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Eddie Mair | 10:29 UK time, Tuesday, 14 August 2007

needs the help of regular froggers in a number of threads:

"I too am working on an anniversary project (among other things I'm a publisher).
Please, those of you who love the Frog, and who know Fifi enough to trust me, can you please send an email via the weblink attached to my name above, and I'll tell you more!
No obligation, and your privacy (as always) is guaranteed.
Look forward to hearing from you ... including lots who have dropped off the radar."

The web link is on the first comment on the "favourite blog moment" thread. Go on - help her out!

This will be my main thread of the day updating regularly - am trying to hit 1000 on Friday - already at 993. The total comment count at 1033 is 49148.

1330 UPDATE: We're busy chasing e coli, foot and mouth and Scottish independence. Will also look at maths teaching.


  1. At 11:07 AM on 14 Aug 2007, Let's all jump wrote:

    Sounds like a good idea to me. ;-)

  2. At 11:08 AM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Thanks Eddie!

    And here is my weblink again.

    All contributions very, VERY welcome.

    Fifi ;o)

    ...despite being malicious, it seems!

  3. At 11:15 AM on 14 Aug 2007, silver-fox wrote:

    Will there be a bouncy castle on Friday?

  4. At 11:18 AM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    A list of announcements that London Tube train drivers have actually made to
    their passengers...

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service. I know
    you're all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to
    my ex-wife, in which case you'll want to cross over to the Westbound and go
    in the opposite direction."

    "Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from E &
    B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I'll let you know any
    further information as soon as I'm given any."

    "Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last
    Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. The bad news
    is that there is a points failure somewhere between Stratford and East Ham,
    which means we probably won't reach our destination."

    "Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay, but there is a security
    alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for the
    foreseeable future, so let's take our minds off it and pass some time
    together. All together now... 'Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall...'."

    "We are now travelling through Baker Street . As you can see, Baker Street
    closed. It would have been nice if they had actually told me, so I could
    tell you earlier, but no, they don't think about things like that".

    "Beggars are operating on this train. Please do NOT encourage these
    professional beggars. If you have any spare change, please give it to a
    registered charity. Failing that, give it to me."

    During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver announced
    in a West Indian drawl: "Step right this way for the sauna, ladies and
    gentleman... unfortunately, towels are not provided."

    "Let the passengers off the train FIRST!" (Pause.) "Oh go on then, stuff
    yourselves in like sardines, see if I care -- I'm going home...."

    "Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse this with 'Please hold
    the doors open.' The two are distinct and separate instructions."

    "Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the
    doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into
    the doors."

    "We can't move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door."

    "To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second
    carriage -- what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you understand?"

    "Please move all baggage away from the doors." (Pause..) "Please move ALL
    belongings away from the doors." (Pause...) "This is a personal message to
    the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put the
    pie down, four-eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door
    before I come down there and shove them up your ar5e sideways!"

    "May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on
    any part of the Underground. However, if you are smoking a joint, it's only
    fair that you pass it round the rest of the carriage."

  5. At 11:19 AM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    Eddie - This from Chris Ghoti on Monday's GlassBox

    "Please, may we have a new Beach? I know it is against Tradition, but it takes about ten minutes to load the one we have and I can't bring myself to comment in a place I can't read! Once it gets over about 350 this machine can't really cope with it, and the two smaller ones can't get to it at all. The same has happened to a couple of other recent threads, and sorry Big Sis, I can't be pulling my weight if there's nowhere for me to post knowing what has already been posted."

    It is getting a bit slow on mine too. I don't think you will hit 50,000 without a new beach.

  6. At 11:19 AM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue , Boscombe, delighted the audience with
    her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do
    her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. 'He'd
    seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of
    our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out 'Heil Hitler.'"
    ( Bournemouth Evening Echo)

  7. At 11:20 AM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard and asked
    him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn't have
    a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover
    off the cliff. ( Aberdeen Evening Express)

  8. At 11:22 AM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was
    rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast guard spokesman
    commented, "This sort of thing is all too common". (The Times)

  9. At 11:23 AM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because
    they cannot issue a description. It's a Special Branch vehicle and they
    don't want the public to know what it looks like. (The Guardian)

  10. At 11:24 AM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a
    spokesman for North West Gas said, "We agree it was rather high for the time
    of year. It's possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up
    during the explosion that destroyed his house." (The Daily Telegraph)

  11. At 11:29 AM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I Declare this to be the New Overflow Beach.

    I name this overflow beach FIFI!

  12. At 11:34 AM on 14 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    It was a fantastic moment. There was a blog from someone not on Big Sister's list of 27 most prolific. Of couse we all ignored it. We like gate crashers to feel like someone standing in a lift with two strangers one either side of them having a loud conversation as if s/he wasn't there.

  13. At 11:34 AM on 14 Aug 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Oooooh! Feefs, you've got your very own thread!

    My jealousy glands are all fired up...

    Good luck with 'it', whatever 'it' is.


  14. At 11:51 AM on 14 Aug 2007, Joe Palooka wrote:

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Most poems rhyme,
    But this one doesn't.

  15. At 11:56 AM on 14 Aug 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:


    If you don't want to post a "summer special" beach because it'll move to too close to your 1000, why not call up Sequin and get her to set one up?

    In fact, it would be nice to see Sequin post in any of these threads.

    We like Sequin.

  16. At 12:01 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Now then Mac (12), play nicely! You know EVERYone is welcome here. :o)

    Thanks to all who've been in touch so far.

    There's still time though....

    Fifi xx

  17. At 12:01 PM on 14 Aug 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Me (sb12):

    ...We like you too of course Eddie.

  18. At 12:09 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Concerned Blogger wrote:


    Have you been/are going to the dentist today, or is there another reason for your concern about sounding slurred?

  19. At 12:18 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Worried of Winchester wrote:

    These things worry me:

    -If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him . . . is he still wrong?

    -What was the best thing before sliced bread?

    -Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?

    -If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

  20. At 12:21 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Slurring again Eddie?

    Either more dentistry or the sweet sherry bottle came in for a hammering last night!


  21. At 12:22 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Silver Fox (3) I do hope so! But mind no-one lands on your brush!

  22. At 12:25 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:


  23. At 12:29 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Perturbed of Peterborough wrote:

    Well I've always wanted to know:

    - If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

    - If a mute swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?

    - Is there another word for synonym?

    - Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

  24. At 12:38 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Unconcerned of Upminster wrote:

    I've no worries at all - just knowledge to impart:

    - One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.

    - Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

    - Women like silent men, they think they're listening.

    - Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

  25. At 12:57 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Shouldn't that read:

    forty-nine thoushand two hundred, Eddie?

    Oh, and Sean Connery slurs - Look where that got him!

  26. At 01:01 PM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. "In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

    A voice from the back of the room piped up, 'Yeah, right.'

  27. At 01:03 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    What do you call a man with Jelly in one ear and custard in the other?

    Anything as he is a trifle deaf.

  28. At 01:08 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:


  29. At 01:20 PM on 14 Aug 2007, non-pedanat wrote:

    Apostrophe’s seem to be swelling
    Into usage’s less than compelling
    With transgression’s excessive
    Contraction’s, possessive’s
    Are fine, not so plural misspelling’s

  30. At 01:23 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Tuppence wrote:

    As ever I am confused. Fifi - I tried to follow your link, but I am not sure I ended up in the rignt place.

    This is today's contribution to the total - looks like it will be reached by Friday.

    What would it say about the blog if the milestone comment was one from somebody who didn't know what was going on.

    Back tomorrow


  31. At 01:33 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Oh good, a real place with real people.

    Please can we not talk about dentistry too much? I just got back from the dentist.

    My favourite 'elephant joke' (most of the best ones don't have any actual elephants, but it's a form of humour with a name as relevant as the answers usually are). If nobody gets it, I'll post the answer in a while.

    What's white and comes at you from both sides of the room at once?

  32. At 01:43 PM on 14 Aug 2007, non-pedanat wrote:

    Tuppence (30) - What makes you think anybody here knows what is going on? :o)

  33. At 01:45 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    RJD: If it isn't it should be :o)

  34. At 01:47 PM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    Chris (31) That wouldn't be "Stereo Yoghurt" would it?

  35. At 02:02 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Joe Palooka wrote:


    Will you sing the Hedgehog song on Friday...?

  36. At 02:05 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Hey, now, how the heck did that happen? Was I reading RJD's mind or did he slip into a time warp?

    It's the pixies, folks, the pixies!

  37. At 02:07 PM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    Big Sis - How'd you do that? Is one server/computer timing out of synch?

  38. At 02:09 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Drat you RJD, you know too much! You even seem to know it out of sequence, which is impressive -- at least, I assume it was your answer @ 34 that Big Sister was answering @ 33.

    Properly speaking the way I was told it, 'stereophonic yoghurt'.

    Does that mean it's now your turn, or should I have another go? Or ought it to be someone else completely? come one, come all, I just got a phone call from Afghanistan and *nothing* will now disconcert me...

  39. At 02:09 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Tuppence (30) : The link should have taken you to the website of a band. From where it's possible to email the band ... and I can pick up the emails.

    Another route is to contact the address direct : lyingscotmusic at aol dot com

    But don't tell anyone or they'll all be using it (!)

    Joe Palooka (35) : I will if you join in the chorus. Are we allowed to broadcast such language on the BBC though??



  40. At 02:11 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Everyone's wrote:

    "Everyone's on Fifi!"


  41. At 02:20 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Dunno, RJD. As I type this, my PC says 14.23.

  42. At 02:27 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    We'll either I'm ahead, or the Beeb technology is behind .....

  43. At 02:32 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I don't know whether to blush or get the giggling out of the way first.


    Fifi xx

  44. At 02:35 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh dear, and now I'm mistyping

    Let's try this again.

    As I type this, my pc clock (which, incidentally, coincides with the time on my wrist) say 14.37.

    But what will it say when it emerges on the Blog?

    I predict: 14.35

  45. At 02:37 PM on 14 Aug 2007, The Whole World's on wrote:

    Well, Feefs, having been there myself .......

  46. At 02:41 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Let's have a party on wrote:

    .... Well, why not?

  47. At 02:47 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    * buries head in hands *


  48. At 02:48 PM on 14 Aug 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    A mosquito was heard to complain,
    'A chemist has poisoned my brain!'
    The cause of his sorrow
    was paradichloro-triphenyldichloroethane.

    ......just cos I want to be 'on' Feefs as well!


  49. At 02:57 PM on 14 Aug 2007, The drinks are on wrote:

    Fifi ;0)

  50. At 02:59 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    ok, I'll take another turn. One with elephants, this time.

    What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming over the hill?

    No, that wasn't malicious. I shan't give up, you know.

  51. At 03:02 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:


  52. At 03:04 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I'm enjoying this game immensely.

    My antics could well push us over the 50,000 mark, all by themselves!


  53. At 03:08 PM on 14 Aug 2007, There's no flies... wrote:

    Tee Hee!

  54. At 03:14 PM on 14 Aug 2007, The Stainless Steel Aardvark wrote:

    Big Sister (36):

    It's the aardvarks! Now they've got their hands on time-manipulation equipment they'll be unstoppable!

    They could even go back in time and prevent the blog from ever being created, or maybe change the course of evolution!

  55. At 03:15 PM on 14 Aug 2007, can we get a full house wrote:

    I wonder? Is the naughty step big enough yet?

  56. At 03:16 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Jumping up and down on wrote:

    .... cor, she makes a great trampoline, guys - c'mon, everybody bounce now ...

  57. At 03:17 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    No, Fifi, it's not YOUR antics, it's OUR antics!

  58. At 03:22 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Police investigation centres wrote:

    Hope they find the evidence!

  59. At 03:26 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Timelord lands on wrote:

    leaping ahead in time, striding into space....

  60. At 03:34 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:


  61. At 03:36 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Two from Eddie at 49,200!

    Does that mean we're approaching 10,000?

  62. At 03:37 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Devolved Scots wrote:

    ....just to remain sort of topical.....

  63. At 03:39 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Leaning Tower of Pisa falls wrote:

    This news just in!

  64. At 03:39 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:


  65. At 03:39 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:


    (you get the idea, Feefs?)

  66. At 03:40 PM on 14 Aug 2007, The Weight Of The World lies wrote:

    But I'm sure you can take it :)

  67. At 03:42 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Grand National - big bets placed wrote:

    Could you manage all the jumps?

  68. At 03:44 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Peter's Law of Substitution:
    Look after the molehills, and the mountains will look after themselves.


  69. At 03:45 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun's energy.... If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago. - Sir George Porter


  70. At 03:46 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. - Chief Seattle, 1855


  71. At 03:47 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

    Aye to that! - ed

  72. At 03:49 PM on 14 Aug 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    t p u p n a a t
    s o j m i g b h ......

    D Y

  73. At 03:50 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    If all the world's a stage,

    I want to operate the trap door.

    -Paul Beatty

    Oh, well, they had to detect some malice, eventually.....

  74. At 03:51 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the west... keeping the world in chains. If [our nation] took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts. - Mahatma Gandhi

    Alas Gandiji!

  75. At 03:53 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    ~MOM~^^~WOW~ ^^

  76. At 03:54 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Get the inside story wrote:

    Only on the blog...

  77. At 03:55 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Why are there no clothes wrote:

    I am not looking, honest. [turns away, closes eyes tight and covers face with both hands]

  78. At 03:59 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "Who was it that said that this era is defined by the fact that we can go anywhere in the world and see an English sparrow eating french fries outside a McDonalds? This is the age of homogeneity - or the Homogocene! Many think homogenaity is the biggest threat to biodiversity because it destroys local character and expression." -- Mary Colwell, commenting on the Anthropocene.


    A taste of our times ;-)


  79. At 04:01 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And, a really crappy quote"

    On the basis of the data of Wolff, Kellner and Carpenter, or of Hall, the people of the United States and of Europe are pouring into the sea, lakes or rivers and into the underground waters from 5,794,300 to 12,000,000 pounds of nitrogen; 1,881,900 to 4,151,000 pounds of potassium, and 777,200 to 3,057,600 pounds of phosphorus per million of adult population annually, and this waste we esteem one of the great achievements of our civilization. In the Far East, for more than thirty centuries, these enormous wastes have been religiously saved and today the four hundred million of adult population send back to their fields annually 150,000 tons of phosphorus; 376,000 tons of potassium, and 1,158,000 tons of nitrogen comprised in a gross weight exceeding 182 million tons, gathered from every home, from the country villages and from the great cities like Hankow-Wuchang-Hanyang with its 1,770,000 people swarming on a land area delimited by a radius of four miles.

    F H King, Farmers of Forty Centuries, 1911


  80. At 04:02 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    All right, my post @ 50, none of you care enough to answer, I don't care either so there, I shall go on doing my own thing and be hanged to you all....

    He said "here come the elephants."

    Let's try again:

    What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming over the hill in dark glasses?

  81. At 04:03 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

    Does this apply to our Eddie?


  82. At 04:03 PM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    Procrastinate now, tomorrow might be too late.


  83. At 04:03 PM on 14 Aug 2007, David Trimble wrote:

    Mmm, David Trimble on Elvis.

  84. At 04:05 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The Future

    For God's sake, be done

    with this jabber of "a better world."

    What blasphemy! No "futuristic"

    twit or child thereof ever

    in embodied light will see

    a better world than this, though they

    foretell inevitably a worse.

    Do something! Go cut the weeds

    beside the oblivious road. Pick up

    the cans and bottles, old tires,

    and dead predictions. No future

    can be stuffed into this presence

    except by being dead. The day is

    clear and bright, and overhead

    the sun not yet half finished

    with his daily praise.

    --Wendell Berry

  85. At 04:05 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    [W]e made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle,

    and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to

    be a fatal mistake. We appointed all our worst generals to

    command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers.

    -Robert E. Lee

    A rather prescient fellow, eh?

  86. At 04:06 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And, from the Burns Unit:

    "And man, whose heav'n erected face,

    The smiles of love adorn,

    Man's in humanity to man,

    Makes countless thousands mourn.

    -- Robert Burns

  87. At 04:08 PM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    "When they put unknown at the end of a quote, that means they probably don't know how to spell anonimous"


  88. At 04:10 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mac & all,

    That's the magic of having two windows open at once - one with a quotes file and the other with firefrog!

    (big grin)

    And finally, another detection of malice! Oh, well....

  89. At 04:10 PM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    I've had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."

    - Groucho Marx

  90. At 04:13 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    FULL HOUSE!!!!

    You did it!

    Gosh I'm so proud. My top blog moment.

    Fifi xxxx

    oh dear, my x-finger is sore now

  91. At 04:15 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "....But there is no glory in the threat of climate change. The story it tells us is of yeast in a barrel, feeding and farting until they are poisoned by their own waste. It is too squalid an ending for our anthropocentric conceit to accept."

    -- George Monbiot


    And at 16:15 BST, the Dow Jones Industrials are down almost 160 points (1.2%), Oil is $72, and the pound is below $2...



  92. At 04:16 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Elvis Presley wrote:

    ..... All shook up!

  93. At 04:17 PM on 14 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    Woman who cooks beans and peas in same pot very unsanitary.

    Man who marries a girl with no bust has right to feel low down.

    He who fishes in another man's well often catches crab.

    Even the greatest of whales is helpless in middle of desert.

    Man who sneezes without hanky takes matters into his own hands.

    He who eats too many prunes, sits on toilet many moons.

    Man who fly plane upside down have crackup.

    War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.

    Virginity like bubble, one prick all gone.

    Man who eat prunes get good run for money.

    Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cathouse.

    Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.

    Man with one chopstick go hungry.

    Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.

    7/5th of all people do not understand fractions.

    A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.

  94. At 04:17 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Molly wrote:

    I think I got it.
    You got it? I sent it.

    Listening to Elvis- byeeeeee


  95. At 04:18 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom."

    - Bob Dylan

  96. At 04:21 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The irony is this: The more I

    desire to live a quiet life in the gar-

    den, the more stridently I find

    myself called out of that garden. So

    imperiled are our communities

    these days that activism is not the

    choice it once was, but a necessity.

    --Rick Bass

    The difference between theory and practice in practice is greater

    than the difference between theory and practice in theory.

    To iterate is human, to recurse, divine.

    It's much easier to point out the problem than

    it is to say just how it should be solved.

    --John Kenneth Galbraith, Economist

    Do I contradict myself?

    Very well then, I contradict myself,

    (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

    -- Walt Whitman "Song of Myself"

    Expect the worst, it's the least you can do.

    "...our country is not being destroyed by

    bad politics, it is being destroyed by a bad way

    of life. Bad politics is merely another result."

    -- Wendell Berry (http://www.brtom.org/wb/berry.html)


  97. At 04:22 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Fifi - I think we broke it!

    and what's more I missed your moment of glory...

  98. At 04:24 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    By forces seemingly antagonistic and destructive Nature accomplishes her beneficent designs - now a flood of fire, now a flood of ice, now a flood of water; and again in the fullness of time an outburst of organic life.... -- John Muir

    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.

    --Winston Churchill

    More malice!

    An article published last month under the headline, Despite U.S. Assurances, Violence Spreads in Iraq, was in fact an article from two months previous with the same headline. Readers wishing to read the story which should have followed last month's headline are advised to read a similar story with the same headline scheduled to run two months from now. We apologize for any confusion.

    -- http://www.ironictimes.com

    and still more malice!

    One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considers work important.

    --Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

    And yet more malice!

    Idiot, n.:

    A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.

    -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"

    You shall know the truth; and the truth shall make you mad

    -- Aldous Huxley

  99. At 04:24 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Lee Vitout wrote:

    If you notice this notice
    You will notice this notice
    Is not worth noticing.

  100. At 04:25 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop,
    striped and dotted with continents and islands,

    flying through space with all other stars, all singing and shining together as one,
    the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.

    -- John Muir

    "More than at any other time in history, we are at a crossroads.

    One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness,

    the other to total extinction.

