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John R. Covert

Aug 14, 1990, 10:16:24 PM8/14/90

DEC employees, former DEC employees, and many people on the net may already
be familiar with "Desperado", an electronic magazine published by Tom Parmenter
and published by me. For over ten years, Desperado has been distributed by
electronic mail within, and more recently outside, Digital. About twenty
issues a year appear on no particular schedule.

We propose the creation of rec.mag.desperado as a moderated newsgroup in order
to allow wider distribution.

To let you know more about Desperado before you vote, I am posting the
introductory message we send to new subscribers and the most recent issue.


DESPERADO, An irregular journal of distributed DADA processing



Here is the motto of Desperado, and also the conditions that prevail
(some might call them rules, but not me).


I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That's the way I stay alive.
My motto, as I live and learn, is
"Dig and be dug in return."

-- Langston Hughes



Somehow or other, your name has gotten added to the Desperado mailing

Desperado is an electronic rag that I send around the net from time to
time to several hundred Digital desperados from Australia to Sweden,
and even in Marlboro. Everyone on the list is there by request.
(There are also lots of forwards, secondary and tertiary desperados,
but I don't know about them.)

The thing consists of whatever interests me on the day I send it out.
It's about half humor, half rumor, and half miscellaneous
clusterdness. Most of it is mail I've gotten from other people. Some
of it is mail from me. Feel free to comment on anything, but if you
want the original sender to hear your views, you should send them mail
direct, in addition to whatever you send to me. I can't use everything
that's sent to me, but lots of discussions that start in Desperado
continue off line.

Everything in between strings of vertical bars (octal ASCII 174, | )
is written by me, along with the headlines, and all the pretty

Submissions from NEMO:: are anonymous. Most are from people who don't
want their names published for whatever reason. Sometimes I decide
that your name should be left off for your own protection. Some
NEMO:: submissions are from me.

I don't forward everything that is sent in. I rarely forward the
heavily forwarded stuff unless it's too good to pass up. Except for
submissions from NEMO::, everything else in Desperado comes
approximately as is from the person who sent it, although I usually
try to correct spellings and grammar. Don't send me anything that
looks like you wrote it yourself unless you wrote it yourself. As for
my part, I often cut submissions down, but I don't put words in your
mouth. I do save everything interesting that comes my way, whether I
forward it or not. Information on these archives of network life is
available on request.

I send out a Desperado when I can. If you send me something with a
date or time in it, I may miss your deadline. Too bad, huh?

Desperado, once a underground benefit for DEC employes, now goes all
over the place, so let's all be discreet and not tell anybody about
the Hydra project, okay? Off-DEC readers: We can't make any
promises about regularity. On the other hand, for on-DEC readers:
We can't make any promises about regularity.

It's usually not this boring.

Tom Parmenter

Send contributions to CLOSET::T_PARMENTER. Include the T_ and fail not, else
your contribution will take a hop past a different but similar Parmenter.

John Covert does the publishing. Send requests for subscriptions to
send updates when you move. We will not normally track you down, but
will simply remove you from the list if mail to you fails.

Desperado #3034: Mr. Walker*


DESPERADO, *Mr. Walker -- The Ghost Who Walks



Not an official publication. Forward with daring and whimsy. Circle the earth.
Should you rip something off from here, be a sport and rip this header off too.

From: DECWRL::"" "Robert Mathews"
To: closet::t_parmenter
Subj: Desperado 3033

Re Robert Fulghum:

What sort of literature do you expect from someone whose name is an
elision of "fulsome" and "sorghum"?


From: ULTRA::FERGUSON "Ain't no time to hate"
Subj: Author of the article about the King and his Toaster

I forwarded a copy of the story about the King and his two advisors working
w/ a toaster to a friend of mine. My friend thought that it was not good
form to copy an entire article w/o citing the author. According to my friend,
that article came form the following source:

The story is from a column titled "The Breakfast Food Cooker" by
Do-While Jones (I'm not making this up, you know) in the June, 1990
issue of Computer Language magazine.



People named Do-While don't get no respect. As I said when I ran
the disputed item, it wasn't clear from my source who the author
was, but I was interested to find out. Is that bad form? Has
this never happened to Do-While before now?

And, many years ago, someone wrote "DIGITAL designs a cake mix".
Basically the same article. I never found out who wrote that one.

