Rochester Rag

ROCHESTER RAG September 1996

(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 is really annoying to you this month?"

For me, it's this constant drumbeat on tobacco companies. Yesterday (12 Sept.) during Congressional hearings, we saw a 12 year old boy blame a Rep. Congress and Joe Camel (and incindentally his older brother) for compelling him to smoke since age 6. During the Dem. Convention, Al Gore tearfully revealed the tobacco induced death of his younger sister. No one seems to ask some obvious questions at this point, like where were the boy's parents while he was smoking? Or, if Gore honestly thinks tobacco is so devastating, how could he in all honesty tell a room full of tobacco growing voters two years after his sister's death, that he understood their lives because he continues to grow, harvest and sell tobacco himself.

No one denys that tobacco is a bad thing, but God Almighty, it takes decades for people to die from it, while it takes perhaps a year for kids to die from crack use. We know that in the last two years, drug use has nearly doubled among teenagers. Where is the hue and cry for this? Is the issue ignored because an Admin. that didn't inhale feels that they have no moral authority in this area? But wait, doesn't Clinton smoke cigars? I'm confused.

On the Democratic Convention;

The Kleenix Convention ended last night (Aug 29) with the coronation of our Father, Bill Clinton. For those of you who couldn't stomach it , I'll sum it up for you in three points.

The Dole campaign has calculated that with all the tax breaks and new programs that Clinton proposed while on his whistle stop train tour, he was averaging about $12 million dollars/mile. But let's take a look at Clinton's own acceptance speech. During the first five minutes, Clinton recited what he considers to be his biggest accomplishments this term: Now with the exception of the Motor Votor Bill (which was purely a Dem. concern), the rest of those points may sound familiar. You may want to look them up in my January 1996 issue. But for those who cannot go to John Johnson's archives, I'll reproduce it here:
  - Force Congress to live under the laws it passes on the rest of us.
  - Cut 1/3 of congressional staffers
  - cut the congressional budget
  - Balanced budget amendmant and line item veto
  - Stop violent criminals
  - Welfare reform
  - Protect our kids
  - Tax cuts for familys
  - Strong national defense
  - Raise senior citizens earning limit
  - Roll back govt. regulation
  - Stop unfunded state mandates
  - Legal reform (eg torte limits)
  - Term limits
This was called the Contract With America, which the Reps. rode to victory in 1994 when they took over both houses of Congress. It is not an accident that the bulk of things Clinton is claiming he accomplished occured in the last 2 years. If he really supported these points, he could have introduced similar legislation to Congress in 1993 or 1994, but he didn't. Heck maybe he is a closet Rep.

In a delicious irony, Dick Morris (Clinton's campign director) was on the cover of two magazines last week (Sep. 2). Time featured Dick (an apt name as we shall see) to see how he has shaped Clinton's campaign. The Star has released information that Morris has been sharing state secrets with his regular prostitute, including Hillary's convention speech several days before the convention. Morris resigned and is featured again on this week's Time cover (Sep. 9) with a story on his downfall. From hero to scoundral in a week. Sounds like a history of the Clinton Admin. Yet those who think that another sex scandal will in any way harm Clinton's reelection bid are deluding themsleves. One almost wonders if Dole's advisors could manufacture a bimbo eruption to boost his poll numbers ...

Guest Editorial:

On the Decline of America
by Steve Langer

The following items are absolutely true, and have all happened to me within the last two weeks. I used to think most people were either stupid or apathetic. I was wrong. They are both. The proof follows:


Item 1

My eyeglass frames got broke. I got them at Shopko. There are 2 Shopko's in town: Shopko North and South. I got them at the South store so I called ahead to confirm that they had my frames in stock. They said yes. I went there and after about 15 minutes the women came back and said, "Our frames are too small, but I called the North store and they have your size in stock." So I go to the North store. The women there mounts my lenses in the new frames and in the process her screwdriver slips, creating a 1/2 scratch across my right lens. "Whoops," she says, "I'll have to order you a new lens. You can get it in 5 days at the South store."

Today I went to the South store. The women tries to install the new lens. After 15 minutes, she comes back and says, "This lens is too large. We'll have to order you another one. Come back in 10 days." I tell her that I'm moving to Seattle in 10 days. "Well, I suppose we could try to rush it," she says.

Item 2

In late July, I applied to the ABR for the registration forms for taking my medical physics boards. I sent an email to the proper person and it said,

My name is Steve Langer, PhD. Please send me the registration materials for the boards in Diagnostic Medical Physics.

Two weeks later, I got the application papers for Therapy Physics. I resent the letter, capitalizing Diagnostic Physics. This past week, a letter came addressed "Steve Langer, MD" and it contained the forms for the Radiology Medical boards.

I called and spoke to a women, told her what has happened, and reiterated who I was and what I wanted. She said, "Well Sir, you realize that the deadline is the end of Sept. You should really not procrastinate like this. So your name is Steve Langer MD?"

Item 3

UW-Seattle wanted a price quote so they could buy my office computer. I called VA Research (a company that advertises in Linux Journal and builds custom PC's to order) and asked a guy if they could add a Jaz drive to one of their stock systems. "No problem," the guy said, "just email me the list so I dont' have to write it all down." I emailed this letter:

I would like a price quote for the following system. Could you Fax
me your price so that I may send it to UW-Seattle. Their purchasing
people will then send you the money for this system. The Jaz drive is
a custom addition but was approved by Matt in technical. FAX the quote
to me at xxx xxx xxxx.

