ZIP Beep #57
by Chuck Strinz





Last Friday, a focus group session was held with twelve (12) participating sample consumers, each representing a psychographic or ethnographic target of K&P clients.

The purpose of the focus group was to evaluate potential consumer response to advertising on U.S.S.R. space vehicles as per the proposal presented to us last month by the Soviet government.

The Soviets have developed some concepts and are soliciting criteria suggestions for a cross-section of potential sponsors.

What the Soviets do not seem to understand relates to the law of supply & demand, how to price their products, and all that basic Adam Smith stuff. Their rates are generally acceptable. But I believe we would be well advised to sign no long-term contracts. One day, they'll wise up and realise they can't cover a loss-per-sale pricing structure by making it up in volume.

Be that as it may, here are the four means of presentation proposed by the Soviets, a short description of each, my evaluation, and the focus group's reactions.


The Soviet art directors had prepared a series of sketches that allowed us to see how it would look if a giant basketball player were painted on a rocket. The player was in the process of making a lay-up, with the basketball and basket near the nose cone. Other art boards presented representations of football players kicking field goals, hockey players in combat, and one very intriguing depiction of a rocket as a large baseball bat. The Soviets seemed to be suggesting that the various professional teams might want to sponsor spaceflights. At first, focus group reaction was generally unfavorable to this approach. But when we suggested beer and cigarette sponsorships, they gave it an overall 74% favorable response. It might have been higher, but one of the Soviets suggested a steroid sponsor, and I believe this brought the response rating down.


I thought this was a truly looney idea when first presented, but it goes to show you that you never know where the good ones are going to come from, and you always need to keep your eyes and mind open. Originally, the Soviets had proposed pulling banners behind their rockets in the manner a small plane might pull a banner behind it while flying over a ball park or beach. They had solved the technical problems of how to unroll the banners without burning them to cinders, but this involved waiting for the first stage to jetison, and it was clear that the craft would be well out of camera range before the message could be unfurled sufficiently to be completely displayed. The Soviets half-heartedly suggested skywriting. We presented it all to the focus group, got a good response, and brainstormed on it until somebody hit on the idea of dropping radioactive isotopes (short half-life, of course) of various types to produce various colors in an organized manner to form a corporate logo or some similar graphic. The ultimate response to this was close to 90% favorable. I'd say it's worth looking into.


Every spacecraft is filmed during lift off. It's easy to see how a still shot of a corporate trademark could be exposed as the craft stands poised on the pad. But one common camera treatment, and one that gets a lot of attention, shows the progression of the craft's take off from the viewpoint of a stationary camera. The top of the craft passes out of the frame, followed by the middle, then the bottom. The Soviets see a possibility of showing a progression of five messages from a single sponsor, with each message occupying one fifth of the craft (divided vertically), and with the progression running from top to bottom. In this way, the viewer watching the lift off on his or her TV screen at home might see something like the following: First Message -- "He loved the girls"; Second Message -- "But couldn't catch 'em"; Third Message -- "His beard was too rough"; Fourth Message -- "And they feared it would scratch 'em."; Fifth Message -- "Burma Shave" I'm saddened to say that this idea received a 56% favorable response rating. I don't know. Maybe I'm old fashioned and sentimental for my days in sales on the road back in the '50s, but I thought this one would do better. I still like it.


This would probably be the easiest to implement, and it makes sense for the Soviets because it directly underwrites some of their more critical work. In essence, the advertiser would pay a fee to be the official sponsor of a given spacewalk. During that spacewalk, the cosmonaut would appear somehow with the sponsor's logo and/or message. The degree of exposure would depend on the amount contributed by the sponsor. Small contributions might merit a small patch on a cosmonaut's sleeve. Progressively larger amounts would buy larger patches, pictures of a product line on the back of a cosmonaut's space suit, sandwich boards up to 6' x 4' (double-side, 4-color), and so forth. They're open to proposals, and will even consider an arrangement whereby a cosmonaut might be seen using a sponsor's product in space. The focus group loved this one, as I had assumed they would. It rated an 84% favorable response.

