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November 2002 TOC
Archived letters

Letters to the Editor, November 2002

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 2002.

NOTE: Between my trip, changing my site address, having my hard drive crash, and other goodnesses, the October letter column never happened. November has been nominated as catchup month. Patience children, normality will happen any millennium now.

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Other Correspondence Pages

Date: 11/141/2002
Subj:web site

Dear Richard, your site looks really interesting and I think I will have to spend some time looking around it.

Thank you for the kind comments. By all means look around. You may find that it is a monster.
You may be interested in mine:
comments welcome
I browsed through it and enjoyed it. I expect to return to look at your thoughts on Popper in more detail.
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From: Kevin Harter
Date: 10/21/2002
Subj: You’re missing me!

I offer to you my web site: www.backslashtech.com Thanks for the listing!

You’re added. Thanks for writing,
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From: Sandra Astley
Date: 10/28/2002
Road To Endor

I also have a copy of Road To Endor by: Esther Barstow Hammand. I thought I would drop you a line to graciously tell you, that you have misspelled her last name. I have yet to read this book… Your insight was interesting.

Thanks for the correction; I’ve updated the page in response. The name, Hammond, is too familiar. There is John Hammond of Jurassic Park, and then there is the Hammond who built Hammond castle. The mind grasps what the eye perceives and sees what it expects to see.
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From: BKaplan104
Date: 10/30/2002
other interesting works

I recommend Robert T. Bakker’s Raptor Red (imag. projection of the life of a female Utahraptor throughout part of her reproductive life) and Footprints of Thunder by James F. David, described when it came out as “a cross between The X-Files and Jurassic Park”. Quite interesting.

I’ve read Raptor Red but forgot to list it. Is “quite interesting” praise or dismissal for Footprints of Thunder? Regardless, the title is neat.
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From: J. Holloway
Date: 11/12/2002

While you are updating, you should update your bit about the USS Constitution and her cruise of 1779. The Constitution was not launched until 21 October 1797 and didn’t put to sea until the summer of 1798. And as for the rest of the rubbish in the piece – Constitution never sailed in British waters much less sent a landing party ashore in Scotland. 24 of her 56 guns were 32 pounder carronades. And had she fired that much shot to take 12 merchant ships that would have been 6166.6 shot per ship. At most she would carry around 4500 rounds of ammunition. Of course, she could carry 1,776,000 pounds, but not with all her guns and other equipment. Rated at 44 guns, she was overloaded as it was. Loaded for a six month cruise she carried 5074.1 gallons of spirits, and 47,265 gallons of water. There is much more drivel here, too much to go into right now.

Just so. There is a reason that article is in the humor section. Perhaps that reason will occur to you.
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From: Morris M. Keesan
Date: 11/10/2002
Captain Future vs. Gilbert & Sullivan

You write that your “presence in the cast was a source of great pain to Morris Keesan who attempted to get the, you should excuse the expression, singers into tune and in sync with the musical accompaniment.”

As I recall, early in the rehearsal process I gave up on trying to get the singers in tune with the musical accompaniment, and concentrated on trying to keep the accompaniment in tune with the singers. This required only a little bit of creative modulation and transposition.

I am certain that you followed the right strategy. Some of the cast, I mention no names, have ears made of oak.

Richard “Oak Ears” Harter

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From: Hermester Barrington
Date: 11/10/2002
Subj: People that never were

Have you heard tell of a woman named Emily Chesley? She seems quite amazing, so much so that I doubt she ever existed (alas!) Much can be learned of her at: http://www.emilychesley.com/

I hadn’t heard of her, and I am greatly indebted to you for mentioning her to me. I’m afraid, though, that I can’t place much credence in her existence.
And for books that were never written, you might want to investigate:


Also a useful resource. I should mention it on my web page.
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From: Morris M. Keesan
Date: 11/10/2002
Subj: New come Volleyball

I have no idea why Campos850, in your September lettercol, was considering you an authority on volleyball. I suspect that the sport being referenced is what we called “newcome” when I was in day camp about 40 years ago. I have no idea whether I’ve spelled it right, or what the etymology of the name is, but it was a game similar to volleyball, probably using a volleyball and a volleyball net, that involved throwing and catching the ball rather than hitting it.

Rather like basketball with a net and no basket.
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From: Mark Olson
Date: 10/22/2002
Subj: Web pages

I just took another look at your site and was delighted to read Doc Smith Fashion — that’s really quite nice!

Gracias. Not mine of course, but I had the wit to recognize a good thing when I saw it.
(Also, can I put a link to your piece https://richardhartersworld.com/cri/2002/rivets.html from the NESFA history page?)
Of course.
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From: Talya S. Davies
Date: 10/13/2002
Subj: stink of holiness


I found your site while trying to find the origin of the phrase “they stink of holiness” and you were the only site on the whole internet that mentioned the phrase. You say that being attached to the illusory world and being attached to wisdom means that you stink of holiness. At the risk of fulfilling these criteria, I would like to find out exactly where the phrase comes from. Can you help?

