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Letters to the Editor, September 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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 September 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: 9/29/2005
Subj: Hate

Harter, I hate to do this to you. Years of instruction from one of the finest proofreaders and perfectionists on the Planet were insufficient to correct your erroneous tendencies. Now he is gone, and it's all up to you and me.

Piffle. I don't believe at all that you hate to do this to me. Still it is a far better thing you do than you ... never mind, scratch that. We certainly don't want to go there. It seems we have a partnership here; I make the mistakes and you correct them. All will bear witness that I do my part.
I sent you a note in which I referred to your article, "Warped Food From Warped Minds." No matter that I substituted "for" for "from" in my note. YOU made a link to the article when you posted my note in your lettercol. As happens too commonly on your website (and indeed on many other websites) the link was broken.

You wrote:
Subj: <a href="http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1998/warped.html">Insufficiently warped</a>

You intended:
Subj: <a href="http://richardhartersworld.com/cri./1998/warpfood.html">Insufficiently warped</a>

Oops. Fortunately the official record will show no such error.
Likely you were using emacs as your text editor, and fell afoul of M-/ dabbrev-expand that causes text completion.
My lawyer says that I should not comment on that suggestion.
By the way, the suggestion of Chocolate Ice Cream over Grits that appears in the originally-referenced article sounds pretty good to me. Perhaps I've been living in the pleasant South for too long.
Definitely. BTW, Our Lady of the Large Black Dog says she likes Jalapeno Cornbread. Her taste in this matter is not be questioned. I certainly don't plan to.
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From: rex bryant
Date: 10/19/2035
Subj: richard harters world_borzoi story

I just read your story called the lady with the Borzois. I found it while on a search for a 'rescue' Borzoi. thank you for posting it. It was very nice to read and struck several cords in my somewhat hap hazard life. You can never go home again, they say. It was nice to read that sometimes as least some one gets to at least visit.

I may be prejudiced but I think it is a very nice read also. I should write more stories like that.
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From: Bridget
Date: 10/19/2035
Subj: Richard, my darling....

Your links need mending...almost all are broken...
Signed,
A concerned Rabber.

Ouch. What links are we talking about here? The internal ones should all be good with a few exceptions that Peter Neilson insists on bringing up. I won't vouch for the external ones - it's been a couple of years since I've checked them. Do you remember where you were looking when everything turned to mush?

It's good to see you posting in rab again. I've mostly been quiet there of late but I follow it regularly.

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From: Chip Hitchcock
Date: 9/19/2005
Subj: re "The Ugly American in France"

A shortage of Scotch (in the event of an invasion) would be a blow to the British economy. The Glenfiddich tour guide told us that their biggest export market was France (despite the larger population and huge amount of advertising in this country); they believe it's because large numbers of British tourists take advantage of the lower duty (~33% vs ~67%) on hard liquor in France.

Chortle. I knew that tunnel under the channel would be good for something, if only to assist the British to drink good Scotch.

... continued on next rock ...

Good Scotch? Maybe better than commercial named blends -- but IMO Glenfiddich is a pale imitation of real single-malt, weakened (almost like US mass-market beer) to be minimally-offensive rather than interesting.

Mea culpa. I had quite forgotten that Scotch is a cult thing. I never quite got into Scotch; the names of the various single-malt sScotch all sound the same to me - they all seem to have a deplorable excess of consonants. It's another instance of the "You round eyes all look the same" syndrome.

... continued on next rock ...

How many vowels do you need? ("How many costumes do you think I can pack?!?") If Lagavulin or Laphroiag isn't enough, you could start your own distillery on Hawaii, becoming (as in _A Flea in Her Ear_) "a man with nothing to offer but vowels". (76e6 liters last year) that they have their own bottling line, where all the others contract out bottling to Lowlanders.) --

In names like Laphroiag some of the purported vowels end up being consonants. Don't ask me how it is done. Such words cannot be properly pronounced if one has had one's tonsils out.

Be that as it may, there is much to be said for starting a distillery on Hawaii. I wonder if you can make pineapple beer.

