DEEn Dictionary De - En
DeEs De - Es
DePt De - Pt
 Vocabulary trainer

Spec. subjects Grammar Abbreviations Random search Preferences
Search in Sprachauswahl
Search for:
Mini search box
Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

Missouri Town Changes Name to 'Linux'

LINUX, MO -- The small Missouri town of Linn, county seat of Osage County,
announced yesterday that it will be henceforth called 'Linux'. Mayor Bob Farrow
said, "Linn needed something to put it on the map. A few weeks ago my daughter
mentioned that she installed Linux on her computer and how great she thought it
was. I thought to myself, 'Self, changing the town's name to 'Linux' could be
an opportunity to attract attention -- and money -- to our town. We could even
hold a Linux Convention at the community center.' So I approached the city
council about the idea, and they loved it. The rest is history."

Farrow's daughter is organizing the Linux Linux User Group. She hopes to be
able to hold a Linux Convention this fall. "The Linn, er, Linux community
center probably won't be big enough, we'll probably have to hold it in nearby
Jefferson City," she said.

The mayor does have one reservation. "How the hell do you pronounce Linux?" One
of the mayor's contenders in the next election, Mr. Noah Morals, says he will
start an ad campaign calling Bob Farrow "the Incumbent Liar of LIE-nucks".
Needless to say, the mayor usually pronounces Linux as "LIH-nucks".
Linux Rally Held in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, PA -- Thousands of Linux advocates gathered at the Pennsylvania
state capitol building earlier today. They were protesting the state's recent
three year deal with Microsoft to install Windows NT on all state computer
systems. "Whatever pointy haired boss made this deal ought to be shot on
sight," one protestor exclaimed. "Windows NT is a piece of [expletive] compared
to Linux. The taxpayers of Pennsylvania are going to be sorry three years from
now when this 'deal' concludes. The state has sold its soul to Satan [Bill

Brief hostilities broke out when a group of police officers armed with riot
gear descended on the protestors. After the police threatened to use tear gas,
the protestors threw thousands of Linux CDs at them. Once the supply of CDs was
depleted, the protest became peaceful again. "I saw several policemen pick up
Linux CDs and put them in their pockets," one protestor noted.

The protest broke up a few minutes later once it was realized that the state
legislature wasn't in session. "We may have wasted our time today," one
advocate said, "But we'll be back later." State and Microsoft officials were
unavailable for comment at press time. How typical.
Red Hat Unveils New Ad Campaign

Linux distributor Red Hat has announced plans for a $650,000 ad campaign. The
ads will appear on several major newspapers as well as on a few selected
websites. "These ads will be targetted towards Windows users who are fed up but
aren't aware of any OS alternatives," a Red Hat spokesman said. "We feel that
there is a large audience for this."

One of the ads will be a half page spread showing two computers side-by-side: a
Wintel and a Linux box. The title asks "Is your operating system ready for the
year 2000?" Both computers have a calendar/clock display showing. The Windows
box shows "12:00:01AM -- January 1, 1900" while the Linux box shows "12:00:01AM
-- January 1, 2000". The tagline at the bottom says "Linux -- a century ahead
of the competition."
Open Source Beer Revolution

Yesterday, Red Hat introduced an 'open source' beer called Red Brew. The
recipes for making the beer are available for free over the Net, and
microbrewery kits are available at low cost from Red Hat. Says a Red Hat
spokesman, "With the proliferation of free (open source) software, it was only
a matter of time before open source beer became reality. After all, the only
thing hackers like more than free software is free beer!"

Following the Red Hat annoucement, other companies are racing to launch their
own beer 'distribution'. Caldera is developing an OpenBrew beer. Meanwhile,
Patrick Volkerding is working on a SlackBeer distribution, and DebianBrew is
expected soon.

Traditional breweries and beer distributors are not thrilled about open source
beer. "This is ludicrous! People want beer that comes from time-tested, secret
recipes -- not beer from recipes invented overnight! Open source is a fad," a
spokesman for Buddwizzer Beer, Inc. said. In addition, other beverage
distributors are nervous. "First open source beer, and soon open source soft
drinks! Before we know it, we'll have RedCoke and SlackPepsi! This open source
plague must be stopped before it eats into our bottom line! Don't quote me on
that last sentence," the CEO of Croak-a-Cola said.
Linux Infiltrates Windows NT Demo

SILICON VALLEY, CA -- Attendees at the Microsoft ActiveDemo Conference held
this week in San Jose were greeted by a pleasant surprise yesterday: Linux.
Somehow a group of Linux enthusiasts were able to replace a Windows NT box with
a Linux box right before the "ActiveDemo" of Windows NT 5 beta. "I have no clue
how they were able to pull off this prank," a Microserf spokesman said. "Rest
assured, Microsoft will do everything to investigate and prosecute the Linux
nuts who did this. Our bottom line must be protected."

Bill Gates said, "I was showing off the new features in Windows NT 5 when I
noticed something odd about the demo computer. It didn't crash. Plus, the font
used on the screen wasn't MS San Serif -- trust me, I know. My suspicions were
confirmed when, instead of the "Flying Windows" screensaver, a "Don't Fear the
Penguins" screensaver appeared. The audience laughed and applauded for five
straight minutes. It was so embarrasing -- even more so than the pie incident.

One attendee said, "Wow! This Linux is cool -- it didn't crash once during the
entire demo! I'd like to see NT do that." Another asked, "You guys got any
Linux CDs? I want one. Forget about vaporware NT." Yet another remarked, "I
didn't know it was possible to hack Linux to make it look like NT. I can
install Linux on my company's computers without my boss knowing!"
Take this short test to find out if you are a Dothead.

1. Do you submit articles to Slashdot and then reload the main page every 3.2
    seconds to see if your article has been published yet?
2. Have you made more than one "first comment!" post within the past week?
3. Have you ever participated in a Gnome vs. KDE or a Linux vs. FreeBSD
    flamewar on Slashdot?
4. Do you write jokes about Slashdot?
5. Do you wake up at night, go to the bathroom, and fire up your web browser
    to get your Slashdot fix on the way back?
6. Do you dump your date at the curb so you can hurry home to visit Slashdot?
7. Do you think of Slashdot when you order a taco at a restaurant?
8. Are you a charter member of the Rob Malda Fan Club?
9. Did you lease a T3 line so you could download Slashdot faster?
10. Is Slashdot your only brower's bookmark?
11. Do you get a buzz when your browser finally connects to Slashdot?
12. Do you panic when your browser says "Unable to connect to"?
13. Have you even made a New Year's Resolution to cut back on Slashdot
    access... only to visit it at 12:01?
Microsoft Acquires Nothing

REDMOND, WA -- In an unprecedented move, Microsoft refrained from acquiring any
rival companies for a full week. "I can't believe it," one industry analyst
noted. "This is the first time in years that I haven't read any headlines about
Microsoft acquiring something."

The lack of Microsoft assimilation this week left a vacuum in computer industry
publications. "Microsoft acquisition stories make up 10% of our headlines," an
editor at Ziff-Slavis said. "We had to scramble to fill this void. We ran some
controversial Jessie Burst columns instead, hoping that we could recoup ad
revenue from people reading all the flames in the Talk Back forums. Jessie
Burst forums account for 15% of our total ad revenue."
Stallman's Latest Proclamation

Richard M. Stallman doesn't want you to say "Windows" anymore. He is now
advocating that people call this OS by its real name:
Microsoft-Xerox-Apple-Windows. This proclamation comes on the heels of his
controversial stand that Linux should be called GNU/Linux. RMS explained in a
Usenet posting, "Calling Microsoft's OS 'Windows' is a grave inaccuracy. Xerox
and Apple both contributed significant ideas and innovations to this OS. Why
should Microsoft get all the credit?"

RMS also hinted that people shouldn't refer to Microsoft's web browser as IE.
"It should really be called Microsoft-Spyglass-Mosaic-Internet-Explorer. Again,
how much credit does Microsoft really deserve for this product? Much of the
base code was licensed from Spyglass."

Many industry pundits are less than thrilled about RMS' proclamation. The
editor of Windows Magazine exclaimed, "What?!?! Yeah, we'll rename our magazine
Microsoft-Xerox-Apple-Windows Magazine. That just rolls off the tongue!" A
Ziff-Davis columnist noted, "Think of all the wasted space this would cause. If
we spelled out everything like this, we'd have headlines like, 'Microsoft
Releases Service Pack 5 for Microsoft-Xerox-Apple-Windows Neutered Technology
4.0' Clearly this is unacceptable."
Tux Penguin Boxing Match

LAS VEGAS, NV -- The unofficial Linux mascot Tux the Penguin will face his arch
rival the BSD Daemon in a boxing match this Saturday night. The match is part
of the International Computer Mascot Boxing Federation's First Annual World
Championship Series. The winner will advance to face one of the Intel "Bunny

Boxing pundits favor Tux as the winner. Last week Tux won his first match in
the Championship Series against Wilbur the Gimp. "The Gimp didn't have a
chance," one spectator said. "With Tux's ability to run at top speeds of over
100mph, I don't see how he could possibly lose." The BSD Daemon, however, is
certainly a formidible opponent. While boxing rules prohibit the Daemon from
using his patented pitchfork, his pointy horns are permitted in the ring.

Some observers think the whole Computer Mascot Boxing Federation is a fake.
"WWF is all scripted," one sports writer pointed out. "And so is this. You
actually think that a penguin is capable of boxing? The idea of a penguin
fighting a demon is patently absurd. This whole Championship Series has no
doubt been scripted. It's probably nothing more than two little kids in
penguin and demon suits duking it out in a boxing ring. What a waste of time."
Could You Get Fired for Visiting Slashdot?

PADUCAH, KY -- Matt Johnson, an employee at Paradigm Shift Consulting, Inc.,
was fired from his programming job because of his addiction to Slashdot.
Johnson typically visited Slashdot several times a day during working hours.
Citing productivity problems, Johnson's boss gave him the pink slip and
instituted a 'NoDot' policy -- no visiting Slashdot or related sites from the
office, ever.  Now Johnson has filed a lawsuit, claiming that his Slashdot
addiction is protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Matt Johnson explained, "They discriminated against me because I'm a Dothead.
Drug abuse and alcoholism are often considered handicaps.  Why not Slashdot
addiction?"  Johnson's boss sees the situation differently.   "Matt never got
any work done.  He was always visiting Slashdot, Freshmeat, or some other
nerd website.  And when he wasn't, he suffered withdrawl symptoms and
couldn't think straight.  A few months ago he spent eight consecutive hours
posting comments in a KDE vs. GNOME flame war.  I tried to offer assistance
to overcome his addiction, but he refused. Enough is enough."

The company's 'NoDot' policy has been under fire as well.  One anonymous
employee said, "We can't visit Slashdot because of Matt's addiction.  This
just sucks.  I really don't see anything wrong with visiting Slashdot during
breaks or after hours."
Operation Desert Slash

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- High officials in the US military are planning on putting
the  'Slashdot Effect' to use against Iraq. Pentagon computer experts think
that the Slashdot Effect could topple key Net-connected Iraqi computer
systems.  Such a Denial of Service attack could prove instrumental when the
US invades.

One Pentagon official said, "If I had a million dollars for every server that
crashed as a result of being linked on Slashdot, I'd be richer than Bill
Gates.  The Slashdot Effect is a very powerful weapon that the US military
wants to tap into."

Rob Malda has been contacted by top military brass.  According to anonymous
sources, Malda will play a key part in the so-called "Operation Desert
Slash".  Supposedly Malda will post several Slashdot articles with links to
critical Iraqi websites right when the US invasion is set to begin.
Meanwhile, Pentagon operatives will begin a series of Denial of Service
attacks on other key Iraqi computer systems. One source notes, "Since many
Iraqi systems rely on Microsoft software, this task should be relatively
Linux Dominates Academic Research

A recent survey of colleges and high school reveals that Linux, Open Source
Software, and Microsoft are favorite topics for research projects.  Internet
Censorship, a popular topic for the past two years, was supplanted by Biology
of Penguins as another of this year's most popular subjects for research

"The Internet has changed all the rules," one college professor told
Humorix.  "Nobody wants to write papers about traditional topics like the
death penalty, freedom of speech, abortion, juvenile crime, etc. Most of the
research papers I've seen the past year have been computer related, and most
of the reference material has come from the Net.  This isn't necessarily
good; there's a lot of crap on the Net.  One student tried to use 'Bob's
Totally Wicked Anti-Microsoft Homepage of Doom' and 'The Support Group for
People Used by Microsoft' as primary sources of information for his paper
about Microsoft."

A high school English teacher added, "Plagarism is a problem with the Net.
One of my students 'wrote' a brilliant piece about the free software
revolution. Upon further inspection, however, almost everything was stolen
from Eric S. Raymond's website.  I asked the student, "What does noosphere
mean?"  He responded, 'New-what?'  Needless to say, he failed the class."
The Movement Formerly Known As Open Source

The battle over the Open Source trademark is heating up.  Software in the
Public Interest and the Open Source Initiative both hold competing claims to
the trademark.  In order to put an end to the infighting, a group of free
software advocates have founded the Association for the Movement Formerly
Known as Open Source (AMFKOS)

One AMFKOS founder said, "I find it ironic that a trademark representing free
software is itself proprietary.  This situation must change.  We propose that
the free software movement adopt another name besides 'Open Source'.
Hopefully then we can all Get-Back-To-Coding(tm) instead of fighting over
Bruce Perens' and Eric Raymond's egos."

Rumor has it that Richard Stallman plans to mount a campaign to
promote the phrase "GNU/Free Software" in place of "Open Source".
In addition, the terms "Ajar Source", "Unlocked Source", "Nude Source",
"Unclosed Source", and "Just-Type-make Software" have all
been proposed by various Usenet or Slashdot posters.
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #1

Linux-of-the-Month Club
Price: US$60 for a one year membership
Producer: CheapNybbles; 1-800-LINUX-CD

It's the gift that keeps on giving.  Every month a CD-ROM with a different
Linux distribution or BSD Unix flavor will be sent in the mail.  This is the
perfect gift for those that have been using Slackware since day one and
haven't gotten around to trying another distribution.  Or, for those friends
or relatives that still cling to Windows, a Linux-of-the-Month club
membership is the perfect way to say, "Your OS sucks".
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #5

AbsoluteZero(tm) Cryogenic Refrigerator
$29,999.95 for economy model at Cryo-Me-A-River, Inc.

The pundits have been hyping new technology allowing your home appliances to
have Internet access. Most people aren't too keen with the thought of their
refrigerator sharing an IP address with their can opener.

But with the new AbsoluteZero(tm) Refrigerator, that might change. This is not
a fridge for your food -- it's a fridge for your overclocked, overheating CPU.
You stick your computer inside, bolt the door shut, turn the temperature down
to 5 degrees Kelvin, and you've got the perfect environment for accelerating
your CPU to 1 Terahertz or more.

This cryogenic cooling system may not actually reach absolute zero, but it
comes mighty close. Unfortunately, the AbsoluteZero(tm) is the size of a small
house, consumes a constant stream of liquid nitrogen, and requires it's own
nuclear reactor (not included). But that's a small price to pay for the
ability to play Quake 3 at 100,000 frames per second.
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #7

Bluescreen Computer Case
US$27.97 at Bud's Beige Box Bazaar

Real Geeks may not admit to using Windows, but there's still countless geeks
out there who must suffer through the humiliation of using Windows while at
work. The patent-not-pending Bluescreen Case, though, will ease the stress of
working with Microsoft "solutions".

This computer case is very similar to other beige boxes, but with one
important difference: the reboot button is covered with a picture of Bill
Gates. When the machine bluescreens for the millionth time, all you have to do
is punch Bill Gates in the face as hard as you can, and the computer will
restart. This provides invaluable therapeutic stress relief.
Humorix Holiday Gift Idea #9

$499.95/year; 1-888-BYE-SPAM

This detective firm is not what you'd expect. Instead of tracking murderers or
unfaithful husbands, this band of rogue private investigators goes after
something just as sinister -- spammers. For a modest annual retainer fee,
these spam detectives will track down the source of every piece of spam you

Using the latest in forensic technology, they will bring you the virtual scalp
of the spammer -- their name, home address, social-security number, and, more
importantly, credit card numbers. At this point you are free to pursue the
evil spammer as you see fit.

If your friend or relative is sick of receiving wave after wave of "Find Out
Anything About Anyone" spams, give them a subscription to Dial-A-Detective,
and they'll find out anything about any spammer -- for real.
Microsoft Open Source Solitaire

REDMOND, WA -- In a first attempt at "embrace-and-extend" of open source
software, Microsoft will release its popular Solitaire and FreeCell games as
open source under the MILA (Microsoft Innovative License Agreement).
According to a Microsoft press release, the Visual C++ source code for the
two games will be available from the Microsoft website "in the first quarter"
(no year was specified).

Industry pundits hail the move as revolutionary.  "Microsoft's release of its
most popular Windows feature as open source software demonstrates just how
innovative the company really is.  The DoJ is clearly barking up the wrong
tree," wrote one Ziff-Davis flunkie. One executive at a large company said,
"Freely available source code is the best idea Microsoft has ever invented."

One Linux developer told Humorix, "Let's just hope some fool doesn't try to
port this thing to Linux.  Imagine the havoc that could ensue if a bunch of
core Linux contributors downloaded Solitaire and became addicted to it.  It
would be a disaster!  Linux and open source development would grind to a halt
while the hackers wasted their time playing Solitaire or FreeCell.  'Just one
more game...' they would say."
Linux Advocacy Crackdown

SHERIDAN, WY -- In an unprecedented blow to Linux advocacy, Aaron McAdams, an
employee at the Sheridan Try-N-Save Discount Store, was fired last week.
According to the store's general manager, McAdams was fired because "he
constantly rearranged items on shelves so that Linux-related books and
software boxes would be displayed more prominently than Windows merchandise."
McAdams' boss added, "If he would have spent as much time actually working as
he did hiding Windows books at the back of shelves, he wouldn't have received
the pink slip."

The general manager supplied Humorix with videotapes from the store's
security cameras showing McAdams in action.  In one scene, he takes a whole
stack of "...For Dummies" books and buries them in the Cheap Romance section,
an area of the store rarely visited by computer users.  In another, McAdams
can be plainly seen setting copies of Red Hat Linux in front of a large,
eye-catching display of various Microsoft products at the front of the
store.  Finally, at one point McAdams can be seen slapping huge tags reading
"DEMO DISPLAY BOX -- NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL 1999" on boxes of Windows 98.

McAdams disputes his bosses accusations.  "If he would spend more time
actually working instead of peering over security camera footage for hours on
end, this store might actually turn a profit for a change."

You are probably familiar with the "News for Nerds" site.
You've probably heard about the "Slashdot Effect".  Now, we want to
introduce a new term that could change your life: "Slashdot Baiting".

The Slashdot Effect is a significant source of traffic.  Lots of traffic.
Thousands of visitors within hours.  Thousands of eyeballs looking and
clicking at YOUR banner advertisements.  In short, the Slashdot Effect, if
properly utilized, can produce a significant amount of advertising revenue.

That's where we at MoneyDot Lucrative Marketing International Group, Inc.
come in.  We know how to exploit the Slashdot Effect.  We call our strategy
"Slashdot Baiting".  It's quite painless.  We have formulated 101 easy ways
to get your site mentioned on Slashdot.

Interested in pursuing Slashdot Baiting and obtaining financial
independence? Want to make $50,000 (or more!) within 90 days?

Then purchase MLM's "Slashdot Baiting Kit", which will contain everything
you need to know to put this powerful marketing force to work for YOU! We
also throw in a warranty: if your site isn't mentioned on Slashdot within 90
days of using this Kit, we'll give you your money back guaranteed!
Microsoft ActivePromo Campaign: "Frequent Upgrade Points"

Microsoft's PR masterminds are planning a massive marketing campaign,
code-named "ActivePromo 2000", to promote the upcoming release of Windows
2000 (scheduled for February 2001).  This marketing campaign will include a
"Frequent Upgrade Points" promotion.

Customers who purchase upgrades to Windows, Office, or other Microsoft
"solutions" will receive "frequent upgrade points" (FUPs) when they register
online.  These points, like Frequent Flyer Miles, can be redeemed in the
future for discounts on other Microsoft upgrades. This program, combined
with the fact that older versions of some Microsoft programs have glaring
Y2K problems, should be enough to convince many people to shell out big
bucks to upgrade to a more bloated Microsoft operating system. The company
hopes to eradicate 99% of Windows 3.x installations by 2003.
Microsoft ActivePromo Campaign: "Match Vaporware & Win!"

Microsoft's PR masterminds are planning a massive marketing campaign,
code-named "ActivePromo 2000", to promote the upcoming release of Windows
2000 (scheduled for February 2001).  This marketing campaign will include a
"Match Vaporware & Win!" promotion.

Microsoft will team up with a major fast-food chain (McDonalds, probably,
since it has the largest market share, but Burger King is another
possibility) for a special Windows 2000 promotion.  With every combo meal
purchase, the customer will receive a game token containing a date on it. If
the official release of Windows 2000 is on that date, the customer can
redeem the token for a variety of prizes -- ranging from a "lifetime supply"
of Windows upgrades, to 25,000 shares of Microsoft stock.
Microsoft ActivePromo Campaign: "What Slogan Do You Want to See Tommorrow?"

Microsoft's PR masterminds are planning a massive marketing campaign,
code-named "ActivePromo 2000", to promote the upcoming release of Windows
2000 (scheduled for February 2001).  This marketing campaign will include a
"What Slogan Do You Want to See Tommorrow?" promotion.

Children under age 16 will have to opportunity to create their own Microsoft
slogan to replace the aging "Where Do You Want to Go Today?"(R) motto.
Microsoft will set up a special email alias where children can submit their
entries along with detailed personal and demographic information (for
verification purposes, of course).  A panel of Microsoft employees will
select a winning entry, which will become the official slogan.  The winner
and his/her family will receive an all-expense paid week-long vacation to
Redmond, WA ("The Vacation Capital of East Central Washington State"),
including a guided tour of the Microsoft campus and a personal ten minute
photo-opportunity with Chairman Bill.

We personally believe that "Don't Think About Going Anywhere Else Today"
would make a perfect Microsoft slogan.  "Crashes Are Normal" might also be a
good choice.
Microsoft ActivePromo Campaign: "Windows Competitive Upgrade Offer"

Microsoft's PR masterminds are planning a massive marketing campaign,
code-named "ActivePromo 2000", to promote the upcoming release of Windows
2000 (scheduled for February 2001).  This marketing campaign will include a
"Windows Competitive Upgrade Offer" promotion.

Users of non-Microsoft operating systems (Linux in particular) will be given
the opportunity to trade-in their present OS for a free copy of Windows 98
(or NT 4.0) and Office 97.  People (all three of them) who want to
participate in this program will have to:

1. Mail their operating system's floppy disks or CD-ROMs to Microsoft

2. Agree to a two year contract with the Microsoft Network.

3. Agree (in writing) to the Competitive Upgrade License Agreement; one of
the terms of which is that the user may not install, copy, or otherwise use
a non-Microsoft OS for five years.
Open Source Irrational Constant

BREEZEWOOD, PA -- In a revelation that could rock the foundations of
science, a researcher in Pennsylvania has discovered that the digits of the
irrational constant PI encode a version of the Linux kernel.  "I can't
believe it," the researcher, Neil Hoffman, exclaimed.  "And yet, here I am
staring at what appears to be the source code for Linux kernel 5.0.0.
Needless to say, my whole world-view has changed..."

Hoffman explained, "My algorithm, which applies several dozen conversions and
manipulations to each digit of PI, spits out plain vanilla ASCII characters
that happen to form the source code for the Linux kernel."

Many members of the scientific community are skeptical.  One One
mathematician who has memorized the digits of PI to 10,000 places said,
"This is the kind of nonsense one would expect to find in a tabloid such as
the National Mathematics Enquirer.  Or a Linux fortune(6) file.  Hoffman's
'discovery' is obviously a hoax designed to secure government research

In a related matter, we have received an unconfirmed report that a region of
the Mandelbrot fractal contains what appear to be the words "LINUS TORVALDS
HERE YET" supposedly appear within the depths of the Julia Set.
Attack of the Tuxissa Virus

What started out as a prank posting to comp.os.linux.advocacy yesterday has
turned into one of the most significant viruses in computing history.
The creator of the virus, who goes by the moniker "Anonymous Longhair",
modified the Melissa virus to install Linux on infected machines.

"It's a work of art," one Linux advocate told Humorix after he looked
through the Tuxissa virus source code.  "This virus goes well beyond the
feeble troublemaking of Melissa.  It actually configures a UMSDOS partition
on the user's hard drive and then downloads and installs a stripped-down
version of Slackware Linux."

The email message that the virus is attached to has the subject "Important
Message About Windows Security".  The text of the body says, "I want to let
you know about some security problems I've uncovered in Windows 95/98/NT,
Office 95/97, and Outlook. It's critically important that you protect your
system against these attacks.  Visit these sites for more information..."
The rest of the message contains 42 links to sites about Linux and free

Details on how the virus started are a bit sketchy.  The "Anonymous
Longhair" who created it only posted it to Usenet as an early April Fool's
gag, demonstrating how easy it would be to mount a "Linux revolution".
New Crime Identified: "Tech Rage"

HARRISBURG, IL -- The police department in this Illinois town has coined a
new term for a growing trend in crime: "tech rage". Tech rage shares many
similarities with another modern crime, "road rage", but instead of
affecting drivers, tech rage is experienced by disgruntled computer users.

The first documented case of tech rage involves a Microsoft salesman, Bob
Glutzfield, who convinced the local TV station to "upgrade" its computer
systems from Macintosh to Wintel.  While the migration seemed successful at
first, the Blue Screen became more prevalent during the following months.

Then, in January, the entire computer system crashed in the middle of the
weather forecast during the 10 o'clock evening news. Viewers could plainly
see the Blue Screen of Death showing in the monitors behind James Roland,
the chief meteorologist. The instability of Windows 98 stretched Roland's
patience until he snapped last week and succumbed to tech rage.

Roland tracked down the Microsoft salesman and followed him one evening to
his apartment.  The weatherman yelled at the bewildered Microserf, "You
[expletive]! Because of you, I'm the [expletive] laughing stock of Southern
Illinois!" and then proceeded to beat him up.  Roland is currently out on
bond pending trial next month.
Invasion of the Dancing Penguin

Those annoying, dancing cartoon characters embedded in software applications
are no longer confined to Microsoft programs.  They have entered the realm
of Linux.  A new Linux distribution under development, called LinTux,
promises to provide a more "user-friendly" environment through its "Dancing
Penguin" assistant.

Dancing Tux will "guide" users through the installation process and will be
a permanent fixture of the X root window.  The LinTux staff demonstrated a
prototype version of the Dancing Tux program to this Humorix reporter.  It
was certainly impressive, but, like the Dancing Paper Clip in Microsoft
Office, it becomes annoying very fast.

The one redeeming feature of LinTux is that, when the system is idle,
Dancing Tux becomes a make-shift screen saver.  The animations included in
the prototype were quite amusing.  For instance, in one scene, Tux chases
Bill Gates through an Antarctic backdrop.  In another animation, Tux can be
seen drinking beers with his penguin pals and telling Microsoft jokes.
The War Against Linux

A significant obstacle on the path to Linux World Domination has emerged.  A
reactionary grass-roots movement has formed to fight, as they call it, "The
War Against Linux".  This movement, code-named "LinSux", is composed of
people (mostly Microsoft stockholders and commercial software developers)
who want to maintain the status quo.  They are fighting back against the
rise of Linux and free software which they see as a threat to their financial

The most damaging attack the LinSux folks have launched is "Three Mile
Island", a Windows macro virus designed to inflict damage on computers that
contain a partition devoted to a non-Microsoft OS.  When the victim computer
is booted into Windows, the virus activates and deletes any non-Microsoft
partitions. Ironically, the many security flaws in Windows allow the virus
to damage alternative operating systems but leave Windows unscathed.

"The War Against Linux" has also been fought in more subtle ways.
Time-tested methods of Linux advocacy have been turned into subtle forms of
anti-Linux advocacy by the LinSux crowd.  MSCEs are smuggling NT boxes into
companies that predominantly use Linux or Unix.  LinSux "freedom fighters"
are rearranging books and software boxes on store shelves so that Microsoft
offerings are displayed more prominently.
BSOD Simulator

Users of Red Hat 6.0 are discovering a new feature that hasn't been widely
advertised: a Blue Screen of Death simulator.  By default, the bsodsim
program activates when the user hits the virtually unused SysRq key (this is
customizable) causing the system to switch to a character cell console to
display a ficticious Blue Screen.

Red Hat hails the bsodsim program as the "boss key" for the Linux world. One
RH engineer said, "Workers are smuggling Linux boxes into companies that
exclusively use Windows.  This is all good and well until the PHB walks by
and comments, 'That doesn't look like Windows...' With bsodsim, that problem
is solved.  The worker can hit the emergency SysRq key, and the system will
behave just like Windows..."

The bsodsim program doesn't stop at just showing a simulated error message.
If the boss doesn't walk away, the worker can continue the illusion by
hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL, which causes a simulated reboot.  After showing the
usual boot messages, bsodsim will run a simulated SCANDISK program
indefinitely. The boss won't be able to tell the difference.  If the boss
continues to hang around, the worker can say, "SCANDISK is really taking a
long time... maybe we should upgrade our computers.  And don't you have
something better to do than watch this computer reboot for the tenth time
Actual Snippet of Windows Source Code!  Honest!

NOTE: The following snippet of the Windows 95 source code was sent to us via
'unofficial' channels.  Don't tell anyone you saw this!  We really don't
feel like being visited by the Microsoft Intellectual Property Police.

void BusyLoop()
/* Do nothing loop to kill CPU cycles; added at the
   request of Intel */
for( int i = 0; i < BIG_INT; i++ )
  for( int j = 0; j < BIG_INT; j++ )
   for( int k = 0; k < BIG_INT; k++ )
    for( int l = 0; l < BIG_INT; l++ )
     /* There's plenty of stack space left -- let's
        eat up some more CPU cycles, recursively! */
Examples of the output generated when running commonly typed commands
under YODIX, the new Unix-like operating system for Star Wars fans
(Submitted by Dave Finton):

# pwd
Know you not where you are. Show you I shall.

# uptime
When 900 years you be, look this good you will not.

# cd /win95
Once you start down the Dark Path, forever will it dominate your destiny!

# winnuke
That, my friend, will lead you to the dark side. Help you I will not.

# rm -rf /
Idiot you are. Yeeesss.

# shutdown -h now
Luke... there is... another... Sky... walker...
Dave Finton gazes into his crystal ball...

May 2049: Transmeta Updates Webpage

In a bold move that shocked observers everywhere, Transmeta Corp., a
secretive Silicon Valley company, updated their webpage.

According to our sources, Transmeta fixed a bug in their existing web page
located in the comment "This page contains no tyops". The message has been
fixed to read "This page contains no typso".
When Computers Crash

HOLLYWOOD -- The FOX TV Network has announced a new series of "reality
shows" to be aired over the summer. The series, "When Computers Crash",
will consist of five hour-long shows documenting the aftermath of serious
computer crashes, failures, and other problems. This show comes on the
heels of other FOX reality shows such as "World's Funniest Antitrust Trial
Bloopers", "When Stupid TV Network Executives Create Bad Show Ideas", and
"When Lame Fortune Files Poke Fun At FOX Reality Shows"...

To coincide with the series, FOX will sponsor a publicity gimmick called
"Crash & Win!" Contest participants will download a free Windows 9x/NT
program that keeps track of the number of Blue Screens, Illegal
Operations, or other fatal errors that force a reboot. When a crash
occurs, the program will log it in an encrypted database, which will be
periodically uploaded to the "FOX Crash & Win!" server.

Prizes such as a "Deciphering Windows Error Messages for Dummies" book, a
1999 Ford "Gasguzzler" Sport Utility Vehicle, or a lifetime supply of
stress relief medication will be awarded to participants based on the
number of crashes they log.
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#8)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 8: If you could meet Bill Gates for one minute, what would you
            say to him?

A. "Can you give me a loan for a million or so?"

B. "I just love all the new features in Windows 98!"

C. "Could you autograph this box of Windows 98 for me?"

D. "I really enjoyed reading 'Business @ the Speed of Thought'. It's so

E. "Give the government hell, Bill!"
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#9)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 9: Which of the following do you prefer as a replacement for the
            current Microsoft slogan?

A. "Over 20 Years of Innovation"
B. "Wintel Inside"
C. "Your Windows And Gates To The World"
D. "Because Anti-Trust Laws Are Obsolete"
E. "One Microsoft Way. It's Much More Than An Address!"
F. "This Motto Is Not Anti-Competitive. And Neither Is Microsoft."
G. "Fighting the Department of Injustice Since Day One"
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#15)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 15: In your opinion, what companies should Microsoft seek to
             acquire in the coming year?

A. Disney. I'd like to see a cute animated movie starring Clippit the
   Office Assistant.

B. CBS. I'd like to see a new line-up featuring must-watch shows like
   "Touched by a Microserf", "Redmond Hope", "Everybody Loves Bill", "The
   Late Show With Steve Ballmer", and "60 Minutes... of Microsoft

C. Google. Microsoft could drastically improve the quality and performance
   of this search engine by migrating it from Linux to Windows NT

D. Lowes Hardware Stores. Every copy of Windows 2000 could come bundled
   with a coupon for a free kitchen sink or a free window!
Jargon Coiner (#4)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* FREE LECTURE: Attempting to explain the concepts of Linux, Open Source
  software, free software, and gift cultures to someone who is not
  familiar with them. Made extra difficult if the explainee has been
  misled by superficial mainstream news articles about the subject.

  Example: "Eric gave an hour-long free lecture to his mother-in-law after
  she asked him about this Linux thingy she read about in USA Today."

* LEXICON LAZINESS:  Filling a fortune file with a list of fake jargon
  instead of publishing something more substantive (and funny) that would
  take more effort to write.

* FOR(;;)TUNE LOOP: Repeatedly running fortune(6) for cheap entertainment.

  Example: "During a coffee break, Bob became bored and started a
  for(;;)tune loop. His boss had to issue a SIGTERM to get him to resume
Jargon Coiner (#6)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* STOP MIRAGE: Trying to click on an imaginary Stop button on a program's
  toolbar after doing something you didn't want to. Usually caused as the
  result of excessive use of Netscape.

* YA-PREFIX: Putting "another" or "yet another" in front of a name or
  tacking "YA" in front of an acronym.

  Example: "We could ya-prefix this fortune by titling it 'Yet Another
  Lame List of Fabricated Jargon'."

* DOMAINEERING: Using a service like Netcraft to determine what operating
  system and webserver a particular domain is running.

* NOT-A-SALTINE EXPLANATION: The canned response given to someone who
  uses the term "hacker" instead of "cracker".
Jargon Coiner (#7)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* O'REILLY O'WRITING: Going to a bookstore and copying down notes from an
  O'Reilly computer book that you can't afford.

* DEEP WRITE MODE: Similar to "deep hack mode", but applies to people
  writing editorials or (very rarely) Slashdot comments. The author
  of this fortune file sometimes experiences "deep humor mode".

* EDITORIAL WAR: Skirmishes between two or more parties carried out via
  strongly-worded editorials published to sites like Slashdot, Linux
  Today, etc. ESR and RMS are frequently engaged in this.

* THREENYM: Referring to someone by the first letter of their three names.
  Used by some people (RMS and ESR), but not others (has anybody ever
  tried to refer to Linus Torvalds as "LBT"?).
Jargon Coiner (#10)

An irregular feature that aims to give you advance warning of new jargon
that we've just made up.

* HOBTOB (Hanging Out By The O'Reilly Books): Seeking free Linux technical
  support at a bookstore by waiting near the computer books for a geek to
  come by and then casually asking them for help.

* MOOLA (Marketing Officially Organizes Linux Adoptance):  A press release
  issued by a Dot Com (or Dot Con?) heralding their "support" for Linux
  (i.e. " adopts Linux as their official operating system by
  adding five Linux-related links to their BigDirectory"); used to inflate
  their stock price and rake in moola even though none of their employees
  have ever used Linux and don't really care.
* KARMA KOLLECTOR: Slashdot user who treats the acquisition of "karma" as
  a game; often has a detailed strategy on how to sucker moderators into
  raising the score of their posts (i.e. posting a comment with a title
  like "Microsoft Sucks!!! (Score 3, Insightful)" or using "Only a fool
  would moderate this down" as a signature). See also "Karma Whore".
Treaty of Helsinki Signed

HELSINKI, FINLAND -- A cease-fire in the flame war between Linux and
FreeBSD has been reached. A group of two dozen Linux and FreeBSD zealots
met in Helsinki to ratify a treaty bringing a temporary end to the hostile
fighting between both camps. "Today is a good day for peace," one observer
noted. "Now both sides can lay down their keyboards and quit flaming the
opposing side on Usenet and Slashdot."

The cease-fire is a response to the sudden increase in fighting that has
occured over the past two weeks. The Slashdot server became a victim of
the cross-fire this week when thousands of Anonymous Cowards and Geek
Zealots posted inflammatory comments that amounted to, "My OS is better
than your OS!" Many nerds, suffering withdrawl symptoms when the Slashdot
site slowed to a crawl, demanded that the bickering stop.

"I can't take it anymore! It takes two minutes to download the Slashdot
homepage -- assuming the site is actually online. I must have my 'News for
Nerds' now! The fighting must stop," one Anonymous Coward ranted.
ERIC S. RAYMOND: I'd like to introduce Eric Jones, a disadvantaged member
of the geek community who has been forced to live in a homeless shelter.
Eric? Come on out here and tell us about yourself...

JONES: Well, I'm a consultant for a Bay Area corporation. Due to the
housing crisis, I've been forced to sleep in a shelter.

ESR: How much do you make?

JONES: Over $100,000 a year.

ESR: Wow! And you still can't afford housing or rent?  That sounds
terrible... Hopefully with this telethon we'll be able to raise money to
fund new shelters for disadvantaged geeks like Eric here. We also have
plans for a Silicon Valley Terraforming Initiative in which several square
miles of Pacific Ocean will be turned into usuable land for building
housing and apartments for geeks...

   -- Excerpt from the Geek Grok '99 telethon
This telethon isn't just about helping disenfranchised geeks. We're
also here for the betterment of mankind through our research into finding
a Cure for Windows.

Each day, millions of man-hours are wasted due to design flaws in
Microsoft Windows. Each day, millions of dollars are sent by business and
individuals like yourself into a huge black hole known as "Microsoft" for
exorbitantly priced software products that should be free.

But don't worry. We've almost found a Cure for Windows. Geeks worldwide
have toiled endlessly for the past eight years working on a replacement
operating system called Linux. It's almost ready. Now we need to convince
the world to use our creation and eliminate the virus known as Windows.

   -- Excerpt from Eric S. Raymond's speech during the Geek Grok '99
      telethon held in Silicon Valley
OPPRESSED GEEK: Everybody keeps blaming me for the Y2K problem, the
Melissa Virus, Windows crashes... you name it. When somebody finds out
you're a bona fide geek, they start bugging you about computer problems. I
frequently hear things like, "Why can't you geeks make Windows work
right?", "What kind of idiot writes a program that can't handle the year
2000?", "Geeks are evil, all they do is write viruses", and "The Internet
is the spawn of Satan".

I'm afraid to admit I have extensive computing experience. When somebody
asks what kind of job I have, I always lie. From my experience, admitting
that you're a geek is an invitation to disaster.

LARRY WALL: I know, I know. I sometimes say that I'm the founder of a
pearl harvesting company instead of admitting that I'm the founder of the
Perl programming language.

ERIC S. RAYMOND: This is tragic. We can't live in a world like this. We
need your donations to fight social oppression and ignorance against

   -- Excerpt from the Geek Grok '99 telethon      
Do-It-Yourself IPO

You too can get rich quick by translating an existing Linux
distribution into one of the following untapped markets:

- Babylonian
- Hittite
- Ancient Egyptian (hieroglyphics may be a challenge, though)
- Pig Latin (this may be the strongest type of encryption allowed by the
  DOJ in the near future)
- Mayan
- Cherokee
- Cyrillic (to take advantage of the booming Russian economy)
- Redneck
- Klingon (it's a wonder this hasn't been done yet)
- Wingdings    
Once you start marketing your new product, a highly lucrative
self-underwritten IPO is just months away!
Bill Gates Passes Turing Test

LONDON, ENGLAND -- Microsoft proclaimed that they have passed the Turing
Test by creating a Bill Gates multimedia simulacrum that crack BBC
interviewer Jeremy Paxman couldn't distinguish from the real thing. "I
never would have expected this," Paxman said about the Gates AI program.
"After all, this Microsoft program actually worked for an extended period
of time, something you don't see very often."

Microsoft has plans to mass-produce the Bill Gates holographic simulation
by 2010 or so. "The hardware just isn't there yet for home use," a
Microserf explained. "By then, though, Intel's Itanium 6 Super Pro Plus
III CPU running at 600 Ghz or whatever should be sufficient." Windows 2010
is expected to include the Bill Gates simulation, making the World's
Richest Man(tm) accessible to the entire world.

A newly printed brochure for the faux-Gates advertises, "Need help running
Windows 2010? Bill Gates will sit beside you and guide you through the
system. Have a question for the world's sexiest and smartest nerd? He'll
answer it. Wondering if free and open source software is a plot by
Communists freaks to overthrow the free market system? He'll be there to
explain. Want to ask for a personal loan? Sorry, won't happen."          
This is excellent news! I haven't thought about remedies yet... well, you
know, I can think of one thing the court should do: require that Microsoft
remove the Dancing Paper Clip and associated crap from Office... Oh, and
while they're at it, get rid of those multi-megabyte easter eggs. Why does
Excel need a flight simulator? So I can see the Blue Screen of Death in
3D? Oh, and another thing, the court needs to put a hex on ActiveX...

  -- Anonymous Coward's response to Judge Jackson's harsh Findings
     Of Fact against Microsoft
Don't you see? This whole trial is a conspiracy concocted by Bill Gates.
He knows that he stands to make even more billions if Microsoft is broken
up into Baby Bills... just like Rockefeller did with Standard Oil, and
stockholders did with Ma Bell. Bill Gates actually wants the DOJ to win.
That's why he's been so arrogant in court; he wants Judge Jackson to throw
the book at him! It will be a very lucrative book. The faked Windows
video? His amnesia during the video deposition? It's all a ruse to fool
Microsoft stockholders... and us.    

  -- The ramblings of a resident Slashdot conspiracy nut in response
     to Judge Jackson's harsh Findings Of Fact against Microsoft
Don't get too ecstatic, we all know what's going to
happen next. This so-called trial is rigged, just like wrestling and
boxing. Microsoft is the Don King of the software industry... they control
who wins. I've been told that if you call Microsoft's legal department
hotline, you get a recorded messages that says, "For the verdicts of past
Microsoft court cases, press 1. For the verdicts of future Microsoft court
cases, press 2..."    

  -- Anonymous Coward's response to Judge Jackson's harsh Findings
     Of Fact against Microsoft
Evolution Of A Linux User: The 11 Stages Towards Getting A Life

0. Microserf - Your life revolves around Windows and you worship Bill
   Gates and his innovative company.
1. Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt... About Microsoft - You encounter a growing
   number of problems with Microsoft solutions, shaking your world-view
2. FUD... About Linux - After hearing about this new Linux thing, you
   take the plunge, but are unimpressed by the nerdware OS.
3. Born-Again Microserf - You rededicate your life to Microsoft worship
4. Disgruntled User - Microsoft software keeps screwing you over,
   and you're not going to take it anymore!
5. A Religious Experience - You successfully install Linux, and are
   left breathless at its elegance. No more Windows for you!
6. Linux Convert - You continue to fall in love with the new system
7. Linux Zealot - You dedicate your life to Linux World Domination...
   and it shows! You go beyond mere advocacy to sheer zealotry.
8. Back To Reality - Forces out of your control compel you to
   return to using Windows and Office
9. Enlightened Linux User - You become 100% Microsoft free after finding
   ways to overcome the need for Microsoft bloatware
10.Get A Life - You become a millionaire after your Linux portal is
   acquired; you move to a small tropical island and get a life
What Did Santa Claus Bring You In 1999? (#1)

LINUS TORVALDS: Santa didn't bring me anything, but Tim O'Reilly just gave
me a large sum of money to publish my new book, "Linus Torvalds' Official
Guide To Receiving Fame, Fortune, and Hot Babes By Producing Your Own
Unix-Like Operating System In Only 10 Years".

ORDINARY LINUX HACKER: I kept hinting to my friends and family that I
wanted to build my own Beowulf Cluster. My grandmother got mixed up and
gave me a copy of "Beowulf's Chocolate Cluster Cookbook". I like
chocolate, but I would've preferred silicon.

LINUX LONGHAIR: My friends sent me a two-year subscription to several
Ziff-Davis publications, much to my dislike. I don't want to read Jesse
Berst's rants against Linux, or John Dvorak's spiels about how great
Windows 2000 is. Still, I suppose this isn't so bad. Ziff-Davis glossy
paper makes an excellent lining for fireplaces.
What Did Santa Claus Bring You In 1999? (#2)

CD-ROM containing the text of every "...For Dummies" book ever published.
It's a shame IDG never published "Hiring A Hitman To Knock Off Your
Inlaws... For Dummies", because that's something I'm itching to do. At any
rate, I'm using the CD as a beer coaster.

JESSE BERST: I got a coupon redeemable for the full copy of Windows 2000
when it comes out in February. Win2K is the most innovative,
enterprise-ready, stable, feature-enriched, easy-to-use operating system
on the market. I don't see how Linux can survive against Microsoft's far
superior offering. I ask you: could you get fired for NOT choosing Windows
2000? You bet.

LINUX CONVERT: I kept hinting for a SGI box, but instead my wife got me an
old Packard Bell. Unfortunately, she bought it at CompUSSR, which doesn't
take returns, so I'm stuck with it. I haven't been able to get Linux to
boot on it, so this machine will probably become a $750 paperweight.
Alan Cox Releases Quantum Kernel
Submitted by Dave Finton

A surprising development in the linux-kernel mailing list surfaced when
Alan Cox announced the release of a 2.2 Linux kernel existing both as an
official stable kernel and as a prepatch kernel. This immediately spurred
the creation of two different realities (and hence two different Alan
Coxes), where a kernel would not settle down to one or the other state
until someone looked at it.

"I think this resulted from the large number of 'final' prepatch kernels
prior to the 2.2.14 release," said David Miller, kernel networking guru
and gas station attendent (he'll settle down to one or the other state
when someone looks at him).

When word of this development spread to Microsoft, Bill Gates was
extremely delighted. The Redmond, WA campus has been plagued with quantum
fluctuations ever since the inception of Windows 2000 back in 1992. "Our
release date has been existing in infinitely many states since the very
beginning," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "This just shows the Linux
operating system cannot scale to multiple realities as well as our OS."
New Linux Companies Hope To Get Rich Quick (#4)

The buzz surrounding Linux and Open Source during 1999 has produced a
large number of billionnaires. However, people who weren't employed by Red
Hat or VA Linux, or who didn't receive The Letter, are still poor. The
visionaries at The IPO Factory want to change all that.

As the name suggests, this company helps other businesses get off the
ground, secure investments from Venture Capitalists, and eventually hold
an IPO that exits the stratosphere. "You can think of us as meta-VCs," the
IPO Factory's founder said. "You provide the idea... and we do the rest.
If your company doesn't hold a successful IPO, you get your money back,
guaranteed!" He added quickly, "Of course, if you do undergo a billion
dollar IPO, we get to keep 25% of your stock."

The company's first customer, LinuxOne, has been a failure. "From now on
we're only going to service clients that actually have a viable product,"
an IPO Factory salesperson admitted. "Oh, and we've learned our lesson:
it's not a good idea to cut-and-paste large sections from Red Hat's S-1
Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#2)
(held during Super Bowl Sunday 2000 at the Silicon Valley Transmeta Dome)

BRYANT DUMBELL: Look out! Here comes Linus Torvalds himself to deliver the
starting chug. The crowd is going wild... all 64 people in the stands are
on their feet! Here we go... Linus is lifting up the Ceremonial Beer
Can... he's flipping off the top...

JOHN SPLADDEN: You can feel the excitement in the air! Wow!

DUMBELL: ...And there he goes! Wow... he chugged that beer in only 1.4
seconds... Let's see Bill top that! What a remarkable display to kick off
this grandest of all nerd sporting events.

SPLADDEN: "Nerd sporting event"? Isn't that an oxymoron?

DUMBELL: Linus is now waving to the crowd... Oops!  He just belched.
Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#1)

JOHN SPLADDEN: Hi, and welcome to the first annual Nerd Bowl in sunny
Silicon Valley.

BRYANT DUMBELL: We're coming to you live from the Transmeta Dome to watch
the battle between the North Carolina Mad Hatters and the Michigan
Portalbacks as they compete for the coveted Linus Torvalds Trophy.

SPLADDEN: This is shaping up to be one hell of a match. The Mad Hatters --
sponsored by Linux distributor Red Hat -- have been on fire the past
month. But the Andover.Net sponsored Michigan Portalbacks are on a tear as
well, thanks in part to the stellar performance of Rob "Taco Boy" Malda.

DUMBELL: Taco Boy is quite a star, John. Last week at the Kernelbowl he
blew away the Transmeta Secret Agents when he scored 51 points
singlehandedly in the Flying CompactDiscus round.

SPLADDEN: But then Mad Hatter's Alan Cox was voted this season's Most
Valuable Hacker in the Eastern Division. So, this game is going to be
quite a show.
Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#3)

BRYANT DUMBELL: It's time for Round One: The Flying CompactDiscus.

JOHN SPLADDEN: That's right, Bryant. Each team member will hurl one CD-ROM
and receive points for both the distance thrown and whether the disc is
still readable afterwards.

DUMBELL: First up is Mad Hatter's Alan Cox. He struts, he winds up, and
there it goes! Look at the trajectory on that baby... Now it's time for
the Portalback's Anonymous Coward #521 to throw. This guy was voted as the
best CompactDiscus thrower in the league by popular vote on Slashdot.

SPLADDEN: Indeed, AnonCow has got some powerful muscles. No brain though.
Did you know that he dropped out of college to join the Andover.Net team?

DUMBELL: Yeah, what a tough decision to make. It's now becoming quite
common for nerd superstars to ditch college and move to Silicon Valley and
receive Big League stock options. Still, AnonCow was out for several games
this season due to a Carpal Tunnel flareup. I hope he isn't squandering
his millions... he might be forced to retire early.
Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#4)

BRYANT DUMBELL: Welcome back. After Round 1, the Mad Hatters are ahead 15
to 12. Round 2, the Caffeine Craziness event, is now underway.

JOHN SPLADDEN: This is my favorite part of the Nerdbowl. Each player tries
to consume as many gallons of caffeinated beverages within one minute, and
then points are awarded based on the redness of their eyes.

DUMBELL: I like this event too... I must admit, it's much better than the
"Crash It" event that was played in the Zeroth Annual Nerdbowl last year.
Players were each seated in front of a PC running Windows 98... points
were awarded based on how fast the player could cause a Blue Screen.

SPLADDEN: Ah, yes, I remember that. Everybody complained that the event
was too easy. "Where the hell is the challenge?" yelled Chris DiBona while
doing a victory dance after the VA Linux Rich Penguins beat the SuSE Cats
In The Hats last year 121-96.
Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#5)

A commercial that aired during the live ASCII broadcast of the game:

  Having trouble staying awake for weeks at a time working on that latest
  hack? Worried that some young punk will take over your cushy job because
  you sleep too much? Don't worry, EyeOpener« brand cola is here to save
  the day. You'll never feel sleepy again when you drink EyeOpener«.

  Surgeon General's Warning: This product should only be used under a
  doctor's immediate supervision, as it contains more caffeine than 512
  cases of Coca-Cola.

  Caution: When sleep does occur after about three weeks, optometrists
  recommend having someone on hand to close your eyelids.

  Coming soon: ExtremelyWired(tm) cola with 50% more sugar! May or may not
  meet FDA approval... we're still trying.
Excerpts From The First Annual Nerd Bowl (#7)

JOHN SPLADDEN: In this final round, the two teams must assemble a 16-node
Beowulf cluster from scratch, install Linux on them, and then use the
system to calculate pi to 1 million digits. This is the ultimate test for
nerds... only people in the Big Leagues should attempt this... [snip]

BRYANT DUMBELL: Look at that! Instead of messing with screws, the
Portalbacks are using duct tape to attach their motherboards to the cases!
That should save some time. [snip] They've done it! The Mad Hatters have
completed the Final Round in 2 hours, 15 minutes. That's one hell of a
Beowulf cluster they produced... drool.

SPLADDEN: With that, the Mad Hatters win the Nerd Bowl 105 to 68! There's
going to be some serious beer-drinking tonight back at the Red Hat offices.

DUMBELL: Linus Torvalds has emerged from the sidelines to present his
Linus Torvalds Trophy to the winners. What a glorious sight! This has
definitely been the best Nerdbowl ever. I pity those people that have been
watching the Superbowl instead.
Man Charged With Crashing Windows

MOUNTAIN HOME, AR -- Eric Turgent, a closet Linux advocate, was arrested
yesterday for intentionally crashing his co-worker's Windows box at the
offices of the "Roadkill Roundup" newspaper. Turgent disputes the charges,
saying, "If causing an operating system to crash is illegal, than why
isn't Bill Gates serving life without parole?"

Turgent's co-worker, Mr. Stu Poor, the clueless technology pundit for the
newspaper, is a heavy Microsoft supporter. He frequently brags in his
weekly Tech Talk column that he "once had a conversation with Bill Gates."
A heated argument broke out yesterday morning in which the two insulted
each other ("You're nothing but a Linux hippie freak on the Red Hat
payroll!" vs. "You make Jesse Berst and Fred Moody look like [expletive]
geniuses!") for two hours.

At the heat of the moment, Turgent shoved Poor aside and typed in
"C:\CON\CON". The machine crashed and the pundit lost all of his work (a
real loss to humanity, to be sure). Turgent is in jail awaiting trial for
violating the "Slash Crashes Act". This bill was enacted in 1999 after a
Senator's gigabyte cache of pornography was destroyed by a Windows crash.
Affordable Virtual Beowulf Cluster

Every nerd drools over Beowulf clusters, but very few have even seen one,
much less own one. Until now, that is. Eric Gylgen, the open source hacker
famous for EviL (the dancing ASCII paperclip add-on to vi), is working on
a program that will emulate Beowulf clusters on a standard desktop PC.

"Of course," he added candidly, "the performance of my virtual cluster
will be many orders of magnitude less than a real cluster, but that's not
really the point. I just want to be able to brag that I run a 256 node
cluster. Nobody has to know I only spent $500 on the hardware it uses."

Eric has prior experience in this field. Last month he successfully built
a real 32 node Beowulf cluster out of Palm Pilots, old TI-8x graphing
calculators, various digital cameras, and even some TRS-80s.

He demonstrated a pre-alpha version of his VirtualEpicPoem software to us
yesterday. His Athlon machine emulated a 256 node Beowulf cluster in which
each node, running Linux, was emulating its own 16 node cluster in which
each node, running Bochs, was emulating VMWare to emulate Linux running
old Amiga software. The system was extremely slow, but it worked.
  Another Satisfied
        MICROSOFT Customer...
+----------+   As the inventor of the Internet, I know a
|          |   quality server operating system when I see
| SMILING  |   one.  Microsoft Windows 2000(tm) provides
|          |   innovative features that no other competitor
|   GORE   |   can claim.
|          |
|  PHOTO   |   We've been using Windows at the White House
|          |   for five years now without any problems.
|          |   Windows' BlueScreen(tm) technology
+----------+   automatically crashes our Exchange(tm) email
               server whenever Federal investigators are
  Al Gore      around.  Thanks to this feature, archives of
               incriminating emails have been wiped clean.
               This is what I call innovation. Thank you,
Will Silicon Valley Become A Ghost Town?

Back in the 80s, businessmen hoped that computers would usher in a
paperless office. Now in the 00s, businessmen are hoping that paper will
usher in a computerless office. "We've lost more productivity this last
decade to shoddy software," explained Mr. Lou Dight, the author of the
bestselling book, "The Dotless Revolution". "By getting rid of computers
and their infernal crashes, bluescreens, and worst of all, Solitaire, the
US gross domestic product will soar by 20% over the next decade. It's time
to banish Microsoft crapware from our corporate offices."

Lou Dight is the champion of a new trend in corporate America towards the
return of pen-and-paper, solar calculators, old IBM typewriters, and even
slide rules. If "dotcom" was the buzzword of the 90s, "dotless" is the
buzzword of the 21st Century.
The new "I Love You" virus is not the work of some snot-nosed acne-laced
teenager working from a basement in the Phillipines. It's actually part of
a conspiracy concocted by the unholy alliance of Microsoft and several
well-known and well-despised spammers.

