 Murders of the first degree

Ø  247 Rapes of both degrees

Ø  265 Robberies of the first degree (With several other variations)

There were myriads of other crimes; way too many to list but not too many to mention, this time in reverse alphabetical order:

Ø  Wrongful act

Ø  Weapon carrying

Ø  Voting offense

Ø  Seduction

Ø  Sodomy

Ø  Receiving

Ø  Public Officers; Misappropriation, Corruption, Neglect, Taking  Note 1

Ø  Liquor

Ø  Forgery

Ø  Compounding a felony

Ø  Bribery

Ø  Arson

Note 1:  These are now “Ethics Violations”, not crimes, exercised by the NY State legislature.

I first took a peek at the summary of Monk Eastman’s specific trial.

TRIAL #421 Date: 1904/4/12; Reels(s): 73. Defendant(s): William Delaney, Sex: M; Monk Eastman, Sex: M; Charge(s): Assault (1st degree); Assault (2nd degree); Murder (1st degree), attempted;  Judge: John W. Goff; Defense Attorney(s): Cantwell; George W. Hurlbut; Moore; Prosecuting Attorney(s): William Rand Jr.; Nathan A. Smythe; Note(s): Alias Monk Eastman. Stenographer Number: 514; Page(s): 289 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 421.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

And then I perused the top page of the legal document.

Finally I studied some of the testimony:

Soon I realized that I had accidentally found a hot link that pointed to Monk’s trial record.

http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/421.pdf

I was happy to realize that I was using a platform that allows me to hot-key to these documents. I now had the ability to sit through Monk Eastman’s trial. But this was just the beginning.

I copied down several other names of the dutifully convicted. My plan was to select several names and to read the trial transcripts. I usually don’t stop to look at car and train crashes; however I do love a good criminal trial. I collected the following data from ten trial transcripts to save you time. But if you wish to read the complete transcripts then be my guest. Click on the pdf links.

This is where my story really begins. At various trial records. Allow me to list all ten of them.

FIRST RECORD: FRANCESCO PURPURA

TRIAL #1170 Date: 1910/05/18; Reels(s): 153. Defendant(s): Francesco Purpura, Sex: M; Charge(s): Abduction; Assault (2nd degree); Rape (2nd degree);  Judge: Joseph F. Mulqueen; Defense Attorney(s): T. S. Nolan; Prosecuting Attorney(s): Adams; Stenographer Number: 1215; Page(s): 182 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 1170.pdf 1170_2.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

Mr. Francesco Purpura was charged with rape, assault and abduction. He allegedly committed the crime at 80 Catherine Street; in the back of his shoe repair shop. The victim was a thirteen year old Italian girl. The question of her consent was raised. Mr. Purpura was found guilty by the jury.

SECOND RECORD: WILLIAM DELANEY aka MONK EASTMAN

TRIAL #421 Date: 1904/4/12; Reels(s): 73. Defendant(s): William Delaney, Sex: M; Monk Eastman, Sex: M; Charge(s): Assault (1st degree); Assault (2nd degree); Murder (1st degree), attempted;  Judge: John W. Goff; Defense Attorney(s): Cantwell; George W. Hurlbut; Moore; Prosecuting Attorney(s): William Rand Jr.; Nathan A. Smythe; Note(s): Alias Monk Eastman. Stenographer Number: 514; Page(s): 289 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 421.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

Mr. William Delaney (aka Monk Eastman) was a gang member in 1904. The following fact does not show up in these trial transcripts but does appear in several other documents. Monk Eastman had been doing the dirty work for Tammany Hall, the corrupt force behind New York City politics. Monk Eastman had become arrogant and foolish. Tammany Hall had to get rid of him. Jail seemed the easiest method.

In this transcript Monk Eastman allegedly fired his pistol at two Pinkerton Policemen. They were hired to protect the black sheep of a well-to-do family. Monk and some of his gang attempted to rob the sheep. The Pinkerton’s moved in and the gun fight on 42nd street erupted. The jury found Monk Eastman guilty of the charges.

THIRD RECORD: MICHAEL WHELAN

TRIAL #1850 Date: 1914/3/11; Reels(s): 233. Defendant(s): Michael J. Whelan, Sex: M; Charge(s): Bribery; Extortion, attempted;  Judge: Edward Swann; Defense Attorney(s): George R. Simpson; Prosecuting Attorney(s): O’Malley; Stenographer Number: 2232; Page(s): 204 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 1850.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

Michael Whelan, a city building inspector in 1914, was accused of demanding and taking a $25 bribe. This was in relation to some boiler work being done at 532 E. 20th Street, Manhattan. Witnesses have stated that, after the demand for the $25 bribe, a sting was set up with marked money. Mr. Whelan took the marked money and placed it in his pocket. He was immediately arrested. The trial papers are prematurely terminated. Therefore we do not know if Mr. Whelan was found innocent or guilty.

FOURTH RECORD: J. Harris, H. Simon, and Hirsch Seliger

TRIAL #484 Date: 1905/02/07; Reels(s): 83. Defendant(s): Joseph Harris, Sex: M; Harry Simon, Sex: M; Hirsch B. Seliger, Sex: M; E. B. Seliger, Sex: M; Charge(s): Burglary (3rd degree); Grand larceny (1st degree); Receiving;  Judge: Joseph E. Newburger; Defense Attorney(s): Moses A. Sachs; Prosecuting Attorney(s): Robert Townsend; Note(s): Impleaded with Hirsch B. Seliger, otherwise called E. B. Seliger Stenographer Number: 685; Page(s): 81 p Full-Text Transcript available: 484.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

The case, tried in 1905, revolves around several cases of butter and eggs being burgled from 650 Hudson Street and delivered to 324 Greenwich Street. The goods were alleged to be illegally received and were of sufficient value to meet the requirements for grand larceny. Harris and Simon were caught delivering stolen goods to Seliger at his place of business. All three charges were bundled together to save time for the court. The defendants were found guilty.

FIFTH RECORD: John Dorthy

TRIAL #629 Date: 1907/02/18; Reels(s): 100. Defendant(s): John F. Dorthy, Sex: M; Charge(s): Forgery (2nd degree); Grand larceny;  Judge: Otto A. Rosalsky; Defense Attorney(s): W. N. Cantwell; R. M. Moore; Prosecuting Attorney(s): Hart; Stenographer Number: 475; Page(s): 119 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 629.pdf 629_2.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

John Dorthy, in 1907, is charged with forging a working man’s name to a bank withdrawal statement. The location of the crime was 148 E. 45th Street. The crime was perpetrated under the pretenses that the working man was only signing as a witness to a will. There were two sheets of paper; the will and the second sheet being the withdrawal statement. The working man did not realize what he was signing. The top sheet was discarded and the money was taken from the bank. Because there was really no forgery that charge was dropped. The grand larceny charge was presented to the jury. The trial record does not show how the jury decided.

SIXTH RECORD: Mary Green and Mabel Rosher

TRIAL #485 Date: 1905/02/07; Reels(s): 83. Defendant(s): Mary Green, Sex: F; Mabel Rosher, Sex: F; Charge(s): Grand larceny (1st degree);  Judge: Rufus B. Cowing; Defense Attorney(s): Campbell; Pentecost; Prosecuting Attorney(s): Keyran J. O’Connor; Stenographer Number: 900; Page(s): 51 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 485.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

In 1905 Frank Hellam, a boat captain from the state of Maine, contends that Mary Green and  Mabel Rosher have robbed him. This allegedly took place at 213 West 27th Street, Manhattan. This, indeed, is a strange official transcript. In fact, it is not a transcript but rather the remembrances of someone. The two female defendants were convicted of grand larceny of the first degree.

