Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. This last week has been a long row to hoe. The pain has returned to my back, hip and leg. Sorry to say, but this has made extended concentration more of a chore and has put me behind on the newsletter. The doctor said that there would probably be pressure from growing scar tissue and that Physical Therapy would "make the scar tissue grow in the channels of normal movement." I sure hope so.


  Today I went to my first PT session and they did some deep massage followed by electo-stimulation and ice packs. As I write this it's been almost three hours and I'm still sore. I just keep telling myself that this is all part of the healing process and that it'll get better.




A police officer pulls a guy over for speeding and has the following exchange:

Officer: May I see your driver's license?

Driver: I don't have one.  I had it suspended when I got my 5th DUI.

Officer: May I see the registration and proof of insurance for the vehicle?

Driver: It's not my car.  I stole it.

Officer: The car is stolen?

Driver: That's right.  But come to think of it, I think I saw the registration in the glove box when I was putting my gun in there.

Officer: There's a gun in the glove box?

Driver: Yes sir.  That's where I put it after I shot and killed the woman who owns this car and stuffed her in the trunk.

Officer: There's a BODY in the TRUNK?!?!?

Driver: Yes, sir.


Hearing this, the officer immediately called his captain. The car was quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the driver to handle the tense situation:


Captain: Sir, can I see your license?

Driver: Sure. Here it is. (It was valid.)

Captain: Who's car is this?

Driver: It's mine, officer.  Here's the registration and insurance. (The driver owned the car.)

Captain: Could you slowly open your glove box so I can see if there's a gun in it?

Driver: Yes, sir, but there's no gun in it. (Sure enough, there was nothing in the glove box.)

Captain: Would you mind opening your trunk?  I was told you said there's a body in it.

Driver: No problem. (Trunk is opened; no body.)

Captain: I don't understand it.  The officer who stopped you said you told him you didn't have a license, stole the car, had a gun in the glove box, and that there was a dead body in the trunk.

Driver: Yeah, I'll bet the lying s.o.b. told you I was speeding, too!


[thanks to Roy Howard for this one]




Microsoft Struggles To Fix Instant Message Glitch

By Reuters


SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp.  (MSFT.O) on Friday struggled to fix a three-day outage of its instant messaging service that has affected up to 10 million users of the product, a key component of the software giant's strategy to offer new Web-based services.


Up to a third of Microsoft's 30 million worldwide MSN Messenger users were unable to access the service or their ``buddy lists,'' a register of friends who also use the system, Microsoft said. Users first reported problems with the service, which allows users to send short text messages to each other over the Internet in real time, on Wednesday.


In what MSN Vice President Richard Bray described as an ''extremely rare set of circumstances,'' the outage was caused by the failure of a disk controller in one of the database computers the service is based on. A glitch also struck a backup for the controller, and Microsoft was forced to restart all of the MSN Messenger server computers on Thursday, Bray said in a statement.


``We expect to fully restore service sometime later today.  Until then, some customers may continue to experience an inability to log into MSN Messenger,'' Bray said. The ``buddy lists'' were not lost but only unavailable and would reappear when service is restored, Bray said. The outage was the most severe of its kind since January, when a technician's error cut off access to parts of Microsoft's Internet offerings like its Hotmail free e-mail service and Web sites like MSN.com.



The problem is an embarrassment for the world's biggest software company as it pushes its .NET strategy to develop a new breed of fee-based services, some of which will rely on instant messaging. ``The issue here, of course, is that it's a communication product, and there is a very low tolerance of communication products breaking.  It destroys the trust in the product,'' said Rob Enderle, an analyst with technology consultancy Giga Information Group. ``Of all the things that could happen to the offering, this is the worst.  Not only is it down, but they can't seem to explain why,'' Enderle said.


The first .NET project, called HailStorm, aims to build notification and e-commerce services around instant messaging and a sort of virtual wallet product called Passport. For instance, online auction house eBay Inc.  (EBAY.O) plans to use instant messages to tell customers when they have been outbid.  Financial services giant American Express Co.  (AXP.N) wants to use instant messaging to deliver alerts about possible credit card fraud. ``Communications is a key part of .NET and, if communications fails, then .NET has difficulties,'' Enderle said.



Microsoft is also making instant messaging a major part of Windows XP, the upcoming version of its personal computer operating system. Windows XP will contain a new message product called Windows Messenger that will include the ability to start a video chat and collaborate on documents. It ups the ante in Microsoft's battle against Internet and media giant AOL Time Warner Inc. (AOL.N), which dominates instant messaging, one of the fastest-growing applications on the Web. AOL claims 100 million registered users of its instant messaging software.