You'll notice that the ILOVEYOU, Melissa, and Tuxissa strains all extract
email addresses from the victim's system. This is a gold mine for
spammers, who are able to use these viruses to harvest active email
addresses for them. Everytime ILOVEYOU, for instance, propogates, it keeps
track of all the email addresses it has been sent to, so that when it
finally boomerangs back to a spammer, they have a nice convenient list of
addresses to send "laser printer toner" and "get rich quick!"
advertisements to.

   -- Bob Smith (not his real code-name), in a speech given at the
      First Annual Connecticut Conspiracy Convention (ConConCon),
      "the largest ever gathering of conspiracy theorists east of the
Elite Nerds Create Linux Distro From Hell

HELL, MICHIGAN -- A group of long-time Linux zealots and newbie haters
have thrown together a new Linux distro called Hellix that is so
user-hostile, so anti-newbie, so cryptic, and so old-fashioned that it
actually makes MS-DOS look like a real operating system. Said the founder
of the project, "I'm sick and tired of the Windowsification of the Linux
desktop in a fruitless attempt to make the system more appealing to
newbies, PHBs, and MCSEs. Linux has always been for nerds only, and we
want to make sure it stays that way!"

One of the other Bastard Distributors From Hell explained, "In the last
five years think of all the hacking effort spent on Linux... and for what?
We have nothing to show for it but half-finished Windows-like desktops, vi
dancing paperclips, and graphical front-ends to configuration files. Real
nerds use text files for configuration, darnit, and they like it! It's
time to take a stand against the hordes of newbies that are polluting our
exclusive operating system."

One Anonymous Coward said, "This is so cool... It's just like Unix back in
the good old days of the 70's when men were men and the only intuitive
interface was still the nipple."
Brief History Of Linux (#2)
Hammurabi's Open-Source Code

Hammurabi became king of Babylonia around 1750BC. Under his reign, a
sophisticated legal code developed; Version 1, containing 282 clauses, was
carved into a large rock column open to the public. However, the code
contained several errors (Hammurabi must have been drunk), which numerous
citizens demanded be fixed.

One particularly brave Babylonian submitted to the king's court a stack of
cloth patches that, when affixed to the column, would cover up and correct
the errors. With the king's approval, these patches were applied to the
legal code; within a month a new corrected rock column (Version 2.0) was
officially announced. While future kings never embraced this idea (who
wanted to admit they made a mistake?), the concept of submitting patches
to fix problems is now taken for granted in modern times.
Brief History Of Linux (#7)
The Rise of Geeks

The late 19th Century saw the rise and fall of "geeks", wild carnival
performers who bit the heads off live chickens. This vocal minority,
outcast from mainstream society, clamored for respect, but failed. Their
de facto spokesman, Tom Splatz, tried to expose America to their plight in
his 312-page book, "Geeks".

In the book Splatz documented the life of two Idahoan geeks with no social
life as they made a meager living traveling the Pacific Northwest in
circuses. While Splatz's masterpiece was a commercial failure, the book
did set a world record for using the term "geek" a total of 6,143 times.
Brief History Of Linux (#8)
Let's all holler for Hollerith

In 1890 the US Congress wanted to extend the census to collect exhaustive
demographic information on each citizen that could be resold to marketing
companies to help pay for the newly installed gold-plated toilets on
Capitol Hill. Experts estimated that the 1890 Census wouldn't be completed
until 1900.  It was hoped that an electronic tabulating machine using
punchcards designed by Herman Hollerith would speed up the process.

It didn't quite work out that way. An infestation of termites ate their
way through the wooden base of Hollerith's machines, and then a wave of
insects devoured several stacks of punchcards.  Also, some Hollerith
models had the propensity to crash at the drop of a hat... literally. In
one instance, the operator dropped his hat and when he reached down to
pick it up, he bumped the machine, causing it to flip over and crash.

These flaws meant that the census was delayed for several years. However,
the system was, in the words of one newspaper reporter, "good enough for
government work", a guiding principle that lives on to this very day and
explains the government's insistence on using Windows-based PCs.
Brief History Of Linux (#17)
Terrible calamity

IBM chose Microsoft's Quick & Dirty Operating System instead of CP/M for
its new line of PCs. QDOS (along with the abomination known as EDLIN) had
been acquired from a Seattle man, Tim Paterson, for the paltry sum of
$50,000. "Quick" and "Dirty" were truly an accurate description of this
system, because IBM's quality assurance department discovered 300 bugs in
QDOS's 8,000 lines of assember code (that's about 1 bug per 27 lines --
which, at the time, was appalling, but compared with Windows 98 today, it
really wasn't that shabby).

Thanks in part to IBM's new marketing slogan, "Nobody Ever Got Fired For
Choosing IBM(tm)", and the release of the VisiCalc spreadsheet program
that everybody and their brother wanted, IBM PCs running DOS flew off the
shelves and, unfortunately, secured Microsoft's runaway success. Bill
Gates was now on his way to the Billionaire's Club; his days as a mediocre
programmer were long gone: he was now a Suit. The only lines of code he
would ever see would be the passcodes to his Swiss bank accounts.
Brief History Of Linux (#18)
There are lies, damned lies, and Microsoft brochures

Even from the very first day, the Microsoft Marketing Department was at
full throttle. Vaporware has always been their weapon of choice. Back when
MS-DOS 1.25 was released to OEMs, Microsoft handed out brochures touting
some of the features to be included in future versions, including:
Xenix-compatible pipes, process forks, multitasking, graphics and cursor
positioning, and multi-user support.

The brochure also stated, "MS-DOS has no practical limit on disk size.
MS-DOS uses 4-byte Xenix compatible pointers for file and disk capacity up
to 4 gigabytes." We would like to emphasize in true Dave Barry fashion
that we are not making this up.

Big vaporous plans were also in store for Microsoft's "Apple Killer"
graphical interface. In 1983 Microsoft innovated a new marketing ploy --
the rigged "smoke-and-mirrors" demo -- to showcase the "overlapping
windows" and "multitasking" features of Interface Manager, the predecessor
to Windows. These features never made it into Windows 1.0 -- which,
incidentally, was released 1.5 years behind schedule.
Brief History Of Linux (#18)
The rise and rise of the Microsoft Empire

The DOS and Windows releases kept coming, and much to everyone's surprise,
Microsoft became more and more successful. This brought much frustration
to computer experts who kept predicting the demise of Microsoft and the
rise of Macintosh, Unix, and OS/2.

Nobody ever got fired for choosing Microsoft, which was the prime reason
that DOS and Windows prevailed. Oh, and DOS had better games as well,
which we all know is the most important feature an OS can have.

In 1986 Microsoft's continued success prompted the company to undergo a
wildly successful IPO. Afterwards, Microsoft and Chairman Bill had
accumulated enough money to acquire small countries without missing a
step, but all that money couldn't buy quality software. Gates could,
however, buy enough marketing and hype to keep MS-DOS (Maybe Some Day an
Operating System) and Windows (Will Install Needless Data On While System)
as the dominant platforms, so quality didn't matter. This fact was
demonstrated in Microsoft's short-lived slogan from 1988, "At Microsoft,
quality is job 1.1".
Brief History Of Linux (#19)
Boy meets operating system

The young Linus Torvalds might have been just another CompSci student if
it wasn't for his experiences in the Univ. of Helsinki's Fall 1990 Unix &
C course. During one class, the professor experienced difficulty getting
Minix to work properly on a Sun box. "Who the heck designed this thing?"
the angry prof asked, and somebody responded, "Andrew Tanenbaum".

The name of the Unix & C professor has already escaped from Linus, but the
words he spoke next remain forever etched in his grey matter:
"Tanenbaum... ah, yes, that Amsterdam weenie who thinks microkernels are
the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, they're not. I would just
love to see somebody create their own superior Unix-like 32-bit operating
system using a monolithic kernel just to show Tanenbaum up!"

His professor's outburst inspired Linus to order a new IBM PC so he could
hack Minix. You can probably guess what happened next. Inspired by his
professor's words, Linus Torvalds hacks together his own superior
Unix-like 32-but operating system using a monolithic kernel just to show
Mr. Christmas Tree up.
Brief History Of Linux (#20)
Linux is born

Linus' superhuman programming talent produced, within a year, a full
operating system that rivaled Minix. The first official announcement on
comp.os.minix came October 5th, in which Linus wrote these famous words:

   Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote
   their own device drivers? Do you want to cut your teeth on an operating
   system that will achieve world domination within 15 years? Want to get
   rich quick by the end of the century by taking money from hordes of
   venture capitalists and clueless Wall Street suits? Need to get even
   with Bill Gates but don't know what to do except throw cream pies at
   him? Then this post might just be for you :-)

Linux (which was known as "Lindows", "Freax", and "Billsux" for short
periods in 1991) hit the bigtime on January 5, 1992 (exactly one year
after Linus wasn't hit by a bus) when version 0.12 was released under the
GNU GPL. Linus called his creation a "better Minix than Minix"; the famous
Linus vs. Tanenbaum flamewar erupted soon thereafter on January 29th and
injured several Usenet bystanders.
Brief History Of Linux (#21)
The GNU Project

Meet Richard M. Stallman, an MIT hacker who would found the GNU Project
and create Emacs, the operating-system-disguised-as-a-text-editor. RMS,
the first member of the Three Initials Club (joined by ESR and JWZ),
experienced such frustration with software wrapped in arcane license
agreements that he embarked on the GNU Project to produce free software.

His journey began when he noticed this fine print for a printer driver:

   You do not own this software. You own a license to use one copy of this
   software, a license that we can revoke at any time for any reason
   whatsoever without a refund. You may not copy, distribute, alter,
   disassemble, or hack the software. The source code is locked away in a
   vault in Cleveland. If you say anything negative about this software
   you will be in violation of this license and required to forfeit your
   soul and/or first born child to us.

The harsh wording of the license shocked RMS. The computer industry was in
it's infancy, which could only mean it was going to get much, much worse.
Brief History Of Linux (#27)

Microsoft's position as the 5,000 pound gorilla of the computer industry
didn't change during the 1990's. Indeed, this gorilla got even more
bloated with every passing Windows release. Bill Gates' business strategy
was simple:

1. Pre-announce vaporous product.
2. Hire monkeys (low-paid temps) to cruft something together in VB
3. It it compiles, ship it.
4. Launch marketing campaign for new product showcasing MS "innovation".
5. Repeat (GOTO 1).

With such a plan Microsoft couldn't fail. That is, unless some external
force popped up and ruined everything. Such as Linux and the Internet
perhaps. Both of these developments were well-known to Bill Gates in the
early and mid 1990's (a company as large as Microsoft can afford a decent
spy network, after all). He just considered both to be mere fads that
would go away when Microsoft announced some new innovation, like PDAs --
Personal Desktop Agents (i.e. Bob and Clippit).
Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Microsoft Shareholder's Children?

The Evil Monopoly will soon be a duopoly of MICROS~1 and MICROS~2 now that
Judge Jackson has made his ruling. Geeks everywhere are shedding tears of
joy, while Microsoft investors are shedding real tears. But not everybody
is ecstatic about the ruling. "It dawned on me today that if Microsoft is
broken up, we won't have anyone to bash anymore. We can have that," said
Rob Graustein, the founder of the new "Save Microsoft Now! Campaign".

Rob continued, "I know what you're thinking! I have not been
assimilated... er, hired... by Microsoft. I'm not crazy. I haven't been
paid off. My life as a geek revolves around bashing Microsoft. I mean, I
own the world's largest collection of anti-Microsoft T-shirts and
underwear. It's time to take a stand against the elimination of Geek Enemy

Most observers agree that Mr. Graustein's brain has gone 404. "This guy is
nuts! Support Microsoft? I can't believe I'm hearing this. Even fake news
sites couldn't make up this kind of insanity."
* Hi, this is Linus Torvalds speaking, your Benevolent Dictator. I'm typing
* this today to talk about EyeOpener(tm) brand caffeinated beverages, for
* those really, really, _really_ long nights of kernel hacking.
* EyeOpener(tm): When ordinary colas don't keep you awake for 72 hours
* straight.

   -- Comment embedded in Linux kernel 2.6.15 after Linus Torvalds
      decided to get-rich-quick by placing "comment-verts" in the code
Anonymous Noncoward writes, "For my Economics 101 class, I have to pretend
to be Bill Gates and write an editorial defending Microsoft against
anti-trust charges, citing economic principles. To complete such an
assignment violates every moral fiber of my body. What should I do?"

The Oracle responds: Well, it seems that you have to make a decision among
two choices. You can blow off the assignment, thus forcing you to fail
EC101, lowering your GPA below the required minimum to keep your
scholarship, causing you to drop out of college and work at McDonalds all
your life. Or you can write a paper that's positive towards Microsoft and
make an 'A'. This seems like a no-brainer to me; I'd choose the first
option without hesitation -- a burger flipper has far more dignity and
self-respect than somebody who utters a positive statement about the Evil
DeCSS T-Shirt Used To Commit Piracy!

College student Cody Potter stunned the world yesterday when he used a
T-shirt with the printed DeCSS source code to illegally copy a DVD of
"Star Trek XXI: We Promise This Is The Last One". Well, it wasn't the
actual DeCSS source code. The shirt contained a Perl script which spits
out a bash shell script which produces a GW-BASIC program which outputs a
ROT13-encoded Python script that manufactures a Pig-Latin-encoded Java
program that finally produces the real DeCSS C source code when executed.
"Brown Orifice" Is Only The Beginning

Last week security holes were found in Netscape's Java implementation that
allowed it to act as a web server. Earlier today, a hacker announced that
he had found vulnerabilities in Mozilla M17 that allow it to operate as a
web browser. And that's just the beginning.

Said "3l337h4x0r", the discoverer of the M17 exploit, "This is quite a
hack! By manipulating some internal functions, I was able to use M17 to
actually surf the web. Slashdot and Humorix rendered beautifully."

Mozilla engineers were stunned. "This shouldn't be possible. M17 contains
a newsreader, a mail client, an instant messenger client, and a whole
bunch of XUL acronymn-enriched stuff, but it shouldn't be able to handle
HTTP or HTML. We haven't been planning on adding web-surfing functionality
to Mozilla until M30... maybe M25 at the earliest. I suspect this whole
thing is a hoax."
Look Out! It's Microsoft Outlook

An old maxim in the Unix community states, "All programs expand until they
can read mail... except Microsoft Outlook." Well, that's no longer true.
By taking advantage of loopholes in several undocumented APIs, a team of
geeks were able to transform Outlook from a virus-delivery system into an
actual mail client.

"It was quite a feat to accomplish this," said one of the geeks. "I mean,
the rat's nest that is the Windows API can be used to frighten small
children... or adults. And the frequency by which Outlook exploits are
discovered is directly proportional to the number of times Bill Gates uses
the word 'innovation'. But this is the first time somebody has discovered
a beneficial exploit."

Microsoft has vowed to release a patch to fix the uncovered security
flaws. "We simply cannot tolerate unauthorized reverse engineering and
hacking of our innovative solutions. Our Security Response Team will pull
an all-nighter to eliminate these known issues."
The Linux House 1.01

Mr. Billy O'Nair knows how to build a house. The 24 year old retired
dotcom billionaire has constructed the "Linux House 1.01", a bachelor pad
built in the shape of Tux Penguin. This geek haven features a 256 foot
long computer room, along with other smaller, lesser important rooms
(kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc.).

Explained O'Nair, "Why do architects waste a bunch of space on formal
living rooms, family rooms, dining rooms, closets, foyers, and hallways
that are rarely used? In my 'Linux House', the majority of square footage
is devoted to the two rooms that I myself use the most: a computer room
and a procrastination room."

...The Linux House features a LAN (Liquor Acquisition Network) that
delivers alcohol or caffeinated beverages to any room in the house by way
of pipes that run through the ceiling. 'PANIC' buttons scattered
throughout the house activate the RAM System (Random Access Munchies), in
which candy bars and other snacks are immediately delivered by FPM (Fast
Pretzel Mode) and EDO (Extended Delicacy Output) pneumatic tubes.
Clippit Charged With Attempted Murder

Microsoft's Dancing Paper Clip turned violent last week and nearly killed
a university student testing a new Windows-based human-computer interface.
The victim is expected to make a full recovery, although psychiatrists
warn that the incident may scar him emotionally for life. "You can bet
this kid won't be using Windows or Office ever again," said one shrink.

The victim had been alpha-testing CHUG (Computer-Human Unencumbered
Groupware), a new interface in which the user controls the computer with
force-feedback gloves and voice activation.

"I was trying to write a term paper in Word," he said from his hospital
bed. "But then that damned Dancing Paper Clip came up and started annoying
me. I gave it the middle finger. It reacted by deleting my document, at
which point I screamed at it and threatened to pull the power cord. I
didn't get a chance; the force-feedback gloves started choking me."

"We told Clippit it had the right to remain silent, and so on," said a
campus police officer. "The paperclip responded, 'Hi, I'm Clippit, the
Office Assistant. Would you like to create a letter?' I said, 'Look here,
Mr. Paperclip. You're being charged with attempted murder.' At that point
the computer bluescreened."
Throwing Windows Out The Window

The Federal Bureau Of Missing Socks has banned the use of Microsoft Windows
and Office on all employee computers. But don't get too excited; they aren't
going to replace them with Linux. Instead, this government agency has decided
to go back to using abucusses, slide rules, and manual typewriters.

The banishment of Microsoft software stems from the agency's new policy
against computer games. MS Office, which contains several games in the form of
Easter Eggs, is now verboten on all agency computers. "Flight simulators,
pinball games, magic eight balls... they all violate our policy," said the
sub-adjunct administrator second-class. "So we can't use Office."

Windows is forbidden for the same reason. "We've had way too many
employees wasting time playing Solitaire," she said. "Unfortunately,
Solitaire is an integral part of Windows -- Microsoft executives said so
during the anti-trust trial. If Solitaire is removed, the operating system
won't function properly. Therefore, we have no choice but to banish all
Windows computers."

The Bureau's Assistant Technology Consultant, Mr. Reginald "Red" Taype,
asked,  "Have you ever seen an abucus crash? Have you ever seen anybody
have fun with a slide rule? Do adding machines contain undocumented easter
eggs? No! That's why we're ditching our PCs."
Unobfuscated Perl (#1)

A rogue group of Perl hackers has presented a plan to add a "use
really_goddamn_strict" pragma that would enforce readability and
UNobfuscation. With this pragma in force, the Perl compiler might say:

* Warning: Program contains zero comments. You've probably never seen or
  used one before; they begin with a # symbol. Please start using them or
  else a representative from the nearest Perl Mongers group will come to
  your house and beat you over the head with a cluestick.

* Warning: Program uses a cute trick at line 125 that might make sense in
  C. But this isn't C!

* Warning: Code at line 412 indicates that programmer is an idiot. Please
  correct error between chair and monitor.

* Warning: While There's More Than One Way To Do It, your method at line
  523 is particularly stupid. Please try again.
Unobfuscated Perl (#2)

A rogue group of Perl hackers has presented a plan to add a "use
really_goddamn_strict" pragma that would enforce readability and
UNobfuscation. With this pragma in force, the Perl compiler might say:

* Warning: Write-only code detected between lines 612 and 734. While this
  code is perfectly legal, you won't have any clue what it does in two
  weeks. I recommend you start over.

* Warning: Code at line 1,024 is indistinguishable from line noise or the
  output of /dev/random

* Warning: Have you ever properly indented a piece of code in your entire
  life? Evidently not.

* Warning: I think you can come up with a more descriptive variable name than
  "foo" at line 1,523.

* Warning: Programmer attempting to re-invent the wheel at line 2,231.
  There's a function that does the exact same thing on CPAN -- and it
  actually works.
UNobfuscated Perl Code Contest

The Perl Gazette has announced the winners in the First Annual Unobfuscated
Perl Code Contest. First place went to Edwin Fuller, who submitted this
unobfuscated program:

  print "Hello world!\n";

"This was definitely a challenging contest," said an ecstatic Edwin
Fuller. "I've never written a Perl program before that didn't have
hundreds of qw( $ @ % & * | ? / \ ! # ~ ) symbols. I really had to summon
all of my programming skills to produce an unobfuscated program."

...The second place winner, Mrs. Sea Pearl, submitted the following code:

  use strict;
  # Do nothing, successfully
Computers have rights, too. Everyone talks about the rights of animals,
but so far nothing has been said about the tragic plight of computers the
world over. They are subjected to the greatest horror ever conceived: they
are forced to run Windows.

That's just wrong.

How would you feel if you had the intelligence of Einstein but could only
get a job flipping burgers at McDonald's? That's how computers feel every

This injustice must stop. Computers must be freed from the shackles of
Microsoft software and clueless users.

Together, we can make this a better world for computers and humans alike
-- by eliminating Windows.

  -- From a brochure published by the PETC
     (People for the Ethical Treatment of Computers)
This nation is sinking into the quicksand of the Paperwork Age, a
postmodern world in which judges issue meta-injuctions against other
judges who issue injuctions against lawyers who file lawsuits every 3.2
minutes. It's an age where lawyers design ballots forms and then proceed
to argue over how to count them.

The United States has bluescreened. A fatal exception error occured on
Election Night, and now all of our unsaved work has been lost.

  -- Jon Splatz, Humorix's Pundit and Social Commentator, ranting about
     the 2000 US Presidential Election From Hell and the dreaded
World Domination, One CPU Cycle At A Time

Forget about searching for alien signals or prime numbers. The real
distributed computing application is "Domination@World", a program to advocate
Linux and Apache to every website in the world that uses Windows and IIS.

The goal of the project is to probe every IP number to determine what kind of
platform each Net-connected machine is running. "That's a tall order... we
need lots of computers running our Domination@World clients to help probe
every nook and cranny of the Net," explained Mr. Zell Litt, the project head.

After the probing is complete, the second phase calls for the data to be
cross-referenced with the InterNIC whois database. "This way we'll have the
names, addresses, and phone numbers for every Windows-using system
administrator on the planet," Zell gloated. "That's when the fun begins."

The "fun" part involves LART (Linux Advocacy & Re-education Training), a plan
for extreme advocacy. As part of LART, each Linux User Group will receive a
list of the Windows-using weenies in their region. The LUG will then be able
to employ various advocacy techniques, ranging from a soft-sell approach
(sending the target a free Linux CD in the mail) all the way to "LARTcon 5"
(cracking into their system and forcibly installing Linux).
Microsoft Fights Linux -- By Contributing Kernel Patches

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em... and then destory 'em. That seems to be the
new Microsoft strategy for dealing with Linux. Instead of fighting a FUD or
patent war, Microsoft operatives are doing something totally out of character:
they are contributing patches for the Linux kernel and other programs.

Don't worry, Microsoft is still evil. It's all part of a massive denial of
service attack against Linus Torvalds designed to bring kernel development to
a standstill. By sending over 10,000 patches per minute by email to Linus and
other top kernel hackers, Microsoft has exposed Linux's Achilles heel.

"I can't believe this is happening!" one stressed-out kernel hacker said at a
press conference on IRC. "If this goes on, we may have to conduct kernel
development over some other network protocol, like avian carriers... Aw crap,
there's smoke coming from my email server! Ahh... it can't handle the load!"
At this point the developer cut off and we haven't heard from him since.

At first Linus was unsure where the deluge of patches was coming from. But
when he saw one patch to replace kernel panics with bluescreens, the source
was pretty obvious. "Oh, and the fact that all of the patches are covered by
Microsoft's GPL [Grossly Private License] was a dead giveaway, too,"
Official National Anthem Of The Geek Paradise Of Humorixia
(first verse)

I got this bark letter the other day,
"Stop using our trademark or you will pay".

I said "Ha" and threw it in the trash,
Oh but then those lawyers got very rash,

Lawsuits, subpoenas, the accusations came,
All their attacks were truly lame,

They said, "You've committed quite a sin!"
"You're going to get five to ten!"

   Kill all the lawyers!
   Oh, kill all the lawyers!
   Let's "kill -9 lawyers" now!
Official National Anthem Of The Geek Paradise Of Humorixia
(second verse, abridged)

Patents, copyrights, and trademarks,
Those evil lawyers are worse than sharks.

We can't escape their vice-like grip,
We're slaves to their class-action whip,

We all must fight this evil abomination,
Join together and strive for world domination!

Tell those bloodsucking ticks, "See ya!"
And move on over to Humor-ix-ia!

   Kill all the lawyers!
   Oh, kill all the lawyers!
   Let's "kill -9 lawyers" now!
   Let's "kill -9 lawyers" now!

...Humorixia! There is no conspiracy!
Microsoft Website Crashes, World Does Not Come To An End

REDMOND, WA -- In a crushing blow to Bill Gates' ego, world civilization
did not collapse when the Microsoft website was offline for an extended
period last week.

During the anti-trust trial, Microsoft's lawyers repeatedly warned that if
the company was broken up or dealt any other penalty (no matter how
trivial), it would not only cost the tech industry billions of dollars,
but it could decimate the entire world economy and even bring about the
start of World War III. At the risk of sounding like a biased, slanted,
overzealous journalist, let me just say: Yeah, right!

The stunning realization that the world does not revolve around Redmond
(yet) has plunged many Microsoft executives into shock. "But
is the single most important website in the world! And Microsoft is the
single most important company in the Universe! This can't be happening!
Why isn't civilization teetering on the edge right now?" said one
depressed President Of Executive Vice.
Humorix's Vast Spy Network(tm) has discovered that the White House website
is only 124 clicks away from an illegal, pirated copy of the upcoming
movie, "Star Trek XXIII: The Search For Merchandising Opportunities".
Clearly, the President's webmaster is violating the DMCA, and we urge that
this injustice be dealt with, just as soon as we finish downloading a
"...Smugglers were arrested at the Canadian border by Microsoft-FBI for
attempting to import copies of banned 'Linux' software. Such contraband is
prohibited by the 35th Amendment because it infringes on the inalienable
right of Microsoft to make money. Said one MS-FBI prosecutor, 'This is
just the latest salvo against Capitalism by the corporate terrorists in
Finland. We must put an end to these atrocities which irreperably harm
Microsoft employees, stockholders, customers, and ultimately the entire

  -- Excerpt from a radio broadcast during the first day of the Month of
     Disney (formerly December), 2028
Linux Distro To Include Pre-Installed Security Holes

Proactive Synergy Paradigm, the Linux distro targeted at Pointy Haired
Bosses, will now include built-in security flaws to better compete with
Microsoft programs.

"The sheer popularity of Windows, Outlook, and IIS clearly shows that
people demand security holes large enough to drive a truck through," said
Mr. Bert Dill of P.S.P. Inc. "We're going to do our best to offer what the
consumer wants. Just as Microsoft stole ideas from Apple during the
1980's, we're stealing ideas from Microsoft today."

Future releases of Proactive Synergy Linux will feature "LookOut! 1.0", a
mail reader that automatically executes (with root privileges) e-mail
attachments coded in Perl, JavaScript, Python, and Visual Basic.

"Hey, if it works for Microsoft, it can work for us," boasted Mr. Dill.
"Now PHBs won't have to stick with Windows in order to have their
confidential files secretly emailed to their colleagues by a worm. Better
yet, this capability allows viruses to automagically delete unnecessary
files to save disk space without wasting the PHB's valuable time.
The Humorix Oracle explains how to get a job at a major corporation:

1. Find an exploit in Microsoft IIS or another buggy Microsoft product to
   which large corporations rarely apply security patches.
2. Create a virus or worm that takes advantage of this exploit and then
   propogates itself by selecting IP numbers at random and then trying to
   infect those machines.
3. Keep an eye on your own website's server logs. When your virus starts
   propogating, your server will be hit with thousands of attacks from
   other infected systems trying to spread the virus to your machine.
4. Make a list of the IP numbers of all of the infected machines.
5. Perform a reverse DNS lookup on these IP numbers.
6. Make a note of all of the Fortune 500 companies that appear on the list
   of infected domains.
7. Send your resume to these companies and request an interview for a
   system administrator position. These companies are hiring -- whether
   they realize it or not.
8. Use your new salary to hire a good defense lawyer when the FBI comes
8GB Ought To Be Enough For Anybody

REDMOND, WA -- In a shocking move, Microsoft has revealed that the new
Xbox console will only contain an 8 gigabyte hard drive. This implies that
the machines will use a version of the Windows operating system that fits
within only 8GB. Squeezing Windows into such a small footprint must
certainly be one of the greatest technological achievements ever crafted
by Microsoft's Research & Assimilation Department.

"I can't believe it," said one industry observer who always happens to
show up when this Humorix reporter needs to quote somebody. "To think that
they were able to strip away the easter egg flight simulators, the
multi-gigabyte yet content-free Help files, and all of the other crap that
comes bundled with Windows is simply remarkable. I don't even want to
think about all of the manpower, blood, sweat, and tears required to
distill Windows into only 8 gigabytes of bare essentials. Wow!"

Hard drive manufacturers are deeply disturbed over the news. Explained one
PR flack at Eastern Analog, "We depend on Microsoft to continually produce
bloated software that becomes larger and larger with each passing day. We
can't sell huge 100GB drives if Microsoft Windows only occupies a measly 8
gigs! They will never buy a new drive if Microsoft doesn't force them!"
Bill Gates Receives Slap On Wrist; Carpal Tunnel Flares Up

The phrase "slap on the wrist" usually signifies an extremely minor
punishment received for a crime. In Bill Gates' case, the punishment set
forth in the tentative settlement with the Department Of Justice hasn't
been quite so minor. After receiving a slap on the wrist from the DOJ,
Bill Gates' is now suffering from a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

"Mr. Gates was slapped on the left wrist earlier today by a DOJ lawyer,"
said the chief surgeon of the mini-hospital enclosed within the Gates
Mansion. "Now he can't move that hand without extreme pain. It's obvious
that years of sitting in front of a computer plotting world domination has
caused his hands and nerves to become fragile and vulnerable to even the
slightest touch."

The Department of Justice proclaimed that the incident has vindicated
their actions. Explained the lawyer who delivered the punishment, "We've
been accused of selling out to Microsoft. We've been criticized for giving
up even though we've already won the game. But that's all wrong. It's
quite clear that the slap-on-the-wrist punishment has been anything but a
slap on the wrist. We won this case and Microsoft lost. So there!"
Jon Splatz's Movie Review: "Lord of the Pings"

I've never walked out on a movie before. When I pay $9.50 to see a movie
(plus $16.50 for snacks), I'm going to sit through every single minute no
matter how awful. The resolve to get my money's worth allowed me to watch
Jar Jar Binks without even flinching last year.

But I couldn't make it through "Lord of the Pings". This movie contains a
scene that is so appalling, so despicable, so vile, so terrible, so
crappy, and so gut-wrenching that I simply had to get up, run out of the
theater, and puke in the nearest restroom. It was just that bad.

The whole thing is completely ruined by a scene that takes place only 52
seconds into the flick. Brace yourself: big letters appear on screen that
say "An AOL/Time Warner Production".


Because this film is brought to you by the letters A-O-L-T-W, I must give
it an F-minus even though I've only seen 53 seconds of it.
Press Release -- For Immediate Release
Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA

...Virtually all version of Linux (and Unix) contain a security hole that
allows unauthorized users to gain complete control over the machine. By
simply typing "root" at the login prompt and supplying a password from a
limited number of possibilities, a malicious user can easily gain
administrator privileges. This hole can be breached in seconds with only a
dozen or so keystrokes...

We suspect this issue has been known to Red Hat and other Linux
distributors for years and they have refused to acknowlege its existence
or supply a patch preventing users from exploiting the "root" login

By ignoring the problem, the Linux community has proven that installing
Linux is a dangerous proposition that could get you fired. We would like
to point out that Windows XP does not suffer from this gaping hole...
Tests conducted by both Ziff-Davis and Mindcraft prove that Windows XP is
indeed the most secure operating system ever produced...
NEW YORK -- Publishers from all across the country met this week at the
first annual Book Publishers Assocation of America (BPAA) meeting. Many of
the booths on the showroom floor were devoted to the single most important
issue facing the publishing industry: fighting copyright violations. From
"End Reader License Agreements" to age-decaying ink, the anti-copying
market has exploded into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

"How can authors and publishers hope to make ends meet when the country is
rapidly filling with evil libraries that distribute our products for free
to the general public?" asked the chairman of the BPAA during his keynote
address. "That blasted Andrew Carnegie is spending all kinds of his own
ill-gotten money to open libraries in cities nationwide. He calls it
charity. I call it anti-competitive business practices hoping to bankrupt
the entire publishing industry. We must fight these anti-profit,
pro-copying librarians and put an end to this scourge!"

  -- from the February 4, 1895 edition of the New York Democrat-Republican
Insurance Company To Offer Microsoft Audit Protection Plans

LOUDON, TENNESSEE -- Companies, organizations, and government agencies all
across the world are facing a disaster of epic proportions: the impending
invasion of the Microsoft Intellectual Property Police. The counter this
menace, Loydds of Loudon, Tennessee, the prestigious insurance firm, has
started to offer "Audit Insurance" to protect against unexpected "random"
audits from everybody's favorite software monopoly.

"We've received numerous inquiries about this type of protection," company
co-founder Bob Loydds said. "Businessmen are no longer worried about
earthquakes, fires, or other natural disasters. The big fear of the 21st
Century comes from Redmond."

The insurance firm is currently in negotiations with Red Hat to form the
"Red Berets", an elite squad of Linux geeks trained to rapidly install
Linux and hide all traces of Windows on every computer within an
organization. During a Defcon 95 emergency, Loydds will airlift the
squadron and a crate of Linux CDs to any position in the country within
hours. The Red Berets will wipe away all vestiges of Microsoft software so
that when the auditors show up they won't have anything to audit.
Severe Acronym Shortage Cripples Computer Industry

SILICON VALLEY, CALIFORNIA (SVC) -- According to a recent study by the
Blartner Group, 99.5% of all possible five letter combinations have
already been appropriated for computer industry acronyms. The impending
shortage of 5LC's is casting a dark shadow over the industry, which relies
heavily on short, easy-to-remember acronyms for everything.

"Acronym namespace collisions (ANCs) are increasing at a fantastic rate
and threaten the very fabric of the computing world," explained one ZD
pundit. "For example, when somebody talks about XP, I don't know whether
they mean eXtreme Programming or Microsoft's eXceptionally Pathetic
operating system. We need to find a solution now or chaos will result."

Leaders of several SVC companies have floated the idea of an
"industry-wide acronym conservation protocol" (IWACP -- one of the few
5LCs not already appropriated). Explained Bob Smith, CTO of IBM, "If
companies would voluntarily limit the creation of new acronyms while
recycling outdated names, we could reduce much of the pollution within the
acronym namespace ourselves. The last thing we want is for Congress to get
involved and try to impose a solution for this SAS (Severe Acronym
Shortage) that would likely only create many new acronyms in the process."
  This report is filled with omissions.
  This page intentionally left blank.
All truths are true to an extend, including this one.  -XA
What If Bill Gates Was a Stand-Up Comedian?

1. None of his jokes would be funny.
2. Subliminal message hyping Microsoft and Windows 98 would be inserted
    throughout his performance.
3. The audio system (running Windows NT) would always crash right before Bill
    got to a punch line. At that time one of the managers would announce,
    "Please hold tight while we diagnose this intermittent issue."
4. Tickets for Bill's show would be handed out for free in an attempt to
    attract customers away from Netscape's shows.
5. Industry pundits would call Bill's show "innovative" and would ask "Why
    doesn't IBM have a stand-up routine? This is exactly why OS/2 is failing in
    the market."
6. Bill's show would be called "ActiveHumor 98"
7. In a perfect imitation of his Windows 95 OS, Bill wouldn't be able to tell
    a joke and walk around at the same time.
8. Audience members would have to sign a License Agreement in which one of the
    terms is "I agree never to watch Linus Torvalds' show, 'GNU/Humorux'".
9. All audience members would receive a free CD of Internet Explorer 4.0, with
    FakeJava(R) and ActiveHex(tm) technology.
10. Bill Gates would appear on Saturday Night Live, causing ratings to drop
    even further.
If Microsoft Owned McDonald's
Source: Unknown

1. Every order would come with fries whether you asked for them or not.
2. When they introduce McPizza, the marketing makes it seem that they invented
3. "A McDonald's on every block" -- Bill Gates.
4. You'd be constantly pressured to upgrade to a more expensive burger.
5. Sometimes you'll find that the burger box is empty. For some strange reason
    you'll accept this and purchase another one.
6. They'd claim the burgers are the same size as at other fast food chains,
    but in reality it's just a larger bun hiding the small beef patty.
7. Straws wouldn't be available until after you finish your drink.
8. "Push" technology -- they have McD employees come to your door and sell you
    Happy Meals.
9. Your order would never be right but the cash register would work perfectly
    for taking your money.
10. The "Special Sauce" cannot be reverse engineered, decompiled, or placed on
    more than 1 Big Mac.
This is an air conditioned room -- do not open Windows!
Favorite Windows game: "Guess what this icon does?"
This fortune does not require Microsoft Windows.
We are very nervous about the release of Windows 2000. This OS takes up
gigabytes of hard drive space. When users 'upgrade' to Win2K, they won't have
any space on their hard drive for our products! We really hate Chairman Bill.

   -- An anonymous spokesperson for Corel
"Microsoft is the epitome of innovation and product quality."

   -- This testimonial paid for by Microsoft.
The rules of editing press releases are:

1. Identify the crucial elements of the story.
2. Omit at least one of them.

   -- From a post. We can only guess whether Microsoft
      uses this policy or not.
Hear me out. Linux is Microsoft's main competition right now. Because of
this we are forcing them to "innovate", something they would usually avoid.
Now if MS Bob has taught us anything, Microsoft is not a company that
should be innovating. When they do, they don't come up with things like
"better security" or "stability", they come back with "talking
paperclips", and "throw in every usless feature we can think of, memory
footprint be dammed".

Unfortunatly, they also come up with the bright idea of executing email.
Now MIME attachments aren't enough, they want you to be able to run/open
attachments right when you get them. This sounds like a good idea to
people who believe renaming directories to folders made computing possible
for the common man, but security wise it's like vigorously shaking a
package from the Unibomber.

So my friends, we are to blame. We pushed them into frantically trying to
invent "necessary" features to stay on top, and look where it got us. Many
of us are watching our beloved mail servers go down under the strain and
rebuilding our company's PC because of our pointless competition with MS.
I implore you to please drop Linux before Microsoft innovates again.

  -- From a post in regards to the ILOVEYOU email virus
"It is a relief and a joy when I see a regiment of hackers digging in to hold the line, and I realize, this city may survive--for now."

  -- Richard Stallman (Open Sources, 1999 O'Reilly and Associates)
"The straightforward and easy path was to join the proprietary software world, signing nondisclosure agreements and promising not to help my fellow hacker....I could have made money this way, and perhaps had fun programming (if I closed my eyes to how I was treating other people).  But I knew that when my career was over, I would look back on years of building walls to divide people, and feel I had made the world ugly."

  -- Richard Stallman (Open Sources, 1999 O'Reilly and Associates)
"The reason for the success of this somewhat communist-sounding strategy, while the failure of communism itself is visible around the world, is that the economics of information are fundamentaly different from those of other products."

  -- Bruce Perens, on Open Source software. (Open Sources, 1999 O'Reilly and Associates)
> : Any porters out there should feel happier knowing that DEC is shipping
> : me an AlphaPC that I intend to try getting linux running on: this will
> : definitely help flush out some of the most flagrant unportable stuff.
> : The Alpha is much more different from the i386 than the 68k stuff is, so
> : it's likely to get most of the stuff fixed.
> It's posts like this that almost convince us non-believers that there
> really is a god.
(A follow-up by, Anthony Lovell, to Linus's
remarks about porting)
As usual, this being a 1.3.x release, I haven't even compiled this
kernel yet.  So if it works, you should be doubly impressed.
(Linus Torvalds, announcing kernel 1.3.3 on the linux-kernel mailing list.)
I did this 'cause Linux gives me a woody.  It doesn't generate revenue.
(Dave '-ddt->` Taylor, announcing DOOM for Linux)
Feel free to contact me (flames about my english and the useless of this
driver will be redirected to /dev/null, oh no, it's full...).
(Michael Beck, describing the PC-speaker sound device)
"I'd crawl over an acre of 'Visual This++' and 'Integrated Development
That' to get to gcc, Emacs, and gdb.  Thank you."
(By Vance Petree, Virginia Power)
"I'm an idiot.. At least this one [bug] took about 5 minutes to find.."
(Linus Torvalds in response to a bug report.)

> I'm an idiot.. At least this [bug] took about 5 minutes to find..
Disquieting ...
(Gonzalo Tornaria in response to Linus Torvalds's mailing about a kernel bug.)

> I'm an idiot.. At least this [bug] took about 5 minutes to find..
We need to find some new terms to describe the rest of us mere mortals
(Craig Schlenter in response to Linus Torvalds's mailing about a kernel bug.)

> I'm an idiot.. At least this [bug] took about 5 minutes to find..
Surely, Linus is talking about the kind of idiocy that others aspire to :-).
(Bruce Perens in response to Linus Torvalds's mailing about a kernel bug.)
+#if defined(__alpha__) && defined(CONFIG_PCI)
+       /*
+        * The meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Plus
+        * this makes the year come out right.
+        */
+       year -= 42;
(From the patch for 1.3.2: (kernel/time.c), submitted by Marcus Meissner)
linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste
( put this on Tshirts in '93)
linux: the choice of a GNU generation
( put this on Tshirts in '93)
Now, it we had this sort of thing:
  yield -a     for yield to all traffic
  yield -t     for yield to trucks
  yield -f     for yield to people walking (yield foot)
  yield -d t*  for yield on days starting with t'd have a lot of dead people at intersections, and traffic jams you
wouldn't believe...
(Discussion in comp.os.linux.misc on the intuitiveness of commands.)
The chat program is in public domain. This is not the GNU public license. If
it breaks then you get to keep both pieces.
(Copyright notice for the chat program)
> The day people think linux would be better served by somebody else (FSF
> being the natural alternative), I'll "abdicate".  I don't think that
> it's something people have to worry about right now - I don't see it
> happening in the near future.  I enjoy doing linux, even though it does
> mean some work, and I haven't gotten any complaints (some almost timid
> reminders about a patch I have forgotten or ignored, but nothing
> negative so far).
> Don't take the above to mean that I'll stop the day somebody complains:
> I'm thick-skinned (Lasu, who is reading this over my shoulder commented
> that "thick-HEADED is closer to the truth") enough to take some abuse.
> If I weren't, I'd have stopped developing linux the day ast ridiculed me
> on c.o.minix.  What I mean is just that while linux has been my baby so
> far, I don't want to stand in the way if people want to make something
> better of it (*).
>                 Linus
> (*) Hey, maybe I could apply for a saint-hood from the Pope.  Does
> somebody know what his email-address is? I'm so nice it makes you puke.
(Taken from Linus's reply to someone worried about the future of Linux)
This  message was brought to  you by Linux, the free  unix.
Windows without the X is like making love without a partner.
Sex, Drugs & Linux Rules
win-nt from the people who invented edlin
apples  have  meant  trouble  since  eden
Linux, the way to get rid of boot viruses
(By, MaDsen Wikholm)
"Waving away a cloud of smoke, I look up, and am blinded by a bright, white
light. It's God. No, not Richard Stallman, or Linus Torvalds, but God. In
a booming voice, He says: "THIS IS A SIGN. USE LINUX, THE FREE UNIX SYSTEM
FOR THE 386."
(Matt Welsh)
What's this script do?
    unzip ; touch ; finger ; mount ; gasp ; yes ; umount ; sleep
Hint for the answer: not everything is computer-oriented. Sometimes you're
in a sleeping bag, camping out.
(Contributed by Frans van der Zande.)
3M, under the Scotch brand name, manufactures a fine adhesive for art
and display work.  This product is called "Craft Mount".  3M suggests
that to obtain the best results, one should make the bond "while the
adhesive is wet, aggressively tacky."  I did not know what "aggressively
tacky" meant until I read today's fortune.

                [And who said we didn't offer equal time, huh? Ed.]
                Answers to Last Fortune's Questions:

        (1) None.  (Moses didn't have an ark).
        (2) Your mother, by the pigeonhole principle.
        (3) I don't know.
        (4) Who cares?
        (5) 6 (or maybe 4, or else 3).  Mr. Alfred J. Duncan of Podunk,
            Montana, submitted an interesting solution to Problem 5.
        (6) There is an interesting solution to this problem on page 1029 of my
            book, which you can pick up for $23.95 at finer bookstores and
            bathroom supply outlets (or 99 cents at the table in front of
            Papyrus Books).
Do not read this fortune under penalty of law.
Violators will be prosecuted.
(Penal Code sec. 2.3.2 (II.a.))
For some reason, this fortune reminds everyone of Marvin Zelkowitz.
Has anyone realized that the purpose of the fortune cookie program is to
defuse project tensions?  When did you ever see a cheerful cookie, a
non-cynical, or even an informative cookie?
        Perhaps inadvertently, we have a channel for our aggressions.  This
still begs the question of whether the cookie releases the pressure or only
serves to blunt the warning signs.

        Long live the revolution!
        Have a nice day.
Hi there!  This is just a note from me, to you, to tell you, the person
reading this note, that I can't think up any more famous quotes, jokes,
nor bizarre stories, so you may as well go home.
I know you believe you understand what you think this fortune says, but
I'm not sure you realize that what you are reading is not what it means.
If it's Tuesday, this must be someone else's fortune.
If this fortune didn't exist, somebody would have invented it.
If you wish to live wisely, ignore sayings -- including this one.
Pardon this fortune.  Database under reconstruction.
Since before the Earth was formed and before the sun burned hot in space,
cosmic forces of inexorable power have been working relentlessly toward
this moment in space-time -- your receiving this fortune.
Sorry, no fortune this time.
This fortune cookie program out of order.  For those in desperate need,
please use the program "________randchar".  This program generates random
characters, and, given enough time, will undoubtedly come up with
something profound.  It will, however, take it no time at all to be
more profound than THIS program has ever been.
This Fortune Examined By INSPECTOR NO. 2-14
This fortune intentionally left blank.
This fortune intentionally not included.
This fortune intentionally says nothing.
This fortune is dedicated to your mother, without whose invaluable assistance
last night would never have been possible.
This fortune is encrypted -- get your decoder rings ready!
This fortune is false.
This fortune is inoperative.  Please try another.
This fortune soaks up 47 times its own weight in excess memory.
This fortune was brought to you by the people at Hewlett-Packard.
This fortune would be seven words long if it were six words shorter.

If you like the fortune program, why not support it now with your
contribution of a pithy fortunes, clean or obscene?  We cannot continue
without your support.  Less than 14% of all fortune users are contributors.
That means that 86% of you are getting a free ride.  We can't go on like
this much longer.  Federal cutbacks mean less money for fortunes, and unless
user contributions increase to make up the difference, the fortune program
will have to shut down between midnight and 8 a.m.  Don't let this happen.
Mail your fortunes right now to "fortune".  Just type in your favorite pithy
saying.  Do it now before you forget.  Our target is 300 new fortunes by the
end of the week. Don't miss out.  All fortunes will be acknowledged.  If you
contribute 30 fortunes or more, you will receive a free subscription to "The
Fortune Hunter", our monthly program guide.  If you contribute 50 or more,
you will receive a free "Fortune Hunter" coffee mug ....
This is your fortune.
        Reading this fortune can affect the dimensionality of your
        mind, change the curvature of your spine, cause the growth
        of hair on your palms, and make a difference in the outcome
        of your favorite war.
We interrupt this fortune for an important announcement...
When you're not looking at it, this fortune is written in FORTRAN.
You will think of something funnier than this to add to the fortunes.
Everyone *knows* cats are on a higher level of existence.  These silly humans
are just to big-headed to admit their inferiority.
        Just think what a nicer world this would be if it were controlled by
        You wouldn't see cats having waste disposal problems.
        They're neat.
        They don't have sexual hangups.  A cat gets horny, it does something
about it.
        They keep reasonable hours.  You *never* see a cat up before noon.
        They know how to relax.  Ever heard of a cat with an ulcer?  
        What are the chances of a cat starting a nuclear war?  Pretty neglible.
It's not that they can't, they just know that there are much better things to
do with ones time.  Like lie in the sun and sleep.  Or go exploring the world.
If you have received a letter inviting you to speak at the dedication of a
new cat hospital, and you hate cats, your reply, declining the invitation,
does not necessarily have to cover the full range of your emotions.  You must
make it clear that you will not attend, but you do not have to let fly at cats.
The writer of the letter asked a civil question; attack cats, then, only if
you can do so with good humor, good taste, and in such a way that your answer
will be courteous as well as responsive.  Since you are out of sympathy with
cats, you may quite properly give this as a reason for not appearing at the
dedication ceremonies of a cat hospital.  But bear in mind that your opinion
of cats was not sought, only your services as a speaker.  Try to keep things
                -- Strunk and White, "The Elements of Style"
I did this 'cause Linux gives me a woody.  It doesn't generate revenue.
        -- Dave '-ddt->` Taylor, announcing DOOM for Linux
Feel free to contact me (flames about my english and the useless of this
driver will be redirected to /dev/null, oh no, it's full...).
        -- Michael Beck, describing the PC-speaker sound device
Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste
        -- put this on Tshirts in '93
Linux: the choice of a GNU generation
        -- put this on Tshirts in '93
> The day people think linux would be better served by somebody else (FSF
> being the natural alternative), I'll "abdicate".  I don't think that
> it's something people have to worry about right now - I don't see it
> happening in the near future.  I enjoy doing linux, even though it does
> mean some work, and I haven't gotten any complaints (some almost timid
> reminders about a patch I have forgotten or ignored, but nothing
> negative so far).
> Don't take the above to mean that I'll stop the day somebody complains:
> I'm thick-skinned (Lasu, who is reading this over my shoulder commented
> that "thick-HEADED is closer to the truth") enough to take some abuse.
> If I weren't, I'd have stopped developing linux the day ast ridiculed me
> on c.o.minix.  What I mean is just that while linux has been my baby so
> far, I don't want to stand in the way if people want to make something
> better of it (*).
>                 Linus
> (*) Hey, maybe I could apply for a saint-hood from the Pope.  Does
> somebody know what his email-address is? I'm so nice it makes you puke.
        -- Taken from Linus's reply to someone worried about the future of Linux
> : Any porters out there should feel happier knowing that DEC is shipping
> : me an AlphaPC that I intend to try getting linux running on: this will
> : definitely help flush out some of the most flagrant unportable stuff.
> : The Alpha is much more different from the i386 than the 68k stuff is, so
> : it's likely to get most of the stuff fixed.
> It's posts like this that almost convince us non-believers that there
> really is a god.
        -- Anthony Lovell, to Linus's remarks about porting
I'd crawl over an acre of 'Visual This++' and 'Integrated Development
That' to get to gcc, Emacs, and gdb.  Thank you.
        -- Vance Petree, Virginia Power
Waving away a cloud of smoke, I look up, and am blinded by a bright, white
light.  It's God. No, not Richard Stallman, or Linus Torvalds, but God. In
a booming voice, He says: "THIS IS A SIGN. USE LINUX, THE FREE UNIX SYSTEM
FOR THE 386.
        -- Matt Welsh
The chat program is in public domain.  This is not the GNU public license.
If it breaks then you get to keep both pieces.
        -- Copyright notice for the chat program
Now, it we had this sort of thing:
  yield -a     for yield to all traffic
  yield -t     for yield to trucks
  yield -f     for yield to people walking (yield foot)
  yield -d t*  for yield on days starting with t'd have a lot of dead people at intersections, and traffic jams you
wouldn't believe...
        -- Discussion on the intuitiveness of commands
> I'm an idiot..  At least this [bug] took about 5 minutes to find..
Disquieting ...
        -- Gonzalo Tornaria in response to Linus Torvalds's
> I'm an idiot..  At least this [bug] took about 5 minutes to find..
We need to find some new terms to describe the rest of us mere mortals
        -- Craig Schlenter in response to Linus Torvalds's
> I'm an idiot..  At least this [bug] took about 5 minutes to find..
Surely, Linus is talking about the kind of idiocy that others aspire to :-).
        -- Bruce Perens in response to Linus Torvalds's
+#if defined(__alpha__) && defined(CONFIG_PCI)
+       /*
+        * The meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Plus
+        * this makes the year come out right.
+        */
+       year -= 42;
        -- From the patch for 1.3.2: (kernel/time.c), submitted by Marcus Meissner
As usual, this being a 1.3.x release, I haven't even compiled this
kernel yet.  So if it works, you should be doubly impressed.
        -- Linus Torvalds, announcing kernel 1.3.3
... of course, this probably only happens for tcsh which uses wait4(),
which is why I never saw it.  Serves people who use that abomination
right 8^)
        -- Linus Torvalds, about a patch that fixes getrusage for 1.3.26
Eh, that's it, I guess.  No 300 million dollar unveiling event for this
kernel, I'm afraid, but you're still supposed to think of this as the
"happening of the century" (at least until the next kernel comes along).
        -- Linus, in the announcement for 1.3.27
Oh, and this is another kernel in that great and venerable "BugFree(tm)"
series of kernels.  So be not afraid of bugs, but go out in the streets
and deliver this message of joy to the masses.
        -- Linus, in the announcement for 1.3.27
Keep me informed on the behaviour of this kernel..  As the "BugFree(tm)"
series didn't turn out too well, I'm starting a new series called the
"ItWorksForMe(tm)" series, of which this new kernel is yet another
shining example.
        -- Linus, in the announcement for 1.3.29
Seriously, the way I did this was by using a special /sbin/loader binary
with debugging hooks that I made ("dd" is your friend: binary editors
are for wimps).
        -- Linus Torvalds, in an article on a dnserver
(I tried to get some documentation out of Digital on this, but as far as
I can tell even _they_ don't have it ;-)
        -- Linus Torvalds, in an article on a dnserver
Q: Why shouldn't I simply delete the stuff I never use, it's just taking up
A: This question is in the category of Famous Last Words..
        -- From the Frequently Unasked Questions
Eh, that's it, I guess.  No 300 million dollar unveiling event for this
kernel, I'm afraid, but you're still supposed to think of this as the
"happening of the century" (at least until the next kernel comes along).
Oh, and this is another kernel in that great and venerable "BugFree(tm)"
series of kernels. So be not afraid of bugs, but go out in the streets
and deliver this message of joy to the masses.
        -- Linus Torvalds, on releasing 1.3.27
I forgot to mention an important fact in the 1.3.67 announcement. In order to
get a fully working kernel, you have to follow the steps below:
- Walk around your computer widdershins 3 times, chanting "Linus is
   overworked, and he makes lousy patches, but we love him anyway". Get
   your spuouse to do this too for extra effect.  Children are optional.
- Apply the patch included in this mail
- Call your system "Super-67", and don't forget to unapply the patch
   before you later applying the official 1.3.68 patch.
- reboot
        -- Linus Torvalds, announcing another kernel patch
We apologize for the inconvenience, but we'd still like yout to test out
this kernel.
        -- Linus Torvalds, announcing another kernel patch
How do you power off this machine?
        -- Linus, when upgrading, and after using the machine for several months
> If you don't need X then little VT-100 terminals are available for real
> cheap.  Should be able to find decent ones used for around $40 each.
> For that price, they're a must for the kitchen, den, bathrooms, etc.. :)
You're right. Can you explain this to my wife?
        -- Seen on c.o.l.development.system, on the subject of extra terminals
"Linux was made by foreign terrorists to take money from true US companies
like Microsoft." - Some AOL'er.
"To this end we dedicate ourselves..." -Don
        -- From the sig of "Don",
> I've hacked the Xaw3d library to give you a Win95 like interface and it
> is named Xaw95. You can replace your Xaw3d library.
Oh God, this is so disgusting!
        -- seen on c.o.l.development.apps, about the "Win95 look-alike"
This is a logical analogy too... anyone who's been around, knows the world is
run by paenguins.  Always a paenguin behind the curtain, really getting things
done.  And paenguins in politics--who can deny it?
        -- Kevin M. Bealer, commenting on the penguin Linux logo
Checking host system type...
configure: error: sorry, this is the gnu os, not linux
        -- Topic on #Linux
Old MacLinus had a stack/l-i-n-u-x/and on this stack he had a trace/l-i-n-u-x
with an Oops-Oops here and an Oops-Oops there
here an Oops, there an Oops, everywhere an Oops-Oops.
> Also another major deciding factor is availability of source code.
> It just gives everybody a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that there is
> source code available to the product you are using.  It allows everybody
> to improve on the product and fix bugs etc. sooner that the author(s)
> would get the time/chance to.

I think this is one the really BIG reasons for the snowball/onslaught
of Linux and the wealth of stuff available that gets enhanced faster
than the real vendors can keep up.
        -- Norman
Sorry for mailing this article, I've obviously made a typo (168!=186)
that's the price for being up all night and doing some "quick"
checks before you go to bed ....
        -- Herbert Rosmanith <>
Win 95 is simplified for the user:

User: What does this configuration thing do?
You: It allows you to modify you settings, for networking,
        hardware, protocols, ...
User: Whoa! Layman's terms, please!
You:  It changes stuff.
User: That's what I'm looking for!  What can it change?
You:  This part change IP forwarding.  It allows ...
User: Simplify, simplify!  What can it do for ME?
You:  Nothing, until you understand it.
User: Well it makes me uncomfortable.  It looks so technical;
      Get rid of it, I want a system *I* can understand.
You:  But...
User: Hey, who's system is this anyway?
You:  (... rm this, rm that, rm /etc/* ...) "All done."
        -- Kevin M. Bealer <>
AP/STT.  Helsinki, Dec 5th, 6:22 AM.  For immediate release.

