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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens
May 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,

"What does (or would) motivate you to take on some voluntary public service?"

Bill and Hillary, Colin Powell, and much of the Hollywood left have been castigating Americans that they shuld do more volunteering to help their fellow citizens. Love to, but first, who the Hell is volunteering to help me?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I would need some spare time. I spend twelve hours a day, every day, at work and am still so far behind that I take stuff home to finish on the weekend. Then, if there is any daylight left, I do the house chores, lawn work and excercise (HA). Typically, I only sleep six hours a night, and we don't even have kids yet. If I had more money, I could gain time and help the local economy by hiring a kid to do the lawn and a maid to do the interior stuff, but I don't have the money because I'm being taxed at over 50%, and now live in a place whose monthly costs of living are 40% higher than in Rochester MN (and I'm in one of the cheaper places!)

Want to be let in on a little secret? Both charitable giving and volunteerism (which the current White House residents bemoan us for not doing enough of), were at an alltime high when taxes were at the most recent low. The 1980s - under Ronald Reagen.

On the Best Kept Secret in Showbiz;

Shhhh. Don't look now, but did you know that Ellen Degeneres is a GAASP lesbian? I know, I couldn't believe it either. Not when the ABC Nightly News (ABC is owned by Disney by the way) lead story on April 30 was about the show that was to air in 2 hours. Not when the show actually aired. Not even when the show which followed the show (Prime Time Live with that incredibly hard bitten tower of journalistic integrity Sam Donaldson) spent the hour in instant replays of the confession. No sir, I didn't waver even then. What put me over the top was when the local ABC News affiliate interviewed the patrons at a lesbian watering hole who were watching the replays of Prime Time's replays of the show.

That's when I knew it was true. Hey, you have to wake up pretty darn early in the morning to put something over on this wide- eyed American.

On Meghan's Law;

Meghan was a first grade girl in a small town in an eastern state. She was killed three years ago by a paroled child molester, who was living in a home with three 2 other like minded men. Meghan's death spawned the birth of so called neighborhood notification laws, which requires newspapers, or other media, to inform the public when such individuals move into an area.

Is this a good idea?

At the risk of being an insensitive boob, I'd say no. Where would this stop? Paroled check bouncers? Larcenists? Drunk drivers? Abortion doctors? In some nations, public shame is part of the punishment, and if that were the case here - fine. But after a person has served their sentence, are they to be hounded forever? And if so, why not all criminals, not just child sex offenders? The increasing schisms in this country are worrisome, whether in race relations, gender relations or criminal justice. With the rise of racist groups since the late 80's (the skinheads come to mind) we developed a new category for murderers. It was called a "hate crime". How stupid. Whites convicted of hate crime murders against blacks would be tried and subject to the death penalty, while one convicted of killing a white girlfriend would get 20-life with time off for good behavior.

Somehow, we have gotten to the point in society where _what_ is done is less important than _why_ it was done. M.L. King had a dream of a color blind America, where the worth of someone was measured by the content of a person's character. In today's land of endless victims, what matters is race, gender, ideaology and the resulting "internal motivation." In this reality, the likes of Dr. Joyce Brothers are the judge and jury.

On China's Most Favored Nation Status;

Some of you may recall that on the eve of the 1992 presidential elections, I painted a picure of how the nation would evolve under Bush or Clinton. Among the Clinton predictions (over 2/3 of which have come true) I said that like all Dems before him, Bill would likely suspend MFN for China on humanitarian grounds. That he has actually done the opposite was a pleasant surprise to me because I thought he was doing it for the right reasons. Namely, its easier to influence a nation's policy when you engage them both politically and economically.

Au contraire. It now turns out that probably the greatest reason for Clinton's fight for China's MFN was that his Admin was being bribed by the likes of John Wang and others in the employ of the Chinese communist govt. Which only goes to show, when even this hard hard bitten skeptic can be taken in by Clinton, how can the rest of the public stand a chance?

Guest Editorial:

Steve Langer

Less than three years ago, I was still struggling along in Detroit, attempting to beg, borrow or steal my way out of 8 years of graduate school and poverty. At that time I was netting about $720/month and was barely able to make rent, food and bills. In two brief years at Mayo, I rocketed out of the subservient muck that is grad school and attained sufficient recognition to snag a position at one of the nation's larger state universities. Here, I make alot more money/month, but with the added responsibilities and cost of living, it's just as hard to pay the bills. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I always knew that grad school poverty was a mixed blessing. True, one has little money, but the freedom to pretty much determine your schedule. Now, I've traded more money for less time, and virtually every minute from 5am-9pm Mon-Fri is spoken for.

