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Stuff People Need to Know

According to Dear Jon.


by Dear Jon
August 26, 2003

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Stuff People Need to Know_Dear Jon-According to Dear Jon Over the course of the Dear Jon Letters Advice Column, I have gotten almost as many requests for information as I have for advice. In some cases the readers have implied that I could waste my time looking up facts and information that they could look up themselves. For a long time I had been snide about it, but then I realized that people were rightly looking to me as an authority on anything useful.

So, I am preparing a new, readily accessible, On-Line Encyclopedia of knowledge for the Partial Observer. I am writing all of the entries myself, alphabetized from A-Z. The Webmaster, after trying to teach me useless facts about website language, has given up and designed a convenient display system for the Encyclopedia, which will be launched on the site September 1.

This project is called “Dear Jon’s Encyclopedia of Stuff People Need to Know and Nothing Else.” The Webmaster, however, wants to call it the “DJE.” The point is that the reader know that this is an Encyclopedia ONLY for facts that are USEFUL. Headings such as “Greatest Quarterback Ever” (a tie between Brett Favre and Bart Starr) will appear. Headings such as “Platypus: Migration Patters” will NOT appear in Dear Jon’s Encyclopedia.

Like the Partial Observer itself, this encyclopedia is under constant, interactive development. This is where YOU come in. Starting in September, 2003, I will receive from readers any suggested Subject Headings that begin with the letter “A,” in October the letter “B,” and so on. Headings such as “Best Beers” and “Best Beers, Lite” and “Best Beers, Local Brews” will be accepted. Headings such as “Euclidian Applications in Spherical Calculus” will not. I will write the information that people need to know for each subject heading, and it will automatically be added to the alphabeticized list of subjects.

I will submit new headings for the encyclopedia on my own: unlike the advice column, the encyclopedia does not depend absolutely on reader participation. Since my goal is to be useful, though, it is in your interest to let me know what you need to know by submitting subject headings.

The Dear Jon Encyclopedia uses absolutely NO outside resources. I have opened no books or dictionaries or almanacs, contacted no experts, downloaded no websites. My motto is, if I have to waste my precious time looking it up, I don’t need to know it. So, every single heading I write about will be from information pulled from the top of my head and the tip of my tongue.

Everything I know has been impressed upon me by other sources: parents, t.v., school, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, movies, religion. When necessary I will note trademarks or copyrights. However, by definition, stuff people need to know is stuff which is in the public domain, the common currency of our world. If you possess enough common relevance to make it into this Encyclopedia’s discussion of Stuff People Need to Know, you should be thanking me for yet more exposure rather than contacting your attorneys.

Acknowledgments and credits go to the Webmaster for designing the encyclopedia and fitting this project into his website. Also, I thank in advance those readers who submit subject headings. Aside from that, I have done this all by myself and all the credit, with all your adulation, belongs to me.

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alias, mom from chetek, wisconsin writes:
August 26, 2003
1.Will Dear Jon continue to write an advice column? Or will we have to get a year's worth of advice, with the rest of the A's in September?

2. Is there a strategy involved, that in the midst of his All-you-need-to-know series, Dear Jon will become old enough to be U.S. President? In an election year, no less!

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