    Let us us hope we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

    -- Woody Allen

    This email may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information, though, quite frankly, if you're not the intended recipient and you've got nothing better to do than read other folks' emails then I'm glad to have brightened up your sad little life a tiny bit.

  101. At 04:27 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    A tariff is an unfair obstacle to free

    trade in which a poor nation slaps

    extra charges on imports from a rich

    nation so the poor nation's citizens

    can sell their own products at home.

    A subsidy is a reasonable payment

    from a rich nation to powerful

    business interests so they can

    undersell products made by the poor

    nation's citizens in the poor nation.

    -- Ironic Times http://www.ironictimes.com

    "Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion . . . and you allow him to make war at pleasure. . . . If to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'but he will say to you 'be silent; I see it, if you don't.'"

    Abraham Lincoln, Feb. 15, 1848

    "Human society has now reached a point in population growth and
    technological skill at which it can destroy the viability of the
    environment .... To the extraterrestrial observer, man might appear as unself-conscious as a fish in relation to his ecological situation.

    This ecological innocence, harmless in fish, is dangerous in men. Rambunctious adolescent naivete' and a powerful, science-based technology are poorly matched companions."

    -- Lyton Keith Caldwell, 1971

  102. At 04:28 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The benefits of travel (for the traveller) are undoubted. That these benefits are worth the enormous true cost (almost entirely borne by less privileged others) is very much in doubt.


    "...the most striking and immediate effect of the spread of

    European settlement beyond the boundaries of Europe itself was its lethal impact on indigenous peoples and societies." -- Clive Ponting (A Green History of the World)

  103. At 04:30 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:
    Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Txes M&A Uinervtisy,

    it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod

    are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat

    ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total

    mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

    Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed

    ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

    -Pat Hayes

    Aggeis Don't Spel Goud?

    [spelling and the brain]

    I and the public know

    What all schoolchildren learn,

    Those to whom evil is done

    Do Evil in return.

    -- W.H. AUDEN, "September 1, 1939"


  104. At 04:32 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi @ 89, now I'm confused.

    Who did what to whom, how many times round the whats of where?

    Or is this Ed I getting five-in-a-row? That ought to be a straight, or perhaps a straight-flush, not a full house, though. And if he did, when and where did he?

  105. At 04:36 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    Wouldn’t it be more cost effective if we (the taxpayer) paid for a permanent camp site for the protestors? As they are always the same group of people it would cut down on travel, they could set up their own schools and optional washrooms and, it would be easier to police. We could even provide them with large bill boards so they could tell what the ‘protest of the day’ is. One suggestion is that it is called the ‘Land of the Bewildered’

  106. At 04:38 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "I think my eyes were knocked open and they don't close.

    I sometimes wish I could close them and look away...

    But once you've seen certain things, you can't un-see them,

    and seeing nothing is as political an act as seeing something."

    -- Arundhati Roy


    We act as though comfort and luxury

    were the chief requirements of life

    when all we need to make us really happy

    is something to be enthusiastic about.


    Ye hypocrites! are these your pranks?

    To murder men and give God thanks?

    Desist, for shame! Proceed no further:

    God won't accept your thanks for murther

    -- Roburt Burns, 'Thanksgiving For a National Victory'

  107. At 04:40 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Then let us pray that come it may,

    (As come it will for a' that,)

    That Sense and Worth,

    o'er a' the earth,

    Shall bear the gree, an' a' that,

    For a' that, an' a' that,

    It's coming yet for a' that,

    That man to man, the world o'er,

    Shall brithers be for a' that.

    -- Robert Burns

    I'm truly sorry man's dominion,

    Has broken nature's social union,

    An' justifies that ill opinion,

    Which makes thee startle

    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

    An' fellow-mortal!


    Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me

    The present only toucheth thee:

    But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.

    On prospects drear!

    An' forward, tho' I canna see,

    I guess an' fear!

    Robert Burns, R.I.P. (To a Mouse)


  108. At 04:41 PM on 14 Aug 2007, All eyes are wrote:

    as she tunes her guitar

  109. At 04:42 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Kenneth Williams wrote:

    Oh Matron.

  110. At 04:42 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    To obtain maximum attention,

    it's hard to beat a good, big mistake.

    -David D. Hewitt

    Malice enow!

    The problem with getting old is that you are not going to outgrow it.

    Flugg's Law:

    When you need to knock on wood is when you realize that the world is composed of vinyl, naugahyde and aluminum.

  111. At 04:44 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi @ 89, now I'm confused.

    Who did what to whom, how many times round the whats of where?

    Or is this Ed I getting five-in-a-row? That ought to be a straight, or perhaps a straight-flush, not a full house, though. And if he did, when and where did he?

  112. At 04:47 PM on 14 Aug 2007, The Coldstream Guards wrote:

    One of Britains finest.

  113. At 04:50 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Humph wrote:

    Wouldn't EdI x 5 be five of a kind rather than a straight, Fishy (111)? Can you get five of a kind in poker, or is that cheating?


  114. At 04:51 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    "Lee Vitout on Fifi"

    Oooh, they'll all be jealous now!!!


  115. At 04:56 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Rachel G wrote:

    Excellent work people. I nip into town for a few hours and come back to find you've achieved all this in my absence.

    Just spent 126GBP on shoes and trainers for eldest two sprogs. I wouldn't mind so much, but the pair of school shoes that fitted my daughter came with a tiny doll stuck into the sole. What is that all about?

  116. At 05:01 PM on 14 Aug 2007, andycroak wrote:

    Yay Feef!!

    Now, full house of what?

  117. At 05:13 PM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Blimey! - How many now?

  118. At 05:17 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    I think eric has just realised after 363 days that one can edit an already posted blog entry. Hence the add ons as the day goes on.

  119. At 05:21 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    No Stewart (118) I am trying to hit a rounded number of posts on Friday. I don't know why!

  120. At 05:33 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Humph @ 113, I was working on the idea that a straight is a sequential run of numbers, so that would be one way to express it. A flush is five-of-the-same-suit, so that would be another way, I s'pose. Five-of-a-kind could happen with either jokers or a wild-card. But a full house is three of one thing and two of another, so it didn't seem to fit.

  121. At 06:18 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Froggers' Convention wrote:


  122. At 06:31 PM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Although Stewart. Eddie has been adding - editing his blog posts for ages ..

  123. At 08:00 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Two little words that make all the difference to the pressure on Fifi's chest - "is not" :)

    So, how about a tongue-twister and limerick combined?

    A tutor who tooted a flute,
    Was teaching two tooters to toot.
    Said the two to the tutor,
    "Is it harder to toot,
    Or to tutor two tooters to toot?"

    Sure beats the fossil collector tongue-twister, or counting scarlet and primrose trucks...

  124. At 08:06 PM on 14 Aug 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    My turn! My turn!

    I havent had a go, yet, fifi....!!!!

    I see.

    (pause - for tumble weed to pass)

    well, how long *is* the queue??!!!?!?!?

  125. At 08:14 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Thought I'd have a run of musical jokes...
    This is a musical in-joke - if you've never played a musical instrument / read music, you probably won't understand this...

    C, E-flat and G go into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve minors," and E-flat leaves. C and G have an open fifth between them and after a few drinks, G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augue the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, "Excuse me, I'll just be a second."

    A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor and sends him out. Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and shouts, "Get out now. You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

    Next night, E-flat, not easily deflated, comes into the bar in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized) says: "You're looking pretty sharp tonight. Come on in. This could be a major development." And in fact, E-flat takes off his suit and everything else and stands there au naturel. Eventually, C, who had passed out under the bar the night before, begins to sober up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest.

    So, C goes to trial, is convicted of contributing to the diminution of a minor and sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an up scale correctional facility. The conviction is overturned on appeal, however, and C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless.

    The bartender decides, however, that since he's only had tenor so patrons, the soprano out in the bathroom and everything has become alto much treble, he needs a rest and closes the bar.

  126. At 08:17 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Just in case you're confused by musical terms, here's a handy glossary...

    ACCIDENTALS: Wrong notes

    AGNUS DEI: A famous female church composer

    ALLEGRO: Leg fertilizer

    AUGMENTED FIFTH: A 36-ounce bottle

    BREVE: The time you spend when the line is short

    BROKEN CONSORT: When somebody in the ensemble has to leave and go to the restroom.

    CADENCE: When everybody hopes you're going to stop - but you don't

    CADENZA: The heroine in Monteverdi's opera "Frottola"

    CANTUS FIRMUS: The part you get when you can only play four notes

    CHANSONS DE GESTE: Dirty songs

    CLAUSULA: Mrs. Santa

    CONDUCTUS: The process of getting Vire into the cloister

    CROTCHET: A tritone with a bent prong - or

    CROTCHET: It's like knitting but it's faster - or

    CROTCHET: An unpleasant illness that occurs after the Lai, if prolation is not used

    CUT TIME: When you're going twice as fast as everybody else in the ensemble.

    DI LASSO: Popular with Italian cowboys

    DRONE: The sound of a single monk during an attack of Crotchet

    DUCTIA: A lot of mallards

    DUCTIA: Vire's organum

    EMBOUCHRE: The way you look when you've been playing the Krummhorn

    ESTAMPIE: What they put on letters in Quebec

    GARGLEFINKLEIN: A tiny recorder played by neums

    HOCKET: The thing that fits into a crochet to produce a rackett

    HURDY-GURDY: A truss for medieval percussionists who get Organistrum

    INTERVAL: How long it takes you to find the right note. There are three kinds: Major Interval: A long time Minor Interval: A few bars Inverted Interval: When you have to back one bar and try again

    INTONATION: Singing through one's nose. Considered highly desirable in the Middle Ages

    ISORHYTHM: The individual process of releif when Vire is out of town

    ISORHYTHMIC MOTET: When half of the ensemble got a different xerox than the other half

    LAI: What monks give up when they take their vows

    LAUDA: The difference between shawms and krummhorns

    LASSO: The 6th and 5th steps of a descending scale

    LONGA: The time between visits with Vire

    METRONOME: A dwarf who lives in the city

    MINIM: The time you spend with Vire when there is a long line

    MINNESINGER: A boy soprano

    MOTET: Where you meet Vire if the cloister is guraded

    MUSICA FICTA: When you lose your place and have to bluff till you find it again. Also known as faking

    NEUMS: Renaissance midgets

    NEUMATIC MELISMA: A bronchial disorder caused by hockets

    ORCHESTRAL SUITES: Naughty women who follow touring orchestras

    ORDO: The hero in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"

    ORGANISTRUM: A job-related hazard for careless medieval percussionists, cause by getting one's tapper caught in the clapper

    ORGANUM: You may not participate in the Lai without one

    PARALELL ORGANUM: Everybody standing in a double line, waiting for Vire

    PERformANCE PRACTISE: Sex education

    PROLATION: Precautions taken before the Lai

    QUAVER: Beginning viol class

    RACKETT: Capped reeds class

    RECITATIVE: A disease that Monteverdi had

    RHYTHMIC DRONE: The sound of many monks suffering with Crotchet

    RITORNELLO: An opera by Verdi

    ROTA: An early Italian method of teaching music without score or parts

    SANCTA: Clausula's husband

    SINE PROPRIETATE: Cussing in church

    SOLESME: The state of mind after a rough case of Crotchet

    STOPS: Something Bach did not have on his organ

    SUPERTONIC: Schweppes

    TEMPUS IMPERFECTUM: Vire had to leave early

    TEMPUS PERFECTUM: A good time was had by all

    TRANSPOSITION: An advanced recorder technique where you change from alto to soprano fingering (or vice-versa) in the middle of a piece

    TROPE: A malevolent Neum

    TROTTO: An early Italian form of Montezuma's Revenge

    TUTTI: A lot of sackbuts

    VIRELAI: A local woman known for her expertise in the Lai.

  127. At 08:41 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Do I dare try out the individual instrument jokes?
    Do we have any violists here? :)

    In the meantime, suspend your disbelief and take a journey on one of the most improbable methods of transport ever devised...

    Piano as Roadworthy Vehicle

    (Originally posted in talk.bizzare back in 1995, then reposted to rec.music.classical, and now scattered across the internet.)

    From Richard Morgan:
    My friend and I worked out that a Piano is basically a bike. They both have wheels and pedals, and could easily be converted for steering. You'd have to hook up a computer to the keys, so that when you play the higher notes you turn right, and left for when the lower notes are played. Steering could be achieved by a rudder placed at the back of the piano, which would have a board affixed to the underside of it so that the stool could be used to sit on.

    Mind you, speed could be a problem, and going on a motorway near suicidal. (Unless you played the Minute Waltz over and over and over.)

    From Lisa Chabot:

    You also pretty much have to replace the wheels--a half mile on outdoor asphalt will do those puppies in.

    From Scott Dorsey:

    The mechanic shook his head. "There's a crack in your block that goes clean through the soundboard. We can order a new engine from Steinway but it's gonna cost you big."

    From Eamon Daly:

    "umm, hon? can you pick me up?"

    "jesus, sweetheart... another flat?"

    "yeah. thirty-seven of 'em."

    From Ilana Stern:

    I remember my first crash, back when I was twelve and I'd finally convinced my folks to buy me a piano. I promised I'd wear my helmet and practice every day. It only took three weeks before I started experimenting, getting reckless, playing with scary, exciting chords.

    I'd gone out on a Saturday morning, full of cheer and energy, and come back slinking. I held the sheet music in front of me, to hide the scrapes and bruises, but Mom was too wise to be fooled. "What happened, honey? Are you all right?" Her words were solicitous, but her tone was sharp; I was in trouble.

    I burst into tears. I didn't want her to take my piano away from me. Slowly I dropped my hands; she could see my scraped knees, the blood on my elbows. She grabbed the music, looked at it, and frowned. "Arpeggios on the hill? Now, you know you're not allowed to do that. To your room, young lady."

    They didn't take it away from me, and for that I was thankful. But for two solid weeks my mother insisted on accompanying me on her worn-out old clarinet. How embarrassing.

    From Crisper Than Thou:

    Ah, yes, how fond are the memories of losing my virginity in the back of a Baldwin upright parked out by Scout Island at the lake; the radio was playing the latest Peugot racing engine sounds and the moment was right.

    From Soren Ragsdale:

    You are the driver. It looks like a bright, sunny day. Perfect for playing. But watch out! What would you do if the conductor gave you THIS time to play in?

    From Scott Dorsey:

    Wanna drag, man? Eight to the bar.

  128. At 08:43 PM on 14 Aug 2007, King Kong wrote:

    Oh, she's bigger than me! Where's Fay Wray when you need her?

  129. At 09:06 PM on 14 Aug 2007, eddie mair wrote:

    49480...we may reach 49,500 by the end of the day. I have been trying to take a photo of the readout on my computer that tells me how many entries there have been by me and how many comments there have been. What a freak of nature if on our first anniversary we reach 1000 entries, and 50000 comments. Meaningful and yet pointless at the same time. Just like PM.

  130. At 09:07 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    eddie, Jonnie, okay I'm wrong. I suppose just noticed it recently. Good excuse for another post though.

  131. At 09:22 PM on 14 Aug 2007, The New Blog Prince aka Marc wrote:

    Oh dear. We seem to have broken the blog a bit. Does everyone get the photos/links/calendar displaced down the bottom of the page. Or is it - along with many other things - just me?

  132. At 09:36 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Eddie (129) : You just wrote your first strapline!

    Don't worry, I've already sent it in for you.

    If the radio hackery ever dries up for you, there could be a career for you in advertising copywriting...

    * ducks to avoid BBC mug *

    Oi! there was still BBC Earl Grey in that!


  133. At 09:40 PM on 14 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Oh no problem Stewart - just something I'd observed as Eric has been getting more proficient at the software.

    Eddie - to print the screen - whatever is on your desktop - just click print screen - the key will probably be even on your vaio somewhere?

    Then to paste the contents open Paint - from programs, and click 'Ctrl V'

    This link is easy to understand:-


  134. At 09:54 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Nasrudin walked into a shop one day, and the owner came forward to serve him. Nasrudin said, "First things first. Did you see me walk into your shop?"
    "Of course."
    "Have you ever seen me before?"

    "Never." "Then how do you know it was me?"


  135. At 09:55 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    If George Bush spent more time and money on mobilizing Weapons of Mass
    Salvation (WMS) in addition to combating Weapons of Mass Destruction
    (WMD), we might actually get somewhere in making this planet a safer and
    more hospitable home. WMD can kill millions and their spread to

    dangerous hands needs to be opposed resolutely. WMS, in contrast, are
    the arsenal of life-saving vaccines, medicines and health interventions,
    emergency food aid and farming technologies that could avert literally
    millions of deaths each year in the wars against epidemic disease,
    drought and famine. Yet while the Bush administration is prepared to

    spend $100 billion to rid Iraq of WMD, it has been unwilling to spend
    more than 0.2% of that sum ($200m) this year on the Global Fund to
    Fights AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

    -- Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Earth Institute at Columbia University

    (Oct. 26, 2002)


  136. At 10:03 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "A civilization that relentlessly destroys the

    living land it inhabits is not well acquainted with truth,

    regardless of how many supposed facts it has amassed

    regarding the calculable properties of its world."

    -David Abram, "The Spell of the Sensuous"

    "The more clearly we can focus our attention

    on the wonders and realities of the universe about us,

    the less taste we shall have for destruction."

    -- Rachel Carson © 1954

    The deep roots of modern misogynism?


  137. At 10:05 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Yet my mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted,

    and my thoughts ran in me that words and writing were all nothing and must die, for action is the life of all and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing.

    -- Gerrard Winstanley, A Watchword to the City of London, 1649

    Politicians are interested in people.

    Not that this is always a virtue.

    Fleas are interested in dogs.

    -P. J. O'Rourke

    The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice.

  138. At 10:07 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Use Tao to help rule people.

    This world has no need for weapons,

    Which soon turn on themselves.

    Where armies camp, nettles grow;

    After each war, years of famine.

    The most fruitful outcome

    Does not depend on force,

    But succeeds without arrogance

    Without hostility

    Without pride

    Without resistance

    Without violence.

    If these things prosper and grow old,

    This is called not-Tao.

    Not-Tao soon ends.

    Tao Te Ching, 30, translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo

    How can there be malice in that?

    Former heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali

    visited the ruins of the World Trade Center on

    Thursday. When reporters asked how he felt about

    the suspects sharing his Islamic faith, Ali

    responded pleasantly, "How do you feel about

    Hitler sharing yours?"

  139. At 10:10 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "If I've made myself too clear, you must have misunderstood me."

    --Alan Greenspan\n Chairman, US Federal Reserve Board

    I find television very educating.

    Every time somebody turns on the set,

    I go into the other room and read a book.

    -Groucho Marx, 1890-1977

    The conservation movement is a breeding ground of communists and other subversives. We intend to clean them out,
    even if it means rounding up every birdwatcher in the country.

    --John Mitchell, US Attorney General 1969-72

  140. At 10:15 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;

    the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.


    "We must crush in its birth the aristocracy

    of our moneyed corporations, which

    dare already to bid defiance to

    the laws of our country."

    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1812

    A vision without action is called a daydream; but then again, action without a vision is called a nightmare.

    It may be bad manners to

    talk with your mouth full,

    but it isn't too good either

    if you speak when your head is empty.

    They laughed at Galileo.

    They laughed at Copernicus.

    They laughed at Columbus. But remember,

    they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.


  141. At 10:16 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    Got to agree with fifi. Meaningful yet Pointless. Sums up lots of things. Must get my accounts done.

  142. At 10:18 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. "

    from Tom Paine's Common Sense

    "SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them;

    whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.

    Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;

    the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections,
    the latter negatively by restraining our vices.

    The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
    The first is a patron, the last a punisher....

    Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence;

    the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed,
    man would need no other lawgiver;"

    -- Thomas Paine, On the Origins of Government...1776

  143. At 10:20 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    OK, more specific jokes. This is going to be interesting, weeding out the rude ones...

    Let's take aim at conductors first - it seems many orchestra members consider the bloke with a baton an unnecessary nuisance...

