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Archived letters

Letters to the Editor, June 2001

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 June 2001.

Index of contributors

Karen Wright
Alfredo Illescas
Joe Parnell
Morris Keesan
stephen cooper
Norberto Chavez
Ron Swink
krystal tucker
Bradley Chequer
Lora Feld
Billy Hensley
Brian Boenigk

Other Correspondence Pages

Archived Letters For 1996
Archived Letters For 1997
Master page for correspondence
January 2001 Letters
February 2001 Letters
March 2001 Letters
April 2001 Letters
May 2001 Letters
From: Karen Wright ([email protected])
Date: 6/8/2001
Subj: Bucket Story

My mom is looking for the story of the guy who used a bucket to haul tools to fix his ham radio tower. I got it via e-mail about the time of the rocket story. Do you have it?

I recall the story but I don’t think I have it.
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From: Alfredo Illescas ([email protected])
Date: 6/8/2001
Subj: great job

Thanks for so wonderful page. Fantastic. Sugestion: include something about von Neumann and new computer technology. Please give me alert to any added

Thank you for the kind words but I shall make no promises. I shall probably add some material on software configuration management – I plan to do a book on the subject at some point – and a computer llanguage project. Then again, I put up pages on whatever interests me at the moment; it varies.
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From: “Joe Parnell” ([email protected])
Date: 6/4/2001
Subj: Grackle’s dirty habits

In recent years a colony of grackles has moved into my neighborhood. Besides eating the eggs of robins and other songbirds they have taken up the habit of dumping their nestlings shit bags around and in my inground swimming pool. I can’t imagine why. If anyone has a clue, please enlighten me.

Grackles are generally obnoxious birds. I don’t have an answer. If anyone does I’d be glad to hear of it.
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From: Morris Keesan ([email protected])
Date: 6/5/2001
Subj: Darwin Fish

I notice you referred someone to Ring of Fire for a Darwin fish. They’re also available at (easier to remember, for me) http://www.darwinfish.com/ , in many forms and variations.

My impression is that the Ring of Fire site preceded the darwinfish site by several years. However I will list both the next time someone asks. For some obscure reason people think (or hope) that I am a reliable source of information on obscure matters. Little do they know …
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From: “stephen cooper” ([email protected])
Date: 6/5/2001
Subj: your site

Nice one mate! Appeals to my sense of humour. Personally I find the amount of Gor-sites on web quite disturbing but then I had to go to a lot of trouble to find them all which says it all really…. VITOR (a use name)

I have heard that the Gor books appeal more to women than to men. I am neither prepared to believe that nor disbelieve it. The world is a strange place filled with strange people.
… continued on next rock …

From the very few people I know who read them it is about 50-50. Note also one of the fantasies in Nancy Friday’s WOMEN ON TOP (a lass called Wendy – or should that be wendy? I think.) Having rumaged about in the various sites they do seem to be chock full of females indulging in wanton submission on line (and apparently off) but for all I know many of these wanton, hot, vital, nubile she-dancing sleen may be flabby middle-aged males off line.

I was quite gob-smacked by some of the sites. You get things like the Silkandsteel paga tavern where a lot of the material is actually humourous, witty interesting etc then they start earnestly warning you how seriously they take it and its their whole life philosophy and not to whip a slave on line because they may feel compelled to do it to themselves for real off lineand I’m like ‘Whoooah…’ And when they tell you they’re ‘real Goreans’- well no comment.

I’m in Dark age reenactment and hairy morons who claim to be real Vikings are bad enough, at least Vikings were real once… What did Professor John Lange publish on sociology under his own name anyway? The mind boggles? And is he dead or alive? And wasn’t the film BAD!

My interest at present is that I’m a freelance sculptor of wargames miniatures and I want to design a range suitable for Gor. I’m trying to aquire and comb books 1-10 for military ‘facts’. The early books are naive ripping yarns (OUTLAW is pure Gulliver) the middle preposterous fun (and HUNTERS is a clever psychological study of a messed up sad arse banging his head on the wrong tree) and the late stuff sort of grey monotonous and sick. (eg MERCENARIES has 1/4 of a plot is tediously repetitive and plain nasty.) Often witty, gripping and – well, I do like young ladies in chains, in their place NB not real life. The overall concept is clever. But great philosophical literature, no.

Found the rules for Kaissa last night- Great!

All the best, STEVE (since you’re sensible enough to use your real name- or is R.H. a actually a pseudonym for a real nubile she-sleen?)

I’m sorry to disappoint you but I am just what I purport to be (insofar as any one can be what they purport to be); you shall have to search elsewhere for a nubile she-sleen.

