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          The Best of TOURBUS #5: SEND YOUR KIDS TO MARS!

Howdy, y'all!  :)

I am happy to announce that your fearless bus driver has survived GBA
490 ("strategic management")!  In fact, in spite of the 48% I received
on my case study assignment (you will remember that 73% of the class
received a failing grade on that assignment) I was able to eke out a
"B" in the class.  What I am most proud of, though, is how well my
company did in the class' "business strategy game."  Here is a quick
look my company's results:

                                      Year 11         Year 20
                                      -------         -------
     Rank (out of 14 companies)            14               4
     Sales Revenues (in millions)      82,490         305,995
     Total Profit (in millions)         5,116          28,266
     Earnings Per Share                  0.93            5.65
     Return on Equity                  10.86%          14.57%
     Bond Rating                            C             AAA
     Company Value (in millions)       32,450         218,600
     Stock Price                            6          43 3/4

Unfortunately, TOURBUS doesn't have a stock price of 43.75.  In fact,
unless Bob is hiding something from me, I don't think we've issued
*any* stock ... yet.  Until we do, we're going to have to rely on our
wonderful sponsors to keep our little bus of Internet happiness on the
road week after week.  Make sure you visit each of today's sponsors to
thank them for their support!  :)

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Since Bob and I are still celebrating TOURBUS third anniversary, I
thought I'd send you one of my favorite TOURBUS posts from the past
year.  Unfortunately, this stop is going to become obsolete pretty
quickly.  On Wednesday, July 15th (TWO DAYS FROM TODAY), NASA will be
closing down the following site FOREVER!  If you didn't visit this
site when we visited it back in February, you had better hurry up and
visit it while you still can!  :)


The nice folks at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
want to send your kid's name to the surface of Mars.  As a way of
promoting the planned 1999 launch of the Mars Polar Lander, NASA is
collecting the names of school children from all over the world.
These names will then be stored on a CD-ROM that will be shot into
space as part of the Mars Polar Lander's payload.  Adding your name to
the list is pretty easy (and, best of all, it is totally FREE!).  Just
point your Web browser to


Then, click on the words "Sign Me Up!" at the bottom of the page.  The
rest of the instructions are pretty self-explanatory (type in your
name, and then click on the "Add Me" button).

Now for the cool part.  After you add your kid's name to the list of
other names being sent to Mars, NASA automatically forwards you to a
page where you can view, download, and even print a certificate
showing that your kid's name is now part of the payload of the Mars
Polar Lander.  Three version of this certificate are available:

     1. A screen version (that looks GREAT but may be hard to see on
        small screens);

     2. A print version (which looks okay, but uses your browser's
        less than spectacular default font -- usually Times or Times
        New Roman); and

     3. A blank 87Kb Adobe Acrobat version (you have to have Adobe's
        free Acrobat reader to view this file; once you open the file,
        you need to highlight the words "Type Name Here" and then type
        in your kid's name -- and make sure you press the "enter" key
        before you print the certificate).

All three versions of the certificate are pretty impressive, but the
best results come from printing the PDF version on a high-quality
color printer.  The certificates' message is also pretty cool:

     Thank you for participating in this historic event.  The Mars
     Polar Lander and future missions to Mars will help us unravel
     many of the mysteries surrounding the red planet.  One day we
     hope to send space explorers to Mars and beyond.  You could be
     that future explorer, but only if you stay in school and study
     hard, especially in the areas of math, science, and computer

     Remember to keep your eyes on the skies because your name is now
     part of the cosmos!

My favorite part of this message, of course, is the part that says
"stay in school."  I think I might just follow that advice.  :)


SKWURL (Noun).  Tree rat.  (The true test of "Southern-ness" is your
                ability to say this word in *ONE* syllable).
Usage: "Look at that skwurl up thar on that par line!  I wunner what
       he's up to."

(Special thanks to me for today's wurd)

You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at

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  (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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