I guess it's a sign of increasing circulation, but I seem to be
starting out more issues with explanations of this or that outrage
that I've committed. All submissions to Desperado are made in good
faith. I've never had anyone try to pass off anything as their own
that was not their own. "I'd like to play you a little tune I
wrote. I call it 'Beethoven's Ninth'." That has never happened so
far as I know. Sometimes, however, through the vagaries of
network headers or my editing of them, it may *appear* that
someone is claiming to have written something that they did not in
fact write.

What often happens is that somebody sees something entertaining
somewhere on the net and sends it to me and I stick it in here. I
do that all the time. It is the essence of Desperado. If there's
no attribution, I print it anyway. If you see something you
wrote, or some pal of yours wrote, or Thomas Paine wrote and it is
unattributed or misattributed, send me mail and let me know and
I'll correct it.

I certainly want everybody to get all the credit that is due them,
but as that Apple Fellow said at that conference I went to,
"Digital technology is the universal solvent of intellectual
property rights."

I make a reasonable effort, by which I mean not very much more
than studying the headers, to try to figure out who the author is,
and then I press on. Part of my added value is stripping most of
the headers *off*. If I'm going to do Desperado at all, and I
intend to continue, it has to be without much more checking than
that. My theory, arrogant thought it may sound (and even be), is
that my audience is more interested in the joke than in who first
told it, even an originator. My only defense is that it happens
to me all the time. My name appears at the top and bottom of
Desperado. Else, readers have to know that the indented stuff,
like this or the stuff encased in vertical bars, is mine, but
anyone with an editor can rip me (or anyone else) right out of
context and ship us off to God knows where.

Remember, if it shows up in here, that means that at least two
people thought it was interesting and worth passing along. It's
a compliment.

Way back in the 60s, Vice President of the United States and real
rich man, Nelson "What a way to go" Rockefeller, said, in his most
phamous aforism: "If you don't want it known, don't use the

Thus, I devised these:

"It'll travel like a jet if you put it on the net"

"If you want to keep it as a pet, keep it off the net."

"It's credit roulette when you put it on the net."

"Credit? Forget it. You put it on the net."


And now, switching from words to deeds, we begin. From a marketing
document out there somewhere:

"IBM's challenges in the workstation marketplace:

1. IBM must regain mind-share to reverse the
negative-momentum of the past four years."


New word, invented by Alexandra Tyszka, one of our writers:

Hypotext: what gets said about hypertext.

Another neologism, from a notesfile description of German
technoband Tangerine Dream:


which I take to combine sophomoric and soporific.


My boss is taking a course on how to manage at Digital. His text
is a case-study of DEC titled "Influence Without Authority".

One of the DEC groups he heard about in the course: the Office of
Continuous Improvement.


Can you verify the story my son Dan told me? During the last
computer virus attack, one of the local TV stations went to MIT to
hear from the experts at the AI lab. One of the experts had a
Mandelbrot diagram building on his screen. "This is a map of the
network," he said, as the camera zoomed in. "This dark spot here
is the virus. You can see it expanding now as it infects more and
more systems."


Here's what a spell-checker did to a list of presidents:

Garage Washington
Join Idioms
Thermos Jefferson
Jimmies Metazoan
Jams Moonier
Join Queens Idioms
Andrew Jackson
Martin Ban Barren
Whilom Henry Horizon
Join Taller
Gammes Nix Folk
Zachary Tiller
Milord Filmier
Games Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hiatus
Gammas Garfield
Chaster Earthier
Groovier Cleveland
Benjamin Horizon
Whelm McKinley
Theatre Roosevelt
Whilom Toward Tuft
Woodier Wilson
Warren Hoarding
Kelvin Collage
Herbert Whoever
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Harry Trombone
Dwight Eisenhower
Join Canoed
London Johnson
Dike Nixon
Gooey Ford
Jimmies Critter
Runny Region
Garage Bush


The novel I'm reading, "Changing Places" by David Lodge, is set in
in the late 60s in the American state of Euphoria, which is on the
west coast and has as its governor a retired movie actor named
Ronald Duck.


From: DECWRL::"" "Jonathan Ostrowsky"
To: closet::t_parmenter,
Subj: Words to live by

[Last comment by a reviewer of a draft of a marketing piece]

"Don't mention stuff that the initial release does not do. It's the
greatest thing since sliced bread -- until we replace it!"

Heard yesterday: "Greatest thing since balkline billiards."

Another fave: "Greatest thing since copper bracelets."

