Round 5

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  2. parenting 101
  3. So you think you're computer-illiterate?
  5. 2 New Elements for the periodic chart:
  6. Darwin awards 4
  7. condoms
  8. New technology
  9. Heaven's Gate Nursery Rhyme
  10. A Thinking Problem
  11. all engineers have but one thing on their mind...
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Round 5



REDMOND -- Microsoft Corporation has announced plans to acquire the Website and Internet development corporation Higher Source for an undisclosed fee. "Higher Source has proven its commitment to strange mind-control cults and UFO religions," said Microsoft spokeswoman, Anita Klue, "Their willingness to kill themselves for the sake of their technology is the kind of dynamic that Microsoft wants to promote."

In conjunction with the acquisition, Microsoft announced a new program called "Active Cult 97", which is expected to be in place by late 1998. Active Cult aims to make the use of Microsoft technology more of a religion-driven decision as opposed to a technology-driven decision. "This isn't expected to be a big change for Microsoft's customer base," explained Ms. Klue. Details of Active Cult were not disclosed, but it was suggested that instead of crashing with the infamous "blue screen of death" or "General Protection Fault", Microsoft's operating systems would merely display the message "Windows died for your sins."

Mike S. Brown, who writes about the industry in his PC Week column "M. S. Brown Knows" responded enthusiastically to the announcement. "This really raises the stakes for Internet development. IBM may be content to kill its own products, like OS/2, but Microsoft is willing to kill its own developers and maybe even some customers. That's the kind of bold difference that will make UNIX, OS/2 and the Mac completely irrelevant by the end of 1996!" When is was pointed out that 1996 was already over, Mr. Brown retorted, "No it's not! If it was, then Microsoft would be behind schedule on Windows 97 -- which it isn't."

An IBM employee, who asked to remain anonymous due to the fact that the whole issue was "extremely silly," said that "IBM is committed to the future of network computing and OS/2 is an important part of that future." He added that, "IBM is not interested in promoting suicide. If you want to talk about promoting suicide, talk to Microsoft's ISVs. Can you say `Citrix'?"

Reaction amongst Windows users was generally positive. Ben de Miover, CIO for a large company which recently switched its operations from the Apple MacIntosh to Windows 95, explained, "Windows is really cool because you can play Quake in, like, a window and stuff." He also cited a complete lack of Windows 95 applications for the MacIntosh. "How can modern business function without Windows 95 applications. Y'know, like Quake?" In addition, he was pretty sure that OS/2 and UNIX were "new wave bands from L.A."

Linus Torvalds was unavailable for comment.

[Note - as was the representative from Higher Source - ed.]

2) Subject: parenting 101

"How many times have you heard the comment that people have to take a test to drive a car, but anyone can be a parent? A test is needed. And not one with a bunch of Bozo questions like 'How many servings of vegetables are required for a three-year old female living in Boise who walks 4.3 miles a day?' No, this test will ask the REAL questions. Are you ready to find out if you have the right stuff to be a parent in the 90s? Get those number two pencils ready. And let's keep our eyes on our own papers, people.


Section One --- Mathematics

For each problem, estimate the total number of times this phrase is used per parent per week. (2 points per question)

  1. I don't care what the other kids get to do.
  2. ... and this time I really mean it.
  3. Somebody's going to get hurt doing that.
  4. See, I told you somebody was going to get hurt doing that.
  5. Now we're REALLY going to be late.
  6. One ... I'm counting ... two ... I'm counting ...
  7. Because I'm the Mommy (Daddy).
  8. Let's not discuss that at the dinner table.
  9. Why is your brother (sister) crying?
  10. Okay ... but only five more minutes.

Section Two -- Fill in the Blank

Write the correct word in the blank. (3 points per question)

  1. Tickle Me ____________.
  2. 101 _________________.
  3. The Berenstain _________.
  4. Clifford, the Big _________ Dog.
  5. _______________ Nuggets.
  6. _______________ Meals.
  7. Please won't you be my _____________?

Section Three -- Matching

Match each vocabulary word with its definition. (4 points per question.)

