New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 1, 1991, New Braunfels, Texas
DAVID SULLENS, Editor and PubUshe/ JANINE GREEN, Managing Editor
Pap 4AHeraJd Zfflung, New Braunfels, Texas
Sunday, September 1, 1991
Published Sunday morning, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons by New Braunfels llerald-Zeitung, 797 LandaSt., or P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328. Second Class postage paid by New Braunfels Herald Zeiiung at New Braunfels, Texas.
DAVID SULLENS Editor and Publisher
JANINE GREEN Managing Editor
CHERYL DUVALL Business Manager
KAREN REININGER Classified Manager
CAROL ANN AVERY Circulation Manager
GUS ELBEL Pressroom Foreman
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What’s right response to a frightening tale?
New Braunfels Police Chief Dick Headen, speaking last week to the New Braunfels Rotary Club, told a frightening story.
The story was made even more frightening by Headers matter-of-fact presentation of it. It was obvious that the veteran police officer was not surprised by the element of the story that members of that civic group found so disquieting.
Headen told of the recent apprehension of a group of youths late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.
The youths were in an area where auto thefts have been high.
When apprehended, they had socks stuck into their belts and they were carrying screwdrivers.
Socks are used, the chief said, by wrongdoers to make it impossible for police to later identify them via fingerprint technology.
Police called the parents of the youths.
What would you do if a police officer called you shortly after midnight and told you that your kid — who you thought was in bed asleep — had been caught running around with a group of other young toughs fully equipped to steal a car?
We hope you would be upset with the kid. We hope you would take pretty serious remedial action. We hope you would do what your parents would have done to you in similar circumstances.
But that apparently is not how things work today.
The parents of that group of fledgling criminals weren't upset with their kids.
They were upset with the police.
"You don't have any proof my kid was doing anything," they told officers.
And then we sit around and wonder why our prisons are full.
Let’s dry up water waste
The owner of a large catfish farm in southern Bexar County remains defiant as pressure against his continued wasteful use of Edwards Aquifer waler mounts.
Lawmakers found themselves hobbled as they attempted to restrict use of the water by the man, whose attitude has been one of contempt for the consequences of what he is doing.
But Texas Gov. Ann Richards Thursday signed into law what she calls the "Drain Texas Dry Bill" and with that signing, hopefully closed the loophole that had permitted the fish farm to hurt us all.
Springflows in New Braunfels are currently at 190-200 cubic
* (bet per second compared with the average of 220 for August and
* 215 for September.
This reduced flow is despite heavier than normal rainfall.
Experts have attributed the deficit to the fact that the catfish farm draws between 40 and 50 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer through two artesian wells, one of which is said to be the largest in the world.
The catfish farm uses nearly one quarter of all the waler used by homeowners and businesses in Bexar County and then dumps that water into the Medina River.
Officials already have asked the owner of the fish farm to meet with them to discuss voluntary restrictions of water use. lf that doesn't work, an injunction will be sought to force those restrictions.
Whatever it takes, we urge authorities to do everything that can be done as quickly as possible to end this waste.
Technology trods too heavily
I am a great fan of technology.
I love gadgetry.
Things electronic fascinate me.
I browse computer software stores just as avidly as I browse bookstores.
But I've found an instance in which technology has trod too heavily.
A company called Que Software markets a package of grammar checking software called RightWriter.
It is priced, according to a press release, under $100 and it will proofread documents "for punctuation errors, wrong words, redundancy and grammatical problems."
Sounds great, doesn't it?
Anyone who writes knows it is often very difficult to catch your own errors. Spotting those made by someone else generally is far easier.
Now here’s a computer program that will back you up.
But, included with the routine press release about this new software offering was a much more creative one.
The makers of the new software committed Charles Dickens’ MA Christmas Carol" to the good graces of RightWriter and then issued that second press release on the basis of its findings.
What the computer program found is that Dickens, a towering figure of
classic British literature wrote at what today would be about a fifth grade level, his writing filled with lengthy sentences and incorrect punctuation.
“The computer evaluation," wrote a RightWriter representative, "of 54 selected paragraphs of Dickens' most popular work, performed using ... RightWriter, offered 118 suggestions that would have tightened Charles Dickens' writing and avoided the phrases and slang that the computer says indicate his writing is targeted toward readers at a fifth grade level."
RightWriter discounts the expletive “HumbugI” as a colloquialism.
It chastises Dickens for writing in the passive voice.
It takes him to task for using too many exclamation marks.
And it objects to his “misuse" of
words that include “agitated," “notwithstanding" and “opportunity."
The release reported that RightWriter did not find fault with every portion of Dickens holiday legend. The famous passage in which Ebenezer Scrooge attributes Marley's ghost to indigestion — “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more gravy than grave about you, whatever you aret"—was left untouched.
Thank goodness for small favors, I guess.
Somehow the thought of submitting great literature to the indignities of computer analysis is more than a bit unsettling.
Don’t you agree?
RightWriter would be a great boon,
it seems to me, in the composition of letters and memos. Certainly it would not be out of place in the newsroom computers of the world.
But there is something wrong about inviting a machine to criticize men and women whose works are legendary and, indeed, whose prose and poetry represents that which raises man above the other creatures of this good earth.
