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Conversations with me, No. 6
Email highlights, ca. November 1997

Dedicated to the proposition that every thought that's ever been thunk may be of use or interest to someone . . .

ME to traffic columnist for the Washington Times:  With the 4-way stop 
sign protocol now a normal part of driving life, has the 2-way stop protocol 

I haven't *heard* that it has changed, and I can think 
of good reasons why it shouldn't, but I am antsy now at 2-way 
stops with someone else, wondering if he thinks the protocol 
is first-come-first-serve, as at 4-way stops.  

Occasionally in this situation, a driver tries to wave me on (into a left-
hand turn).  If he is doing it out of politeness, he isn't doing me a 
favor; I feel strongly that driver-to-driver communication has the 
potential for great danger.  

In this case, for example, the driver going straight may wave the 
driver turning left on, when the driver turning left does not feel 
he has a big enough gap in the traffic.  His choices are to pull out 
into a dangerous situation, or stay put and confuse the guy who was 
telling him to go.

The safest thing is to follow the rules.

ME: Wed Nov 12 1997

Yoko's art made page 1 of my Sunday paper.  How about in yours?

THEE:  Your idea for having the club get on the Internet together is an 
excellent one.  I think that, as a group, it would be more entertaining to 
participate in those types of discussions [] than it would be 
on your own.  It's alway more enjoyable sharing a funny moment with another 
live person, when possible. 

I read some of your web site.  Question:  Though unarchy has potential, 
what about the inherent disparity of two individuals' abilities to 
represent themselves?  If a person committed a crime, chances are they may 
have a predisposition to lie.  What if the acused is simply not that 
smart?  It would seem like you would need some sort of fair representation 
at the very least.  Just food for thought.

I also read about your UFO sightings.  Crazy stuff.  I believe all that 
stuff, though I've never seen anything like it myself.  A lady I work with 
once saw a big "cigar-shaped" object (vertically aligned), alongside a 
more traditional-style spaceship at night hovering just above the trees in 
a parking lot at a shopping center.  She and her friend got out of their 
car as did the people behind them.  After a few moments the two objects 
(both of which were illuminated and apparently fairly sizable) just kind of 
zipped off at acceleration rates which defy our laws of momentum.  
Afterwards, my workmate turned to the others and said "Did you see what we 
saw?".  They had.  Pretty wild.

THEE: Today, I keep hoping someone will ask what I did this weekend.  No 
one has (and I thought England was a cold place).  If someone does ask 
what I did, I'll say, "Oh, not much.  Well, I did smile as the puppets 
dance in the Court of the Crimson Kiiiiiing.  Ah-aah-aah."  Organ.  
Tap.  Tap.  Tap.   "Aah-aah-ahh." etc.

ME: Really enjoyed Seatrain after all these years.  No reason anybody 
else would.  Sounds kinda like Blood Sweat and Tears.  Still, I 
like most of the songs.  

I think there is another King Crimson album that ends with some strings 
tuning up.  I know I played something like that for a friend once and got a 
good response.  This would also explain why the cover is not the 
one I was looking for.

Should also say that Seatrain reminds me of Lon And Derek van Eaton

ME: Thanks for the unarchy feedback.  I will never tire of defending 
the idea.

About proficient liars:  a) What about lie detectors?  Their use 
has come before the Supreme Court recently.  The question is, if 
they are so reliable in hiring, how come they're worthless in 

b)  Let's say a liar is really superb.  Ok, he may get away with it 
the first time, but could he keep pulling the same stunt?  This 
guy slips in a McDonalds and sues.  Wouldn't the jury find it 
strange that he slipped in a different McDonalds last month, and 
another one the month before...?

c)  Isn't the fact that you are very concerned about one of the 
participants being an expert liar evidence others will be, too?

Wouldn't the average person think long and hard about "what does 
the accuser stand to gain from this?  Does the accused have any 
sort of history of behaving in the described way?"  etc.

THEE: But you didn't address the reality that people have differing 
abilities to defend themselves logically (some people are just more 
persuasive communicators).  What about that imbalance???

The rooftop thing was in reference to an article you included in the letter 
you sent to me with a paragraph circled and a note suggesting that my group, 
The Feeling, try something like that.  

ME: Here's the Scrabble status report.  

In the second game there were 3Q, 2U and no blanks.  Diana ate 2Q, David ate 
the other Q.  (Not to mention there were 2Q in the first game.)

There was one bingo, played thusly for 91 pts:


ME: Regarding justice, looks like we'll have to hash this out in person, 
where I can wave my hands and get all high-pitched.  For now, let 
me ask:  How does our current system prevent the inequity you are 
concerned about?  Are all lawyers created equal?  Never mind that 
neither side addresses the facts in the case.

Subject: GFA Roundtable Guitar Society List Announcement 
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 

A mail list for Classical Guitar Societies has been established.  You 
can view the charter and instructions on how to subscribe at

Briefly, the list is designed for Classical Guitar Society active 
members and those who are starting, or thinking of starting a society, 
and the discussion will be limited to Classical Guitar Society issues.

