Back to index of "this and that in my life" pages by Donald Sauter.

Donald Sauter's current guestbook

While this guestbook, started in August 2001, is growing little by little, you might take a look at my guestbook archives, jam-packed with funny and thought-provoking comments - from back when real people visited real people's web sites.

[Retorts by me, there and here, are in brackets like this. DS]


[ This first one's just a template for my own use. DS]

Name: Massimo Materni
Date: Feb 1 2019
Subject: greetings from Italy

Hello Donald,

I would like to express my appreciation for what I consider a beautiful gift, namely your accomplished and fine collection of guitar and piano compositions.

I do not have sufficient command of English to keep up with the smart comments of other visitors, which I find very interesting and enjoyable. But I can say that the impressive clarity of your writing, attention to details, and generosity, make me think of you as a Renaissance patron bringing together people with common interests and putting them at ease.

Many thanks again.

[My pleasure, Massimo. By the way, Massimo is referring to the large collection of 19th C. guitar and piano sheet music which I got from the Library of Congress and put up in pdf format, and some of which I recorded and put up on YouTube. DS]

Name: Silas Vincent de Paul
Date: February 11, 2008
Subject: Kudos

Hey Donald,

I stumbled unto your site somewhat by accident and was pleasantly surprised by its magnificent randomness. Though I'm mainly interested in the classical guitar bits (the stuff about Justin Holland was a revelation), I'm really impressed by the whimsical aesthetic of your miscellany and I admire your free share philosophy. Keep up the good work!


Name: Darren Hopkinson
Date: Mar 4, 2007
Subject: gender in the language

Hi Donald,

Believe it or not, I came across your web site by Googling for 'daughter take "mother's surname"', which led me to your "Gender in the language" page. Wow, I thought, someone who independently came up with exactly the same idea as me! So I thought I'd spend some time reading what else you had to say.

In fact, I am getting married later this year and am probably going to suggest to my fiancee that we adopt the policy that any daughters we may have will take her surname!

[ Great! Maybe we've begun to put something aright here, Darren. And thanks for your many other thoughtful comments on various pages, too. DS]

Name: Devon Hyland
Date: May 2006
Subject: New football/baseball rules

Dear Donald,

I came across your website while searching for the definition of infield fly rule (which you not only educated me on, but also taught me why it should not be in place.) I found your new layouts regarding softball to be fantastic. As a matter of fact, I am having a BBQ soon and I think I may implement them (living in Toronto, it's difficult to find many people who want to play softball at a BBQ, let alone do anything but drink (those hosers!), so I may have to adjust to playing with only a six or so people).

After learning about why I was playing both base and soft ball incorrectly all my life, I browsed around your website and came across some football ideas you had regarding kicking. Seeing that you only had negative feedback (and enough of a sense of humour to post even the most poorly written feedback), I thought I'd be the (evidently) first person to tell you I also can't stand when teams punt on the fourth down (it's the third down here in Canada, but it's the same thing.) It's just not exciting. (Practical? Yes. But I didn't tune into the "Practical Sports Network," did I? No, I didn't.)

After reading that, I found myself browsing around for quite some time and even wrote down your recipe for gourmet cereal. The point of this last (and dare I say, most exciting (not really)) paragraph, is basically just to tell you you're done a good job on that Internet, there. Yep, to find a personal website that isn't just a teenager complaining about driving lessons is rare, and you've even made your stories interesting, to boot!

I feel I must remind you at this point that you shouldn't think anything negative of me. I'm actually a very interesting person with tons (millions) of friends and I usually don't have time to read a stranger's personal website for hours. I mean it. I'm a real laugh riot. A hoot, my friends say. Why I'm wasting my time with this email, I'll never know. So I'm going to go now. To a real big party with hundreds of people who know both my first AND last name! That'll show you.


Devon Hyland

[ Hi Devon. You don't have to lord your popularity over me - I'm a hermit by choice! DS]

Name: Paul Nussbaum
Date: Oct 1 2005
Subject: Cosmology Problems

Nice site Donald. I'm a guitarist as well. I also have questioned things over the years...

Black Holes

"So dense and massive the gravitational force is so strong nothing can escape, not even light!", is the usual one liner. Yet, a black hole's most clear physical attribute is its gravitational attraction. So, if "nothing" gets out if the black hole, what is the exchange particle for the gravitational interaction with masses outside the black hole, ie., how does gravity get out? The photon is the mediator for the electromagnetic force, and the graviton is supposed to be the mediator for the gravitational interaction. Do gravitons get to escape the black hole? If you decide that there are no gravitons, you still need to posit something that attracts external masses. Curved space is fine, but you have to posit some aspect of the black hole that forces the space to curve. The curving is also external to the black hole. What's going on here? Clearly some influential something IS getting outside the black hole all the time. No explanations from the experts in this area.

