Nah shpaleechky, nah Shpaleechky

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

Nah shpaleechky, nah Shpaleechky – I can still hear my parents using the phrase. I would ask, “Why are you saying ‘On little chunks of wood, on little chunks of wood’?” Then my parents explained to me, (and I could not of course understand the concept as a pre-schooler) that people driving past were not using gasoline for fuel but little chunks of wood or charcoal. I have lived as a child in the Third Reich’s Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and in that country as a Satellite of the Soviet Union. Both under Hitler and under Stalin the price of resources (like petroleum) was prohibitive. People would retrofit their cars with a device like a pressure cooker and inside the “pressure cooker” they would heat up chips of wood and/or charcoal to turn it into combustible gas (Holtzgas in German).

Subsequently, the gas was directed into the manifold and used in the internal combustion engine. In a scientific community like Los Alamos, few need to ask this art teacher for advice.

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