A Drive through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, Baltimore, Maryland.


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On our way from Ellicott City, MD to North Brunswick, NJ we whisked down through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, a 7,200-foot-long, four-tube, 8-lane, bi-directional tunnel that carries Interstate I-95 traffic underneath the Baltimore Harbor, in Maryland. The tunnel crosses the Patapsco River, just south of Fort McHenry and connects the Locust Point and Canton areas of Baltimore City. The tunnel named for the nearby Fort McHenry, inspired Francis Scott Key to write anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner.

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The Fort McHenry Tunnel, the largest underwater highway tunnel, as well as the widest vehicular tunnel ever built by the immersed-tube method, opened on Saturday, November 23, 1985.

Opening day for the Baltimore Harbor 7,200-foot-long 8-lane Fort McHenry Tunnel, Saturday November 23, 1985. (Photo: roadstothefuture.com)
Opening day for the Baltimore Harbor 7,200-foot-long 8-lane Fort McHenry Tunnel, Saturday November 23, 1985. (Photo: roadstothefuture.com)

The following is an excerpt from “I-95 Drivers Get Remedy for Harbor Headache – Baltimore’s Fort McHenry Tunnel’s Debut Today is Expected to Ease Bottlenecks“, that appeared in The Washington Post, November 23, 1985.

“The new Baltimore is a nice place to live, but you would not want to visit – not if you are inching through the grimy Harbor Tunnel, that is. For interstate travelers, the dread begins miles away as they steel themselves for the maddening Harbor Tunnel bottleneck that often forms miles outside of Baltimore. But all that’s about to change. Travelers on I-95 who scarcely glimpse Baltimore’s restored town houses, its sparkling Inner Harbor or the growing downtown skyline will soon see a new side of the city as they whisk through its gleaming new Fort McHenry Tunnel. The new eight-lane tunnel – a massive $750 million engineering project 5 years in the making – will open today after a 3:00 PM ribbon cutting, lengthy ceremonies and special motorcades, just in time for the Thanksgiving travel crush. Dozens of state and federal dignitaries are expected to be on hand for the opening ceremonies today to claim credit for the largest underwater road project in the history of the Interstate highway system, one that came in under budget and almost on time.” 

The Fort McHenry Tunnel, is a vital link in I-95, the East Coast’s most important interstate route, Interstate 95, between Maine and Florida. At the time of its opening it was the most expensive underwater tunnel project in the United States, but that figure has since been surpassed by the Big Dig project in Boston. Soon after, the nearby Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, a pair of two-lane road tunnels, southeast of downtown Baltimore, Maryland, and Interstate 895, opened to traffic in 1957, were closed for extensive repairs.

The Fort McHenry Tunnel has 8 lanes in 4 tubes and is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) with operating speed of variable up to 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). Each tunnel is 26 feet (7.9 m) wide with a tunnel clearance of 12.5 feet (3.8 m). The lowest elevation is at 107 feet (33 m) below harbor water surface.

Fort McHenry Tunnel – Project Plans

Plan View of Fort McHenry Tunnel Area
Plan View of Fort McHenry Tunnel Area
Profile View of Fort McHenry Tunnel
Profile View of Fort McHenry Tunnel
Typical Section View of Fort McHenry Tunnel
Typical Section View of Fort McHenry Tunnel
Here's what the east approach looked like when it was under construction in July 1983
Here’s what the east approach looked like when it was under construction in July 1983. (Photo: roadstothefuture.com)
One of the eastbound tubes under construction, March 1984, near the mid-point under the harbor, about 100 feet below the surface of the water. (Photo: roadstothefuture.com)
One of the eastbound tubes under construction, March 1984, near the mid-point under the harbor, about 100 feet below the surface of the water. (Photo: roadstothefuture.com)

Howard P. Foley Co. of Baltimore, was awarded the $47 million contract for mechanical and electrical equipment. It involved the installation of a 48 9-foot-diameter ventilation fans to move up to 6.7 million cubic feet of fresh air per minute into the tunnel and to exhaust fume-laden air out of the tunnel.  24 installed in the west ventilation building and 24 in the east ventilation building. In each ventilation building, 12 of the fans are for supply and 12 are for exhaust. Each ventilation building is equivalent to a small power substation for converting the voltage of the power coming into the tunnel complex.

Since the entire tunnel has continuous signal, lighting and surveillance systems, the tunnel complex has a very large system of electrical systems, with many hundreds of miles of wiring.

Firefighting equipment is stationed throughout the tunnel, with water mains serving the hydrants. The tunnel has 28 pumps with a total capacity of 44,000 gallons per minute.

The first 300 yards of each inbound portal simulates daylight with high intensity lighting and white pavement. This arrangement eliminates the “dark hole” effect that were on older tunnels and provides enough transition for the eyes of motorists to adjust from daylight to the lighting level inside the tunnel.

E-ZPass Tollgate
A part of the E-ZPass Tollgate (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

The I-95 construction through the City of Baltimore received 90% federal-aid funding from the U.S. Highway Trust Fund, for design, right-of-way and construction, with the remaining 10% coming from state funds.

Even in late-1970s, the state’s 10% share of the projected cost of the Fort McHenry Tunnel project was high. So, the state of Maryland and the City of Baltimore requested the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) fund the whole 100% of the project’s cost.

The state of Maryland and the City of Baltimore requested the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to fund the whole 100% of the project’s cost. They also wanted tolls to be collected via a toll plaza built immediately east of the tunnel, at a cost of $27 million, to pay off the 10% share in installments.

