The Administrivial Rants

(Dimassdrivel Grunts)

stop that.

October 24th to November 15th 2007
This week's rant is brought to you by our sponsors: the past and disorganization...
Note: do not expect the links below that reference "" to work anymore.
These days (you know, the interregnum), all those links should be considered to
refer to, or, or whatever instead.


Subject: last mailing to certified cool...
Date: Monday, March 03, 1997 12:48AM

  since i started promulgating the twain list to the unwashed masses of
the world (nyc, france, etc), i have had an astounding number of people
who want to subscribe to the twain list.  two.  this is astounding,
because i expected zero or fewer of the free subscriptions to be handed
out.  i should have said to include a credit card number.
  so, since i can no longer completely guarantee that these new people
won't sue me for what i say (not that i have that guarantee now, i
guess), i will be restricting my mode of expression to some subset of
the firehose-pressure pseudo-grammatical psychobabble i usually spew
out, to probably only what i consider the politically correct crap.  for
example, jokes about rush limbaugh's small cold penis are okay, but
jokes about bestiality at the nativity are right out.  this says nothing
regarding my full-fledged commitment to be a trouble maker in the
information milieu, just that twain is now more public than before for
some unknown reason.  i like to think it's that lemming-like instinct to
sign over one's fortune to swami koeritz so that he can use it wisely.
  uh, so the point is, if you wish to jump ship now before this newer
trendier, possibly marketable twain thing starts rolling, i will not
understand, but i will let you.
  to unsubscribe from the list, just send an email to
with a subject line of "unsubscribe", and with your mother's maiden
name, two valid credit card numbers with expiration date, an accounting
of your worst fears and a list of your top ten blackmailable activities
in the message body.  ha ha ha, just kidding.  i don't care about the
inside of your head, i just need the credit card info.  good one, huh?
 --keeper of the twain.

___________________ chosen by the Nechung Oracle program... ___________________

Technological progress has merely provided us with more
efficient means for going backwards.
             - Aldous Huxley, "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow", 1956

______________ not necessarily my opinions, not necessarily not. ______________


Subject: beep.
Date: Sunday, June 01, 1997 4:01PM

  this is the first official mailing to the Jurgiss Rudkiss Memorial List,
presented by Twain Enterprises.  visit our web-site ( and
splurge on our many wonderful offerings at new low low prices.
  even though nothing much has changed at twain recently, it has changed
slightly, which was a real accomplishment since nothing had been touched for
months.  thus this pointed and salient mailing direct from our email cannons
to your tranquil river valley of an inbox.
  for some reason unexplainable by today's science and religion, people
continue to come to the twain web site ( to pay homage to the
webmaster's skills, which can be best described in artistic terms as
"primitive" and in critical terms as "i lost my lunch".  our hit counter went
above 10,000 a week or so ago.  this is possibly more than the webmaster
himself has had, but that's all old news.
  in any case, we hope you enjoy your lifetime.  come back to earth for many
exciting lifetimes in the future.  this end of the galaxy has never rocked so
hard before (or sucked so vacuously).
                               -- Fenona Winthrop, Mailing List Administrator

___________________ chosen by the Nechung Oracle program... ___________________

Time is flying never to return.
                         - Virgil

______________ not necessarily my opinions, not necessarily not. ______________


Subject: less artsy, more fartsy!
Date: Monday, July 28, 1997 9:59PM

  a couple of minor changes have occurred at the twain site
(  i've pushed up a bunch of stuff that had been
waiting in the wings but is now available.
  the biggest change is that the site has been hierarchicalized...  too much
content (pork) for just one page (fork).  good content?  you decide.
  more will appear when the scanner gets plugged in again.
  now to get back in my frinkotron and break contact with humanity once again.
for a little while.  until monday actually.  damn.

  damn again.  didn't send this out, so now monday has come and is still
squatting on my buzz.
  ah, for tuesday, only a couple of hours away...

___________________ chosen by the Nechung Oracle program... ___________________

Here's a good joke to do during an earthquake: straddle a big crack in the
ground, and if it opens wider, go "Whoa! Whoa! " and flail your arms around,
like you're going to fall in.
        -- deep thoughts by jack handey

