Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #224

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #224

…Banker Lewis is giving special attention to one of his best customers, though he has secretly admired Maggie Ferrell-Campbell for more than her assets, if you catch the drift…

Meanwhile Caption-001“What brings you to the bank this fine day, Mrs. Campbell,” asks George Lewis, whose bank is used by most Tallahasseeans, and happens to administer the trust that John Ferrell had established for Maggie Lou. He has up close knowledge of what the young woman will take charge of in about two months 5 days and 7 hours; 61 parcels of land totaling 110 acres, some of which is coveted by various people with mixed motives.

“I would like to put this into a safe or something, don’t want anybody stealin’ it.” She pulls out a necklace out of an envelope, jewelry that is best stored away from the house… whose mortgage is held here as well.

Lewis checks his watch, five o’clock having come and gone. “Let me lock the doors and we will get you a safe deposit box.” He is giving special attention to one of his best customers, though he has secretly admired Maggie Ferrell-Campbell for more than her assets, if you catch the drift. “Right this way.”

    The safe deposit boxes occupy the back corner of the building’s second floor. They pass Lewis’ personal office on the way, he ducks in, turning on the light as they go by, grabbing a key off the wall. Number 3760, yes, just about chest high.” He does the honors, handing the rectangular metal container to Maggie.

“This can hold a lot.” She is impressed by this method of storage.

“There is only one key to this box, so take good care of it.” He not only gives her the key, he takes her hand, placing it there with both of his, lingering well beyond what is necessary for the transfer. She does nothing to end the clinch. “Let’s go to my office. We need to fill out a rental agreement.”

They are alone in the bank, but George Lewis pulls down the shade on the office door anyway. “Here we are. Maggie Lou Campbell agrees to rent box number 169 for a minimum of twelve months for a fee of ten dollars to be paid in advance.”

 Maggie instinctively reaches for her purse for the agreed on fee. George stops her. “Please, no. I would like to furnish this box as a token of appreciation for your continued good patronage.” His body language implies that the ten dollars is waived for a completely different something. He ushers her to his leather couch, where again, she mysteriously offers no blatant resistance.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Happy Banker

The Happy Banker by George Condo

Episode #224


page 209

Tape, Teflon, Velcro, Virility and Mastercard – WIF Simple

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Simple Technologies

That Changed

the World

There are numerous examples of breakthroughs that humans have used or discovered in their existence that have catapulted us to the top of the food chain. The wheel, the steam engine, the printing press, etc. These advances are known to most people, and we realize that without those things existing, we’re still in the dark ages.

But there are also lots of little blips on the timeline throughout human history of simpler things between the lines. These technologies may not have the same lustre as the heavy hitters, but if you tried to imagine your daily life without these things being developed and perfected, you would quickly see that they’re every bit as important. Here are some simple technologies that changed the world in profound ways.

10. Duct Tape

That sticky grey tape that seems to hold most of the world together these days draws its history back to the Second World War. The military used the tape to keep their ammunition boxes sealed, but quickly found that there were tons of other uses for it. What began as medical tape was found to have incredibly adhesive qualities as well as inherent waterproofing, which led to soldiers calling it “duck tape,” referring to a duck’s wicking feathers.

Once the war ended, soldiers returned home and began buying houses en masse. They also took lots of jobs with construction companies, and told their bosses about this incredibly sticky tape they used during the war. The tape was used for all sorts of HVAC applications, but mostly for holding ductwork together. So “duck tape” became “duct tape,” but in 1998, a test of common HVAC sealing materials was conducted. Duct tape came in dead last. Quack.

9. Teflon Pans

When scientists in the 1930s developed a new kind of polymer that was superbly heat resistant and uber-slippery. They used it in war, because that’s just what was going on at the time. But it took until the ‘60s when they decided that it would be great for keeping food from sticking to pans.

And it wasn’t just pans–the non-stick coating known as Teflon changed the home kitchen for good by also being applied to muffin and cake tins as well as cookie sheets. Clean up was a breeze. The coating could handle high heat. The only thing they were kind of bad at was not killing people. The workers that produced Teflon were basically poisoned by the material, and that sickness was passed on to lord knows how many consumers. One of the components in Teflon that was responsible wasn’t banned until 2014.