    Why are conductor's hearts so coveted for transplants?
    They've had so little use.

    What is the ideal weight for a conductor?
    About 2 1/2 lbs. Including the urn.


    A violinist was auditioning for the Halle orchestra in England. After his audition he was talking with the conductor. "What do you think about Brahms?" asked the conductor.

    "Ah..." the violinist replied, "Brahms is a great guy! Real talented musician. In fact, he and I were just playing some duets together last week!"

    The conductor was impressed. "And what do you think of Mozart?" he asked him.

    "Oh, he's just swell! I just had dinner with him last week!" replied the violinist. Then the violinist looked at his watch and said he had to leave to catch the 1:30 train to London.

    Afterwards, the conductor was discussing him with the board members. He said he felt very uneasy about hiring this violinist, because there seemed to be a serious credibility gap. The conductor knew for certain that there was no 1:30 train to London.


    It was the night of the big symphony concert, and all the town notables showed up to hear it. However, it was getting close to 8 o'clock and the conductor hadn't yet shown up. The theater's manager was getting desperate, knowing that he'd have to refund everyone's money if he cancelled the concert, so he went backstage and asked all the musicians if any could conduct.

    None of them could, so he went around and asked the staff if any of them could conduct. He had no luck there either, so he started asking people in the lobby, in the hope that maybe one of them could conduct the night's concert.

    He still hadn't found anyone, so he went outside and started asking everybody passing by if they could conduct. He had no luck whatsoever and by this time the concert was 15 minutes late in starting. The assistant manager came out to say that the crowd was getting restless and about ready to demand their money back.

    The desperate manager looked around and spied a cat, a dog, and a horse standing in the street. "Oh, what the heck," he exclaimed, "let's ask them--what do we have to lose?"

    So the manager and assistant manager went up to the cat, and the manager asked "Mr. cat, do you know how to conduct?" The cat meowed "I don't know, I'll try," but though it tried really hard, it just couldn't stand upright on its hind legs. The manager sighed and thanked the cat, and then moved on to the dog.

    "Mr. dog," he asked, "do you think you can conduct?" The dog woofed "Let me see," but although it was able to stand up on its hind legs and wave its front paws around, it just couldn't keep upright long enough to last through an entire movement.

    "Well, nice try," the manager told the dog, and with a sigh of resignation turned to the horse. "Mr. horse," he asked, "how about you--can you conduct?" The horse looked at him for a second and then without a word turned around, presented its hind end, and started swishing its tail in perfect four-four time.

    "That's it!" the manager exclaimed, "the concert can go on!" However, right then the horse dropped a load of manure onto the street. The assistant manager was horrified, and he told the manager "We can't have this horse conduct! What would the orchestra think?"

    The manager looked first at the horse's rear end and then at the manure lying in the street and replied "trust me--from this angle, the orchestra won't even know they have a new conductor!"

  144. At 10:21 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Abraham knew exactly what the land was for:

    it was to drip milk and honey into Abraham's mouth.

    At the present moment, the assurance with which

    we regard this assumption is inverse to the degree of our education.

    --Aldo Leopold

    When the philosopher's argument becomes tedious,

    complicated, and opaque, it is usually a sign that he is

    attempting to prove as true to the intellect

    what is plainly false to common sense.

    -- Ed Abbey

  145. At 10:22 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Whilst I vet the individual instruments, I've gone chopin. Bach in a minuet...

    Haydn's Chopin Liszt at Vivaldi's:

    * Rossini and cheese
    * Schumann polish
    * Bern-n-stein remover
    * Satie mushrooms
    * batteries (Purcell)
    * BeethOVEN cleaner
    * Hummel microwave meals
    * orange Schubert
    * TchaiCOUGHsky drops
    * marshMahlers
    * Honey-nut Berlioz
    * Cui-tips
    * Chef Boyardee Raveli
    * sour cream and Ives
    * Strauss (straws)
    * chocolate Webers (wafers)
    * Del Monteverdi corn
    * Mozart-rella cheese
    * I Can't Believe it's not Rutter
    * Bach of serial (opera)
    * chicken Balakirev
    * new door Handel
    * Golden Brahms
    * Clemen-TEA
    * Little Debussy snack cakes
    * Oscar Meyerbeer bologna

  146. At 10:23 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan,
    more uncertain of success, nor more dangerous to manage
    than the creation of a new order of things.

    For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit

    by the preservation of the old institutions,
    and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones."

    -- Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)

    Pereant, inquit, qui ante nos nostra dixerunt.

    "Confound those who have said our remarks before us."

    -- Aelius Donatus

  147. At 10:25 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "The Laws of Technodynamics:

    1. Conservation of problems: Problems do not go away, they are merely substituted, one for another. The solution of one problem creates another problem.

    2. Technological challenges always increase. As the human population increases and natural resources remain constant or degrade, then technological challenges will increase in size, number, and complexity."

    --Eric A Davidson, http://www.tipiglen.dircon.co.uk/gnprevue.html

    or: The chief cause of problems is solutions.

    "[A] man can live decently without knowing all the answers,

    or believing he does - can live decently even in the understanding
    that life is unspeakably complex

    and unspeakably subtle in its complexity."

    -- Wendell Berry

  148. At 10:31 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Heh. Eccles drove up the M1 when it had just been opened, and got pulled over by a policeman who wanted to know if he had a licence to drive a grand piano. There's a Hoffnung picture in which it is quite clear that a church organ is being driven recklessly. Piano as transport is probably lots older than that, too.

  149. At 10:35 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    There's too many good general jokes out there to diversify into individual instruments - if you want instrument jokes then do a websearch for "music jokes" or "instrument jokes". I'll have a little rest now - if you'd like more just yell and I'll dig up some more :)

    Quite a number of years ago, the Seattle Symphony was doing Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 under the baton of Milton Katims.

    Now at this point, you must understand two things:

    1. There's a quite long segment in this symphony where the basses don't have a thing to do. Not a single note for page after page.
    2. There used to be a tavern called Dez's 400, right across the street from the Seattle Opera House, rather favored by local musicians.

    It had been decided that during this performance, once the bass players had played their parts in the opening of the symphony, they were to quietly lay down their instruments and leave the stage, rather than sit on their stools looking and feeling dumb for twenty minutes. Once they got backstage, someone suggested that they trot across the street and quaff a few brews.

    When they got there, a European nobleman recognized that they were musicians, and bought them several rounds of drinks. Two of the bassists passed out, and the rest of the section, not to mention the nobleman, were rather drunk. Finally, one of them looked at his watch and exclaimed, "Look at the time! We'll be late!"

    The remaining bassists tried in vain to wake up their section mates, but finally those who were still conscious had to give up and run across the street to the Opera House.

    While they were on their way in, the bassist who suggested this excursion in the first place said, "I think we'll still have enough time--I anticipated that something like this could happen, so I tied a string around the last pages of the score. When he gets down to there, Milton's going to have to slow the tempo way down while he waves the baton with one hand and fumbles with the string with the other."

    Sure enough, when they got back to the stage they hadn't missed their entrance, but one look at their conductor's face told them they were still in serious trouble. Katims was furious! After all...

    It was the bottom of the Ninth,
    the basses were loaded,
    the score was tied,
    there were two men out,
    and the Count was full.


    From: EFFICIENCY & TICKET, LTD., Management Consultants
    To: Chairman, The London Symphony Orchestra
    Re: Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor.

    After attending a rehearsal of this work we make the following observations and recommendations:

    1. We note that the twelve first violins were playing identical notes, as were the second violins. Three violins in each section, suitably amplified, would seem to us to be adequate.
    2. Much unnecessary labour is involved in the number of demisemiquavers in this work; we suggest that many of these could be rounded up to the nearest semiquaver thus saving practice time for the individual player and rehearsal time for the entire ensemble. The simplification would also permit more use of trainee and less-skilled players with only marginal loss of precision.
    3. We could find no productivity value in string passages being repeated by the horns; all tutti repeats could also be eliminated without any reduction of efficiency.
    4. In so labour-intensive an undertaking as a symphony, we regard the long oboe tacet passages to be extremely wasteful. What notes this instrument is called upon to play could, subject to a satisfactory demarcation conference with the Musician's Union, be shared out equitably amongst the other instruments.

    Conclusion: if the above recommendations are implemented the piece under consideration could be played through in less than half an hour with concomitant savings in overtime, lighting and heating, wear and tear on the instruments and hall rental fees. Also, had the composer been aware of modern cost-effective procedures he might well have finished this work.

  150. At 10:42 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Heh. Eccles drove up the M1 when it had just been opened, and got pulled over by a policeman who wanted to know if he had a licence to drive a grand piano. There's a Hoffnung picture in which it is quite clear that a church organ is being driven recklessly. Piano as transport is probably lots older than that, too.

  151. At 10:48 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Did I say I was taking a break? I've got to keep up with Ed Iglehart's quotes :)

    Conductors are too easy prey to resist another bout of torture:

    A Player's Guide for Keeping Conductors in Line

    by Donn Laurence Mills

    If there were a basic training manual for orchestra players, it might include ways to practice not only music, but one-upmanship. It seems as if many young players take pride in getting the conductor's goat. The following rules are intended as a guide to the development of habits that will irritate the conductor. (Variations and additional methods depend upon the imagination and skill of the player.)

    1. Never be satisfied with the tuning note. Fussing about the pitch takes attention away from the podium and puts it on you, where it belongs.
    2. When raising the music stand, be sure the top comes off and spills the music on the floor.
    3. Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, crowded space, or a draft. It's best to do this when the conductor is under pressure.
    4. Look the other way just before cues.
    5. Never have the proper mute, a spare set of strings, or extra reeds. Percussion players must never have all their equipment.
    6. Ask for a re-audition or seating change. Ask often. Give the impression you're about to quit. Let the conductor know you're there as a personal favor.
    7. Pluck the strings as if you are checking tuning at every opportunity, especially when the conductor is giving instructions. Brass players: drop mutes. Percussionists have a wide variety of dropable items, but cymbals are unquestionably the best because they roll around for several seconds.
    8. Loudly blow water from the keys during pauses (Horn, oboe and clarinet players are trained to do this from birth).
    9. Long after a passage has gone by, ask the conductor if your C# was in tune. This is especially effective if you had no C# or were not playing at the time. (If he catches you, pretend to be correcting a note in your part.)
    10. At dramatic moments in the music (while the conductor is emoting) be busy marking your music so that the climaxes will sound empty and disappointing.
    11. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know you don't have the music.
    12. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.
    13. Tell the conductor, "I can't find the beat." Conductors are always sensitive about their "stick technique", so challenge it frequently.
    14. As the conductor if he has listened to the Bernstein recording of the piece. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it. Also good: ask "Is this the first time you've conducted this piece?"
    15. When rehearsing a difficult passage, screw up your face and shake your head indicating that you'll never be able to play it. Don't say anything: make him wonder.
    16. If your articulation differs from that of others playing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.
    17. Find an excuse to leave rehearsal about 15 minutes early so that others will become restless and start to pack up and fidget.
    18. During applause, smile weakly or show no expression at all. Better yet, nonchalantly put away your instrument. Make the conductor feel he is keeping you from doing something really important.

    It is time that players reminded their conductors of the facts of life: just who do conductors think they are, anyway?

    Donn Laurence Mills is the NSOA contributing editor. He holds music degrees from Northwestern University and Eastman School of Music. A conductor and music educator, he is also the American educational director for the Yamaha Foundation of Tokyo.

  152. At 10:55 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    No Marc it's me as well.


  153. At 10:57 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    I've made an exception to my "no instruments" rule - as piano jokes aren't about the players (you can't exactly call a musician who can play up to ten notes simultaneously stupid...), and even non-musicians will be able to 'get' most of them...

    What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
    A flat minor.
    What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base?
    A flat major.
    Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?
    Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when dropped over a cliff.
    Why was the piano invented?
    So the musician would have a place to put his beer.

    And if you think the piano's complicated, try adding a few extra keyboards, a keyboard adapted for foot use (the pedals), and a whole bunch of different sounds/effects (the stops)...the organ.

    The organ is the instrument of worship for in its sounding we sense the Majesty of God and in its ending we know the Grace of God.

  154. At 11:22 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Continuing from Ed's technodynamics post:

    To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.

    This one's probably less relevant nowadays, but may still possess an air of truthfulness:

    If you put garbage into a computer, nothing comes out but garbage. But that garbage, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticise it.

    What If Dr. Seuss Wrote Technical Manuals?
    Author: Gene Ziegler
    A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer

    Bits Bytes Chips Clocks
    Bits in bytes on chips in box.
    Bytes with bits and chips with clocks.
    Chips in box on ether-docks.

    Chips with bits come. Chips with bytes come.
    Chips with bits and bytes and clocks come.

    Look, sir. Look, sir. read the book, sir.
    Let's do tricks with bits and bytes, sir.
    Let's do tricks with chips and clocks, sir.

    First, I'll make a quick trick bit stack.
    Then I'll make a quick trick byte stack.
    You can make a quick trick chip stack.
    You can make a quick trick clock stack.

    And here's a new trick on the scene.
    Bits in bytes for your machine.
    Bytes in words to fill your screen.

    Now we come to ticks and tocks, sir.
    Try to say this by the clock, sir.

    Clocks on chips tick.
    Clocks on chips tock.
    Eight byte bits tick.
    Eight bit bytes tock.
    Clocks on chips with eight bit bytes tick.
    Chips with clocks and eight byte bits tock.

    Here's an easy game to play.
    Here's an easy thing to say....

    If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
    And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
    And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
    Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

    If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
    And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
    And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
    Then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

    You can't say this? What a shame sir!
    We'll find you another game sir.

    If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
    Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
    But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
    That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
    And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss
    So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
    Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
    'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

    When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
    And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary RISC,
    Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
    Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!

    Copyright © 1995 by Gene Ziegler.

  155. At 11:25 PM on 14 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Continuing the joint theme of computers and Dr. Seuss parodies...

    Spam-I-am (Author unknown)

    I am spam.

    That Spam-I-am.
    That Spam-I-am.
    I do not like
    That Spam-I-am.

    Do you like E-mail spam?

    I do not like it,
    I do not like
    your E-mail Spam.

    Would you like it here or there?

    I would not like it.
    here or there.
    I would not like it
    I do not like
    your e-mail spam.
    I do not like it

    Would you like it if it's lewd?
    Would you like it in the nude?

    I would not like it
    if it's lewd.
    I would not like it
    in the nude.
    I would not like it
    here or there.
    I would not like it
    I do not like
    your e-mail spam.
    I do not like it

    Would you want it at your ISP?
    Would you want it 'cause it's free?

    Not at my ISP.
    Not even when it's free.
    Not if it's lewd.
    Not in the nude.
    I would not like it
    here or there.
    I would not like it
    I do not like
    your e-mail spam.
    I do not like it.

    Would you? Could you? From afar?
    Take them! Take them! Here they are.

    I would not,
    could not,
    from afar.

    You will like them. You wil see.
    You will like them. You'll buy from me!

    I would not, could not buy from thee.
    Not from afar! You let me be.
    Not at my ISP.
    Not even when it's free.
    Not if its lewd.
    Not in the nude.
    I would not like it here or there.
    I would not like it anywhere.
    I do not like your e-mail spam.
    I do not like it Spam-I-am.

    A bunch! A bunch! A bunch! A bunch!
    Could you, would you, love a bunch?

    Not in a bunch! I'll not buy from thee!
    Not from afar! Spam! Let me Be!
    Not at my ISP.
    Not even when it's free.
    Not if its lewd.
    Not in the nude.
    I would not like it here or there.
    I would not like it anywhere.
    I do not like your e-mail spam.
    I do not like it Spam-I-am.

    Say! On a lark?
    Here on a lark!
    Would you read it on a lark?

    I would not read it
    on a lark?

    Would you, could you think again?

    I would not, could not, think again.
    Not in a bunch! I'll not buy from thee!
    Not from afar! Not at my ISP.
    I do not like it, Spam, you see.
    Not even when it's free.
    Not if its lewd.
    Not in the nude.
    I would not like it here or there.
    I would not like it anywhere.
    I do not like your e-mail spam.
    I do not like it Spam-I-am.

    Would you, could you, A pyramid scheme?

    I would not, could not,
    a pyramid scheme!

    Would you, could you, something really obscene?

    I could not, would not, something really obscene.
    Will not, will not, a pyramid scheme.
    I will not read it on a lark.
    I will not, will not think again.
    Not in a bunch! I'll not buy from thee!
    Not from afar! Not at my ISP.
    Not even when it's free.
    Not if its lewd.
    Not in the nude.
    I would not like it here or there.
    I would not like it anywhere.
    I do not like your e-mail spam.
    I do not like it Spam-I-am.

    You do not like it, so you say.
    Read it! Read it! And you may.
    Read it and you may, I say.

    If you will let me be,
    I will try it,
    You will see.

    I do detest your e-mail spam!
    I do! I hate it! Spam-I-am!
    I really hate you, and your floozie!
    I will hunt you with an Uzi!
    I do not want that something really obscene!
    I do not want your pyramid scheme!
    They should take you to the deck!
    And once there... should stretch your neck!
    You are so evil, so evil, you see!
    Get thee Satan away from me!
    If I could find you and your ISP,
    I would piddle in your shoes and on your knee!
    I find you crude!
    I find you rude!
    I do not like you here or there.
    I would not like you anywhere.
    I do not like your e-mail spam.
    Death to you
    Death to you

  156. At 11:33 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Hanging onto bitterness and resentment is like eating poison and
    expecting somebody else to die.

    Tell that to the Scottish opposition!

  157. At 11:40 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    This virus works on the honour system.

    Please delete all the files on your hard disk, then

    forward this message to everyone you know.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

  158. At 11:50 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me, That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea... There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute, except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.

    -- D H Lawrence

  159. At 11:53 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Let us praise the noble turkey vulture: No one envies him; he harms nobody; and he contemplates our little world from a most serene and noble height.

    --Edward Abbey

    It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do.

    --Henry David Thoreau

    Future historians will no doubt remark upon the inevitable association, with us, between sanitation and filthy lucre. And it is one of the miracles of science and hygiene that the germs that used to be in our food have been replaced by poisons.

    --Wendell Berry


    Dow Jones down 208 points (#1.6%), Oil $72.77, £1=$1.9967.................FTSE down 75 (1.2%)


  160. At 11:58 PM on 14 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

    --Albert Schweitzer

    For women, the sexual act is a means to a higher end. For a man, it is an end in itself.

    -- Ed Abbey

    My hope, I must say, subsists on an extremely meager diet-a reducer's diet. It takes some strength from the knowledge that we may be looking doom squarely in the face, from the knowledge that human beings, let alone human societies, cannot live indefinitely by poison and fire.

    -- Wendell Berry

  161. At 12:01 AM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Courtesy of your friendly local IT department...

    Computer Problem Report Form

    Describe your problem: ____________________________________________
    Now, describe the problem accurately:
    Speculate wildly about the cause of the problem:
    Problem Severity:
    A. Minor__
    B. Minor__
    C. Minor__
    D. Trivial__
    Nature of the problem:
    A. Locked Up__
    B. Frozen__
    C. Hung__
    D. Shot__
    Is your computer plugged in? Yes__ No__
    Is it turned on? Yes__ No__
    Have you tried to fix it yourself? Yes__ No__
    Have you made it worse? Yes__
    Have you read the manual? Yes__ No__
    Are you sure you've read the manual? Yes__ No__
    Are you absolutely certain you've read the manual? No__
    Do you think you understood it? Yes__ No__
    If `Yes' then why can't you fix the problem yourself?
    How tall are you? Are you above this line? _______
    What were you doing with your computer at the time the problem occurred?
    If `nothing' explain why you were logged in.
    Are you sure you aren't imagining the problem? Yes__ No__
    How does this problem make you feel?
    Tell me about your childhood ____________________________________________
    Do you have any independent witnesses of the problem? Yes__ No__
    Can't you do something else, instead of bothering me? Yes__

  162. At 12:01 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Community isn't a sentiment. It has to do with necessity, with people needing each other. If you allow the larger industrial system to remove the pattern of needs, which is the force holding people together, you lose the community.