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From: Philippe-André Lorin
Date: 9/18/2005
Subj: The Cold Equations

I have read your study of The Cold Equations (http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1999/coldeq.html), and found it enlightening. You did change my mind on that story; you may think that your critique was obvious, but it wasn't to me. Still, I think that one point is not made clear enough, as some of the reactions you included in appendix III seem to show.

Actually the reactions in appendix III were to an earlier version of the study and occurred in a long and extended discussion of the story by many parties. The intent of the appendix is to illustrate different attitudes.
The precise wording of the indictment: "UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL KEEP OUT!", is crucial to the flaw of the story. It is abnormally uninformative about the consequences of trespassing and their justification. It's just a warning. Such a warning anybody would ignore if they had some very good reasons to embark. As you said, "if the sign were sufficient there would be no stowaways".

I think that this wording is *not plausible*. But had the indictment included proper information like "STOWAWAYS WILL SYSTEMATICALLY BE KILLED. NO EXCEPTIONS.", the girl could have been deemed stupid, and responsible for her own death. This shows clearly that the moral the author wanted is not "stupid people die in space"; and it also makes your point much clearer: responsibility lies on the shoulders of the people who designed or chose the sign (or, more generally, the safety measures).

Most people who read the moral as "stupid people die in space" have a fundamental problem with understanding the differences between stupidity, ignorance, and incompetence.
I also feel that you do not state explicitly enough that you defend the thesis (please correct me if I've misunderstood) that some people are (at least partly) responsible for the death of the girl, as opposed to the author defending the thesis that nobody has any responsibilty; nobody screwed up; nobody was stupid -- that we cannot prevent such stories from happening.
Responsibility is a complex issue. Clearly (and I opine that it is clear in the indictment) the bureaucracy, the people who composed those atrocious regulations, bears a large responsibility. When one comes to placing blame on individual people matters are different because people's moral vision is limited and shaped by the society that they live in. The bureaucrats weren't stupid, and they weren't venial; they were morally asleep. This is normal; most of us are moral sleepwalkers. In the article I wrote:
This, then, is a society which puts a low value on human life. It is not without humanitarian concern but its actions, regardless of proclaimed intent or self belief, are callous. To avoid killing is too much bother when a problem can be solved with a blaster.
This, I think, is the normal state of mind of bureaucracy. It is what happens when there isn't effective expression of moral outrage. As an analogous situation, consider the utility companies that would turn off power to people in the middle of winter because of unpaid bills. People froze to death. Were the companies responsible for those deaths? The companies said no; after all the people could have paid their bills, and, anyway, the companies had responsibilities to their shareholders. Many were outraged by the perceived callousness and in due course laws were passed that forbade utility companies from turning off power in winter. One can argue about the merits of such laws, of course, but it remains that people aren't freezing to death because their power was turned.

In societies where there is no effective expression of moral outrage almost anything can become acceptable in time.

I just thought this might be worth mentionning. Anyway, thank you for having taken the time to expose in detail your very interesting view of that story, and put it for free on the web.
Thank you for your thought provoking comments.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 9/16/2005
Subj: Humor ?

Q. What is President Bush's position on Roe v. Wade?

A. People should leave New Orleans however they can.

Shame, Lewis, shame.
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From: wwwww
Date: 10/17/2035
Subj: criWho are you

criWho are you

I'm Richard Harter. At least my mother thought I was and she was never wrong about such things. If you are a real human being I suspect you got some spam that forged my email address. It wasn't from me.

On the other hand somebody in July sent me the same message with the same subject line. If you're harvesting email addresses go ahead - I must be on a million lists already.

[Judging from the date wwwww is using time-travelling email. I have much to having looked forward to.]

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From: Chip Hitchcock
Date: 9/15/2005
Subj: July correspondence; Grandma et al.

The antecedent to my 18 July email, asking how Grandma could have been born in 1947 when air conditioning was widespread in movie theaters in the 1930's, seems to have gone south. What \was/ your answer? (Feel free to say "I'm moving it to humor"; that's where a lot of those things-were-better-in-my-time stories belong....)

