Sunday, June 2, 2002

First BestOfTheWSJweb submission

Sunday, June 2, 2002 9:17 AM
From: "Arnold Nelson" To: "Best of the Web" <>

What's wrong with a little censorship... long as "[no] student ... feel[s] ill at easewhile taking [a] test."

A news article in the Sunday, June 2, 2002 New YorkTimes 'The Elderly Man and the Sea? Test Sanitizes Literary Texts' describes how Regents tests, which NewYork State requires public high school students to take to graduate, "...are modified ... to satisfy elaborate 'sensitivity review guidelines.'"

Here are three paragraphs:

"... a mother of a high school senior ... inspected 1 high school English exams from the past three years and discovered that the vast majority of the passages— drawn from the works of Isaac Bashevis Singer, AntonChekhov and William Maxwell, among others — had been sanitized of virtually any reference to race, religion, ethnicity, sex, nudity, alcohol, even the mildest profanity and just about anything that might offend someone for some reason.

Students had to write essays and answer questions based on these doctored versions — versions that were clearly marked as the work of the widely known authors."
"Certain revisions bordered on the absurd. In a speech by Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general,in addition to deletions about the United States' unpaid debt to the United Nations, any mention of wine and drinking was removed. Instead of praising 'fine California wine and seafood,' he ends up praising'fine California seafood.' "

Roseanne DeFabio, the Education Department's assistant commissioner for curriculum, instruction and assessment, was quoted on Friday, "We do shorten the passages and alter the passages to make them suitablef or testing situations." The changes are made to satisfy the sensitivity guidelines the department uses, so no student will be "uncomfortable in a testing situation," she said. "Even the most wonderful writers don't write literature for children to take on a test."

Read it all at:

Arnold H. Nelson in Chicago

[And here is the link to the June 3, 2002 BestOfTheWeb

where the above story is refed in the column near the end, and my name is in the contributor's list at the end of the column.

It got better: About a year later, the NYTimes had another article on this subject, I sent that to BOTWT... and got it printed then, too (see you later.)

Saturday, April 20, 2002

40-square-foot raft?

Saturday, April 20, 2002 5:02 AM

From: Arnold Nelson
To: letters NYTimes <>

Editor, The New York Times:

The Friday, April 19, 2002 obituary of Thor Heyerdahl, anthropologist and adventurer, describes his"...101-day, 4,300-mile drifting voyage..." across the Pacific Ocean on "...a 40-square-foot raft...."

If the Kon-Tiki was 40 square feet (no more than 6 feet 4 inches wide,) his voyage would have been remarkable if only 300 miles in one week. The obituary further describes how he "... overcamei nnumerable practical obstacles right down to the cutting of the long balsa logs he needed...." Even if made from only two, 20 foot long, one foot wide logs,it still would have been a feat, considering he was accompanied by "five friends."

Without looking it up I think the Kon-Tiki was a 40-foot-square raft.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago, Illinois 60640

Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Thomas Jeffersonm George Mason...

... and the big fella upstairs:

Tuesday, April 9, 2002 8:12 AM
From: Arnold Nelson
To: Kathryn Jean Lopez <>

Miss Lopez, John J. Miller's piece today on George Mason is great. I'd heard the name, but never did know anything about Mason, besides giving Walter Williams a place to work (worth a monument all by itself.)

It struck me that while John points out that Jefferson got his "All men are created equal..." from Mason, Jefferson must have added "...are granted by their creator with...." I assume this is the same Thom Jefferson who we are constantly reminded invented "separation of church and state...." (without which we would never have anACLU....)

Arn Nelson from the Democrat-occupied west bank of Lake Michigan (Illinois 9th CD)

Sunday, March 24, 2002

First Soo boat 2002

Sunday, March 24, 2002 7:56 PM

From: Arnold Nelson
To: Neil Schultheiss, Editor,

Neil, I'm here in the Ojibway office, registered in room 409, hoping to see I[ndiana] Harbor lock down at midnite. Had hoped for a 6th floor room - 4th floor is blockedby trees, even w/ no leaves.