SEVENTH RECORD: Stephan Hooker, Toussaint Vogelsand and Martha Pell

TRIAL #39 Date: 1893/11/10; Reels(s): 10. Defendant(s): Stephen A. Hooker, Sex: M; Toussaint L. Vogelsang, Sex: M; Martha E. Pell, Sex: F; Charge(s): Murder (1st degree);  Judge: Frederick Smyth; Defense Attorney(s): Hugh O. Pentecost; Prosecuting Attorney(s): James W. Osborne; Note(s): Impleaded with Toussaint L. Vogelsang and Martha E. Pell. Adjourned. Stenographer Number: 658,1803; Page(s): 228 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 39.pdf 39_2.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

The two males and one female defendant are charged with 1st degree murder in 1893. Neighborhood boys and men were playing craps on John Dozier’s front stoop at 25 Minetta Lane. An argument erupted and Dozier’s front door is broken. As a result a fight erupted between one of the young men and Dozier. Later that day three people conspired to give Dozier a beating. That evening Dozier was attacked and hit in the head with two bricks. He died the next day in the hospital. There is much testimony about the character of the defendants. The trial transcript does not include the jury’s decision.

EIGTH RECORD: The Zreik Brothers; Elias and George

TRIAL #599  Date: 1906/10/1; Reels(s): 96-97. Defendant(s): Elias Zreik, Sex: M; George Zreik, Sex: M; Charge(s): Murder (1st degree);  Judge:  Defense Attorney(s): James W. Osborne; Prosecuting Attorney(s): Arthur C. Train; Note(s): Impleaded with George Zreik. Stenographer Number: 2036; Page(s): 610 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 599.pdf 599_2.pdf 599_3.pdf 599_4.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

The transcript starts on page 296. There is no explanation as to why. An unknown witness (due to the missing transcript pages) is being questioned with the aid of an interpreter. There was a stabbing and two gunshots in a restaurant at 81 Washington Street. A man named John Stephen has been shot and falls to the floor. The witness tells the jury that George Zreik had a knife and a pistol at the time. The transcript is extensive due to most of the witnesses being Arabic and requiring a translator. Much of the transcript is discussion about the true meaning/intent of the translation. Multiple translators are called in due to confusion. There are conflicting stories between several of the witnesses. The jury’s decision is not in the transcript.

THE NINTH RECORD: Richard H. Lee

TRIAL #1354 Date: 1911/4/18; Reels(s): 175. Defendant(s): Richard H. Lee, Sex: M; Charge(s): Misappropriation and falsification of accounts by public officers; Public officers: Misappropriation and falsification of accounts;  Judge: Edward Swann; Defense Attorney(s): Abraham Levy; Prosecuting Attorney(s): Oswald N. Jacoby; Stenographer Number: 1526; Page(s): 161 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 1354.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

The defendant, a dock master, is accused of changing the price of a docking fee. Triplicate fee tickets are always made. In this case ticket #1 shows that $0.50 was collected. Ticket #3 shows that $37.38 was paid for docking the schooner “Nellie W. Craig.” The dock is located between East 19th and 20th Street on the North River. The defendant is accused of pocketing the difference. There is much technical wrangling between the lawyers and the judge. Witness testimony is sparse and conflicted due to this. In the end the whole case falls apart due to a lack of comparative signatures for the defendant. The tickets which the entire case is built on are not allowed. The judge directs the jury to acquit.

THE TENTH AND FINAL RECORD: Harry Newman

TRIAL #2100 Date: 1915/9/20; Reels(s): 264. Defendant(s): Harry Newman, Sex: M; Charge(s): Rape (1st degree);  Judge: Thomas F. Mulqueen; Defense Attorney(s): Jacob Stiefel; Prosecuting Attorney(s): Millard H. Ellison; Stenographer Number: 2552; Page(s): 110 p. Full-Text Transcript available: 2100.pdf  Court: Court of General Sessions

Harry Newman, a sixteen year old, is accused of raping a 6 year old girl. The alleged place of the rape was 125 E. 50th Street. Several witnesses saw him take the girl into a hallway and became alarmed. They notified the mother who was in a building attached to the hallway. The mother says she caught the man with his private parts exposed and her daughter had her dress up and her panties unbuttoned. None of the witnesses saw an actual rape. However a doctor examined the girl the day of the alleged rape.  He confirmed that her hymen had very recently been ruptured. A second doctor, less experienced, claimed that he only saw irritation of the girl’s private parts. After much discussion and closing remarks the jury finds the defendant guilty of attempted rape.

There I sat in my easy chair. Hardly had I expected to see such a group of infamous people. Jorge Luis Borges had attempted to warn me when I read his “Book of Infamy.” He had introduced me to infamous people from around the world. But I never expected to see so many of them living in the south end of Manhattan, New York. What is even more frightening is that I had only met sixteen of them. There were thousands more waiting for me in the college of John Jay’s “Lloyd Sealy Library.” I hoped that none of them would appear to me that night.

I closed my notebook and put the leg rest up on my Lazy Boy lounger. I closed my eyes to reflect on the people I had just read about.

There was Francesco Purpura, rapist, who had taken advantage of a thirteen year old girl in the back of his shoe repair shop.

Then the semi-infamous Monk Eastman who was also known as William Delany. There is much more to be found of him than were in the trial transcripts. Even Google and the NY Times knew about him. Borges had compiled a list of the “inequities” that Monk Eastman had for sale. However the transcripts only told a single story about him. He started his evening by carousing with his gang.  He ended it by attempting to shoot a private policeman.

And then they turned him into a hero.

http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/meastman.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoPFw9aWDmo

Ah yes! Let us not forget good old Michael Whelan the New York City building inspector. He could very well fit into today’s world. Michael attempted to hold the installation of a new boiler for ransom. If the boiler owners wanted to get a permit to install it they only had to deposit $25 into Michael’s pocket. They did. It was marked money. He was arrested. He was convicted. End of the story and Michael’s job.

The egg and butter thieves; now there is a classic case. Joe Harris and Harry Simon decided to steal cases and barrels of these goods and deposit them in Hirsch Seliger’s cellar. Hirsch received these stolen goods so that he could sell them in his upstairs store.

As the silly old poem goes;

“A bright policeman heard the noise,

and came to arrest those three bad boys.”

