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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Tuesday, May 7 2002

News that doesn't signify

Headlines in many media—including the Washington Post—today and yesterday have made much ado about Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne's recent appearance at a big event in the nation's capitol. Powerful nationally known politicians were ignored by the crowd made up mostly of media people, but an excited murmur ran through the room when the Osbournes appeared. Though it has made headlines "above the fold" in some media, I can't think of a more banal "nonevent."

Nor can I understand the fascination with the "new Ozzy and Harriet Show" (the live-in cameras in the Osbournes' Beverley Hills home) on MTV, which I've watched long enough to know I've seen enough. Their whole schtick seems to be to see how much foul language they can get bleeped in every minute of airtime, and how blazé the parents can be when the same filth spews from their children. That many people are fascinated by this makes me sad for the human condition. I'm not anti-Osbournes, not putting them down, but merely curious about all the fascination they generate. But for today's purpose here at the Jonal it serves as an excellent example of "news that does not signify" as that is defined for my Xnmp webpage.

Other news that "doesn't signify" in the way that is reckoned for Xnmp is the body count in the Israeli/Palestine imbroglio. Or whether Arafat is still holed up in his office, or going to meet with President Bush and Israeli leader Sharon. Or sadly to say, in a sense, the shooting deaths of over a dozen German students by a crazed fellow student last week....

For the talk show hosts Leno and Letterman, a "slow news day" is one on which nothing much funny happens. Major tragedies like the German school shootings don't lend themselves to humor. Neither do terrorist bombings, high-jackings and suicide attacks. These are neither funny, nor do they lend themselves to much reflection by social commentators, which is the role I try to assume in my Xnmp editorial job. The latest lawsuit against an abusive priest or indifferent church hierarch, though the general tragic development has significance worth discussing, in isolation the latest development is not indicative, and is not new. "Reruns" of scenarios we've seen scores of times before in the mideast, Northern Ireland, or elsewhere, are not "news," though of course the media that cover world events can hardly ignore them.

The events that open doors to hope, to reform, or are indicative of basic human values or illustrate trusts betrayed are the ones we're looking for.

Some days, there seem to be none worth linking to.


—Webmaster Jon Kennedy


An unemployed man went to apply for a job with Microsoft
as a janitor.

The manager there arranged for him to take an aptitude test. After the test, the manager says, "You will be employed as a janitor at minimum wage, $6.75 an hour. Let me have your email address, so that I can send you a form to complete and
tell you where to report for work on your first day."

Taken aback, the man protests that he has neither a computer nor an email address. To this, the MS manager replies, "Well, then, that means that you virtually don't exist and can therefore hardly expect to be employed by Microsoft."

Stunned, the man leaves. Not knowing where to turn and having only $10 in his wallet, he bought a 25-lb. flat of tomatoes at the supermarket. In less than two hours, he sold all the tomatoes individually at 100 percent profit.

After repeating the same process several times more that day, the man ended up with almost $100 before going to sleep that night. Thus it dawned on him that he could quite easily make a living selling tomatoes.

Getting up early every day and going to bed late, he multiplied his profits quickly. After a short time he acquires a cart to transport several dozen boxes of tomatoes, only to have to trade it in again so that he can buy a pickup truck to support
his expanding business. By the end of the second year, he was the owner of a fleet of pickup trucks and managed a staff of 100 former unemployed people, all selling tomatoes.

Planning for the future of his wife and children, he decided to buy some life insurance. Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picked an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. At the end of the telephone conversation, the adviser asked him for his email address in order to send the final documents electronically. When the man replies that he had no email, the adviser was stunned.

"What, you don't have email? How on earth have you managed to amass such wealth without the Internet, email, and e-commerce? Just imagine where you would be now, if
you had been connected to the Internet from the very start!"

"Well," replied the tomato millionaire, "I would be a janitor at Microsoft!"

By definition, a fable must have a moral. This one has four:

1. The Internet, email and e-commerce do not need to rule your life.

2. If you don't have email, but work hard, you can still become a millionaire.

3. Since you got this story via email, you're probably closer to becoming a janitor than you are to becoming a millionaire.

4. If you do have a computer and e-mail, you have already been taken to the cleaners by Microsoft.

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

The truly humble man never feels that he has sufficiently abased himself before God. He feels that however low he bends, he could bend lower. He always feels that he is above his proper position before God. He looks at his position, & looks at where he should be, & he appears at a great distance from it. It is his pride that appears to him great, not his humility. It does not seem to him to be a great sign of his humility to lie in the dust at the feet of God. He thinks that is exactly where he belongs.

Jonathan Edwards

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Xnmp, news that signifies
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