(Originally appeared in Lognet 99/1)
Two notable things have happened in Loglandia since this wayward publication of ours last went out: one, I’ve retired and, two, Alex Leith has taken over. Well, not completely. But I have stepped down as Chairman of the Board (la Cerpeu je La Disgru) and as CEO (la Cefli Durzo, the Chief Doer...the Loglan says it better than the English does), and both roles have been graciously assumed by Alex Leith, ji la Surpoi Brrys in the British scheme of things. Nemosia Hoi Aleks, Die! (I trust that you are all logli enough to know that, far from instructing Alex to drop dead, soi crano, I have just offered him a thousand thanks and, in the Irish manner, called him Dear.)
Expect great things from Alex. He has an uncanny, natural-seeming talent for Loglan—like Steve Rice’s, as close to a brana (born) logli’s as we are likely to see on this planet for a few more decades—and some wonderful new ideas. He also has a Board, now composed of Wes Parsons, Glen Haycon, and himself (I’m stepping down as a director too), that will back him to the hilt but will also restrain him when he needs restraining, soi crano, but a dwindling cohort, uu, of kaoflo tiftua (active volunteers). Still, I expect Alex’s new ideas to stir up new mobs of those! Moreover, our Board of Trustees (Iamu Grupa go Nurduokri = our Group of Trustables)—of which more later in this column—have given both my stepping down from, and his ascension to, these various leadership roles their solemn blessing.
Talking of “dwindling cohorts”, not only am I stepping down from several of my most active roles, but Kirk Sattley has, for reasons of health, also stepped down from one of his, in particular, from his active participation in la Keugru (the Academy). Kirk will still audit our meetings, ae, and we certainly expect him to chime in from time to time; but both the ardors of decision-making and the duty he had taken on as the Keugru’s sekri, that of preparing its occasional reports in past Lognets, are now beyond his limited energy budget as a heart-weakened person. Kirk’s always insightful way of explaining our decisions, of illustrating the powerful new ways we’ve been developing recently for handling logic in Loglan, will, I’m certain, be quite generally missed. But the good news is that Kirk and his wife Joanne have evidently taken a page from our book, Evy’s and mine, and plan now to do a lot more traveling despite Kirk’s health problems. We wish them joy of this decision, and of this enthralling planet!
One role I’ve been playing since 1989, the Editor of Lognet, is still unsettled; and the fact that it’s been unsettled for some time goes a long way toward explaining—but not excusing, surely—the shamefully long intervals between recent issues of our nominally thirdly publication. The issue just before this one was Lognet 98/1, and it came out—I am chagrined to see—in December of 1998, which makes that year, too, a 1 -issue year. The issue before that was Lognet 97/2, which came out in October of 1997 ...better, but only a 2-issue year. The last 3-issue year —the promised number—was 1996. So in the last 3 calendar years The Institute has produced a total of 4 issues of what was advertised as a thirdly publication...instead of the 9 we promised you.
How can we compensate you for this defect? One instant remedy—though not a cure—is to recalculate everybody’s dues for the 3-year interval 1997-1999 as counting only 1-1/3 “Lognet-years” against your dues payments. This would add 36 - 16 = 20 calendar months to everybody’s due date...to the dates of all those who had paid dues, that is. Quite understandably, some of you haven’t. Matching our tardiness with your own, some logli haven’t bothered to pay dues during these years of our delinquency.
I’ll propose this across-the-board compensation to our new CEO; and if Alex agrees, he’ll no doubt ask our new Secretary/Treasurer, Laurie Dowell—our one paid worker, by the way, though part-time—to make this adjustment on the next set of labels we send out. It’s too late to make it on this set, of course; so you won’t find that extension of due-date on your mailing label this time. But you can easily extend it mentally. Just add 20 months to the date you see there, and if you’re still in arrears, you may wish to pay your back dues now. A little more money in helping us run this non-profit show of ours is always welcome. But I am predicting that you will find this adjustment well and truly made on the label that accompanies your next issue...which will, I trust, be Lognet 00/1, the first Lognet of the new millennium. May Loglan make its mark in it!
