Richard Harter’s World
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May 2010

Letters to the editor, May 2010

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 May 2010.

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Other Correspondence Pages

Date: May/1/2010
Subj: Valerie Scruggs/Goodwin the First Black female graduate from Yale School of Architecture

First Lady, Michele Obama. I would like to suggest that you consider hanging one of Valerie’s quilts on the White House Walls. Her works are praised nation wide.

Valerie Scruggs/Goodwin the First Black female graduate from Yale School of Architecture:

My congratulations to Valerie. She wouldn’t be a relative of yours by any chance, would she?
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From: Peter-Ideas Promo
Date: 5 May 2010
Subj: Quotation for Floral Square Space Duffle

Hi Sir and Madam,

We are having a special offer on the Floral Square Space Duffle. The quantity can be as small as 100 pcs and the lead time is just 3-5 days after order placing.

Oddly enough I was just the other day looking for a Floral Square Space Duffle. Unfortunately the moment has passed, and I doubt that I shall have another like it for, lo, these many years. That’s a pity, for now I shall go to my grave wondering what a floral square space duffle might be.
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From: Lee R Piazza
Date: 4 May 2010
Subj: Whatever

May 4th and we still must content ourselves with the March issue that was published in April..

Well, you see it’s like this. I’ve been studying martial arts and I’ve been working on my feints.

You don’t buy that? I don’t blame you. It’s the usual. Too many distractions, too much ork. (When one gets rid of you and you, work turns into ork.) I hope by the tenth.

He Who Procrastinates

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From: Philip Day
Date: 12 April 2010
Subj: Whatever

Dear Mr Harter,

I am a Heathfield Resident, who has stumbled upon the Homepage for the Piltdown Man, which I believe is run by yourself.

I am emailing you first to thank you for creating such a wonderful resource, and second to perhaps extend my hand as a useful contact. I am a Senior Partner in a Web Hosting firm XNA Hosting. I feel that I would like to make you aware of our brand new package deal, simply because, I love resources such as the one you run, and I would like to see them not suffer from running costs.

Essentially, the package costs 99p per month, with no strings attached. If you are at all interested, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’d love to help you out.

Anyway, I’m not here to pester you, just to thank you for your site. So Thank You.

Thanks for writing and thanks for the offer. 99p per month is a wonderful price. Unfortunately I am too tied up in the current location.
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From: Jeff Musser
Date: 29 April 2010
Subj: an AFCRL volleyball player

I found you by googling “afcrl volleyball”

I am part of the Bedford rec volleyball games. we had a player for many years that just stopped playing and people are concerned about him. it was before we took names and had a email list, so we don’t know who he is.

but he lived in Lexington, age close to 80, came to the Bedford High by bus, and always wore a yellow league shirt that I think said AFCRL volleyball on it. His name is Charlie. I am not sure if he worked at AFCRL (makes sense for his age) or Lincoln Lab. People often gave him a ride to Lexington because he didn’t drive. About 2 years ago his son was with him and thanked us for taking care of him.

So, do you have any idea who he is and what happened to Him?

This is a tough one. I was part of a group at Lincoln Lab that played at Bedford for a while, but that has been ages ago. You might try asking either Bob Boudreau or Greg Stathis. Bob lives in Waltham and has been around forever in New England Volleyball. AIUI Greg runs a group that plays in Arlington. Either one might know.

Sorry, I’m afraid I can’t be of much help.

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From: Bob Walker
Date: 2 May 2010

Hello Good day , This Bob Walker regarding to your company to order some ( Cattle Chute ) ,i will like to know the specific you have in stock and get me the sales price of each so that i will let you known the quantity i will be ordering,do you take credit card as a method of payment .Advise
Stay Bless

Sorry, Bob, we don’t stock cattle chutes. We don’t even stock para chutes. I think you’ve got the wrong company.
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From: Russell Mercer
Date: 2 May 2010
Subj: Poems

Leave out the “I” in your poems.

Now is that advice to me based on my poetry, or is it a general editorial comment?

