ZIP Beep #25
EDITORIAL - SOMETHINGS OLD, SOMETHINGS NEW

Here we are at the 25th issue of ZIP Beep. If your humble editor was a believer in numerology, he would make some pointed comment regarding the portentous or auspicious calculability of that number. Not being so inclined, he will confine remarks of a pointed nature to the apparent shape of his head.

Still, it is worth noting the changes ZIP Beep and this on-line computer system are going through.

As you know, ZIP Beep articles can be accessed by entering a three character code beginning with "Z" and ending with two digits. Since the last article in issue #24 brought us up to Z98, it was clear we could no longer put off the need to address an obvious problem: what to do when we reached the end of the logical sequence. One solution would have been to move on to the next letter in ZIP Beep. That would have meant accessing current ZIP Beep articles by entering a three character code beginning with "I." But "I" could also stand for "Inelegant" in this case. Fortunately, the act of adding the Info-Mat News Service took the matter out of our hands, since Info-Mat articles access codes all begin with "I."

Then there was the fact that so many past ZIP Beep articles were dated, demented, or otherwise distressed. Rather than tie up the system with every bit (in both senses) of ZIP Beep, we have chosen to start over again at Z01, and create a "Best Of ZIP Beep" feature. Some of the most popular and significant articles from back issues are part of this new feature, and we think you'll enjoy most of them almost as much as you'll enjoy avoiding the long Table Of Contents for back issues. However, the back issue Table Of Contents will continue to be available, and if you see something of interest that hasn't made its way to the Best Of ZIP Beep feature, please let us know via the Suggestion BOX and we will make it available one way or another. For now, you can find the cream of the crop (such as it is) by entering "BESt of ZIP Beep" at the main Command> prompt.

Another change in ZIP Beep will be the more active participation of Don Fitzwater. Don's pieces, and those of his cohorts at Belly Laffs Theater, have graced ZIP Beep's contents for a number of months now, and we welcome his efforts to bring in more articles from a wider variety of humorists, comedians and general louts of society.

In an editorial some time ago, an anology was put forth regarding a drawbridge on the St. Lawrence Seaway that was stuck in a half-raised position. It wasn't high enough to let ships through. But it wouldn't allow cars to cross, either. The telecommunications facility you are now using was in a similar mess. There was too much work for the management, but not enough revenue to justify hiring more people. An attempt was made to combine efforts in a more efficient manner, but efficiency was the key word and the computer system's bridge seemed doomed to remain locked in a half-raised position. In the months since then, this system's management has changed although most of its features, including ZIP Beep, continue to operate under the control of the people who created them. We are all doing our best to implement improvements, and we will try to refrain from making promises we can't keep, or hinting at future wonders that are around the corner. We can't see around the corner. But we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we all sincerely hope it isn't an approaching train.

ZIP Beep, and the rest of the features on what is now the Gizmode Data Bank, could not have lasted this long without your support. Please continue to help us build a premiere telecommunications community here in the Twin Cities. We love the image of all you fine folks hovering over your CRTs in darkened attics throughout the area and beyond. But we would love it even more if you told others about us. Your phone calls and letters to our sponsors and KSNE-AM (which broadcasts the Gizmode radio program) are just as valuable, perhaps even more so. We will do our best to continue to make ZIP Beep and the Gizmode Data Bank available to you at no charge. But we need advertising dollars to do this, and they are a direct result of your efforts to spread the word and generate excitement on the part of businesses in the Cities, the suburbs, and the surrounding countryside.

Thank you again for your support. We look forward to another 25 issues of ZIP Beep. Your interest is appreciated to a degree we cannot express.

ZIP Beep #25
SOAP OPERA UPDATE
by Don Fitzwater

Good day soap opera addicts and welcome to SOAP OPERA UPDATE. For those of you with real jobs, here's a brief rundown of today's soap opera happenings...

Today on the YOUNG AND THE SENSELESS, Jo and Martin found Zach hanging from a noose. Andy was shipped to a sanitarium and pretends to be Jack Nicholson. Karen and Biff overheard the Nicaraguans next door plotting to kidnap the Governor. Randy's grandfather was scared to death at a local 3-D movie.

On RYAN'S DOPE, Jennifer, convinced that she is Ivan's daughter, solved the mystery of the missing pillow. Freddy was returned to his parents after attempting to run away with Sidney, the science fiction writer. Robert felt ill at ease when Monica decide to chuck it all and join the army. And Grace nearly died in a freak accident involving her hairdresser and a television set.

On GENERIC HOSPITAL, Dr. Graham surprised Nurse Wendy when he announced his engagement to Patricia, who has been in a coma for the past 15 years. The Hoffmans visited the Wallers and had hors d'oeuvres together on Sunday, but did not watch TV. Jason and Betty got it on in the laundry room and inadvertantly mixed the darks with the whites.