8. Smoke Detectors

Think of all the things you probably take for granted in our homes in the present day, and smoke detectors are likely near the top of the list. Those little gadgets have saved countless lives, yet you hardly notice them until their batteries run low. They’ve become standard and required in homes these days, so it’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t around. And they happened by accident.

In the 1930s, a scientist in Switzerland was trying to make a device that detected poison gas in the air. While it failed to pick up the presence of the tested poison, when he lit a cigarette, the smoke did trip the alarm. It took until the late 1960s before they found their way into homes, and have now cut fire-related deaths by half.

7. Viagra

A little blue pill that’s only been around for twenty years shouldn’t have such an impact on the world that it’s had, especially since it’s not cured any major disease, instead letting men experience the wonder of full erections. But Viagra has basically changed sex around the world.

In 1991, testing began on what would become Viagra, but it was developed with the intention of lowering blood pressure. But during the studies, there was a certain side effect that the men involved could not ignore. The development of the drug headed in the direction of restoring sexual health to men, and within ten years, 200,000 prescriptions a week were being filled. It changed the way men confronted diminishing sex drives. It also helped unknown diseases related to erectile dysfunction become treated when men came to the doctor seeking Viagra.

6. Credit Cards

A fixture of every wallet known to man, the credit card is simultaneously boosting the economy and bankrupting countless people with no financial acumen. The concept of “pay us later, we’re sure you’re good for it,” and then tacking on insane interest amounts is a fairly new concept. At least in card form. But they’re ubiquitous now, with around 18 billion in use.

In 1949, businessman Frank McNamarawas at a restaurant and realized he had forgotten his wallet. This made him envision a kind of card that could be used at multiple businesses. He started Diners Club the next year, and within the next decade, more and more banks started making their own credit cards. Fast forward to present day, and Americans alone possess over a trillion dollars in credit card debt. So in less than a hundred years, we’ve done some damage, haven’t we?

5. UPC Codes

You’ve seen that little box of black lines on the side of every product you buy, even more so when you’re struggling to find them in the self-checkout line. The UPC code (Bar Code) gets scanned, the price shows up, and it’s a pretty expedient process. But how did that get to become the norm?

In 1948, Joseph Woodland (who had actually worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear bomb) was responding to a query from a local store owner about how to speed up the process of buying products in his store. Woodland thought about Morse Code and its simple way of giving lots of information with dots and lines, so he made that his inspiration. His innovation could describe an item and its price all at once, instead of the snail’s pace of non-automated operations that most stores suffered through. The only thing that held back progress was the lack of computers readily available to read the code, so it took until 1974 when the technology began to roll out to stores nationwide.

4. Barbed Wire

Two problems faced the American West as it grew and expanded: cattle were getting loose and trampling precious crops, and there wasn’t enough wood in those regions to build fences. The Homestead Act of 1862 made it so many people could get vast tracts of land for next to nothing, so it was important that they be able to work that land and have secure properties.

Enter Joseph Glidden of Illinois, who patented barbed wire in 1874. It wasn’t without its growing pains, as the wire trapped dumb cows by the thousands, and cowboys hated their herds being restricted by the artificial borders. And those very borders that marked a person’s property also screwed over Native Americans, as these practices left them with even fewer claims to their ancestral lands. The Homestead Act required that a person build a home and work the land for five years before it would become theirs to own. The barbed wire was a metaphorical and physical realization that their way of life was over.

3. Velcro

Zippers were still very much the rage in 1941, when Swiss engineer George de Mestral came upon an idea while walking his dog in the woods one day. He noticed how his clothing and his dog were covered in sticky burrs, the pointy little things that always prick your fingers are you’re removing them. Under a microscope, he saw how the curved hooks of the burrs met with his clothing in an almost perfect marriage. Zippers were no longer the only game in town.

Zippers tended to jam all the time. Velcro, as it would come to be in 1955 (from the French words “velour” and “crochet”) didn’t have that problem. Though originally implemented in clothing, it’s now used in everything from sporting equipment to NASA craft. And whoever began using it in little kids’ clothing should eventually get their own medal.

2. Daylight saving time

Ok, so maybe not exactly a technology, but the advent of daylight saving (it’s not “savings”, by the way) time has changed a lot about our modern world. First started in Germany in 1916 as a way to enjoy the sunshine and to conserve electricity, it began to catch on in other countries around the world soon after.

In the United States, it was started in 1918 as a wartime practice. It was repealed the next year after farmers protested; the next few decades saw back and forth fighting and different start times for daylight saving across the country. Finally in 1966, the Uniform Time Act made time, uh, uniform across the country. The central concept, energy conservation, doesn’t really seem to be a benefit though. The stuff that uses the most electricity in our homes are things that get used the more we are home, if that makes sense. It seems that the money that gets boosted into the economy by people enjoying more leisure “daytime” in the evening is enough to keep the practice in use.

1. Transistors

Think of the devices that power your everyday life: smartphones, computers, tablets, etc. They all have one thing in common at their very core, and that’s the very simple transistor. The development of the transistor signaled the developmental shift from hardware to software, and it’s why technology has surged light years ahead since its inception.

A transistor is merely a type of semiconductor that either amplifies signals or switches them. Invented in 1947, it was a device far ahead of its time, and as computing devices grew and became more efficient, so too did the transistor. Computers got smaller and became household items, while transistors shrunk down to the size of a few nanometers. Those tiny transistors are one of the only unchanged (aside from size) building blocks of the entire digital age.


Tape, Teflon, Velcro, Virility and Mastercard –

WIF Simple

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #182

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #182

…“This town deserves better! Old Blount is still fuming over swallowing his pride about the circumstances surrounding the death of his Charlie, “The Man Who Would Be King”...

P-E J is on the job, endeavoring to avoid detection. So for the rest of November, Harv has does his best imitation of a millwright, looking like he knows what he is doing with a heavy wooden tray of tools, weighing 60 pounds. Fortunately no major breakdowns occur on his watch, the machines likely fearing for their gears, so as a result, the most notable outcome of this month is a right arm two inches longer from carrying the tools. Today he is tired and hungry, but it is a day with yet another case of injustice.

“I heard one of the men telling another that the bank would not let him withdraw his savings,” Harv tells his Judith, who is tending a steaming pot of soup, the contents of which are literally indescribable. “He has a relative, somewhere near Jacksonville, who has lined up a better job for him and he needs the money to put a down payment on a house. I guess he signed some sort of contract with the bank stating he must give two months notice before withdrawing more than one-half the balance.”

“Two months? I wonder if the Banking Commission knows about that practice.” She shakes her head, causing some strands of hair to fall on her face. Greasy hands preclude her from replacing them; she blows them off instead. “I was taking pictures of all the signs with “Blount” in their name, when a woman came out of the General Store crying her eyes out. I asked her what was wrong and she said that she can’t buy food on credit. Her husband was injured on the job and he had not been paid for two months.”

“Oh yes, I think he fell from a ladder while cleaning the grain elevator. The guys didn’t know if he’d walk again, both legs were shattered.”

“Well, if he was injured on the job, isn’t he entitled to replacement income? Aren’t there labor laws that cover that possibility?”

“I’ll tell you, Jude, if James Ferrell wanted, he could represent the entire town against Blount, for one thing or another.”

“This town deserves better! Old Blount is still fuming over swallowing his pride about the circumstances surrounding the death of his Charlie, “The Man Who Would Be King”.

“I don’t know about you, but I for one have enough material to fill the entire issue.” He dips a spoon into his wife’s mottled mixture. “And I miss the food at home.”

dayjob        “You know, honey, with a month’s worth of meals under my belt, we could do without our cook. I am really getting the hang of this.”

          “I wouldn’t quit your day job, Judith.” This brush with honesty inspires a wooden spoon into flight, missing Harv, but hitting the front door, just as their pseudo-children open it.

          “What’s wrong?” the kids ask in unison, having never seen their “parents” quarrel.

          “Oh nothing kids, but I have cooked my last meal for this family!”

          In a tender moment, the room erupts with adolescent cries of joy.

          “I am sending for your parents tonight,” promises Harv. “They should be here first thing tomorrow.

