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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens
March 1997

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independance.

-- C.A. Beard


Steve Langer
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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,

"Given that everyone wants lower taxes, but no one wants anything
to diminish their place at the Federal tit, how can a politician
possibly balance the budget? "

Term limits. This is a turnaround for me. I used to think it was possible to have X amount of free media time made available in each district for political use during an election. My reasoning was, incumbants and challengers alike would get equal time, and money would not an issue. I still think that would be an improvement over the current corrupt system wherein incumbants spend well over 1/2 their time shilling for donations (effectively bribes) that are used to swamp a challenger with overwhelming TV and radio time. However, the simple fact is that politicians will never enact term limits themselves. Even the freshmen Reps. who came in 1994 on the Contract With America (one of whose points was campaign financing reform) chickened out on this point.

However, even if money is removed from the equation, a deeper issue is that no politician will risk a tough stance on an issue if he wants to get reelected. Hence, remove the motivation of reelection. Critics would say, "But then we won't have experienced legislators guiding the country." To answer that charge, I propose the following plan: no Congressman can hold more than two consecutive terms, but they may be reelected after an intervening election. This would greatly facillitate the turnover required to break up established "good ole boy" networks, but still allow voters to place back in office someone who is truly outstanding. Perfect? No, but perhaps good enough to encourage politicians to put country ahead of self-preservation - at least in their final term.

Personal News

Due to a variety of events, including a move, this issue is both late and short. Hopefully, life will become a bit more predictable in the coming month. Meanwhile, I have moved to Bainbridge Island, a 12x6 mile hunk of turf near the west shore of Pudget Sound, and now commute to the Univ. via ferry. The info follows;

7799 NE Fletcher Bay Road
Bainbridge Island WA 98110
206 855 9681

On the Joys of the DMV;

Long time readers will recall my trials when I first moved to Rochester and was trying to get my driver's license and license plates. The plate office was in the NW part of town, the driver's license office in the NE part, and the titling office was in the SW part. Only the driver's license office was open on Sat.

Seattle is worse.

The driver's license office is open on Sat. and one of three clerks can even speak English. That part was easy. All of the license plates offices are closed on Sat. except for the first Sat. of the month. Today, March 8, was the second Sat. I went to the Yellow Pages and found that the only Plate office open on every Sat. is the one on Bainbridge Island. A half hour ferry ride and $6 bucks later I was standing in line at that office. I get to the one clerk, a very pleasent English speaking woman who informed me that the first thing I had to do was have my vehicle inspected at a State Trooper Office. She informed me that the nearest State Trooper office was in Bremerton, 30 miles away, and was closed on Sat. In fact, the only hours it has is Monday, Wenesday and Friday, 8-4 minus 11:30-1:00 for lunch.

OK ...

I asked her for a Seattle phone book. It had listing of two state trooper offices. I called the one nearest the ferry landing. No answer. I called the 2'nd one, an answering machine said it had Sat. hours of 9-4. Another $6 1/2 hour ferry ride and 40 mile drive I arrive at the address listed in the Yellow Pages ... The clerk at the corner drug store said it moved to the town of Issaqua in the Cascade Mtn. foot hills. Sure enough, I found it and drove past two troopers who were standing by their cruisers and gabbing. I park, get out and ask the Officers where the inspection office was. Without speaking to me they pointed to a sign. I read it, it said:

Mon. - Fri. 9-4 except 11:30 to 1:00
------- -----
Closed Sundays and Holidays

The ----- ---- area was covered with paper. Underneath it said "Sat. 9-4 except 11:30 to 1:00".

From 9 am to 2 pm I have sailed 25 miles, driven 60, wasted $12, been sent on a wild goose chase only to find that I must take time off from work to give about $300 (estimated registration fee) to the protection racket known as govt. Where can I get a job where others must give money to me at my convenience or I can throw _their_ ass in jail?

Defeated, I walked back to the truck. One of the troopers pointed at my license plate (which is still from MN and the tags expire at the end of the month). He said, actually smiling, "You better take care of that before the end of the month."

What a country.

The Laws;

It occurs to me that it has been awhile since I've listed Langer's Laws. Some are original, some are not.

  1. Never naively trust someone who stands to lose from telling the truth.
  2. To understand individual or group motivations, follow the money.
  3. Liberals define fairness as having the deck stacked in their favor.
  4. Government is legalized extortion.
  5. Liberals are very generous with other people's time and money.