Meanwhile on DAZE OF OUR BLIGHTS, I.R.S. agents mistakenly conducted a near fatal audit on Melanie's pocket change. Ralph, still fleeing from the city health inspectors, managed to appear on screen at a local video dating service to tell Felicity that he still cares. And Jessica's long-lost parents are still long-lost.

On ANOTHER PLANET Dr. Smith and the space family Robinson discovered yet another crowded alien night club on their so- called deserted planet. Penny found a dollar. Will went home to mummy. Don caught Judy with her guard (and her spacesuit) down. Maureen finally got her dog to come home, while John dressed up in a mask and cape and sang in Spanish. The Robot, after much computing, decided to adjust the TV antenna to get better reception, and forsook commercial TV for a career as a Shakespearean actor.

And finally, on the EDGE OF WETNESS, Jim discoverd that he secretly desires to be a Negro, and made plans to sell all of his Andy Williams albums at a yard sale. Bill turned down Gwen's offer to dress him up like the Michelin tire man. Gary and Allison fought over the TV set again.

Check in with ZIP Beep from time to time for more SOAP OPERA UPDATES.

ZIP Beep #25
JUSTICE IS BLAND

(It is said that the first impression we make on extraterrestrials may be based on old episodes of Amos 'N Andy or some other early radio programs now beaming their way across the universe. But few people realize such contact has already been made -- in reverse. We're not sure where the Alternate Universe is, but those of us with satellite dishes periodically pick up transmissions from that distant world where events sound very familiar, and sometimes just as strange, as those we experience here on Earth. Witness this transcript that makes up the latest edition of ZIP Beep's Alternate Universe News.--ed.)

ROBERT KOKKIES:
This is a special edition of Multinational Public Radio News. Today, the Senate hearings on the nomination of William Inquest as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. We join the session now, already in progress.

PAUL EXLAXALT (R-Nev):
--in the fight for democracy. Justice Inquist, perhaps you would be kind enough to help us clear up a few nagging issues that some of my less charitable colleagues will almost certainly throw at you.

INQUEST:
Of course. I'd be glad to.

EXLAXALT:
Now, first I think we should deal with that little problem. You know the one I mean, don't you?

INQUEST:
Little?

EXLAXALT:
Yes. The little one. The young issue.

INQUEST:
Look, I don't know who told you about that, but it's not true. I was nowhere near her that night. And I swear I thought she was at least 18. That's not me in that videotape, either. I was visiting my grandma that night, and you could ask her, except she's dead now. I understood I had bought all of the copies of that tape, and I --

EXLAXALT:
Justice, Justice, that's not the matter I'm referring to.

INQUEST:
It isn't?

EXLAXALT:
No, I mean the polls. You know, the ones that show two thirds of the citizens oppose your nomination. You remember. Uh, we talked about this at lunch last week -- you know -- uhm, you said you would say --

INQUEST:
Oh, yes! Of course. Ha ha. Just my little joke there. Yes. The polls. I think it's clear that one third of the population is behind my nomination. That one third is made up primarily of young people. These youngsters understand the need for sweeping changes in the law which, I might add, has inclined toward leftist ideals for some time now. Moreover, and by extension, much younger citizens that aren't able to vote yet are almost certainly inclined to side with the views of their older siblings who are of age, so I believe it is incumbent upon us to listen to them now even before they can express their views, and that's why I think I should be Chief Justice, if I may be as bold to say so.

EXLAXALT:
Thank you, Justice. I know we all appreciate your devotion to those who can't vote. And I'm sure we agree that most of them, if they could express their views, would support your nomination. There is, in fact, a silent majority. I have just one more --

MODERATOR:
Senator, I'm sorry, but your time is up. The Senate now turns the floor over to Senator Cannobeans from Massechuttses.

TEDWARD CANNOBEANS (D-Mass):
Thank you, uh, Senator. Justice Inquist, I must say, uh, that it grieves me to have to set here and ask you about some matters that, uh, form your past. But I think there are one or two matters that still need, uh, an explanation. And I, uh, would like to start with the question of your, uh, activities at the polling place during, uh, the late 1950s and early, uh, 1960s.

INQUEST:
Alright.

CANNOBEANS:
We have, uh, heard testimony from a range of respected private and public figures in these hearings and, uh, many of them have accused you of harassing voters. On one occasion, uh, you were seen to throw a pie in the face of a black voter standing in line at his, uh, polling place and, uh, tell him he didn't belong there because he couldn't read the "Popping Fresh" logo on the bottom of the pie plate. I believe this to be, uh, harassment in its most blatant form and, uh --

INQUEST:
Senator, may I make a statement about that before we go any further?

CANNOBEANS:
By all, uh, means, Justice.

INQUEST:
First of all, I have never been to the polling place you mentioned, and --

CANNOBEANS:
I didn't say where this polling place was.