______________ not necessarily my opinions, not necessarily not. ______________


Subject: the spam floweth...
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:33:38 -0500

  after promising a bunch of you that this mailing list would contain no spam,
here i am again pestering you after only a couple of weeks.  i promise not to
do this again, unless of course i get another tasty manic burst of energy to
work with.
  there's more (and less useful) information available on the info page now.
some really useless and antiquated game files and other stuff available from
there too.  also, some really mint condition faqs from newsgroups that don't
exist anymore.  bummer.
  the only thing even slightly interesting that's happened is that the nechung
oracle has finally left the development lab and been installed in its own wax
museum on the main page.  from there, it can crumble away for all i care, but
at least i can get a fresh bit of prophecy every once in a while.  i am at some
point supposed to stop consulting oracles as part of my practice, but this
thing really has become second nature.  new fortunes are being accepted at the
main gate.
  okay, i admit i'm writing this while i'm a bit inebriated.  at least i'm not
out driving.  also, i'm wearing mostly a bathrobe, but i'm told that short
pudgy guys with dark hair look good in socks, so i'm wearing a pair of those
too.  seeing as how the mailing list has swelled to record numbers, you can see
why i'm trying to pare out a few of the shier members.  although, come to think
of it, there is actually no list removal mechanism.  one person tried to get
off of the list, but i had to laugh at her for a while because she wasn't
actually listed as being on the list.  oh well.
  by now, the point has escaped me and it probably would have been beyond my
making anyway.  so, uh...  who likes oxygen?

__________________ chosen by the Nechung Oracle program... __________________

In this true world of emptiness,
Both self and other are no more.

_____________ not necessarily my opinions, not necessarily not. _____________


Subject: new readings for cultured minds
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 14:50:28 -0400
To: Bill_Gates@Microsoftly.COM

  calling all yogurt heads.  note that there are new reading materials
available at now.  these are all stored under the
literarium area, and all are guaranteed to increase your productivity at work
if you study them diligently.  or to educate your mind.  or at least to enhance
your work avoidance if you read them.
  i'm afraid my hopes of writing an informative and mildly humorous email to
all the splendid customers of twain is shot to ribbons, or sliced to uh...
slices.  someone told me to send another funny email out to the twain list and
my brain has shredded itself trying to meet the challenge.  from now on, all
mailings to the twain list will be dire pronouncements of impending doom.
(your socks will now catch on fire)
  the bookmarks section now documents my struggle to understand windows nt
security and DCOM and some other "hot" microsoft topics that are being espoused
at work.  these topics are certainly hot in that you will experience burning
pains of perdition should you truly come to understand them, for that is the
nature of studying the dark testament of the tyrant.  or maybe it's just the
coffee.  in any case, there's lots of linkages and a little bit of
  ah good, i've been given an opportunity to compete in the "raw sound" contest
in our neighborhood today.  i was starting to think my heart was beating really
loud and in a painfully non-musical way, but it was just the obnoxious speakers
in one of the neighbor's cars.  but, much like space based weapons have trouble
competing with planet based weapons in terms of raw power available (in
conventional views, at least), his puny junkmobile speakers are no competition
for my stereo and its mega speakers.  whatever horrible off-beat
blubber-slapping redneck stomping i was hearing is now being drowned out by
some equally horrible but somewhat entertaining "beck".  oh my goodness.
  more dire pronouncements:
    -- spam will be outlawed (the "meat").
    -- redmond, washington will accidentally be nuked due to a flaw in a
missile silo's windows CE software.
    -- urkle will be elected president, with quayle as vice-president.
    -- all singers in the future will have lyrics like beck.
    -- dogs in the trailer park never learned to bark, beefcake dumplings in
your face, momma had a silver bag of turnips under the sink, ...  damn.

  need to clear my brain out with some whiskey.  i think i was starting to
channel him.
  okay, one more item of pseudo interest... is now finally an award
winning site.  unfortunately, the award is basically telling us we're idiots.
but that's fine; it's still an award.  it's located on the award winning page:
i think they presented us with the award because they couldn't figure out what
the essay was about.
  since i'm not so good at conclusions, i'll just say goodbye now.

__________________ chosen by the Nechung Oracle program... __________________

A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
                         - Robert Frost

_____________ not necessarily my opinions, not necessarily not. _____________


Subject: Gruntose Makeover by Kathie Lee Gifford
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 15:44:35 -0500
From: (Fred T. Hamster)

    The old home place done got spruced up some.
    Gruntose just recently got a collection of Perl scripts, for your
algorithmic pleasure.  These were contributed by Chris Koeritz; thanks Chris!  A
number of useful things can be done with these, such as recursively comparing a
hierarchy of directories based on their file contents.  Also they can grind
bones and marrow to render a gelatinous substance...  No wait, that's a meat
    We're a little bit confused because of some other changes at the top level
of Gruntose; this is mostly an image change.  Not the kind of image change where
someone you like becomes an evil pop icon, no no.  These are changes to actual
images, a.k.a. bitmaps.  So don't worry about us moving to Hollywood er
nothin'.  But the newest pictures are what are confusing.  Try them out for
    In other developments, time is still a plastic-like extruded string,
compressed through a very tiny hole in the dyke of reality for us.  It emerges
only in tiny tidbits, wantonly disregarding our incredible voluptuous urge to
donate even yet more nonsense to the web, worldwise wide.  This is what keeps us
where we are and makes it so hard to climb up the nearly vertical entropy hole
we've dug for ourselves.  Sorry about that.
    Back on earth we have a thing called a conclusion.  You don't get one today.

