Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. It's here! It's HERE! What we've been waiting a year for has finally arrived! Hot August Nights!!! I'm excited; Anne's giddy; Bird's purring like a kitten. We've been doing this since I first met Anne and (just to let you in on a little secret) the first thing I ever bought for her was a pink 1994 Hot August Nights T-shirt! We love this event and it's actually grown to be larger than either the Air Races or Hot Air Balloon Races. In fact, I've taken the week off just so that we can share in all the fun together!
Although we've got several HAN's under our belts as spectators and two (now three) as participants, this is going to be our first year making the Poker Run. Last year the Poker Runners drove 160 miles, covering Reno/Sparks, Virginia City, Minden and Lake Tahoe. I'm planing on taking some pictures of Anne and her Thunderbird at each place and post them on the web site. So it's a good thing that we had the 'bird detailed last Saturday and that Brian's handiwork on the engine is holding out!

Zippy Girdlebuns
Co-Conspirator To Make The World A Better Place


Sometimes when you have a stressful day or week, you need some silliness to break up the day. Here is your dose.
The following is an excerpt from a children's book, "Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants", by Dave Pilkey. The evil Professor forces everyone to assume new names.
Now you, too, can have a kool nickname!

Use the third letter of your first name to determine
your New first name:

Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:
a = diaper
b = toilet
c = giggle
d = burger
e = girdle
f = barf
g = lizard
h = waffle
i = cootie
j = monkey
k = potty
l = liver
m = banana
n = rhino
o = bubble
p = hamster
q = toad
r = gizzard
s = pizza
t = gerbil
u = chicken
v = pickle
w = chuckle
x = tofu
z = stinker

Use the fourth letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:
a = head
b = mouth
c = face
d = nose
e = tush
f = breath
g = pants
h = shorts
i = lips
j = honker
k = butt
l = brain
m = tushie
n = chunks
o = hiney
p = biscuits
q = toes
r = buns
s = fanny
t = sniffer
u = sprinkles
v = kisser
w = squirt
x = humperdinck
y = brains
z = juice

Thus, for example, George W. Bush's new name is Goober Chickenshorts; Bill Clinton's name is Booger Liverchunks. Remember that children laugh an average of 146 times a day, adults laugh an average of 4 times a day. Put more laughter in your life! When you forward this use your new name as the subject line! Hahaha!

Microsoft Inadvertently Shares Nimda Worm
Software giant says CDs shipped to South Korea were infected, but claims virus is not likely to spread.
By Sam Costello

Wittier members of the security community are sometimes prone to joking about the susceptibility of some Microsoft products to virus infection and propagation. Usually, those are viruses coming from the Internet and through e-mail, but on Friday Microsoft said that it had inadvertently shipped copies of the company's Visual Studio .Net development tool containing the Nimda virus to South Korea.

No infections have resulted from the CDs, Microsoft says. [Yea, right. - DP]

The infection came as the result of an oversight at a Korean company that Microsoft contracts with to translate its applications and help files into Korean, says Chris Flores, lead product manager for Visual Studio .Net at the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.

Pentagon to issue wireless disconnect order

LAS VEGAS -- The inherent insecurity of wireless devices is now a matter of national security.

John Stenbit, the Pentagon's CIO, said this week that he plans to issue new policy guidelines that will ban most if not all wireless devices within military installations. The change in policy comes only months after Computerworld first reported the results of wireless security audits at major U.S. airlines and the facility housing the U.S. Defense Department's global network operations center.

Pentagon officials fear that the latest generation of wireless devices, including cell phones and two-way pagers, can be used as eavesdropping devices during classified meetings. Military facilities and offices that are used for highly classified meetings are already routinely scanned for listening devices. 

However, with the growing use of personal wireless communications systems, security audits increasingly find military officers attending meetings in classified office spaces with these devices on their person, creating the potential for adversaries to turn these devices into crude eavesdropping systems, military officials acknowledged.

Devices such as cell phones have long been banned from facilities known as Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities. In fact, all military personnel who are granted top-secret security clearances are required to attend an indoctrination briefing on the growing list of threats posed by electronic devices. However, the new Pentagon policy extends the wireless ban to the majority of office spaces where sensitive but unclassified information may be discussed. It also builds upon a larger government policy of using the government's purchasing power as a market driver to get the IT industry to improve the security of its products if it wants to sell into the government.

"Why is it that companies have sold products that they know are insecure?" asked Richard Clarke, President Bush's chief cybersecurity adviser. "And why is it that people have bought them? We should all shut [wireless LANs] off until the technology gets better."

Steven Aftergood, a defense analyst at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said the policy change makes perfect sense for a high-risk environment such as the military. 

"People get accustomed to using nifty products that are extremely useful in other parts of their lives, such as cell phones, wireless Internet connections and all kinds of recording devices," said Aftergood. "And it's easy to forget that these are inappropriate in a secure environment."