    Corolary to this and last point: liberals outnumber conservatives in govt. positions.

  6. The person who cares least about, and may be willing to destroy a thing, controls it.
  7. Nobody has ever gone broke underestimating the gullibility of people.

    Corolary: Slick marketing beats technical excellence.

  8. The trick to advancement is to make your competitors feel friendly and safe as you climb over their backs up the latter.
  9. Followers look for external validation. Leaders find strength within.
  10. You know you are becoming mature when you no longer do things that you have to make excuses for, and refrain from making excuses for the things you have to do.

Guest Editorial:

This letter was just so enlightening, I have chosen it for the guest editorial. Remember it the next time you see the words on the door of a police car, "To protect and to Serve."
From: Barb Chapman 
Subject: Re: lastcall
>  "Given no one wants to diminish their place at the Federal tit,
>  how can pols ever produce a balanced budget?"
Answer: not in our lifetime.
I have a long missive on how to acquire a jaded outlook on life, but haven't
sent it yet.  The gist of it is that a normally optimistic, cheerful, NICE
person (me) can develop an attitude when hit by a car while walking, having
the guy driving the car back up drive around me, and leave me in the middle
of an exit lane when the concert (Metallica, no less--I was working a
concession stand for our Boy Scout troop) is letting out at the Palace of
Auburn Hills.  Add to that: the Auburn Hills police not notifying State
police to look for the car when the driver had to take either I75 or I275 to
get home in the farthest southeast corner of MI.  Then being told by the AH
police that I was (pick one, they said them all) distraught, overly
emotional, upset, belligerent when I questioned why they didn't do their
job.  If a man had asked the questions, he would have been assertive, since
I'm a woman, I'm a bitch.  Go figure!  Anyway, they've decided to close the
investigation even though I got the license number, gave them a complete
description of the car, a partial description of the driver, and the guy who
owns the car told them that he was at the Palace for the concert and he had
driven that car.  I also have a witness who will testify that he saw the car
I identified as the one hitting me drive out of a parking lane and into the
exit lane without stopping, suddenly hit his brakes, back up, and drive
around something on the ground.
Add insult to injury with MI's total no-fault car insurance, all medical
bills go against MY auto insurance!  As for injuries, when bumpers hit
knees, the bumper wins.  I have a humongous hematoma (I'm calling it a
"hematomato" due to its color and general appearance) under my right knee
and probably a torn meniscus, possibly torn ligament(s), and definite
arthritic reactions in my left knee.  I can bend the knee only about 45
degrees.  I had an MRI on the left knee last Sat, and will find out next
Monday whether arthroscopic surgery is in my future.  I came back to work
after a week at home because they were able to appropriate a wheelchair from
the hospital.  A week later I got the knee immobilizer off and have since
progressed from two crutches to a single crutch.  Just call me "limpy,"
"gimpy," hop-along," or make up your own name.
Now you have my tale of woe.  On the lighter side, we all know that Prez
Clinton had arthroscopic surgery last week, and was kept frozen from the
waist down with spinal anesthesia for two days.  The official word is that
the spinal was used to cut down on the post-op pain.  The "real" reason is
that the spinal was continued at the request of the female nursing staff.
Talk to you later.
Beaumont Barb


1. Jumpy Jeffy writes;
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 97 16:14:43 EST
From: Jeff Thorne 

Hi all,
Many of you have probably seen this.  I think it has been circulated
widely but, if not, this is worth reading.
The "Darwin Awards" are given posthumously to people who remove
"stupid" genes from the world gene pool.   