Missing Mass in the Universe

If carefully examined, this is not a missing mass problem. It is a too much gravity problem. The excess gravity is used to infer that its source (mass) seems to be missing. So, where might extra gravity come from when there is no corresponding mass? Again, the time frame is incorrectly posed. It assumes the mass is still around. If mass comes into existence and disappears the gravity it produced while here lasts forever. At the ^-33cm level matter and antimatter pairs are created and destroyed continuously. Both matter and antimatter evoke the same gravitational interaction (there is no "anti-gravity"). After these virtual particles are gone a growing wave of their gravitational influence stays and interacts with the rest of the universe. Could this extra gravity account for the inferred missing mass in the universe? Wouldn't this pump more and more gravity (and presumed mass effect) into the universe all the time? Since most of this attraction is far away from us, and the farther from us the more there is, could this bear on the expansion rate of the universe? Just wondering.

[ Hi Paul. Thanks for visiting. Those are great questions - I sure don't have high enough brain octane to answer them. As far as black holes are concerned, I think people in the future will laugh themselves silly that scientists really believed in the things back in the 20th century (and beyond). DS]

Yeah, I think people at all times in history have thought they had a solid grasp on what was really going on, only to be shown by the passage of time that they had it all wrong. Except now today. Today we think we really DO have it all worked out and just a few details remain. What is amazing to me today is that the internet allows one to examine a topic broadly and discover that we really don't have a clue after all. Things like the age of the universe and what happened to Neanderthal man - the discrepancies and bouncing around of current wisdom is hilarious. You are correct that the future will laugh at us. I enjoy laughing at us right now today! Good luck with your critical thinking in this beautiful strange universe!


Name: Jeffrey Stuart
Date: Apr 2005
Subject: Mr. Vernon

I enjoyed your tribute to Mr. Vernon. I grew up two doors down from him on Overbrook Lane [Bowie, Maryland] and he was always good to us kids. My best friend and I used to take some delight in pulling some pranks on "Old Harry". My favorite was loading up his back screen with locust shells while he was away on a long vacation. We must have had well over one hundred shells (maybe two hundred) on the screen in an attempt to make it appear as some sort of "plague-like" event that happened in his absence. His only remark upon seeing it was very much like him. He calmly replied, "I've never seen them so bad." Still makes me chuckle. Truly a nice man.

[ Yeah, it was funny the way Harry could take the wind out of your sails. At our Monday night scrabble club, Harry would bring in a boom-box so we could listen to the beautiful music on Washington's WGAY. One night I snuck in a tape I had made of WGAY programming, but near the end of the 45-minute side I had recorded some of the deadliest punk rock known to man. What a surprise when it got to that part of the tape - sounded like terrorists had broken into the studio and taken over! Well, some of the scrabblers found it quite humorous, but Harry calmly got up, went over to the machine, figured there was a tape in there, and switched over to radio. C'mon Harry, that was one of the funniest things I ever did! DS]

Name: Rex Gehlbach
Date: Mar 2005
Subject: guestbook entry

I stumbled across your web site while searching for guitar tab for Mozart. I enjoyed some of your pages about guitar. Then I bumped into your evolution page. Atheists feel they need to "prove" evolution to justify their views on religion. Creationists feel they need to "disprove" evolution to justify their views on religion. Religion is a hot topic and too often reason flys out the window. What neither group has figured out is that evolution and religion have nothing to do with each other. The largest group of Christians, the Catholic Church, teaches that creation and evolution are not at odds. God could have created Adam's body in 5 minutes or God could have set a process in motion that took 5 billion years to create Adam's body. Either way they believe God created man and then breathed spirit into Adam's body and that is a matter of faith, not science. So they do not worry about how Adam's body was made. They do not argue with real science. It has no bearing on their religion. (I agree with you that not all evolution theory is real science.) An entirely different matter is Adam's spirit. Here your interest in guitar might help. Only if we are created in the likeness of a being who can appreciate beauty can we then appreciate music or art or a sunrise. Only if we are created in the likeness of a creative being will we be creative and desire to create things like music which have nothing to do with feeding our physical bodies.