But compensating you for past errors is not a cure. Curing this defect in our performance means coming to understand what created it in the first place, and changing things around so that it is not likely to happen again. One factor, surely, in creating this defect was that during these last three years I was uncommonly busy with non-Loglan tasks, mainly writing, and then pruning, the scholarly notes for my new Job Market book. But as I was also Editor of Lognet during that time, my spending a good deal of energy on this writing task cut back on my Loglan time quite severely.
Another, equally diverting and at times even more absorbing task was the preparation of the three volumes of Loglan 3, Steve Rice’s Understanding Loglan. The Institute’s editorial team—who were, unremarkably, also its Keugru—was kept pretty busy in the months before each L3 publication. Volume 3, for example, issued in March 1999, occupied the entire Keugru in nearly continuous e-mail discussion, not only during the first few months of 1999 but also during much of 1998. For, as I noted in my Publisher’s Preface (Sau La Pubmao) to this volume, “Steve Rice broke new ground in these last four lessons [and in] doing so, forged many new rules and conventions that required [his] editors to invent several others just to make [them] work.” Probably few of you realize just how industrious your Keugru is behind the publishing scene! For example, the solution to the double-negatives problem—just one of the many presented to us by Steve—took us many months to hammer out.
By the way, though the particular installment of Sau La Keugru (From The Academy) that will report our treatment of double negatives has not been written up yet, a brief account of how we decided to deal with at least some double negatives may now be found in the Summary of Lesson 14 on pages 25-26 of that 3rd volume of Loglan 3, the one published as La Logli 99/1 in March of this year. The general intractability of the multiple-negatives problem is also discussed by our new Lodtua (Logic-Worker = Logician) Emerson Mitchell in his letter in Lo Lerci in this issue.
So, in addition to being personally diverted by my non-Loglan duties, I was also obliged, like other members of the Keugru—the body in charge of endorsing the Loglan that Steve wanted to teach in Loglan 3—to spend nearly all my Loglan-available time during these last three years on L3 issues.
I’m aware that the picture I’m creating here is that of a small group of volunteer workers attempting to do more for their non-profit corporation than they could actually do; that we are seriously undermanned; that in particular, we try to publish more, and more frequent, publications than our resources sensibly permit. That is, I think, an essentially fair picture. We are too few workers with too many tasks.
Don’t misunderstand me: we enjoy those tasks. We would like to do even more of them. But because we are too few, and because some of us are finding ouselves in that “lean and slippered pantaloon” stage of human life—in a stage, I must confess, of incomparable serenity but also of low energy-budgets—we find ourselves falling further and further behind in our self-imposed work. And it is Lognet that feels our shorthandedness first.
What’s to be done? I’m afraid the solution is fairly obvious: we need either fewer tasks or more and younger volunteers to help us do them. Which is it to be?
We find it difficult even to consider the first alternative. There is so much to be done, so many delightful prospects still beckon to us—and all each task apparently requires is “a little more work”—so we cannot really consider doing less than we do, only more. So this is the greatest challenge facing our new Cefli Durzo: bringing more warm bodies into our aging community, among whom, hopefully, he will find both younger and equally willing hands. Help him, Hoi Piplo (O People), in any way you can.
Among the loglandical roles I’m vacating this year is the Editorship of Lognet. I offered the job to Terry Smithwick, a younger logli, last Winter, and he accepted. But Terry’s still an active-duty U.S. Navy petty officer, and apparently had suddenly to go to sea in the midst of editing this issue. So Alex has very kindly taken over, and Laurie and I—she’s our new Secretary/Treasurer and, as I think I mentioned, lives in San Diego, and so can help in the actual production of our publications—are helping Alex put out this, his first issue. It is possible that Alex will, for a time—at least until Terry retires from active duty, or until Alex finds some other replacement for himself as editor (any volunteers?)—be your Lognet tisra.
I’m retiring from the Lognet editorship—as well as from the Disgru and as la Cefli Durzo—mainly because I cannot do all these roles collective justice any longer. But I shall stay on as a Kejgrudjo, an Academist; for it is in the work of this body, in its continuing study of Loglan and its caretaking, that my trueheart lies. I shall also remain one of The Institute’s Trustees. That duty, a once-a-year meeting and a mainly social round of dinners with old friends, is certainly not an arduous one. I expect I’ll also write this column from time to time, but certainly less regularly and perhaps also less longwindedly, soi crano, which is what happens when, as in this case, one has a few blank pages in a 0 mod 4-page issue to fill up!