take care, Jeff    

>> The Darwin Awards
>>You may recall last year's Darwin Award winner:  The man who found
>>out moments before making a 300 MPH dent in an Arizona cliff that
>>the JATO (jet assist take off) unit he'd strapped to his car could not be
>>turned off once it was turned on. Skid marks were found on a road 10
>>miles away stretching for about 5 miles.
>> Darwin Awards are (by definition) granted posthumously.  The
>>1996 nominees are:
>>[San Jose Mercury News] An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a
>>club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot
>>himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.
>>[Hickory Daily Record 12/21/92]  Ken Charles Barger, 47,
>>accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when,
>>awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he
>>reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith &Wesson .38
>>Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.
>>[Unknown, 25 March] A terrible diet and room with no
>>ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by
>>his own gas.  There was no mark on his body but autopsy showed large
>>amounts of methane gas in his system.His diet had consisted
>>primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things).  It
>>was just the right combination of foods.It appears that the man died
>>in his sleep from breathing from the poisonous cloud that was
>>hanging over his bed.  Had he been outside or had his windows
>>been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal.  But the man was shut
>>up in his near airtight bedroom. He was "...a big man with a
>>huge capacity for creating [this deadly gas]." Three of the
>>rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized. [ed. note - This
>>could be an urban myth in the making]
>>[Reuters, Mississauga,Ontario]  Man slips, falls 23 stories to his
>>death. A man cleaning a bird feeder on his balcony of his condominium
>>apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his
>>death, police said Monday.  Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a
>>wheeled chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector
>>D'Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police."  It appears the chair
>>moved and he went over the balcony," Honer said.
>>"It's one of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected."
>>[UPI, Toronto] Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of
>>windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with
>>his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman
>>said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion
>>Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of
>>the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had
>>conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police
>>reports.  Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day
>>Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best
>>and brightest" members of the 200-man association. [ed. note - I
>>think this guy should win, not only because he removed some incredibly
>>stupid genes from the pool, but he also eliminated a lawyer in the
>>process...  :]  (best and brightest?  whatever does that say about
>>the > rest of them?)
>>[AP, Cairo, Egypt, 31 Aug 1995] Six people
>>drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen
>>into a well in southern Egypt.  An 18-year-old farmer was the
>>first to descend into the 60-foot well.  He drowned, apparently
>>after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police
>>said.His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well,
>>went in one by one to help him, but also drowned.  Two elderly
>>farmers then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by
>>the same undercurrent.The bodies of the six were later pulled
>>out of the well in the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south of
>>Cairo.The chicken was also pulled out.  It survived.
>>Other brillant attempts, but without the ultimate sacrifice to
>>qualify for the Darwin Award:
>>[Times of London] A thief who sneaked into a hospital was
>>scarred for life when he tried to get a suntan.  After evading
>>security staff at Odstock Hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and
>>helping himself to doctor's paging devices, the thief spotted a
>>vertical sunbed.  He walked into the unit and removed his
>>clothes for a 45-minute tan.  However, the high-voltage UV
>>machine at the hospital, which is renowned for its treatment of
>>burns victims, has a maximum dosage of 10seconds.  After lying on
>>the bed for almost 300 times the recommended maximum time,
>>the man was covered in blisters.  Hours later, when the pain of the
>>burns became unbearable, he went to Southampton General
>>Hospital, 20 miles away, in Hampshire.  Staff became suspicious
>>because he was wearing a doctor's coat.  After tending his
>>wounds they called the police. Southampton police said: "This man
>>broke into Odstock and decided he fancied a quick suntan. Doctors
>>say he is going to be scarred for life.
>>45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, after a
>>mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed
>>in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the
>>mechanic for an oil change.  According to police, Brasher later said
>>that she didn't realize that the mechanic would have to raise the
>>hood to change the oil
>>Portsmouth, R.I.Police charged Gregory Rosa, 25, with a string of
>>vending machine robberies in January when he:
>>1.  fled from police inexplicably when they spotted him
>>loitering around a vending machine and
>>2.  later tried to post his $400 bail in coins.
>>Karen Lee Joachimi, 20, was arrested in Lake City, Florida,
>>for robbery of a Howard Johnson's motel.  She was armed
>>with only an electric chainsaw, which was not plugged in.
>>The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a
>>Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50 am, flashed a gun and
>>demanded cash.  The clerk turned him down because he said he
>>couldn't open the cash register without a food order.  When the man
>>ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for
>>breakfast.  The man, frustrated, walked away.
>>In case you've forgotten about the 1995 awardees, some of them are
>>listed below:
>>James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he
>>was trying to repair what police described as a "farm-type truck."
>>Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung
>>underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling
>>noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man
>>found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft."
>>[Kalamazoo Gazette, 4-1-95] Same thing up here in MI.  Seems some
>>poor fella thought it would be a good idea to "move" a downed
>>wire from his car.  Newspaper reports it took a FULL MINUTE of
>>neighbors whacking away at him with a 2x4 to free their
>>freshly fried former friend from the fatal flashing.
>>Bowling Green, Ohio, student Robert Ricketts, 19, had his head
>>bloodied when he was struck by a Conrail train.  He told police he
>>was trying to see how close to the moving train he could place his head
>>without getting hit.
>>In Wesley Chapel, Florida, Joseph Aaron, 20, was hit in the leg
>>with pieces of the bullet he fired at the exhaust pipe of his car.
>>When repairing the car, he needed to bore a hole in the pipe. When he
>>couldn't find a drill, he tried to shoot a hole in it.
>>The original Darwin Award was presented to the man who was trying
>>to steal a Coke out of a vending machine. Upon reached up and into
>>the mechanism with his arm, the machine fell back, fatally crushing
>>him underneath.
2. Doug Wilken says ...

