MIDDLE INCOME RICHARD'S
Third Millennium Almanack
An e-zine published every now and again
via the Internet, which should, in the coming
thousand years, save a few wads of paper
and spare a whole bunch of trees.
Vol. 1, No. 2, Mid-June
In the 1st year of the 21st century
(c) 2001 Rich Limacher
Editorial material, immaterial, ads, subtracts, and
everything else to:
You are never so successful that you cannot ever fail.
This e-zine is all about:
Chair of Contents:
e v e r y t h i n g - e l s e
a d footstool:
t b p on scrolli
u a e n
r c e o
e k k n
p s page numbers are no longer necessary
(because everything is all on one page)
Here's something else that needs inventing:
[besides a way to denote vertical enumeration
and/or some other type of scrolling-sequence
system of "pagination"]
The 21st century's answer to periodical volume and issue
(Trust me, I'm working on the problem :)
Note that for this particular "issue" the traditional method
has been kept. (See above, 7th line of type from the top.)
But this is only until a brand-new 21st century method can
be developed (naturally, by yours truly) but certainly NOT
until the entire world of academia can agree on it. (And,
if you don't even know what I'm talking about, see
below--somewhere--after the vertical cartoon.)
Richard's Law: The whole business of formal education is
perpetuating what is, and going to school never taught
anyone to create what isn't.
Richard's Hindsight Notation on Public Education:
The inventor of the light bulb attended for a total of three
Richard's Parting Shot to Academe: Don't even think of
bestowing a posthumous Honorary Doctorate in Electrical
Engineering on Thomas Alva Edison.
Before you can possibly know what's not enough, you first
have to know nothing.
>From the 21st Century Journeyman Wizard
To His Apprenticed Class of Sage Pages:
"Today we have a lesson on the meaning of futility."
"Oh yea, oh Wiz," chimes a high gloss page. "Lay it on us."
"So tell me," asks the not-quite-yet-a-master wizard, "was
Timothy McVeigh's act of bombing very effective in fighting
the American government? Has anything of substance changed
in the aftermath?"
"Well," pips Squeak in the second row, "he got a whole lotta
more press than he ever used ta have!"
"Oh," His Wizness replies, "McVeigh's attack was very
effective in putting his name in the papers, if that's what
you mean, Page Two. But I'm referring instead to any
effectiveness his act had in thwarting the ways of
governance--the very thing he wanted to accomplish by
blowing up a government building."
"Well," pipes up Page Three, "he, like, brought back federal
"But isn't it ironic that nothing *else* about the federal
government was changed in the least by what he had done?"
"That's right, class, nothing. In fact, now that he's dead
and gone, do you realize there's even yet something that,
by law, the federal government STILL requires him to do?"
"We give up, like, our most beloved and terrific Wise Guy,"
rejoins the class. "Like what, uh, would THAT be?"
"File a final tax return."
"You-godda-be-kiddin' us, Teach!" they all holler.
"Unless, of course," the Wise One replies, "he was able to
file his 'final' one in prison, but that would presume he'd
never be paroled--which would shoot a hole right through his
plea for a stay of execution, eh, class?"
"Wow! Like dang, Big Whiz, where you dig up this stuff?"
"Furthermore, if his last return contains an error or
omission-- say, for example, he worked in the prison shop
for spending money--he would now be obligated to file an
"The guy is DEAD, Boss!"
"That does not matter in the eyes of the law. An heir or
next of kin must do it."
"Yer a trip."
"And one way he'd have to file an amended return--correcting
the fact that his last one wasn't his 'last' one--would be
if what I'm about to tell you actually happened," says the
Sage. "Suppose while he was 'in the slammer' he sold the
rights to his made-for-TV movie to which he's forever after
entitled to royalties? Now someone's going to have to file
tax returns for 'his estate' for as long into the future as
that movie deal makes money. He *could* be responsible for
both federal--and state--taxes for hundreds of years after
"Gee, we guess his fight didn't accomplish much, did it,
"Always remember, there's only two things in life which are
"Like, uh, what it is, Coach?"
"Death and taxes."
Early to bed and early to rise...