Best regards,
Mike Oliver, President
Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, Inc.

The Mailing list charter, which is subject to change (any input welcome), 
is as follows: 

1.  To discuss issues related to the formation, maintenance, operation 
and success of Classical Guitar Societies. 

2.  To cooperate with each other in making better more informed decisions 
about concerts, membership, fund raising, education, outreach and other 
community functions of Classical Guitar Societies. 

The list WILL NOT be a place for discussion of such things as how to play 
the guitar, what guitar to buy, discussion of music theory or formal 
music performance, and no solicitations for sales of products or 
services, except products or services that may be relevant to guitar 
societies in general will be permitted.  This will also not be a place 
for concert level guitarists to solicit concerts, unless the group 

The idea is that we can all benefit from the knowledge, success, and 
mistakes, each of us has made.  The list  will encourage persons who have 
not yet formed a society to join, and to seek assistance in forming a 

THEE:  Perhaps not all lawyers are the same.  But let's say instead of arguing in 
a court of law to decide who wins, you had two people ARMWRESTLE.  I think 
I'd like to have the OPTION to hire someone with bigger forearms than 
me...My point is that, theoretically, professional representation bridges 
the gap between the disparity of "debatability" of untrained common folk.

THEE: Loved your Snow page ... it had me ROTTCL.  I'll write more on that later.

ME: So you want to hire someone with bigger forearms?  Sounds like your 
point is that the richest person should always win.  

Anyhow, (watch out this point will blow you out of the water) under 
unarchy, there is no *law* forbidding you to bring anyone along 
for support at the trial.  And there is no law forbidding you from 
calling those people "lawyers."  Go for it.  Just remember that 
a smooth-talking outsider may be viewed very suspiciously by the 
regular folk on the jury.

ME: ROTTCL.  Must be getting old; used to be able to put words to 
acronyms.  How does a TC compare to an F?

Still have to talk about getting connected to search engines.  Yahoo 
accepted me last week.  Still, my guestbook is going nowhere, boohoo.

(Poetry was strictly accidental.)

ME: Another Times sighting: what do you make of page A16, Monday, 
Nov 24, 1997, Paul Craig Roberts column?  I know you don't need 
any internal evidence to find a Times article off-base (you figure 
that's a given) but this guy has always been sensible.  As I was 
reading this one I kept figuring he was being sarcastic and poking 
fun at conspiracy theorists, but it finally hit me that he wasn't.

Is what he's saying known to the public?  Known to you?  Believed 
by you?  Help.

THEE:  Good comeback.  I like that.  I think I'll let you slide for a 
while on this unarchy business.  I certainly agree with you that our judicial 
system is in desperate need of revamping.

Did you see Paul McCartney on Oprah yesterday?  I taped it but caught a couple 
minutes of the beginning.  Oprah really blew it in terms of her interview. 
Why in the world would she ask him trite questions about the Beatles such know, I don't even need an example here because I know that you 
know what I'm talking about.  Come on Oprah.  A real Beatles fan would be 
respectful enough to avoid all that rehash crap.  Didn't she watch the 
Anthology?  How about something relevant such as, "What's going on now?  
How's Linda?  Anything new with the Fab Three?  Any tours planned?  What's 
it like being the most famous father to grown children?"  You get the 
picture I'm sure. 

I don't know how celebrities put up with such ignorance.  Oh well, maybe 
the rest of the interview was more interesting.

THEE: Do you remember this guy (Boyce Rensberger)?  Check out how he defends
his beliefs!!  By the way, last Night--Gary Parker debated 2 evolutionists.  
It was a "spectacle" to say the least.  He demolished them!!  

ME: Dear Pete Du Pont and NCPA, 

I agree with the ideas in your editorial, "Is the jury out on our 
justice system?"  (Washington Times, 30Nov97)  Generally, I don't think 
they go far enough.   Please look over my ideas on justice as detailed 
in my website.  Thanks!  I really appreciate it.

ME: I found much more of interest on the continuation of the Making of 
A Hard Day's Night.  Wasn't happy about the first part.  By the way, what do we 
know about the Beatles writing the HDN songs on a holiday in the 

A bit bummed when I went to track down an email address for the 
immortalized Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich that he is no 
more.  Ousted by somebody named Alexis.  

THEE: I know nothing about A Hard Day's Night" songs being written in the 

Why are you interested in Robert Reich?  He was a loyal Clinton
booster.  Then he quit and now seldom misses an opportunity to complain
about what an awful town Washington, D.C., is and how happy he was to
flee north--not that he's necessarily wrong.  He has the lead article in
the latest "New Yorker," by the way.

ME: I needed to track down Reich to invite him to my Northerners web page 
wherein I roast his butt (that's the intent, anyway.)  Your off-the-
top-of-your-head knowledge about such bit players is astonishing.  

ME: Tell me what you know about the origins of the well known phrase, 
"keep on keepin' on."  This is important.  (To me.)