I think that if you check you will find said antecedent in the July letter column, courtesy of Winston Smith. Although your objections were correct in fact, they missed the essence of the matter - things like air-conditioning, penicillin, television, et cetera, existed in 1947 but they were not part of ordinary life.
wrt the June discussion of evolving a chess-playing program: do you remember an early Berserker story (reprinted in Best of If #1) in which somebody created a mechanically-evolving process to play a simplified form of checkers? Each position was printed on a box, along with possible moves that matched colored beads to be drawn from the box; the beads were tossed after a losing game and put back after a winning one.
I don't recall the story; there have been so many berserker stories. Be that as it may, it wouldn't work - even for a simplified version of checkers the game tree is huge. However the scheme does work for simpler games such as tic-tac-toe.

... continued on next rock ...

re: July letter col and Winston Smith

You should get something done about that hole in your cheek; a piece of tongue is sticking through.

This would be a case of having a sacred cheek?
re: Grandma

What makes you pick 1947 in particular? A/C may not have been in homes, but it was part of ordinary life (since moviegoing was); television wasn't common until a few years later, etc.

It was one of those things that circulate - I just reformatted it a bit. However 1947 is a very good date; it is on the boundary between the prewar WWII world and the postwar world. As far as changes in everyday life go, nothing much happened during the depression and WWII. Ordinary life (in the USA) changed in major respects in the period 1947-1965, which would be the years that our hypothetical grandmother was growing up.
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From: Dale S. Arnold
Date: 9/12/2005
Subj: Not a good day

Perhaps you could link to the Baltimore Science Fiction Society web site at www.bsfs.org and help us share our resource pages about science fiction with a greater audience? Thanks for considering the idea.

Of course. I will add a link almost immediately.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/13/2005
Subj: 2001 Darwins paged

Location of errors:
http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/pages/pages2001.html

Nature of errors:
pages not missing

Erroneous links:
http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/pages/darwin/darwin00b.html
http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/pages/darwin/darwin00a.html

Correct values:
http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/darwin/darwin00a.html
http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/darwin/darwin00b.html

Why me? Why does it fall upon ME to find and report these verdammte fehler?

Just lucky, I guess.
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From: Trent B. G. Marvin, PE
Date: 9/12/2005
Subj: HTML Item on CDC UPDATE

Reference: http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/2001/update81.html

I offer the following observed typos for your correction - Search on:
	"labelled"
	"PL's"  suggest "PLs"
	"... single sie operation ..."
	"Case Study: Prgram Management in System A"
	"Acknowledgements"
I used CDC UPDATE when a FORTRAN-er, and found it very useful. Are you aware of a version or an equivalent product available for the PC world?
Thanks for the corrections. For a while there was a rewrite of CDC UPDATE for the Primos operating system. I suppose it is long gone along with Primos.

The product I created (TrueChange, available from McCabe) runs on unix variants, Vax VMS, and IBM MVS. It was inspired by CDC UPDATE. When I left the company there wasn't a PC version; they may have developed a PC version since then but I haven't heard about it if they have.

There are quite a few version control and configuration management products, both proprietary and open source, that run on the PC. None, in my opinion, is quite as nice as CDC UPDATE, though it must be said that CDC UPDATE was tailored for Fortran and the mainframe environment. If you're searching for a product you might start at http://www.cmtoday.com/ .

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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/12/2005
Subj: Not a good day

On a former rock I chiseled these words:

"Some day I may write to you further, describing how I occasionally provide instruction to baboons."

You suggested,

"Do. Many of my readers seem to be baboons."
Ever try substitute teaching at the local high school? It doesn't help if you know the subject matter better than the teacher you're subbing for. It's basically a sales job, so you gotta know your customers. The customers are baboons.

Maybe that's not fair. They are actually young men and women who are there to improve themselves with education. They just act like baboons, look like baboons, behave like baboons.

No, no, no. The mind is a terrible thing. Wasted or not, it can play tricks on you, make things appear other than they are. My mind makes the students appear to be baboons.

