The First Responder

Thursday, February 3, 2005 February 2005   VOLUME III ISSUE 11  

PEAC-WMD Special Edition


pronounced PEEK

Technically Speaking
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Just What The Doctor Ordered
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Just What The Doctor Ordered
just general, good humor


If you’ve got melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.

Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

The problem:  How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car.  The solution:  Eat it in the parking lot.

Diet tip:  Eat a chocolate bar before each meal.  It’ll take the edge off your appetite and you’ll eat less.

If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge.  Calories are afraid of heights, and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.

If I eat equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate, is that a balanced diet?  Don’t they actually counteract each other?

Money talks.  Chocolate sings.

Chocolate has many preservatives.  Preservatives make you look younger.

Q:  Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous?  A:  Because no one wants to quit.

Put “eat chocolate” at the top of your list of things to do today.  That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.

A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place.  Isn’t that handy?

If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer.  But if you can’t eat all your chocolate, what’s wrong with you?



There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical.  After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired.

Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines.  They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine fixed, but to no avail.  In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of the problems in the past.

The engineer reluctantly took the challenge.  He spent a day studying the huge machine.  At the end of the day, he marked a small “x” in chalk on a particular component of the machine and proudly stated, “This is where your problems is.”

The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again.  The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service.  They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly:

            Chalk Mark                                                               $1

            Knowing where to put the chalk mark            $49,999



A friend of mine is a deputy with the sheriff’s department canine unit.  One evening, the deputy was dispatched to the scene of a possible burglary, where he discovered the back door of a building ajar.  He let the dog out of his patrol car and commanded it to enter and seek.

Jumping from the back seat, the dog headed for the building.  After lunging through the doorway, the dog froze and backed out.  My friend was puzzled until he investigated further and saw the sign on the building:  “Veterinarian’s Office.”



A man laid spread out over three seats in the second row of a movie theater.  As he lie there breathing heavily, an usher came over and said, “That’s very rude of you sir, taking up three seats.  Didn’t you learn any manners?  Where did you come from?”

The man looked up helplessly and said, “The balcony!”



Some engineers from the U.S.G.S. surveyed some property and found that in a certain area, the New Hampshire and Maine border must be changed.  They stopped to inform a farmer that he was no longer in Maine, but in New Hampshire .

After a long pause he grunted and said “That’s good.  I couldn’t take another one of these Maine winters.”


REAL ESTATE AD PHRASES (What They Really Mean )

CHARMING – Tiny. Snow white might fit, but five of the dwarfs would have to find their own place.  See “Cute,” Enchanting” and “Good Starter Home.”

MUCH POTENTIAL – Grim. Steer clear unless you have a lot of money and believe your blind dates really did have nice personalities.  See “Ready to Rehab,” and “Fixer Upper.”

UNIQUE CITY HOME – Used to be a warehouse.

HI-TECH/CONTEMPORARY – Lots of steel shelving with little holes – the kind your dad used to store tools on in the basement.

DARING DESIGN – Still a warehouse.

COMPLETELY UPDATED – Avocado dishwasher and harvest gold carpeting or vice versa.

SOPHISTICATED – Black walls and no windows.  See “Architects Delight.”

ONE-OF-A-KIND – Ugly as sin.

BRILLIANT CONCEPT – Do you really need a two-story live oak in your 30-foot sky dome?  See “Makes Dramatic Statement.”

UPPER BRACKET – If you have to ask . . .

YOU’LL LOVE IT – No, you won’t.

MUST SEE TO BELIEVE – An absolutely accurate statement.



As a senior at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota , I often engage women psychology majors in heated discussions about male-female relationships.  Once, my friend Shelly and I got into a hot debate about whether men or women make the larger sacrifice of their respective gender characteristics when they get married.  To my surprise, Shelly agreed with me that men give up far more than women.

“You’re right, Steve,” she said.  “Men generally give up doing their cleaning, their cooking, their grocery shopping, their laundry.”


An American and his wife were driving in Canada and got lost.