    --Wendell Berry

    Man was created to complete the horse.

    --Ed Abbey

    The man who is brutally honest enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty. Possibly more.

    --Richard J. Needham

    An empty man is full of himself.

    -- Ed Abbey

    The burden of taxation should be so shifted as to put the weight upon the unearned rise in value of land itself, rather than upon the improvements.

    -- Theodore Roosevelt

  163. At 12:04 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    When the land begins to be regarded, not as the primary source of wealth, but as the plaything of gentlemen already rich, the economy of the country is in questionable, if not dangerous condition.

    --Gerald W. Johnson

    Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.

    --Ed Abbey

    You know, they call it the Dust Bowl now. You see, folks, what we're learning today now is that you can rob from nature just the same way you can rob from any individual. It ain't just robbin' from nature. It's robbin' from future generations.

    --Will Rogers

    The developer of a new idea may be described as having 'plowed new ground', yet the plowshare may well have destroyed more options for future generations than the sword.

    --Wes Jackson

    The grass roots which formerly held the soil together are decayed and gone, and now, when loosened by the plow, the soil is easily drifted and blown away.

    --Dr A M Ten Eyck, 1911

    It takes a rich land to support a democracy. Every time you see a dust cloud, or a muddy stream, a field scarred by erosion or a channel choked with silt, you are witnessing the passing of democracy. The crop called man can wither like any other.

    --Sterling North

    They claim this Mother Earth of ours for their own and fence their neighbors away from them... They compel the natural earth to produce more excessively and when it fails, they force it to take medicine to produce more. This is evil.

    --Sitting Bull 1877

  164. At 12:07 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    To put the bounty and the health of our land, our only commonwealth, into the hands of people who do not live on it and share its fate will always be an error. For whatever determines the fortune of the land determines also the fortune of the people.

    --Wendell Berry

    Our suicidal poets (Plath, Berryman, Lowell, Jarrell, et al.) spent too much of their lives inside rooms and classrooms when they should have been trudging up mountains, slogging through swamps, rowing down rivers. The indoor life is the next best thing to premature burial.

    --Ed Abbey

    Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

    --Thomas Paine

    People who are funny and smart and return phone calls get much better press than people who are just funny and smart.

    --Howard Simons, "The Washington Post"

    "It is well understood that nothing so excites the glands of a free-market capitalist as the offer of a government subsidy."

    --Wendell Berry

    Life is cruel? Compared to what?

    -- Ed Abbey

  165. At 12:08 AM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Apologies if anyone here uses AOL to connect to the net, but back in the late '90s AOL users had a certain reputation...

    Diary of an AOL User

    July 18

    I just tried to connect to America Online. I've heard it is the best online service I can get. They even included a free disk! I'd better hold onto it incase they don't ever send me anther one! I can't connect. I don't know what is wrong.

    July 19

    Some guy at the tech support center says my computer needs a modem. I don't see why. He's just trying to cheat me. How dumb does he think I am?

    July 22

    I bought the modem. I couldn't figure out where it goes. It wouldn't fit in the monitor or the printer. I'm confused.

    July 23

    I finally got the modem in and hooked up. that nine year old next door did it for me. But it still don't work. I can't get online.

    July 25

    That nine year old kid next door hooked me up to America Online for me. He's so smart. I told the kid he was a prodigy. But he says that's just another service. What a modest kid. He's so smart and he does these services for people. Anyway he's smarter then the jerks who sold me the modem. They didn't even tell me about communications software. Bet they didn't know. And why do they put two telephone jack holes in the back of a modem when you only need one? And why do they have one labeled phone when you are not suppose to hook it to the phone jack on the wall? I thought the dial tone sounded funny! Boy, are modem makers dumb! But the kid figured it out by the sound.

    July 26

    What's the internet? I thought I was on America Online. Not this internet thing. I'm confused.

    July 27

    The nine year old kid next door showed me how to use this America Online stuff. I told him he must be a genius. He says that he is compared to me. Maybe he's not so modest after all.

    July 28

    I tried to use chat today. I tried to talk into my computer but nothing happened. Maybe I need to buy a microphone.

    July 29

    I found this thing called usenet. I got out of it because I'm connected to America Online not usenet.

    July 30

    These people in this usenet thing keep using capital letters. How do they do that? I never figured out how to type capital letters. Maybe they have a different type of keyboard.

    JULY 31


    AUGUST 1


    AUGUST 2


    AUGUST 3


    AUGUST 4


    AUGUST 5


    AUGUST 6


    August 7

    Why have a Caps Lock key if you're not suppose to use it? Its probably an extra feature that costs more money.

    August 8

    I just read this post called make money fast. I'm so excited. I'm going to make lots of money. I followed his instructions and posted it to every newsgroup I could find.

    August 9

    I just made my signature file. Its only 6 pages long. I will have to work on it some more.

    August 10

    I just looked at a group called alt.aol.sucks. I read a few posts and I really believe that aol should be wiped off the face of the earth. I wonder what an aol is.

    August 11

    I was asking where to find some information about something. Some guy told me to check out ftp.netcom.com. I've looked and looked but I can't find that group.

    August 12

    I sent a post to every usenet group on the Internet asking where the ftp.netcom.com is. hopefully someone will help. I cant ask the kid next door. His parents said that when he comes back from my house he's laughing so hard he can't eat or sleep or do his homework. So they wont let him come over anymore. I do have a great sense of humor. I don't know why the rec.humor group didn't like my chicken joke. Maybe they only like dirty stuff. Some people sent me posts about my 56 posts of the joke and they used bad words.

    August 13

    I sent another post to every usenet group on the Internet asking where the ftp.netcom.com is. I had forgot yesterday to include my new signature file which is only 8 pages long. I know everyone will want to read my favorite poem so I included it. I'm also going to add that short story I like.

    August 14

    Some guy suspended my account because of what I was doing. I told him I don't have an account at his bank. He's so dumb.

  166. At 12:10 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Although I can accept talking scarecrows, lions and great wizards of emerald cities, I find it hard to believe there is no paperwork involved when your house lands on a witch.

    --Dave James

    Where the creation of paper waste is concerned, technology is proving to be not so much a contraceptive as a fertility drug.

    --William Rathje and Cullen Murphy

    Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

    It will be generally found that those who sneer habitually at human nature and affect to despise it, are among its worst and least pleasant examples.

    -- Charles Dickens

    "Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

    -Patrick Henry

  167. At 12:12 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The world, we are told, was made especially for man, a presumption not supported by all the facts.

    -- John Muir

    As war and government prove, insanity is the most contagious of diseases.

    -- Ed Abbey

    You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.

    -- Wendell Berry

    As between the skulking and furtive poacher, who hunts for the sake of meat, and the honest gentleman shooter, who kills for the pleasure of sport, I find the former a higher type of humanity.

    -- Ed Abbey

    Temperamentally we are ready to die for certain principles (or, in the case of overripe adults, send youngsters to die), but we show little inclination to advertise the reasons for dying.

    -- E.B. White

    In central government culture, agencies and all, The career structure is largely colonial, where movement towards the centre is regarded as advancement. This does not relate to rural situations, where movement towards home is more diffucult, but infinitely more worthwhile.

    -- Ed Iglehart

    By now it should be pretty obvious that central planning is of a piece with absentee ownership and does not work.

    -- Wendell Berry

    All the Indian huckleberry hills are stripped, all the cranberry meadows are raked into the city.


    If we had the power of ten Shakespeares or a dozen Mozarts, we could not produce anything half so marvelous as one ordinary human child.

    -- Ed Abbey

    Up comes the cotton, down goes the woven cloth; up comes the silk, down goes the woollen; up come the books, but down goes the wit that writes them.

    -- Thoreau

    "It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right."

    --Henry David Thoreau

    Assessing the evidence which has accumulated over many years has convinced us that anything which is good for Big Business is bad for individuals and communities.

    -- Ross Ulman

    Not all landscapes should be inhabited by human beings, but each of us is enriched to the extent that we can belong to, and participate in, a well-ordered human community integrated into the natural landscape of a particular place.

    -- William Vitek

    Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army may also at last be brought against a standing government.


    I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe-"That government is best which governs not at all"


    We are often cautioned that we must live in the 'real world' by folk who mean 'money', a concept more abstract than theoretical physics.

    -- Ed Iglehart

    But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost.

    -- Thoreau

  168. At 12:14 AM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    The honour system virus - I once saw something similar marketed as a Linux virus - "For all you Linux users who are feeling left out, forward this to everyone in your address book then delete all your files".

    IIRC the original said delete then forward, but if you do that when logged in as root, you'll have wiped your email software...

  169. At 12:15 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    In times of change, it is the learners who will inherit the earth while the learned will find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.

    -- Anon

    Books are like eggs--best when fresh.

    -- Ed Abbey

    We should be thankful for the good things we have and, also, for the bad things we don't have.


    Redmond, WA -- Microsoft announced today that the official release date for the new operating system "Windows 2000" will be delayed until the second quarter of 1901.

    -- Penny Pennington

    Our model citizen is a sophisticate who, before puberty, understands how to produce a baby, but who at the age of thirty will not know how to produce a potato.

    -- Wendell Berry

  170. At 12:22 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages--as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already.

    -- Ed Abbey

    We are advised to live in the real world by those who mean the economic world, the most abstract concept yet devised by humankind.

    -- Ed Iglehart

    Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.

    -- John Muir

    Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

    -- John Muir

    I come more and more to look on each creature as living at the center - one of the infinite number of centers - of an arrangement of processes that reaches through the universe.

    -- Wendell Berry

    When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.

    -- John Muir

    The rooster crows but the hen produces.

    -- anonymous

    This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.


  171. At 12:23 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    In wildness is the preservation of the world

    -- Henry David Thoreau

    The biggest hindrance to learning is fear of seeming a fool.

    --William Least Heat Moon

    One thing more dangerous than getting between a grizzly sow and her cub is getting between a businessman and a dollar bill.

    -- Ed Abbey

    The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

    -- John Muir

    There is no reason to believe that the Truth, when found will prove to be interesting

    --George Bernard Shaw

  172. At 12:27 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "The Southeast Convergence for Climate Action happened simultaneously with a Climate Convergence on the west coast focused on fighting liquefied natural gas terminals, and in conjunction with the UK Camp for Climate Action taking place at London's Heathrow airport."

    "Several activists entered the bank, delivering coal to tellers and other customers and exposing Bank of America's involvement in climate change."

    news release
    5 arrested protesting Bank of America's investments in coal and climatechange

    Asheville Police Department uses electric shock on defenseless nonviolent protestors.

    As a culmination of the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action, activists took a bold direct action against Bank of America, demanding they stop investing in coal and climate injustice. Although there was much speculation regarding a protest action at the Progress Energy Skyland coal-fired power plant, protestors surprised the downtown office of Bank of America. "Wewent to Bank of America to show that power companies are not solely responsible for fueling climate chaos," explained Stephanie Whitaker.

    Bank of America has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to companies that run and are planning to build new power plants, such as Florida Power and Light. Between 2005 and 2007, Bank of America facilitated nearly $1 billion in loans to Massey Energy and Arch Coal, two of the largest companies
    responsible for the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.

    Two activists locked down inside the main lobby and other activists blockaded the entrance to the downtown branch of Bank of America. The protest included a large, lively group of concerned citizens dressed as canaries and polar bears. Activists carried signs and banners that read: "Bank of America: Climate Criminal", "Bank of America Stop Mountaintop Removal," and "Climate Justice Now." Some members of the protest spoke to the engaged crowd about saving the mountains of Appalachia and the sacrifice people in these hills are forced to make for corporate profit and advocated a swift and just transition to renewable energy.

    Several activists entered the bank, delivering coal to tellers and other customers and exposing Bank of America's involvement in climate change. The activists inside used bicycle locks to prevent their removal from the building until Bank of America agreed to stop funding coal. Asheville Police Department responded by repeatedly using high voltage electric shock devices, known as Tasers, on the defenseless protesters.

    The Southeast Convergence for Climate Action happened simultaneously with a Climate Convergence on the west coast focused on fighting liquefied natural gas terminals, and in conjunction with the UK Camp for Climate Action taking place at London's Heathrow airport.


    "We are living on the surface of this planet, with only the resources of this planet, with the fertility of its soil, with its mineral wealth, and with its climate and atmosphere. It has always been the task of mankind to find the right answer to the problem these conditions set us, and even today we cannot think that we have found a sufficient answer."
    Alfred Adler, quoted in The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, Heinz L. Ansbacher and Rowena R. Ansbacker, editors

    "The structural relations within and between human societies and their environments form the most complex systems known to science."
    Charles D. Laughlin and Ivan Brady, editors,
    Extinction and Survival in Human Populations

    "Making connections is the essence of scientific progress."
    Chris Quigg, "Aesthetic Science,"
    Scientific American, April 1999

    "Ignorance of remote causes disposeth men to attribute all events to the causes immediate and instrumental: for these are all the causes they perceive."
    Thomas Hobbes

  173. At 12:38 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Capitalism: Nothing so mean could be right. Greed is the ugliest of the capital sins.

    -- Ed Abbey

    The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

    -- Albert Einstein

    Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.

    -- John Muir

    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

    -- Albert Einstein

    There is not a "fragment" in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.

    -- John Muir

    Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.

    -- John Muir

    Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.

    --John Muir

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

    -- Albert Einstein

    J. Edgar Hoover, J. Bracken Lee, J. Parnell Thomas, J. Paul Getty--you can always tell a sh*thead by that initial initial.

    -- Ed Abbey

  174. At 12:39 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

    -- Albert Einstein

    All Nature's wildness tells the same story: the shocks and outbursts of earthquakes, volcanoes, geysers, roaring , thundering waves and floods, the silent uproot of sap in plants, storms of every sort, each and all, are the orderly, beauty-making love-beats of Nature's heart.

    -- John Muir

    There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

    -- Albert Einstein

    As the island of our knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.\n

    -- John Wheeler

    I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

    -- John Muir

    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

    -- T. S. Eliot

    All revolutions have failed? Perhaps. But rebellion for good cause is self-justifying--a good in itself. Rebellion transforms slaves into human beings, if only for an hour.

    -- Ed Abbey

    One touch of nature...makes all the world kin.

    -- John Muir

    Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.

    -- Bertrand Russell

    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

    -- George Bernard Shaw

    As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.

    -- John Muir

    Winds are advertisements of all they touch, however much or little we may be able to read them; telling their wanderings ever by their accents alone.

    -- John Muir

  175. At 12:42 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    One day's exposure to mountains is better than carloads of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographers' plates. No earthly chemicals are so sensitive as those of the human soul.

    -- John Muir

    With each passing year, because of advances in computer technology, there are more things, each more sophisticated, that we aren't allowed to do any more.

    -- Paul Lutus

    We do not inherit the land, we borrow it from our children.

    -- Native American Proverb

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

    -- Anonymous

    Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans.

    -- John Lennon

    Be careful while reading health books, you might die of a misprint.

    -- Mark Twain

    Man is the only animal that blushes -- or needs to.

    -- Mark Twain

    He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

    -- Chinese Proverb

    If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.

    -- George Bernard Shaw

    If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.\n

    -- Florynce R. Kennedy

    It has been said that the primary function of schools is to impart enough facts to make children stop asking questions. Some, with whom the schools do not succeed, become scientists.

    -- Knut Schmidt-Nielsen

    No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening - still all is Beauty!

    --John Muir

  176. At 12:45 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.

    --George Bernard Shaw

    I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States. No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here.

    -- Charles Dickens

    Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes - all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them -- John Muir

  177. At 12:45 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

    -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.

    -- Isadora Duncan

    Truth never damages a cause that is just.

    -- Mahatma Gandhi

    Brought into right relationships with the wilderness, man would see that his appropriation of Earth's resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and beget ultimate loss and poverty by all.

    -- John Muir

    Please accept my resignation. I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.

    -- Groucho Marx

    As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

    -- Albert Einstein

  178. At 01:11 AM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    After that tech support form, I suppose it's only logical to regale you with some tales that illustrate that even if you think you know nothing about computers, there's always someone who knows less than you...

    But first, let me introduce you to Murphy's Laws of Computing...

    1. When computing, whatever happens, behave as though you meant it to happen.
    2. When you get to the point where you really understand your computer, it's probably obsolete.
    3. The first place to look for information is in the section of the manual where you least expect to find it.
    4. When the going gets tough, upgrade.
    5. For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.
    6. To err is human . . . to blame your computer for your mistakes is even more human, it is downright natural.
    7. He who laughs last probably made a back-up.
    8. If at first you do not succeed, blame your computer.
    9. A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.
    10. The number one cause of computer problems is computer solutions.
    11. A computer program will always do what you tell it to do, but rarely what you want to do.


    From an ex-field sales/support survivor:

    I used to work in a computer store and one day we had a gentleman call
    in with a smoking power supply. The service representative was having a
    bit of trouble convincing this guy that he had a hardware problem.

    Service Rep: Sir, something has burned within your power supply.

    Customer: I bet that there is some command that I can put into the
    AUTOEXEC.BAT file that will take care of this.

    Service Rep: There is nothing that software can do to help you with
    this problem.

    Customer: I know that there is something I can put in... some
    command... maybe it should go into the CONFIG.SYS.

    [After a few minutes of going round and round]

    Service Rep: Okay, I am not supposed to tell anyone this but there is a
    hidden command in some versions of DOS that you can use. I want you to
    edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT and add the last line as C:\DOS\NOSMOKE and
    reboot your computer.

    [Customer does this]

    Customer: It is still smoking.

    Service Rep: I guess you'll need to call Microsoft and ask them for a
    patch for the NOSMOKE.EXE.

    [The customer then hung up. We thought that we had heard the last of
    this guy. But NO; he calls back four hours later!]

    Service Rep: Hello, Sir, how is your computer?

    Customer: I called Microsoft and they said that my power supply is
    incompatible with their NOSMOKE.EXE and that I need to get a new one. I
    was wondering when I can have that done and how much it will cost....

    [Someone at Microsoft must have been thinking fast]


    Take heart, anyone among you who believes you are technologically challenged, you "ain't seen nuthin' yet." This is an excerpt from a "Wall Street Journal" article.

    1. Compaq is considering changing the command "Press Any Key" to "Press Return Key" because of the flood of calls asking where the "Any" key is.

    2. AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.

    3. A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold on and was heard putting the phone down, getting up and crossing the room to close the door.

    4. Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor screen and hitting the "send" key.

    5. Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removing all the keys and washing them individually.

    6. A confused caller to IBM was having trouble printing documents. He told the technician that the computer had said it "couldn't find printer" The user had also tried turning the computer screen to face the printer but that his computer still couldn't "see" the printer.

    7. An exasperated caller to Dell Tech Support couldn't get her new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power button. Her response, "I pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happens. " The "foot pedal" turned out to be the computer's mouse.

    8. A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer. The tech asked her if she was running it under "Windows." The woman responded, "No, my desk is next to the door. But that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window and his printer is working fine."

    9. Tech Support: "O.K. Bob, let's press control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter "P" to bring up the Program Manager." Customer: "I don't have a "P". Tech: "On your keyboard, Bob." Customer: "What do you mean?" Tech: "P" on your keyboard, Bob." Customer: "I'm not going to do that!!!"


    I'm sure you're all familiar enough with the cup holder incident - in case you haven't, suffice it to say that the tray on your CD/DVD drive isn't strong enough to withstand the weight of a cup...


    The following is actual dialog of a former WordPerfect Customer
    Support employee:

    "Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"
    "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
    "What sort of trouble?"
    "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went
    "Went away?"
    "They disappeared."
    "Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
    "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
    "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
    "How do I tell?"
    "Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?"
    "What's a sea-prompt?"
    "Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
    "There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I
    "Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
    "What's a monitor?"
    "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it
    have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
    "I don't know."
    "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power
    cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
    "Yes, I think so."
    "Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into
    the wall."
    "Yes, it is."
    "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two
    cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
    "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the
    other cable."
    "Okay, here it is."
    "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back
    of your computer."
    "I can't reach."
    "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
    "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
    "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle-it's because it's
    "Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in
    from the window."
    "Well, turn on the office light then."
    "I can't."
    "No? Why not?"
    "Because there's a power outage."

