MT VOID 08/13/99 (Vol. 18, Number 7)

MT VOID 08/13/99 (Vol. 18, Number 7)

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
Club Notice - 08/13/99 -- Vol. 18, No. 7

Table of Contents

Outside events: The Science Fiction Association of Bergen County meets on the second Saturday of every month in Upper Saddle River; call 201-447-3652 for details.

Chair/Librarian: Mark Leeper, 732-817-5619,
Factotum: Evelyn Leeper, 732-332-6218,
Distinguished Heinlein Apologist: Rob Mitchell,
HO Chair Emeritus: John Jetzt,
HO Librarian Emeritus: Nick Sauer,
Back issues at
All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.


You know what I love? It is political organizations that send you mail addressed using a computer font that looks like it is hand-written. You probably have seen mail with this font. Someone gives a sample of her or his handwriting printing each of the letter of the alphabet in upper and lower case, and then they are scanned by computer. Then when an address is put on the mail this font is used and for a brief instant looks like it is hand-written. But it does not look that way for long. It is obvious that it is computer-printed if you look at any characters used more than once. If you look not even closely you can see that every lower-case "e" is identical to every other lower-case "e."

But this hand-written look is, I guess, intended to give the mail a sort of grassroots feel. The party sending the mail wants you to feel that their opponents have a big political machine and address their mail (gasp!) by computer. But not this party. You are supposed to think that some public-spirited sincere person has hand-addressed each out-going piece of mail and frequently they have added some sort of note like "Please, Mark, open this immediately and give it extra special attention." I am supposed to be bowled over by the fact he knew my first name. Of course, it was right on the first line of the address. I suppose that it takes some artificial intelligence for the program to screen out titles like "Rev." We have probably all heard of the instances where a computer program was not sufficiently debugged and sent a piece of mail to The First Church of Christ saying "Dear Mr. Christ, are you stuck in a dead-end low-paying job?" So I am not saying that it is necessarily easy to computer-address a piece of mail.

But if you are too unobservant to know any better it really looks like the personal touch. It has programmed in imperfection. The thing is that imperfection is supposed to indicate special care has been taken. Somebody I know worked on the software for a sort of automatic typewriter that programed in a random typing mistake. The same software would white-out the mistake and correct it. This is to make the letter look like it was typed and addressed by a real human specifically for the addressee. The imperfection is supposed to make the thing more personal.

But I love to get political mail with this sort of addressing. Boy, it saves a lot of time and effort. Most political messages you have to open up read the contents before you realize the sender thinks that you are stupid and that she or he can easily pull the wool over your eyes. If these people cannot even address the envelope without being deceitful, what can you expect from the contents? [-mrl]

                                   Mark Leeper
                                   HO 1K-644 732-817-5619

Quote of the Week:

     If you could make everyone think alike, it would be
     very much as if no one thought at all.
                                   -- Phillips Brooks