In May, a wireless security expert managed to detect the nonsecure wireless LAN at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in Arlington, Va. (see story). While parked across the street from DISA's headquarters, the security expert was able to view the Service Set Identifier numbers of access points and numerous IP addresses. Using a standard 802.11b wireless LAN card attached to his laptop computer and access- point detection software from San Diego-based NetStumbler.com, he was able to scan the network in less than half an hour. 

Some airlines also pulled the plug earlier this year on their wireless bag checking systems after auditors managed to hack their way into sensitive back-end systems, such as the passenger manifest and aircraft maintenance systems.

[This explains why I'm not buying until 802.11g, which will address these concerns - DP]

Will you EVER get to retire?

In a nationwide survey of people between 18-and-65 years of age, 43% said their companies did not offer 401(k) plans and a staggering 54% said they were not vested in a company pension plan. Yet, almost half the respondents said they expect to live past 80 - and with good reason. U.S. actuarial tables show that for a married couple, both age 65, there is a 60% chance one of them will live to be 90. This increasing life expectancy could require many Americans to fund 25 years of retirement. 
Despite growing life spans, 40% of those surveyed said they were saving nothing at all for their retirement; however, that same percentage did admit to either playing the lottery, entering sweepstakes, waiting for an inheritance or getting married as part of their retirement funding strategy. 
Other findings from the research show that 32% of respondents have already worked for 5 or more companies in their lifetimes. And many people, especially in the 18-34 category, said the reason they're not saving for retirement is because it's simply "too complicated." 

Like a Rock
by Cheryl Dyson

My parents had a serious case of wanderlust when I was young. As a result, we ended up moving from town to town and state to state about every six months. Also as a result, I was pathetically shy and introverted. I hated leaving my hard-won friends in every town and trying to fit in to the next new place.

In my ninth-grade year we moved to a small Arizona town. I became the target of a couple of female bullies. I never discovered why these girls disliked me, as I had little contact with them. They were two grades ahead of me in school, and therefore bigger and older.

The only time I saw them was on the daily bus ride to and from school. That bus ride was a long exercise in torture whenever they were in the mood to torment me. It was even worse when I had the misfortune of sitting close to them on a full bus.

Once they even threatened to turn me in to the Humane Society for riding my horse at a dead run in the dry river bed near our house. That horse loved to run -- he was from thoroughbred stock and that was his nature. Such a threat seems ludicrous to me now, but at 13 I was petrified that they might be able to take my horse away, or at least get me or my family into trouble.

One day after a particularly nasty bus ride home I remember crying to my mother that the horrible girls hated me. My mother's response was simply, "Isn't that kind of like hating a rock? 'I hate you, rock!'" And she made a grinning rocklike face that was so perfect I had to laugh. It was almost magical the way I suddenly realized it didn't matter one iota if those girls hated me. They could hate me all they wanted!

After that, whenever those girls, or anyone else, insulted or bullied me, I always thought of my mom grinning like a rock and had to smile. My expression of amusement always baffled the bullies and it felt like a secret weapon. Those two girls eventually gave up tormenting me, no doubt helped along by the lack of concern and even occasional pity I felt for them.

My mother gave me plenty of gifts when I was growing up, but the gift of self-esteem was the most precious. I'll never forget that wonderful moment when I discovered I could be like a rock.


Here's a great web service that I use to watch for information on my author and his writings. It's called TracerLock and their service can prove invaluable when you depend on being fully informed. Here's what they do, in their own words:

Are you a researcher? A publisher? A marketer? If you are in any occupation that depends on timely, accurate information you will know how difficult and time consuming it can be to find and to stay on top of the wealth of new material published every day on the web. Automating the process of information gathering and management can both save you money and give you a strategic advantage over your competitors.

That's where TracerLock comes in. TracerLock is your personal early warning system and assistant. Every day we scan thousands of articles published on news sites, online trade journals and e-zines looking for new matches for your information requests.

For as little as $4 per month, you get:

·e-mail alerts within as little as 15 minutes of new articles being published that contain your search term(s).

·custom news feeds for publication on your web site or web log. Any topic. Any time.

·your personal list of sites to be monitored for changes.

·notice of new listings of your search term on news groups and major search engines.


Keyhole's EarthViewer3D

Keyhole's EarthViewer3D harnesses the power of NVIDIA GPUs [Graphic Processing Units - the "brain" on newer video cards]. Fusing high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery, elevation data, GPS coordinates, and overlay information about cities and businesses, EarthViewer3D delivers a streaming, 3D map of the entire globe to PCs powered with NVIDIA GPUs. 

The result is a whole new way of looking at your world - reach out and "grab" the earth with your mouse, pan quickly to your area of interest (or select it from a place mark) and then zoom smoothly down to an individual building. Click the "terrain" button, tilt the viewpoint and see the earth's hills, mountains and valleys rendered in full 3D.