The Tollgates in the 24 lanes at Fort McHenry Tunnel Toll Plaza collect a $2 toll from both directions of I-95. All lanes are E-ZPass compatible and allow commuters the ease of paying their tolls electronically. Some lanes are set aside for E-ZPass users only. This plaza is administered by the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Vital Facts about Fort McHenry Tunnel
Length 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Highway class Freeway, built to Interstate highway standards
Highway route Interstate I-95
Water body crossed Baltimore Harbor and shipping channel
Total number of lanes 8 lanes
Number of tubes 4
Number of lanes per tube 2 lanes
Roadway width per tube 26 feet (7.9 m) from curb to curb
Roadway vertical clearance 16 feet
Speed limit Variable up to 55 mph
Toll facilities Electronic tolling plus cash lanes, toll plaza in Canton
Toll $2 for 2-axle vehicle, commuter discounts available
Pavement type Asphalt (bituminous concrete)
Administrative agency for design, right-of-way and construction Interstate Division for Baltimore City (IDBC)
Owner since opening Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA)
Design Prime Consultant Sverdrup & Parcel and Parsons, Quade, Brinckerhoff & Douglas (joint venture)
Initial estimate of cost total for design, right-of-way and construction $825 million
Contracting method Agency public bid contracting, 11 construction contracts
Construction Began May 7, 1980
Trench Tunnel Prime Contractor Kiewit/Raymond/Tidewater (K-R-T)
West Approach Prime Contractor Lane Construction Corporation
East Approach Prime Contractor S. J. Groves & Sons Co.
Mechanical and Electrical Prime Contractor Howard P. Foley Co.
Facility target date for completion Early 1985
Final cost total for design, right-of-way and construction $750 million
Funding method 100% Interstate highway federal-aid, with 10% to be repaid by state from toll revenue
Facility opened to traffic November 23, 1985
Traffic Volumes as of December 2005 Average about 118,000 vehicles per day, 9% large trucks

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Double Entendres


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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She touched his organ, and from that bright epoch, even it, the old companion of his happiest hours, incapable as he had thought of elevation, began a new and deified existence.” (Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit, 1844)

Double entendre

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A double entendre is a figure of speech literally, “double meaning”, in which a spoken phrase, a word or expression is devised to be understood in in two different ways. Often the first, more obvious meaning, is straightforward, while the second meaning is less so – often subtle, risqué or ironic and typically sexually suggestive.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a double entendre as being used to “convey an indelicate meaning”.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes a double entendre as:

1 : ambiguity of meaning arising from language that lends itself to more than one interpretation
2 : a word or expression capable of two interpretations with one usually risqué

Double Entendres are often used because of carelessness on the part of the speaker or writer who uses them. Double entendres are funny, but are liable to convey  the wrong meaning to the listeners or readers. When speaking or writing, we must make ourselves understandable for our readers. If they cannot grasp what we are trying to say they may lose interest. So to hold our listeners’ or readers’ interest, we must remain unambiguous. 

Examples of Double Entendres:

See if you can discern the different meanings and then read below to see what the meanings actually are.

1. The ladies of the Walnut Street Mission have discarded clothes. They invite you to come and inspect them.

2. It pays to remember your social obligations. If you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t come to yours.

3. Traffic Sign: Slow Children Crossing.

4. We stand behind every bed we sell.

5. Police authorities are finding the solution of murders more and more difficult because the victims are unwilling to cooperate with the police.

6. Testimonial from an insurance firm: My husband and I took out a home insurance policy with your company. In less than a month our house accidentally burned down. I consider it a blessing.

7. Prostitutes appeal to Pope.

8. Public Service Announcement: Our X-ray unit will give you an examination for tuberculosis and other diseases which you will receive free of charge.

9. Church Announcement: What is hell? Come to church next Sunday and listen to our new minister!

10. Come to us for unwanted pregnancies.

11. I cannot get sick pay. I have six children. Can you tell me why?

The truth is that some people read things differently, and they may think exactly the opposite of whatever the true meaning of the sentence is. Now, enjoy the double entendres of these actual news headlines.

1. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies.

2. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers.

3. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms.

4. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over.

5. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half.

6. Clinton Wins Budget; More Lies Ahead.

7. Miners Refuse to Work After Death.

8. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant.

9. Stolen Painting Found by Tree.

10. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter.

11. If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last a While.

12. Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide.

13. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge.

14. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group.

15. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Space.

16. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks.

World’s Oldest Living Person Lives in Gingee Town, in Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu, India.


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Gingee (Senji Junction) is a panchayat town in Villupuram district in Tamil Nadu, India. It is located between three hills. Nearby towns are Tindivanam (28 km away), Tiruvannamalai (39 km away) and Villupuram.

"Gingee Fort" by Sean Patrick Doran selected for Google Earth.
“Gingee Fort” by Sean Patrick Doran selected for Google Earth.

Tourists are attracted to Gingee for its historical Fort popularly known as “Gingee Fort” (Tamil: Senji Koattai). The Fort was founded in 1190 AD by the Kon dynasty. Later during the 13th century the fort was extended by the Chola dynasty. In 1638, Gingee came under the control of Bijapur Sultan of Vijayanagar; in 1677, it was under the control of Maratha king Shivaji, in 1690, it came under the Mughals, and became the headquarters of Arcot; in 1750, it went into the hands of the French; and eventually, the British took control of the Gingee Fort in 1762.