As I sat there relaxing other things popped into my mind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9XEGBrA99E

John Dorthy; now there is a real weasel. He had two accomplices who aided and abetted but they escaped the clutches of the law by the skin of their teeth. Mr. Dorthy, realizing that some poor working slob had saved over two thousand dollars, decided that he could scam him out of his hard earned savings. Knowing that the working man was not at the top of the intelligence game and hardly able to read, Mr. Dorthy made up a false will for a non-existent person. He then attached a blank bank withdrawal statement to the back of it. He read the “Last will and testament” to the unsuspecting fellow and asked him to witness it. The working stiff agreed and signed the second sheet which was actually the bank withdrawal statement. The rest is history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qyxTV5QXgZw

Whoe unto the boat captain that decided to hit a few beer joints and talk to a few women with painted faces and scented bodies. Larceny was on their minds. I think we may surmise what was on the captain’s mind. The two lovely lassies, Miss Green and Miss Rosher, decided to separate the captain from what remained of the ship’s money. They did, went to trial, were convicted and obtained free room and board on the tab of New York City.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M8G7MSkSB4

The boys of Greenwich Village were just enjoying a nice game of craps when all the crap started. Pushing and shoving ended up with a broken front door. The owner of the door and young Stephen Hooker ended up in a second shoving match. Hooker was shamed by the older man. The two young men, Hooker and Toussaint conspired with Martha Pell (apparently a lady who enjoyed young men) to beat the owner of the broken door. Hooker ended up killing the owner with a couple of well-placed bricks to the head. We are not privileged to see how the story ended but it sure doesn’t look good for the three conspirators.

From the beginning of one the transcripts it looks like the Zreik boys really got themselves in trouble this time. However, before too long, it becomes apparent that confusion reigns. Several translators have to be brought in to understand the majority of Arab witnesses. Add to that the several different stories that the Egyptian and Syrian witnesses tell. Even though this transcript covered 610 pages of double spaced testimony, both the beginning and the end of the story are missing.

http://investigation.discovery.com/videos/american-gangster-gangsters-arrive.html

And is there any good trial that ends up with the defendant getting smeared without any substantial proof? How this trial ever got past the grand jury is beyond the normal person. Richard Lee is a dock master of the wharves at the east end of 20th Street as it meets the East River (yesteryear’s North River). He is accused of taking $38 dock rental fee for the schooner “Nellie W. Craig” and then recording it as only a 50 cent rental. There is no proof that it is Richard Lee’s signature on the documents. The judge rightfully directs the jury to acquit Mr. Lee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIcMC-ENXGk&feature=autoplay&list=PL034D2BA074CBDC34&lf=rellist&playnext=2

Finally, in the last of the ten trial transcripts there is the inept sixteen year old Harry Newman who decides to either molest or rape a six year old girl. The activity is put to a halt as the girl’s mother finds her child partially unclothed and inept little Harry exposed. GUILTY!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4f4cKkrrmo

With these ten cases reviewed I decided to determine in which neighborhoods of Manhattan these crimes took place. I had all the addresses recorded in my notebook. My next step was to do a Google map search on Manhattan.

This is where my story ends.

When the map appeared on my PC I had no additional work to complete. I was a little concerned when I saw what I thought I saw. Was I dreaming or was it the Southern Comfort Manhattan?

Right there, popping out of the map, were all of the alleged criminals that I had become familiar with. None of them appeared to be happy as the policeman hauled them off to jail.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=202339824274225061030.0004b4f4ad9cb07ca6726&msa=0

That ended the evening. I never did get to shovel the fourteen inches of snow that night. It waited for me until morning.

YOU PROBABLY WOULD LIKE A SUMMARY OF WHERE THE CRIMES OCCURED

QUICK LIST: LOCATIONS,PURPETRATOR, CHARGE

80 Catherine Street, Manhattan, Francesco Purpura, Rape

East 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, Monk Eastman, Attempted murder

532 East 20th Street, Michael Whelan, Attempted bribery

324 Greenwich Street, Harris/Simon/Seligar, Burglary and receiving

148 E. 45th Street, John Dorthy, Grand larceny

213 West 27th Street, Mary Green/Mabel Rosher, Grand larceny

25 Minetta Lane, Hooker/Vogelsang/Pell, Murder

81 Washington Street, Elias & George Zreick, Murder

East 19th and 20th Street, Richard Lee, Misappropriation

125 E. 50th Street, Harry Newman, Attempted rape

QUICK LIST: Hot Links to the ten trial transcripts

PUPURA:

Reel #1            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/1170.pd

Reel #2            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/1170_2.pdf

Eastman:         http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/421.pdf

Whelan:           http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/1850.pdf

Harris/Simon/Seliger:  http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/484.pdf

Dorthy:

Reel #1            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/629.pdf

Reel #2            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/629_2.pdf

Green/Rosher:             http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/485.pdf

Hooker/Vogelsang/Pell:

Reel #1            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/39.pdf

Reel #2            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/39_2.pdf

The Zreiks:

Reel #1            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/599.pdf

Reel #2            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/599_2.pdf

Reel #3            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/599_3.pdf

Reel #4            http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/599_4.pdf

Lee:                 http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/1354.pdf

Newman:         http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny/trials/pdfs/2100.pdf

    • © Copyright – Waldo Tomosky

Why god gave you me

30 Jan

W. Tomosky    WHY GOD GAVE YOU ME!          11/19/11

 

 

Why God gave you me is not so hard to see,

My unbounded courage enhances my humility.

I am most humble, in an unpretentious way,

“He has abundant virtues” I am sure people say.

As you ponder my vast and countless charms,

Remember only God could put me in your arms.

If I were God, existent from beginning to the end,

I know quite resolutely, I would be my best friend.

Why God gave you me is not so hard to see,

My unbounded courage enhances my humility.

Consider yourself fortunate to have once laid eyes on me,

It is a deeply held visage that many others wish to see.

To be in your prestigious position, to hear my brilliant thought,

They would clap and chant feverishly, “What Hath Waldo Wrought?”

So when I appear as a pinnacle, so painfully unreachable,

Remember the resplendent way, I remain un-impeachable.

Why God gave you me is not so hard to see,

My unbounded courage enhances my humility.

Picture my humility and my unmatchable gallant presence,

And I will magically appear in all my wonderful essence.

Others have worked desperately, often in perspiration,

But I live quite gloriously, as my lesser’s inspiration.

It seems so wrong for me, to bathe in the aura of nobility,

As lesser men stand in shadows, of my supreme mental agility.

Why God gave you me is not so hard to see,

My unbounded courage enhances my humility.

My detractor’s snarls and glares, my opinions they wish to rend,

But believe me my dear admirers, you will benefit in the end.

If at times, my fans, it appears I never made a mistake,

It is only then, I will admit, my thinking is not opaque.

I am all good, all knowing, all kind, beyond monumental,

What a shame, in the end, that I am a little oddly mental.

Why God gave you me is not so hard to see,

My unbounded courage enhances my humility.

So as you lay awake at night, and ponder my magnificence,

Consider yourself a lucky sole, to have seen my great omnificence.

Spread the word and tell the world you have finally seen the Dark,

The light will fade, the oceans shrink, the sun but a tiny spark.

By then my sweet little dear ones, I will emerge anew,

And with all my brilliance, a gift;  I give myself  to you.

Why God gave you me is not so hard to see,

My unbounded courage enhances my humility.

    • © Copyright – Waldo Tomosky

The Lost Thought

29 Jan

THE LOST THOUGHT                              Waldo Tomosky 6/8/11

                                                                                                                                 11/17/11

It was rather gloomy when I met him; one of those drizzly days that, at times, seemed to subside into a mist. I had been walking along a small brook looking for fresh leeks and morel mushrooms.

He was sitting under a tall white pine tree. His cloths were a mixture of browns and greens. These colors plus the mist and fog almost made him invisible.

I was already past him when he said “Hello.”

