Tuesday, March 16, 2021

King Aleph of the Alphabet

By Madeleine Kando

Once upon a time, there was a mighty king named Aleph. He was of a strong and sturdy lineage. Just by looking at his physique, one could see how he was built to withstand adversity of any kind. Over many generations, his ancestors had developed two unusually prominent legs, which were always planted firmly wide apart. The evolutionary process had worked in mysterious ways, making his waist narrower and his shoulders narrower still, until it went to work on his head, which was the smallest part of his body. In fact, if one didn’t know that he was a king, he very much looked like the first letter of the alphabet.

But what he gained in strength, he lacked in flexibility. No matter how many yoga classes he took, he just couldn’t bend over in the slightest. Being a king, he had to spend a lot of time on his throne, which he could only manage to sit on by straddling it, his short legs dangling in the air on each side.

There were other noble families with a similar defect. His cousins from the house of Ache (pronounced H) and his uncle from the house of Arr (pronounced R), were equally afflicted by this inability to bend. Was it a result of too much royal inbreeding? ‘If it’s not good for rabbits, it cannot be good for kings’, his great grandfather from the House of Ey (pronounced A), used to say.

Hence King Aleph, as mighty as he was, could not manage to get dressed, tie his shoes or even go to the bathroom without a great deal of assistance. As everyone knows, relieving yourself without bending is well nigh impossible without creating a serious problem. We will refrain from giving a detailed description here and leave it up to the reader’s imagination.

But King Aleph knew that without the help of many of his subjects, he couldn’t maintain his ruling position. He was as shrewd as he was rigid, so he forged a strong alliance with the House of Aaow (pronounced O). What King Aleph lacked, the Aaows possessed in abundance. Which was not flexibility, as you might think. Evolution, always working its mysterious ways, had omitted to provide this side of the royal family with any legs at all. Hence, they propelled themselves by rolling. And boy, did they roll! Many a distinguished member at the Royal Court ended up flat on their face as one of these Aaows came rolling down the garden paths at high speed. Read more...

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Our Lives in the 21st Century

 What is the main change over the last several decades - let’s say the difference between life in the 21st century vs. life in the 20th century? 
The widespread belief is that we have progressed, that we are much better off in the present century than we were in the previous one. This is widely attributed to communication technology, primarily through computers and other forms of electronic technology. What a crock! 
The opposite is true: today’s technology is unbelievably intrusive and invasive. It assaults us and hounds us 24/7: 
Most of the “communication” we receive consists of telephonic Robocalls, most e-mail is spam, most of the Internet consists of advertisements. 
We receive threatening messages alleging fraudulent charges to our accounts, we have to change passwords to protect ourselves, we get daily pop-ups demanding that we update or upgrade our programs and download new apps. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and all the others hound us relentlessly. We have to delete hundreds of e-mails, texts and phone messages daily. 90% of our snail mail consists of ads. Our privacy disappeared years ago. And then there are the even more serious problems, such as malware and other nefarious invasions of our machines.  Read more...