Blog from July 1999

There are 8 blog entries from July 1999

The Belicean Border Incident
Story circa July 30th, 1999 | View Post
When Dayna came to visit me in Akumal, Mexico, we thought it would be fun to take a weekend trip to Belize. Akumal sits about 180 miles north of the Belician border and is a pretty comfortable ride on any of their major bus services. In fact the problem isn't so much getting to the southern border of Mexico, it's getting onto another bus service that will take you across.

Keep in mind that when I was living in Mexico in 1999, it wasn't necessary to travel with a passport. In fact, I had traveled to Mexico many times with just my driver's license and birth certificate, and this summer's trip was no exception.

Anyway, we arrived at the border and crossed the bridge into the border checkpoint. The first step of this process is to give up your Mexican visa. We did this. In a legal sense you're now no longer visiting Mexico, but you also haven't technically been granted access to visit Belize yet either. We crossed into the country and walked through a very low-tech border agency. They asked to see our passports and of course we presented them with our driver's license and birth certificates. To make this part of the story short, they effectively just laughed at us and said they weren't going to let us in. I spent some time discussing and eventually arguing with them, but they said we would have to go back. It didn't look like we'd make it past the armed guards either.

This was obviously very disappointing for us, but we headed back towards Mexico to get back into the country. Unfortunately, and as you may recall reading from above, we no longer had Mexican tourist visas. Normally this isn't a problem when coming from Belize because you just show your Belicean visa. Except we were never issued one due to the whole passport / birth certificate misunderstanding.

So here we were, essentially standing on the little Rand-McNally line that graces the map's borders of Mexico and Belize and I'm now having to discuss with armed Mexican soldiers why I don't have a visa either from Belize or from Mexico. Fortunately my Spanish had improved pretty drastically that summer and so after just as few minutes, I was able to speak with the person who had taken our visas not twenty minutes earlier. He reluctantly shuffled through them and found ours in the mix. I honestly can't recall if they issued us new visas or if they just un-cancelled our previous one, but we were allowed back into Mexico shortly thereafter.

Of course this is all a moot point these days since you can't get to Mexico any longer without a passport, but this is what happened when I tried to go without one.
Logic Puzzle: 12 Balls, 3 Weighings
July 25th, 1999 | View Post

The traditional type of scale allowed for the weighings
While living in Manhattan I met a wonderfully brilliant scientist named Colleen Noviello. Besides being my own personal tour guide to the city and even up into New York, she was always interested in challenging me with puzzles and games of strategy (chess for example).

One afternoon she presented me with what she claimed to be one of the most difficult logic puzzles she had ever attempted. Evidently her father had given her this at one point. I honestly can't remember if she ever managed to solve it or not, but I spent the next couple of days playing with it and much to my joy, eventually solving it.

The puzzle and my solution are below.

There are 12 balls.  One of them is either heavier or lighter then the other 11.  Assume that you have access to a traditional balance scale (one side is weighed against the other). Using only three weighing, determine which ball is off weight AND if it is heavier or lighter than the rest of the balls.

Solution for a 4x4x4 grouping:

Start by numbering the balls 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12. Because they can be re-arranged in any order without losing our principle, we can defer to the standard mathematical concept of WLOG (without loss of generality).

Step One

First Possibility: 1 2 3 4 > 5 6 7 8
1,2,3,4 are greater or 5,6,7,8 are lighter (9,10,11,12 are equal)

Second Possibility: 1 2 3 4 < 5 6 7 8
1,2,3,4 are lighter or 5,6,7,8 are heavier (9,10,11,12 are equal)

Third Possibility: 1 2 3 4 = 5 6 7 8
9,10,11,12 are either heavier or lighter (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 are equal)

