>MISSING APA-Q #419
>ACCESSING MY WEBSITE
He is modifying the ENTROPY page for the sake of those who do not have a modern browser.
>TIMEBINDERS IS BACK
>HOW MACHO CAN YOU GET?
>THE THING IN ANTARCTICA
The other two incidents discussed in this interview were much more specific on how very small events could have a very profound effect on history. Before the battle of Anthetum Lee had sent "command #191" to a subordinate wrapped around three cigars and the courier lost the bundle. A Union sargent found the bundle, realized its importance, and passed it up the chain of command until it got to General McLellan who was able to position his forces so as to best stop the attack. The historian said that both France and England were looking for a major rebel victory in order to have an excuse to recognize them and help run the blockade. Had Lee won this battle the rebels would have had this support and the whole war could have gone differently. Is this really true? I thought the South was foredoomed because it did not have an industrial base. That reminds me, recently I read that in desperation the rebels were contemplating arming blacks to fight on their side. Could the blacks have been sufficiently harassed by white officers to fight effectively? Would any have wanted to fight for their masters? [A few days later--on 28 March I happened to overhear part of a bio of Queen Victoria that Sandy was watching on the History Channel, and the narrator said that a high British official (the Prime Minister?) wanted to enter on the side of the Confederacy but was dissuaded from doing so.]
Finally, Howell spoke of an incident in 1889. buffalo bills "Wild West Show" was touring Europe and one act featured Annie Oakley shooting the tip off of a cigar in the mouth of a volunteer from the audience. In one show the volunteer was the new Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and she had a hangover. Had she accidentally killed or incapacitated him, his brother Heinrich was next in line, and Heinrich was a very dull navy officer who would never have driven Germany to arm or pursued the very aggressive policies over the next quarter century setting the stage for WWI.
I would really like to get a copy of the full article and read the details. Now THAT was a conference which would have a lot of ideas for Turtledove and other alternate historians. John, would the Brooklyn College library have this journal? If so, could you please make me a copy of the article on one of your visits?
We then took the subway to Harvard Square where we looked for used books. I wanted to go east on Mass Ave., towards Kendall Sq., but ended up on Brattle St. instead where we found a large bookstore with a literary pun in its name. Was it Words Worth? I don't remember. After that I wanted to find the Starr Bookshop nearby on St. Alban St. which I remembered from my sighted days. I had failed to find it on my last visit with Stanley last summer but asked directions at Words Worth. They assured me it was right around the corner but despite extensive back & forthingwe never did find it. In disgust we returned to Harvard Sq. walking along St. Albans. At the end of the street we went into a mall remodeled from a parking garage where all the shops are on the outside of a helical path you walk up. We had a snack and hit some book and comic shops before heading back to Attleboro. Sunday we had lunch in a very nice family restaurant, walked around town to see what there is to be seen, and drove home. We will be back and next time I hope to have a chance to meet with Dick Plotz whom I have not seen in MANY years and who works nearby.
Also I would like to try to find out if the bookshops I used to patronize in Boston in my sighted days still exist. When Boskones were at the Statler Hilton (now Park Plaza) I used to walk about 4 blocks east and one...north? to the Essex Deli where I had an excellent pastrami sandwich for lunch. (Charlie Brown had originally recommended this place, remembering it from his Navy days.) Nearby were three excellent bookshops, another Starr, the Brattle Bookshop (which moved several times as redevelopment kept taking his locations away), and one whose name I have forgotten. It was across the street from a park, the Public Gardens? Do these places still exist? Can anyone give me directions for finding them if they do? Any other places I should look at? Oh, and near Starr was an excellent children's bookshop but it only had new books.
Friday night I had run into Ira Stoller but Marsha Jones was not with him because she had a cold coming on. Also they were to attend her sister Paula's 50th birthday next day and she was resting up for that. He hoped they would both be back Sunday, but if they were I didn't run into them.
There were many complaints about the programming of the con with people claiming the program chair was a Trekker and didn't know enough about literary stf. He had put the GoH speech in a room that only seated about 25 but this got fixed by others. Similarly, John & Perdita Boardman's fan GoH speech had been scheduled opposite the "meet the fans and pros" party but got moved to the end of it. As I said, at the party I met Octavia Butler for the first time and found her very interesting. John did a very creditable job of his speech, as did Octavia the next day. I have not gotten around to reading any of her stories before this but now want to try a couple of her books. She recommended DAWN as a good first book to try, but also said that KINDRED is available unabridged on commercial "spoken word" cassette. Since she is a MacArthur Fellow and known outside the SF community several of her books were done by the NLS (nat lib service for the blind & handicapped) including KINDRED, PARABLE OF THE SOWER, and a short story collection.
