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Letters to the Editor, November 2005


This a traditional letter column. You are encouraged to write a letter of comment on anything that you find worthy of comment. It will (may) be published in this column along with my reply. As editor I reserve the right to delete material; however I will not alter the undeleted material. E-mail to me that solely references the contents of this site will be assumed to be publishable mail. All other e-mail is assumed to be private. And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication. Oh yes, letters of appreciation for the scholarly resources provided by this site will be handled very discreetly. This page contains the correspondence for November 2005.

Some of it is a little ancient; I'm slowly catching up - very slowly.

Index of contributors

Other Correspondence Pages


From: Peter Neilson
Date: 10/30/2005
Subj: flynnd >> flynndlog &

ADMIN NOTE flynnd has been down for repairs recently.
ADMIN NOTE On Sunday the meatware portion of flynnd was
ADMIN NOTE kicked by a horse and the excessive time flux
ADMIN NOTE thus generated restarted flynnd inadvertently.
ADMIN NOTE The results follow.

URL: http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/2003/elementary.html
Paragraph $-2 for poitn substitute point.
Paragraph $-2 for Howe substitute How.
Paragraph $-3 for "ata all" substitute "at all".

URL: http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/2004/tmwfh.html
Paragraph 1 for Well's substitute Wells' or Wells's

URL: http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_d/cri/1997/riding.html
Leslie's Story paragraph 4 for someon substitute someone.
Darkest Carlisle paragraph 4 for friends substitute friend's.

Corrections duly noted and will be attended to. However I will have to check to make sure that "someon" is not someone's name.

I hope that the meatware component is successfully undergoing spontaneous repair.

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From: Margo
Date: 11/8/2005
Subj: "How old is Grandma?" puzzle

I'm not sure about any of the others, but at least three items listed are inaccurate for the year given (1947):

1) Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1929, although still almost nonexistent during World War II - there was so little available that it was reserved for military use (although the US supplied Great Britain with as much as it possibly could before Pearl Harbor). It was credited with giving us an unbelievable (til then) survival rate of 96% of the wounded - before this, post-wounding infection caused most of the deaths during any war.

2) Baby boomers are generally considered to be any child born 9 months or more after our soldiers started returning home from the war, ie, the beginning of 1946.

3) Although I don't remembetr the exact year, air conditioning was invented before World War II, although it was used in commercial buildings for years before it was available for homeowners. One of the big reasons summer was the blockbuster season for films in the early years was because of the air conditioning - quite often, the cold, refreshing air - was advertised as much as, or more than, the film being shown at the time.

So, based just on the penicillin, she must have been born in 1929 at the very earliest (in the months before penicillin was discovered.) I also believe autos were more expensive, AND affordable, by the post-war era. Possibly the original quiz had the year 1927 listed, rather than 1947.

Fascinating collection, though, for most of the younger people today, who have no idea how many of the things we take for granted are actually very recent. I was born in 1956, and know that many of the items listed are from MY lifetime.

Thanks for the collection, though - again, very interesting. Maybe someone out there knows when some of the other earlier events occurred, or things were invented.

Many thanks for the comments. The truth is that I received it in email and don't feel like changing it. That said, I will none-the-less defend the puzzle.

As to point one, the puzzle distinguishes between "I was born before" and "Man had not invented". I think it is fair to take the former as specifying things that were not generally available in the culture before she was born. Much the same is true of television, which was invented well before the war.

As to point two, the puzzle does not mention baby boomers.

As to point three, air conditioning was indeed available in the the thirties. However *air conditioners*, i.e. air conditioning machines installable in a home were a post-war phenomena. Sans definite information to the contrary, my position is that the air-conditioner was a post war invention. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Be all of that as it may, it is quite startling how much the world has changed in a few decades. I have on file a list of things that have always been true in the lifetime of an entering college student, e.g., no one has ever walked on the moon in their lifetime.

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From: Ronald Bashian
Date: 11/10/2005
Subj: CS Lewis - Beatific and Miserific Vision

Dear Richard ( ? ),

I am a Christian and am trying to find the full quotation from ( ? ) Perelandra, which begins:

, "As there is one Face above all worlds which merely to see is irrevocable joy, so at the bottom of all worlds that face is waiting whose sight alone is the misery from which none who beholds it can recover. And though there seemed to be, and indeed were, a thousand roads by which a man could walk through the world, there was not a single one which did not lead sooner or later either to the Beatific or the Miserific Vision."
I had thought that the quote had a final, rather chilling, conclusion - each person claiming the soul as "Mine,....mine."
I wouldn't put it that way. Lewis is saying God and Satan are too strong for us; we are helpless to do else but accede before them. It is we who choose the path that leads to the vision to which we must surrender. But yes, God and Satan each claim the soul for eternity.
Do you have the entire quote, with context both before and after it? And can you give me a reference from a particular version of Perelandra.
The passage in question occurs early in chapter 9 of Perelandra. In the recent Scribner paperback edition it is on page 96. In the earlier MacMillan paperback edition is on page 111.

The general context is that Ransom has come across Weston (the UnMan possessed by a demon) disfiguring a frog like creature. There are a series of passages about Weston's face. The first of these is that while Weston is rapt in his pastime his face is that of a dead man. Then Weston turns and smiles at Ransom with a literally devilish smile. Ransom stumbles and falls; as he lies there he reflects:

...
As he lay there, still unable and perhaps unwilling to rise, it came into his mind that in certain old philosophers and poets he had read that the mere sight of the devils was one of the greatest torments of Hell. It had seemed to him now merely a quaint fancy. And yet (as he now saw) even the children knew better: no child would have any difficulty in understanding that there might be a face the mere beholding of which was final calamity. The children, the poets, and the philosophers were right. As there is one Face above all worlds merely to see which is irrevocable joy, so at the bottom of all worlds that face is waiting whose sight alone is the misery from which none who beholds it can recover. And though there seemed to be, and indeed were, a thousand roads by which a man could walk through the world, there was not a single one which did not lead sooner or later either to the Beatific or the Miserific Vision. He himself had, of course, seen only a mask of faint adumbration of it; even so, he was not quite sure that he would live.
Incidentally, the source of your quotation seemingly unconsciously "improved" Lewis's text. In the original the phrasing is "worlds merely to see which" whereas in the passage you quote the phrasing is "worlds which merely to see". A search on the web turns up both phrasings. Thus www.christian.org quotes Lewis incorrectly, whereas www.discover.org and www.catholiceducation.org get it right.

Personally I think the "improvement" is better English; the phrasing in question is one of Lewis's rare bits of awkward writing.

By the way, if you want to read something REALLY SCARY, try That Hideous Planet.
Perhaps you mean "That Hideous Strength".
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From: Bill Davy
Date: 11/10/2005
Subj: In the fields of Hell where the grass grows high

In the fields of Hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die.

Is much used in signature and I was pleased to find the source. Nice poem.
Thanks

Thanks for the kind words. I suppose the lines speak to everyone at some time or another.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 10/30/2005
Subj: meeting your quota

We have noticed that your quota for the month has been exceeded. Clearly this must stop, because you are giving the rest of us a bad name. Details are at:

http://home.earthlink.net/overquota.html

Yessir, Yessir, I'll do my best, Sir. Alas and alack, my best so often is failure. All too often professors include pages of mine as reference material in their courses. No doubt they do it for malign reasons, but there it is. All too often national publications link to some of my weirder jokes in a desperate effort to pad out their amusements. Search engines place some of my pages far too high in the sort of searches performed by the perverted. I respond to these invasions by regularly lowering the quality and even the sanity of my pages, but still they come.

You might think that I should try the opposite course and instead raise the quality and sanity of my pages. It is well thought, Sir, but the sad truth is that such a course is quite beyond me.