VarStation 120
ViewSonic 17" Monitor

Iomega Internal Jaz Drive
Two days later, Douglas from technical said, "We don't include the Jaz drive. It does not work under Linux." I sent a reply saying, "I understand that you cannot guarantee a functioning Jaz drive. Just include it and I will install it myself."

Two days after that, Alice from technical said, "We can install the Jaz, but we will not support it." "Fine, just send me the quote," I said. Four days later, still no Fax. I sent another email. Alice replied, "The Zip drive will cost $199."

"Alice" I replied, "I requested a Jaz drive, not a Zip, and I need a FAX. Please re-read my original list, enclosed for your convenience." I resent my original letter with the hardware list.

"Well," Alice replied, "the Jax drive will cost more. Do you want the internal or external one?"

I sent the following note to both Alice and the president of VA Research.

  I have been trying for nearly two weeks to get a quote on the system  
described below. I have variously been told "no problem", "can't be done",
"you want a Zip drive?" and "internal or external?" I have begged without
success for a paper FAX so that the purchasing dept. of UW-Seattle can 
SEND YOUR COMPANY MONEY.   I give up - you win.

I then attached my original letter, and copies of all the notes from Douglas and Alice. I got the Fax the next day - no apology.

Item 4

This Sunday, Sheryl and I went to Silver Lake Park. One of only two entrances was completely blocked by a van parking in the way. I assumed the van was abandoned, and drove in the other entrance. It turned out that the van was occupied by a sleeping driver. People trying to exit the park honked at him. He yawned.


My grandfather used to say, "Just assume everybody is an idiot - it saves time."


1. Beaumont Barb writes;
From: (Barb Chapman)
Subject: What's bugging me now?
Status: RO

Campaign '96, of course.  Who's running the store, pardon me, government,
while the firm of Clinton, Clinton & Gore are out touring the USofA?  You
know, we wouldn't have these problems if Bob Dole was still alive!

Not much new here.  We're collecting quotes to replace our furnace and home
computer, both of which were fried when lightning hit our utility pole.
It's a good thing we have replacement cost in our homeowner's policy!
Furnace is c.1958 and the lightning strike blew a hole in the heat
exchanger, so we're red-tagged due to code violation.  (Of course, the very
reputable firm, one that specializes in Bryant furnaces, to whom we paid $49
for an inspection of the damage, didn't even look at the heat exchanger and
gave us estimates for both "repair" and replacement. Which estimate do you
think the insurance company is going for?)  The computer is a 486DX/33, a
dinosaur that cannot be duplicated in this much more advanced computer age.

Riddle for the day, courtesy of "Boys Life": What do you get when you cross
poison ivy with a four-leaf clover?  A rash of good luck.

Hope you have some.

Love ya,

2. Texas Tom pens

>From Thu Sep 12 12:42:00 1996

>"Since I didn't come up with any fix last month, how about
>just sharing what has really bugged you this month?"
People asking for fixes for things.  ;^)

   /  ***  \   +---------------------------+
   * __  __*   | Tom Hall                  |
  (|  o \ o|)  | Game Designer             |
   *     \ |   | at the soon-to-be-renamed |
   **  ****|   | Dream Design              |
   * *** O *   +---------------------------+
  *   ******

Quotes(s) of the month:

"See YA!"

--Steve as he heads west from Mayo to the Gray Havens.

Fix of the month:

"How do you educate the public in basic economics and history without losing their interest?"



1. Rochester, Sep 11: A man entered a women's apartment last night, stripped naked, and while standing over her sleeping form awoke her with his rigid appendage saying, "Remember me?" The women awoke screaming and managed to trigger her security alarm. The man escaped, still naked, but carriying his clothes and wallet. The suspect was identified by a cab driver who called police after giving the man a lift to another home. The cabbie said he was suspicious when his fare was still pulling on his pants while hailing the cab.


1. Redmond, Sep 5; Earlier versions of Windows-NT were bundled with Microsoft's own WWW server software. However, Gates observed another possible revenue opportunity and the newest version of NT ships with a WWW server that only allows 10 simultaneous connections. NT users who wanted an unbroken WWW server had to pony up additional money. At this point, Netscape began shippping a cheaper and more capable version of its server for NT, and users ticked with Microsoft went over to the new server in droves. Stymied, Gates has announced that Microsoft will once again bundle the unbroken server with NT.

Ed: One wonders what would have occured without Netscape's competition. Ah, but don't worry about that, just buy more Microsoft products. Monopolies are good - competition is bad.

New York ;

1. Fishkill, Sept. 7: PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the political arm of the terrorist ALF (the Animal Liberation Front), has demanded that the city change its name to something less threatening to wildlife, or else.

Wash. D.C.

1. Sep. 9, NPR: The Feds are beginning to worry about the thousands of IBM compatible PC's that they have which will be subject to the so called Millenium Bug. The bug in the BIOS firmware, only counts 2 significant figures of the year. Hence, in the year 2000, such PCs will think it's the year 1900, and sorting documents by date and all other time sensitive functions will be screwed up. Apple Macs and other non-brain-dead computers will not be susceptable to the problem.

Net News;

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