27 May 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

The Telepath Who Buckled her Corzine

Tales From Topographic Oceans is not the most highly regarded work from the band Yes.  It occupies four sides (two "records") of vinyl, and runs over 80 minutes.  Although it's by no means my favorite of theirs, I like to listen to it from time to time, maybe every year or so.  That's a lot, actually.  If I listened to everything every year or so, I'd never have time to hear anything new or do anything else.  So when I finally started filling my second memory card on the Motorola Q that is now my MP3 player, I added Tales to the "library." 

Tales is normally a three-walk song.  It is my habit to take a daily walk around a local lake.  (This is the lake where I photographed the gucks.)  But this was a weekend day and a lovely one at that.  Although I had listened to "side" 1 on a previous excursion, I decided that I would combine a walk in the park with a brief period of repose on a park bench, the better to peruse this week's issue of Science and sufficient as well to listen to the three remaining sides.  I expected to complete my peregrination contemporaneously with the conclusion of "side" 4, "Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)."  This is my favorite part of the work, and one that is largely comprehensible.  But as I have pointed out earlier, you can't just listen to your favorite part; the lead-up is necessary, too.  So I sallied forth, read some Science, and was just a few hundred feet short of returning to my place of striving when the music dropped out.

"Rats!" I asserted.

But "Rats!" it wasn't to be, for just a second after the dropout occurred I realized what the problem was.  I was actually receiving a telephone call on my MP3 player that thinks it's a cellphone.  How irritating!  I was listening to Yes on my Motorola stereo Bluetooth headset, which is festooned with controls.  I let the phone "ring" for a bit, since that was easier than removing it from my pocket and actually looking to see who was calling.  I simply let the Morse Code play out and then pressed the left-earphone button which stops the music and answers the now-identified caller.


"Hello!  I need you to do me a favor."  (This is one reason I'm not keen on telephones:  It's either bad news or somebody wants something.  I'll get to the bad news later.)  The favor, as it turned out, was for me to go to my computer and check on something for the caller, since she had no computer access at the moment.  We babbled while I walked the remaining distance, entered the office, went to my computer, followed instructions, and provided the info required. 

"Thanks!  Bye!" 

"Pas de problem," I said, "Bye."  (Remember I was listening to a bit of French moments earlier.)  Pressing the left earphone button again, the call disconnected, Yes swelled to its conclusion, and I went back to doing whatever I do after connecting the cellphone and the headset to their respective chargers.  It was more or less at this point that I realized that not only had we just committed an act of telepathy, I, at least did it while wearing a telepath hat

Buckle Your Corzine

My friend Tony issued that admonition to his daughter the other day and mentioned it to me.  Of course, being a New Jersey resident, I understood instantly and shared a good laugh with him.  The incident that engendered that thought in his mind is well enough known nationally that I don't have to explain.  Even so, he was the first (so far as I know "Buckle Your Corzine" doesn't appear on Google) to warp it into a valuable safety tip.  Phrase-of-the-Day Award to Tony!

I'm especially glad to be able to use the phrase with levity today.  The bad news I referred to above was conferred to me on a landline telephone call, one that came in the middle of the night.  Such calls are rarely anything but bad news.  On the other end of the connection was the very same person who had established the benign telepathic connection I wrote about above.  She had just run off the road in her car (which was no longer operative) and would I please come to get her.

"Are you damaged?"  I inquired.  "No!  I had my Corzine buckled."  Actually, that's not what she said, except for the "No!" part, but clearly it had been.  She was in a lot better shape (a few superficial bruises and a minor case of air-bag nose) than the car she was driving.  The body shop to which it was towed offered to stop charging for storage as soon as she turned the title over to them.

The State of New Jersey has been making a big fuss over safety this week.  I've actually gone through three police checkpoints in as many days where they've pointedly checked my (buckled) Corzine and waved me through.  I'm not a big fan of government meddling or random checks, so I hope we've all gotten the message by now.  This is much more a case of "Be Careful" than it is of "Be Lucky." 

NP:  "Perpetual Change" - Yes

Richard Factor

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