Rex Gehlbach

[ Good points, Rex, and nicely put, in my view. DS]

Name: Diane Hochheiser
Date: Mar 19 2005
Subject: Pondering Crossing Paths with Harry

It seems too simple to say that we're sorry to hear of Harry's fall and death. There's such a story behind that guy! Do you realize how blessed you are to have been part of his life? He was not a person who passed lightly through this life; he lived life to the fullest and that enriched the life of everyone who crossed paths with him. I really will be praying for you and Harry's other friends because his absence leaves a big hole in his loved ones' lives. He embraced life!

I remember spending a Sunday afternoon hiking along the river near our house with you and Harry. I think Mom and Daddy were with us and maybe a few other family members and friends. Harry made this path that we had walked along many times before seem like a great adventure! He was interested in everything that we told and showed him about the area. We started appreciating our own surroundings more because of his enthusiasm and spirit. During this hike you found a tuxedo shirt along a train trestle. I'm sure no one else that you will ever encounter at a black tie affair has such a story to tell about his shirt! Harry lost his glasses, (or two pairs, if I remember right) while climbing over or under a large fallen tree that was across the trail. I went back a couple of days later to try to hunt for them. To my surprise, they were hanging on the park signboard! Some other hiker had found them and attached them there. I left a note on the sign thinking that the finder would like to know that Harry was very happy to get his glasses back. Who would have ever thought we'd see those glasses again? Now that Harry is gone, I'll think of that pleasant day and be glad to have known him. God bless him.

Name: Rhoda Perry
Date: Mar 15 2005
Subject: Harry Vernon's memorial page

Don't know how to sign the guest book.....

but don that was a wonderful site for Harry.........

He'll be so missed.......

Thanks so much Don!

[ He sure was one of a kind. Guess the scrabble club'll be kinda normal without him, huh? DS]

Name: Bill Leary
Date: Apr 25 2004

you are a complete IDIOT!

Name: Henry T. Sauter
Date: Jan 29 2004

Dear Donald,

Good ideas.

Henry Sauter

[ All of 'em? Thanks! DS]

Name: Joel Tunnah
Date: Dec 4 2003
Subject: fantastic transcriptions

Thank you so much for putting together your web site. I've been using the Guerau tabs while trying to learn the Baroque guitar, and your site has been most helpful!

Name: Tucker Curley
Date: Nov 29 2003

I think this is probably the first guestbook I've ever bothered to sign, and I haven't seen a webpage that deserved it more than yours. [Thanks for finding me - I don't know how you did it with the billions of big-gun commercial pages out there. DS]

Name: Kylo Ginsberg
Date: Nov 26 2003
Subject: mnemonic ...

Hey, I liked your web page of words you've looked up recently. I was thinking of buying a dictionary for that purpose but I look up most words online these days. Latest entries: schadenfreude, uxorious. Both in the "sort of" known category.

Btw, mnemonic is not spelled nmemonic .... [Ooof! That's the last time I let Fido do my typing for me! The advantage of buying a dictionary is that you don't get pink highlighter all over your computer screen. DS]


Name: damian fish
Date: Mar 11 2003
Subject: Tablature?

I was looking at your site and it is great! All kinds of interesting topics. I noticed that you have a tablature section. Isn't tablature actually spelled tabulature? Just wondering if you noticed. [ Gave me a fright, there, Damian. I was all ready to buckle down and fix 327 "tabulature" pages, but then checked I my American Heritage dictionary. If they have it right, it's still "tablature". Whew! But thanks for keeping me on my toes! DS]

Name: apryl barnes
Date: Jan 18 2003
Subject: cool site

well i also looked around your site! it is too cool!! great fun!

Name: Christine Proskow
Date: Jan 2 2003

Funny! Delightful. It's been fun hanging around. Of course, you didn't help much with figuring out how to use the word 'chary'. But I probably needed a break anyway. [Chary of "chary", eh? Same as "wary". Give it a go! Who's gonna correct you? DS]

Name: Antoine J. Bachmann
Date: Dec 2 2002
Subject: enjoyed your home page on Geocities

Nothing more to say [about] your varied interests and how intelligently you write about them...

Name: Keith Bohleke
Date: Nov 26 2002
Subject: Rice Krinkles

Yes Donald, there is someone else in this world who loved Rice Krinkles as much as you did when you were a kid. If only they would make it again.

Name: Rainbow Sky
Date: Nov 25 2002
Subject: Water and Wine

Thanks, I've really enjoyed your web site. I originally found it through a search for Alonso Mudarra and am still poking through the corners.