Can you imagine it? Fifth and Sixth floors are taken by car testers! Could care less about the first boat.

Next year as soon as I hear Soo opening date (fromBoatnerd, of course) I will reserve room 607 for thatdate.

Is anyone else up here?

Arn Nelson of Foster Beach Chicago

[Then, maybe 12 hours later, I sent:

Monday, March 25, 2002 4:45 PM
From: "Arnold Nelson"
To: "Neil Schultheiss"

Neil, I did see the Harbor lock down at 0200 Mondaymorning.

Then about 1100, I'm sure I saw it again, while I was driving across the bridge. Big black hull, white cabin stock - and you did say it was on its way to Muskegon w/ a load of coal, didn't you?

Right now I'm in the Manistee public library. I'm staying at a motel right downtown, facing the river. Motel operator says they've been getting 2-3 boats a week for sometime. Those must be the boats going toAmherstberg Canada, right?

Arn Nelson, on my way back to Foster Beach, Chicago

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Swedes (ours) in Chicago

Thursday, March 14, 2002 10:08 AM

From: Arnold Nelson
To: Ellen M. Engseth Dir. Archives and Special Collections, North Park College

Hej Ellen M. Engseth:

Do you think you might have any church records from the Chicago south side 1875-1900?

I am a decidedly amateur geneology student. Myfather's father came over here from Småland, probably in the 1880's, the poorest of the poor. He proceeded to work hard and bring his mother and father, and each of eight or so surviving siblings, as far as I know all to the south side, very possibly around 59th andRacine, where my father was born in 1896. Also, I have the burial record for my grandfather's first wife, in Oakwoods (or whatever - that big south side cemetary - about all tit says is that you can bury her here, but if you ever come back and dig her up, we get the land back.)

Just this week I discovered in my family archives,such as they are, a small photo labeled "AuntieAgusta's gravestone in Rosehill." Since I live nearby I walked over there but they had no Augusta Anderson in their records - so I suppose she must have been married. (I would have thought that Rosehill wouldhave 2-3 Augusta Andersons at least, wouldn't you?) Myfather used to speak occasionally of Aunt Agusta, but never with a last name.

Anyway, I would sure like to look for a marriage record of an Augusta Anderson, born in
Småland December7, 1870. I don't expect anyone to do any searching for me (I've done plenty at both Emigrantsinstitutet in Vaxjo and Uppsalla,) but would sure be interested in knowing a) if you think there mught be info like this in your archives, and b) if so, could I come out and look around.

I also have my father's confirmation group picture andI'm sure that was from a south side Swedish church,too (probably around 1910.) It has about 20 people in it, and I thot it'd be fun to put it on a bulletin board somewhere and see if anyone else sees anancestors in it. Tried that at the Swedish Museum on Clark and they neither contacted me, nor returned myphoto print.

I look forward to hearing from you, but if you're too busy, no problem. I also took two quarters of Swedish at North Park, in 1992. Took them for creditand got 2 A-s.
Thanks again

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago

[I never heard boo from this woman. I eventually did figure out Aunt Augusta's last name, and found her grave at Rosehill. More important, I have a foto of her standing in front of her house in Evanston, in maybe 1910 (She was poor when she came over here, but apparently met and married a quite successful Swedish immigrant.)

[I walked out to the house once. The owner wasn't there, so I gave a print of the house with aunt Augusta to him to give to the owners, but never heard from them either.

[But the run-in w/ the museum, that took place in 1990. Then about a year ago I got a breathless note from the now-director, along w/ my print and original letter. I thot that was pretty nice of her, so sent her a thank you note, w/ a few comments on Swedish history, here in Chicago and there in Sweden, where I have visited a dozen times. I never heard from her again either.

[Then just a few years ago, I was going thru some old books here, and found my father's Confirmation bible, w/ the name and address of the church! So I got that question answered, too, for what it's worth.]

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Like, ya' kno?

