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Collected editorials

What ever happened to June?

The Times regrets the error

"After the rocket quits our air and really starts on its longer journey [to the moon], its flight would be neither accelerated nor maintained by the [proposed by Goddard solid rocket based on] explosions of the charges. To claim that it would be is to deny a fundamental law of dynamics, and only Dr. Einstein and his chosen dozen, so few and fit, are licensed to do that." - Editorial comments, The New York Times, January 13, 1920.

"A Correction. On Jan. 13, 1920, "Topics of the Times," and editorial-page feature of the The New York Times, dismissed the notion that a rocket could function in vacuum and commented on the ideas of Robert H. Goddard, the rocket pioneer, as follows: [...] Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th Century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error." - The New York Times, July 17, 1969.

Overheard in Wyoming

"Going through the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum is as bad as going through the Vatican Museum - it takes days to get through the whole thing."

"If you need to pick one state to know everything about, pick Wyoming. It saves a lot of effort."

Too hot for New Zealand

Kim Cattrell, the actress who played the sex-obsessed Samantha Jones in "Sex and the City", moved her character into an ad she did for Nissan in New Zealand. Her lines included:

"Why didn't you tell me it was so big? I just wasn't prepared for it."
"The all-new Nissan Tiida makes you feel really, really, really good inside."
"Ah! That was amazing. Absolutely fabulous! I mean the great body and the way you moved it."
Apparently some viewers actually thought that her lines might be off-color. Fancy that. Nissan canceled the ad. Pity.

Incomplete Italy

The account of our trip to Italy is almost complete; it has been that way for quite a while now. One of these days ... In the meantime I have decided to post the almost complete version on the off chance that someone would actually like to read my immortal words. The URL is: http://richardhartersworld.com/~cri_c/italy/italia.html

What ever happened to June?

The Earthlink people who host this site have a handy little program called urchin that provides statistics about the site activity such as the number of visitors daily, the number of bytes shipped out, and the ten most frequently accessed pages. I don't know why they call it urchin. My online dictionary gives me:

1 archaic : HEDGEHOG 1a
2 : a mischievous and often poor and raggedly clothed youngster *street urchins*
Perhaps they like to think of their software as being poor and raggedly. I wouldn't know.

In any event the program is quite useful. From time to time my site is overrrun by,ah, urchins who pilfer bytes at an alarming rate. I use the statistics to determine which pages to move to the outer reaches of Richard Harter's world. In June, however, they done me in. For some reason that they never quite got around to explaining they simply didn't bother with putting any numbers up for June. I'm not sure what this means - maybe it signifies that they think June isn't an important enough month to bother with. This disturbs me. First of all my birthday is in June. Could this be a subtle ploy to turn me into an un-person? Secondly, are they planning to eliminate months one at a time until there are none left? Is this a subtle hint that the apocalypse is near, that if not quite "the end of days" at least "the end of months".

Check this space for future developments. Paranoids want to know.

Westward Ho

Our Lady of the Large Black Dog sells insurance for Farm Bureau. It is a good company and she is a good agent; if you happen to live in Hyde county, South Dakota, you should get your insurance from her. It turns out that Farm Bureau has an incentive program for their agents. The top producers win expenses paid vacations. How come I never worked for a company like that? Did I mention that Deborah is very good at selling insurance? Well she is, and she won a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Actually Teton Village.) This is quite an honor - there were only seven agents from South Dakota to win a trip and she was the only woman from SD.

As it chances she had never been to Yellowstone National Park. I had been nagging her for years to go see it so here was her chance. In early July we wended (such a good word, wended) our way westward to Teton Village. This is a collection of exuberantly ostentatious resort ski lodges. It either is in Jackson Hole or it is not - it is all a bit confusing. We stayed in a nice little lodge called the Alpenhof. The rooms were rather nice, wood burning fireplace, balcony, Bavarian in decor, that sort of thing. The rates were really quite modest, a mere 300 dollars a day for their off season rates. Fortunately Farm Bureau was paying the tab. How come I never worked for a company like that?

The lodge also had a complimentary breakfast. At your average motel the continental breakfast is some distressed coffee, some rather tired pastry, and juice from second hand oranges. Not so at the Alpenhof. They had a breakfast buffet with the works. There were cold cuts and cheeses, a wide fruit selection, properly chilled juice (they overdid the chilling a bit), perhaps the best waffles I have ever eaten, definitely the best bacon I have eaten, etc. Our breakfasts were very leisurely.

We did the tourist thing. We drove through Yellowstone a couple of times and observed geysers and mud pots and bacterial mats. We took the tram up to the top of the ski slopes where we communed with mountain peaks. We drove into Jackson where we took in the intense atmosphere of Western Tourist Kitsch. Deb went inside a Chico's and shopped whilst I sat outside on a bench, wrote code, and consumed an ice cream cone. (This is known as a division of labor.)

One of the charming things about Jackson is that they have a Kmart (Walmart isn't allowed in) on the condition that the store's building look like something out of the old west. It is all wooden front. There is no big red K. The kmart sign is small and very discreet. Inside, however, it is your standard Kmart, just the place for a Richard who didn't quite pack enough socks and underwear.

Real Estate in Jackson is on the pricey side. Let's put it this way: Sotheby's and Christies are real estate brokers there. Jackson Hole is a playground for the absurdly wealthy, particularly for the media stars. Harrison Ford and Sandra Bollocks both have modest dwellings there.

In consequence Jackson is heavily Democratic. Our esteemed vice president, Dick Cheney, aka The Prince of Darkness in liberal circles, lives in Jackson. It is the only county in Wyoming that he didn't carry. In Wyoming the rich are Democrats and the poor are Republicans. Go figure. One pleasant side effect of this is that the local theater was showing "An inconvenient truth". Apparently it had been showing there for several weeks; as far as I know it was never shown in South Dakota. It didn't cover anything that I wasn't already familiar with. The conclusion was too pollyanniash though. It's about 150 years too late to deal with the problem. The universe laid in a commandment, "THOU SHALT NOT BURN FOSSIL FUEL FOR ENERGY." As a species we didn't know about the commandment until recently, just in time for the penalty. That's not fair, you say? Of course it's not fair. Life isn't fair. Life is an experiment. Most of the time it's your children and your grandchildren that get to find out how your experiment turned out.

Oh yes, I discovered on the trip that my blood pressure had been silently escalating. Get all the sordid details at A pious gesture.

The house that still isn't done

Not much got done on the house during July. I sneak in some progress every now and then. It sneaks right back out again.

This page was last updated August 1, 2006.

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Collected editorials