Polite, well mannered, and education-minded students would not throw chalk and spitballs. They would not carry on whispered conversations. They would not carry a hidden cell phone and continually ring the phone on the teacher's desk. They would not try to play Fool The Substitute. Those students, if I ever happened to meet them, would not resemble baboons.

Next time I say yes to the early-morning telephone robot that harvests the day's substitutes, I'll try to have the presence of mind to bring to school with me a bunch of bananas.

Hmmm. I did put my name in as a possible substitute teacher at the local highschool. As it chances they had teachers and substitute teachers of superlative quality, and they therefore had no need of my services. It's just as well. I dare say that the young would tax me beyond my capabilities. The besides of which they likely wouldn't have let me bring a shotgun loaded with rock salt to class.
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From: Ted Samsel
Date: 9/3/2005
Subj: hadn't seen your pages in a while..

I don't know if I told you this, but for over 20 years (until the early '70s), the State Treasurer of Texas was named Jesse James. He died and was replaced with Warren G Harding. Their signatures were emblazoned on our paychecks.

This is true. But it is a shame that this tradition ended.

Chortle. It seems appropriate for Texas politics. It just occurred to me presidents from Texas all seem to have to have their own war. They also seem to have some dubious elections in their past. I'm not sure what this means, but I opine that the day will come when the State Treasurer of Texas wil be named George Bush.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/9/2005
Subj: Insufficiently warped

Mr. Harter!
In my expedition through your archives I encountered Warped Food for Warped Minds. The Jalapeno Cornbread falls into the category where my mind was not warped enough. Before encountering this evil preparation at a buffet, I had not even imagined that it would exist. I was not prepared for what I ate. I *like* cornbread. It looked like cornbread. I took a big mouthful, probably big enough to have drawn stares from my mother, had she been there. Turns out she needn't have been, because in a moment, *everyone* stared.

The cure for having having eaten food that is too spicy is generally to follow it with a bland and starchy food, like rice or cornbread. Not this time.

I respectfully request that if you invent a web-page time warp for warped minds, that you grant me the privilege of viewing a cautionary web page back around 1976 or whenever it was that I encountered Jalapeno Cornbread. If you would like, I could sketch out some XML defining the time warp. We could submit it as an RFC. Because you seem to be good at selecting the algorithms for software, I'll leave the fussy details of actual implementation to you.

PS: Did you ever try my recipe for Tire Iron Casserole?

I was tired of Tire Iron Casserole afore I tried it.

The difficulty with the time-warp solution is that while it is easy to alter the past it is nearly impossible to alter the present. As it chances I have already set up a number of web-pages that are present in 1976. They mostly have went unread for lack of browsers at that time. They are there, though, and I defy anyone to prove that they are not.

The problem is that even if we export browsers back to 1976 and we instruct your 1976 self as to their use your memories of the horrid incident will remain pristine and unblemished because they are part of the present and not part of the past. Indeed, if I am not reliably misinformed, this has already been done, which leaves you in the unfortunate situation of having unpleasant memories of an event that never happened.

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From: Henning Strandin
Date: 9/11/2005
Subj: A new result

Mr. Harter,

I'm both impressed and delighted to see that your site is not only still up, but regularly updated and growing fast. (I wrote you an email 8 years ago that you were kind enough to publish.)

I also want to tell you that working from your latest mathematical proof, "The sum of all numbers is one," I have derived a new proof, that 1 - 0 = 0! It's surprisingly easy to follow.

Given the associativity and commutativity of addition, removing one member from an added set of integers must of course be equivalent to subtracting the same number from the sum of the set. We will call the set of all integers "N," and the set of all natural numbers except 0 "M." You have demonstrated that the addition of the set N gives the sum 1.

