Tuesday, January 08, 2008

John Purcell, College Station, TX, USA

I could easily go on forever with a loc about your latest issue. There is so much to comment on!

When I first heard of the Virginia Tech tragedy, everyone on the campus where I teach was shocked and stunned. Almost immediately our college administrators were examining school policies toward student behavioral issues and the appropriate responses. Then I heard that Jamie Bishop was one of the victims. Now, I had never met Jamie, but had


Now that I have a chance to meet, relax, and talk with Greg Benford, reading his travelogue was a fascinating look into the various cultures of Asia that he and Elisabeth visited. It still blows me away to think that they were sitting on the beach of Sri Lanka with Sir Arthur C. Clarke. If that had been me there instead of Greg, I would have been so tongue-tied it would have been pathetic.

The other Benford piece in here reminds me that my next door neighbor when I was a kid, Ron Keith, attended Cornell College as an astrophysics major and Carl Sagan was Ron's doctoral advisor. When my dad learned this, he asked Ron if his doctoral dissertation was a ten-minute spot on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Also, I just double-checked: Dr. Keith is an Associate Professor of Physics at Emporia State University in Kansas. Good to see that he's doing well.

One other thing I'd like to say - even though, as mentioned, there is so much good stuff in this issue – is that I agree with Mike Resnick that modern stand-ups don't really make me laugh that much. Having a foul mouth does not equate for funny, unless the comic uses it judiciously for great effect. The best example I can think of is when I was watching a Bill Cosby HBO special with my folks at their Utah home back in the mid-80s, and Cosby was doing a bit about smoking marijuana. Someone had told him that smoking dope enhanced your natural self, and Cosby responded with, "But what if your natural self is an asshole?" It killed the audience, plus it was the only bad language that he used during the entire hour-long show. Well, there may have been an occasional "damn" or "hell," but Cosby made his mark by telling very funny stories about his family and friends. Great material that just isn't covered anymore, and I miss that kind of humor.

I get your point, and Mike’s, but I must confess to hapless lust for Sarah Silverman and to enjoying Kathy Griffin’s potty-mouthed flailings from the D-list.

Finally, thank you for reprinting that Tucker article, "How Dull Was My Weekend." It serves to beautifully illustrate how Tucker wrote with such wonderful humorous effect. Keeping Lee Hoffman's illustrations with it was a perfect touch, too. This was greatly appreciated. Thank you, Guy.

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