ZIP Beep #14

ZIP Beep is one year old.

The first issue went on line September 30, 1984. Now, here it is, September 20, 1985, and ... wait a minute. Let's see. 20 from 30, 10, 365, uhh ....

ZIP Beep is 355 days old.

The first issue went on line September 30, 1985. And to stretch a point, we're going to say we're one year old now because we will be very soon.

ZIP Beep flashed upon the world, immediately stirred controversy, and brought international peace through its charmingly subtle wit and hamhanded attacks on everything in sight. Unfortunately, peace and prosperity lasted only a few brief moments, then the general chaos resumed. Very few people actually noticed ZIP Beep's contribution.

But there was an article about ZIP Beep in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune last May. The Lincoln (Nebraska) Star ran an article about us that month, too. KSJN-AM broadcast an interview with ZIP Beep's humble editor-in-chief-and-powerful-avenger-of- justice. Ray Douglas' ComputerLine radio show on WWTC mentions us from time to time. And, of course, we've sent many disgruntled readers to their beds at night, muttering under their covers about the things that matter in the world and how humor has no business talking about them.

For this last recognition, we are most proud. It fits in so nicely with our introductory editorial a year ago (enter "Z01" at the Command> prompt if you haven't read it yet).

So, all in all, we have managed to show a higher profile than most one-year-olds.

But, like all one-year-olds, we stink from time to time. We know it. You know it. The funny thing is, articles that offend some people are the essence of ZIP to others. Still, we know we can do better. Everybody can. And we will continue to try.

It's hard sometimes. The world is absurd, and we're here to celebrate that fact. But how can we be sure you aren't taking us too seriously? Moveover, how can you be sure you aren't taking yourself too seriously? Consider these events of the recent months ... events that might have passed for articles in ZIP Beep but for the fact that each one actually happened:

*One of Ed Meese's first acts as U. S. Attorney General was to tell Congress the Reagan Administration was not going to abide by some of the laws Reagan had signed, and that there was nothing Congress could do about it.

*It was revealed (over and over, in fact) that the space shuttles use onboard computers that were considered state-of-the- art in 1972. (But can they play Pong?)

*Russia allegedly used "spy dust" on American diplomats.

*Reagan told his radio audience that "They have completely eliminated segregation" in South Africa. Then, later that week, he made another statement that could be paraphrased in the words of the immortal Beaver: "Well ... kinda sorta."

*And speaking of South Africa, the Reagan administration withdrew America's ambassador in protest when South Africa invaded Angola. About 10 weeks later, the Ambassador was sent back. One day after that, South Africa invaded Angola again. (Who says ambassadors have no power?)

*And speaking of invasions, French frogmen (is that redundant?) invaded New Zealand to blow up Greenpeace's flagship. Newspapers in France are calling the whole episode "Underwatergate."

*Rupert Murdock is running an unauthorized column by Pope John Paul II in the New York Post, home of such eyecatching headlines as "Headless Body Found In Topless Bar."

*The U. S. became a debtor nation. In other words, the country's savings account is dry and its checks to other parts of the world would bounce if it were a normal human with a normal bank account.

*At one point, it was estimated that 20,000 lottery tickets were being sold every minute in New York. The odds were 6,000,000 to 1 against winning. The odds of being struck by lightning are higher.

*Americans who should know better have decided the Vietnam War wasn't such a bad idea after all. Vets who didn't get the respect they deserved when they returned are hearing kids say they (the kids) could have done better had they been alive and draftable back then.

*Sandra Alley, a spokesperson for the federal Park Service and member of the committee coordinating next year's Fourth of July program on the Mall, announced plans to drop the Beach Boys from the lineup once again. "Our decision is to return to a more patriotic program for 1986," she said. "The program could still include rock ... if they sing 'God Bless America.'"

*Huey Lewis went to court saying the theme from "Ghostbusters" was a ripoff of his own tune, "I Want A New Drug." (What do you think?)

*WWTC (1280 AM) adopted an all-weather format. Moreover, it may be a good idea. (Time and weather will tell.)

*You can win up to $100 by withdrawing as little as $5 from many automatic bank machines in the area.

The list goes on. But you see what we mean. Any one of those things might have made for amusing satire. Sometimes, life just gets ahead of us.