Seems like crazy is all you meet,
Crazy in the stores and crazy on the street
Crazy in the alleys and crazy in the halls
And Crazy, Crazy, Crazies scratching Crazy on the walls.
Crazy in your kin, and Crazy on the phone,
And even other Crazies singing other crazy songs.

Now I like that one. That’s really good.

Anniversary of the War R. W. Mercer 1983

The war is remembered on the little hot scream,
The enhanced color footage, stereo snarl of 16s,
The cough and thump of mortar,
The bright cascade of brass on jungle green.

Sweat and warm beer,
And terminally boozed up, smoked up warboys,
Partying down in a pizza parlor on the edge of hell,
The psychedelic chronicles,
The self destruction of Jimmies Hendrix and Morrison,
The perfect counterpoint to the drug called war.

Viet Nam, Saigon, Kay San, Pleiku, Camron Bay,
Friends, brothers, husbands, sons, and lovers,
Their names are written on the wall,
And those who came home, but never quite came home at all,
It is you I will remember,
It is you I will remember,
As I forget the anniversary of the war.

I dunno, that’s yet another war poem.
War is too real for poetry.
Just a thought.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 1 May 2010
Subj: Book not read by its author

Your website recently suggested, “There is even one that I suspect has never been read by anyone at all, not even by its author.”

That would be “Venus on the Half Shell” by Kilgore Trout, would it not?

It could well be. I am under the impression that Nathan Childers edited a volume, “Collected stories that I’ve never read”, but I wouldn’t know – I’ve never read it.
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From: Nathan Childers
Date: 30 April 2010
Subj: Book not read by its author

My dear, dear Richard

You are confused. You edited the volume; I reviewed it.

Er, you may be right. I really couldn’t say; I don’t remember.
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From: Pearl
Date: 19 April 2010


This picture on your web page, where was it picture? This is so beautiful. I want to go there & walk on the boardwalk.


I wish I knew. I got the picture, the title, and the moment of forgetting in an email. It was one of those things that circulates. If ever I find out I will let you know.
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From: Justin White
Date: 11 April 2010
Subj: Inefficient sort algorithm

Hi, I saw your discussion of inefficient sorting algorithms, and thought I’d contribute this algorithm:

  1. Find the range of the list, R.  For non-numeric lists or if we just feel like being conservative, we can assume the range is 2^(number of bits an element takes).
  2. Find the length of the list, N.
  3. Generate an N-long list, by randomly assigning each element some value in R.
  4. Test if this list is in order.
  5. Test if this list has the same values with the same frequency as the input.
  6. f it is, return the list.  Otherwise, repeat at 3.
Assuming we use efficient data structures, specifically on step five (because inefficient data structures is outside of the scope of a discussion on inefficient algorithms), we can get an average run-time of O(N*(R^N)).  Worst case and best case are, of course, comparable to monkeysort.
In step 1 you have to consider that different elements may have different lengths. One could of course scan the list for the longest element, but the conservative approach is to let R be 2^(number of bits in the array). This gives an average time of O(N*(k^N^N)) where k is the average length of an element.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 8 April 2010
Subj: New crisis required, reward offered

This article from the WSJ might stir a few of us to creative action…

Hmmm. There are two sides to this. One side is to invent new things about which we can panic. The other is to decide what to deny next. Me, I’m worrying about the tornadoes spawned by all that panty twisting.
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From: Justin Bozonier
Date: 23 April 2010
Subj: Want to see what I just bought?


I set up a Blippy profile that shows you some of the things I just bought. Check it out and comment on my stuff!

But first, you need to join Blippy. Once you join, you can see what I’m buying, along with purchases from thousands of other people.

I take it that a bozonier is someone specializes in being a bozo. There are strange things on the web, but this is truly weird. I’m not sure what the theory is. Is it a “I’ll show you my stuff if you show me mine” proposition? I thought we took care of that in junior high. Maybe it’s part of a twelve step program for consumeritis addicts. All things considered I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

Blippity doo dah, blippity ay. My, oh, my, what a blippity day.

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This page was last updated May 7, 2010.

Richard Harter’s World
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May 2010