Thursday, November 16, 2006

Phonetic Pros?

"Bravo, Charlie Alpha! You made it back from the Delta. I hear you stayed at the Echo Hotel in India, where you learned to Foxtrot(?) and play Golf.(?) Did you bring the Kilo that Juliet gave Mike in Lima? Big Papa Oscar has wanted it back since November. He wanted me to give it to Romeo in Quebec. I was going to drive my Sierra cross-country. I was even willing to Tango in Uniform with Victor if I had to. No, I haven't had too much Whisky! Do you need your brain X-rayed? I'm just trying to be a good Yankee Doodle Zulu!

This is supposed to be the NATO Alphabet. It is used by police, maritime communications, air traffic control and military. I'm wondering who actually thought it up. Isn't it time for a new one? I wonder what it looks like in another language. I always thought it was..."Alpha Beta Charlie Dog"...from that travel novel by Steinbeck - "Travels with Charlie". He and his cute little dog traveled across America in his camper with many an insight about our national life. When I was in the Naval Air I attempted to learn this alphabet by recognition of the various flag positions that were used to communicate aboard ship. Yes, this was in "ancient times" before...computers...radar etc. I think it was called "Semiphor". Then there was ASLAN. These are hand/finger signs for all the letters(for the deaf) I used to teach it to some of my more precocious students. I told them that when I was in Jr. Hi. we used to get a pass, get out of class (to go to the restroom?) and actually "talk" to our friends in other classrooms through the little windows in the classroom doors with our hands only...until we got caught and got a "citation". Then we had "detention".

Last night there was an interesting new show on TV called "3 lbs." In it a young violinist had a "stroke" during a recital that seemed to first effect her left "fingering" hand. The computer graphics were awesome. It also disabled her language/speech centers (Broca's) in the left lobe. She was worried about her disability also taking out her skill with music. The "heroic surgeon" assured her that center was in the right-brain. That was quite a relief to her. I think it has been some time now that we have known that the brain isn't so location-specific. Otherwise her left-brain would've shut down her bowing-right hand first. There is this amazing structure called the "corpus collosum" which connects the two hemispheres. They say it is more developed in women. "The Arts" are not stictly right-brain and "Language" is not strictly left-brain. They also abused terms like "soul" and other "intangibles" like "meditation". To top it off they almost lost her on the "table" and when she came back she wrote a note that she had communicated with her dead twin sister. Boy, doesn't that just push all the right buttons? We want to believe so much that we now make primetime TV shows about all of this "esoteric communication" ie. "Ghost Whisperer" "Medium". Until we all get better at communicating with each other here on Earth, even with my outdated Phonetic Alphabet, we should leave the other kind to...telepathy! Don't you think? Bob!


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