I don’t think that I’ve ever actually read a Gor book; one doesn’t have to to appreciate their place in the underground folklore of our time. I’m told that John Norman (something Lange) is real life is a perfectly normal looking academic type. OTOH his non-fiction work is supposedly even further out than Gor.

DAW (Donald A. Wollheim books) books used to be his publisher. The way I heard it is that Don kept the Gor line because they were by far the most profitable books that he published. When he died and Betsy inherited the business axing John Norman was early on the agenda.

Someone of these days I suppose I shall have to surf around the role-playing sites and see what tricks these clever bipeds are up to now. Your account is not entirely reassuring.

… continued on next rock …

I’m intrigued- you’ve never read a book but you took the trouble to put the site together and you’re obviously knowledgable about the ethos and the author- what’s your angle?

For many years I was an active SF fan. The Gor books are SF – marginal SF perhaps, but definitely part of the territory. In the nature of things I would know about them. I have an, ah, active mind; lots of things interest me.

You have to remember that “The Dancing Slave Girls of Gor” is just one of the approximately 500 pages on my web site (that doesn’t count the approximately 500 pages in the Reincarnation Game.)

I’m not actually looking for a she-sleen, I’ve got my hands full with the one I’ve got, she’s not very submissive though.
They never are, you know.
The psychological ramifications of comparing a woman to a creature with six legs are quite profound, thinking about it.
Now that is an interesting thought. One of the Indian Godesses has six arms and Burrough’s Martians had four. I can’t think of any mythological women with multiple legs unless you count lady centaurs. Centaurs I suppose would have had sex in the manner of horses; face to face sex would have been quite impractical.

Imagine though if you will a creature like a giant beetle with a vulva in mid-thorax, a multitude of grasping legs, and a human face. She grasps her legs around you from head to toe enveloping you. Sex with this lady is no ordinary thing nor is it safe. Like a predatory beetle she sucks all of your precious vital bodily fluids out of you, leaving you as a desicated hulk.

Pleasant dreams.

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From: Norberto Chavez ([email protected])
Date: 6/1/2001
Subj: My answers to the 5 questions

I had the unfortunate experience to answer all five of your questions on a night out with my wife. I found the being consistant with my answers avoided any bad experience. I do note DO NOT use these answers with women with no sense of humor.

Question: “What are you thinking?”
Answer: Your panties

Question: “Do you love me?”
Answer: I love your panties

Question: “Do I look fat?”
Answer: the term is Phat (Pretty Hot And Tempting) especially in your panties

Question: “Do you think she is prettier than me?”
Answer: I like you panties more

Question: “What would you do if I died?”
Answer: I’ld keep your panties

You, Sir, are a man with a quick wit and an acute understanding of women, at least of the woman you have to understand.
Return to index of contributors From: WEYHKNOT ([email protected])
Date: 6/1/2001
Subj: mutants

Don’t be hating on me. I’m a mutant. So what? You gonna do something about it?

The really nice thing about the internet is that people like you aren’t stuck using crayons to write with. You are slightly behind the times ducky. The mutantwatch web site was a promotional gimmick for the X-men movie which has come and gone quite some time ago. The link you followed to send me email is not part of the mutantwatch.com web site. A lot of people made the same booboo. See let00mut.html for some of your fellow illiterates.
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From: Alex ([email protected])
Date: 6/1/2001
Subj: low self esteem

thank you so much for that moment of unadulterated hilarity re low self esteem. just what i needed to kick off the pursuit of raising mine. will keep in mind the importance of a laughing.

I always say that it is important to be able laugh at yourself; it makes you one of the crowd.
Return to index of contributors From: Richard ([email protected])
Date: 5/28/2001
Subj: Science & Religion

I found your site by chance whilst searching for ‘Intellectual impostors’. Particularly enjoyed the former, Reflections On C.S. Lewis, and Post Modern Creationism.

Now there’s an eclectic albeit intellectual olio.
I wondered, do you see science and theology as actually incompatible (in the broader sense, not w.r.t. Creationism), or do you see them as simply ‘talking past each other’ (a la Khun) or are you with Wittgenstein and his “what we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence”; (is what really matters what we can only remain silent about?) or something else?
I would say that they are talking past each other – they rest on incommensuable root metaphors in their respective world views. My library is in an almost permanent state of disarray, a circumstance created by a radical deficiency of bookshelf space or, rather unthinkably, a deplorable surplus of books. Said disarray means that I cannot lay my hands on a particularly delicious philosophic tome that illuminates the subject of world views and root metaphors so I shall stumble on as best I can.