 Sum(M):
    (1 + 2 + (-1) + (-2)) = 0
 + (3 + 4 + (-3) + (-4)) = 0
 + (5 + 6 + (-5) + (-6)) = 0
 + ...
 = 0

 N = {x: x is a integer}
 Sum(N) = 1
 M = N - 0
 Sum(M) = 0
 ----------
 1 - 0 = 0
 
Excellent! Between us we have opened new frontiers in number theory.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/12/2005
Subj: Not a good day

I thought I'd start the morning by relaxing. Instead of playing some stupid computerized card game, I turned my mouse to Mr. Harter's World, circa 1998. After reading about the Judge, I tried an adjacent item, Letters of comment from the viewers (1997). It's purportedly at http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/pages/1997/letter97.html

404. It ain't there.

I tried a best guess, http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1997/letter97.html, and that's better, a pointer to http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_c/letters/1997/letter97.html

Why does relaxing feel so much like work? Should I go out and clean up after the horses instead?

Confess, you enjoy it. I grant that you probably enjoy mucking out the stables more, but moderation dictates that you not spend all of your time doing that which you enjoy most. You should thank me for offering you the opportunity to display your virtue and to establish my many failings.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/12/2005
Subj: 808

Mr. Harter,
If I find two 404 links in one day is that an 808?

It would be indeed.
In your list of pages added in 1999 you refer to your editorial "Just before the millennium" as being at http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/pages/2001/editor.html but instead it is at http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1999/edit014.html
How odd. You must be right - you always are, after all - but it is such an unexpected disorder. The only explanation occurring to me is that there is an impacted man stirring about somewhere. I expect greater disturbances of reality happening shortly.
Clearly the reorganization of your web site (which you promised your readers back in 1999, according to said editorial) has taken a back seat to other pressing matters in South Dakota, whatever they are.

What would one be doing now in South Dakota, I wonder? Hmmm. That's it!! Preparing for Winter!!! The equinox is nearly upon us, and the ice and snow will build up soon, overlayering the Dakotas with a frosty prison from which none will escape until everything melts into a flood. You'll be busy digging root cellars and filling them with, can I guess, roots, and maybe stealing nuts from the squirrels.

I find all my nuts on the internet. Oddly enough the locals are hoping for a severe winter with serious snows. As usual they are desperate for moisture. If you could ship five or ten inches of rain from Ophelia here it would be much appreciated.
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From: 0006
Date: 9/12/2005
Subj: (no subject)

Rar!..
From: "=?iso-2022-jp?B?ODk0?=" <0006@3d2u.cn>
To: "cri@tiac.net"
X-Mailer: Supmailer 9 [cn]

Gesundheit.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/9/2005
Subj: Re: 404

Richard Harter wrote:
> Somebody's head will roll for this.

Ooooh! May I watch?

But of course. With luck you might even participate.
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From: Edward Swift
Date: 9/2/2005
Subj: Reminder: Link exchange with your site http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1999/mengifts.html

Dear Webmaster,

My name is Edward Swift, and I run the web site Want to by unique birthday gifts that are affordable too?:

http://giftscollectiblesmore.com/

The other day I wrote you to let you know I'm very interested in exchanging links. I'm sending this reminder in case you didn't receive my first letter. I've gone ahead and posted a link to your site, on this page:

http://giftscollectiblesmore.com/linkmachine/resources/resources_shopping_2.html

As you know, reciprocal linking benefits both of us by raising our search rankings and generating more traffic to both of our sites. Please post a link to my site as follows:

Title: Want to by unique birthday gifts that are affordable too? URL: http://giftscollectiblesmore.com/ Description: Right now every item on the site is on sale. Over 700 items to choose from.

Once you've posted the link, let me know the URL of the page that it's on, by entering it in this form:

http://giftscollectiblesmore.com/linkmachine/resources/link_exchange.php?ua=_ua9&site_index=MTIwMzA2Nzc%3D

You can also use that form to make changes to the text of the link to your site, if you'd like.

Thank you very much,

Edward Swift

As it chances, my site is thorougly non-commercial, and probably is not the sort of thing that a purchaser of unique birthday gifts should read before having her morning coffee. However your letter (including your link) will appear in my September correspondence column.

