site home site map letters February 2000 email

Letters to the Editor, February 2000

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 February 2000.

There is quite a bit of mail this month, much of it peculiar because the mutant watch page has a link to my Are mutations harmful? page. The mutant watch page is a gag page which is part of the X-men movie promotion site. (Your editor is behind himself – an odd state of affairs – and the x-men letters will appears shortly.)

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Other Correspondence Pages

Date: 1/21/00
Subj: The Marine Corps

I enjoyed your web page.

I am a mother of a 19 y/o son who decided he wanted to be a Marine. A couple of nights ago I was crying because I did not want him to go. He is a very shy young man, very responsible, no girlfriends. He goes to college while holding a 3-35 hr job. Never a mention that he is interested in the military. I asked him if he was really sure this is what he really wanted to do. His mind is made up. He has passed the written test last night and as I am writing this email he is now doing his physical test at MCRD.

The reason I am concerned about is about racism in the Marines. Maybe you can tell me about it. I voiced this concern with the Recruiter (Staff Sgt Ochoa) and he assured me there’s none.

I know boot camp / training is hard as it is, but to deal with racism is something else. Any views you can tell me about. I dont know why I asked you but maybe you can tell me.

I’m not a good authority – my experience in the Marines goes back to the middle of the last century. My impression, though, is that there is some (there is always some any where in the world) but that it is a minor factor. The services have been integrated for a long time, well before civil rights in civilian society, and they have much stronger means for enforcing integration than are available in civilian life. The thing is, people of different races have to live and work together on equal terms. A lot of the factors that keep racism going get eroded away in the military. The flip side is that some people don’t stop being racist just because they’re forced to treat people of other races as equals (or superiors) and you have to put up with that – you can’t retreat to enclaves of the company of your own kind to avoid them.

I wouldn’t worry about it; it wasn’t a big deal when I was in and I think it has gotten better since I was in.

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From: GReis33135
Date: 1/23/2000
Subj: jokes

Mr. Harter,

your jokes are really dumb ok?

Yep. Okay?
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From: ellensaia
Date: 1/26/2000
Subj: Your site

This is my first time here, my friend in Atlanta sent this to me. I live in Massachusetts. It will take me a little time to sort this out, but I find it interesting. I will keep investigating it.

You’re welcome. There is much within to amaze, confound, amuse, and disgust you.
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From: “Oliver Corlett”
Date: 1/31/2000
Subj: Congratulations on your Home Page

Nice job – I found it while browsing on Norbert Weiner – and very much enjoyed it. Thanks!

Thank you for the kind words. I like to think that my site is a realization of one of the less grubby potentials of the web. It’s a harmless delusion.
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From: “Susie Norman”
Date: 1/31/2000
Subj: question

How does Willie E. Coyote stand all the pain? He goes threw so much.


He’s a toon. Nothing can hurt toons except dip. If you don’t understand the answer go rent “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”.
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From: Randall Smid
Date: 1/24/2000
Subj: Link

I’m about to finish my homepage, and I’d like to include a link to your page. I’m not selling anything on my page, it’s just a page with some of my art, thoughts, and things of that nature. If you could please e-mail me back, and let me know if you will allow me to link to your site, and if you have any banners that I might use. If you don’t have any banners, I can make one, and I’ll get your approval before using it.

Randall Smid

Sure, go ahead and link to it. I don’t have any banners; if you prefer to have a banner go ahead and make one up. You don’t have to ask to put in a link; the nature of the web is that you can put in a link any time you want to. Permission is not necessary but asking for it is a nice courtesy.

A courtesy, I do wish, by the way, that the x-men movie people had shown.

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From: trinik
Date: 1/28/2000
Subj: Bringing In The Hay

Good Morning Richard!

I was searching on the web for which month hay cutting is done in South Dakota… and the search engine brought up your wonderful story “Bringing In The Hay”. I enjoyed it… you certianly have the “seasons” labeled right!

Well, anyways… I was hoping that you would take a couple seconds to email me and let me in on which month Hay should be cut (I don’t hink you mentioned a particular month in your story)… or if you know of some websites that would answer just that.

Keep up the good work on the cute stories of South Dakota life!

