Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Josh has been found
I feel really good
. I hope you out there reading feel just as good as I do about this! Through all your efforts Josh's been found!
I spent two hours talking on the phone with him last night. While writing Uncle Bill's Helicopter
, I had no idea that Billy Joel
's song, "You're only human", had a ska beat. Josh's in bad shape, and I know the road ahead is going to be really hard for us both. I think, though, Josh has got hope, for the first time in a long while. There's a million tons on my chest but I feel really good. In fact, I feel like I've just jammed with God, and he's asked me to join the band. Jeff at Stubborn Records
came through last night, and uploaded the entire contents of Josh's first cd to me. Maybe you'd like to hear a few happy ska songs Josh wrote, when he was 16. Try: This I know
. He quoted the lyrics of that one to me when we talked. It would be wonderful to hear stuff this good, on the radio, anywhere, but especially in San Diego. The entire contents of The Radiation King's first album, with mp3's and pure, pefect, uncut cd .wav files is here
- and there's a song of mine
about the current travesty of copyright law
, and one of King Django
's - about Josh, in there, too. Stubborn Records still has a few hundred copies
for sale, but feel free to make as many copies as you want. Josh makes happy music. It should never die. It deserves to be heard. He told me last night he never wanted to hear his stuff again, but I think he just doesn't remember it.
I've promised Josh we're going to make an album together this coming year. He says he has no guitar, but he does have a few new songs.
I discovered Murphy's Law #16 on a web page today, and I'm savoring the irony of it:
If several things taht could have gone wrong have not gone wrong, it would have been ultimately beneficial for them to have gone wrong.
I had the great honor this morning of Doc Searls
naming a law after me.
If something can go right, it will go right. If you will something to go right, there's a better chance you'll find a way.
I would love it, if one day, this law was as well known, and as well understood, as Murphy's Law
. I think it would do a lot of people a lot of good
I just got off the phone with a dear friend, Evan Hunt. All his 12 musicals have always been an inspiration to me. It's really sad that the videotapes he has of these have not been seen by more people. The Phantom of the Operation was, in part, about me. He said:
I'm concerned about you.
The collossal highs, and collossal lows of what you've been going through, remind me of what happened 9 years ago. They make me uneasy. You are normally a mellow, happy, funny guy. I know you have to build a bridge. But it needs to be strong enough for two people to stand under it.
Don't start tilting at dragons until you have spent at least a week feeling calm, and steady.
I took a lot of strength this month from the story of Don Quixote in the play Man of La Mancha. Posted on my wall, is a song called The Impossible dream
I have long admired the books of Oliver Sacks
, in particular, the story of Witty Ticcy Ray
. It's too bad the text itself is not on the internet. It's the story of a musician with Tourette's Syndrome
, so bedeviled by involuntary convulsions and obscene cries, that he couldn't hold down a normal job. He was a great jazz drummer. Only while playing music, could he be calm and at peace. The medication for his disease made him "normal" enough to function in our world, but it took away all his musical ability. The cure was far worse than the disease! Ultimately he and Oliver Sacks, found a solution that worked.
I know Oliver's pretty busy, but if someone out there could recomend a good psychiatrist, one that understands the pain musicians can feel, for myself, and Josh, I would appriciate it. Email me here: email@example.com
It's really hard to tell, in advance, the difference between a good man and a bad one.
Two bad shrinks once helped send me on the road to hell.
I was very inspired, last night, by the story of the Archangel Michael
. I would like to know what real role a guy named Michael
and a kid named Joshua
, have to play in this world.
I have what feels like walking pnuemonia, and I'm going to go and get checked out shortly. One of the things I learned 9 years ago was the importance of listening to your friends and family. And I'm going to do a little Christmas shopping. When I get back I'm going to start building the infrastructure for a bridge that can stand up for us both.
Thanks for listening.
The Traffic Light
Instead of feeling depressed and helpless, I feel good about myself. I think I'm going to do a lot of people a lot of good this christmas, and maybe, just maybe, succeed in my main task.
I've got a mission, and although I have a lot of bad times, I have had some wonderful things happen along the way that give me strength to go on.
Here's one story so far:
Last night, at 1 AM, I needed cigarettes. I drove to the store, and on the way home, I stopped at the same traffic light
as in my story. There was a kid there trying to hitchhike in the freezing, cold, rain. I almost drove by, the old me would
have driven by, then I stopped. He was maybe 17 years old, he lived about 2 miles from me. He shivered as he introduced himself.
I played him my speech
, in the car (it's nice to have a captive audience) and he laughed at all the right places, said "Oh yea, I've been there" and nodded his head violently at the crater
. He got a real charge out of finding out he'd been at that same traffic light as was in the speech. We sat by his house while we finished listening. He smiled and was happy and said it was awesome
And then he said: "I wish I could grow up to be like you."
I got choked up - I told him he could, patted him on the shoulder, and gave him the cd. He virtually flew out of the car towards home. He said he didn't have a computer - but that he'd play it for his friends! I hope to hear from him again, he only lives 2 miles away from me.