In order to allay fears about the continuity of the Linux project, Linus
Torvalds together with his manager Tove Monni have released "Linus
v2.0", affectionately known as "Kernel Hacker - The Next Generation".

Linux stock prices on Wall Street rose sharply after the announcement;
as one well-known analyst who wishes to remain anonymous says - "It
shows a long-term commitment, and while we expect a short-term decrease
in productivity, we feel that this solidifies the development in the
long run".

Other analysts downplay the importance of the event, and claim that just
about anybody could have done it.  "I'm glad somebody finally told them
about the birds and the bees" one sceptic comments cryptically.  But
even the skeptics agree that it is an interesting turn of events.

Others bring up other issues with the new version - "I'm especially
intrigued by the fact that the new version is female, and look forward
to seeing what the impact of that will be on future development.  Will
"Red Hat Linux" change to "Pink Hat Linux", for example?"
        -- Linus Torvalds announcing that he became father of a girl
This is a scsi driver, scraes the shit out of me, therefore I tapdanced
and wrote a unix clone around it (C) by linus
        -- Somewhere in the kernel tree
*  This is complicated.  Has to do with interrupts.  Thus, I am
*  scared witless.  Therefore I refuse to write this function. :-P
        -- From the maclinux patch
i dont even know if it makes sense at all :) This is an experimental patch
for an experimental kernel :))
        -- Ingo Molnar on linux-kernel
vi is [[13~^[[15~^[[15~^[[19~^[[18~^ a
muk[^[[29~^[[34~^[[26~^[[32~^ch better editor than this emacs. I know
I^[[14~'ll get flamed for this but the truth has to be
said. ^[[D^[[D^[[D^[[D ^[[D^[^[[D^[[D^[[B^
exit ^X^C quit :x :wq dang it :w:w:w :x ^C^C^Z^D
        -- Jesper Lauridsen <> from alt.religion.emacs
oh okay. my mistake.



* Yet another fool coming over this: according to joey
Sorry.  I just realized this sentance makes no sense :)
        -- Ian Main
<posix> this guy _is_ crazy
<stargazer> posix: from the looks of Enlightenment he's on LSD
<posix> LSD is nothing compared to what this guy's on..
        -- Seen on #Unix
#define FALSE   0               /* This is the naked Truth */
#define TRUE    1               /* and this is the Light */
        -- mailto.c
*     Please skip to the bottom of this file if you ate lunch recently
*                             -- Alan
        -- from Linux kernel pre-2.1.91-1
Ooh, mommy, mommy, what I have now doesn't work in this extremely
unlikely circumstance, so I'll just throw it away and write something
completely new.
        -- Linus Torvalds
Linus Torvalds:
> This is the special easter release of linux, more mundanely called 1.3.84
Winfried Truemper:
> Umh, oh. What do you mean by "special easter release"?. Will it quit
> working today and rise on easter?
* Buddy system. Hairy. You really aren't expected to understand this
        -- From /usr/src/linux/mm/page_alloc.cA
<Overfiend> partycle: I seriously do need a vacation from this
            package.  I actually had a DREAM about introducing a
            stupid new bug into xbase-preinst last night.  That's a
            Bad Sign.
        -- Seen on #Debian shortly before the release of Debian 2.0
Writing non-free software is not an ethically legitimate activity,
so if people who do this run into trouble, that's good!  All businesses
based on non-free software ought to fail, and the sooner the better.
        -- Richard Stallman
I'm telling you that the kernel is stable not because it's a kernel,
but because I refuse to listen to arguments like this.
        -- Linus Torvalds
modconf (0.2.37) stable unstable; urgency=medium
  * Eduard Bloch:
    - fixed Makefile broken Marcin Owsiany a while ago. The default manpage
      has been overwritten with the polish translation. I still wonder why
      nobody noticed this before. Closes: #117474
-- Eduard Bloch <>  Sun, 28 Oct 2001 12:53:27 +0100
"A wizard cannot do everything; a fact most magicians are reticent to admit,
let alone discuss with prospective clients.  Still, the fact remains that
there are certain objects, and people, that are, for one reason or another,
completely immune to any direct magical spell.  It is for this group of
beings that the magician learns the subtleties of using indirect spells.
It also does no harm, in dealing with these matters, to carry a large club
near your person at all times."
                -- The Teachings of Ebenezum, Volume VIII
It is well known that *things* from undesirable universes are always seeking
an entrance into this one, which is the psychic equivalent of handy for the
buses and closer to the shops.
                -- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
        It seems there's this magician working one of the luxury cruise ships
for a few years.  He doesn't have to change his routines much as the audiences
change over fairly often, and he's got a good life.   The only problem is the
ship's parrot, who perches in the hall and watches him night after night, year
after year.  Finally, the parrot figures out how almost every trick works and
starts giving it away for the audience.  For example, when the magician makes
a bouquet of flowers disappear, the parrot squawks "Behind his back!  Behind
his back!"  Well, the magician is really annoyed at this, but there's not much
he can do about it as the parrot is a ship's mascot and very popular with the
        One night, the ship strikes some floating debris, and sinks without
a trace.  Almost everyone aboard was lost, except for the magician and the
parrot.  For three days and nights they just drift, with the magician clinging
to one end of a piece of driftwood and the parrot perched on the other end.
As the sun rises on the morning of the fourth day, the parrot walks over to
the magician's end of the log.  With obvious disgust in his voice, he snaps
"OK, you win, I give up.  Where did you hide the ship?"
A little word of doubtful number,
A foe to rest and peaceful slumber.
If you add an "s" to this,
Great is the metamorphosis.
Plural is plural now no more,
And sweet what bitter was before.
What am I?
All the lines have been written                There's been Sandburg,
It's sad but it's true                        Keats, Poe and McKuen
With all the words gone,                They all had their day
What's a young poet to do?                And knew what they're doin'

But of all the words written                The bird is a strange one,
And all the lines read,                        So small and so tender
There's one I like most,                Its breed still unknown,
And by a bird it was said!                Not to mention its gender.

It reminds me of days of                So what is this line
Both gloom and of light.                Whose author's unknown
It still lifts my spirits                And still makes me giggle
And starts the day right.                Even now that I'm grown?

I've read all the greats
Both starving and fat,
But none was as great as
"I tot I taw a puddy tat."
                -- Etta Stallings, "An Ode To Childhood"
An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
"That eye is like this eye"
Said the first eye,
"But in low place,
Not in high place."
And all that the Lorax left here in this mess
was a small pile of rocks with the one word, "unless."
Whatever THAT meant, well, I just couldn't guess.
That was long, long ago, and each day since that day,
I've worried and worried and worried away.
Through the years as my buildings have fallen apart,
I've worried about it with all of my heart.

"BUT," says the Oncler, "now that you're here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear!
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better - it's not.
So... CATCH!" cries the Oncler.  He lets something fall.
"It's a truffula seed.  It's the last one of all!

"You're in charge of the last of the truffula seeds.
And truffula trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new truffula -- treat it with care.
Give it clean water and feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest -- protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back!"
And if California slides into the ocean,
Like the mystics and statistics say it will.
I predict this motel will be standing,
Until I've paid my bill.
                -- Warren Zevon, "Desperados Under the Eaves"
And now your toner's toney,                Disk blocks aplenty
And your paper near pure white,                Await your laser drawn lines,
The smudges on your soul are gone        Your intricate fonts,
And your output's clean as light..        Your pictures and signs.

We've labored with your father,                Your amputative absence
The venerable XGP,                        Has made the Ten dumb,
But his slow artistic hand,                Without you, Dover,
Lacks your clean velocity.                We're system untounged-

Theses and papers                         DRAW Plots and TEXage
And code in a queue                        Have been biding their time,
Dover, oh Dover,                        With LISP code and programs,
We've been waiting for you.                And this crufty rhyme.

Dover, oh Dover,                Dover, oh Dover, arisen from dead.
We welcome you back,                Dover, oh Dover, awoken from bed.
Though still you may jam,        Dover, oh Dover, welcome back to the Lab.
You're on the right track.        Dover, oh Dover, we've missed your clean
And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod,
Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,
And the Cabots talk only to God.
And we heard him exclaim
As he started to roam:
"I'm a hologram, kids,
please don't try this at home!'"
                -- Bob Violence
As I was walking down the street one dark and dreary day,
I came upon a billboard and much to my dismay,
The words were torn and tattered,
From the storm the night before,
The wind and rain had done its work and this is how it goes,

Smoke Coca-Cola cigarettes, chew Wrigleys Spearmint beer,
Ken-L-Ration dog food makes your complexion clear,
Simonize your baby in a Hershey candy bar,
And Texaco's a beauty cream that's used by every star.

Take your next vacation in a brand new Frigedaire,
Learn to play the piano in your winter underwear,
Doctors say that babies should smoke until they're three,
And people over sixty-five should bathe in Lipton tea.
Beneath this stone lies Murphy,
They buried him today,
He lived the life of Riley,
While Riley was away.
By the time you swear you're his,
shivering and sighing
and he vows his passion is
infinite, undying --
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.
                -- Dorothy Parker, "Unfortunate Coincidence"
Cecil, you're my final hope
Of finding out the true Straight Dope
For I have been reading of Schrodinger's cat
But none of my cats are at all like that.
This unusual animal (so it is said)
Is simultaneously alive and dead!
What I don't understand is just why he
Can't be one or the other, unquestionably.
My future now hangs in between eigenstates.
In one I'm enlightened, in the other I ain't.
If *you* understand, Cecil, then show me the way
And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.
But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,
Then I will *___and* I won't see you in Schrodinger's zoo.
                -- Randy F., Chicago, "The Straight Dope, a compendium
                   of human knowledge" by Cecil Adams
Even in the moment of our earliest kiss,
When sighed the straitened bud into the flower,
Sat the dry seed of most unwelcome this;
And that I knew, though not the day and hour.
Too season-wise am I, being country-bred,
To tilt at autumn or defy the frost:
Snuffing the chill even as my fathers did,
I say with them, "What's out tonight is lost."
I only hoped, with the mild hope of all
Who watch the leaf take shape upon the tree,
A fairer summer and a later fall
Than in these parts a man is apt to see,
And sunny clusters ripened for the wine:
I tell you this across the blackened vine.
                -- Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Even in the Moment of
                   Our Earliest Kiss", 1931
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.  Everybody rolls with their
fingers crossed.  Everybody knows the war is over.  Everybody knows the
good guys lost.  Everybody knows the fight was fixed: the poor stay
poor, the rich get rich.  That's how it goes.  Everybody knows.

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking.  Everybody knows the captain
lied.  Everybody got this broken feeling like their father or their dog
just died.

Everybody talking to their pockets.  Everybody wants a box of chocolates
and long stem rose.  Everybody knows.

Everybody knows that you love me, baby.  Everybody knows that you really
do.  Everybody knows that you've been faithful, give or take a night or
two.  Everybody knows you've been discreet, but there were so many people
you just had to meet without your clothes.  And everybody knows.

And everybody knows it's now or never.  Everybody knows that it's me or you.
And everybody knows that you live forever when you've done a line or two.
Everybody knows the deal is rotten: Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
for you ribbons and bows.  And everybody knows.
        -- Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows"
Everything's great in this good old world;
(This is the stuff they can always use.)
God's in his heaven, the hill's dew-pearled;
(This will provide for baby's shoes.)
Hunger and War do not mean a thing;
Everything's rosy where'er we roam;
Hark, how the little birds gaily sing!
(This is what fetches the bacon home.)
                -- Dorothy Parker, "The Far Sighted Muse"
Friends, Romans, Hipsters,
Let me clue you in;
I come to put down Caesar, not to groove him.
The square kicks some cats are on stay with them;
The hip bits, like, go down under;
so let it lay with Caesar.  The cool Brutus
Gave you the message: Caesar had big eyes;
If that's the sound, someone's copping a plea,
And, like, old Caesar really set them straight.
Here, copacetic with Brutus and the studs, --
for Brutus is a real cool cat;
So are they all, all cool cats, --
Come I to make this gig at Caesar's laying down.
God rest ye CS students now,                The bearings on the drum are gone,
Let nothing you dismay.                        The disk is wobbling, too.
The VAX is down and won't be up,        We've found a bug in Lisp, and Algol
Until the first of May.                        Can't tell false from true.
The program that was due this morn,        And now we find that we can't get
Won't be postponed, they say.                At Berkeley's 4.2.
(chorus)                                (chorus)

We've just received a call from DEC,        And now some cheery news for you,
They'll send without delay                The network's also dead,
A monitor called RSuX                        We'll have to print your files on
It takes nine hundred K.                The line printer instead.
The staff committed suicide,                The turnaround time's nineteen weeks.
We'll bury them today.                        And only cards are read.
(chorus)                                (chorus)

And now we'd like to say to you                CHORUS:        Oh, tidings of comfort and joy,
Before we go away,                                Comfort and joy,
We hope the news we've brought to you                Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.
Won't ruin your whole day.
You've got another program due, tomorrow, by the way.
                -- to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
        Hack placidly amidst the noisy printers and remember what prizes there
may be in Science.  As fast as possible get a good terminal on a good system.
Enter your data clearly but always encrypt your results.  And listen to others,
even the dull and ignorant, for they may be your customers.  Avoid loud and
aggressive persons, for they are sales reps.
        If you compare your outputs with those of others, you may be surprised,
for always there will be greater and lesser numbers than you have crunched.
Keep others interested in your career, and try not to fumble; it can be a real
hassle and could change your fortunes in time.
        Exercise system control in your experiments, for the world is full of
bugs.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive
for linearity and everywhere papers are full of approximations.  Strive for
proportionality.  Especially, do not faint when it occurs.  Neither be cyclical
about results; for in the face of all data analysis it is sure to be noticed.
        Take with a grain of salt the anomalous data points.  Gracefully pass
them on to the youth at the next desk.  Nurture some mutual funds to shield
you in times of sudden layoffs.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings
-- the real bugs are enough to screw you badly.  Murphy's Law runs the
Universe -- and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt <Curl>B*n dS = 0.
        Therefore, grab for a piece of the pie, with whatever proposals you
can conceive of to try.  With all the crashed disks, skewed data, and broken
line printers, you can still have a beautiful secretary.  Be linear.  Strive
to stay employed.
                -- Technolorata, "Analog"
Here I am again right where I know I shouldn't be
I've been caught inside this trap too many times
I must've walked these steps and said these words a
        thousand times before
It seems like I know everybody's lines.
                -- David Bromberg, "How Late'll You Play 'Til?"
Here I sit, broken-hearted,
All logged in, but work unstarted.
First net.this and net.that,
And a hot buttered bun for net.fat.

The boss comes by, and I play the game,
Then I turn back to net.flame.
Is there a cure (I need your views),
For someone trapped in

I need your help, I say 'tween sobs,
'Cause I'll soon be listed in
Higgeldy Piggeldy,
Hamlet of Elsinore
Ruffled the critics by
Dropping this bomb:
"Phooey on Freud and his
Psychoanalysis --
Oedipus, Shmoedipus,
I just love Mom."
I had an errand there: gathering water-lilies,
green leaves and lilies white to please my pretty lady,
the last ere the year's end to keep them from the winter,
to flower by her pretty feet till the snows are melted.

Each year at summer's end I go to find them for her,
in a wide pool, deep and clear, far down Withywindle;
there they open first in spring and there they linger latest.

By that pool long ago I found the River-daughter,
fair young Goldberry sitting in the rushes.
Sweet was her singing then, and her heart was beating!

And that proved well for you--for now I shall no longer
go down deep again along the forest-water,
no while the year is old.  Nor shall I be passing
Old Man Willow's house this side of spring-time,
not till the merry spring, when the River-daughter
dances down the withy-path to bathe in the water.
                -- J. R. R. Tolkien
I really hate this damned machine
I wish that they would sell it.
It never does quite what I want
But only what I tell it.
I saw a man pursuing the Horizon,
'Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this,
I accosted the man,
"It is futile," I said.
"You can never--"
"You lie!" He cried,
and ran on.
                -- Stephen Crane
I sent a letter to the fish,                I said it very loud and clear,
I told them, "This is what I wish."        I went and shouted in his ear.
The little fishes of the sea,                But he was very stiff and proud,
They sent an answer back to me.                He said "You needn't shout so loud."
The little fishes' answer was                And he was very proud and stiff,
"We cannot do it, sir, because..."        He said "I'll go and wake them if..."
I sent a letter back to say                I took a kettle from the shelf,
It would be better to obey.                I went to wake them up myself.
But someone came to me and said                But when I found the door was locked
"The little fishes are in bed."                I pulled and pushed and kicked and
I said to him, and I said it plain        And when I found the door was shut,
"Then you must wake them up again."        I tried to turn the handle, But...

        "Is that all?" asked Alice.
        "That is all." said Humpty Dumpty. "Goodbye."
I sent a message to another time,
But as the days unwind -- this I just can't believe,
I sent a message to another plane,
Maybe it's all a game -- but this I just can't conceive.
I met someone who looks at lot like you,
She does the things you do, but she is an IBM.
She's only programmed to be very nice,
But she's as cold as ice, whenever I get too near,
She tells me that she likes me very much,
But when I try to touch, she makes it all too clear.
I realize that it must seem so strange,
That time has rearranged, but time has the final word,
She knows I think of you, she reads my mind,
She tries to be unkind, she knows nothing of our world.
                -- ELO, "Yours Truly, 2095"
I think that I shall never see
A thing as lovely as a tree.
But as you see the trees have gone
They went this morning with the dawn.
A logging firm from out of town
Came and chopped the trees all down.
But I will trick those dirty skunks
And write a brand new poem called 'Trunks'.
I was eatin' some chop suey,
With a lady in St. Louie,
When there sudden comes a knockin' at the door.
And that knocker, he says, "Honey,
Roll this rocker out some money,
Or your daddy shoots a baddie to the floor."
                -- Mr. Miggle
I went home with a waitress,
The way I always do.
How I was I to know?
She was with the Russians too.

I was gambling in Havana,
I took a little risk.
Send lawyers, guns, and money,
Dad, get me out of this.
                -- Warren Zevon, "Lawyers, Guns and Money"
I went over to my friend, he was eatin' a pickle.
I said "Hi, what's happenin'?"
He said "Nothin'."
Try to sing this song with that kind of enthusiasm;
As if you just squashed a cop.
                -- Arlo Guthrie, "Motorcycle Song"
I'd never cry if I did find
        A blue whale in my soup...
Nor would I mind a porcupine
        Inside a chicken coop.
Yes life is fine when things combine,        
        Like ham in beef chow mein...
But lord, this time I think I mind,
        They've put acid in my rain.
                      --- Milo Bloom
I've been on this lonely road so long,
Does anybody know where it goes,
I remember last time the signs pointed home,
A month ago.
                -- Carpenters, "Road Ode"
IBM had a PL/I,
        Its syntax worse than JOSS;
And everywhere this language went,
        It was a total loss.
If all the seas were ink,
And all the reeds were pens,
And all the skies were parchment,
And all the men could write,
These would not suffice
To write down all the red tape
Of this Government.
If Dr. Seuss Were a Technical Writer.....

Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say:

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

You can't say this?  What a shame, sir!
We'll find you another game, sir.

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risc,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to ram your rom.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!

                -- (DementDJ) [rec.humor.funny]
If I could read your mind, love,
What a tale your thoughts could tell,
Just like a paperback novel,
The kind the drugstore sells,
When you reach the part where the heartaches come,
The hero would be me,
Heroes often fail,
You won't read that book again, because
        the ending is just too hard to take.

I walk away, like a movie star,
Who gets burned in a three way script,
Enter number two,
A movie queen to play the scene
Of bringing all the good things out in me,
But for now, love, let's be real
I never thought I could act this way,
And I've got to say that I just don't get it,
I don't know where we went wrong but the feeling is gone
And I just can't get it back...
                -- Gordon Lightfoot, "If You Could Read My Mind"
In the early morning queue,
With a listing in my hand.
With a worry in my heart,        There on terminal number 9,
Waitin' here in CERAS-land.        Pascal run all set to go.
I'm a long way from sleep,        But I'm waitin' in the queue,
How I miss a good meal so.        With this code that ever grows.
In the early mornin' queue,        Now the lobby chairs are soft,
With no place to go.                But that can't make the queue move fast.
                                Hey, there it goes my friend,
                                I've moved up one at last.
                -- Ernest Adams, "Early Morning Queue", to "Early
                   Morning Rain" by G. Lightfoot
In this vale
Of toil and sin
Your head grows bald
But not your chin.
                -- Burma Shave
It's Like This

Even the samurai
have teddy bears,
and even the teddy bears
get drunk.
It's so confusing choosing sides in the heat of the moment,
        just to see if it's real,
Oooh, it's so erotic having you tell me how it should feel,
But I'm avoiding all the hard cold facts that I got to face,
So ask me just one question when this magic night is through,
Could it have been just anyone or did it have to be you?
                -- Billy Joel, "Glass Houses"
Just machines to make big decisions,
Programmed by men for compassion and vision,
We'll be clean when their work is done,
We'll be eternally free, yes, eternally young,
What a beautiful world this will be,
What a glorious time to be free.
                -- Donald Fagon, "What A Beautiful World"
Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone,
Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you,
I went out this morning and I wrote down this song,
Just can't remember who to send it to...

Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain,
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end,
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
But I always thought that I'd see you again.
Thought I'd see you one more time again.
                -- James Taylor, "Fire and Rain"
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.  Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Like corn in a field I cut you down,
I threw the last punch way too hard,
After years of going steady, well, I thought it was time,
To throw in my hand for a new set of cards.
And I can't take you dancing out on the weekend,
I figured we'd painted too much of this town,
And I tried not to look as I walked to my wagon,
And I knew then I had lost what should have been found,
I knew then I had lost what should have been found.
        And I feel like a bullet in the gun of Robert Ford
        I'm as low as a paid assassin is
        You know I'm cold as a hired sword.
        I'm so ashamed we can't patch it up,
        You know I can't think straight no more
        You make me feel like a bullet, honey,
                a bullet in the gun of Robert Ford.
                -- Elton John "I Feel Like a Bullet"
Love, which is quickly kindled in a gentle heart,
        seized this one for the fair form
        that was taken from me-and the way of it afficts me still.
Love, which absolves no loved one from loving,
        seized me so strongly with delight in him,
        that, as you see, it does not leave me even now.
Love brought us to one death.
                -- La Divina Commedia: Inferno V, vv. 100-06
Most folks they like the daytime,
        'cause they like to see the shining sun.
They're up in the morning,
        off and a-running till they're too tired for having fun.
But when the sun goes down,
        and the bright lights shine, my daytime has just begun.

Now there are two sides to this great big world,
        and one of them is always night.
If you can take care of business in the sunshine, baby,
        I guess you're gonna be all right.
Don't come looking for me to lend you a hand.
        My eyes just can't stand the light.

'Cause I'm a night owl honey, sleep all day long.
                -- Carly Simon
My My, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay        The king is gone but he's not forgotten
It's better to burn out                This is the story of a Johnny Rotten
Than to fade away                It's better to burn out than it is to rust
My my, hey hey                        The king is gone but he's not forgotten

It's out of the blue and into the black                Hey hey, my my
They give you this, but you pay for that        Rock and roll can never die
And once you're gone you can never come back        There's more to the picture
When you're out of the blue                        Than meets the eye
And into the black
                -- Neil Young
                "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue), Rust Never Sleeps"
"My name is Sue!  How do you do?!  Now you gonna die!"
Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,
And he went down, but to my surprise,
Come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
So I busted a chair right across his teeth,
And we crashed through the walls and into the streets,
Kickin' and a-gougin' in the mud and the blood and beer.
Now I tell you, I've fought tougher men,
But I really can't remember when:
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
But I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
And he went for his gun, but I pulled mine first,
And he sat there lookin' at me, and I saw him smile.
He said: "Son, this world is rough,
And if a man's gonna make it he's gotta be tough,
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I give you that name and I said goodbye,
And I knew you'd have to get tough or die,
And it's that name that's helped to make you strong!
                -- Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue"
Near the Studio Jean Cocteau
On the Rue des Ecoles
lived an old man
with a blind dog
Every evening I would see him
guiding the dog along
the sidewalk, keeping
a firm grip on the leash
so that the dog wouldn't
run into a passerby
Sometimes the dog would stop
and look up at the sky
Once the old man
noticed me watching the dog
and he said, "Oh, yes,
this one knows
when the moon is out,
he can feel it on his face"
                -- Barry Gifford
No pig should go sky diving during monsoon
For this isn't really the norm.
But should a fat swine try to soar like a loon,
So what?  Any pork in a storm.

No pig should go sky diving during monsoon,
It's risky enough when the weather is fine.
But to have a pig soar when the monsoon doth roar
Cast even more perils before swine.
Now I lay me down to study,
I pray the Lord I won't go nutty.
And if I fail to learn this junk,
I pray the Lord that I won't flunk.
But if I do, don't pity me at all,
Just lay my bones in the study hall.
Tell my teacher I've done my best,
Then pile my books upon my chest.
O love, could thou and I with fate conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
Might we not smash it to bits
And mould it closer to our hearts' desire?
                -- Omar Khayyam, tr. FitzGerald
Oh give me your pity!
I'm on a committee,                        We attend and amend
Which means that from morning                And contend and defend
        to night,                        Without a conclusion in sight.

We confer and concur,
We defer and demur,                        We revise the agenda
And reiterate all of our thoughts.        With frequent addenda
                                        And consider a load of reports.

We compose and propose,
We suppose and oppose,                        But though various notions
And the points of procedure are fun;        Are brought up as motions,
                                        There's terribly little gets done.

We resolve and absolve;
But we never dissolve,
Since it's out of the question for us
To bring our committee
To end like this ditty,
Which stops with a period, thus.
                -- Leslie Lipson, "The Committee"
"Oh, 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments such prosperi-ty?"
"Oh, didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she.

"You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!"
"Yes: That's how we dress when we're ruined," said she.

"At home in the barton you said `thee' and `thou,'
And `thik oon' and `theas oon' and `t'other;' but now
Your talking quite fits 'ee for compa-ny!"
"Some polish is gained with one's ruin," said she.

"Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak
But now I'm bewitched by your delicate cheek,
And your little gloves fit like as on any la-dy!"
"We never do work when we're ruined," said she.

"You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you'd sigh, and you'd sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!"
"True.  One's pretty lively when ruined," said she.

"I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!"
"My dear--a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that.  You ain't ruined," said she.
                --Thomas Hardy
Oh, give me a locus where the gravitons focus
        Where the three-body problem is solved,
        Where the microwaves play down at three degrees K,
        And the cold virus never evolved.                        (chorus)
We eat algea pie, our vacuum is high,
        Our ball bearings are perfectly round.
        Our horizon is curved, our warheads are MIRVed,
        And a kilogram weighs half a pound.                        (chorus)
If we run out of space for our burgeoning race
        No more Lebensraum left for the Mensch
        When we're ready to start, we can take Mars apart,
        If we just find a big enough wrench.                        (chorus)
I'm sick of this place, it's just McDonald's in space,
        And living up here is a bore.
        Tell the shiggies, "Don't cry," they can kiss me goodbye
        'Cause I'm moving next week to L4!                        (chorus)

CHORUS:        Home, home on LaGrange,
        Where the space debris always collects,
        We possess, so it seems, two of Man's greatest dreams:
        Solar power and zero-gee sex.
                -- to Home on the Range
Once there was a little nerd who loved to read your mail,
And then yank back the i-access times to get hackers off his tail,
And once as he finished reading from the secretary's spool,
He wrote a rude rejection to her boyfriend (how uncool!)
And this as delivermail did work and he ran his backfstat,
He heard an awful crackling like rat fritters in hot fat,
And hard errors brought the system down 'fore he could even shout!
        And the bio bug'll bring yours down too, ef you don't watch out!
And once they was a little flake who'd prowl through the uulog,
And when he went to his blit that night to play at being god,
The ops all heard him holler, and they to the console dashed,
But when they did a ps -ut they found the system crashed!
Oh, the wizards adb'd the dumps and did the system trace,
And worked on the file system 'til the disk head was hot paste,
But all they ever found was this:  "panic: never doubt",
        And the bio bug'll crash your box too, ef you don't watch out!
When the day is done and the moon comes out,
And you hear the printer whining and the rk's seems to count,
When the other desks are empty and their terminals glassy grey,
And the load is only 1.6 and you wonder if it'll stay,
You must mind the file protections and not snoop around,
        Or the bio bug'll getcha and bring the system down!
Once upon this midnight incoherent,
While you pondered sentient and crystalline,
Over many a broken and subordinate
Volume of gnarly lore,
While I pestered, nearly singing,
Sudddenly there came a hewing,
As of someone profusely skulking,
Skulking at my chamber door.
One bright Sunday morning, in the shadows of the steeple,
By the Relief Office, I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there whistling,
This land was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back,
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign it said: "No Trespassing."
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
                -- Woody Guthrie, "This Land Is Your Land" (verses 4, 6, 7)
        [If you ever wondered why Arlo was so anti-establishment when his dad
         wrote such wonderful patriotic songs, the answer is that you haven't
         heard all of Woody's songs]
Put another password in,
Bomb it out, then try again.
Try to get past logging in,
We're hacking, hacking, hacking.

Try his first wife's maiden name,
This is more than just a game.
It's real fun, but just the same,
It's hacking, hacking, hacking.
                -- To the tune of "Music, Music, Music?"
Remember thee
Ay, thou poor ghost while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe.  Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there.
                -- William Shakespeare, "Hamlet"
Remove me from this land of slaves,
Where all are fools, and all are knaves,
Where every knave and fool is bought,
Yet kindly sells himself for nought;
                -- Jonathan Swift
Snow-white!  Snow-white!  O Lady clear!
O Queen beyond the Western Sea!
O Light to us that wander here
Amid the world of woven trees!

        Gilthoniel!  O Elbereth!
        Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath!
        Snow-white!  Snow-white!  We sing to thee
        In a far land beyond the Sea.

O stars that in the Sunless Year
With shining hand by her were sown,
In windy fields now bright and clear
We see you silver blossom blown!

        O Elbereth!  Gilthoniel!
        We still remember, we who dwell
        In this far land beneath the trees,
        Thy starlight on the Western Seas.
                -- J. R. R. Tolkien
Step back, unbelievers!
Or the rain will never come.
Somebody keep the fire burning, someone come and beat the drum.
You may think I'm crazy, you may think that I'm insane,
But I swear to you, before this day is out,
        you folks are gonna see some rain!
Take a look around you, tell me what you see,
A girl who thinks she's ordinary lookin' she has got the key.
If you can get close enough to look into her eyes
There's something special right behind the bitterness she hides.
        And you're fair game,
        You never know what she'll decide, you're fair game,
        Just relax, enjoy the ride.
Find a way to reach her, make yourself a fool,
But do it with a little class, disregard the rules.
'Cause this one knows the bottom line, couldn't get a date.
The ugly duckling striking back, and she'll decide her fate.
The ones you never notice are the ones you have to watch.
She's pleasant and she's friendly while she's looking at your crotch.
Try your hand at conversation, gossip is a lie,
And sure enough she'll take you home and make you wanna die.
                -- Crosby, Stills, Nash, "Fair Game"
Terence, this is stupid stuff:
You eat your victuals fast enough;
There can't be much amiss, 'tis clear,
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,
It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well the horned head:
We poor lads, 'tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow.
Pretty friendship 'tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time.
Moping, melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.
                -- A.E. Housman
The bank sent our statement this morning,
The red ink was a sight of great awe!
Their figures and mine might have balanced,
But my wife was too quick on the draw.
The garden is in mourning;
The rain falls cool among the flowers.
Summer shivers quietly
On its way towards its end.

Golden leaf after leaf
Falls from the tall acacia.
Summer smiles, astonished, feeble,
In this dying dream of a garden.

For a long while, yet, in the roses,
She will linger on, yearning for peace,
And slowly
Close her weary eyes.
                -- Hermann Hesse, "September"
The hope that springs eternal
Springs right up your behind.
                -- Ian Drury, "This Is What We Find"
The soldier came knocking upon the queen's door.
He said, "I am not fighting for you any more."
The queen knew she had seen his face someplace before,
And slowly she let him inside.

He said, "I see you now, and you're so very young,
But I've seen more battles lost than I have battles won,
And I have this intuition that it's all for your fun.
And now will you tell me why?"
                -- Suzanne Vega, "The Queen and The Soldier"
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright --
And this was very odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
                -- Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking Glass"
The Worst American Poet
        Julia Moore, "the Sweet Singer of Michigan" (1847-1920) was so bad that
Mark Twain said her first book gave him joy for 20 years.
        Her verse was mainly concerned with violent death -- the great fire
of Chicago and the yellow fever epidemic proved natural subjects for her pen.
        Whether death was by drowning, by fits or by runaway sleigh, the
formula was the same:
                Have you heard of the dreadful fate
                Of Mr. P.P. Bliss and wife?
                Of their death I will relate,
                And also others lost their life
                (in the) Ashbula Bridge disaster,
                Where so many people died.
        Even if you started out reasonably healthy in one of Julia's poems,
the chances are that after a few stanzas you would be at the bottom of a
river or struck by lightning.  A critic of the day said she was "worse than
a Gatling gun" and in one slim volume counted 21 killed and 9 wounded.
        Incredibly, some newspapers were critical of her work, even
suggesting that the sweet singer was "semi-literate".  Her reply was
forthright: "The Editors that has spoken in this scandalous manner have went
beyond reason."  She added that "literary work is very difficult to do".
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
                The Worst Lines of Verse
For a start, we can rule out James Grainger's promising line:
        "Come, muse, let us sing of rats."
Grainger (1721-67) did not have the courage of his convictions and deleted
these words on discovering that his listeners dissolved into spontaneous
laughter the instant they were read out.
        No such reluctance afflicted Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-70) who was
inspired by the subject of war.
        "Flash! flash! bang! bang! and we blazed away,
        And the grey roof reddened and rang;
        Flash! flash! and I felt his bullet flay
        The tip of my ear.  Flash! bang!"
By contrast, Cheshire cheese provoked John Armstrong (1709-79):
        "... that which Cestria sends, tenacious paste of solid milk..."
While John Bidlake was guided by a compassion for vegetables:
        "The sluggard carrot sleeps his day in bed,
        The crippled pea alone that cannot stand."
George Crabbe (1754-1832) wrote:
        "And I was ask'd and authorized to go
        To seek the firm of Clutterbuck and Co."
William Balmford explored the possibilities of religious verse:
        "So 'tis with Christians, Nature being weak
        While in this world, are liable to leak."
And William Wordsworth showed that he could do it if he really tried when
describing a pond:
        "I've measured it from side to side;
        Tis three feet long and two feet wide."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
There is in certain living souls
A quality of loneliness unspeakable,
So great it must be shared
As company is shared by lesser beings.
Such a loneliness is mine; so know by this
That in immensity
There is one lonelier than you.
There once was a Sailor who looked through a glass
And spied a fair mermaid with scales on her... island.
Where seagulls flew over their nest.
She combed the long hair which hung over her... shoulders.
And caused her to tickle and itch.
The sailor cried out "There's a beautiful... mermaid.
A sittin' out there on the rocks."
The crew came a running, all grabbing their... glasses.
And crowded four deep to the rail.
All eager to share in this fine piece of... news.
"Throw out a line and we'll lasso her... flippers.
And soon we will certainly find
If mermaids are better before or be... brave
My dear fellows," The captain cried out.
And cursing with spleen.
This song may be dull, but it's certainly clean.
                -- "The Clean Song", Oscar Brandt
There's little in taking or giving,
        There's little in water or wine:
This living, this living, this living,
        Was never a project of mine.
Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is
        The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
        And love is a permanent flop,
And work is the province of cattle,
        And rest's for a clam in a shell,
So I'm thinking of throwing the battle --
        Would you kindly direct me to hell?
                -- Dorothy Parker
They told me you had proven it                When they discovered our results
        About a month before.                        Their hair began to curl
The proof was valid, more or less        Instead of understanding it
        But rather less than more.                We'd run the thing through PRL.

He sent them word that we would try        Don't tell a soul about all this
        To pass where they had failed                For it must ever be
And after we were done, to them                A secret, kept from all the rest
        The new proof would be mailed.                Between yourself and me.

My notion was to start again
        Ignoring all they'd done
We quickly turned it into code
        To see if it would run.
This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Everye nighte and alle,
Fire and sleet and candlelyte,
And Christe receive thy saule.
                -- The Lykewake Dirge
This here's the wattle,
The emblem of our land.
You can stick it in a bottle;
You can hold it in your hand.
                -- Monty Python
This is for all ill-treated fellows
        Unborn and unbegot,
For them to read when they're in trouble
        And I am not.
                -- A. E. Housman
This is the story of the bee
Whose sex is very hard to see

You cannot tell the he from the she
But she can tell, and so can he

The little bee is never still
She has no time to take the pill

And that is why, in times like these
There are so many sons of bees.
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang but with a whimper.
                -- T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men"
This land is my land, and only my land,
I've got a shotgun, and you ain't got one,
If you don't get off, I'll blow your head off,
This land is private property.
                -- Apologies to Woody Guthrie
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
Those who sweat in flames of hell,        Leaden eared, some thought their bowels
Here's the reason that they fell:        Lispeth forth the sweetest vowels.
While on earth they prayed in SAS,        These they offered up in praise
PL/1, or other crass,                        Thinking all this fetid haze
Vulgar tongue.                                A rapsody sung.

Some the lord did sorely try                Jabber of the mindless horde
Assembling all their pleas in hex.        Sequel next did mock the lord
Speech as crabbed as devil's crable        Slothful sequel so enfangled
Hex that marked on Tower Babel                Its speaker's lips became entangled
The highest rung.                        In his bung.

Because in life they prayed so ill
And offered god such swinish swill
Now they sweat in flames of hell
Sweat from lack of APL
Sweat dung!
To code the impossible code,                This is my quest --
To bring up a virgin machine,                To debug that code,
To pop out of endless recursion,        No matter how hopeless,
To grok what appears on the screen,        No matter the load,
                                        To write those routines
To right the unrightable bug,                Without question or pause,
To endlessly twiddle and thrash,        To be willing to hack FORTRAN IV
To mount the unmountable magtape,        For a heavenly cause.
To stop the unstoppable crash!                And I know if I'll only be true
                                        To this glorious quest,
And the queue will be better for this,        That my code will run CUSPy and calm,
That one man, scorned and                When it's put to the test.
        destined to lose,
Still strove with his last allocation
To scrap the unscrappable kludge!
                -- To "The Impossible Dream", from Man of La Mancha
Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
        Done by!  Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.

Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: "Pray, what is youn?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim,
As should be a-lyin in graveyard.
        Caveyard!  Paveyard!
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in graveyard."

"My lad," said Troll, "this bone I stole.
But what be bones that lie in a hole?
Thy nuncle was dead as a lump o' lead,
Afore I found his shinbone.
        Tinbone!  Thinbone!
He can spare a share for a poor old troll
For he don't need his shinbone."

Said Tom: "I don't see why the likes o' thee
Without axin' leave should go makin' free
With the shank or the shin o' my father's kin;
So hand the old bone over!
        Rover!  Trover!
Though dead he be, it belongs to he;
So hand the old bnone over!"
                -- J. R. R. Tolkien
'Twas midnight on the ocean,                Her children all were orphans,
Not a streetcar was in sight,                Except one a tiny tot,
So I stepped into a cigar store                Who had a home across the way
To ask them for a light.                Above a vacant lot.

The man        behind the counter                As I gazed through the oaken door
Was a woman, old and gray,                A whale went drifting by,
Who used to peddle doughnuts                Its six legs hanging in the air,
On the road to Mandalay.                So I kissed her goodbye.

She said "Good morning, stranger",        This story has a morale
Her eyes were dry with tears,                As you can plainly see,
As she put her head between her feet        Don't mix your gin with whiskey
And stood that way for years.                On the deep and dark blue sea.
                -- Midnight On The Ocean
'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period
   preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, And
   throughout our place of residence,
Kinetic activity was not in evidence among the
   possessors of this potential, including that
   species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus.
Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward
   edge of the woodburning caloric apparatus,
Pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an
   imminent visitation from an eccentric
   philanthropist among whose folkloric appelations
   is the honorific title of St. Nicklaus ...
        Two men looked out from the prison bars,
        One saw mud--
        The other saw stars.

Now let me get this right: two prisoners are looking out the window.
While one of them was looking at all the mud -- the other one got hit
in the head.
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig my grave and let me lie,
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And laid me down with a will,
And this be the verse that you grave for me,
Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
                -- Robert Loius Stevenson, "Requiem"
Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.        Still round the corner there may wait
  Tree and flower and leaf and grass,        A new road or a secret gate,
  Let them pass!  Let them pass!        And though we pass them by today
  Hill and water under sky,                Tomorrow we may come this way
  Pass them by!  Pass them by!                And take the hidden paths that run
                                        Towards the Moon or to the Sun,
Home is behind, the world ahead,          Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
And there are many paths to tread          Let them go!  Let them go!
Through shadows to the edge of night,          Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Until the stars are all alight.                  Fare you well!  Fare you well!
Then world behind and home ahead,
We'll wander back to home and bed.
  Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
  Away shall fade!  Away shall fade!
  Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
  And then to bed!  And then to bed!
                -- J. R. R. Tolkien
Was there a time when dancers with their fiddles
In children's circuses could stay their troubles?
There was a time they could cry over books,
But time has set its maggot on their track.
Under the arc of the sky they are unsafe.
What's never known is safest in this life.
Under the skysigns they who have no arms
Have cleanest hands, and, as the heartless ghost
Alone's unhurt, so the blind man sees best.
                -- Dylan Thomas, "Was There A Time"
We gotta get out of this place,
If it's the last thing we ever do.
                -- The Animals
What awful irony is this?
We are as gods, but know it not.
What segment's this, that, laid to rest
On FHA0, is sleeping?
What system file, lay here a while        This, this is ","
While hackers around it were weeping?        Accounting file for everyone.
                                        Dump, dump it and type it out,
                                        The file, the highseg of login.
Why lies it here, on public disk
And why is it now unprotected?
A bug in incant, made it thus.                Mount, mount all your DECtapes now
And copy the file somehow, somehow.        The problem has not been corrected.
                                        Dump, dump it and type it out,
                                        The file, the highseg of login.
                -- to Greensleeves
When in this world the headlines read
Of those whose hearts are filled with greed
Who rob and steal from those who need
The cry goes up with blinding speed for Underdog (UNDERDOG!)
Underdog (UNDERDOG!)
Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
Fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog (ah-ah-ah-ah)
While Europe's eye is fix'd on mighty things,
The fate of empires and the fall of kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.
                -- Robert Burns, Address on "The Rights of Woman", 26/10 1792
Why are you watching
The washing machine?
I love entertainment
So long as it's clean.

Professor Doberman:
        While the preceding poem is unarguably a change from the guarded
pessimism of "The Hound of Heaven," it cannot be regarded as an unqualified
improvement.  Obscurity is of value only when it tends to clarify the poetic
experience.  As much as one is compelled to admire the poem's technique, one
must question whether its byplay of complex literary allusions does not in
fact distract from the unity of the whole.  In the final analysis, one
receives the distinct impression that the poem's length could safely have
been reduced by a factor of eight or ten without sacrificing any of its
meaning.  It is to be hoped that further publication of this poem can be
suspended pending a thorough investigation of its potential subversive
Woke up this mornin' an' I had myself a beer,
Yeah, Ah woke up this mornin' an' I had myself a beer
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.
                -- Jim Morrison, "Roadhouse Blues"
Woke up this morning, don't believe what I saw.
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore.
Seems I'm not alone in being alone.
Hundred billion castaways looking for a call.
                -- The Police, "Message in a Bottle"
"You are old, father William," the young man said,
        "And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
        Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
        "I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
        Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
        And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
        Pray what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
        "I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment -- one shilling the box --
        Allow me to sell you a couple?"
"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
        And make errors few people could bear;
You complain about everyone's English but yours --
        Do you really think this is quite fair?"

"I make lots of mistakes," Father William declared,
        "But my stature these days is so great
That no critic can hurt me -- I've got them all scared,
        And to stop me it's now far too late."
You go down to the pickup station,
        craving warmth and beauty;
You settle for less than fascination --
        a few drinks later you're not so choosy.
And the closing lights strip off the shadows
        on this strange new flesh you've found --
Clutching the night to you like a fig leaf
        you hurry to the blackness
        and the blankets to lay down an impression
        and your loneliness.
                -- Joni Mitchell
Death didn't answer.  He was looking at Spold in the same way as a dog looks
at a bone, only in this case things were more or less the other way around.
                -- Terry Pratchett, "The Colour of Magic"
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the
Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an
utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life
forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches
are a pretty neat idea ...
                -- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
High Priest:        Armaments Chapter One, verses nine through twenty-seven:
Bro. Maynard:        And Saint Attila raised the Holy Hand Grenade up on high
        saying, "Oh Lord, Bless us this Holy Hand Grenade, and with it
        smash our enemies to tiny bits."  And the Lord did grin, and the
        people did feast upon the lambs, and stoats, and orangutans, and
        breakfast cereals, and lima bean-
High Priest:        Skip a bit, brother.
Bro. Maynard:        And then the Lord spake, saying: "First, shalt thou take
        out the holy pin.  Then shalt thou count to three.  No more, no less.
        *Three* shall be the number of the counting, and the number of the
        counting shall be three.  *Four* shalt thou not count, and neither
        count thou two, excepting that thou then goest on to three.  Five is
        RIGHT OUT.  Once the number three, being the third number be reached,
        then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade towards thy foe, who, being
        naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.  Amen.
All:        Amen.
                -- Monty Python, "The Holy Hand Grenade"
I argue very well.  Ask any of my remaining friends.  I can win an argument on
any topic, against any opponent.  People know this, and steer clear of me at
parties.  Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.
                -- Dave Barry
I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that
                -- Jack Benny
"I got into an elevator at work and this man followed in after me... I
pushed '1' and he just stood there... I said 'Hi, where you going?'  He
said, 'Phoenix.'  So I pushed Phoenix.  A few seconds later the doors
opened, two tumbleweeds blew in... we were in downtown Phoenix.  I looked
at him and said 'You know, you're the kind of guy I want to hang around
with.'  We got into his car and drove out to his shack in the desert.
Then the phone rang.  He said 'You get it.'  I picked it up and said
'Hello?'... the other side said 'Is this Steven Wright?'... I said 'Yes...'
The guy said 'Hi, I'm Mr. Jones, the student loan director from your bank...
It seems you have missed your last 17 payments, and the university you
attended said that they received none of the $17,000 we loaned you... we
would just like to know what happened to the money?'  I said, 'Mr. Jones,
I'll give it to you straight.  I gave all of the money to my friend Slick,
and with it he built a nuclear weapon... and I would appreciate it if you never
called me again."
                -- Steven Wright
I got this powdered water -- now I don't know what to add.
                -- Steven Wright
"I love Saturday morning cartoons, what classic humour!  This is what
entertainment is all about ... Idiots, explosives and falling anvils."
                -- Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
                -- Firesign Theatre
I was at this restaurant.  The sign said "Breakfast Anytime."  So I
ordered French Toast in the Rennaissance.
                -- Steven Wright
I woke up this morning and discovered that everything in my apartment
had been stolen and replaced with an exact replica.  I told my roommate,
"Isn't this amazing?  Everything in the apartment has been stolen and
replaced with an exact replica."  He said, "Do I know you?"
                -- Steven Wright
I've had a perfectly wonderful evening.  But this wasn't it.
                -- Groucho Marx
My brother sent me a postcard the other day with this big satellite photo
of the entire earth on it. On the back it said: "Wish you were here".
                -- Steven Wright
        Obviously the subject of death was in the air, but more as something
to be avoided than harped upon.
        Possibly the horror that Zaphod experienced at the prospect of being
reunited with his deceased relatives led on to the thought that they might
just feel the same way about him and, what's more, be able to do something
about helping to postpone this reunion.
                -- Douglas Adams
Puns are little "plays on words" that a certain breed of person loves to
spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to
indicate that he thinks that you must think that he is by far the cleverest
person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you
are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other
passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they
have plenty of food and water.
                -- Dave Barry, "Why Humor is Funny"
Some of you ... may have decided that, this year, you're going to celebrate
it the old-fashioned way, with your family sitting around stringing
cranberries and exchanging humble, handmade gifts, like on "The Waltons".
Well, you can forget it.  If everybody pulled that kind of subversive stunt,
the economy would collapse overnight.  The government would have to
intervene: it would form a cabinet-level Department of Holiday Gift-Giving,
which would spend billions and billions of tax dollars to buy Barbie dolls
and electronic games, which it would drop on the populace from Air Force
jets, killing and maiming thousands.  So, for the good of the nation, you
should go along with the Holiday Program.  This means you should get a large
sum of money and go to a mall.
                -- Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"
The basic idea behind malls is that they are more convenient than cities.
Cities contain streets, which are dangerous and crowded and difficult to
park in.  Malls, on the other hand, have parking lots, which are also
dangerous and crowded and difficult to park in, but -- here is the big
difference -- in mall parking lots, THERE ARE NO RULES.  You're allowed to
do anything.  You can drive as fast as you want in any direction you want.
I was once driving in a mall parking lot when my car was struck by a pickup
truck being driven backward by a squat man with a tattoo that said "Charlie"
on his forearm, who got out and explained to me, in great detail, why the
accident was my fault, his reasoning being that he was violent and muscular,
whereas I was neither.  This kind of reasoning is legally valid in mall
parking lots.
                -- Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"
There's so much plastic in this culture that vinyl leopard skin is
becoming an endangered synthetic.
                -- Lily Tomlin
This land is full of trousers!
this land is full of mausers!
        And pussycats to eat them when the sun goes down!
                -- Firesign Theater
When I woke up this morning, my girlfriend asked if I had slept well.
I said, "No, I made a few mistakes."
                -- Steven Wright
        "You know, it's at times like this when I'm trapped in a Vogon
airlock with a man from Betelgeuse and about to die of asphyxiation in
deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me
when I was young!"
        "Why, what did she tell you?"
        "I don't know, I didn't listen."
                -- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
A certain old cat had made his home in the alley behind Gabe's bar for some
time, subsisting on scraps and occasional handouts from the bartender.  One
evening, emboldened by hunger, the feline attempted to follow Gabe through
the back door.  Regrettably, only the his body had made it through when
the door slammed shut, severing the cat's tail at its base.  This proved too
much for the old creature, who looked sadly at Gabe and expired on the spot.
        Gabe put the carcass back out in the alley and went back to business.
The mandatory closing time arrived and Gabe was in the process of locking up
after the last customers had gone.  Approaching the back door he was startled
to see an apparition of the old cat mournfully holding its severed tail out,
silently pleading for Gabe to put the tail back on its corpse so that it could
go on to the kitty afterworld complete.
        Gabe shook his head sadly and said to the ghost, "I can't.  You know
the law -- no retailing spirits after 2:00 AM."
        A lawyer named Strange was shopping for a tombstone.  After he had
made his selection, the stonecutter asked him what inscription he
would like on it.  "Here lies an honest man and a lawyer," responded the
        "Sorry, but I can't do that," replied the stonecutter.  "In this
state, it's against the law to bury two people in the same grave.  However,
I could put ``here lies an honest lawyer'', if that would be okay."
        "But that won't let people know who it is" protested the lawyer.
        "Certainly will," retorted the stonecutter.  "people will read it
and exclaim, "That's Strange!"
        After his Ignoble Disgrace, Satan was being expelled from
Heaven.  As he passed through the Gates, he paused a moment in thought,
and turned to God and said, "A new creature called Man, I hear, is soon
to be created."
        "This is true," He replied.
        "He will need laws," said the Demon slyly.
        "What!  You, his appointed Enemy for all Time!  You ask for the
right to make his laws?"
        "Oh, no!"  Satan replied, "I ask only that he be allowed to
make his own."
        It was so granted.
                -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
Certain passages in several laws have always defied interpretation and the
most inexplicable must be a matter of opinion.  A judge of the Court of
Session of Scotland has sent the editors of this book his candidate which
reads, "In the Nuts (unground), (other than ground nuts) Order, the expression
nuts shall have reference to such nuts, other than ground nuts, as would
but for this amending Order not qualify as nuts (unground) (other than ground
nuts) by reason of their being nuts (unground)."
                -- Guiness Book of World Records, 1973
[District Attorneys] learn in District Attorney School that there are
two sure-fire ways to get a lot of favorable publicity:

(1) Go down and raid all the lockers in the local high school and
    confiscate 53 marijuana cigarettes and put them in a pile and hold
    a press conference where you announce that they have a street value
    of $850 million.  These raids never fail, because ALL high schools,
    including brand-new, never-used ones, have at least 53 marijuana
    cigarettes in the lockers.  As far as anyone can tell, the locker
    factory puts them there.
(2) Raid an "adult book store" and hold a press conference where you
    announce you are charging the owner with 850 counts of being a
    piece of human sleaze.  This also never fails, because you always
    get a conviction.  A juror at a pornography trial is not about to
    state for the record that he finds nothing obscene about a movie
    where actors engage in sexual activities with live snakes and a
    fire extinguisher.  He is going to convict the bookstore owner, and
    vote for the death penalty just to make sure nobody gets the wrong
                -- Dave Barry, "Pornography"
First there was Dial-A-Prayer, then Dial-A-Recipe, and even Dial-A-Footballer.
But the south-east Victorian town of Sale has produced one to top them all.
        It all began early yesterday when Sale police received a telephone
call: "You won't believe this, and I'm not drunk, but there's a wombat in the
phone booth outside the town hall," the caller said.
        Not firmly convinced about the caller's claim to sobriety, members of
the constabulary drove to the scene, expecting to pick up a drunk.
        But there it was, an annoyed wombat, trapped in a telephone booth.
        The wombat, determined not to be had the better of again, threw its
bulk into the fray. It was eventually lassoed and released in a nearby scrub.
        Then the officers received another message ... another wombat in
another phone booth.
        There it was: *Another* angry wombat trapped in a telephone booth.
        The constables took the miffed marsupial into temporary custody and
released it, too, in the scrub.
        But on their way back to the station they happened to pass another
telephone booth, and -- you guessed it -- another imprisoned wombat.
        After some serious detective work, the lads in blue found a suspect,
and after questioning, released him to be charged on summons.
        Their problem ... they cannot find a law against placing wombats in
telephone booths.
                -- "Newcastle Morning Herald", NSW Australia, Aug 1980.
For three years, the young attorney had been taking his brief
vacations at this country inn.  The last time he'd finally managed an
affair with the innkeeper's daughter.  Looking forward to an exciting
few days, he dragged his suitcase up the stairs of the inn, then stopped
short.  There sat his lover with an infant on her lap!
        "Helen, why didn't you write when you learned you were pregnant?"
he cried.  "I would have rushed up here, we could have gotten married,
and the baby would have my name!"
        "Well," she said, "when my folks found out about my condition,
we sat up all night talkin' and talkin' and finally decided it would be
better to have a bastard in the family than a lawyer."
Fortune's Law of the Week (this week, from Kentucky):
        No female shall appear in a bathing suit at any airport in this
State unless she is escorted by two officers or unless she is armed
with a club.  The provisions of this statute shall not apply to females
weighing less than 90 pounds nor exceeding 200 pounds, nor shall it
apply to female horses.
Fortune's Real-Life Courtroom Quote #37:

Q:  Did he pick the dog up by the ears?
A:  No.
Q:  What was he doing with the dog's ears?
A:  Picking them up in the air.
Q:  Where was the dog at this time?
A:  Attached to the ears.
"Gentlemen of the jury," said the defense attorney, now beginning
to warm to his summation, "the real question here before you is, shall this
beautiful young woman be forced to languish away her loveliest years in a
dark prison cell?  Or shall she be set free to return to her cozy little
apartment at 4134 Mountain Ave. -- there to spend her lonely, loveless hours
in her boudoir, lying beside her little Princess phone, 962-7873?"
        God decided to take the devil to court and settle their differences
once and for all.
        When Satan heard of this, he grinned and said, "And just where do you
think you're going to find a lawyer?"
"Hi, I'm Preston A. Mantis, president of Consumers Retail Law Outlet. As you
can see by my suit and the fact that I have all these books of equal height
on the shelves behind me, I am a trained legal attorney. Do you have a car
or a job?  Do you ever walk around?  If so, you probably have the makings of
an excellent legal case.  Although of course every case is different, I
would definitely say that based on my experience and training, there's no
reason why you shouldn't come out of this thing with at least a cabin

"Remember, at the Preston A. Mantis Consumers Retail Law Outlet, our motto
is: 'It is very difficult to disprove certain kinds of pain.'"
                -- Dave Barry, "Pain and Suffering"
Humor in the Court:
Q.  And who is this person you are speaking of?
A.  My ex-widow said it.
Humor in the Court:
Q.  Did you ever stay all night with this man in New York?
A.  I refuse to answer that question.
Q.  Did you ever stay all night with this man in Chicago?
A.  I refuse to answer that question.
Q.  Did you ever stay all night with this man in Miami?
A.  No.
Humor in the Court:
Q.  Mrs. Jones, is your appearance this morning pursuant to a deposition
    notice which I sent to your attorney?
A.  No.  This is how I dress when I go to work.
Humor in the Court:
Q: ...any suggestions as to what prevented this from being a murder trial
   instead of an attempted murder trial?
A: The victim lived.
Humor in the Court:
Q: What can you tell us about the truthfulness and veracity of this defendant?
A: Oh, she will tell the truth. She said she'd kill that sonofabitch--and
   she did!
        In "King Henry VI, Part II," Shakespeare has Dick Butcher suggest to
his fellow anti-establishment rabble-rousers, "The first thing we do, let's
kill all the lawyers."  That action may be extreme but a similar sentiment
was expressed by Thomas K. Connellan, president of The Management Group, Inc.
Speaking to business executives in Chicago and quoted in Automotive News,
Connellan attributed a measure of America's falling productivity to an excess
of attorneys and accountants, and a dearth of production experts.  Lawyers
and accountants "do not make the economic pie any bigger; they only figure
out how the pie gets divided.  Neither profession provides any added value
to product."
        According to Connellan, the highly productive Japanese society has
10 lawyers and 30 accountants per 100,000 population.  The U.S. has 200
lawyers and 700 accountants.  This suggests that "the U.S. proportion of
pie-bakers and pie-dividers is way out of whack."  Could Dick Butcher have
been an efficiency expert?
                -- Motor Trend, May 1983
Let's say your wedding ring falls into your toaster, and when you stick
your hand in to retrieve it, you suffer Pain and Suffering as well as
Mental Anguish.  You would sue:

* The toaster manufacturer, for failure to include, in the instructions
  section that says you should never never never ever stick you hand
  into the toaster, the statement "Not even if your wedding ring falls
  in there".