Finally they came into a city.  They saw a gentleman on the sidewalk, so they pulled up to the curb, and the lady rolled down her window and asked:  “Excuse me sir.  Where are we?”

The gentleman on the street replied, “Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.”

The lady rolled up the window, turned to her husband and said, “We really are lost.  They don’t even speak English here!”


This is from a book by George Carlin, “Brain droppings, published in 1997 by Hyperion Press.

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT – Well, how can the sky be the limit?  The sky never ends.  What kind of limit is that?  The Earth is the limit.  You dig a hole and what do you keep getting?  More Earth.  The Earth is the limit.

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH – What about when you eat at home?  I don’t pay when I eat lunch at home – it’s free!  Sometimes I leave a tip, but basically, it’s a free lunch.  Yes, I know we had to buy the food at the store.  But as the Zen Buddhists say, The Food is Not the Lunch.

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO – Sounds good, but simple reasoning will reveal that it only takes one to tango.  It takes two to tango together, maybe, but one person is certainly capable of tangoing on his own.  By the way, in medieval times, it was widely believed that it took twenty-six to tango.

EVERYTHING COMES IN THREES – Not true.  In reality, everything comes in ones.  Sometimes, when three “ones” come in a row, it seems like everything comes in threes.  By the way, in medieval times, it was widely believed that everything came in twenty-sixes.  They were wrong, too.  It just took them longer to recognize the pattern.

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (when you die) – Well…, that depends on what it is .  If it’s your dark blue suit, you can certainly take it with you.  In fact, not only can you take it with you, you can probably put some things in your pockets.

YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY – Actually, you learn something old every day.   Just because you’ve just learned it, doesn’t mean it’s new.  Other people already knew it, Columbus is a good example of this.



DOORS:  Do not allow closed doors in any room.  To get door opened, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws.  Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it.  After you have ordered an “outside” door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things.  This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season.  Swinging doors are to be avoided at all costs.

CHAIRS AND RUGS:  If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly.  If you cannot manage in time, get to an oriental rug.  If there is no Oriental rug, shag is good.  When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so that it is a long as the human’s bare foot. 

BATHROOMS:  Always accompany guests to the bathroom.  It is not necessary to do anything – just sit and stare.

HAMPERING:  If one of your humans is engaged in some close activity and the other is idle, stay with the busy one.  This is called “helping”, otherwise know as “hampering’.  Following are the rules for “hampering”:

a. When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook.  You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.

b. For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.

c. For knitting projects or paperwork, lie on the work in the most appropriate manner so as to obscure as much of the work or at least the most important part.  Pretend to doze, but every so often reach out and slap the pencil or knitting needles.  The worker may try to distract you; ignore it.  Remember, the aim is to hamper work.  Embroidery and needlepoint projects make great hammocks in spite of what the humans may tell you.

d. For people paying bills (monthly activity) or working on income taxes or Christmas cards (annual activity), keep in mind the aim – to hamper!  First, sit on the paper being worked on.  When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table.  When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability.  After being removed for the second time, push pens, pencils and erasers off the table, one at a time.

e. When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to jump on the back of the paper.  They love to jump.

WALKING:  As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially: on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning.  This will help their coordination skills.

BEDTIME:  Always sleep on the human at night so s/he cannot move around.

GUESTS:  Check human houseguests carefully to detect who might have an allergy, the more allergic the houseguest, the closer you should stay.  This will shorten the stay of the allergic human houseguest and your owner can spend time with you as they should have been doing in the first place.  If the human houseguest has brought a guest-pet, be as rude as possible, hissing at an audible volume.  This will let the guest-pet know s/he has been noticed and is unappreciated.

SINGING:  Always schedule your performances between 2 and 3 AM so as to have the full attention of everyone in the household.

GUILT:  Cats have no guilt.  Owners have guilt.  Jewish owners have cornered the market on guilt but they sometimes will share.  Guilt in owners equals treats for kitty.  Guilt can be invoked in many ways such as giving your owner a pathetic look when s/he returns from work related travel or after your owner has shouted at you for having practiced an exercise in hampering.