Tuesday, March 12, 2002 9:39 AM

From: Arnold Nelson
To: Kathryn Jean Lopez

Jay Nordlinger's piece today...

...the comment on [figure skating champ] Sarah Hughes: I don't own a TV, but did happen to hear Hughes talk for a couple minutes after winning the medal, and again yesterday for a somewhat shorter time, on her reception at home. She sounded like a sixteen-year-old, with plenty of "ya know"s, but I have yet to hear her say 'like'. I overhear 40-year-olds on the el here in Chicago who can barely say three words without a 'like' let alone go three minutes without it.

Appreciating civilized talk wherever I can hear it,Arnold H. Nelson (from the democrat occupied west bankof Lake Michigan, Illinois 9th CD)

PS sent this to you because I did not see a link for Mr. Nordlinger.

[I met Nordlinger face-to-face at a reception for National Review editors and readers at the East Bank Club here in Chcago. He's from Ann Arbor MI, and was quite interested that I was from South Haven. I told him about our high school band marching/playing in U of M stadium in 1952 at band day. There were 94 bands that marched out on the field, and we were the third, so we got to watch 91 other bands march on after us. He seemed impressed.]

Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Tough rats

Monday, March 5, 2002 noon

Editors, The New York Times

The March 5, 2002 New York Times' article 'Waiting for the A Train, the Sophisticated Pigeon' starts out by listing some "...strange subway stories — some pure urban legend, some alarmingly real...," specifically those about animals.

One item: "...rats tough enough to survive the third rail."

Any rats surviving contact with the third rail do it because of agility, not toughness. They may jump there somehow, but they will only survive by anotherlucky jump. If any part of them (such as their tail) touches any suitable ground, such as a traction rail, while also in contact with the third rail, they will be tough only to some creature trying to consume their remains (if any.)

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL

Saturday, March 2, 2002

Bo Schembechler

Tuesday, April 2, 2002 7:38 AM
From: "Arnold Nelson"

Miss Lopez: Any chance we can find out where Mr. Moore found that great Bo Schembechler quote in hisMonday 4/1 column?

("I saw a preposterous quote by Bo Schembechler(former Michigan football coach) who was criticizingthe Fab Five for failing to win the nationalchampionship....")

To Bo's credit is a story I understand he tells on himself: When he was announced as new UM football coach at some gigantic M Club luncheon, he concluded his acceptance statment with "And now we're gonna get rid of those stripped helmets." He said the room went absolutely silent (and they still have those helmets that Fritz Crisler directed maybe 60 years ago. [Still using them in 2008, too, I think])

Arn Nelson from the democrat-occupied west bank of Lake Michigan

Monday, January 7, 2002

Bataan in the Phillipines

Chicago Monday, January 7, 2002

Voice of the Prople Chicago Tribune

The Almanac in the Monday, January 7 Tribune says "In1942, the Japanese siege of the Philipine Island of Bataan began in World War II."

Bataan is a peninsula, not an island.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive
Chicago 60640

Saturday, January 5, 2002


Saturday, January 5, 2002 1:09 AM

From: "Arnold Nelson"
To: "Bill Safire" New York Times columnist
Bcc: "Jim Snyder"

Mr. Safire: in your "On Language" column in the NewYork Times 1/6 Sunday Magazine you refer to Yahoo! as an "...Internet server..." and further as a "...popular server...."

I've been using Yahoo! for almost 3 years, every day,for most of the day, and this is the first time I've seen YaHoo! described as a 'server'. I thot it was a 'portal', a software tool used to access the internet,which runs physically on a system of 'servers', whole computers (very specialized and very powerful computers at that) used by ISPs (Internet Service Providers.) An ISP is technically a 'portal' too, but can have very limited portal capabilities compared to something like Yahoo!

Only very recently has Yahoo! been reported to be considering adding servers to become an (initially limited) ISP.

I would hate to see these two up-to-now completelyserparate and mutually exclusive elements of computing terminology (hardware and software) start to overlap and become blurred, as happens so much in English.

Arn Nelson in Chicago