Please circulate this memo throughout the department and get back to me with any observations before next Thursday. And if anybody hears from NASA, tell them we're busy with a group of noveau capitalists and we'll get back to them when we can.

ZIP Beep #57
by Dennis Wallaker

Quote - "I guess just because it's Spring and your popsicle melts underneath your shirt sleeve and then it gets all over your pants...then your Mom is actually supposed to hit at you."
-- The most nervous kid in the world that I've met in the past year.

Scene - My (unfortunately at the time) co-ed bathroom.

It was an embarrassing moment.

There was popsicle all over him. He told me that he didn't melt it. The sun did it.

The shirt was not totally ruined but the chances of using it for funerals was severely dampened.

So we tossed it in cold water while the neighbor lady reminisced.

"I remember when they cost a nickel."

I was tense because I've been trying to quit smoking and the kid was tense because the purple popsicle wasn't coming out of the shirt. He turned on me like a wild animal and said.

"You didn't buy this soap! This is soap that you stole from some motel. It's too small and it smells better than the other stuff you buy."

The kid is nervous. But he's a great source of information and inspiration, hence comes the information that I'm to send you about animals.

This is the way this one works.


There is a park near here which is quite large which has a pond which is quite small.

One day I was walking through the park. The Most Nervous Kid in the World that I've ever met in the past year jumped out of the bushes and said, "Boo."

Then he told me that there was a shark in the pond.

I asked, "How big?"

He said it was about the size of a bus.

I could tell he was lying.

I told him everything he said was a tissue of lies. We live in Minnesota. There ain't no sharks around here.

Then I said, "Why don't you go home and tell those kind of lies, huh!" I put in yet another "Huh!" for emphasis.

He informed me that his Mom said he could stay outside for 20 minutes but if he didn't git they weren't going to have cheeseburgers. They'd have stuff with tuna in it.

I told him this was no time to take chances, that I'd watch for the shark but he had better run home.

He did.

Tuna stuff...


Sharks eat them unless they're really big mammalian types. Then the sharks just chew on them. This includes Teamsters.


The most recent info comes from my Dad.

"Dennis, I'm not letting those dogs I stole from you out of the car while I'm at the lake and when I'm just picking up a couple cans of paint 'cause they head straight for the water and start swimming.

"And then they get back in the car... Oh, Denny, you wouldn't believe the stink, especially from the big one who is eating like a pig even though I told her to save some for the little guy and that I'm getting tired of filling that dish every hour on the hour.

"And you better believe that every time you're in the bathroom for more than five minutes, they're up on the couch, watching TV which they can see perfectly well from the floor."

It's a high pressure situation and it sounds like everyone involved is suffering from the tension.


Sometimes a symbol for satanic worship but more often than not a pain in the ass for anybody that owns one. I get along with them but then I'm a pain in the ass for anybody that knows one.

SKIRRELS (My Grandpa Ralph's spelling)

I always make a point of trying to calm them down but I am rarely successful.

People say I'm good with animals but if you can't chill out a packful of squirrels, maybe you should just turn in your Greenpeace card.


I love these guys but I can't have one 'cause the cats kill anything around here that isn't me and even then I'm...etc (Standard Joke).

But there is nothing like a turtle's attitude.

If he likes what's going on he puts his head out. If he don't like it, he puts his head back in. If he really hates it, he/or/she goes back into the water.

If human beings did this, there would be no more war.

Psychologists are always telling us about coming out of our shells.

It might be better is we went back in.


Great cigarette but a lousy animal. I could tell you a great joke but Chuck wouldn't print it.

Most of you haven't had the opportunity to have met the bull that my Uncle Curtis had in 1962.

Talk about an attitude! Not Uncle Curtis, but the bull.

In fact, I think that bull and the camels I had seen in my youth probably knew each other.

They may have watched the same Roger Corman biker movies.

Or maybe it's just the way I see things.


I hate to say this, but I find them pretty drab.

I get the same feeling from them that I used to get when I stayed at a certain relative's place and they showed me what there was to read except that it was these Readers Digest Condensations.

And then they'd explain to you how they took the money they were going to spend on the garbage disposal and spent it on a bookshelf instead so each volume could be proudly displayed.