The RightWriter folks, though, say Dickens would have welcomed the computer’s advice, quoting Dickens authority Robert Glenn, a Marquette University professor, who said Dickens knew his audience, wrote popular literature to suit them and expected to establish the grammar of his time.
Yeah, well maybe....
But there's still something wrong and unsettling here.
(As an aside, a sentence in the press release, which I presume was submitted to RightWriter, reads, “Glenn thinks that Dickens would have welcomed the advise of a computer editor when he was writing ’A Christmas Carol' in 1843." I found the presence of that sentence with its error strangely satisfying.)
David Sulleni ii editor and publisher of the New Bnmrfels Htrald-ZeUung.
You can find gold in Golden Years
Plagiarism has been a hot topic in the newspapers lately, which has made me even more mindful of crediting original sources. I recently found some good material on how to stay young, but acknowledging all the contributors has aged me a month. This material comes from Jean Dietz. I read in the Aug. I, 1991, Austin American Statesman but it was originally published in the Boston Globe. Dietz got her material from Edith Tucker's contribution in the United Retirement Bulletin after she had updated BJ7. Skinner's contribution found in his book Enjoy Old Age: A Program of Self Management. You can see how that long windup can age a person before he makes the pitch. Nonetheless, the material is worth the perambulation, so here's my revision of the Dietz-Tucker-Skinner contribution on how to enjoy old age:
• Take care of your appearance. Always try to look your best but don’t
By John Ingram Walker. M.D.
try to look a great deal younger than you are. There’s regalness (and beauty) in being who you are all of the time.
• Cultivate a sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself and your frailties.
• Allow time to enjoy music, literature and art.
• With each new day learn something new. Remember Lcmer and Loew's Camelot, when King Arthur asked Merlin the best way to deal with emotional pain and Merlin replied, “Learn something.'' When you learn
you grown and you don’t have time for your worries.
• Become involved in a social, political or community cause. Volunteer at the local hospital or for a civic function. When you’re busy you don't have time to grow old.
• Socialize daily. Sharing interests with others will help exercise your mind and refine your own thinking.
• Stay organized. Have order in your life. Be meticulous about having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place. Plan your day
and have a daily routine that provides structure to your life.
• At the same time be flexible. Read a variety of magazines and watch dissimilar television programs. Leave enough time each day for surprises and unexpected events. The key here is to have order without being rigid. Variety adds spice to life.
• Be as independent as possible. Do as much as you can without help from others.
• Find work that you enjoy and keep working as long as possible. Work cures misery.
• Compensate for sensory loss, lf your hearing is impaired, get a hearing aid. lf your vision is decompensating, renew your eye glasses. Aid your memory by making lists and notes.
• Always write your own material. It's much easier and you stay young longer.
DV. Waker is medical director of HCA Hill Couatry Hospital and maintaias a private pry ekistic practice in New Braunfels.America must halt Japan* s economic ‘attack’ByQGORQC It BECKER
Japan has become a very deadly cancer to the American economy! They lave taken the technology we have given them md used it to the detrimem of our society. They have taken America's free trade policy to its limit and have used a double-edged economic sword to dismember pm of the American economy. Fortunately it has forced our msnufacturers into building better products. Unfortunately the algine of poor quality has stayed with American-made products •van when American-made products have reached and exceeded Japanese
Just as a deadly cancer attacks our bodies, Japan has attacked areas of American manufacturing which at one time were healthy cells of production in the Amerian economy. These areas of our economy then can no longer support Americans. They lose their jobs and they become a detriment to the rest of our society. We end up having to support them with things such as health care and welfare programs. Our country's health is deteriorating fast because of our tremendous trade deficit and high unemployment. Japan does not allow but a small proportion of imports to penetrate their
market. They have a much healthier, thriving economy.
lf people believe American manufacturing should learn to operate like Japanese manufacturers, then the U.S. government also needs to operate like Japan’s government, which will do everything and anything possible to keep their manufacturers competitive overseas and at home. Japan has openly admitted that they will not allow our manufacturers the same privileges in their country that we have allowed their manufacturers to exercise in ours. We are definitely not playing on the same field.
People who claim that Lee lacocca
is Japan-bashing evidently have not had their source of income bashed by the Japanese. Lee lacocca has already save thousands of American jobs at no expense to you or our government! Many hard-working Americans are only innocent bystanders because of lack of concern from their fellow countrymen and government. It is the lack of knowledge, understanding and common sense that Japan has remained a threat.
There are hundreds of other barriers which we have erected over the years making it more difficult for American manufacturers to remain
healthy. We have burdened them with governmental bureaucracy and judicial stupidity. Excess punitive damages have cause long-term product liability, health care and workers* compensation insurance to skyrocket. These costs can only be passed on to innocent American consumers. Also the lack of a long-term national trade policy prevents our manufacturers from plotting a reliable long-term production strategy.
Eventually die Japanese are going to end up paying for their greediness, because one day we will no longer be able to support their economy. Our nation will be in financial ruin!
Already we are at the mercy of Japan with our indebtedness. They could throw our economy into a tailspin. We have the largest debt of any nation in the world because we buy more than we produce. Anyone in their right mind knows this cannot last. Our young people are going to end up paying for our lack of maturity. Please, Americans, wake up before the only American greatness left is its history. Take pride in America. Show us your support by buying American-made products.
Ocargc R. "Babby” Becker ie • relet represent* live for Becker Motor Co., Inc., in New Braunfels.