I mentioned in the last edition of this column, and earlier in this one, that I had finished a book: a book about equilibrating economies with computers. I spent a good deal of 1999 looking for a publisher for it, and thought for awhile I’d found one. But the one publisher who’d made an offer for it turned out to be a very small one, wanted too much authority over the work, and offered too little in the way of either advertising dollars or pressrun length to auger much success. So I reluctantly decided that the book was too important to settle for such mingey treatment,“to let it sink,” as one of my more realistic friends so vividly put it, “without trace.”
So, a year later, I’m still looking for a publisher. But this time for one big enough to do the job the book deserves. And so, a year later I cannot tell you, as I said I would, where to find the JM book and read it; for it’s still in manuscript. But rather than keep it under that bushel very much longer, I may put it on the Web even while still trying to sell it. Several people are urging me to do that. If I do, you logli will be among the first to know where to find it. As most of you are computer folk, I believe many of you will be interested in what I’ve done for the real world with the utopian idea I wrote fictionally into the world of 2070 in The Troika Incident. Write me if you think you might be. No economist-—dare I say “no other economist”? (I’m an autodidact in so many other ways, perhaps I may claim that label as well)—has yet come up with a way of keeping economies in equilibrium. And Troika-style job-markets might do just that... once they have been taught by some real-world engineers—probably Swedish ones—to fly!
Alex Leith, Wes Parsons, Bob Mclvor, and I, together with all but one of the Loglan nurduokri, had some very pleasant meetings in Florida last Spring. In March, Alex flew directly from France to meet me and Wes in Miami, while I flew from San Diego to meet them there...in the same airport, on the same fastidiously scheduled evening! Alex and I spent a couple of days with Wes and family—the Parsons boys are all athletes by this time!—and then, in a rented car, drove up to Ormand Beach, Florida where Bob McIvor (a Canadian) has his winter residence. From there, after some cheerful sea-views from a beach-front motel-room that Bob had engaged for us, as well as after some lovely loglandical work-sessions in his home—during which Bob showed us the working model of the Loglan Speech Resolver he had developed—we all drove over to Gainesville.
In Gainesville, the birthplace of Loglan, our work-sessions happily continued; and between them I was able to introduce Alex to all but one of our nurduokri —that one being Judge Larry, who, now that he is a judge, seems to be increasingly occupied with mightier (but certainly not more fun, Larry?) matters (soi crano) than meetings of trustees for artificial languages—while Bob, as he reminded us when I forgot, had already met the Trustees.
We eventually had our formal Trustees Meeting, the one at which Alex was introduced as our new CEO to the people who had, in effect, already hired him. They were pleased with the look of him; and Alex was pleased with the look of them (the Trustees, by the way, are still Jean Chalmers, Herschel Elliott, Larry Turner, Jenny Brown, and myself); and Bob was, I think, reasonably well-pleased with all of us. Meanwhile, we three logla turka (Loglan workers), Alex, Bob, and I, had amongst ourselves, not so much a “passing of the torch” ceremony as some very fruitful work-sessions after the round of social events, luncheons and dinners with various trustees, had run their course. We made what felt to me like some very promising plans for the loglandian future...which will, no doubt, gradually be revealed to you by our cninu ge cefli durzo (new for a chief doer).
My wife Evy and I had a delightful five-weeks driving holiday this summer. As we had already planned a more extensive—and rather more expensive, soi crano—journey for what is now the current winter, a veritable circumnavigation of South America by cruise-ship in the year 2000—an heroic journey of 54 days that will include stops at every major port and a leeside look at the world’s wildest cape itself, Cape Horn—we decided to do our 1999 travels (mine in Florida obviously didn’t count as a connubial holiday) on a more modest scale, mostly in Western North America, and to do it in our own car using motels as wayfarers’ bedrooms.