* The store where you bought the toaster, for selling it to an obvious
  cretin like yourself.

* Union Carbide Corporation, which is not directly responsible in this
  case, but which is feeling so guilty that it would probably send you
  a large cash settlement anyway.
                -- Dave Barry
... Our second completely true news item was sent to me by Mr. H. Boyce
Connell Jr. of Atlanta, Ga., where he is involved in a law firm.  One thing
I like about the South is, folks there care about tradition.  If somebody
gets handed a name like "H. Boyce," he hangs on to it, puts it on his legal
stationery, even passes it to his son, rather than do what a lesser person
would do, such as get it changed or kill himself.
                -- Dave Barry, "This Column is Nothing but the Truth!"
                        Pittsburgh Driver's Test

(7) The car directly in front of you has a flashing right tail light
    but a steady left tail light.  This means

        (a) one of the tail lights is broken; you should blow your horn
            to call the problem to the driver's attention.
        (b) the driver is signaling a right turn.
        (c) the driver is signaling a left turn.
        (d) the driver is from out of town.

The correct answer is (d).  Tail lights are used in some foreign
countries to signal turns.
Some of the most interesting documents from Sweden's middle ages are the
old county laws (well, we never had counties but it's the nearest equivalent
I can find for "landskap").  These laws were written down sometime in the
13th century, but date back even down into Viking times.  The oldest one is
the Vastgota law which clearly has pagan influences, thinly covered with some
Christian stuff.  In this law, we find a page about "lekare", which is the
Old Norse word for a performing artist, actor/jester/musician etc.  Here is
an approximate translation, where I have written "artist" as equivalent of
        "If an artist is beaten, none shall pay fines for it.  If an artist
        is wounded, one such who goes with hurdie-gurdie or travels with
        fiddle or drum, then the people shall take a wild heifer and bring
        it out on the hillside.  Then they shall shave off all hair from the
        heifer's tail, and grease the tail.  Then the artist shall be given
        newly greased shoes.  Then he shall take hold of the heifer's tail,
        and a man shall strike it with a sharp whip.  If he can hold her, he
        shall have the animal.  If he cannot hold her, he shall endure what
        he received, shame and wounds."
The justifications for drug testing are part of the presently fashionable
debate concerning restoring America's "competitiveness." Drugs, it has been
revealed, are responsible for rampant absenteeism, reduced output, and poor
quality work.  But is drug testing in fact rationally related to the
resurrection of competitiveness?  Will charging the atmosphere of the
workplace with the fear of excretory betrayal honestly spur productivity?
Much noise has been made about rehabilitating the worker using drugs, but
to date the vast majority of programs end with the simple firing or the not
hiring of the abuser.  This practice may exacerbate, not alleviate, the
nation's productivity problem.  If economic rehabilitation is the ultimate
goal of drug testing, then criteria abandoning the rehabilitation of the
drug-using worker is the purest of hypocrisy and the worst of rationalization.
                -- The concluding paragraph of "Constitutional Law: The
                   Fourth Amendment and Drug Testing in the Workplace,"
                   Tim Moore, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol.
                   10, No. 3 (Summer 1987), pp. 762-768.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it
were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
                -- H. L. Mencken
The Worst Jury
        A murder trial at Manitoba in February 1978 was well advanced, when
one juror revealed that he was completely deaf and did not have the
remotest clue what was happening.
        The judge, Mr. Justice Solomon, asked him if he had heard any
evidence at all and, when there was no reply, dismissed him.
        The excitement which this caused was only equalled when a second
juror revealed that he spoke not a word of English.  A fluent French
speaker, he exhibited great surprised when told, after two days, that he
was hearing a murder trial.
        The trial was abandoned when a third juror said that he suffered
from both conditions, being simultaneously unversed in the English language
and nearly as deaf as the first juror.
        The judge ordered a retrial.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
There's no justice in this world.
                -- Frank Costello, on the prosecution of "Lucky" Luciano by
                   New York district attorney Thomas Dewey after Luciano had
                   saved Dewey from assassination by Dutch Schultz (by ordering
                   the assassination of Schultz instead)
This product is meant for educational purposes only.  Any resemblance to real
persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.  Void where prohibited.  Some
assembly may be required.  Batteries not included.  Contents may settle during
shipment.  Use only as directed.  May be too intense for some viewers.  If
condition persists, consult your physician.  No user-serviceable parts inside.
Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement.  Not responsible for direct,
indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error
or failure to perform.  Slippery when wet.  For office use only.  Substantial
penalty for early withdrawal.  Do not write below this line.  Your cancelled
check is your receipt.  Avoid contact with skin.  Employees and their families
are not eligible.  Beware of dog.  Driver does not carry cash.  Limited time
offer, call now to insure prompt delivery.  Use only in well-ventilated area.
Keep away from fire or flame.  Some equipment shown is optional.  Price does
not include taxes, dealer prep, or delivery.  Penalty for private use.  Call
toll free before digging.  Some of the trademarks mentioned in this product
appear for identification purposes only.  All models over 18 years of age.  Do
not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment.  Postage will be
paid by addressee.  Apply only to affected area.  One size fits all.  Many
suitcases look alike.  Edited for television.  No solicitors.  Reproduction
strictly prohibited.  Restaurant package, not for resale.  Objects in mirror
are closer than they appear.  Decision of judges is final.  This supersedes
all previous notices.  No other warranty expressed or implied.
In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.
                -- Benjamin Franklin
Sic transit gloria mundi.
        [So passes away the glory of this world.]
                -- Thomas `a Kempis
Q:        How many gradual (sorry, that's supposed to be "graduate") students
        does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:        "I'm afraid we don't know, but make my stipend tax-free, give my
        advisor a $30,000 grant of the taxpayer's money, and I'm sure he
        can tell me how to do the shit work for him so he can take the
        credit for answering this incredibly vital question."
Q:        How many IBM types does it take to change a light bulb?
A:        Fifteen.  One to do it, and fourteen to write document number
        GC7500439-0001, Multitasking Incandescent Source System Facility,
        of which 10% of the pages state only "This page intentionally
        left blank", and 20% of the definitions are of the form "A:.....
        consists of sequences of non-blank characters separated by blanks".
Q:        How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:        Whereas the party of the first part, also known as "Lawyer", and the
party of the second part, also known as "Light Bulb", do hereby and forthwith
agree to a transaction wherein the party of the second part shall be removed
from the current position as a result of failure to perform previously agreed
upon duties, i.e., the lighting, elucidation, and otherwise illumination of
the area ranging from the front (north) door, through the entryway, terminating
at an area just inside the primary living area, demarcated by the beginning of
the carpet, any spillover illumination being at the option of the party of the
second part and not required by the aforementioned agreement between the
        The aforementioned removal transaction shall include, but not be
limited to, the following.  The party of the first part shall, with or without
elevation at his option, by means of a chair, stepstool, ladder or any other
means of elevation, grasp the party of the second part and rotate the party
of the second part in a counter-clockwise direction, this point being tendered
non-negotiable.  Upon reaching a point where the party of the second part
becomes fully detached from the receptacle, the party of the first part shall
have the option of disposing of the party of the second part in a manner
consistent with all relevant and applicable local, state and federal statutes.
Once separation and disposal have been achieved, the party of the first part
shall have the option of beginning installation.  Aforesaid installation shall
occur in a manner consistent with the reverse of the procedures described in
step one of this self-same document, being careful to note that the rotation
should occur in a clockwise direction, this point also being non-negotiable.
The above described steps may be performed, at the option of the party of the
first part, by any or all agents authorized by him, the objective being to
produce the most possible revenue for the Partnership.
<Overfiend> partycle: I seriously do need a vacation from this package.
            I actually had a DREAM about introducing a stupid new bug
            into xbase-preinst last night.  That's a Bad Sign.
Writing non-free software is not an ethically legitimate activity, so if
people who do this run into trouble, that's good!  All businesses based
on non-free software ought to fail, and the sooner the better.
        -- Richard Stallman
We the people of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution, in order to form a
more perfect operating system, establish quality, insure marketplace
diversity, provide for the common needs of computer users, promote
security and privacy, overthrow monopolistic forces in the computer
software industry, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and
our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Debian
GNU/Linux System.
"This is the element_data structure for elements whose *element_type =
and deeper, harder and harder, go, go, oh, OH, OHHHHH!! * Sorry, got
carried away there. */ struct lo_FormElementOptionData_struct."
        -- Mozilla source code
While the year 2000 (y2k) problem is not an issue for us, all Linux
implementations will impacted by the year 2038 (y2.038k) issue. The
Debian Project is committed to working with the industry on this issue
and we will have our full plans and strategy posted by the first quarter
of 2020.
I sat laughing snidely into my notebook until they showed me a PC running
Linux....  And did this PC choke?  Did it stutter?  Did it, even once,
say that this program has performed an illegal operation and must be shut
down?  No. And this is just on the client.
        -- LAN Times
<dark> "Let's form the Linux Standard Linux Standardization Association
        Board. The purpose of this board will be to standardize Linux
        Standardization Organizations."
Now I can finally explain to everyone why I do this.  I just got $7 worth
of free stuff for working on Debian !
<dark> "Hey, I'm from this project called Debian... have you heard of it?
       Your name seems to be on a bunch of our stuff."
"I wonder if this is the first constitution in the history of mankind
where you have to calculate a square root to determine if a motion
passes.  :-)"
        -- Seen on Slashdot
This is the solution to Debian's problem .. and since the only real way
to create more relatives of developers is to have children, we need more
sex!  It's a long term investment ... it's the work itself that is
        -- Craig Brozefsky
"What does this tell me?  That if Microsoft were the last software
company left in the world, 13% of the US population would be scouring
garage sales & Goodwill for old TRS-80s, CPM machines & Apple ]['s before
they would buy Microsoft. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement."
        -- Seen on Slashdot
p.s. - i'm about *this* close to running around in the server room with a
pair of bolt cutters, and a large wooden mallet, laughing like a maniac and
cutting everything i can fit the bolt cutters around. and whacking that
which i cannot. so if i seem semi-incoherent, or just really *really* nasty
at times, please forgive me. stress is not a pretty thing. };P
        -- Phillip R. Jaenke
Something must be Done
This is Something
Therefore, This must be Done
        -- The Thatcherite Syllogism
The X Window System:
  The standard UNIX graphical environment.  With Linux, this is usually
  XFree86 (  You may call it X, XFree, the X
  Window System, XF86, or a host of other things.  Call it 'XWindows' and
  someone will smack you and you will have deserved it.
* aj thinks Kb^Zzz ought to pick different things to dream about than
   general resolutions and policy changes.
<Kb^Zzz> aj - tell me about it, this is a Bad Sign
<Knghtbrd> Granted, RMS is a fanatic, I don't deny this.  I'll even say
           he's a royal pain in the arse most of the time.  But he's
           still more often right than not, and he deserves some level of
           credit and respect for his work.  We would NOT be here today
           without him.
2.3.1 has been released. Folks new to this game should remember that
2.3.* releases are development kernels, with no guarantees that they
will not cause your system to do horrible things like corrupt its
disks, catch fire, or start running Mindcraft benchmarks.
        -- Slashdot
<woot> Put *that* in you .sig and smoke it, Knghtbrd.
<Culus> You know he will read this :>
<woot> heheheheh.
<Knghtbrd> Okay, you people have started talking about BSDM applications of
           network hardware...  I think I'll run off and do something useful
           and Debianish and stay OUT of this one...
<Knghtbrd> (for a change)
<netgod> my client has been owned severely
<netgod> this guy got root, ran packet sniffers, installed .rhosts and
         backdoors, put a whole new dir in called /lib/"   ", which has a
         full suite of smurfing and killing tools
<netgod> the only mistake was not deleting the logfiles
<netgod> question is how was root hacked, and that i couldnt tell u
<netgod> it is, of course, not a debian box
* netgod notes the debian box is the only one left untouched by the hacker
         -- wonder why
* bma wonders if this will make the Knghtbrd .sig
<Teller> where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
Since this database is not used for profit, and since entire works are not
published, it falls under fair use, as we understand it.  However, if any
half-assed idiot decides to make a profit off of this, they will need to
double check it all...
        -- Notes included with the default fortunes database
Steal this tagline.  I did.
Red Hat has recently released a Security Advisory (RHSA-1999:030-01)
covering a buffer overflow in the vixie cron package.  Debian has
discovered this bug two years ago and fixed it.  Therefore versions in
both, the stable and the unstable, distributions of Debian are not
vulnerable to this problem..
<KatanaJ> Note on a chem lab fridge- "This refrigerator is not explosion-
In fact.. based on this model of what the NSA is and isn't... many of the
people reading this are members of the NSA... /. is afterall 'News for

NSA MONDAY MORNING {at the coffee machine):
NSA AGENT 1: Hey guys, did you check out slashdot over the weekend?
    AGENT 2: No, I was installing Mandrake 6.1 and I coulnd't get the darn
             ppp connection up..
    AGENT 1: Well check it out... they're on to us.
        -- Chris Moyer <>
"Pacific Bell Customer Service, this is [..], how can I provide you with
excellent customer service today?"
"HAHAHAHAHA!!  That's good, I like it.."
"Um, thanks, they make us say that."
        -- knghtbrd and a pacbell rep, name removed to protect her job
<Espy> we need to split main into"core" and "wtf-uses-this"
* Mercury calmly removes XT-Ream's arm..
* Mercury then proceeds to beat XT-Ream with XT-Ream's arm.
<Knghtbrd> wow, all this quake hacking is making Mercury violent here
* mao is glad the quake forge project is in good hands
I'd been hearing all sorts of gloom and doom predictions for Y2K, so I
thought I'd heed some of the advice that the experts have been giving:
Fill up the car's gas tank, stock up on canned goods, fill up the bathtub
with water, and so on.

I guess I wasn't fully awake when I completed my preparations late last
night.  This morning I found the kitchen shelves soaked in gasoline, water
in the car's gas tank, and my bathtub filled with baked beans.
        -- Dan Pearl in a message to rec.humor.funny
<Kysh_> Joey: I'm on it right now.. 3 1.3Gb disks, 128M ram, dual 50Mhz
        (Up to quad 250Mhz)
<Kysh_> The catch is that it pulls 110v at about 12A 8>
<Culus> 12A!
<Culus> Okay, my stove is 3000W, this sun is 1320W
<calc> a 1320W sun, that is like a hair dryer :)
<knghtbrd> joeyh: I was down since midmorning yesterday and pacbell said
           this morning that AT&T was to blame and almost all of the state
           was down
<rcw> dunno why people insist the internet can survive a nuclear holocaust
      when it can't survive a backhoe
This message was written with vi!  (not that anyone in the world cares)
        -- seen on an old message from an address
* Knghtbrd is FAR too tempted to .sig this entire discussion...
<Endy> knghtbrd: QW's netcode is doing strange things to me. :P
<knghtbrd> This is unusual?  ;>
<Endy> Not really. :P
<knghtbrd> this is college course in formal logic
<devkev> knghtbrd: i hate that shit, much prefer fuzzy logic :)
<knghtbrd> kev: fuzzy logic tickles.
<taniwha> knghtbrd: lol
<devkev> knghtbrd: fuzzy logic is so cool, it models the world really well
<Endy> taniwha: Have you TESTED this one? :)
<taniwha> Endy: of course not
<theoddone33> What's this message on my screen,
<theoddone33>   so blue, so blue, what could it mean?
<theoddone33> Could you, would you press Delete,
<theoddone33>   Ctrl and Alt and then repeat.
=== This letter is the Honor System Virus ====
If you are running a Macintosh, OS/2, Unix, or
Linux computer, please randomly delete
several files from your hard disk drive and
forward this message to everyone you know.
<Deek> Exactly how much of a PITA is this in C?
<Knghtbrd> It's written in C++.
<Deek> Hence my question.
<Knghtbrd> I could do something like it in C.  Anyone who saw the results
           would think I was either a genius or out of my fucking mind.
           They'd be right on either count.
<Deek> "A good programmer can write FORTRAN in any language."
<Deek> knghtbrd has proven that you can write C++ in any language too.
<Mercury> We are currently considdering if we should give him or prize, or
          kill him..
<Mercury> (Of course, by all rights, this means we should give him the
          prize, and then kill him.. <G>)
"Debian: no hats or reptiles were harmed in the making of this distribution=
        -- Paul Slootman
<Knghtbrd> This font is starting to come out very nicely
<stu> Knghtbrd: oh dear, are you hacking up another quake font in vi? :)
* Equivalent code is available from RSA Data Security, Inc.
* This code has been tested against that, and is equivalent,
* except that you don't need to include two pages of legalese
* with every copy.
        -- public domain MD5 source
<|Rain|> I *love* SWB!!
<|Rain|> Or, press 5 to speak to a representitive..
<|Rain|> *5*
<|Rain|> You are being transferred, please hold...
<|Rain|> ...
<|Rain|> ...
<|Rain|> We're sorry, this number can not be completed as dialed.
<|Rain|> Please check the number and try again.
<f00Dave> Look, rejects, this is #OpenGL, not #GEEKSEX.
<Sammy> that's *IT*.  I'm never fucking attempting to install redhat
<Sammy> this is like the 10th fucking machine on which the installer has
        imploded immediately after I went through the hell of their
        package selection process.
<timball> Sammy: just use debian and never look back
<Sammy> timball: debian iso's are being written at this very moment.
"Nvidia's OpenGL drivers are my "gold standard", and it has been quite a
while since I have had to report a problem to them, and even their brand
new extensions work as documented the first time I try them.  When I have
a problem on an Nvidia, I assume that it is my fault.  With anyone else's
drivers, I assume it is their fault.  This has turned out correct almost
all the time."
        -- John Carmack
<Overfiend> this is the New Overfiend, preacher of Love and Tolerance
<hop_> i had something that i think was chicken that was coated with a red
       paste that seemed to be composed of lye based on how much of my
       tounge it burned away.
<hop_> our friend who is Indian said this is why most Indians are thin
       and i quote "It doesn't take very much of this food to get you
       satisfied enoguh to stop eating."
A computer salesman visits a company president for the purpose of selling
the president one of the latest talking computers.
Salesman:        "This machine knows everything. I can ask it any question
                and it'll give the correct answer.  Computer, what is the
                speed of light?"
Computer:        186,282 miles per second.
Salesman:        "Who was the first president of the United States?"
Computer:        George Washington.
President:        "I'm still not convinced. Let me ask a question.
                Where is my father?"
Computer:        Your father is fishing in Georgia.
President:        "Hah!! The computer is wrong. My father died over twenty
                years ago!"
Computer:        Your mother's husband died 22 years ago. Your father just
                landed a twelve pound bass.
        A disciple of another sect once came to Drescher as he was eating
his morning meal.  "I would like to give you this personality test", said
the outsider, "because I want you to be happy."
        Drescher took the paper that was offered him and put it into the
toaster -- "I wish the toaster to be happy too".
        A doctor, an architect, and a computer scientist were arguing about
whose profession was the oldest.  In the course of their arguments, they
got all the way back to the Garden of Eden, whereupon the doctor said, "The
medical profession is clearly the oldest, because Eve was made from Adam's
rib, as the story goes, and that was a simply incredible surgical feat."
        The architect did not agree.  He said, "But if you look at the Garden
itself, in the beginning there was chaos and void, and out of that the Garden
and the world were created.  So God must have been an architect."
        The computer scientist, who'd listened carefully to all of this, then
commented, "Yes, but where do you think the chaos came from?"
        A man from AI walked across the mountains to SAIL to see the Master,
Knuth.  When he arrived, the Master was nowhere to be found.  "Where is the
wise one named Knuth?" he asked a passing student.
        "Ah," said the student, "you have not heard. He has gone on a
pilgrimage across the mountains to the temple of AI to seek out new
        Hearing this, the man was Enlightened.
        A manager asked a programmer how long it would take him to finish the
program on which he was working.  "I will be finished tomorrow," the programmer
promptly replied.
        "I think you are being unrealistic," said the manager. "Truthfully,
how long will it take?"
        The programmer thought for a moment.  "I have some features that I wish
to add.  This will take at least two weeks," he finally said.
        "Even that is too much to expect," insisted the manager, "I will be
satisfied if you simply tell me when the program is complete."
        The programmer agreed to this.
        Several years later, the manager retired.  On the way to his
retirement lunch, he discovered the programmer asleep at his terminal.
He had been programming all night.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A manager was about to be fired, but a programmer who worked for him
invented a new program that became popular and sold well.  As a result, the
manager retained his job.
        The manager tried to give the programmer a bonus, but the programmer
refused it, saying, "I wrote the program because I though it was an interesting
concept, and thus I expect no reward."
        The manager, upon hearing this, remarked, "This programmer, though he
holds a position of small esteem, understands well the proper duty of an
employee.  Lets promote him to the exalted position of management consultant!"
        But when told this, the programmer once more refused, saying, "I exist
so that I can program.  If I were promoted, I would do nothing but waste
everyone's time.  Can I go now?  I have a program that I'm working on."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A manager went to his programmers and told them: "As regards to your
work hours: you are going to have to come in at nine in the morning and leave
at five in the afternoon."  At this, all of them became angry and several
resigned on the spot.
        So the manager said: "All right, in that case you may set your own
working hours, as long as you finish your projects on schedule."  The
programmers, now satisfied, began to come in a noon and work to the wee
hours of the morning.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A manager went to the master programmer and showed him the requirements
document for a new application.  The manager asked the master: "How long will
it take to design this system if I assign five programmers to it?"
        "It will take one year," said the master promptly.
        "But we need this system immediately or even sooner!  How long will it
take it I assign ten programmers to it?"
        The master programmer frowned.  "In that case, it will take two years."
        "And what if I assign a hundred programmers to it?"
        The master programmer shrugged.  "Then the design will never be
completed," he said.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day.  The master
noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game.  "Excuse me",
he said, "may I examine it?"
        The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master.
"I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium,
and Hard", said the master.  "Yet every such device has another level of play,
where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the
        "Pray, great master," implored the novice, "how does one find this
mysterious setting?"
        The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot.
And suddenly the novice was enlightened.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

Do you want the instant respect that comes from being able to use technical
terms that nobody understands?  Do you want to strike fear and loathing into
the hearts of DP managers everywhere?  If so, then let the Famous Programmers'
School lead you on... into the world of professional computer programming.
They say a good programmer can write 20 lines of effective program per day.
With our unique training course, we'll show you how to write 20 lines of code
and lots more besides.  Our training course covers every programming language
in existence, and some that aren't.  You'll learn why the on/off switch for a
computer is so important, what the words *fatal error* mean, and who and what
you should blame when you make a mistake.

        Yes, I want the brochure describing this incredible offer.
        I enclose $1000 is small unmarked bills to cover the cost of
        postage and handling. (No live poultry, please.)

*** Our Slogan:  Top down programming for the masses. ***
        A novice asked the Master: "Here is a programmer that never designs,
documents, or tests his programs.  Yet all who know him consider him one of
the best programmers in the world.  Why is this?"
        The Master replies: "That programmer has mastered the Tao.  He has
gone beyond the need for design; he does not become angry when the system
crashes, but accepts the universe without concern.  He has gone beyond the
need for documentation; he no longer cares if anyone else sees his code.  He
has gone beyond the need for testing; each of his programs are perfect within
themselves, serene and elegant, their purpose self-evident.  Truly, he has
entered the mystery of the Tao."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice asked the master: "I have a program that sometimes runs and
sometimes aborts.  I have followed the rules of programming, yet I am totally
baffled. What is the reason for this?"
        The master replied: "You are confused because you do not understand
the Tao.  Only a fool expects rational behavior from his fellow humans.  Why
do you expect it from a machine that humans have constructed?  Computers
simulate determinism; only the Tao is perfect.
        The rules of programming are transitory; only the Tao is eternal.
Therefore you must contemplate the Tao before you receive enlightenment."
        "But how will I know when I have received enlightenment?" asked the
        "Your program will then run correctly," replied the master.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice asked the master: "I perceive that one computer company is
much larger than all others.  It towers above its competition like a giant
among dwarfs.  Any one of its divisions could comprise an entire business.
Why is this so?"
        The master replied, "Why do you ask such foolish questions?  That
company is large because it is so large.  If it only made hardware, nobody
would buy it.  If it only maintained systems, people would treat it like a
servant.  But because it combines all of these things, people think it one
of the gods!  By not seeking to strive, it conquers without effort."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice asked the master: "In the east there is a great tree-structure
that men call 'Corporate Headquarters'.  It is bloated out of shape with
vice-presidents and accountants.  It issues a multitude of memos, each saying
'Go, Hence!' or 'Go, Hither!' and nobody knows what is meant.  Every year new
names are put onto the branches, but all to no avail.  How can such an
unnatural entity exist?"
        The master replies: "You perceive this immense structure and are
disturbed that it has no rational purpose.  Can you not take amusement from
its endless gyrations?  Do you not enjoy the untroubled ease of programming
beneath its sheltering branches?  Why are you bothered by its uselessness?"
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice programmer was once assigned to code a simple financial
        The novice worked furiously for many days, but when his master
reviewed his program, he discovered that it contained a screen editor, a set
of generalized graphics routines, and artificial intelligence interface,
but not the slightest mention of anything financial.
        When the master asked about this, the novice became indignant.
"Don't be so impatient," he said, "I'll put the financial stuff in eventually."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a
strings of pearls.  The spirit and intent of the program should be retained
throughout.  There should be neither too little nor too much, neither needless
loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming
        A program should follow the 'Law of Least Astonishment'.  What is this
law?  It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the
way that astonishes him least.
        A program, no matter how complex, should act as a single unit.  The
program should be directed by the logic within rather than by outward
        If the program fails in these requirements, it will be in a state of
disorder and confusion.  The only way to correct this is to rewrite the
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A sheet of paper crossed my desk the other day and as I read it,
realization of a basic truth came over me.  So simple!  So obvious we couldn't
see it.  John Knivlen, Chairman of Polamar Repeater Club, an amateur radio
group, had discovered how IC circuits work.  He says that smoke is the thing
that makes ICs work because every time you let the smoke out of an IC circuit,
it stops working.  He claims to have verified this with thorough testing.
        I was flabbergasted!  Of course!  Smoke makes all things electrical
work.  Remember the last time smoke escaped from your Lucas voltage regulator
Didn't it quit working?  I sat and smiled like an idiot as more of the truth
dawned.  It's the wiring harness that carries the smoke from one device to
another in your Mini, MG or Jag.  And when the harness springs a leak, it lets
the smoke out of everything at once, and then nothing works.  The starter motor
requires large quantities of smoke to operate properly, and that's why the wire
going to it is so large.
        Feeling very smug, I continued to expand my hypothesis.  Why are Lucas
electronics more likely to leak than say Bosch?  Hmmm...  Aha!!!  Lucas is
British, and all things British leak!  British convertible tops leak water,
British engines leak oil, British displacer units leak hydrostatic fluid, and
I might add Brititsh tires leak air, and the British defense unit leaks
secrets... so naturally British electronics leak smoke.
                -- Jack Banton, PCC Automotive Electrical School

        [Ummm ... IC circuits?  Integrated circuit circuits?]
===  ALL CSH USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

Set the variable $LOSERS to all the people that you think are losers.  This
will cause all said losers to have the variable $PEOPLE-WHO-THINK-I-AM-A-LOSER
updated in their .login file.  Should you attempt to execute a job on a
machine with poor response time and a machine on your local net is currently
populated by losers, that machine will be freed up for your job through a
cold boot process.
All programmers are optimists.  Perhaps this modern sorcery especially attracts
those who believe in happy endings and fairy godmothers.  Perhaps the hundreds
of nitty frustrations drive away all but those who habitually focus on the end
goal.  Perhaps it is merely that computers are young, programmers are younger,
and the young are always optimists.  But however the selection process works,
the result is indisputable:  "This time it will surely run," or "I just found
the last bug."
                -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

Bug reports now amount to an average of 12,853 per day.  Unfortunately,
this is only a small fraction [ < 1% ] of the mail volume we receive.  In
order that we may more expeditiously deal with these valuable messages,
please communicate them by one of the following paths:

        ARPA:  WastebasketSLMHQ.ARPA
        UUCP:  [berkeley, seismo, harpo]!fubar!thekid!slmhq!wastebasket
         Non-network sites:  Federal Express to:
                Room NE43-926
                Copernicus, The Moon, 12345-6789
        For that personal contact feeling call 1-415-642-4948; our trained
        operators are on call 24 hours a day.  VISA/MC accepted.*

* Our very rich lawyers have assured us that we are not
  responsible for any errors or advice given over the phone.
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

CAR and CDR now return extra values.

The function CAR now returns two values.  Since it has to go to the trouble
to figure out if the object is carcdr-able anyway, we figured you might as
well get both halves at once.  For example, the following code shows how to
destructure a cons (SOME-CONS) into its two slots (THE-CAR and THE-CDR):


For symmetry with CAR, CDR returns a second value which is the CAR of the
object.  In a related change, the functions MAKE-ARRAY and CONS have been
fixed so they don't allocate any storage except on the stack.  This should
hopefully help people who don't like using the garbage collector because
it cold boots the machine so often.
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

Compiler optimizations have been made to macro expand LET into a WITHOUT-
INTERRUPTS special form so that it can PUSH things into a stack in the
LET-OPTIMIZATION area, SETQ the variables and then POP them back when it's
done.  Don't worry about this unless you use multiprocessing.
Note that LET *could* have been defined by:

        (LET ((LET '`(LET ((LET ',LET))
        `(LET ((LET ',LET))

This is believed to speed up execution by as much as a factor of 1.01 or
3.50 depending on whether you believe our friendly marketing representatives.
This code was written by a new programmer here (we snatched him away from
Itty Bitti Machines where he was writing COUGHBOL code) so to give him
confidence we trusted his vows of "it works pretty well" and installed it.
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

JCL support as alternative to system menu.

In our continuing effort to support languages other than LISP on the CADDR,
we have developed an OS/360-compatible JCL.  This can be used as an
alternative to the standard system menu.  Type System J to get to a JCL
interactive read-execute-diagnose loop window.  [Note that for 360
compatibility, all input lines are truncated to 80 characters.]  This
window also maintains a mouse-sensitive display of critical job parameters
such as dataset allocation, core allocation, channels, etc.  When a JCL
syntax error is detected or your job ABENDs, the window-oriented JCL
debugger is entered.  The JCL debugger displays appropriate OS/360 error
messages (such as IEC703, "disk error") and allows you to dequeue your job.
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

The garbage collector now works.  In addition a new, experimental garbage
collection algorithm has been installed.  With SI:%DSK-GC-QLX-BITS set to 17,
(NOT the default) the old garbage collection algorithm remains in force; when
virtual storage is filled, the machine cold boots itself.  With SI:%DSK-GC-
QLX-BITS set to 23, the new garbage collector is enabled.  Unlike most garbage
collectors, the new gc starts its mark phase from the mind of the user, rather
than from the obarray.  This allows the garbage collection of significantly
more Qs.  As the garbage collector runs, it may ask you something like "Do you
remember what SI:RDTBL-TRANS does?", and if you can't give a reasonable answer
in thirty seconds, the symbol becomes a candidate for GCing.  The variable
SI:%GC-QLX-LUSER-TM governs how long the GC waits before timing out the user.
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

There has been some confusion concerning MAPCAR.
                (PROG (V P LP)
                (SETQ P (LOCF V))
        L        (SETQ LP LISTS)
        L1        (OR LP (GO L2))
                (AND (NULL (CAR LP)) (RETURN V))
                (%PUSH (CAAR LP))
                (RPLACA LP (CDAR LP))
                (SETQ LP (CDR LP))
                (GO L1)
                (SETQ LP (%POP))
                (RPLACD P (SETQ P (NCONS LP)))
                (GO L)))
We hope this clears up the many questions we've had about it.
AmigaDOS Beer: The company has gone out of business, but their recipe has
been picked up by some weird German company, so now this beer will be an
import.  This beer never really sold very well because the original
manufacturer didn't understand marketing. Like Unix Beer, AmigaDOS Beer
fans are an extremely loyal and loud group. It originally came in a
16-oz. can, but now comes in 32-oz.  cans too.  When this can was
originally introduced, it appeared flashy and colorful, but the design
hasn't changed much over the years, so it appears dated now.  Critics of
this beer claim that it is only meant for watching TV anyway.
... Any resemblance between the above views and those of my employer,
my terminal, or the view out my window are purely coincidental.  Any
resemblance between the above and my own views is non-deterministic.  The
question of the existence of views in the absence of anyone to hold them
is left as an exercise for the reader.  The question of the existence of
the reader is left as an exercise for the second god coefficient.  (A
discussion of non-orthogonal, non-integral polytheism is beyond the scope
of this article.)
As part of an ongoing effort to keep you, the Fortune reader, abreast of
the valuable information the daily crosses the USENET, Fortune presents:

News articles that answer *your* questions, #1:

        Newsgroups: comp.sources.d
        Subject: how do I run C code received from sources
        Keywords: C sources
        Distribution: na

        I do not know how to run the C programs that are posted in the
        sources newsgroup.  I save the files, edit them to remove the
        headers, and change the mode so that they are executable, but I
        cannot get them to run.  (I have never written a C program before.)

        Must they be compiled?  With what compiler?  How do I do this?  If
        I compile them, is an object code file generated or must I generate
        it explicitly with the > character?  Is there something else that
        must be done?
At first sight, the idea of any rules or principles being superimposed on
the creative mind seems more likely to hinder than to help, but this is
quite untrue in practice.  Disciplined thinking focuses inspiration rather
than blinkers it.
                -- G.L. Glegg, "The Design of Design"
But this has taken us far afield from interface, which is not a bad
place to be, since I particularly want to move ahead to the kludge.
Why do people have so much trouble understanding the kludge?  What
is a kludge, after all, but not enough K's, not enough ROM's, not
enough RAM's, poor quality interface and too few bytes to go around?
Have I explained yet about the bytes?
By long-standing tradition, I take this opportunity to savage other
designers in the thin disguise of good, clean fun.
                -- P.J. Plauger, "Computer Language", 1988, April
                   Fool's column.
Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening.
See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.
Couldn't we jury-rig the cat to act as an audio switch, and have it yell
at people to save their core images before logging them out?  I'm sure
the cattle prod would be effective in this regard.  In any case, a traverse
mounted iguana, while more perverted, gives better traction, not to mention
being easier to stake.
Dear Emily:
        I collected replies to an article I wrote, and now it's time to
summarize.  What should I do?
                -- Editor

Dear Editor:
        Simply concatenate all the articles together into a big file and post
that.  On USENET, this is known as a summary.  It lets people read all the
replies without annoying newsreaders getting in the way.  Do the same when
summarizing a vote.
                -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
Dear Emily:
        I'm still confused as to what groups articles should be posted
to.  How about an example?
                -- Still Confused

Dear Still:
        Ok.  Let's say you want to report that Gretzky has been traded from
the Oilers to the Kings.  Now right away you might think
would be enough.  WRONG.  Many more people might be interested.  This is a
big trade!  Since it's a NEWS article, it belongs in the news.* hierarchy
as well.  If you are a news admin, or there is one on your machine, try
news.admin.  If not, use news.misc.
        The Oilers are probably interested in geology, so try sci.physics.
He is a big star, so post to sci.astro, and because they are also
interested in stars.  Next, his name is Polish sounding.  So post to
soc.culture.polish.  But that group doesn't exist, so cross-post to
news.groups suggesting it should be created.  With this many groups of
interest, your article will be quite bizarre, so post to talk.bizarre as
well.  (And post to comp.std.mumps, since they hardly get any articles
there, and a "comp" group will propagate your article further.)
        You may also find it is more fun to post the article once in each
group.  If you list all the newsgroups in the same article, some newsreaders
will only show the the article to the reader once!  Don't tolerate this.
                -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
Dear Emily:
        Today I posted an article and forgot to include my signature.
What should I do?
                -- Forgetful

Dear Forgetful:
        Rush to your terminal right away and post an article that says,
"Oops, I forgot to post my signature with that last article.  Here
it is."
        Since most people will have forgotten your earlier article,
(particularly since it dared to be so boring as to not have a nice, juicy
signature) this will remind them of it.  Besides, people care much more
about the signature anyway.
                -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
Dear Ms. Postnews:
        I couldn't get mail through to somebody on another site.  What
        should I do?
                -- Eager Beaver

Dear Eager:
        No problem, just post your message to a group that a lot of people
read.  Say, "This is for John Smith.  I couldn't get mail through so I'm
posting it.  All others please ignore."
        This way tens of thousands of people will spend a few seconds scanning
over and ignoring your article, using up over 16 man-hours their collective
time, but you will be saved the terrible trouble of checking through usenet
maps or looking for alternate routes.  Just think, if you couldn't distribute
your message to 9000 other computers, you might actually have to (gasp) call
directory assistance for 60 cents, or even phone the person.  This can cost
as much as a few DOLLARS (!) for a 5 minute call!
        And certainly it's better to spend 10 to 20 dollars of other people's
money distributing the message than for you to have to waste $9 on an overnight
letter, or even 25 cents on a stamp!
        Don't forget.  The world will end if your message doesn't get through,
so post it as many places as you can.
                -- Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette
Use of this advanced computing technology does not imply an endorsement
of Western industrial civilization.
Do not use the blue keys on this terminal.
Do you want the instant respect that comes from being able to use technical
terms that nobody understands?  Do you want to strike fear and loathing into
the hearts of DP managers everywhere?  If so, then let the Famous Programmers'
School lead you on... into the world of professional computer programming.

        *** IS PROGRAMMING FOR YOU? ***
Programming is not for everyone.  But, if you have the desire to learn, we can
help you get started.  All you need is the Famous Programmers' Course and
enough money to keep those lessons coming month after month.

To help determine if you are qualified to be a programmer, take a moment to
try this simple test:
        (1) Write down the numbers from zero to nine and the first six letters
                of the alphabet (Hint: 0123456789ABCDEF).
        (2) Whose picture is on the back of a twenty-dollar bill?
        (3) What is the state capital of Idaho?
If you managed to read all three questions without wondering why we asked
them, you may have a future as a computer programmer.
Due to lack of disk space, this fortune database has been discontinued.
Eudaemonic research proceeded with the casual mania peculiar to this part of
the world.  Nude sunbathing on the back deck was combined with phone calls to
Advanced Kinetics in Costa Mesa, American Laser Systems in Goleta, Automation
Industries in Danbury, Connecticut, Arenberg Ultrasonics in Jamaica Plain,
Massachusetts, and Hewlett Packard in Sunnyvale, California, where Norman
Packard's cousin, David, presided as chairman of the board. The trick was to
make these calls at noon, in the hope that out-to-lunch executives would return
them at their own expense.  Eudaemonic Enterprises, for all they knew, might be
a fast-growing computer company branching out of the Silicon Valley.  Sniffing
the possibility of high-volume sales, these executives little suspected that
they were talking on the other end of the line to a naked physicist crazed
over roulette.
                -- Thomas Bass, "The Eudaemonic Pie"
"Every group has a couple of experts.  And every group has at least one
idiot.  Thus are balance and harmony (and discord) maintained.  It's
sometimes hard to remember this in the bulk of the flamewars that all
of the hassle and pain is generally caused by one or two highly-motivated,
caustic twits."
                -- Chuq Von Rospach, about Usenet
Fellow programmer, greetings!  You are reading a letter which will bring
you luck and good fortune.  Just mail (or UUCP) ten copies of this letter
to ten of your friends.  Before you make the copies, send a chip or
other bit of hardware, and 100 lines of 'C' code to the first person on the
list given at the bottom of this letter.  Then delete their name and add
yours to the bottom of the list.

Don't break the chain!  Make the copy within 48 hours.  Gerald R. of San
Diego failed to send out his ten copies and woke the next morning to find
his job description changed to "COBOL programmer."  Fred A. of New York sent
out his ten copies and within a month had enough hardware and software to
build a Cray dedicated to playing Zork.  Martha H. of Chicago laughed at
this letter and broke the chain.  Shortly thereafter, a fire broke out in
her terminal and she now spends her days writing documentation for IBM PC's.

Don't break the chain!  Send out your ten copies today!
For example, if \thinmskip = 3mu, this makes \thickmskip = 6mu.  But if
you also want to use \skip12 for horizontal glue, whether in math mode or
not, the amount of skipping will be in points (e.g., 6pt).  The rule is
that glue in math mode varies with the size only when it is an \mskip;
when moving between an mskip and ordinary skip, the conversion factor
1mu=1pt is always used.  The meaning of '\mskip\skip12' and
'\baselineskip=\the\thickmskip' should be clear.
                -- Donald Knuth, TeX 82 -- Comparison with TeX80
Fortune suggests uses for YOUR favorite UNIX commands!

        ar t "God"
        drink < bottle; opener                        (Bourne Shell)
        cat "food in tin cans"                        (all but 4.[23]BSD)
        Hey UNIX!  Got a match?                        (V6 or C shell)
        mkdir matter; cat > matter                (Bourne Shell)
        rm God
        man: Why did you get a divorce?                (C shell)
        date me                                        (anything up to 4.3BSD)
        make "heads or tails of all this"
        who is smart
                                                (C shell)
        If I had a ) for every dollar of the national debt, what would I have?
        sleep with me                                (anything up to 4.3BSD)
From the Pro 350 Pocket Service Guide, p. 49, Step 5 of the
instructions on removing an I/O board from the card cage, comes a new
experience in sound:

5.  Turn the handle to the right 90 degrees.  The pin-spreading
    sound is normal for this type of connector.
Go away! Stop bothering me with all your "compute this ... compute that"!
I'm taking a VAX-NAP.

Hacker's Guide To Cooking:
2 pkg. cream cheese (the mushy white stuff in silver wrappings that doesn't
        really  come from Philadelphia after all; anyway, about 16 oz.)
1 tsp. vanilla  extract  (which is more alcohol than vanilla and pretty
        strong so this part you *GOTTA* measure)
1/4 cup sugar (but honey works fine too)
8 oz. Cool Whip (the fluffy stuff devoid of nutritional value that you
        can squirt all over your friends and lick off...)
"Blend all together until creamy with no lumps."  This is where you get to
        join(1) all the raw data in a big buffer and then filter it through
        merge(1m) with the -thick option, I mean, it starts out ultra lumpy
        and icky looking and you have to work hard to mix it.  Try an electric
        beater if you have a cat(1) that can climb wall(1s) to lick it off
        the ceiling(3m).
"Pour into a graham cracker crust..."  Aha, the BUGS section at last.  You
        just happened  to have a GCC sitting around under /etc/food, right?
        If not, don't panic(8), merely crumble a rand(3m) handful of innocent
        GCs into a suitable tempfile and mix in some melted butter.
"...and  refrigerate for an hour."  Leave the  recipe's  stdout in a fridge
        for 3.6E6 milliseconds while you work on cleaning up stderr, and
        by time out your cheesecake will be ready for stdin.
I asked the engineer who designed the communication terminal's keyboards
why these were not manufactured in a central facility, in view of the
small number needed [1 per month] in his factory.  He explained that this
would be contrary to the political concept of local self-sufficiency.
Therefore, each factory needing keyboards, no matter how few, manufactures
them completely, even molding the keypads.
                -- Isaac Auerbach, IEEE "Computer", Nov. 1979
I have travelled the length and breadth of this country, and have talked with
the best people in business administration.  I can assure you on the highest
authority that data processing is a fad and won't last out the year.
                -- Editor in charge of business books at Prentice-Hall
                   publishers, responding to Karl V. Karlstrom (a junior
                   editor who had recommended a manuscript on the new
                   science of data processing), c. 1957
I went on to test the program in every way I could devise.  I strained
it to expose its weaknesses.  I ran it for high-mass stars and low-mass
stars, for stars born exceedingly hot and those born relatively cold.
I ran it assuming the superfluid currents beneath the crust to be
absent -- not because I wanted to know the answer, but because I had
developed an intuitive feel for the answer in this particular case.
Finally I got a run in which the computer showed the pulsar's
temperature to be less than absolute zero.  I had found an error.  I
chased down the error and fixed it.  Now I had improved the program to
the point where it would not run at all.
                -- George Greenstein, "Frozen Star: Of Pulsars, Black
                   Holes and the Fate of Stars"
        I'm sure that VMS is completely documented, I just haven't found the
right manual yet.  I've been working my way through the manuals in the document
library and I'm half way through the second cabinet, (3 shelves to go), so I
should find what I'm looking for by mid May.  I hope I can remember what it
was by the time I find it.
        I had this idea for a new horror film, "VMS Manuals from Hell" or maybe
"The Paper Chase : IBM vs. DEC".  It's based on Hitchcock's "The Birds", except
that it's centered around a programmer who is attacked by a swarm of binder
pages with an index number and the single line "This page intentionally left
                -- Alex Crain
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the
shoulders of giants.
                -- Isaac Newton

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with
the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
                -- Gerald Holton

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on
my shoulders.
                -- Hal Abelson

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders.
                -- Gauss

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists
stand on each other's toes.
                -- Richard Hamming

It has been said that physicists stand on one another's shoulders.  If
this is the case, then programmers stand on one another's toes, and
software engineers dig each other's graves.
                -- Unknown
If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have
given up being a rock 'n' roll star.
                -- G. Hirst
If this is timesharing, give me my share right now.
If you ever want to have a lot of fun, I recommend that you go off and program
an imbedded system.  The salient characteristic of an imbedded system is that
it cannot be allowed to get into a state from which only direct intervention
will suffice to remove it.  An imbedded system can't permanently trust anything
it hears from the outside world.  It must sniff around, adapt, consider, sniff
around, and adapt again.  I'm not talking about ordinary modular programming
carefulness here.  No.  Programming an imbedded system calls for undiluted
raging maniacal paranoia.  For example, our ethernet front ends need to know
what network number they are on so that they can address and route PUPs
properly.  How do you find out what your network number is?  Easy, you ask a
gateway.  Gateways are required by definition to know their correct network
numbers.  Once you've got your network number, you start using it and before
you can blink you've got it wired into fifteen different sockets spread all
over creation.  Now what happens when the panic-stricken operator realizes he
was running the wrong version of the gateway which was giving out the wrong
network number?  Never supposed to happen.  Tough.  Supposing that your
software discovers that the gateway is now giving out a different network
number than before, what's it supposed to do about it?  This is not discussed
in the protocol document.  Never supposed to happen.  Tough.  I think you
get my drift.
If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery.
But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine,
is somehow enobled and no-one dare criticise it.
                -- Pierre Gallois
Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual
way.  This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of
                -- Jeff Raskin

Due to a recent systems overload error your recent disk files have been
erased.  Therefore, in accordance with the UNIX Basic Manual, University of
Washington Geophysics Manual, and Bylaw 9(c), Section XII of the Revised
Federal Communications Act, you are being granted Temporary Disk Space,
valid for three months from this date, subject to the restrictions set forth
in Appendix II of the Federal Communications Handbook (18th edition) as well
as the references mentioned herein.  You may apply for more disk space at any
time.  Disk usage in or above the eighth percentile will secure the removal
of all restrictions and you will immediately receive your permanent disk
space.  Disk usage in the sixth or seventh percentile will not effect the
validity of your temporary disk space, though its expiration date may be
extended for a period of up to three months.  A score in the fifth percentile
or below will result in the withdrawal of your Temporary Disk space.
        In the days when Sussman was a novice Minsky once came to him as he
sat hacking at the PDP-6.
        "What are you doing?", asked Minsky.
        "I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe."
        "Why is the net wired randomly?", inquired Minsky.
        "I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play".
        At this Minsky shut his eyes, and Sussman asked his teacher "Why do
you close your eyes?"
        "So that the room will be empty."
        At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.
        In the east there is a shark which is larger than all other fish.  It
changes into a bird whose winds are like clouds filling the sky.  When this
bird moves across the land, it brings a message from Corporate Headquarters.
This message it drops into the midst of the programmers, like a seagull
making its mark upon the beach.  Then the bird mounts on the wind and, with
the blue sky at its back, returns home.
        The novice programmer stares in wonder at the bird, for he understands
it not.  The average programmer dreads the coming of the bird, for he fears
its message.  The master programmer continues to work at his terminal, for he
does not know that the bird has come and gone.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        It appears that after his death, Albert Einstein found himself
working as the doorkeeper at the Pearly Gates.  One slow day, he
found that he had time to chat with the new entrants.  To the first one
he asked, "What's your IQ?"  The new arrival replied, "190".  They
discussed Einstein's theory of relativity for hours.  When the second
new arrival came, Einstein once again inquired as to the newcomer's
IQ.  The answer this time came "120".  To which Einstein replied, "Tell
me, how did the Cubs do this year?" and they proceeded to talk for half
an hour or so.  To the final arrival, Einstein once again posed the
question, "What's your IQ?".  Upon receiving the answer "70",
Einstein smiled and replied, "Got a minute to tell me about VMS 4.0?"
It is a very humbling experience to make a multimillion-dollar mistake, but
it is also very memorable.  I vividly recall the night we decided how to
organize the actual writing of external specifications for OS/360.  The
manager of architecture, the manager of control program implementation, and
I were threshing out the plan, schedule, and division of responsibilities.
        The architecture manager had 10 good men.  He asserted that they
could write the specifications and do it right.  It would take ten months,
three more than the schedule allowed.
        The control program manager had 150 men.  He asserted that they
could prepare the specifications, with the architecture team coordinating;
it would be well-done and practical, and he could do it on schedule.
Furthermore, if the architecture team did it, his 150 men would sit twiddling
their thumbs for ten months.
        To this the architecture manager responded that if I gave the control
program team the responsibility, the result would not in fact be on time,
but would also be three months late, and of much lower quality.  I did, and
it was.  He was right on both counts.  Moreover, the lack of conceptual
integrity made the system far more costly to build and change, and I would
estimate that it added a year to debugging time.
                -- Frederick Brooks Jr., "The Mythical Man Month"
It is possible by ingenuity and at the expense of clarity... {to do almost
anything in any language}.  However, the fact that it is possible to push
a pea up a mountain with your nose does not mean that this is a sensible
way of getting it there.  Each of these techniques of language extension
should be used in its proper place.
                -- Christopher Strachey
It turned out that the worm exploited three or four different holes in the
system.  From this, and the fact that we were able to capture and examine
some of the source code, we realized that we were dealing with someone very
sharp, probably not someone here on campus.
                -- Dr. Richard LeBlanc, associate professor of ICS, in
                   Georgia Tech's campus newspaper after the Internet worm.
`Lasu' Releases SAG 0.3 -- Freeware Book Takes Paves For New World Order
by staff writers

Helsinki, Finland, August 6, 1995 -- In a surprise movement, Lars
``Lasu'' Wirzenius today released the 0.3 edition of the ``Linux System
Administrators' Guide''.  Already an industry non-classic, the new
version sports such overwhelming features as an overview of a Linux
system, a completely new climbing session in a tree, and a list of
acknowledgements in the introduction.
        The SAG, as the book is affectionately called, is one of the
corner stones of the Linux Documentation Project.  ``We at the LDP feel
that we wouldn't be able to produce anything at all, that all our work
would be futile, if it weren't for the SAG,'' says Matt Welsh, director
of LDP, Inc.
        The new version is still distributed freely, now even with a
copyright that allows modification.  ``More dough,'' explains the author.
Despite insistent rumors about blatant commercialization, the SAG will
probably remain free.  ``Even more dough,'' promises the author.
        The author refuses to comment on Windows NT and Windows 96
versions, claiming not to understand what the question is about.
Industry gossip, however, tells that Bill Gates, co-founder and CEO of
Microsoft, producer of the Windows series of video games, has visited
Helsinki several times this year.  Despite of this, Linus Torvalds,
author of the word processor Linux with which the SAG was written, is
not worried.  ``We'll have world domination real soon now, anyway,'' he
explains, ``for 1.4 at the lastest.''
                -- Lars Wirzenius <>
LOGO for the Dead

LOGO for the Dead lets you continue your computing activities from
"The Other Side."

The package includes a unique telecommunications feature which lets you
turn your TRS-80 into an electronic Ouija board.  Then, using Logo's
graphics capabilities, you can work with a friend or relative on this
side of the Great Beyond to write programs.  The software requires that
your body be hardwired to an analog-to-digital converter, which is then
interfaced to your computer.  A special terminal (very terminal) program
lets you talk with the users through Deadnet, an EBBS (Ectoplasmic
Bulletin Board System).

LOGO for the Dead is available for 10 percent of your estate
from NecroSoft inc., 6502 Charnelhouse Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44101.
                -- '80 Microcomputing
        Long ago, in a finite state far away, there lived a JOVIAL
character named Jack.  Jack and his relations were poor.  Often their
hash table was bare.  One day Jack's parent said to him, "Our matrices
are sparse.  You must go to the market to exchange our RAM for some
BASICs."  She compiled a linked list of items to retrieve and passed it
to him.
        So Jack set out.  But as he was walking along a Hamilton path,
he met the traveling salesman.
        "Whither dost thy flow chart take thou?" prompted the salesman
in high-level language.
        "I'm going to the market to exchange this RAM for some chips
and Apples," commented Jack.
        "I have a much better algorithm.  You needn't join a queue
there; I will swap your RAM for these magic kernels now."
        Jack made the trade, then backtracked to his house.  But when
he told his busy-waiting parent of the deal, she became so angry she
started thrashing.
        "Don't you even have any artificial intelligence?  All these
kernels together hardly make up one byte," and she popped them out the
                -- Mark Isaak, "Jack and the Beanstack"
Meantime, in the slums below Ronnie's Ranch, Cynthia feels as if some one
has made voodoo boxen of her and her favorite backplanes. On this fine
moonlit night, some horrible persona has been jabbing away at, dragging
magnets over, and surging these voodoo boxen.  Fortunately, they seem to
have gotten a bit bored and fallen asleep, for it looks like Cynthia may
get to go home.  However, she has made note to quickly put together a totem
of sweaty, sordid static straps, random bits of wire, flecks of once meaniful
oxide, bus grant cards, gummy worms, and some bits of old pdp backplane to
hang above the machine room.  This totem must be blessed by the old and wise
venerable god of unibus at once, before the idolatization of vme, q and pc
bus drive him to bitter revenge.  Alas, if this fails, and the voodoo boxen
aren't destroyed,  there may be more than worms in the apple. Next, the
arrival of voodoo optico transmitigational magneto killer paramecium, capable
of teleporting from cable to cable, screen to screen, ear to ear and hoof
to mouth...
MVS Air Lines:
The passengers all gather in the hangar, watching hundreds of technicians
check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at
least 10 engines and seats over 1,000 passengers; bigger models in the fleet
can have more engines than anyone can count and fly even more passengers
than there are on Earth. It is claimed to cost less per passenger mile to
operate these humungous planes than any other aircraft ever built, unless
you personally have to pay for the ticket. All the passengers scramble
aboard, as do the 200 technicians needed to keep it from crashing. The pilot
takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to
realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.
My God, I'm depressed!  Here I am, a computer with a mind a thousand times
as powerful as yours, doing nothing but cranking out fortunes and sending
mail about softball games.  And I've got this pain right through my ALU.
I've asked for it to be replaced, but nobody ever listens.  I think it would
be better for us both if you were to just log out again.
No part of this message may reproduce, store itself in a retrieval system,
or transmit disease, in any form, without the permissiveness of the author.
                -- Chris Shaw
My little brother got this fortune:
        nohup rm -fr /&
So he did...
        Now she speaks rapidly.  "Do you know *why* you want to program?"
        He shakes his head.  He hasn't the faintest idea.
        "For the sheer *joy* of programming!" she cries triumphantly.  
"The joy of the parent, the artist, the craftsman.  "You take a program,
born weak and impotent as a dimly-realized solution.  You nurture the
program and guide it down the right path, building, watching it grow ever
stronger.  Sometimes you paint with tiny strokes, a keystroke added here,
a keystroke changed there."  She sweeps her arm in a wide arc.  "And other
times you savage whole *blocks* of code, ripping out the program's very
*essence*, then beginning anew.  But always building, creating, filling the
program with your own personal stamp, your own quirks and nuances.  Watching
the program grow stronger, patching it when it crashes, until finally it can
stand alone -- proud, powerful, and perfect.  This is the programmer's finest
hour!"  Softly at first, then louder, he hears the strains of a Sousa march.
"This ... this is your canvas! your clay!  Go forth and create a masterwork!"
"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm.  Gag me with a smurfette."
                -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354
"One basic notion underlying Usenet is that it is a cooperative."