...enables even more interesting possibilities later.
Today's Little Story:
THE ALMOST PERFECT ACCIDENT
C. C. Writers
Mrs. Morrow, always impatient, hired "The Mechanic" right on
the spot after she spotted her husband's company car outside
the Hilltop Motel "for the very last time."
He was never to tell her when or how he might plan it, of
course, but that was all part of her little deal with him in
taking ten grand down and waiting patiently for the
preposterous balance until after a favorable conclusion
would be reached in the inevitable investigation. Morrow's
escapades were generally well known, but what wasn't known
at all was the extent of his neglected wife's interest in
his considerable estate.
In the hired man's own private opinion, his work would be
perfect--nobody'd know. For years in that locale, brake
failures along the steep winding roadway leading down from
the Hilltop had regularly launched careening four-wheeled
cannonballs right through the guardrail and on out to sea.
Who knew how many? But even the best guess of "Mr.
Goodwrench" could not have anticipated the surveillance team
of FBI agents, who also had an interest in the unknowns
surrounding Morrow's considerable estate. So that very
evening, after the mechanic crawled out from under the car
parked by Room 103, he was immediately arrested.
Naturally, everyone was surprised to find the room empty.
But some speedy police work happened to locate the popular
secretary's car parked at the airport, with the lustful
inamorati still standing in line at the gate. So, to excuse
themselves and their "perfectly normal business trip,"
Morrow simply explained that he himself had called a
mechanic to check out the car in his absence, because "it
wouldn't start again" after he'd picked up his stenographer
at her "temporary lodgings." Since no one could come up
with any charges, the feds released the mechanic and "the
love plane" left the country.
Meanwhile, a helpful local policeman did Mrs. Morrow the
favor of bringing her back to the motel to reclaim her
husband's abandoned vehicle.
In the aftermath, the local paper couldn't resist a wry pun
in its coverage of her considerable tragedy, when it noted,
of course, that "she just couldn't drive it to Morrow."
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
Tomorrow's Useful Internet Link:
If you're into weather, you might want to look into this.
It's a freebie website into which you can plug any location
within the continental U.S. and have the thing show you that
place's weather. Not only now (complete with
up-to-the-minute Doppler radar imaging) but later as well
(courtesy of its "forecasts").
But that's not all. You can register for free and specify
whatever location(s) you want by means of Zip Code or (and
this is significant) by latitude and longitude--
automatically measured for you to a precision of four
decimal places--which can practically spot your driveway on
Yes, you can zoom-in on each successive one they show you,
and locate the street you live on within maps that
ultimately scale down to less than a mile in all directions.
You simply keep pointing and clicking your mouse on your
target area, or you can click the "zoom" buttons out to the
You're invited to register (which may or may not add more
e-mail to your mailbox from companies wanting to sell you
stuff, but, hey, advertising is how the world works these
days) and after you do, they promise to send personalized
weather reports every day at the times you choose for all
the locations you select--with a hyperlink for viewing each
one's current weather radar. Not only that, but each report
will also suggest which times that day might be okay for
performing your various activities, such as "gardening" or
"marathoning" (!) or whatever else you specify when you
Pretty cool, no?
I enrolled, and here's a bit of the little "welcoming"
e-mail they sent back to me:
"Thank you for confirming your registration for My-Cast, the
world's first personalized weather service. You've just
taken the first step toward creating your own weather
channel, one that is updated around the clock, and is
tailored for your town and the destinations you care about.
My-Cast is the only service that runs its own city-scale
computer models every 3 hours, with coast-to-coast coverage.
"A few highlights:
"* Only My-Cast has 8 updates a day, with 4-mile
neighborhood resolution for most cities. No other weather
service on the Web is doing this.
"* Add numerous locations (in your metro area and
nationwide) to take full advantage of My-Cast.
"* Sign up for severe weather email alerts...for home and
favorite destinations. You'll get them within seconds of
being issued by the National Weather Service. Best of all,
this service is free on the Web. No strings attached.
"Please help us grow My-Cast. Take a moment to send this
email to other friends or family who can benefit from
personal weather at http://www.my-cast.com We appreciate
Whatever you won't get done today.