    [Note: now here's where fantasy probably takes over from reality, although I'd love it to be true!]

    "A power ... A power outage? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now.
    Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your
    computer came in?"
    "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
    "Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like
    it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it
    "Really? Is it that bad?"
    "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
    "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
    "Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

  179. At 01:16 AM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    One more tech support incident - just bear in mind the disks referred to in this story are floppies...

    Windows Support

    An unfailingly polite lady called to ask for help with a Windows installation that had gone terribly wrong.

    Customer: "I brought my Windows disks from work to install them on my home computer." (Training stresses that we are "not the Software Police," so I let the little act of piracy slide.)

    Tech Support: "Umm-hmm. What happened?"

    Customer: "As I put each disk in it turns out they weren't initialized."

    Tech Support: "Do you remember the message exactly, ma'am?"

    Customer: (proudly) "I wrote it down. 'This is not a Macintosh disk. Would you like to initialize it'?"

    Tech Support: "Er, what happened next?"

    Customer: "After they were initialized all the disks appeared to be blank. And now I brought them back to work, and I can't read them in the A: drive; the PC wants to format them. And this is our only set of Windows disks for the whole office. Did I do something wrong?"


    Enough of clueless lusers, what about you? Here are three canonical lists to enjoy - how many of these apply to you?

    You Know You're Too Hi-Tech If ...

    -- You haven't played solitaire with a real deck of cards in years.

    -- You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

    --You call your son's beeper to let him know that it is time to eat. He emails you back from his bedroom, "What's for dinner?"

    -- Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.

    -- You chat several times a day with someone from South Africa, but you haven't spoken with your next door neighbor yet this year.

    -- Your daughter just bought a single CD of all the records your college roommate used to play.

    -- Your grandmother clogs up your email inbox asking you to send her a JPEG file of your newborn so she can create a screen saver.

    -- You buy a computer and a week later it is out of date and now sells for half the price you paid.

    -- The concept of using real money, instead of credit or debit, to make a purchase is foreign to you.

    -- You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.

    -- Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have email addresses.

    -- You hear most of your jokes via email instead of in person.

    -- You've printed this out and are reading it in the "library."

    You know your an E-mail Junkie when...

    1. You wake up at 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom and stop to check your e-mail on the way back to bed.
    2. You get a tattoo that reads "This body best viewed with Netscape Navigator 1.1 or higher."
    3. You name your children Eudora, Mozillia and Dotcom.
    4. You turn off your modem and get this awful empty feeling, like you just pulled the plug on a loved one.
    5. You spend half of the plane trip with your laptop on your lap...and your child in the overhead compartment.
    6. You decide to stay in college for an additional year or two, just for the free Internet access.
    7. You laugh at people with 9600-baud modems.
    8. You start using smileys in your snail mail.
    9. Your hard drive crashes. You haven't logged in for two hours. You start to twitch. You pick up the phone and manually dial your ISP's access number. You try to hum to communicate with the modem. ...And you succeed.
    10. You find yourself typing "com" after every period when using a word processor.com
    11. You refer to going to the bathroom as downloading.
    12. You start introducing yourself as "JohnDoe at AOL dot com."
    13. All of your friends have an @ in their names.
    14. Your cat has its own home page.
    15. You can't call your mother...she doesn't have a modem.
    16. You check your mail. It says "no new messages." So you check it again.
    17. Your phone bill comes to your doorstep in a box.
    18. You don't know what sex three of your closest friends are, because they have neutral nicknames and you never bothered to ask.
    19. You move into a new house and decide to Netscape before you landscape.
    20. You tell the cab driver you live at "http://1000.edison.garden/house/brick.html."
    21. You start tilting your head sideways to smile.

    And finally for tonight, as it's 1:20am, I think I should read this:

    You Know It's Time To Turn Your Computer Off When...

    1. A friend calls and says, "How are you? Your phones have been busy for a year!"
    2. You forgot how to work the TV remote control.
    3. You see something funny and scream, "LOL, LOL."
    4. You meet the mailman at the curb and swear he said YOU'VE GOT MAIL.
    5. You sign off and your screen says you were on for 3 days and 45 minutes.
    6. You fall asleep, but instead of dreams you get IMs.
    7. You buy a laptop and a cell phone so you can have AOL in your car.
    8. Tech support calls YOU for help.
    9. You beg your friends to get an account so you can "hang out."
    10. You get a second phone line just to call out for pizza.
    11. You purchase a vanity car license plate with your screen name on it.
    12. You say "he he he he" or "heh heh heh" instead of laughing.
    13. You say "SCROLL UP" when someone asks what it was you said.
    14. You sneak away to your computer when everyone goes to sleep.
    15. You talk on the phone with the same person you are sending an instant message to.
    16. You look at an annoying person off-line and wish that you had your ignore button handy.
    17. You start to experience "withdrawal" after not being online for a while.
    18. "Where did the time go?"
    19. You sit on AOL for 6 hours for that certain special person to sign on.
    20. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
    21. .....You end your sentences with.....three or more periods.......
    22. You've gone to an unstaffed AOL room to give tech support.
    23. You think faster than the computer.
    24. You enter a room and get greeted by 25 people with {{{hugs}}} and **kisses**.
    25. Being called a "newbie" is a major insult to you.
    26. You're on the phone and say BRB.
    27. Your teacher or boss recommends a drug test for the blood shot eyes.
    28. Your answering machine/voice mail sounds a little like this...."BRB. leave your S/N and I^ll TTYL ASAP".
    29. You need to be pried from your computer by the Jaws-of-Life.


    TTFN, BBL, CUL8R etc. :)

    Are we up to 49,550 yet?

  180. At 06:06 AM on 15 Aug 2007, eddie mair wrote:

    Actually 49,582!

  181. At 08:19 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Hurrah! Well done, Frogger Army!

    Now, suggestions for revised strategy ....

    Approx 420 posts to go (allowing for those in the pipeline) ....

    We need to keep posting pretty hard (to allow for problems with posting, etc. etc.) today, try to get total up to around 49,750+ by close of play today (though it wouldn't be a disaster if less). Not aim for too much above that figure though.

    Then, tomorrow, push towards 49.950. Keep that 50 or so in hand, and then a careful push towards the 50K for 12.22 p.m. Eddie could, on Friday, use Twitter to keep us up to date with approx. numbers .... Well, you get the drift.

    How amazing it would be if we could hit the target on, or very close to, the moment when Eddie first hit the button.

    You know it makes sense. Well, in the land of the PM Blog it does ....

  182. At 08:40 AM on 15 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    goodness - tahnks to Mittfh and EdI we will hit the magic number today :-)

  183. At 08:46 AM on 15 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Eddie, note my earlier point at 133 - as regards to copying the screen of the PC to show us the totals etc...

  184. At 08:50 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Little Miss Poppy wrote:

    Great idea Big Sis. (180)

    Eddie lamsey-pie - use the Twitter thing to keep us up to date with the count. :0)

  185. At 10:54 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Val P wrote:

    Well - I signed up for Twitter last night, but I can't say I'm sure that I know what it's actually for??

  186. At 11:20 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Fruitcake Protection Society. wrote:

    Keep two chevrons apart.

  187. At 11:35 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    Val P. I agree Twitter is not actually for anything. I'm sure the developers of twitter would disagree.

  188. At 11:42 AM on 15 Aug 2007, patricia Eliott wrote:

    Well My dears, how nice to revisit you all and so close to a looming celebration.

    Thanks to my dear Sister Anne, I now have a digital wireless and have been revisiting many of my cherished programmes from bygone years.

    Anne has also told me about a wonderful new thing that the BBC has started called 'Listen again' where one can revisit a programme recently on.

    Anne has helped me do just this - and I'd love to share with you this lovely programme called

    "All about radio" (I think Stewart also heard it)

    It's from the year 2000 and Edward is featured in it.

    A lovely joke from David Hatch about how Edward used to be a Night Mare is Scotland !

    Oh how we chuckled.

    Now if you click on the blue stuff below the lovely broadcast starts about two minutes in.


  189. At 11:56 AM on 15 Aug 2007, Can I have a go wrote:

    sorry. could not resist it :-)

  190. At 12:18 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fruitcake Protection Society @ 196, do two chevrons constitute a critical mass?

  191. At 01:05 PM on 15 Aug 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Patricia (188):

    I think that was "Wireless Wise" and I was a bit disappointed - as I said on another thread - that Eddie didn't get a chance to say much.

    Not so with his News Quiz appearance that I have on tape somewhere.

    Re: The woman who's just won £35m. I hear she's a lovely, generous woman, and very beautiful as well... ;o)

  192. At 02:03 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Golly, this thread is enormous!


    How can that be Malicious? It's taken me all morning to read Ed's and Mittfh's comments!

  193. At 03:02 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi @ 192, yes isn't it. I'm sorry, nothing personal and I'm not cutting you dead or anything, but it's taken more than five minutes to appear on my screen and I shan't be coming back here no more, I'm afraid.

  194. At 03:45 PM on 15 Aug 2007, patricia Elliot wrote:

    Oh my dear stainless steel

    I am sorry to have confuzzled you with another person on Edwards blog

    I will have words with my Sister Anne and see if we can listen again to the broadcast.

    Although Anne has pointed out that if you have it on a tape recorder it may be difficult for us to hear.

    But as our dear father would always recite to us after a busy day:- Ye could gang faur and fare waur"

    Oh he was a one.


  195. At 07:18 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I wonder if I'll be able to have the last word on Fifi...


  196. At 07:20 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Has anyone not had a turn wrote:

    ... yet?

  197. At 07:25 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Speedos stolen. Police focus wrote:

    Wonko says: "I feel naked without them."

  198. At 07:28 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Injured little green man lands wrote:

    ...and says: "Take me to your bleeder."

  199. At 07:30 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Kiss and tell expose wrote:

    ...reveals she is in fact a very fat man from Macclesfield and mimes to her own songs.

  200. At 09:20 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Of course, Marc & co. could 'cheat' a little to ensure we don't go over target, and if necessary when we reach 49,995 or so take a break until a few minutes before 12:21, when they can pass the remaining few posts. Of course, once the backlog has been cleared it will appear as more than 50,000 posts by 12:21, but surely the point is that 50,000 posts have cleared moderation and appeared on the site by the magic time...

    In the meantime, here's an article I found called "The Nine Types of Users" - which type is closest to you?

    The Nine Types Of Users

    El Explicito

    "I tried the thing, ya know, and it worked, ya know, but now it doesn't, ya know?"

    Advantages: Provides interesting communication challenges.
    Disadvantages: So do chimps.
    Symptoms: Complete inability to use proper nouns
    Real Case: One user walked up to a certain Armenian pod manager and said, "I can't get what I want!" The pod manager leaned back, put his hands on his belt-buckle, and said, "Well, ma'am, you've come to the right place."

    Mad Bomber

    "Well, I hit ALT-f6, shift-f8, CNTRL-f10, f4, and f9, and now it looks all weird."

    Advantages: Will try to find own solution to problems.
    Disadvantages: User might have translated document to Navajo without meaning to.
    Symptoms: More than six stopped jobs in UNIX, a 2:1 code-to-letter ratio in WordPerfect
    Real Case: One user came in complaining that his WordPerfect document was underlined. When I used reveal codes on it, I found that he'd set and unset underline more than fifty times in his document.

    Frying Pan/Fire Tactician

    "It didn't work with the data set we had, so I fed in my aunt's recipe for key lime pie."

    Advantages: Will usually fix error.
    Disadvantages: 'Fix' is defined VERY loosely here.
    Symptoms: A tendency to delete lines that get errors instead of fixing them.
    Real Case: One user complained that their program executed, but didn't do anything. The scon looked at it for twenty minutes before realizing that they'd commented out EVERY LINE. The user said, "Well, that was the only way I could get it to compile."


    "Last week, when the moon was full, the clouds were thick, and formahaut was above the horizon, I typed f77, and lo, it did compile."

    Advantages: Gives insight into primitive mythology.
    Disadvantages: Few scon are anthropology majors.
    Symptoms: Frequent questions about irrelevant objects.
    Real Case: One user complained that all information on one of their disks got erased (as Norton Utilities showed nothing but empty sectors, I suspect nothing had ever been on it). Reasoning that the deleted information went *somewhere*, they wouldn't shut up until the scon checked four different disks for the missing information.


    "Will you look at those. . .um, that resolution, quite impressive, really."

    Advantages: Using the cutting-edge in graphics technology.
    Disadvantages: Has little or no idea how to use the cutting-edge in graphics technology.
    Symptoms: Fuzzy hands, blindness
    Real Case: When I was off duty, two users sat down in front of me at DEC station 5000/200s that systems was reconfiguring. I suppressed my laughter while, for twenty minutes, they sat down and did their best to act like they were doing exactly what they wanted to do, even though they couldn't log in.

    Miracle Worker

    "But it read a file from it yesterday!" 'Sir, at a guess, this disk has been swallowed and regurgitated.' "But I did that a month ago, and it read a file from it yesterday!"

    Advantages: Apparently has remarkable luck when you aren't around.
    Disadvantages: People complain when scon actually use the word 'horse-puckey'.
    Symptoms: Loses all ability to do impossible when you're around. Must be the kryptonite in your pocket.
    Real Case: At least three users have claimed that they've loaded IBM WordPerfect from Macintosh disks.


    "Well, this is a file in MacWrite. Do you know how I can upload it to MUSIC, transfer it over to UNIX from there, download it onto an IBM, convert it to WordPerfect, and put it in three-column format?"

    Advantages: Bold new challenges.
    Disadvantages: Makes one wish to be a garbage collector.
    Symptoms: An inability to keep quiet. Strong tendencies to make machines do things they don't want to do.
    Real Case: One user tried to get a scon to find out what another person's E-mail address was even though the user didn't know his target's home system, account name, or real name.


    "Well, first I sat down, like this. Then I logged on, like this, and after that, I typed in my password, like this, and after that I edited my file, like this, and after that I went to this line here, like this, and after that I picked my nose, like this."

    Advantages: Willing to show you exactly what they did to get an error.
    Disadvantages: For as long as five or six hours.
    Symptoms: Selective deafness to the phrases, "Right, right, okay, but what was the ERROR?", and a strong fondness for the phrase, "Well, I'm getting to that."
    Real Case: I once had to spend half an hour looking over a user's shoulder while they continuously retrieved a document into itself and denied that they did it (the user was complaining that their document was 87 copies of the same thing).

    Princess (unfair, perhaps, as these tend, overwhelmingly, to be males)

    "I need a Mac, and someone's got the one I like reserved, would you please garrote him and put him in the paper recycling bin?"

    Advantages: Flatters you with their high standards for your service.
    Disadvantages: Impresses you with their obliviousness to other people on this planet.
    Symptoms: Inability to communicate except by complaining.
    Real Case: One asked a scon to remove the message of the day because he (the user) didn't like it.

    I'd probably describe myself as a hybrid between mad bomber and taskmaster (although nowhere near as extreme!). You have been warned!

  201. At 09:22 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    fifi 195 . dont challenge us like that. Just give it a week then post again.

  202. At 09:52 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    Joke Factory Day 2 (cont.)

    This might come in useful next week :)

    12 Step Recovery Program For Web Addicts

    1. I will have a cup of coffee in the morning and read my PAPER newspaper like I used to, before the Web.
    2. I will eat breakfast with a knife and fork and not with one hand typing.
    3. I will get dressed before noon.
    4. I will make an attempt to clean the house, wash clothes, and plan dinner before even thinking of the Web.
    5. I will sit down and write a letter to those unfortunate few friends and family that are Web-deprived.
    6. I will call someone on the phone who I cannot contact via the Web.
    7. I will read a book... if I still remember how.
    8. I will listen to those around me about their needs and stop telling them to turn the TV down so I can hear the music on the Web.
    9. I will not be tempted during TV commercials to check for email.
    10. I will try and get out of the house at least once a week, if it is necessary or not.
    11. I will remember that my bank is not forgiving if I forget to balance my checkbook because I was too busy on the Web.
    12. Last, but not least, I will remember that I must go to bed sometime... and the Web will always be there tomorrow!

  203. At 10:00 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is not wrote:

    50 Ways to Mess With People in a Computer Lab!!!

    Otherwise known as "How to get ritually slaughtered by the techs"...

    1. Log on, wait a sec, then get a frightened look on your face and scream "Oh my God! They've found me!" and bolt.
    2. Laugh uncontrollably for about 3 minutes & then suddenly stop and look suspiciously at everyone who looks at you.
    3. When your computer is turned off, complain to the monitor on duty that you can't get the damn thing to work. After he/she's turned it on, wait 5 minutes, turn it off again, & repeat the process for a good half hour.
    4. Type frantically, often stopping to look at the person next to you evilly.
    5. Before anyone else is in the lab, connect each computer to different screen than the one it's set up with.
    6. Write a program that plays the "Smurfs" theme song and play it at the highest volume possible over & over again.
    7. Work normally for a while. Suddenly look amazingly startled by something on the screen and crawl underneath the desk.
    8. Ask the person next to you if they know how to tap into top-secret Pentagon files.
    9. Use Interactive Send to make passes at people you don't know.
    10. Make a small ritual sacrifice to the computer before you turn it on.
    11. Bring a chainsaw, but don't use it. If anyone asks why you have it, say "Just in case..." mysteriously.
    12. Type on VAX for a while. Suddenly start cursing for 3 minutes at everything bad about your life. Then stop and continue typing.
    13. Enter the lab, undress, and start staring at other people as if they're crazy while typing.
    14. Light candles in a pentagram around your terminal before starting.
    15. Ask around for a spare disk. Offer $2. Keep asking until someone agrees. Then, pull a disk out of your fly and say "Oops, I forgot."
    16. Every time you press Return and there is processing time required, pray "Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease," and scream "YES!" when it finishes.
    17. "DISK FIGHT!!!"
    18. Start making out with the person at the terminal next to you (It helps if you know them, but this is also a great way to make new friends).
    19. Put a straw in your mouth and put your hands in your pockets. Type by hitting the keys with the straw.
    20. If you're sitting in a swivel chair, spin around singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" whenever there is processing time required.
    21. Draw a picture of a woman (or man) on a piece of paper, tape it to your monitor. Try to seduce it. Act like it hates you and then complain loudly that women (men) are worthless.
    22. Try to stick a Nintendo cartridge into the 3 disc drive, when it doesn't work, get the supervisor.
    23. When you are on an IBM, and when you turn it on, ask loudly where the smiling Apple face is when you turn on one of those.
    24. Print out the complete works of Shakespeare, then when its all done (two days later) say that all you wanted was one line.
    25. Sit and stare at the screen, biting your nails noisily. After doing this for a while, spit them out at the feet of the person next to you.
    26. Stare at the screen, grind your teeth, stop, look at the person next to grinding. Repeat procedure, making sure you never provoke the person enough to let them blow up, as this releases tension, and it is far more effective to let them linger.
    27. If you have long hair, take a typing break, look for split ends, cut them and deposit them on your neighbor's keyboard as you leave.
    28. Put a large, gold-framed portrait of the British Royal Family on your desk and loudly proclaim that it inspires you.
    29. Come to the lab wearing several layers of socks. Remove shoes and place them of top of the monitor. Remove socks layer by layer and drape them around the monitor. Exclaim sudden haiku about the aesthetic beauty of cotton on plastic.
    30. Take the keyboard and sit under the computer. Type up your paper like this. Then go to the lab supervisor and complain about the bad working conditions.
    31. Laugh hysterically, shout "You will all perish in flames!!!" and continue working.
    32. Bring some dry ice & make it look like your computer is smoking.
    33. Assign a musical note to every key (ie. the Delete key is A Flat, the B key is F sharp, etc.). Whenever you hit a key, humits note loudly. Write an entire paper this way.
    34. Attempt to eat your computer's mouse.
    35. Borrow someone else's keyboard by reaching over, saying "Excuse me, mind if I borrow this for a sec?", unplugging the keyboard & taking it.
    36. Bring in a bunch of magnets and have fun.
    37. When doing calculations, pull out an abacus and say that sometimes the old ways are best.
    38. Play Pong for hours on the most powerful computer in the lab.
    39. Make a loud noise of hitting the same key over and over again until you see that your neighbor is noticing (You can hit the space bar so your fill isn't affected). Then look at your neighbor's keyboard. Hit his/her delete key several times, erasing an entire word. While you do this, ask: "Does *your* delete key work?" Shake your head, and resume hitting the space bar on your keyboard. Keep doing this until you've deleted about a page of your neighbor's document. Then, suddenly exclaim: "Well, whaddya know? I've been hitting the space bar this whole time. No wonder it wasn't deleting! Ha!" Print out your document and leave.
    40. Remove your disk from the drive and hide it. Go to the lab monitor and complain that your computer ate your disk. (For special effects, put some Elmer's Glue on or around the disk drive. Claim that the computer is drooling.)
    41. Stare at the person's next to your's screen, look really puzzled, burst out laughing, and say "You did that?" loudly. Keep laughing, grab your stuff and leave, howling as you go.
    42. Point at the screen. Chant in a made up language while making elaborate hand gestures for a minute or two. Press return or the mouse, then leap back and yell "COVEEEEERRRRRR!" peek up from under the table, walk back to the computer and say. "Oh, good. It worked this time," and calmly start to type again.
    43. Keep looking at invisible bugs and trying to swat them.
    44. See who's online. Send a total stranger a talk request. Talk to them like you've known them all your lives. Hang up before they get a chance to figure out you're a total stranger.
    45. Bring an small tape player with a tape of really absurd sound effects. Pretend it's the computer and look really lost.
    46. Pull out a pencil. Start writing on the screen. Complain that the lead doesn't work.
    47. Come into the computer lab wearing several endangered species of flowers in your hair. Smile incessantly. Type a sentence, then laugh happily, exclaim "You're such a marvel!!", and kiss the screen. Repeat this after every sentence. As your ecstasy mounts, also hug the keyboard. Finally, hug your neighbor, then the computer assistant, and walk out.
    48. Run into the computer lab, shout "Armageddon is here!!!!!", then calmly sit down and begin to type.
    49. Quietly walk into the computer lab with a Black and Decker chainsaw, rev that baby up, and then walk up to the nearest person and say "Give me that computer or you'll be feeding my pet crocodile for the next week".
    50. Two words: Tesla Coil.

