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Achtung Blinkenlights
Achtung Blinkenlights

I wrote this piece in a simplifed Gothic script many years ago, before benign hand tremor intervened. I collected it sometime over my 25 years as a chemistry lecturer, and I think I first saw it attached to a PDP8 computer in the government research establishement called the CSIRO, or a university or tertiary college. It is a joke, of course, making fun of the German tongue, resulting in a humorous "pidgin" Germanesque English that was used to great effect in films such as Hogan's Heroes, particularly in the Sergeant Schultz phrase "I know nothing!".

Apparently it was used on computers all over the world, starting from about 1955 in IBM. They vary from my version in some details, and I mis-spelled lookenspeepers with an e not an s. There is a Wikipedia article on it here, where you can see a lot of interesting detail of other uses of the piece. The term "blinkenlights" stems from the blinking lights on early computers that enable the operator to monitor the data going through the registers, and also note any error states if they occur. The Blinkenlights theme was picked up, finally resulting in so-called Blinkenlights displays using specially-installed digitally-controlled lights inside large office buildings to create visual images.

See here, here and here.
Here Is Your Assignment
Here Is Your Assignment

I acquired this piece of writing during the 1990s, when I spent some time exploring the New Age movement. It appealed to me, and in my calligraphy years, I amused myself by writing it out with a decorative border in red and gold ink. The gold doesn't scan in very well, and becomes brown, as it does in fact on the paper, as it ages, unless very expensive gold ink is used. A net search on the initial phrase, "Here Is Your Assignment" gives 53 million hits, but only 84,000 if bracketed in quotes. A Google image view shows most common written version is in B&W print with a scrolled border, and has obviously been photocopied many, many times. I quite like it, as it offers a mental (or spiritual if you like) framework of the "life situation" in which we all find ourselves. It is widely known, and a search yielded little of substance. I presumed the author is Anonymous. but this reference claims to pinpoint the source.

As for myself, it raises a question as to just who it is who has given me this "assignment". You are welcome to believe that your supervisor is a deity, but I myself find it just as fruitful to think, feel and act within my system of ethics by reference to this general idea of this Assignment, but not to whence it comes: it just "Is". Underlying various belief systems, especially Buddhism, and some other religious movements, and also the current Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and the so-called Mindfulness Movement, is a mode of thought which helps to promote mental health and happiness or contentedness. If I wished to, I might just as well live my life according to this as many other ways.

A Coffee Cup
A Coffee Cup

Thomas Shapcott, AO, among other things, is an accomplished Australian poet and author. He wrote this delightful small poem, and I am sure that it will be in one of his published collections. I have seen this poem with the title extended as "(for Barbara Giles)". Barbara Giles (1912 – 2006) was one of Melbourne’s most highly regarded poets, there's a mutual connection in poetry. I enjoyed writing this piece and hope you will enjoy it as have.


I must confess that I did this calligraphy some time before the year 2000, until a fine hand tremor and loss of fine control annoyed me so much that rather than produce inferior work, I let it go.

I'm afraid that, try as I might, I could not remember or relocate the source of this piece. I had thought it was either the 'anti-psychiatrist' R. D. Laing, or Richard Bach. but my search was fruitless. I hope you enjoy the ideas contained in this piece of writing.

It is written in a simplified form of Italic script.
Exercise Book
Exercise Book

This is a little piece of thought from the famous American "New-Age" writer Richard Bach, and it comes from one of his major works, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, published 1977.

I wrote this in black Standard Italic script on paper simulating a parchment finish.
For Mother

I composed this on the occasion of Mother's Day in some distant point in the past. I cannot remember the circumstances, but must have felt moved by my recalcitrant muse to produce this slightly dubious prose.

It's not for my own mother Millie, but for my wife Glenyce, so perhaps it was during those days when it was uncertain whether my own children would do something for their Mum, or whether it needed to be orchestrated by me. Whatever the reason, I produced it, in a rather desultory form of Italic script, and signed rather uglily (is that even a word?) by myself. Yes - I know I should have rephrased that!

After all, it's the thought that counts, and how valuable is a thesaurus when you're in a hurry!
Einstein's Human Being

Albert Einstein

It is well-established that Albert Einstein did indeed pen this short piece of writing. It shows that he was not averse to a touch of metaphysics in his philosophy. It was written in 1950 to a grieving father who had lost his son to polio.

I wrote it in standard Italic script, and although I am usually quite hard on myself, I am quite pleased by my style in this one. I certainly share the sentiments expressed by him.
Steven's 18th Birthday

For some reason buried in the mists of time, I felt impelled to pen this offering on the occasion of the 18th birthday, in 1991, of one of my sons, Steven William Leithhead. Athough it was not unknown for me to write occasional verse, they were more or less scattered in the winds of the past. My daughter-in-law Nicole Mcintyre found this recently, soon sfter the recent birth of my grandson Thomas Joseph Mcintyre Leithhead, and I was thrilled to see it, as I had forgotten about it entirely.

In fact, the main recollection I have of that 18th birthday was a beery, mainly boys' party partly in the garage and partly under canvas, as well as the performance of an excellent young stripper who was hired by my daughter Leanne. Not having hitherto witnessed this kind of performance, I was intrigued by her athleticity and her ultimate modesty. I, myself, was proffered a fresh strawberry perched upon a pert nipple, and it was delicious.

The script is a modified form of Italic script which I also used for the piece titled Elsewhere.
Steven's 21st Birthday

Another piece of poetry that I wrote on the occasion of my son Steve's 21st birthday. As for the 18th birthday poem (above), I don't recall doing it, but I did occasionally pen such things in the family context, most of which are lost.

I wrote this in my variation of the classic Italic style of script.
The Guest - Kabir

The Indian mystic Kabir was born in Benares in the 15th century, and through personal circumstances came to teach a combination of Islamic (Sufi) and Hindu (Brahman) thought. His influence has been substantial, and a cult of a million followers still exists in northern India. I have written the first two stanzas of the piece called "The Guest is inside you, and also inside me".

I have written the passage in a script called Uncial or Majuscule, which developed in early Roman times and was widely used throughout Europe, the Middle East. I trust that its use here is not too anachronistic. Kabir's teachings were largely an oral tradition, and when written, would have been in a mediaeval Hindi script.

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