Today's Repetitious Media Message:
It's no secret that one of our most memorable ancestors, Ben
Franklin, got his first real "break" in the media by giving
up trying to pander to the tastes of the more traditional
publishers of his time--and just inventing that "break" on
his own. He published a simple one-page periodical called
"Poor Richard's Almanack" and sold it along the streets and
rivers of the colonies for a penny apiece. And it thrived
as a business for the next twenty-five years. So now, some
two-hundred and sixty-nine years later, you get "Middle
Income Richard's 3rd Millennium Almanack" selling along the
buy-ways and Java-streams of the Internet for a buck a copy.
At least, that's the plan. For the moment, of course, it's
free. That is, unless you suddenly develop pangs of
conscience, and for that you might find immediate relief by
snail-mailing a Yankee greenback to Ben's most dubious
descendant: C. C. Writers at P.O. Box 963, Matteson,
Illinois 60443 USA. Thanks. And keep thinking green (i.e.,
saving the environment by promoting paperless publishing)!!!
Today's Little Prophecy:
Before too long, the most unhealthy place to live will be
down on the farm.
Tomorrow's Wishful Thinking:
[start] * * * * * * Paid Advertisements * * * * * * *
Zip, nada, zilch, nix, nope, unh-uh, pffft, squish, zap,
poof, "don't bother me," "I gave at the office," and el
[end] * * * * * * Paid Advertisements * * * * * * *
[start] * * * * * * E-mail to the Editor * * * * * * *
This, from System Administrator
Subject: Undeliverable: Middle Income Richard's 3rd
To: [here follows my entire list]
did not reach the following recipient(s):
Yadda, Yadda Y.
The recipient name is not recognized
This, from MAILER-DAEMON@mail.yadda.yadda.net
Subject: failure notice
Hi. This is the qmail-send program at yadda.yadda.net.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't
Sorry, no mailbox here by that name.
--- Below this line is a copy of the message.
[And they weren't kidding either! The entire thing was
To: [Including the entire list of everybody I sent it to]
This, from Mail Delivery Subsystem
Subject: Returned mail see transcript for details
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal
(reason: [some numbers]
... User unknown)
----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to yaddagarblecodesomething.net.:
<<< [some other numbers] yaddagarblesomethingelse.net
Connection timed out with yaddanet.net.
... while talking to whoknowswhat.com.:
<<< ... User unknown
This too, from Mail Delivery Subsystem
Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal
----- Transcript of session follows -----
... Deferred: Connection timed out with yaddayadda.edu.
Message could not be delivered for 2 days
Message will be deleted from queue
And finally this, from firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Yahoo! Auto Response
Hey, I'm offline for a couple of weeks. If you need to
reach me, please call me. [initials]
[Yep, you guessed it. All repeated.]
[end] * * * * * * E-mail to the Editor * * * * * * *
A Vertical Cartoon:
( ^ )
/ 0 /
( ^ )
/ 0 /
( ^ )
/ 0 /
( ^ )
/ 0 /
( ^ )
/ 0 ------ Oh, poop.
| | "PLEASE EXCUSE
| | OUR DUST BUT..."
| | "PLEASE EXCUSE
| | OUR DUST BUT..."
| ' ' _ _ |
| '__O= || ||_x=/` |
What's With This "Volume" & "Issue" Thing Anyway?
Most people, I've discovered, don't really know how this
antique system was ever supposed to work in the first place.
What's a "volume"? What's an "issue"? Of course, most
people, I've also discovered, haven't "hung around" much
in the back rooms of libraries either.
Basically, this is what we've all inherited from our ancient
artsy-craftsy friends, the bookbinders. It was sometime
after the printing press was invented that publishers and
libraries both discovered they needed some way to organize
all those periodicals that kept piling up in their back
rooms. So, somewhere in there, someone (probably the schmoe
that had to stack them) decided a "volume" should be a bound
book and, in this case, maybe ought to contain all the
periodicals a publisher could publish in one year's
time--all bound up together "for E-Z reference." (Hey,
marketing hype goes back a lot further than you think!)