Because instant messaging software is relatively easy to download and install, continued problems with Microsoft's product could drive users to rival systems from AOL and Yahoo!  Inc. (YHOO.O), Enderle said. ``If it goes on much longer, they could very well kill the instant messaging initiative because people will remember this.  It's relatively easy to switch, to move to Yahoo, AOL or ICQ,'' Enderle said.





HISTORY LESSON: Georgia School officials are aghast that the classic painting of "Washington Crossing the Delaware" in a fifth-grade textbook shows George Washington's pocket watch lying on his thigh.

Dirty-minded school administrators think it looks like the president's genitalia are on display.  "I know what it is and I know what it is supposed to be," insists the superintendent of Muscogee County schools, but he and the principal of Due West Elementary School agree that when it comes to fifth-graders, "it would make their year" if they thought they were peeking into the president's pants.  So prim paternalists purged the presumed presidential phallus from textbooks all over the state.  (AP) ...When you get right down to it, nothing much has changed in presidential politics over the centuries.


THOSE WHO IGNORE HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO FLUNK IT: Officials at Nevis (Minn.) High School are refusing to allow a photo of student Samantha Jones into the school yearbook since it shows the senior, who is joining the Army after graduation, posing with a decommissioned 155 mm howitzer cannon on display outside the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.  "Whether it's in military, recreational or sporting form, anything shaped like a gun or knife is banned" from school under the district's "zero-tolerance" weapons policy, explained Superintendent Dick Magaard.  The school board deadlocked on a vote whether to overturn the ban, even after the board chairman pointed to war photos hanging on the school's walls.  "I back my daughter 100 percent on this," Samantha's mother told the school board.  "The lawyer will be sending you papers." (AP) ...It's no use: school officials cannot be paper trained.


MODERN HISTORY: British schoolchildren are a little unclear about the roles of authority figures in their lives.  Children interviewed for a documentary on BBC television believe Queen Elizabeth "sits around drinking wine all day," while others confuse Prime Minister Tony Blair with God.  Blair "has got grey long hair, curly with a grey beard, a grey-like dressy thing and he does miracles," a young girl explained.

(Reuters) ...Politicians don't perform miracles, they just take credit for them.


ANCIENT HISTORY: Oedipus, the mythological Greek figure known for killing his father and marrying his mother, should probably be known for something more common, argues Robert Allen, editor of "Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage": road rage.  That's right, he says, road rage is not a modern phenomenon.  "It it actually dates back to the second millennium BC," Allen asserts, when "Oedipus killed his father at a crossroads when they got in each other's way." Authorities say "road rage" has led to an increase in vehicular violence and crashes.

(Reuters) ...Which will in future be known as Oedipus Wrecks.


EVERYBODY NEEDS A HOBBY: "Why Americans Love to Hate Government" -- Reuters headline


THIS WEEK'S HONORARY UNSUBSCRIBE goes to Leon Stukelj.  Until his death the oldest surviving Olympic Games gold medalist, Stukelj, a gymnast, won two gold medals (and four other medals) in the 1924 games in Paris, and gold and two bronzes in Amsterdam in 1928, and two silvers in the

1936 games in Berlin.  He competed for Yugoslavia, but lived long enough to see his native Slovenia compete in the 1996 games under its own flag.  Professionally a judge, Stukelj still regularly worked out on the rings, and one of his classic moves is still known as the Stukelj maneuver.  He was four days short of 101 when he died November 8 from a heart attack in Ljubljana, Slovenia.




Pass It Around


Do you want to put a smile into someone's mailbox? Some of the best sites on the internet are those that collect a variety of  uplifting prose, graphics and photos. One of those is Pass It Around. They have several types of  "e-cards" that you can forward to your family and friends, including Inspirational, Office Humor and Cute. Check out "The Croc Man", "Office Voodoo" or "Cat Wisdom" but be careful of their more risque versions (eg. "Don't Click Here").






The Nimbus 2001 - part 3


Unfortunately, the "OS install" section that I planned to write for you didn't materialize. The past week has been a painful one and I've struggled just to get this F/A issue out. Please accept my apologies. Hopefully, I'll be able to put it together for the next issue.





    Remove the internal, emotional hooks that attract you to painful situations.