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Letters to the Editor, October 1999

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 And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 1999.

Index of contributors

Other Correspondence Pages

From: Paul F. Schliffke
Date: 9/30/99
Subj: email

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your website, Well I thought it was funny.

Sometimes I have to keep from falling out of my chair from laughing.

Thanks again.

You’re welcome. Maybe I should put up a warning label on the website, something about fastening your seatbelt and no drinking while reading.
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From: Alessandro Lattanzi
Date: 10/1/99
Subj: Urban Legends?

Three tales from Italy. They are said to be really happened, but I haven’t found any evidence of them yet.

Cremona – An amateur parachutist jumped from the airplane with a camera in his hands and a rucksack on his back. Unfortunately, the rucksack was not a parachute… When he realized it, his scream was heard all over the city. He died a few hours after the fall.

Mestre (Venice) – A newly married couple on their honeymoon arrived at the hotel on a sunny day. The hour of the day was the right to have a bath, so the husband took his glasses off, then his clothes, and jumped from the diving board. But the swimming pool was empty, and he was killed outright. Presumably, they hadn’t conceived a child yet.

Sassari (Sardinia) – A dead body wearing a diving suit was found in the middle of a burnt wood on the mountains of Sardinia. The facts as best as could be determined are that the man was diving into the sea, while an airplain was catching water to extinguish a fire in the wood: the airplain caught water and man, and threw everything into the fire. Anyway, the fire was put out…

They are probably urban legends; I’ve seen versions of the latter two supposedly happening in the United States. I don’t recall having seen the parachute story before but it has the delicate aroma of the urban legend.

Thanks anyway for passing them on.

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From: Aletha Rolbin-Ghanie
Date: 9/27/99
piltdown man

With the example of “piltdown man,” does this prove that the science used to study the origins of humans has flaws and therefore, it is impossible to know the true origin of history?

In a word, no. More precisely, there are problems with the notion of “true history” but Piltdown Man (and other frauds) are irrelevant.

I might better answer your question if it were more complete. The nature of scientific truth is a question in philosophy; if that’s what you are after I can answer some questions and point you towards some good books.

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From: Willk1
Date: 9/25/99
Subj: boot camp

I was reading your story on the Marine Corps. I really liked it. What would you say is the closest thing one can do in the civilian word to going through boot camp?

That’s an interesting question. I suppose the closest thing would be the “boot camps” that they have for delinquent youths to serve in in lieu of going to jail. Prison has some of the elements of boot camp – confinement, discipline, and institutional food – but there are important differences. Likewise the military institutes have some of the elements but being in a school is much less concentrated than being in boot camp. If we rule out the quasi-military equivalents the nearest thing might be labor camp construction in a remote area where there is no liquor and no female companionship, just low pay, long hours, and nothing to spend your money on.
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From: Anna Lang
Date: 9/28/99
Subj: Piltdown man can earn extra money

Hello Piltdown man,

I was over at your web site and I think that there is a real opportunity for you to earn extra income from your site just by placing a simple banner on one, or several of your web pages.

It works like this. People click on the banner, from your site, which leads them to our site, then place orders for our services. We keep track of where the order originated from, in your case Piltdown man. When the customer places an order you get an email confirmation of the order (in real time).

At any time you can see your online statement and we pay out commissions every month. You will be given 20% of all paid sales that you generate for us. Some customers place orders for $400.00 (United States Dollars) for one order, that’s $80.00 for you, so there is really good money to be made.

Once you have inserted the banner on your page, there really is nothing left for you to do. Just sit back relax and wait for your monthly commission check to arrive. After that its like money just falling from the air, month after month.

We have operated this associate network for than 18 months now and we have many satisfied associates that joined our commission program.

The site we are promoting is called A Pretty Woman. It is a dating club where men from around the world meet women from Eastern Europe. There are well over 2000 ladies on the site and it is updated every week. Customers build their own photo gallery, a new girls page shows them exactly which girls were added that week (as well as previous weeks). A powerful search engine helps them find exactly the girl they are looking for. It is a well designed site, with exceptionally beautiful women, that is informative, fun and easy to use and has assisted many people in finding a marriage partner. The company has been in business for over 6 years. You can visit the site at

This is one of the more amusing bits of spam that has passed my way. Somehow the notion of a semi-scholarly page on the Piltdown man hoax advertising a dating service seems a bit strange although one could say that Piltdown man did have a dating problem.
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From: James Roberts
Date: 9/24/99
Subj: Comment

I have just spent several hours reading different parts of your web site. I found it interesting and intelligent. I infrequently read personal web sites; I rarely spend much time with them; and I never send e-mail comments. Your site has been an exception. Thank you.

Thanks for the kind comments. In truth I spend little time reading personal web sites, mostly because I spend so much time creating my own; this seems to be a common fate of webmasters.
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From: Al Whitney
Date: 9/28/99
Semper Fi!

I just finished reading your stories and am still smiling. Outstanding web site!! I retired in 1994 and still miss the Marines I knew. Civilians just don’t do things the same. Well, thanks for the memories and the laughs. Al Whitney GySgt USMC (Ret)

“Civilians just don’t do things the same” – ain’t it the truth. To be honest, though, my days as a Marine were long ago; I haven’t spit-shined a pair of shoes in decades.
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This page was last updated October 1, 1999.
It was reformatted and moved December 16, 2004.

site home site map letters October 1999 email