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Letters to the Editor, November 2004

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 2004.

Some of it is a little ancient; I’m slowly catching up – very slowly.

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Other Correspondence Pages

From: R.M. Dupont
Date: 11/24/2004
Subj: i have mailed you several times.

where is my money, dude ?

Yonnie’s got it.
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From: katya adachi
Date: 7/29/2004
Subj: Lucifer’s Hammer

Lucifer’s Hammer, dont’ you see this is the story of the “old ones’ the story of the ‘fallen ones’ the ones who are cannibalistic, the ones who try to defeat god (the good ones)

I dunno, it’s a different slant on the book, but I think you might have something there. A conventional reading of the book is that something bad happens to the world. The good guys are holed up in a redoubt trying to restore civilization. Part of the disaster is that people go crazy and turn bad. The bad guys attack the good guys, but the good guys win.

Suppose, however, we turn everything around. The title isn’t simply metaphoric – the big meteor strike is Lucifer’s Hammer. He is trying to break the hold of the “good” guys on the world and pave the way for the ‘old ones’ to return to power. The story is about the rise of the fallen ones and their attempt to remake the world.

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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 11/19/2004
Subj: Oh Deer

At 07:02 AM 11/19/04 -0500, you wrote: Thanks to your editorial, I know that you have the ability to distinguish between various kinds of animals. This is a good thing, especially when hunting. Very especially when the landowner has livestock.

Very especially indeed.
It is now deer season here at our North Carolina homestead. My friend Mr. Tucker bagged one with a .22, which is sort of doing things the hard way. He heard a noise at night and went out to investigate. There were two venisons there where he thought there might be a dog. So he shot them. One escaped, wounded (a good reason for packing something more substantial than a .22) but the other venison is now in the kitchen on its way into the freezer.
Around here that is known as jacking deer. You aren’t supposed to hunt deer out of season (the SD budget is balanced by selling hunting licenses to out of staters) but more than one rural freezer is filled with “beef” that once wore antlers. However you are entitled to keep your road kill. Considering what it costs to repair the damage that highway deer do to your vehicle they scarcely can be characterized as free meat.
You are welcome to come here and hunt the deer, if you wish. You might find some wild turkeys, or maybe a bobcat, too. And there are far too many beaver that try to flood our land with their ponds. Here they are a nuisance. In Massachusetts they are like maybe a felony, because they are protected. I shot at one and missed (didn’t you do something like that on guard duty?) when I found that my right elbow was intertwined in the shrubbery. You may take beaver on my land until you run out of ammo, and I’ll then dash to Wal-Mart and get you more.
It wasn’t me that shot and missed whilst on guard duty. It was some other trigger happy fool.

In MA the only thing you can hunt these days are republicans. You might think that they would be a protected species, what with being so scarce there, but apparently they’re classified as the equivalent of noxious weeds.

I wonder if it’s possible to travel from South Dakota to North Carolina (or the reverse) without having to go through Massachusetts?
I don’t think so. It has something to do with border patrol check stations and homeland security. I dunno what, though. I can’t keep track of all of that stuff. I have figured out the War On Terror bit, though. It’s a Boston accent thingie. What they’re really saying is that they are conducting a War On Terra.
… continued on next rock …

Around here that is known as jacking deer. You aren’t supposed to hunt deer out of season
No, no, it *** is *** deer season here, now. And my friend Mr. Tucker lives at my place. It is his residence. He does not even need a license to hunt on my land. We lease the hunting rights to a club (a good way to enforce keeping out those trash hunters who cannot distinguish between horses, deer, pheasants, and other hunters) but Junior, the club president, (he prefers that name to Wesley Stack, Jr.) says that folks who live on my land can hunt without the club’s permission. Other friends need to get a club permit. Asked for one friend, and Junior said, “Oh, **HIM**. We kicked him out of the club. He can’t hunt on club land.”

Junior has been president for longer than he wants, but the club does not have anything like NESFA’s policies for rotation of management tasks or for grooming one’s successor. If you were to move here and join the Lick Creek Hunting Club you could be president as soon as you qualified as a Good Old Boy. (Which isn’t quite as hard as one might imagine.)

It’s deer season here now. You can tell because there are pickups filled with men in orange jackets on all of the back roads.

Our Lady of the Large Black Dog informs me that the cemetery was full of deer. I’m not sure that I should signify as to what that might mean.

The likelihood of my wanting to be president of the Lick Creek Hunting Club is not high. I did consent to be president of NESFA, but it was on the understanding that the presidency was a caretaker position while I was president.