_____ chosen by the Nechung Oracle Program [ ] _____

Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater.
    -- William Hazlitt

_____________ not necessarily my opinions, not necessarily not. _____________


[posted 10/24/2007] (10|24 dude!)

November 15th 2006 to October 23rd 2007
dear starz and showtime networks,

  this open letter is to inform you that you are "pay" networks.  this should be obvious, but i think you have forgotten this fact, because recently i have seen advertisements on your channels during programs that i pay for.  that is, my good money goes directly to you for this programming, and yet you bludgeon me with ads when i'm trying to enjoy the show.  don't you think i deserve quality service for my hard-earned money?

  if i'm paying for your network, what makes you think i will stand for your putting ads on the screen during those very shows that i'm paying for?

  starz started injecting advertisements a little at first, and then more and more.  that's when i cancelled the starz network.  i had hopes they would realize this was a hateful practice that only bestiality enthusiasts could really enjoy, but sensibility eluded them.

  now showtime has started doing this also, as of september 2006 or so.  i was watching a funny little show of theirs called "weeds".  in the middle of the show that i was paying to see, an ad for some other show called "dexter" comes on.  this blisteringly inappropriate advertisement takes over the bottom third of my screen.  how much more incredibly rude and annoying could this be without stilts, lubricant and a camel involved?

  you two networks don't respect your own programming.  i don't respect you either.

  i will not and cannot put up with this intrusive irritation.  you two networks are both canned, dropped, severed, stopped, tossed.

  if hbo starts to make this same kind of customer service blunder, then they're going to be gone too, sopranos or no sopranos.

  this practice of advertising during fee-based programming is sleazy to the extreme.  you already have space between your shows to put on all sorts of advertisements for your channel, and you already do.  what value am i actually receiving when i pay a premium price every month for your service and then it's just as befouled with advertising dreck as the free but shoddy networks of fox, abc, and others?

  you're welcome to destroy all semblance of worthwhile programming by slapping whorish ads all over the screen, but i am not going to pay you to offend me in this way.

  business relationship terminated.
  end transmission.....*#*(@#!!!
[posted 11/15/2006]

November 11th 2002 to March 19th 2003
Our guest today is a new contributor, codenamed "Cranky Biscuit".  What follows is a real life story of terror and angst in the 21st century.  -- Abel


From: Cranky Biscuit
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 2:32 PM
To: Everyone
Subject: Sink Infestation

It is with a poignant bitterness and sadness that I recognize that, somehow, despite all the very explicit email from Teri and others, that we as a group are still not on the same page with respect to cleaning up dishes.

Here it is in plain English, for those beleaguered few who still have clearly not mastered the idea:

   If you use a dish, then YOU must wash it.

Nobody else has that responsibility.  Only you can keep the sink clean.
There is no person here unimportant enough to be designated the role of being your dish washer (except you).
And likewise, if I'm not vastly mistaken, there is no person here important enough to be allowed to shirk their dish cleaning responsibilities.

Please clean up the dishes in the sink if you used them.  There's quite a collection there.

Thank you,
"Deeply concerned that the concept of personal responsibility is dead".

PS: My apologies in advance for the tone here, but I'm so tired of this that I could be a truckful of Sominex.
If you're not one of the unclean ones, then this is not aimed at you...


From: Cranky Biscuit
Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2002 3:19 PM
To: undisclosed set of recipients
Subject: Sinkless Bliss...

   In the spirit of the togetherness that was well exemplified in our all-company meeting today, I vow to stop worrying about our break room sink.  It strikes me that my attempts to help (by shaming certain people into cleaning up after themselves) are at best useless and at worst obnoxious.  It was mainly my fear that we would have all coffee support systems disabled that led me to think of this as a personal crusade.
   Keep in mind that my approach is that of problem solving, kind of like killing software bugs.  I think of the problem as a mental software bug that can be rooted out by right mindedness and appropriate strategies.  This seems to not be entirely true.

   So far, we have tried several strategies.  These might be useful to enumerate:

1) Assign people turns as kitchen patrol person.
   Result: unsuccessful
   It seemed that the fact someone was responsible for doing the dishes led to people feeling that there was less need for them to do their own, even people who normally would have done their own dishes.  The sink clutter from that period far exceeded present day levels.

2) Have the cleaning crew do the dishes.
   Result: unsuccessful
   Seemingly for the same reasons as approach number one failed.

