ZIP Beep #52
by Ed Eubanks

 In Ulmagroth near Theddes-Bare

 just past Gwemungdon's vale,

 there is a garden, strange and fair

 where mythic creatures dwell.

 Within this garden Jafa Zan,

 creator of all told,

 did place the mortal Ada Meve

 and blessed him with a soul.


 And all was man's to dominate;

 the lakes, the hills, the sands,

 all fauna that would propagate,

 all flora on the lands.

 This all was Ada Meve's to taste.

 All good without defect

 except for two things most debased

 which he could not select.


 Wrote Jafa Zan upon a stone

 and placed it in the dale:

 "These two things you must leave alone

 or life will be all hell.

 The first: a wormed and grub-held bark,

 the next: the flesh that's stale.

 Eat ye not from the Pansy Bush

 nor chew the Chicken Quayle."


 (The Chicken Quayle's a bird grotesque

 that postures as a hawk.

 With no left side it barely flies

 and apes the jackdaw's squawk.

 Its meat's not for consumption.

 If exposed it will not keep

 so it hides beneath the Pansy Bush

 and sings its song "Veep! Veep!")


 And all was good in Ulmagroth         

 when summer warmed the air,

 but coming Fall left Ada cold

 and edging near despair.

 Then did he curse the barren trees

 (though nuts he could have stored)

 and he did hate the coming cold

 (though inside fires roared).


 Then Ada Meve yelled to the skies     

 "What is this change I see."

 A tiny voice replied so kind,

 "Bring Summer back. Try me."

 He looked around to find the voice

 and saw the Pansy Bush.

 Its odor was the sweetest sweet;

 its branches full and lush.


 "Oho!" yelled Ada Meve on guard,          

 "Oh, I'll have none of you,

 for I was warned by Jafa Zan

 my freedom would be through."

 Said Pansy Bush in calming tones,

 "But Jafa Zan is dead.

 He did not plan for winter's chill

 and can not keep you fed.


 "When Jafa Zan penned his commands   

 the sun shone hot and bright.

 You had no fear of barren trees

 or blackbirds in the night.

 Now limbs are bare; the game has gone;

 the brilliant sky is gray.

 If you don't let me help you out

 it all will get away." 


 "Good point," thought wav'ring Ada Meve  

 "Good point," he said aloud.

 "And what?  You say you'll do away   

 with this autumnal shroud?"

 "Oh yes I will," replied the Bush,

 and keep you fed as well.

 You'll dine on pansy flower pate

 and eggs of Chicken Quayle"          


 So Ada Meve ate from the Bush

 and liked the fruit a lot.

 He chopped down all the other vines

 and let the arbors rot.

 He chased the blackbirds from his lands,

 the other birds as well,

 then settled in quite comfy 

 with his Pansy Bush and Quayle.


 But winter came regardless

 of the words spoke by the Bush

 and oer this erstwhile favored land

 there fell a sickening hush.

 Then far too late did Ada see

 the falseness of the sale.

 One can't exist on rotting bits

 of Bush and Chicken Quayle.


 The land which once was full and gay

 did not bounce back in spring.

 No. Nettled bushes hogged the earth

 and Chicken Quayles don't sing.

 What Ada Meve had cast away 

 while trying to hold on

 was decency and liberty 

 and paradise.  Now gone.



ZIP Beep #52
by Kindly Doctor Crandal

Hello. Crandal's the name. But people around these parts know me as Doc Crandal. That's just the way things work around here. Yessir.

Where is here? It's this little town. A town of people just like you. Not kind of like you, mindja...I mean JUST like you. When you look in the mirror every morning to shave, or put on your makeup, or both, why, you're looking at the same thing you'd see in my little town, only here you'd see a lot more of it. That's about what I see, too. Because everyone looks exactly alike to me. I'm a doctor. And scientifically speaking, all you people aren't really too much different from each other, are you?

But never mind. Never mind. I understand these things because I'm a man of science. All you want to know is, "Where is here?"

