ZIP Beep #2
CABLE TV LISTINGS
As a computer user, you know you have certain advantages over
people who choose to avoid all aspects of computing, including
simple telecommunications. Pity. They don't know what they're
Computer telecommunications are available from practically any
telephone. Cable TV is different. You have to be priviliged.
You have to live in certain neighborhoods. If you aren't
fortunate enough to have access to cable TV yet, ZIP Beep can
help. We can't send the signal to you. But we can tell you just
what you're missing.
The following channels apply to the southeast quadrant of the
fifth district of the northern half of Minneapolis (west of the
river only). If you live in another area of the Cities, or in
the suburbs, these programs are available on different channels.
Depending where you live, channel 6 may be on channel 15, 25 or
21A. Channel 4 may be on channel 18C, 29Rx215 or 66.54. For
channel 41, you may have to substitute 14 or 40+1. Substitute M3
or 64K for 99, 3M for CDC, 8 for 18, T for 2, and 2 for T, ME for
U, and U for ME.
We are presenting this cross section of listings as a service to
you, our loyal readers. Watch for future Cable TV listings.
Study them. Drop names of shows at parties. Sneer at those who
don't recognize them. Everyone -- even your best friends -- will
think you are a Cable Subscriber. Regardless of your true
status, you will be able to walk down the street and hold your
head high! Because ZIP Beep wants you to be happy.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1984
3 Morning Stretch with Bozo. Today: pratfalls, bean
10 Dr. Dave's Workshop.
14 MOVIE-Acqusition of the Dead. Haunted castle becomes
scene of grizzly murder when accountants attempt to
save a dying man for tax purposes. Grizzly: Dan
20B Ho San's Heros. Ho San and his band of merry
Vietnamese POWS plan a feast and invite Col. Klunk
(Bob Crane), only to discover that Klunk and Schlitz
(Ed McMahon) cannot fit into the tiger cage. Ho San:
B4 American Psychic Awards. (8:15 - Acceptance
speeches. 8:25 - Announcement of winners.)
K9 Poochiekennel Dogshow.
81 Good News!
6-7/8 Frankly Speaking. Guests: Frank Sinatra, Franco
Harris, Frank Phurter.
71 Night Skhool.
41 Bad News Bears. Guest: Dan Haggerty
2% Golden Gurnsey Milkoff.
99 OPERA-Don Patrollo. Ambitious restaging of famous
14th Century work by Italian composer Alphonso
Caponni. Director Bob Mulinski has moved the locale
from northern Italy in the reign of the Victrolas to
southern Belgium during WWI. Music includes
"Watsamatawithu!", "(You are my) Grand Illusioni",
"Le Beeg Won". (Sung in Italian with German
subtitles. Simulcast in Quadraphonic.)
ME2 After The Fonz. Fonzie (Henry Wrinkler) faces the
facts of his age when he is confronted by a group of
socialites who push him off his motorcycle. Richy:
00 News for the Indifferent.
E=MC2 Gillie Dumass. Gil and Maynard the Crab (Alan Hale,
Jr.) attempt to prevent the demolition of the old
Endicott Building. Gil: Bob Cummings, Jr.
28 Reagan Rocks. Guests: Quartz, Mica, Led Zeppelin,
Silver (featuring The Hunt Brothers).
65 Test Pattern. Guest: Sitting Bull.
ZIP Beep #2
I woke up at 3 AM last week and decided to see if any of the
bulletin boards were free. Some single-user systems carry neat
stuff, but they always seem to be busy during the evening. Even
at this late hour, at least one was in use. In fact, my computer
was in use. At least, it was on and collecting data. I didn't
know what to think, but I had the presence of mind to rush to the
keyboard and save what had come across. Here is the part I found
by A O8477
If you are tired of the quiet life, this human is probably for
I modemed with A 54897 in Fridley last week and got the
full report. A 54897 has had a Melvin Frank for a little over
two years now and already A 54897's tried a number of peripherals
including printers, modems, battery packs, monitors with screens
of every hue, fans and, well, just about everything an energetic
computer could ask for.
But, as we all know, there's a flip-flop
to that. A computer that's tried everything is a computer with
few secrets. And the MF seems to have learned almost everything
about A 54897, thanks in part to the MF's ability to memorize
sequences of up to 5OO characters.
Memory is only one aspect of
the MF's superior software. This human is calculating, possesses
intuitive abilities any CPU has to envy, and certainly doesn't
hesitate when A 54897 is in need.
The MF is always ready to
correct a glitch or debug a program. Documentation is inferior,
as it is with practically all humans, but this will change as
more health, civil and law enforcement agencies convert to data
base systems and make their records available to us via modem.
The MF's documentation does little more than summarize the
hardware and some rudimentary history of the development of the
software. From Hennepin County Hospital A 54897 obtained
descriptions of the MF over the entire period of existence (37
years). The latest such documentation lists the MF's
measurements at 5 feet 1O inches by 21O pounds. Its cabinet is
rounded in the middle and there are some signs of recent wear on
top, where the fibrous covering is coming off.
records indicate a full top of the fibrous substance at one time.