She had a number of interesting things to say. For instance, "...something I noticed in most writers who are radically committed, it doesn't matter what they are committed to, is that they tend to run the risk of two pitfalls. Either they get too smug or they get too bitter...one thing I see all the time, and it doesn't matter if it's a military novel by someone like Jerry Pournelle or a feminist novel by somebody like Sherry Tepper, is that you get what I call 'clay pidgins,' you know who all the good guys and all the bad buys are, and the bad guys aren't people at all but clay pidgins in the shooting gallery...I tend to find good guys and bad guys very boring." "After the Soviet Union dissolved we get THE X FILES which is basically one long conspiracy. I guess we miss them." She was working on her third book, SURVIVOR, when the realized she HAD to write KINDRED, a time travel story about a black woman being sent back to the pre-civil war South. She had never done historical research which she had to do for this book. She sold SURVIVOR prematurely for cash, bought a Greyhound Ameripass, and took off for Maryland. When she finished the book she had a dreadful time selling it. Fifteen publishers rejected it before a small one took it on, and then it sold more than anything she ever wrote. The big publishers said it fit in no category and they couldn't market it. Now it is required reading in some black studies courses . And this IS the book which was put on spoken word cassette.
She has let SURVIVOR go out of print and will not allow it to be reissued because it was not finished and has major flaws. "One things I did...that I really hate; I have a group of humans go up to another world and immediately begin mateing with the locals and producing progeny. It's kind of STARTREKY, you know, you go off to the other side of the galaxy and start mating with people and having children. Sure you do. You probably would do better mating with grasshoppers. And I have them doing that. In order to have them doing that you really have to plant something pretty serious. STAR TREK tried but I think failed to portray an ancient race that planted its seed all over the universe, or all over the galaxy at least. That's why I mentioned the grasshopper. If it planted its seed here and life sprang from it, then what we have here, well, the grasshopper isn't a people, and the earthworms and the horses and the cows. I think since we can't mate with the grasshoppers we wouldn't be able to mate with the descendants of that species on some other world. What I needed to do in SURVIVOR was provide for some human beings to have gotten there before. There would have been some changes [with time] but they would be fairly minor changes, no greater than the changes that have been made with the isolation on different continents here on earth."
A pair of books, THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER and THE PARABLE OF THE TALEN, deal with the CREATION OF A NEW RELIGION. It was so expensive to go to the moon and we had our competition with the Soviets to drive us on, and then we abandoned the gains in technology and retreated. Mars would cost so much more, she wondered what it would take to get us there. The heroine "wanted to throw humanity into space, she wanted to get us going on our adulthood." Only a religion would be a strong enough motivation to get mankind off the earth to stay. "We needed to have one irrational thing become the reason for another." Octavia needed a strong character who had a mission and would not give up until she is dead, and selected Saddam Hussain as a model. "I had a character who had to do something that was just about impossible. This is a woman. She is black. She is poor. She's not terribly well educated. She really has no resources except her own obsession...I made her feel about the religion that she is creating the way I feel about writing. I've given up writing hundreds of times, the way people give up cigarettes." I have just received PARABLE OF THE SOWER from the talking book library, and TALENS will not be published until next winter.
Perdita was not feeling well so we left the con Sunday shortly after noon. Since the new NIEKAS was not ready and it was four years since the last ish I did very little business at the huck table. I did sell several copies of the Moskowitz autobiography and got a new sub. That night John read me several newspaper stories and about a quarter of the APA, but he was not feeling well and we got no more done. One story was about a special residence in Manhattan for blind persons with all sorts of amenities like banisters along the hallways, everything painted in high contrast for the low vision legally blind, and specially equipped kitchens. Marked appliances and thermostats are handy but most blind people can do this for themselves, and many of the other amenities might be useful for elderly blind who are also suffering from conditions like arthritis. However the story said many of the residents were of working age and employed, but were upset because they were going to lose their house parents who did all sorts of things for them. Having someone to read bills, bank statements is decidedly helpful. Before Sandy & I were married I hired readers to help me with paperwork. People like John Boardman who voluntarily read for us are GREATLY appreciated and needed. However independent blind persons, like those in the NFB, chafe at the concept of special segregated housing with coddling modifications and houseparents as custodial. We ARE dependent on others and appreciate the help, but still want our own lives.