It was a soft “Hello.” The softness plus the mild tone did not cause me alarm. This feeling of ease occurred even though I expected to see no one in this dark remote forest.

“Hello” I echoed. I hoped it was as pleasant as his hello. I continued on with “What are you doing out here in the rain?”

“I don’t know” he responded. This was followed up by a “Maybe the same thing as you are.”

I asked him “Have you found any morels or leeks?”

“No. I am not looking for morels and leeks. Is that what you are doing?” He answered with a question. He spoke in a mild and non threatening manner.

“Yes, I am” said I. “But, then, what are you looking for?”

“A thought” he responded. “I am looking for a lost thought.”

Wishing to be empathetic I said “Yes, I know the feeling. When I need a new insight about a problem I often go into the woods and sit on the biggest log I can find. New ideas come to me.”

“No.” he said sadly. “I am not looking for a new thought. I am looking for a lost thought.”

My remark must have been harsh instead of empathetic. The man under the tree broke into tears.

I quickly offered an apology. “I’m sorry. I just did not understand what you were telling me. In fact I am still not quite sure what you are saying. You said ‘A lost thought’ as if it was really lost.”

The man confirmed my review of his statement with a simple “Yes.”

“We all lose our train of thought from time to time. Are you lost?” I questioned.

“No, that’s not it” he responded.

“I believe I am going to need some help with this” said I.

“Yes. I can see that this has not happened to you, this losing of a thought” he answered.

For some unknown reason we seemed to bond with just those few words spoken between us. He appeared comfortable with me and I had no reason to be concerned about this apparently sad gentleman. I spied a short log that remained from a previous timber cutting of those woods. I set down my basket which contained my finds; a few morels and two handfuls of leeks. The man remained quiet as I rolled the log over to where he was sitting. I offered him a cigarette and he accepted. I lit both his and mine. The smoke seemed to disappear into the fog and mist.

“Please explain your dilemma” I asked as I sat down on my wet log.

I expected an explanation that would take about the length of a cigarette. I planned to get on my search for mushrooms and wild onions as soon as he finished. But it was not after one cigarette. We finished the pack before he finished his story. I have never heard of anyone losing a thought the way he did. He explained it to me this way.

                                 ***   ***

“When I was a young man I loved the mountain streams and the woods. There was nothing more enjoyable than the solitude. Now don’t get me wrong. I was not a laggard. I enjoyed work also. Have you ever cut and split wood?”

Not waiting for my answer he continued.

“The streams and woods are great for refreshing your mind. But cutting and splitting wood is good for the soul. You are exhausted when you finish and there is a great sense of relief when it is done. Well – – – maybe it is not just relief – – – it is a feeling of relief and satisfaction that when combined – – – well, it just makes you feel good about yourself. Do you know what I am trying to say?”

Once again the question was rhetorical for he did not require an answer.

“Well, that was my life. Hunting, fishing, cutting wood and watching the wildlife. I didn’t require much more; even though I found it. What I found was a pretty blond girl that lived down the dirt road from me. She couldn’t have been more than sixteen. She was seven or eight years my junior. She seemed to enjoy watching me go into the woods or walk down the creek with my fishing pole. It was nice to have someone who cared about me. You see, I had been living alone since I was fourteen. Then one day this pretty blond girl finally spoke to me.”

“Hi” she said quite spritely.

“Hello to you also” I answered.

“We became friends and spoke quite often. She appeared to be quite interested in me and asked many questions regarding how I lived, what I ate, what I read and what the inside of my cabin looked like. The questions were easy to answer; well – – – all of them except what my cabin looked like inside. It was quite a mess and besides that you really can’t explain what your home looks like inside. You have to show people what it looks like. And I was not about to let her inside my cabin. It wasn’t just because it was a mess. There was something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was an uncomfortable feeling; almost a sense.”

“We saw each other very often and she would insist on bringing a book for me to read. Hell, I couldn’t read. Even if I could I wouldn’t. Why would I waste my time trying to assemble letters into words only to be forced to assemble words into sentences? After that I would have to put it all together to form a thought. Why would I do all that when I had the woods, the stream and my logs to split?”

“Once she realized that I was not going to accept her books she started working on my appearance. First it was my fingernails. She said they were “filthy” and started cleaning them with the little blade on my pocketknife. She would do this a few times a day. Then it was my pants. She would always notice the little things like rabbit blood or fish mucous. Where was a man to wipe his hands, other than on his pants? Then she started on how I lived. She insisted that there were good things to purchase in the farmers’ market. Now I ask you, how was I to buy anything without money? I had no money. I had no need for money. Everything I needed was in the woods, along a stream or in my cabin. I had more food growing wild than I could ever eat. She seemed real anxious to get into my cabin but I put a quick stop to that notion.”

“Then it happened!” said the man as I sat there on that log listening to his story. Again, he didn’t even wait for me to ask the obligatory “what happened?”

“The little blond girl stopped speaking to me. I lost her because of my stubbornness. I am not sure why I did the following; I just did it. I started cleaning my own fingernails. I washed my pants more often; and my shirt also. When I had clean fingernails and clothes a good feeling came upon me. You know, – – – the same feeling that I got after I cut and split a cord of wood. I figured if I got cleaned up and then split wood I would feel twice as good. However, once I finished cutting wood my fingernails and clothes were filthy again. So I never felt twice as good.”

“The little blond girl was lost. It was not a complete loss because she had taught me things. I could get cleaned up and go to the farmers’ market. At first I just looked because I had no money. There were good things displayed on the back of the trucks; apples so big I could never have imagined it, big leaks that they called scallions, and squash of all sizes and colors. I sure wanted to try some of the food that was displayed but I had no money. As I was leaving the market I noticed one man selling wild leeks. ‘I could do that’ said I to myself.”

The sad man stopped telling his story and asked if he might have another cigarette. I shook one half way out of the pack and offered it to him. We lit up and smoked a bit before he continued his story.

“Well – – – the following week I sold some leaks and bought some apples. This continued on for some time. I found out that the folks at the market liked sassafras and ginseng root. One lady even asked if I could find her some bloodroot. How was she to know that I already had some growing beside my cabin. I became a regular trader and found out that I enjoyed the fruits and vegetables that were sold at the market. Sometimes I even had money left over from my sales. The farmers’ market took place in parking lot of a small library. The people told me the library was full of books. I could not imagine why anyone would want to fill up a perfectly good house with books. What a waste!”

“A few weeks later I was talking to the lady that bought my bloodroot. I wanted to know what she did with it. She told me that she colored her clothes with it. I asked her where she learned how to do that and she told me ‘In the library.’ ‘They color clothes in the library?’ I asked. She said ‘No silly; they have books that tell how to do it. They have books that tell how to do everything.’ After several months of weekly visits to the market my curiosity got the better of me. I went into the library.”

The sad story teller carefully put the stub of his cigarette on the forest floor and crushed it with the heel of his boot. I did the same.