(I quite like your poetry too)
(and I like the fact that the page is called Wild Flowers because for my birthday this week I received a book for identifying wild flowers)

My usage (I think that the term also appears in some Western poetry) is from a traditional Chinese story (Zen, I think, although it may be Taoist). It seems that in a certain province there was a saint, a man so holy that wild animals would tamely associate with him, being enraptured of his aura of holiness. When he became enlightened the animals no longer came to him because he no longer reeked of the stink of holiness.

I looked for the source of the story but I didn’t immediately find it. If I do, I will pass it on to you.

Like many such parables the story points to snares and traps in the quest for enlightenment. The quest is usually undertaken in the form of the contemplative life within a monastary or hermitage. In this case the snare is holiness, a subtle style of attachment in its own right.

A view is that one can “smell” holiness and, like many aromas, when it is concentrated it no longer is sweet; rather it is a stench.

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From: Charles Hitchcock
Date: 10/235/2002
Subj: poker and marines?

(of possible amusement — typed in because I’m months behind on magazines and the site seems to carry only the current issue.)

(from one of the people interviewed at Mohegan Sun for an article on gambling)

There was a time when he played a lot more poker; as a young officer in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1960, when he might be at sea for four weeks at a time. At times his ship carries as many as 1800 Marines, and he often played with their officers. “Poker was an extension of their egos,” he says, smiling. “Good poker players fold hands early and often. But not these guys–‘Marines don’t quit! If you fold those cards, you’re a little coward!’ When you raised their bet, they took it as a personal affront–‘Raise _me_? Oh _yeah_? I’ll raise _you_.’ All this is very good news for a poker player. On one cruise from San Diego to Hawaii, I won $500 in dollar-limit games, and put up a few of my friends at the Moana Hotel for 10 days when we reached Honolulu. _Semper fi!_”


But Chip, those were *officers* and probably lieutenants to boot.
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From: M.Taboada
Date: 08/21/2002
Subj: Checking in

Dear Richard:

While doing a web search I ran across your site, which I hadn’t visited for quite a long time. Keep up the good work. Is good Dr. Nathan still producing? Sir Cedric Titus was asking about him just the other day. He says that after him, Childers is the poorest excuse for a writer he’s ever known. He now refuses to write at all, but not to publish. He has hired three young women to write romances for him. He says that the results are OK by governmental standards and people can’t tell anyway. My last interview with him, which took place this past April, was interesting as well as bewildering. He now believes he wrote Sister Carrie, but since it was such a long time ago, he no longer remembers its plot (or Carrie). He is wondering why he doesn’t receive royalties any more. I didn’t have the heart.

I asked Nathan if he had any good words about Sir Cedric. His only reply was that Sir Cedric’s reputation was entirely deserved. It was kind of him to say so but he could have phrased his compliment less ambiguously. I wrote Sister Carrie myself, but she never wrote back. I did ask Nathan about writing romances. I do worry about him – sometimes his hearing fails him capriciously. I may be posting a transcript of an interview that he did with the Journal of Pretentious Literary Theory.
Wishing you many years of continued enjoyment in old South Dakota.
Thank you. Residence here has all the advantages of living in a third world country without the annoyance of having to learn a new language.
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From: ryan goetz ([email protected])
Date: 09/04/2002
Subj: help me please

my son wants to become a mutations and i want him to becom one but how do we do it pleas tell me i really need your help e mail me back ok thanks mr.

My suggestion is that you learn how to spell and how to punctuate. This won’t help your son become a mutant (nothing will) but you will be a better person for it.
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From: Charles Hitchcock
Date: 09/19/02
Subj: “New come” (September letters)

When I was ~7, summer camp featured a game that could have been spelled that way (more likely without the space, but I never saw it written out, let alone written rules). It was volleyball for people too small/clumsy to volley, especially on a court with a standard net (where the counselors played after lunch, for our edification); instead, players were allowed to catch the ball and throw it (to a teammate or over the net). I think it’s been 40 years since I heard the term….

That’s a new one on me. Of course I didn’t start playing volleyball until I was in my forties. I don’t think they played the game in SD until title IX.
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From: Charles Hitchcock
Date: 09/18/2002
Subj: spamming “funny game”

any idea how TIAC let a worm into your address book?

‘Snot me. All my address books are empty except for the internet explorer one (which I never use) – it points to microsoft. Someone with both your email address and mine has the Kleb (?) virus. It picks two names at random from the address book. It forges one as the originator and sends itself to the other. I receive a lot of these because my email address is in a lot of address books; likewise my address is forged to a lot of emails. There is nothing I can do about it.

… continued on next rock …

That’s a new one (to me — there’s a lot of net stuff I don’t keep up on). I’ve seen a lot of spam allegedly from myself but hadn’t noticed something allegedly from someone I know.

That is a bit unusual now that you mention it. It does seem to me that the spam level has risen in the past few months. I have taken to checking my mail on the webmail site first. I mark everything deleted and then go back and undelete anything that looks real. When you are coming through a dial-up account as I am getting rid of the junk before downloading mail is a real win.
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This page was last updated November 20, 2002.
It was reformatted and moved November 29, 2005.

table of contents
November 2002 TOC
Archived letters