How come there are no worst things? "Worst thing since shepherd's pie."

Subj: for your amusement...

From: FALEK::tallis::hession
To: sam, lou
Subj: turtle story


Balch Springs, Texas-AP-

Where were the crime-fighting, pepperoni pizza-munching Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles when Domino's delivery man Troy Brewer really
needed them? After all, they may have known his alleged hard-shelled
Brewer said he was at a pay phone when he was robbed by a pair of
thieves armed with a snapping turtle. "That sucker was going to bite
me," he said. "They put him right up to my face."

The toothsome turtle didn't nip the flustered pizza delivery man,
but those wielding the turtle got away with his money pouch containing
about $50, he said. "Don't move or you're gonna get bit," Brewer said
robbers told him.

Brewer, a college student who works in Balch Springs, filed a
police complaint in Dallas because he said Tuesday night's robbery
occurred just inside the city limits.

Balch Springs Assistant Police Chief B.W. Smith said it was the
first robbery at turtle-point he's ever heard of.

"I suppose if he said it happened, I guess it did. Personally,
I just can't see somebody holding somebody up with a turtle,"
he said.




From: CIMNET::LUNGER "Dave Lunger, 291-7797 MET-1/K2"
Subj: for your amazement, and possible inclusion in DESPERADO

seen on the USENET in rec.aviation:

Probably the most bizarre Grumman American (a manufacturer of
single engine 2 and 4 seat airplanes) accident was when a
pilot who was well beyond his fatigue limit, landed at a
remote airport and fell asleep in his seat immediately after
he shut the engine down.

He woke up later and while still groggy and disoriented,
thought he had fallen asleep while flying and the engine had
quit. He went through the in-flight start procedure, rammed in
full throttle, and taxied through a couple of parked planes.


From: DECWRL::"Mo...@STONY-BROOK.SCRC.Symbolics.COM" "David A. Moon"
To: Tom Parmenter <closet::t_parmenter>
Subj: For Desperado/Logophiles

From the flyer for the Jazz at the Decordova 1990 series:

Scofield's historic association with Miles Davis
jettisoned him to prominence.

Yes, I imagine Miles in his time must have jettisoned quite a
number of young musicians.


From: RICKS::REISERT "Jim -- HLO2-3/D13 -- DTN 225-4440"
To: desperado
Subj: Lotus isn't just spreadsheets any more...

From _Boston Computer Currents_, Vol. 5, #7, July 1990, p. 14

"From Lotus, With Love"

Lotus Development Corp. (Cambridge, Mass.), long known for its social
consciousness, is once more making a contribution, and I don't mean some
corporate check written ceremoniously in the president's office.

This time, Lotus is offering a deeply personal love letter to the world,
in the form of a book of poetry written by Lotus employees, family, and
friends, to benefit AIDS care.

For many, the beauty of the computer world is its shining logic,
mathematical symmetry and safe distance from human emotion. This book
embodies none of that. This book is from the hearts of the people who make
up Lotus and it could well change forever your perception of what a giant
corporation is.

Here is a small sample of poetry, by an anonymous writer with the
pseudonym of Miroslav Jarek.

Obbligato I

...we are
travelling now, we
are shaking earth
and travelling, we
are crossing boundaries,
we are leading
ourselves for once
others will follow.

"With Love, Lotus," a 102-page softcover volume, can be obtained for a
$5.00 donation to: Lotus Development Corp., c/o Lovebook Order Fulfillment,
P.O. Box 9158, Cambridge, MA 02139. Or call 800/345-1043. Credit cards
accepted. Please refer to Lotus part number BK35215 when ordering
(seriously, joke).

- Marguerite Zientara

Right, and last week Lotus got a love letter from Richard Stallman and
Patrick Winston in the form of a picket line protesting their "look and
feel" lawsuits. The complaint is that Lotus isn't living up to the
sentiments of the poem printed here. That is, they crossed boundaries and
then locked the door behind them. Does Lotus fix bugs in their poetry?

The Stallman organization, the League for Programming Freedom, is staging
regular demos outside Lotus. Write to Stallman at
He just got one of them MacArthur Foundation Genius Grants.

Suggested slogans for signs at the demo, from their press release:


and, big finish now,


At their last demo, they were doing "1-2-3-4" type cheers, but counting in
hex. Surely we can do a little better than that. Let's see . . .


or maybe





From: VAXUUM::VMSDEV::CAFARELLA "Tom Cafarella, VMS Availability"
Subj: Self-descriptive word?


Is there a misspelling in this excerpt from Desperado?

in the hopes that there will be time for the cream to rise to the
top and the sludge to sink to the bottom before I go to press. (I
also correct some mispellings and do a little reformatting, delete
the Internet footers, and sometimes redistribute only part of a

Tom Caf

Sometimes I'm so subtle I elude even myself. In my "40,000 words" book, I
put a mark next to each word I look up, each time I look it up. "Misspell"
has six marks, one just added.

From: DICKNS::F_MCGOWAN "Frank, 223-4029, PKO3-1/D30"
Subj: The state surrenders (well, sort of)

I couldn't quite credit my ears or eyes the other night, but I could swear
I saw a Public Service Announcement on one of the local TV stations, urging
the citizenry of the Commonwealth to (gasp): "Stop on red"!

Now I'm not one of the cranky anti-taxers (though I don't think that makes
me "pro" tax) always grousing about waste and inefficiency in state gummint;
but it does strike me as a touch ludicrous to spend money telling people
why it's a good idea to come to a full stop at the next red light they
encounter, when the simple expedient of having a state trooper at the inter-
section of Rtes 2 and 126 would have the doubly-beneficial effect of adding
considerable income to the state's coffers and getting across the very
message contained in the ad. I'm sure we'd cover the cost of the ad in the
period from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. the first Monday he or she started enforcing
the law. Or am I missing something?


From: ATSE::BLOCK "Mother Earth has Cancer"
Subj: Ya know, this almost makes sense...

In article <>,
Newsgroups: rec.humor.funny
Subject: Dark Sucker

For years it has been believed that electric bulbs emitted
light. However, recent information has proven otherwise. Electric
headlight bulbs don't emit light; they suck dark. Thus, we will
call these bulbs DARK SUCKERS. The Dark Sucker Theory proves the
existence of dark, that dark has mass heavier than that of light,
and that dark is faster than light.

The BASIS OF THE DARK SUCKER THEORY is that electric bulbs
suck dark. Take for example the dark suckers in the room where
you are. There is less dark right next to them than there is
elesewhere. The larger the dark sucker, the greater its capacity
to suck dark. Dark suckers in a parking lot have a much greater
capacity than the ones in this room. As with all things, dark suckers
don't last forever. Once they are full of dark, they can no longer
suck. This is proven by the black spot on a full dark sucker.

white wick. You will notice that after first use, the wick turns
black, representing all the dark which has been sucked into it. If
you hold a pencil next to the wick of an operating candle, the tip
will turn black, because it got in the way of the dark flowing into
the candle. Unfortunately, these primitive dark suckers have a very
limited range.

There are also PORTABLE DARK SUCKERS. The bulbs in these
can't handle all of the dark by themselves, and must be aided by dark
storage unit(s) in the handle. When the dark storage unit is full,
it must be either emptied or replaced before the portable dark
sucker can operate again.

DARK HAS MASS: When dark goes into a dark sucker, friction
from this mass generates heat. Thus, it is not wise to touch an
operating dark sucker. Candles present a special problem as the
dark must travel into the solid wick, instead of through glass. This
generates a great amount of heat. Thus, it can be very dangerous to
touch an operating candle.

DARK IS ALSO HEAVIER THAN LIGHT: If you go swimming, just below the
surface of a lake you will see a lot of light. If you swim deeper
and deeper, you notice it slowly gets darker and darker. When you
reach a depth of approximately 50 feet, you are in total darkness.
This is because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and
the lighter dark floats to the top.

The IMMENSE POWER OF DARK can be utilized to man's advantage.
We can collect the dark that has settled to the bottom of lakes, and
push it through turbines which generate electricity and helps push
dark to the ocean where it may be safely stored. Prior to turbines,
it was much more difficult to get dark from the rivers and lakes to
the ocean. The Indians recognized this problem and tried to solve
it. When on a river, in a canoe, traveling in the same direction as
the flow of dark, they paddled slowly, so as not to stop the flow of
dark; but when they traveled against the dark, they paddled quickly,
so as to help push the dark along its way.

Finally, we must prove that DARK IS FASTER THAN LIGHT. If you
were to stand in an illuminated room on front of a closed, dark closet,
then slowly open the closet door, you would see the light slowly enter
the closet; but since the dark is so fast, you would not be able to
see the dark leave the closet.

In conclusion, I would like to say that dark suckers make all
our lives much easier. So the next time you look at an electric bulb,
remember that it is indeed a dark sucker.

Credit to Randy Meers, Doug Dahlke, and Denny Goodrich.

Edited by Brad Templeton. MAIL your jokes (jokes ONLY) to fu...@looking.ON.CA
Attribute the joke's source if at all possible. A Daemon will auto-reply.


From: DDIF::STERN "Grub first, then ethics"
Subj: Apropos of nothing... some snippets from today's newspapers

Items from today's newspapers:

From the Boston Globe, quoting Simon Hoggart in the London Observer:

"Del Shannon had this big, tough, barrel-chested voice, yet at the
key moment in his biggest hit, 'Runaway,' it leapt into an alarming
falsetto, as if a mugger had grabbed his testicles. He nearly always
used the same trick, though in his worst song, the unforgivable
'Swiss Maid,' it appeared as a yodel which sounded like the siren on
the Third World police van."

From Tim Horgan's column in the Boston Herald: A baseball statistics
junkie named Hermes has calculated what he calls the single most
important stat for pitchers: the percent difference between the
pitcher's won-lost average and the won-lost average of the teams he
pitched for. The leaders in this category aren't suprising. They
include the greatest pitcher of all time, the greatest lefty of the
modern era, and so on. The real surprise is the gap between the leader
and the rest---Roger Clemens, whose won-lost percentage is .688 for
Red Sox teams whose won-lost percentage is .530. Here's the list
that Horgan gives:

1. Roger Clemens .158
2. Dwight Gooden .115
6. Tom Seaver .101
8. Cy Young .100
9. Lefty Grove .099
11. Smokey Joe Wood .098
14. Sal Maglie .090
15. Sandy Koufax .085
25. Tex Hughson .065
28. Bob Gibson .060
31. Warren Spahn .053
32. (tie) Jim Palmer .051
and Ferguson Jenkins
36. Nolan Ryan .017

How did Babe Ruth do in the years he was both great pitcher and batsman?

From: TLE::AMARTIN "Alan H. Martin"
Subj: RE: Desperado #3033: A slim young mother

>Ah, the mysterious insertion and removal of "data", always a difficulty.
>Yes, why would somebody take out the sequence numbers (a specialite de
>FORTRAN) and then forward it on to where I ended up with it? Maybe the
>message passed through a FORTRAN compiler somewhere along the way?

Maybe it was passed through PIP-10 twice with /E and /T switches:

@ty kl1026""::hlp:pip.hlp
/E For card reader input, ignores card sequence numbers. In
other words, this switch replaces characters in columns
73-80 with spaces. This switch can be used with the /A,
/C, /G, /J, /M, /N, /O, /Q, /S, /X, and /Z switches.
/T Deletes trailing spaces from the transferred file. Keeps
one space and the line terminator for an all-space line.
You may use /C, /S, and /Z with this switch.

Makes GNUecho look positively derivitive, eh?

Still my favorite user interface, mentioned here many times before, was
SORT-11, which took arguments for ascending or descending sorts:

N meant asceNding
O meant Opposite of ascending


From: TLE::AMARTIN "Alan H. Martin"
Subj: RE: Desperado #3033: A slim young mother

>In particular, we have one of the few neutrino-production facilities in the
>world. We could offer to produce a NEW neutrino, one WHICH HAS NEVER EXISTED
>BEFORE, give it a name you suggest, and CATAPULT IT OFF INTO THE DISTANT

I thought neutrinos have had a rest mass for a few years now.

Then again, I'm sure that while Fermilab's neutrino generator can't
exactly create them at the speed of light, it can probably get them to
approach it close enough for government work.



From: BEDAZL::BEAIRSTO "Robert B., Parker St."
To: Closet::T_Parmenter
Subj: Apres pi le deluge?


I wondered how many people will write in to say that the pi mnemonics agree for
thirteen digits, disagree on one digit, then agree again for the next seven

No, I don't know which is correct. For non-mathematical reasons I suspect the
second ditty: the suggestion of error in 'Euclidian arts imperfect are, my boy'
and repeated use of arts in the next line make me think this may be an example
of the dark side of memory aids. Or of a poet with a sense of mischief and a
very dry sense of humor.





"Beans without the Bang! Packed by an (Old F*rt) Idaho Farmer.
Far*less Chili Makin's. Are you a chili lover who suffers from the
usociable side effects of eating good chili? Then try my fa*tless
recipe . . it just might help. But if it doesn't, what the heck,
May all yours' be quiet little ones . . . $4.95 CRM Farms, Route 1,
Box 37, Gooding, Idaho."

Also offers caps, t-shirts, men's briefs, and popcorn.
No ZIP code provided and, I'll bet, none needed.




From "The Book of Imaginary Beings" by Jorge Luis Borges

The Squonk (Lacrimacorpus dissolvens)

The range of the squonk is very limited. Few people outside of
Pennsylvania have ever heard of the quaint beast, which is said to
be fairly common in the hemlock forests of that State. The squonk
is of a very retiring disposition, generally traveling about at
twilight and dusk. Because of its misfitting skin, which is
covered with warts and moles, it is always unhappy; in fact it is
said, by poeple who are best able to judge, to ge the most morbid
of beasts. Hunters who are good at tracking are able to follow a
squonk by its tear-stained trail, for the animal weeps constantly.
When cornered and escape seems impossible, or when surprised and
frightened, it may even dissolve itself in tears. Squonk hunters
are most successful on frosty moonlight nights, when tears are
shed slowly and the animal dislikes moving about; it may be heard
weeping under the boughs of dark hemlock trees. Mr. J. P.
Wentling, formerly of Pennsylvania, but now at St. Anthony Park,
Minnesota, had a disappointing experience with a squonk near Mont
Alto. He made a clever capture by mimicking the squonk and
inducing it to hop into a sack, in which he was carrying it home,
when suddnly the burden lightened and the weeping ceased.
Wentling unslung the sack and looked in. There was nothing but
tears and bubbles.

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods,
With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts




From: RICKS::REISERT "Jim -- HLO2-3/D13"
To: Desperado
Subj: Stuck shift key poetry

I wonder if this guy knows he's dealing with thorpes.

From: (Tom Schiavinato)
Subject: Stuck shift key poetry

The following poem is excerpted with permission from Lee Leitner's
"Viewpoint" column which is featured in a bimonthly periodical for
Prime INFORMATION users called INFOCUS magazine. The original authors
were Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese of Calvin College & Seminary of
Grand Rapids, MI.

FYI - a "wahka" is the decidedly "proper" (by popular vote) name for
the characters ">" and "<". This is in spite of INFOCUS readers of
Denver who still refer to them as "Norkies". The Michigan crowd
apparently has corrupted the spelling to "waka".

To wit, it is -
"...a poem we think is about the lowly wahka. Maybe. Well,
perhaps---we're really not sure what the poem actually is
about. Here it goes:"



Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret at back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat tick dollar under-score,
Percent splat waka waka number four,
Ampersand right-paren dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket tilde tilde CRASH.

Well, "waka waka" is fun to say, but I can't believe that truly geeky nerds
could have allowed the confusion of two Boolean operator characters. I
think you'd really have to say greater waka and lesser waka, each of which
scans the same as waka waka and leaves us with:


Greater waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret at back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat tick dollar under-score,
Percent splat lesser waka number four,
Ampersand right-paren dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket tilde tilde CRASH.

So, now it's an original work by me through the magic of universal solvent.

Some people say "in fingernails" for "in parentheses".

From: pa...@Eng.Sun.COM (Bob Page)
Subject: Programming humor

How to Determine Which Programming Language You're Using:

The proliferation of modern programming languages which seem to have
stolen countless features from each other sometimes makes it difficult to
remember which language you're using. This guide is offered as a public
service to help programmers in such dilemmas.

C: You shoot yourself in the foot.

Assembly: You crash the OS and overwrite the root disk. The system
administrator arrives and shoots you in the foot. After
a moment of contemplation, the administrator shoots himself
in the foot and then hops around the room rabidly shooting
at everyone in sight.

APL: You hear a gunshot, and there's a hole in your foot, but you
don't remember enough linear algebra to understand what the
hell happened.

C++: You accidently create a dozen instances of yourself and shoot
them all in the foot. Providing emergency medical care
is impossible since you can't tell which are bitwise copies
and which are just pointing at others and saying, "that's
me, over there."

Ada: If you are dumb enough to actually use this language, the
United States Department of Defense will kidnap you,
stand you up in front of a firing squad, and tell the
soldiers, "Shoot at his feet."

Modula/2: After realizing that you can't actually accomplish anything
in the language, you shoot yourself in the head.

csh,etc.: You can't remember the syntax for anything, so you spend five hours
reading man pages before giving up. You then shoot the computer
and switch to C.

Smalltalk: You spend so much time playing with the graphics and windowing
system that your boss shoots you in the foot, takes away your
workstation, and makes you develop in COBOL on a character

You shoot yourself in each toe, iteratively, until you run out
of toes, then you read in the next foot and repeat. If you run
out of bullets, you continue anyway because you have no exception-
processing ability.

You shoot yourself in the foot with a musket. The musket is
esthetically fascinating, and the wound baffles the adolescent
medic in the emergency room.

USEing a COLT45 HANDGUN, AIM gun at LEG.FOOT, THEN place
return HANDGUN to HOLSTER. Check whether shoelace needs
to be retied.

Shoot self in foot with water pistol. On big systems, continue
until entire lower body is waterlogged.

You consume all available system resources, including all the
offline bullets. The DataProcessing&Payroll Department doubles
its size, triples its budget, acquires four new mainframes, and
drops the original one on your foot.

You grab your foot with your hand, then rewrite your hand to
be a bullet. The act of shooting the original foot then
changes your hand/bullet into yet another foot (a left foot).

You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with
which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun
with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the
gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds...

You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with
which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun
with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the
gun with which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds...
...but none of the other appendages are aware of this happening.

You put your foot in your mouth, then bite it off.


From: NEMO::COOL_MAN "Cool, man, cool"
Subj: step outside and say that

The description of a course-offering I just got includes the following

Experience using a higher level language (i.e. PASCAL or BASIC)

Of course, it was a hardwarish course...


From: DECWRL::"ste...@Think.COM" "Steve Anthony"
Subj: Religious wars

In the interests of starting a good flame-fest out in Desperado-land, I
enclose the following for your delight and edification:

From: g...@Think.COM (Guy Steele)

It appears that when I sent out that text describing Lisp as a house
and C as a pickup truck, not everyone recognized the line

20-Apr-88 02:21 Skef....@SPICE.CS.CMU.EDU See, Lithp, See!

as a mail header. (I did, because when I was at CMU I used to use
the mail-handling program that generates that format.) Some of you
therefore got the wrong impression that I was the author.

To give credit where it is due: Skef Wholey came up with that
metaphor and wrote the text two years ago (April 1988). I came
across it today and remailed it for your dining and dancing pleasure.



Lisp is a big, comfortable house. It costs serious money. It comes
furnished, with countless rooms full of useful appliances and fun toys,
toys that can be used (or misused) as appliances, and appliances that
are so fun to use they may as well be toys. The furniture is
comfortable. There are very few sharp objects or corners in the house;
it's hard to hurt yourself unless you really try. The most dangerous
(and to some, the most fun) part of the house is the basement, where
strange, primitive, powerful machines sit humming in the darkness. (You
don't have to go down to the basement unless you want to.) Building
additions onto the house (above ground) is easy, especially if you've
got a big yard.

C is pickup truck with a matress thrown in the back. You can take it
anywhere: down an alley, up a mountain, or even into someone's basement
(!). Cost is nothing compared to a house, and it lets you get your job
done, but there's no chance in hell you're gonna spend you retirement
there. Scattered all over the bed of the truck, on all sides of your
mattress, and up in the cab, filling the passenger seat, are various
nasty tools. Saws of different sizes (char, short, int, long),
screwdrivers, hammers. Everything you need to, say, build a house.
Sometimes as you drive along the tools bounce around and hit you. Your
body is covered with bruises and your hands with calluses, but you think
that makes you look tough.

Great analogy! Lets extend it a little....

What about when you want to build a bridge or a house? The lisp
programmer thinks about it a little bit and says "It won't fit into any
of my rooms so it's not worth building!"

Also, what about the operating system? Where does UNIX fit in? Its a
TEAMSTERS union card of course! The C programmer is happy to be a
member of the union. He can get together with a whole bunch of other
guys with pickup trucks and build almost anything. Everybody's a
little specialized. Some guys have makefiles and shell scripts in the
back of their trucks. Others have lex and yacc. Everything fits
together (more or less) and everybody goes out for a beer at the USENIX
conference after its all done.

The poor lisp programmer is baffled by all this. He needs a union card
to get a job, but he doesn't need anybody's help to build anything he's
interested in. To make matters worse, every now and then union members
invite themselves into his house! They track their muddy boots over his
nice carpets and they run ugly wires down into his basement while
mumbling about "making good use of all those wasted cycles"!

-- Girome

If the universal solvent splashes the great Guy Steele, how can I hope to
avoid occasional dissolution?

From: CURIE::KELLEHER "reality is a local phenomenon - Tom"
Subj: On the bathroom wall in the Cornell Physics building...

The square root of three equals two for
large values of three.

From: DECWRL::"nli!"
To: closet::parmenter,
Subj: C Code From Hell

|T|he following is this year's winner of the Usenet Obfuscated
`-' C contest. It is nothing short of astounding. It can be
compiled and run, too: the run output make more sense if
you know that the author's name is Westley.


double time, me= !0XFACE,

not; int rested, get, out;

main(ly, die) char ly, **die ;{

signed char lotte,

dear; (char)lotte--;

for(get= !me;; not){

1 - out & out ;lie;{

char lotte, my= dear,

**let= !!me *!not+ ++die;


"The gloves are OFF this time, I detest you, snot\n\0sed GEEK!");

do {not= *lie++ & 0xF00L* !me;

#define love (char*)lie -

love 1s *!(not= atoi(let

[get -me?


(char)lotte: my- *love -

'I' - *love - 'U' -

'I' - (long) - 4 - 'U' ])- !!

(time =out= 'a'));} while( my - dear

&& 'I'-1l -get- 'a'); break;}}


(char)*lie++, (char)*lie++; hell:0, (char)*lie;

get *out* (short)ly -0-'R'- get- 'a'^rested;

do {auto*eroticism,

that; puts(*( out

- 'c'

-('P'-'S') +die+ -2 ));}while(!"you're at it");

for (*((char*)&lotte)^=

(char)lotte; (love ly) [(char)++lotte+

!!0xBABE];){ if ('I' -lie[ 2 +(char)lotte]){ 'I'-1l ***die; }

else{ if ('I' * get *out* ('I'-1l **die[ 2 ])) *((char*)&lotte) -=

'4' - ('I'-1l); not; for(get=!

get; !out; (char)*lie & 0xD0- !not) return!!



do{ not* putchar(lie [out

*!not* !!me +(char)lotte]);

not; for(;!'a';);}while(

love (char*)lie);{

register this; switch( (char)lie

[(char)lotte] -1s *!out) {

char*les, get= 0xFF, my; case' ':

*((char*)&lotte) += 15; !not +(char)*lie*'s';

this +1s+ not; default: 0xF +(char*)lie;}}}

get - !out;

if (not--)

goto hell;

exit( (char)lotte);}


From: CURIE::KELLEHER "reality is a local phenomenon - Tom"
Subj: Obfuscated C Contest winner

From: DECWRL::"" "Adam D Liss"
Subj: Winner of the 1990 Obfuscated C contest

This is an actual, compile-able, runnable C program! The author's
name is Westley, and the program was given the same name. If you
compile it (which is complicated; you have to tell the C compiler to
do all sorts of gymnastics) and type "westley 3" it will print

Westley loves me.
Westley loves me, not.
Westley loves me.

Anyway, the C code is far more interesting than the output.

I understand this won't compile in VAX 'C', not that I've tried it. Is
that bad form, to circulate untested code? I'll bet some of you've seen
this a dozen times and some not at all. Ah well, it's only ones and zeros
as Andy Bodge says.

Tomorrow, I'll be 50 years old. And, no, it's no big deal to me, except
we're having friends and cheeseburgers and brewskies, and a present or
two. And maybe some fireworks. The only birthday that ever got to me was
my 25th, when it dawned on me that I wasn't going to live forever. I put
that thought right behind me and haven't worried about a birthday since
then. Phyllis Diller is 73. She asks in her act: "Who wants to be 73?"
The answer: "People who are 72." There are a lot worse things than
getting old. World War I started on my birthday in 1914.

So, if one or two of you would file this away so it'll get backed up so
I'll live forever, I'd appreciate it.

Good news, by the way, I've dug out the Desperado archives and I'll be
putting them in a public directory, accessible at least to Digits. Is
there some place outside DEC where a read-only directory could reside for
the benefit of nonDigits? I have no idea how big the damn thing is
because we haven't loaded the tape yet.

So, best regards to all,
Your buddy,

Tom Parmenter

PS - I've asked hundreds of people, but only two have figured out that I
was a Leo. If there's anything at all to astrology, I'm the most obvious
Leo I ever saw.


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