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Letters to the editor, March 2007

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 March 2007.

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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 3/12/2007
Subj: The latest


this is definitely something you should look at. http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/65d3499808afa010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html

Oh my, yes. “Dear, you will get your engagement ring when I pass away. I will be your engagement ring.” Perhaps not – when the newly wealthy widow remarries her new husband doubtless would object to her wearing her former husband.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 3/6/2007
Subj: Revolta

Sorry to report, Dr. Arouna was suffering from the Misplacement of Hands. His computer was using an old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock (that’s all anyone can afford in those internet cafes in Burkina Faso or wherever the hell he is), and it was running three days slow. It was a Mickey Mouse alarm clock. Mickey’s right hand had gotten wound up in his naval, I think, and that accounts for the error. I wish it could have been more exciting. I really wanted to make money betting on the Red Sox. Or maybe the Cubs.


Nonsense, that’s what they want you to believe. Time machines are always disguised, and wind-up alarm clocks are so much innocent appearing than Deloreans.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 3/9/2007
Subj: Chocolate

I call your attention to http://www.chocablog.com/recipes/dalek-chocolate-cake/

Death by chocolate?
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 04:57 AM 2/13/2007
Subj: Revolta

Urgent, urgent! Secret truth about Dr. Arouna Amed in Burkina Faso!!!

I just noticed that Dr. Amed’s message (received two days ago) was sent at 7:39 this morning, which according to my clock is about three hours from now.

That was a message from the FUTURE!!!!!!!!!

Dr. Amed has somehow stumbled onto the secret of time travel or precognition, or some sort of sciffi thing like that. Maybe Unifried Filed Theory, or the Misplacement of Hands.

(Oh, I can tell you’re concerned that I’m up at 4 am writing this note, and that in your world there is no 4 am. Just remember that Highmore is in a different time zone.)

Anyway, I suggest we hold Dr. Amed for ransom until he (or she) reveals the (obviously lucrative) secret. One could get rich by predicting the Boston Red Sox, or the Chicago Cubs.

I’m very much afraid that you’ve stumbled onto the fragmentation of reality. In the old days we’d just have to kill you. Fortunately for you that hasn’t been policy since the unfortunate events of 2012. Nowadays we just push people off into isolated splinters of distorted reality. If I recall correctly, you probably think that the Red Sox won the world series recently and that George Bush is president, both events completely inconsistent with reality.

I must commend to you the thought that it is most unwise to pay too much attention to Burkina Faso. It is a nexus. As for Dr. Amed, he is being dealt with.

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From: Chip Hitchcock
Date: 2/13/2007
Subj: “Insanity”, etc.

I had written:

You misapprehend. Watching Phillies explode was a fitting climax to the whole affair. Continuing the scam would have been anti-climactic. The besides of which, the gaff had been blown and the marks had wised up.
Ah. In other words, you considered yourself exposed. I’d remember that if I thought I’d ever have the tactical advantage to use it.
Indeed you should. One of the rules of life is that one should not over stay your scams. That path leads to the most of unfortunate of ends – jail, suicide, calumny, and NESFA. Best is to hand it off to someone else just before the debacle and let them collect your just desserts.
I had written:
Now that’s just cruel. I feel no qualms in claiming that my, ah, singing is quite as good as that of some of the participants in American Idol.
And, evidently, no qualms in admitting that you watch American Idol. Your editorials sounded like you were keeping yourself busy; apparently time is hanging more heavily on your hands in dynamic eehW Highmore than we thought.
No qualms at all. Actually American Idol is one of the programs that Our Lady of the Large Black Dog is fond of watching. She’s also fond of watching HGTV and the food channel. It’s all very educational.

Life is not all remodeling houses, feeding birds, writing code, maintaining web sites, and reading improving books. Sometimes one has to connect with popular culture. Why, I don’t know; it’s just one of those things that has to be done.

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From: Shekhar Nawani
Date: 3/2/2007
Subj: Link Exchange Request

Dear Sir/Mam

I found your great website while searching for relevant link partners. We are very picky of whom we choose for a link exchange. We value your high quality website useful for our users and would like to ask you if you would be interested in exchanging links with our high quality theme relevant site.

URL: http://www.markdhauser.com/

Title: Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer

Description: Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Mark D. Hauser offers free consultations and is available 24 hours a day…

your link will be added at: http://www.link-city.com/reciprocallinks/Home_Loans.htm

A positive response from you on this would be highly appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

I have long suspected that many of my readers could use the services of a good criminal defense lawyer. I am not quite certain why anyone would look for my site on a home loans page; home loans are not quite my sort of thing. However I do appreciate that there is a connection of sorts between criminal lawyers and home loans. Perhaps it is best if we just leave it that you folks, whoever you might be, wanted a mention of your site. Well now you have it.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 3/1/2007
Subj: Correction

Mr. Harter,

the organization is the New England Historic Genealogical Society, it web site is http://nehgs.org/

There’s a complimentary quick reference service at


Perhaps this will help find William Knight.