I don’t know right off hand – it’s been a long time since I’ve cut hay. However you do it during the summer – July and August. I think you can cut it as early as late June if you have a good spring. If there is plenty of rain you can cut a second cutting in the fall. I will confirm this with the local farmers. (I am in South Dakota at the moment.)
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From: Eloise DeSpain
Date: 1/29/2000
Subj: your webpage

I don’t know who you are, but you are the original Mr. Original. Thanks for a million laughs and some wonderful smiles. Yes, please do get on with life, I will be keeping an eye on your additions! Your truly a “Zen Pond” for me.

Gracias. I do like that term “Zen Pond”. By the way did you find the short story entitled “Eloise”. You can find it under fiction in the essays page or go directly to

… continued on next rock …

Dear whoeveryouare,
thanks for the note….couldn’t find the eloise essay. Which was perfectly OK since I found so much more. I take it back; your not a “Zen Pond” your a Zen Lake, a wonderful Zen Lake to visit. I printed out several essays that I plan to take to work to “drop” on the various so-called intellectuals at college where I teach. The book reviews. “The Confessions of Ayn Rand” had me standing straight up so I could laugh even louder. Thank you, you made my early morning coffee better than standing in the back of the room joking with Konrad Lonrez at a Faculty Convocation. What funny animals we are! Eloise

My apologies for not getting back to you. The “eloise” story is actually titled “A love story” – I have a manuscript which I make a pass at working on every now and then that collects some of these gems together; it’s entitled “Eloise” there.
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From: Melina
Date: 2/1/2000
Subj: Thank you

I enjoyed reading about your life in the Marine Corps.

I’m glad you enjoyed it. One of the unexpected side effects is that I regularly get letters requesting advice about joining or about what it would be like to be in the Marine Corps. Maybe I should start a “Dear Sarge” column.
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From: Lt Wright USMC
Date: 2/6/2000
Semper Fi

I really enjoyed your story about your experiences in our beloved Corps. You are not an “ex-marine” you are a Marine. In our new “Corps” we have a motto “Once a Marine, always a Marine”. You earned the title years ago and still rate it.
Semper FI!!
Lt Wright USMC

Now that you mention it we had the same motto back then. I may always be a Marine but I sure as hell can’t do fifty pushups while chewing on a candy bar with the wrapper still on it any more. (I don’t think that story is in there – it was a bit of corrective action on the part of my drill instructor.)
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From: “Barry”
Date: 2/8/2000

Richard,I love your site and all it contains.Please update and put you fertile mind to use or purloin some more jokes.

But of course I will. I generally run about 6-12 a month. I have a number of sources which I cull for the ones that particularly tickle me. For personal reasons my schedule is a little erratic but have no fear, they’ll be there.
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From: Ellyn
Date: 2/16/2000
Subj: Enjoyed the site

Bill Grosso sent me to see examples of his “lighter” style and some of the fun you two fellas (clearly) had on usenet.

Delightful reading … thanks for saving and sharing it.

Oh, and ooooh rah, too.

Keep the faith,

I’m glad you enjoyed them. Give him my regards. I miss his creative daffiness.
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From: HKhaleghi
Date: 2/18/2000

At 11:34 AM 02/18/2000 EST, you wrote: Curious are you guys trying to support the X-MEN Movie? Are these essays real or fake?

Neither I nor Plaisted (the other victim) have any connection with the X-MEN movie. The essays are real. Plaisted is a creationist trying to argue against evolution; my essay is a basic science essay answering common questions about actual mutations. X-MEN is fantasy.

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I understand but your essays where linked to the X-MEN MOVIE WEB SITE… with many others! That’s why I asked

Just so. So ask them about it. It’s their site; they can link to anything that they want to.
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From: Wvbarnes
Date: 2/19/2000
Subj: Enjoyed the site

X-men rule! You are sick

Check with your doctor; your meds seem to be out of adjustment again.

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cheerily acknowledged (what are meds in the Queens English????)

An aweful lot of friends and relatives here in England are now thoroughly confused about mutants having no idea of the history of such things, I was reading reprints of Xavier and his little school circa 1967!

Sorry, old bean, my site has nothing to do with the x-men movie – apparently whoever put together the Senator Kelly page thought it would be cute to put in links to real articles.

meds = medications.

PS: It’s just a movie.

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From: THolowczak
Date: 2/19/2000
Subj: To “Kelly”

Is this a real site for the X-men movie or are you just making fun of this possibly great movie?

