The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, April 23, 1985
Comedian finds humor in the computer biz
NEW YORK (UPI) - Not everybody
takes seriously the onslaught into our
lives of the omnipresent personal com-
puter. Some believe the heavy burden
of computers can be lightened with a
touch of glee. Comedian Billiam (yes,
-that is his real name) Coronel is one of
"those people. He uses the foibles of the
,computer industry as the basis for his
humor. Because of that, some of his
jokes are funnier if you have some
knowledge of computers.
Fortunately, part of his audience fits
neatly into that category. Coronel
"writes an electronic humor magazine
called Comedy By Wire available to
subscribers of the computer service
. called The Source.
THE SOURCE is one of several
databases that are geared to the broad
consumer market. It allows customers
to do everything on their computers
from booking airline tickets to having
'"conversations" with people all over
'the world. You can read the wire ser-
vices, newspapers, magazines and
material written especially for the ser-
vice by a variety of specialists.
"I bought a computer to organize my
act, my mailing lists, and my jokes. A
little later, I got a membership to The
Source and noticed that there was not
humor. I started to write, some things
and people responded," said Coronel.
An example of the things people
responded to: "BIC entered the High
Tech arena this month with the World's
first truly disposable computer. Called
Real, Real Good News, it will come
standard with a keyboard you can chew
on and a monitor in either medium or
SINCE THE reception was so good,
he thought that it might be a nice ad-
dition to The Source's group of "self-
published" magazines. These features
cost the subscribers a little extra, and
the proceeds are shared between The
Source and the author.
The Source didn't appear to have a
sense of humor; it turned down his
'BIC entered the High Tech arena this month
with the world's first truly disposable com-
puter called Real, Real Good News.'
- Comedian Billiam Coronel
toward wackiness while the New
Yorkers tend toward a more laid-back,
"L.A. comedy is more zany; the
Robin Williams kind of zaniness. Here
in New York, the comics tend toward
the David Letterman style," he ex-
In the magazine and in his nightclub
act, Coronel likes to take trends and tie
them in with some aspects of com-
puting. He combined Eastern Religion,
California pop culture and software to,
come up with Zen Software from
Holistic Mail-Order. The disks of
popular programs like Lotus 1-2-3 and
WordStar are erased "to bring them
back to their pure, uncontaminated state.
The soul of the program is still there, it
is only the physical manifestation that has
Nothing is sacred to Coronel. He even
picks on the pope: "Pope John Paul II
brought a Radio Shack Model 100 (a
popular portable computer) with a
modem (a device that allows computer
connection over phone lines.) 'I've been
traveling a lot and I need to keep in
touch with the Vatican,' his Holiness
The outlets for stand-up comics have
dwindled over the ;past few years
because of the death of television
variety shows and fewer nightclubs.
While Coronel is making "a very good
living, thank you" as a night club
comic, he has gotten serious enough to
recognize that there is a future in
Comedy By Wire. He believes that it
won't be long before cartoons and other
sight gags will be transmitted by com-
"That's when I'd like to be in position
to publish a general humor magazine
on a database," he says. He doesn't
think that day is very far off but it is
going to take the further spread of per-
sonal computers. Coronel says he will
know when that day has arrived when
his mother has a computer and uses it
for reading her knitting magazine.
Coronel was not one to be put off by a
tough audience. He kept up the
magazine as a private enterprise and
the reaction continued to be positive.
The Source finally relented.
"The magazine looks the same as it
always did, but now it's easier to find,"
said Coronel. Comedy By Wire is now
listed on the main menu of items
available to subscribers. "It's not hid-
den away where only a selected few
could find it," he said.
THOUGH Coronel is a Californian by
birth, he is a New Yorker by temper-
ment. He says there is a distinct dif-
ference between East Coast and West
Coast comedy. Strangely enough; the
styles are not what one would normally
expect. The California comics tend
U.S. students 'flu
From AP and UPI
DETROIT- America's grade schools and high schools are
in danger of flunking geography by graduating students
dangerously ignorant of the world around them, the
president of the National Geographic Society said yesterday.
'We know about malnutrition but we know very little of
'where millions are dying of famine," said Gilbert Grosvenor,
,the fifth of his family to lead the society, in a speech to the
Economic Club of Detroit.
E "HOW CAN we help Africa when we don't know where
'Africa is?" Grosvenor said.
Grosvenor's address was part of the 81st annual meeting of
,the Association of American Geographers. About 2,800 people
are attending the convention, which ends tomorrow.
,, The teaching of basic geography has practically disap-
.peared from the nation's public schools, he said.
A SURVEY of one university found that 95 percent of the
newly enrolled freshmen could not point out Vietnam on a
map, he said.
Ignorance of Indochina's geography and ethnic rivalries
caused the United States to blunder originally in Vietnam,
Grosvenor told the Club.
"If ignorance of geography helped trigger our original in-
volvement, what did we learn?" he asked.
"WHEN GEOGRAPHY was folded into the social sciences,
it kind of got lost in the shuffle," Grosvenor said. "It is clear
to me that kids are not learning geography in primary and
secondary schools today."
College freshmen should be tested on their knowledge of
geography and required to take a remedial course if they fail,
"But it ought to be a darn good test," he said. "To me, to
graduate a kid from college when he barely knows how to
drive home is a darn shame."
Students no longer take an interest in geography because it
is taught by old-fashioned, dull methods. Grosvenor said.