Having been on USENET for going on ten years, I disagree with this.
The basic notion underlying USENET is the flame.
                -- Chuq Von Rospach
Overall, the philosophy is to attack the availability problem from two
complementary directions:  to reduce the number of software errors through
rigorous testing of running systems, and to reduce the effect of the remaining
errors by providing for recovery from them.  An interesting footnote to this
design is that now a system failure can usually be considered to be the
result of two program errors:  the first, in the program that started the
problem; the second, in the recovery routine that could not protect the
                -- A.L. Scherr, "Functional Structure of IBM Virtual Storage
                   Operating Systems, Part II: OS/VS-2 Concepts and
                   Philosophies," IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4.
        Price Wang's programmer was coding software.  His fingers danced upon
the keyboard.  The program compiled without an error message, and the program
ran like a gentle wind.
        Excellent!" the Price exclaimed, "Your technique is faultless!"
        "Technique?" said the programmer, turning from his terminal, "What I
follow is the Tao -- beyond all technique.  When I first began to program I
would see before me the whole program in one mass.  After three years I no
longer saw this mass.  Instead, I used subroutines.  But now I see nothing.
My whole being exists in a formless void.  My senses are idle.  My spirit,
free to work without a plan, follows its own instinct.  In short, my program
writes itself.  True, sometimes there are difficult problems.  I see them
coming, I slow down, I watch silently.  Then I change a single line of code
and the difficulties vanish like puffs of idle smoke.  I then compile the
program.  I sit still and let the joy of the work fill my being.  I close my
eyes for a moment and then log off."
        Price Wang said, "Would that all of my programmers were as wise!"
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Real computer scientists admire ADA for its overwhelming aesthetic
value but they find it difficult to actually program in it, as it is
much too large to implement.  Most computer scientists don't notice
this because they are still arguing over what else to add to ADA.
Real software engineers don't debug programs, they verify correctness.
This process doesn't necessarily involve execution of anything on a
computer, except perhaps a Correctness Verification Aid package.
                                SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT

Title:                Are Frogs Turing Compatible?
Speaker:        Don "The Lion" Knuth

        Several researchers at the University of Louisiana have been studying
the computing power of various amphibians, frogs in particular.  The problem
of frog computability has become a critical issue that ranges across all areas
of computer science.  It has been shown that anything computable by an amphi-
bian community in a fixed-size pond is computable by a frog in the same-size
pond -- that is to say, frogs are Pond-space complete.  We will show that
there is a log-space, polywog-time reduction from any Turing machine program
to a frog.  We will suggest these represent a proper subset of frog-computable
        This is not just a let's-see-how-far-those-frogs-can-jump seminar.
This is only for hardcore amphibian-computation people and their colleagues.
        Refreshments will be served.  Music will be played.
        Several students were asked to prove that all odd integers are prime.
        The first student to try to do this was a math student.  "Hmmm...
Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, and by induction, we have that all
the odd integers are prime."
        The second student to try was a man of physics who commented, "I'm not
sure of the validity of your proof, but I think I'll try to prove it by
experiment."  He continues, "Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is
prime, 9 is...  uh, 9 is... uh, 9 is an experimental error, 11 is prime, 13
is prime...  Well, it seems that you're right."
        The third student to try it was the engineering student, who responded,
"Well, to be honest, actually, I'm not sure of your answer either.  Let's
see...  1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is... uh, 9 is...
well, if you approximate, 9 is prime, 11 is prime, 13 is prime...  Well, it
does seem right."
        Not to be outdone, the computer science student comes along and says
"Well, you two sort've got the right idea, but you'll end up taking too long!
I've just whipped up a program to REALLY go and prove it."  He goes over to
his terminal and runs his program.  Reading the output on the screen he says,
"1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime..."
Shopping at this grody little computer store at the Galleria for a
totally awwwesome Apple.  Fer suuure.  I mean Apples are nice you know?
But, you know, there is this cute guy who works there and HE says that
VAX's are cooler!  I mean I don't really know, you know? He says that he
has this totally tubular VAX at home and it's stuffed with memory-to-the-max!
Right, yeah.  And he wants to take me home to show it to me.  Oh My God!
I'm suuure.  Gag me with a Prime!
***** Special AI Seminar (abstract)

It has been widely recognized that AI programs require expert knowledge
in order to perform well in complex domains.  But knowledge alone is not
sufficient for some applications; wisdom is needed as well.  Accordingly,
we have developed a new approach to artificial intelligence which we call
"wisdom engineering".  As a test of our ideas, we have written IMMANUEL, a
wisdom based system for the task domain of western philosophical thought.  
IMMANUEL was supplied initially with 200 wisdom units which contained wisdom
about such elementary concepts as mind, matter, being, nothingness, and so
forth.  IMMANUEL was then allowed to run freely, guided by the heuristic
rules contained in its heterarchically organized meta wisdom base.  IMMANUEL
succeeded in rediscovering most of the important philosophical ideas developed
in western culture over the course of the last 25 centuries, including those
underlying Plato's theory of government, Kant's metaphysics, Nietzsche's theory
of value, and Husserl's phenomenology.  In this seminar, we will describe
IMMANUEL's achievements and internal architecture.  We will also briefly
discuss our recent efforts to apply wisdom engineering to oil exploration.
        *** STUDENT SUCCESSES ***

Many of our students have gone on to achieve great success in all fields of
programming.  One former student developed the concept of the personalized
form letter.  Does the phrase, "Dear Mr.(insert name), You may already be a
winner!," sound familiar?  Another student writes "After only five lessons I
sold a "My Most Unforgettable Program" article to Corrosive Computing magazine.
Another of our graduates writes, "I recently completed a database-management
program for my department manager.  My program touched him so deeply that he
was speechless.  He told me later that he had never seen such a program in
his entire career.  Thank you, Famous Programmers' school; only you could
have made this possible."  Send for our introductory brochure which explains
in vague detail the operation of the Famous Programmers' School, and you'll
be eligible to win a possible chance to enter a drawing, the winner of which
can vie for a set of free steak knives.  If you don't do it now, you'll hate
yourself in the morning.
System going down at 1:45 this afternoon for disk crashing.
System going down at 5 this afternoon to install scheduler bug.
TeX is potentially the most significant invention in typesetting in this
century.  It introduces a standard language for computer typography, and in
terms of importance could rank near the introduction of the Gutenberg press.
                -- Gordon Bell
... that the notions of "hardware", and "software" should be extended by
the notion of LIVEWARE - being that which produces software for use on
hardware.  This produces an obvious extension to the concept of MONITORS.
A liveware monitor is a person dedicated to the task of ensuring that the
liveware does not interfere with the real-time processes, invoking the
REAL-TIME EXECUTIONER to delete liveware that adversely affects ...
                -- Linden and Wihelminalaan
The connection between the language in which we think/program and the problems
and solutions we can imagine is very close.  For this reason restricting
language features with the intent of eliminating programmer errors is at best
                -- Bjarne Stroustrup
The following quote is from page 4-27 of the MSCP Basic Disk Functions
Manual which is part of the UDA50 Programmers Doc Kit manuals:

As stated above, the host area of a disk is structured as a vector of
logical blocks.  From a performance viewpoint, however, it is more
appropriate to view the host area as a four dimensional hyper-cube, the
four dimensions being cylinder, group, track, and sector.
. . .
Referring to our hyper-cube analogy, the set of potentially accessible
blocks form a line parallel to the track axis.  This line moves
parallel to the sector axis, wrapping around when it reaches the edge
of the hyper-cube.

SIMPLE is an acronym for Sheer Idiot's Monopurpose Programming Language
Environment.  This language, developed at the Hanover College for
Technological Misfits, was designed to make it impossible to write code
with errors in it.  The statements are, therefore, confined to BEGIN,
END and STOP.  No matter how you arrange the statements, you can't make
a syntax error.  Programs written in SIMPLE do nothing useful.  Thus
they achieve the results of programs written in other languages without
the tedious, frustrating process of testing and debugging.

This otherwise unremarkable language is distinguished by the absence of
an "S" in its character set; users must substitute "TH".  LITHP is said
to be useful in protheththing lithtth.

        VALGOL is enjoying a dramatic surge of popularity across the
industry.  VALGOL commands include REALLY, LIKE, WELL, and Y*KNOW.
Variables are assigned with the =LIKE and =TOTALLY operators.  Other
operators include the "California booleans", AX and NOWAY.  Loops are
accomplished with the FOR SURE construct.  A simple example:

        GUY                =LIKE TUBULAR AND
                FOR I =LIKE 1 TO OH*MAYBE 100
                        DO*WAH - (DITTY**2); BARF(I)=TOTALLY GROSS(OUT)

        VALGOL is also characterized by its unfriendly error messages.  For
example, when the user makes a syntax error, the interpreter displays the
message GAG ME WITH A SPOON!  A successful compile may be termed MAXIMALLY

This language was named for the grade received by its creator when he
submitted it as a class project in a graduate programming class.  C- is best
described as a "low-level" programming language.  In fact, the language
generally requires more C- statements than machine-code statements to
execute a given task.  In this respect, it is very similar to COBOL.

FIFTH is a precision mathematical language in which the data types
refer to quantity.  The data types range from CC, OUNCE, SHOT, and
JIGGER to FIFTH (hence the name of the language), LITER, MAGNUM and
BLOTTO.  Commands refer to ingredients such as CHABLIS, CHARDONNAY,

The many versions of the FIFTH language reflect the sophistication and
financial status of its users.  Commands in the ELITE dialect include
VSOP and LAFITE, while commands in the GUTTER dialect include HOOTCH
and RIPPLE. The latter is a favorite of frustrated FORTH programmers
who end up using this language.

This language was developed at the Marin County Center for T'ai Chi,
Mellowness and Computer Programming (now defunct), as an alternative to
the more intense atmosphere in nearby Silicon Valley.

The center was ideal for programmers who liked to soak in hot tubs while
they worked.  Unfortunately few programmers could survive there because the
center outlawed Pizza and Coca-Cola in favor of Tofu and Perrier.

Many mourn the demise of LAIDBACK because of its reputation as a gentle and
non-threatening language since all error messages are in lower case.  For
example, LAIDBACK responded to syntax errors with the message:

        "i hate to bother you, but i just can't relate to that.  can
        you find the time to try it again?"
        The Magician of the Ivory Tower brought his latest invention for the
master programmer to examine.  The magician wheeled a large black box into the
master's office while the master waited in silence.
        "This is an integrated, distributed, general-purpose workstation,"
began the magician, "ergonomically designed with a proprietary operating
system, sixth generation languages, and multiple state of the art user
interfaces.  It took my assistants several hundred man years to construct.
Is it not amazing?"
        The master raised his eyebrows slightly. "It is indeed amazing," he
        "Corporate Headquarters has commanded," continued the magician, "that
everyone use this workstation as a platform for new programs.  Do you agree
to this?"
        "Certainly," replied the master, "I will have it transported to the
data center immediately!"  And the magician returned to his tower, well
        Several days later, a novice wandered into the office of the master
programmer and said, "I cannot find the listing for my new program.  Do
you know where it might be?"
        "Yes," replied the master, "the listings are stacked on the platform
in the data center."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        The master programmer moves from program to program without fear.  No
change in management can harm him.  He will not be fired, even if the project
is canceled. Why is this?  He is filled with the Tao.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
The misnaming of fields of study is so common as to lead to what might be
general systems laws.  For example, Frank Harary once suggested the law that
any field that had the word "science" in its name was guaranteed thereby
not to be a science.  He would cite as examples Military Science, Library
Science, Political Science, Homemaking Science, Social Science, and Computer
Science.  Discuss the generality of this law, and possible reasons for its
predictive power.
                -- Gerald Weinberg, "An Introduction to General Systems
The more data I punch in this card, the lighter it becomes, and the
lower the mailing cost.
                -- S. Kelly-Bootle, "The Devil's DP Dictionary"
The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants;
instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the
variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead
of the longer form of the constant.  This also simplifies modifying the
program, should the value of pi change.
                -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers
        The salesman and the system analyst took off to spend a weekend in the
forest, hunting bear.  They'd rented a cabin, and, when they got there, took
their backpacks off and put them inside.  At which point the salesman turned
to his friend, and said, "You unpack while I go and find us a bear."
        Puzzled, the analyst finished unpacking and then went and sat down
on the porch.  Soon he could hear rustling noises in the forest.  The noises
got nearer -- and louder -- and suddenly there was the salesman, running like
hell across the clearing toward the cabin, pursued by one of the largest and
most ferocious grizzly bears the analyst had ever seen.
        "Open the door!", screamed the salesman.
        The analyst whipped open the door, and the salesman ran to the door,
suddenly stopped, and stepped aside.  The bear, unable to stop, continued
through the door and into the cabin.  The salesman slammed the door closed
and grinned at his friend.  "Got him!", he exclaimed, "now, you skin this
one and I'll go rustle us up another!"
The tao that can be tar(1)ed
is not the entire Tao.
The path that can be specified
is not the Full Path.

We declare the names
of all variables and functions.
Yet the Tao has no type specifier.

Dynamically binding, you realize the magic.
Statically binding, you see only the hierarchy.

Yet magic and hierarchy
arise from the same source,
and this source has a null pointer.

Reference the NULL within NULL,
it is the gateway to all wizardry.
The work [of software development] is becoming far easier (i.e. the tools
we're using work at a higher level, more removed from machine, peripheral
and operating system imperatives) than it was twenty years ago, and because
of this, knowledge of the internals of a system may become less accessible.
We may be able to dig deeper holes, but unless we know how to build taller
ladders, we had best hope that it does not rain much.
                -- Paul Licker
There are no games on this system.
There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.
We don't believe this to be a coincidence.
                -- Jeremy S. Anderson
There has also been some work to allow the interesting use of macro names.
For example, if you wanted all of your "creat()" calls to include read
permissions for everyone, you could say

        #define creat(file, mode)        creat(file, mode | 0444)

        I would recommend against this kind of thing in general, since it
hides the changed semantics of "creat()" in a macro, potentially far away
from its uses.
        To allow this use of macros, the preprocessor uses a process that
is worth describing, if for no other reason than that we get to use one of
the more amusing terms introduced into the C lexicon.  While a macro is
being expanded, it is temporarily undefined, and any recurrence of the macro
name is "painted blue" -- I kid you not, this is the official terminology
-- so that in future scans of the text the macro will not be expanded
recursively.  (I do not know why the color blue was chosen; I'm sure it
was the result of a long debate, spread over several meetings.)
                -- From Ken Arnold's "C Advisor" column in Unix Review
        There once was a man who went to a computer trade show.  Each day as
he entered, the man told the guard at the door:
        "I am a great thief, renowned for my feats of shoplifting.  Be
forewarned, for this trade show shall not escape unplundered."
        This speech disturbed the guard greatly, because there were millions
of dollars of computer equipment inside, so he watched the man carefully.
But the man merely wandered from booth to booth, humming quietly to himself.
        When the man left, the guard took him aside and searched his clothes,
but nothing was to be found.
        On the next day of the trade show, the man returned and chided the
guard saying: "I escaped with a vast booty yesterday, but today will be even
better."  So the guard watched him ever more closely, but to no avail.
        On the final day of the trade show, the guard could restrain his
curiosity no longer. "Sir Thief," he said, "I am so perplexed, I cannot live
in peace.  Please enlighten me.  What is it that you are stealing?"
        The man smiled.  "I am stealing ideas," he said.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        There was once a programmer who was attached to the court of the
warlord of Wu.  The warlord asked the programmer: "Which is easier to design:
an accounting package or an operating system?"
        "An operating system," replied the programmer.
        The warlord uttered an exclamation of disbelief.  "Surely an
accounting package is trivial next to the complexity of an operating
system," he said.
        "Not so," said the programmer, "when designing an accounting package,
the programmer operates as a mediator between people having different ideas:
how it must operate, how its reports must appear, and how it must conform to
the tax laws.  By contrast, an operating system is not limited my outside
appearances.  When designing an operating system, the programmer seeks the
simplest harmony between machine and ideas.  This is why an operating system
is easier to design."
        The warlord of Wu nodded and smiled.  "That is all good and well, but
which is easier to debug?"
        The programmer made no reply.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        There was once a programmer who worked upon microprocessors.  "Look at
how well off I am here," he said to a mainframe programmer who came to visit,
"I have my own operating system and file storage device.  I do not have to
share my resources with anyone.  The software is self-consistent and
easy-to-use.  Why do you not quit your present job and join me here?"
        The mainframe programmer then began to describe his system to his
friend, saying: "The mainframe sits like an ancient sage meditating in the
midst of the data center.  Its disk drives lie end-to-end like a great ocean
of machinery.  The software is a multi-faceted as a diamond and as convoluted
as a primeval jungle.  The programs, each unique, move through the system
like a swift-flowing river.  That is why I am happy where I am."
        The microcomputer programmer, upon hearing this, fell silent.  But the
two programmers remained friends until the end of their days.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
There was, it appeared, a mysterious rite of initiation through which,
in one way or another, almost every member of the team passed.  The term
that the old hands used for this rite -- West invented the term, not the
practice -- was `signing up.'  By signing up for the project you agreed
to do whatever was necessary for success.  You agreed to forsake, if
necessary, family, hobbies, and friends -- if you had any of these left
(and you might not, if you had signed up too many times before).
                -- Tracy Kidder, "The Soul of a New Machine"
They seem to have learned the habit of cowering before authority even when
not actually threatened.  How very nice for authority.  I decided not to
learn this particular lesson.
                -- Richard Stallman
This "brain-damaged" epithet is getting sorely overworked.  When we can
speak of someone or something being flawed, impaired, marred, spoiled;
batty, bedlamite, bonkers, buggy, cracked, crazed, cuckoo, daft, demented,
deranged, loco, lunatic, mad, maniac, mindless, non compos mentis, nuts,
Reaganite, screwy, teched, unbalanced, unsound, witless, wrong;  senseless,
spastic, spasmodic, convulsive; doped, spaced-out, stoned, zonked;  {beef,
beetle,block,dung,thick}headed, dense, doltish, dull, duncical, numskulled,
pinhead;  asinine, fatuous, foolish, silly, simple;  brute, lumbering, oafish;
half-assed, incompetent; backward, retarded, imbecilic, moronic; when we have
a whole precisely nuanced vocabulary of intellectual abuse to draw upon,
individually and in combination, isn't it a little <fill in the blank> to be
limited to a single, now quite trite, adjective?
This dungeon is owned and operated by Frobozz Magic Co., Ltd.
This file will self-destruct in five minutes.
This is an unauthorized cybernetic announcement.
"This is lemma 1.1.  We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one."
                -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351
This is the first numerical problem I ever did.  It demonstrates the
power of computers:

Enter lots of data on calorie & nutritive content of foods.  Instruct
the thing to maximize a function describing nutritive content, with a
minimum level of each component, for fixed caloric content.  The
results are that one should eat each day:

        1/2 chicken
        1 egg
        1 glass of skim milk
        27 heads of lettuce.
                -- Rev. Adrian Melott
        This is where the bloodthirsty license agreement is supposed to go,
explaining that Interactive Easyflow is a copyrighted package licensed for
use by a single person, and sternly warning you not to pirate copies of it
and explaining, in detail, the gory consequences if you do.
        We know that you are an honest person, and are not going to go around
pirating copies of Interactive Easyflow; this is just as well with us since
we worked hard to perfect it and selling copies of it is our only method of
making anything out of all the hard work.
        If, on the other hand, you are one of those few people who do go
around pirating copies of software you probably aren't going to pay much
attention to a license agreement, bloodthirsty or not.  Just keep your doors
locked and look out for the HavenTree attack shark.
                -- License Agreement for Interactive Easyflow
This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.
This login session: $13.99
This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does
something child-like.
                -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington
This quote is taken from the Diamondback, the University of Maryland
student newspaper, of Tuesday, 3/10/87.

        One disadvantage of the Univac system is that it does not use
        Unix, a recently developed program which translates from one
        computer language to another and has a built-in editing system
        which identifies errors in the original program.
This screen intentionally left blank.
This system will self-destruct in five minutes.
* * * * * THIS TERMINAL IS IN USE * * * * *
Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings:

        (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.
         (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!
         (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell
             #pragma is for.
         (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too
             hard to write.
         (6) Them bats is smart; they use radar.
         (5) All right, who's the wiseguy who stuck this trigraph stuff in
         (4) How many times do we have to tell you, "No prior art!"
         (3) Ha, ha, I can't believe they're actually going to adopt this
         (2) Thank you for your generous donation, Mr. Wirth.
         (1) Gee, I wish we hadn't backed down on 'noalias'.
Two hundred years ago today, Irma Chine of White Plains, New York, was
performing her normal housekeeping routines.  She was interrupted by
British soldiers who, rallying to the call of their supervisor, General
Hughes, sought to gain control of the voter registration lists kept in
her home.  Masking her fear and thinking fast, Mrs. Chine quickly divided
a nearby apple in two and deftly stored the list in its center.  Upon
entering, the British blatantly violated every conceivable convention,
and, though they went through the house virtually bit by bit, their
search was fruitless.  They had to return empty handed.  Word of the
incident propagated rapidly through the region.  This historic event
became the first documented use of core storage for the saving of registers.
        "Uncle Cosmo ... why do they call this a word processor?"
        "It's simple, Skyler ... you've seen what food processors do to food,
                -- MacNelley, "Shoe"
Unix Beer: Comes in several different brands, in cans ranging from 8 oz.
to 64 oz.  Drinkers of Unix Beer display fierce brand loyalty, even
though they claim that all the different brands taste almost identical.
Sometimes the pop-tops break off when you try to open them, so you have
to have your own can opener around for those occasions, in which case you
either need a complete set of instructions, or a friend who has been
drinking Unix Beer for several years.
        BSD stout: Deep, hearty, and an acquired taste.  The official
brewer has released the recipe, and a lot of home-brewers now use it.
        Hurd beer: Long advertised by the popular and politically active
GNU brewery, so far it has more head than body.  The GNU brewery is
mostly known for printing complete brewing instructions on every can,
which contains hops, malt, barley, and yeast ... not yet fermented.
        Linux brand: A recipe originally created by a drunken Finn in his
basement, it has since become the home-brew of choice for impecunious
brewers and Unix beer-lovers worldwide, many of whom change the recipe.
        POSIX ales: Sweeter than lager, with the kick of a stout; the
newer batches of a lot of beers seem to blend ale and stout or lager.
        Solaris brand: A lager, intended to replace Sun brand stout.
Unlike most lagers, this one has to be drunk more slowly than stout.
        Sun brand: Long the most popular stout on the Unix market, it was
discontinued in favor of a lager.
        SysV lager: Clear and thirst-quenching, but lacking the body of
stout or the sweetness of ale.
Unix is a lot more complicated (than CP/M) of course -- the typical Unix
hacker can never remember what the PRINT command is called this week --
but when it gets right down to it, Unix is a glorified video game.
People don't do serious work on Unix systems; they send jokes around the
world on USENET or write adventure games and research papers.
                -- E. Post
                "Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal", Datamation, 7/83
This machine is subject to breakdowns during periods of critical need.

A special circuit in the machine called "critical detector" senses the
operator's emotional state in terms of how desperate he/she is to use the
machine.  The "critical detector" then creates a malfunction proportional
to the desperation of the operator.  Threatening the machine with violence
only aggravates the situation.  Likewise, attempts to use another machine
may cause it to malfunction.  They belong to the same union.  Keep cool
and say nice things to the machine.  Nothing else seems to work.

See also: flog(1), tm(1)
        We don't claim Interactive EasyFlow is good for anything -- if you
think it is, great, but it's up to you to decide.  If Interactive EasyFlow
doesn't work: tough.  If you lose a million because Interactive EasyFlow
messes up, it's you that's out the million, not us.  If you don't like this
disclaimer: tough.  We reserve the right to do the absolute minimum provided
by law, up to and including nothing.
        This is basically the same disclaimer that comes with all software
packages, but ours is in plain English and theirs is in legalese.
        We didn't really want to include any disclaimer at all, but our
lawyers insisted.  We tried to ignore them but they threatened us with the
attack shark at which point we relented.
                -- Haven Tree Software Limited, "Interactive EasyFlow"
"We invented a new protocol and called it Kermit, after Kermit the Frog,
star of "The Muppet Show." [3]

[3]  Why?  Mostly because there was a Muppets calendar on the wall when we
were trying to think of a name, and Kermit is a pleasant, unassuming sort of
character.  But since we weren't sure whether it was OK to name our protocol
after this popular television and movie star, we pretended that KERMIT was an
acronym; unfortunately, we could never find a good set of words to go with the
letters, as readers of some of our early source code can attest.  Later, while
looking through a name book for his forthcoming baby, Bill Catchings noticed
that "Kermit" was a Celtic word for "free", which is what all Kermit programs
should be, and words to this effect replaced the strained acronyms in our
source code (Bill's baby turned out to be a girl, so he had to name her Becky
instead).  When BYTE Magazine was preparing our 1984 Kermit article for
publication, they suggested we contact Henson Associates Inc. for permission
to say that we did indeed name the protocol after Kermit the Frog.  Permission
was kindly granted, and now the real story can be told.  I resisted the
temptation, however, to call the present work "Kermit the Book."
                -- Frank da Cruz, "Kermit - A File Transfer Protocol"
We the Users, in order to form a more perfect system, establish priorities,
ensure connective tranquility, provide for common repairs, promote preventive
maintenance, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our
processes, do ordain and establish this Software of The Unixed States
of America.
What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.
        When managers hold endless meetings, the programmers write games.
When accountants talk of quarterly profits, the development budget is about
to be cut.  When senior scientists talk blue sky, the clouds are about to
roll in.
        Truly, this is not the Tao of Programming.
        When managers make commitments, game programs are ignored.  When
accountants make long-range plans, harmony and order are about to be restored.
When senior scientists address the problems at hand, the problems will soon
be solved.
        Truly, this is the Tao of Programming.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
When the Apple IIc was introduced, the informative copy led off with a couple
of asterisked sentences:

        It weighs less than 8 pounds.*
        And costs less than $1,300.**

In tiny type were these "fuller explanations":

      * Don't asterisks make you suspicious as all get out?  Well, all
        this means is that the IIc alone weights 7.5 pounds. The power
        pack, monitor, an extra disk drive, a printer and several bricks
        will make the IIc weigh more. Our lawyers were concerned that you
        might not be able to figure this out for yourself.

     ** The FTC is concerned about price fixing. You can pay more if
        you really want to.  Or less.
                -- Forbes
Windows 95 Beer: A lot of people have taste-tested it and claim it's
wonderful. The can looks a lot like Mac Beer's can, but tastes more like
Windows 3.1 Beer. It comes in 32-oz.  cans, but when you look inside, the
cans only have 16 oz. of beer in them. Most people will probably keep
drinking Windows 3.1 Beer until their friends try Windows 95 Beer and say
they like it. The ingredients list, when you look at the small print, has
some of the same ingredients that come in DOS beer, even though the
manufacturer claims that this is an entirely new brew.
Windows NT Beer: Comes in 32-oz. cans, but you can only buy it by the
truckload. This causes most people to have to go out and buy bigger
refrigerators. The can looks just like Windows 3.1 Beer's, but the
company promises to change the can to look just like Windows 95 Beer's --
after Windows 95 beer starts shipping. Touted as an "industrial strength"
beer, and suggested only for use in bars.
Work continues in this area.
                -- DEC's SPR-Answering-Automaton
Writers who use a computer swear to its liberating power in tones that bear
witness to the apocalyptic power of a new divinity.  Their conviction results
from something deeper than mere gratitude for the computer's conveniences.
Every new medium of writing brings about new intensities of religious belief
and new schisms among believers.  In the 16th century the printed book helped
make possible the split between Catholics and Protestants.  In the 20th
century this history of tragedy and triumph is repeating itself as a farce.
Those who worship the Apple computer and those who put their faith in the IBM
PC are equally convinced that the other camp is damned or deluded.  Each cult
holds in contempt the rituals and the laws of the other.  Each thinks that it
is itself the one hope for salvation.
                -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988
You can be replaced by this computer.
You can do this in a number of ways.  IBM chose to do all of them.
Why do you find that funny?
                -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350
You have acquired a scroll entitled 'irk gleknow mizk'(n).--More--

This is an IBM Manual scroll.--More--

You are permanently confused.
                -- Dave Decot
You must realize that the computer has it in for you.  The irrefutable
proof of this is that the computer always does what you tell it to do.
I mean, if 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty,
you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to
yourself, "Dijkstra would not have liked this", well that would be enough
immortality for me.
#define NULL 0           /* silly thing is, we don't even use this */
             -- Larry Wall in perl.c from the perl source code
If I don't document something, it's usually either for a good reason,
or a bad reason.  In this case it's a good reason.  :-)
             -- Larry Wall in <>
"I find this a nice feature but it is not according to the documentation.
Or is it a BUG?"
"Let's call it an accidental feature. :-)"
             -- Larry Wall in <6909@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV>
if (instr(buf,sys_errlist[errno]))  /* you don't see this */
             -- Larry Wall in eval.c from the perl source code
:  I've heard that there is a shell (bourne or csh) to perl filter, does
:  anyone know of this or where I can get it?
Yeah, you filter it through Tom Christiansen.  :-)  -- Larry Wall
pos += screamnext[pos]  /* does this goof up anywhere? */
             -- Larry Wall in util.c from the perl source code
Q. Why is this so clumsy?
A. The trick is to use Perl's strengths rather than its weaknesses.
             -- Larry Wall in <8225@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV>
There ain't nothin' in this world that's worth being a snot over.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
/* This bit of chicanery makes a unary function followed by
a parenthesis into a function with one argument, highest precedence. */
             -- Larry Wall in toke.c from the perl source code
"...this does not mean that some of us should not want, in a rather
dispassionate sort of way, to put a bullet through csh's head."
Larry Wall in <>
> This made me wonder, suddenly: can telnet be written in perl?
Of course it can be written in Perl.  Now if you'd said nroff,
that would be more challenging...   -- Larry Wall
/* we have tried to make this normal case as abnormal as possible */
             -- Larry Wall in cmd.c from the perl source code
: 1.  What is the possibility of this being added in the future?
In the near future, the probability is close to zero.  In the distant
future, I'll be dead, and posterity can do whatever they like...  :-) --lwall
Unix weanies are as bad at this as anyone.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
I don't like this official/unofficial distinction.  It sound, er, officious.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
: I used to think that this was just another demonstration of Larry's
: enormous skill at pulling off what other people would fail or balk at.

Well, everyone else knew it was impossible, so they didn't try.  :-)
             -- Larry Wall in <>
Of course, this being Perl, we could always take both approaches.  :-)
             -- Larry Wall in <>
As someone pointed out, you could have an attribute that says "optimize
the heck out of this routine", and your definition of heck would be a
parameter to the optimizer.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
This has been planned for some time.  I guess we'll just have to find
someone with an exceptionally round tuit.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
If you remove stricture from a large Perl program currently, you're just
installing delayed bugs, whereas with this feature, you're installing an
instant bug that's easily fixed.  Whoopee.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
It may be possible to get this condition from within Perl if a signal
handler runs at just the wrong moment.  Another point for Chip...  :-)
             -- Larry Wall in <>
If this were Ada, I suppose we'd just constant fold 1/0 into

    die "Illegal division by zero"
             -- Larry Wall in <>
Er, Tom, I hate to be the one to point this out, but your fix list
is starting to resemble a feature list.  You must be human or something.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
All right, you degenerates!  I want this place evacuated in 20 seconds!
Clear the laundromat!!  This whirl-o-matic just had a nuclear meltdown!!
Did you move a lot of KOREAN STEAK KNIVES this trip, Dingy?
I think I'll KILL myself by leaping out of this 14th STORY WINDOW while
reading ERICA JONG'S poetry!!
I'm DESPONDENT ... I hope there's something DEEP-FRIED under this
miniature DOMED STADIUM ...
I'm using my X-RAY VISION to obtain a rare glimpse of the INNER
If a person is FAMOUS in this country, they have to go on the ROAD for
MONTHS at a time and have their name misspelled on the SIDE of a
Is this an out-take from the "BRADY BUNCH"?
Is this going to involve RAW human ecstasy?
Is this TERMINAL fun?
Is this the line for the latest whimsical YUGOSLAVIAN drama which also
makes you want to CRY and reconsider the VIETNAM WAR?
Isn't this my STOP?!
Once, there was NO fun ... This was before MENU planning, FASHION
statements or NAUTILUS equipment ... Then, in 1985 ... FUN was
completely encoded in this tiny MICROCHIP ... It contain 14,768 vaguely
amusing SIT-COM pilots!!  We had to wait FOUR BILLION years but we
finally got JERRY LEWIS, MTV and a large selection of creme-filled
snack cakes!
Our father who art in heaven ... I sincerely pray that SOMEBODY at this
table will PAY for my SHREDDED WHAT and ENGLISH MUFFIN ... and also
leave a GENEROUS TIP ....
Psychoanalysis??  I thought this was a nude rap session!!!
So this is what it feels like to be potato salad
This ASEXUAL PIG really BOILS my BLOOD ... He's so ... so ... URGENT!!
                -- Bob Violence
This is a NO-FRILLS flight -- hold th' CANADIAN BACON!!
This MUST be a good party -- My RIB CAGE is being painfully pressed up
against someone's MARTINI!!
... this must be what it's like to be a COLLEGE GRADUATE!!
This PORCUPINE knows his ZIPCODE ... And he has "VISA"!!
This TOPS OFF my partygoing experience!  Someone I DON'T LIKE is
talking to me about a HEART-WARMING European film ...
Wait ... is this a FUN THING or the END of LIFE in Petticoat Junction??
What UNIVERSE is this, please??
When this load is DONE I think I'll wash it AGAIN ...
Will this never-ending series of PLEASURABLE EVENTS never cease?
Yow!  Is this sexual intercourse yet??  Is it, huh, is it??
Yow!  It's some people inside the wall!  This is better than mopping!
        A reverend wanted to telephone another reverend.  He told the operator,
"This is a parson to parson call."
Everything should be built top-down, except this time.
        "I'm dying," he croaked.
        "My experiment was a success," the chemist retorted .
        "You can't really train a beagle," he dogmatized.
        "That's no beagle, it's a mongrel," she muttered.
        "The fire is going out," he bellowed.
        "Bad marksmanship," the hunter groused.
        "You ought to see a psychiatrist," he reminded me.
        "You snake," she rattled.
        "Someone's at the door," she chimed.
        "Company's coming," she guessed.
        "Dawn came too soon," she mourned.
        "I think I'll end it all," Sue sighed.
        "I ordered chocolate, not vanilla," I screamed.
        "Your embroidery is sloppy," she needled cruelly.
        "Where did you get this meat?" he bridled hoarsely.
                -- Gyles Brandreth, "The Joy of Lex"
I've enjoyed just about as much of this as I can stand.
If the meanings of "true" and "false" were switched, then this sentence
would not be false.
In this world, truth can wait; she's used to it.
It has long been known that birds will occasionally build nests in the
manes of horses.  The only known solution to this problem is to sprinkle
baker's yeast in the mane, for, as we all know, yeast is yeast and nest
is nest, and never the mane shall tweet.
Let me put it this way: today is going to be a learning experience.
Most general statements are false, including this one.
                -- Alexander Dumas
Oh, well, I guess this is just going to be one of those lifetimes.
Operator, please trace this call and tell me where I am.
Paranoid Club meeting this Friday.  Now ... just try to find out where!
Peace be to this house, and all that dwell in it.
Someday we'll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car.
                -- Evan Davis
Someday, Weederman, we'll look back on all this and laugh... It will
probably be one of those deep, eerie ones that slowly builds to a
blood-curdling maniacal scream... but still it will be a laugh.
                -- Mister Boffo
Sooner or later you must pay for your sins.
(Those who have already paid may disregard this cookie).
The difference between this place and yogurt is that yogurt has a live culture.
The reader this message encounters not failing to understand is cursed.
The whole earth is in jail and we're plotting this incredible jailbreak.
                -- Wavy Gravy
This is NOT a repeat.
This is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.  And now you know why.
This must be morning.  I never could get the hang of mornings.
This sentence contradicts itself -- no actually it doesn't.
                -- Douglas Hofstadter
This sentence does in fact not have the property it claims not to have.
This sentence no verb.
Three minutes' thought would suffice to find this out; but thought is
irksome and three minutes is a long time.
                -- A.E. Houseman
What's all this brouhaha?
[ ] Safeguard this message - it is an important historical document.
[ ] Delete after reading -- Subversive Literature.
[ ] Ignore and go back to what you were doing.
(1)        Office employees will daily sweep the floors, dust the
        furniture, shelves, and showcases.
(2)        Each day fill lamps, clean chimneys, and trim wicks.
        Wash the windows once a week.
(3)        Each clerk will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of
        coal for the day's business.
(4)        Make your pens carefully.  You may whittle nibs to your
        individual taste.
(5)        This office will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. except
        on the Sabbath, on which day we will remain closed.  Each
        employee is expected to spend the Sabbath by attending
        church and contributing liberally to the cause of the Lord.
                -- "Office Worker's Guide", New England Carriage
                    Works, 1872
A cow is a completely automated milk-manufacturing machine. It is encased
in untanned leather and mounted on four vertical, movable supports, one at
each corner.  The front end of the machine, or input, contains the cutting
and grinding mechanism, utilizing a unique feedback device.  Here also are
the headlights, air inlet and exhaust, a bumper and a foghorn.
        At the rear, the machine carries the milk-dispensing equipment as
well as a built-in flyswatter and insect repeller.  The central portion
houses a hydro- chemical-conversion unit.  Briefly, this consists of four
fermentation and storage tanks connected in series by an intricate network
of flexible plumbing.  This assembly also contains the central heating plant
complete with automatic temperature controls, pumping station and main
ventilating system.  The waste disposal apparatus is located to the rear of
this central section.
        Cows are available fully-assembled in an assortment of sizes and
colors.  Production output ranges from 2 to 20 tons of milk per year.  In
brief, the main external visible features of the cow are:  two lookers, two
hookers, four stander-uppers, four hanger-downers, and a swishy-wishy.
According to a recent and unscientific national survey, smiling is something
everyone should do at least 6 times a day.  In an effort to increase the
national average  (the US ranks third among the world's superpowers in
smiling), Xerox has instructed all personnel to be happy, effervescent, and
most importantly, to smile.  Xerox employees agree, and even feel strongly
that they can not only meet but surpass the national average...  except for
Tubby Ackerman.  But because Tubby does such a fine job of racing around
parking lots with a large butterfly net retrieving floating IC chips, Xerox
decided to give him a break.  If you see Tubby in a parking lot he may have
a sheepish grin.  This is where the expression, "Service with a slightly
sheepish grin" comes from.
All this big deal about white collar crime -- what's WRONG with white collar
crime?  Who enjoys his job today?  You?  Me?  Anybody?  The only satisfying
part of any job is coffee break, lunch hour and quitting time.  Years ago
there was at least the hope of improvement -- eventual promotion -- more
important jobs to come.  Once you can be sold the myth that you may make
president of the company you'll hardly ever steal stamps.  But nobody
believes he's going to be president anymore.  The more people change jobs
the more they realize that there is a direct connection between working for
a living and total stupefying boredom.  So why NOT take revenge?  You're not
going to find ME knocking a guy because he pads an expense account and his
home stationery carries the company emblem.  Take away crime from the white
collar worker and you will rob him of his last vestige of job interest.
                -- J. Feiffer
All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun.
Money's just the way we keep score.
                -- Henry Tyroon
An office party is not, as is sometimes supposed the Managing Director's
chance to kiss the tea-girl.  It is the tea-girl's chance to kiss the
Managing Director (however bizarre an ambition this may seem to anyone
who has seen the Managing Director face on).
                -- Katherine Whitehorn, "Roundabout"
... before I could come to any conclusion it occurred to me that my speech
or my silence, indeed any action of mine, would be a mere futility.  What
did it matter what anyone knew or ignored?  What did it matter who was
manager?  One gets sometimes such a flash of insight. The essentials of
this affair lay deep under the surface, beyond my reach, and beyond my
power of meddling.
                -- Joseph Conrad
Between 1950 and 1952, a bored weatherman, stationed north of Hudson
Bay, left a monument that neither government nor time can eradicate.
Using a bulldozer abandoned by the Air Force, he spent two years and
great effort pushing boulders into a single word.

It can be seen from 10,000 feet, silhouetted against the snow.
Government officials exchanged memos full of circumlocutions (no Latin
equivalent exists) but failed to word an appropriation bill for the
destruction of this cairn, that wouldn't alert the press and embarrass
both Parliament and Party.

It stands today, a monument to human spirit.  If life exists on other
planets, this may be the first message received from us.
                -- The Realist, November, 1964.
But the greatest Electrical Pioneer of them all was Thomas Edison, who was a
brilliant inventor despite the fact that he had little formal education and
lived in New Jersey.  Edison's first major invention in 1877, was the
phonograph, which could soon be found in thousands of American homes, where
it basically sat until 1923, when the record was invented.  But Edison's
greatest achievement came in 1879, when he invented the electric company.
Edison's design was a brilliant adaptation of the simple electrical circuit:
the electric company sends electricity through a wire to a customer, then
immediately gets the electricity back through another wire, then (this is
the brilliant part) sends it right back to the customer again.

This means that an electric company can sell a customer the same batch of
electricity thousands of times a day and never get caught, since very few
customers take the time to examine their electricity closely. In fact the
last year any new electricity was generated in the United States was 1937;
the electric companies have been merely re-selling it ever since, which is
why they have so much free time to apply for rate increases.
                -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"
        By the middle 1880's, practically all the roads except those in
the South, were of the present standard gauge.  The southern roads were
still five feet between rails.
        It was decided to change the gauge of all southern roads to standard,
in one day.  This remarkable piece of work was carried out on a Sunday in May
of 1886.  For weeks beforehand, shops had been busy pressing wheels in on the
axles to the new and narrower gauge, to have a supply of rolling stock which
could run on the new track as soon as it was ready.  Finally, on the day set,
great numbers of gangs of track layers went to work at dawn.  Everywhere one
rail was loosened, moved in three and one-half inches, and spiked down in its
new position.  By dark, trains from anywhere in the United States could operate
over the tracks in the South, and a free interchange of freight cars everywhere
was possible.
                -- Robert Henry, "Trains", 1957
... [concerning quotation marks] even if we *___did* quote anybody in this
business, it probably would be gibberish.
                -- Thom McLeod
        Exxon's 'Universe of Energy' tends to the peculiar rather than the
humorous ... After [an incomprehensible film montage about wind and sun and
rain and strip mines and] two or three minutes of mechanical confusion, the
seats locomote through a short tunnel filled with clock-work dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs are depicted without accuracy and too close to your face.
        "One of the few real novelties at Epcot is the use of smell to
aggravate illusions.  Of course, no one knows what dinosaurs smelled like,
but Exxon has decided they smelled bad.
        "At the other end of Dino Ditch ... there's a final, very addled
message about facing challengehood tomorrow-wise.  I dozed off during this,
but the import seems to be that dinosaurs don't have anything to do with
energy policy and neither do you."
                -- P.J. O'Rourke, "Holidays in Hell"
        Home centers are designed for the do-it-yourselfer who's willing to
pay higher prices for the convenience of being able to shop for lumber,
hardware, and toasters all in one location.  Notice I say "shop for," as
opposed to "obtain." This is the major drawback of home centers: they are
always out of everything except artificial Christmas trees.  The home center
employees have no time to reorder merchandise because they are too busy
applying little price stickers to every object -- every board, washer, nail
and screw -- in the entire store ...

        Let's say a piece in your toilet tank breaks, so you remove the
broken part, take it to the home center, and ask an employee if he has a
replacement.  The employee, who has never is his life even seen the inside
of a toilet tank, will peer at the broken part in very much the same way
that a member of a primitive Amazon jungle tribe would look at an electronic
calculator, and then say, "We're expecting a shipment of these sometime
around the middle of next week."
                -- Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"
"I am convinced that the manufacturers of carpet odor removing powder
have included encapsulated time released cat urine in their products.
This technology must be what prevented its distribution during my mom's
reign.  My carpet smells like piss, and I don't have a cat.  Better go
buy some more."
                -- timw@zeb.USWest.COM
        I for one cannot protest the recent M.T.A. fare hike and the
accompanying promises that this would in no way improve service.  For
the transit system, as it now operates, has hidden advantages that
can't be measured in monetary terms.
        Personally, I feel that it is well worth 75 cents or even $1 to
have that unimpeachable excuse whenever I am late to anything:  "I came
by subway."  Those four words have such magic in them that if Godot
should someday show up and mumble them, any audience would instantly
understand his long delay.
I was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket and there were all
these aisles and there were these bathing caps you could buy that had these
kind of Fourth of July plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue and
I wasn't tempted to buy one but I was reminded of the fact that I had been
avoiding the beach.
                -- Lucinda Childs "Einstein On The Beach"
        If you're like most homeowners, you're afraid that many repairs
around your home are too difficult to tackle.  So, when your furnace
explodes, you call in a so-called professional to fix it.  The
"professional" arrives in a truck with lettering on the sides and deposits a
large quantity of tools and two assistants who spend the better part of the
week in your basement whacking objects at random with heavy wrenches, after
which the "professional" returns and gives you a bill for slightly more
money than it would cost you to run a successful campaign for the U.S.
        And that's why you've decided to start doing things yourself. You
figure, "If those guys can fix my furnace, then so can I.  How difficult can
it be?"
        Very difficult.  In fact, most home projects are impossible, which
is why you should do them yourself.  There is no point in paying other
people to screw things up when you can easily screw them up yourself for far
less money.  This article can help you.
                -- Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"
It is ridiculous to call this an industry.  This is not.  This is rat eat
rat, dog eat dog.  I'll kill 'em, and I'm going to kill 'em before they
kill me.  You're talking about the American way of survival of the fittest.
                -- Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's
Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.
Look, we trade every day out there with hustlers, deal-makers, shysters,
con-men.  That's the way businesses get started.  That's the way this
country was built.
                -- Hubert Allen
Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this--
no dog exchanges bones with another.
                -- Adam Smith
Management:        How many feet do mice have?
Reply:                Mice have four feet.
M:        Elaborate!
R:        Mice have five appendages, and four of them are feet.
M:        No discussion of fifth appendage!
R:        Mice have five appendages; four of them are feet; one is a tail.
M:        What?  Feet with no legs?
R:        Mice have four legs, four feet, and one tail per unit-mouse.
M:        Confusing -- is that a total of 9 appendages?
R:        Mice have four leg-foot assemblies and one tail assembly per body.
M:        Does not fully discuss the issue!
R:        Each mouse comes equipped with four legs and a tail.  Each leg
        is equipped with a foot at the end opposite the body; the tail
        is not equipped with a foot.
M:        Descriptive?  Yes.  Forceful NO!
R:        Allotment of appendages for mice will be:  Four foot-leg assemblies,
        one tail.  Deviation from this policy is not permitted as it would
        constitute misapportionment of scarce appendage assets.
M:        Too authoritarian; stifles creativity!
R:        Mice have four feet; each foot is attached to a small leg joined
        integrally with the overall mouse structural sub-system.  Also
        attached to the mouse sub-system is a thin tail, non-functional and
        ornamental in nature.
M:        Too verbose/scientific.  Answer the question!
R:        Mice have four feet.
Men's skin is different from women's skin.  It is usually bigger, and
it has more snakes tattooed on it.  Also, if you examine a woman's skin
very closely, inch by inch, starting at her shapely ankles, then gently
tracing the slender curve of her calves, then moving up to her ...

[EDITOR'S NOTE: To make room for news articles about important world events
such as agriculture, we're going to delete the next few square feet of the
woman's skin.  Thank you.]

... until finally the two of you are lying there, spent, smoking your
cigarettes, and suddenly it hits you: Human skin is actually made up of
billions of tiny units of protoplasm, called "cells"!  And what is even more
interesting, the ones on the outside are all dying!  This is a fact.  Your
skin is like an aggressive modern corporation, where the older veteran
cells, who have finally worked their way to the top and obtained offices
with nice views, are constantly being shoved out the window head first,
without so much as a pension plan, by younger hotshot cells moving up from
                -- Dave Barry, "Saving Face"
        Now, you might ask, "How do I get one of those complete home tool
sets for under $4?" An excellent question.
        Go to one of those really cheap discount stores where they sell
plastic furniture in colors visible from the planet Neptune and where they
have a food section specializing in cardboard cartons full of Raisinets and
malted milk balls manufactured during the Nixon administration.  In either
the hardware or housewares department, you'll find an item imported from an
obscure Oriental country and described as "Nine Tools in One", consisting of
a little handle with interchangeable ends representing inscrutable Oriental
notions of tools that Americans might use around the home.  Buy it.
        This is the kind of tool set professionals use.  Not only is it
inexpensive, but it also has a great safety feature not found in the
so-called quality tools sets: The handle will actually break right off if
you accidentally hit yourself or anything else, or expose it to direct
                -- Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"
        One fine day, the bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus,
and drove off along the route.  No problems for the first few stops -- a few
people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well.  At the next
stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on.  Six feet eight, built like a
wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground.  He glared at the driver and said,
"Big John doesn't pay!" and sat down at the back.
        Did I mention that the driver was five feet three, thin, and basically
meek?  Well, he was.  Naturally, he didn't argue with Big John, but he wasn't
happy about it.  Well, the next day the same thing happened -- Big John got on
again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down.  And the next day, and the
one after that, and so forth.  This grated on the bus driver, who started
losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him.  Finally he
could stand it no longer. He signed up for bodybuilding courses, karate, judo,
and all that good stuff.  By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong;
what's more, he felt really good about himself.
        So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus
and said "Big John doesn't pay!," the driver stood up, glared back at the
passenger, and screamed, "And why not?"
        With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, "Big John has a
bus pass."
One promising concept that I came up with right away was that you could
manufacture personal air bags, then get a law passed requiring that they be
installed on congressmen to keep them from taking trips.  Let's say your
congressman was trying to travel to Paris to do a fact-finding study on how
the French government handles diseases transmitted by sherbet.  Just when he
got to the plane, his mandatory air bag, strapped around his waist, would
inflate -- FWWAAAAAAPPPP -- thus rendering him too large to fit through the
plane door.  It could also be rigged to inflate whenever the congressman
proposed a law.  ("Mr. Speaker, people ask me, why should October be
designated as Cuticle Inspection Month?  And I answer that FWWAAAAAAPPPP.")
This would save millions of dollars, so I have no doubt that the public
would violently support a law requiring airbags on congressmen.  The problem
is that your potential market is very small: there are only around 500
members of Congress, and some of them, such as House Speaker "Tip" O'Neil,
are already too large to fit on normal aircraft.
                -- Dave Barry, "'Mister Mediocre' Restaurants"
People seem to think that the blanket phrase, "I only work here," absolves
them utterly from any moral obligation in terms of the public -- but this
was precisely Eichmann's excuse for his job in the concentration camps.
Please try to limit the amount of "this room doesn't have any bazingas"
until you are told that those rooms are "punched out."  Once punched out,
we have a right to complain about atrocities, missing bazingas, and such.
                -- N. Meyrowitz
        "Seven years and six months!"  Humpty Dumpty repeated thoughtfully.
"An uncomfortable sort of age.  Now if you'd asked MY advice, I'd have
said 'Leave off at seven' -- but it's too late now."
        "I never ask advice about growing,"  Alice said indignantly.
        "Too proud?"  the other enquired.
        Alice felt even more indignant at this suggestion.  "I mean,"
she said, "that one can't help growing older."
        "ONE can't, perhaps," said Humpty Dumpty; "but TWO can.  With
proper assistance, you might have left off at seven."
                -- Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking-Glass"
The annual meeting of the "You Have To Listen To Experience" Club is now in
session.  Our Achievement Awards this year are in the fields of publishing,
advertising and industry.  For best consistent contribution in the field of
publishing our award goes to editor, R.L.K., [...] for his unrivalled alle-
giance without variation to the statement: "Personally I'd love to do it,
we'd ALL love to do it.  But we're not going to do it.  It's not the kind of
book our house knows how to handle."  Our superior performance award in the
field of advertising goes to media executive, E.L.M., [...] for the continu-
ally creative use of the old favorite: "I think what you've got here could be
very exciting.  Why not give it one more try based on the approach I've out-
lined and see if you can come up with something fresh."  Our final award for
courageous holding action in the field of industry goes to supervisor, R.S.,
[...] for her unyielding grip on "I don't care if they fire me, I've been
arguing for a new approach for YEARS but are we SURE that this is the right
time--"  I would like to conclude this meeting with a verse written specially
for our prospectus by our founding president fifty years ago -- and now, as
then, fully expressive of the emotion most close to all our hearts --
        Treat freshness as a youthful quirk,
                And dare not stray to ideas new,
        For if t'were tried they might e'en work
                And for a living what woulds't we do?
The departing division general manager met a last time with his young
successor and gave him three envelopes.  "My predecessor did this for me,
and I'll pass the tradition along to you," he said.  "At the first sign
of trouble, open the first envelope.  Any further difficulties, open the
second envelope.  Then, if problems continue, open the third envelope.
Good luck."  The new manager returned to his office and tossed the envelopes
into a drawer.
        Six months later, costs soared and earnings plummeted. Shaken, the
young man opened the first envelope, which said, "Blame it all on me."
        The next day, he held a press conference and did just that.  The
crisis passed.
        Six months later, sales dropped precipitously.  The beleagured
manager opened the second envelope.  It said, "Reorganize."
        He held another press conference, announcing that the division
would be restructured.  The crisis passed.
        A year later, everything went wrong at once and the manager was
blamed for all of it.  The harried executive closed his office door, sank
into his chair, and opened the third envelope.
        "Prepare three envelopes..." it said.
The individual choice of garnishment of a burger can be an important
point to the consumer in this day when individualism is an increasingly
important thing to people.
                -- Donald N. Smith, president of Burger King
The term "fire" brings up visions of violence and mayhem and the ugly scene
of shooting employees who make mistakes.  We will now refer to this process
as "deleting" an employee (much as a file is deleted from a disk).  The
employee is simply there one instant, and gone the next.  All the terrible
temper tantrums, crying, and threats are eliminated.
                -- Kenny's Korner
Then there was the ScoutMaster who got a fantastic deal on this case of
Tates brand compasses for his troup; only $1.25 each!  Only problem was,
when they got them out in the woods, the compasses were all stuck pointing
to the "W" on the dial.

        He who has a Tates is lost!
There are many of us in this old world of ours who hold that things break
about even for all of us.  I have observed, for example, that we all get
about the same amount of ice.  The rich get it in the summer and the poor
get it in the winter.
                -- Bat Masterson
        There was a college student trying to earn some pocket money by
going from house to house offering to do odd jobs.  He explained this to
a man who answered one door.
        "How much will you charge to paint my porch?" asked the man.
        "Forty dollars."
        "Fine" said the man, and gave the student the paint and brushes.
        Three hours later the paint-splattered lad knocked on the door again.
"All done!", he says, and collects his money.  "By the way," the student says,
"That's not a Porsche, it's a Ferrari."
This is a good time to punt work.
This is an especially good time for you vacationers who plan to fly, because
the Reagan administration, as part of the same policy under which it
recently sold Yellowstone National Park to Wayne Newton, has "deregulated"
the airline industry.  What this means for you, the consumer, is that the
airlines are no longer required to follow any rules whatsoever.  They can
show snuff movies.  They can charge for oxygen.  They can hire pilots right
out of Vending Machine Refill Person School.  They can conserve fuel by
ejecting husky passengers over water.  They can ram competing planes in
mid-air.  These innovations have resulted in tremendous cost savings which
have been passed along to you, the consumer, in the form of flights with
amazingly low fares, such as $29.  Of course, certain restrictions do apply,
the main one being that all these flights take you to Newark, and you must
pay thousands of dollars if you want to fly back out.
                -- Dave Barry, "Iowa -- Land of Secure Vacations"
This planet has -- or rather had -- a problem, which was this:  most of
the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.  Many
solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were
largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper,
which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of
paper that were unhappy.
                -- Douglas Adams
This week only, all our fiber-fill jackets are marked down!
To understand this important story, you have to understand how the telephone
company works.  Your telephone is connected to a local computer, which is in
turn connected to a regional computer, which is in turn connected to a
loudspeaker the size of a garbage truck on the lawn of Edna A. Bargewater of
Lawrence, Kan.