But our own One True Steve Anderson did manage to predict a couple of absurdities before they happened. His All Chemical Baseball Team could probably support a farm team now. And he correctly predicted Geraldine Ferraro's re-entry into the public arena via some tasteless vehicle. (Steve thought it would be the wrestling craze. It turned out to be Diet Coke.)

So where do we go from here? With any luck, on to bigger and better things. This month, ZIP Beep includes its first article by a real, living, breathing, honest-to-Pete professional comedian. Don Fitzwater is artistic director at Belly Laffs, a comedy club based in the Mandarin Yen restaurant on Hwy 494. We hope he and his crew continue to work with us. We hope to do some work for his stage. (See the current show, "Somewhere Over The Rambo." It is a goodie.) And we hope he starts being honest to more people than Pete real soon now.

You have identified some of your favorite articles in ZIP Beep. Dr. Howzzat? will continue to appear from time to time, although we never know in advance just when he'll turn up. Cheering from the Peanut Gallery seems to bring him on. And Peter Leppik plans to write more articles for ZIP Beep when he's not busy helping the police break into other peoples' computers (don't worry, he won't bother you if you keep your nose clean).

If you like ZIP Beep, spread the word, particularly when you buy computer hardware or software. Don't forget to give them the phone number. If you don't like ZIP Beep, just tell you psychologist. He or she will explain the importance of humor in coping with everyday life.

"These people know the reality and laugh at it.... It is the laughter of people who value love and friendship and plenty, who have lived with terror and death and hate."--Elenore Smith Bowen, RETURN TO LAUGHTER, originally published by Harper & Brothers in 1954.

ZIP Beep #14
by Willie Lee Vimealoan
(c) D. A. Fitzwater

AAAAA aa cbccbccbc. xmxmxm. CBCCBCCORCBC. ZIPCBCO. Test. Hello. Hello. Is this working? It is, isn't it? And you don't know who I am, do you?

Well, I'll tell you. My name is Willie. I'm a bum. I ain't much different from you. I went to a decent school, had a nice home, and graduated cum laude from the Columbia-School-Of- Computer-Programming-Not-Affiliated-With-The-Columbia- Broadcasting-Company.

'Course, if you saw me, you wouldn't know all that. If you walked by this travel agent's office right now, you'd figure I shouldn't be here messing with their computer. But you ain't here, and you ain't likely to show up because the travel agent's digital desk clock says it's 2:18 in the morning. Hey, it's cold out, and I don't have any money, and I don't have nothing better to do than play around with this chip box.

I know what you're saying to yourself. You're saying, "There's a gentleman of leisure without any visible means of support." Well, you know, I've been thinking. You folks know what I am? I'll tell you. Right after I take another swig off this bottle here.

That's better. Now, you know what I think I am? I think I'm a bum. I know I'm a bum. All I do is scrounge meals, bum change, drink cheap wine, and kick a few pidgeons around. I used to like to think of these as the privlidges of attaining a ripe old age, but I suppose, just like you, I got to feeling like I was worthless. I mean, punching keys, booting disks, aggressive sorts of things like that. So I decided to change for the better. I decided to lift myself up to a higher level. I decided to be a bum ... somebody YOU might call worthless.

Hah! Worthless! Shows how much you know. Why, I'm damned near extinct! And that makes me valuable, just like the whales! Look at it this way: from all appearances, I'm sitting here doing nothing except crabbing at you. But in actuality, I'm an important basic link in the never-ending chain of life. Why, by my presence here, I'm safeguarding the very balance of nature.

"Pish-tosh," you say. Well, have you ever heard of oxygen poisoning? Huh? Have you? It can happen when there's too much of the stuff. Everytime I breathe and use up my share of oxygen, I'm doing my part! What's more, each time I exhale I breathe out a quantity of carbon dioxide, a gas which is essential to most plant life. And what about pollution, huh? Everybody is complaining about having to breathe it. Well, I'm not complaining, I'm volunteering. Why, I'm a natural-born pollution filter. I'm cleaning up this air for our descendents right now, just by breathing it.

Worthless, huh! Do you realise that by my scavanging through trash cans, dumps and city gutters, I'm a living, breathing recycling plant? And I'm cutting down on the capricious disposal of usable resources!

