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Thread: Illiterate blacksmith invents alphabet.

  1. #1
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    Illiterate blacksmith invents alphabet.

    A particularly interesting and very short daily book excerpt from Delaney Place this morning about Sequoyah detailing how an illiterate blacksmith single handedly developed the Cherokee alphabet. I’ve long been aware of the fact but wondered about the thinking process of developing up a thing. https://delanceyplace.com/index.php
    I don’t know how widely that fact is known. His cabin is only a few miles from me so it may be regional knowledge. The excerpt is from Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 11-26-2021 at 5:37 PM. Reason: defaulted text formatting so it was readable on a large screen
    My three favorite things are the Oxford comma, irony and missed opportunities

    The problem with humanity is: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology. Edward O. Wilson

  2. #2
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    He clearly was a very smart and driven man and his nation benefited from it. Great story!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Weber View Post
    A particularly interesting and very short daily book excerpt from Delaney Place this morning about Sequoyah detailing how an illiterate blacksmith single handedly developed the Cherokee alphabet. Iíve long been aware of the fact but wondered about the thinking process of developing up a thing. https://delanceyplace.com/index.php
    I donít know how widely that fact is known. His cabin is only a few miles from me so it may be regional knowledge. The excerpt is from Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.
    Oh Boy, another book ordered! Thanks!

    JKJ

  4. #4
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    John K J, it can get worse . . Or, actually better. I went to the Delancey place link and started poking around. Look at the Anniversary link on the top, and go to the Top 12 -17 books he had read up to 2015 (10th Anniversary). A fascinating list, with descriptive narratives.

    Adding to my To Do list, but like everything else, where do i find the time? Think i need a second lifetime, or a restart now that i am starting to get a perspective on life. In my case, lot of truth in the old sayings about youth being wasted on the young.

    To the OP, Michael: thank you for the link; what a fascinating resource. I signed up for their email. Patrick

    Misc Question: I have always kept most of the books i read, but have given some away to anyone who expressed an interest. I still prefer reading paper books, but am less inclined to keep shelving them for my kids/heirs to dispose of when i am gone. Happy to donate but no one seems too interested these days. What do you all do with your (non-woodworking) books?
    Last edited by Patrick McCarthy; 11-26-2021 at 8:40 PM. Reason: Spelling error

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick McCarthy View Post
    Misc Question: I have always kept most of the books i read, but have given some away to anyone who expressed an interest. I still prefer reading paper books, but am less inclined to keep shelving them for my kids/heirs to dispose of when i am gone. Happy to donate but no one seems too interested these days. What do you all do with your (non-woodworking) books?
    I bought a e-reader. When I read a book that just knocks my socks off - like The Guns of August - I buy a good, used hardcopy.

    Edit: Thanks Michael. Good site!
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 11-26-2021 at 9:27 PM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  6. #6
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    Glad you enjoyed. I have been for years. By all means sign up for the emails. 5 days a week of generally interesting info from non fiction books.
    My three favorite things are the Oxford comma, irony and missed opportunities

    The problem with humanity is: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology. Edward O. Wilson

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    I bought a e-reader. When I read a book that just knocks my socks off - like The Guns of August - I buy a good, used hardcopy....
    Same here - I've done that often. I have several Kindles but love printed books. It's hard to put a sticky note on a page in an e-book, hard to make notes in the margins, really hard to loan or give one to a friend. I've never counted, but I'm sure I have 1000s, some on shelves in the library room, some in the shop, some in boxes in storage. There is a big stack in the bedroom of books I'm going to read "next". (Hey, did you ever write to the author of a book you really like? I'm surprised at how often they write back - I've had some fascinating exchanges!)

    My wife, OTOH, has vision problems and can no longer read a paper book. She has a large e-reader and can supersize the text. She sometimes reads 50 books a year.

    Thinking about the joy of printed books reminds me of something I witnessed. Once on a plane I sat next to a businessman in an expensive suit who got out a paperback book to read. I noticed it didn't have a cover. At the end of the flight he opened the book wide, ripped off the section of pages he had just read, and stuffed them in the seat pocket in front of him. It saved from having to bookmark his place but sure put that copy out of circulation. As someone taught very young to respect books I was shocked. (Our dad was a historical and biblical scholar/researcher and author.)

    Another experience - I was at the beach at Cape Hatteras and walked past a young gentleman sitting on a beach towel reading what looked like a very well-worn paperback book. Suddenly a gust of wind grabbed some of the pages and started blowing them down the beach! It took a while but the guy (with some of us helping) chased down every last page and put the book back together. Now THAT guy got my respect!

    One more book story: I worked in a research/development group where we dabbled in a wide variety of things, some we ended up patenting. The group leader told me he had never, not once in his life, read an entire book. Yikes! I don't think I could live like that!

    JKJ

  8. #8

    About writing the author

    Back in 1968 I was PFC in a Marine rifle company in Vietnam. I had somehow acquired a paperback My Wilderness: East to Katahdin by Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas who was a noted outdoorsman. I read and reread it several times, mostly the parts about the white and Green Mountains and Katahdin where I had hiked and climbed extensively. It was a nice link to home and more pleasant times. I ended up writing him a letter telling him how much I enjoyed the book and what it meant to me so far from home.

    I then forgot about. Fast forward to about a month later. I came in from a squad sized patrol hot, sweaty, and dirty. About 5 minutes later I got word the company Gunny wanted to see me at the company HQ hootch. I walked in and there were the company commander, XO, First Sargent, my platoon commander, and the Gunny. Oh Shit! They handed me a business sized envelope addressed to me with a raised lettered return address in blue announcing the sender as Associate Justice William O. Douglas. No one looked very happy and all were watching me like a cat watches a mouse. I read the letter and then put it back in the envelope. I was then asked if they could look at it. I wasn't mature or assertive enough to tell them no so I handed it over. They passed it around and the signs of relief were obvious. Mr. Justice Douglas had written me back saying he was pleased I enjoyed his book and he wished me well.

    I can look back on it now and only wonder how frightened the senior NCOs and officers were about the possibility of some kind of complaint on my part and how it would affect them. Hindsight being 20/20 it would have been fun to keep them guessing by refusing them the opportunity to read the letter. After all, it was private.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  9. #9
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    Nice story Dave. Made me chuckle.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael langman View Post
    Nice story Dave. Made me chuckle.
    Same here. I got a kick out of that.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


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