“I walked around in awe of all the books. It seemed to me that if each book taught something then the whole world must be in this library. I knew that the whole world was outside of this building yet the whole world was inside this building. The library lady must have been watching me as I turned around in circles. She walked up to me and asked ‘Are you all right?’ I told her that I was. Being at a loss for words and somewhat embarrassed I asked if she knew where the book on bloodroot dying was. She took me to a big closet full of little drawers, each filled with little cards. She thumbed through the cards and said ‘B7.’ I had no idea what she was talking about. She must have known it. She took my hand and led me to a shelf marked ‘B7.’ Realizing my problem she searched for the book and handed it to me. When she walked away I started looking at the pictures. Sure enough, right there on the pages were drawings of bloodroot and wash tubs. I went to find the lady so she could explain what all the letters on the page meant. She realized that I could not read and offered to teach me. I accepted.”

“It was not long before I had a handle on this reading stuff. And that is when my problem started.”

The sad man broke into uncontrollable sobbing. It was painful for me to see. I turned my head away from him and made believe that I was watching something else. After a short time he was able to control himself and became quiet. I told him that I had seen a grey fox and was watching it. He knew it was a lie and said “That’s OK. I do this all the time. I don’t think I am as embarrassed as the people who are subject to my sobbing. I am so sorry for having put you ill at ease.” He continued with the story.

“I learned to read; first it was learning books, then small stories with pictures and finally I could read the bloodroot book. I had no interest in the process of bloodroot dying but was proud to be able to finish the book. There were other books with stories about far places and even one about a boy on a pilgrimage and how he met forty thieves.”

“Then one day I was sitting on my homemade log chair in front of my cabin. It was then that it happened. I was reviewing, in my mind, a story I had read about a flying carpet. AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT ENTERED MY MIND. It was unbelievable. I had a thought. It was something that my mind came up with all by itself. It wasn’t from a book or anything that someone had told me about. It was MY OWN THOUGHT, MY OWN ORIGINAL THOUGHT. I thought about that thought all day and into the night. I could hardly sleep. Finally, as the whippoorwill repeated his lullaby, I dozed off.”

Again the sad man broke into tears. However, he controlled himself in a shorter time than the previous episode of sobbing. With a look of bewilderment he continued his tale.

“I awoke in the morning to the trill of a warbler. It was a nice morning yet something was hounding me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I rose from bed and washed my face in the motley blue glazed steel bowl. As I dried my face it came to me. YES! I had an ORIGINAL thought yesterday. What was it? I scoured my mind knowing that it would show up; but it didn’t. I tried all morning to remember what I had thought. IT WAS GONE! GONE! The only original thought that I ever had was gone. I HAD LOST MY ORIGINAL THOUGHT.”

“I knew that the blond girl had been lost due to my stubbornness. However, I had no idea why I lost my thought. It was perplexing. I should have written it down. If only I could write well. My penmanship was so horrible that no one could read it; not even me.”

“I thought about the blond girl that had indirectly introduced me to the market place and books. I decided that this was not a bad thing. Maybe I could recall my lost thought if I read more. All of my spare time was spent in the library. The nice librarian introduced me to a local school teacher. I was finally able to proceed on my own. I learned about museums, large city libraries, the educated men in churches and universities, and the library of congress. I set out to meet the world. With enough knowledge I would be able to find my lost thought.”

The sad man stopped his story at that point. I offered him a smoke and took one myself. The drizzle had stopped and we no longer had to cup the cigarettes in our hands to keep them dry. As we sat there quietly he sobbed once or twice. It wasn’t really a sob. It was more of a quick draw of air as if he was attempting to catch a breath. It was a hidden sob. I knew because I had done this myself as I was overcoming a sad thought. The man had more to tell me.

“My visits to various museums were very interesting but my original thought remained lost. Then one day a museum docent was leading a group of us around. She was speaking about the central and southern American Indians and the locations where they had lived. She informed us that the Spanish word for corn ‘MAIZE’ would be of assistance. ‘M’ was the northern most tribe; the Maya. ‘A’ would represent the central tribe; the Aztecs. Finally the ‘I’ would remind us of the southern tribes; the Incas. MAIZE would help us remember the series Maya, Aztec, Inca, (Zapotecs being the Exception).”

“’That’s it’ I hollered out loud. ‘That is my original thought. I can remember things if I put them into one of those things that help us remember.’ The docent looked at me as if I were a little loony. She asked ‘Do you mean an acronym?’ As soon as she said it I realized the disaster in my present thought; if this was my original thought then I could not lay claim to it. I had never heard the word ‘acronym’ before so how could that be my lost thought? It was close but apparently my original thought had to remain lost. I was deeply disappointed.”

“I continued my museum visits but soon realized that anything that was in a museum was not original. Everything had existed before. That was why it was a museum. There were models of cave dwellers, trains, bridges, climate changes, airplanes, Indian villages, canal boats, catacombs, baseball fields and paraphernalia. I have to admit there were a few original things such as arrowheads, Indian pottery, stuffed bustards, penguins, and wolverines. Still, all of these things existed well before my original thought; which was now lost. My museum visits were educational but not productive for my quest. I abandoned them.”

I asked the sad man “How many museums did you visit?”

“Countless ones, countless” he replied. He continued speaking apparently hoping that I would be counting. “Roberson in Binghamton, Canal in Syracuse, Nayaug in Scranton, Museum of Torture in Germany, Auschwitz also in Germany, Baseball in Cooperstown, Natural History in Washington, Salt in Salzburg” and then he abruptly stopped when he saw that I was not counting. “You have to realize when visiting a museum that there is nothing original to be seen. There is a lot to be learned but nothing brand new. That is the lot that museums have been burdened with. Now churches, there is something new to be learned in churches every day.”

With that the sad man appeared to have his spirits lifted. He stood up and walked around a little bit. As he neared my basket he lifted it up and peered inside. “Nice meal for tonight?” he asked.

I responded that it was my plan to have them that night along with a tender calf liver and bacon. He smacked his lips but said nothing. He took his place beneath the pine tree and went on with the story of his lost thought.

“I attended various Christian churches both on Sundays and Holy Days. There was something new to be learned in every attendance. There were the beliefs of the Catholics, the beliefs of the Pentecostals, those of the Baptists, the Russian Orthodox, the Methodists, the Episcopalians, the Orthodox of the Greek persuasion – – – well – – – you can see where I am leading with this. There were as many beliefs as there were religions. How did that happen? All from one philosophy and chopped into enough fragments to fill a – – – can I say this with candor? – – – a synagogue or a mosque. All these new ideas, all originating from the same facts. Some denominations even changed their minds half way through their history. I can see why man is confused. I thought that I was learning new ideas. Well, they were new to me but hardly new. They had been sliced and diced, modified, twisted, re-worded and stretched beyond belief. There was even St. Christopher who had been reduced to Mr. Christopher for some reason or other. What was one to believe? Is there an original thought remaining in these organized religions? I remained hopeful and continued attending the variety.”

“Then one day I heard a minister give the accepted explanation of the Trinity. I hollered out loud in church ‘That’s it. THAT IS MY LOST THOUGHT. The Trinity.’ As soon as I realized that everyone had turned around to see who was shouting in church, I shut up. The minister caught me by the shoulder after mass. He asked what I knew about the Trinity. I told him ‘The Father is God who is somewhere in the universe. If he isn’t God then the one who came before him must be God – – – or the one before him. Somewhere there is an original. The Son is Jesus whose miracles and philosophy we read in the scriptures, and the Holy Ghost is also God. The Holy Ghost resides in our minds and that is why God is always with us and knows everything we do.’ The minister informed me that this idea has been around for quite a while and therefore was not very original.”