Not satisfied, eh? Well, are you aware that I contain within my body numerous valuable chemical substances, and I ain't even counting my fillings or my glass eye. Why, within this scarred and ulcerated stomach there exists a high-output, maximum efficiency, 24-hour-a-day gas works producing a steady supply of flamable methane which, as Buckminister Fuller has said, is a great resource for the heating of homes and the production of electricity.

More than that, I'm a manufacturing plant for fertilizer!

And talking about valuable bodily functions, my body is a veritable wildlife preserve for little living things. Why, imagine the millions of microscopic organisms that graze safely and contentedly on this skin of mine!

I'm not a wasteland, I'm teaming with life! I'm a resource, a utopia for bugs, a pollution filter, a factory, a garden, a vital participant in the symbiotic balance of nature.

You see, I'm valuable America! America should use me, not cast me aside! I'm vital to the balance of the urban ecosphere. You can't live without me! You ought to xldi dku ei238 &^^%)*&v ^8**^ UIG*UI**HYVHKJH

Pardon me. A little coughing attack, nothing serious.

Look, I could sit here and write all night, but I think I should be out of here by sun up. And I need some sleep. So I'd better figure out how to set the alarm on this desk clock. You know what I mean about not being worthless, don't you? Well, I don't suppose it matters. It made sense to me, though. This sure is a nice chair.

ZIP Beep #14

Much has been made of two electronic experiments that were carried out during football's preseason this year.

Using knowledge gained from instant replays, an official's call could be (and was) changed in critical scoring situations. What a remarkable step forward for anyone living in 1969!

The other experiment involved the use of radio microphones and receivers hooked up to players' helmets. Besides eliminating the problem of noise from overzealous home-in-a-dome teams, quarterbacks were able to tell their tight ends to loosen up a bit when the situation called for it.

These were the reports that made most of the media. What numerous news outlets failed to report was a little-publicized project underway at the University of Nebraska School of Medicine in Omaha.

Nebraska is known for its lust for football. The move to perfect radio-controlled gridiron games (r/cgg) is a natural outgrowth of the state's devotion to pigskin.

Although we were unable to reach anyone at the medical school who would confirm or deny the report, our usual sources close to the source have given us a sketchy outline of the research, as well as plans for its implementation.

Naturally, in cases such as these where details are unclear, we have made up our own version of the facts and submit them to you buried in the following summary:

The concept behind r/cgg (pronounced "rigg") is simple. Using the revolutionary 100YD computer chip (developed by The Technical Medical Institute of Medical Technology's Dr. Furstenten Goaltago, MD, PhD, SPCA), large farmboys from western and southern states are surgically changed into fighting football champions.

The chip was originally developed to interface electronically through removable headgear, and carry preprogrammed information on complex tasks like neurosurgery and tending bar at an international airport coctail lounge. Reasoning that the amount of information necessary to perform such tasks was unavailable to most humans, the 100YD chip was created to facilitate the short- term communication of necessary facts directly to the cerebral cortex, then to the brain.

Unfortunately, these experiments failed when the headgear designed to interface the chip and the brain proved ineffective. Dr. Goaltago also realized he could not store the massive amounts of data necessary for complex tasks on a chip as small as the 100YD.

Then, while flying his r/c model airplane one windy afternoon, he hit upon an idea that combined his childhood love for football and his adult facination with the pursuit of a very large profit.

This spring, Dr. Goaltago received a grant to begin implanting 100YD chips directly into the brains of University of Nebraska football players cut from the team. If all goes well, the chips will tie in directly with football thought and muscular processes originating in an undisclosed part of the brain termed the "sports center."

While it is known that the experiment has been carried out, results have not been made public. But another source, this one even closer to a source that's supposed to really know what's going on, has told us there are already plans to form a r/cgg league. Very wealthy owners will have the option of actually controlling the movements of key players through an elaborate r/c device operated from the press box. If this proves successful, r/c devices will be implanted in the brains of all players on the field, each carrying the basic information necessary for outstanding football plays, plus circuitry allowing individuals of rank and power to control the movement of players while avoiding the discomfort of pain.

