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The Twelve Steps of Gene-Aholics Anonymous

1. We admitted that we were powerless over our database - that our files had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a GEDCOM bigger than our own could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our data and our charts over to a professional genealogy program.
4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our files.
5. Admitted to the newsgroup, ourselves and to another genealogist the exact nature of our ancestors.
6. Were entirely ready to have others scoff at our research.
7. Humbly asked them to help us clarify our sources.
8. Made a list of all ancestors we had not documented and became willing to find proper sources for them all.
9. Made changes to all records wherever possible, except when to do so would slander their memory or others.
10. Continued to take record inventories and when we didn't have a proper source, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through webpages on the internet to improve the documentation of our ancestors, praying only for the knowledge of their whereabouts and the fortitude to list all the sources.
12. Having had a much improved genealogy as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to all genealogists and to practice these steps in all our databases.

The Magician and the Parrot

A magician signed on for six months on a weekly cruise ship. After a number of shows, he realized that he could repeat his routine on a weekly basis making his show easier.

However, the Captain had a very smart parrot who recognized the schedule and started to upstage the magician by informing the audience where the magician had the coin, the rabbit and so on. This infuriated the magician, but what could he do? He worked for the captain and the parrot belonged to the boss.

One night, he was working his routine with changes to confuse the parrot when the ship blew up. The magician found himself in the water holding on to a timber, and there at the other end sat the parrot, disheveled and dirty with burnt feathers.

They looked at each other suspiciously and the parrot finally said:

"OK, you win, where did you hide the ship?"

Murphy's Laws of Computing

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


Just a line to say I'm living
That I'm not among the dead
Though I'm getting more forgetful
And all mixed up in my head.
I got used to my Arthritis
To my dentures I'm resigned
I can manage my Bifocals
But dear God I miss my mind
For sometimes I can't remember
When I stand at the foot of the stairs
If I must go up for something
Or have I just come down from there?
And before the fridge so often
My poor mind is filled with doubt
Have I just put some food away?
Or have I come to take something out?
And there's a time, when it is dark
I stop and hold my head
I don't know if I'm retiring
Or am I getting out of bed?
So, If it is my turn to write to you
There's no need getting sore
I may think that I have written
And don't want to be a bore
So remember that I love you
And wish that you were near
But now it's nearly mail time,
So must say "goodbye dear"
Here I stand before the mail box
With a face so very red
Instead of mailing you my letter
I went and opened it instead.

Abbot & Costello: First Base with Windows 95

Costello: Hey, Abbot!!
Abbot: Yes, Lou
Costello: I just got my first computer.
Abbot: That's great Lou. What did you get?
Costello: A Pentium II - 266, with 64 Megs of RAM, a 2.1 Gig hard drive, and a 24X CD-ROM
Abbot: That's terrific, Lou.
Costello: But I don't know what any of it means!
Abbot: You will in time.
Costello: That's exactly why I am here to see you.
Abbot: Oh?
Costello: I heard you are a real computer expert.
Abbot: Well, I don't know ...
Costello: Yes-sir-ee. You know your stuff. And you're going to train me.
Abbot: Really?
Costello: Un huh. And I am here for my first lesson.
Abbot: O.K. Lou. What do you want to know?
Costello: I am having no problem turning it on, but I heard that you should be very careful how you turn if off.
Abbot: That's true.
Costello: So, here I am working on my new computer and I want to turn it off. What do I do?
Abbot: Well, first you press the Start button, and then ....
Costello: No!! I told you, I want to turn if off.
Abbot: I know, you press the Start button ...
Costello: Wait a second. I want to turn if off. I know how to start it. So tell me what to do.
Abbot: I did.
Costello: When?
Abbot: When I told you to press the Start button.
Costello: Why should I press the Start button?
Abbot: To shut off the computer.
Costello: I press Start to stop?
Abbot: Well Start doesn't actually stop the computer.
Costello: I knew it! So what do I press?
Abbot: Start
Costello: Start what?
Abbot: Start button.
Costello: Start button to do what?
Abbot: Shut down
Costello: You don't have to get rude!!
Abbot: No, no, no! That's not what I meant.
Costello: Then say what you mean.
Abbot: To shut down the computer, press ...
Costello: Don't say, "Start!"
Abbot: Then what do you want me to say?
Costello: Look, if I want to turn off the computer, I am willing to press the Stop button, the End button, and the Cease and Desist button, but no one in his right mind presses the Start to Stop.
Abbot: But that's what you do.
Costello: And you probably Go at Stop signs, and Stop at green lights.
Abbot: Don't be ridiculous.
Costello: I am being ridiculous? Well, I think it's about time we started this conversation.
Abbot: What are you talking about?
Costello: I am starting this conversation right now. Good-bye!

Bottled Water

Until a couple of years ago, things were simple. If you got thirsty you'd walk over to the water fountain and take a swig. Or maybe you'd pop the top on a soda. But designer water has arrived. And things have gotten a lot more complicated. Here with his take on this overflow, is Bob Langford.

On a hot summer day, everyone is carrying around a bottle of water. But be honest... once that designer water bottle is empty, don't you just go to the water fountain and refill it? There are some who swear their lips never touch water that has come out of a spicket. But is it the water? Or the bottle? We thought it was time for a little experiment.

We took three of your more well-known waters: Evian from France, Crystal Geyser from the mountains of California, and Triton from Burlington, North Carolina. We poured them down the drain and filled them up with good old standard-issue Raleigh drinking water.

So which "bottle" did testers like best?

So the winning "bottle" is Evian from France. Then again, you know what "Evian" spelled backwards is...

By the way, right on the bottle, it says "Do not refill."

The Ten Commandments of E-Mail

1. Thou shalt include a clear and specific subject line.
2. Thou shalt edit any quoted text down to the minimum thou needest.
3. Thou shalt read thine own message thrice before thou sendest it.
4. Thou shalt ponder how thy recipient might react to thy message.
5. Thou shalt check thy spelling and thy grammar.
6. Thou shalt not curse, flame, spam or USE ALL CAPS.
7. Thou shalt not forward any chain letter.
8. Thou shalt not use e-mail for any illegal or unethical purpose.
9. Thou shalt not rely on the privacy of e-mail, especially from work.
10. When in doubt, save thy message overnight and reread it in the light of the dawn.

And, here's the "Golden Rule" of E-Mail:

* That which thou findest hateful to receive, sendest thou not unto others.

There should be an eleventh commandment that would read:

11. Thou will send in plain text instead of HTML.

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E-mail contributions to Rob Nelson.

Nov 1, 2001