It was great! We drove over 7,000 miles, mostly on back roads, in those five weeks. We saw lots of old friends and relations that we hadn’t seen in years— and may never see again, one can’t help thinking when one is in one’s deep 70s and says goodbye to yet another equally creaky friend—visiting one national park after another, each one more interesting than the last...including, at last for both Evy and me, Oregon’s numinous Crater Lake. I have decided that next to sailing small sailboats across oceans, driving small cars up and down mountain roads is the most locomotory fun that an old man with a still-itinerant heart can have.
I notice that Alex has put a Membership Questionnaire in this issue. Ne gudbi vidre! (What a good idea!) Please fill it out. We need to check in with one another from time to time, find out once again what our collective talents, competencies, willingnesses, and interests are; and this is the best way we know of doing that. Especially now that a new cefli is taking over, it will be useful for him know what his tribe’s resources are. You’ll be interested too, I expect. As usual, we’ll publish the results in the next Lognet.
One thing this questionnaire will do for us that has needed doing for some time is sweep all you logli who use e-mail, but who for some reason haven’t gotten yourselves onto either of our e-lists, onto, at last, at least one of them. We have two of those lists, you know: one, the Loglanists List, is open to any interested person; the other, the Logli List, is for actual members only. You can find out whether we recognize you as a member by looking at the letter codes near the upper righthand comer of your current mailing label. These range from T = Trustee, H = Honorary, and F = Free—all of you are members who do not pay dues, and so have no due dates on your labels—to our many dues-paying logli, who rank from P = Patron, S = Sustainer, M = Member to R = Retiree or student, who do have due dates on your labels. (Remember to advance that date by 20 months!) Guided by your questionnaire responses, we’ll put any member on the Logli List if he or she wishes to be, and we’ll put anyone at all on the Loglanists List.
By the way, now’s a good time to change your membership status if you wish it changed: to join or rejoin if you’re not a member now, or to change your status from one dues-paying category to another. Just check the boxes on the questionnaire that will accomplish this. Sending it in to us will also furnish you with an occasion to pay your dues if you’ve fallen behind. But only after, I hope, you’ve made the 20-month “promotion” of your due date explained above.
Let me explain why not everybody who receives Lognet is a member. Several other categories of persons receive it: (1) recent book-buyers who haven’t joined yet but whom we’re trying to tempt to join (you’re rare, but you do happen, and your label will be marked “LNf’ = “LN free”); (2) people who subscribe to Lognet without joining (you’re also pretty rare, and your labels mention your “Last LN”); (3) onetime U.S. members whose dues have lapsed but whom we’re sending Lognets any way...in the hope of mutual foregiveness, I suppose, as we too have been delinquent (your labels are marked “DUES DUE” or something of that sort); and finally (4) we’ve kept a few lapsed overseas-members on our list as well. Logli who are native speakers of other languages than English are especially important to us, so we gladly pay the cost of your overseas postage just to keep you informed. And of course we hope that you too will eventually become active in our community again.
Let me end this homely column with a brief report of Alex’s, Bob’s, and my discussions in Gainesville last March. We talked mostly about the things that still needed doing for which my help was required. These are the tasks we identified (all were adumbrated in “Four Undone Tasks” in LN 98/1: 24, though two of those are now done, I’m happy to say); Still undone were (1) my “fine-tooth-combing” of the rest of Alex’s Ne Neri Po Vizgoi Je La Loglandias, the first novel ever written in Loglan, of which I’ve ftc-ed, uu, less than half; and (2) my work with Bob on the Resolver Project, a 40-year-old work-in-progress, which, I’m happy to report, is now progressing very well without me! But that project too will involve at least some joint work by Bob and me before it is solid enough to be published. To these two Djim-requiring tasks we added, perhaps imprudently, a third: (3) writing the input for a Little-Words Learning program we’ve long talked about that we’re now calling MacTeach 4.1 volunteered to write the input for this new program because learning grammar through LW usage has been an unexplored idea of mine for many years. M4 will be a third tool for learning grammar, and may turn out to be even more powerful than the other two we’ve built: Ml and LIP.
I’m happy to report that, with Bob’s programming help, I got a good and fruitful start on M4 on Daughter Jenny’s Mac last March. I’ll be happy to turn the bit I’ve done over to you beta-testers...once we’ve learned who you are from our current questionnaire! —Hue Braon Djim
Copyright © 1999 by The Loglan Institute. All rights reserved.