"Here" is a town I like to call Youville. That's not its real name, you know. The Chamber of Commerce wouldn't like it if I used the town's real name. But it could easily be Youville, because it's a little plot of land peopled by folks that may as well be ants, they look so much alike. Then again, all of you people pretty much look alike, don't you? I think so. Yessir.

One of my paitents asked me a question the other day. I can't remember who it was. But the question had to do with an illness that perplexed him, as it might perplex anyone who isn't a doctor, like I am.

He said, "Doc, why are my lips so chapped?"

Well, I examined his lips and sure enough, they were cracked. Not badly cracked. Not yet. But it was clear that he'd be in for trouble if things continued.

So I said, "Son," or "Mister," (I can't remember which, and it doesn't matter) "you may well wonder. I'd say you have the makings of a bad infection there. I'd say you're suffering the beginning symptoms of what we doctors call Cardioparkosis. That doesn't mean anything to you, since you're not a doctor. You people know this ailment, if you know it at all, as Ticket-In-Mouth Disease."

Well, he looked at me for a moment, and I could tell he didn't know whether to believe me. Most people are like that. Why? Because I sometimes lie. People tell me that's one of the things that makes me so endearing to them. That and the fact that there aren't any other doctors around here, and none likely to come since my little town is no less pathetic than most other duckbergs across this land.

Cardioparkosis, I told him (and I'm telling you because you are just like him and need to know these things), is caused by chronic use a certain type of parking lot. These lots are semi-automated and, upon entry, parkers are given a card (or ticket) showing the time. The time is compared with the time when the parker departs, and an appropriate or inappropriate fee is charged by the parking attendant on duty.

Cardioparkosis sufferers, it has been found, typically take the ticket from the machine and instead of putting it in a pocket then and there, the sufferer puts the ticket in his or her mouth, just far enough so that the lips can close down upon it but not so far as to get it wet. When he or she steps out of the car, the ticket is removed, taking a portion of the lip skin with it.

Although this is a relatively minor illness, it is often mistaken for chapped lips due to exposure to the elements. In actuality, it is the result of a careless and disgusting habit. I have found that most people will admit to this practice when quizzed. Those who deny are all liars.

Left untreated, Cardioparkosis can lead to gradual greening of the lip skin, followed by a purple rash under the lips. When this happens, there is no stopping the advance of the disease. It continues to work its way through the gums, the teeth, down the neck, and finally spreads throughout the body until the sufferer is nothing but a slithering pile of bloody pus with no friends and few reasons to live.

But that's enough about Cardioparkosis. The patient who had it is probably dead by now, so there's no reason to dwell on one awful illness.

No, I think it's time to move on. It's a beautiful day. The birds are singing. People are out walking the streets of Youville, up and down, up and down, up and down like insignificant drones.

There's old Mrs. Watson. She's one of my patients. Yep. One of my best patients. Believes everything I tell her. And she never forgets that I have a medical degree, while she barely finished the 8th grade back in '05.

Mrs. Watson is a cat lover. Poor thing can't get around very well anymore. Some people think it's because she's almost a hundred years old. But I know different. Why, she could win the triathalon tomorrow if it wasn't for those cats of hers.

You see, Mrs. Watson suffers from Winter Evening Paralysis, a seasonal disorder otherwise known as Felinis Intractus. It's been a long time coming. Every night for years she would sit in her living room and knit or read. When the weather turned cold, at least one of her five beautiful Persians would curl up on her lap. Mrs. Watson would knit or read until she was tired. Then, instead of tossing the cats on the floor like a rational human being, she would stay in her chair rather than disturb them. The combination of the cold room, the warm cats, and her misplaced priorities caused her muscles to atrophy to the point that she could no longer knit or read. All she could do was sit and rock with the cats on her lap.