1] Amoxicillin

2] Legos

3] Pull-Ups

4] Push-Ups

5] Tubes


A] Small bits of plastic designed to accentuate any style of carpeting.

B] Either a recreational device originally developed for hamsters, but since adapted for use by children in fast food restaurants OR that which is placed in ears when Letter "C" fails.

C] A pink substance which is usually a regular part of a toddler's diet.

D] A frozen food amazingly devoid of any nutritional value.

E] A disposable article of clothing which one swears will only be necessary for a few more weeks.

Section Four -- Problem Solving

Briefly describe the solution to each problem. (5 points per question)

  1. It is 8:50 a.m. School starts at 9 a.m. Where are your car keys?
  2. She says that he started it. He says she started it. Who's right?
  3. You are attempting to go to the post office with two very large packages, two very small children, zero very close parking places, and one frazzled parent. How will you accomplish this?
  4. At 7 p.m., you must be at dance class with Debbie, Cub Scouts with Carl, and soccer with Susie. Without any King Solomon maneuvers, how will this be done?

Section Five -- Essay

Answer the question and defend your choice. (19 points)

Which of the 'Big V's' has made a bigger contribution to parenting

Vacuum cleaners, 'Velcro,' or the VCR?

3) So you think you're computer-illiterate?

So you think you're computer-illiterate? Check out the following excerpts from a Wall Street Journal article by Jim Carlton --

1. Compaq is considering changing the command "Press Any Key" to "Press Return Key" because of the flood of calls asking where the "Any" key is.

2. AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.

3. Another Compaq technician received a call from a man complaining that the system wouldn't read word processing files from his old diskettes. After trouble-shooting for magnets and he failed to diagnose the problem, it was found that the customer had rolled the diskettes into the typewriter to type the labels.

4. Another AST customer was asked to send a copy of her defective diskettes. A few days later a letter arrived from the customer along with Xeroxed copies of the floppies.

5. A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold on, and was heard putting the phone down, getting up and crossing the room to close the door to his room.

6. Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of trouble-shooting, the technician discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor screen and hitting the "send" key.

7. Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so a Dell tech suggested he go to the local Egghead. "Yeah, I got me a couple of friends, "the customer replied. When told Egghead was a software store, the man said, "Oh, I thought you meant for me to find a couple of geeks."

8. Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removing all the keys and washing them individually.

9. A Dell technician received a call from a customer who was enraged because his computer had told him he was "bad and an invalid." The tech explained that the computer's "bad command" and "invalid" responses shouldn't be taken personally.

10. An exasperated caller to Dell Computer Tech Support couldn't get her new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power button. Her response, "I pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happens." The "foot pedal" turned out to be the computer's mouse.

11. Another customer called Compaq tech support to say her brand-new computer wouldn't work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it in, and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked what happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked, "What power switch?"

12. True story from a Novell NetWire SysOp:

Caller: "Hello, is this Tech Support?"

Tech Rep: "Yes, it is. How may I help you?"

Caller: "The cup holder on my PC is broken and I am within my warranty period. How do I go about getting that it fixed?"

Tech Rep: "I'm sorry, but did you say a cup holder?"

Caller: "Yes, it's attached to the front of my computer."

Tech Rep: "Please excuse me if I seem a bit stumped, it's because I am. Did you receive this as part of a promotion, at a trade show? How did you get this cup holder? Does it have any trademark on it?"

Caller: "It came with my computer, I don't know anything about a promotion. It just has '4X' on it."

At this point the Tech Rep had to mute the caller, because he couldn't stand it. The caller had been using the load drawer of the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder, and snapped it off the drive.


NEW VIRUS ALERT....... Immediately scan your computer for the following viruses!

PAT BUCHANAN VIRUS: Your system works fine, but complains loudly about foreign software.

COLIN POWELL VIRUS: Makes it's presence known but doesn't do anything. Secretly you wish it would.

HILLARY CLINTON VIRUS: Files disappear, only to reappear mysteriously a year later; in another directory.

O .J. SIMPSON VIRUS: You know it's guilty of trashing your system, but you just can't prove it.

