Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. Speaking of things desired (see FUN SITE, below)... I'm currently designing a new system for myself. The "trouble" started when I attempted to install a GeForce2 video card into my computer. I had picked up this card months ago (prior to injuring my back) and when I "popped it in" the thing gave me fits. So, since I just wanted to play some games, I removed it and put it on the shelf for when I had more time. Starting next week I will detail the experience  for you in living color.




A little girl walked to and from school daily.  Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trek to the elementary school. 


As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning.  The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school and she herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child. 


Lightning, like a flaming sword, would cut through the sky following the roar of thunder.  Full of concern, the mother quickly got into her car and drove along the route to her child's school. 


As she did so she saw her little girl walking along. At each flash of lightning the child would stop, look up and smile.  Another and another were to follow quickly and with each the little girl would look at the streak of light and smile. 


When the mother's car drew up beside the child she lowered the window and called her to get into the car. "What were you doing?" she asked. "Why did you keep stopping?" 


The child answered, "I am trying to look pretty, God keeps taking my picture." 


May God bless you as you face the storms that come your way. 


And don't forget to SMILE! 


[thanks to Donna and Mala Chizek for this one]




Amnesty Intercepted: Global human rights groups blocked by Web censoring software

Bennett Haselton


Prompted by numerous student reports of being unable to access Amnesty International and other human-rights-related Web sites from school computers, Peacefire tested several popular blocking programs used in schools, to see which of these sites were blocked.  We configured the programs to block only the kinds of Web sites that would be blocked in a typical school setting (pornography, drugs, violence, etc.), so that purely political sites should have been accessible.  But we found several Amnesty-related sites blocked by the software we tested, including several documents on Amnesty.org itself blocked by CYBERsitter, chapters of Amnesty International Israel blocked by Cyber Patrol and SurfWatch, and several human rights groups blocked by Bess. Some of the blocked sites are:


·Amnesty International at New York University (http://www.lawstudents.org/amnesty/) The student-run chapter of AI at the NYU school of law.

·Canadian Labour Congress (http://www.clc-ctc.ca/) A coalition of Canadian labor unions promoting health care and job safety within Canada and abroad.

·Sisterhood Is Global Institute (http://www.sigi.org/) SIGI promotes human rights issues at a global level, with focuses on women's rights issues.

·Green Brick Road (http://www.gbr.org/) A directory of resources for students and teachers of global environmental education.

·Parish Without Borders (http://www.parish-without-borders.net/) A global network of Catholic communities focusing on outreach in developing nations.

·Strategic Pastoral Action Network (http://www.spanweb.org/) An non-violence advocacy organization.

·International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (http://www.iglhrc.org/) Spotlights human rights abuses against gays and lesbians.

·Human Rights for Workers (http://www.senser.com/) An online campaign against sweatshops and supporting job safety as a fundamental human right.

·Mumia Solidaritäts Index (in German only) (http://www.mumia.de/) A German site opposing the execution of American death row prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal.

·The Milarepa Fund (http://www.milarepa.org/) The Milarepa Fund raises awareness of violence against civilians and other human rights violations in Tibet.

·Peace Magazine (http://www.peacemagazine.org/) Chronicles efforts to bring peace to areas such as Kosovo and Palestine.


Finally, two Web sites which have nothing to do with human rights, but were discovered to be blocked after running a search for Web sites that support Amnesty International:

·ArtDogs (http://www.artdogs.com/)

·The Official Website of Suzanne Vega (http://www.vega.net/)

(Suzanne Vega is best known for her song "Luka", about a victim of domestic violence.)




Bozo quits clowning around on Chicago TV (AP)


Marie Graff didn’t wait until the last minute to try to get tickets for her firstborn daughter to see Bozo the Clown’s television show in Chicago.


"She sent away in December of 1967," said the daughter, Martha Wagner.  "And I was born in August of 1968." Their turn came, 10 years later.


By then, the Graffs had moved to Des Moines.  So they climbed into the car and fought through a blizzard to make it to Chicago’s WGN-TV studios.


To those who grew up in the Chicago area, such devotion to Bozo, Ringmaster Ned, Cookie, Oliver O.  Oliver and Sandy the Tramp was a way of life.


Now after four decades, 9,500 shows and who knows how many cream pies in the face, it’s just about over.


Only one taping remains of a show that was an institution in Chicago and — because of WGN’s reach as a cable "superstation" — was seen by more kids around the United States than any of the 180 or so locally produced Bozo shows that have already died.


On Tuesday, the cast and others will gather for a 40th anniversary show that will air in July.  In August, WGN will air for the last time "The Bozo Super Sunday Show," the latest version of a series that once ran five days a week.