As usual you are an impeccable source of information. I will pass the information on.
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From: Kenny Q
Date: 3/2/2007
Subj: petrified rocks

I am in Vancouver Washington and I find amazing rocks everywhere I look. It seems I am able to find colorfull and greasy smooth stones with swirls of various colors. I believe they are the toenails or talons of animals long ago. I find sabertooth casts often. I also find eggs-some are verry heavy and others are simply amazing with the egg shape and color. Others are puffy and lumpy/pitted and hot dog shaped. My question is how can so much important history be walked over and missed by all. For example, in a new subdivision I searched I found bones in wet clay, if i tried to extract them wet the simply wash away-but after the clod dried I extracted bones that were HOLLOW when i snapped them in my hands. I find something truly amazing each and every time-everywhere. I find small “core-drills” on the columbia river bank-they wash up on shore-they are stems from long ago.

WHY IS IT SO EASY TO FIND petrified fossils????

I cannot say for certain but I suspect that the answer is that many of your “fossils” aren’t really fossils. The eggs and talons sound like common river wash rocks. The “bones” in wet clay sound like concretions, clay that has clumped together in interesting shapes. However if you feel that you have a real find, you might check with a local college geology department.

I hope this helps.

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From: Adam Lang
Subj: Lyrics/song name/attribution correction

The song you have on your site called ‘Chihuahuas and Great Danes’ is actually called ‘Little Gomez’, and is by Eric Bogle, an Australian songwriter. The canonical Eric Bogle words follow:

FYI, a correction of the words and attribution of a song on your web site: the song is ‘Little Gomez’, and the author is Eric Bogle. The canonical Eric Bogle words are as follows:

[snip words]

Thanks for the information. I will post the correction.
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From: Ted Samsel
Date: 3/5/2007
Subj: Swiss invade Liechtenstein!!!

March 5, 2007 cnews.canada

Company of Swiss soldiers get lost and accidentally march into Liechtenstein

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) – What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered just over a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

“We’ve spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it’s not a problem,” Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.

Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident.

Interior ministry spokesman Markus Amman said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. “It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something,” he said.

Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn’t have an army.

I take it this is a lower case anschluss.
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From: Hayes 2000
Date: 3/1/2007
Subj: (nothing)

Hi Ummm I like quiz. Bye Bye

Ummm Quiz like you. Bye Bye.
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From: Andrew Moore
Date: 2/25/2007
Subj: why take credit for other’s work?

How to argue effectively
By Stuart J. Williams, Attorney at Law

Thanks for letting me know the source. I got it via email with the Stuart J. Williams attribution many years ago. I will correct it.

BTW, did you know that you are somewhat of a twit.

… continued on next rock

That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say. You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler.

I dare say I do. You sound like the sort of chap who is reminded of of Adolf Hitler by everything and everyone. Don’t you find it a bit depressing seeing Hitler in every face and hearing his rants in every speaker’s voice, to say nothing of avoiding looking in mirrors for fear of what you will see?
Anfeuerung, Andrew

BTW yesterday’s email was intended for Stuart J. Williams, Attorney at Law, who, I assumed, would be less sensitive then yourself.

Well now, that’s difficult. I don’t know who Stuart J. Williams is, or where to find him. For that matter I don’t know how Stuart, whoever he might be, ended up with his name attached to the piece. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got attached by accident. In any event his name was attached when I received the story and reprinted it on my website. However do feel free to try to track him down and give him a piece of your mind.

BTW, you’re still a bit of a twit.

My apologies to Andrew – he was being clever and I missed it. I hadn’t looked at that page for nine years and didn’t catch the allusion.
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From: Patricia Eaves
Date: 2/26/2007
Subj: Rockerville Mellerdrama

Hi! I found your post about doing mellerdrama in Rockerville. I am trying to find info about that experience. My in-laws met there in the early fifties while doing summer theatre. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary in May. We want to do a mellerdrama theme to their party. I see you mention a couple shows and oleos that you did. What years did you do shows there? I am not sure what year they were there exactly but there names were Jim Alger and JoAnn Rasmussen. Could you recommend a shorter mellerdrama with a smaller cast that we could perform for them? He always played the hayseed character, she the damsel. Also, if you have any photos you could share, that would be great. Thanks for any help you may provide.

I can’t help you much right now. I was there is 1961; they would have been there a bit later. I do get letters from time to time about the Rockerville Meller Drammer. I seem to recall that someone was doing a project on it. I will get back to you on that one.

