Long Spans
May 27, 2010, 04:55 PM
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After my father got an x-ray in early 2010, it struck me as interesting that his father had been present at the creation in 1895 of the x-ray machine, 115 years before. My teenage grandfather worked as a delivery boy for a lens company in Germany in the 1890s, and one of his customers was the physicist Roentgen, who won the second physics Nobel Prize in 1902 for his great invention (which used glass plates my grandfather had lugged in).

Not surprisingly, my grandfather later became an x-ray machine salesman, introducing the device to hospitals in China and South America on long, profitable trips in the 1920s. He developed an long-lasting ulcer on the back of his hand from all the hours he held it in x-ray machines with the power blasting during his demonstrations for doctors. Surprisingly, he lived in fine health until 1965.

I thought of that when reading this week that in the Vulcan Society fireman's disparate impact case, to crack down on the bad boys who gave 343 lives on 9/11, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis has appointed as "special master" of the Fire Department of New York the former NYC district attorney Robert Morgenthau. (The very old first DA during early years of Law & Order was modeled on Morgenthau.)

Morgenthau is 90.

Morgenthau's father, Henry Morgenthau Jr., became FDR's Secretary of the Treasury in 1934, a mere 74 years ago. His grandfather, Henry Morgenthau Sr., was U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.