And you open one of them up and fall into the middle of "The Betsy" by Harold Robbins and you slowly begin to die while the relatives discuss tax breaks in the background.

Robins don't say much. They don't fly much. They don't move around that much.

I love them all, but robins may have spent their money on bookshelves, too.


My cats usually get to them before I even have a chance to do any decent research.

But I was watching this Tom & Jerry cartoon the other day and while it is hard to believe, I'm firmly convinced that if Tom & Jerry weren't actually doing all that stuff, they'd never be able to put it on TV unless it was cable or something.

Besides, Jerry eggs Tom on until he has no choice but to react with anger.

I switched channels and caught the news.

They had a very nice story about a five year old girl learning to water ski.

I was able to sleep that night.


If you think that listening to a Pink Floyd record is confusing, try spending time around one of these creatures.

An ex-fiancee and I were watching one at a zoo for about 20 minutes five years ago and then we headed for the candy machine.

She said, "I got better things to do with my life than watching a duck billed platypus."

I said, "I can't believe this! They got Nut Goodies and Zagnuts!"

She winced, got in her car and split.

I took the bus and went home but only after I changed a fiver into quarters because Zagnuts ain't that easy to find.


I've called a lot of people baboons, and back in the old days while I was dropping all that acid, I was sure a lot of people I was running into were baboons or at least chimps, but when it comes right down to it, I don't know that much about them.

I don't know that much about most apes. I understand they many have very sharp teeth and large hemorrhoids so I suspect belong to the Republican Party.

Except that I dig all simians so much that it's hard for me to handle that one of them might have been next to Nixon at a pre-convention dinner 20 years ago.

He might even have asked Nixon if he wanted the rest of his baked chicken.

Nixon probably said, "Yes."


My grandpa says, and I quote:

"Denny, if I ever go to a museum again, I'd rather go with you than old people 'cause when you go with the seniors, they just push you through and then you have to pile back on the bus." I tried to talk...

Grandmothers will always disagree about anything, especially if they don't know a damn about it.

She and I disagree about the brontosaurus.

I told her that dinosaurs disappeared thousands and thousands of years ago.

She feels that there are probably some in Hawaii that are still alive but no one can find them 'cause everyone spends too much time on the beach.

I had never considered this.

The beach is the place where you find swimmers swimming, unless there are sharks there, too. I'd believe it if the nervous kid told me he saw a shark in Hawaii. I'm not sure if my grandma would, though.

ZIP Beep #57
by Don Fitzwater

We all remember that book report for school that somehow never quite managed to get done in time for class. And we all remember the rather extreme scenarios that we came up with to explain this grievous shortcoming to our teachers...

There was the simple straight forward approach that relied heavily on looking adorably cute at exactly the right moment

"My dog ate it."

Or there was the shared insider information approach.

"Well, you little sister, well you know, she's kinda a pain, everybody in the family kinda doesn't like her...well, anyway, she tore it up this morning."

Then there were those of us who already showed the makings of a good politician.

"Didn't you get it? I mailed it to the school..."

But things are different now. These same old tired excuses will no longer stand up against the realities of our high tech civilization. The impact of high tech on excuses is widespread and all encompassing. And so the need for high tech excuses is a relatively new development.

We here at ZIP Beep have a long history of being pioneers in the on-line world. Naturally enough, we've run across all sorts of high tech excuses. Now, as a service to our readers we've compiled a sort of "Best Of" collection of the latest in state-of-the-art excuses.


There are many different categories of excuses, here are some of our favorites.

There is the whole category I like to call:


"I don't have a 3.5 inch floppy drive."

"I don't have a 5.25 inch floppy drive."

"My computer doesn't understand Kanji."

"The cat sat on the keyboard and reformatted it."

"The mail clerk had to fold it to get it in my mailbox."

"My wife stuck it on the refrigerator door where I could find it."

"We had a party here the other night and our neighbor thought it was the neatest coaster."

"It went through the washer."

"It's now the centerpiece of my daughter's art project."

POWER USERS - High tech can't exist without power, thereby providing a rich field for excuses.

"The power was out."

"The power went out just before I saved the completed file to disk."