Now, near this historical town in the village called Jambodi lives a couple who are creating history. They are 123-years-old A. Rangasamy Gounder and his wife Sadachi Ammal, aged 108.

World's oldest living man Rangasamy Gounder with his wife Sadachi Ammal
World’s oldest living man Rangasamy Gounder with his wife Sadachi Ammal

Their family members produced the ration-card issued in 2005 to prove the ages of these two elders. According to the ration card, Rangasamy Gounder was 115-years-old and his wife Sadachi was 100-years-old at that time.

Their 80-year-old son Balakrishnan, who is 80 now, said the ration card issued to his parents in 2005 was duly verified by the revenue authorities.

So, Rangasamy Gounder is now 123-years-old and could well be the oldest human known in history – surpassing Monsieur Jeanne Calment of France who died in August 1997, by almost 200 days.

Rangasamy Gounder is in good health and so is his wife Sadachi Ammal. They live in their ancestral abode in Jambodi village.

They have three sons, 39 grandchildren and two great grandchildren living in various parts of Tamil Nadu.

Their grandson B. Sekar, a farm coolie who lives close by said that his grandparents even though old, were are quite independent and manage themselves well. He further said that his grandfather has so far not gone to a doctor for any treatment and his grandmother went just once after she had a fall at home. According to Sekar, his grandfather’s teeth are all intact but disoloured due to chewing beetle leaves.

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Have Some MPs Compromised India’s Sovereignty? Is Obama the Third Umpire?


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat.

In late 2012, it was reported that on November 26, 2012, a group of 25 Rajya Sabha MPs had written and signed a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him not to grant visa to Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat and on December 5, 2012, a group of 40 Lok Sabha MPs had signed a similar letter. Both letters were faxed to Obama last year itself.

A couple of days ago, these letters were faxed once again to the White House by Mohammed Adeeb, independent Rajya Sabha MP of Uttar Pradesh in view of president of Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajnath Singh’s on going visit to America.

Now, it has emerged that the letter could have been faked. Some critics say that these MPs having not written any letter to their party leaders, or to the Prime Minister, or to the president for the development of their own constituencies had found the time to sign a petition to President Obama, thus bringing shame to the nation.

Some newspapers carried the entire list of MPs who have signed the letter. Copies of the letters were provided by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).

Here are the facsimiles of the letter sent to Obama:

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 1

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 2

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 3

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 4

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 5

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 6

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Names of the 65 MP’s,  House & Party who sent petition to Obama

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The alleged signatories include Sabir Ali and Ali Anwar Ansari (Janata Dal-U), Rasheed Masood (Congress), S. Ahmed (Trinamool Congress) Asaduddin Owaisi (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), Thirumavalavan (Viduthalai Chiruttaigal Katchi), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), K.P. Ramalingam (DMK), A.A. Jinnah (DMK), S.S. Rasmasubbu (Congress), and M.P. Achuthan (CPI).

According to CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury his signature on the letter “appears to be a cut and paste” job. Some of the other MPs whose names were said to be in the list have denied doing so. On Wednesday, M.P. Achuthan (CPI) and MP K.P. Ramalingam (DMK) said they did not sign the letter.

However, Mohammed Adeeb, who took the initiative for this campaign, insisted that Yechury and Achthan had signed the letter and was surprised why they were retracting now.

There seems to be an anomaly in the lists. At first glance it looks like the lists contain signatures of 65 MPs, but actually only 64 MPs are listed. Look at the first row of the Rajya Sabha list. It is blank.

Even in this list of 64, three names are duplicated. For example, A.A. Jinnah (DMK) figures both in LS (6) and RS (11) lists; Lok Sabha MP S.D. Sharifuddin Shariq (JKNC) appears both in LS (3) and RS (13) lists; and an MP from West Bengal appears both in LS (24) and RS (5).

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The Pathetic State of Haryana Farmers


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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In 2011, Haryana farmers suffered damage to their crops, mainly wheat, due to water logging after the heavy rains.

Waterlogged wheat fields
Waterlogged wheat fields

The state government then had ordered a special survey to assess the losses. In April this year, almost two years after the survey, several farmers received cheques as compensation from the Jhajjar district administration in Haryana.

Here is a million rupees question for you: “How much do you expect an average farmer would have received as compensation for damage to his crop?

If you answer ₹2, then you have hit the bull’s-eye.

The Haryana government has issued cheques worth ₹2, ₹3, ₹4 and so on to farmers as compensation for crop damaged during 2011 rains. However, some farmers were lucky and received compensation in double figures of  ₹30 – ₹31.

Haryana farmer Satyanaraian, son of Hari Singh, received an Axis bank cheque of ₹2 and another farmer Tek Chand, son of Bhim Singh, received a cheque for ₹3 as compensation for crops damaged.

Image of a cheque the Haryana government sent to Jhajjar farmers as compensation.
Image of a cheque the Haryana government sent to Jhajjar farmers as compensation.

“We were shocked. We first thought that there had been a mistake, however, we checked with the tahsildar and he confirmed that the amounts on the cheques were correct. The banks are situated in Jhajjar and the bus fare to get there is Rs 14,” said Satyanaraian.

The frustrated farmers have refused to deposit these chques in Axis Bank since they would first have to open an account in the bank that would cost them more money.

A farmer of Paharipur village, owner of 2.5 acres of land asked: “if the government claims that the compensation rate is Rs. 3,500, how did the officials calculate my loss
aa ₹6?”

When the local Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leaders wanted photocopies of the cheques, the concerned farmers gave them the cheques claiming that even photocopies would cost them.

