"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 7 February 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.

The subtle relationship of culture and technology has raised chicken/egg speculation throughout the ages. Was it the printing press that gave rise to the Renaissance, or vice versa? Could psychoanalysis, with its habits of close observation and attention to small details, have flourished in a society that was not rapidly acclimating to moving pictures and sound recording? Is it an accident that day trading and self-mutilation became popular at the same moment in history?

Few culture-tech coincidences are more puzzling than the fact that access to email has become widespread right around the time that the annual family-update letter has become universal. You know the letter, usually delivered in tandem with a guilt-inducing Christmas card or sent unannounced in the chilly days following New Year's Day. They come in the mail, they arrive at your desktop, and while they're marginally more interesting than a "funny" Top 10 List or the Brooklyn Marine Terminals anti-mud-dumping petition, we never really know what to do with them. So we're sharing them with you:

Letter 1: The Quigleys

Well, happy 2000 everybody!

This is Bill, and I want you all to know that 1999 was a big year for the Quigley family. Maggie and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by retracing our honeymoon through the Florida Keys. A lot has changed since 1974! Daddy's little girl finally finished her associate's degree in dental assistance from Lakeshore Community College. In addition to all her school work, Kelly also worked four nights a week as a dancer at the Legacy Lounge. She refused to let Maggie and I come see her perform, but we're just glad to know that all those years of tap and ballet lessons are paying off! Bill Jr. just finished his first semester at Penn State. Things were a little rough, but they say as long as he doesn't go anywhere near the residence halls again he's welcome to come back for spring semester. We're just glad that he's pursuing his education and is no longer in the custody of the state of Massachusetts. Anyway, I guess that's about all from this end. Hope you all have a great new MILLENNIUM!


The Quigleys

Letter 2: Ernie and Anne Duffleman

Greetings Friends!

Anne and I hope that all of you had a great holiday season. Anne and I had a ball at the annual Ron Jensen Toyota Christmas party. The highlight of the evening was when Mr. Jensen himself asked me who was that pretty lady I was with. I told him it was Mrs. Ernie Duffleman, and he'd just better watch out. We all laughed, and I introduced him to Anne. She and Mr. Jensen hit it off so well that Mr. Jensen hired her to work afternoons as his "Girl Friday." Those two are inseparable pals! Things at work are going pretty well. I'm working about 75 hours a week as a member of the Customer Quick Response Team, but my boss Mr. Finklesteen says that if I keep up the good work I might move up to the Sales Floor some day! It's hard work, but with someone like Anne to support me, I get by just fine. She's been a real trouper with all the changes in the past year and doesn't seem to mind that we had to move so far away from her family. She doesn't talk about it much, but I know as long as she has her soaps and her schnapps, she's as happy as a clam! Well, that's about all from this end. Hope you all have a great new MILLENNIUM!


The Dufflemans

Letter 3: Dottie O'Brien


I hope all of you experienced nothing but the best during 1999. It was a hard year for me, as I lost Wendell in April. Things aren't the same, but I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. I still play bridge with the girls every Tuesday night and make it up to Gurnsey to visit my grandchildren every other Saturday. Between all that and my active schedule with DAR, it seems I hardly have a moment to myself! Anyway, best wishes for the new MILLENNIUM!


Dottie O'Brien


Alice the Camel

Terry Colon