          “Hooray!” shouts the boy. “I can taste Mom’s blueberry pancakes now.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

WomanCooking

“Oh nothing kids, but I have cooked my last meal for this family!”

Episode #182


page 170

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

… The Blountstown General Store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigar tobacco products…

Driver School-001

Willy can tell the difference in power and handling from the 1906 model that he drives, mostly on hills where, even fully loaded, they do not bog down.

“I be puttin’ her in a lower gear, Clete, like this,” he pumps his left leg twice on the left peddle, while shifting a stick back towards him. The sound of the engine becomes more earnest, but their speed of 15 miles per hour is maintained.

“That looks easy ‘nough, Willy. When are you goin’ to let me take the wheel?”

“Somewhere on the way back, likely on that open stretch we passed a ways ago.” He would rather do all the driving, but that defeats the purpose of training.

Welcone to-001This day they have Road 12 to themselves. The route begins to wind close to Blountstown, calling for caution, especially on the inside of corners. On roads designed for wagons and autos, there is not room for anything but the Mack truck. Whenever Willy cannot see around a corner, he pulls on the air horn cord. That usually keeps the way clear.

Once safely within the Blountstown village limits, they locate the new center for directions in towns across the country; the gas/service station replaces the local diner. There is usually one per town, as is the case in this one on the Apalachicola River. With a grunt and a mumble, a grease smeared hand points to Blountstown General Store, which is next to the Blountstown Barber Shop on one side and the Blountstown Saloon on the other. One wonders who either founded or owns the town. You are right.

The general store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigars-001Savannah Cigar tobacco products. Both are important staples to this typical mill town, but mill owner, Hank (you guessed it) Blount, wishes this fair priced and prompt company could supply a third staple Love Dairies2-001for his workers: whiskey.

If it were not for the profitable backhaul, which is the avoidance of running an empty truck back to warehouse, bartered quantities of lumber and flour; produced in Blountstown with the aid of rushing river water, channeled through paddle wheel and electric generator (Blountstown Power & Light), dealing with Hank Blount would have been out of the question. Herb Love has heard disturbing rumblings from the city, 25 mile southwest of Quincy, but images of a thousand families in need of nourishment tilts his better judgment.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Company Town-001

Episode #170


page 158

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #168

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #168

Meanwhile

…To be sitting behind the wheel of a five ton truck is quite different from handling a team and wagon…

September Sunrise by Elizabeth Fraser

But when the sun sets, it also rises. Life picks up where even the most defining of moments leaves off. For some, like Alpha, must Image result for sunrise gifmake their way back to a foreign place, departing from recognized comfort, for the promise of a bright future. For others, like his father, the everyday grind marches on. Not that there is no change, but old habits die hard. Change may be uncomfortable, but necessary.

And if you work for a man like Herbert Love, you can expect to be on the cutting edge of change. To be sitting behind the wheel of a five ton truck is quite different from handling a team and wagon. But to be a teamster, is to be an expert of the transportation of goods, as well as a trooper. Few of these teamsters are yet expert at navigating the inconsistent roadways in these monster vehicles. It can be said that Willy has done a good job of mastering the delicate balance of power and control, although from high in the noisy cab of the Mack truck, motorcars look like darting little rodents. He liked it better closer to the ground.

When Herbert Love decides to expand their territory out to the west, Jackson and Calhoun Counties, another smoking behemoth is to be added, officially making a fleet. Fleet is plural for ____?____… well it is plural nonetheless, which means they must train another driver. Though the job description is pretty clear, just what the qualifications are, is not.

Frank, the dairy pasteurizer, would make a good driver, but who would then keep the bottled milk fresh. Frank’s brother, Clete, who is in bottling, seems to be the next best choice. He is much younger than Frank, perhaps an egg or two short of a dozen, yet is always eager to learn. Eager will get you far in Loves’ world.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Two Eggs Short of a Dozen by Carol Chretien

Two Eggs Short of a Dozen by Carol Chretien

Episode #168


page 157

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #162

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #162

…Danke shoen, Johann, zere eez two years vorth of vood down…

woodpile

In the aftermath of the nearby tornado, “There is a lot of good kindling wood.” John comments upon seeing Ziggy using his cross buck to cut branches to a length compatible with the chamber of the wood burning stove.

drafthorse

Blue Boy by Jan Perkins

“Ya,” agrees Ziggy, scraping the humidity from his brow. He points to his wood lot. “I hope zat za storm von’t keep Alpha and Villy from today. I could use their team to drag za deadfall closer by.”