Mike Mann

[ Mike also made an interesting observation on the "Water in the Wine" problem. See that page. DS]

Name: Gordon Walker
Date: Nov 13 2002
Subject: new game

Hello Donald,

I just read your article about modifying game rules. I couldn't agree more! I've been playing Trivial Pursuit since if first arrived on the scene, and never use the board.

I, myself, have created and produced a game which may interest you. I call my game "Take 5" and you can check out the web site at

The game falls into the category of "Get Together Games". Game play essentially consists of drawing a card, which asks all players to list 5 items, such as their "5 Favourite SCI-fi Movies" or "5 Favourite Board Games" etc...

This game has been play tested, over a number of years, by a VERY wide variety of people, and shows to have tremendous appeal. It is very "playable" and even those who say "I don't like playing games" enjoy it...

It was fun reading your article, and I intend to explore a little further.

Keep on gaming,
Gordon Walker

Name: David Bonner
Date: Oct 14 2002
Subject: opera and stuff

Awhile back, I was searching the internet... and I came upon your listing of Playboy at the Opera. My first thought, of course, was: Hey, it's ABOUT TIME that somebody indexed Playboy for opera references!

Then, today, I happened to do a search... and found myself at your opera discography. This time I pursued your website further, and eventually realized: Hey, this is the guy who opera-indexed the Playboys!

Anyway, while I haven't yet examined the entire contents of the site, I do heartily endorse your football plans. [That makes two of us! DS]

David Bonner
San Antonio TX (across the street from the University of the Incarnate Word)

Name: joseph starr
Date: Oct 14 2002

Hello Donald :

Your website is nothing less than FABULOUS !!


P.S. Which guitar top do you prefer , spruce or cedar and why ? [Cedar, cuz it looks cooler! DS]

Name: Brandon Dennis
Date: Sep 25 2002

Just wanted to let you know I glanced through your site and thought it was great. Maybe that we seem to think alike on some issues. I'm not sure if that means I'm smart or insane.

Am I enjoying your ideas because I agree entirely or because I've said such before? Am I enjoying the fruits of your sometimes hard-won knowledge and saying 'Wow, that's what I've been looking for! A recipe for Ice Water... A way to eat mixed vegetables! How'd all these cookbooks miss that one?'

Anyway, I guess you've answered a lot of the things I figured I was going to have to spend another 20 years learning through experience... It'll give me more time to practice the guitar.


Name: Susan Harrington
Date: Sep 19 2002

I love your website. You should add to your job wants "setting up websites". [ How's this: "Web page designer - for people with some lingering sense of "too much is too much", will convert your ugly, annoying website to text only!" DS] I'm planning to launch one soon, and when it grows up, I want it to look like yours! [ Looking forward to your brain dump! DS]


Name: deana zielinski
Date: Sep 14 2002

Hey man,

It's sites like yours that make the web a cool place to hang out in. I never would have thought of that ice water thing, but it works great. Thanks also for the lute tablature, which is actually how I ended up stumbling upon your little empire to begin with. I promise I'll try the raisins in my brownies soon...


deana z
rochester ny

Name: kim mataya
Date: Sep 5 2002

I enjoyed your web site, you have a fine sense of humor and justice.

Thank you,
a lover of music with minimal real talent (Kim)

Name: Len Verrett
Date: Aug 28 2002

I found your web site for the first time today - very cool! I am quite intrigued by the Library of Congress sheet music. Also, I run a couple of classical guitar web sites, including "The Early Romantic Guitar, 1770-1850" ( [ Impressive site! DS]

Name: Cristi Ann Cave
Date: Aug 12 2002

The Tired Light Theory? And I thought I just developed that theory all by myself a couple of months ago! (That with an education in fisheries biology). Dagnabbit. Was reassuring nevertheless to read all your points, which were my points as well. :-) [ I know the feeling - I thought I had thought up tired light! And there were about 4 or 5 other "original" ideas of mine which the web claims had already been thunk by somebody else. The web is great - but very humbling! DS]

Name: Mark W. Harris
Date: Jul 6 2002

I would just like to say that I really enjoyed what I read on your website. The page on puzzles particularly interested me. I can see that you put an awful lot of work into it. Anyway all the best.

