Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004  

Smell The Color 9 Department: What do Valdimir Nabokov, Alexander Scriabin, Richard Feynman, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Wassily Kandinsky have in common?

They were all synesthetes; that is, they could hear colors, feel sounds and taste shapes. New research is casting some interesting light on this phenomenon. It appears that people with synestheisia really do see, hear, and feel what they claim they do.

No one knows just how many people have the condition. Estimates range from one person out of every 300, to one out of every few thousand. The number is vague for obvious reasons. Some people learned early on not to talk about it out of fear of being regarded as odd. And those who have it tend to like it, so they don't feel a need to seek out medical help.

To take it away from them would be to deprive them of a special sense that may improve memory, and possibly stimulate creative instincts.
What an amazing way to experience the world.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:39 AM

New Blog on the Block Department: Take a peek at Alcaide's Café, in particluar, Russell's story about Sally Mae Carson, a truly amazing woman.

Her house was a two-room unpainted shack, standing on two-foot high posts. Wood stove in the kitchen, two large beds, a couple of chairs, were about all the furnishings there were for her and the eight children still living at home. Her husband came occasionally in the night, but only for a few hours to talk and see his family. Then he had to disappear. His life was always at risk, because she was a very public “civil rights bitch”. You see, chivalry usually spared the lives of the women in the movement, but not the men. Sally Mae had suffered beatings, but nothing too damaging. Not like Fannie Lou Hamer, her close friend who later ran for Congress. Fannie Lou was seriously injured, partially crippled, as I recall.

Anyway, Sally Mae had had 22 children, by the time I met her. Most were gone, moved up north or off to other towns, but eight still crowded the little shack. I was stuffed in right along with the rest. They never felt one more person was too much. And obviously, Sally Mae never thought abortion was an option, or a necessity for the sake of better living standards or opportunities for the first-born.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:53 AM
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