  204. At 10:07 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    2 Programmers on a Highway

    Two computer programmers are driving on a Highway. They switch on the radio and there is a warning: Please note that a car is driving on highway 75 against the traffic. The programmer near the driver looks at him and says: One? There are hundreds of them.

    A CD Player

    While shopping for my first CD player, I was able to decipher most of the technicalese on the promotional signs. One designation had me puzzled, though, so I called over a salesperson and asked, "What does 'hybrid pulse D/A converter' mean?" "That means", he said, "that this machine will read the digital information that is encoded on CDs and convert it into an audio signal - that is, into music." "In other words this CD player plays CDs." "Exactly."

    An Airliner

    At a recent software engineering management course in the US, the participants were given an awkward question to answer. "If you had just boarded an airliner and discovered that your team of programmers had been responsible for the flight control software how many of you would disembark immediately?"

    Among the ensuing forest of raised hands, only one man sat motionless. When asked what he would do, he replied that he would be quite content to stay onboard.

    With his team's software, he said, the plane was unlikely to even taxi as far as the runway, let alone take off.

    An artist, a lawyer, and a computer scientist

    An artist, a lawyer, and a computer scientist are discussing the merits of a mistress. The artist tells of the passion, the thrill which comes with the risk of being discovered. The lawyer warns of the difficulties. It can lead to guilt, divorce, bankruptcy. Not worth it. Too many problems. The computer scientist says "It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. My wife thinks I'm with my mistress. My mistress thinks I'm home with my wife, and I can spend all night on the computer!"

    Apple Computers

    I heard this story on the news sometime ago.

    Apple had a new computer under development. Their project name for it was "Carl Sagan" (I don't know why).

    When the real Carl Sagan learned about this, he was upset. He demanded that Apple stop using his name, even for their private, internal projects.

    Apple agreed. They changed the name of the project to "Butthead Astronomer".

  205. At 10:14 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    A Few Words From Tech Support

    1. Don't write anything down. We can play back the error messages from here.

    2. When a tech says he's coming right over, go for coffee. It's nothing to us to remember 481 screen saver passwords.

    3. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and Popsicle art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.

    4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.

    5. Don't put your phone extension in your emails to the help desk. We need to keep an eye on the address book performance.

    6. When tech support sends you an email with high importance, delete it at once. We're just testing the public groups.

    7. When a tech is eating lunch in his cube, walk right in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.

    8. When a tech is having a smoke outside, ask him a computer question. The only reason why we smoke at all is to ferret out those clients who don't have email or a telephone line.

    9. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery.

    10. When you call a tech's direct line, press 5 to skip the bilingual greeting that says he's out of town for a week, record your message and wait exactly 24 hours before you send an email straight to the director because no one ever returned your call. After all, you're entitled to common courtesy.

    11. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's electronics in it.

    12. When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call computer support. We can fix your line from here.

    13. When you have a dozen CGA monitors to get rid of, call computer support. We're collectors.

    14. When some

    ame, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle.

    15. If you hate your mouse, get some other pointing device and discard the manual. We know all the keyboard accelerators.

    16. When a tech tells you that computer monitors don't have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.

    17. When you get a message about insufficient disk space, delete everything in the Windows directory. It's nothing but trouble anyway.

    18. When you get a message about a hard disk controller failure, and then you reboot and it looks okay, don't call tech support. We'd much rather troubleshoot it when it's dead as a doornail.

    19. When you have a tech on the phone walking you through changing a setting, read the paper. We don't actually mean for you to do anything. We just love to hear ourselves talk.

    20. When a tech tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?" That'll get us going.

    21. If you have a 14-inch monitor that says VGA on it, set the display to true color, 1024 x 768. You'll never again have to worry about people reading confidential files over your shoulder.

    22. When we offer training on the upcoming OS upgrade, don't bother. We'll be there to hold your hand after it's done.

    23. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.

    24. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all 68 printers in the building. One of them is bound to work.

    25. Don't learn the proper name for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by "my thingy's outta whack".

    26. Don't use online help. Online help is for wimps.

    27. If you're taking night classes in computer science, feel free to go around and update the network drivers for your all your co-workers. We're grateful for the overtime money.

    28. When a tech makes popcorn, help yourself while he's checking out your access rights. And we keep chocolate in the top drawer, too.

    29. When you have a tech fixing your computer at a quarter past noon, eat your lunch in his face. We function better when slightly dizzy.

    30. Don't ever thank us. We're getting paid for this.

    31. If you're an intern, feel free to bring in all your friends from college and have your Daddy complain to our boss when we won't let them use the scanner. We had no friends when we were in college; that's why we're such a bunch of tight-assed little twerps.

    32. When a tech asks you whether you've installed any new software on this computer, lie. It's nothing's wrong with your home PC, dump it on a tech's chair with no nbody's business what you've got on your computer.

    33. When a tech finds the AOL shortcuts in your Recycle Bin, tell him you've never seen those before. We couldn't tell bullshit if it kicked us in the face.

    34. If you have NT, feel free to change the local administrator's password to "blowjob" and promptly forget it. We like installing NT.

    35. If the mouse cable keeps knocking down the framed picture of your dog, lift the computer and stuff the cable under it. Mouse cables were designed to have 45 lbs. of computer sitting on top of them.

    36. If the space bar on your keyboard doesn't work, blame it on the mail upgrade. Keyboards are actually very happy with half a pound of muffin crumbs and nail clippings in them.

    37. When you receive the new Yanni CD for your birthday, shove it into any slot on the front of your computer. We like getting physical with 5.25 floppy drives.

    38. When you get a message saying "Are you sure?", click on that Yes button as fast as you can. Hell, if you weren't sure, you wouldn't be doing it, would you?

    39. When you find a tech on the phone with his bank, sit uninvited on the corner of his desk and stare at him until he hangs up. We don't have any money to speak of anyway.

    40. Feel perfectly free to say things like "I don't know nothing about that computer crap". We don't mind at all hearing our area of professional expertise referred to as crap.

    41. When you need to change the toner cartridge, call tech support. Changing a toner cartridge is an extremely complex task, and Hewlett-Packard recommends that it be performed only by a professional engineer with a master's degree in nuclear physics.

    42. When you can't find someone in the government directory, call tech support. Due to budget restrictions, we double as 411.

    43. When you have a lock to pick on an old file cabinet, call tech support. We love to hack.

    44. When something's the matter with your computer, ask your secretary to call the help desk. We enjoy the challenge of having to deal with a third party who doesn't know jack shit about the problem.

    45. When you receive a 30-meg movie file, send it to everyone as a mail attachment. We got lots of disk space on that mail server.

    46. Don't even think of breaking large print jobs down into smaller chunks. Somebody else might get a chance to squeeze a memo into the queue.

    47. When your eyes fall on the family pictures on a tech's desk, exclaim in a flabbergasted tone of voice: "YOU have a child?!?" We need to be reminded of how lucky we were to ever have gotten laid.

    48. When a tech gets on the elevator pushing 15,000 kilograms worth of computer equipment on a cart, ask in a very loud voice: "Good grief, you take the elevator to go DOWN one floor?!?" That's another one that cracks us up no end.

    49. When the Finance folks are printing a 100-page spreadsheet on the LaserJet, send your black and white print job to the color printer. We get the black toner for free.

    50. When you lose your car keys, send an email to the entire department. People out in Yellowknife like to keep abreast of what's going on.

    51. When you bump into a tech at the grocery store on a Saturday, ask a computer question. We don't do weekends.

    52. When you see a tech having a beer with a member of the opposite sex on a Friday night, walk right up to them and ask a computer question. We don't do dating; the reason why we have that horny look on our faces is because we're discussing the new Intel processor.

    53. Don't bother to tell us when you move computers around on your own. Computer names are just a cosmetic feature in NT 4.0; they won't be doing anything useful until the next major release.

    54. When you can't access some shared directory on your boss's machine, just tell us that you've lost your X: drive. We know all that shit by heart.

    55. If you need to buy a computer for your daughter in college, feel free to pick our brains while we're taking a leak. We're good at talking shop with our dicks in our hands.

    56. If your son is a student in computer science, have him come in on the weekends and do his projects on your office computer. We'll be there for you when his illegal copy of Visual Basic 6.0 makes your Access 95 database flip out.

    57. When you bring your own personal home PC for repair at the office, leave the documentation at home. We'll find the jumper settings on the Internet.

    58. We're aware of that problem with computers just sitting there and not doing anything. We're confident that with the next service pack they'll be able to dance the jig.

    59. The correct location to store important files is the Recycle Bin. It's just like a real office, where you keep your tax receipts in the blue can under your desk.

    60. If you curse every morning when you start to type your password and the Virus Shield splash screen pops up in your face, disable the Virus Shield. Again, this is just like real life: if you don't like condoms, just don't use them, that's all.

    61. If you hate PCs, get on the Internet and download one of those desktop enhancements that make your computer look just like a Mac, down to the sad faces replacing verbose error messages. We find it refreshing to troubleshoot the nuances in that sad little face instead of some cold forbidding hexadecimal integer.

    62. When you detect a French accent in a tech's voice, switch to French. We don't mind that your level of fluency is that of a mildly retarded 4-year-old; you don't make a whole lot of sense in your own mother tongue either.

    63. We don't really believe that you're a bunch of ungrateful twits. It hurts our feelings that you could even think such a thing. We wish to express our deepest gratitude to the hundreds of clueless losers portrayed herein, without whom none of this would have been remotely possible.

    64. Have you ever wondered what Tech Support does while you are on hold? Think about how long it takes to write a 64 point memo!

  206. At 10:34 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    I'm enjoying this - finding computer jokes that even technophobes may be able to understand :)

    Now, is your computer a "he" or a "she"?

    Are Computers Men or Women?
    A language teacher was explaining to her class that in French, nouns unlike their English counterparts, are grammatically designated as masculine or feminine.

    "House" in French, is feminine -"la maison," "Pencil" in French, is masculine "le crayon."

    One puzzled student asked, "What gender is computer?" The teacher did not know, and the word was not in her French dictionary.

    So for fun she split the class into two groups appropriately enough, by gender and asked them to decide whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

    Both groups were required to give four reasons for their recommendation.

    The men's group decided that computer should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computer"), because

    1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic
    2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else
    3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later review
    4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheque on accessories for it.

    The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine "le computer") because:

    1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on.
    2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves
    3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem
    4. As soon as you commit to one, you realise that if you had waited a little longer you could have gotten a better model.


    Checking Google's dictionary...
    ordinateur, email, internet, cybercafé are all masculine.
    However, visioconférence is feminine.

  207. At 10:45 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    Here's another bout of cluelessness...
    Yes, I know extracts from this have appeared elsewhere, but I'm not going to ritually excise (or even attempt to) every repeat.

    Befuddled Pc Users Flood Help Lines

    AUSTIN, Texas - The exasperated help-line caller said she couldn't get her new Dell computer to turn on. Jay Ablinger, a Dell Computer Corp. technician, made sure the computer was plugged in and then asked the woman what happened when she pushed the power button.

    "I've pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happens," the woman replied. "Foot pedal?" the technician asked. "Yes," the woman said, "this little white foot pedal with the on switch." The "foot pedal," it turned out, was the computer's mouse, a hand-operated device that helps to control the computer's operations.

    Personal-computer makers are discovering that it's still a low-tech world out there. While they are finally having great success selling PCs to households, they now have to deal with people to whom monitors and disk drives are a foreign as another language.

    "It is rather mystifying to get this nice, beautiful machine and not know anything about it," says Ed Shuler, a technician who helps field consumer calls at Dell's headquarters here. "It's going into unfamiliar territory," adds Gus Kolias, vice president of customer service and training for Compaq Computer Corp. "People are looking for a comfort level."

    Only two years ago, most calls to PC help lines came from techies needing help on complex problems. But now, with computer sales to homes exploding as new "multimedia" functions gain mass appeal, PC makers say that as many as 70% of their calls come from rank novices. Partly because of the volume of calls, some computer companies have started charging help-line users.

    The questions are often so basic that they could have been answered by opening the manual that comes with every machine. One woman called Dell's toll-free line to ask how to install batteries in her laptop. When told that the directions were on the first page of the manual, says Steve Smith, Dell director of technical support, the woman replied angrily, "I just paid $2,000 for this damn thing, and I'm not going to read a book."

    Indeed, it seems that these buyers rarely refer to a manual when a phone is at hand. "If there is a book and a phone and they're side by side, the phone wins time after time," says Craig McQuilkin, manager of service marketing for AST Research, Inc. in Irvine, Calif. "It's a phenomenon of people wanting to talk to people."

    And do they ever. Compaq's help center in Houston, Texas, is inundated by some 8,000 consumer calls a day, with inquiries like this one related by technician John Wolf: "A frustrated customer called, who said her brand new Contura would not work. She said she had unpacked the unit, plugged it in, opened it up and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked what happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked, 'What power switch?'"

    Seemingly simple computer features baffle some users. So many people have called to ask where the "any" key is when "Press Any Key" flashes on the screen that Compaq is considering changing the command to "Press Return Key."

    Some people can't figure out the mouse. Tamra Eagle, an AST technical support supervisor, says one customer complained that her mouse was hard to control with the "dust cover" on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in. Dell technician Wayne Zieschang says one of his customers held the mouse and pointed it at the screen, all the while clicking madly. The customer got no response because the mouse works only if it's moved over a flat surface.

    Disk drives are another bugaboo. Compaq technician Brent Sullivan says a customer was having trouble reading word-processing files from his old diskettes. After troubleshooting for magnets and heat failed to diagnose the problem, Mr. Sullivan asked what else was being done with the diskette. The customer's response: "I put a label on the diskette, roll it into the typewriter..."

    At AST, another customer dutifully complied with a technician's request that she send in a copy of a defective floppy disk. A letter from the customer arrived a few days later, along with a Xerox copy of the floppy. And at Dell, a technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back in the drive and "close the door." Asking the technician to "hold on," the customer put the phone down and was heard walking over to shut the door to his room. The technician meant the door to his floppy drive.

    The software inside the computer can be equally befuddling. A Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor screen and hitting the "send" key.

    Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so Dell technician Gary Rock referred him to the local Egghead. "Yeah, I got me a couple of friends," the customer replied. When told Egghead was a software store, the man said, "Oh! I thought you meant for me to find a couple of geeks."

    No realizing how fragile computers can be, some people end up damaging parts beyond repair. A Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no longer worked. He had cleaned it, he said, filling up his tub with soap and water and soaking his keyboard for a day, and then removing all the keys and washing them individually.

    Computers make some people paranoid. A Dell technician, Morgan Vergara, says he once calmed a man who became enraged because "his computer had told him he was bad and an invalid." Mr. Vergara patiently explained that the computer's "bad command" and "invalid" responses shouldn't be taken personally.

    These days PC-help technicians increasingly find themselves taking on the role of amateur psychologists. Mr. Shuler, the Dell technician, who once worked as a psychiatric nurse, says he defused a potential domestic fight by soothingly talking a man through a computer problem after the man had screamed threats at his wife and children in the background.

    There are also the lonely hearts who seek out human contact, even if it happens to be a computer techie. One man from New Hampshire calls Dell every time he experiences a life crisis. He gets a technician to walk him through some contrived problem with his computer, apparently feeling uplifted by the process.

    "A lot of people want reassurance," says Mr. Shuler.

  208. At 10:54 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:


    Recent comments

    * Fifi on
    * The Stainless Steel Cat on With a little help
    * RJD on Your favourite Blog moment from our first year...
    * Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR on The Glass Box for Wednesday
    * Fifi on The Glass Box for Wednesday

    I promise you that's a direct copy/paste...


    The perils of software incompatibilities...

    Girlfriend 5.0

    Desperately seeking technical support!

    I'm currently running the latest version of Girlfriend 5.0 and having some problems. I've been running the same version of DrinkingBuddies 1.0 for years as my primary application, and all the Girlfriend releases have always conflicted with it. I hear that DrinkingBuddies won't crash if you minimize Girlfriend with the sound off, but since I can't find the switch to turn it off, I just run them separately and it works OK.

    Girlfriend also seems to have a problem coexisting with Golfware, often trying to abort my Golf program with some sort of timing incompatibility. I probably should have stayed with Girlfriend 1.0, but I thought I might see better performance with Girlfriend 2.0.

    After months of conflicts, I consulted a friend who has experience with Girlfriend 2.0. He said I probably didn't have enough cache to run Girlfriend 2.0 and eventually it would require a Token Ring upgrade to run properly. He was right. As soon as I purged my cache, Girlfriend 2.0 uninstalled itself.

    Shortly after that, I installed a Girlfriend 3.0 beta. All the bugs were supposed to be gone, but the first time I used it, it gave me a virus. After a hard drive clean up and thorough virus scan I very cautiously upgraded to Girlfriend 4.0. This time using a SCSI probe and virus protection. It worked OK for a while until I discovered Girlfriend 1.0 wasn't completely uninstalled!

    I tried to run Girlfriend 1.0 again with Girlfriend 4.0 still installed, but Girlfriend 4.0 has an unadvertised feature that automatically senses the presence of Girlfriend 1.0 and communicates with it in some way, resulting in the immediate removal of both versions!

    The version I have now works pretty well, but, like all versions, there are still some problems. The Girlfriend package is written in some obscure language that I can't understand, much less reprogram. And I've never liked how Girlfriend is totally 'object-oriented.'

