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Letters to the Editor, April 1998

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 April 1998.

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From: Bill Ramey
Date: 02/27/98
Subj: Camels ???

What does a medium sized Camel weigh??

Got me, boss. I would expect they would run about a ton judging from the size. Camels run about seven feet tall. They’re big but sort of spindly.

From: Bruce P Phillips
Date: 04/08/98
Subj: Essays

Greetings- I looked over your site, especially the part on “weird” essays. I thought this was right up my alley. I have written two odd essays on complete nonsense subjects. the first entitled “If a fly had no wings, would it be called a walk?” And the second, “What was the best thing before sliced bread?” just because I felt like it.

The FLY essay was written, 3 pages long, with out using the letter Y except in scientific names and the title. You will NOT find a Y in that essay.

The BEST THING BEFORE SLICED BREAD essay was written, also 3 pages, without using the word AND.

If you would like to see these essays please E-mail me back and I would be happy to send them to you.

Yes, I would be happy to take a look at them. Although my site is principally my own stuff I do have a certain amount of “guest” material. I’m not sure there is a rational set of criteria (if there is I don’t want to hear about it) for what goes into the site but it does sound as though your essays would fit right in. (The essay on bread has been added.)

From: Susan Young
Date: 04/19/98
Subj: Hmmmm….

Dear Richard,

I always enjoy looking at your web pages. I like your poems. Did I ever tell you about my brother’s poetry ezine? (one of mine is in issue seventeen)

If this seems like a simple-minded email it’s because I have a terrible cold and should go to bed but when I lie down my nose gets all stopped up. Looking at your pages has amused and distracted me from how bad I feel. So thanks.

Hoping for a better tomorrow,


Greetings Susan,

I’m pleased that you like my poems. I rather like some of them myself. I took a look at your brother’s ezine and at your poem which I liked very much. It’s a bit disconcerting to thing of my web pages as symptom relief for a bad cold – that’s alright; I delight in being disconcerted.

Here is a poem you might like. Hoping you have a better tomorrow,

Susan replied:

Thanks for your kind words re my poem. I liked your purple dress one. I can understand not wanting a purple dress, but perhaps a waistcoat?

Now that is definitely a thought. Waistcoats are out of fashion and I doubt that purple waistcoats were ever in fashion except among fops in Regency Romance novels.

From: Judy and Peter Weiss
Date: 04/19/98
Subj: Laughter

You’re making me laugh! Fun web page!

Always glad to have a satisfied customer. Judy and Peter included an anecdote It must be true, It’s in the Bible.

From: Mark C. MacLeod
Date: 04/19/98
Subj: Marine Corps

Hello Marine

A friend sent me your web page and I went immediately to the link U.S. Marine Corps. Very good reading. Brought me back a little myself. I like the way you stated the fact 2000RA to 20 Marines is parity. How true.

Just wanted to say hello to a fellow Marine and let you know that I am still exploring your web page. Quite interesting! If you’re so inclined, stop by mine at I let that account drop but they have kept my web page. Complete with music.

Take care and God Bless You
Mark C. MacLeod

Thanks for writing. I took a look at your page which I enjoyed very much. I’m guessing that the friend is or knows Peter and Judy Weiss since they just sent me a letter of appreciation.

2000 RA to 20 Marines: is there any question?

My web pages run to the damnedest collection of miscellaneous trash you are likely to see on the web. I admit, I sincerely hope that there is flakier stuff out there (I have links to some of it) but I have tried to give the spirit of ecelecticism a fair run for its money.

From: David Loftus
Date: 04/19/98
Subj: dinosaurs and us

I see our trails cross often in rec.arts.books and soc.feminism, but we haven’t spoken directly all that often. Never privately, that I can recall offhand.

I don’t actually follow soc.feminism or alt.feminism – I subscribe to soc.women. Since 98% of all postings to soc.women are cross-posted we’re bound to cross paths. I’m not sure that anybody besides me and the spammers actually posts directly to soc.women anymore. It’s all very depressing.

I made a cursory visit to your delightful web site and almost immediately headed for the dinosaur area. I haven’t followed the subject quite as avidly as I did at ages 6-10, but I try to keep tabs on developments. When Robert Bakker came to town to speak, I went to see him and had him autograph my clothbound first edition, which he said he doesn’t see a lot of anymore. (I reviewed it briefly when it first came out … for the Middlesex News in Framingham, Mass., as I recall). Read Horner’s new one this month.

How is it? If it’s the one I’m thinking of it looked to be light and fluffy.

I also enjoyed a fairly recent one that I did not see on your list: Discovering Dinosaurs by a trio of authors whose names I haven’t bothered to memorize. It was published around 1995, I think, and is a sort of exhibition catalogue cum coffee table book associated with a National Museum of Natural History exhibition. The first half consists of very simple, basic questions about dinosaurs and paleontology, the second half a close look at representative fossil skeletons in the museum collection, the creatures they represent, and their discovery history.

It sounds like a neat book. There is an encyclopedia of dinosaurs that I should get but haven’t.

Although I noticed Horner politely refers to birds as descendants of dinosaurs, and I think even notes that there is still some disagreement on the point, Discovering Dinosaurs simply takes it for granted that birds ARE dinosaurs, and routinely refers to the more ancient versions as “non-avian dinosaurs.” So in response to the question “What is the smallest dinosaur that ever lived?” the book describes a Cuban hummingbird that weighs 1.85 grams and prints a color photo of the thing perched on the edge of a penny.

Snicker. Have you followed the recent Chinese finds? Martin and company are still holding out for Birds being archosaurs but not dinosaurs. There is some chap in sci.paleontology who is arguing the case; I don’t follow that group but the bird stuff often gets cross posted to which I do follow. IIRC the new finds pretty much nail down the case for birds being descendants of dinosaurs. I expect that I should track down the news reports on the web and add links.

One other nifty thing: Under the cool dust cover which has the image of a complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton in running position is an even cooler cloth cover which reproduces the image of a sample of fossilized dinosaur skin.

Now that is cool.

The sad thing is that this lovely book was already remaindered for $9.95 at Powell’s Books (which a pricing error lowered to $8.95 for my particular copy). Sad in principal, I mean; happily, you may be able to find a copy at a similar price.

I will take a look for it.

I should upgrade my dinosaur page. Because of some quirk in the search engine listings it was getting a lot of hits for a while. Apparently the listing changed because it slacked off. As you may have noticed I have a lot of crap^H^H^H^H odd material. I have the theory that anything which gets a lot of hits should merit them.

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This page was last updated April 25, 1998.
It was reformatted and moved November 4, 2004