I don’t have a short one act melodrama on hand. However you can probably find one at http://www.pioneerdrama.com/plays-melodrama.asp. They have an ample supply of scripts with titles like Alias Smedley Pewtree or… The Villain of Glitter Gulch.

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From: Michael Valentine
Date: 2/27/2007
Subj: The Life And Times of Delos D. Harriman, Anthony Truphan, Biodegradable Press, Oshkosh Falls, 1998

Is this an actual Book? if so where can I get a copy?

I’m sorry, it’s a complete fabrication. Pity, that. I’ve always wanted to live in a universe in which Heinlein’s future history series was fact.
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From: Don Finkeldei
Date: 2/26/2007
Subj: Firearm death rate… Iraq vs Washington D. C.

Get your facts straight. You calculated Iraqi firearm death rates for american G.I.’s per MONTH. Washington DC is calculated per YEAR. Big difference.

If you can’t even do simple math or check your facts, you shouldn’t be commenting on something like this.

Besides, the firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is more like 31/100,000/year, not 80.6/100,000/year.

(Be gentle, Richard, be gentle.) Don, it’s a joke. That’s why it’s in the humor section. Of course the numbers are misused – that’s part of the joke.

I like what I saw of your artwork on your website. However you might want to check for typos, particular the sentence that starts “All painings are …” (Fixed)

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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 2/22/2007
Subj: expesnes

Esteamed Mr. Harter, Sir!!

I just received another invitation to participate in fraud. The perp, a Mr. Mohammad something-or-other, seems to indicate that the amount of money is only $18.600.

This trifling amount (whether it is $18 or $18,000 it is still trifling compared to the gadzillions promised by the guy in Frigeria) is not worth my sending you the full text.

But I thought you might have a use for the “10% for the transfer expesnes” that he mentioned. I’ve never before come across expesnes this far south. You may have seen them in the Black Hills or some other unreachable part of your state. The word is French, right? And pronounced ex-pains? Perhaps they are not yet extinct and still live in your mother’s wildlife preserve.

I believe that expesnes are small birds that they consume in the better French restaurants. IIRC they are roasted whole, stuffed with truffles, and served with Bernais sauce. Then again, I may have misunderstood something I was watching on the food channel.
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From: Lynn Trotter
Date: 2/19/2007
Subj: The Face Upon the Floor

Hi! So glad you put this on the web. I also memorized this as a child, growing up in Rhode Island. I found it in a book at my grandparents house in Newport.Probably memorized it in or about 1960. Thanks again for the memories…Lynn Trotter

I imagine that is about the time I memorized it. Memorizing poems makes for great memories.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 2/22/2007
Subj: Yet another one!

How do they find me?

Anyway, yet another foreign person has died on his way to or from or around or avoiding Africa. This is someone who left his money in Burkina Faso (a terrible mistake, by the way) and then died intestate in a plane crash along with his entire family. Apparently airplane crashes are quite contagious in Africa, as I’m losing at least one foreigner a day there.

So, the obvious and humanitarian thing to do is to establish the Dead African Foreigner Fund (DAFF). It can be managed by the same crews who handle TAFF and DUFF, obviously. The money cannot, of course, go to the Dead Foreigners, as that’s where it will have camed from. Instead, it’ll go into a research fund for determining why so many foreigners die in African plane crashes, with the entire family aboard. The statistical chances of this sort of thing happening are in the same league with the Red Sox. Once in 80 years, maybe. But several times? Hah!

Maybe we could at least write wills for all those not-yet-dead foreigners in Africa. This last one was a full $10.5 million, so it’s not a piddling amount like that $18 guy I wrote to you of from by for earlier.

I’m getting tired of all these dead foreigners. You seem to have a good supply of creationists. Wanna swap?

I have my own supply of dead foreigners, thank you. They wash up on the shores of South Dakota – no mean trick, I grant you, but nothing is beyond the ingenuity and perversity of foreigners, particularly dead ones. As for creationists, I treasure the few I have. They are, after all, the sole remaining survivors of the Stone Head people.

Be that as it may, we definitely have to do something about African airlines. I suspect a conspiracy (I always suspect a conspiracy). I suspect that the airlines are offering cheap excursion rates to wealthy foreigners. The accidents, of course, are no such thing. The victims are quietly disposed of and the crashes are fabricated. Naturally the targets are picked out by corrupt Financial Officers in collusion with the airlines. No doubt you are asking why they are so willing to share their ill-gotten gains with strangers. Of course they are not. They are going to stash their ill-gotten gains away in some rat-hole, probably one in a fast food restaurant. Our role is these shenanigans is to provide an explanation as to where the money went.

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From: Angelique Hartigan
Date: 2/20/2007
Subj: Hello

I am supposed to be working, but stumbled, as one does onto your website and was reading all about horse riding. I too was one of those girls who grew up with a passion for horses that I don’t remember ever never having, only I lived in London. My dad was a gambler and I suppose the love of horses came from the betting shop this and my Irish background and seeing the horses going past at the local stables. I drew them all day everyday as I remember. Like photographs – I could draw naturally; lucky me!