Next day Sandy wasn't feeling well so John and I went into Manhattan alone to the book shops. We found nothing at Rose's, a general used bookshop, and went on to Al Zimmerman's SCIENCE FICTION, MYSTERY, & MORE. His lease is running out and he will have to move soon, and has not been able to find an affordable new location. He is not buying new stock and is trying to sell off as much as possible in order to reduce what he will have to move or, worst case, put into storage. A few weeks later he started a "buy 3, get one free" sale as we saw in the flyer in APA-Q 418. We again lunched at the TRIBECA restaurant across the street and tried their "white kilbasa." This turned out to be what I knew as fresh or unsmoked kilbasa and was excellent. They also had an outstanding dessert whose name was exotic but is forgotten. It was a very thin chocolate shell filled with a custard or something like that and a very wet cake. While we were eating John read me a book review in that day's NEWSDAY of A SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE by Ronald Wright. The time travel yarn sound like good stf with good literary qualities so I added it to my want list.
After lunch we walked north and found nothing at the mundane Soho Bookshop and went on to the SF SHOP where I picked up several used titles. From there to Balducci's for some Italian pastries to bring home for sharing and on to FORBIDDEN PLANET. I got a copy of the old MAD _comic_ book, reissued three to a volume, to show my son Stanley the MAD I remember. We finished at the STRAND bookshop where a clerk who had seen me at Lunacon was VERY helpful. They have a small SF section which was unproductive, but I had the clerk help me search for some mundane titles I was looking for Anne Braude and myself, including phoning up to the rare book room upstairs, but to no avail. I want a copy of Asimov's GUIDE TO GILBERT & SULLIVAN at used book prices (new is $50), among other things. She told me that the half- priced review books were now in the basement, shelved by author. I did find a copy of A SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE. What surprised me was that it had a 1997 copyright. Why had NEWSDAY waited until now to review it?
Next day we only went to the "Eagle" Polish market on 5 Ave., Brooklyn, near 18 St., where I bought some Lithuanian rye bread and cheese babka, both from the Lithuanian bakery in Elizabeth NJ, to bring home for Easter. I also tried a piece of Polish rye bread which was very similar to the Lithuanian bread. When in Chicago I had purchased several breads from the Baltic Bakery, namely Latvian, Lithuanian, and Polish rye, and a Lith.. bread called "brick" which is a very dense, grainy, pumpernickel. There I had liked all but the Polish.
Since Perdita still wasn't feeling well I bought some unsmoked kilbasa and another loaf of Lith. bread, and when we got back John picked up locally a small head of cabbage and four potatoes. I prepared dinner for the four of us by puncturing the kilbasa and setting it in boiling water with the potatoes for an hour. Shortly before it was done I threw in the cabbage which I had cut into small chunks. It came out excellently, even if I say so myself, the potatoes and cabbage having taken on the taste of the kilbasa. Smoked kilbasa need only be brought up to eating temp, but the unsmoked has to be cooked for an hour. This kilbasa was the best I have ever had. I have bought it from various Lith. markets in the Chicago area and various Polish and German markets in Brooklyn, and even from a Polish market in Laconia, but none matched this. I don't know whether it was a freak or theirs is always that good, but I will stock up on my next visit to NY!
One of my book purchases had been Bruce Arthur's OLYMPUS which contains Anne Braude's second pro sale. I still haven't had her first, in Norton's CATFANTASTIC, read to me though I sent it to Vacaville ages ago. I had hoped John would do the honors but he still had a sore throat.
Next day Perdita drove us to Penn Station where we caught the 1 PM train back to Boston. We ate a light lunch in the Club Car and had dinner in South Station at the food court. Bus to Concord, drive north, and we were home at 9 PM. We were greeted by a very hungry and annoyed cat. Toni Piper had last fed him on Monday and that should have been enough, but he was bored being alone and finished all his kibble early. Looking forward to next year's Lunacon and NY visit, and if things go right we will be back for something or another before that. >HOLLYWOOD AND THE BLIND (cont.)
Well, MAGOO has come and gone. I heard that it was a flop and was withdrawn after a week but am not sure of this. Can any reader verify this? I understand some 40 movies opened for the Christmas season and it was simply lost in the flood. Has anyone seen any newspaper or TV reviews? Did it get reviewed at all? I heard no mention of it on the NPR news magazines I listen to.
