Manufactured Goods

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos (καιρός).  Chronos refers to sequential, measurable time, and kairos to moments of hope & possibility.  Kairos also means weather in both ancient and modern Greek, and the plural, καιροι (kairoi or keri) means the times.


Between 1790, when the Federal government began issuing patents, and 1930, Connecticut led all states in the USA in the number of per capita patents issued. In the 19th century, Connecticut's yearly ratio was three to four times the national average of one patent for every 3000 citizens. Eli Whitney (1765-1825), a Yale graduate, the son of a Massachusetts farmer, realized that Connecticut, and the United States generally, lacking the large supply of skilled artisans working in Europe, would have to make do. Whitney was the first American to publicize the principle of interchangeable parts, an idea that necessitated precision manufacturing machines. Whitney built a factory in New Haven to produce cotton gins which were ten times more productive than hand labor. They made profitable the cultivation of short-staple cotton throughout the South, which encouraged the expansion of the slave system and intensified the regional rivalries that ultimately led to the Civil War. In 1798, Whitney turned to the production of military muskets. Whitney’s government contracts encouraged gunsmiths in CT, MA, and VT to produce improved jigs, fixtures, boring mills, and milling machines for gun barrels, stocks, and firing mechanisms.

Calyer Street in Brooklyn was a block facing west across to 14th Street’s end at the East River in Manhattan, toward Washington Square Park in the Village and Christopher & Barrow Streets on the Hudson. Descartes made these Cartesian observations possible. If you looked at a map, one-block-Calyer ran into north/south West Street, the westernmost road in north (Greenpoint) Brooklyn. West Street’s name changed to Kent Avenue as it traveled south until it seemed to end at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. But at the little green of Williamsburg Place under the Brooklyn/ Queens Expressway, the avenue reappeared, and as it crossed Flushing Avenue it brachiated, engendering Emerson, Classon, and Taafee.

On Sputnik’s launch date, October 4, 1957, Uncle Theo’s body was found in the East River off the Greenpoint Piers. Had he jumped or been dumped off one of them? He was notable even among Hayleys for his movie star looks and his Thanksgiving grace: “Let us give thanks for Aristotle’s School at Mieza, where he educated Alexander, the ingrate who later berated his teacher for making public knowledge that The Great thought best kept exclusive to the elite. Now dig in!”

Uncle Theo, a naval lieutenant in WWII, eschewed the military. He was called to sea via personal history, not Pearl Harbor. “Hayleys always sail.”  Surviving the war, he became a copywriter for a major NYC radio station (where he met his first wife) and thereafter an early TV producer, creating The Howdy Doody Show where he often packed its Peanut Gallery with nephews, nieces, and his two daughters Thalia and Thorne. (Princess Summerfallwinterspring did nothing for him; Claribel was a sadist.) He also became an alcoholic, which for some time enhanced his irresistible charm. That was a common delusion until Dudley Moore’s ARTHUR movies collided with an increasing Prohibition-health consciousness decades later.




L. Shapley Bassen

L. Shapley Bassen’s grandmother was a telegrapher on Wall Street a century ago who taught her to read and tapped messages to her in Morse Code. A New Yorker living in Rhode Island, she is a multi-published & prize-winning author of fiction, poetry, & drama. L. Shapley recommends the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, August 22, 2021 - 22:20