Step Two of First Possibility

First Possibility: 1 2 5 11 > 3 4 6 12
1,2 are heavier or 6 is lighter

Second Possibility: 1 2 5 11 < 3 4 6 12
5 is lighter or 3,4 are greater

Third Possibility: 1 2 5 11 = 3 4 6 12
7,8 are lighter

Step Two of Second Possibility

First Possibility: 5 6 1 11 > 7 8 2 12
5,6 are greater or 2 is lighter

Second Possibility: 5 6 1 11 < 7 8 2 12
1 is lighter or 7,8 are greater

Third Possibility: 5 6 1 11 = 7 8 2 12
3,4 are lighter

Step Two of Third Possibility

First Possibility: 9 10 1 > 11 2 3
9,10 are greater or 11 is lighter

Second Possibility: 9 10 1 < 11 2 3
9,10 are lighter or 11 is greater

Third Possibility: 9 10 1 = 11 2 3
12 is either lighter or heavier

Step Three of First Possibility of First Possibility

First Possibility: 1 6 > 11 12
1 is the heavier ball

Second Possibility: 1 6 < 11 12
6 is the lighter ball

Third Possibility: 1 6 = 11 12
2 is the heavier ball

Step Three of Second Possibility of First Possibility

First Possibility: 3 5 > 11 12
3 is the heavier ball

Second Possibility: 3 5 < 11 12
5 is the lighter ball

Third Possibility: 3 5 = 11 12
4 is the heavier ball

Step Three of Third Possibility of First Possibility

First Possibility: 7 < 12
7 is the lighter ball

Second Possibility: 7 = 12
8 is the lighter ball

Step Three of First Possibility of Second Possibility

First Possibility: 5 2 > 11 12
5 is the heavier ball

Second Possibility: 5 2 < 11 12
2 is the lighter ball

Third Possibility: 5 2 = 11 12
6 is the heavier ball

Step Three of Second Possibility of Second Possibility

First Possibility: 1 7 > 11 12
7 is the heavier ball

Second Possibility: 1 7 < 11 12
1 is the lighter ball

Third Possibility: 1 7 = 11 12
8 is the heavier ball

Step Three of Third Possibility of Second Possibility

First Possibility: 3 < 12
3 is the lighter ball

Second Possibility: 3 = 12
4 is the lighter ball

Step Three of First Possibility of Third Possibility

First Possibility: 9 11 > 1 2
9 is the heavier ball

Second Possibility: 9 11 < 1 2
11 is the lighter ball

Third Possibility: 9 11 = 1 2
10 is the heavier ball

Step Three of Second Possibility of Third Possibility

First Possibility: 9 11 > 1 2
11 is the heavier ball

Second Possibility: 9 11 < 1 2
9 is the lighter ball

Third Possibility: 9 11 = 1 2
10 is the lighter ball

Step Three of Third Possibility of Third Possibility

First Possibility: 12 > 1
12 is the heavier ball

Second Possibility: 12 < 1
12 is the lighter ball

Solution started on Thursday July 22, 1999 @ approximately 12:00 AM EST

Solution completed on Sunday July 25, 1999 @ 7:44PM EST

Time of solution was approximately 3 days 19 hours and 44 minutes

NYU Simpsons Script Treatment
July 13th, 1999 | View Post
Comedy Writing Workshop
D.B. Gilles
"The Simpsons" Outline

Ned Flanders denounces the church after all of these years. The church becomes a laid back Sunday gathering without him. Homer takes an interest in scripture and tries to put the church back together.

The Simpson family is in the car on their way to church. Homer is complaining about going because nothing exciting ever happens. Bart recalls that the only thing interesting he ever learned was that of Hell (from a previous episode). Marge scolds him for his comments again.

Reverend Love Joy is preaching at the church again as Ned Flanders sits listening with an unusual uneasy look on his face. Everyone else in the church is dozing off to sleep. Homer is sound asleep. Ned stands up in the middle of the sermon and walks up to the podium. Reverend Love Joy begins to say something but Ned pushes him out of the way to take the microphone. Bart hits Homer to wake him up. Ned mocks the people for foolishly coming to church week in and week out. His wife is ecstatic with his decision. Todd and Rod begin to cry. Maude’s damns them to Hell for crying. The Flander family walks out of the church. Everyone is silent. Reverend Love Joy walks slowly back to the podium and after a second of silence blesses the Lord.

The Simpsons return home and Marge is very upset with the Flanders decision. She is convinced they are going right to hell for this. Homer tries to calm her down by telling her that they probably are as well, so they’ll always be friends. The children go and watch TV. Ned comes over and rings the bell. He has two giant boxes with him that are completely filled up with books. Homer is surprisingly nice to Ned for once. Ned tells him that he is giving him his collection of Bibles that he has collected over the years. Homer doesn’t argue and takes them from him. Ned doesn’t say anything but walks away slowly.

It is a few days later at this point. Homer is sitting at Moes with the guys talking about what happened to Flanders. He tells them how he has been reading the books that Flanders gave him and they are very interesting. Barney is telling everyone about his opinions on religion and comparing everything to beer. Homer doesn’t appear to be his regular self. The door flings open and we see a silhouette of a figure in the darkness. A cold wind sweeps through the bar. Flanders walks in. Everyone’s mouth in the bar drops. Ned takes a seat and orders a beer. Moe grabs a chilled glass and fills it to the brim. Everyone watches Ned in silence as he drinks it down to the bottom. After getting drunk and injuring himself in the bar, Ned is taken home by Homer. Homer is preaching to Ned on the walk home.