STEVE FORBES VIRUS: All files reported as the same size.

PAUL REVERE VIRUS: This virus doesn't horse around, warns you of impending attack. Once if by LAN, twice if by C.

POLITICALLY CORRECT VIRUS: Never identifies itself as a ``virus'', but instead refers to itself as an ``electronic micro-organism''.

ROSS PEROT VIRUS: Activates every component in your system, just before the whole thing quits.

TED TURNER VIRUS: Colorizes your monochrome monitor.

GOVERNMENT ECONOMIST VIRUS: Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says everything is fine.

NEW WORLD ORDER VIRUS: Probably harmless, but it makes a lot people really mad just thinking about it.

FEDERAL BUREAUCRAT VIRUS: Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which does practically nothing; but all of which claim to be the most important part of your computer.

GALLUP VIRUS: 60% of the PC's infected will lose 30% of their data 14% of the time (plus or minus a 3.5% margin of error).

TEXAS VIRUS: Makes sure that it's bigger than any other file.

ADAM AND EVE VIRUS: Takes a couples of bytes out of your Apple.

CONGRESSIONAL VIRUS: The computer locks up and the screen splits in half with the same message appearing on each side. The message says that the blame for the gridlock is caused by the other side.

AIRLINE LUGGAGE VIRUS: You're in Dallas, but your data is in Singapore.

FREUDIAN VIRUS: Your computer becomes obsessed with marrying it's own motherboard.

ELVIS VIRUS: Your computer gets fat, slow and lazy; then self destructs only to surface at shopping malls and service stations across rural America.

NIKE VIRUS: Just does it.

JIMMY HOFFA VIRUS: Your program can never be found again.

KEVORKIAN VIRUS: Helps your computer shut down as an act of mercy.

STAR TREK VIRUS: Invades your system in places where no virus has gone before.

HEALTH CARE VIRUS: Tests your system for a day, finds nothing wrong and sends you a bill for $4,500.00.

GEORGE BUSH VIRUS: It starts by boldly stating; ``Read my docs...No New Files!'' on the screen. It proceeds to fill up all the free space on your hard drive with new files, then blames it on the Congressional Virus.

5) 2 New Elements for the periodic chart:

Element: WOMEN

Symbol: Wo

Atomic Weight: 120 (more or less, usually more)

Physical Properties: Generally round in form. Boils at nothing and may freeze anytime. Melts whenever treated properly. Very bitter if not used well.

Chemical Properties: Very active. Highly unstable. Possesses strong affinity to gold, silver, platinum and precious stones. Violent when left alone. Able to absorb great amounts of exotic food. Turns slightly green when placed next to a better specimen. Ages rapidly.

Usage: Highly ornamental. An extremely good catalyst for dispersion of wealth. Probably the most powerful income reducing agent known.

Caution: Highly explosive in inexperienced hands.

Element: MAN

Symbol: XY

Atomic Weight: 180+/-100

Physical Properties: Solid at room temperature but gets bent out of shape. Fairly dense and sometimes flaky. Difficult to find a pure sample. Due to rust, aging samples are unable to conduct electricity as easily as young fresh samples.

Chemical Properties: Attempts to bond with Wo any chance it can get. Also, tends to form strong bonds with itself. Becomes explosive when mixed with Kd (element Kid) for prolonged period of time. Pretty basic. Neutralize by saturating with alcohol.

Usage: None really, except methane production. Good samples are able to produce large quantities on command.

Caution: In the absence of Wo, this element rapidly decomposes and begins to smell.

6) Subject: Darwin awards 4

Michigan, USA.

Guy buys brand new Grand Cherokee for 30 some thousand dollars and has 400+ dollar monthly payments. He immediately gets a hold of his friend and the go do some male bonding. They go duck hunting and of course all the lakes are frozen. These 2 Atomic Brains go to the lake with the guns, the dog, the beer and of course the new vehicle. They drive out onto the lake ice and get ready.