I'm so happy to have shared just the happy component of my story with someone, and to have done as much good for him and his friends, it makes everything I'm doing bearable... well, for a few hours each time. I think I'm going to pick up more hitchhikers
from now on and keep a supply of cds in the back to give away.
I got a nice letter from a lady in australia today, too. Doc Searls
, whom I'd read for a long time, asked me to call him up, and we had a wonderful hour long conversation about our lives. He shared some pain about his son, and we discussed copyright law.
Doc said something brilliant: "Just because you're smart doesn't mean you're paying attention". Wow. Thanks, Doc.
I'm doing the art to a CD
tonight, with a bunch of uplifting material on it. The guys at Stubborn Records
are trying really hard to beat Murphy
so that they can upload selected cuts of Josh's first album to me. I plan to go to San Diego on sunday, and drop off copies to every record store I can find, and I'm going to beat up radio stations to play it, and I'm going to buy some air time to give the speech. I won't be blogging as much for the next day or two, but I want to say thanks to everyone that has helped so far, and a Merry Christmas to all.
Brandon & Jeff & Bill write in
I've included some original Josh Taht lyrics from Radiation Kings songs. This first song was never recorded, but became the Radiation Kings "theme" in a way, as we played it last at our shows - our best song probably. I wrote a couple of the lines with him, but the song was written by Josh.
As soon as I dig up the CD to type out some of the stuff from the album, I'll try to get back to you with more stuff.
Brandon, the organist in the Radiation Kings
, made me cry so hard I couldn't type for five minutes.
Jeff Baker, also known as King Django
, was the producer
of the Radiation Kings
He just finished mixing down this song that he wrote about Josh. Here's the mp3. It's called Lie to me
Thanks guys, from the bottom of my heart. You understand. Maybe the right person will hear this song, and listen
FUNNY HOW THINGS TURNED OUT
by Joshua Taht
Remember when you called me easy
While I just wanted you to call me
Remember when you called me nobody
While you ain't nothing new
Never knew my name when I came around
Your drinks and your jokes were all on me
Never would have thought
you were a fool To look down
Funny how things turned out in the end
So take a moment to look back
On years gone by
When all those bright lights
Shine down on you
Never would have thought
I was a fool to even try
Well Happy New Year to you
Funny how things turned out in the end
Never would have called you my hero
But I never would have called you nobody
So all I ask for all your viscious lies
Is that you say
Funny how things turned out in the end
Bill Taht, Josh's father
, has a letter for him
that he doesn't mind if the world reads, if his son, won't, or can't.
Taking some time off from work
I told work I had something a little more important to do for a while than work on my projects. I got a comforting upswell of support from my colleagues. My boss probably didn't read the link I sent, and asked when I thought I'd be back.
I said: Not until I beat Murphy.
Sure wish MS-Project had an option for that in it's date field.
Uncle Bill's Helicopter
is taking off for a virtual Search and Rescue mission.
3429 hits on one mirror, and climbing. Please link to it and post it. I have faith in the internet.
The TAHT bug
I filed this bug report today, with Microsoft Corporation
. They have the gall to want me to pay them to do that, so I just posted a few places and public newsgroups. I may well go through the process and give them their damn money, just to get some payback for 20 years worth of hassle and 3 months worth of pain.
To whom it may concern:
I woke up this morning to the sight of a giant lobster with wings, buzzing around my head. It beat around my ears and neck until
I managed to kill it. There was no body on my 14 thousand pound pillow, so I think it was just the memory of a nightmare.
I just gave a Christmas speech that made a lot of people feel pretty good about themselves. It's called Uncle Bill's helicopter.
The story is about how good we all felt, when we all chipped in together, to fix our mistakes and solved the Y2k bug. I enjoyed giving the speech a lot, and so did a lot of people. I look forward to giving the speech again.
Read it, or download and listen to it. It should make you feel good. Feel free to pass the url around your company.
I blogged about it.
Your software has a bug so trivial to you, that you've never bothered to fix it, but it's annoyed me, and members of my family, for years.
This bug respells my last name from "Taht" to "That". The fact that 30% of the correspondence, contracts, and email I get has my name
respelt has been a cross I've had to bear since the invention of the automatic spell checker.
But this time, this bug, has helped cause three months of nearly unendurable agony for me. I've misplaced my nephew. The story about what I've been going through is at http://www.taht.net/josh.html. Why? Every single website that had a recent reference to him, had his last name spelt wrong. It's not all your fault. Some of the misspellings were phonetic.
So I couldn't find him on google. Thankfully, someone more intelligent than I did a better search, last monday, and linked a Josh "That" up with a more recent band, and I'm now a few months closer in time and space to finding him.
I didn't realize just how personal this particular bug had got until then.
I've been sending a virtual helicopter around around the globe in a search and rescue mission for Josh, because you've been doing
an automatic search and replace on him!!
I can think of an easy fix. If you see "Taht", with a single capital letter, in the middle of a sentence, don't automatically respell it. I think this would work in all cases, and not effect the general functioning of the spell checker. It's only a few lines of code that you'd need to add.
If you do nothing else for me, please fix this bug in your software. Every bug, no matter how small, is important to someone.
Josh's father writes in
Yeesh. All that research I did to write that speech and I had the wrong helicopter. My Uncle Bill was actually Chief of Design for the RH-53 Sea Stallion
Well, the story works... and I'll go and revise it to be right at some point when that's important. I always thought it was a Jolly Green Giant myself, and I've had the Jolly Green Giant rescue fantasy since I was 8 (29 years!), so, it's all figuratively true, at least for me.
But my apologies to the guys at Sikorski. I wanted to honor their efforts by writing this speech, and I hope they don't mind if it's at least temporarily wrong.
7 days left til christmas. Still no Josh
. Maybe the email address I have is no good. Maybe he doesn't have a computer. The power just came back on at my house a few minutes ago.
Please keep passing the url along. There's 6 degrees of separation between him and me.
I had no idea you had such concern for my son. I'm sorry its taken me a few days to reply. I was hoping to have some news for you from Josh's aunt.
There were a few things not completely correct. These were my fault, not yours. Joshua did know his grandfather, although he was just five when Dad died. I checked my history, it turns out Dad was chief-of-design for the RH-53D which was a more powerful version of the CH-53A. The CH-53E, or Super Stallion, was a three-engine upgrade. It was the CH-53C that flew those missions in Vietnam, it was nicknamed "Jolly Green Giant". To say simply that Dad designed either helicopter is misleading, and might be misinterpreted by his hard-working colleagues at Sikorsky. Also, to say simply that Dad killed some friends during a test is bit harsh. There was a horrible and deadly accident during a test, and Dad was very shaken by the loss of friends and colleagues. It's true though that he may never have recovered from it. I can't be sure whether it was a test of the RH-53D or a UH-60A Blackhawk that failed (as far as I know, Dad worked on all the above). If I'd known where you were going with your questions I would have checked my facts for you. Still I'm grateful for the pride you have in my father and his accomplishments, and you were right to use such a great example.
You might have given more emphasis that it took a "team" of engineers to build a helicopter; to get a spacecraft to Mars (even if not successfully); to fix y2K; to get that traffic light to perform its wonders. Yes, we've all been down that crater, and it takes great effort to get up every morning, but damn if it doesn't help to have someone down there with you, if only to remind you of the marvels that have and can be accomplished, and to kick you out of bed.
I never got to appreciate my Dad for his accomplishments. I remember sitting and working with him a couple of nights when I was a young teen; he was trying to work out some method for getting 'copters into hostile ground for night rescue missions. He was looking for a way for friendlies to see and recognize their rescue ship, without hostiles doing the same. We were playing with some glow-in-the-dark paint that I'd just bought at the hobby shop for one of my models. I never learned what solution was implemented, but I do know there were successful missions.
I hope your effort to find Josh doesn't go to waste. I am a bit surprised by the interest you've taken, but you were his favorite Taht.
If he was to reach out for any of us, I'm sure it would be you.
Thanks Bill, I'll keep trying.
7 days to go. Please read Uncle Bill's Helicopter
and pass the url along.
NEWSFLASH - INTERNET RESCUE
My second story, the really sad one, is starting to have a happy ending. See here
for the latest update.
posted the story yesterday, and overnight, Graham Inocent
, found my nephew. At least, he got a lot closer than I did.
Merry Christmas to everyone, and especially to those two wonderful guys. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.
Uncle Bill's Helicopter
I know I come off as pretty grumpy in my blog. That's what it's for. It lets me vent. You don't have to read it, if you don't want to.
But over the last three weeks, I wrote a wonderful, uplifting Christmas speech. It's about a lot of things that I care about - it's about growing up, and it's about the space program, and it's a about a lot of people I've known in the IT business. It's about a lot of things you care about, too. Please give the story a shot. You should feel pretty good when you're done reading it. Read it aloud to yourself. There will be an mp3 up soon.
I gave the speech on saturday, December 12, to the graduating class of ITT Tech.It's about my uncle Bill's Helicopter... and the rescue missions it flys on.
I made a lot of graduates feel really good about themselves, and the rest of the audience liked it a lot too.
One guy came up to me and said he'd been in the navy and knew the bird well.
A 8 year boy came up to me and asked me if my helicopter was real. I got choked up, and managed to tell him that it flew from aircraft carriers and over forest fires. I wished I'd had a model to give him.
I went and played piano for a while and two people came by and told me their stories.
Two beautiful 18 year old girls asked me for my autograph.
I'm glad I made so many people happy. Giving the speech gave me the courage to go on.
I feel terrible, and maybe you can help.
I wrote up the real reason I wrote it, and struggled so much with it, and found the courage to try and find a way to create a miracle for someone I love dearly for Christmas. If you wanna know, go read this speech now - there will be an mp3 up soon - get happy - and then continue reading. if you don't want to be depressed, don't read on, you don't deserve to bear my troubles. Just enjoy the story. But if you want to help - please do - post it to a newsgroup somewhere - print it out - tell slashdot - anything - I gotta create a snowball, a miracle, by christmas, and the only way I can succeed in my quest is cover the planet with this story.
I think I just built a good rescue helicopter, but I don't know where to send it
!!! And there's only 9 days left til Christmas.
Thanks in advance.