"There are good days and there are bad days, and this is one of them."
(Lawrence Welk)



Dear Friends, in regards to continuing queries about the infamous e-mail viruses, I received the following missives.

First, from G. Katz: "I've had my hard drive clobbered by a virus transmitted via a Microsoft Word 6.0 document. However, the crucial point to make is that macros don't run by themselves -- you have to activate them. In the case of a Word file, viewing the file in Word is enough to activate the file's macros (this is how I got my drive infected).

"In other words, receiving a file isn't enough to cause infection, nor is viewing email necessarily going to give you a virus -- it depends on what software you use to read your email. I personally get text-based email only, so there isn't any way for me to get a virus from my mail. If you use an email service which allows viewing of fancier files, you may be opening yourself up to a risk, since the email viewer may run the macros in the process of displaying those files. However, I've personally never heard of this problem actually occurring."

And Firesign Forum Friend, Richard Arnold adds: "The PENPAL GREETINGS email virus is a hoax. It is nearly a word-for-word rewrite of the recent DEYANNA email virus warning, which itself was a variation of the well-known hoax, GOOD TIMES. As yet, there is STILL NO WAY NO HOW a text-based email message can do the things described in the warning. Text can not execute commands, it only displays. . .well, text. The only way an email can be a potential threat is if it contains an attachment that itself has a virus; only when the attachment that contains a virus is run can your PC be infected.

"There are two basic forms of 'virii' out there right now: a 'real' so-called virus, which is an executable code that rewrites the first sector of the hard disk or another executable, which then in turn 'instructs' the operating system to replicate itself onto diskettes and media, thus 'cloning' itself (like Scottish sheep and BOZOs), and potentially causing damage to data on the hard disk itself. The other form of virus is not really a virus, but a 'macro.' A macro is a 'saved set' of instructions specific to a single application, such as a word processing program like MS Word...which leads me to my second main point:

"The NY Times article was misleading. Again, let me state, that internet EMAIL in and of itself can not run a virus or macro. It must contain an attachment that has the virus or macro in it. The most common form of macro 'virus' in email attachments right now is the MS Word macro virus. I've seen quite a few of these macros at my job at NASA, and NONE of them cause any serious damage. At worst, they disable some common features of MS Word, such as the ability to change directories while saving a file.

"What does all this mean? (What is reality?): Well, if you don't use Microsoft Word versions 6.x or 7.x, you have nothing to worry about from the 'Word Macro Virus. ' If you DO have MS Word, I strongly recommend downloading the Macro Virus Protection tool that is being given away free (like high schools) at http://www.microsoft.com/word/freestuff/mvtool/mvtool2.htm."




Answers on exams from the California Dep't of Transportationís driving school:

Q: Do you yield when a blind pedestrian is crossing the road?
A: What for? He can't see my license plate.

Q: Who has the right of way when four cars approach a four-way stop at the same time?
A: The pick up truck with the gun rack and the bumpersticker saying, "Guns don't kill people. I do."

Q: When driving through fog, what should you use?
A: Your car

Q: What problems would you face if you were arrested for drunk driving?
A: I'd probably lose my buzz a lot faster.

Q: What changes would occur in your lifestyle if you could no longer drive lawfully?
A: I would be forced to drive unlawfully.

Q: What are some points to remember when passing or being passed?
A: Make eye contact and wave "hello" if he/she is cute.

Q: What is the difference between a flashing red traffic light and a flashing yellow traffic light?
A: The color

Q: What can you do to help ease a heavy traffic problem?
A: Carry loaded weapons.