The cure? There is none. Mrs. Watson has no future. But just in case my prognosis is wrong (which, by the way, is highly unlikely), I prescribed a regimen of high-impact aerobics, medium-strength shock therapy and an occasional handful of little green pills I got from a medical supplies dealer who came through town last month. Moreover, I sent the cats to medical school, where they will finally serve a useful function.

Mrs. Watson isn't doing very well with her aerobics. But she hobbles down the street once every day or so to get her groceries, then hobbles back to her little rocking chair in that big, empty house. I think that rocking chair is a distraction from her aerobic exercises. Perhaps I'll make a note to have the mayor remove it the next time she's out. In fact, I think it would be wise to remove all of her furniture, and only give her the bed at night. Providing she starts taking her training seriously.

Ah, the mayor. Now there's a pip of a fellow. Mayor Krasne is a man of foresight. He's the reason I'm here. Yessir. Mayor Krasne called me at the prison and asked if I'd like to be the doctor for Youville. I was flattered. The warden wrote it into the terms of my parole, and here I am.

Mayor Krasne has a lot of forward-looking ideas. He sees the value of a triathalon-winning old woman in her 90's. He knows it would do a lot for the reputation of Youville, and probably bring in crowds of people with bags of money to fix up this disgusting little stretch of crumpled buildings we call Main Street. Yep. Mayor Krasne is a man who thinks ahead.

He wasn't thinking ahead when he said he wouldn't raise taxes this year. I think he might have been banking too much on Mrs. Watson. Now, like Mrs. Watson, he's allowed himself to become too comfortable, and suffers unwittingly from a disorder known as Revenue Enhancement Syndrome. With no income, Youville has a sick treasury. Taxes would be the normal solution. But Mayor Krasne thought he could get around them somehow. I don't rightly know what he was thinking. Now he has developed the inability to tax, and his body is attempting to compensate by causing his mind to see revenue enhancement opportunities around every corner.

"Doc," he'll say to me, "how about this: Everyone who buys a cup of coffee at the Youville North Side Cafe will be assessed a revenue enhancement charge or 5%"

"Mayor," I'll tell him, "that's a good idea." I hate to remind him the Youville North Side Cafe went out of business two years ago.

"Doc," he'll say, "I've got another one. Farmers are always tracking farm dirt all over town. I think we need to have a farm dirt revenue enhancement. We could use part of it to take all that nice topsoil back to the country. Or maybe just to my garden. The rate of the revenue enhancement could be tied to the number of cows a farmer has, and we could assess it every time he comes into the grain elevator."

"Mayor," I'll answer, "you've done it again." He doesn't need to know that the grain elevator is closing before next harvest season. It doesn't really matter. Besides, most of the farms are owned by Farmconglom, a division of General Business Foods, a wholely owned subsidiary of Chokenkoff Tobacco Industry Affiliates Inc.

"Doc," he'll ask, "what about health care? Can we put a revenue enhancement on health care?"

"Mayor," I'll say, "you're crazy as a bag of mad ducks, you know that? People are dying to see me. Literally! We can't take their money for the town. That would be unfair. I want their money. But I'd be happy to stand you in a game of poker with me, if it's okay to use my cards."

Well, that's about it. You know all there is to know about my little town. There's actually more to it than this, but it doesn't really matter. Nothing really matters in these parts. Not the town. Not the people. Certainly not the future, of which it has none if they don't start treating me better around here. I love this place. There's nowhere I could go that could be kinder to me. And some day, the town is going to realize its full potential, and be kind to me in the way I know it can. Real kind. Then even kinder. Kinder and gentler. Because this is my little town, and I love it, and I can do with it what I want.

ZIP Beep #52
by Dennis Wallaker

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year, George, or should I say Mr. President! Took your advice and replaced the black lawn jockey with the white lawn jockey and have them working on alternate days. It's made all the difference in the world.

I wish most labor problems could be solved as simply and I'm sure you do too. Back when my Uncle Ross was organizing Teamsters in the thirties (Mpls.- St. Paul), most of them were Trotskyites and had attitudes even worse than my son Dennis (who is still nuts and trying to teach Esperanto to his cat, Spike -- very 60's). Ha Ha.