“My lost thought remained lost.”

“I was very disappointed in everything and returned to my origins; the cabin. The pretty blonde girl still lived nearby. She had put on a few pounds and was ruddy faced. I said hello to her a few times but she simply nodded and gathered her three children at her feet. The librarian and school teacher both heard that I was living in the cabin and waited for me to show up at the farmers’ market. I had earned money by giving lectures on street corners in the large cities that I had visited. People liked to listen to me and comment on my straw hat, denim coveralls and bare feet. I was some type of attraction to them.  I had brought home a good supply of money but did not need to visit the market. I lived off the land and returned to an almost sane condition.”

“One day, quite unexpectedly, the school teacher dropped by. She had a surprise for me. She told me that she and the librarian had put together a letter. The letter depicted my ability to easily learn new subjects. That was not a lie. I was quick at learning. She had sent the letter to the state university and I had been invited to attend an orientation and financial assistance session. I went, I filled out the papers and I was accepted! What a great moment for me. I had planned to re-familiarize myself with the way of the woods and streams but here I was going to college. It was a bittersweet summer. I enjoyed the required remedial reading and math. It was almost as much fun as fishing and picking ginseng.”

“The money I had saved from my street lectures was put to good use for books. The teacher’s and librarian’s recommendations plus the financial aid had made me eligible for grants and stipends. I was a lucky fellow. Even my dorm room and meal plan was paid for. I had developed quite a nice background on how life worked but my reading and math skills needed a little help. I was assigned to some remedial classes for the first semester. The second semester was filled with a full line of three and four credit courses.”

“I read everything and completed all the exercises assigned to me. My professors seemed to be pleased with my progress. My only problem was that deep down inside me I had hoped to generate an inspiration. If that inspiration was deep enough I might be able to remember my lost thought. This was always in the back of my mind. I let my inspiration go wild and included my own self into my papers. This did not work out very well. Several professors told me that I needed to concentrate on writing my papers strictly to the subject material. I thought that I was doing that and did not understand what they were looking for.”

“One evening when I had finished doing the reading assignment I was struck with a feeling of creativity. It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on or bring an original thought to. It was simply a strong feeling that I was on the edge of something big. I sat down and started writing the paper that was to complement the reading assignment. The words flowed like the fast water in my favorite trout stream. Nothing could stop the words. When I was finished I sat back and re-read the paper to see if my original thought was hidden somewhere inside all those words. If it was, I couldn’t find it. Maybe the professor will find it and draw a big circle around it with his words ‘Nice original creative thought.’”

“When I received the paper back all that was written on it was ‘Don’t get too creative with the subject material. Learn the basic subject first and then you will become original.’”

“That is the way my whole college experience went. ‘Stick to the assignment.’ or  ‘There will be time for creativity in your senior year.’ and ‘You have a promising background for graduate work; but learn the basic material.’ plus ‘Your masters’ thesis should surround the research area that you study under me.’ finally ‘You will have plenty of time to select an original thesis for your doctoral work.’”

“Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Masters, Doctoral – – – it continued on with no opportunity to find my original thought. It was surely a lost cause. Finally, after I had received my hood and doctorate, I realized that I had lost all my creativity. I knew that I would never find my lost thought in a collegiate atmosphere.”

“It was the end of the depression. World War 2 was in full swing. I not only lost my thought, I also lost my college deferment from the selective service draft board. I was inducted into the Army, spent a few months in boot camp and ended up in the First Army Headquarters based on Governors Island outside of New York City. If I thought there was no room for original thought in college then there was absolutely no hope for it in the U. S. Army. There I sat, hour after hour, sorting through induction orders trying to place a wide range of people into very specific jobs. Talk about putting square pegs into round holes. There was not enough time to give any thought to where Johnny would be most productive. ‘Just put him somewhere’ my commanding officer said. ‘Just shuffle them around until they fall into any available slot’ he admonished. I felt so guilty about the whole thing that I needed to visit the chaplain’s office several times each month.”

The drizzle started up again and the sad man stopped his story to check the cloud pattern in the sky. We lit up another smoke. Then he continued;

“By the end of the war the chaplain and I had become good friends. I had told him about my lost thought and the time that I had seen the meaning of the Trinity. I asked him if my thoughts of the Trinity were original and he said ‘Sadly they are not. Your lost thought must be about another subject.’ He then informed me that even though someone else had defined the meaning of the Trinity my thoughts had been original to me. In fact he told me that I must have some unique type of intelligence because I was able to think about the Trinity and finish my doctoral degree. He then suggested that I look into joining the church as a Jesuit priest. ‘With your educational background and logic you would be more than welcome. And so; I left the U.S. Army without finding my lost thought. However, I had been given a new path and opportunity to find it.”

“My hopes were elevated. The Jesuits founded by St. Ignatius Loyola believed in a regimen of spiritual exercises. These exercises involved the mind, memory, will and imagination. This had to be what I was seeking. The Jesuits had founded thousands of schools, colleges and universities. In addition to education they also believed in exercising the mind, training the memory, strengthening the will and training yourself to be imaginative, creative and to seek original thoughts. I surely would find my lost thought in the Jesuit organization. I joined.”

“It was my good fortune to find that the spiritual exercises would come early in my indoctrination into the Jesuit Society. The only thing that came prior to the exercises was learning the history of St. Ignatius and the Society of Jesus. To my great surprise I learned that there were several conspiracy theories about the Jesuits. Many of them centered on their banking system and their involvement with the natives of all three Americas; North, Central and South.”

“One man’s attempt to fill a void is another man’s conspiracy. In the New World one void was the inability to borrow money for new construction such as homes, academies and public buildings. The Jesuits formed a banking system to fill this void. As a result they were accused of trying to fill the coffers of the Catholic Church at the expense of others. The other void was the perceived lack of education within the Native American Communities. Surely the Jesuits could fill this void also. The perception was the opposite. It was deemed that the Jesuits were forcing their God upon the Native Americans.”

“The Spiritual Exercises were a sort of retreat. We isolated ourselves with a senior Jesuit mentor for a period of one month. The purpose of the first exercise was to examine sin, both generic and those specific to ourselves. We would then find parallels between our lives and the life of Jesus. Once that was complete we were taught how to make a commitment to the practices of Jesus. It was only then that we were told that this process would be repeated throughout our first year of Jesuit training. We also learned that we were to carry out these exercises for the remainder of our lives; however, without the seclusion of a retreat.”

“There were several exercises of prayer while contemplating the Passion and Resurrection. Each novice Jesuit was required to enter into a discussion with the mentor, or spiritual leader if you so choose that label, to determine what his thoughts and emotions were while undergoing the exercises. This process was repeated for several exercises. The entire novice population of Jesuits agreed that this review of our spiritual being would be with us for the rest of our lives.”

“The thing that I found, but was not looking for, while doing the exercises was the amount of time we spent thinking about how the world works and especially how humanity has evolved within this natural world. Man has a relationship to God that can be found through these exercises of studying the life of Jesus.”

The man appeared so happy about this life with the Jesuits that I could not believe that this was the sad man. I broke into the middle of his story by asking “and yet, here you are, sitting in the middle of the woods; apparently unfulfilled. How could that be?”

