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October 2002 TOC
Archived letters

Letters to the Editor, October 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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 October 2002.

NOTE: Between my trip, changing my site address, having my hard drive crash, and other goodnesses, the August letter column never happened. September and October have been a little hectic also. Patience children, normality will happen any millennium now.

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Other Correspondence Pages

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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From: Campos850 ([email protected])
Date: 09/03/2002
Subj: New come Volleyball Rules

I need information on how to play New come Volleyball.

I’m sorry but I don’t recognize “New come”. Might you be speaking by any chance of rally point scoring, which has become the standard in high school volleyball?
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This page was last updated October 14, 2002.
It was reformatted and moved November 29, 2005

table of contents
October 2002 TOC
Archived letters