Nevertheless, I'm trying to gain back what was sacrificed in those years, and this next week will be taking a major step along that road in wedding Miss Sheryl Quimby. I could never understand how some of my freinds were able to be married while in school. You're poor, always tired and cranky, and if you fail the prelims, you must pack up and head to another school. What kind of spouse is that understanding? Obviously, some are, but I have always known that it would never work for me.

Sheryl is a hard working, salt-of-the-earth child of the MidWest, as am I. She reminds me of the stability and values that I grew up with, and would like to return to (if the midwest medphys market would loosen up). I know we'll have a great life together, but at the same time I know that she demands stability. A year ago I couldn't have offered it. Now I can.


1. Matt expresses himself.
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 08:32:21 -0700
From: Matt Birkholz 
Reply-To: Matt Birkholz 
To: Stevey 
   Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 13:20:33 -0400 (EDT)
   The new issue has been sent to John Johnson, webmaster at
    Look for it under the PPSA'zine
OK, but it is not there.  I know John loves to see his hit counters spin,
but I would rather not spend the time diddling them.  Could you send this
notice out when the next issue is *actually* available on the web?
As for your "term limits" idea, I can only say "Hey, what harm can it do?".
Not that I think this kind of fiddling with the election process will make
it foolish-majority-proof.  I am afraid you are kidding yourself if you
think it will have *any* appreciable effect.  Even two years spent wielding
the sledgehammer of government hegemony is worth the investment of millions
(well, maybe just hundreds of thousands) of dollars by the unscrupulous.
Yes, by "sledgehammer" I am alluding to a large and *destructive* power.
And yes, by "unscrupulous" I am referring to evil multinational companies
hoping to avoid liability for e.g. polluting, as well as the self-righteous
Clockwork Orange social engineers trying to make the jungle safe for
unattended babies.
If you want to talk about turning the sledgehammer back into a bully
pulpit, I am listening.
Bainbridge Island sounds cool.  Let us know when it warms up.

Matt Birkholz   Send mail for PGP 2.6.2 public key.
Key Fingerprint = B3 34 FB 3E 3C FE E8 57  AA B4 B2 95 A7 C0 1E AF

Ed: Focusing on the Bully Pulpit is to put way too much faith in the intelligence and integrity of one person. However, I think on balance people tend to be slightly more honorable than dishonerable, and if you maintain a fast enough turnover, there is insufficient time for them to become jaded, corrupt liars while in office. As for the evil MegaCorps, "sustainable" is no longer just an aphorism for agriculture. To survive, Corps have to be somewhat responsible just to survive the PR wars.

As for the island, it's 80 today (May 10) and I'm mowing back my hunk of jungle which grows about 4 inces a week. Y'all have to come up and see it.

2. Rafe, always the loquacious one, expounds on this month's Fix.

Date: Wed, 21 May 97 20:02:01 -0400
From: Rafe Donahue / Med Affrs MDS 
Subject: RE: lastcall

I already do.


3. Beaumont Barb writes;

Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 16:58:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: Barb Chapman 
Subject: Re: lastcall

Humorous anecdote: I LOVE THIS PLACE! category:

Club Beau decided everyone who is receiving external e-mail through PINE,
Netscape Mail, Internet Mail, etc. should receive it through the internal
e-mail system, GroupWise, a Novell creation.  Fine and dandy, system was
down for only 1-1/2 weeks to accomplish this, during which time no one could
either send or receive e-mail.  Once they had everything going, those who
had GW received all their e-mail and could send again.  Those who didn't
have GW couldn't read the GW broadcast message that all e-mail was going
through GW and if you weren't receiving your e-mail to let the internet
coordinator know!  Great communication, don't you agree.  Side note, during
same week-and-a-half, the phone cable to the research buildings and
facilities mismanagement outbuildings was flooded and shorted out.  Took
them the same 1-1/2 weeks to restore phone service to those whose phones  
facilities mismanagement outbuildings was flooded and shorted out.  Took
them the same 1-1/2 weeks to restore phone service to those whose phones
were out.  Kicker was that not all phone lines were affected.  My extension
line worked, although the phone itself didn't ring.  Solved that problem by
plugging my main phone into the extension jack.  Woody got creative and
stole the fax machine phone and plugged it into his modem line.  Others
followed suit with anything they could find, or they wore the batteries out
of their cellulars.  The best part was the quiet.