ABC has shown special interest in n/cgg. The network is reportedly looking into the plan as a means of boosting its sagging Monday Night Football ratings. They recently announced a grant to Dr. Goaltago for the development of devices similar to the 100YD chip that could be implanted in the brains of audience members.

ZIP Beep #14
by Peter Leppik

The Reagan administration has given its full support to an innovative solution to the problem of supporting the Contras in Nicaragua without going broke. This plan, which reportedly came to President Reagan in a dream after he ate one too many stale jellybeans, has the combined advantages of a quick solution and a low cost. If it proves effective, it may be applied in other international trouble spots.

President Reagan explained the plan in detail when it was announced. "We'll just send Rambo over there for a week or two. That ought to clear things up pretty nicely. If it doesn't, well, we'll just have him stay an extra day."

Various specialists in Latin American affairs gave the plan their wholehearted approval. Said one, "This plan has a lot going for it. It's cheap, quick, and effective. And it has the additional plus of helping to solve the burgeoning overpopulation problem in that area. Now where's my fifty bucks?"

Of course, not everyone supports the idea. Several high ranking members of the military have come out against the plan. The Army's Colonel Truth, who represents the branch that would handle the Rambo assault, put it very frankly. "We simply cannot accept this plan for several reasons. Number one, Mr. Rambo is not a member of the Army. We're afraid he's going to go beserk. Number two, it's never been tested. We have absolutely no assurances that it will really work. And number three, its too simple. We cannot accept a system that costs only $4.50 per use, does not involve any major defense contractors, and actually works."

In a separate objection, Major Havoc of the Air Force complained, "Why do those army people always get the superweapons?"

Reaction among other groups has been mixed. For instance, the Moral Majority, speaking for the Rev. Jerry Falwell, has come out strongly in favor of the idea. Said Falwell on The Old Time Gospel Hour, "I think this Rambo plan was inspired by God. Rambo will bring back to America the old values of justice, equality, and shooting everyone in sight. He does not judge people, rather he lets God judge them directly and finally. I urge everyone within the sound of my voice to write your congressman in favor of this plan and to go see the movie. It's good clean family fun. I should know. I've seen it at least a dozen times."

However, many Democrats strongly oppose the plan. Said Tip O'Niel when reporters explained the plan to him, "You've got to be kidding." Democrats' specific objections to the plan include expressions suggesting that it would be inhumane, silly, and, reflecting a new hawkish outlook on the part of the party, it would cost less to nuke Nicaragua back to the stone age than to clean up after Rambo.

Because of these objections, most political analysts feel that funding for the plan (estimated cost: $650 for a round trip ticket to Nicaragua) is not likely to pass the House. Thus, the plan would not be carried out. However, in light of a recent Gallup poll which showed that the thing Americans wanted most was more blood on the news (78%), it may stand some chance of passing.

ZIP Beep #14

The federal government has announced a policy of offering up to $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of international criminals.

Until an international post office is built to accomodate the wanted posters for specific outlaws, these guidelines can be used to obtain rough approximations of the bounties offered for miscreants committing various criminal acts:


For information leading to the arrest and apprehension persons involved in assassination of a high-ranking U. S. Armed Services officer --- payment of $100,000.

For information leading to the arrest and apprehension of persons involved in assassination of a second lieutenant or lower- ranking U. S. Armed Services officer or enlisted person --- payment of $50,000.

For information leading to the arrest and apprehension of persons involved in murder of a U. S. businessperson --- payment of $25,000.

For information leading to the arrest and apprehension of persons involved in murder of foreign or local businessperson --- payment of $15,000.

For information leading to the arrest and apprehension of persons involved in assassination of a solid nationalistic foreign leader friendly to the U. S. Armed Services --- payment of $5,000.

For information leading to the arrest and apprehension of persons involved in assassination of an ineffective nepotistic foreign leader friendly to the U. S. Armed Services --- payment of $2,000.

For information leading to the apprehension and arrest of persons involved in the murder of a nun --- $O.OO.

For the assassination of an ineffective nepotistic foreign leader unfriendly to the U. S. Armed Services --- payment of $2,000.

For the assassination of a solid nationalistic foreign leader unfriendly to the U. S. Armed Services --- payment of $5,000.

For the assassination of a friendly democratic foreign leader with popular but socialistic support --- payment of $100,000.

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