Of course if it WAS a flop the NFB had nothing or little to do with that. What we did get was several visits to national headquarters by Disney executives who now better understand blind persons and their concerns. And we got a message on the screen at the end of the movie, more than we had hoped for. The statement said something to the effect that this was not intended to portray the capabilities or actions of a real blind or visually impaired person. The full quote was given in a recent BRAILLE MONITOR and if I can find it I will give it. Meanwhile, the next time Disney wants to consider a blind character they will know where to come for consultation.
Meanwhile, the latest notice I received from NFB headquarters, dated 12 March, said that some Warner officials came to headquarters with the almost final cut of QUEST FOR CAMELOT for feedback on the portrayal of the blind character. Mr. Maurer said, "...the characterization of blindness in that film is quite well done." This sort of thing, realistic portrayal and consultation to be sure of the accuracy, was one of our principal goals in the Magoo fracas.
>NEWS OF ELLIOTT SHORTER
Date: 21 Mar 1998 18:25:02 GMT
Elliot is in the hospital with a leaky heart valve that seems to be getting worse. They are currently giving him tons of tests to decide on a course of action. And last night, about 10:30, he had a double bypass operation, which seems to have been successful. More details as they come in. From: [email protected]
Word is, El is out of the hospital, back home in Providence, and went down to the local rib place first thing. *sigh*
Also, Brian Thurston's comments reference Star Trek IV and he indicates Kirk didn't understand money--no, Kirk clearly understands money--he goes in to an antique shop and sells his reading glasses first thing to generate some funds for the expedition. He doesn't know whether the offered $100 is "a lot" of money or not (which seems reasonable, when you consider how quickly $100 went from being a very large sum of money to a pretty paltry one) but that doesn't indicate a lack of understanding. I wonder if Brian was referring to Spock's question, "what does it mean, 'exact change only'?" when they disembarked the first bus. As the scene cuts to them riding on a bus, clearly they quickly overcame that obstacle, too. Stay well,
From: [email protected] Subj: LOST STORY Dear Ed,
I work a few minutes' walk from Stanley in North Attleboro. Do you ever come down to visit? Regards, Dick [Sounds a bit like Fred Pohl's "A Tunnel Under the World" but there, if I remember, the subjects of the experiment turn out to be miniature robots. Dick didn't think that was what he was looking for. Any other suggestions?--ERM]
From: [email protected] Subj: ENGLISH TO REPLACE
[When I got this letter the speech synthesizer on my computer had a hard time, and I did not pick up on the humor, especially of the switch to German spelling at the end. To get it I had to have the computer spell each word. For the first few lines I thought it was serious but it grew more bizarre as I listened. At first it reminded me of an article in ASTOUNDING around 1950, "Mayhem in ce Klasrum" or something like that, proposing radical spelling reform. That author, too, would have replaced C by S and K, but then used it for the TH sound. I also remember an article in the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE about 30 years ago suggesting English words written in the kyrilik alphabet as a world language, as an east-west compromise and because of English's insane spelling.--ERM]
[The following came in response to my piece on electric deregulation. The writer is familiar with some, but not all, aspects of the situation and does not wish to be held responsible for his/her remarks. While there might be some minor errors I think the remarks are important for the bulk of the details so I am publishing her/his remarks without attribution--ERM] Dear Ed:
In response to your note, let me see if I can lay the PSNH matter out fairly clearly. Please note also that my comments are just that: my comments. As such, they are intended only to clarify the issues for you rather than to be used as quotes, etc. I emphasize this because my area of focus is not electrical restructuring, and while I have kept up to some extent on restructuring, I am not involved in that particular fray.
There are two primary issues in electrical restructuring insofar as PSNH.
First is the matter of divestiture--the sale of the Company's generating assets. These assets are represented by all of the non-nuclear generating plants the Company owns. (Nobody apparently wants the nukes.) As part of restructuring, the Company will divest itself of these assets, probably at auction, which should act to determine the actual market value of the assets via an arms-length third party bidding process. There are potential problems with this concept of arms- length asset valuation if PSNH affiliate companies in the Northeast Utilities system are allowed full freedom of action in this bidding process.
One of these problems relates to market-power. If NU and its subsidiaries or any other single entity ends up with a significant percentage of the generating assets in the Northeast electric pool, and is thus able to control the market, there will not be a valid free market.
Another potential concern relates to a distortion of the market value of the plants. If a few entities or a single entity is able to control the auction in one way or another, it could be possible to distort the determination of market value by either over-bidding or under-bidding. I really don't want to dive much deeper into this pool, other than to point out that there may be problems associated with the process of market-value determination, and it is important, therefore, that the rules of the auction be structured in such a way as to prohibit control of the process or the end- market by a single entity or a few entities.