 => ROTTCL.  Must be getting old; used to be able to put words to 
 => acronyms.  How does a TC compare to an F?

The typical TC has a net strung across the middle.  2 or 4 people stand on
either side with rackets and hit a ball back and forth.

 => Tell me what you know about the origins of the well known
 => phrase, "keep on keepin' on."

It was first used by Eric Clapton on his song, "Blues Power", off his
album, DEREK AND THE DOMINOES LIVE.  I don't think it's an official 
lyric from the song; he just shouts it out as he's jamming.

You don't buy that?  I did a web search for "keep.on AND keepin.on" using
AltaVista and I got about 50 million hits on people's guestbooks.  The fact
that nobody has told you to "keep on keepin' on" in your guestbook should
probably tell you something.  

There are probably some books out there that give the origins of the
phrase.  It might be from the swing era or something.  Sorry!  :(

I did look at GeoCities; I browsed through their various neighborhoods
looking for a 9091 [one after 909] address, but they were all taken.

P.S.  I looked for you in the pictures of the Scrabble tournament that
appeared in THE WASHINGTON POST recently.  They also had an article about
Stu Sutcliffe's art.

THEE: Here's something that appeared in today's "Washington Post":

I doubt that anything you ever sent to the "Times" has ever been so
savaged.  I'll send you my original version sometime.  For now, I'll
note that i think I only wrote the second half of the first line.

THEE: Subject: The true story of the Donner Party

Further to my previous message, here's what the "Post" meant to run 
this morning:
        That hapless band of westward immigrants known as the Donner Party 
     became trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the winter of 1846.  
     The story of their attempts to survive is stirring and heartbreaking 
     but most people just know that some members became cannibals.  Now, 
     thanks to the web, we can all join the Party and, ahem, sate our 
     appetite for the full story.
        Probably the best single Donner Party site is by Daniel M. Rosen.  
     The centerpiece is Rosen's own very long account of the story, told as 
     a day-by-day diary.  The site also includes new photos of Donner Lake 
     and Donner Pass, period prints, maps, an excellent bibliography and 
     many links.  All in all, Rosen's page is a model of what inspired 
     amateurs can accomplish with the web.
        Mike Haller's Donner Party site is less comprehensive but does 
     contain an invaluable collection of complete texts of survivor diaries 
     as well as two important 19th century books that tell the story.  
     Donner fans will be disappointed to discover, however, that Haller has 
     yet to post the entire text of the guidebook that got the Party into 
     so much trouble, even though he's said for months that it's "coming 

THEE: Do you happen to play electronic Scrabble on Microsoft's The Zone?  I've
found there are people who do this there - simply because there is a lack of
people in the "Professional" rooms.  I've started making lists of them so I
can avoid playing with them.  You would think that since Scrabble is more of
an "intellectual" game, that people would at least tell you they use obscure

My use of obscure words is usually limited to just getting rid of odd
letters, like Q, J, X, and Z.  I know a "few" words that use them, but
almost never get to play them.  Like you, I detest people who memorize lists
without knowing the definitions.  I almost always challenge them.  Of
course, their excuse is "It's a valid word in the OSPD, so I don't have to
know what it is.", which doesn't wash with me.

THEE: I scored an awesome version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by 
Peter Nero last night.

I also saw an LP by Isis last night.  Were they associated with
Yoko?  I saw no reference to Yoko on this LP.  However, the band members
were all naked (but painted silver) on the cover.  

ME: Yoko and Isis are *almost* associated.  I think they were considered 
as a backing band for Yoko.  I forget who nixed the idea.  The best 
source on this is a great interview with Yoko by Joe Pope in an 
old Strawberry Fields Forever zine.  

THEE: Subject: Monopoly House Rule #2

I find that a toned-down version of your 2nd house rule works well.

I agree that the player can't roll again until they've paid their rent.
Allowing them to roll again (to pass Go or whatever) is silly.

However, we do allow deals, with the provision that the deals are all
cancelled if the player can't come up with the money needed to pay rent.

This allows Player A to offer $4000 for Marvin Gardens to Player B when
Player B lands on Boardwalk (owned by Player C, and with a hotel on it).

This provides a reasonable balance between preventing Player B from
ripping off Player C (e.g., by selling everything to Player A for $1 and
giving that $1 to Player C) and allowing players to make the deals they
need to stay afloat.

ME: I think your "toned down" version of my 2nd house rule sounds good - 
quite sensible.  I'll keep that in mind in the future.  I suspect I'll 
still slightly prefer my slightly more straight-jacketed version.  
Monopoly is just *too* wide open... 

ME: Even in elementary school I could never grasp how prepositions were of 
secondary importance in titles, etc.  Now I can't see how articles are, 

THEE: Been here yet?
I've tested "Suzy Parker" (bingo) and "Thinking of Linking" (nada). 


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Abbreviations: Hself = generic name, male or female (Himself, Herself).

Parents, if you're considering tutoring or supplemental education for your child, you may be interested in my observations on Kumon.