When we speak of theology we ought, perhaps, to specify which theology – if we are not to be utterly parochial we should not merely speak of the various branches of Christian theology (with Judaism thrown in as a filip) but also Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zorastianism, Islam, usw. Still the various religions and their theologies tend to have in common a source of truth that is outside the world; theology reasons from outside in, from pre-established truth to application in the world about us. Science, on the other hand, reasons from the inside out, starting with bits and pieces of the world around us and reaching outward for more generality. Science may have started modestly and even in its farthest reaches its truths have a provisional nature. None-the-less it has the peculiar power to multiply and manufacture truth.

It is this power, this ability to generate further reaching truths, that has led to it outstripping theology. Science can encroach on theology; theology has difficulty returning the favor. Even so, the truths of science are limited in their utility. The enterprise of science answers questions that it can answer. The enterprise of theology answers questions that must be answered.

I have my social theory exam on Friday; never has the summer break looked so enticing 🙂
Do well and perhaps someday hapless students will think wistfully of summer break as they sweat out your exams.
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From: “Ron Swink” ([email protected])
Date: 5/26/2001
Subj: humor

Thanx for the humor………..

You’re welcome.
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From: “krystal tucker” ([email protected])
Date: 5/25/2001
Subj: young punk

that is the fourth time ive heard that joke on the internet

Now that’s sad. BTW which joke are you talking about? I have hundreds of them on my web site.

… continued on next rock …

a young punk gets no a bus and the old man is staring at him and he asks why and the old man says that when he was younger and in the navy he got drunk and had sex with a parrot and was wandering if he was his son. actually that is the fifth time i heard that

Thank you. It’s important to me to know what the customers are dissatisfied with and why. Your refund check is in the mail.
Return to index of contributors From: “Chequer, Bradley” ([email protected])
Date: 5/25/2001
zen & waiting for godot

re zen & waiting for godot –

what is sound of two clowns waiting for godot?

godot arrives when he does not arrive

because godot has disappeared he is always here – therefore he will never come

when is godot not godot? – when he’s coming

Thanks for the idea. I don’t think you’ve quite caught the spirit of the Zen koan but then I’m not sure that my example did either. An object of a koan is to bring the student following the path of “thinking about” to a precipice where all reason, rationalization, and editorializing end. It is not simply an absurdity or contradiction.

In any event the notion of a zen formulation of Godot is an intriguing one. I have posted your suggestions to a newsgroup (rec.arts.books) with the hope that readers might expand upon them.

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From: Lora Feld ([email protected])
Date: 5/28/2001
Subj: darwin fish for back of car

I won’t blame you if you find my letter shallow. However I NEED one of those fish with legs and Darwin inside for the back of my car. If you have any leads I’d appreciate the information. Regards, Lora Feld ([email protected])

We do shallow here. Oh, boy do we do shallow here. What you want is Ring of Fire Enterprises at http://www.rof.com/.
Return to index of contributors From: “Billy Hensley” ([email protected])
Date: 5/28/2001
Subj: God and Religion

Howdy from a fellow former jarhead of the Hollywood marine type.

When I went down to the post office (that’s where the recruiters all had their ofices) I was intending to join the Coast Guard, but Oklahoma doesn’t have enough coast to have coast guard recruiters. I was in from ’71 to ’75.

I’m impressed. Few youngsters, particularly not me when I was one, have the imagination to think of joining the coast guard.
I have learned to reckonize this scam as the old “bait and switch” con game. It is quite common among supporters of microbe to man evolution. I enjoyed this article and am looking forward to reading more of your thoughts in this area.
Yep, the bait and switch scam. I’m currently reading “Investigations” by Stuart Kauffman. Early in the book there is the following:
We do not understand evolution. We live it with moss, fruit, fin, and quill fellows. We see it since Darwin. We have insights of forms and their formation, won from efforts since Aristotle codified the embryological investigations that over twenty-five centuries ago began with the study of deformed fetuses in sacrificial animals.

But we do not understand evolution.

“The strange thing about the theory of evolution,” said one of the Huxleys (although I cannot find which one), “is that everyone thinks that he understands it.

He’s right. (Am I alone or is that sentence with the deformed fetuses a rather deformed thing in its own right?) The general facts of evolution are well established. The wherefores, whys, and hows are another matter. This should not be surprising. The Earth is rather large place, home to about ten million different species, with some going extinct and new ones appearing regularly. Many species have billions of members. A single cell has a complexity rivalling a 747 and a good sized vertebrate has trillions of cells. It is notorious that biology is messy.

And yet people try to reduce all this complexity to a handful verbal formulas. It is a feature of our species that we insist on believing that WE UNDERSTAND, when manifestly we do not.

Most people know me as Unclemonkey.
I suspect that I don’t want to know why.

