George Thornycroft Sassoon / an original poem to GM3JZK
George Sassoon, from a Spanish-language website about Ancient Astronauts from outer space.
You may be the King of Sweden or the Emperor of Japan, but if you belong to the world community of "hams" -- amateur radio broadcasters -- you are scrupulously, exclusively known only by your radio call sign. Even in your amateur radio obituary, you are only a few digits and capital letters. And that is proudly enough for every ham.
Last March, George Sassoon, the son of the English World War One poet Seigfried Sassoon -- whose poems Vleeptron has been merrily filching every time this fucking Iraq War outrages me -- died. I learned of his passing today via an e-mail from another devoted fan of Seigfried Sassoon. His son George inherited the copyright on his father's magnificent poems, and every time I posted a Sassoon poem, I was obligated to send George Sassoon some tiny or modest sum, and I never did.
Below this poem is Wikipedia's biography of George Sassoon, and I leave it to you to Judge his Life, and I leave it you to Judge my Poem.
The very first solid-state electronic device was the Cat's Whisker diode. As early as 1920, perhaps earlier, ham radio enthusiasts discovered that the whisker of an ordinary pussycat -- shed naturally, or perhaps cruelly yanked from the pussycat's face -- had the curious and valuable property of allowing alternating current to pass in only one direction. A decade or two later, "real" diodes, of vacuum tubes/valves, were manufactured, but hams have always called all diodes "cat's whiskers."
A radio/wireless dial designed for extremely fine and sensitive tuning is called the Vernier, after its inventor. Before digital computer tuning, hams would scrape their fingertips raw with a nailfile or emery board to increase their dial-tuning sensitivity, to enhance the "feel" of dial-tuning.
Aramaic, of course, is the language Jesus spoke. Klingon is the language spoken by the Klingons. George Sassoon was fluent in them both.
73 is ham slang for "best regards."
by Bob Merkin
His signal stilled and silent now
my fingertips (scraped raw with a nailfile)
cannot tweak the Vernier dial
sensitively enough to pull him in again
in vox, he might squawk through the speaker or the cans
merrily announcing his call sign in Klingon
in code dahditdahdit
like the SETI message he knew was out there
and hoped one night to hear
rich life rich mind
that wandered down so many paths
and hoisted a few
and loved a few
this close: one wireless wave
one cat's whisker diode
one bullet one bomb
he came to never having been
as his father blew the whistle and led the charge into machine guns
and scribbled poems
dahditdahdit the sonnet of the son
GM3JZK his nomme du clef
his call sign stilled now
in fury and disorder
i filched his dad's poems so
i owe the gentleman a couple of bob
and now i can't repay
except to tweak the dial of my multiband receiver
at 04:00:00 Zulu deep and cold in winter
and think of GM3JZK
and sip cognac
did he like cognac?
~ ~ ~
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George Thornycroft Sassoon (born London, October 30, 1936; died March 8, 2006) was a British scientist, electronic engineer, linguist, translator and author.
Sassoon was the only child of the poet Siegfried Sassoon and Hester Sassoon née Gatty. He was born at a time when his parents' marriage was already in difficulties, and in 1947 they separated. George Sassoon thereafter spent much of his childhood with his mother on the Scottish island of Mull.
He was educated at Oundle School and King's College, Cambridge. He was noted for his prodigious linguistic ability, learning languages which included Serbo-Croat, Hebrew, Aramaic and Klingon. He investigated extra-terrestrial phenomena and helped his mother to run a sheep farm on Mull.
After his father died in 1967, Sassoon inherited and occupied his father's large country house, Heytesbury House at Heytesbury in Wiltshire. He found it much neglected and worked to restore it, and also battled unsuccessfully to stop a planned new A36 bypass from going through the park of the house. In these efforts, he sold many of his father’s papers. After a serious fire at Heytesbury House in the 1990s he moved to a smaller property in the nearby village of Sutton Veny; but spent part of the year on Mull, where he had inherited his mother's property of Ben Buie when she died in 1973.
Between 1978 and 1980, he published three books, two of which were about his theories on extraterrestrial visitations, and also spoke at conferences on alien phenomena.
Sassoon married four times -- firstly Stephanie Munro, at Inverness in 1955 (dissolved 1961); secondly Marguerite Dicks in 1961 (dissolved 1974); thirdly Susan Christian-Howard in 1975 (dissolved 1982); and lastly Alison Pulvertaft. He had a daughter by his first marriage and also two children by his third marriage, both of whom were tragically killed in a road accident in 1996.
Sassoon was something of a bon-viveur, well-known among other things for his playing of the piano-accordion. Among his other interests were cricket, the Antipodes, and amateur radio -- his call-sign was GM3JZK.
He died of cancer in 2006 and is buried on the island of Mull.
Books by Geoge Sassoon
* The Manna-Machine (1978)
* The Kabbalah Decoded (1978)
* The Radio Hacker's Codebook (1980)
* Obituary at The Daily Telegraph
Categories: 1936 births | 2006 deaths | Oundle | Sassoon family | Alumni of King's College, Cambridge | Old Oundelians | Amateur radio people | English Jews | Scottish Jews
Powered by MediaWiki
* This page was last modified 11:41, 2 January 2007.
* All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.)
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a US-registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.