Now, they want to make some kind of a natural landing area for the ducks, something for the decoys to float on. Remember, it's all ice and in order to make a hole large enough to look like something a wandering duck wants to fly down and land on, it is going to take a little more effort than an ice hole drill. Out of the back of the new Grand Cherokee comes a stick of dynamite with a short, 40 second fuse. Now these 2 Rocket Scientists do take into consideration that if they place the stick of dynamite on the ice at a location far from where they are standing (and the new Grand Cherokee), they take the risk of slipping on the ice when they run from the burning fuse and possibly going up in smoke with the resulting blast. So, they decide to light this 40 second fuse and throw the dynamite which is what they end up doing.

Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the beer, the guns AND THE DOG ???? Yes, the dog. A highly trained Black Lab used for retrieving, especially things thrown by the owner. You guessed it, the dog takes off at a high rate of doggy speed on the ice and gets the stick of dynamite with the burning 40 second fuse about the time it hits the ice all to the woes of the 2 idiots yelling, stomping, waving arms and wondering what the hell to do now. The dog, well it is happy and heads back from where it came from moments before, with the stick of dynamite, only to the mounting woes of the 2 bozos now really waving their arms, yelling even louder and jumping to new heights than ever before.

Now one of the guys decides to think, something that he has never done before this moment, grabs a shotgun and shoots the dog. The shotgun is loaded with #8 duck shot, hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab on its appointed rounds. Dog stops for a moment, slightly confused and continues on. Another shot and this time the dog, still standing, becomes really confused & of course scared, thinking these 2 Nobel Prize winners have gone insane and takes off to find cover, with the now really short short fuse burning on this stick of dynamite.

The cover the dogs finds? Underneath the brand new Grand Cherokee 30 some thousand dollar 400+ monthly payment vehicle sitting on the lake ice. BOOM ! Dog dies and it and the brand new Grand Cherokee 30 some thousand dollar 400+ monthly payment vehicle sink to the bottom of the lake leaving the 2 candidates for Co-leaders of the Known Universe standing there with this "I can't believe this happened" look on their faces. Later, the owner of the vehicle calls his insurance company which tells him that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is not covered. He had yet to make the first of those 400+ a month payments. I felt pretty sorry for the dog myself. When they made the movie Fargo they should have waited a few months and this could have been added into it.

7) Subject: condoms

Two old ladies were waiting for a bus and one of them was smoking a cigarette. It started to rain, so one old lady reached into her purse, took out a condom, cut off the tip and slipped it over her cigarette and continued to smoke.

Her friend saw this and said, "Hey that's a good idea! What is it that you put over your cigarette?"

The other old lady said, "It's a condom."

"A condom? Where do you get those?"

The lady with the cigarette told her friend that you could purchase condoms at the pharmacy. When the two old ladies arrived downtown, the old lady with all the questions went into the pharmacy and asked the pharmacist if he sold condoms. The pharmacist said yes, but looked a little surprised that this old woman was interested in condoms, so he asked her, "What size do you want?"

The old lady thought for a minute and said, "One that will fit a Camel."

8) Subject: New technology

Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device, otherwise known as the BOOK.

It's a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM.

Here's how it works: each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. By using both sides of each sheet, manufacturers are able to cut costs in half.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Most come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers.

Portable, durable and affordable, the BOOK is the entertainment wave of the future, and many new titles are expected soon, due to the surge in popularity of its programming tool, the Portable Erasable-Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus..

9) Subject: Heaven's Gate Nursery Rhyme

The Heaven's Gate Nursery Rhyme

(my apologies to the late Dr. Suess...)

Written by: Jeffrey D. Warren

There was a cult named Heaven's Gate.
39 they could not wait.
After Hale-Bopp it was too late.
That zany Mr. Applegate!

The UFO they said they'd find,
Trailed Hale-Bopp not far behind.
A crazier notion I've yet to find.
At what point did they lose their mind?

They did not die there in the hall.
They did not die against the wall.
It seemed that no one tried to stall,
Communal phenobarbitol.

It took no time to close their peepers.
The cops just thought they were deep sleepers.
My favorite part? Their new black sneakers!
Will Nike market them as "Air Grim Reapers"?