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From: Lois Harter
Date: 10/27/2005
Subj: Mr. Popularity

Wow ... my brother the cyber star. Tried to check your web page and got:

Sorry...Page Temporarily Unavailable

The Web page or file that you requested is temporarily unavailable. It has been so popular this month that it exceeded its free monthly traffic allotment. Access to this Web site will be restored on the first of next month. Please come back then.

Thank you for your visit!

Well you should be impressed. I'm not quite sure what is going on other than its the first couple months of college. Oh yes, people seem to be preparing for Halloween. The kitty litter cake page had 3944 hits before the plug was pulled and the whole stuffed camel page had an additional 2350 hits. Then there is a joke page entitled "Big Tits" that had 2467 hits; I have no notion why that one was popular.

It's flattering to be popular but it's a real pain in the ass.

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From: Mary Palomar
Date: 10/23/2005
Subj: candidate for 2005 Darwin Awards

In the spirit of the Darwins is quite a story from Seattle: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/245104_horseplay19.html

Thanks muchly. The unnamed victim certainly is Darwin Awards material, although given his proclivities he made not have successfully bred in any case.
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From: ADE OLU
Date: 10/12/2005
Subj: MAIL ORDER

Hello Sales,
This is ADE OLU here. I would like to make an order enquiry from your store but before we can proceed i would like to ask if you can ship internationally to my BRANCH OFFICE in Lagos State Nigeria. Also, i would like to know if you accept creditcards of Visa & MasterCard. I would like you to advice back asap if you accept creditcard and you can ship to my Branch Office, lagos State, Nigeria.

If you accept all the informations listed below do get back to me with your website and contact phone number for further consultment. I await your response asap.

Thanks
ADE OLU
+2348025854163

Regrettably we don't have anything for sale. Everything we distribute is free and overpriced. We do take Visa cards but only in batch lots of 500 or more. Please remit immediately, but remember that we do not pay shipping.
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From: eBay Member
Date: 10/9/2005
Subj: Question From eBay Member

se fotou

No hablo klingon.
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From: Richard Harter
Date: 10/23/2005
Subj: Name

Richard - you have my name.

Best regards, Richard L. Harter, CPM, CSM, CRES
President / CEO
M/DRP Marketing Services

So I do. I'll take good care of it. After all it is one of the very best of names.
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From: Connie Delcourt
Date: 10/23/2005
Subj: Survivor Show

I have a great idea for a show you could do. Who do I see about it?

I have bad news for you; I have nothing to do with the survivor show. Try CBS.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 10/26/2005
Subj: More creationist religion

Others have joined the growing Creationist bandwagon. Check out http://www.venganza.org/index.htm

Very amusing. As it chances it is cross connected to the Science Creative Quarterly (see the prize of 1000 Ramen packets) created by our very own Dave Ng who has reprinted articles written by yours truly.

It may be that Highmore is a hotbed of Pastafarians since the school sports teams are the Highmore Pirates. It may be so, though I hadn't noticed any evidence of them. In any event I shall give the Flying Spaghetti Monster all of the respect that He (It?) deserves.

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From: Mike Z
Date: 10/23/2005
Subj: the death of Science fiction

It is interesting to see, in this context, stories like Night Land

http://www.thenightland.co.uk/nightwhatis.html

based on woefully incorrect models of the universe that were current are the time.

The primarly conjecture is a world ten million years in the future where the sun has burned itself out. This is a world view ignorant of nuclear fusion.

It was an inevitable ignorance for a book written in 1912. I do thank you for calling my attention to "The Night Land".
Stories like jules vernes's novels often survive because they were accurate in their prescience.

similar in this regard, from the other side of the coin, are theosophical maps of the earth, showing the history of the Earth and Atlantis, drawn before the knowledge of Tectonic plates

http://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/soa/soamap.htm

interesting to look at, a curiosity, but badly badly wrong.

It's hard to believe that there are still theosophists but it seems it is so. Thank you for these curiosities.
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This page was last updated November 15, 2005.
It was reformatted and moved August 6, 2007

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