INLD, the principal opposition party in Haryana has criticized the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government for making a mockery of flood relief compensation. On the otherhand, government officials said they deserve a pat on the back for precisely identifying every shareholder and awarding due compensation.

It is alleged that the frustrated farmers have refused to deposit these chques in Axis Bank since they would first have to open an account in the bank that would cost them more money.

A farmer of Paharipur village, owner of 2.5 acres of land asked: “if the government claims that the compensation rate is ₹3,500, how did the officials calculate my loss aa ₹6?”

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the principal opposition party in Haryana has criticized the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government for making a mockery of flood relief compensation. Abhay Chautala , MLA, Indian National Lok Dal said: “Haryana’s Congress government has ridiculed the poor farmers by issuing these cheques. This is a cruel joke on farmers who lost their valuable crops.”

On the otherhand, government officials said they deserve a pat on the back for precisely identifying every shareholder and awarding due compensation. According to an official spokesperson, ₹1.14 crore has been distributed to farmers in 3,365 acres of land in Jhajjar district.

Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana
Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana

However, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda defended the government’s move, saying that there was no wrong doing in the compensation provided to farmers.

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I was hungry and you gave me food, …


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Seated there on the snow, the old destitute was shivering. A middle-aged woman walked up to him and said: “Good morning!”

The man looked up at the woman. Her coat was new, a woman accustomed to the finer things in life. She looked healthy and virile as if she had never missed a meal in her life.

“Are you hungry?” she asked gently.

He thought the woman wanted to make fun of him like many others had done before.

“No,” the destitute answered with a sarcastic grin. “I’ve just come from dining with the president… Now go away.”

To his amazement, the woman continued standing there. She was smiling.

“Leave me alone,” he growled.

She bent towards him and placed her right hand gently under his arm and tried to raise him up.

“What are you doing, lady?” the man hollered. “I told you to leave me alone.”

Just then a police officer appeared from nowhere.

“Madam, is there any problem?” the police officer inquired.

“No. No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I am just trying to get this gentleman on to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer hesitated and scratched his head.

“That’s old Jack. He’s been around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

She pointed at the hotel a few yards away and said: “I want to take him there and get him out of the cold and keep him warm for a while and then get something for him to eat.”

“Are you crazy, lady?” Jack yelled.  ““I’ll not go in there!””

As he felt the strong hands of the police officer grab his other arm and lift him up Jack pleaded, “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria. It was eleven in the morning, and most of the breakfast crowd had already left. They seated him at a table in a remote corner.

The hotel manager saw the trio and came over to their table.

“What’s going on here, officer?” the manager asked the police officer. “Is this man here to create trouble?”

“Sir, this lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

“No. No. No. Not in here!” snorted the manager. “Having a person in a prestigious establishment like this is bad for our business.”

Toothless old Jack grinned at the woman sarcastically. “See, lady. I told you didn’t I? Now can you both let me go? I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”

The woman turned to the restaurant manager and smiled.

“Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?” she asked.

“Of course I am,” the manager answered irritatingly. “Their weekly meetings are held in one of our conference rooms.”

“And you make enough of money at these weekly meetings by renting the conference room and catering food?”

“What business is that of yours?” the manager snorted.

“I, Sir, am the president and CEO of that company. My name is Penelope Eddy.”

“Oh,” the manager gasped.

Penelope Eddy smiled again. “That makes a difference. Isn’t it?”

She glanced at the police officer stifling a giggle and said, “Would you like to join us and have something to eat, officer?”

“No thanks,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to warm you?” Penelope asked.

“Yes. That would be very nice,” replied the officer.

The manager turned on his heel. “I will get your coffee for you right away, officer.”

As they watched the manager hurrying away, the police officer said: “You certainly put him in his place.”

“That was not my intent,” she smiled. “Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”

Penelope stared intently at the bemused Jack and asked him: “Sir, do you remember me?”

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. “I think so … I mean … You do look familiar.”

“I am perhaps a bit older than what I was when you worked here,” she said. “Maybe I have filled out more than the day I came through that door, lean, cold and hungry.”

The police officer could not believe that such a magnificent woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” Penelope continued. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but no one wanted to hire a fresher. Finally, I was down to my last few cents. I walked for hours. It was February and I was cold and starving. Then, I saw this place and walked in hoping to get some leftovers to eat.”

Jack lit up with a smile.

“Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work on something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“But, then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen. You gave me a cup of coffee and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy my food. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I glanced at you, I saw you taking cash from your wallet and putting it in the cash register as payment for my food .”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually, I started my own business. With God’s help, I prospered.”

She opened her purse and pulled out a business card and gave it to Jack.

“When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr Lyons. He is the personnel director of my company. I will talk to him and I am certain he will find something for you to do around the office.”

She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always open to you.”

Tears welled in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he asked.

“Don’t thank me,” Penelope said. “To God goes the glory. He led me to you.”

Outside the cafeteria, the police officer and Penelope Eddy paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.

“On the contrary, Ms Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today madam, something that I will never forget. And … And thank you for the coffee.”

The above story reminds me of what I read in  Matthew 25:34-45.

Then the king will say to those on his right,

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.

Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply,

‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left,

‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say,

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them,

‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

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P.S.: There are many versions of this story circulating on the Internet. This is my version adapted from some of them. The 2008 book “Reminisces of Happy Times” by Robert Wiley, is a collection of humorous and inspirational pieces, many of which are known to be fictional, compiled by the author from other sources. This story appeared under the title “The Lifestyle of a Street Man.” So, that book is not the original source for this tale. To be frank, I do not know where this story originated and whether Ms Penelope Eddy, and her banking firm Eddy and Associates really existed.

