[TAG] "I'll do it myself, thanks" open-source app: Gobby (cf. SubEthaEdit)
rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Nov 4 00:40:42 MSK 2005
Quoting Jay R. Ashworth (jra at baylink.com):
> My roomie back in 91 and 92 ran Maximus on OS/2, and a few other BBSs,
> and I remember the days of running <mumble> that reloaded all your TSRs
> in shuffled order until they all a) fit and b) worked. I just don't
> remember what it was called.
> I *do* remember how long it took to run, though.
In retrospect, one thinks of an old joke -- something about, when you
hear a monkey sing, you don't complain about it being off-key. Running
complex systems on MS-DOS was such a losing game, that one's sense of
achievement has to be leavened by regret that we wasted so much time and
ingenuity on a ridiculously under-engineered fundamental system, and
wistfulness that we didn't give it the heave-ho earlier.
> > > (My mother, during my teenage years, declined to be pushed around by
> > > various Boeing Company agents,
> Saga! Saga!?!
It's depressing and grim enough that the skalds _could_ have written it.
In the name of avoiding the maudlin and self-indulgent, let me try to be
brief on those aspects, and expand on the interesting bits:
Sometime around 1968, Boeing sold and put into service a number of B-707
gets that all had the same manufacturing defect, something concerned
with a safety system concerning the flaps, that made catastrophic
failure likely during operation in extreme temperatures. (It would have
caused certain types of trouble to get details, so I don't have many.)
Boeing was aware of the defects when they handed off the planes; they
sent illegally insufficient notifications of them that didn't raise
anything like the level of urgency required to get the problem fixed.
Christmas 1968, the first and (thankfully) only of those in-service
catastrophic failures occurred, on Pan American Airways cargo flight 7,
diverted by extreme cold weather from Anchorage, Alaska to nearby
Elmendorf Airforce base. The three members of the flight crew and the
flight attendents were killed in the explosion and crash that occurred
Friday, December 27, 1968, some private detectives apparently hired by
Boeing Company arrived at the doorstep of one of the widows, Faye Weeks
Moen, widow of Captain Arthur Moen, who with their two children Frederick
Arthur (10) and Michele Faye (9) had recently moved back from Hong Kong
to San Mateo, California. The purpose of the detectives' visit was one
of the interesting parts: It seems that certain Fortune 500 companies
maintain (or hire, as needed) dirty-tricks squads to threaten widows and
small children when they, the companies, screw up and kill people.
(I'll bet this is not news to the people of, say, Bhopal.)
The detectives' objective was to threaten Mrs. Moen into not filing a
liability lawsuit. It may have been that they saw her as the potential
leader of the survivors, or they may have sent similar brute squads to
the others, as well. In any event, they professed to represent Boeing,
and intimated that things would go very badly for her and her small
children if she were to file litigation of any sort: They suspected
that her late husband might have had numerous skeletons in his closet,
that would be likely to emerge if she pressed matters, and who knows
what other vulnerabilities her small family might have? There were
several of them, and they took care to be physically intimidating as
well as rather vaguely suggesting that the large amount of money behind
them would crush her, if she were to act in a way the company found
This left Mrs. Moen (further) shocked, and temporarily unable to respond
-- but after some days' contemplation more-or-less backfired. Though
some of the other widows were, indeed, opposed to pursuing a lawsuit,
she was not, and gradually over a period of six years of pre-trial
delays introduced by the defendents, built a strong civil case based in
large part on internal Boeing documents and filings with the Federal
Aviation Administration and Civil Aviation Board, and on the findings of
the FAA crash-investigation crew that had visited Elmendorf A.B.
Through either malice or amazing coincidence, Mrs. Moen did have to put
up with considerable harrassment for the entire six years that followed
-- which, curiously, stopped thereafter: Each year, her income tax
return was chosen for special Internal Revenue Service compliance
audits, which according to one revenue officer's account was triggered
by "tips" they had received from an unnamed source. Mrs. Moen also
found herself urged by sundry parties to invest her family funds into
various really bad, obviously fraudulent investment schemes.
The lawsuit came up to its initial trial date, after many carefully
contrived delays from the defendent side, in 1974. As background,
recall that this was in the middle of the Watergate hearings, and the
"missing White House tapes" and Rosemary Woods's 18-minute gap were very
much in the news. One of the very first items subpoenaed by the
plaintiffs was the aircraft's two tape recordings (the cabin recording
and the instrument one): Boeing's attorney, with evident discomfort,
said, "Your Honor, we are unable to locate those tapes." The judge
replied, "You're kidding."
Boeing settled with the plaintiffs shortly thereafter.
Young Frederick Arthur Moen (who went by "Ricky" in those days) at least
got an interesting bird's-eye view of both the underside of corporate
power and on the USA's Federal civil litigation system -- and a good
start on his latinate, sesquipedalian vocabulary. And he got to be an
Ivy Leaguer at Boeing Company's expense -- but was already arrogant and
pedantic, long before that.
The other, similarly defective airplanes got fixed before anyone else
got killed -- no thanks to Boeing Company, and thanks almost entirely to
Mrs. Moen's pushing on the investigation and publicity front.
Pan American World Airways, Inc. were almost equally culpable, since
they were provably aware of the defects but did not bother to expedite
their repair. However, they could not be sued for negligence because of
the shield provisions of the Federal Workman's Compensation Act.
However, that firm went bankrupt and dissolved in 1991, primarily
because of gross mismanagement and their much-publicised negligence
about flight security at Heathrow Airport, London, that had made
possible the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 (claimed to have been carried
out by a Libyan agent).
Mrs. Moen was left permanently damaged by strain from the six-year
fight, and lives to this day with life-threatening hypertension and a
tendency towards clinical depression that are both kept somewhat in
check by medication. She lives alone in Moraga, California near near
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