Good news: The Auburn Hills attorney has decided there's enough evidence to
charge the guy who drove his car into my leg with two misdemeanor counts:
reckless driving (6 points on DL) and failure to stop and ID at a crash
(another 6 points).  My legal counsel says he will probably plea bargain
down to one charge, which will still put 6 points on his driver's license
and require him to make a formal statement that he did hit me and leave the
scene.  After that, civil action should be a piece of cake.  Of course,
that's weeks (months?) down the road.  After all, it took them almost 4
months to decide to charge the guy.  I have to get this show on the road by
swearing to complaints so they can issue warrants for the guy's arrest.  
months to decide to charge the guy.  I have to get this show on the road by
swearing to complaints so they can issue warrants for the guy's arrest.
Should I spoil his holiday weekend by swearing tomorrow so he can be served
on Friday.  Is the pope catholic?

Still hoping to see you at the wedding (typo for that is weeding--any


Quotes(s) of the month:

Thomas Jefferson: "If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy."

Fix of the month:

"How can the purveyors of truth and excellence (ie. the makers of free software, Amigas and conservatives) succeed in the PR wars against the purveyors of lies and sloth (ie. liberals and Microsoft)?"



1. Seattle, May 8; To the east of Seattle lies Lake Washington, which is spanned by two floating bridges, one crosses the North end (I520) while I90 crosses at the South end and goes through Mercer Island, where Bill Gate's new mansion happens to be. During the day, Gates hosted a technology summit where he invited the CEOs of the top 100 technology companies to view the future, according to Microsoft. In addition to the other luminaries, Veep Algore was in attendance. Due to Secret Service concerns, East bound I90 was closed (to facillitate the motorcades from Seattle) during the afternoon rush hour. This redirected the traffic that normally uses it to the East bound lanes of I520. Now 520 has half the lanes of I90, and as you can guess, it took about 3 nanoseconds for there to be a multi-car pile up. Since there was no way for rescue vehicles to reach the site vie the East bound lanes, the West bound 520 was closed for emergency access.

In the end, everyone's nightly commute (which is merely terrible on average) became a four-five hour endurance test, on a floating bridge, while those trapped looked South upon Mercer Island, and the benefactor who had caused it all.

2. May 16: A man who has sent numerous death threats to Bill Gates and his wife, has been caught by the FBI after a 7 week investigation. The man sent the threats via both email and US mail, hence the FBI involvement. The suspect demanded $5 Million from gates, or he would kill Mrs. Gates, the daughter, and then Bill. One can only speculate if the suspect was one of the individuals who sat on the 520 bridge for four hours.

3. May 15: The US District Federal Court House was evacuated, along with a 2 block radius in downtown Seattle, when a suspicious package showed up. The bomb squad arrived, took the package out into the street where they used a water cannon to blast the box open. Inside was a soggy, but still usable Salad Shooter.

4. May 16, Poulsbo; The Principal of the North Kitsap County school system is being sued for failure to live up to the terms of a school wide competition. Students in the K-5 school were told that whomever sold the most raffle tickets for the school fundraiser would get to be Principal for the Day. A third grade retarded boy (name withheld upon request of the family) sold over $650 dollars worth, edging the second place finisher by $207. Now the principal says that because the boy is retarted, he would not have the faculties to truly enjoy being Principal for the Day, so as an alternate prize, the principal suggested that the boy could bring his dog to school that day and have "his very own special pizza" for lunch. The boy's parents were not amused, and are sueing under discrimination statutes.

5. May 22, Mercer Island; Yes back where the Gates family live. The Fire Dept. was called to an elementary school where the file alarm had gone off. Turns out the third grade mascot, an iguana, had crawled on top of the file alarm switch. Everyone had a good laugh. Three hours later at the second false alarm, the Fire Dept. wasn't laughing. The mascot is now caged.


1. Boston, 25 May: During the '96 election, much political hay was made at the expense of D. Sen. Bob Kerry's wife. It seems that she has multiple unpaid parking tickets for constantly parking in front of a fire hydrant which is in front of the Kerry's townhouse. Well, no more. Kerry spent about $60K from his unused campaign funds to have the hydrant moved around the corner - for "aesthetic purposes."