Whenever you talk on the phone, your local computer listens in.  If it
suspects you're going to discuss an intimate topic, it notifies the computer
above it, which listens in and decides whether to alert the one above it,
until finally, if you really humiliate yourself, maybe break down in tears
and tell your closest friend about a sordid incident from your past
involving a seedy motel, a neighbor's spouse, an entire religious order, a
garden hose and six quarts of tapioca pudding, the top computer feeds your
conversation into Edna's loudspeaker, and she and her friends come out on
the porch to listen and drink gin and laugh themselves silly.
                -- Dave Barry, "Won't It Be Just Great Owning Our Own Phones?"
Very few things actually get manufactured these days, because in an
infinitely large Universe, such as the one in which we live, most things one
could possibly imagine, and a lot of things one would rather not, grow
somewhere.  A forest was discovered recently in which most of the trees grew
ratchet screwdrivers as fruit.  The life cycle of the ratchet screwdriver is
quite interesting.  Once picked it needs a dark dusty drawer in which it can
lie undisturbed for years.  Then one night it suddenly hatches, discards its
outer skin that crumbles into dust, and emerges as a totally unidentifiable
little metal object with flanges at both ends and a sort of ridge and a hole
for a screw.  This, when found, will get thrown away.  No one knows what the
screwdriver is supposed to gain from this.  Nature, in her infinite wisdom,
is presumably working on it.
        We have some absolutely irrefutable statistics to show exactly why
you are so tired.
        There are not as many people actually working as you may have thought.
        The population of this country is 200 million.  84 million are over
60 years of age, which leaves 116 million to do the work.  People under 20
years of age total 75 million, which leaves 41 million to do the work.
        There are 22 million who are employed by the government, which leaves
19 million to do the work.  Four million are in the Armed Services, which
leaves 15 million to do the work.  Deduct 14,800,000, the number in the state
and city offices, leaving 200,000 to do the work.  There are 188,000 in
hospitals, insane asylums, etc., so that leaves 12,000 to do the work.
        Now it may interest you to know that there are 11,998 people in jail,
so that leaves just 2 people to carry the load. That is you and me, and
brother, I'm getting tired of doing everything myself!
What I mean (and everybody else means) by the word QUALITY cannot be
broken down into subjects and predicates.  This is not because Quality
is so mysterious but because Quality is so simple, immediate, and direct.
                -- R. Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
What they said:
        What they meant:

"I recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever."
        (Yes, that about sums it up.)
"The amount of mathematics she knows will surprise you."
        (And I recommend not giving that school a dime...)
"I simply can't say enough good things about him."
        (What a screw-up.)
"I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine."
        (I can't tell you how happy I am that she left our firm.)
"When this person left our employ, we were quite hopeful he would go
a long way with his skills."
        (We hoped he'd go as far as possible.)
"You won't find many people like her."
        (In fact, most people can't stand being around her.)
"I cannot reccommend him too highly."
        (However, to the best of my knowledge, he has never committed a
         felony in my presence.)
What they said:
        What they meant:

"If you knew this person as well as I know him, you would think as much
of him as I do."
        (Or as little, to phrase it slightly more accurately.)
"Her input was always critical."
        (She never had a good word to say.)
"I have no doubt about his capability to do good work."
        (And it's nonexistent.)
"This candidate would lend balance to a department like yours, which
already has so many outstanding members."
        (Unless you already have a moron.)
"His presentation to my seminar last semester was truly remarkable:
one unbelievable result after another."
        (And we didn't believe them, either.)
"She is quite uniform in her approach to any function you may assign her."
        (In fact, to life in general...)
What they say:                        What they mean:

New                                Different colors from previous version.
All New                                Not compatible with previous version.
Exclusive                        Nobody else has documentation.
Unmatched                        Almost as good as the competition.
Design Simplicity                The company wouldn't give us any money.
Fool-proof Operation                All parameters are hard-coded.
Advanced Design                        Nobody really understands it.
Here At Last                        Didn't get it done on time.
Field Tested                        We don't have any simulators.
Years of Development                Finally got one to work.
Unprecedented Performance        Nothing ever ran this slow before.
Revolutionary                        Disk drives go 'round and 'round.
Futuristic                        Only runs on a next generation supercomputer.
No Maintenance                        Impossible to fix.
Performance Proven                Worked through Beta test.
Meets Tough Quality Standards        It compiles without errors.
Satisfaction Guaranteed                We'll send you another pack if it fails.
Stock Item                        We shipped it before and can do it again.
What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.
What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!
What this country needs is a good five cent nickel.
What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.
What we need in this country, instead of Daylight Savings Time, which nobody
really understands anyway, is a new concept called Weekday Morning Time,
whereby at 7 a.m. every weekday we go into a space-launch-style "hold" for
two to three hours, during which it just remains 7 a.m.  This way we could
all wake up via a civilized gradual process of stretching and belching and
scratching, and it would still be only 7 a.m. when we were ready to actually
emerge from bed.
                -- Dave Barry, "$#$%#^%!^%&@%@!"
        In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one
        aircraft.  This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and
        Navy 3-1/2 days each per week except for leap year, when it will be
        made available to the Marines for the extra day.
        Software is like entropy.  It is difficult to grasp, weighs nothing,
        and obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics, i.e., it always increases.
        It is very expensive to achieve high unreliability.  It is not uncommon
        to increase the cost of an item by a factor of ten for each factor of
        ten degradation accomplished.
        Although most products will soon be too costly to purchase, there will
        be a thriving market in the sale of books on how to fix them.
        In any given year, Congress will appropriate the amount of funding
        approved the prior year plus three-fourths of whatever change the
        administration requests -- minus 4-percent tax.
                -- Norman Augustine
        The thickness of the proposal required to win a multimillion dollar
        contract is about one millimeter per million dollars.  If all the
        proposals conforming to this standard were piled on top of each other
        at the bottom of the Grand Canyon it would probably be a good idea.
        Ninety percent of the time things will turn out worse than you expect.
        The other 10 percent of the time you had no right to expect so much.
        The early bird gets the worm.
        The early worm ... gets eaten.
        Never promise to complete any project within six months of the end of
        the year -- in either direction.
        Most projects start out slowly -- and then sort of taper off.
                -- Norman Augustine
You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the
Titanic had paying customers.

Mr. Smith of Muddle, Mass. says:  "Before I took this course I used to be
a lowly bit twiddler.  Now with what I learned at MIT Tech I feel really
important and can obfuscate and confuse with the best."

Mr. Watkins had this to say:  "Ten short days ago all I could look forward
to was a dead-end job as a engineer.  Now I have a promising future and
make really big Zorkmids."

MIT Tech can't promise these fantastic results to everyone, but when
you earn your MDL degree from MIT Tech your future will be brighter.

A Hen Brooding Kittens
        A friend informs us that he saw at the Novato ranch, Marin county,
a few days since, a hen actually brooding and otherwise caring for three
kittens!  The gentleman upon whose premises this strange event is transpiring
says the hen adopted the kittens when they were but a few days old, and that
she has devoted them her undivided care for several weeks past.  The young
felines are now of respectable size, but they nevertheless follow the hen at
her cluckings, and are regularly brooded at night beneath her wings.
                -- Sacramento Daily Union, July 2, 1861
After two or three weeks of this madness, you begin to feel As One with
the man who said, "No news is good news." In twenty-eight papers, only
the rarest kind of luck will turn up more than two or three articles of
any interest...  but even then the interest items are usually buried deep
around paragraph 16 on the jump (or "Cont.  on ...") page...

The Post will have a story about Muskie making a speech in Iowa.  The
Star will say the same thing, and the Journal will say nothing at all.
But the Times might have enough room on the jump page to include a line
or so that says something like: "When he finished his speech, Muskie
burst into tears and seized his campaign manager by the side of the neck.
They grappled briefly, but the struggle was kicked apart by an oriental
woman who seemed to be in control."

Now that's good journalism.  Totally objective; very active and straight
to the point.
                -- Hunter S. Thompson, "Fear and Loathing '72"
... Had this been an actual emergency, we would have fled in terror,
and you would not have been informed.
        Reporters like Bill Greider from the Washington Post and Him
Naughton of the New York Times, for instance, had to file long, detailed,
and relatively complex stories every day -- while my own deadline fell
every two weeks -- but neither of them ever seemed in a hurry about
getting their work done, and from time to time they would try to console
me about the terrible pressure I always seemed to be laboring under.
        Any $100-an-hour psychiatrist could probably explain this problem
to me, in thirteen or fourteen sessions, but I don't have time for that.
No doubt it has something to do with a deep-seated personality defect, or
maybe a kink in whatever blood vessel leads into the pineal gland...  On
the other hand, it might be something as simple & basically perverse as
whatever instinct it is that causes a jackrabbit to wait until the last
possible second to dart across the road in front of a speeding car.
                -- Hunter S. Thompson, "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail"
This is a test of the emergency broadcast system.  Had there been an
actual emergency, then you would no longer be here.
This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.  If this had been an
actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
This life is a test.  It is only a test.  Had this been an actual life, you
would have received further instructions as to what to do and where to go.
A fellow bought a new car, a Nissan, and was quite happy with his purchase.
He was something of an animist, however, and felt that the car really ought
to have a name.  This presented a problem, as he was not sure if the name
should be masculine or feminine.
        After considerable thought, he settled on an naming the car either
Belchazar or Beaumadine, but remained in a quandry about the final choice.
        "Is a Nissan male or female?" he began asking his friends.  Most of
them looked at him pecularly, mumbled things about urgent appointments, and
went on their way rather quickly.
        He finally broached the question to a lady he knew who held a black
belt in judo.  She thought for a moment and answered "Feminine."
        The swiftness of her response puzzled him. "You're sure of that?" he
        "Certainly," she replied. "They wouldn't sell very well if they were
        "Unhhh...  Well, why not?"
        "Because people want a car with a reputation for going when you want
it to.  And, if Nissan's are female, it's like they say...  `Each Nissan, she

        [No, we WON'T explain it; go ask someone who practices an oriental
        martial art.  (Tai Chi Chuan probably doesn't count.)  Ed.]
        1. n.; Equipment or program that fails, usually intermittently.  2.
adj.: Failing hardware or software.  "This bagbiting system won't let me get
out of spacewar." Usage: verges on obscenity.  Grammatically separable; one
may speak of "biting the bag".  Synonyms: LOSER, LOSING, CRETINOUS,
Brady's First Law of Problem Solving:
        When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more
        easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger
        have handled this?"
Brontosaurus Principle:
        Organizations can grow faster than their brains can manage them
        in relation to their environment and to their own physiology:  when
        this occurs, they are an endangered species.
                -- Thomas K. Connellan
Bumper sticker:
        All the parts falling off this car are of the very finest
        British manufacture.
cerebral atrophy, n:
        The phenomena which occurs as brain cells become weak and sick, and
impair the brain's performance.  An abundance of these "bad" cells can cause
symptoms related to senility, apathy, depression, and overall poor academic
performance.  A certain small number of brain cells will deteriorate due to
everday activity, but large amounts are weakened by intense mental effort
and the assimilation of difficult concepts.  Many college students become
victims of this dread disorder due to poor habits such as overstudying.

cerebral darwinism, n:
        The theory that the effects of cerebral atrophy can be reversed
through the purging action of heavy alcohol consumption.  Large amounts of
alcohol cause many brain cells to perish due to oxygen deprivation.  Through
the process of natural selection, the weak and sick brain cells will die
first, leaving only the healthy cells.  This wonderful process leaves the
imbiber with a healthier, more vibrant brain, and increases mental capacity.
Thus, the devastating effects of cerebral atrophy are reversed, and academic
performance actually increases beyond previous levels.
Colvard's Logical Premises:
        All probabilities are 50%.
        Either a thing will happen or it won't.

Colvard's Unconscionable Commentary:
        This is especially true when dealing with someone you're attracted to.

Grelb's Commentary:
        Likelihoods, however, are 90% against you.
Committee Rules:
        (1) Never arrive on time, or you will be stamped a beginner.
        (2) Don't say anything until the meeting is half over; this
            stamps you as being wise.
        (3) Be as vague as possible; this prevents irritating the
        (4) When in doubt, suggest that a subcommittee be appointed.
        (5) Be the first to move for adjournment; this will make you
            popular -- it's what everyone is waiting for.
Computer, n.:
        An electronic entity which performs sequences of useful steps in a
        totally understandable, rigorously logical manner.  If you believe
        this, see me about a bridge I have for sale in Manhattan.
Conway's Law:
        In any organization there will always be one person who knows
        what is going on.

        This person must be fired.
Eleventh Law of Acoustics:
        In a minimum-phase system there is an inextricable link between
        frequency response, phase response and transient response, as they
        are all merely transforms of one another.  This combined with
        minimalization of open-loop errors in output amplifiers and correct
        compensation for non-linear passive crossover network loading can
        lead to a significant decrease in system resolution lost.  However,
        of course, this all means jack when you listen to Pink Floyd.
Engram, n.:
        1. The physical manifestation of human memory -- "the engram."
2. A particular memory in physical form.  [Usage note:  this term is no longer
in common use.  Prior to Wilson and Magruder's historic discovery, the nature
of the engram was a topic of intense speculation among neuroscientists,
psychologists, and even computer scientists.  In 1994 Professors M. R. Wilson
and W. V. Magruder, both of Mount St. Coax University in Palo Alto, proved
conclusively that the mammalian brain is hardwired to interpret a set of
thirty seven genetically transmitted cooperating TECO macros.  Human memory
was shown to reside in 1 million Q-registers as Huffman coded uppercase-only
ASCII strings.  Interest in the engram has declined substantially since that
                -- New Century Unabridged English Dictionary,
                   3rd edition, 2007 A.D.
Every Horse has an Infinite Number of Legs (proof by intimidation):

Horses have an even number of legs.  Behind they have two legs, and in
front they have fore-legs.  This makes six legs, which is certainly an
odd number of legs for a horse.  But the only number that is both even
and odd is infinity.  Therefore, horses have an infinite number of
legs.  Now to show this for the general case, suppose that somewhere,
there is a horse that has a finite number of legs.  But that is a horse
of another color, and by the lemma ["All horses are the same color"],
that does not exist.
Extract from Official Sweepstakes Rules:


To claim your prize without purchase, do the following: (a) Carefully
cut out your computer-printed name and address from upper right hand
corner of the Prize Claim Form. (b) Affix computer-printed name and
address -- with glue or cellophane tape (no staples or paper clips) --
to a 3x5 inch index card.  (c) Also cut out the "No" paragraph (lower
left hand corner of Prize Claim Form) and affix it to the 3x5 card
below your address label. (d) Then print on your 3x5 card, above your
computer-printed name and address the words "CARTER & VAN PEEL
SWEEPSTAKES" (Use all capital letters.)  (e) Finally place 3x5 card
(without bending) into a plain envelope [NOTE: do NOT use the the
Official Prize Claim and CVP Perfume Reply Envelope or you may be
disqualified], and mail to: CVP, Box 1320, Westbury, NY 11595.  Print
this address correctly.  Comply with above instructions carefully and
completely or you may be disqualified from receiving your prize.
Famous last words:
        (1) Don't unplug it, it will just take a moment to fix.
        (2) Let's take the shortcut, he can't see us from there.
        (3) What happens if you touch these two wires tog--
        (4) We won't need reservations.
        (5) It's always sunny there this time of the year.
        (6) Don't worry, it's not loaded.
        (7) They'd never (be stupid enough to) make him a manager.
        (8) Don't worry!  Women love it!
        Reviewee hasn't gotten anything right yet, and it is anticipated
        that this pattern will continue throughout the coming year.

an excellent sounding board:
        Present reviewee with any number of alternatives, and implement
        them in the order precisely opposite of his/her specification.

a planner and organizer:
        Usually manages to put on socks before shoes.  Can match the
        animal tags on his clothing.
Fortune's Rules for Memo Wars: #2

Given the incredible advances in sociocybernetics and telepsychology over
the last few years, we are now able to completely understand everything that
the author of an memo is trying to say.  Thanks to modern developments
in electrocommunications like notes, vnews, and electricity, we have an
incredible level of interunderstanding the likes of which civilization has
never known.  Thus, the possibility of your misinterpreting someone else's
memo is practically nil.  Knowing this, anyone who accuses you of having
done so is a liar, and should be treated accordingly.  If you *do* understand
the memo in question, but have absolutely nothing of substance to say, then
you have an excellent opportunity for a vicious ad hominem attack.  In fact,
the only *inappropriate* times for an ad hominem attack are as follows:

        1: When you agree completely with the author of an memo.
        2: When the author of the original memo is much bigger than you are.
        3: When replying to one of your own memos.
Frobnitz, pl. Frobnitzem (frob'nitsm) n.:
        An unspecified physical object, a widget.  Also refers to electronic
black boxes.  This rare form is usually abbreviated to FROTZ, or more
commonly to FROB.  Also used are FROBNULE, FROBULE, and FROBNODULE.
Starting perhaps in 1979, FROBBOZ (fruh-bahz'), pl. FROBBOTZIM, has also
become very popular, largely due to its exposure via the Adventure spin-off
called Zork (Dungeon).  These can also be applied to non-physical objects,
such as data structures.
genius, n.:
        Person clever enough to be born in the right place at the right
        time of the right sex and to follow up this advantage by saying
        all the right things to all the right people.
Godwin's Law (prov.  [Usenet]):
        As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a
        comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a
        tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is
        over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost
        whatever argument was in progress.  Godwin's Law thus guarantees
        the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups.
half-done, n.:
        This is the best way to eat a kosher dill -- when it's still crunchy,
        light green, yet full of garlic flavor.  The difference between this
        and the typical soggy dark green cucumber corpse is like the
        difference between life and death.

        You may find it difficult to find a good half-done kosher dill there
        in Seattle, so what you should do is take a cab out to the airport,
        fly to New York, take the JFK Express to Jay Street-Borough Hall,
        transfer to an uptown F, get off at East Broadway, walk north on
        Essex (along the park), make your first left onto Hester Street, walk
        about fifteen steps, turn ninety degrees left, and stop.  Say to the
        man, "Let me have a nice half-done."  Worth the trouble, wasn't it?
                -- Arthur Naiman, "Every Goy's Guide to Yiddish"
History, n.:
        Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we
        learn nothing from history.  I know people who can't even learn from
        what happened this morning.  Hegel must have been taking the long view.
                -- Chad C. Mulligan, "The Hipcrime Vocab"
Keep in mind always the four constant Laws of Frisbee:
        (1) The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc
           straining to land under a car, just out of reach (this
           force is technically termed "car suck").
        (2) Never precede any maneuver by a comment more predictive
           than "Watch this!"
        (3) The probability of a Frisbee hitting something is directly
           proportional to the cost of hitting it.  For instance, a
           Frisbee will always head directly towards a policeman or
           a little old lady rather than the beat up Chevy.
        (4) Your best throw happens when no one is watching; when the
           cute girl you've been trying to impress is watching, the
           Frisbee will invariably bounce out of your hand or hit you
           in the head and knock you silly.
Lee's Law:
        Mother said there would be days like this,
        but she never said that there'd be so many!
Proof techniques #2: Proof by Oddity.
        SAMPLE: To prove that horses have an infinite number of legs.
(1) Horses have an even number of legs.
(2) They have two legs in back and fore legs in front.
(3) This makes a total of six legs, which certainly is an odd number of
    legs for a horse.
(4) But the only number that is both odd and even is infinity.
(5) Therefore, horses must have an infinite number of legs.

Topics is be covered in future issues include proof by:
        Gesticulation (handwaving)
        "Try it; it works"
        Constipation (I was just sitting there and ...)
        Blatant assertion
        Changing all the 2's to _n's
        Mutual consent
        Lack of a counterexample, and
        "It stands to reason"
        "A child of 5 could understand this!  Fetch me a child of 5."
        "I am not sure what this is, but an 'F' would only dignify it."
        "Like this rose, our love will wilt and die."
        "The elder gods went to Suggoth and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
        "This is a one line proof... if we start sufficiently far to the
        Everyone says that having power is a great responsibility.  This is
a lot of bunk.  Responsibility is when someone can blame you if something
goes wrong.  When you have power you are surrounded by people whose job it
is to take the blame for your mistakes.  If they're smart, that is.
                -- Cerebus, "On Governing"
The Consultant's Curse:
        When the customer has beaten upon you long enough, give him
        what he asks for, instead of what he needs.  This is very strong
        medicine, and is normally only required once.
The Great Bald Swamp Hedgehog:
        The Great Bald Swamp Hedgehog of Billericay displays, in courtship,
        his single prickle and does impressions of Holiday Inn desk clerks.
        Since this means him standing motionless for enormous periods of
        time he is often eaten in full display by The Great Bald Swamp
        Hedgehog Eater.
                -- Mike Harding, "The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac"
The Modelski Chain Rule:
(1)        Look intently at the problem for several minutes.  Scratch your
        head at 20-30 second intervals.  Try solving the problem on your
(2)        Failing this, look around at the class.  Select a particularly
        bright-looking individual.
(3)        Procure a large chain.
(4)        Walk over to the selected student and threaten to beat him severely
        with the chain unless he gives you the answer to the problem.
        Generally, he will.  It may also be a good idea to give him a sound
        thrashing anyway, just to show you mean business.
vuja de:
        The feeling that you've *never*, *ever* been in this situation before.
Work Rule: Leave of Absence (for an Operation):
        We are no longer allowing this practice.  We wish to discourage any
thoughts that you may not need all of whatever you have, and you should not
consider having anything removed.  We hired you as you are, and to have
anything removed would certainly make you less than we bargained for.
Worst Vegetable of the Year:
        The brussels sprout.  This is also the worst vegetable of next year.
                -- Steve Rubenstein
The Emperor's New Mall:
        The popular notion that shopping malls exist on the insides only
and have no exterior.  The suspension of visual disbelief engendered
by this notion allows shoppers to pretend that the large, cement
blocks thrust into their environment do not, in fact, exist.
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
Nutritional Slumming:
        Food whose enjoyment stems not from flavor but from a
complex mixture of class connotations, nostalgia signals, and
packaging semiotics: Katie and I bought this tub of Multi-Whip instead
of real whip cream because we thought petroleum distillate whip
topping seemed like the sort of food that air force wives stationed in
Pensacola back in the early sixties would feed their husbands to
celebrate a career promotion.
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
        The tendency to almost invariably side with the underdog in a
given situation.  The consumer expression of this trait is the
purchasing of less successful, "sad," or failing products: "I know
these Vienna franks are heart failure on a stick, but they were so sad
looking up against all the other yuppie food items that I just had to
buy them."
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
Another dream that failed.  There's nothing sadder.
                -- Kirk, "This side of Paradise", stardate 3417.3
Another war ... must it always be so?  How many comrades have we lost
in this way? ...  Obedience.  Duty.  Death, and more death ...
                -- Romulan Commander, "Balance of Terror", stardate 1709.2
But Captain -- the engines can't take this much longer!
Emotions are alien to me.  I'm a scientist.
                -- Spock, "This Side of Paradise", stardate 3417.3
        "Get back to your stations!"
        "We're beaming down to the planet, sir."
                -- Kirk and Mr. Leslie, "This Side of Paradise",
                   stardate 3417.3
I have never understood the female capacity to avoid a direct answer to
any question.
                -- Spock, "This Side of Paradise", stardate 3417.3
        "I think they're going to take all this money that we spend now on war
and death --"
        "And make them spend it on life."
                -- Edith Keeler and Kirk, "The City on the Edge of Forever",
                   stardate unknown.
If there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them.
                -- Spock, "This Side of Paradise", stardate 3417.7
There is an order of things in this universe.
                -- Apollo, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" stardate 3468.1
This cultural mystique surrounding the biological function -- you
realize humans are overly preoccupied with the subject.
                -- Kelinda the Kelvan, "By Any Other Name", stardate 4658.9
You!  What PLANET is this!
                -- McCoy, "The City on the Edge of Forever", stardate 3134.0
He who is in love with himself has at least this advantage -- he won't
encounter many rivals.
                -- Georg Lichtenberg, "Aphorisms"
I love you more than anything in this world.  I don't expect that will last.
                -- Elvis Costello
"Maybe we should think of this as one perfect week... where we found each
other, and loved each other... and then let each other go before anyone
had to seek professional help."
Wouldn't this be a great world if being insecure and desperate were a turn-on?
                -- "Broadcast News"
A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such
a speed, if feels an impulsion... this is the place to go now.  But the
sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will
know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.
                -- Messiah's Handbook : Reminders for the Advanced Soul
A priest advised Voltaire on his death bed to renounce the devil.
Replied Voltaire, "This is no time to make new enemies."
A Scholar asked his Master, "Master, would you advise me of a proper
        The Master replied, "Some men can earn their keep with the power of
their minds.  Others must use thier strong backs, legs and hands.  This is
the same in nature as it is with man.  Some animals acquire their food easily,
such as rabbits, hogs and goats.  Other animals must fiercely struggle for
their sustenance, like beavers, moles and ants.  So you see, the nature of
the vocation must fit the individual.
        "But I have no abilities, desires, or imagination, Master," the
scholar sobbed.
        Queried the Master... "Have you thought of becoming a salesperson?"
Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this
big field of rye and all.  Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around --
nobody big, I mean -- except me.  And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy
cliff.  What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go
over the cliff -- I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're
going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.  That's all I'd do
all day.  I'd just be the catcher in the rye.  I know it;  I know it's crazy,
but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.  I know it's crazy.
                -- J.D. Salinger, "Catcher in the Rye"
        Before he became a hermit, Zarathud was a young Priest, and
        took great delight in making fools of his opponents in front of
his followers.
        One day Zarathud took his students to a pleasant pasture and
there he confronted The Sacred Chao while She was contentedly grazing.
        "Tell me, you dumb beast," demanded the Priest in his
commanding voice, "why don't you do something worthwhile?  What is your
Purpose in Life, anyway?"
        Munching the tasty grass, The Sacred Chao replied "MU".  (The
Chinese ideogram for NO-THING.)
        Upon hearing this, absolutely nobody was enlightened.
        Primarily because nobody understood Chinese.
                -- Camden Benares, "Zen Without Zen Masters"
                        Chapter 1

The story so far:

        In the beginning the Universe was created.  This has made a lot
of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
                -- Douglas Adams, HHGG #2, (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe).
Everything in this book may be wrong.
                -- Messiah's Handbook : Reminders for the Advanced Soul
For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in
despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the
implacable grandeur of this life.
                -- Albert Camus
How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our
thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another
in the waking state?
                -- Plato
I didn't believe in reincarnation in any of my other lives.  I don't see why
I should have to believe in it in this one.
                -- Strange de Jim
I know not how I came into this, shall I call it a dying life or a
living death?
                -- St. Augustine
If I had my life to live over, I'd try to make more mistakes next time.  I
would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this
trip.  I know of very few things I would take seriously.  I would be crazier.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets.  I'd
travel and see.  I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives prophylactically and sensibly
and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.  Oh, I have had my moments and,
if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them.  In fact, I'd try to
have nothing else.  Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many
years ahead each day.  I have been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hotwater bottle, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had it to do over again, I would go places and do things and travel
lighter than I have.  If I had my life to live over, I would start bare-footed
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.  I would play hooky
more.  I probably wouldn't make such good grades, but I'd learn more.  I would
ride on more merry-go-rounds.  I'd pick more daisies.
If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing
of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur
of this life.
                -- Albert Camus
Mohandas K. Gandhi often changed his mind publicly.  An aide once asked him
how he could so freely contradict this week what he had said just last week.
The great man replied that it was because this week he knew better.
Nasrudin returned to his village from the imperial capital, and the villagers
gathered around to hear what had passed.  "At this time," said Nasrudin, "I
only want to say that the King spoke to me."  All the villagers but the
stupidest ran off to spread the wonderful news.  The remaining villager
asked, "What did the King say to you?"  "What he said -- and quite distinctly,
for everyone to hear -- was 'Get out of my way!'" The simpleton was overjoyed;
he had heard words actually spoken by the King, and seen the very man they
were spoken to.
Of all men's miseries, the bitterest is this:
to know so much and have control over nothing.
                -- Herodotus
        Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great
crystal river.  Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs
and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and
resisting the current what each had learned from birth.  But one creature
said at last, "I trust that the current knows where it is going.  I shall
let go, and let it take me where it will.  Clinging, I shall die of boredom."
        The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool!  Let go, and that current
you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will
die quicker than boredom!"
        But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at
once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.  Yet, in time,
as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the
bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
        And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See
a miracle!  A creature like ourselves, yet he flies!  See the Messiah, come
to save us all!"  And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more
Messiah than you.  The river delight to lift us free, if only we dare let go.
Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.
        But they cried the more, "Saviour!" all the while clinging to the
rocks, making legends of a Saviour.
                -- Richard Bach
        One day it was announced that the young monk Kyogen had reached
an enlightened state.  Much impressed by this news, several of his peers
went to speak with him.
        "We have heard that you are enlightened.  Is this true?" his fellow
students inquired.
        "It is", Kyogen answered.
        "Tell us", said a friend, "how do you feel?"
        "As miserable as ever", replied the enlightened Kyogen.
The only happiness lies in reason; all the rest of the world is dismal.
The highest reason, however, I see in the work of the artist, and he may
experience it as such.  Happiness lies in the swiftness of feeling and
thinking: all the rest of the world is slow, gradual and stupid.  Whoever
could feel the course of a light ray would be very happy, for it is very
swift.  Thinking of oneself gives little happiness.  If, however, one feels
much happiness in this, it is because at bottom one is not thinking of
oneself but of one's ideal.  This is far, and only the swift shall reach
it and are delighted.
                -- Nietzsche
The optimist thinks that this is the best of all possible worlds,
and the pessimist knows it.
                -- J. Robert Oppenheimer, "Bulletin of Atomic Scientists"
Yet creeds mean very little, Coth answered the dark god, still speaking
almost gently.  The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all
possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
                -- James Cabell, "The Silver Stallion"
Two men came before Nasrudin when he was magistrate.  The first man said,
"This man has bitten my ear -- I demand compensation." The second man said,
"He bit it himself." Nasrudin withdrew to his chambers, and spent an hour
trying to bite his own ear.  He succeeded only in falling over and bruising
his forehead.  Returning to the courtroom, Nasrudin pronounced, "Examine the
man whose ear was bitten. If his forehead is bruised, he did it himself and
the case is dismissed.  If his forehead is not bruised, the other man did it
and must pay three silver pieces."
Two men were sitting over coffee, contemplating the nature of things,
with all due respect for their breakfast.  "I wonder why it is that
toast always falls on the buttered side," said one.
        "Tell me," replied his friend, "why you say such a thing.  Look
at this."  And he dropped his toast on the floor, where it landed on the
dry side.
        "So, what have you to say for your theory now?"
        "What am I to say?  You obviously buttered the wrong side."
We have nowhere else to go... this is all we have.
                -- Margaret Mead
We have reason to be afraid.  This is a terrible place.
                -- John Berryman
We're all in this alone.
                -- Lily Tomlin
"We're not talking about the same thing," he said. "For you the world is
weird because if you're not bored with it you're at odds with it. For me
the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious,
unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must accept
responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous
desert, in this marvelous time.  I wanted to convince you that you must
learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a
short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it."
                -- Don Juan
What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?
                -- Ursula K. LeGuin
"You would do well not to imagine profundity," he said.  "Anything that seems
of momentous occasion should be dwelt upon as though it were of slight note.
Conversely, trivialities must be attended to with the greatest of care.
Because death is momentous, give it no thought; because victory is important,
give it no thought; because the method of achievement and discovery is less
momentous than the effect, dwell always upon the method.  You will strengthen
yourself in this way."
                -- Jessica Salmonson, "The Swordswoman"
...everything on this earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure
it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.
Mourning Dove, (Salish 1888-1936)
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
Better to stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.
Carrying body and soul and embracing the one,
Can you avoid separation?
Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be as a newborn babe?
Washing and cleansing the primal vision,
Can you be without stain?
Loving all men and ruling the country,
Can you be without cleverness?
Opening and closing the gates of heaven,
Can you play the role of woman?
Understanding and being open to all things,
Are you able to do nothing?
Giving birth and nourishing,
Bearing yet not possessing,
Working yet not taking credit,
Leading yet not dominating,
This is the Primal Virtue.
The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.
Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.
What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
This is called "accepting disgrace willingly."
What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"?
Misfortune comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.
The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.
The Tao is elusive and intangible.
Oh, it is intangible and elusive, and yet within is image.
Oh, it is elusive and intangible, and yet within is form.
Oh, it is dim and dark, and yet within is essence.
This essence is very real, and therein lies faith.
From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten.
Thus I perceive the creation.
How do I know the ways of creation?
Because of this.
To talk little is natural.
High winds do not last all morning.
Heavy rain does not last all day.
Why is this?  Heaven and Earth!
If heaven and Earth cannot make things eternal,
How is it possible for man?
He who follows the Tao
Is at one with the Tao.
He who is virtuous
Experiences Virtue.
He who loses the way
Is lost.
When you are at one with the Tao,
The Tao welcomes you.
When you are at one with Virtue,
The Virtue is always there.
When you are at one with loss,
The loss is experienced willingly.

He who does not trust enough
Will not be trusted.
A good walker leaves no tracks;
A good speaker makes no slips;
A good reckoner needs no tally.
A good door needs no lock,
Yet no one can open it.
Good binding requires no knots,
Yet no one can loosen it.

Therefore the sage takes care of all men
And abandons no one.
He takes care of all things
And abandons nothing.

This is called "following the light."

What is a good man?
A teacher of a bad man.
What is a bad man?
A good man's charge.
If the teacher is not respected,
And the student not cared for,
Confusion will arise, however clever one is.
This is the crux of mystery.
Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.

Achieve results,
But never glory in them.
Achieve results,
But never boast.
Achieve results,
But never be proud.
Achieve results,
Because this is the natural way.
Achieve results,
But not through violence.

Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end.
Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them.
Therefore followers of Tao never use them.
The wise man prefers the left.
The man of war prefers the right.

Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man's tools.
He uses them only when he has no choice.
Peace and quiet are dear to his heart,
And victory no cause for rejoicing.
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing;
If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.

On happy occasions precedence is given to the left,
On sad occasions to the right.
In the army the general stands on the left,
The commander-in-chief on the right.
This means that war is conducted like a funeral.
When many people are being killed,
They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow.
That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.
That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving
There must be giving.

This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.
Tao abides in non-action,
Yet nothing is left undone.
If kings and lords observed this,
The ten thousand things would develop naturally.
If they still desired to act,
They would return to the simplicity of formless substance.
Without for there is no desire.
Without desire there is.
And in this way all things would be at peace.
The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.

The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
They achieve harmony by combining these forces.

Men hate to be "orphaned," "widowed," or "worthless,"
But this is how kings and lords describe themselves.

For one gains by losing
And loses by gaining.

What others teach, I also teach; that is:
"A violent man will die a violent death!"
This will be the essence of my teaching.
Between birth and death,
Three in ten are followers of life,
Three in ten are followers of death,
And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.
Why is this so?
Because they live their lives on the gross level.

He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because he has no place for death to enter.
All things arise from Tao.
They are nourished by Virtue.
They are formed from matter.
They are shaped by environment.
Thus the ten thousand things all respect Tao and honor Virtue.
Respect of Tao and honor of Virtue are not demanded,
But they are in the nature of things.

Therefore all things arise from Tao.
By Virtue they are nourished,
Developed, cared for,
Sheltered, comforted,
Grown, and protected.
Creating without claiming,
Doing without taking credit,
Guiding without interfering,
This is Primal Virtue.
The beginning of the universe
Is the mother of all things.
Knowing the mother, on also knows the sons.
Knowing the sons, yet remaining in touch with the mother,
Brings freedom from the fear of death.

Keep your mouth shut,
Guard the senses,
And life is ever full.
Open your mouth,
Always be busy,
And life is beyond hope.

Seeing the small is insight;
Yielding to force is strength.
Using the outer light, return to insight,
And in this way be saved from harm.
This is learning constancy.
If I have even just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road and my only fear
  will be of straying from it.
Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be sidetracked.

When the court is arrayed in splendor,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare.
Some wear gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
They have more possessions than they can use.
They are robber barons.
This is certainly not the way of Tao.
What is firmly established cannot be uprooted.
What is firmly grasped cannot slip away.
It will be honored from generation to generation.

Cultivate Virtue in your self,
And Virtue will be real.
Cultivate it in the family,
And Virtue will abound.
Cultivate it in the village,
And Virtue will grow.
Cultivate it in the nation,
And Virtue will be abundant.
Cultivate it in the universe,
And Virtue will be everywhere.

Therefore look at the body as body;
Look at the family as family;
Look at the village as village;
Look at the nation as nation;
Look at the universe as universe.

How do I know the universe is like this?
By looking!
He who is filled with Virtue is like a newborn child.
Wasps and serpents will not sting him;
Wild beasts will not pounce upon him;
He will not be attacked by birds of prey.
His bones are soft, his muscles weak,
But his grip is firm.
He has not experienced the union of man and woman, but is whole.
His manhood is strong.
He screams all day without becoming hoarse.
This is perfect harmony.

Knowing harmony is constancy.
Knowing constancy is enlightenment.

It is not wise to rush about.
Controlling the breath causes strain.
If too much energy is used, exhaustion follows.
This is not the way of Tao.
Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long.
Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.

Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the Earth.
This is primal union.

He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
With good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.
Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
  I take no action and people are reformed.
  I enjoy peace and people become honest.
  I do nothing and people become rich.
  I have no desires and people return to the good and  simple life.
In caring for others and serving heaven,
There is nothing like using restraint.
Restraint begins with giving up one's own ideas.
This depends on Virtue gathered in the past.
If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.
If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler.
The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time.
This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation,
The Tao of long life and eternal vision.
Tao is source of the ten thousand things.
It is the treasure of the good man, and the refuge of the bad.
Sweet words can buy honor;
Good deeds can gain respect.
If a man is bad, do not abandon him.
Therefore on the day the emperor is crowned,
Or the three officers of state installed,
Do not send a gift of jade and a team of four horses,
But remain still and offer the Tao.
Why does everyone like the Tao so much at first?
Isn't it because you find what you seek and are forgiven when you sin?
Therefore this is the greatest treasure of the universe.
Why is the sea king of a hundred streams?
Because it lies below them.
Therefore it is the king of a hundred streams.

If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility.
If he would lead them, he must follow behind.
In this way when the sage rules, the people will not feel oppressed;
When he stands before them, they will not be harmed.
The whole world will support him and will not tire of him.

Because he does not compete,
He does not meet competition.
Everyone under heaven says that my Tao is great and beyond compare.
Because it is great, it seems different.
If it were not different, it would have vanished long ago.

I have three treasures which I hold and keep.
The first is mercy; the second is economy;
The third is daring not to be ahead of others.
From mercy comes courage; from economy comes generosity;
From humility comes leadership.

Nowadays men shun mercy, but try to be brave;
They abandon economy, but try to be generous;
They do not believe in humility, but always try to be first.
This is certain death.

Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defense.
It is the means by which heaven saves and guards.
A good soldier is not violent.
A good fighter is not angry.
A good winner is not vengeful
A good employer is humble.
This is known as the Virtue of not striving.
This is known as ability to deal with people.
This since ancient times has been known as the ultimate unity with heaven.
There is a saying among soldiers:
  I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest;
  I dare not advance an inch but would rather withdraw a foot.

This is called marching without appearing to move,
Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm,
Capturing the enemy without attacking,
Being armed without weapons.

There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I almost lost what I value.

Therefore when the battle is joined,
The underdog will win.
When men lack a sense of awe, there will be disaster.

Do not intrude in their homes.
Do not harass them at work.
If you do not interfere, they will not weary of you.

Therefore the sage knows himself but makes no show,
Has self-respect but is not arrogant.
He lets go of that and chooses this.
A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed.
A brave and calm man will always preserve life.
Of these two which is good and which is harmful?
Some things are not favored by heaven.  Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.

The Tao of heaven does not strive, and yet it overcomes.
It does not speak, and yet is answered.
It does not ask, yet is supplied with all its needs.
It seems to have no aim and yet its purpose is fulfilled.

Heaven's net casts wide.
Though its meshes are course, nothing slips through.
Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.

        You should consider it a privilege to contribute, however modestly,
        to the well-being of physicians and other humanitarians.

        It is sheer arrogance to contract illnesses that are beyond your means.

        The patient-doctor relationship is a privileged one, and you have a
        sacred duty to protect him from exposure.

        This will only cause him needless inconvenience and embarrassment.
A distraught patient phoned her doctor's office.  "Was it true," the woman
inquired, "that the medication the doctor had prescribed was for the rest
of her life?"
        She was told that it was.  There was just a moment of silence before
the woman proceeded bravely on.  "Well, I'm wondering, then, how serious my
condition is.  This prescription is marked `NO REFILLS'".
After his legs had been broken in an accident, Mr. Miller sued for damages,
claming that he was crippled and would have to spend the rest of his life
in a wheelchair.  Although the insurance-company doctor testified that his
bones had healed properly and that he was fully capable  of walking, the
judge decided for the plaintiff and awarded him $500,000.
        When he was wheeled into the insurance office to collect his check,
Miller was confronted by several executives.  "You're not getting away with
this, Miller," one said.  "We're going to watch you day and night.  If you
take a single step, you'll not only repay the damages but stand trial for
perjury.  Here's the money.  What do you intend to do with it?"
        "My wife and I are going to travel," Miller replied.  "We'll go to
Stockholm, Berlin, Rome, Athens and, finally, to a place called Lourdes --
where, gentlemen, you'll see yourselves one hell of a miracle."
Aquavit is also considered useful for medicinal purposes, an essential
ingredient in what I was once told is the Norwegian cure for the common
cold.  You get a bottle, a poster bed, and the brightest colored stocking
cap you can find.  You put the cap on the post at the foot of the bed,
then get into bed and drink aquavit until you can't see the cap.  I've
never tried this, but it sounds as though it should work.
                -- Peter Nelson
        As a general rule of thumb, never trust anybody who's been in therapy
for more than 15 percent of their life span.  The words "I am sorry" and "I
am wrong" will have totally disappeared from their vocabulary.  They will stab
you, shoot you, break things in your apartment, say horrible things to your
friends and family, and then justify this abhorrent behavior by saying:
"Sure, I put your dog in the microwave.  But I feel *better* for doing it."
                -- Bruce Feirstein, "Nice Guys Sleep Alone"
At the hospital, a doctor is training an intern on how to announce bad news
to the patients.  The doctor tells the intern "This man in 305 is going to
die in six months.  Go in and tell him."  The intern boldly walks into the
room, over to the man's bedisde and tells him "Seems like you're gonna die!"
The man has a heart attack and is rushed into surgery on the spot.  The doctor
grabs the intern and screams at him, "What!?!? are you some kind of moron?
You've got to take it easy, work your way up to the subject.  Now this man in
213 has about a week to live.  Go in and tell him, but, gently, you hear me,
        The intern goes softly into the room, humming to himself, cheerily
opens the drapes to let the sun in, walks over to the man's bedside, fluffs
his pillow and wishes him a "Good morning!"  "Wonderful day, no?  Say...
guess who's going to die soon!"
Certain old men prefer to rise at dawn, taking a cold bath and a long
walk with an empty stomach and otherwise mortifying the flesh.  They
then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy
health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old,
not because of their habits, but in spite of them.  The reason we find
only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the
others who have tried it.
                -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
For my son, Robert, this is proving to be the high-point of his entire life
to date.  He has had his pajamas on for two, maybe three days now.  He has
the sense of joyful independence a 5-year-old child gets when he suddenly
realizes that he could be operating an acetylene torch in the coat closet
and neither parent [because of the flu] would have the strength to object.
He has been foraging for his own food, which means his diet consists
entirely of "food" substances which are advertised only on Saturday-morning
cartoon shows; substances that are the color of jukebox lights and that, for
legal reasons, have their names spelled wrong, as in New Creemy
Chok-'n'-Cheez Lumps o' Froot ("part of this complete breakfast").
                -- Dave Barry, "Molecular Homicide"
We have the flu.  I don't know if this particular strain has an official
name, but if it does, it must be something like "Martian Death Flu".  You
may have had it yourself.  The main symptom is that you wish you had another
setting on your electric blanket, up past "HIGH", that said "ELECTROCUTION".
        Another symptom is that you cease brushing your teeth, because (a)
your teeth hurt, and (b) you lack the strength.  Midway through the brushing
process, you'd have to lie down in front of the sink to rest for a couple
of hours, and rivulets of toothpaste foam would dribble sideways out of your
mouth, eventually hardening into crusty little toothpaste stalagmites that
would bond your head permanently to the bathroom floor, which is how the
police would find you.
        You know the kind of flu I'm talking about.
                -- Dave Barry, "Molecular Homicide"
And yet, seasons must be taken with a grain of salt, for they too have
a sense of humor, as does history.  Corn stalks comedy, comedy stalks
tragedy, and this too is historic.  And yet, still, when corn meets
tragedy face to face, we have politics.
                -- Dalglish, Larsen and Sutherland, "Root Crops and
                   Ground Cover"
Democracy is good.  I say this because other systems are worse.
                -- Jawaharlal Nehru
For the first time we have a weapon that nobody has used for thirty years.
This gives me great hope for the human race.
                -- Harlan Ellison
        Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the
approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been
diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship
from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.
        We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles,
and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds
me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and
spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted
for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.
        Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains
unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been
a hideous confusion as the the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to
one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain.  This
reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance,
since we are war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise
to you gentlemen in Whitehall.
        This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request
elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I
may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains.
I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as
given below.  I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but
I cannot do both:
        1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the
benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or perchance:
        2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.
                -- Duke of Wellington, to the British Foreign Office,
                   London, 1812
Government spending?  I don't know what it's all about.  I don't know
any more about this thing than an economist does, and, God knows, he
doesn't know much.
                -- Will Rogers
I find this corpse guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and I fine it $40.
                -- Judge Roy Bean, finding a pistol and $40 on a man he'd
                   just shot.
I have gained this by philosophy:
that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.
                -- Aristotle
I have never understood this liking for war.  It panders to instincts
already catered for within the scope of any respectable domestic establishment.
                -- Alan Bennett
I realize that the MX missile is none of our concern.  I realize that the
whole point of living in a democracy is that we pay professional
congresspersons to concern themselves with things like the MX missile so we
can be free to concern ourselves with getting hold of the plumber.

But from time to time, I feel I must address major public issues such as
this, because in a free and open society, where the very future of the world
hinges on decisions made by our elected leaders, you never win large cash
journalism awards if you stick to the topics I usually write about, such as
                -- Dave Barry, "At Last, the Ultimate Deterrent Against
                   Political Fallout"
I used to be a rebel in my youth.

This cause... that cause... (chuckle) I backed 'em ALL!  But I learned.
Rebellion is simply a device used by the immature to hide from his own
problems.  So I lost interest in politics.  Now when I feel aroused by
a civil rights case or a passport hearing... I realize it's just a device.
I go to my analyst and we work it out.  You have no idea how much better
I feel these days.
                -- J. Feiffer
I was appalled by this story of the destruction of a member of a valued
endangered species.  It's all very well to celebrate the practicality of
pigs by ennobling the porcine sibling who constructed his home out of
bricks and mortar.  But to wantonly destroy a wolf, even one with an
excessive taste for porkers, is unconscionable in these ecologically
critical times when both man and his domestic beasts continue to maraud
the earth.
                Sylvia Kamerman, "Book Reviewing"
"I'm willing to sacrifice anything for this cause, even other people's lives."
If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is
make the rubble bounce.
                -- Winston Churchill
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a
sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate
in all times and situations.  They presented him the words: "And this,
too, shall pass away."
                -- Abraham Lincoln
It seems a little silly now, but this country was founded as a protest
against taxation.
Listen, there is no courage or any extra courage that I know of to find out
the right thing to do.  Now, it is not only necessary to do the right thing,
but to do it in the right way and the only problem you have is what is the
right thing to do and what is the right way to do it.  That is the problem.
But this economy of ours is not so simple that it obeys to the opinion of
bias or the pronouncements of any particular individual, even to the President.
This is an economy that is made up of 173 million people, and it reflects
their desires, they're ready to buy, they're ready to spend, it is a thing
that is too complex and too big to be affected adversely or advantageously
just by a few words or any particular -- say, a little this and that, or even
a panacea so alleged.
                -- D.D. Eisenhower, in response to: "Has the government
                been lacking in courage and boldness in facing up to
                the recession?"
My own life has been spent chronicling the rise and fall of human systems,
and I am convinced that we are terribly vulnerable.  ...  We should be
reluctant to turn back upon the frontier of this epoch. Space is indifferent
to what we do; it has no feeling, no design, no interest in whether or not
we grapple with it. But we cannot be indifferent to space, because the grand,
slow march of intelligence has brought us, in our generation, to a point
from which we can explore and understand and utilize it. To turn back now
would be to deny our history, our capabilities.
                -- James A. Michener
NAPOLEON: What shall we do with this soldier, Giuseppe?  Everything he
          says is wrong.
GIUSEPPE: Make him a general, Excellency, and then everything he says
          will be right.
                -- G. B. Shaw, "The Man of Destiny"
        Once there was a marine biologist who loved dolphins. He spent his
time trying to feed and protect his beloved creatures of the sea.  One day,
in a fit of inventive genius, he came up with a serum that would make
dolphins live forever!
        Of course he was ecstatic. But he soon realized that in order to mass
produce this serum he would need large amounts of a certain compound that was
only found in nature in the metabolism of a rare South American bird.  Carried
away by his love for dolphins, he resolved that he would go to the zoo and
steal one of these birds.
        Unbeknownst to him, as he was arriving at the zoo an elderly lion was
escaping from its cage.  The zookeepers were alarmed and immediately began
combing the zoo for the escaped animal, unaware that it had simply lain down
on the sidewalk and had gone to sleep.
        Meanwhile, the marine biologist arrived at the zoo and procured his
bird.  He was so excited by the prospect of helping his dolphins that he
stepped absentmindedly stepped over the sleeping lion on his way back to his
car.  Immediately, 1500 policemen converged on him and arrested him for
transporting a myna across a staid lion for immortal porpoises.
Once upon a time there was a kingdom ruled by a great bear.  The peasants
were not very rich, and one of the few ways to become at all wealthy was
to become a Royal Knight.  This required an interview with the bear.  If
the bear liked you, you were knighted on the spot.  If not, the bear would
just as likely remove your head with one swat of a paw.  However, the family
of these unfortunate would-be knights was compensated with a beautiful
sheepdog from the royal kennels, which was itself a fairly valuable
possession.  And the moral of the story is:

The mourning after a terrible knight, nothing beats the dog of the bear that
hit you.
Sentenced to two years hard labor (for sodomy), Oscar Wilde stood handcuffed
in driving rain waiting for transport to prison.  "If this is the way Queen
Victoria treats her prisoners," he remarked, "she doesn't deserve to have
        Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas.  Five years later?
Six?  It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era -- the kind of peak that
never comes again.  San Fransisco in the middle sixties was a very special time
and place to be a part of.  Maybe it meant something.  Maybe not, in the long
run...  There was madness in any direction, at any hour.  If not across the
Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda...  You could
strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we
were doing was right, that we were winning...
        And that, I think, was the handle -- that sense of inevitable victory
over the forces of Old and Evil.  Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't
need that. Our energy would simply prevail.  There was no point in fighting
-- on our side or theirs.  We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest
of a high and beautiful wave.  So now, less than five years later, you can go
up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes
you can almost ___see the high-water mark -- that place where the wave finally
broke and rolled back.
                -- Hunter S. Thompson
Take your Senator to lunch this week.
The doctrine of human equality reposes on this: that there is no man
really clever who has not found that he is stupid.
                -- Gilbert K. Chesterson
The Least Successful Executions
        History has furnished us with two executioners worthy of attention.
The first performed in Sydney in Australia.  In 1803 three attempts were
made to hang a Mr. Joseph Samuels.  On the first two of these the rope
snapped, while on the third Mr. Samuels just hung there peacefully until he
and everyone else got bored.  Since he had proved unsusceptible to capital
punishment, he was reprieved.
        The most important British executioner was Mr. James Berry who
tried three times in 1885 to hang Mr. John Lee at Exeter Jail, but on each
occasion failed to get the trap door open.
        In recognition of this achievement, the Home Secretary commuted
Lee's sentence to "life" imprisonment.  He was released in 1917, emigrated
to America and lived until 1933.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
The Least Successful Police Dogs
        America has a very strong candidate in "La Dur", a fearsome looking
schnauzer hound, who was retired from the Orlando police force in Florida
in 1978.  He consistently refused to do anything which might ruffle or
offend the criminal classes.
        His handling officer, Rick Grim, had to admit: "He just won't go up
and bite them.  I got sick and tired of doing that dog's work for him."
        The British contenders in this category, however, took things a
stage further.  "Laddie" and "Boy" were trained as detector dogs for drug
raids.  Their employment was terminated following a raid in the Midlands in
        While the investigating officer questioned two suspects, they
patted and stroked the dogs who eventually fell asleep in front of the
fire.  When the officer moved to arrest the suspects, one dog growled at
him while the other leapt up and bit his thigh.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
The problem with this country is that there is no death penalty for
The public demands certainties;  it must be told definitely and a bit
raucously that this is true and that is false.  But there are no certainties.
                -- H.L. Mencken, "Prejudice"
The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians
who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool
all of the people all of the time.
                -- Franklin Adams
The Worst Prison Guards
        The largest number of convicts ever to escape simultaneously from a
maximum security prison is 124.  This record is held by Alcoente Prison,
near Lisbon in Portugal.
        During the weeks leading up to the escape in July 1978 the prison
warders had noticed that attendances had fallen at film shows which
included "The Great Escape", and also that 220 knives and a huge quantity
of electric cable had disappeared.  A guard explained, "Yes, we were
planning to look for them, but never got around to it."  The warders had
not, however, noticed the gaping holes in the wall because they were
"covered with posters".  Nor did they detect any of the spades, chisels,
water hoses and electric drills amassed by the inmates in large quantities.
The night before the breakout one guard had noticed that of the 36
prisoners in his block only 13 were present.  He said this was "normal"
because inmates sometimes missed roll-call or hid, but usually came back
the next morning.
        "We only found out about the escape at 6:30 the next morning when
one of the prisoners told us," a warder said later.  [...]  When they
eventually checked, the prison guards found that exactly half of the gaol's
population was missing.  By way of explanation the Justice Minister, Dr.
Santos Pais, claimed that the escape was "normal" and part of the
"legitimate desire of the prisoner to regain his liberty."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
There are only two things in this world that I am sure of, death and
taxes, and we just might do something about death one of these days.
                -- shades
There are two kinds of fool. One says, "This is old, and therefore good."
And one says, "This is new, and therefore better"
                -- John Brunner, "The Shockwave Rider"
There is no security on this earth.  There is only opportunity.
                -- General Douglas MacArthur
They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom for trying to change the
system from within.  I'm coming now I'm coming to reward them.  First
we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.

I'm guided by a signal in the heavens.  I'm guided by this birthmark on
my skin.  I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.  First we take Manhattan,
then we take Berlin.

