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|Author Steven Roberts Addresses His Reference to
P in 1988 Book
from Ed D. & Steven R.
Eds Preface: Before your get into the current exchange of emails between author Steve Roberts and myself, I encourage you to reread the email exchange in which I first mentioned Roberts reference to P:
Oprahs "Disgusting" P-like
From: Steven K. Roberts
Date: January 19, 2000
A friend recently did a search for references to my 1988 Computing Across America book and sent me a pointer to a page on your site in which you wrote, in part...
Needless to say, I was quite distressed to read this and the following commentary, especially since the point of the chapter was the amazing brain-to-brain contact that occurs online, when we are prevented from forming culturally habitual judgements and preconceived notions based on appearance. Given that intent, it was particularly disturbing to hear that I might have inadvertently been profoundly insensitive.
I looked up the paragraph of interest, and it reads:
I was somewhat relieved to see that the word "disgusting" isn't in there after all, as that would have been a rather nasty subjective take. The actual wording is objective, though I suppose it does make an aesthetic point by virtue of contrast with the fantasy that follows.
I certainly do apologize for leaving an irritating impression with this ... and I wish you all the best!
Cheers, -Steven K. Roberts, Nomadic Research Labs, http://www.microship.com
Eds Response to Steven Roberts: What a delight to get a message from you, even if the subject was less than pleasant. Your attention to this, after all this time, is appreciated. Unless you object, I intend to reproduce your email in whole in next month's update to FlakeHQ.
Shortly after rereading Computing Across America I found your web site and learned about the new adventure (and the intervening ones, which I had missed). Someday I hope you will write a book about sustaining youth and vigor!
From: Steven K. Roberts
Date: January 20, 2000
No objection at all to your use of my letterand thanks for the opportunity to add my commentary!
I'd also be delighted to add you to the nomadness mailing list, if you likeI post a Microship update to it about once a month and there is no other traffic or list use.
Hey, I'm probably showing my ignorance here, but I had a weird experience with flaking skin about 15 years ago. My father had been having a real problem with his hands for about a year ... very hard, dry, flaking skin ... even cracking and bleeding around the joints. During a visit I saw what he was going through and recalled a time not so long before when mine had started to dry out and crackand after analyzing what had changed in my environment I had isolated the cause to Ivory soap. Sure enough, he had Ivory in his bathroom and a stack of bars in the closet. I suggested he switch and within weeks it cleared up completely. Dunno what's in that stuff, but it's 99 44/100% nasty!
Anyway, thanks for the good wishes ... and I'll get to work on that book! I need the inspiration myself. Seven years working on this boat project is way too long and it's often hard to stay focused, even though the end is in sight.
Eds Afterword: What a terrific thing for an author to do. For readers who may be interested in nosing around Stevens current business, go to http://www.microship.com. Stevens 1988 book, Computing Across America, brought us along with the author on a round-trip, coast-to-coast ride on a recumbent bicycle. He funded his tripat least in partby pioneering and promoting (initially for CompuServe) "on the road telecomputing" with hardware that was, by todays standards, pretty primitive (I know because he inspired me to run out and buy the same things). The delight in the book was this: While it may have started out to be a journal about traveling and staying gainfully employed and communicative via telecomputing, it ended up being what all good travel books arecharacter studies. I bought copies of CAA for friends. In my mind there are three traveling-in-America books published in the second half of the past century that are still worth reading: Steinbecks Travels With Charlie, William Least Heat Moons Blue Highways, and Steven K. Roberts Computing Across America.
To Steven: It sounds as though you have an inherited allergic reaction to Ivory Soap! I hadnt heard of that one, but Im not surprised. One thing we can say pretty confidently: Your dry, cracking skin problem on your hands was most likely not P. Unfortunately, P is never resolved by changing soap products. At least, not for long.
Thanks so much for visiting, for showing us your good will and respecting our sensitivities to how P is referenced in the media. We wish you good fortune in all future endeavors, Steven! -Ed