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CIARI 114:1’1111 IA Walk on the Beach, A Breath of Fresh Air, A Discovery of A Shell, And Yourself .. . 749-5555 P.O. Box 8 Port Aransas, TX 78373 miNmia l 23 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NVINI1W440Pfli -VeVmewnit ot0 49tIMN rt”mor4W ro 1e/A 016.1.”wttwer*a0vAne v+vvor ,s tsq ;?w Whole Earth Provision Company Nature Discovery Gifts amaze, inform, delight Choose from our business or family gifts of lasting value, for all ages, price ranges and any occasion. Call or stop by and let us make suggestions. 2410 San Antonio St. 4006 South Lamar Blvd. 8868 Research Blvd. -etigemaGfreLAI;r:xxioitt.jig gAbixoiatq:4..40,41.1 :5441:ct.iliZetatAzzt41:4thW:azikaag.v expert, who now leaves us to spend a year on forwarding in Europe, could sort out our problem. Our entire production schedule was revised; we would begin anew on Monday. And staff-written articles, for which there was no hard copy, would have to be rewritten, or so it seemed. But there is a hero in this particular 1,300 words, a fellow not unlike the philosopherprince and engineer author of our epigraph, a man of art and science: an Austin lefty-lawyer turned computer genius. By telephone, he enumerated to our managing publisher, a series of commands by which the lost files were resurrected and by which the word processing program would assign to them random but rigidly logical code names. Some material was lost, but much was saved. Yet how like Ortega y Gasset’s hombres vulgares we writers are as we sit before electronic keyboards processing information around. In his Rebellion of the Masses, Ortega worried for several chapters about those who would accept as nature’s patrimony all the accumulated gifts of civilization and technology and never should the two be confused. Most of us do not presume to understand the process by which we work, by which we enter, retrieve and transmit written material. But the truth is that I don’t care to know. There is something admirable in the fierce logic of these machines but if I never come to terms with a ram, byte, or megabyte, I am convinced that I will not be the lesser for it. There is in all of this a certain Philistinism. These machines are cold and practical; there is no grace, no art, in the internal language by which they communicate. So for the moment, I have returned to an old cast-iron Royal. From the other room, my wife remarks that its working makes a good sound. And I understand the processes by which it works: levers, gears, fulcrums, tensions . .. the sort of straightforward mechanical principles that once were the stuff of high school physics. Besides, it somehow seemed too disingenuous to compose a polemic against word processing at the keyboard of the office computer. So here you get the complete package; the message is the medium and the medium is the message. I will never believe again. But somehow I suspect that I will be seduced again. And then, I will sit before a gray screen and with a slight gesture of the finger order the cursor across the page. I will add, delete, and spellcheck. And I will use the search/replace function to insert braver adverbs and more subtle adjectives. But for the moment, I am content to close out 1987 at the Observer as Ronnie Dugger must have begun here some 33 years ago. Pounding on the keys of an upright Royal manual typewriter. Adelante. SOCIAL CAUSE CALENDAR NUCLEAR TEST BAN A wide range of groups are participating in a symposium on the nuclear test ban issue to be held on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, January 14-17. Prominent arms control experts and peace activists will participate in workshops and debates, as well as a rare governmentsponsored tour of the nuclear weapons testing site in Nevada. Among the groups participating are: the Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Council on Economic Priorities, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. Leaders of the groups hope the symposium will help launch a debate on a test ban and other national security issues that will carry over into the 1988 elections. For more information, write PSR at 1601 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20009. OBSERVANCES December 18, 1865 Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery. December 19, 1940 Civilian Public Service camps for conscientious objectors established. December 20, 1951 Atomic energy to generate electricity first used in the United States. December 23, 1947 President Truman pardons 1,523 of 15,805 World War II draft resisters. December 24, 1865 Ku Klux Klan formed in Pulaski, Tennessee. December 25, 1875 Jessie Wallace Hughan, founder of War Resisters League, born. December 29, 1890 Two-hundred Sioux massacred by troops at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. TOYS FOR FARMWORKERS The United Farmworkers will sponsor a “Toys for Farmworkers” fundraiser at the El Taller Gallery, 723 East 6th Street, Austin, on December 19 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Artist Amado Pena will be selling signed posters for $25 plus tax and all proceeds will go to toys, clothes, and food for South Texas farmworkers. For more information, please call Rebecca Flores complete personal and business insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY 808-A East 46th P.O. Box 4666, Austin 78765