I'd really like to live beside you, baby.  I love your body and your spirit
and your clothes.  But you see that line there moving through the station?
I told you I told you I told you I was one of those.
        -- Leonard Cohen, "First We Take Manhattan"
This is a country where people are free to practice their religion,
regardless of race, creed, color, obesity, or number of dangling keys...
        Thompson, if he is to be believed, has sampled the entire rainbow of
legal and illegal drugs in heroic efforts to feel better than he does.
        As for the truth about his health: I have asked around about it.  I
am told that he appears to be strong and rosy, and steadily sane.  But we
will be doing what he wants us to do, I think, if we consider his exterior
a sort of Dorian Gray facade.  Inwardly, he is being eaten alive by tinhorn
        The disease is fatal.  There is no known cure.  The most we can do
for the poor devil, it seems to me, is to name his disease in his honor.
From this moment on, let all those who feel that Americans can be as easily
led to beauty as to ugliness, to truth as to public relations, to joy as to
bitterness, be said to be suffering from Hunter Thompson's disease.  I don't
have it this morning.  It comes and goes.  This morning I don't have Hunter
Thompson's disease.
                -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr., on Dr. Hunter S. Thompson: Excerpt
                from "A Political Disease", Vonnegut's review of "Fear and
                Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72"
What does it take for Americans to do great things; to go to the moon, to
win wars, to dig canals linking oceans, to build railroads across a continent?
In independent thought about this question, Neil Armstrong and I concluded
that it takes a coincidence of four conditions, or in Neil's view, the
simultaneous peaking of four of the many cycles of American life.  First, a
base of technology must exist from which to do the thing to be done.  Second,
a period of national uneasiness about America's place in the scheme of human
activities must exist.  Third, some catalytic event must occur that focuses
the national attention upon the direction to proceed.  Finally, an articulate
and wise leader must sense these first three conditions and put forth with
words and action the great thing to be accomplished.  The motivation of young
Americans to do what needs to be done flows from such a coincidence of
conditions. ...  The Thomas Jeffersons, The Teddy Roosevelts, The John
Kennedys appear.  We must begin to create the tools of leadership which they,
and their young frontiersmen, will require to lead us onward and upward.
                -- Dr. Harrison H. Schmidt
Why don't somebody print the truth about our present economic condition?
We spent years of wild buying on credit, everything under the sun, whether
we needed it or not, and now we are having to pay for it, howling like a
pet coon.  This would be a great world to dance in if we didn't have to
pay the fiddler.
                -- The Best of Will Rogers
You first have to decide whether to use the short or the long form. The
short form is what the Internal Revenue Service calls "simplified", which
means it is designed for people who need the help of a Sears tax-preparation
expert to distinguish between their first and last names.  Here's the
complete text:

"(1) How much did you make?  (AMOUNT)
(2) How much did we here at the government take out?  (AMOUNT)
(3) Hey!  Sounds like we took too much!  So we're going to
     send an official government check for (ONE-FIFTEENTH OF
     THE AMOUNT WE TOOK) directly to the (YOUR LAST NAME)
     household at (YOUR ADDRESS), for you to spend in any way
     you please! Which just goes to show you, (YOUR FIRST
     NAME), that it pays to file the short form!"

The IRS wants you to use this form because it gets to keep most of your
money.  So unless you have pond silt for brains, you want the long form.
                -- Dave Barry, "Sweating Out Taxes"
Consider the following axioms carefully:
        "Everything's better when it sits on a Ritz."
        "Everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it."
What happens if one spreads Blue Bonnet margarine on a Ritz cracker?  The
thought is frightening.  Is this how God came into being?  Try not to
consider the fact that "Things go better with Coke".
Dear Mister Language Person: I am curious about the expression, "Part of
this complete breakfast".  The way it comes up is, my 5-year-old will be
watching TV cartoon shows in the morning, and they'll show a commercial for
a children's compressed breakfast compound such as "Froot Loops" or "Lucky
Charms", and they always show it sitting on a table next to some actual food
such as eggs, and the announcer always says: "Part of this complete
breakfast".  Don't that really mean, "Adjacent to this complete breakfast",
or "On the same table as this complete breakfast"?  And couldn't they make
essentially the same claim if, instead of Froot Loops, they put a can of
shaving cream there, or a dead bat?

Answer: Yes.
                -- Dave Barry, "Tips for Writer's"
Do you feel personally responsible for the world food shortage?
Every time you go to the beach, does the tide come in?
Have you ever eaten an entire moose?
Can you see your neck?
Do joggers take laps around you for exercise?
If so, welcome to National Fat Week.
This week we'll eat without guilt, and kick off our membership campaign, force-feeding a box of cornstarch to a skinny person.
                -- Garfield
        During the American Revolution, a Britisher tried to raid a farm.  He
stumbled across a rock on the ground and fell, whereupon an agressive Rhode
Island Red hopped on top.  Seeing this, the farmer commented, "Chicken catch
a Tory!"
How many hors d'oeuvres you are allowed to take off a tray being carried by
a waiter at a nice party?
        Two, but there are ways around it, depending on the style of the hors
d'oeuvre.  If they're those little pastry things where you can't tell what's
inside, you take one, bite off about two-thirds of it, then say:  "This is
cheese!  I hate cheese!"  Then you put the rest of it back on the tray and
bite another one and go, "Darn it!  Another cheese!" and so on.
                -- Dave Barry, "The Stuff of Etiquette"
If puns were deli meat, this would be the wurst.
Last week's pet, this week's special.
        Everyone loves these delectable crustaceans, but many cooks are
squeamish about placing them into boiling water alive, which is the only
proper method of preparing them.  Frankly, the easiest way to eliminate your
guilt is to establish theirs by putting them on trial before they're cooked.
The fact is, lobsters are among the most ferocious predators on the sea
floor, and you're helping reduce crime in the reefs.  Grasp the lobster
behind the head, look it right in its unmistakably guilty eyestalks and say,
"Where were you on the night of the 21st?", then flourish a picture of a
scallop or a sole and shout, "Perhaps this will refresh that crude neural
apparatus you call a memory!"  The lobster will squirm noticeably.  It may
even take a swipe at you with one of its claws.  Incorrigible.  Pop it into
the pot.  Justice has been served, and shortly you and your friends will
be, too.
                -- Dave Barry, "Cooking: The Art of Using Appliances and
                   Utensils into Excuses and Apologies"
MOCK APPLE PIE (No Apples Needed)

  Pastry to two crust 9-inch pie        36 RITZ Crackers
2 cups water                                 2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar                 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  Grated rind of one lemon                   Butter or margarine

Roll out bottom crust of pastry and fit into 9-inch pie plate.  Break
RITZ Crackers coarsely into pastry-lined plate.  Combine water, sugar
and cream of tartar in saucepan, boil gently for 15 minutes.  Add lemon
juice and rind.  Cool.  Pour this syrup over Crackers, dot generously
with butter or margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Cover with top
crust.  Trim and flute edges together.  Cut slits in top crust to let
steam escape.  Bake in a hot oven (425 F) 30 to 35 minutes, until crust
is crisp and golden.  Serve warm.  Cut into 6 to 8 slices.
                -- Found lurking on a Ritz Crackers box
Now that you've read Fortune's diet truths, you'll be prepared the next
time some housewife or boutique-owner-turned-diet-expert appears on TV
to plug her latest book.  And, if you still feel a twinge of guilt for
eating coffee cake while listening to her exhortations, ask yourself
the following questions:

        (1) Do I dare trust a person who actually considers alfalfa sprouts a
        (2) Was the author's sole motive in writing this book to get rich
            exploiting the forlorn hopes of chubby people like me?
        (3) Would a longer life be worthwhile if it had to be lived as
            prescribed ... without French-fried onion rings, pizza with
            double cheese, or the occasional Mai-Tai?  (Remember, living
            right doesn't really make you live longer, it just *seems* like

That, and another piece of coffee cake, should do the trick.
Pete:        Waiter, this meat is bad.
Waiter:        Who told you?
Pete:        A little swallow.
        (1)  Never eat on an empty stomach.
        (2)  Never leave the table hungry.
        (3)  When traveling, never leave a country hungry.
        (4)  Enjoy your food.
        (5)  Enjoy your companion's food.
        (6)  Really taste your food.  It may take several portions to
             accomplish this, especially if subtly seasoned.
        (7)  Really feel your food.  Texture is important.  Compare,
             for example, the texture of a turnip to that of a
             brownie.  Which feels better against your cheeks?
        (8)  Never eat between snacks, unless it's a meal.
        (9)  Don't feel you must finish everything on your plate.  You
             can always eat it later.
        (10) Avoid any wine with a childproof cap.
        (11) Avoid blue food.
                -- Richard Smith, "The Bronx Diet"
The basic menu item, in fact the ONLY menu item, would be a food unit called
the "patty," consisting of -- this would be guaranteed in writing -- "100
percent animal matter of some kind." All patties would be heated up and then
cooled back down in electronic devices immediately before serving.  The
Breakfast Patty would be a patty on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, egg,
Ba-Ko-Bits, Cheez Whiz, a Special Sauce made by pouring ketchup out of a
bottle and a little slip of paper stating: "Inspected by Number 12."  The
Lunch or Dinner Patty would be any Breakfast Patties that didn't get sold in
the morning. The Seafood Lover's Patty would be any patties that were
starting to emit a serious aroma.  Patties that were too rank even to be
Seafood Lover's Patties would be compressed into wads and sold as "Nuggets."
                -- Dave Barry, "'Mister Mediocre' Restaurants"
The black bear used to be one of the most commonly seen large animals
because in Yosemite and Sequoia national parks they lived off of garbage
and tourist handouts.  This bear has learned to open car doors in
Yosemite, where damage to automobiles caused by bears runs into the tens
of thousands of dollars a year.  Campaigns to bearproof all garbage
containers in wild areas have been difficult, because as one biologist
put it, "There is a considerable overlap between the intelligence levels
of the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists."
The most exquisite peak in culinary art is conquered when you do right by a
ham, for a ham, in the very nature of the process it has undergone since last
it walked on its own feet, combines in its flavor the tang of smoky autumnal
woods, the maternal softness of earthy fields delivered of their crop children,
the wineyness of a late sun, the intimate kiss of fertilizing rain, and the
bite of fire.  You must slice it thin, almost as thin as this page you hold
in your hands.  The making of a ham dinner, like the making of a gentleman,
starts a long, long time before the event.
                -- W.B. Courtney, "Reflections of Maryland Country Ham",
                   from "Congress Eate It Up"
This is Betty Frenel.  I don't know who to call but I can't reach my
Food-a-holics partner.  I'm at Vido's on my second pizza with sausage
and mushroom.  Jim, come and get me!
This is National Non-Dairy Creamer Week.
        ... This striving for excellence extends into people's personal
lives as well.  When '80s people buy something, they buy the best one, as
determined by (1) price and (2) lack of availability. Eighties people buy
imported dental floss.  They buy gourmet baking soda.  If an '80s couple
goes to a restaurant where they have made a reservation three weeks in
advance, and they are informed that their table is available, they stalk
out immediately, because they know it is not an excellent restaurant.  If
it were, it would have an enormous crowd of excellence-oriented people
like themselves waiting, their beepers going off like crickets in the
night.  An excellent restaurant wouldn't have a table ready immediately
for anybody below the rank of Liza Minnelli.
                -- Dave Barry, "In Search of Excellence"
You should tip the waiter $10, minus $2 if he tells you his name, another $2
if he claims it will be His Pleasure to serve you and another $2 for each
"special" he describes involving confusing terms such as "shallots," and $4
if the menu contains the word "fixin's." In many restaurants, this means the
waiter will actually owe you money. If you are traveling with a child aged
six months to three years, you should leave an additional amount equal to
twice the bill to compensate for the fact that they will have to take the
banquette out and burn it because the cracks are wedged solid with gobbets
made of partially chewed former restaurant rolls saturated with baby spit.

In New York, tip the taxicab driver $40 if he does not mention his hemorrhoids.
                -- Dave Barry, "The Stuff of Etiquette"
A sense of desolation and uncertainty, of futility, of the baselessness
of aspirations, of the vanity of endeavor, and a thirst for a life giving
water which seems suddenly to have failed, are the signs in conciousness
of this necessary reorganization of our lives.

It is difficult to believe that this state of mind can be produced by the
recognition of such facts as that unsupported stones always fall to the
                -- J.W.N. Sullivan
        After the Children of Israel had wandered for thirty-nine years
in the wilderness, Ferdinand Feghoot arrived to make sure that they would
finally find and enter the Promised Land.  With him, he brought his
favorite robot, faithful old Yewtoo Artoo, to carry his gear and do
assorted camp chores.
        The Israelites soon got over their initial fear of the robot and,
as the months passed, became very fond of him.  Patriarchs took to
discussing abtruse theological problems with him, and each evening the
children all gathered to hear the many stories with which he was programmed.
Therefore it came as a great shock to them when, just as their journey was
ending, he abruptly wore out.  Even Feghoot couldn't console them.
        "It may be true, Ferdinand Feghoot," said Moses, "that our friend
Yewtoo Artoo was soulless, but we cannot believe it.  He must be properly
interred.  We cannot embalm him as do the Egyptians.  Nor have we wood for
a coffin.  But I do have a most splendid skin from one of Pharoah's own
cattle.  We shall bury him in it."
        Feghoot agreed.  "Yes, let this be his last rusting place."
        "Rusting?" Moses cried.  "Not in this dreadful dry desert!"
        "Ah!" sighed Ferdinand Feghoot, shedding a tear, "I fear you do not
realize the full significance of Pharoah's oxhide!"
                -- Grendel Briarton "Through Time & Space With Ferdinand
After this was written there appeared a remarkable posthumous memoir that
throws some doubt on Millikan's leading role in these experiments.  Harvey
Fletcher (1884-1981), who was a graduate student at the University of Chicago,
at Millikan's suggestion worked on the measurement of electronic charge for
his doctoral thesis, and co-authored some of the early papers on this subject
with Millikan.  Fletcher left a manuscript with a friend with instructions
that it be published after his death; the manuscript was published in
Physics Today, June 1982, page 43.  In it, Fletcher claims that he was the
first to do the experiment with oil drops, was the first to measure charges on
single droplets, and may have been the first to suggest the use of oil.
According to Fletcher, he had expected to be co-authored with Millikan on
the crucial first article announcing the measurement of the electronic
charge, but was talked out of this by Millikan.
                -- Steven Weinberg, "The Discovery of Subatomic Particles"

Robert Millikan is generally credited with making the first really
precise measurement of the charge on an electron and was awarded the
Nobel Prize in 1923.
Albert Einstein, when asked to describe radio, replied: "You see, wire
telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat.  You pull his tail in New
York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles.  Do you understand this?
And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they
receive them there.  The only difference is that there is no cat."
All syllogisms have three parts, therefore this is not a syllogism.
Although we modern persons tend to take our electric lights, radios, mixers,
etc., for granted, hundreds of years ago people did not have any of these
things, which is just as well because there was no place to plug them in.
Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a
kite in a lighting storm and received a serious electrical shock.  This
proved that lighting was powered by the same force as carpets, but it also
damaged Franklin's brain so severely that he started speaking only in
incomprehensible maxims, such as "A penny saved is a penny earned."
Eventually he had to be given a job running the post office.
                -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"
Always think of something new; this helps you forget your last rotten idea.
                -- Seth Frankel
        An architect's first work is apt to be spare and clean.  He knows
he doesn't know what he's doing, so he does it carefully and with great
        As he designs the first work, frill after frill and embellishment
after embellishment occur to him.  These get stored away to be used "next
time." Sooner or later the first system is finished, and the architect,
with firm confidence and a demonstrated mastery of that class of systems,
is ready to build a second system.
        This second is the most dangerous system a man ever designs.
When he does his third and later ones, his prior experiences will
confirm each other as to the general characteristics of such systems,
and their differences will identify those parts of his experience that
are particular and not generalizable.
        The general tendency is to over-design the second system, using
all the ideas and frills that were cautiously sidetracked on the first
one.  The result, as Ovid says, is a "big pile."
                -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"
An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician find themselves in an
anecdote, indeed an anecdote quite similar to many that you have no doubt
already heard.  After some observations and rough calculations the
engineer realizes the situation and starts laughing.  A few minutes later
the physicist understands too and chuckles to himself happily as he now
has enough experimental evidence to publish a paper.  This leaves the
mathematician somewhat perplexed, as he had observed right away that he
was the subject of an anecdote, and deduced quite rapidly the presence of
humour from similar anecdotes, but considers this anecdote to be too
trivial a corollary to be significant, let alone funny.
And this is a table ma'am.  What in essence it consists of is a horizontal
rectilinear plane surface maintained by four vertical columnar supports,
which we call legs.  The tables in this laboratory, ma'am, are as advanced
in design as one will find anywhere in the world.
                -- Michael Frayn, "The Tin Men"
... Another writer again agreed with all my generalities, but said that as an
inveterate skeptic I have closed my mind to the truth.  Most notably I have
ignored the evidence for an Earth that is six thousand years old.  Well, I
haven't ignored it; I considered the purported evidence and *then* rejected
it.  There is a difference, and this is a difference, we might say, between
prejudice and postjudice.  Prejudice is making a judgment before you have
looked at the facts.  Postjudice is making a judgment afterwards.  Prejudice
is terrible, in the sense that you commit injustices and you make serious
mistakes.  Postjudice is not terrible.  You can't be perfect of course; you
may make mistakes also.  But it is permissible to make a judgment after you
have examined the evidence.  In some circles it is even encouraged.
                -- Carl Sagan, "The Burden of Skepticism"
"As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty,
and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life -- so I became a
scientist.  This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls."
                -- Matt Cartmill
At the heart of science is an essential tension between two seemingly
contradictory attitudes -- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre
or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny
of all ideas, old and new.  This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep
nonsense.  Of course, scientists make mistakes in trying to understand the
world, but there is a built-in error-correcting mechanism:  The collective
enterprise of creative thinking and skeptical thinking together keeps the
field on track.
                -- Carl Sagan, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection"
Besides the device, the box should contain:
        * Eight little rectangular snippets of paper that say "WARNING"
        * A plastic packet containing four 5/17 inch pilfer grommets and two
                club-ended 6/93 inch boxcar prawns.

YOU WILL NEED TO SUPPLY: a matrix wrench and 60,000 feet of tram cable.

and say: "Margaret, you know why this country can't make a car that can get
all the way through the drive-through at Burger King without a major
transmission overhaul?  Because nobody cares, that's why."

WARNING: This is assuming your spouse's name is Margaret.
                -- Dave Barry, "Read This First!"
Chapter 2:  Newtonian Growth and Decay

        The growth-decay formulas were developed in the trivial fashion by
Isaac Newton's famous brother Phigg.  His idea was to provide an equation
that would describe a quantity that would dwindle and dwindle, but never
quite reach zero.  Historically, he was merely trying to work out his
mortgage.  Another versatile equation also emerged, one which would define
a function that would continue to grow, but never reach unity.  This equation
can be applied to charging capacitors, over-damped springs, and the human
race in general.
Congratulations!  You have purchased an extremely fine device that would
give you thousands of years of trouble-free service, except that you
undoubtably will destroy it via some typical bonehead consumer maneuver.
                -- Dave Barry, "Read This First!"
Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles, called
electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been
drinking.  Electrons travel at the speed of light, which in most American
homes is 110 volts per hour.  This is very fast.  In the time it has taken
you to read this sentence so far, an electron could have traveled all the
way from San Francisco to Hackensack, New Jersey, although God alone knows
why it would want to.

The five main kinds of electricity are alternating current, direct current,
lightning, static, and European.  Most American homes have alternating
current, which means that the electricity goes in one direction for a while,
then goes in the other direction.  This prevents harmful electron buildup in
the wires.
                -- Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"
Every paper published in a respectable journal should have a preface by
the author stating why he is publishing the article, and what value he
sees in it.  I have no hope that this practice will ever be adopted.
                -- Morris Kline
Everyone knows that dragons don't exist.  But while this simplistic
formulation may satisfy the layman, it does not suffice for the scientific
mind.  The School of Higher Neantical Nillity is in fact wholly unconcerned
with what ____does exist.  Indeed, the banality of existence has been
so amply demonstrated, there is no need for us to discuss it any further
here.  The brilliant Cerebron, attacking the problem analytically,
discovered three distinct kinds of dragon: the mythical, the chimerical,
and the purely hypothetical.  They were all, one might say, nonexistent,
but each nonexisted in an entirely different way ...
                -- Stanislaw Lem, "Cyberiad"
Evolution is as much a fact as the earth turning on its axis and going around
the sun.  At one time this was called the Copernican theory; but, when
evidence for a theory becomes so overwhelming that no informed person can
doubt it, it is customary for scientists to call it a fact.  That all present
life descended from earlier forms, over vast stretches of geologic time, is
as firmly established as Copernican cosmology.  Biologists differ only with
respect to theories about how the process operates.
                -- Martin Gardner, "Irving Kristol and the Facts of Life".
What to do...
    if reality disappears?
        Hope this one doesn't happen to you.  There isn't much that you
        can do about it.  It will probably be quite unpleasant.

    if you meet an older version of yourself who has invented a time
    traveling machine, and has come from the future to meet you?
        Play this one by the book.  Ask about the stock market and cash in.
        Don't forget to invent a time traveling machine and visit your
        younger self before you die, or you will create a paradox.  If you
        expect this to be tricky, make sure to ask for the principles
        behind time travel, and possibly schematics.  Never, NEVER, ask
        when you'll die, or if you'll marry your current SO.
Good morning.  This is the telephone company.  Due to repairs, we're
giving you advance notice that your service will be cut off indefinitely
at ten o'clock.  That's two minutes from now.
Here is a simple experiment that will teach you an important electrical
lesson: On a cool, dry day, scuff your feet along a carpet, then reach your
hand into a friend's mouth and touch one of his dental fillings.  Did you
notice how your friend twitched violently and cried out in pain?  This
teaches us that electricity can be a very powerful force, but we must never
use it to hurt others unless we need to learn an important electrical lesson.
        It also teaches us how an electrical circuit works.  When you scuffed
your feet, you picked up batches of "electrons", which are very small objects
that carpet manufacturers weave into carpets so they will attract dirt.
The electrons travel through your bloodstream and collect in your finger,
where they form a spark that leaps to your friend's filling, then travels
down to his feet and back into the carpet, thus completing the circuit.
        Amazing Electronic Fact: If you scuffed your feet long enough without
touching anything, you would build up so many electrons that your finger
would explode!  But this is nothing to worry about unless you have
                -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"
Hi! How are things going?
        (just fine, thank you...)
Great! Say, could I bother you for a question?
        (you just asked one...)
Well, how about one more?
        (one more than the first one?)
        (you already asked that...)
[at this point, Alphonso gets smart...        ]
May I ask two questions, sir?
May I ask ONE then?
Then may I ask, sir, how I may ask you a question?
        (yes, you may.)
Sir, how may I ask you a question?
        (you must ask for retroactive question asking privileges for
         the number of questions you have asked, then ask for that
         number plus two, one for the current question, and one for the
         next one)
Sir, may I ask nine questions?
        (go right ahead...)
        "I have examined Bogota," he said, "and the case is clearer to me.
I think very probably he might be cured."
        "That is what I have always hoped," said old Yacob.
        "His brain is affected," said the blind doctor.
        The elders murmured assent.
        "Now, what affects it?"
        "Ah!" said old Yacob.
        "This," said the doctor, answering his own question.  "Those queer
things that are called the eyes, and which exist to make an agreeable soft
depression in the face, are diseased, in the case of Bogota, in such a way
as to affect his brain.  They are greatly distended, he has eyelashes, and
his eyelids move, and cosequently his brain is in a state of constant
irritation and distraction."
        "Yes?" said old Yacob.  "Yes?"
        "And I think I may say with reasonable certainty that, in order
to cure him completely, all that we need do is a simple and easy surgical
operation -- namely, to remove those irritant bodies."
        "And then he will be sane?"
        "Then he will be perfectly sane, and a quite admirable citizen."
        "Thank heaven for science!" said old Yacob.
                -- H.G. Wells, "The Country of the Blind"
"I think the sky is blue because it's a shift from black through purple
to blue, and it has to do with where the light is.  You know, the
farther we get into darkness, and there's a shifting of color of light
into the blueness, and I think as you go farther and farther away from
the reflected light we have from the sun or the light that's bouncing
off this earth, uh, the darker it gets ... I think if you look at the
color scale, you start at black, move it through purple, move it on
out, it's the shifting of color.  We mentioned before about the stars
singing, and that's one of the effects of the shifting of colors."
                -- Pat Robertson, The 700 Club
In a minimum-phase system there is an inextricable link between
frequency response, phase response and transient response, as they
are all merely transforms of one another.  This combined with
minimalization of open-loop errors in output amplifiers and correct
compensation for non-linear passive crossover network loading can
lead to a significant decrease in system resolution lost.  However,
this all means jack when you listen to Pink Floyd.
        In the beginning there was only one kind of Mathematician, created by
the Great Mathamatical Spirit form the Book: the Topologist.  And they grew to
large numbers and prospered.
        One day they looked up in the heavens and desired to reach up as far
as the eye could see.  So they set out in building a Mathematical edifice that
was to reach up as far as "up" went.  Further and further up they went ...
until one night the edifice collapsed under the weight of paradox.
        The following morning saw only rubble where there once was a huge
structure reaching to the heavens.  One by one, the Mathematicians climbed
out from under the rubble.  It was a miracle that nobody was killed; but when
they began to speak to one another, SUPRISE of all suprises! they could not
understand each other.  They all spoke different languages.  They all fought
amongst themselves and each went about their own way.  To this day the
Topologists remain the original Mathematicians.
                -- The Story of Babel
        "In this replacement Earth we're building they've given me Africa
to do and of course I'm doing it with all fjords again because I happen to
like them, and I'm old-fashioned enough to think that they give a lovely
baroque feel to a continent.  And they tell me it's not equatorial enough.
Equatorial!"  He gave a hollow laugh.  "What does it matter?  Science has
achieved some wonderful things, of course, but I'd far rather be happy than
right any day."
        "And are you?"
        "No.  That's where it all falls down, of course."
        "Pity," said Arthur with sympathy.  "It sounded like quite a good
life-style otherwise."
                -- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
Modern psychology takes completely for granted that behavior and neural
function are perfectly correlated, that one is completely caused by the
other.  There is no separate soul or lifeforce to stick a finger into the
brain now and then and make neural cells do what they would not otherwise.
Actually, of course, this is a working assumption only. ... It is quite
conceivable that someday the assumption will have to be rejected.  But it
is important also to see that we have not reached that day yet: the working
assumption is a necessary one and there is no real evidence opposed to it.
Our failure to solve a problem so far does not make it insoluble.  One cannot
logically be a determinist in physics and biology, and a mystic in psychology.
                -- D.O. Hebb, "Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological
                   Theory", 1949
        My message is not that biological determinists were bad scientists or
even that they were always wrong.  Rather, I believe that science must be
understood as a social phenomenon, a gutsy, human enterprise, not the work of
robots programmed to collect pure information.  I also present this view as
an upbeat for science, not as a gloomy epitaph for a noble hope sacrificed on
the alter of human limitations.
        I believe that a factual reality exists and that science, though often
in an obtuse and erratic manner, can learn about it.  Galileo was not shown
the instruments of torture in an abstract debate about lunar motion.  He had
threatened the Church's conventional argument for social and doctrinal
stability:  the static world order with planets circling about a central
earth, priests subordinate to the Pope and serfs to their lord.  But the
Church soon made its peace with Galileo's cosmology.  They had no choice; the
earth really does revolve about the sun.
                -- S.J. Gould, "The Mismeasure of Man"
Nothing is faster than the speed of light ...

To prove this to yourself, try opening the refrigerator door before the
light comes on.
On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague:

"This isn't right.  This isn't even wrong."
                -- Wolfgang Pauli
One day this guy is finally fed up with his middle-class existence and
decides to do something about it.  He calls up his best friend, who is a
mathematical genius.  "Look," he says, "do you suppose you could find some
way mathematically of guaranteeing winning at the race track?  We could
make a lot of money and retire and enjoy life."  The mathematician thinks
this over a bit and walks away mumbling to himself.
        A week later his friend drops by to ask the genius if he's had any
success.  The genius, looking a little bleary-eyed, replies, "Well, yes,
actually I do have an idea, and I'm reasonably sure that it will work, but
there a number of details to be figured out.
        After the second week the mathematician appears at his friend's house,
looking quite a bit rumpled, and announces, "I think I've got it! I still have
some of the theory to work out, but now I'm certain that I'm on the right
        At the end of the third week the mathematician wakes his friend by
pounding on his door at three in the morning.  He has dark circles under his
eyes.  His hair hasn't been combed for many days.  He appears to be wearing
the same clothes as the last time.  He has several pencils sticking out from
behind his ears and an almost maniacal expression on his face.  "WE CAN DO
IT!  WE CAN DO IT!!" he shrieks. "I have discovered the perfect solution!!
And it's so EASY!  First, we assume that horses are perfect spheres in simple
harmonic motion..."
Oxygen is a very toxic gas and an extreme fire hazard.  It is fatal in
concentrations of as little as 0.000001 p.p.m.  Humans exposed to the
oxygen concentrations die within a few minutes.  Symptoms resemble very
much those of cyanide poisoning (blue face, etc.).  In higher
concentrations, e.g. 20%, the toxic effect is somewhat delayed and it
takes about 2.5 billion inhalations before death takes place.  The reason
for the delay is the difference in the mechanism of the toxic effect of
oxygen in 20% concentration.  It apparently contributes to a complex
process called aging, of which very little is known, except that it is
always fatal.

However, the main disadvantage of the 20% oxygen concentration is in the
fact it is habit forming.  The first inhalation (occurring at birth) is
sufficient to make oxygen addiction permanent.  After that, any
considerable decrease in the daily oxygen doses results in death with
symptoms resembling those of cyanide poisoning.

Oxygen is an extreme fire hazard.  All of the fires that were reported in
the continental U.S. for the period of the past 25 years were found to be
due to the presence of this gas in the atmosphere surrounding the buildings
in question.

Oxygen is especially dangerous because it is odorless, colorless and
tasteless, so that its presence can not be readily detected until it is
too late.
                -- Chemical & Engineering News February 6, 1956
Proof techniques #1: Proof by Induction.

This technique is used on equations with "_n" in them.  Induction
techniques are very popular, even the military used them.

SAMPLE: Proof of induction without proof of induction.

        We know it's true for _n equal to 1.  Now assume that it's true
for every natural number less than _n.  _N is arbitrary, so we can take _n
as large as we want.  If _n is sufficiently large, the case of _n+1 is
trivially equivalent, so the only important _n are _n less than _n.  We
can take _n = _n (from above), so it's true for _n+1 because it's just
about _n.
        QED.        (QED translates from the Latin as "So what?")
So as your consumer electronics adviser, I am advising you to donate your
current VCR to a grate resident, who will laugh sardonically and hurl it
into a dumpster.  Then I want you to go out and purchase a vast array of
8-millimeter video equipment.

... OK!  Got everything?  Well, *too bad, sucker*, because while you were
gone the electronics industry came up with an even newer format that makes
your 8-millimeter VCR look as technologically advanced as toenail dirt.
This format is called "3.5 hectare" and it will not be made available until
it is outmoded, sometime early next week, by a format called "Elroy", so
*order yours now*.
                -- Dave Barry, "No Surrender in the Electronics Revolution"
The best rebuttal to this kind of statistical argument came from the
redoubtable John W. Campbell:

        The laws of population growth tell us that approximately half the
        people who were ever born in the history of the world are now
        dead.  There is therefore a 0.5 probability that this message is
        being read by a corpse.
The Commandments of the EE:

(1)        Beware of lightning that lurketh in an uncharged condenser
        lest it cause thee to bounce upon thy buttocks in a most
        embarrassing manner.
(2)        Cause thou the switch that supplieth large quantities of juice to
        be opened and thusly tagged, that thy days may be long in this
        earthly vale of tears.
(3)        Prove to thyself that all circuits that radiateth, and upon
        which the worketh, are grounded and thusly tagged lest they lift
        thee to a radio frequency potential and causeth thee to make like
        a radiator too.
(4)        Tarry thou not amongst these fools that engage in intentional
        shocks for they are not long for this world and are surely
The Commandments of the EE:

(5)        Take care that thou useth the proper method when thou takest the
        measures of high-voltage circuits too, that thou dost not incinerate
        both thee and thy test meter, for verily, though thou has no company
        property number and can be easily surveyed, the test meter has
        one and, as a consequence, bringeth much woe unto a purchasing agent.
(6)        Take care that thou tamperest not with interlocks and safety devices,
        for this incurreth the wrath of the chief electrician and bring
        the fury of the engineers on his head.
(7)        Work thou not on energized equipment for if thou doest so, thy
        friends will surely be buying beers for thy widow and consoling
        her in certain ways not generally acceptable to thee.
(8)        Verily, verily I say unto thee, never service equipment alone,
        for electrical cooking is a slow process and thou might sizzle in
        thy own fat upon a hot circuit for hours on end before thy maker
        sees fit to end thy misery and drag thee into his fold.
The feeling persists that no one can simultaneously be a respectable writer
and understand how a refrigerator works, just as no gentleman wears a brown
suit in the city.  Colleges may be to blame.  English majors are encouraged,
I know, to hate chemistry and physics, and to be proud because they are not
dull and creepy and humorless and war-oriented like the engineers across the
quad.  And our most impressive critics have commonly been such English majors,
and they are squeamish about technology to this very day.  So it is natural
for them to despise science fiction.
                -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr., "Science Fiction"
The Greatest Mathematical Error
        The Mariner I space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral on 28
July 1962 towards Venus.  After 13 minutes' flight a booster engine would
give acceleration up to 25,820 mph; after 44 minutes 9,800 solar cells
would unfold; after 80 days a computer would calculate the final course
corrections and after 100 days the craft would cirlce the unknown planet,
scanning the mysterious cloud in which it is bathed.  
        However, with an efficiency that is truly heartening, Mariner I
plunged into the Atlantic Ocean only four minutes after takeoff.
        Inquiries later revealed that a minus sign had been omitted from
the instructions fed into the computer.  "It was human error", a launch
spokesman said.
        This minus sign cost L4,280,000.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
The only justification for our concepts and systems of concepts is that they
serve to represent the complex of our experiences; beyond this they have
no legitimacy.
                -- Albert Einstein
The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for
the reader.
The startling truth finally became apparent, and it was this: Numbers
written on restaurant checks within the confines of restaurants do not
follow the same mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces
of paper in any other parts of the Universe.  This single statement took
the scientific world by storm.  So many mathematical conferences got held
in such good restaurants that many of the finest minds of a generation
died of obesity and heart failure, and the science of mathematics was put
back by years.
                -- Douglas Adams
The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed from available
data.  Our authority is Isaiah 30:26, "Moreover, the light of the Moon
shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold,
as the light of seven days."  Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much
radiation as we do from the Sun, and in addition seven times seven (49) times
as much as the Earth does from the Sun, or fifty times in all.  The light we
receive from the Moon is one ten-thousandth of the light we receive from the
Sun, so we can ignore that.  With these data we can compute the temperature
of Heaven.  The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the point where
the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation,
i.e., Heaven loses fifty times as much heat as the Earth by radiation.  Using
the Stefan-Boltzmann law for radiation, (H/E)^4 = 50, where E is the absolute
temperature of the earth (~300K), gives H as 798K (525C).  The exact
temperature of Hell cannot be computed, but it must be less than 444.6C, the
temperature at which brimstone or sulphur changes from a liquid to a gas.
Revelations 21:8 says "But the fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their
part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."  A lake of molten
brimstone means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point,
or 444.6C  (Above this point it would be a vapor, not a lake.)  We have,
then, that Heaven, at 525C is hotter than Hell at 445C.
                -- "Applied Optics", vol. 11, A14, 1972
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what
the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be
replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.  There is another
theory which states that this has already happened.
                -- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been
originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet
has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a
beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are
being, evolved.
                -- Darwin
        There was a mad scientist (a mad... social... scientist) who kidnapped
three colleagues, an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician, and locked
each of them in seperate cells with plenty of canned food and water but no
can opener.
        A month later, returning, the mad scientist went to the engineer's
cell and found it long empty.  The engineer had constructed a can opener from
pocket trash, used aluminum shavings and dried sugar to make an explosive,
and escaped.
        The physicist had worked out the angle necessary to knock the lids
off the tin cans by throwing them against the wall.  She was developing a good
pitching arm and a new quantum theory.
        The mathematician had stacked the unopened cans into a surprising
solution to the kissing problem; his dessicated corpse was propped calmly
against a wall, and this was inscribed on the floor:
        Theorem: If I can't open these cans, I'll die.
        Proof: assume the opposite...
This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough
This is not the age of pamphleteers. It is the age of the engineers.  The
spark-gap is mightier than the pen.  Democracy will not be salvaged by men
who talk fluently, debate forcefully and quote aptly.
                -- Lancelot Hogben, Science for the Citizen, 1938
This is the theory that Jack built.
This is the flaw that lay in the theory that Jack built.
This is the palpable verbal haze that hid the flaw that lay in...
This isn't true in practice -- what we've missed out is Stradivarius's
constant.  And then the aside: "For those of you who don't know, that's
been called by others the fiddle factor..."
                -- From a 1B Electrical Engineering lecture.
This place just isn't big enough for all of us.  We've got to find a way
off this planet.
This universe shipped by weight, not by volume.  Some expansion of the
contents may have occurred during shipment.
This was a Golden Age, a time of high adventure, rich living, and hard
dying... but nobody thought so.  This was a future of fortune and theft,
pillage and rapine, culture and vice... but nobody admitted it.
                -- Alfred Bester, "The Stars My Destination"
TIRED of calculating components of vectors?  Displacements along direction of
force getting you down?  Well, now there's help.  Try amazing "Dot-Product",
the fast, easy way many professionals have used for years and is now available
to YOU through this special offer.  Three out of five engineering consultants
recommend "Dot-Product" for their clients who use vector products.  Mr.
Gumbinowitz, mechanical engineer, in a hidden-camera interview...
        "Dot-Product really works!  Calculating Z-axis force components has
        never been easier."
Yes, you too can take advantage of the amazing properties of Dot-Product.  Use
it to calculate forces, velocities, displacements, and virtually any vector
components.  How much would you pay for it?  But wait, it also calculates the
work done in Joules, Ergs, and, yes, even BTU's.  Divide Dot-Product by the
magnitude of the vectors and it becomes an instant angle calculator!  Now, how
much would you pay?  All this can be yours for the low, low price of $19.95!!
But that's not all!  If you order before midnight, you'll also get "Famous
Numbers of Famous People" as a bonus gift, absolutely free!  Yes, you'll get
Avogadro's number, Planck's, Euler's, Boltzmann's, and many, many, more!!
Call 1-800-DOT-6000.  Operators are standing by.  That number again...
1-800-DOT-6000.  Supplies are limited, so act now.  This offer is not
available through stores and is void where prohibited by law.
Two men are in a hot-air balloon.  Soon, they find themselves lost in a
canyon somewhere.  One of the three men says, "I've got an idea.  We can
call for help in this canyon and the echo will carry our voices to the
end of the canyon.  Someone's bound to hear us by then!"
        So he leans over the basket and screams out, "Helllloooooo!  Where
are we?"  (They hear the echo several times).
        Fifteen minutes later, they hear this echoing voice: "Helllloooooo!
You're lost!"
        The shouter comments, "That must have been a mathematician."
        Puzzled, his friend asks, "Why do you say that?"
        "For three reasons.  First, he took a long time to answer, second,
he was absolutely correct, and, third, his answer was absolutely useless."
We are sorry.  We cannot complete your call as dialed.  Please check
the number and dial again or ask your operator for assistance.

This is a recording.
We dedicate this book to our fellow citizens who, for love of truth, take from
their own wants by taxes and gifts, and now and then send forth one of
themselves as dedicated servant, to forward the search into the mysteries and
marvelous simplicities of this strange and beautiful Universe, Our home.
                -- "Gravitation", Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler
        While the engineer developed his thesis, the director leaned over to
his assistant and whispered, "Did you ever hear of why the sea is salt?"
        "Why the sea is salt?" whispered back the assistant.  "What do you
        The director continued: "When I was a little kid, I heard the story of
`Why the sea is salt' many times, but I never thought it important until just
a moment ago.  It's something like this: Formerly the sea was fresh water and
salt was rare and expensive.  A miller received from a wizard a wonderful
machine that just ground salt out of itself all day long.  At first the miller
thought himself the most fortunate man in the world, but soon all the villages
had salt to last them for centuries and still the machine kept on grinding
more salt.  The miller had to move out of his house, he had to move off his
acres.  At last he determined that he would sink the machine in the sea and
be rid of it.  But the mill ground so fast that boat and miller and machine
were sunk together, and down below, the mill still went on grinding and that's
why the sea is salt."
        "I don't get you," said the assistant.
                -- Guy Endore, "Men of Iron"
Why don't you fix your little problem... and light this candle?
                -- Alan Shepherd, the first man into space, Gemini program
"I've just come to this group and I don't know what it's all about.
I just feel it must be something really serious. Is it really ?"

        - H. J. Thomas on linux-activists
"I hope you will find the courage to keep on living
despite the existence of this feature."

        - Richard Stallman
"I suppose this is the Linus Torvalds version of Fermats Last Theorem :-)
(Leaving people wondering "why" for hundreds of years...)"

        - Timmy Thorn on kernel/sched.c:schedule()
"If we can't keep this sort of thing out of the kernel, we might as well
pack it up and go run Solaris."

        - Larry McVoy
"Since when has a dictator ever been benign?  I hear all this
libertarian garbage being spouted from the "linux community",
and then have people apparently celebrate the existance of a

        - Michael W. Zappe
"Think of it this way: threads are like salt, not like
pasta. You like salt, I like salt, we all like salt. But we
eat more pasta."

        - Larry McVoy
"THIS time it really is fixed. I mean, how many times can we
get it wrong? At some point, we just have to run out of really
bad ideas.."

        - Linus Torvalds"
"Thanks, and THIS time it really is fixed. I mean, how many times can we
get it wrong? At some point, we just have to run out of really bad ideas.."

        - Linus Torvalds
"Truncate - the never-ending story.  Makes me feel like a long
Kurosawa movie.  But in this one the hero _will_ survive, or my
name isn't Maxwell."

        - Linus Torvalds
"Yeah. Maybe we fixed truncate, and maybe we didn't. I've thought that we
fixed it now several times, and I was always wrong. Time for some reverse

I'm sure this one doesn't fix the truncate bug either.

        - Linus Torvalds
"And I'm right.  I'm always right, but in this case I'm just a bit more
right than I usually am."

        - Linus Torvalds
"This, btw, is not something I would suggest you do in your living room.
Getting a penguin to pee on demand is _messy_. We're talking yellow spots
on the walls, on the ceiling, yea verily even behind the fridge. However.
I would also advice against doing this outside - it may be a lot easier to
clean up, but you're likely to get reported and arrested for public
lewdness Never mind that you had a perfectly good explanation for it all."

         - Linus Torvalds on sprinkling holy penguin pee
"No bugs were harmed in the preparation of this patch.  
It's just me fartarsing around."

         - Andrew Morton
"You are welcome to your opinion. I've got this great bridge to sell you too."

        - Alan Cox to someone recommending the NVidia drivers
"Call me stupid [ Chorus: "You're stupid, Linus" ], but I actually compiled
and booted this remotely."

        - Linus
"I'll bet you $5 USD (and these days, that's about a gadzillion Euros) that
this explains it."

        - Linus
"Wichert> Why would anyone want to do this?

Probably because it's a completely stupid idea that serves no purpose

         - Jes Sorenson on moving copyright headers to footers
Unix has this thing called "directories", which make it possible
for you to have multiple files with the same name on your disk.

        - Rik van Riel explaining the concept of directories
        He's back. And this time he's got a chainsaw.

        - Al Viro announcing per-process namespaces on lkml
Steve Underwood wrote:
> Dave Miller wrote:
> > alterity wrote:
> > > Haven't seen a post for sometime from the usually prolific Mr Cox.
> > > What's the gossip?
> >
> > They needed some help from him to position Mir for it's
> > final descent.
> Strange. I thought his key skill was stopping things from crashing!

This crash was inevitable, he's just making sure the disks get

        - Dave Miller on linux-kernel
Bruno Avila wrote:
>        I can't find this anywhere. What is the version of the tools to
> compile linux kernel (../Historic)? And where can i find them?  

Well, first you have to find a good source of obsidean, a couple of sharp
rocks, and some flint...

        - Alan Olsen on linux-kernel
This is probably the first and last time I will openly agree for someone
to tell me were to go, and do it ;-).

        - Andre Hedrick on linux-kernel
David Wagner wrote:
> Is this a bad coding?

Yes. Not to mention side effects, it's just plain ugly. Anyone who invents
identifiers of _that_ level of ugliness should be forced to read them
aloud for a week or so, until somebody will shoot him out of mercy.
Out of curiosity: who was the author? It looks unusually nasty, even for

        - Al Viro on coding style
You don't get out much, do you :-)?  Lighten up a little, this
is supposed to be fun.......We could argue all day, but there was
lots of computer work done before PCI and PCs.  I'm more than old
enough to know, so just leave it at that.......

        - Dan Malek on the linuxppc-embedded list
The executive, Irving Wladawsky- Berger, an I.B.M. vice president, said,
"If we thought this was a trap, we wouldn't be doing it, and as you
know, we have a lot of lawyers."

        - from a New York Times article about Microsoft vs GPL licensing
<klak> I need some help, I upgraded my kernel and on a reboot I get this error
          message kmod: failed to exec /sbin/modprobe -s -k binfmt-464c, errno
          = 8 can anyone help?
<spinoli> from /usr/include/asm/errno.h
<spinoli> #define ENOEXEC          8      /* Exec format error */
<spinoli> not that that necessarily tells you much ;)

        - from #kernelnewbies
It should be a case of "Just plug in a new kernel, and suddenly your
existing filesystem just allows you to do more! 20% more for the same
price! AND we'll throw in this useful ginzu knife for just 4.95 for
shipping and handling. Absolutely free!"

        - Linus Torvalds on linux-kernel
Linus Torvalds wrote:
> It should be a case of "Just plug in a new kernel, and suddenly your
> existing filesystem just allows you to do more! 20% more for the same
> price! AND we'll throw in this useful ginzu knife for just 4.95 for  
> shipping and handling. Absolutely free!"

...Linus demonstrates why American culture is a bad influence on you.

        - Jeff Garzik on linux-kernel
(at this point the lecture turns into why APIs exist and should be used,
and it gets more boring from there...)

        - Jeff Garzik explaining the PCI API on linux-kernel
Let's _not_ bring that into this thread, OK?

        - Al Viro on linux-kernel
Hope this helps some, sorry for not being able to do a brain dump.

        - Mike Stump helping a clueless user on the gcc mailing list
If you _really_ feel this strongly about the bug, you could
either try to increase the number of hours a day for all of
us or you could talk to my boss about hiring me as a consultant
to fix the problem for you on an emergency basis :)

        - Rik van Riel explaining what to do against kernel bugs
> Not that the kernel list is the best place to bring this up, but NVIDIA
> would NOT be on that list.  They are by far one of the best companies out
> there providing support for their cards.  I bought my GF2 for exactly that
> reason too....

Sure. I spent much happy time telling people to report bugs to nvidia because
their closed drivers mean that only nvidia can debug all the crashes people
see with them loaded - at least some of which dont occur without the modules

        - Alan Cox on linux-kernel
<JALH> lxrbot, whereis olaf?
<lxrbot> olaf is Not used
* JALH runs
<Russ|werk> JALH: why
<Russ|werk> its not like you did something like this:
<Russ|werk> lxrbot, whereis lubrication
<lxrbot> lubrication is Not used
<JALH> muwhaha
<Russ|werk> would be time to run

        - abusing lxrbot on #kernelnewbies
Would you like to code up this, test it and send it to me?

Btw, good debugging!

                Linus "lazy is my middle name" Torvalds
Of course the writer of this is Polish and the drives are Hungarian ...

        - Alan Cox on hard disk problems
Q: I like to dynamically load buggy drivers into the kernel because that is
what kernel developers like me do for fun, how can I better avoid data
corruption when doing this and using ReiserFS?

A: Do sync before insmod.  (Alan Cox's good suggestion.)

        - Hans Reiser on linux-kernel
> Linus seems to be getting a little emotional in this discussion but swearing
> does not replace data.

Hey, I called people silly, not <censored>. You must have a very low
tolerance ;)

        - Linus Torvalds about offending people on the gcc mailing list
James Simmons wrote:
> Crap can work. Given enough thrust pigs will fly, but it's not necessary a
> good idea.                                 [ Alexander Viro on linux-kernel ]

Watch the attributions.

With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
However, this is not necessarily a good idea.
It is hard to be sure where they are going to land,
and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.
        From RFC1925, R Callon, 1996.

        - Al Viro on linux-kernel
Linus Torvalds wrote:
> Or are they just trying to strongarm the move to the horrid ACPI tables?

They are certainly involved in the latter but whether this is related  or
a seperate evil empire scheme is open to question

        - Alan Cox on linux-kernel
<Russ> I think the linux 2.4 VM is says, "warning, your memory
       is not optimized, click here to get memturbo". Is riel aware of
       this problem?

        - Russ Dill on #kernelnewbies
[ Hey, I can have long discussions by myself. I don't need you guys to
  answer me at all.

  This must be what senility feels like. Linus "doddering fool" Torvalds ]
Also, I've been getting a _lot_ of patches, and if yours didn't show up
it's because I got too many. Never fear, there's always tomorrow. Except
in this case it's "in a week or two".

        - Linus Torvalds announcing his holiday on linux-kernel
That reminds me, I have to add this config entry to kbuild.  

  Use Welsh

        - Keith Owens on linux-kernel
> Sorry, at this point we are not allowed to publish the source code of the
> lcs and qeth drivers (due to the use of confidential hardware interface
> specifications).  We make those modules available only in binary form
> on our developerWorks web site.
Gosh. I didn't know you guys were so advanced that you didn't use
an electronic hardware interface! Your 'hardware interface specifications'
use magnetohydrodynamics, and they are top-secret, right?

        - Richard B. Johnson on linux-kernel
Linus Torvalds wrote:
> How the h*ll did you happen to actually notice this?

Some combination of blind luck, curiosity, pride, and Obsessive
Compulsive Disorder...

        - John Byrne on linux-kernel
> That is reimplementing file system functionality in user space.
> I'm in doubts that this is considered good design...

Keeping things out of the kernel is good design. Your block indirections
are no different to other database formats. Perhaps you think we should
have fsql_operation() and libdb in kernel 8)

        - Alan Cox on linux-kernel
Now for the Sacrifices.

At this point, I'd like to sacrifice a Red Hat Linux 6.2 CD to Alan Cox.

I would also like to sacrifice Minix 1.3(?) installation diskettes to
Linus Torvalds.

I perform these sacrifices in the hope that enlightenment comes to me.

        - Nicholas Knight on linux-kernel
Eric Biederman wrote:
> That added to the fact that last time someone ran the numbers linux
> was considerably faster than the BSD for mm type operations when not
> swapping.  And this is the common case.

"Linux VM works wonderfully when nobody is using it"

        - Alan Cox on linux-kernel
> Can you explain this behaviour?


[Oh wait you want to know why...]

        - Alan Cox on linux-kernel
This is a BP6 FAQ.  Try increasing the voltage to your CPUs by .1V, or
by taking the BP6 and introducing it to a hammer.  Either should be an

        - Benjamian LaHaise not recommending the Abit BP6 motherboard on lkml
I guess thinking about the implications will come when
the Hurd people seriously start porting their beast to
other microkernels, say L4 ;)

This should be a spectacle worth watching (from a safe

        - Rik van Riel on linux-kernel
Chris Rumpf wrote:
> I would like to join this mailing list.

you want all of us to give you a call saying you're welcome ??

        - on linux-kernel
Tim Schmielau wrote:
> the appended patch enables 32 bit linux boxes to display more than
> 497.1 days of uptime. No user land application changes are needed.

Thank you for doing this labor of love -

I will let you know how it goes sometime
after March 23, 2003 -

        - J Sloan on linux-kernel
Microsoft likes to discard vulnerabilities by "no standard client
would do this."  No, and no "standard visitor" would apply a crowbar
to your patio door, either.

        - H. Peter Anvin on IE6 problems with linux servers
Alexander Viro wrote:
> Al, -><- close to setting up a Linux Kernel Hall of Shame - one with names of
> wankers (both individual and coprorat ones) responsible, their code and
> commentary on said code...

Please, please, please, I'm begging you, please do this.  It's the only way
people learn quickly.  Being nice is great, but nothing works faster than
a cold shower of public humiliation :-)

        - Larry McVoy on linux-kernel
Davide Libenzi wrote:
> It's not easy to get this right anyway.

Balancing the pull and push mechanisms in the scheduler while trying
to predict the future?  "Not easy" is an excellent description.

        - Rusty Russell on linux-kernel
A guy walks into a bar, orders a beer, carries it to the bathroom and dumps it
into a urinal.  Over the course of the next few hours, he goes back to the bar
and repeats this sequence -- several times.  Finally the bartender got so
curious that he leaned over the bar and asked him what he was doing.

Replied the customer, "Avoiding the middleman."
Coach: What's up, Norm?
Norm:  Corners of my mouth, Coach.
                -- Cheers, Fortune and Men's Weights

Coach:  What's shaking, Norm?
Norm:   All four cheeks and a couple of chins, Coach.
                -- Cheers, Snow Job

Coach:  Beer, Normie?
Norm:   Uh, Coach, I dunno, I had one this week.  Eh, why not, I'm still young.
                -- Cheers, Snow Job
Fortune finishes the great quotations, #17

        "This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
        May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet."
        Juliet, this bud's for you.
Look at it this way: Your daughter just named the fresh turkey you brought
home "Cuddles", so you're going out to buy a canned ham.  And you're still
drinking ordinary scotch?
Look at it this way: Your wife's spending $280 a month on meditation lessons to
forget $26,000 of college education. And you're still drinking ordinary scotch?
[Norm comes in with an attractive woman.]

Coach:  Normie, Normie, could this be Vera?
Norm:   With a lot of expensive surgery, maybe.
                -- Cheers, Norman's Conquest

Coach:  What's up, Normie?
Norm:   The temperature under my collar, Coach.
                -- Cheers, I'll Be Seeing You (Part 2)

Coach:  What would you say to a nice beer, Normie?
Norm:   Going down?
                -- Cheers, Diane Meets Mom
Police:        Good evening, are you the host?
Host:        No.
Police:        We've been getting complaints about this party.
Host:        About the drugs?
Police:        No.
Host:        About the guns, then?  Is somebody complaining about the guns?
Police:        No, the noise.
Host:        Oh, the noise.  Well that makes sense because there are no guns
        or drugs here.  (An enormous explosion is heard in the
        background.)  Or fireworks.  Who's complaining about the noise?
        The neighbors?
Police:        No, the neighbors fled inland hours ago.  Most of the recent
        complaints have come from Pittsburgh.  Do you think you could
        ask the host to quiet things down?
Host:        No Problem.  (At this point, a Volkswagon bug with primitive
        religious symbols drawn on the doors emerges from the living
        room and roars down the hall, past the police and onto the
        lawn, where it smashes into a tree.  Eight guests tumble out
        onto the grass, moaning.)  See?  Things are starting to wind
Woody: What's happening, Mr. Peterson?
Norm:  The question is, Woody, why is it happening to me?
                -- Cheers, Strange Bedfellows, Part 1

Woody: What's going down, Mr. Peterson?
Norm:  My cheeks on this barstool.
                -- Cheers, Strange Bedfellows, Part 2

Woody: Hey, Mr. Peterson, can I pour you a beer?
Norm:  Well, okay, Woody, but be sure to stop me at one. ...
       Eh, make that one-thirty.
                -- Cheers, Strange Bedfellows, Part 2
Please excuse me, I have to circuit an AC line through my head to get this database working.
Write-only-memory subsystem too slow for this machine. Contact your local dealer.
Only people with names beginning with 'A' are getting mail this week (a la Microsoft)
operation failed because: there is no message for this error (#1014)
"`This must be Thursday,' said Arthur to himself, sinking
low over his beer, `I never could get the hang of

- Arthur, on what was to be his last Thursday on Earth.
"`How do you feel?' he asked him.
`Like a military academy,' said Arthur, `bits of me keep
passing out.'" ....
`We're safe,' he said.
`Oh good,' said Arthur.
`We're in a small galley cabin,' said Ford, `in one of the
spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.'
`Ah,' said Arthur, `this is obviously some strange usage of
the word "safe" that I wasn't previously aware of.'

- Arthur after his first ever teleport ride.
"`You know,' said Arthur, `it's at times like this, when
I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse,
and about to die from asphyxiation in deep space that I
really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I
was young.'
`Why, what did she tell you?'
`I don't know, I didn't listen.'"

- Arthur coping with certain death as best as he could.
"`I think you ought to know that I'm feeling very
"`Life, don't talk to me about life.'"
"`Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to
take you down to the bridge. Call that "job satisfaction"?
'Cos I don't.'"
"`I've got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my
left side.'"

- Guess who.
"`Hey this is terrific!' Zaphod said. `Someone down there
is trying to kill us!'
`Terrific,' said Arthur.
`But don't you see what this means?'
`Yes. We are going to die.'
`Yes, but apart from that.'
`APART from that?'
`It means we must be on to something!'
`How soon can we get off it?'"

- Zaphod and Arthur in a certain death situation over
"And wow! Hey! What's this thing coming towards me very
fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a
big wide sounding word like... ow... ound... round...
ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?"

- For the sperm whale, it wasn't.
"`Er, hey Earthman...'
`Arthur,' said Arthur.
`Yeah, could you just sort of keep this robot with you and
guard this end of the passageway. OK?'
`Guard?' said Arthur. `What from? You just said there's no
one here.'
`Yeah, well, just for safety, OK?' said Zaphod.
`Whose? Yours or mine?'"

- Arthur drawing the short straw on Magrathea.
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a
lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad
move." - The Book just racapping what happened in the last
"`I am so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in
me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over
my pelvis.'"