INQUEST:
Would you be kind enough to allow me to finish? Thank you. Second, I would never have done that since I don't even know any negros. I've never been near one, or certainly not near enough to throw a pie in one's face. Third, it is true that I did challenge voters back when such action was legal, but I never harassed one. And fourth, I don't really see what feeding the poor has to do with harassment. In my book, presenting a pie to an underprivliged person is an act of charity, not of harassment.

CANNOBEANS:
Well, I'm not sure if I can, uh, support your logic, but let's, uh, move on to another point.

INQUEST:
Fine.

CANNOBEANS:
You were special counsel to Attorney General John Mitjail during the, uh, Watergate controversy. Now, uh, I know we would all like to put that unfortunate episode behind us but, uh, certain actions taken by the Attorney General at that time have since been ruled illegal and, uh, unconstitutional. Can you elaborate on --

MODERATOR:
Senator, your time is up. Would you yield to floor to Senator McMitchell?

CANNOBEANS:
I, uh, would.

MODERATOR:
Senator McMitchell.

CONN MCMITCHELL (R-Ky):
Thank you, Senator. Justice, I'm going to pick up where Senator Cannobeans left off. We all remember the injustice of those days, and yet, we would all like to forget it. But would you elaborate a bit.

INQUEST:
I would be glad to, Senator. John Mitjail was never a very pleasant man to work with. As his lawyer, I was unable to get his cooperation on a number of matters, and often found it necessary to write his opinions for him. This doesn't mean that I agreed with his opinions. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Mitjail himself rarely agreed with his opinions. But I had a lot of experience writing such opinions during my days as a Supreme Court law clerk. These were opinions that I could argue in favor of while still not holding to myself. It was in this spirit that I advised him to conduct wiretaps and illegal arrests although, as I pointed out just now, I couldn't agree that he should carry out my recommendations. In short, I think it's safe to say that I don't remember the incidents you're asking about, I don't remember John Mitjail very well, I'm not sure just who I am, and no one can say for certain who my father was. All I remember is Margret Mitjail. What a woman! But I never touched her.

MCMITCHELL:
Thank you for straightening that out, Justice. Let's move on. Could you tell the Senators here just what color your house is.

INQUEST:
It's white.

MCMITCHELL:
The outside or inside.

INQUEST:
Both.

MCMITCHELL:
And the porcelain in your bathroom?

INQUEST:
Which one?

MCMITCHELL:
All of them.

INQUEST:
It's all white.

MCMITCHELL:
How about your telephone?

INQUEST:
White.

MCMITCHELL:
And your car?

INQUEST:
The family Cadillac is white. My personal Cadillac is white. The kids each own a white MG, and my youngest has a white motorcycle. Then there's the guest car. It's a white Ford. Our dog, who is also white, has his own white toy ca--

(At this point, the ionosphere must have shifted suddenly, as the transmission was reduced to static. With any luck, we will be picking up more broadcasts from the Alternate Universe later this year.---ed.)

ZIP Beep #25
SEPTEMBER HOROSCOPES
by Phil O'Donnell

ARIES
Good month for making conversation. Take your time with phrases like, "Good Morning," or "Nice day." When delivered with care, these can bring about a pleasant future for Aries.

TARUS
Size of face has been exagerated. Dead relative could appear at crucial moment. Show your appreciation, but ignore the advice this person may give you.

GEMINI
Someone else's angora sweater rubs off on your new suit. Try to breathe from the diaphragm and expect the worst from children this month.

CANCER
Partners seem well disposed toward your suggestions today, but this is a ruse. They only mean to eventually destroy you. Billiards and coloring are advisable pastimes. Be careful not to speak this month.

LEO
The emphasis is on ice cream, wolves. Now is the time to join the air force, get that carpet cleaned, reread A VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET and repair tiny but useless items. Special project should be scrapped.

VIRGO
Telephone message could be cryptic in the early going. Moths, nursery rhymes hold special significance this month. Discuss holiday, travel plans with total stranger.

LIBRA
An inquiry into the origin of "stir crazy" and "ear drum" gives meaning to Libra's month. Baiting the delivery boy and posing as Brenda Lee are in the Librian's future. That curiosity about aluminum is satisfied in more ways than one.

SCORPIO
Surprises from the family tree await. Plan to spend more time with badgers and crows this month. Pirates and Turks require further info about finances.

SAGITTARIUS
You may find yourself moving closer to a funny smelling man on a beach this month. Be careful not to turn somersaults or juggle. Wear garlic when traveling.

CAPRICORN
Health shows slow but steady decline. Rely on child's advice regarding investments. Washing the car and going to Mexico occupies Capricorn's month. Something that suited you in August may cost you your life now.

AQUARIUS
Try acting smug this month. Pin the tail on the donkey in the early going. Be careful when using a boomerang. Ketchup and dogs bring sense of contentment. Conversation with member of the opposite sex causes hives.

PISCES
You need celery or carrot juice to be at your best this month. Sample all dust by taste before adding it to your collection. Cash registers, brooms and basements bring loathing. Humphrey and Beula are good choices for first name alias.

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