… continued on next rock …

Personally, I’ve enjoyed the Boskone debriefing sessions where Tony is the Tsar. They’re not run by General Roberts’s rules, and the only motion in order is to replace the tsar. Fortunately Tony likes being in control and most nobody else does. Also fortunately, I think, the NESFA By Laws prevent Tony from being NESFA’s President In Perpetuum. although there are those who believe that he is, regardless.

My understanding is that Tony has been promoted to an Elder God, or possibly one of the Great Old Ones. I am also told that he is the protagonist of a children’s book entitled, Anthony R. Lewis and The Little SF Club That Could. I may possibly be misinformed.
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From: Ken Mauldin
Date: 11/17/2004
Subj: Just How Observant Are You?

#16 – stop sign – has 2 sides (back and front), not 8 as indicated in your answers

I dunno as I can agree with you on this one, although your point is well taken. Considered as a physical object, a stop sign indeed has two sides (or ten – one can make that case also.) However a stop sign is a SIGN – it is defined by its shape and the inscription upon it.
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From: Christine Rae Shanks
Date: 11/12/2004
Subj: Thanks

That was great – I will be marrying my engineer honey in January and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I laughed so hard reading this, everyone in the office had to find out what was going on … I couldn’t agree more with you on all of them.

Take good care of him. Beneath that geekish veneer is a delicate flower.
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From: David A. Moses
Date: 11/4/2004
Subj: Goodbye!

You have the wrong person and wrong email!

I do? How quaint. Who would be the right person and the right email?

Small clue: You were almost certainly responding to a forged reply address.

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From: Ramona Wehinger
Date: 11/12/2004
Subj: Harter

Stumbled onto your site while doing a google search.My name is Ramona Harter Wehinger. Just wondering if we could be related. Some of the people in your photos somewhat resemble some of my relatives. First of all, my Harters all live in JoDaviess and Stephenson Co’s in IL. (Warren, Lena and Freeport) My Dad was Raymond Leroy Harter b. June 12, 1935 d. Aug 8, 2004. He married Juanita Zink on July 9, 1959. They had 4 girls -Ramona (me) b. 1969, Melody b. 1970, Norma b. 1972 & Jodean b. 1973. Raymonds parents were Winferd & Angeline Strong Harter. Winferds parents were Maximillian & Mary Harter. Winferd & Angeline Harter had 6 children– Francis, Peter, Raymond, Nellie, Lucille & Rosemary. Only 3 are living–Francis, Peter& Nellie. The Love name is connected to our Harter family. Is it connected to yours? I saw the photo of you in 1980 and you resembled my Dad only he never had a beard. If any of this sounds familiar, please email me. Thanks!!! Ramona

Sorry, no such luck. My Harters came from Nebraska and Pennsylvania, but they trace back to Switzerland. There are a lot of Harters in the midwest; they are abundant in South Dakota. Oddly enough, there are very few in New England. It is tricky doing genealogical research on the name because there English Harters and German Harters. It is a common name in Germany, albeit with a variety of spellings. I understand that there is town in Bavaria in which over half of the residents are named Harter.
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From: Ergun Bayseferogullari
Date: 11/8/2004
Subj: Please help me! (Please read)

Hello, (please read this message)

Can you help me $1, if you can ? I know my wish can come to you thoughtless but here, internet is my last chance because I think I can only take help from you and the other people. This is really not important that you will help or will not help me. But your $1 help will be really give me a power to live and take my life again.

I’m from Turkey. I’m an architect and I’m a father of 2 children. My company had a big financial crisis. I lost my thousand workers. I stopped my children’s education. A lot of payee come to my flat and I’m really helpless in front of these payee. Executions take everything, my all commodity, goods from me.

I’m really in hard position and very need your help. $1 help is really important for me. If you think to help me here is my bank account information;

[snip account and address info]

I’m so thanks to you from now for your helps for me….

Ergun, I’m afraid there is no help for you.
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From: Dan Ryles
Date: 11/8/2004
Subj: two recipes for the preparation of human flesh

I thought about pasting the recipes into an email and sending them to you. But the author says he’s published them, so maybe distribution without attribution isn’t the way to go. I’ll let you do as you see fit with them. Personally though, I think they’d make a great addition to your recipes section.

Eat hearty.

You did the right thing. Although the recipes appear quite tasty, one unfortunately seldom has the requisite spices and vegetables with one when one finds themselves in circumstances where cannabilism is accepted as being legitimate. Or something like that. I shall add a link to it in my collection of “off the wall” recipes.