The more important aspect for our discussion is the interaction of the proceeds from the sale of assets and the amount PSNH is permitted to recover in the other primary concern, the settlement issue. This issue is the matter of a financial settlement relating to the so-called "stranded costs". Stranded costs are those costs which the Company has incurred, but which the Company's ability to recover through customer rates has been hindered or deferred. With restructuring and the introduction of rates determined by full competition (rather than by regulatory body), the Company will theoretically lose the ability to recover these deferred costs via increased prices, hence the costs will be stranded--i.e. become financial orphans without means of recovery except in a financial settlement as part of the restructuring process.
The Company has approximately 241 billion in stranded costs on its books, and is seeking to recover as much of that sum as possible in the settlement. Its proposal involves floating a 241 billion bond issue secured by the electric rates to be paid by customers over a period of time, i.e. 15 years. Since it is not customary to use utility revenues as collateral, in order to provide this type of security, the Company will require the NH legislature to pass a law allowing it to pledge future revenues to securitize the bonds.
Should the legislature pass such a law, and should PSNH float such a bond issue, the ratepayers of the Company will become the guarantors of the debt required to buy out PSNH's stranded costs. There a couple of issues here (actually more than a couple). First, the full sum of the settlement, whether that be 241 billion or a lesser amount, will be received by PSNH in cash. Since virtually all of the stranded costs represent sunk costs (costs which have already been paid for), PSNH will suddenly be very cash rich. Where would one suppose that cash would eventually reside--in PSNH or would it be forwarded to NU? Anyone observing PSNH and NU over any time frame at all would probably anticipate that NU would end up being the cash rich company (to the benefit of customers and stockholders outside of New Hampshire) while the ratepayers of New Hampshire end up very firmly holding the bag containing 15 years worth of debt.
Another issue is that of exit fees. If the required legislation falls into place, the bond issue is floated, and PSNH gets its money, the bond holders will be secured by the rates you and I pay. What happens if, for example, someone invents a small renewable energy generator at a reasonable price that I want to install, rather than continue to pay an electric company? Since my monthly electric rate payments are securing the bonds, I might be required to pay an exit fee for the "right" to terminate my association with PSNH and provide my own power. How much would this exit fee be? If it were related somehow to the amount of debt I had personally secured in the PSNH settlement, it could be fairly hefty--perhaps too hefty for me to do anything other than remain a captive ratepayer. While this may not be terribly realistic for an individual residential ratepayer, it can and will become a factor in the electric market for business, as 3 or 4 megawatt generators become more cost efficient in relation to purchased power. (These generators are already available at 2.4 million each, and the price should be coming down over the next few years.)
New issue: Where will PSNH collect the securitized fees? Since PSNH will no longer have generating assets, the cost of buying out PSNH's stranded costs will become part of the Transmission and Distribution Fee portion of our power bill. (We will still all have the same power company, insofar as T&D; only the power provider--the power generator--is susceptible to change as we move to competition.) This portion of the T&Dfee, or wire charges, will be fixed for the period of the debt, so if there is a high dollar settlement, i.e. 241 billion, we can all plan on the T&D charge being set at a high rate--
for a long, long time. And, since the actual power generation portion of our bills is relatively small, +/- 20%, versus almost 80% for transmission, distribution and stranded costs, our negotiations with power providers will, in actuality, have very little impact on our overall electric bill. When taking into account the impact the stranded cost settlement will have on our electricity cost for a long time to come, it becomes obvious that the size of that settlement becomes very important.
Finally, we come to interaction between the sale of the generating assets and the settlement. If the settlement is finalized at 241 billion, and PSNH is able to sell off its non-nuclear generating assets at say 24100 or 200 million over cost, what happens to that 24100 or 200 million profit? PSNH will have already received its 241 billion, and now because it owned the assets, does it retains the right to retain the profits from the sale of those assets? There have been discussions about this issue, some of which say PSNH should retain 100% of the profits, others say the Company should get none of the profits. (Another big issue could be: where do you think that money will go--to Connecticut? Again, could well be.) It is entirely possible, when all is said and done, that New Hampshire ratepayers will be saddled with the huge debt, 241 billion, will receive absolutely no benefit from the profits from the sale of assets, and see any benefits of additional cash in the economy flow to ratepayers and stockholders outside the state. Rather, I would like to see a settlement significantly lower than 241 billion--something perhaps in the 24600 million neighborhood, with some rational split, perhaps 50/50, between the Company and ratepayers of any stranded costs remaining after reducing the remaining 24500 million by the full application of the gains on the sale of the non-nuclear plants. A rationale for this type of split is that we, as ratepayers, have already paid for a significant portion of each of the generating plants in rates as well as a return on that investment to the Company. The split should reflect that fact.