John can sympathize with Ziggy, having graduated from wood heat to fuel oil recently. “I’ll send Joseph over with Blue Boy,” one ton of aging draft horse, still very strong and always willing to serve.

Danke shoen, Johann, zere eez two years vorth of vood down.

Doc Ziggy and Frieda are not getting any younger, a fact not lost on their grateful neighbor, the beneficiary of their kind gestures. Neither does he overestimate his own mortality and what effect his death would have on the welfare of Olla and especially Maggie Lou.

  John Ferrell is seriously considering a very radical thought about the financial security of his neo-illegitimate daughter. It pertains to his will and possible alterations to it, the one something and only thing that will take other survivors of his death by surprise.

   Over the years, close to 25 to be exact, John Ferrell has done business in the greater Tallahassee area. It is his groceries that are the marquee of his presence here; Ferrell's Grocery-001three stores that have served two generations with the necessities of life. Amidst the workings, of what is no small miniature empire, comes occasional and rare opportunity to acquire property from customers who have little trouble confiding in a community-friend like John Ferrell, yet have no other perceived place to turn.

There are times when profits from meat, vegetables, Empirecanned goods and the newest of consumer fare need to be siphoned off. Real estate is the safest of auxiliary investments, least likely to be scrutinized by the uninformed. 31 such parcels are part of a larger plan of a more aggressive businessman, at a time when he considered rivaling all comers for the title of “King Tallahassee”.

But times have indeed changed. An 1896 lapse in judgment, encouraged by the tempting of the flesh, has placed a solid brick wall in this path of assertive city dominance. His afternoon of fantasy and passion has now officially laid claim to that once youthful goal.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #162


page 151

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #152

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #152

…In a single hour, there is hatched a magazine named the Pearson-Eastman Journal, thus beginning a fresh era of reporting world events and the people in and around them…

After Roosevelt leaves, just like that the lobby empties, leaving the Pearson-Eastman partnership feeling like they have been run over by a Conestoga wagon. Instead of five foot high wheel marks and hoof print across their backs, they are reminded who is a celebrity and who is not, at least not yet.

  “We have a conference room reserved on the second floor. After that unexpected development, we best not put the cart before the horse.” James Ferrell’s budding professionalism shows.

The group as a whole is conspicuous by the formality of their dress, for a day that is still considered young; an outward sign that these folks mean business. They file into a good sized rectangular room with military precision, greeted by a hostess who is there to tend to their every creature comfort. She uncovers a lavish fruit tray, which is flanked by carafes filled with piping hot coffee and tea. Flaky croissants are magnets to six sets of hungry hands, as they situate themselves randomly, checking egos at the door.

“This is very impressive, James,” Harv observes while observing.

“I agree,” adds George Eastman. “This gives me some ideas for my boardroom.”

“We at Beacon Hill want to demonstrate how much your business means to us.”

  “We are all in agreement about the arrangements,” says Herbert Love, “but I am equally overwhelmed by your securing our audience with Teddy Roosevelt, let alone him inviting our magazine out to the frontier states. You guys should get some great photographs. I hear the scenery is majestic.”

“You all are coming, aren’t you?” asks an assuming Judith.

“Not this time sweetie. I cannot speak for Herbert, but regular business will more than occupy me. Train travel and tents are not on my agenda… and Judith? How are you on horseback? … and Harv, are you a closet Rough Rider?”

“Hey, smarty pants, we know our way around a stable in Florida, right Herb?”

Panhandle Pete

“That’s right Panhandle Pete!” he affirms with more than a hint of sarcasm.

Oblivious to discussions of the first company trip, Abbey Ferrell distributes copies of the Articles of Incorporation to the principles. In a single hour, there is hatched a magazine named the Pearson-Eastman Journal, thus beginning a fresh era of reporting world events and the people in and around them.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Covered Wagon Show (3)

Wagon Train Headed West

Episode #152


page 140