FUR:  Carefully examine and take note of the color of your coat.  Your goal is to find contrast between your fur and a human's wardrobe.  Black is especially good as all cat hair goes well with black.  If your human is wearing tweed, don’t bother.  If you have dark fur, frolic on the light carpet and furniture, and vice versa.  This rule also applies to hairballs, always deposit a hairball where it will leave a lasting impression.  Never leave a hairball on a surface such as tile where it can be easily cleaned away.



This is a collection questions that were asked in a library for paraprofessionals.  All of these situations are real and some of them are mighty embarrassing.

Part 1:  Actual reference queries reported by American and Canadian library reference desk workers of various levels.

Do you have books here?

Do you have a list of all the books written in the English language?

Do you have a list of all the books I’ve ever read?

I’m looking for Robert James Waller’s book, ‘Waltzing through Grand Rapids .’  (Actual title wanted:  ‘Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend.’)

Where is the reference desk?  This was asked of a person sitting at a desk who had a sign hanging above her head.  The sign said “REFERENCE DESK!”

I was here about three weeks ago looking at a cookbook that cost $39.95.  Do you know which one it is?

Which outlets in the library are appropriate for my hairdryer?

Can you tell me why so many famous Civil War battles were fought on National Park Sites?

Do you have any books with photographs of dinosaurs?

I need a color photograph of George Washington [Christopher Columbus, King Arthur, Moses, Socrates, etc.]

I need a photocopy of Booker T. Washington’s birth certificate.

I need to find out ibid’s first name for my bibliography.

Why don’t you have any books by ibid?  He’s written a lot of important stuff.

I’m looking for information on carpal tunnel syndrome.  I think I’m having trouble with it in my neck.

Is the basement upstairs?  (Asked at First Floor Reference Desk)

I am looking for a list of laws that I can break that would send me back to jail for a couple of months.


Part 2:  Actual reference interviews reported by American and Canadian library reference desk workers of various levels.

Patron:  ‘I’m looking for a book.’

Mental answer 1:  ‘Well, you’re in the right place.’

Mental answer 2:  ‘Here’s one.’  (Hand over nearest volume.)

Audible answer:  ‘Can you be a little more specific?’


Patron:  ‘I got a quote from a book I turned in last week but I forgot to write down the author and title.  It’s big and red and I found it on the top shelf.  Can you find it for me?’

Mental answer:  ‘Books classified by color are shelved downstairs in the (non-existent) third sub-basement.’

Audible answer:  ‘What were you looking for when you found the book the first time?’


In an art library:

Patron:  ‘Do you have any books on Art?’

Reference worker:  ‘Yes.  Did you have a certain artist in mind, or a period of style in mind?’

Patron:  ‘No.’

Reference worker:  ‘I guess you’ll have to look through our 120,000 books and see if you find anything.’

Patron:  ‘OK.’


Patron:  ‘Do you have anything good to read?’

Reference person getting her audible and mental answers mixed up: ‘No, ma’am.  I’m afraid we have 75,000 books, and they’re all duds.’


Telephone patron:  Do you have books on leaves?

Library worker:  Nope, we keep them on shelves.

(She then hung up.  Can you tell she’s not too fond of Reference duty?)


Caller:  ‘I have a painting by Vincent Van Gogh.  It’s all blue with swirly stars on it.  Can you tell me where I can get it appraised?’

Reference worker:  ‘Sir, does it say ‘Metropolitan Museum of Art’ on the bottom?  It does?  Well, what you have there is a poster that they sell in the gift shop.  I think they’re about $10.00.


Patron:  ‘I am looking for a globe of the earth.

Reference worker:  ‘We have a table-top model over here.’

Patron:  ‘No, that’s not good enough.  Don’t you have a life size?’

Reference worker:  (after a short pause):  ‘Yes, but it’s in use right now!’



NEWSPAPERS:  If you have to go to the bathroom while playing in the front yard, always use the newspaper that’s placed in the driveway every morning for that purpose.