We stand an excellent chance, Ed, that New Hampshire will end up like California. The utilities there were very well connected, and it was expedient to give them 100% of their stranded costs. Securitization became law, bond issues were sold, and the utilities collected their money. The result is that the T&D portion of ratepayers' bills received a credit of .6 cents per kwh on their bills for moving to competition and a new charge of .7 cents per kwh for securitization. Quite a deal for the ratepayer, huh? There is currently a movement underway--which may not get too far-- to repeal securitization and reverse the move to competition. As a matter of fact, it most probably won't get too far, because the bonds have been sold and the utilities paid. What earthly reason would the utilities have to reverse this very profitable process? The answer, obviously, is absolutely none.
In view of the long-term impacts on each ratepayer, it is obviously to our benefit that any agreement with PSNH be fair, rational, well thought out, and well understood by all concerned. It is entirely possible to present a deal whereby there are instant rate reductions based solely on moving the stranded costs from a potential return-earning item on PSNH's books at 12%, to a debt item at 6 or 7% interest. That, unfortunately, is a false, quickly reversible reduction. (I don't particularly want to go into a long dissertation here on why that's so, so I'll ask that you trust me. This is a false reduction which will cost us much more in the long haul that it ever pretends to save.) My hope, one that every ratepayer should have, is that this will not become a political football, used only for short-term gain. It would be a shame to agree to a settlement just because it might provide instant, politically popular rate savings--only to have ratepayers pay significantly higher prices for a much longer period beginning only a few years down the road.
Hopefully, in this long missive, I have managed to present the situation so that it is a little clearer. This is a big deal. It has big implications for each of us and it has big implications for the ongoing financial health of our state. As such, it is important that each of us understand it well enough to explain it to the next guy if we have the opportunity, so that if there are questions in our collective minds, we can get them resolved before a settlement and before we get locked into a long-term commitment we may not want.
~COMMENTS ON APA-Q (Robert E Sacks). Did I understand you correctly that in England only the son of a king or a king's son is a prince, while on the continent it can be the son of any prince, the difference being that in Europe the great grandson of a king is a prince, but not in England?
~DAGON (John Boardman). While I was in NY you read a piece from the NY TIMES about Stephen Hawkings, and near the end it discussed the apparent acceleration in the expansion of the universe. Gravity should be slowing it down, so a "negative pressure" must be there to accelerate it, perhaps due to the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum state. Why is this pressure negative? As Hawkings said, negative pressure would be tension. As I see it, tension would pull things together, while POSITIVE pressure would push them apart.  Hawking's speculations about real and imaginary time as two separate dimensions makes me think of Heinlein's NUMBER OF THE BEAST with its three time dimensions to match the three space dimensions. I found my mind bent by his speculation that the universe could be open if looked at along one time dimension and closed if looked at along the other. Is this imaginary time related to the number "i?" Does this make possible values of v>c in the Lorentz equations? I doubt it and expect the imaginary time simply refers to another axis without any reference to i.
As you noticed Brian Thurston has dropped out of APA Q because he spends so much tine behind a computer at work that he doesn't have the energy to do so for the APA in order to write something. However he does still read for me, He asked me to pass on the following since you had been interested in his remarks on related matters. The World Wrestling Federation has hired Mike Tyson to be a guest referee for a special match on pay for view TV in March. He wanted to wrestle, but at least they didn't let him do that. Also Brian said they have hired Pete Rose to be the guest ring announcer. Now, Brian says, all they have to do is hire Tanya Harding for timekeeper and Marv Albert to be guest commentator.