Cat from Canada offers us these test answers collected by Bob Vinek, a Grade 10 science teacher at the Lillooet Learning Centre, from The Vancouver Sun, March 1:

Many dead animals of the past changed to fossils while others preferred to be oil. . . All animals were here before mankind. The animals lived peacefully until mankind came along and made roads, houses, hotels and condoms. . . Men are mammals and women are femammals. . . Proteins are composed of a mean old acid. . . The largest mammals are to be found in the sea because there is nowhere else to put them. . . Involuntary muscles are not as willing as voluntary ones. . . Methane, a greenhouse gas, comes from the burning of trees and cows. . . The spinal column is a long bunch of bones. The head sits on the top and you sit on the bottom. . . Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas. . . Some people say we condescended from the apes. . . The leopard has black spots which look like round soars on his body. Those who catch soars get leprosy. . . The 3 cavities of the body are the head cavity, the tooth cavity and the abominable cavity. . . Most books say the sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into the sun in the daytime. . . Cadavers are dead bodies that have donated themselves to science. This practice is called gross anatomy. . . A liter is a nest of young baby animals. . . The earth makes a resolution every 24 hours. . . Parallel lines never meet unless you bend one or both of them. . . Algebra was the wife of Euclid. . .A circle is a figure with 0 corners and only one side. . . A right angle is 90 degrees Farenhight.. . . A supersaturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold. . . The pistol of a flower is its only protection against insects. . . An example of animal breeding is the farmer who mated a bull that gave a great deal of milk with a bull with good meat. . . If conditions are not favourable, bacteria go into a period of adolescence. . .Water is composed of 2 gins. Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water. . . When oxygen is combined with anything, heat is given off. This is known as constipation. . .As the rain forests in the Amazon are shrinking, so are the Indians. . . Genetics explains why you look like your father and if you don't, why you should.

(Which leads us to...)



The Top 15 Potential Problems With Cloning Humans:

15 Harder than ever to land a role in those new Wrigley's commercials featuring the Doublemint Octuplets.
14 Two words: Gilbert Gottfried(s)
13 Any scientific advancement that stems from the result of Scottish people doing strange things to sheep is bound to have dire consequences.
12 In mere weeks, Bill Gates (v1.0, v1.2, v2.0, v3.0, v3.1 & v5.0) has all the money on the entire planet.
11 Hillary's husband discovers true multiple orgasms.
10 If you think there are too many idiots shouting "Show me the money!" on every occasion now, just wait.
9 Rush Limbaugh takes his self-affection to a whole new level, and suddenly is IN FAVOR of same-sex marriages.
8 "Penn & Penn & Teller & Teller & Teller & Penn & Penn & Teller & Penn" much harder to fit on comedy club marquee.
7 And you think it's hard to find your size now!
6 18-month waiting list for George Clooney and Cindy Crawford clones.
5 "Alternative" radio filled with even more Nirvana clones.
4 And the final score: the New York Gretzkys - 408, the Pittsburgh Lemieuxs - 399.
3 Can no longer count on the Grim Reaper to get Jesse Helms out of office.
2 Those apocalyptic words: "Ladies & Gentlemen: The John Tesh Philharmonic Orchestra!"

. . .And the Number 1 Potential Problem With Cloning Humans:

1 Seventeen Mark Fuhrmans, and suddenly OJ's defense doesn't seem quite as far-fetched.


From Mark McClellan by way of Marvelous Marv Wolfman comes:

The Hollywood/English Dictionary:


to schmooze = befriend scum
to pitch = grovel shamelessly
to brainstorm = feign preparedness
to research = procrastinate indefinitely
to network = spread disinformation
to collaborate = argue incessantly
to freelance = collect unemployment


agent = frustrated lawyer
lawyer = frustrated producer
producer = frustrated writer
writer = frustrated director
director = frustrated actor
actor = frustrated human


high-concept = low brow
production value = gore
entry-level = pays nothing
highly qualified = knows the producer
network approved = had made them money


net = something that apparently doesn't exist
gross = Michael Eisner's salary and Ovitz's settlement
back-end = you, if you think you'll ever see it
residuals = braces for the kids
deferral = don't hold your breath
points = see "net" or "back-end"


You can trust me = You must be new
It needs some polishing = Change everything
It shows promise = It stinks rotten
It needs some fine tuning = Change everything
I'd like some input = I want total control
It needs some honing = Change everything
Call me back next week = Stay out of my life
It needs some tightening = Change everything
Try and punch it up = I have no idea what I want
It needs some streamlining = Change everything
You'll never work in this town again = I have no power whatsoever

Ah, Hollywood. The only town I know where you can get stabbed in the front. See you in cyberspace!


Published 3/08/97

© 1996/2002 by Phil Proctor