Your Obt Svt
Richard Harter

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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 9/8/2005
Subj: Holmes--the Hiatus

Richard,

Alice called my attention to this:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/prof_pangaea/115264.html

Tony

It's quite wonderful, though it took a while to download on a dialup line.

How does she find these things? (Perhaps I shouldn't ask.)

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From: David Gill
Date: 9/2/2005
Subj: Humor section

I have thoroughly enjoyed your electronic magazine. I thought you might enjoy this story and consider it for inclusion in your humor section.

A man owned a small farm in Iowa. The Iowa Wage and Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him. "I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent. "Well, there are my hired hands. One has been with me for four years, the other for three. I pay them each $600 a week, plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 a month plus free room and board. Then there's the half-wit that works here about 18 hours a day. He takes home $10 a week and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every week to keep him going," replied the farmer. "That's the guy I want to talk to, the half-wit," said the agent.

The farmer said, "That would be me."

Thanks. It's an old story (so many are) but it is a good one. I will use it somewhere.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/7/2005
Subj: 404

The Top 16 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife http://richardhartersworld.com/cri_b/pages/1999/wife.html as claimed in the list of pages added in 1998 is not there.

You might think it would be in http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1998/wife.html but it's not.

Instead it's in http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1999/wife.html where its title is The Top 15 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife and where there are indeed only 15 ways listed.

Additionally, the phrase "marrying the wrong woman" has wrong misspelt as rong.

This 'George Flynn imitation' task is getting rather tedious.

I admire your persistence and diligence in identifying these small errors. In the fullness of time my website will be a marvel of precise and accurate scholarship.

Not.

Still, I will attend to this matter almost immediately. BTW, the story you mention was actually moved from 1998 to 1999. The chronicles of history were not adjusted accordingly. Somebody's head will roll for this.

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From: Ted Samsel
Date: 9/3/2005
Subj: hadn't seen your pages in a while..

You're not saying you blog, are you??
You're a cruel man, Ted. I do no such thing. Yecch. I publish an electronic magazine, an entirely different matter.
Just kidding.
When one is being teased, one has the obligation to purport to be outraged. Failing that, be pretentious.
Seen this?
Our president, the scholar, in the finest tradition of Warren Harding.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 9/2/2005
Subj: Humor

I can't believe you would write such things--PittsburgH has a terminal H.

O, ell, te aitc key as te iccups.

Ceerily,
Ricard arter

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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 9/5/2005
Subj: The Massachusetts Farmer

My Dear Mr. Harter,

An entry in your humor category, http://richardhartersworld.com/cri/1998/farmer.html is out of date. You should probably rewrite it to refer to the Chicago Cubs, perhaps with a Gary, Indiana farmer.

And precisely what do you think the temperature of Hell is these days?
Do you have any idea why the Red Sox have not put themselves out of the running at this late date? I thought last year was just a fluke. Who do those guys think they are?
I dunno. It all seems very improbable to me. In fact the current century seems very improbable to me. I am reminded of Heinlein's "The Year of the Jackpot".
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From: John McCaffrey
Date: 9/5/2005
Subj: Infrequently asked questions

Thanks for posting my story on your website. I really appreciate it!

You're welcome. Thank you.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 9/1/2005
Subj: A much better version of the "Spanish prisoner" letter

Here's a more interesting version of the letter--

From: James Moriarty
Date: 8/9/2005
Subj: CONTACT ME ASAP PLS

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am James Moriarty of Cox & Co. bank

I seek your assistance in clearing a Dispatch Box containing a collection of manuscripts that has been dormant in our vaults in the last ninety-two years! The said box was deposited by a British doctor customer who has lost touch with us.

Going by the usual statutory rules governing our operation, the box shall be handed over to the relevant government authorities as an unclaimed deposit within the next two months, if nobody comes to claim it.

This is my reason for contacting you to partner me in getting this material out of here for our mutual benefit.

Details shall be made available to you as soon as I hear from you.

Thanks & God Bless!

Love it. One wonder's what value this collection of manuscripts might have - it might be a priceless bibliographic find, or, less impressively, the doctor's notes on treating bedsores.