I very much like your comment "About 30 or 40 nations are ruled by people like Saddam Hussein; are we going to overthrow all of them?"  I was croggled by your statement that more Vietnam vets died by suicide after the war than were killed in the war itself.  Thank you for giving the values of the measurements given in the book LEGENDS OF THE BIBLE. For the benefit of ENTROPY readers not in APA-Q I will reprint your comments at the end of the zine.  You complained that Mordechai Houseman quit APA-Q because he didn't want to read criticisms of his beliefs. Is there any difference between this and your threat to forward Eney & Rollins letters unopened to each other because you don't want to read them?  I, too, knew and liked the late Seth Johnson. But I am positive that Deindorfer's FANDI was supposed to be Seth. Like Seth he was good-hearted and naive, was an avid N3Fer, and sold icecream from a wagon to earn a living. I think Fandi also wore a hearing aid like Seth. It is many years since I saw FANDI, which was brilliantly done, but at the time it was obvious to me that the target was Seth.  I was very interested in your history of "marines" in world military in your review of STAR FIST. I knew that marines were soldiers transported on ships but didn't know just how they originated. In analogy, had the air force been an independent service in WWII, and not a division of the army, paratroopers could have been called "airines" or something like that. It is very interesting that there was a hiatus in the existence of US marines for almost two decades after the rebellion against the British and they were re- established only in 1798. I am, however, puzzled by your reaction to this book. Aren't you in favor of armed government agents, FBI, secret service, ATF, or whatever, squashing "loose cannon" militias? Again, wouldn't the "green corn war" have been a good thing since it was in opposition to the US entering WWI where it had no business? I love your reprinted BEETLE BAILEY strip where Sarge ends up saying, after someone on the target range shot at a stray rabbit, "...remember guns are for killing people."  You said the comic MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN is back. I have vague memories of him who I occasionally read in the '40s, but some of my memories of ancillary characters might be confused with THE Phantoms hangers on. I do remember a black in a leopard skin but before reading your piece would have been more likely to associate him with PHANTOM. Anyhow, I seem to remember Mandrake raising a want shaped like a wire with a hexagon at the end of it, which glowed while he said "mazda." I don't remember what this was supposed to do. On reflection I gather he was calling on a Zoroastrian god, though I didn't know that at the time. Someone, Westinghouse?, also used Mazda then as a trade name for light bulbs. It is too long since I read anything substantial about Zaroastraism to remember who Mazda was supposed to be.  Your remark about agents from Mainland China being arrested for trying to sell body parts of executed "criminals" on the black market reminds me of some Larry Niven stories where a minor infraction is punished by taking a part of your body which is then sold on the open market. Further free association reminds me of a Malzberg story in the April, 1998, ASIMOV. The Disney corporation makes an animated film about the "Thousand Mile March" with Chairman Mao played by a panda, and as part of the marketing Disney opens a chain of oriental fast food eateries called "Panda Pagodas" featuring as a logo the Mao panda. In this hilarious story, "The Year of the Mouse," the Disney corporation forces china to open up to the corporation, with several new Disneylands, showing the film, and opening the restaurants in China itself.  You mentioned various inflammatory stories used to raise a war fever here and abroad, such as the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor through the Iraqi dumping of Kuwaiti babies from incubators. As you said, the Spanish would have been stupid to destroy the Maine in Havana. I gather that the current belief is that the explosion was an accident due to a faulty boiler. As for the US's unwarranted entry into WWI, Randolph Hurst had been trying to work up a fever in order to sell more papers and at the behest of the munitions makers, and grabbed the Lusitania incident as a rallying cry. I understand there have been persistent rumors that the British sank the ship themselves in order to move the States to come in on their side. Then when WWII started FDR tried to keep the US out. I understand that Irish patriots had tried to get the US in on the German side in order to weaken England and give them a chance to break for full independence. Unfortunately for them they failed. There was a strong pacifist movement in the US at the time and Pete Seeger, among others, sang anti-war songs to help keep the US out. While FDR publicly urged the US to keep out, there were rumors that his social programs after a decade were still not that successful in lifting us out of the depression, and he felt that the war could help our economy. Stories keep circulating that Japanese radio transmissions were intercepted and officials knew the attack was coming. The story is that the few modern US ships were out on maneuvers and only obsolete ships were destroyed by the attack. Of course this story is mostly pushed by conservative FDR haters so I don't know how much credence can be given to it. Again this brings up interesting questions of "what if." If the US hadn't entered the war, would the "Allies" still have won? Hitler started out with a strong lead but his irrational behavior led to many mistakes like the Russian campaign. Would his megalomania lead to his eventual destruction? And if he had won and conquered Europe, how would the post war period have progressed? Both he and Stalin were insane dictators who brooked no dissent. Both killed millions of civilians for arbitrary reasons. Would we have seen a "glasnost" in the Third Reich a generation after Hitler?