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What’s in a Name? KFC Still Means Real Chicken


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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In early 1970’s I watched an art-thriller directed by Giulio Questi with a completely ridiculous title “Death Laid an egg ” released in 1968. In this movie, maiming of the chicken is done by “The Machine”, a new device that dispenses feed and whose secret purpose is for creating wingless, headless and largely boneless chickens.

A scene from "Death Laid an Egg".
A scene from “Death Laid an Egg”.

In one scene in this movie, there is a cage filled with mutated poultry. The headless, wingless freak chickens fail to take gory revenge on the heartless world that made them during their two minutes of screen time.

A few days ago I came across the following on Facebook:

Horrible Fact about KFC:

KFC has been a part of American traditions for many years. Many people,
day in and day out, eat at KFC religiously. Do they really know what they
are eating? During a recent study of KFC done at the University of New
Hampshire, they found some very upsetting facts. First of all, has anybody
noticed that just recently, the company has changed their name?

Kentucky Fried Chicken has become KFC. Does anybody know why? We thought
the real reason was because of the “FRIED” food issue.

IT’S NOT!!

The reason why they call it KFC is because they can not use the word
chicken anymore. Why? KFC does not use real chickens. They actually use
genetically manipulated organisms. These so called “chickens” are kept
alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients
throughout their structure. They have no beaks, no feathers, and no feet.
Their bone structure is dramatically shrunk to get more meat out of them.
This is great for KFC.

Because they do not have to pay so much for their production costs. There
is no more plucking of the feathers or the removal of the beaks and feet.
The government has told them to change all of their menus so they do not
say chicken anywhere. If you look closely you will notice this. Listen to
their commercials, I guarantee you will not see or hear the word chicken.
I find this matter to be very disturbing.

I hope people will start to realize this and let other people know ..

Versions of this legend have circulated for several years now as shown by the following e-mail that circulated in 1991 about Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “recent” name change, an event that occurred in 1991.

KFC has been a part of our American traditions for many years. Many people, day in and day out, eat at KFC religiously. Do they really know what they are eating? During a recent study of KFC done at the University of New Hampshire, they found some very upsetting facts.

First of all, has anybody noticed that just recently, the company has changed their name? Kentucky Fried Chicken has become KFC. Does anybody know why? We thought the real reason was because of the “FRIED” food issue. It’s not. The reason why they call it KFC is because they can not use the word chicken anymore. Why? KFC does not use real chickens. They actually use genetically manipulated organisms. These so called “chickens” are kept alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients throughout their structure. They have no beaks, no feathers, and no feet. Their bone structure is dramatically shrunk to get more meat out of them. This is great for KFC because they do not have to pay so much for their production costs. There is no more plucking of the feathers or the removal of the beaks and feet. The government has told them to change all of their menus so they do not say chicken anywhere. If you look closely you will notice this. Listen to their commercials, I guarantee you will not see or hear the word chicken. I find this matter to be very disturbing. I hope people will start to realize this and let other people know. Please forward this message to as many people as you can. Together we make KFC start using real chicken again.

The article: Tastes Like Chicken in snopes.com debunks the above as hoax.

The fast-food chain known today as “KFC” was founded by Harland Sanders. He was not born in Kentucky but was born in September 9, 1980 in Henryville, Indiana.

In the 1930s Sanders began serving chicken to the patrons of his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. Not having a restaurant then Sanders served people on his own dining table in the living quarters of his service station. Eventually, his fame grew and he moved his fried chicken operation across the street to a motel and restaurant. In 1935, recognizing his contributions to the state’s cuisine Governor Ruby Laffoon made him a Kentucky Colonel.

In 1952, Pete Harman with a store in Salt Lake City became the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee. PepsiCo, Inc., acquired the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain in 1986.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky, apparently mired in debt, trademarked their name in 1990 and anyone using the word “Kentucky” for business reasons have to pay licensing fees to the state. As a matter of principle, Kentucky Fried Chicken refused to pay royalties on a name it had used since 1953. In 1991, after a year of futile negotiations with he Commonwealth of Kentucky, the company to save money opted to change its name to KFC to avoid paying the license fees. So, changing the name and logo to KFC has nothing to do with the myth of the chicken not being real chicken.

On July 5, 2013, Eric Kuns published  a post titled: Mutant chickens raised from stolen KFC “chicken factory” eggs?!” with the following picture:

Mutant chickens raised by Yang Pei in Shaanxi, China, after she stole a few eggs from the chicken farm where she worked, and which supplied chickens to  KFC. She transferred the eggs to hens at her family’s own chicken farm and these birds hatched. (Photo: Eric Kuns)
Mutant chickens raised by Yang Pei in Shaanxi, China, after she stole a few eggs from the chicken farm where she worked, and which supplied chickens to KFC. She transferred the eggs to hens at her family’s own chicken farm and these birds hatched. (Photo: Eric Kuns)

After telling his story, Eric added the following postscript:

I threw this together myself when I was teaching English in China as part of a lesson revolving around the most popular restaurant in the city = KFC. I wanted the students to be more wary of hoaxes, and after presenting the photo along with the original KFC mutant chicken hoax to the students, l helped them figure out ways to identify hoaxes. PS by yours truly, of course. I’ve altered the content to make it more convincing to a different audience. So, this variant on the story is mine, as is the pic.