Name: Lee
Date: Jul 10 2002
Re: The Fermi Paradox - An overview of published thoughts

Great article, very clear and concise. I've thought about this off and on for a couple of years, if extraterrestrials really exist and, if they do, why haven't we found them... Overall given the nature of the universe and the way scientist understand it, the hope of contacting alien life is a pipe-dream. The fact is if alien contact where possible it would already have happened -- sort of like time travel to the past. Unless one chooses to dabble in pseudoscience and believe in UFOs, researchers are not likely to find any intelligent beings on other planets now or, in the future. But, of course I could be wrong though not very likely.

Just my two cents. Again great article.

Name: Vickus van Zyl
Date: Jul 8 2002

Nice and interesting site, kept me out of work for at least an hour.

Vickus van zyl
Pretoria, South africa

[ Whew, you all read fast in South Africa, or else... (I shudder at the alternative.) DS]

Name: Chuck Bergh
Date: Jun 20 2002
Subject: great site

I enjoyed thumbing through your site. I don't remember what I Googled to get there, but I'm glad I visited. Like you, I'm an engineer/technical person who loves education - I volunteer a significant amount of my not-so-free time to encourage middle school and high school girls to get into math and science. Really it's all about making those topics interesting, hands-on, and accessible.

Chuck Bergh
Jet Propulsion Lab

Name: Deborah Sauter
Date: Jun 14 2002

Hi there Donald,

Your letter about litter in Prince George's is the most brilliantly funny piece I've seen in memory. How can we market you? [ That's what I've been trying to figure out. DS (brother to above)]

Name: Richard Bowman
Date: Nov 26 2001
Subject: Rice Krinkles

I have great memories of the Rice Krinkles breakfast cereal. Coming from a family of four boys - it was a big deal as to which cereals Mom would get for the week during her weekly shopping trip. Taste was a major issue, but the toys and offers also had to be considered. Though I naturally gravitated towards the chocolate-flavored cereals (Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Krispies, etc.), I definitely had a thing for Rice Krinkles. Why did Post ever stop making it?

I've mentioned this to others (even my brothers), and I'm the only one who seems to have fond memories of such a fine cereal. I'm glad I've found someone else with the same memory.

Rick Bowman
West Valley City, Utah

Name: James Borley
Date: Nov 23 2001

Donald: ...just huge! I will need more time to delve into it. Looks so interesting though; will get back with you... Really enjoy the sections on Spanish Baroque, especially Sanz and Mudarra. My love is the guitar and my hope is to play it well; thanks for helping in that regard. Best wishes, Jim

Name: palmer.g
Date: Oct 10 2001

Many thanks for your excellent website. I came across Fermi's Paradox by accident while looking for something else and became enthralled. Yours was the clearest of all explanations and presentations of the arguments for and against little green men, for want of a better word.

Name: Joseph Wellen
Date: Oct 10 2001

My God Son!!!!!

You spent some hefty time plotting this out! I really appreciate you using the internet for what I always thought it's intended use is - to communicate with people all over the place with more viewpoints and opinions. It's nice not to see just a whole bunch of crap on here for once. I respect your opinions. Anyway, fantastic job - Joe. [Nice to meet someone who agrees that the web is about ideas. DS]

Name: Paul Hunter
Date: Oct 10 2001

What an amazing resource!

I found your page after looking for sources of public domain guitar pieces. I'm sorry but I haven't really read all of your page properly yet, but I suppose there's no way to actually find hard copy of all these pieces [all in one place] is there? [ Yep, right in my living room. I copied the music for my own recreation, but I'd be glad to make it available to anyone for cheap. Just ask. DS]

Best regards
Paul Hunter

Name: Don R. Jennings
Date: Sep 2001

My God, I can't believe you did all that research!! Why?! [What "research"? Was fun, I guess. DS]

Name: Robert Hade
Date: Aug 2001
Comments: Jansch, Renbourn, Pentangle is the best music.

Name: Annofhearts
Date: Mar 2001
Subject: la folia

he wishes the memory
is he in a dream? where is she? the wind blows. ice pellets in springtime.
the wind swirls. curls. wild.
she is gray. she is black. she is a swan in a cloud. she is the breeze
that kisses his eyes. she is a memory from long ago.
she does not exist. she never did.
he weeps for her. he weeps for a desire. he realizes not for whom he weeps.....
he loves her. he always has. he always will...he is in love with a dream

ann of hearts

[ For me??? DS]


Contact Donald Sauter: send an email; view guestbook; sign guestbook.
Back to Donald Sauter's main page.
Rather shop than think? Please visit My Little Shop of Rare and Precious Commodities.
Back to the top of this page.

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