So, okay, a "volume" would last a year, and an "issue" (our
friend Sir Schmoe probably decided) would consist of each
edition of every periodical published during that year,
starting with number one, and either starting over with
number one again in the next volume or enumerating
By the way, the whole idea of a "periodical" (also called a
"serial") was something that was published periodically (or
"serially"), as opposed to a book which was generally
published only once ("revised editions" a la today's
textbook industry notwithstanding, of course).
Now then, if a periodical was to be published monthly, there
would be 12 issues in each volume; if a periodical was to
come out weekly, there'd be 52 issues per volume; biweekly,
26 issues; and so on. Generally, most periodicals did NOT
start publishing on January 1st, so most periodical volume
numbers do not line up with the calendar year. Sometimes,
however, they do; but those that do usually did not start on
January 1st. Their publishers simply put out a partial
volume their first year, or something, and then realigned
all future volume numbers to coincide with each New Year's
Day's hangover. (They were notorious drinkers even then.)
Next time you're in a library that still has its bound
periodical collection still bound by bookbinders (as opposed
to shrunk-wrapped in microfilm) and still kept in the back
room, check all this out. You'll see shelf after shelf of
"Time," for example, with each book (or volume) numbered in
sequence on the spine. The sequence started when "Time"
did, but many libraries don't have the complete collection.
You'll also notice how the magazine has gotten fatter over
the years. Bookbinders can't FIT all 52 issues in a single
volume anymore--and probably never could--so they developed
various little sub-numbering systems to keep everything
straight. Hence, (looking at the spines of these books) you
might see "Vol. 136A," for example, along with corresponding
"Vol. 136B," "Vol. 136C," and "Vol. 136D"; or you might see
such sub-systems as "Vol. 92, Spring," "Vol. 92, Summer"; or
maybe even "Volume Obsquatamatillion, Feb-April,
Something-Someyear." It's all pretty wacky. And you might
need a degree in library science to figure it all out.
But trust me when I tell you, volume and issue numbers have
*always* referred to printed publications. And the system
falls way short, therefore, when you're trying to organize
electronic stuff... like THIS!
Would a "volume" be... a disk? A hard drive? A gigabyte?
Umpteen megabytes? Should an "issue" correspond to each
delivery of "e-mail"? Each spewing of a "listserv?" Every
"auto-responder?" Each forthcoming "computer generation?"
"Pentium VI?" "VII," "M," or "MM"? What about the
intriguing new possibilities of each issue coming out
repetitively in subsequent "newly revised editions"?
Remember when newspapers did this? Before TV--and its
never-ending "we interrupt this program to bring you the
following news bulletin" (does anyone living today NOT
remember TV?)--"Extra Extra! Read all about it!" used
to be real, not a cliché. Sometimes daily newspapers would
print three, or more, editions PER DAY--depending, perhaps,
on whatever the latest-breaking news was. "Extra! Extra!
McVeigh Veined in Indy! Fails to File Final Tax Return!
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!!!"
And no matter what we decide should be proper library
science for our electronical future, who's going to assure
us that MY or YOUR disks or hard drives contain the exact
same number of e-mailed issues as the library's or
publisher's disks do? In other words, when, say in the year
2030, your on-line periodical reference index tells you that
some weird story about federal executions in Indiana appears
within "Spew-Barf MMI" on "Disk Obsquatamatillion," how you
gonna find it? What if YOUR disks are 1.44 MB and its are
2.0 MB? Furthermore, what if yours are IBM-formatted and
its are Macintosh, or Krispy-Kreme, or WhoKnewWhat?
How many I/O naughts in a laser's dozen?
Hmmm. You see? All kinds of interesting future
frustrations are looming in the back rooms of tomorrow's
electronic libraries. Well, maybe after years and years of
librarians telling us all to "Shsssssh!"--maybe those back
rooms should be chat rooms after all.
Anyway, me here at "donut central" (or is it "cookie"?) will
be working on the problem, and will get back to you with the
(doubtless :) solution next time.
["Middle Income Richard's" will return
at some as yet unimaginable
future unspecified time]