3) Sending emails blessing the people who bothered to clean the sink when it got full.
   Result: unsuccessful
   It rewards those who go out of their way to clean up for others, but it does little to make people more responsible for their own dishes.

4) Sending emails blasting the people who leave dishes in the sink.
   Result: unsuccessful
   I noticed after my last gnarly email that the sink got cleared that day, but as soon as I got back from my vacation this week, there were several dishes in the sink again.  If there's any positive effect from this approach, it's short lived.

5) Sequestering dishes that people hadn't washed.
   Result: unsuccessful
   Rather than enabling people to be slack by washing their dishes for them, I thought that perhaps if the dishes that were left dirty started disappearing, then people might take more care.  To this end, I had stored a box of unwashed dishes that I intended to take home and wash before bringing them back.  However, the minority that doesn't do dishes seems to have been unaffected by this approach, whereas the responsible majority is merely less able to find dishes when needed.  (And no, this wasn't intended to include forks, since they're such a rare commodity; it was mainly cups that were sequestered).
   A variant suggested by John Knute was to just throw out any dish left abandoned in the sink.  I consider that a bit extreme, leading eventually to approach #6 (below).

6) Total shutdown of kitchen break room.
   Result: probably successful
   But then this solution means no one can get a cup of coffee or eat lunch on a plate.  This cure is probably worse than the disease.

   In any case, I think it will be more productive for me to entirely ignore the state of the break room sink, aside from my own responsibility to clean my own dishes.  I cannot in good conscience say that i will wash other people's dishes for them, since I really do believe this just enables the mind-set whereby people do not do their own dishes.
   If any other possible solutions appear to my mind, I will pass them along to Teri or whomever it would be appropriate to tell.  But for myself, I no longer consider the sink to be my problem in any sense.  I will not contribute to the mess, of course, but I'm done with trying to make the few people who won't wash up see themselves as falling below expectations.  I appear to be singularly poor at motivating people to be responsible, so I'd better stop...
   No experiment is unsuccessful if something is learned from it.

Thanks for listening to my sad tale,

PS: I note that when I went down and disabled my experimental apparatus (the box of sequestered dirty dishes), that there were no dishes in the sink at that time.  This is a good thing at least.


From: Cranky Biscuit
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2002 9:39 AM
To: undisclosed set of recipients
Subject: My apologies to the Impromptu Dish Committee...

   As a followup to my summary of the dish experiment...  I think I can once again consent to help clean up after others.  This will keep the levels of mold and fungus in the break room sink down substantially.
   I appear to have passed from an extreme of caring about the dishes (in previous weeks) to an extreme of not-caring about them (yesterday) to hopefully normal levels of caring (today and ongoing).  This is the middle way.
   Perhaps the experiment really was "Can human nature be contraverted?".  And the answer I think I've found is "Not for long".  For every good idea, there will be at least one human who doesn't like it.  And for every bad idea, there will be at least one human who does like it.  Thus human beings defy probability and beat the curve.
   Anyway, hopefully this is my last dish-related email unless someone wants to start a cordial conversation about them at some point.
-- Crandall

[posted 11/11/2002]

June 20th to September 23rd 2002
Abel Plunkett here again.
     Good gravy, I got kicked off of Gruntose.  fred said it was polluting his zeitgeist or rolphing his speculum or other words I wasn't listening very carefully to, so now I can't bitch about corporate robber barons there any more.  I think he's having some kind of midlife thing, really.
     But luckily the internet's this wild and wonderful place of amazing techocrats and perversions, and he gave me some megachunks on his hosting PSI or ISO or whatever for ranting.  In fact, he basically threw a CD of rants at me and told me to go "munge them".  I think that's "to eat" in Italian.
     And so I shall.  But since I was already kind of in charge of the rants before and there haven't been any updates since January, it's a bit doubtful that anything much will happen.  At least there are still some old, small towns on the internet that don't change that much between visits.  Meanwhile, I've invented a new form of rant, the "administrivia" rant.  It's just as good as a regular rant in the way that administrators are just as interesting as regular people.
     So, off into the future we shall plunge, like a moose falling into a swimming pool full of jello.  Hold on tight to your valuables, such as jewels.
--AP (6/20/2002)

April 24th to May 21st 2001

ARGH! The Fumarole Libation Society has struck (here in sunny but brisk Georgia, Russia) with an ISP meltdown... Was it really caused by hackers or by sheer incompetence? We may never know... What a pudless waste of people's time here though.

To commemorate the occasion, here are some of our favorite computer haikus... These date back to the dawn of computer science, clearly.

Digital domain
Pierced through scrotum by crashes
Never serves again.

Resurrection has
No bearing on computers;
Instead they rust out.

Quantify Error?
Pustulent geek tripped over
That damn power cord.

Presto Change-o! Your web site
Winks out of Being!