    A year ago, a friend upgraded his version to GirlfriendPlus 1.0, which is a Terminate-and-Stay resident version. He discovered GirlfriendPlus 1.0 expires within a year if you don't upgrade to Fiance9e 1.0. So he did. But soon after that, you have to upgrade to Wife 1.0, which he describes as a 'huge resource hog.' It has taken up all his space, so he can't load anything else. One of the primary reasons that he upgraded to Wife is because it came bundled with FreeSex 1.0. Well, it turns out that the resource allocation module of Wife 1.0 sometimes prohibits access to FreeSex (particularly the new Plug and Play items he wanted to try). On top of that, Wife 1.0 must be running on a well warmed-up system before he can do anything. And, although he did not ask for it, Wife 1.0 came with MotherInLaw 1.0, which has an automatic popup feature he can't turn off.

    I told him to install Mistress 1.0, but he said that he heard that if you try to run it without first uninstalling Wife, that Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before uninstalling itself. Then Mistress 1.0 won't install anyway, due to insufficient resources. If anybody out there is able to offer technical advice...


    Wife 1.0
    Last year a friend of mine upgraded GirlFriend 1.0 to Wife 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog leaving very little system resources for other applications. He is only now noticing that Wife 1.0 also is spawning Child-Processes which are further consuming valuable resources. No mention of this particular phenomena was included in the product brochure or the documentation, though other users have informed him that this is to be expected due to the nature of the application. Not only that, Wife 1.0 installs itself such that it is always launched at system initialization where it can monitor all other system activity. He's finding that some applications such as PokerNight 10.3, BeerBash 2.5, and PubNight 7.0 are no longer able to run in the system at all, crashing the system when selected (even though they always worked fine before).

    At installation, Wife 1.0 provides no option as to the installation of undesired Plug-Ins such as MotherInLaw 55.8 and BrotherInLaw Beta release. Also, system performance seems to diminish with each passing day.

    The features he'd like to see in the upcoming Wife 2.0 include:

    * A "Don't remind me again" button
    * Minimize button
    * An install shield feature that allows Wife 2.0 to be installed with the option to uninstall at any time without the loss of cache and other system resources.
    * An option to run the network driver in promiscuous mode which would allow the systems hardware probe feature to be much more useful.

    I myself decided to avoid all of the headaches associated with Wife 1.0 by sticking with Girlfriend 2.0. Even here, however, I found many problems. Apparently you cannot install Girlfriend 2.0 on top of Girlfriend 1.0. You must uninstall Girlfriend 1.0 first. Other users say this is a long standing bug which I should have been aware of. Apparently the versions of Girlfriend have conflicts over shared use of the I/O port. You think they would have fixed such a stupid bug by now. To make matters worse, the uninstall program for Girlfriend 1.0 doesn't work very well leaving undesirable traces of the application in the system. Another thing that sucks -- all versions of Girlfriend continually pop-up little annoying messages about the advantages of upgrading to Wife 1.0


    Wife 1.0 has an undocumented bug. If you try to install Mistress 1.1 before uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before doing the uninstall itself. Then Mistress 1.1 will refuse to install, claiming insufficient resources.


    To avoid the above bug, try installing Mistress 1.1 on a different system and never run any file transfer applications such as LapLink 6.0. Also, beware of similar shareware applications that have been known to carry viruses that may affect Wife 1.0.

    Another solution would be to run Mistress 1.0 via a UseNet provider under an anonymous name. Here again, beware of the viruses which can accidentally be downloaded from the UseNet.

  209. At 11:04 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    Glossary of PC Messages
    I t says: "Press Any Key" It means: "Press any key you like but I'm not moving."

    It says: "Press A Key" (This one's a programmers joke. Nothing happens unless you press the "A" key.)

    It says: "Fatal Error. Please contact technical support quoting error no. 1A4-2546512430E" It means: "... where you will be kept on hold for 10 minutes, only to be told that it's a hardware problem."

    It says: "Installing program to C:\...." It means: "... And I'll also be writing a few files into c:\windows and c:\windows\system where you'll NEVER find them."

    It says: "Please insert disk 11" It means: "Because I know darn well there are only 10 disks."

    It says: "Cannot read from drive D:...." It means: "... However, if you put the CD in right side up..."

    It says: "Please Wait...." It means: "... Indefinitely."

    It says: "Directory does not exist...." It means: ".... any more. Whoops."

    It says: "The application caused an error. Choose Ignore or Close." It means: "....Makes no difference to me, you're still not getting your work back."

    Hardware, Software and Internet Rules

    (See Val Hubbard's site for original version. used with permission)

    Hardware Rules

    1. There is no such thing as -faster- systems. Whenever a new or faster system is installed, it will be loaded with software that was too much for the old system. The new system then becomes as slow as the old system.
    2. The price always goes down after you purchase hardware.
    3. You never have enough speed, disk space, memory, com-links, graphics, and so on. If you ever get it all, there isn't enough time to learn how to use it.
    4. It always takes 3 trips to the store to get the hardware working. (Plumbing also)
    5. Whenever the oldest piece of hardware is upgraded, the next oldest piece of hardware instantly becomes obsolete and must be upgraded also.
    6. Whenever hardware is updated, software must be updated also. (See Software #34)
    7. As soon as you pay off your hardware purchase, it will be time to upgrade.
    8. Hardware becomes affordable just before it is obsolete.
    9. When a fix for a hardware problem is not obvious, the problem is blamed on the software. (See software #31)
    10. Hardware maintenance contracts are sold for new machines that don't need them. Hardware maintenance contracts are not sold for old machines that do need them.
    11. Use expensive hardware. No one questions the data from an expensive computer, even if they know the input was garbage.
    Using computers built to 'Minimum Hardware Requirements' will yield minimal results.
    12. Computer hardware is leased for a minimum of twice its useful lifespan.
    13. A LAN is like a chain, it is only as good as the weakest link.
    14. A LAN will be loaded with 4 times the data it was designed for. Designing with the overload in mind will not help. (See Hardware rule #1)
    15. The more money you save on buying hardware, the more you will spend on installation, repairs, maintenance and software.
    16. Heterogeneous networks will work given time and money. (See software rule #52)
    17. All input devices are like cats. They will ignore you at times just to remind you who is boss.

    Software Rules

    1. Software is a tool, not salvation.
    2. Management will buy software as a salvation.
    3. No software is TURNKEY.
    4. Management believes all software is TURNKEY.
    5. The software you use always looks buggy.
    6. It is always easier to blame the software for work problems than pointing out real problems to management.
    7. The software the salesman is showing you always looks bugless.
    8. The more complex/integrated the software, the more bug fixing becomes a magic art.
    9. In order of increasing magnitude there are:
    * Lies
    * #@%* lies
    * Software demos
    10. User friendly software often lacks enough power to do your job.
    11. User friendly software is sought after by management to keep training costs down.
    12. Any command that needs more than 4 pages of documentation should be termed 'USER HOSTILE'.
    13. Any command with more than 1 page of documentation will only be used as a last resort.
    14. Speed is proportional to the time you have to wait. It doesn't matter if the new software does 10,000 commands in 30 seconds versus 1 command in 2 seconds with the old software. The 30 second wait is longer than the 2 second wait , thus the new software is slow.
    15. Salesman are often taken at their word, while everyone else has to prove it.
    16. Good training leads to remarkable payback on computer use.
    17. Software training budgets are the last thing funded, and the first to be cut.
    18. The longer you evaluate software, the more outdated it will be by the time you use it.
    19. Customer driven software is great for the short term only.
    20. Innovation beyond customer needs and wants is the only way to stay ahead in the market.
    21. Customers that know the least about the software make the most demands.
    22. Customers that know the most about software make important demands, but are often not recognized because they are too busy working, not complaining.
    23. Software can not change a companies policies, procedures or structure. That is the job of leaders.
    24. Software is often purchased to change a companies policies, procedures or structure.
    25. Software organizations need leadership, not management. Software groups must be lead through constant changes, not pushed.
    26. All software becomes outdated on the date of purchase.
    27. Software Revision' is a better strategy for making money than 'Planned Obsolescence'.
    28. Sales forces are the ones that decide what is to be done with software. Unfortunately sales forces wouldn't know innovation if it hit them. (See rules 19 & 20)
    29. The only time a System Administrator is recognized is when there is a problem. A good System Administrator is a natural hermit.
    30. Maintenance contracts for software will expire the day before you find a critical bug.
    31. When a fix for a software problem is not obvious, the problem is blamed on the hardware. (See Hardware #9)
    32. Software is often purchased by the people who don't know how to use it, but are buying it in the hopes someone will know how to use it.
    33. Users groups are most often attended by managers, not the users.
    34. Whenever software is updated, hardware must be updated also. (See Hardware #6)
    35. What works doesn't always sell, what sells doesn't always work.
    36. Software that is 'better' or much 'better' is not beneficial. It has to be significantly better to pay for change.
    37. Software decisions are often based on minor differences that are seen as major improvements.
    38. One fact does not generate wisdom. A software salesman will take one fact and try to make it a religion.
    39. Advanced or Automated software requires an advanced user. Even if all he does is push a button 99% of the time. Knowing what to do the other 1% of the time requires a user who understands fully what is going on.
    40. Automation in the hands of an advanced user has significant payback. Automation in the hands of a novice rarely shows payback. Automation just adds to the tasks a novice must learn and retards the learning of skills needed by the novice.
    41. When no one reports a bug or complains about software, one of the following is true:
    * No one is using it
    * A natural disaster has disabled all forms of communication.
    * It is perfect Software
    42. Any programmer that claims the honor of writing perfect software will be given nicknames by his co-workers. None of which could be repeated in polite company.
    43. For software to be responsive the 'Minimum Hardware Requirements' listed for the software must be doubled. This includes memory, disk space and cpu power. If graphics are involved, requirements must be tripled.
    44. Software that requires training of the users will be loaded immediately without training. Software that requires training for the system administrator will be loaded after training is complete and only as a last resort, if ever.
    45. One simple accurate example is worth 10 pages of documentation. Examples are rarely used in documentation. Those that are used are often inaccurate.
    46. The enhancement or bug fix you need is always in the next rev. (See Software #27)
    47. Software enhancements cause new problems equal to or greater than the problems the enhancements fixed.
    48. Software can not be forced to be successful, no matter how much screaming, ranting, raving, pleading or promising is done. Software can only be made to do what a company or individual is successful at doing now. Software can not invent solutions.
    49. Software quality is defined by the customer, not the provider. The provider can meet the customers expectations, but can not define expectations.
    50. Software systems must be maintained. This includes programs, databases, user interfaces, documentation and training. Software left unsupported will soon become unreliable, useless or unusable. The more complex the software, the faster the demise.
    51. The quality people will accept when buying software is often amazingly lower than what they will accept buying anything else.
    52. Any software solution can be provided given time and money. The problem is most people don't ask how much time and money.
    53. When software bugs are reported, the standard operating procedure is:
    * Generate detailed reports showing customers are happy.
    * Prove bugs are user errors.
    * Lable bugs as requests for enhancements.
    * Keep asking for more information until the customer gives up.
    * Pass a bug around until it goes away.
    * Prove that the customer does not need a bug fixed.
    * Have customers prioritize a list of bugs. With luck, customers will make the mistake of marking some of the bugs as anything but critical.
    * When all else fails, attempt to fix a bug within 2-3 revs.
    54. Beta testing makes users feel good, but does nothing for quality. Quality is a result of design, not testing.
    55. The lowliest human is better at adapting and making decisions than the best computer program. The only exception is when a human is following government regulations.
    56. Updating any software will require you to update all software. This is detailed in the 'Continual Purchase' clause of all Software contracts.

    Internet Rules

    1. The Internet is infested by acronym freaks. This rule will be known as TIIIBAF in the future.
    2. Levels of Internet stupidity in order of increasing magnitude are:
    * Arguing with someone on the Internet.
    * Believing someone will take you seriously if you argue.
    * Swearing, calling names or insulting someone.
    * Swearing, calling names or insulting someone and believing you are not an idiot.
    * Believing that freedom is doing anything you want.
    3. Lack of self control, restraint and concern for others will lead to chaos.
    4. Chaos will be brought under control by laws, rules and regulation. Government projects are exempted from chaos controls.
    5. Most Internet users make horrible economists. Internet users believe there is a free lunch.
    6. All Internet software and interfaces will become standardized 1 year after the Internet is obsoleted by something else.
    7. Keeping the Internet from being gridlocked over the next 10 years may be a greater feat than putting the first man on the moon.
    8. The Internet is like "The Goose that Layed Golden Eggs". The problem is there are vendors and users with hatchets.
    9. The Internet is like a LAN. (See Hardware rules #14-15)
    Any advanced society will classify SPAMMING as a 1st degree felony. They will also outlaw any replies to a SPAM.
    10. Pretty Good Privacy, PGP, is good enough. Be secure in the fact that it may take a few months or even a year or two before someone tears PGP apart.
    11. Volume of data should not be confused with useful data. Remember an infinite number of monkeys typing will generate an unfathomable amount of trash.
    12. No one can completely understand how things move on the Internet. Chaos was one of the original design specs.
    13. The internet may give an intelligent, hard working person the freedom to communicate with thousands, millions or even billions.
    14. The internet may give an inconsiderate, hard working fool the ability to insult and abuse the freedom of thousands, millions or even billions.
    15. The best way to end the chaos generated by spammers and fools is to ignore them. Unfortunately it only takes one reply to keep their little egos satisfied and their fingers typing.
    16. One of the great satisfactions of the Internet is being able to empty the trash and not add to a land-fill.

  210. At 11:20 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    And to add balance to Wife 1.0...

    Husband 1.0
    Dear Tech Support:

    Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a slowdown in the performance of the flower and jewelry applications that had operated flawlessly under the Boyfriend 5.0 system. In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.9, but installed undesirable programs such as NFL 7.4, NBA 3.2 and NHL 4.1.

    Conversation 8.0 also no longer runs and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

    What can I do?



    Dear Desperate:

    First, keep in mind that Boyfriend 5.0 was an entertainment package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system. Try to enter the command C:/ITHOUGHTYOULOVEDME and install Tears 6.2. Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Guilt 3.3 and Flowers 7.5. But remember, overuse can cause Husband 1.0 to default to such background applications as Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0, or Beer 6.1.

    Please remember that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will create SnoringLoudly .WAV files. DO NOT install Mother-In-Law 1.0 or reinstall another Boyfriend program. These are not supported applications and will crash Husband 1.0. They could also potentially cause Husband 1.0 to default to the program: Girlfriend 9.2, which runs in the background and has been known to introduce potentially serious viruses into the Operating System.

    In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have a limited memory and can't learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to enhance his system performance. I personally recommend Hot Food 3.0 and Single Malt Scotch 4.5 combined with such applications as that old stand-by Lingerie 6.9 (which has been credited with improved performance of his hardware).

    Good Luck

    Tech Support


    Husband 1.0

    HUSBAND 1.0 There are a lot of pressures to upgrade from Boyfriend 6.0 to Husband 1.0. However before doing so make sure you understand the implications of this change...

    For one, system activity will be severely limited and you will be compelled to instigate rigorous daily routines in space management, garbage disposal and disc cleaning often with an accompanying increase in system administration. This program can also be a drain on many resources and demand constant attention. You will encounter an increased amount of interrupts and error messages, while the program often cancels processes without warning, very often crashing the system. In addition, Husband 1.0 often refuses to respond to your commands and frequently appears to be running processes which you have not authorized. If this happens a lot, do not respond to any interactive requests from the program and severely limit demand for extra bytes.

    Every evening there will be a huge surge in demand for megabytes and if not satisfied, the process will become unresponsive and has been known on occasion to damage hardware.

    Every so often you will be promised a new release of the program, but unfortunately, upon loading this new release, it is generally found to be almost identical to the old one, with very few feature changes and most of the same old annoying bugs which you were undoubtedly promised would not be there in the new release. Put up with it or discontinue use entirely. Husband 1.0 is a flawed program; many of the bugs are so deeply encoded that, even if they can be located, they are impossible to eradicate and have to be tolerated.

    Husband 1.0 will frequently make use of low level language and may not understand higher level commands so you must be prepared to use basic functions when required. Often a few robust algorithms in handshaking mode will produce a good response.

    After a while, Husband 1.0 has a tendency to take up more space than originally allocated, often spreading in size and slowing down correspondingly. If this happens, be very careful as there is increased risk of complete system failure. Around this time, Husband 1.0 will also tend to lose bits from the top of the stack, although these will often multiply and be found lower down the stack.

    Another problem with this program is that Husband 1.0 can also spawn unknown child processes, which can sometimes inadvertently appear, make huge demands on the program and force unwanted interaction with old versions of 1.nightstand.

    Sometimes, Husband 1.0 will end a process prematurely, before you have the required result. This generally results in spawned processes scattered over your system which must be located and removed. More often than not, however, Husband 1.0 will appear to take an inordinately long time to complete a relatively simple process. While waiting for tedious processes to complete you may find it useful to distract yourself by perusing manuals for alternative programs, Stud 2.0 or Lover 6.9

    On completion of a process, Husband 1.0 will often inadvertently apply the sleep command, or suspend system activity with a Ctrl ZZ. There is nothing you can do in this case, but leave the program and try again later.

    Ultimately, as the program becomes older, it will become more difficult to produce hardcopy, and you will find that most of you work ends up on floppies. In addition, you will be needing software support more often than you'd like. If and when this happens, try to find a copy of Toyboy 1.1. Make sure you have used Ctrl ZZ on Husband 1.0 before loading Toyboy 1.1 and, of course, check for viruses before using any new program. Toyboy 1.1 should come with new hardware which can be plugged into any of your ports.

  211. At 11:27 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    Internet Junkie

    Have you been spending more and more time using the Internet? Have your cheeks taken on that pasty white glow from over-exposure to your computer monitor? How do you know if you're addicted to the Net and losing touch with reality? Take the Net Addict's Reality Test.

    Answer the following multiple choice questions and check out your score to see if you should be concerned:

    What do you think are good names for children?
    a) Scott and Jenny.
    b) Bill Gates IV.
    c) Mozilla and Dotcom.

    What's a telephone?
    a) A thing with a round dial you use to talk to others.
    b) A telecommunications device with 12 keys.
    c) Something you plug into a modem.

    Which punctuation is most correct?
    a) I had a wonderful day!
    b) I had a **wonderful** day!!!
    c) I had a wonderful day :-)

    You wake up at 4:00 a.m. and decide to:
    a) Visit the washroom.
    b) Raid the fridge.
    c) Check your E-mail.

    What are RAM and ROM?
    a) A male sheep and a city in Italy.
    b) Hulking stars of the WWF.
    c) I need more of the former and should upgrade the latter.

    To avoid a virus you should:
    a) Stay away from people who sneeze and cough.
    b) Never read E-mail titled "Good Times".
    c) Use virus scanning software every time you boot up.

    When you want to buy something hard-to-find you:
    a) Ask friends where to purchase it.
    b) Check out the Yellow Pages.
    c) Go to Yahoo!

    When you don't understand how to use a new appliance you:
    a) Call the retailer.
    b) Call the manufacturer's toll-free number.
    c) Visit the manufacturer's Web site and look for the FAQ.

    When you want to see all the beautiful people you:
    a) Visit a club on a Saturday night.
    b) Turn on the TV and tune in to Baywatch.
    c) Check out the alt.binary newsgroups.

    How do you introduce yourself at a party?
    a) Hi, I'm Jane!
    b) Hi, I'm a Taurus on the cusp.
    c) Hi, I'm a 5'10" hot blonde with a super bod.

    When you're interested in someone at a party you say:
    a) Tell me more about yourself.
    b) What's your star sign?
    c) What's your Profile?

    If you really like the person, you say:
    a) Could you tell me your phone number?
    b) What's your E-mail address?
    c) Let's chat Private.