Be that as it may I am quite envious.

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From: Ted Samsel
Date: 8/18/2005
Subj: hadn't seen your pages in a while..

I have an acquaintance or two who blog. Usually their personal maunderings are rather embarassing. I'd rather walk around in my underwear...

Clearly what is needed here is an Emily Post for bloggers, a list of do's and don'ts. Bodily excretions are out. Long discussions about how you feel are out. Talking googoo talk about your pets is out. In fact the urge to babble about one's inner self should be severely restrained. Few of us have lives worth babbling about. Those few generally have better things to do than blog.

There are exceptions; there are people who have mastered the art of turning the raw sewage of their life into interesting anecdotage. On the whole, though, diaries, paper or electronic, are best left as source material for biographers.

You're not saying you blog, are you??
You're a cruel man, Ted. I do no such thing. Yecch. I publish an electronic magazine, an entirely different matter.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 9/1/2005
Subj: Infrequently asked questions

Richard,

you might find this website of interest.

http://www.native-languages.org/iaq.htm

Indeed I did. You might wish to write an SF story in which a great catastrophe strikes the United States, leaving it to be repopulated by the Mormons and the Blackfeet who fight religious wars over archaeology.
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From: Phillip Cole
Date: 8/9/2005
Subj: CONTACT ME ASAP PLS

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am Mr. Phillip Cole of the Paul Mall securities London England.

I seek your assistance in clearing a Treasure Box containing a sum of Five Million United States? Dollars which has been dormant in our vaults in the last four years! The said box was deposited by a foreign customer who has lost touch with us.

Going by the usual statutory rules governing our operation, the box shall be handed over to the relevant government authorities as an unclaimed deposit within the next two months, if nobody comes to claim it.

This is my reason for contacting you to partner me in getting this money out of here for our mutual benefit.

Details shall be made available to you as soon as I hear from you.

Thanks& God Bless!

This one has some nice points. The salutation takes no familiarities. The author presumes that I would be comfortable with English that has little errors of grammar. He rightly expected that "Paul Mall" would get my attention. The best part, though, is that, judging from the headers, it originated in Russia!
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 8/26/2005
Subj: Humor

Dear Mr Harter,

In the early days of the post Soviet Union an old Jew is reading in the park when a policeman comes up and asks him "What is the language in that book?"

"That's Hebrew--the language of Israel. I'm learning it."

"That's foolish," say the policeman. "You're much too old to go to Israel."

"True," says the Jew "but it's also the language of heaven."

"Hah," laughs the policeman. "What makes you so sure you'll go there?"

"True," responds the Jew. "But I already speak Russian."

Chortle. Russia doesn't seem to be doing to well after the fall of Communism. For that matter neither does Yugoslavia. I'm not quite sure what that means, but it's the sort of thing that talking heads love to pontificate upon.

... continued on next rock ...

Yugoslavia? A fictitous construct put together after WWI by people who wanted to clean up thelower right hand corner of the map. The line between Croatia and Serbia is that of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires.

It was fictitious only in that it was put together by diplomats rather than by the sword. Judging by history the natural state of human society is a mosaic of ethnic groups within a conquest empire.
About 10 years or so ago there was an article in a Belgrad newpaper claiming that the Vatican was paying to arm the Bosnian Muslims against the Serbian Orthodox. Why? They had been ordered to do so by their Zionist masters. Life looks different from Serbia.
That would be different. It's true though. There are so many conspirators and conspiracies dominating human history - the Zionists, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Rosicrucians, the Pittsburg Pirates, ...
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From: Roger K. Robins
Date: 8/25/2005
Subj: Error in firearm deathrate Iraqi vs Washington, DC

Richard, Thanks for the explanation. I did forward the e-mail to many of my friends without (I violated my own rules) verifying the truth. That oversight jumped up and bit me. So much stuff comes in over the net that is pure invention, that I should know better. In my opinion, It would have been pertinent to make a point, but only if based on fact.

