In 1993, the online world was beginning to emerge. There was a lot of grumbling about how a wired world would affect society. In my last few years at school, the U of W's Leddy library had added a computer catalog system. For the first couple years, it was run in parallel with the traditional card catalog system. At some point they cut off updating the card catalog. Many older users, utterly afraid of computers, were not pleased by this. They were quite vocal in their opposition to the eventual removal of the card catalog system. This article sort of poked fun at the Luddites of the Leddy Library.
The article was written by Dewey Congress, a name taken from the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress system (the latter was used by U of W's library).
Two students excited about the new fangled card system are quoted in the article. One a Mr. Watson and the other a Mr. Crick. Watson and Crick, of course, discovered DNA. Through out the issue we had a lot of fun with both names and the archaic degree programs in which students were enrolled ("Fixed Celestial Bodies", "Humonculus Biology").
The bit about the library staff being there just to clear out the suggestion box came from a little psyops campaign I used to wage against the library staff when I was a student. They had this suggestion box and a sign over it indicating you could drop off a question and the staff would answer it. Answers were then posted on a bulletin board near the suggestion box. I noticed two things about this suggestion box thingy. One, all the answers to the various questions and suggestions amounted to the library staff fobbing off responsibility. For example,
Suggestion: The toilet paper is like wiping with razor blades. Better toilet paper would be great! Thanks!
Response: We've passed your suggestion on to the janitorial staff.
Suggestion: People keep stealing the books I need. Like what the fuck?
Response: We've notified campus police and requested a larger security budget.
Suggestion: It's too hot in the west wing. Can you turn the heat down?
Response: We've passed your comments on to the power plant.
Two, within the text of their little suggestion box sign, the staff made no mention they would answer only questions about the library. It indicated ANY question. I decided to test this. Every week I placed the same question in the box: "What is the origin and meaning of the term 'it's like waiting for the other shoe to drop'?" My question was always ignored. After about 3 months of this, I left a terse note "I've been asking the same question for the last three months and no one has ever bothered to answer it! You all should be ashamed of yourselves." That one they answered. They indicated questions of this nature could be answered by the reference librarian.
Bell jar experiment makes Virgin Sweat
direction to Terry was to "bury this in some corner in the paper"
so as to add an extra layer of historical irony. The article was a parody of
the whole cold fusion debacle. The chemistry professor is named Pons X.
Nihilo. Pons from the cold fusion duo Pons and Fleischman. X Nihilo from the
latin "ex nihilo" or "out of nothing". When I sent these
articles to Terry, the initial intent of the parody issue was to feature
articles from a range of early time periods -- from
some later time, The Border City Lance concept was changed to be a
reprint of a specific issue from the year of
Instability problem perplexes community
This article falls under the "more things change the more they stay the same" humor genre. Many universities have a perennial parking problem.
year students called for the construction of a parking garage, just like they
had at real universities in places like
The upset "townie" Fred Standish was a character that appeared in a comedy radio show Terry and I did for three years. Fred Standish was our archetypal staunch American conservative: Anti-Miranda Rights, anti-women, anti-immigration, pro-gun. He would give regular commentaries on our show, beginning his pieces with "Fred Standish here" followed by a patrician-like nasal snort backed by a faint southern twang.
The police officer Orville Miranda is another cross-over character from our radio show. In this case, he went by the name of Orville Pulltab. Orville Pulltab turned up in our fake news segments a lot. He was usually the spokesperson for some ill-thought-out populist right wing political action committee devoted to the expansion of government, police, and judicial powers.
Service Officer Bill Panacea's public transit solution was a reference to a
was one of mine. Terry butchered it a bit. Actually he butchered it a lot,
likely due to his poor knowledge of
The "SAC-ratified club" aside was a small barb thrown at the SAC vs Greek Letter Frat wars from the early '90s. Greek frats and sororities, a recently resurrected phenomenon on the U of W campus, discovered they could not get free access to SAC and school facilities because they were not ratified clubs. SAC bylaws precluded them from ratification because they were, by definition, not open to all students. Women were barred from frats, men were barred from sororities, and their pledging system closed them off to most except those that met unknown and mercurial criteria (owned x+1 Polo sweaters for starters). The debate turned ugly when the frats tried to argue SAC was bending the bylaws for groups like the Caribbean Students Association, the African Students Association, the Chinese Students Association, and the Womyn's Centre. The frats claimed (wrongly) these clubs denied access based on race and sex. The debate devolved into so much mud slinging, with everyone calling each other racists.
original version their demise was at the hands of
The Assumption College President Carling J Ackladder is a nod to a brand of Canadian beer called Carling Black Label and, of course, the Blackadder Britcom. The J came from the official name of the U of W's library, the Francis J. Leddy.
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(a subdivision of The Karl Mamer and Terry Brown Foundation for Creative Penury)
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