"In America, the television image, the moving image, has
so dominated our culture that we have become immune to
traditional teaching methods," he said. "The moving image
is here to stay, and we must harness that image and use it
No agreement reached
on aid to Contras
WASHINGTON (AP)- Senators from
both political parties and top White
House aides failed to reach agreement
yesterday after an all-day negotiating
session on how to provide U.S.. aid to
Contra guerrillas fighting the leftist
government in Nicaragua.
With decisive votes scheduled in the
House and Senate tomorrow par-
ticipants spent the day discussing a
Democratic compromise proposal
designed. to avoid a political confron-
tation with President Reagan on U.S.
policy toward Central America.
BUT AFTER more than seven hours
of talks, Senate Majority Leader
Robert Dole of Kansas' reported,
"We're stil not there. We don't have
consensus. We don't have an
Dole said discussions would resume
tomorrow, the same day the issue is to
be decided in the Senate.
Votes are likely in the Democratic
House both today and tomorrow.
The late-hour Democratic proposal
from Senate Democrats would provide
$14 million in humanitarian aid to the
Contras if the leftist Sandinista gover-
nment agreed to a cease-fire.
"IT'S OBVIOUS we are not going to
reach full agreement tonight," said
Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the
Senate minority leader.
He said he and Dole "are going to sit
back" and work on a motion to suspend
the rules tomorrow to permit "even an
amendment" on the issue.
Byrd said the Democrats want to
cease fire between the Contras and the
Nicaraguan government and that it be
monitored. He said they also recom-
mend a resumption of bilateral talks as
well as $14 million in humanitarian
aid-- food and clothing.
"There are a number of areas where
there isn't any disagreement at all,"
said Dole. "In fact the president hat-
recommended a cease fire. There is no
problem about getting back to
discussions with the Nicaraguan
... calls for reform
Dems like plan; GOP calls it a 'gimmick
leaders were enthusiastic yesterday
!bout Gov. James Blanchard's tax
"fairness" plan, while Republicans
blasted it as a "gimmick" and a top
C ',business leader found items to both like
and to dislike.
"I think it's a good proposal...both in
terms of policy and in terms of
politics," said House Taxation Commit-
tee Chairman H. Lynn Jondahl.
JONDAHL'S Senate counterpart,
Senate Finance Committee Chairman
Norm Shinkle, a Lambertville
Republican, attacked the program as
"more of the same" and charged it does
not give "real relief" to taxpayers.
"The governor's latest plan is just
another government gimmick,"
Blanchard's plan, unveiled yester-
day, proposes the elimination of
loopholes enjoyed by banks, insurance
companies, and stock owners.
THOSE INCREASES will help finan-
ce a rollback in the income tax rate to
4.6 percent July 1, 1986, as well as $150
million annually in new property tax
The Republican-controlled Senate
already has adopted income tax cuts
more extensive than those proposed by
Jondahl said a major point in the
plan's favor is its tying together of tax
loophole closings with tax cuts.
"I THINK it really does now shift the
burden onto us," Jondahl said. "If
we're going to change it or someone's
going to say no to taxing military pay,
that person then has to be the agent for
cutting property tax relief or to come
up with alternatives to make it balance
Jondahl said legislation enacting the
proposal will start in the House, and
debate on it will start as early as
tomorrow when Treasurer Robert
Bowman addresses the taxation panel.
Shinkle backed the Senate's plan
passed earlier this year which cuts the
income tax rate to 4.6 percent on Jan. 1
and increases the personal exemption
from $1,500 to $1,750.
"THE REPUBLICAN plan is sim-
ple," Shinkle said. "It's a tax cut. And
Senate Republican leader John
Engler of Mount Pleasant was
unavailable for comment, but a
spokeswoman said he endorses
House Speaker Gary Owen called
Blanchard's plan "fiscally respon-
sible" and predicted it will enjoy "good
support" among House Democrats.
"Long term property tax (relief) is
really something the House Democrats
have supported for a long time," Owen
The Ypsilanti Democrat also said
that byincluding some GOP-endorsed
items, such as the tax amnesty plan,
the proposal's chances of gaining bipar-
tisan support increases.
Michigan State Chamber of Com-
merce President James Barrett
generally praised the tax-cutting
aspects of Blanchard's plan, but
questioned its loophole-closing
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Gov. James Blanchard outlines part of his proposed 1985 tax plan at a news conference in Lansing yesterday. One part
of the plan calls for reductions in income and property taxes.
, I(Continued from Page1)
0. would not fall to 4.6 percent until Oct. 1,
, Increasing the current property tax
rebate program by $150 million an-
nually. An additional 500,000
homeowners would become eligible and
t the size of rebates would increase.
- Providing $40 million in deductions
from the Single Business Tax for
research and development; and,
r Permanent tax relief would total $188
million annually and one-time reduc-
tions would total $165 million.
fans general tax reductions
We offer a full selection of
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Short and long term
be required to repay the $53 million
windfall they received as a result of a
1983 Supreme Court ruling;
" Taxing lump sum retirement
distributions, which currently are
" Levying a tax on sales of computer
" Taxing the pay of active military per-
sonnel, who currently are exempt; and,
" Establishing a tax amnesty program,
to be followed by stricter enforcement
and costly new penalties. Officials hope
the amnesty itself will bring in $50
A FAMILY of four earning $20,000 per
year would save $70 per year under the
income tax cut proposal. Ad-
ministration officials said they could
not determine the effect of the property
tax cut on an "average" taxpayer.
"I don't think it's a drop' in the
bucket," Bowman said of the tax cuts.
Blanchard admitted there are some
"danger signals on the (fiscal)
horizon" such as the lifting of voluntary
restraints on Japanese auto imports
and federal budget cuts.
Rut he said the administrtinn can
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