The show was telecast to more than 50 million homes.  Nowhere, though, was the clown with the size 184 1/2 shoes any bigger than in Chicago.


"I’ve talked to everybody, from bus drivers to bank presidents, and they all have the same story of running home from school and eating their lunch in front of that show," said Joey D’Auria, who has played Bozo since 1984.  "Bozo belonged to Chicagoans."


"Chicagoans cling to things they deem uniquely Chicago and are fiercely loyal to those things," he explained. Bozo was so popular that the waiting list for tickets eventually stretched to a decade, prompting WGN to stop taking reservations for 10 years.


On the day in 1990 when the station started taking reservations again, it took just five hours to book the show for five more years.  The phone company reported more than 27 million phone call attempts had been made, peaking at 120,000 a minute.


The reasons for the show’s success begin with what it wasn’t.


"With Bozo there wasn’t any pretense of education," said Randy Shaw, a 38-year-old research coordinator who grew up in the Chicago suburbs watching the show and took his own son years later.


"Nobody was tuning in to Bozo to see clowns tour a museum or read a book, any more than they were watching Mr.  Rogers to see him get a pie in the face," said Jim Engel, who grew up watching the show and is now the curator of an exhibit on children’s television at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications.


Instead, it was a fast-paced variety show of sketches, circus and vaudeville acts, chimps, seals and a 13-piece band.  It had a cast that stayed the same for years giving kids time to see Bozo and his cohorts as friends.  In 40 years, for example, only two men wore the Bozo face paint and bright red hair made from yak hair, by the way.


Then there was the Grand Prize Game, in which kids tried to toss ping pong balls into a line of six buckets.


It added up to something for everyone, including the guys who watched with more than a passing interest from their barstools in local taverns.


"I remember one kid missed bucket four and I let him go again," said Allen Hall, who directed the show for several years.  "I got all these outraged phone calls and then it dawned on me that I ruined the bet." But the show was changing.  The Big Top Band, once 13 members strong, was whittled down to three members in 1975 and reduced to a synthesizer a dozen years after that.  In 1994, after years of appearing Monday through Friday, Bozo was sent packing to that purgatory of television early Sunday morning.


Three years later, WGN decided Bozo would help meet a requirement to provide educational children’s programming.


"They started exercising, going to museums.  Bozo read to kids," Engel said.


In 1999, "Bozo’s Big Top" ended its 33-year run in Grand Rapids, Mich., leaving Chicago’s version the last locally produced Bozo show.


When WGN lowered the boom in March, general manager and vice president John Vitanovec said it was necessary because the audience was continuing to decline.


Even D’Auria conceded that the time may be right to hang up the floppy shoes.


"Bozo these days is kind of a dinosaur," he said.






Romania is on "a road direct to prosperity" with a "Dracula Land" theme park to take advantage of the popularity of the infamous Transylvanian Count.  Getting investors to get the project off the ground is just one problem.  The next is exactly where the theme park would be located.  Bran Castle, the setting for the original Dracula novel, is the leader now, even though Vlad Tepes (Dracula's "real" name) never lived there.  "The reality is sometimes not important," castle director Raul Mihai says.


... New proof that "reality bites".






The first time I read the words in "Desiderata" I felt inspired and, although it wasn't actually found in Old St. Paul's Church, Baltimore, and was not originally written in 1692, it still lifts my spirit and gives me hope every time it crosses my path.


The much beloved poem "Desiderata" was written (and copyrighted) in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) of Terre Haute, Indiana. His widow Bertha K. Ehrmann renewed the copyright in 1954; it is still valid.


Barbara J.  Katz of the "Washington Post" tracked down conflicting stories of "Desiderata"s origin ("Washington Post, "Metro" [local] news section, Sun 27 Nov 1977).  The following information is extracted from her article, but any mistakes or awkward writing are my fault, not hers.


Max Ehrmann, born in Terre Haute IN in 1872, made his living practicing law and business.  His real love, however, was writing, especially philosophical poems and plays.


"Desiderata," like his other works, did not attract much notice during his lifetime.  Three years after his death in 1945, his widow tried to publicize "Desiderata," including it in a book "The Poems of Max Ehrmann."


In the late 1950s, Rev.  Frederick Ward Kates, rector of Old St.  Paul's Church in Baltimore MD, was in the habit of mimeographing inspirational essays and poems, and putting them in the pews of his church.  One year, Rev. Kates saw "Desiderata," probably in a magazine, and mimeographed it under the usual letterhead, "Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore, A.D.  1692," the year of the church's founding.  As copies passed from hand to hand, and were even reprinted, the significance of the "Old St.  Paul's Church" letterhead became confused.