    When I say spam, you think:
    a) Ham in a can.
    b) Unsolicited advertising E-mail.
    c) I mailbomb all spammers!

    When you receive an AOL trial diskette, you say:
    a) I don't need another mug coaster.
    b) Great! I'll reformat and use it for backups.
    c) Great! I'll sign up under a fake ID and use up the 50 hours.

    When you want to research a reference you:
    a) Open up a volume of your encyclopedia.
    b) Slip Encarta in your CD-ROM drive.
    c) Go to www.altavista.digital.com.

    When you write a letter you:
    a) Put pencil to paper.
    b) Open Eudora.
    c) Ask: What's a letter? Is it like E-mail?

    Different types of text formatting include:
    a) Writing and printing.
    b) Underline and double-strike.
    c) Bold and italic.

    You correct errors using:
    a) An eraser.
    b) White-out.
    c) Backspace or delete.

    You sign your name:
    a) Best regards, John Smith.
    b) See you in IRC, John_Smith.
    c) Check out my home page for the cool links, johnsmith@aol.com.

    To keep a copy of your letter you:
    a) Insert a carbon and a second sheet.
    b) Take it to the photocopier.
    c) Check your Sent Mail folder.


    Give yourself zero points for each "a" response, five for each "b" and 10 for each "c".

    If you scored 150 or higher, unplug your computer and log more hours in real life. If you scored between 50 and 145, you're living a good mix of Net and reality. If you scored under 50, you probably didn't read this far.

  212. At 11:38 PM on 15 Aug 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    ha ha ha!!!

    Mittfh - these are laugh out loud - !


  213. At 11:50 PM on 15 Aug 2007, mittfh is (still!) not wrote:

    The Top 20 Reasons Dogs Don't Use Computers

    20> Can't stick their heads out of Windows '95.

    19> Fetch command not available on all platforms.

    18> Hard to read the monitor with your head cocked to one side.

    17> Too difficult to "mark" every website they visit.

    16> Can't help attacking the screen when they hear "You've > Got Mail."

    15> Fire hydrant icon simply frustrating.

    14> Involuntary tail wagging is dead giveaway they're browsing www.pethouse.com instead of working.

    13> Keep bruising noses trying to catch that MPEG frisbee.

    12> Not at all fooled by Chuckwagon Screen Saver.

    11> Still trying to come up with an "emoticon" that signifies tail-wagging.

    10> Oh, but they WILL... with the introduction of the Microsoft Opposable Thumb.

    9> Three words: Carpal Paw Syndrome

    8> 'Cause dogs ain't GEEKS! Now, cats, on the other hand...

    7> Barking in next cube keeps activating YOUR voice recognition software.

    6> SmellU-SmellMe still in beta test.

    5> SIT and STAY were hard enough, GREP and AWK are out of the question!

    4> Saliva-coated mouse gets mighty difficult to manuever.

    3> Annoyed by lack of newsgroup, alt.pictures.master's.leg.

    2> Butt-sniffing more direct and less deceiving than online chat rooms.

    and the Number 1 Reason Dogs Don't Use Computers...

    1> TrO{gO DsA[M,bN HyAqR4tDc TgrOo TgYPmE WeIjTyH P;AzWqS,. *

    ( * 1> Too Damn Hard To Type With Paws. )


    Things to do when your ISP is down
    1. Dial 911 immediately.
    2. Open the curtains to see if anything has changed over the past 2 years.
    3. You mean there's something else to do?
    4. Threaten your ISP with an impeachment vote.
    5. Work.
    6. Re-introduce yourself to your immediate family.
    7. Get that kidney transplant you've been putting off.


    Things you don't want your SysAdmin to say
    1. Uh-oh...
    2. Oh S***!
    3. What the heck?!?
    4. Go get your backup tape. (You DO have a backup tape?)
    5. That's SOOOOO bizarre.
    6. Wow!! Look at this...
    7. Hey!! The Suns don't do this.
    8. Terminated?!?
    9. What software license?!?
    10. Well, it's doing SOMETHING...
    11. Wow...that seemed fast...
    12. I got a better job at Lockheed...
    13. Management says...
    14. Sorry, the new equipment didn't get budgeted.
    15. What do you mean that wasn't a copy?
    16. It didn't do that a minute ago...
    17. Where's the GUI on this thing?
    18. Damn, and I just bought that Coke...
    19. Where's the DIR command?
    20. The drive ate the tape but that's OK, I brought my screwdriver.
    21. I cleaned up the root partition and now there's LOTS of free space.
    22. What's this "any" key I'm supposed to press?
    23. Do you smell something?
    24. What's that grinding sound?
    25. I have never seen it do THAT before...
    26. I don't think it should be doing that...
    27. I remember the last time I saw it do that...
    28. You might as well all go home early today...
    29. My leave starts tomorrow.
    30. Oops! (said in a quiet, almost surprised voice)
    31. Hmm, maybe if I do this...
    32. Why is my "rm -R *" taking so long?"
    33. Hmmm, curious...
    34. Well, MY files were backed up.
    35. What do you mean you needed that directory?
    36. What do you mean /home was on that disk? I umounted it!
    37. Do you really need your home directory to do any work?
    38. I didn't think anybody would be doing any work at 2am, so I killed your job.
    39. Yes, I chowned all the files to belong to pvcs. Is that a problem to you?
    40. We're standardizing on AIX.
    41. Wonder what THIS command does?
    42. What did you say your (1)user name was...? ;-)

  214. At 12:06 AM on 16 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Q: What do you call a very, very old joke?

    A: Pre-hysterical!

  215. At 12:09 AM on 16 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    An archaeologist is a person whose career lies in ruins!

  216. At 01:35 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:



  217. At 01:41 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:



  218. At 01:42 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:



  219. At 01:43 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:



    Comment Submission Error

    Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

    Return to the original entry

    And we'll get to 50k quicker!

    and thanks for loads of laughs!

  220. At 01:45 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:




    Comment Submission Error

    Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I've enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

    Return to the original entry

  221. At 01:46 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:



  222. At 09:56 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini wrote:

    Hmm - Maybe try the pink one.

  223. At 10:27 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Flesh pink? I like it! (drools)


  224. At 10:35 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Mittfh ... dear ...

    .... GET OUT MORE!!!!!!!!!

    *cackles historically at the archaeology jokes*

    Fifi :o)

  225. At 11:00 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini wrote:

    I just wanted to see that on Recent Comments!

  226. At 11:00 AM on 16 Aug 2007, Yes, please do carry wrote:



  227. At 08:18 PM on 16 Aug 2007, A celebratory expression wrote:

    as she gears up to celebrate the frog anniversary tomorrow.

  228. At 08:25 PM on 16 Aug 2007, A celebratory expression wrote:

    as she gears up to celebrate the frog anniversary tomorrow.

    Now, where was Big Sis's thread, so I can get her celebrating as well? :)


  229. At 09:07 PM on 16 Aug 2007, Guess who? is still not wrote:

    So now we've reached the magic number, we might as well see how far we can get by 12:21 tomorrow. So, for this last night of mad posting, I'll finish off with a few more computer jokes.

    If anyone remembers the heady days of DOS, they will sympathise with this (unfortunately, most of the poem's formatting seems to have disappeared on the webpage I copied this from):

    Abort, Retry, Ignore?

    Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary, System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor, Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there doing spreadsheets. Having reached the bottom line I took a floppy from the drawer, I then invoked the SAVE command and waited for the disk to store, Only this and nothing more.

    Deep into the monitor peering, long I sat there wond'ring, fearing, Doubting, while the disk kept churning, turning yet to churn some more. But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token. "Save!" I said, "You cursed mother! Save my data from before!" One thing did the phosphors answer, only this and nothing more, Just, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    Was this some occult illusion, some maniacal intrusion? These were choices undesired, ones I'd never faced before. Carefully I weighed the choices as the disk made impish noises. The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting, baiting me to type some more. Clearly I must press a key, choosing one and nothing more, >From "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    With fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending, Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored, Praying for some guarantee, timidly, I pressed a key. But on the screen there still persisted words appearing as before. Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore, Saying "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    I tried to catch the chips off guard, and pressed again, but twice as hard. I pleaded with the cursed machine: I begged and cried and then I swore. Now in mighty desperation, trying random combinations, Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before. Cursor blinking, angrily winking, blinking nonsense as before. Reading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by my own machine accosted. Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor. And then I saw a dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night. A gasp of horror overtook me, shook me to my very core. The lightning zapped my previous data, lost and gone forevermore. Not even, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    To this day I do not know the place to which lost data go. What demonic nether world us wrought where lost data will be stored, Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, into black holes? But sure as there's C, Pascal, Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more, You will be one day be left to wander, lost on some Plutonian shore, Pleading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

  230. At 09:13 PM on 16 Aug 2007, Guess who? is still not wrote:

    I wonder if this thread is getting too big for the likes of the blogserver - this page just took 31.981s to load (according to FasterFox).

    Now, who remembers the spectacular(ly disastrous) debut launch of Ariane 5?

    Ariane 5

    This TRUE story is very interesting if you are a Software Developer or a Quality Assurance person. Still interesting to those of you who are not...

    Incredible software quality story.

    It took the European Space Agency 10 years and $7 billion to produce Ariane 5, a giant rocket capable of hurling a pair of three-ton satellites into orbit with each launch and intended to give Europe overwhelming supremacy in the commercial space business.

    All it took to explode that rocket less than a minute into its maiden voyage last June, scattering fiery rubble across the mangrove swamps of French Guiana, was a small computer program trying to stuff a 64-bit number into a 16-bit space.

    One bug, one crash. Of all the careless lines of code recorded in the annals of computer science, this one may stand as the most devastatingly efficient. From interviews with rocketry experts and an analysis prepared for the space agency, a clear path from an arithmetic error to total destruction emerges.

    To play the tape backward: At 39 seconds after launch, as the rocket reached an altitude of two and a half miles, a self-destruct mechanism finished off Ariane 5, along with its payload of four expensive and uninsured scientific satellites. Self-destruction was triggered automatically because aerodynamic forces were ripping the boosters from the rocket.

    This disintegration had begun instantaneously when the spacecraft swerved off course under the pressure of the three powerful nozzles in its boosters and main engine. The rocket was making an abrupt course correction that was not needed, compensating for a wrong turn that had not taken place.

    Steering was controlled by the on-board computer, which mistakenly thought the rocket needed a course change because of numbers coming from the inertial guidance system. That device uses gyroscopes and accelerometers to track motion. The numbers looked like flight data -- bizarre and impossible flight data -- but were actually a diagnostic error message. The guidance system had in fact shut down. This shutdown occurred 36.7 seconds after launch, when the guidance system's own computer tried to convert one piece of data -- the sideways velocity of the rocket -- from a 64-bit format to a 16-bit format. The number was too big, and an overflow error resulted.

    When the guidance system shut down, it passed control to an identical, redundant unit, which was there to provide backup in case of just such a failure. But the second unit had failed in the identical manner a few milliseconds before. It was running the same software.

    This bug belongs to a species that has existed since the first computer programmers realized they could store numbers as sequences of bits, atoms of data, ones and zeroes: 1001010001101001. . . . A bug like this might crash a spreadsheet or word processor on a bad day.

    Ordinarily, though, when a program converts data from one form to another, the conversions are protected by extra lines of code that watch for errors and recover gracefully. Indeed, many of the data conversions in the guidance system's programming included such protection.

    But in this case, the programmers had decided that this particular velocity figure would never be large enough to cause trouble. After all, it never had been before. Unluckily, Ariane 5 was a faster rocket than Ariane 4. One extra absurdity: the calculation containing the bug, which shut down the guidance system, which confused the on-board computer, which forced the rocket off course, actually served no purpose once the rocket was in the air. Its only function was to align the system before launch. So it should have been turned off. But engineers chose long ago, in an earlier version of the Ariane, to leave this function running for the first 40 seconds of flight - -- a "special feature" meant to make it easy to restart the system in the event of a brief hold in the countdown.

    The Europeans hope to launch a new Ariane 5 next spring, this time with a newly designated "software architect" who will oversee a process of more intensive and, they hope, realistic ground simulation.

    Simulation is the great hope of software debuggers everywhere, though it can never anticipate every feature of real life. "Very tiny details can have terrible consequences," says Jacques Durand, head of the project, in Paris. "That's not surprising, especially in a complex software system such as this is."

    These days, we have complex software systems everywhere. We have them in our dishwashers and in our wristwatches, though they're not quite so mission-critical. We have computers in our cars -- from 15 to 50 microprocessors, depending how you count: in the engine, the transmission, the suspensions, the steering, the brakes and every other major subsystem. Each runs its own software, thoroughly tested, simulated and debugged, no doubt.

    Bill Powers, vice president for research at Ford, says that cars' computing power is increasingly devoted not just to actual control but to diagnostics and contingency planning -- "Should I abort the mission, and if I abort, where would I go?" he says. "We also have what's called a limp-home strategy." That is, in the worst case, the car is supposed to behave more or less normally, like a car of the pre-computer era, instead of, say, taking it upon itself to swerve into the nearest tree.

    The European investigators chose not to single out any particular contractor or department for blame. "A decision was taken," they wrote. "It was not analyzed or fully understood." And "the possible implications of allowing it to continue to function during flight were not realized." They did not attempt to calculate how much time or money was saved by omitting the standard error-protection code.

    "The board wishes to point out," they added, with the magnificent blandness of many official accident reports, "that software is an expression of a highly detailed design and does not fail in the same sense as a mechanical system." No. It fails in a different sense. Software built up over years from millions of lines of code, branching and unfolding and intertwining, comes to behave more like an organism than a machine.

    "There is no life today without software," says Frank Lanza, an executive vice president of the American rocket maker Lockheed Martin. "The world would probably just collapse." Fortunately, he points out, really important software has a reliability of 99.9999999 percent. At least, until it doesn't.

  231. At 09:19 PM on 16 Aug 2007, Guess who? is still not wrote:

    Computer Addict
    To my darling husband......

    Dear John,

    I am sending you this letter in a bogus software company envelope so that you will be sure to read it. Please forgive the deception, but I thought you should know what has been going on at home since your IBM computer entered our lives two years ago.

    The children are doing well. Tommy is 7 now and is a bright, handsome boy. He has developed quite an interest in the arts. He drew a family portrait for a school project. All the figures were good, but yours was excellent! The chair and the back of your head are very realistic. You would be proud of him.

    Little Jennifer turned 3 in September. She looks a lot like you did at that age. She is an attractive child and quite smart. She still remembers that you spent the whole afternoon with us on her birthday. What a grand day for Jen, despite the fact that it was stormy and the electricity was out.

    I am also doing well. I went blonde about a year ago and was delighted to discover that it really is more fun. Lars--I mean Mr. Swenson, the department head, has taken an interest in my career and has become a good friend to us all. I have discovered that the household chores are much easier since I realized that you don't mind being vacuumed around, although that feather duster does make you sneeze. The house is in good shape. I had the living room painted last spring. I'm not sure if you noticed it. I made sure that the painters cut air holes in the drop cloth so you wouldn't smother. Well, dear, I must be going. Uncle Lars - Mr. Swenson, I mean, is taking us all on a ski trip and there is packing to do. I have hired a housekeeper to take care of thing while we are away. She'll keep things in order, fill your coffee cup, and bring your meals to your desk, -just the way you like it. I hope you and IBM have a lovely time while we are gone.

    Tommy, Jen and I think of you often - try to remember us while your disks are booting.

  232. At 09:28 PM on 16 Aug 2007, Guess who? is still not wrote:

    It had to happen sooner or later...

    BrainDoubler 1.0

    ANNOUNCING -- BrainDoubler 1.0 (From the developers of ConflictDoubler)

    You've doubled your RAM, you've doubled your speed, you've even doubled your CPU. You're still hungry for more. What to do next?


    Since the introduction of the Altair in the mid-1970s, the power of the average personal computer has grown at an exponential rate. Today's notebook computer possesses orders of magnitude more processing power than the Apollo astronauts took with them to the moon. You and I wouldn't think of booting up with less than a PowerPC or Pentium; Neil Armstrong cruised a half-million miles and made One Giant Leap(tm) with TTL circuitry!

    Despite the explosion in processing power and the accompanying plunge in costs for RAM and hard disk storage, many computer users are still disappointed with the performance of their personal computer systems

    "In 1985, when I bought my Mac 512K and an ImageWriter II," says Roy Cardiff, an early Mac adopter, "it took me about a day to write and edit a 10 page memo. Now that I have a Mac 8500 32/1080MB and a color laser printer, it takes me... about a day to type and edit a 10 page memo."

    Indeed, our detailed analyses show that over the course of a 24 hour period, 99.94% of all processor cycles are spent waiting for you, the computer user, to do something. In other words, the bottleneck today is not in your computer--it is in your head.

    The lesson is plain. If you want to get more out of your computer, you're going to have to improve *your* performance. To help you along, we've developed BrainDoubler.

    In our beta testing, we have found that BrainDoubler significantly increases the rate at which experienced users are able to get work done with their computers:

    Good Ideas per hour:

    w/o BrainDoubler ******************
    w/ BrainDoubler **********************************

    Bad Ideas per hour:

    w/o BrainDoubler ********
    w/ BrainDoubler ***************

    Coherent Sentences per hour:

    w/o BrainDoubler **********
    w/ BrainDoubler *****************

    (Your results may vary. We've noticed that people with a general propensity for bad ideas produce a majority of bad ideas with BrainDoubler. We're working on a fix. In the meantime, we do not recommend BrainDoubler for idiots, MBAs or government employees.)

    Look for BrainDoubler at your local retailer/mail order house. Available soon!

    By: Paul E Parsons

  233. At 09:40 PM on 16 Aug 2007, Guess who? is still not wrote:

    Two focussing on a well-known operating system...

    In a world without walls and doors, who needs windows and gates?

    (In case you don't get it, a parody of both open-plan living areas, and Microsoft Windows plus Bill Gates)

    And talking of homes...

    Bill Gates Meets His Match

    The following is a conversation overheard as Bill Gates was moving into his new house...

    Bill: "There are a few issues we need to discuss."

    Contractor: "Ah, you have our basic support option. Calls are free for the first 90 days and $75 a call thereafter. Okay?"

    Bill: "Uh, yeah... the first issue is the living room. We think its a little smaller than we anticipated."

    Contractor: "Yeah. Some compromises were made to have it out by the release date."

    Bill: "We won't be able to fit all our furniture in there."

    Contractor: "Well, you have two options. You can purchase a new, larger living room; or you can use a Stacker."

    Bill: "Stacker?"

    Contractor: "Yeah, it allows you to fit twice as much furniture into the room. By stacking it, of course, you put the entertainment center on the couch... the chairs on the table... etc. You leave an empty spot, so when you want to use some furniture you can unstack what you need and then put it back when you're done."

    Bill: "Uh... I dunno... issue two. The second issue is the light fixtures. The bulbs we brought with us from our old home won't fit. The threads run the wrong way."

    Contractor: "Oh! That's easy. Those bulbs aren't plug and play. You'll have to upgrade to the new bulbs."

    Bill: "And the electrical outlets? The holes are round, not rectangular. How do I fix that?"

    Contractor: "Just uninstall and reinstall the electrical system."

    Bill: "You're kidding!?"

    Contractor: "Nope. Its the only way."

    Bill: " Well... I have one last problem. Sometimes, when I have guests over, someone will flush the toilet and it won't stop. The water pressure drops so low that the showers don't work."

    Contractor: "That's a resource leakage problem. One fixture is failing to terminate and is hogging the resources preventing access from other fixtures."

    Bill: "And how do I fix that?"

    Contractor: "Well, after each flush, you all need to exit the house, turn off the water at the street, turn it back on, reenter the house and then you can get back to work."

    Bill: "That's the last straw. What kind of product are you selling me?"

    Contractor: "Hey, if you don't like it nobody made you buy it."

    Bill: "And when will this be fixed?"

    Contractor: "Oh, in your next house -- which will be ready to release sometime near the end of next year. Actually it was due out this year, but we've had some delays..."

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