The sad man looked me straight in the eye, shrugged his shoulders and tipped his head to the side as if to say “It is just one of those things.” And then he continued on.

“Remember the conspiracies that I mentioned? I was sure that these stories were the result of late eighteenth and nineteenth century problems with the Freemasons. However, it became apparent that even the Spanish Inquisition had problems with the Jesuits. This was followed by problems with the reformationists. Popular anti-Jesuit thinking in France was fired by several books; both academic and novel. Germany, from the 1870’s until the early 1900’s, required the Jesuits to disband and desist from engaging in their practices. Even the Nazi regime treated the Jesuits with disdain and loathing.”

“I suppose that I was influenced in the wrong direction by the stories of these conspiracies. I begin to wonder if every elitist across Europe could be wrong about the Jesuits. Was there something within the society that made them so hated? Surely it could be jealousy if nothing else. But the society did appear to have secrets even when there was nothing to hide. They were an elite group of men and surely human nature does not allow one group of elites to live harmoniously with other groups of elites. That was the basis of war. Then again, within such a group of learned men that made up the society there indeed had to be a substantial amount of arrogance. This may have been the cause even though the spiritual exercises attempted to make the novice Jesuit aware of the pitfalls of arrogance. Was the society perceived as arrogant?”

“Eventually my enthusiasm for the Jesuit life waned. I had learned much and was slated to become a professor within the society. But the structure of the Jesuit life, even though enlightening, seemed to keep me from creating original thoughts. It finally dawned on me that I would not recover my LOST ORIGINAL THOUGHT in that environment. I was asked to stay on. When they finally realized that I was seeking something previously lost they decided to cut their own loses. I was removed from the society.”

With his life in the Jesuit order fully described the man asked me to wait for a minute. He said that he would be return immediately. I watched him as he stood up and walked down the small stream for a distance of a hundred feet or so. When he reached the place where a tiny spring fed into the stream he turned and walked along a short path. He lifted the large flat stone that covered the spring and removed something. Returning in a minute, just as promised, he held two cold bottles of beer. He offered me one and I accepted it with gratitude.

I took a few sips from the green long-neck bottle and waited for the sad man to continue. He did not disappoint me. This time he appeared much more exuberant about his search for the lost thought.

“I was running out of options; however, this did not make me give up the quest for my lost original thought. I knew where most original thoughts occurred. It was in the research; the laboratories of the scientific world. I applied for several premier jobs. I landed my first choice at a government owned laboratory on Long Island.”

“It was a very nice facility. The research scientists were more of a community than a laboratory. They even issued a periodical that included the stories and faces of some scientists. The people featured had important events or breakthroughs in their area of research. The periodical had a classified section where the scientists could advertise cars, property or anything they wished. Everyone got along so well that it was hard to believe that they were competing with each other for grants.”

“I worked there for over two years. The PhD that I worked for was very gifted. He was the director of our large project. His assistants were ambitious and quite intelligent. The assistants had PhDs and Masters Degrees so it surprised me when I found out that they were working for very low wages. It was said that the director had a very comfortable salary plus he was encouraged to take outside consulting jobs. He also supplemented his income by being a hired gun for law suits in his field.”

“I became friends with the secretary of the department and found out that the money that supported the department’s work was totally from grants. I had believed that the Gates Foundation may be funding this work. However, I was surprised to find that the majority of it came from grants funded by the US Government and the New York State Research Foundation.”

“The director’s application for grants had to identify the number of research support specialists, the quantity of administrative hours and the equipment needed to conduct the research. It was all very open and transparent to anyone who wished to see the grant application.”

“At the end of my second year at the lab I realized that the other research assistants and I were working way to much overtime. Of course we were not getting paid for the extra hours. We were exempt from the New York’s state laws regarding overtime. I asked the secretary if I could see the grant application and acceptance papers. She was more than pleased to let me peruse them. What I saw surprised me. The grant money more than covered our wages and hours. It also covered EIGHT high grade workstation computers. There was money for leasing hours on a super computer. However we only had SIX workstation computers and WERE NOT allowed to use the supercomputer facilities for our work. Where was the money going?”

“I spoke to a few of my research associate friends and was advised not to worry about it. They said ‘This is typical of any project supported by grants.’ I could hardly believe that. What was the point of going through the grant process if the participants were not going to abide by the rules? Sure enough that was the story. After talking to a few other research assistants in other departments it became clear that this is how business is done. I was advised to avoid pursuing the path that I was on. ‘You will only destroy yourself. You will become a marked man. You will never work in another research facility for the remainder of your life.’ I could not believe that those words could possibly be true.”

“Then the crowning glory of all my suspicions appeared. A very promising grant was sent out by the state for advisory work. The advisory work was to include technical advice, human resource advice, and a post-mortem on the project after it was completed. Additionally, the grant required suggestions on the future staffing levels the state department issuing the grant.”

“So there it was, bare faced and right in front of me. A department within the State of New York was giving a grant to any research entity that could advise it on how to do its job and how to manage its people. Unbelievably, the grant also was asking the researching organization to judge the results of its own work. Talk about the fox watching the chickens! To top it all off, the research group was to advise the state department about its staffing levels. Even the dumbest research assistant knew what that answer would be. SURE, HIRE MORE STATE WORKERS. THE DEPARTMENT IS UNDERSTAFFED.”

“It was a grant to not only do the state department’s job but also to advise them to hire more people. What a grant country.”

“I departed the Long Island Laboratory when I saw that the missing computers had been located on state university campuses across New York. They were not located in research facilities but rather in the dorm rooms of students whose fathers were the directors of various departments in the laboratory.”

“I had reached another dead end in finding my original lost thought. How could anything be original in a world of corruption? Impossible!”

The sad man put his head in his hands and wept bitterly. Once more I felt ashamed simply because I watched this man in the agony of his lost thought. As he wept I attempted, in my own mind, to come up with a solution to help him in his plight. The more I thought about it the more I realized that he had done more to help himself than I ever could have imagined. He had persistently and with great forethought made several attempts to find his lost thought. In light of this I simply sat there on my damp log and waited for the continuance of his story.

“I had read books, visited libraries, wandered in museums, attended churches, graduated from college, joined the Jesuits and worked in research organizations. Yet none of these pursuits aided in finding my lost original thought. My whole search seemed fruitless. What was I overlooking? There had to be some way for me to recall my original lost thought. Possibly there was an answer in the old saying ‘Fight fire with fire.’ However, how could I find original thought by forgetting about thoughts; or not thinking thoughts; or thinking negatively about thoughts; or thinking about nothing? Was I thinking about nihilism; the belief in nothing? Did traditional values really matter? Did I spend too much time flirting with religion and objectivity? Had morality hidden truths that I may have overlooked? Did the social organizations of church, school and science form untruths that humanity had been erroneously pursuing? Was suicide the final and singular answer in the quest for my original lost thought? How was I to exit this maze and solve this labyrinthine puzzle?”

“Possibly I had failed prior to my original thought. I would not have had the thought if I had not met the blond girl. If I had not met her I would not have washed my clothes and cleaned my fingernails. I would not have gone to the market. I would not have wandered into the library. I would have not read a book. WAS THAT IT? Was it the blond girl that I paid no attention to? Maybe I should have taken her as a lover. That would have ended my quest before I ever had an original thought. That does not make sense yet it does make sense.”