… continued on next rock …

I read your thesis “origins” and will need to read it several times to get a grasp on it as there is an obvious discrepancy in our education levels. It is the most impressive explanation for abiogensis I have seen to date. I must also say that I will never accept it until I see actually see life formed from base materials in a test tube. I am a Bible literalist so I am naturally biased against abiogensis. I honestly believe that God literally created the universe, formed the earth into a life friendly biosphere, filled the earth with a varity of animal and plant kinds, formed man from dust and woman from one of his ribs all in a literal six days. I am also not so arrogant as to deny verified experimental evidence. My argument is with the interpretation of evidence and I am willing to admit that some of the interpretations I accept are probably wrong.

I shan’t argue with you – I make it a policy not to argue creationism/evolution in email – but I will toss in a few thoughts before bowing out.

I will suggest that young-earth literalism need not be and should not be integral to your Faith. The center-piece of Christianity is Jesus and salvation. He, rather than Genesis, is important. More than that, most Christians have no difficulty with accepting that the Earth and the universe are old, that evolution happened, and that God is the creator of everything. Genesis can be understood as a teaching story, or as a parable, as well as being literal truth.

More importantly, either Genesis is not literally true, or God is a great deceiver. The evidences of the antiquity of the Earth and the universe are quite overwhelming. This is no new discovery; the geologists of two centuries ago already had realized this. There are really only two paths one can follow in the face of the evidence, the path of ignorance and the path of deceit. Those who follow the path of ignorance shut their eyes to the evidences. It is an easy path to follow. We cannot know all things and learn about all things so we must, by chance or by policy, choose that which we will not attempt to know. All that the path of ignorance asks is that one choose not to see that which is inconvenient to see. Some would call this a sin.

The path of deceit is a harder one. Those who follow it bend and twist reason and knowledge to force the evidences to fit their desire. In so doing it is necessary to carefully ignore all manner of flaws in their arguments. This, I reckon, is a greater sin for the taint of dishonesty spreads everywhere and poisons the Faith itself.

One example of interpretations deals with the Grand Canyon. You probably see it as hundreds of thousand or maybe millions of years of erosion. The interpretation I accept has the layers put in place by a global flood, a rise in the land forming a gigantic lake followed by one or maybe a few dam bursts carving out the canyon in a few weeks or months, before the sediments had time to solidify.
You may accept it but your interpretation is totally inconsistent with geophysics. Gigantic dam bursts form scab lands as in western Washington. You would do better to say that God reformed the surface of the Earth as it is now as a miracle.
Your origins thesis tells me you believe in microbe to man evolution. Your scam article tells me that you have the integrity to admit that influential people who share your beliefs will stoop to dishonesty to support their dogmas. For this I respect you because it tells me that you are sincere in your convictions although I don’t share those convictions.
I thank you but the scam article wasn’t really directed towards “influential people” and wasn’t really directed at dishonesty as such. The simple fact is that most people know rather less than they think they do about evolution. Unfortunately this includes many of the contributors to talk.origins who post faulty (and often vociferous) defences of evolution. I cannot say that I regard most of the contributors to that newsgroup as being particularly influential or as being particularly knowledgable.
You are probably really puzzled by now about my web handle. It is really quite simple and not dubious at all, although it does raise some eyebrows when people discover my religious convictions. A little over 30 years go my nieces and nephews started calling me uncle monkey because I reminded them of a monkey when we played. Even today it aptly describes my personality, so why not?

I don’t like the blood letting at talk origins. I contend that everyone has a right to believe what ever they choose to believe. I am not offended because you believe different than I do and I cannot understand those who are offended because I believe different than they.

I don’t much blame you for not liking the blood letting at talk.origins. It is sort of a snake pit. I suppose that is inevitable; there is a class of people who lack civility. When all speak, those who lack civility speak loudly and their voices inflame the passions of others.

Be all of that as it may, this is as much as I want to discuss about the subject in email. By the way, my little article on abiogenesis is nothing but rank speculation.

It has been a pleasure hearing from you.

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From: “Brian Boenigk” ([email protected])
Date: 5/28/2001
Subj: The Fortress

I like your web site. I was reading your story about birdfeeders, and was wondering what your reference to the “fortress” was all about. Is there such a product?

The “fortress” was a square bird feeder with a grill surrounding it. The space between wires is about an inch. The finches could reach in between to get at the feeder holes but the grackles couldn’t.

Currently I’m using very cheap feeders without baseplates. The grackles can feed from them but only at the price of standing on one of the feeder rods and wrapping their bodies around the feeder to get at a different feeder hole. They look quite ridiculous doing it and the amusement value is well worth the little bit of seed that they get.

At this moment the feeders are being depleted by goldfinches and housefinches.

Yes, there was such a product. Whether there is now is another matter. My observation is that they keep changing products. As soon as one discovers a truly satisfactory product the manufacturers discontinue it and bring out a “new and improved” product that is no such thing.

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This page was last updated June 9, 2001.

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June 2001 TOC
Archived letters