By the 1960s, "Desiderata" had found its way to San Francisco "flower children," who embraced it as a supposedly centuries-old affirmation of love and peace.  Low-budget printers eagerly ran off posters of what looked like a public-domain best seller.  In 1965, after Adlai Stevenson's death, it became known he had intended to use it on his Christmas cards.


Since then, it has spread around the world, translated into numerous languages.


Now... Go placidly amid the noise & haste:







 Latin etymology of the word "Desiderata":

 desiderium - wish, longing/regret, grief/want, need

 desidero - to long for, to wish for greatly, to miss

 dictata - things dictated, lessons, presents


So, loosely translated, it means "A list of things to be desired" or "The desirable gift."






No, not the kind that you paste up around the kitchen. Of course I mean on your Windows desktop. If you're still looking at that default teal background, it's time to make this YOUR desktop. Click on over to Galt Tech and see what they have for you. My favorites are the mountain lakes and I really appreciate the big 1024x768 formats!





Secrets of the Internet:


Ever wonder how fast is really fast? Back in the day, when I upgraded from 300 to 1200 baud, I thought I knew what flying was. After all, I just quadrupled my connection speed! Shortly afterwards I skipped the 9600 baud units and bought a 14.4Kbps (that's 1000's of bits/second) modem and became a jet pilot! Slowly, but surely, speeds notched their way up: 28.8, 33.6 and then (wonder of wonders) K56flex/X2 which was as fast as the phone lines could handle. Now I can't help but wonder if my baldness is due, at least in part, to repeatedly getting my hair blown back! (Wanna have a laugh? Check out  http://www.thepeers.com  and click the "What's he doing?" link to see for yourself).


Enter broadband. For home users, typical modem speeds pale in comparison with a dedicated line. One of the first types of connections used for internet access was the ISDN line and it came in two basic flavors, 64k and 128k. The next notch up is DSL (digital subscriber line) beginning about 384k and topping out around 1.5Mbps. Starting in the same range and running hotter is Cable modem access which starts around 700k and can be over 3Mbps! (just don't tell them that) I'm fortunate enough to have a "fat" cable connection and now, of course, I couldn't live without it.


One caveat should be noted here: these are average download speeds for DSL and Cable, which vary depending on the number of people in your "node" or group. Generally speaking, your ISP (internet service provider) will most likely "cap" or restrict the upload speed somewhat. This isn't usually a problem because the majority of information is coming down to you from the internet. Pictures, sound, video, etc. take up a lot of bandwidth. What little goes up to the internet is usually just a few mouse clicks or some email. The cap also serves to discourage people from running servers from their home (which most ISPs have rules against). But, when compared to dial-up access, you're still strapped to a rocket when your well connected.


What about business access? How fast is it possible to go? What kind of connections are available to me if I'm a large corporation or ISP? Well Mr. Scott Kindorf was kind enough to answer that question:


OC (Optical Carrier) circuits come in a variety of bandwidths, but "OC-148" is not one of them.  The OC hierarchy goes as follows, starting with a T3/DS3 electrical carrier and then on to an OC-1:


DS3 (Electrical) = 44.736mbits/sec = 28 T1s/DS1s

STS1 (Electrical) = (1) DS3 @ 44.736mbits/sec with SONET (Synchronous Optical NET) overhead = 51.840mbits/sec

OC-1 (Optical) = (1) STS1 on Optical facilities

OC-3 = (3) OC-1's = 155.52mbits/sec

OC-9 = (9) OC-1's (not commonly used) = 466.56mbits/sec

OC-12 = (12) OC-1s or (4) OC-3's = 622.08mbits/sec

OC-18 = (18) OC-1s (not commonly used) = 933.12mbits/sec

OC-24 = (24) OC-1s (not commonly used) = 1.244gbits/sec

OC-36 = (36) OC-1s (not commonly used) = 1.866gbits/sec

OC-48 = (48) OC-1s or (4)OC-12s or (16) OC-3s = 2.488gbits/sec

OC-192= (192) OC-1's or (4) OC-48s or (16) OC-12s or (64) OC-3s = 9.953gbits/sec


The reason for the stair-stepping of the OC Hierarchy is due to the fact that the next available level of multiplexing ("muxing") of lower-level circuits is usually 4: (4) OC-3s = (1) OC-12, and (4) OC-48s = (1) OC-192.


This muxing scheme is usually dictated by the equipment manufacturers and is pretty much an adopted standard in the Telecom industry - hence the lack of the lesser-common bandwidth aggregations like OC-9, OC-18, etc.  The only exception is the OC-3, which was needed to allow the upper-level hierarchy to work.  Hope this tidbit of info helps in the future!


 Scott Kindorf -- Network Technician



Thanks, Scott. Now I can sleep at night.





  The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.