"We had a brownout and the hard drive crashed."

"My computer was hit by lightning."

"I was hit by lightning."

MACHINES AGAINST MAN - We all know that mechanical devices are just waiting to get us, don't we?

"The printer jammed."

"The copier ate it."

"You just got garbage? It must have been line noise."

"Didn't you get my fax?"

OFFICE PYROTECHNICS - Ever notice just how violent a lot of the everyday terms we use in the office are?

"The Fax blew up."

"The monitor exploded."

"The printer was smoking."

"My boss blew his stack and nothing got done the rest of the day."

"It accidentally fell into the shredder."

[The preceding excuse is dedicated those crazy "we're just following orders" kids, Poindexter, Fawn and Ollie.]

THE TWILIGHT ZONE - These are excuses that are strange enough to defy classification.

"The neighbor borrowed the computer and they haven't been home all weekend."

"I typed in the wrong security code and now I'm locked out of the network."

"When I went through airport security their machines must have erased the disk."

"You mean you don't have it yet? The courier service picked it up hours ago."

"It's in my briefcase, in my car, which is, unfortunately, at the bottom of the lake."

"I put the disk in my left front shirt pocket. A crazed programmer hurled a dot matrix printer out of an office window striking me in the chest. If it hadn't been for the floppy disk in my pocket, the printer would have pierced my heart."

Well, I'm sure these will give you a good start, and besides, alien software pirates have kidnapped my computer...

ZIP Beep #57
a Cleft Notes Guide by Chuck Strinz


The Double Heliumix is one of the classics of modern scientific thought. Told entirely from the viewpoint of young chemist Simon Ponds, it presents a blow-by-blow accounting of the methods and madness behind one of the more exciting discoveries of the century. Through Ponds' experiences, we learn how scientific partnerships are formed. We follow the progress of Ponds and his British physicist cohort, Martin Fleishmans, while they engage in their particular quest for knowledge. As usual, the Cleft Notes version presents all of the highlights without subjecting you to long and tedious sessions with a significant work of literature. After studying this short Guide, you will know all you need to pass that Science 101 course and still have time to goof off with the bimbos and BMOCs that populate the campus.


SUMMARY: Ponds flies to England, meets his academic advisor, argues about his course of study, and is dismissed. Later, in the quad, he experiences a paranomal epiphany.

COMMENTARY: Ponds' introduction to his advisor exemplifies his aversion to authority. His refusal to accept his advisor's recommendations leads to an incident involving the advisor's pipe and an anatomically unsound practice. Punished for his insubordination, Ponds quickly leaves the advisor's office and lands shortly thereafter on his ear. The physical damage to his cranium, combined with his consumption of extraordinary amounts of wine, lead to an episode involving a moment of insight that brings about the discovery of the ring structure of benzene, a chance encounter with a co-ed, and a night in jail.


SUMMARY: Ponds meets Fleishmans. Ponds and Fleishmans share their ideas and interests.

COMMENTARY: Ponds discovers agreeable and curiously English quirks in Fleishmans, particularly that of appearing largely disinterested in the opposite sex until primed with liquor, and the subsequent inability to hold himself under control. Fleishmans discovers that Americans are, on the whole, just as uncouth and vulgar as he has always been lead to believe. Fleishmans and Ponds discover their mutual affinity for dropping water balloons from tall buildings on campus.


SUMMARY: Ponds looks for digs.

COMMENTARY: After a night of drunken revelry with buxom women who have no great appreciation for mental acrobatics, Ponds and Fleishmans wake up in jail. With the help of Fleishmans' lawyer and long-time some-time companion, Dora "Vavoom" Chalmers QCMP, Ponds gets permission to move into a cheap basement walkup, where he is subjected to damp floors and introduced to the concept of poor food.


SUMMARY: Ponds switches projects, Fleishmans becomes acquainted with the dean on a personal basis.

COMMENTARY: Ponds presents his advisor with a summary of his ideas for experiments in the discipline of physics. The primary activity involves an antiquated telephone switchboard and a crude generator. Electrodes from the apparatus are attached to various parts of the advisor's anatomy, after which the advisor agrees to allow Ponds the academic leeway necessary to incorporate more advanced physical studies in his thesis outline. Fleishmans, meanwhile, is caught in a compromising position with the dean's daughter.