No, No, Not Rogov! is the title of a Cordwainer Smith story that seems particularly appropriate here.

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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 10/6/2004
Subj: Typos in the “Quiz for People Who Know Everything”

I regret that my eye has been sharpened by too much tech writing, for I see typos and grammatical errors almost everywhere I look, expecially at the grocer’s. (I’m one of those sickos who gets bent out of shape by 12 ITEMS OR LESS and by apostrophes in the plurals of vegetables. “FRESH” POTATOE’S gawwd help us.

Gazing through your bottle of Scotch into the Quiz for People Who Know Everything I notice that the page with the answers claims (#10) that the “catcer [sic] interferes with the base runner” and (#12) that clippers begins with s. Must mean slippers.

But that’s not all. Surely the figure quoted by #2, that Niagra Falls wears down DAILY by 2.5 feet, is in error. That’s over 900 feet a year, which would place the Falls some 27,000 feet, or over five miles, upstream from where I saw them only 30 years ago. I cannot believe it. The change must be yearly; to travel five miles would then take perhaps 10,000 years. (2.5 ft/yr * 10,000 yr is 25,000 ft.) Of course a meteor or an ice age might strike one of the Great Lakes and mess up the water level and the rate of flow. Shall I hold my breath?

Should you hold your breath? Not if you are relying on me to fix those typos. Others alerted me to them when I first posted the quiz. Do not think that I am not going to fix them. I shall. But all good things shall be done in their own good time. Regretably the list of good things to be done grows at a swifter pace than does the doing of them. This is not a problem, provided only that there is an infinite supply of time in which to do them.

… continued on next rock …

Supply is only semi-infinite. The other direction, backwards in time, may also be infinite, but has eluded all my efforts at attaining it.

“Semi-infinite” is a concept that is meaningful for ordinals but not for cardinals. Not being Catholic, I have nothing to do with Cardinals, so your point is well taken. One can argue that an infinite past cannot be remembered; a person who had lived forever would be bound by the finiteness of their mind to remember but a finite fragment of their infinite existence. It follows that an infinite past is necessarily an illusion, whereas an infinite future requires little beyond taking care not to die.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 10/15/2004
Subj: Where Wendell Ing might be

Mr. Harter, Sir!

Back in 2001 you responded to Dr. Lewis’s mention of Wendell Ing by asking this question:

“Does anybody know where Wendell is these days and what he is doing?”

A search by Yahoo reveals:

  Wendell Ing
  Kilauea Rd
  Hilo, HI
  (808) 985-7434
A search by Google suggests he is a keyboard player for the Heartfelt Band in Hawaii.

Would this indeed be OUR Wendell, or is it some imposter?

I suspect an imposter but one never knows without a bit of research. There is a difficulty though. If this Wendell Ing is “our” Wendell Ing then we can infer that his failure to notify NESFA of his change of address was deliberate, that he desired to escape what some might think an unsavory episode in his past. If that were the case we do him no favor by bringing to light that part of his past that he wished to erase.

On the other hand if he is not “our” Wendell Ing and we were to contact him, he might well think us some species of deranged lunatic and notify the authorities. This is not good. The authorities these days have some difficulty distinguishing between lunatics not holding office and terrorists.

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From: dave ng
Date: 10/27/2004
Subj: creationist FAQ

I would like to request the opportunity to reprint your ‘creationist FAQ’ piece (https://richardhartersworld.com/~cri_d/cri/1996/crefaq.html) on my literary science humour site. It’s a very good piece, charming and amusing to fit nicely with some of the other material. There is no loss of copyright on your part, and you can use the area to link to your own site at your disgression. Anyhow, the piece would likely attract about 700 readers in about a 2 week timeframe, so traffic is reasonably good. Anyhow, I invite you to check out the site in order to make your decision (http://bioteach.ubc.ca/dnaworld/) . In fact, I haven’t had a chance to look too deeply at your site, but there may be others as well that I’m interested in. No worries if you decline, but a response is appreciated.

By all means go ahead. Please preserve the attribution and the copyright notice. I would take it kindly if you would include a link back to the original page, but it is quite alright if you do not. Good luck with your site.
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From: yonnie
Date: 10/30/2004
Subj: where is my money, dude ?

You must return my payment back, or …

The check is in the email, dude …
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This page was last updated November 24, 2004.

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November 2004 TOC
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Index of Contributors