My daughter is trying to get pregnant again but my son-in-law has kinda forgot where certain things are supposed to go which, considering the times and his two jobs, is not all that hard to take even with two grains of salt.

My grandson is following in the footsteps of his Uncle Dennis, eating mushrooms and making people angry for no reason at all. When he gets to be three, I'm going to punch the little "it" out!

So speaking of why people should be able to get abortions without getting dumped on, I've got this to say --

When I was a kid I wondered why I was here since no one really wanted me (otherwise they wouldn't have sent me to live on that farm).

Then all kinds of people seemed to have popped up out of the ground and started loving me. So I had no choice but to start loving other people back.

Since I don't know what's exactly right or wrong about this, I can only hope that people are able to find a farm like that one or an orphanage or something so they can find a kid and love it so it will start loving back, too.

Now, concerning nuclear warfare and advanced weaponry -- I'm all for it as long as we don't destroy anything. As a home owner and an owner of rental property, I simply can't afford to see the bottom drop out of the market.

Which brings us to the problem of Acid Rain. I don't mind ticking off Canadians 'cause that's what they are there for. But killing fish is something different all together. Can't there be some other way of bugging the back bacon out of those folks without destroying the lakeshore property?

Dennis (my son) is a little concerned about whether you give a single damn about the senior citizens, but we figured that since your wife is in a category that is rather indefinable age wise, you might be a little sensitive to those who don't have the grace and obvious vigor of your better half. We both like her. She's classy.

By the way, we all come from farm people and we are also a little concerned about where you are at with that issue.

The farmers used to set their watches when Denny's Grandfather came by with the mail and he used to set his when they'd be by with the milk. If all that's going to be gone forever, please let us know in advance. It might affect the way we vote in the future (but for a funny reason and/or sense lost to me and mine, I don't think so). We are the gone ones and in your very friendly way, you are here.

I forgot to tell you about the time when I shot the fox. We were pheasant hunting but he tossed himself out there with the black clumps of dirt. I think he thought, "What are a bunch of shotgun-toting jerks like this going to do against me? Mein Gott, I've got the speed, I know the territory, this is my joint." But, ya see, I tapped my kid on the shoulder and asked, "Is the fox dead?" He looked up, and for the first time he hated me.

Dennis was right. We had no business killing the fox but there was no one around who was wise enough to tell us, "Stop, don't do this stupid thing" except children and who listens to children.

That's maybe the reason for the letter, 'cause I like you and I hope you like me.

Or an even better example is when my son, Denny, was having Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house when this guy across the street asks Dennis if he'll take care of his parrot.

Denny never says "No" when it comes to things that aren't human so he's there with this parrot on his shoulder at Thanksgiving dinner.

Then this Republican guy starts messing with the bird. (Which is one of the reasons I can understand you boys being concerned about abortion, 'cause I think it's going to throw a wrench in your voting block next time if there ain't enough of you around.)

My boy says to the guy that he shouldn't mess with the bird and grabs some more of this weird vegetarian junk that he always makes for holidays (I shouldn't talk about him so much but he's so shy when it comes to talking about himself).

The guy refuses to listen to Dennis and continues to goose the bird so the macaw leans over and bites him through the nose. So there was blood all over which probably ruined everyone's plans for buying a bird in the near future except for my kid who was egging the damn thing on and had the feathered beast half convinced to bite him again in a place that many of us use for a very private purpose.

The thing I'm trying to tell you without leaning on issues or anything, 'cause I agree with you on many things that aren't important at all, is that this damn kid of mine, the parrot, his cats and just about all of his friends (many who have done time), are out there and thinking that their vote had no effect. Thinking that they are just flotsam or jetsam (my term), and though I know they won't be killing you, they may try to kill Marlin Fitzwater or his brother Don (who also writes for this computer rag). So if you changed just about all of your opinions, then my kid would go home with all these animals and friend types and maybe just think about this stuff.