Now this is the part I really hate:
The testicles they did castrate.
I guess they made no plans to mate.
They could not even masturbate!
I guess when you figure death cannot wait,
There is no time to masturbate.
What?! No time to masturbate?!
Why would ANYONE join Heaven's Gate?!

This one belief they did all share:
For life on earth they did not care.
Their families thought it wasn't fair.
Hey, what was their fucked up hair?

The media cannot help debate,
What caused them to direct their fate.
Was it Mr. Applegate?
Who cares? They were nuts! I think it's great.

I toast them with every vodka sip.
Now, who else wants that mothership?
One comes to mind - as I purse my lip.
I think Tim McVeigh earned a free one-way trip!

10) Subject: A Thinking Problem

The Dangers of Thinking

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone "to relax," I told myself, but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunch time so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

Things weren't going so well at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find work elsewhere." This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confess, "I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!'

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled, as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with a PBS station on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?", it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster.

Which is why I'm what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's". Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

11) Subject: all engineers have but one thing on their mind...

A rather inhibited engineer finally splurged on a luxury cruise to the Caribbean. It was the "craziest" thing he had ever done in his life. Just as he was beginning to enjoy himself, a hurricane roared upon the huge ship, capsizing it like a child's toy. Somehow the engineer, desperately hanging on to a life preserver, managed to wash ashore on a secluded island.

Outside of beautiful scenery, a spring-fed pool, bananas and coconuts, there was little else. He lost all hope and for hours on end, sat under same palm tree. One day, after several months had passed, a gorgeous woman in a small rowboat appeared.

"I'm from the other side of the island," she said. "Were you on the cruise ship, too?"

"Yes, I was, " he answered. "But where did you get that rowboat?"

"Well, I whittled the oars from gum tree branches, wove the reinforced gunnel from palm branches, and made the keel and stern from a Eucalyptus tree."

"But, what did you use for tools?" asked the man.

"There was a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed on the south side of the island. I discovered that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. Anyhow, that's how I got the tools. But, enough of that," she said. "Where have you been living all this time? I don't see any shelter."

"To be honest, I've just been sleeping on the beach," he said.

"Would you like to come to my place?" the woman asked. The engineer nodded dumbly.

She expertly rowed them around to her side of the island, and tied up the boat with a handsome strand of hand-woven hemp topped with a neat back splice. They walked up a winding stone walk she had laid and around a Palm tree. There stood an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white.

"It's not much, but I call it home." Inside, she said, "Sit down please; would you like to have a drink?"

"No, thanks," said the man. "One more coconut juice and I'll throw up!"

"It won't be coconut juice," the woman replied. "I have a crude still out back, so we can have authentic Pina Coladas."

Trying to hide his amazement, the man accepted the drink, and they sat down on her couch to talk. After they had exchanged stories, the woman asked, "Tell me, have you always had a beard?"

"No," the man replied, "I was clean shaven all of my life until I ended up on this island."

"Well if you'd like to shave, there's a razor upstairs in the bathroom cabinet."

The man, no longer questioning anything, went upstairs to the bathroom and shaved with an intricate bone-and-shell device honed razor sharp. Next he showered -- not even attempting to fathom a guess as to how she managed to get warm water into the bathroom -- and went back downstairs. He couldn't help but admire the masterfully carved banister as he walked.

"You look great," said the woman. "I think I'll go up and slip into something more comfortable."

As she did, the man continued to sip his Pina Colada. After a short time, the woman, smelling faintly of gardenias, returned wearing a revealing gown fashioned out of pounded palm fronds.

"Tell me," she asked, "we've both been out here for a very long time with no companionship. You know what I mean. Haven't you been lonely? Isn't there something that you really, really miss? Something that all men and woman need? Something that would be really nice to have right now!"

"Yes there is!" the man replied, shucking off his shyness. "There is something I've wanted to do for so long. But on this island all alone, it was just.. well, it was impossible."

"Well, it's not impossible, any more," the woman said.

The man, practically panting in excitement, said breathlessly: "You mean... you actually figured out some way we can CHECK OUR E-MAIL HERE ??!!

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