SUMMARY: Fleishmans looks for new digs.

COMMENTARY: After his acrimonious encounter with the dean, Fleishmans is forced to move out of the coal cellar he has been surreptitiously occupying in the dean's home. Fleishmans drags his sleeping bag, cot and hot plate to the back of the boiler room in the physics building, and begins spying on his colleagues.


SUMMARY: Ponds and Fleishmans agree to collaborate, and set about planning their work.

COMMENTARY: Ponds takes the day shift. Fleishmans takes the night shift. They meet every twelve hours to exchange secrets they've learned about their colleagues' work. Margaret "Maggie" Blank, who is pioneering a means of inexpensively producing electric power, is their primary target. They steal her dog and hold it for ransom. She gathers her notes and presents them to the pair in exchange for the pet. But Ponds and Fleishmans have made the dog psychotic, and it suddenly attacks Maggie, who is mortified and dies of a broken heart.


SUMMARY: Ponds and Fleishmans study the results of their work.

COMMENTARY: Unable to make anything out of Maggie's notes, Ponds and Fleishmans engage in a two-week binge of pub-crawling and wenching.


SUMMARY: Ponds and Fleishmans formulate their quest for the double heliumix.

COMMENTARY: After a night of carousing, Fleishmans is seized by an uncontrollable attack of the hiccups. While standing on his head and drinking a glass of water, he glances at his desk and realizes he and Ponds had been unable to read Maggie's notes because the notes were upside down. Heartened by this discovery, they look closer and see that Maggie is hot on the trail of a resource for perpetual grant funding. It involves researching the development of fusion energy, and Maggie has created a process that produces heat while doubling the amount of helium in a mixture of deuterium and special sauce that is subjected to an electrical current. Ponds and Fleishmans agree that they need to find the formula for the special sauce in the deuterium mix that produces double amounts of helium. They confide in each other that they are not sure what they're talking about.


SUMMARY: Ponds and Fleishmans learn they have competition from America.

COMMENTARY: Famous Nobel laureate and cult guru Lineaus Palmer announces his intention to find the special sauce necessary for the double heliumix. Ponds and Fleishmans arrange to have Palmer's son kidnapped, but the son enrolls and takes up with the dean's daughter before they can get to him.


SUMMARY: Ponds and Fleishmans discover the special sauce.

COMMENTARY: Despondent in their ineptitude, Ponds and Fleishmans return to Ponds' digs to contemplate their plight. They exchange blame and rude comments. A shoving match results in the accidental mixture of cold cream from Ponds' night table and margarine from Fleishmans' lunchbox. The mixture produces a strange glow, and they pass it off as the long-sought double heliumix. They are awarded the Nobel Prize. But subsequent research proves the glow was the result not of fusion but of a curious chemical reaction sparked by mixing Polysorbate 80 with soybean oil. By the time this discovery is made, Ponds and Fleishmans are secure in their future as heads of their own chemistry and physics departments at a college in a state known for megalomaniacal renegade polygamists and repeated reconfirmations of Orin Hatch.


Cleft Notes Guide to Western Thought
Cleft Notes Guide to Western Literature
Cleft Notes Guide to Western Architecture
Cleft Notes Guide to Western Movies
Cleft Notes Guide to The Complete Works of Gabby Hayes
Cleft Notes Guide to Campus Activities
Cleft Notes Guide to Skipping Classes
Cleft Notes Guide to Sports & Leisure
Cleft Notes Guide to Campus Area Bars & Nightlife
Cleft Notes Guide to Buying Cleft Notes Guides
Cleft Notes Guide to Modern American Soap Operas
Cleft Notes Guide to Getting By
Cleft Notes Guide to Being A Mechanic With An English Degree
Cleft Notes Guide to City Missions
Cleft Notes Guide to Better Speling
Cleft Notes Guide to Changing Identities
Cleft Notes Guide to Diploma Mills
Cleft Notes Guide to Modern American Editorial Cartoonists
Cleft Notes Guide to Acceptable Excuses

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