~QUOI**7 (Philip M. Cohen). about the difference between the two German CH sounds. I had taken two years of German in college in the mid '50s and one year of reading German in grad school a few years later. I had no talent for languages but when I vacationed in Germany for about 8 days in 1965 before going to Loncon II, I bought a pocket dictionary and tried to communicate. To prep myself whenever I wondered about something I tried to frame a question in my mind even if no one was around. Anyhow, I had only learned the hard guttural ch and when I tried to use it in "ich" I was corrected. At the time I had supposed it was only a different dialect from that spoken by my teacher, and am now interested to learn that it is normal to say the word almost as if it were "ish."  What do you designate by the cent sign and the cap. omegas scattered through your zine?  In your comment on HOW TOO #61 in Q 412 you spoke about the cancellation of the supercollider. Wouldn't that be the plight of the ohmless? (sorry about that, and I can't take credit for it. An engineer friend of mine in the NFB came up with it.)  Thank you for steering me clear of the Wild Card books. A brief review made them sound like they might be interesting but your description tells me I will not care for them.  Loved God's quality control questionnaire!  Thank you, too, for interpreting the archaic words and measures. So kine is plural of cow, not simply a kosher animal as seemed from the text. And halt is lame, not crippled or defective in general. You explained the origin of the first but not the second. Is it a loan word or an Anglo-Saxon word which has gone out of use like kine?
Shekhina is Hebrew for the divine radiance and is used in an abstract sense, unlike Hashbal which originally appears in a vision in Ezekiel I but now means electricity. Talent is a Greek measure, talaton, Hebrew kilka, was originally the weight a man in good health could be expected to carry for a day's journey. This makes about 30 kg or 66 pounds. This is still the usual weight for the backpack for most armies. A shekel was somewhere from 10 to 14 grams, between two and three times the weight of a nickel, and equals 4 Greek Drakmas or 1/6000 of a talent. [but that calculates to 5 grams--ERM]. As monetary these refers to weights of silver despite what you might encounter in a fantasy novel or game of D&D. Silver rather than gold was the usual coinage in ancient and medieval times. Parasang is the Persian unit of distance. Like many others it varied from one region to another, but is somewhere around 5.5 km or 3.5 miles. The same sort of variation in found in the old Germanic measurement, the ell, which could be anywhere from 90 to 110 cm (36 to 45 in). The cubit, Hebrew Ama, is the distance from the elbow to fingertips, about 20 in or half a meter. The ell may have originally been the same distance since ell is the same word as ulna. A stadium, Greek stadion, is about 60 m or 200 feet but this has also varied from place to place. [I understand that Columbus underestimated the distance to the orient because the length of a stadia was less in his time than when the Egyptian had calculated the size of the earth. ERM]
>THE FICTION OF L. RON HUBBARD
After devoting many years to Dianetics/Scientology he returned to his roots and wrote more genre fiction. His BATTLEFIELD got good reviews from People like Harlan Ellison, though I have not read it. His last published SF was his "decology," a ten volume space thriller. Again I have not read it, but it has received mostly unfavorable notice.
One reissue from Bridge was his pair SLAVES OF SLEEP/MASTERS OF SLEEP published like a hardcover Ace Double. Bridge sent me a review copy of the print book and tapes, but since the tapes were abridged I arranged for Volunteers of Vacaville to record the books for me. SLAVES is an excellent fantasy first published in UNKNOWN set in an Arabian Nights type of world. The gimmick was that when we sleep in this world we are awake in the other and vice versa, but a curse is put on our hero so he will remember the other world at all times. The sequel, unfortunately, had some good points but was a weak story with logical flaws. Also, it was written during the McCarthy paranoia which influenced it. Labor leaders are Commie Dupes who are out to sabotage our way of life. Also, psychiatrists are mad fiends who want to lobotomize all patients so they will be docile. I don't remember the details now, but the villain had some logical inconsistencies between the two worlds. Do read SLAVES, and since you will have it in the same volume, you might as well read MASTERS when you are bored and have nothing better to do.
I just got a flyer from Bridge for the first publication of a crime novel he did same time as BATTLEFIELD EARTH, AI! Pedrito!. I hope it will be good, and I am looking forward to seeing it. I am running the flyer as the last page of this zine.
Until next time, ... Ed Meskys
This is the text of the flyer which ended print copies of thish: The kind of action packed fun to read tale you would expect from the authors who brought you BATTLEFIELD EARTH and THE X FILES. AI! PEDRITO!, When Intelligence Goes Wrong. An original story by L. Ron Hubbard, novelized by Kevin J. Anderson. Coming this summer to a bookstore near you. (illo of man and woman with guns, and a computer keyboard in background.)
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