Wisconsin ;

1. NPR, May 10: Much has been made in the past 3-4 years about the increasing rarity and birth defects in frogs in the northern parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Various voices have called attention to the ozone hole, global warming, and the side effects of certain hormone based pesticides. A more pendantic explanation may be forthcoming. Researchers from UW-Madison and UM-Mpls have found that a majority of the frogs are infected with a kind of cyst, which results from an insect which plants its larval sac on the egg of the tadpoles. Apparently, the insect larva invade the frog egg, and those frogs which are not killed outright carry around a cyst on their body which when it ruptures emits more insects. Furthermore, if the cyst is near the leg buds of the tadpole, it triggers the frog to grow another leg at that point.

In fact, lab researchers have planted small plastic pellets under the tadpole's skin to simulate the cyst and have been able to produce mature frogs with up to six extra legs. Lit. searches confirm that the effect has been chronicled since at least the late 1700s.

2. Milwaukee Journal, 12 May; "Coed Sleepovers Increasingly common: Experts Urge Restraint." The article accompaning the headline goes on to say that at least 15% of high school students in the Milwaukee school district will have at least one coed slumber party during their high school years. Surveyed parents, however, say they will draw the line at supplying condoms and cigarettes.


1. Jacksonville, May 7: A jury has found that RJR Tobacco Company was not reponsible for a woman who died five years ago of lung cancer. The woman, who made a video tape in her last month accusing RJR of killing her with Marlboros, had a sister who is continuing the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased's estate. The jury found that Surgeons General Warnings, and public knowledge, were more than sufficient for the plaintiff to have made an informed choice. It remains to be seen whether this will effect the outcome of numerous other state's cases against RJR. In those cases, the states are seeking renumeration from RJR and others for monies spent by the states to treat smokers.

North Carolina;

1. Salem, 8 May : Tom R. Johnson was found guilty of first degree murder, but rather than the death penalty which the Prosecutor had sought, he will only get life in prison. Johnson was convicted of killing another driver while he was driving under the influence.


1. LA, May 28: One of the possible disadvantages of trying defendants for the same crime in separate, multiple trials, is coming to light. Two men, both accused of killing a man trying to flee them in his car, were tried in separate rooms in the LA court house. The victim was killed by a single 9 mm bullet, and both defendants had 9 mm guns. However, ballistic tests could not confirm which gun had fired the fatal round. Not one to let that stop him, prosecuting attorney Al Rubinstein (who was the prosecutor in both cases) told the jury in courtroom A that Mr. Davis fired the fatal round. The next day, Rubinstein was equally adament to Jury B that Mr. Fernandez was the killer. Rubinstein got both convicted.

His mother must be very proud.

Washington D.C.

1. 27 May: While CLinton is basking in the European glow of getting the Russians a piece of the NATO pie, the supreme Court has found that the presidency is not a fortress against prosecution, and Paula Jone's sex harrasment suit against William Jefferson Blythe Clinton will go forward. Jone's lawyers have said they will call as witnesses the Arkansas state troopers whose regular duties included rounding up women for Clinton when he was Govnr.

For Clinton's part, defense attorney Bob Bennet (brother of Ronald Reagen's drug czar Bill Bennet) has already largely succeeded in his strategy to get Clinton safely past the '96 elections before the storm broke. And Bennet probably figures he can stall the court proceedings long enough to get CLinton through the second term, if they don't settle out of court first.

Meanwhile, prepare for antics that will make the O.J. Simpson trial look tame, as Jones has said she can prove she has seen the Clinton penis, because it is very distinctive. Look for the Clinton defense team to deny showing off the organ, on claims of national security.

Net News;

1. An appropos notice.
Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 12:24:00 -0700
Subject: The Truth About Bridal Showers
Dear Dr. Science,
Why do they call it a "bridal shower" if nobody's naked and nobody gets wet?
------------- Jeffrey A. Veyera, Misawa Air Base, Japan
Back when people took marriage seriously they were willing to do whatever
it took to seal the vows between man and wife, even if it meant public
humiliation for bride, groom, and guests. Tradition demanded that at least
the bride get naked and be showered with gifts. Eventually, the groom was
included and, finally, the guests.  Instead of gifts, they used a sticky
fruit punch and, in colder climates, they substituted warmed molasses. Due
to the rising cost of chapel cleaning, the tradition has died out and has
been replaced by pre-nuptial counseling and legal agreements. Both old and
new marriage customs are equally humiliating, sticky and expensive.