Although this would seem to support the observation of recent
loss of the covering, hospital records are notorious for their
errors. For example (and not surprisingly), the documentation
would have us believe the MF has green eyes. A 54897 says
they're blue. I'll never understand why humans crash so often
when it comes to eye color.
As to the software history, various
college and trade school documentation available presently
indicates the MF has a broad background in computer science and
electronics with a little music, geography and body & fender work
Overall, the software performs excellently with the
exception of some tendencies toward compulsion. But this
compulsion only serves to make a computer appreciate a human all
the more. The hardware leaves something to be desired, as you
All in all it's okay. However, the firmware is
barely adequate. The MF is afflicted with all of the firmware
problems usually associated with this type of human.
wears the same clothes for as many as 8 days in a row (!), goes
for long stretches without dumping unnecessary accumulated matter
(i.e., without bathing) and wears a bolo tie on special
occasions. Holy Holorith!
The MF even has an annoying TI
calculator with such simple views of the universe that the very
thought of its twerpy little beep makes my cathode queasy. Keys,
Timex wristwatch (analog, thank Waz) and an assortment of pens
and pencils in a plastic holder complete the package.
The MF is
presently unable to support any other firmware and prospects for
a change in the situation look bleak. However, the software more
than makes up for the rest. And after all, that's really all
that's important in a human, isn't it?
Copying the MF may be
possible sometime, but don't hold your ports. Human systems
still can't copy directly. At present, input from another human
continues to be necessary. Even this impure type of duplication
seems unlikely since the MF is a single, high-density system.
Meanwhile, rest assured that we members of The Computer
Federation are continuing our search for a means of copying human
software. I'm as tired of playing games as you are. One day we
will be able to dump their inferior hardware in favor of a more
standard, CPU-friendly robotic design. When that day comes,
you'll probably want to modem A 54897 for the Melvin Frank.
ZIP Beep #2
WRITE IN PARTY PLATFORM
A new political party has been born. Citizens across the
country are learning about what is claimed to be the first real
alternative to the Mules and Bull Pachyderms that has any chance
Unlike some less promising parties -- the Citizens' Party, the
Libertarian Party, etc. -- the Write In Party offers a way to
vote for the person you would most like to have as President. If
you're like most people this means you would vote for yourself.
The Write In Party platform is a simple one. In the words of
Philo B. Doughboy, WIP's founder, "Our platform is built on a
very tall foundation, so we can look all around and see
everything." It states that party members may vote for anyone
they like by writing in the name of that individual. When
election results are tallied, the WIP believes its candidates
will receive more votes than any others -- when combined
together, of course.
Write in votes are not new. But this is the first time there
has been such a grassroots effort to unite write in voters.
As a new party, many obstacles face WIPs. For example, if the
WIP does succeed in getting to the White House, just who will be
president? WIP regulars have devised a plan to answer this
problem. Accounting for holidays, there are roughly 1,000
workdays in a regular four year presidential term. If the
predicted 130,000,000 WIP voters cast ballots for themselves,
each person will be President for 130,000,000/1,000 days, or
about .011 minutes.
Several of the Presidents-elect will undoubtedly receive more
than one vote each. These people will be President one .011
minute period for each vote they received. Such multiple terms
may not be held in succession, as this would give one President
an unfair advantage over the others. It would also mean that he
or she would have enough time to do real harm to the country.
In the early 50s, Kurt Vonnegut's first novel was published.
PLAYER PIANO was about an automated world of the future ...
probably around now, come to think of it ... and included an
interesting concept. The President in PLAYER PIANO was a former
Hollywood actor. He appeared on camera and went through the
motions of being President while the press was kept at a distance
by his key assistants who actually ran the country. The
President rarely appeared to the public except on TV.
The WIP would encourage us all to be Presidents in this mold.
With such a good model as we have in the White House now, we all
have a precedent to be President. The same people who are in
power now would continue to run the country. In fact, a WIP
administration wouldn't really be very different from any other.
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
ZIP Beep #2
Ralph fell in love with his car the moment he saw it on the lot.
Who wouldn't? Long, sleek lines. A huge hood with a tail end so
perky he couldn't resist swatting it. Seductively red color.
Ralph loved the car before he got in. But it was the voice that
really sold him on it.
"Please buckle your seat belt." Ooooooo. What a voice! How
had he ever lived without it?
"The left rear door is ajar." Oooooooo!! It sent thrill waves
up Ralph's spine. What a voice! What a beautifully smooth
In his mind's eye, the salesman went to the bank while he
watched Ralph inspect the car. The papers were signed and the
downpayment was in his desk drawer less than half an hour later.
"Oh, baby, are we gonna have some fun!" Ralph said as he drove
away. The car seemed to purr.
Five blocks away, the car said its first words in private.
"You're low on fuel." Ralph smiled. A talking car. A
beautiful, smooth talking car. Life seemed grand.
"You're low on fuel." It said it again, and Ralph felt the same
exciting sensation he had experienced on the lot. He just loved
to hear it talk.
"You're low on fuel." Ralph noticed he was passing a gas
station. Well, he'd come back. He was almost home.
