White Trash Talk


The American language spoken by so few people you’ve likely never heard of it: Boontling, used by men in a remote California logging town, is being kept alive by just 12 speakers – 140 years after it was first devised
Boontling is a language specific to Boonville, California and was first said to have been spoken in the 1870s
It is a combination of English, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic and Pomoan Indian
Rumored to have originated from efforts to keep adult business out of children’s earshot – as well as the town’s attempt to hide their disdain for a visiting pregnant woman
The language supported the agrarian lifestyle of Anderson Valley
Only 12 people speak the language today including Wes ‘Deacon’ Smoot and Rod ‘Tubbs’ Dewitt, aged 84 and 59
There are roughly 1600 words spoken in Boontling but anyone in the town can come up with a new word as long as it is vetted by other speakers.

Comment: You see, anyone can come up with a conlang, “even” redneck crackers. Note the vetting process.

Navajo Code Talker


Obituary • Yazhe served in the Marines during Guam and Okinawa campaigns.
Ernest Yazhe, part of the famed Navajo Code Talkers who joined the U.S. Marine Corps and relayed messages during World War II, died Tuesday at a hospice in Holladay. He was 92.

Yazhe, who was a longtime Sandy resident, died from renal failure, said his daughter Melissa Yazhe.

The Code Talkers, as they came to be known, began with 29 recruits who joined the Marines in the spring of 1942. Yazhe enlisted in September 1942, at age 19, shortly after his graduation from the Albuquerque Indian School. An older brother, Harrison Yazhe, also joined the Marines and became a Code Talker. He died in 2004.

Yazhe served in the Guam and Okinawa campaigns. With radios, the Code Talkers would relay battlefield messages in their native language, frustrating the Japanese who monitored the communications.

In a 2013 video produced by the Utah National Guard, Yazhe described hearing the Japanese utter the words “Code Talkers” as the Japanese discussed on the radio the transmissions they were hearing.

The Japanese were “sorry that they couldn’t understand it,” Yazhe said in the video.

While the two Yazhe Code Talkers survived the war, another brother, U.S. Army Pfc. Silas Yazzie, died in combat in Italy in 1944.

The Marines discharged Yazhe in 1946 with the rank of corporal. Melissa Yazhe on Thursday said her father seldom participated in Code Talker reunions or celebrations, but in 2001 traveled to Window Rock, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation for a ceremony presenting Code Talkers with the Congressional Silver Medal.

In 2011, Ernest and Harrison Yazhe’s names appeared in the Congressional record on the list of about 300 Code Talkers confirmed by the Marines.

Ernest Yazhe was born May 5, 1923, in Naschitti, N.M., on the Navajo reservation to Taneezahni Yazhi and Nannebah Belle Yazhi. He had no middle name. Family on Thursday said that at some point, the surnames of all the couple’s children were written down phonetically by either school staff or the military, leaving them with different spellings than their parents.

Robert S. McPherson, a professor of history at Utah State University’s Blanding campus and who has published a book on the Code Talkers, said Thursday that the Code Talkers program was top secret. Yazhe would not have known what he was signing up for.

“He just knew that he was joining the Marines,” McPherson said.

In 1943, Yazhe and other Marines departed San Diego by ship and went to training at New Caledonia, a Pacific island east of Australia. His first combat was in Guam, a three-week campaign that began in July 1944.

Then, on April 1, 1945, Yazhe and other Marines landed in Okinawa, Japan, for a 10-week campaign.

Joel Frank, one of Yazhe’s sons-in-law, said that after the war, Yazhe did not offer any specifics of the combat he experienced, except that he had served on the front lines and under fire. Most of Yazhe’s seven children were teenagers before they knew what he did during the war. Frank attributed Yazhe’s silence, in part, to how the Code Talkers program remained classified until 1968.

“He just kind of put it in the back of his mind and he never talked about it,” Frank said.

After Japan surrendered, Yazhe was sent to China to help repatriate Japanese prisoners of war there, Frank said.

After his discharge, Yazhe went to work for the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City. There, he met Katie Trujillo, whom he married.

In 1948, Yazhe went to work at Kennecott Mining Corp., which operates Kennecott Utah Copper. He worked there in various positions for 38 years.

Yazhe’s wife died in 2007. One son, Gary Yazhe, died in 2010.

Besides Melissa Yazhe, survivors include three other daughters, Maxine K. Mountainlion, Marcia A. Picklesimer and Maureen Frank; two sons, Ernest J. and Kevin J. Yazhe; two brothers, Herbert Yahze, of Gallup, N.M., and Albert Yahze, of Farmington, N.M.; and four sisters Marie Begay, Evelyn Billy, Helen Begay, all of Naschitti, and Clara Waska.

Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Evans & Early Mortuary, 574 E. 100 South in Salt Lake City. Services and interment will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Utah Veterans Cemetery, 17111 S. Camp Williams Road in Bluffdale.


Twitter: @natecarlisle

A (Brief) History of Encryption


When talking about encryption, it’s important to make the distinction that all modern encryption technology is derived from cryptography. Cryptography, is – at its core – the act of creating and (attempting to) decipher a code. While electronic encryption is relatively new in the grander scheme of things, cryptography is a science that dates back to ancient Greece.

The Greeks were the first society credited with using cryptography in order to hide sensitive data in the form of written word, from the eyes of their enemies, and the general public. They used a very primitive method of cryptography that relied on use of the scytale as a tool to create a transposition cipher (answer key) to decode encrypted messages. The scytale is a cylinder used to wrap parchment around in order to decipher the code. When the two sides communicating used a cylinder of the same thickness, the parchment would display the message when read left to right. When the parchment was unrolled, it would appear as a long, thin piece of parchment with seemingly random numbers and letters. So, while un-rolled it may seem to be compete gibberish, when rolled on to the scytale it would look more like this:


The Greeks weren’t alone in developing primitive cryptography methods. The Romans followed suit by introducing what came to be known as “Caesar’s cipher,” a substitution cipher that involved substituting a letter for another letter shifted further down the alphabet. For example, if the key involved a right shift of three, the letter A would become D, the letter B would be E, and so on.

Other examples that were considered breakthroughs of their time were:

  • The Polybius square: Another cryptographic breakthrough from ancient Greece relies on a 5 x 5 grid that starts with the letter “A” in the top left and “Z” in the bottom right (“I” and “J” share a square). The numbers 1 through 5 appear both horizontally and vertically atop the top row of letters and to the far left. The code relies on giving a number and then locating it on the grid. For example, “Ball” would be 12, 11, 31, 31.
  • Enigma machine: The Enigma machine is a WWII technology known as an electro-mechanical rotor cipher machine. This device looked like an oversized typewriter and allowed operators to type in plaintext, while the machine encrypted the message and sent it to another unit. The receiver writes down the random string of encrypted letters after they lit up on the receiving machine and broke the code after setting up the original pattern from the sender on his machine.
  • Data Encryption Standard: The Data Encryption Standard (DES) was the first modern symmetric key algorithm used for encryption of digital data. Developed in the 1970s at IBM, DES became the Federal Information Processing Standard for the United States in 1977 and became the foundation for which modern encryption technologies were built.