“Therefore, with these thoughts, I decided to try unique methods that would attack the problem on a bias instead of head on. I would fight fire with fire. I would not think. I would not delve. I would not conceive new thoughts, I would not reason, meditate, surmise, conclude, ponder, reflect or deem. I would be satisfied with reading old thoughts. I would bury myself in things that were not original, not on the cutting edge, things that surely had been reviewed, discussed and been worn out by the vagaries of time. I would not be fooled by the imposters of unfounded thoughts.”

“Where was I to start on this abandonment of thought, this interpretation of nothing? Where was I to start?”

“Before the advent of religion – – – – – that was the only place to start. But where does religion begin? My life experiences taught me that they began with the life of Christ. Therefore I must start before that. But then there was Judaism, Abraham and Christ’s predecessors.

I decided to start by reading the dialogues conducted by Socrates. Back to the libraries I went. I searched for the clearest books that I could find on the subject. I read them all from beginning to end. With this completed I retreated to my simple life in the cabin.”

“As I walked in the woods the dialogues appeared. They turned over and over in my mind. I don’t mean all the dialogues; just snippets of one dialogue or another. The dialogue between Socrates and Ion seemed to be my favorite. I believe this was because the conversation centered about the subject of inspiration.

Socrates really worked Ion over on the subject. He questioned Ion six ways from Sunday on what Ion felt when he performed his rhapsodies. ‘Was it the feeling of an artisan or that of being drawn into another world? Did Ion become a general when he rhapsodized about war? Did he become a charioteer when he rhapsodized about equine racing? Could a charioteer rhapsodize as well as Ion did?’

“The dialogue was intense and could have many meanings. The subject of Inspiration haunted me. Is that what I felt when I had my original lost thought? I believe that Inspiration was what I had been searching for all these years. Maybe I had assembled an Inspirational metaphor. Do metaphors appear like a bolt of lightening or are they assembled as various thoughts are scrambled in the mind? One of the metaphors that Socrates imparted to Ion could be the answer.”

“Socrates had described the nature of Inspiration to be similar to a magnetic rock. He said that the rock had the ability to pick up an iron ring. The rock was the original inspiration and the ring was like Ion being inspired. Ion was not the originator of the stories that he rhapsodized; Homer was. Homer had originated the stories and Ion became inspired by them. So much so that he was drawn into the stories as he rhapsodized.

Ion was not a general or anyone else in the story even though he felt that he may have been. Ion was supremely inspired as he rhapsodized; so inspired that he would believe that he was an actual general. The original thought was not Ion’s even though he felt that it may have been. Is that what had happened to me? Was I somehow inspired by what I had read in a book and now believed that I had an original thought? God, I hoped not.”

“Socrates pointed out that the ring that dangled from the magnetic rock could also become inspiring. This could result in another ring dangling from the first ring.

The magnetic rock remains the original inspiration. However, the first ring is supremely inspired and has added new depth and meaning to the original idea. This inspiration has modified and added to the original thought. Socrates points out that this allows the first ring to draw another ring to itself.

Socrates asks Ion if he has ever seen any of his audience cry or laugh. Ion answers “Yes” and then realizes that he has inspired the audience. Ion has become the first ring and the emotional listener has become the second ring. This sequence could go on infinitum until the original thought is no longer recognized; and sometimes no longer inspiring.”

“Socrates also points out to Ion that his gift was an inspiration and not a skill. Ion’s rhapsodizing of Homer’s stories did not make Ion skilled in what he spoke about. It was an inspiration that carried Ion away; a divinity. The ultimate inspiration is drawn from the magnetic stone; Euripides stone of Heraclea, the metaphor. The ultimate inspiration comes from the gods.

The original thought carries so much inspiration that it holds a long chain of rings to itself. Therefore men do not create art because they are artisans. They create art because they are inspired. Physicians heal people because they are artisans; they practice their art.”

It was getting to be late in the afternoon and a cool breeze could be felt. The sad man was quiet for a minute or two before he continued his story.

“I wish that Socrates’ insights would have explained it all. However, they did not. I still wanted to search for my original thought. I was driven to search even though my original thought may not have been an inspired; even though it may not have been as original as I thought. Earlier today, as I sat here under this pine tree, I remembered a discussion that Socrates had with Meno.

It was a discussion regarding mimesis; the mimicking of things that had existed previously. The dialogue between Socrates and Meno took on the connotation of the Idea; the original thing. I think of it in simpler terms. An Idea is what happens when original man sat on the ground and placed his food on a rock next to where he sat. The rock is the original Idea for a table. An observer sees this and is inspired to make a table from a wooden slab. A second observer adds legs to the table and the mimeses has modified the original Idea into unrecognizable form. The Idea starts and the chain of magnetic rings begins.”

“Where did the original Idea come from? A muse? The Gods? Why did original man put his food on the rock table? Is there instinct born into us? A hound has the instinct to track rabbits. Is there some instinct that creates the Idea?

One of Socrates dialogues speaks of how an uneducated slave. How did he correctly answer a difficult puzzle of geometry. How does the slave do it? Does he have an instinct of geometry? Did he carry this from a previous life? Is he is now oblivious to that previous life?”

“This morning, right under this pine tree, all those thoughts came rushing back. It was only then that I became horrified about my quest. Even if I thought that I had an original thought, and lost it, the thought could not have been original. It must have been a mimesis created from something I saw in the library. It was not an Idea in its original sense. It was a result of my own conceit that I viewed this lost mimesis as my own essence; an original and lost thought.”

“What had I done? I had spent my life chasing other people’s dreams. The libraries, museums, institutions of learning; was all of it a wasted life? I would have been better off not meeting that little blond girl. I could have lived in the woods. Maybe that was an original Idea, an instinct, a drive caused by a previous life; living as a woodsman.

At that moment I knew that I never had an original thought. In fact no one in this post-modern world has an original thought. Thoughts are a mimesis of our world as we represent it to ourselves. What had I done? What had I done?”

Again the sad man burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably. I let the emotion subside before I gave him a thought of my own. Surely my thought was not original either. However, it was the best thought I could offer at the time. I finally broke into his story to add my own viewpoint.

“’Listen, nothing has been lost, nothing has been wasted. Do you realize how many people you have inspired with your thoughts? You moved the teacher and the librarian to write letters of support for your college education. You inspired the museum docents with your blurted-out thoughts. The priests surely must have gone back to the rectory to contemplate the questions that you asked. The Jesuits, although controlled by idealism, learned some truths about their own history. Some of the researchers in the scientific world must be questioning the morality of self-serving grants. Even the little blond girl must realize that she pushed a little too hard to get into your cabin. The people that heard your straw hat, bare footed, street corner rhapsodies would not have listened if they were not learning something. All of these people were the chain of iron rings that dangled from your inspiration. All these people, indeed, must have inspired other people. You may not have been Euripides’ stone of Heraclea but you have created a substantial chain of rings in your lifetime.’”

With that said the man stood up. He appeared happier than I had seen him all day. He had a new inspiration and this inspiration inspired me. I was also happier than I had been all day. The sad man was once again acting as a magnetized ring. This must have been his original lost purpose, his Inspiration – – – – if not his original lost thought. He walked off into the misty woods. We never met again.

The end of “The Lost Thought”

    • © Copyright – Waldo Tomosky