My condolences for having been bitten. The internet and the web were created by scientists to facilitate the propagation of knowledge. It was a noble goal, I suppose, but inherently doomed. Truth is difficult to ascertain and hedged by uncertainties. Our species prefers an easier sort of knowledge, knowledge uncontaminated by the need for careful verification, knowledge that panders to our prejudices and our love of spectacle.
Anyhow, thanks for the best wishes on the ethanol plant. We are in the project development stage and feeling the way our way toward success. We have funding for the next phase, and hope to be producing ethanol mid 2007 or so.
Locally there are a number of stations selling E-85, a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It's a lot cheaper than straight gasoline, but I don't know what kind of mileage people get with it.
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From: Katja Amyx
Date: 8/28/2005
Subj: Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy

Wow! Very funny and also good writing. Thanks for making it available to cat-lovers the world around.

Thank you. It's not really mine - it's one of those things that circulate in email. My site is like a sandbar that circulating debris piles up on.
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From: seun cole
Date: 8/20/2005
Subj: MAIL ORDER..

HELLO SALES,
IT IS MY PLEASURE TO BRING TO YOUR NOTIFICATION THAT I AM INTERESTED IN BUYING SOME OF THE GOODS IN YOUR COMPANY HOWEVER,I WILL LOVE TO KNOW IF YOU CAN HELP ME SHIP TO NIGERIA WHERE I SITED ONE OF MY STORES AND ACCEPT CREDIT CARD AS A MEANS OF MY PAYMENT.
HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOONEST.
BEST REGARDS.

Boy, am I glad to hear from you. I'm overstocked on cow patties and can make you a very attractive deal. Do you prefer dry or wet?
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From: Miroslav Provod
Date: 8/28/2005
Subj: Menhirs

From my research has ensued that the sense of megalithic buildings had been first the care of human healthy. I can experimentally prove, that each mass has its energy, which can be transferred to other masses or it can be gained of it. In all cases holds that a mass with larger energetic potential spontaneously transfers the energy to the mass that has a smaller potential.  The transit of energy is conditioned by the contact of energy components of the both masses.

In the connection with menhirs it can be interpreted so, that from the energy components of watercourse and other sources the rock obtains natural energy, which subsequently can receive people. Dolmens, cromlechs and other constructions had been built from various minerals that had been transported in many cases from considerable distances. Every sort of mineral has its energy code and the combination of rocks creates another code. So we can suppose that by transmission the energy from rock to organisms happens to transmission of character of mass, too. Farther cannot be speculated about it, first will be necessary to study energy code of rocks.

The motivation of megalithic constructions is only smaller part of its mystery. Much more exacting will be to explain which and by what kind of method had given an impulse for a start of their construction. By present version of history the people of megalithic culture could not be found abreast of the technical forwardness, which I have mentioned. With technical level, which we have owed to them they could not but ensure the building hundreds of thousands of megalithic constructions at four continents.

Imagine, that we have become the task to organize the identical action at present time. People will choose to build menhirs for resource of their optimal energy value. But I doubt that anybody could prove to pass on the needed information to hundreds of thousands places without news media. Megalithic constructions by their existence but have argued that then people had been able to hand over needed instructions even with language barriers. An explanation of this fact can induce our image about the long past history.

The name "Megalithic constructions" would be suitable to revise for "Energy constructions" because it does not concern only constructions built in antiquity. The energy character of minerals had been used during the history at all sorts of sanctuaries from zikkurats, complexes of pyramids, more than hundred thousands of earthen ramparts, mounds, temples, cathedrals, mosques, until to millions of stups and chapels. 7000 towers on island Sardinia, for which we don´t know any reasons, were the energy constructions, too. Resembling unexplained constructions are also situated at other places.

The people of megalithic culture could not be more advanced. They only had used the natural force, which has remained to the science a secret till this time. Thereon could have kept an interest the clerical leaders, which have used the strain and the curative effect for their benefit.  

The course and details of my research I have mentioned at www.miroslavprovod.com

Menhirs are an appropriate topic for scholars who have rocks in their head.
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This page was last updated September 21, 2005.
It was reformatted and moved August 6, 2007

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