Sunday, January 26, 2014


BOOK REPORT - The Tallest Tower by Jos. Harris
Towards the end of the 19th century, the holy Grail of construction was a one thousand foot
high structure, so that was the program of the competition of such for the Paris Exhibition of
1890 . Only Eiffel had the construction expertise to pull off his design, a basic minimalist tower
that would not be blown over and would carry fair goers to the top.
By thee time the Paris Fair Board made up their mind which design they chose, there was two
and half years to design & construct the tower. Of course, the elevator was just being invented,
to say nothing about one slanted and changing angles. At the same time, forged steel was just
being invented, but Eiffel incorporated both these in his bid to build it. He eventually got paid
$900,000 from the city of Paris, as well as putting up a million and a third of his own money.
When all was complete, on time, it was a little under budget. He had a deal to run the
concessions for twenty years, which reimbursed him for his investment. The previous tallest
structure was the Washington Monument in USA at 555 feet and took 36 years to complete in
It as surprising to note that Eiffel did not design it, but his chief engineer did. Although very
probable Gustave was a major influence on the concept. Although we see the tower as
beautiful, his solution was strictly utilitarian, barely an extra pound of steel anywhere in the
structure. He made one exception to that to alleviate the feeling of the time that an arch was
necessary for a structure, so he added a superfluous steel arch on the four sides of the base,
something I've always wondered about.
In order to reduce the problem of the workers who would have to climb all the way down to a
cafe nearby and load up on cognac for lunch, Eiffel opened his own cafe so they could stay up
high but he only sold wine and food, all at a super reasonable cost. However, danger was still
rampant, as they worked through two winters, where wind, snow and ice were formidable foes.
But no loss of life, except for one idiot worker, showing off for his girlfriend after work, fell to his
death. splat!
I've been on three of his structures, starting with the rail bridge over the Gironde river at
Bordeaux, (his first large project), the Briar Canal Viaduct that spans over the Loire river for
about a thousand feet, as well as the tower. We are not used to the concept, where the
designer is also the builder. Even though his designs are classic, his inventiveness of
construction methods were amazing. Hydraulic water jacks, sand jacks for alignment , etc. were
only the beginning of his creativity.
Briar Canal Bridge over Loire River, circa 1890

We've got to get organized. This dating fiasco has got to come to a head. How did everyone
(Europe) keep track of time before Justinian or ?? changed all the dates to when a mythical
figure had been born 3 hundred years earlier. The Arabs tried the same damn thing with their
guy, but did that ever take? Do the Mexicans still use their old calendar that was good for
thousands of years, except the damn Spaniards changed all that. Maybe we could begin when
the writing was invented, 2500 BC? See, I'm still doing it, except someone changed all that to
BCE & CE? Christian Era? No body told me they were doing that! Or start with Buddha, 1500
BC = Year one. Or at least with Socrates time, about 500 BC,
Keeping track of the years kind of started by the founding of Rome. It was around 753 BC that
Varro had the bright idea to keep track instead of listing the Consuls names. Therefor, the
mythical Jesus was born about 753, not the year one! AB URBE CONDITA is Latin for "from
the founding of Rome". which is a reasonable time frame to start from. The Anno Domini (AD)
came into use about 532 AD, where tis gets really confusing. By 537 AC? Justinian changed to
a new system beginning with the birth of a mystical figure Jesus.
Therefore, was Jesus born in 753? Was Socrates living in 550? or 1003? Was it additive of
subtractive? Let's assume additive.
Rome Founded - Ab Urba Condita year 00
Socrates - 1000
Jesus born - 1506
Columbus discovers us - 2245
July 4th! - 2529
WW 2 - 2693
Today - 2767 (And you thought it was only 2014!)
GET USED TO IT!  By the way, my birthday is June 4,  2683, but I'll be in Paris again.