Earlier versions of the tale featured six-legged chickens. So, Is this story from China a hoax, a conspiracy, or a strange but true story?

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I Hate Internet Slang


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Do you use text speak

What does LOL, LMAO, ROFL, BRB, AFK, TY, THX etc. mean? 

I hate Internet slang!

Internet slang refers to a variety of slang languages coined and popularized by internet users to save time on keystrokes. Internet slang saves the writer’s time, but most writers do not realize that the reader of the slang takes more than twice the time to understand what the writer is trying to say; that is why I hate Internet slang and I try not to use these slang words in my communications.

While surfing and searching the internet, I have come across many words used by the internet communities. Here, I would like to share some of them, and what they mean, with you. This list is not complete. It is difficult to provide a standardized definition of Internet slang due to the constant evolving of the gargantuan internet. If you are interested, there are many websites such as http://www.netlingo.com,where you can find more comprehensive listings.

A Listing of Internet Slang and Acronyms

Slang and Acronyms = Meaning

1 = One / exclamation mark
2 = To / Too / Two
4 = For or Four
403 = Deny Access To

A
AFAP = As Far As Possible
A&F = AAF Always And Forever
A3 = Anywhere, Any time, Any place
AAB = Average At Best
AAK = Alive And Kicking
AAMOF = As A Matter Of Fact
AAP = Always A Pleasure
AAR = At Any Rate
AAYF = As Always, Your Friend
ABD = Already Been Done
ABH = Actual Bodily Harm
ABT = Absolutely
ABT = About
ADL = All Day Long
ADN = Any Day Now
AEAE = And Ever And Ever
AEAP = As Early As Possible
AFAIAC / AFAIC = As Far As I Am Concerned
AFAICS = As Far As I Can See
AFAICT = As Far As I Can Tell
AFAIK = As Far As I Know
AFC = Away From Computer
AGW = All Going Well
ALOL = Actually Laughing Out Loud
ANY1 = Anyone
AYSOS = Are You Stupid Or Something?

B
B = Be
B4 = Before
Bb = Bye Bye, Goodbye
BBIAB = Be Back In A Bit
BBL = Be Back Later
BBS = Be Back Soon
BD = Big Deal
BRB = Be right back
BRB = Be right back / Bath-room break
BRT = Be right there
BTW = By the way

C
C = See
CSWS = Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
CU = See you
CUL = See you later
Cuz = Because
CYA = See you
CYS = Check Your Settings

D
da = The
dat = That
DBA = Don’t Bother Asking
der = There
DIAF = Die In A Fire
Dunno = Don’t know

E
E123 = Easy as One, Two, Three
E2HO = Each to His/Her Own
EAK = Eating at Keyboard
ED = Erectile Dysfunction
EE or EEs = Employee -or- Employees
EFT = Electronic Funds Transfer
ELOL = Evil Laugh Out Loud
EM = Excuse Me
EMBM = Early Morning Business Meeting
EMFBI = Excuse Me For Butting In
EMFJI = Excuse Me For Jumping In
EMI = Excuse My Ignorance
EML = Email Me Later
EMSG = E-Mail Message
EOD = End Of Day -or- End Of Discussion
EOM = End Of Message
ESEMED = Every Second Every Minute Every Day
EWIE = mailing While Intoxicated
EZ = Easy

F
FHO = Friends Hanging Out
FTL = For The Loss
FTUW = For The Uber Win
FTW = For The Win
FWIW = For What It’s Worth
FYI = For Your Information

G
G2G / GTG = Got to go
GAL = Get A Life
GFY = Good For You
GG = Good game, Good going
GIYF = Google Is Your Friend
GRX = Gracias, Merci

H
HAND = Have A Nice Day
HS = Holy Shit
HTH = Hope This Helps

I
IACL = I Am Currently Laughing
IANAL = I Am Not A Lawyer
IANARS = I Am Not A Rocket Scientist
IC = I see
ICYDK = In Case You Didn’t Know
IDGI = I Don’t Get It
IDK = I Don’t Know
IIRC = If I Recall Correctly
ILY / ILU = I Love You
IMHO = In My Honest Opinion
IMNSHO = In My Not So Honest Opinion
IMO = In My Opinion
IRL = In Real Life
ITT = In This Thread
IYDMMA = If You Don’t Mind Me Asking

J
JJ = Just Joking
JK = Just Kidding
JOOC = Just Out Of Curiosity
JP = Just Playing

K
K = Okay
KKOk = Cool / Ok Kewl
KL = kool, cool
Kwl = Cool

The future of texting

L
L8r = Later
LLAH = Laughing Like A Hyena
LMAO = Laughing My Ass Off
LMFAO = Laughing My F*cking Ass Off
LOL = Laugh Out Loud
LQTM = Laugh Quietly To Myself

M
M8 = Mate
MYOB = Mind Your Own Business

N
NLS = Not Life Safe
NOYB = None Of Your Business
NP = No Problem
NSFW = Not Safe For Work
NVM = Never mind
NWS = Not Work Safe

O
O = Oh
O3 = Out of Office
OIC = Oh, I see
OJ = Only Joking
OMG = Oh My God! / Oh My Goodness!,
OC = Out Of Character
OP = Original Poster / Original Post
OT = Off Topic

P
PEBKAC = Problem Exists Between The Keyboard And The Chair
Pic = Picture
PITA = Pain In The Ass
Pix = Pictures
Plz / Pls = Please
PPMSLL = Pissing/ Pissed Myself Laughing
POSL = Piece Of ShIt
PPLL = People
PTTLL = Pop To The Loo