Date: Fri, 28 Mar 1997 14:02:23 -0600 (CST)
From: Doug Wilken 
Cc: Doug Wilken 
Subject: Re: lastcall
>   And please include your response to last month's survey.
>   "Given no one wants to diminish their place at the Federal tit,
>   how can pols ever producew a balanced budget?"
They can.  Just do it anyway.  And take the consequences.
I believe that people *are* willing to take their lumps, if they
feel that the lumps are distributed evenly.  Well, a majority of
people anyway.

Ed: Beg pardon, but I seem to recall that the Dems made a lot of hay at the expense of Reps. last election because of the Evil Newt's plan to "cut" Medicare. The Rep. plan would have raised benefits 7.5%/year vs Cliton's "insanely generous" 8.25%/year. This "cut" to save the system for the next generation was widely cited for a majority of Senior Citizen votes going to CLinton.

3. Texas Tom writes;

Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 13:17:34 -0600
From: Tom Hall  

>  "Given no one wants to diminish their place at the Federal tit,
>  how can pols ever producew a balanced budget?"

Um, what's the Federal tit?
What's a pol?
What's a balanced budget?
What's a "producew"?

Quotes(s) of the month:

"Excuse me Sir, could you please show me the way to the Fertility Clinic?"

-- Question asked by me of a comely young lass at the U. Medical Center. And yes, I restrained myself from the obvious reponse.

Fix of the month:

"Should people who live in areas that are known to be frequented by natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, drought, etc) continue to expect the Federal govt. to bail them out?"



1. 6 March: Pres. Clinton, surveying the flood damage in his home state, confided sadly, "Its too bad that all the evidence of my business dealings while Gov. were lost in the flood."

Ed: Just kidding. But I'm sure he wishes it were true.


1. Ballard, March 18: A fifth grade boy brought Alka-Seltzer to school and tried to pass it off to his pals as crack cocaine. He and 13 of his classmates were suspended. Parents revolted against the principal. The 13 "users" have been returned to school. The "pusher" is still out.

New York;

1. NY City, March 19: In an interesting turnabout, the group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is in court suing a group of counter protesters. PETA, well known for the endearing tactic of throwing "blood" (usually read paint) on people suspected of wearing real fur, recieved a water hosing at the hands of counter protesters. For this "insult to the dignity of their cause" they are suing.

2. Time Magazine, March 24: If anyone had any doubts about the major press looking to this journal for inspiration, take a gander at the article, "Does Heaven Exist?". Is it a coincidence that this came out just after last month's "Fix of the Month"? I don't think so.

Washington D.C.

1. March 20: Liggit Tobacco Company has broke ranks with fellow groups like RJR Reynolds and has agreed to settle its class action lawsuit with over 20 Attorneys General from various states. The terms of the lawsuit are roughly: $25 Million now, 25% of pretax profits for the next 20 years, and release of all of its Attorney records gathered at meetings with other tobacco companies.

Ed: Before you shout with glee about those evil death mongers getting their comeuppance, consider what this means. If Federal Judges allow attorney records from Liggit to be used to indict other companies, you can kiss your client-attorney privelage good-bye and nothing you say to your own attorney, say if you were on trial for murder or tax evasion, would be considered private. Yessiree, that Constitution thingy is feeling pretty darn sick.

But don't worry. The Feds would only use this against evil tobacco companies. They would never even THINK to use it against private citizens.

Please note the Steve Langer "Sea Views" is available on the web at: