BASS (Benefits Administrative Support System) Part 2

Magical Mystery Tour” is a song by the Beatles, the opening track and theme song for the album, double EP and TV film of the same name. Unlike the theme songs for their other film projects, it was not released as a single.

Magical Mystery Tour is an album by the English rock band the Beatles that was released as a double EP in the United Kingdom and an LP in the United States. Produced by George Martin, it includes the soundtrack to the 1967 film of the same name. The EP was issued in the UK on 8 December 1967 on the Parlophone label, while the Capitol Records LP release in the US occurred on 27 November and featured eleven tracks with the addition of songs from the band’s 1967 singles. The first release as an eleven-track LP in the UK did not occur until 1976.

Album: The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour
Source: Jim’s Pawn Shop–Springfield, Mo
Price: $0.50

Our new BASS (Benefits Administrative Support System) ran software called HPDeskManager. This gave users a personal electronic in tray, out tray, calendar, and file cabinet. Users had a basic word processor called HPWord. Employees could send and receive e-mail with other benefit department employees at headquarters.

The calendar allowed people to view the schedules of other headquarters  Benefits employees. They could even use the system to reserve conference rooms. I encouraged employees to keep their calendar up-to-date on their computer. This way meetings could be scheduled online.

Taking BASS to the Field

SWBT had benefit offices in seven locations: St. Louis, Topeka, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Headquarters employees communicated with these offices via landline phone or written document.

We designed a network of HP 3000 systems. Each benefit office received one. They dialed each other at pre-scheduled dial-up times, typically once an hour to exchange email between locations.

I went to each location with my co-worker Joel. We installed the mini computers and trained the employees. We taught an administrator at each location how to do backups. They would call Joel or me for help whenever they had a problem or question.

Employee Benefits was the first department within the company to have email communications between headquarters and field locations. Eventually we were able to communicate with other SWBT employees and of course the outside world.

Genesis 12 – The Call of Abram

11_Abraham_Canaan_JPEG_1024Arabian Dance from The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (op. 71). The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Danza árabe de El Cascanueces. El cascanueces es un ballet en dos actos , original coreografía de Marius Petipa y Lev Ivanov , con una puntuación de Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky ( Op. 71 ) . El libreto es una adaptación de E.T.A. La historia de Hoffmann El cascanueces y el rey de los ratones .

Source: Genesis 12     Genesis 12 (Español)    

Genesis 12

The Call of Abram

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.[a]
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”[b]

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Abram in Egypt

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.


BASS (Benefits Administrative Support System) Part 1

Brad and Bert’s Excellent Adventure Season 2

I hope you are enjoying the Moses meet Mozart biweekly Bible readings with accompanying classical music soundtrack. These posts will continue through Thanksgiving. September and October will also feature Season 2 of Brad and Bert’s Excellent Adventure. If you missed Season 1 you can binge on all nine episodes by clicking  Brad and Bert’s Excellent Adventure S1:E1 . Our annual Christmas program will begin Thanksgiving day.


Sirius is a 1982 song by the British rock band The Alan Parsons Project from the album Eye in the Sky. It is a 1:54 minute instrumental piece that segues into “Eye in the Sky” on the original recording. From the 1990s onward, “Sirius” has become a staple of many big-time college and professional sporting arenas throughout North America.

Eye in the Sky is the sixth studio album by the British rock band The Alan Parsons Project, released in June 1982 by Arista label. It was recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studios.

Album: The Alan Parsons Project – Eye in the Sky
Source: End 0f an Ear – Austin, TX
Price: $2.00

In 1981, I received my first promotion at Southwestern Bell. Moving to the Employee Benefits organization I was tasked with determining how to use newly acquired computer technology. They had just purchased a brand new IBM PC. It came fully loaded with an astounding 384K memory, 10 megabyte hard drive, and color monitor. Three pieces of software, Lotus 123, Crosstalk and WordStar completed the configuration. A separate dial up modem was purchased to communicate with other computers.

This PC communicated with others via a dial up modem. Tethered to a landline phone jack, I entered another computer’s 10-digit phone number into Crosstalk, pressed enter, and waiting for the magic to happen. This was considered a high-speed modem because it ran 1200 megabits per second (roughly 250 characters per second). It was novel to watch the information load on the screen, character by character, as the data was received. My job was to figure out what to do with this new computer.

I started using WordStar to create letters. The software allowed me to create a document that could be printed using a daisy wheel printer. Additionally, I could save a draft and come back to work on it later. It wasn’t long before others saw this new tool’s potential. I had to create a time sheet so people could sign-up to use WordStar on my computer. This became a popular choice for employees to create a draft, print, and make their own edits without having to wait for the steno pool. It was a great solution for informal communications.

Shortly after beginning my new assignment I attended a seminar on Advanced Office Systems. Conceptually an AOS improves organizational efficiency by giving employees computers. They consist of three key components: 1) electronic mail, 2) word processing, and 3) voice mail. In 1982 this was a radical concept. Implementing such a system requires substantial capital investment. Voice mail was being implemented company wide but departments were on their own for investigating electronic mail.

Our organization tasked me with visiting vendors, putting together a cost analysis and making a recommendation for the purchase of a new computer system. I researched systems at IBM, Wang, Data General, Digital DEC, and HP. Each company’s offerings had their own strengths and weaknesses. In the end, we chose the HP 3000, whose terminals were hardwired to the computer. The system required a special air conditioned room and backups required  a reel to reel tape drive. A system administrator had to start the system each morning, make sure backups took place everyday, and deal with the occasional system crash. Using a Lotus 123 spreadsheet package to present my cost justification, I convinced the powers that be to move into the new age of communication.

It was probably 1984 by the time the new BASS (Benefits Administrative Support System) was cost justified and rolled out. Our technology group did the presentation. We reserved a large room on the 4th floor of One Bell Center for the occasion. “Sirius” was the theme song we used to drum up anticipation and excitement.