Developed by Keyhole, Earthviewer3D is a revolutionary product that runs on NVIDIA GPU- powered changes the way we view our world. 


[Can you say "KEWL"?]


A Georgia state patrolman pulled a car over for speeding about 20 miles from the Florida line on I-95. When the officer asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver answered that he was a magician and juggler and was on his way to Jacksonville to do a show that night and didn't want to be late.
The patrolman told the driver that he was fascinated by juggling and if the driver would do a little juggling for him that he wouldn't give him a ticket. The juggler told him that he had sent all of his equipment on ahead and didn't have anything to juggle and the patrolman told him that he had some flares in the trunk of his car and asked if he could juggle them.
The juggler said he could, so the patrolman got three flares and lit them, and handed them to the juggler. While the man was doing his juggling act, a car pulled up behind the patrol car and a drunk got out and looked at the show, then went to the patrol car, opened the back door and got in.
The patrolman saw him do this and went over, opened the door and asked the drunk what he thought he was doing. The drunk replied, "Just take me to jail... ain't no way I'm gonna pass that test." 

[thanks to Bob Behling for this one]

Don't Use Plastic for Heating Foods in the Microwave

I received a forwarded email regarding this issue and, as usual, did some research. Here's what I found:

Dr. Edward Fujimoto is the Manager of the Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine Department at Castle Medical Center in Hawaii. This eRumor is the result of an interview he did on KHON-TV channel 2 in Hawaii on January 23, 2002.

TruthOrFiction.com contacted Dr. Fujimoto who said the eRumor is fairly accurate. He says that dioxins have become a health concern here in the United States but most of the attention has been given to the ways that plastics are disposed of. It's a complex issue, but there are many types of dioxins, they are in various kinds of plastics and are typically released into the environment through incineration. Dr. Fujimoto said that he is surprised about how little Americans know about dioxins in everyday life because in Japan, the majority of the population knows about them and the country has enacted regulations to protect its people. 

With regard to microwaving, he said that the right combination of ingredients in a microwave oven are ideal for contaminating foods, especially the fat in foods, with dioxins. He explained that heating food in a plastic container will produce the release of dioxins and fat will absorb them. The amount of migration of dioxins to fat, he said, will be a function of the heat in the microwave, the type of plastic, the length of time of exposure, and the amount of fat that is in contact. Dr. Fujimoto pointed out that although the amounts of dioxins in any given piece of plastic or food that is microwaved in plastic is very small, but that the problem is that dioxins get into the human body and accumulate. He sad that in Japan, there has been a complete change in the way foods are packaged so that plastic is avoided. They use more glass, for example, especially when fat is in the food. Visitors to Japan may have seen that even putting out the trash is more complex. There is required separation of various items and not just for recycling, but also to make sure that plastics will not be a part of garbage that is to be incinerated. 

There is widespread concern about dioxins in the environment including in food. 

Is there really something to the central claim of this e-mail, that heating plastic in microwaves releases a cancer-causing agent into the food? It's within the realm of possibility, but it must be stressed the FDA does impose stringent regulations on plastics meant for microwaving. Also, if there are dioxins lurking in the plastic containers we heat food in and the process of warming those receptacles looses those nasties into our ingestibles, we've yet to locate the studies that prove this. [Just like HRT... 40 years late. -DP] However, because most dioxins are dangerous compounds we want to have as little to do with as possible, many people are cautious about using anything associated with them. So, if you're one of the concerned, be sure that when you cover a dish you intend to microwave with ordinary plastic wrap you do not let the covering touch the food, because some of the plasticizer in the wrap -- which may contain toxic chemicals, as opposed to does contain toxic chemicals -- could migrate to what you're cooking, especially foods high in fat. Alternatively, use waxed paper for this purpose. Those who are very, very cautious about the potential for dioxin contamination might choose to adopt the central point of the e-mail's advice, which is to decant all items into glass or ceramic containers before microwaving. 

But how real is this concern? According to Dr. George Pauli, a leading Food and Drug Administration scientist, not very. He acknowledged that some plasticizers do migrate into foods, particularly those containing a lot of fat, oil, or sugars. But research has found no ill effects from consumption of plasticizers in FDA- approved plastic wraps, Pauli said. Even so, others remain unconvinced, and those on both sides of the issue recommend not letting the wrap touch the food. 

Based on this work and advice, several guidelines for heating food in microwave ovens have been developed in recent years. The fact sheet from USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service on cooking foods safely in microwaves gives the following advice about containers and wraps:

·Only use cook ware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics should be labeled for microwave oven use.

·Plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs, take-out containers, whipped topping bowls, and other one-time use containers should not be used in microwave ovens. These containers can warp or melt, possibly causing harmful chemicals to migrate into the food.

·Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.

·Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in the microwave oven.



The great American psychologist and philosopher William James observed: "I believe there is no source of deception in the investigation of nature which can compare with a fixed belief that certain kinds of phenomena are impossible."