Our president just told us "I ended the war in Iraq". I was wondering how that was going. I
guess we got all the nuclear war heads out of there. Is there still a war in Afghanistan? And
remind me what we were supposed to be doing there? (Other than protecting our oil supply).
Do we still believe we were doing it to help propel these poor bastards into Democracy? Don't
any of our advisors read history? We all know these Islamists have been killing each other since
Mohammed's brother in law started his own form of Islam.
I know it's not P.C. to question 'what went wrong?' but I have to. Just ask anyone from ORHA ,
The people from Washington who were supposed to set up a government as soon as the killing
was over. It seems impossible but we didn't begin planning for such a thing until a couple of
months before 'mission Accomplished'. By comparison, we spent two years planning the post
war Germany. The ORHA folks were given a bare space without even desks, to say nothing of
telephones. Washington sent recent grads from prestige schools to help run Iraq. One young
woman was given the job of all traffic control in the country of millions, yet she knew nothing of
Urban Planning.
Worse, yet, in 2003 Paul Bremer was sent in to run the whole crazy deal. He initiated several
disastrous programs. First, he closed all form of government the Iraqi's had, second, he fired all
Saddams workers and disbanded the existing army. That immediately formed a group of
500,000 armed men who had no jobs & no way to support families & relatives. Oh, and by the
way, these men knew where all the arms were stored. Immediately there was wholesale looting
of one of the most historic Museums in the world, as well as the incredible library with
thousands of ancient writings, but worse, the U.S. didn't feel it was necessary to protect these
from the looting and destruction. I forgot to mention we let out 100,000 prisoners to help out the
looting. And wee didn't think it necessary to protect the several huge arms dumps. Have I
painted a stupid enough picture, yet?
I'm glad we got it all sorted out about just who or what was to know the difference between a
Rebel, Insurgent, Militant, Shiite & Sunni?

Have you noticed how our wars have gotten kind of weird, lately? We sure showed 'em in
Vietnam. Those dirty commies thought they could get away with a government of the people,
like we do (Well, at least our 'A government by the Lobbyists ' ). I guess they must all really be
sorry they have to live under a commie government, although a friend of ours has been there for
several years and says it;s OK. But that's impossible, right? My government told me so.
That brings up a question of has anyone written books about our wars describing how it may
have turned out if Germany had won the war, One & two? How about the revolutionary war? Or
our Civil War? I'm just found one about how Hitler won and will let you know how that comes
Did we ever declare war on Them? Did we ever surrender to them? But that was a simple
war, unlike these damn skirmishes in Iraq & Afghan, where we end up fighting guerrilla warfare
in the hills & streets with our giant aircraft carriers and monster high altitude bombers. It seems
some of our politicians still don' know what we're supposed to be doing there. (What?
Destroying expensive war equipment so our Mil-Industrial guys can build more and cash in on
the bonanza? now I hear we have to take in refugees who were mere translators and can't live
in their country anymore as they will be killed. I mean, like thousands.

Every few years I have to send this out as it reminds me how I tried to learn Esperanto, the all-language language. (Forget it!).  For all us really good spellers.

Subj: EuroEnglish Phase In Schedule

The European Commission has just announced an agreement that English
will be the official language of the EU - rather than German (the
other possibility). As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's
Government conceded that English Spelling had some room for
improvement, and has accepted a 5-year phase-in of new rules which
would apply to the language and reclassify it as EuroEnglish.

The agreed plan is as follows;
In year 1, the soft 'c' would replaced by the 's'. Sertainly, this
will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard 'c' will be
replaced by 'k'. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan
now have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the
troublesome 'ph' is replaced by 'f'. This will reduse 'fotograf' by 20%.

In the 3d year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted
to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have
always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the
horible mes of the silent 'e's in the language is disgrasful and they
should eliminat them.
By year 4, peopl wil be reseptiv to lingwistik korektions such as
replasing 'th' with 'z' and 'w' with 'v' (saving mor keyboard spas).

During ze fifz year, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords
kontaining 'ou' and similar changes vud of kors be applied to ozer
kombinations of leters.
After zis fifz year, ve vil have a reli sensibil riten styl. Zer
vil be no more trubls or difikultis and evrirum vil find it ezi to
understand ech ozer.


Karla K. Wurzel