Alexander Graham Bell is remembered mostly for inventing the telephone. But did you know he once taught a dog to talk?
Bell, born in Scotland, moved to North America in his early 20s, living most of his life in out-of-the-way Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Today, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum there honors the inventor, his inventions and his life. Among his more interesting experiments, which came before he came to Canada, was teaching a dog to talk. He did it. Sort of. . .
Here is what I learned on my visit to the museum. In Bell’s words:
“By the application of suitable doses of food material the dog was. . . taught to sit up on his hind legs and growl continuously while I manipulated his mouth, and stop growling when I took my hands away. . .
“The dog’s repertoire. . . consisted of the vowels ‘ah’ and ‘oo,’ and the syllables ‘ma’ and ‘ga.’ We then proceeded to manufacture words and sentences composed of these elements, and the dog’s final linguistic accomplishment consisted of ‘Aw-ah-oo-gamama,’ which, by the exercise of a little imagination, readily passed for ‘How are you, Grandmama?’
“The fame of the dog soon spread among my father’s friends and people came from far and near to witness the performance.”
Friday, October 23, 2015
Sunday, September 27, 2015
|Cinderella got underway as the sun set.|
I went to one last night in North Hoosick, New York — Hathaway's Drive-in Theatre — which is in the country, right across the state border from Bennington, Vermont. Admission was $9 a person or $20 a carload. For that, you got a triple feature.
Some people sat in cars, others in the backs of pickup trucks. Families sat in front of their cars in lawn chairs. Gail and I watched from the front seats of our rented Toyota Camry.
You no longer hook up a crummy little speaker to your window. Nowadays you listen to the movie FM radio (88.1 at the Hathaway). So the sound is about as good as in a regular theater, maybe better. One nice thing is there are no strangers sitting next to you, and nobody's munching on popcorn in the seat behind.
The first movie was Cinderella, which I would normally not see, followed by a borderline watchable Adam Sandler comedy called Pixels. In the old days it would be called a "B" movie. In this case the "B" stands for "bad." Gail and I left before the last movie, a Mission Impossible sequel, because it didn't end until 1 a.m.
|The owner sold popcorn and ran the show with his iPad.|
Bucket seats, I think, helped doom the drive in theater.
In most drive in theaters, the snack bar is beneath the screen and the projector and projectionist far back behind the cars. But that's not the way it works anymore. At the Hathaway, everything is digital. There is no projectionist. The movie is controlled from elsewhere. Last night, it was from the snack bar, where the theater owner operated the cash register as his iPad controlled the show via WiFi to the projector 50 yards away.
It was a lot of fun going to the drive-in. I hope I get to do it again.
Posted by Staff Report at 9/27/2015 07:50:00 AM
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Posted by Staff Report at 9/15/2015 05:04:00 AM