to: personal storyteller

Life after the Decline


It is Sunday, May 7, 2017. This article will be a follow-up report to the situation described six months ago in “My Mental Decline.”

For the past four months I have been working almost continuously on creating parallel pages in six languages - simplified Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish, Polish, Dutch, and Russian - for articles included in As of today’s count, I believe I have 112 articles presented in twelve languages (the above mentioned languages plus English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian). I started this project in the first week of January. At the end of February, I had 43 articles in the twelve languages. But now, after two more months of continuous work, I have 112 articles (or over 1,300 separate files) up on the web.

This has been my routine day after day for the past four months - sitting at the computer in my upstairs office while feeding articles into “Google translate”. The English-language version goes into the software and translations in Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish, Polish, Dutch, and Russian come out. They all are posted on with language links at the bottom.

the routine of creating Dreamweaver files

The procedure for each article is the following: Over the years, I assembled a large collection of articles in the six European languages at To expand the collection to other languages, I would first copy the entire English-language text of an article that appears at to my ongoing collection of texts (currently under the word processing file 4-1-17, which is the approximate date when I started this file).

Then I would go to the Dreamweaver file for the same article and click on “code” (under source code) at the upper left. I would copy the text under “title”, “description”, and “keywords” and add this at the bottom to what I had previously copied. Now I would have an English-language version of the article ready to be translated into other languages.

To do that, I would first open the “Google translate” software on the web. (Click on the Safari button and type in “translate”. Because this has been done so many times, the translation software should come up immediately. “English” is highlighted at the left. At the right are the names of three languages just left of the blue “translate” button.)

Because the software has limited capacity to translate text - around 12 paragraphs of text - I would copy a manageable amount of text into the Google translate page at the left and, on the right, the translated text would appear. I would copy this text by highlighting it and then copying it under the “edit”-”copy” feature at the upper left. Then I would paste the copied text on a recently created (and probably untitled) word processing file. That would take care of one of the languages.

I would do the same with the other five languages - e.g., Indonesian, Turkish, Polish, Dutch, and Russian - for the same text. Then I would see where the translated material cut off (usually in the middle of a paragraph). I would then undertake another round of translations in the six different languages, and so on under the entire text of the article was translated.

After I had the translated texts for an article in a word-processing file, I would create new Dreamweaver files for the texts. I would already have files for this article in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian. To create files for the six new languages, I would open up the English-language Dreamweaver file and then go to “file” and “save as”. There would be a box marked “save as” at the top whose name would be highlighted.

To create a new file, I would simply add a new letter at the end of the file name. For instance, the file named “checkpointcharlie” has twelve file names for the different languages - checkpointcharlieb, checkpointcharliec, checkpointcharlied, etc. The “b” suffix is for French, “c” for Spanish, “d” for German, “e” for Portuguese, “f” for Italian, “g” for simplified Chinese, “h” for Indonesian, “i” for Turkish, “j” for Polish, “k” for Dutch, and “l” for Russian. The English-language file has no suffix.

Now I would have both the files for the translated text and the text itself on a word-processing file. To create the Dreamweaver files, simply copy and paste the text from the word-processing file into the appropriate places in the Dreamweaver file. For all files, I would have a link to a Dreamweaver page for groups of files (both at the top and bottom), a title for the article, the article’s text, a collection of links to other languages (under “click for a translation into”), and a dated copyright notice at the bottom. Additionally, I would insert information for “code”, “description”, and “keywords” in the appropriate places under “code”. Now I would have a completed file in the desired foreign language.

The next step would be to insert pertinent information about this article in its summary file under Each article would have a line on the summary page which would include (1) the article’s title, (2) its subtitle in somewhat smaller text, (3) the year when the article was created, (4) its word count, (5) name of its file, and (6)the number of languages into which the article has been translated.

In this case, the “checkpointcharlie” article would go into the “storyteller” file. The line would read: “Farewell Checkpoint Charlie - Bill McGaughey returns to Germany after a 28-year absence (1990) 1,991 words www.checkpointcharlie.html - 6 languages”, which would be the fifth item on the list.

A final step would be to create the language links at the bottom of the “checkpointcharlie” file to each of the other eleven languages. This is a fairly time-consuming process. I would first copy the names of the links from a master file to the appropriate place on the page. Then, for each language, I would highlight the name of a language and go to “modify” and “add link” This would lead to a list of all the Dreamweaver files. I would go to the “checkpointcharlie” file in the desired language and click on the “open” button at the lower right. That would create the desired connection to the file in the named language. For each article, I would have to do this eleven times.

In any event, the end product would be a new set of pages for the article in question - e.g., checkpointcharlie.html - in the non-English languages. I kept doing this for articles already on file under until I had over 100 articles each in 12 different languages. This work took the better part of four months - January through April (or the middle of May), 2017.

the backdrop of my present life

Let’s get back to the subject of mental illness (or decline). As I said before, my life changed drastically in the second half of last year (2016). I was well enough to go to a conference in Europe by myself and visit friends there in August 2016. Then, after returning home, something happened to me.

I remember little of events that took place in September and October 2016 except that I was on medications prescribed by doctors at Hennepin County Medical Center - warfarin and metformin, in particular. My theory is that those drugs messed me up mentally. If I did not previously have dementia, I did afterwards.

If you look at me now, you can tell that something is amiss. My face is continually covered with a stubble of beard. I have not had a haircut in six months - maybe longer. My lips are always tingling - a byproduct of medication prescriptions from months ago. I no longer drive a car. My check register is no longer maintained. I keep little cash in my wallet.

Most household responsibilities are left to my wife. For instance, I had literally no part in preparing and filing this year’s tax return. I do not prepare my own meals. Other than working at the computer, my main activity is to sit in a rocking chair in front of the television set downstairs. Do do, the dog, is my principal companion. Right now, he’s lying on the floor next to the table where I work. Along with a cat, he sleeps in my bed at night.

What can I say? My life may be headed toward terminal decline with my wife having to pick up the pieces. She wants to go to Milford (Pennsylvania) for several weeks - perhaps as early as this month. I am still focused on expanding my collection of website materials. What will I do after that activity stops?

(I have asked Mark Stanley to help me with the creation of ads to go on the websites and with software to measure traffic to the sites. At some point, I may get serious about submitting to search engines in the twelve languages. Somehow, I think it is remarkable to have created such a large and diverse set of writings for the internet, potentially reaching half the earth’s population. At this point, however, the benefits of this project elude me.)

There were many things that I wished to say in this article but I have forgotten most of them. On the positive side, I now have continuity of remembered experience going back at least to last year’s national election. On the negative side, I have forgotten much of what I wished to say. My frantic effort to preserve writings on the internet may reflect that fear.

Day to day, I am not unhappy. It’s just that I have been at this website production/translation for so long that I do not know what I will do with the rest of my life when it’s done.

 Click for a translation into:

French - Spanish - German - Portuguese - Italian

Chinese - Indonesian - Turkish - Polish - Dutch - Russian