(Last scene)
Ned finally realizes that he belongs in the church after all and feels terrible for the way that he has acted. Maude looks depressed about this but Todd and Rod are jumping with joy. Ned reminds himself of all of the beer that he drank and wishes he had never gone against God in the way that he did. Moe comes clean and tells him that he didn’t drink anything alcoholic at all but that all of his beer came from the unused tap of non-alcoholic beer. Ned thanks Homer for all of his help and Homer goes right back to making fun of Flanders for being such a church boy. He gives Ned back his Bibles and goes back to being his normal self.

NYU Monologues #2
July 13th, 1999 | View Post
Will Smith has once again teamed up with director Barry Sonnenfeld to create a biographical movie of the world’s greatest boxer, Muhammad Ali. Smith will be getting paid 20 million dollars making him the highest paid black actor of all time for a single movie. And why shouldn’t he be paid that much considering his good looks, incredible taste in music, and a 130-pound figure which certainly resembles that of a heavyweight boxer.

In a recent lawsuit, the United States is suing The Toyota company for an amazing $58.5 billion dollars. It seems that the United States no longer wants to be laughed at for producing poor quality products while a competitive country sweeps the market year after year. And of course in good ole American fashion, why work harder and try to beat your competitor when you can just sue their ass.

In a related story, Russia is warning officials that the Space Station mir could crash into the Earth if repairs are not made on it soon. Unfortunately, the Russians have no one to sue because the space station was built from their own parts – which coincidentally are amongst the worst parts in the world just behind those of Taiwan and China.

The United States plans to also sue Russia, simply for their incompetence.

The tobacco industry is trying to get back at the anti-smoking campaign which has setup hundreds of billboards around the U.S. urging kids not to smoke. They will be putting up billboards that tell kids: “If you don’t start smoking now, you will be laughed at, become extremely obese, and certainly never become the popular young lad that you’d like to be”.

To waste more of out money, the United States will also be suing the tobacco industry once again for their “Negative, but very truthful” billboard signs.

And finally, after six years of work, an extremely rare plant named the “corpse flower” has recently bloomed at the University of Washington greenhouse. It’s scientific name, Amorphophallus titanum, which means, “huge shapeless penis” has shocked the nation, simply because it looks like a huge shapeless penis. If all goes as planned, the Chia Pet Company will be selling a new model with seedlings to the rare plant. The Chia Company plans to market their new model to all women who’s husbands can not afford Viagra or just have too small of a dick to please them.

NYU Monologues #1
July 8th, 1999 | View Post
Comedy Writing Workshop
D.B. Gilles

(1) After being sentenced to life in prison as a conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing, Terry Nichols has apparently asked for a new trial. He told a judge that the explosion he was part of couldn’t have been nearly as bad as the ones he feels every night while being slapped in the ass and called “Little Bitch”.

(2) Reporters are now saying that Hillary Clinton is only running for the New York senate to get back at her husband. Rumors started flying after she was caught under a podium during one of Mayor Giuliani’s speeches bobbing her head like a circus seal

(3) President Clinton recently took the American Bald Eagle off of the endangered species list. To commemorate the event, the president had himself tarred and feathered and proceeded to run around the White House only periodically stopping to wave his bald ass in the air.

(4) The creators of South Park might see a lawsuit coming their way soon in regards to Kenny’s character. Psychological studies say that children are now finding it humorous when their friends that can’t speak a damn word of English are brutally torn to pieces and left for dead.

(5) Yesterday Mayor Giuliani issued a brief statement to New York in regards to the power outages. He said, “I will have anyone complaining about the shortage arrested, anyone trying to do something about the shortage shot, and I will personally sodomize anyone else trying to stop me from doing this.”

(6) The government is asking that a mercury compound used as a preservative in certain infant vaccines to be removed from the formula. They furthermore stated that the infants are already receiving plenty of the chemical when mercury thermometers are inserted into their tiny asses.

(7) Richard Gere has just announced that he will be having a baby with his new girlfriend Carey Lowell. He settled for impregnating Carey after several failed attempts to run into Julia Roberts on a street corner and pay her for sex.

Top 10 Comments Kenneth Starr Didn't Release to the Public
July 7th, 1999 | View Post
You should've seen my last intern I had on all fours, he was fatter then your skanky ass.

No Bill, it's not big, in fact it's probably the smallest thing I've ever gotten on my knees for.

How many times do I have to tell you Bill, no one's gonna find out.

No Monica, you don't taste like tobacco now.

It's a lot of working running the country, everyone president should have an intern with soft thick lips, an incredibly wet mouth, and a taste for semen.

Do you think we can still smoke it?

I really don't like referring to it as Little Billy the Kid.

Monica, I'd love to break your damn legs clear off your body just so I could stand next to you all day long in your wheelchair.

Would it turn you on if I dressed up like Papa Smurf?

Bill for the last time, I will not let you ride me like a wild Arkansas pig.