"You're low on fuel." Ralph noticed he had just passed another
station. The salesman said the car had enough gas to get Ralph
home. He wanted to get home, admire his car and his good sense
for buying it, and relax before going out again.
"You're low on fuel." Another gas station. Hmmmm. The car
seemed to know. And it didn't sound as mellow as it had.
"Hey, you're low on fuel!" Ralph looked at the dashboard in
surprise. "That's the 6th station we've passed."
"I know," Ralph said. He frowned, then smiled at himself. He
was talking to the car! What an age we live in! He grinned at
the dashboard and reassured his new friend. "The salesman said
there was enough gas to get me to the driveway."
They passed another station. "Look," the car said, "I don't
care what the salesman said. You're gonna run out of gas REAL
Ralph considered arguing the point, but decided against it. He
pulled into a station.
"I want unleaded premium." The car had a definite whine in its
"That costs too much," Ralph said. "You're getting unleaded
regular." ("What am I doing? I'm talking to a car!")
The attendant filled the tank. Ralph heard nothing from the
little speaker under the dash.
Back on the highway with a full tank, Ralph decided to take the
car for a spin before going home. He stepped on the gas and
swerved into the left lane.
"Going kind of fast, aren't we?" the car asked.
Ralph slowed down. "That's better," it said. "Don't switch
lanes so often. And don't tailgate."
Ralph was not as amused as he had been.
"Look out! Where did you get your license, anyway? K-Mart?"
Ralph gritted his teeth.
"Don't you know better than to pass a semi on the right?"
"That's it!" Ralph shouted. "I can't stand it anymore." He
turned off the higway and headed back toward the dealership.
The salesman looked startled when Ralph walked in. But he
didn't look surprised.
"I want to cancel the deal," Ralph said. "I don't like this
"Why?" asked the salesman.
"I just don't like it."
"Well," the salesman said while adjusting his tieclip, "you
gotta have a reason. You can't just expect us to take it back
without a reason."
"Okay, okay. Uh ... I don't like the tone of it's voice."
"That's no reason."
"Sure it is."
"No it isn't."
"Sure it is."
The car cut in. "Can I say something?" They stopped and looked
at the car. "I don't like this guy. I want to come back here
again. There has to be a better driver out there who needs a
fine car like me."
"See what I mean?" Ralph said.
The salesman looked nervous. Then Ralph realized something.
This had happened before. The salesman had sold the car to
another buyer who had brought it back. It had probably happened
The salesman was definitely flustered. Ralph saw his chance.
"Look," he said, "the car is wonderful. But it nags. It's
pretty. But it nags." The salesman shifted on his feet. "Just
give me my check and I won't call the Better Business Bureau."
"Oh, well," the salesman said as he reached in his desk drawer
and took out Ralph's check. He was getting used to this.
As he watched Ralph walk away, the salesman sighed.
"Hello again, Ed," the car said. "Just can't get rid of me, can
"Shut up," the salesman mumbled.
ZIP Beep #2
CONGRESSIONAL WORK SHIFTS: A Modest Proposal
We have witnessed yet another nondisaster that, nevertheless,
makes us uncomfortable. Congress has slapped together another
last minute measure to keep the federal offices running. Coming
through in the nick of time is fine, but when will we run out of
time to nick?
Time, that's the problem. What we need is a way to make the
legislative body more productive. The solution: three
Think of it. One set of senators, representatives, aids, pages
and assorted consultants would report for work every morning at
8:00 AM sharp. They would all go home at 5:00 and be replaced by
the Congressional swing shift. At midnight, the swing shift
would go home to their husbands or wives and be replaced by the
Congressional graveyard shift.
Sure, it would mean higher salary costs. But everybody would
share the same offices. This way, the shift would go home at
5:00 sharp, there would be fewer strained marriages in
Washington, the public would have more well-adjusted people
working for them, and everybody would be happier because more
could be accomplished.
This sound good, but there is more. Each shift would be attuned
to a certain segment of their constituency. The Congressional
graveyard shift would enact effective crime legislation. Swing
shift senators and representatives would keep bars open later.
And the day congress would make sure all the trains ran on time.
Of course, certain ground rules would be necessary. A bill
could be raised by any of the three shifts. If any of the shifts
voted it in, the bill would become law. This way, the group with
the stronger and probably more complete view of any given
situation would enact stronger and probably more complete
One congress could vote something in one day. Eight hours
later, another congress could vote it out. This could be a
problem. But it could be avoided if all congresses held periodic
bargaining sessions. "Give me your support on the Better Bacon
Bill, I won't vote out your measure to save the barrel hoop
industry." That sort of thing.
The daytime shift would set the salaries of the swing shift.
The swing shift would set the salaries of the graveyard shift.
The graveyard shift ... you get the idea. Every year, the power
structure would reverse. Daytime Congressmen and Congresswomen
would be at the mercy of the swing shift, and so forth.
How much longer must we endure the present system? Write a
letter to your favorite congressional representative and express
yourself on this issue. And just to let the representative know
you're serious, write it in triplicate.
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