As for Dan Quayle...

Denny's kitten, Little Pete, said it better than I ever could. In fact, he didn't have to say nothing since this new boy shows all the promise of Sugar Ray in the early days.

But while Denny was doing whatever he does in the john, Little Pete leans over and says, "Incredibly bad move on Bush's part." I could have put it that way myself months ago but am I willing to take that choice especially during breakfast because...

Well, you're the Prez and we have to accept you as such. If you met my Dad, you'd trust him and want him to be Prez and I bet Denny feels the same way about me.

And I know there are people that NEED Denny to be president. But nobody really wanted you to be president. Nobody hates you -- but it's a big, big, white, White House. Strong men are not necessarily men who exercise on a regular basis.

Better finish. Got to get this letter out in the box before the street people come out. They're having a party and if I get invited, I'm going to be there all night.

Denny's Dad

ZIP Beep #52
COMPUTIN' (With apologies to the Grateful Dead)
by Don Fitzwater

A lot has happened in 4 years.

In 1984 the Macintosh was introduced. It sported 128K and one 400K floppy drive. The IBM PC of the same time usually was equipped with 256K and a 360K floppy. Both machines cost around $2800. Then there was the Osborne. A CP/M-based "luggable" that came bundled with a heck of a lot of nice software.

Since those early days of personal computing we've seen the Mac grow to the 68030-based Mac IIx, the IBM PC become first the XT, then the AT and now the PS/2 (and the clones' 386-based) lines, and the Osborne disappear from the market. We've switched from "personal computers" to (as Steve Jobs of NeXT would like us to do) "personal workstations."

The only constant has been change.

Technology is a wonderful thing. The other day I accidently left my computer hooked up to my CD player while I went through about 6 hours of Grateful Dead tunes. I didn't think much about it until later when I booted an AI shell and discovered the following text file --


 Got my chips cached in

 Keep computin' 

 Lots of RAM and SIMM's


 More than a meg online

 Just keep computin' ah----------- 


 Windows, icons and menus out on the main screen

 Macintosh, New Wave, IBM and it's all like the same screen

 Your typical PC involved in a typical daydream

 Shut it down and see what tomorrow brings



 Got the Mac machine


 Too close to the Mac's screen

 New Wave

 Gets sued the same it seems

 Apple won't let you be----------


 Most of the cats you meet on the street speakin' hardware

 Most of the time they're working and using a clone

 One of these days they know they gotta do windows

 Or they'll be out the door and out in the street all alone



 Like the Steve Jobs man

 Once told me

 You got to take a stand


 The Press ain't worth a damn

 If you can't bring them 'round--------


 Sometimes the light's all shining on me

 Other times I can barely "C"

 Lately it occurs to me

 What a long, strange trip it's been...


 What in the world ever became of cheap RAM?

 It's lost its sparkle you know it isn't the same

 Blaming the cost and price hikes on ol' Japan

 All a user can say is ain't it a shame



 Made in Tokyo

 Been thinkin'

 You got to expand slow

 Takes time

 To pick a place to go

 Just keep computin' on-----------


 Sitting and staring at too many manuals

 Gotta tip they're changing the OS again

 I'd like to get some sleep before I travel

 But if they're gonna change it, I guess I'd better begin...



 Down on Software Street

 Went up

 Like the plane I'm in


 It gets to wearing thin

 They just won't let you be------


 You're sick and tired of hearing about the new DOS

 Get tired of the old DOS you want the new OS/2

 I guess I can't revoke your soul for trying

 To get the most out of your old CPU


 Sometimes the light's all shining on me

 Other times I can barely "C"

 Lately it occurs to me

 What a long, strange trip it's been...



 Electronic dreams

 Whoa whoa baby 

 Seen the NeXT machine


 Are the rage it seems

 And keep on computin' mama------



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