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Friday, January 30, 2009

The ultimate multitasker focuses over Galena

Warning! The following puzzle contains some serious satire:

Doing Six Things At Once ~ Mr Harry Kahne demonstrating his ability to read, write, invert, add, divide, and converse, all at the same time. The figures on the smaller boards are provided by members of the audience. Those on the larger board are written intermittently by Mr Kahne whilst he is copying the headlines from a newspaper held upside down. He writes the figures and letters alternately, thus carrying out two distinct mathematical calculations whilst he is performing the four other mental feats, not the least difficult of which is the ansering of questions as to the populations of various towns!

Figure 1: Doing Six Things At Once ~ Mr Harry Kahne demonstrating his ability to read, write, invert, add, divide, and converse, all at the same time. The figures on the smaller boards are provided by members of the audience. Those on the larger board are written intermittently by Mr Kahne whilst he is copying the headlines from a newspaper held upside down. He writes the figures and letters alternately, thus carrying out two distinct mathematical calculations whilst he is performing the four other mental feats, not the least difficult of which is the ansering of questions as to the populations of various towns!

Some Cingular-minded blowhards have been complaining that driving over Galena pass while holding stimulating cell phone conversations is unsafe. Not only that, but they also moan that texting; the spice of our new age, is somehow a menace to other drivers. Next thing you know, these closed-minded blogcritics will probably implore ITD to ban distracting car radios, and soon after that, prohibit families from singing together in perfect harmony!

They will say that we never created the Sawtooth Recreation area for singing. If you want to sing praises of nature, take it inside to a real church! Yet a few courageous ones will penetrate through, whispering light good-vibration exultations under their breaths. Eventually, enlightened choir members will realize that they can claim their singing is that of a recreational nature, just as groups of constructive cell phone conversationalists will rightly claim, talking next to a waterfall, is a favorite method of theirs for recreating.

This epiphany will create a new problem for our courts, when recreating chorus groups gather on sacred government ground, daring to chant The Ten Commandments.

Three long words are suggested by members of the audience and written on the smaller board. Mr Kahne memorizes them; then, hanging head downwards, he proceeds to jumble them into an apparently meaningless scrawl, at the same time reciting any popular poem requested. A careful examination of the writing --- taking every third letter --- will reveal that he is in the act of writing Indianapolis correctly (as seen from the readers point of view), Idiosyncracies upside down, and Constantinople upside down, backwards, and reversed (legible when viewed in a mirror).

Three long words are suggested by members of the audience and written on the smaller board. Mr Kahne memorizes them; then, hanging head downwards, he proceeds to jumble them into an apparently meaningless scrawl, at the same time reciting any popular poem requested. A careful examination of the writing --- taking every third letter --- will reveal that he is in the act of writing "Indianapolis" correctly (as seen from the reader's point of view), "Idiosyncracies" upside down, and "Constantinople" upside down, backwards, and reversed (legible when viewed in a mirror).

Back to the multitasking mantra: If we are never encouraged to develop our multitasking skills, then surely those talents will deteriorate. Certainly, our roads are filled with drivers of various skill levels, some of who cannot handle more than one task at a time. Some of them probably have no business being on the road, but that’s a hard call; snatching away somebody’s freedom like that. Distractive driving is a subject more complicated than most media are making it out to be. When you consider that one in ten drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, devices we’ve sometimes pigeonholed as distractive, such as car radios, cell phones and truckers’ lively banter over C. B. radios, can suddenly be looked at as awakening tools.


the right hand is writing backwards and revesed, whilst the mouth is writing backwards but correctly).

A demosntration of multiple concnetration of both mind and muscle which Mr Kahne frequently gives before doctors and psychologists. Note: the right hand is writing backwards and revesed, whilst the mouth is writing backwards but correctly).

Henry Kahne was known as the man with the multiple mind, whose brain could thrive on six things at the same time. In a 1925 Strand Magazine interview, he talks about how he first began to develop his remarkable talents:


“When did you first discover your ability to direct your mind into several channels of thought simultaneously?”

“At the age of 14, when I was at school. In most lessons, excepting mathematics, I was rather backwards — not because I hadn’t the ability to learn, but because I did not pay attention. I was an absent-minded youth, a daydreamer — always letting my mind wander, thinking out little mechanical inventions, planning new forms of code writing, or evolving plots for short stories. One day my teacher fired a sudden question at me, and finding that I was not paying attention, hauled me out for corporal punishment. It was really the feeling of his cane that first turned my thoughts in the direction of multiple mind concentration. I did not want to give up my daydreams, but on the other hand, I had a distinct aversion to corporal punishment. So after a while I got into the habit of letting one part of my brain wander into the realms of inventive fancy whilst I kept the other alert for an enfilade fire of questions from the teacher.”

Some people highly capable of handling the multitasking mental storm are sometimes looked upon as freaks.

“But to talk to Mr Kahne is to discover that, although he has exceptional abilities, he is not by any means a freak. If he displays genius, it is not the kind that is akin to madness, but rather of the more creditable variety, generally spoken of as “an infinite capacity for taking pains”. “It is all a matter of development and practice”, he told me. “Just as the acrobat or juggler trains muscles and nerves that even an athlete overlooks, so have I trained brain cells which the average mental worker seldom attempts to being into use.”
Solving A Crossword Puzzle While Suspended Head Downwards ~ Mr Kahne recently performed this feat in response to a challenge, and completed the puzzle correctly in 13 minutes.

Figure 4: Solving A Crossword Puzzle While Suspended Head Downwards ~ Mr Kahne recently performed this feat in response to a challenge, and completed the puzzle correctly in 13 minutes.

Surely, I mostly jest when it comes to texting over Galena Summit and wouldn’t even recommend it to Henry Kahne, unless he was a captive passenger. However, after reading about the ultimate multitasker, I’ve become curious about what other tinhorn and high-altitude serious bloggers find to be their most useful and entertaining multitasking talents. And if we come up with enough good ones, perhaps we should hold a demonstration day up near the summit, to encourage further development of these high-valued skills.

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