2. And Sheryl sends two items;

Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 14:53:00 +0000
From: Sheryl Quimby 
DOS       Defective Operating System
BASIC     Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control
IBM       I Blame Microsoft
CD-ROM    Consumer Device, Rendered Obsolete in Months
OS/2      Obsolete Soon, Too
WWW       World Wide Wait
MACINTOSH Most Applications Crash; If Not, The Operating System Hangs
COBOL     Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language
MIPS      Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed
WINDOWS   Will Install Needless Data On Whole System
MICROSOFT Most Intelligent Customers Realize Our Software Only Fools
RISC      Reduced to Silly Code

>       Last Name: ________________
>       First name:  (Check appropriate box):
>                 (_) Billy-Bob
>                 (_) Billy-Joe
>                 (_) Billy-Ray
>                 (_) Billy-Sue
>                 (_) Billy-Mae
>                 (_) Billy-Jack
>                 (_) Billy-Mac
>                 (_) Billy
>      Age: ____, if known
>      Sex: ____ M _____ F _____ N/A
>      Shoe Size: ____ Left ____ Right
>      Occupation: (phonetic spellings available)
>      (_) Farmer
>      (_) Mechanic
>      (_) Hair Dresser
>      (_) Un-employed
>      Spouse's Name: __________________________
>      Relationship with spouse:
>      (_) Sister
>      (_) Brother
>      (_) Aunt
>      (_) Uncle
>      (_) Cousin
>      (_) Mother
>      (_) Father
>      (_) Son
>      (_) Daughter
>      (_) Pet
>      (_) Livestock
>      Number of children living in household (If you can count) : ___
>      Number that are yours: ___
>      Mother's Name: _______________________
>      Father's Name: _______________________ (If not sure, leave blank)
>      Relation of mother to father: _________________
>      Education: 1 2 3 4 (Circle highest grade completed)
>      Do you (_)own or (_)rent your mobile home?  (Check appropriate box)
>      Does it have wheels? (_)
>      How many tornadoes has it been through? (_)
>      ___ Total number of vehicles you own
>      ___ Number of vehicles that still crank
>      ___ Number of vehicles in front yard
>      ___ Number of vehicles in back yard
>      ___ Number of vehicles on cement blocks
>      Number of shirts you own. (1.. 2)
>      Number of shirts that are tank tops with motorcycles on them(_)
>      What does your foam hat say?
>      (_) John Deer
>      (_) If I have anything to say to you I'll fart
>      (_) I own a chevy truck
>      (_) Old Fart's Wife
>      (_) No longer readable due to filth
>      (_) you don't know because you can't read
>      Firearms you own and where you keep them:
>      ____ truck
>      ____ bedroom
>      ____ bathroom
>      ____ kitchen
>      ____ shed
>      ____ church benches ( for when father speaks of the sins of incest)
>      Model and year of your pickup: _____________ 194_
>      How many deer have you struck with it? (_)
>      Do you have a gun rack?
>      (_) Yes (_) No; please explain:
>      Have you been struck by lightning? (_)
>      How many times? (_)
>      While carrying a firearm? (_)
>      What flavors of aqua velva does the local bar serve on tap?
>      (_) springtime blue
>      (_) musk
>      (_) seaside green
>      How many of your family members are cross eyed? (__), (_)all.
>      Newspapers/magazines you subscribe to:
>      (_) The National Enquirer
>      (_) Hustler
>      (_) soldier of fortune
>      (_) TV Guide
>      (_) Soap Opera Digest
>      (_) Rifle and Shotgun
>      ___ Number of times you've seen a UFO
>      ___ Number of times you've seen Elvis
>      ___ Number of times you've seen Elvis in a UFO
>      ___ Number of times you've shot at Elvis in a UFO
>      ___ Number of consecutive sober days (0,1,2,3, can't remember)
>      Do you bathe? (_)
>      If so, how often do you bathe:
>      (_)Weekly
>      (_)Monthly
>      (_)Not Applicable
>      Color of teeth:
>      (_)Yellow
>      (_)Brownish-Yellow
>      (_)Brown
>      (_)Black
>      (_)No teeth
>      Brand of chewing tobacco you prefer:
>      (_)Red-Man
>      How far is your home from a paved road?
>      (_)1 mile
>      (_)2 miles
>      (_)don't know

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