Q
Q = Queue -or- Question
QAP = Quick As Possible, Quickly As Possible
QL = Quit Laughing
QOTD = Quote Of The Day
QS = Quit Scrolling

R
RL = Real Life
ROFL = Rolling On The Floor Laughing
ROFLMAO = Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off
ROFLMAOL = Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Out Loud

S
Shudda = Should Have
SMH = Shaking My Head
SNH = Sarcasm Noted Here
SO = Significant Other
SOS = Same Old Shit
Soz / srry = Sorry
SSDD = Same Shit, Different Day
STFW = Search The F*cking Web
sup = What’s up?
sup homes = What’s up, friend?
SWW = Sorry, Wrong Window – typing in the wrong box

Texting

T
Thnx = Thanks
Tho = Though
TIA = Thanks In Advance
TLTR = Too Long To Read
TTFN = Ta Ta For Now
TTYL = Talk To You Later
TTYT = Talk To You Tomorrow
TY = Thank You
TYT = Take Your Time

U
U = You
ULM = You Love me

V
VBD = Very Big Deal

W
W8 = Wait
Wanna = Want to
WB = Welcome Back
Wd = Well done
WDUWTA? = What Do You Want To Talk About?
Wile = While
WOOT = We Own the Other Team
WTH? = What The Hell?
WURSC = Wow, you are so cool

X
XLNT = Excellent
XME = Excuse Me
XOXO = Hugs and Kisses
XOXOZZZ = Hugs and Kisses and Sweet Dreams
XQZT = Exquisite
XTC = Ecstasy
XXCC = Kiss, Kiss, Hug, Hug

Y
YCM = You Copied Me
Ye = Yeah / Yes
YGTI = You Get The Idea
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary
Yo = Hey / Your
YSVW = You are So Very Welcome
YW = You are Welcome

Z
ZZZ = Sleeping, Bored, Tired

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Texting language

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Nikola Tesla, the Obscure Genius


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Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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“When I saw this wonderful man [Thomas Alva Edison], who had had no training at all, no advantages, and who did it all himself, and saw the great results by virtue of his industry and application – you see, I had studied a dozen languages … and had spent the best years of my life ruminating through libraries. I thought to myself what a terrible thing it was to have wasted my life on those useless things, and if I had only come to America right then and there and devoted all of my brain power and inventiveness to my work, what could I not have done?” (Nikola Tesla, in My inventions: My early life. Electrical Experimenter; February 1919)

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Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla

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Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American, was born in what is now Croatia on July 10, 1856. He was a physicist, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, an inventor, and futurist. He is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

During his lifetime, Tesla obtained about 300 patents for his inventions. Today, we take many of his inventions for granted today. For example, we owe Tesla for the flip switch when we turn on the light.

Tesla was one of the few inventors who contributed to advances in science and engineering in the early 20th century. As one of the fathers of Electricity, Nikola Tesla did pioneering work on alternating current (AC) power system, electromagnetism, hydroelectric power, radio, radar etc.

Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before he immigrated to the United States in 1884.

In 1882, Nikola Tesla started working for two years at the Continental Edison Company in France designing and making improvements to electrical equipment. In June 1884, Tesla relocated to New York City. During his trip across the Atlantic, his ticket, money, and some of his luggage were stolen. Then, mutiny broke out on the ship and he was nearly thrown overboard. When he landed in the United States he had only four cents in his pocket, a letter of recommendation from Charles Batchelor, the English engineer who managed the Continental Edison Company in Europe.

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Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Alva Edison

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Tesla met Edison. Knowing the famous American inventor had a hearing problem spoke up and introduced himself. He produced the brief message from Batchelor.

Edison snorted after glancing at the brief message. “I know two great men and you are one of them,” Batchelor had written. “The other is this young man!

A rumpled, weary, and deeply skeptical Edison asked Tesla what he could do.

Tesla humbly described the engineering work he had done in France and spoke of his designs for induction motors that could run smoothly and powerfully on alternating current. Edison, however,  knew very little about alternating current and believed it to be the work of the devil. Edison was a  bigot, who in the past had waged a propaganda war against the gas companies stating the use of gas as a source of power would endanger humans due to possible explosions.

Eventually, Edison hired Tesla to work at the Edison Machine Works in New York.

One year later after a disagreement over emoluments, Tesla struck out on his own. With financial backers, he set up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices that sparked the long-running, and bitter “War of the Currents.

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Laboratory where TEsla and Westinghouse engineers developed apparatus for AC systems.
Laboratory where Tesla and Westinghouse’s engineers developed apparatus for AC systems.

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George Westinghouse used Tesla’s patented AC induction motor and transformer under license and hired him as a consultant to help develop a power system using alternating current.

Tesla is also known for his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs. His patented devices and theoretical work were used in the invention of radio communication, and in his X-ray experiments.

At that time, James S. Warden, a western lawyer and banker had purchased land in Shoreham, Long Island, about 60 miles from Manhattan. Here, he built a resort community known as Wardenclyffe-On-Sound. Warden believed that with the implementation of Nikola Tesla’s “world system” a “Radio City” would arise in the area. He offered Tesla 200 acres (81 ha) of land close to a railway line on which to build his wireless telecommunications tower and laboratory facility. In 1901, Tesla designed the Wardenclyffe Tower also known as the Tesla Tower, an early wireless transmission tower intended for commercial trans-Atlantic wireless telephony, broadcasting, and proof-of-concept demonstrations of wireless power transmission. It never became fully operational and the tower was demolished in 1917.

Tesla with his achievements and his seemingly miraculous inventions and his abilities as a showman became world-famous. Though he reaped much money from his patents, he also spent a lot on numerous experiments. For most of his life he lived in New York hotels. Finally, the end of his patent income and eventual bankruptcy led him to live in diminished circumstances. Even then, Tesla continued to invite the press to parties he held on his birthday to announce new inventions he was working on. Due to his pronouncements and the nature of his work over the years, Tesla gained a reputation as the archetypal “mad scientist”.

Though Nikola Tesla was one of the world’s greatest inventors, as fate would have it, he died penniless and in obscurity on January 7, 1943, in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel.

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Monument for f Nikola Tesla at the entrance to the “Cave of the Winds” at Niagara Falls.
This monument to honour Nikola Tesla near the entrance to the “Cave of the Winds” on Goat Island (Niagara Falls State Park), New York, USA, the work of famous Croatian sculptor Krsinic was the gift of Yugoslavia to the United States, 1976. (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj – August 3, 2012)

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Add this anywhere

No More Telegrams Stop


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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A Telegraph Office

On 14th of July, the era of electric telegraphy will come to an end in India.

Before the advent of electric telegraphy, the word “telegraph” had been used for semaphore signaling. People used smoke, beacons, reflected light, and flag semaphore signals for transmitting line-of-sight signal messages.

Semaphore telegraph Bihar1823
A semaphore “telegraph” signalling tower in Silwar (Bihar), 13 February 1823, thirty years before electric telegraphy was rapidly introduced into India by the East India Company.

During the period 1820–30, the East India Company’s Government in India seriously considered constructing a semaphore network – a series of hundred feet high signaling towers (“telegraph” towers), along the entire distance from Calcutta to Bombay, each tower separated from the next by eight miles. Although such towers were built in Bengal and Bihar, the India-wide semaphore network never took off. By mid-19th century, electric telegraphy had become viable making manual signaling obsolete.

Dr. W. B. O'Shaughnessy
Dr. W. B. O’Shaughnessy

In 1851, Dr. W. B. O’Shaughnessy, an Irish Professor of Chemistry in the Calcutta Medical College, famous for his work in pharmacology and inventions related to telegraphy, conducted a trial run for a telegraph service from Calcutta to Diamond Harbour along the river Hooghly. He used a galvanoscope of his own design manufactured in India as the telegraph receiver. Signals were transmitted using electrical telegraph which unlike pigeon post did not carry a physical object bearing the message. The pre-requisite to use of telegraphy required that both the sender and the receiver should be aware of the method of encoding the message.

 Lord Dalhousie
Lord Dalhousie

A year later, after the experimental telegraph service was deemed to be a success, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General of India, sought and obtained permission from the Court of Directors of the Company for the construction of telegraph lines from “Calcutta to Agra, Agra to Bombay, Agra to Peshawar, and Bombay to Madras, extending in all over 3,050 miles and including forty-one offices.”

By February 1855 after all the proposed telegraph lines had been constructed paid messages were sent using these lines.

By 1857, the telegraph network had expanded to 4,555 miles of lines and sixty two offices, and had reached as far as the hill station of Ootacamund in the Nilgiri Hills and the port of Calicut on the southwest coast of India.

Replica of Morse's first telegraph instrument.
Replica of Morse’s first telegraph instrument.

In early 1857, the Morse instrument supplanted Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s instrument.

During the Indian rebellion of 1857, more than seven hundred miles of telegraph lines were destroyed mainly in the North-Western Provinces by the rebel forces. Nevertheless, The East India Company used the remaining intact telegraph lines that to warn many outposts of impending civil disturbances. The political value of the new technology was, thus, driven home to the Company. In the following year, the Company not only relaid the destroyed lines, but also expanded the network further by 2,000 miles.

The first Telegraph Act for India was the British Parliament’s Act XXXIV of 1854. When the public telegram service started operating in 1855, the telegraphic charges was fixed at one rupee for every sixteen words (including the address) for every 400 miles of transmission. The charges were doubled for telegrams sent between 6 PM and 6 AM. These rates remained fixed until 1882.

In the year 1860–61, two years after the end of Company rule, India had 11,093 miles of telegraph lines and 145 telegraph offices. That year telegrams totaling Rs. 5 lakhs in value were sent by the public, the working expense of the Indian Telegraph Department was Rs. 14 lakhs, and the capital expenditure until the end of the year totaled Rs. 65 lakhs.

The advent of radio in the early 1900s brought about radiotelegraphy and other forms of wireless telegraphy.

SMS

Since telegrams can no longer compete with internet and mobile SMS and smartphones, it is not surprising to learn that India going to shut down its 163 year old ‘Telegram’ service and the last telegram will be sent on July 14, 2013. The reasons cited: It is not commercially viable, there are huge losses, and in the current scenario it is outdated.

Shamim Akhtar, general manager of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), India’s state-owned telecom company said: “We were incurring losses of over $23 million a year because SMS and smartphones have rendered this service redundant.”

In 1985, at its peak, 60 million telegrams were exchanged across 45,000 offices. Today, only 5,000 telegrams are sent every day in India by 75 telegram offices that exist, employing 998 people, down from 12,500 telegram employees in better years.

Telegraph services ended in the United States seven years ago. On July 14, 2013, 158 years after the public telegram service was first set up in 1855, the world’s final telegram will be sent in India.

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