This is not a real site for X-men movie; AFAIK it has no connection with the X-men movie. I won’t guarantee that; there are about 500 pages in this site and it’s quite possible that there is some reference to it somewhere. Rest assured that I have never seen the movie and have no opinions on it. However I can make some up if you like.

PS: Do browse around my site; you might find something you like.

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From: Milamename
Date: 2/19/2000
Subj: Comment

I think your site is a bunch of B.S. I have never ben to a stupider site in my entire time on the internet. You people must know your idiots trying to brainwash people. no one takes you serously, or I hope to god no one takes you serously.

Thank you for the considered, enthusiastic endorsement. One of the things that I do is to run an annual contest for the flakiest letter of the year. Let me congratulate you on being early in the running.
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From: “Sheila Stephens”
Date: 2/20/2000
Subj: ???

What is this all about? Is it some spoof or somethin?

What is what about? My site has all sorts of stuff on it including spoofs, scholarly articles, lots of jokes, and any other damn thing that it pleases me to write about. Why do you ask?
Note: This showed up before I learned about the mutantwatch link.
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From: iamsaint
Date: 2/19/2000
Subj: wtf is your pages about?

why are they connected to x-men ,movie .com?

is it a joke or something because I dont understand

You got me boss. What makes you think it is connected to the x-men movie?

… continued on next rock …

Go check it out at its connected to your pages, somethng about mutations and stuff.

I thoiught it was apart of the movie thing…

Thanks – I’ve tracked it down. They put in links to real articles that had relevant titles.

… continued on next rock …

Ahh I see, so what is your pages all about? and how does it connext to the xmen??

It doesn’t connect to the xmen – the movie connected to me because they thought that “Are Mutations Harmful?” was a neat title; at least that’s what I imagine they thought.

As to what my pages are about; they are about whatever happens to amuse or interest me. Mostly it is a large collection of jokes, sundry fiction and poetry, scholarly essays, essays and other material 90 degrees out from reality, and personal reminisces. The page you stumbled into is a semi-scholarly article designed to address a claim often raised by creationists (who probably don’t watch x-men) that all mutations are harmful and therefore evolution is impossible.

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From: Nathan Sanders
Date: 2/20/2000
Subj: X-MEN

I would just like to know if all the cast members fo x-men the movie have been finalised, if not i would like you to think about me for a possible positoit as X-MAN/ Nathaniel Summers. I have always been a fan of the x-men and have seen every episode. my name is Nathan Sanders please reply to [email protected] . Thank-you.

While I wish you the best in your theatrical ambitions I regret to inform you that neither I nor my site has anything to do with the x-men. They included a link to my page because they liked the page title.
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From: Jonathan Ramsdell
Date: 2/21/2000
Subj: Web site

I have to admit that I am absolutely blown away by your web site (s). I found it through the User Friendly site – — and just kept reading. It’s been an hour already, and there’s still much more to see, and many links left to visit.

It is, by the way, a pleasure to read a site that is well-written. Obviously, you are fairly erudite. Erudition and articulation seem to be in short supply on the Web these days. I appreciate your command of the Mother Tongue. Perhaps Senator Kelly could raise the issue of how mutants denigrate human intellectual thought processes through the “ongoing, calculated misuse of the English language in our media.” As you well know, the Web is rife with poorly written sites; the Senator should take umbrage at this blatant assault!

I assume you find it indirectly via the link. My web site has gotten a surprising amount of traffic in consequence and a certain amount of interesting mail. Your letter is a delightful exception to the usual which runs more like, and I quote in full:
X-men rule! You are sick
I appreciate your kind comments. I am with you in your thoughts on the misuse of the English language; Senator Kelly, however, would be quite unwise to attack the “ongoing, calculated misuse of the English language in our media.” It is the rule for political opportunists to attack the minority and not the majority. The besides of which, I fear the audience for the movie (which the page is designed to promote) would quite rightly take offense.

In any event I hope you find that my pages provide you many hours of happy reading. It is, as the home page says, a junk heap. There is something there for almost everyone.

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Date: 2/20/2000
Subj: (no subject)

Was this site endorsed by the KKK?

Offhand, it seems highly unlikely. Which page inspired your question?
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This page was last updated February 26, 2000.
It was relocated and moved April 10, 2005

site home site map letters February 2000 email