Now that’s the sort of girlhood that people write novels about.
Eventually after many years (probably only 3) we (my sister and I) were allowed to start. I absolutely loved it and was there for 5 years. I don’t know if I am any good, probably not. Who cares the joy I had there was just perfect. At 14 my parents said they could not afford it any longer and I cried for days until they relented and gave me one more term. That was it until aged 37 and living in the countryside I went back briefly. I think I preferred the feeling of confidence I have now as an adult, but my flirtation was only brief and I am now back in London again. I love horses only I feel a bit “bad” about the riding them; maybe I am being silly. Then I think perhaps it is the riding school horse I feel sorry for. They always look so forlorn. If I had the time I would have my own I suppose. That is the dream. I have always wanted to go on a trail ride in Montana. I should put that on my top ten list of things to do; oh how they will laugh at my vegetarianism!
The point of being good at riding is, or should be, to make riding a more pleasant and joyful experience; riding isn’t about perfection.

If you ever actually decide to come to the states and go trail riding drop me a line. My cher ami, yclept The Lady of the Large Black Dog, used to do that sort of thing every year; she has all sorts of contacts. She has done wagon train rides and trail rides up in the mountains.

Anyway. I absolutely love your website. As you can see that is what I am supposed to be building here in my living room in Crystal Palace London, but your fabulous and humorous stories have had me meander over to you. I started at the swimming with sharks page from ice scribes website whilst I was researching for inspiration for my Italian Osteopath’s website madness.
Now this is why I like to get letters. How else would I have learned about the ice scribe’s website? Be that as it may, I am delighted that you love my website. It is a labor of love, I guess, an exuberant indulgence in creativity – a low grade creativity, perhaps, but creativity. Bertrand Russell once said that he would spread his interests and attention out to the world and away from his body, so that when his body died he would scarcely notice it, his attention being elsewhere at the time. I doubt that it worked, but just in case …
I am yet to finish the one for my own little business here so I can finance my other passion which is art. Funny the two things I adored as a child that make me so happy are the things I am striving to finance in later life, horses and painting.

I’ll send you a link when I get round to it and I will be linking to your site because it is excellent.

I would like that.
I have written down two words from your site that made me laugh: ‘foodery’ and ‘behoves’. Fabulous!
In turn I learned something. I hadn’t previously known that the British spelling of ‘behooves’ is ‘behoves’.
Thanks for putting a smile on my face today. I’ll add you to my favourites.

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From: Rose M Porter
Date: 2/20/2007
Subj: William Knight, Master Sailor on the USS Constituition

I have just found out that my great, great, great uncle, William Knight was commisioned by Thomas Jefferson as the Sailing Master onboard the Constition about 1780, I am trying to find details on his life, I understand he was later captured by pirates and taken to Tripoli where he was helf for ransom. Do you have a sorce for me to check on this?

I did a bit of checking on this, but I couldn’t find anything. If I come up with anything I will let you know. May I suggest that you check with the appropriate genealogical society. For example, if William was from New England the New England Genealogical Society will probably have information on him.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 2/22/2007

My Dear Harter!
Ordinarily, as you know, I do not forward along missives such as this one, preferring to keep them for my greedy self.

But this one struck my eye as particularly suited to you, as it needs a foreigner. South Dakota is so far away (especially the lunar county) that it can likely qualify as foreign.

Once again, there is the suspicion in my mind that the writer is not in Africa, but in France, based on the e-mail reply address he has provided–“internetavous” indeed! So one must be wary, as the French are not as trustworthy as the Nigerians.

Still, it looks like a good opportunity for a person who has documented skills in poker and insanity (two games well described on your web site).

Do not forget me when you have become inordinately wealthy.

[snip forwarded message]

It is good of you to think of me. It turns out, however, that as a South Dakotan I am not a credible foreigner. The banks in Nigeria simply refuse to believe that anyone in South Dakota could have a wealthy relative. It is these little prejudices that have created a bar to my attaining fame and riches.
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From: Elizabeth Miller
Date: 2/21/2007
Subj: Spotting

hey if you spot at 7 weeks and they said that the baby ok than is the baby going to be ok for the 9 monthes or do you not know but i was wonting to know cause i had a still brith in october?

I’m not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. However here is a layman’s opinion. The spotting probably didn’t have anything to do with the still birth – you can spot for a lot of different reasons. Things like still births and miscarriages just happen.
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This page was last updated March 13, 2007.
It was moved January 9, 2009

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Hyde County, South Dakota is the Pin Tail Duck Capital of the world. Visit scenic Highmore, SD in 2007!