VISITIORS:  Quickly determine which guest is afraid of dogs.  Charge across the room, barking loudly and leap playfully on this person.  If the human falls down on the floor and starts crying, lick its face and growl gently to show your concern.

BARKING:  Because you are a dog, you are expected to bark.  So bark – a lot.  Your owners will be very happy to hear you protecting their house.  Especially late at night while they sleep safely in their beds.  There is no more secure feeling for a human than to keep waking up in the middle of the night and hearing your protective bark, bark, bark…

LICKING:  Always take a BIG drink from your water dish immediately before licking your human.  Humans prefer clean tongues.  Be ready to fetch your human a towel.

HOLES:  Rather than digging a BIG hole in the middle of the yard and upsetting your human, dig a lot of smaller holes all over the yard so they won’t notice.  If you arrange a little pile of dirt on one side of each hole, maybe they’ll think it was gophers.  There are never enough holes in the ground.  Strive daily to do your part to help correct this problem.

DOORS:  The area directly in front of a door is always reserved for the family dog to sleep.

THE ART OF SNIFFING:  Humans like to be sniffed.  Everywhere.  It is your duty, as the family dog, to accommodate them.

DINING ETIQUETTE:  Always sit under the table at dinner, especially when there are guests, so you can clean up any food that falls on the floor.  It’s also a good time to practice your sniffing.

HOUSEBREAKING:  Housebreaking is very important to humans, so break as much of the house as possible.

GOING FOR WALKS:  Rules of the road:  When out for a walk with your human, never go to the bathroom on your own lawn.

COUCHES:  It is perfectly permissible to lie on the new couch after all your humans have gone to bed.

PLAYING:  If you lose your footing while chasing a ball or stick, use the flower bed to absorb your fall so you don’t injure yourself.

CHASING CATS:  When chasing cats, make sure you never – quite – catch them.  It spoils all the fun.

CHEWING:  Make a contribution to the fashion industry.  Eat a shoe.




1 – When decanting wine, make sure that you tilt the paper cup, and pour slowly so as not to “bruise” the fruit of the vine.

2 – If drinking directly from the bottle, always hold it with your fingers covering the label.


1 – A centerpiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.

2 – Do not allow the dog to eat at the table … no matter how good his manners are.

DATING (Outside the Family)

1 - Always offer to bait your date’s hook, especially on the first date.

2 – Be aggressive.  Let her know you’re interested:  "I’ve been wanting to go out with you since I read that stuff on the bathroom wall two years ago.”

3 – Establish with her parents what time she is expected back.  Some will say 10 PM.  Others might say “Monday.”  If the latter is the answer, it is the man’s responsibility to get her to school on time.


1 – Crying babies should be taken to the lobby and picked up immediately after the movie has ended.

2 – Refrain from talking to characters on the screen.  Tests have proven they can’t hear you.


1 – Livestock, usually, is a poor choice for a wedding gift.

2 – Kissing the bride for more than 5 seconds may get you shot.

3 – For the groom, at least, rent a tux.  A leisure suit with a cumberbund and a clean bowling shirt can create a tacky appearance.

4 – Though uncomfortable, say “yes” to socks and shoes for this special occasion.


1 – Dim your headlights for approaching vehicles; even if the gun is loaded, and the deer is in sight. 

2 – When approaching a four-way stop, the vehicle with the largest tires always has the right of way.

3 – Never tow another car using panty hose and duct tape.

4 – When sending your wife down the road with a gas can, it is impolite to ask her to bring back beer.

5 – Never relieve yourself from a moving vehicle, especially when driving.

6 – Do not lay rubber while traveling in a funeral procession.


1 – Never take a beer to a job interview.

2 – Always identify people in your yard before shooting at them.

3 – It’s considered tacky to take a cooler to church.

4 – If you have to vacuum the bed, it is time to change the sheets.

5 – Even if you’re certain that you are included in the will, it is still considered tacky to drive a U-Haul to the funeral home.

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