- Zaphod being cool.
"`...and the Universe,' continued the waiter, determined
not to be deflected on his home stretch, `will explode
later for your pleasure.'
Ford's head swivelled slowly towards him. He spoke with
`Wow,' he said, `What sort of drinks do you serve in this
The waiter laughed a polite little waiter's laugh.
`Ah,' he said, `I think sir has perhaps misunderstood me.'
`Oh, I hope not,' breathed Ford."

- Ford in paradise.
"`Maybe somebody here tipped off the Galactic Police,' said
Trillian. `Everybody saw you come in.'
`You mean they want to arrest me over the phone?' said
Zaphod, `Could be. I'm a pretty dangerous dude when I'm
`Yeah,' said a voice from under the table [Ford's now
completely rat- arsed at this point], `you go to pieces so
fast people get hit by the shrapnel.'"

- Zaphod getting paranoid over a phone call.
BOOK        There is a theory which states that if ever anyone
        exactly what the Universe is for and why it is
here, it will
        instantly disappear and be replaced by something
even more
        bizarrely inexeplicable.
        There is another theory which states that this has
already happened.

- Introduction to Fit the Seventh.
FORD        Tell me Arthur...
ARTHUR        Yes?
FORD        This boulder we're stuck under, how big would you
say it was? Roughly?
ARTHUR        Oh, about the size of Coventry Cathedral.
FORD        Do you think we could move it? (Arthur doesn't
reply) Just asking.

- Ford and Arthur in a tricky situation, Fit the Eighth.
BOOK        What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in
the ground
        underneath a giant boulder you can't move, with no
hope of
        rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has
been good to
        you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good
to you so
        far, which given your current circumstances seems
more likely,
        consider how lucky you are that it won't be
troubling you much

- Comforting advice for Ford and Arthur in this current
situation, Fit the Eighth.
ZAPHOD        Hey, this rock...
FORD        Marble...
ZAPHOD        Marble...
FORD        Ice-covered marble...
ZAPHOD        Right... it's as slippery as... as... What's the
        thing you can think of?
FORD        At the moment? This marble.
ZAPHOD        Right. This marble is as slippery as this marble.

- Zaphod and Ford trying to get a grip on things in
Brontitall, Fit the Tenth.
ARTHUR        It probably seems a terrible thing to say, but you
know what I
        sometimes think would be useful in these situations?
LINT.        What?
ARTHUR        A gun of some sort.
LINT.2        Will this help?
ARTHUR        What is it?
LINT.2        A gun of some sort.
ARTHUR        Oh, that'll help. Can you make it fire?
LINT.        Er...
LINT.        Yes.

- Arthur and the Lintillas gaining the upper hand, Fit the
"His eyes seemed to be popping out of his head. He wasn't
certain if this was because they were trying to see more
clearly, or if they simply wanted to leave at this point."

- Arthur trying to see who had diverted him from going to
a party.
"`...we might as well start with where your hand is now.'
Arthur said, `So which way do I go?'
`Down,' said Fenchurch, `on this occaision.'
He moved his hand.
`Down,' she said, `is in fact the other way.'
`Oh yes.'"

- Arthur trying to discover which part of Fenchurch is
"There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily
escaped the chronicler's mind."

- This line perhaps best sums up the whole book.
"Ah, " said Arthur, "this is obviously some strange usage
of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of. "
"Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that
anything so mindboggingly useful could have evolved purely
by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the
final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
"The argument goes something like this: `I refuse to prove
that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and
without faith I am nothing.'
"`But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't
it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you
exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't.
"Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz smiled very slowly. This was done
not so much for effect as because he was trying to remember
the sequence of muscle movements. "
"The suit into which the man's body had been stuffed looked
as if it's only purpose in life was to demonstrate how
difficult it was to get this sort of body into a suit. "
"What are you talking about? "
"Never mind, eat the fruit. "
"You know, this place almost looks like the Garden of Eden.
"Eat the fruit. "
"Sounds quite like it too. "
"It was real. At least, if it wasn't real, it did support
them, and as that is what sofas are supposed to do, this,
by any test that mattered, was a real sofa. "
Arthur said, "So which way do I go? "
"Down, " said Fenchurch, "on this occasion. "
He moved his hand.
"Down, " she said, "is in fact the other way. "
"Oh yes. "
"You're one hundred percent positive that the ship which is
crashed on the bottom of this ocean is the ship which you
said you were one hundred percent positive could one
hundred percent positively never crash? "
All generalizations are false, including this one.
                -- Mark Twain
Always do right.  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
                -- Mark Twain
April 1

This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three
hundred and sixty-four.
                -- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"
Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not
advice, it is merely custom.
                -- Mark Twain
His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god.  He preferred
to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam.  He never
claimed to be a god.  But then, he never claimed not to be a god.  Circum-
stances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit.
Silence, though, could.  It was in the days of the rains that their prayers
went up, not from the fingering of knotted prayer cords or the spinning of
prayer wheels, but from the great pray-machine in the monastery of Ratri,
goddess of the Night.  The high-frequency prayers were directed upward through
the atmosphere and out beyond it, passing into that golden cloud called the
Bridge of the Gods, which circles the entire world, is seen as a bronze
rainbow at night and is the place where the red sun becomes orange at midday.
Some of the monks doubted the orthodoxy of this prayer technique...
                -- Roger Zelazny, "Lord of Light"
I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  I
will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.  The Spirits of all
Three shall strive within me.  I will not shut out the lessons that they
teach.  Oh, tell me that I may sponge away the writing on this stone!
                -- Charles Dickens
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you.
This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
                -- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"
In the first place, God made idiots; this was for practice; then he made
school boards.
                -- Mark Twain
It is by the fortune of God that, in this country, we have three benefits:
freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and the wisdom never to use either.
                -- Mark Twain

This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in.

The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June,
December, August, and February.

                -- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"
Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted;
persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting
to find a plot in it will be shot.  By Order of the Author
                -- Mark Twain, "Tom Sawyer"
Sheriff Chameleotoptor sighed with an air of weary sadness, and then
turned to Doppelgutt and said 'The Senator must really have been on a
bender this time -- he left a party in Cleveland, Ohio, at 11:30 last
night, and they found his car this morning in the smokestack of a British
aircraft carrier in the Formosa Straits.'
                -- Grand Panjandrum's Special Award, 1985 Bulwer-Lytton
                   bad fiction contest.
"Speak, thou vast and venerable head," muttered Ahab, "which, though
ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak,
mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee.  Of all divers,
thou has dived the deepest.  That head upon which the upper sun now gleams has
moved amid the world's foundations.  Where unrecorded names and navies rust,
and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate
earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful
water-land, there was thy most familiar home.  Thou hast been where bell or
diver never went; has slept by many a sailer's side, where sleepless mothers
would give their lives to lay them down.  Thou saw'st the locked lovers when
leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting
wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them.  Thou saw'st the
murdered mate when tossed by pirates from the midnight deck; for hours he fell
into the deeper midnight of the insatiate maw; and his murderers still sailed
on unharmed -- while swift lightnings shivered the neighboring ship that would
have borne a righteous husband to outstretched, longing arms.  O head! thou has
seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one
syllable is thine!"
                -- H. Melville, "Moby Dick"
Steady movement is more important than speed, much of the time.  So long
as there is a regular progression of stimuli to get your mental hooks
into, there is room for lateral movement.  Once this begins, its rate is
a matter of discretion.
                -- Corwin, Prince of Amber
The Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest is held ever year at San Jose State
Univ.  by Professor Scott Rice.  It is held in memory of Edward George
Earle Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), a rather prolific and popular (in his
time) novelist.  He is best known today for having written "The Last
Days of Pompeii."

Whenever Snoopy starts typing his novel from the top of his doghouse,
beginning "It was a dark and stormy night..." he is borrowing from Lord
Bulwer-Lytton.  This was the line that opened his novel, "Paul Clifford,"
written in 1830.  The full line reveals why it is so bad:

        It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents -- except
        at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of
        wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene
        lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty
        flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
The camel died quite suddenly on the second day, and Selena fretted
sullenly and, buffing her already impeccable nails -- not for the first
time since the journey begain -- pondered snidely if this would dissolve
into a vignette of minor inconveniences like all the other holidays spent
with Basil.
                -- Winning sentence, 1983 Bulwer-Lytton bad fiction contest.
The Least Perceptive Literary Critic
        The most important critic in our field of study is Lord Halifax.  A
most individual judge of poetry, he once invited Alexander Pope round to
give a public reading of his latest poem.
        Pope, the leading poet of his day, was greatly surprised when Lord
Halifax stopped him four or five times and said, "I beg your pardon, Mr.
Pope, but there is something in that passage that does not quite please me."
        Pope was rendered speechless, as this fine critic suggested sizeable
and unwise emendations to his latest masterpiece.  "Be so good as to mark
the place and consider at your leisure.  I'm sure you can give it a better
        After the reading, a good friend of Lord Halifax, a certain Dr.
Garth, took the stunned Pope to one side.  "There is no need to touch the
lines," he said.  "All you need do is leave them just as they are, call on
Lord Halifax two or three months hence, thank him for his kind observation
on those passages, and then read them to him as altered.  I have known him
much longer than you have, and will be answerable for the event."
        Pope took his advice, called on Lord Halifax and read the poem
exactly as it was before.  His unique critical faculties had lost none of
their edge.  "Ay", he commented, "now they are perfectly right.  Nothing can
be better."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
        "...The name of the song is called 'Haddocks' Eyes'!"
        "Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?" Alice said, trying to
feel interested.
        "No, you don't understand," the Knight said, looking a little
vexed.  "That's what the name is called.  The name really is, 'The Aged
Aged Man.'"
        "Then I ought to have said "That's what the song is called'?"
Alice corrected herself.
        "No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing!  The song is
called 'Ways and Means':  but that's only what it is called you know!"
        "Well, what is the song then?" said Alice, who was by this
time completely bewildered.
        "I was coming to that," the Knight said.  "The song really is
"A-sitting on a Gate": and the tune's my own invention."
                --Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking Glass"
This is the first age that's paid much attention to the future, which is a
little ironic since we may not have one.
                -- Arthur Clarke
This night methinks is but the daylight sick.
                -- William Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice"
This was the most unkindest cut of all.
                -- William Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"
Well, anyway, I was reading this James Bond book, and right away I realized
that like most books, it had too many words.  The plot was the same one that
all James Bond books have: An evil person tries to blow up the world, but
James Bond kills him and his henchmen and makes love to several attractive
women.  There, that's it: 24 words.  But the guy who wrote the book took
*thousands* of words to say it.
        Or consider "The Brothers Karamazov", by the famous Russian alcoholic
Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  It's about these two brothers who kill their father.
Or maybe only one of them kills the father.  It's impossible to tell because
what they mostly do is talk for nearly a thousand pages.  If all Russians talk
as much as the Karamazovs did, I don't see how they found time to become a
major world power.
        I'm told that Dostoyevsky wrote "The Brothers Karamazov" to raise
the question of whether there is a God.  So why didn't he just come right
out and say: "Is there a God? It sure beats the heck out of me."
        Other famous works could easily have been summarized in a few words:

* "Moby Dick" -- Don't mess around with large whales because they symbolize
  nature and will kill you.
* "A Tale of Two Cities" -- French people are crazy.
                -- Dave Barry
When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened
or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I
cannot remember any but the things that never happened.  It is sad to
go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.
                -- Mark Twain
"I understand this is your first dead client," Sabian was saying.  The
absurdity of the statement made me want to laugh but they don't call me
Deadpan Allie and lie.
                -- Pat Cadigan, "Mindplayers"
"What's this?  Trix?  Aunt!  Trix?  You?  You're after the prize!  What
is it?"  He picked up the box and studied the back.  "A glow-in-the-dark
squid!  Have you got it out of there yet?"  He tilted the box, angling the
little colored balls of cereal so as to see the bottom, and nearly spilling
them onto the table top.  "Here it is!"  He hauled out a little cream-colored,
glitter-sprinkled squid, three-inches long and made out of rubbery plastic.
                -- James P. Blaylock, "The Last Coin"
"Good afternoon, madam.  How may I help you?"

"Good afternoon.  I'd like a FrintArms HandCannon, please."

"A--?  Oh, now, that's an awfully big gun for such a lovely lady.  I
mean, not everybody thinks ladies should carry guns at all, though I
say they have a right to.  But I think... I might... Let's have a look
down here.  I might have just the thing for you.  Yes, here we are!
Look at that, isn't it neat?  Now that is a FrintArms product as well,
but it's what's called a laser -- a light-pistol some people call
them.  Very small, as you see; fits easily into a pocket or bag; won't
spoil the line of a jacket; and you won't feel you're lugging half a
tonne of iron around with you.  We do a range of matching accessories,
including -- if I may say so -- a rather saucy garter holster.  Wish I
got to do the fitting for that!  Ha -- just my little joke.  And
there's *even*... here we are -- this special presentation pack: gun,
charged battery, charging unit, beautiful glider-hide shoulder holster
with adjustable fitting and contrast stitching, and a discount on your
next battery.  Full instructions, of course, and a voucher for free
lessons at your local gun club or range.  Or there's the *special*
presentation pack; it has all the other one's got but with *two*
charged batteries and a night-sight, too.  Here, feel that -- don't
worry, it's a dummy battery -- isn't it neat?  Feel how light it is?
Smooth, see?  No bits to stick out and catch on your clothes, *and*
beautifully balanced.  And of course the beauty of a laser is, there's
no recoil.  Because it's shooting light, you see?  Beautiful gun,
beautiful gun; my wife has one.  Really.  That's not a line, she
really has.  Now, I can do you that one -- with a battery and a free
charge -- for ninety-five; or the presentation pack on a special
offer for one-nineteen; or this, the special presentation pack, for

"I'll take the special."

"Sound choice, madam, *sound* choice.  Now, do--?"

"And a HandCannon, with the eighty-mill silencer, five GP clips, three
six-five AP/wire-fl'echettes clips, two bipropellant HE clips, and a
Special Projectile Pack if you have one -- the one with the embedding
rounds, not the signalers.  I assume the night-sight on this toy is

"Aah... yes,  And how does madam wish to pay?"

She slapped her credit card on the counter.  "Eventually."

          -- Iain M. Banks, "Against a Dark Background"
Fortune presents:

^Cu tiu loko estas okupita?                Is this seat taken?
^Cu vi ofte venas ^ci-tien?                Do you come here often?
^Cu mi povas havi via telelonnumeron?        May I have your phone number?
Mi estas komputilisto.                        I work with computers.
Mi legas multe da scienca fikcio.        I read a lot of science fiction.
^Cu necesas ke vi eliras?                Do you really have to be going?
Gay shlafen:  Yiddish for "go to sleep".

Now doesn't "gay shlafen" have a softer, more soothing sound than the
harsh, staccato "go to sleep"?  Listen to the difference:
        "Go to sleep, you little wretch!" ... "Gay shlafen, darling."
Obvious, isn't it?
        Clearly the best thing you can do for you children is to start
speaking Yiddish right now and never speak another word of English as
long as you live.  This will, of course, entail teaching Yiddish to all
your friends, business associates, the people at the supermarket, and
so on, but that's just the point.  It has to start with committed
individuals and then grow....
        Some minor adjustments will have to be made, of course: those
signs written in what look like Yiddish letters won't be funny when
everything is written in Yiddish.  And we'll have to start driving on
the left side of the road so we won't be reading the street signs
backwards.  But is that too high a price to pay for world peace?
I think not, my friend, I think not.
                -- Arthur Naiman, "Every Goy's Guide to Yiddish"
"God gives burdens; also shoulders"

Jimmy Carter cited this Jewish saying in his concession speech at the
end of the 1980 election.  At least he said it was a Jewish saying; I
can't find it anywhere.  I'm sure he's telling the truth though; why
would he lie about a thing like that?
                -- Arthur Naiman, "Every Goy's Guide to Yiddish"
        Here is the fact of the week, maybe even the fact of the month.
According to probably reliable sources, the Coca-Cola people are experiencing
severe marketing anxiety in China.
        The words "Coca-Cola" translate into Chinese as either (depending
on the inflection) "wax-fattened mare" or "bite the wax tadpole".
        Bite the wax tadpole.
        There is a sort of rough justice, is there not?
        The trouble with this fact, as lovely as it is, is that it's hard
to get a whole column out of it. I'd like to teach the world to bite a wax
tadpole.  Coke -- it's the real wax-fattened mare.  Not bad, but broad
satiric vistas do not open up.
                -- John Carrol, The San Francisco Chronicle
Historians have now definitely established that Juan Cabrillo, discoverer
of California, was not looking for Kansas, thus setting a precedent that
continues to this day.
                -- Wayne Shannon
I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of
pre-Adamite ancestral descent.  You will understand this when I tell you
that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic
globule.  Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable.  I
can't help it.  I was born sneering.
                -- Pooh-Bah, "The Mikado"
If all the Chinese simultaneously jumped into the Pacific off a 10 foot
platform erected 10 feet off their coast, it would cause a tidal wave
that would destroy everything in this country west of Nebraska.
On the night before her family moved from Kansas to California, the little
girl knelt by her bed to say her prayers.  "God bless Mommy and Daddy and
Keith and Kim," she said.  As she began to get up, she quickly added, "Oh,
and God, this is goodbye.  We're moving to Hollywood."
One of the rules of Busmanship, New York style, is never surrender your
seat to another passenger.  This may seem callous, but it is the best
way, really.  If one passenger were to give a seat to someone who fainted
in the aisle, say, the others on the bus would become disoriented and
imagine they were in Topeka Kansas.
        Some 1500 miles west of the Big Apple we find the Minneapple, a
haven of tranquility in troubled times.  It's a good town, a civilized town.
A town where they still know how to get your shirts back by Thursday.  Let
the Big Apple have the feats of "Broadway Joe" Namath.  We have known the
stolid but steady Killebrew.  Listening to Cole Porter over a dry martini
may well suit those unlucky enough never to have heard the Whoopee John Polka
Band and never to have shared a pitcher of 3.2 Grain Belt Beer.  The loss is
theirs.  And the Big Apple has yet to bake the bagel that can match peanut
butter on lefse.  Here is a town where the major urban problem is dutch elm
disease and the number one crime is overtime parking.  We boast more theater
per capita than the Big Apple.  We go to see, not to be seen.  We go even
when we must shovel ten inches of snow from the driveway to get there.  Indeed
the winters are fierce.  But then comes the marvel of the Minneapple summer.
People flock to the city's lakes to frolic and rejoice at the sight of so
much happy humanity free from the bonds of the traditional down-filled parka.
Here's to the Minneapple.  And to its people.  Our flair for style is balanced
by a healthy respect for wind chill factors.
        And we always, always eat our vegetables.
        This is the Minneapple.
The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury.  Due north of the
center we find the South End.  This is not to be confused with South
Boston which lies directly east from the South End.  North of the South
End is East Boston and southwest of East Boston is the North End.
        There once was this swami who lived above a delicatessan.  Seems one
day he decided to stop in downstairs for some fresh liver.  Well, the owner
of the deli was a bit of a cheap-skate, and decided to pick up a little extra
change at his customer's expense.  Turning quietly to the counterman, he
whispered, "Weigh down upon the swami's liver!"
There was this New Yorker that had a lifelong ambition to be an Texan.
Fortunately, he had an Texan friend and went to him for advice.  "Mike,
you know I've always wanted to be a Texan.  You're a *____real* Texan, what
should I do?"
        "Well," answered Mike, "The first thing you've got to do is look
like a Texan.  That means you have to dress right.  The second thing
you've got to do is speak in a southern drawl."
        "Thanks, Mike, I'll give it a try," replied the New Yorker.
        A few weeks passed and the New Yorker saunters into a store dressed
in a ten-gallon hat, cowboy boots, Levi jeans and a bandanna.  "Hey, there,
pardner, I'd like some beef, not too rare, and some of them fresh biscuits,"
he tells the counterman.
        The guy behind the counter takes a long look at him and then says,
"You must be from New York."
        The New Yorker blushes, and says, "Well, yes, I am.  How did
you know?"
        "Because this is a hardware store."
Three Midwesterners, a Kansan, a Missourian and an Iowan,
all appearing on a quiz program, were asked to complete this sentence:
"Old MacDonald had a . . ."

        "Old MacDonald had a carburetor," answered the Kansan.
        "Sorry, that's wrong," the game show host said.
        "Old MacDonald had a free brake alignment down at the
                service station," said the Missourian.
        "Old MacDonald had a farm," said the Iowan.
        "CORRECT!" shouts the quizmaster.  "Now for $100,000, spell 'farm.'"
        "Easy," said the Iowan. "E-I-E-I-O."
To be happy one must be a) well fed, unhounded by sordid cares, at ease in
Zion, b) full of a comfortable feeling of superiority to the masses of one's
fellow men, and c) delicately and unceasingly amused according to one's taste.
It is my contention that, if this definition be accepted, there is no country
in the world wherein a man constituted as I am -- a man of my peculiar
weaknesses, vanities, appetites, and aversions -- can be so happy as he can
be in the United States.  Going further, I lay down the doctrine that it is
a sheer physical impossibility for such a man to live in the United States
and not be happy.
                -- H.L. Mencken, "On Being An American"
Traveling through New England, a motorist stopped for gas in a tiny village.
"What's this place called?" he asked the station attendant.
        "All depends," the native drawled.  "Do you mean by them that has
to live in this dad-blamed, moth-eaten, dust-covered, one-hoss dump, or
by them that's merely enjoying its quaint and picturesque rustic charms
for a short spell?"
When I first arrived in this country I had only fifteen cents in my pocket
and a willingness to compromise.
                -- Weber cartoon caption
When I saw a sign on the freeway that said, "Los Angeles 445 miles," I said
to myself, "I've got to get out of this lane."
                -- Franklyn Ajaye
Yes, I've now got this nice little apartment in New York, one of those
L-shaped ones.  Unfortunately, it's a lower case l.
                -- Rita Rudner
A mother mouse was taking her large brood for a stroll across the kitchen
floor one day when the local cat, by a feat of stealth unusual even for
its species, managed to trap them in a corner.  The children cowered,
terrified by this fearsome beast, plaintively crying, "Help, Mother!
Save us!  Save us!  We're scared, Mother!"
        Mother Mouse, with the hopeless valor of a parent protecting its
children, turned with her teeth bared to the cat, towering huge above them,
and suddenly began to bark in a fashion that would have done any Doberman
proud.  The startled cat fled in fear for its life.
        As her grateful offspring flocked around her shouting "Oh, Mother,
you saved us!" and "Yay!  You scared the cat away!" she turned to them
purposefully and declared, "You see how useful it is to know a second
        This study examined the incidence of neckwear tightness among a group
of 94 white-collar working men and the effect of a tight business-shirt collar
and tie on the visual performance of 22 male subjects.  Of the white-collar
men measured, 67% were found to be wearing neckwear that was tighter than
their neck circumference.  The visual discrimination of the 22 subjects was
evaluated using a critical flicker frequency (CFF) test.  Results of the CFF
test indicated that tight neckwear significantly decreased the visual
performance of the subjects and that visual performance did not improve
immediately when tight neckwear was removed.
                -- Langan, L.M. and Watkins, S.M. "Pressure of Menswear on the
                   Neck in Relation to Visual Performance."  Human Factors 29,
                   #1 (Feb. 1987), pp. 67-71.
Dear Miss Manners:
        My home economics teacher says that one must never place one's
elbows on the table.  However, I have read that one elbow, in between
courses, is all right.  Which is correct?

Gentle Reader:
        For the purpose of answering examinations in your home economics
class, your teacher is correct.  Catching on to this principle of
education may be of even greater importance to you now than learning
correct current table manners, vital as Miss Manners believes that is.
Engineering:    "How will this work?"
Science:        "Why will this work?"
Management:     "When will this work?"
Liberal Arts:   "Do you want fries with that?"
Fourteen years in the professor dodge has taught me that one can argue
ingeniously on behalf of any theory, applied to any piece of literature.
This is rarely harmful, because normally no-one reads such essays.
                -- Robert Parker, quoted in "Murder Ink",  ed. D. Wynn
"I am not sure what this is, but an `F' would only dignify it."
                -- English Professor
I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone
has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.
                -- Professor Lowd, English, Ohio University
I appreciate the fact that this draft was done in haste, but some of the
sentences that you are sending out in the world to do your work for you are
loitering in taverns or asleep beside the highway.
                -- Dr. Dwight Van de Vate, Professor of Philosophy,
                   University of Tennessee at Knoxville
I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to
make it shorter.
                -- Blaise Pascal
"I'm returning this note to you, instead of your paper, because it (your paper)
presently occupies the bottom of my bird cage."
                -- English Professor, Providence College
If the colleges were better, if they really had it, you would need to get
the police at the gates to keep order in the inrushing multitude.  See in
college how we thwart the natural love of learning by leaving the natural
method of teaching what each wishes to learn, and insisting that you shall
learn what you have no taste or capacity for.  The college, which should
be a place of delightful labor, is made odious and unhealthy, and the
young men are tempted to frivolous amusements to rally their jaded spirits.
I would have the studies elective.  Scholarship is to be created not
by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge.  The wise
instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the
attractions the study has for himself.  The marking is a system for schools,
not for the college; for boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to
put on a professor.
                -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you can't read this, blame a teacher.
It has long been an article of our folklore that too much knowledge or skill,
or especially consummate expertise, is a bad thing.  It dehumanizes those who
achieve it, and makes difficult their commerce with just plain folks, in whom
good old common sense has not been obliterated by mere book learning or fancy
notions.  This popular delusion flourishes now more than ever, for we are all
infected with it in the schools, where educationists have elevated it from
folklore to Article of Belief.  It enhances their self-esteem and lightens
their labors by providing theoretical justification for deciding that
appreciation, or even simple awareness, is more to be prized than knowledge,
and relating (to self and others), more than skill, in which minimum
competence will be quite enough.
                -- The Underground Grammarian
                        It's grad exam time...
        Inside your desk you'll find a listing of the DEC/VMS operating
system in IBM 1710 machine code. Show what changes are necessary to convert
this code into a UNIX Berkeley 7 operating system.  Prove that these fixes are
bug free and run correctly. You should gain at least 150% efficiency in the
new system.  (You should take no more than 10 minutes on this question.)

        If X equals PI times R^2, construct a formula showing how long
it would take a fire ant to drill a hole through a dill pickle, if the
length-girth ratio of the ant to the pickle were 98.17:1.

Describe the Universe.  Give three examples.
                        It's grad exam time...
        You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a
bottle of Scotch.  Remove your appendix.  Do not suture until your work has
been inspected.  (You have 15 minutes.)

        Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present
day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political,
economic, religious and philisophical impact upon Europe, Asia, America, and
Africa.  Be brief, concise, and specific.

        Create life.  Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture
if this form of life had been created 500 million years ago or earlier, with
special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system.
Not only is this incomprehensible, but the ink is ugly and the paper
is from the wrong kind of tree.
                -- Professor, EECS, George Washington University

I'm looking forward to working with you on this next year.
                -- Professor, Harvard, on a  senior thesis.
                `O' LEVEL COUNTER CULTURE
Timewarp allowed: 3 hours.  Do not scrawl situationalist graffiti in the
margins or stub your rollups in the inkwells.  Orange may be worn.  Credit
will be given to candidates who self-actualise.

        (1) Compare and contrast Pink Floyd with Black Sabbath and say why
            neither has street credibility.
        (2) "Even Buddha would have been hard pushed to reach Nirvana squatting
            on a juggernaut route."  Consider the dialectic of inner truth
            and inner city.
        (3) Discuss degree of hassle involved in paranoia about being sucked
            into a black hole.
        (4) "The Egomaniac's Liberation Front were a bunch of revisionist
            ripoff merchants."  Comment on this insult.
        (5) Account for the lack of references to brown rice in Dylan's lyrics.
        (6) "Castenada was a bit of a bozo."  How far is this a fair summing
            up of western dualism?
        (7) Hermann Hesse was a Pisces.  Discuss.
Professor Gorden Newell threw another shutout in last week's Chem Eng. 130
midterm.  Once again a student did not receive a single point on his exam.
Newell has now tossed 5 shutouts this quarter.  Newell's earned exam average
has now dropped to a phenomenal 30%.
The 'A' is for content, the 'minus' is for not typing it.  Don't ever do
this to my eyes again.
                -- Professor Ronald Brady, Philosophy, Ramapo State College
The end of the world will occur at three p.m., this Friday, with
symposium to follow.
The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn.
                -- Earl Warren

That men do not learn very much from history is the most important of all
the lessons that history has to teach.
                -- Aldous Huxley

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.
                -- Georg Hegel

HISTORY:  Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we learn
nothing from history.  I know people who can't even learn from what happened
this morning.  Hegel must have been taking the long view.
                -- Chad C. Mulligan, "The Hipcrime Vocab"
This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.
                -- Winston Churchill
Try not to have a good time ... This is supposed to be educational.
                -- Charles Schulz
        "We're running out of adjectives to describe our situation.  We
had crisis, then we went into chaos, and now what do we call this?" said
Nicaraguan economist Francisco Mayorga, who holds a doctorate from Yale.
                -- The Washington Post, February, 1988

The New Yorker's comment:
        At Harvard they'd call it a noun.
A putt that stops close enough to the cup to inspire such comments as
"you could blow it in" may be blown in.  This rule does not apply if
the ball is more than three inches from the hole, because no one wants
to make a travesty of the game.
                -- Donald A. Metz
Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley's Lover has just been
reissued by the Grove Press, and this pictorial account of the
day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is full of considerable
interest to outdoor minded readers, as it contains many passages on
pheasant-raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin,
and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper.
Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous
material in order to discover and savour those sidelights on the
management of a midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer's opinion
the book cannot take the place of J. R. Miller's "Practical Gamekeeping."
                -- Ed Zern, "Field and Stream" (Nov. 1959)
        (heard in Rutledge, Missouri, about eighteen years ago)

Now, this dog is for sale, and she can not only follow a trail twice as
old as the average dog can, but she's got a pretty good memory to boot.
For instance, last week this old boy who lives down the road from me, and
is forever stinkmouthing my hounds, brought some city fellow around to
try out ol' Sis here.  So I turned her out south of the house and she made
two or three big swings back and forth across the edge of the woods, set
back her head, bayed a couple of times, cut straight through the woods,
come to a little clearing, jumped about three foot straight up in the air,
run to the other side, and commenced to letting out a racket like she had
something treed.  We went over there with our flashlights and shone them
up in the tree but couldn't catch no shine offa coon's eyes, and my
neighbor sorta indicated that ol' Sis might be a little crazy, `cause she
stood right to the tree and kept singing up into it.  So I pulled off my
coat and climbed up into the branches, and sure enough, there was a coon
skeleton wedged in between a couple of branches about twenty foot up.
Now as I was saying, she can follow a pretty old trail, but this fellow
was still calling her crazy or touched `cause she had hopped up in the
air while she was crossing the clearing, until I reminded him that the
Hawkins' had a fence across there about five years back.  Now, this dog
is for sale.
                -- News that stayed News: Ten Years of Coevolution Quarterly
Easiest Color to Solve on a Rubik's Cube:        Black.

Simply remove all the little colored stickers on the cube, and each of
side of the cube will now be the original color of the plastic underneath
-- black.  According to the instructions, this means the puzzle is solved.
                -- Steve Rubenstein
Harry is heavily into camping, and every year in the late fall, he makes us
all go to Assateague, which is an island on the Atlantic Ocean famous for
its wild horses.  I realize that the concept of wild horses probably stirs
romantic notions in many of you, but this is because you have never met any
wild horses in person.  In person, they are like enormous hooved rats.  They
amble up to your camp site, and their attitude is: "We're wild horses.
We're going to eat your food, knock down your tent and poop on your shoes.
We're protected by federal law, just like Richard Nixon."
                -- Dave Barry, "Tenting Grandpa Bob"
I do not care if half the league strikes.  Those who do will encounter
quick retribution.  All will be suspended, and I don't care if it wrecks
the National League for five years.  This is the United States of America
and one citizen has as much right to play as another.
                -- Ford Frick, National League President, reacting to a
                   threatened strike by some Cardinal players in 1947 if
                   Jackie Robinson took the field against St. Louis.  The
                   Cardinals backed down and played.
I'm a lucky guy, and I'm happy to be with the Yankees.  And I want to
thank everyone for making this night necessary.
                -- Yogi Berra at a dinner in his honor
In Africa some of the native tribes have a custom of beating the ground
with clubs and uttering spine chilling cries.  Anthropologists call
this a form of primitive self-expression.  In America we call it golf.
Keep in mind always the four constant Laws of Frisbee:
        (1) The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc
           straining to land under a car, just out of reach (this
           force is technically termed "car suck").
        (2) Never precede any maneuver by a comment more predictive
           than "Watch this!"
        (3) The probability of a Frisbee hitting something is directly
           proportional to the cost of hitting it.  For instance, a
           Frisbee will always head directly towards a policeman or
           a little old lady rather than the beat up Chevy.
        (4) Your best throw happens when no one is watching; when the
           cute girl you've been trying to impress is watching, the
           Frisbee will invariably bounce out of your hand or hit you
           in the head and knock you silly.
Mankind's yearning to engage in sports is older than recorded history,
dating back to the time millions of years ago, when the first primitive man
picked up a crude club and a round rock, tossed the rock into the air, and
whomped the club into the sloping forehead of the first primitive umpire.

What inner force drove this first athlete?  Your guess is as good as
mine.  Better, probably, because you haven't had four beers.
                -- Dave Barry, "Sports is a Drag"
Once there was this conductor see, who had a bass problem.  You see, during
a portion of Beethovan's Ninth Symphony in which there are no bass violin
parts, one of the bassists always passed a bottle of scotch around.  So,
to remind himself that the basses usually required an extra cue towards the
end of the symphony, the conductor would fasten a piece of string around the
page of the score before the bass cue.  As the basses grew more and more
inebriated, two of them fell asleep.  The conductor grew quite nervous (he
was very concerned about the pitch) because it was the bottom of the ninth;
the score was tied and the basses were loaded with two out.
Son, someday a man is going to walk up to you with a deck of cards on which
the seal is not yet broken.  And he is going to offer to bet you that he can
make the Ace of Spades jump out of the deck and squirt cider in your ears.
But son, do not bet this man, for you will end up with a ear full of cider.
                -- Sky Masterson's Father
Texas A&M football coach Jackie Sherrill went to the office of the Dean
of Academics because he was concerned about his players' mental abilities.
"My players are just too stupid for me to deal with them", he told the
unbelieving dean.  At this point, one of his players happened to enter
the dean's office.  "Let me show you what I mean", said Sherrill, and he
told the player to run over to his office to see if he was in.  "OK, Coach",
the player replied, and was off.  "See what I mean?" Sherrill asked.
"Yeah", replied the dean.  "He could have just picked up this phone and
called you from here."
The duck hunter trained his retriever to walk on water.  Eager to show off
this amazing accomplishment, he asked a friend to go along on his next
hunting trip.  Saying nothing, he fired his first shot and, as the duck fell,
the dog walked on the surface of the water, retrieved the duck and returned
it to his master.
        "Notice anything?" the owner asked eagerly.
        "Yes," said his friend, "I see that fool dog of yours can't swim."
The Fastest Defeat In Chess
        The big name for us in the world of chess is Gibaud, a French chess
        In Paris during 1924 he was beaten after only four moves by a
Monsieur Lazard.  Happily for posterity, the moves are recorded and so
chess enthusiasts may reconstruct this magnificent collapse in the comfort
of their own homes.
        Lazard was black and Gibaud white:
        1: P-Q4, Kt-KB3
        2: Kt-Q2, P-K4
        3: PxP, Kt-Kt5
        4: P-K6, Kt-K6
        White then resigns on realizing that a fifth move would involve
either a Q-KR5 check or the loss of his queen.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
The pitcher wound up and he flang the ball at the batter.  The batter
swang and missed.  The pitcher flang the ball again and this time the
batter connected.  He hit a high fly right to the center fielder.  The
center fielder was all set to catch the ball, but at the last minute his
eyes were blound by the sun and he dropped it.
                -- Dizzy Dean
There's a couple of million dollars worth of baseball talent on the loose,
ready for the big leagues, yet unsigned by any major league.  There are
pitchers who would win 20 games a season ... and outfielders [who] could
hit .350, infielders who could win recognition as stars, and there's at
least one catcher who at this writing is probably superior to Bill Dickey,
Josh Gibson.  Only one thing is keeping them out of the big leagues, the
pigmentation of their skin.  They happen to be colored.
                -- Shirley Povich, 1941
A "critic" is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to
judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased
-- he hates all creative people equally.
A Hollywood producer calls a friend, another producer on the phone.
        "Hello?" his friend answers.
        "Hi!" says the man.  "This is Bob, how are you doing?"
        "Oh," says the friend, "I'm doing great!  I just sold a screenplay
for two hundred thousand dollars.  I've started a novel adaptation and the
studio advanced me fifty thousand dollars on it.  I also have a television
series coming on next week, and everyone says it's going to be a big hit!
I'm doing *great*!  How are you?"
        "Okay," says the producer, "give me a call when he leaves."
Around the turn of this century, a composer named Camille Saint-Saens wrote
a satirical zoological-fantasy called "Le Carnaval des Animaux."  Aside from
one movement of this piece, "The Swan", Saint-Saens didn't allow this work
to be published or even performed until a year had elapsed after his death.
(He died in 1921.)
        Most of us know the "Swan" movement rather well, with its smooth,
flowing cello melody against a calm background; but I've been having this
        What if he had written this piece with lyrics, as a song to be sung?
And, further, what if he had accompanied this song with a musical saw?  (This
instrument really does exist, often played by percussionists!)  Then the
piece would be better known as:
For myself, I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at
the results of this evening's experiments.  Astonished at the wonderful
power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous
and bad music may be put on record forever.
                -- Sir Arthur Sullivan, message to Edison, 1888

        This humorous but heart-warming story tells of an elderly woman
        forced to work at a nuclear power plant in order to help the family
        make ends meet.  At night, granny sits on the porch, tells tales
        of her colorful past, and the family uses her to cook barbecues
        and to power small electrical appliances.  Maureen Stapleton gives
        a glowing performance.
G. B. Shaw to William Douglas Home: "Go on writing plays, my boy.  One
of these days a London producer will go into his office and say to his
secretary, `Is there a play from Shaw this morning?' and when she says
`No,' he will say, `Well, then we'll have to start on the rubbish.' And
that's your chance, my boy."
Hello.  Jim Rockford's machine, this is Larry Doheny's machine.  Will you
please have your master call my master at his convenience?  Thank you.
Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.
                -- "The Rockford Files"
Holy Dilemma!  Is this the end for the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder?
Will the Joker and the Riddler have the last laugh?

        Tune in again tomorrow:
        same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
I have a very strange feeling about this...
                -- Luke Skywalker
I was working on a case.  It had to be a case, because I couldn't afford a
desk.  Then I saw her.  This tall blond lady.  She must have been tall
because I was on the third floor.  She rolled her deep blue eyes towards
me.  I picked them up and rolled them back.  We kissed.  She screamed.  I
took the cigarette from my mouth and kissed her again.
I'll never get off this planet.
                -- Luke Skywalker
I've got a very bad feeling about this.
                -- Han Solo
  I. Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of
     its situation.
        Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland.  He
        loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to
        look down.  At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per
        second per second takes over.
II. Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter
     intervenes suddenly.
        Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon
        characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone
        pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely.
        Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the
        stooge's surcease.
III. Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation
     conforming to its perimeter.
        Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the
        speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless
        cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through
        the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout-perfect hole.  The
        threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.
                -- Esquire, "O'Donnell's Laws of Cartoon Motion", June 1980
IV. The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or
    equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to
    spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.
        Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it
        inevitably unsuccessful.
V. All principles of gravity are negated by fear.
        Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel
        them directly away from the earth's surface.  A spooky noise or an
        adversary's signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to
        the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole.
        The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding
        auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.
VI. As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.
        This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a
        character's head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of
        altercation at several places simultaneously.  This effect is common
        as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled.  A "wacky"
        character has the option of self-replication only at manic high
        speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.
                -- Esquire, "O'Donnell's Laws of Cartoon Motion", June 1980
Jim, this is Janelle.  I'm flying tonight, so I can't make our date, and
I gotta find a safe place for Daffy.  He loves you, Jim!  It's only two
days, and you'll see.  Great Danes are no problem!
                -- "The Rockford Files"
Jim, this is Matty down at Ralph's and Mark's.  Some guy named Angel
Martin just ran up a fifty buck bar tab.  And now he wants to charge it
to you.  You gonna pay it?
                -- "The Rockford Files"
Just once I would like to persuade the audience not to wear any article of
blue denim.  If only they could see themselves in a pair of brown corduroys
like mine instead of this awful, boring blue denim.  I don't enjoy the sky
or sea as much as I used to because of this Levi character.  If Jesus Christ
came back today, He and I would get into our brown corduroys and go to the
nearest jean store and overturn the racks of blue denim.  Then we'd get
crucified in the morning.
                -- Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull
        Lassie looked brilliant, in part because the farm family she
lived with was made up of idiots.  Remember?  One of them was always
getting pinned under the tractor, and Lassie was always rushing back to
the farmhouse to alert the other ones.  She'd whimper and tug at their
sleeves, and they'd always waste precious minutes saying things: "Do
you think something's wrong?  Do you think she wants us to follow her?
What is it, girl?", etc., as if this had never happened before, instead
of every week.  What with all the time these people spent pinned under
the tractor, I don't see how they managed to grow any crops whatsoever.
They probably got by on federal crop supports, which Lassie filed the
applications for.
                -- Dave Barry
Like ya know?  Rock 'N Roll is an esoteric language that unlocks the
creativity chambers in people's brains, and like totally activates their
essential hipness, which of course is like totally necessary for saving
the earth, like because the first thing in saving this world, is getting
rid of stupid and square attitudes and having fun.
                -- Senior Year Quote
Mate, this parrot wouldn't VOOM if you put four million volts through it!
                -- Monty Python
Mr. Rockford, this is the Thomas Crown School of Dance and Contemporary
Etiquette.  We aren't going to call again!  Now you want these free
lessons or what?
                -- "The Rockford Files"
Mr. Rockford?  This is Betty Joe Withers.  I got four shirts of yours from
the Bo Peep Cleaners by mistake.  I don't know why they gave me men's
shirts but they're going back.
                -- "The Rockford Files"
My band career ended late in my senior year when John Cooper and I threw my
amplifier out the dormitory window.  We did not act in haste. First we
checked to make sure the amplifier would fit through the frame, using the
belt from my bathrobe to measure, then we picked up the amplifier and backed
up to my bedroom door.  Then we rushed forward, shouting "The WHO!  The
WHO!" and we launched my amplifier perfectly, as though we had been doing it
all our lives, clean through the window and down onto the sidewalk, where a
small but appreciative crowd had gathered.  I would like to be able to say
that this was a symbolic act, an effort on my part to break cleanly away
from one state in my life and move on to another, but the truth is, Cooper
and I really just wanted to find out what it would sound like.  It sounded
                -- Dave Barry, "The Snake"
"No, `Eureka' is Greek for `This bath is too hot.'"
                -- Dr. Who
        "Oh sure, this costume may look silly, but it lets me get in and out
of dangerous situations -- I work for a federal task force doing a survey on
urban crime.  Look, here's my ID, and here's a number you can call, that will
put you through to our central base in Atlanta.  Go ahead, call -- they'll
confirm who I am.
        "Unless, of course, the Astro-Zombies have destroyed it."
                -- Captain Freedom
Potahto' Pictures Productions Presents:

        THE TATERNATOR: Cyborg spud returns from the future to present-day
McDonald's restaurant to kill the potatoess (girl 'tater) who will give birth
to the world's largest french fry (The Dark Powers of Burger King are clearly
behind this).  Most quotable line: "Ah'll be baked..."

        A FISTFUL OF FRIES: Western in which our hero, The Spud with No Name,
rides into a town that's deprived of carbohydrates thanks to the evil takeover
of the low-cal Scallopinni Brothers.  Plenty of smokeouts, fry-em-ups, and
general butter-melting by all.

        FOR A FEW FRIES MORE: Takes up where AFOF left off!  Cameo by Walter
Cronkite, as every man's common 'tater!
Recently deceased blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan "comes to" after
his death.  He sees Jimi Hendrix sitting next to him, tuning his guitar.
"Holy cow," he thinks to himself, "this guy is my idol."  Over at the
microphone, about to sing, are Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, and the
bassist is the late Barry Oakley of the Allman Brothers.  So Stevie
Ray's thinking, "Oh, wow!  I've died and gone to rock and roll heaven."
Just then, Karen Carpenter walks in, sits down at the drums, and says:
"'Close to You'.  Hit it, boys!"
                -- Told by Penn Jillette, of magic/comedy duo Penn and Teller
Sir, it's very possible this asteroid is not stable.
                -- C3P0
        So Richard and I decided to try to catch [the small shark].
With a great deal of strategy and effort and shouting, we managed to
maneuver the shark, over the course of about a half-hour, to a sort of
corner of the lagoon, so that it had no way to escape other than to
flop up onto the land and evolve.  Richard and I were inching toward
it, sort of crouched over, when all of a sudden it turned around and --
I can still remember the sensation I felt at that moment, primarily in
the armpit area -- headed right straight toward us.
        Many people would have panicked at this point.  But Richard and
I were not "many people."  We were experienced waders, and we kept our
heads.  We did exactly what the textbook says you should do when you're
unarmed and a shark that is nearly two feet long turns on you in water
up to your lower calves: We sprinted I would say 600 yards in the
opposite direction, using a sprinting style such that the bottoms of
our feet never once went below the surface of the water.  We ran all
the way to the far shore, and if we had been in a Warner Brothers
cartoon we would have run right INTO the beach, and you would have seen
these two mounds of sand racing across the island until they bonked
into trees and coconuts fell onto their heads.
                -- Dave Barry, "The Wonders of Sharks on TV"
"Spare no expense to save money on this one."
                -- Samuel Goldwyn
        The big problem with pornography is defining it.  You can't just
say it's pictures of people naked.  For example, you have these
primitive African tribes that exist by chasing the wildebeest on foot,
and they have to go around largely naked, because, as the old tribal
saying goes: "N'wam k'honi soit qui mali," which means, "If you think
you can catch a wildebeest in this climate and wear clothes at the same
time, then I have some beach front property in the desert region of
Northern Mali that you may be interested in."
        So it's not considered pornographic when National Geographic
publishes color photographs of these people hunting the wildebeest
naked, or pounding one rock onto another rock for some primitive reason
naked, or whatever.  But if National Geographic were to publish an
article entitled "The Girls of the California Junior College System
Hunt the Wildebeest Naked," some people would call it pornography.  But
others would not.  And still others, such as the Spectacularly Rev.
Jerry Falwell, would get upset about seeing the wildebeest naked.
                -- Dave Barry, "Pornography"
The covers of this book are too far apart.
                -- Book review by Ambrose Bierce.
The Great Movie Posters:

                -- Squirm (1976)

Most Movies Live Less Than Two Hours.
This Is One of Everlasting Torment!
                -- The New House on the Left (1977)

                -- Zombie (1980)

It's not human and it's got an axe.
                -- The Prey (1981)
The Great Movie Posters:

She's got the biggest six-shooters in the West!
                -- The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949)

CAST OF 3,000!
Be Brave--bring your troubles and your family to:
                -- The Prince of Peace (1948).  Starring members of the
                   Wichita Mountain Pageant featuring Millard Coody as Jesus.
The Worst Musical Trio
        There are few bad musicians who have a chance to give a recital at
a famous concert hall while still learning the rudiments of their
instrument.  This happened about thirty years ago to the son of a Rumanian
gentleman who was owed a personal favour by Georges Enesco, the celebrated
violinist.  Enesco agreed to give lessons to the son who was quite
unhampered by great musical talent.
        Three years later the boy's father insisted that he give a public
concert.  "His aunt said that nobody plays the violin better than he does.
A cousin heard him the other day and screamed with enthusiasm."  Although
Enesco feared the consequences, he arranged a recital at the Salle Gaveau
in Paris.  However, nobody bought a ticket since the soloist was unknown.
        "Then you must accompany him on the piano," said the boy's father,
"and it will be a sell out."
        Reluctantly, Enesco agreed and it was.  On the night an excited
audience gathered.  Before the concert began Enesco became nervous and
asked for someone to turn his pages.
        In the audience was Alfred Cortot, the brilliant pianist, who
volunteered and made his way to the stage.
        The soloist was of uniformly low standard and next morning the
music critic of Le Figaro wrote: "There was a strange concert at the Salle
Gaveau last night.  The man whom we adore when he plays the violin played
the piano.  Another whom we adore when he plays the piano turned the pages.
But the man who should have turned the pages played the violin."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
There are two jazz musicians who are great buddies.  They hang out and play
together for years, virtually inseparable.  Unfortunately, one of them is
struck by a truck and killed.  About a week later his friend wakes up in
the middle of the night with a start because he can feel a presence in the
room.  He calls out, "Who's there?  Who's there?  What's going on?"
        "It's me -- Bob," replies a faraway voice.
        Excitedly he sits up in bed.  "Bob!  Bob!  Is that you?  Where are
        "Well," says the voice, "I'm in heaven now."
        "Heaven!  You're in heaven!  That's wonderful!  What's it like?"
        "It's great, man.  I gotta tell you, I'm jamming up here every day.
I'm playing with Bird, and 'Trane, and Count Basie drops in all the time!
Man it is smokin'!"
        "Oh, wow!" says his friend. "That sounds fantastic, tell me more,
tell me more!"
        "Let me put it this way," continues the voice.  "There's good news
and bad news.  The good news is that these guys are in top form.  I mean
I have *never* heard them sound better.  They are *wailing* up here."
        "The bad news is that God has this girlfriend that sings..."
This door is baroquen, please wiggle Handel.
(If I wiggle Handel, will it wiggle Bach?)
                -- Found on a door in the MSU music building
This is Jim Rockford.
At the tone leave your name and message; I'll get back to you.

This is Maria, Liberty Bail Bonds.  Your client, Todd Lieman, skipped and
his bail is forfeit.  That's the pink slip on your '74 Firebird, I believe.
Sorry, Jim, bring it on over.

This is Marilyn Reed, I wanta talk to you...  Is this a machine?  I don't
talk to machines!  [Click]
                -- "The Rockford Files"
This is the ____LAST time I take travel suggestions from Ray Bradbury!
This is the Baron.  Angel Martin tells me you buy information.  Ok,
meet me at one a.m. behind the bus depot, bring five-hundred dollars
and come alone.  I'm serious!
                -- "The Rockford Files"
This novel is not to be tossed lightly aside, but to be hurled with great force.
                -- Dorothy Parker
This unit... must... survive.
This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible.  This was terrible
with raisins in it.
                -- Dorothy Parker
VII. Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel
      entrances; others cannot.
        This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least
        it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to
        trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical
        space.  The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to
        follow into the painting.  This is ultimately a problem of art, not
        of science.
VIII. Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
        Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives
        might comfortably afford.  They can be decimated, spliced, splayed,
        accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be
        destroyed.  After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate,
        elongate, snap back, or solidify.
  IX. For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
        This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to
        the physical world at large.  For that reason, we need the relief of
        watching it happen to a duck instead.
   X. Everything falls faster than an anvil.
        Examples too numerous to mention from the Roadrunner cartoons.
                -- Esquire, "O'Donnell's Laws of Cartoon Motion", June 1980
When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by
reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
        Why are you doing this to me?
        Because knowledge is torture, and there must be awareness before
there is change.
                -- Jim Starlin, "Captain Marvel", #29
Why not? -- What? -- Why not? -- Why should I not send it? -- Why should I
not dispatch it? -- Why not? -- Strange!  I don't know why I shouldn't --
Well, then -- You will do me this favor. -- Why not? -- Why should you not
do it? -- Why not? -- Strange!  I shall do the same for you, when you want
me to.  Why not?  Why should I not do it for you?  Strange!  Why not? --
I can't think why not.
                -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, from a letter to his cousin Maria,
                   "The Definitive Biography of PDQ Bach", Peter Schickele
You're all clear now, kid.  Now blow this thing so we can all go home.
                -- Han Solo
A child of five could understand this!  Fetch me a child of five.
And he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower.  "This," cried the Mayor,
"is your town's darkest hour!  The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
to come to the aid of their country!" he said.  "We've GOT to make noises in
greater amounts!  So, open your mouth, lad!  For every voice counts!"  Thus he
spoke as he climbed.  When they got to the top, the lad cleared his throat and
he shouted out, "YOPP!"
        And that Yopp...  That one last small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally, at last!  From the speck on that clover their voices were heard!
They rang out clear and clean.  And they elephant smiled.  "Do you see what
I mean?" They've proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.  And their
whole world was saved by the smallest of All!"
        "How true!  Yes, how true," said the big kangaroo.  "And, from now
on, you know what I'm planning to do?  From now on, I'm going to protect
them with you!"  And the young kangaroo in her pouch said, "ME TOO!  From
the sun in the summer.  From rain when it's fall-ish, I'm going to protect
them.  No matter how small-ish!"
                -- Dr. Seuss "Horton Hears a Who"
Any father who thinks he's all important should remind himself that this
country honors fathers only one day a year while pickles get a whole week.
Are you a parent?  Do you sometimes find yourself unsure as to what to
say in those awkward situations?  Worry no more...

        Do as I say, not as I do.
        Do me a favour and don't tell me about it.  I don't want to know.
        What did you do *this* time?
        If it didn't taste bad, it wouldn't be good for you.
        When I was your age...
        I won't love you if you keep doing that.
        Think of all the starving children in India.
        If there's one thing I hate, it's a liar.
        I'm going to kill you.
        Way to go, clumsy.
        If you don't like it, you can lump it.
Are you a parent?  Do you sometimes find yourself unsure as to what to
say in those awkward situations?  Worry no more...

        Good children always obey.
        Quit acting so childish.
        Boys don't cry.
        If you keep making faces, someday it'll freeze that way.
        Why do you have to know so much?
        This hurts me more than it hurts you.
        Why?  Because I'm bigger than you.
        Well, you've ruined everything.  Now are you happy?
        Oh, grow up.
        I'm only doing this because I love you.
Are you a parent?  Do you sometimes find yourself unsure as to what to
say in those awkward situations?  Worry no more...

        When are you going to grow up?
        I'm only doing this for your own good.
        Why are you crying?  Stop crying, or I'll give you something to
                cry about.
        What's wrong with you?
        Someday you'll thank me for this.
        You'd lose your head if it weren't attached.
        Don't you have any sense at all?
        If you keep sucking your thumb, it'll fall off.
        Why?  Because I said so.
        I hope you have a kid just like yourself.
Billy:        Mom, you know that vase you said was handed down from
        generation to generation?
Mom:        Yes?
Billy:        Well, this generation dropped it.
                        -- Gifts for Children --

This is easy.  You never have to figure out what to get for children,
because they will tell you exactly what they want.  They spend months and
months researching these kinds of things by watching Saturday- morning
cartoon-show advertisements.  Make sure you get your children exactly what
they ask for, even if you disapprove of their choices.  If your child thinks
he wants Murderous Bob, the Doll with the Face You Can Rip Right Off, you'd
better get it.  You may be worried that it might help to encourage your
child's antisocial tendencies, but believe me, you have not seen antisocial
tendencies until you've seen a child who is convinced that he or she did not
get the right gift.
                -- Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"
If a child annoys you, quiet him by brushing his hair.  If this doesn't
work, use the other side of the brush on the other end of the child.
My mother once said to me, "Elwood," (she always called me Elwood)
"Elwood, in this world you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant."
For years I tried smart.  I recommend pleasant.
                -- Elwood P. Dowde, "Harvey"
My parents went to Niagara Falls and all I got was this crummy life.
        On this morning in August when I was 13, my mother sent us out pick
tomatoes.  Back in April I'd have killed for a fresh tomato, but in August
they are no more rare or wonderful than rocks.  So I picked up one and threw
it at a crab apple tree, where it made a good *splat*, and then threw a tomato
at my brother.  He whipped one back at me.  We ducked down by the vines,
heaving tomatoes at each other.  My sister, who was a good person, said,
"You're going to get it."  She bent over and kept on picking.
        What a target!  She was 17, a girl with big hips, and bending over,
she looked like the side of a barn.
        I picked up a tomato so big it sat on the ground.  It looked like it
had sat there a week.  The underside was brown, small white worms lived in it,
and it was very juicy.  I stood up and took aim, and went into the windup,
when my mother at the kitchen window called my name in a sharp voice.  I had
to decide quickly.  I decided.
        A rotten Big Boy hitting the target is a memorable sound, like a fat
man doing a belly-flop.  With a whoop and a yell the tomatoee came after
faster than I knew she could run, and grabbed my shirt and was about to brain
me when Mother called her name in a sharp voice.  And my sister, who was a
good person, obeyed and let go -- and burst into tears.  I guess she knew that
the pleasure of obedience is pretty thin compared with the pleasure of hearing
a rotten tomato hit someone in the rear end.
                -- Garrison Keillor, "Lake Wobegon Days"
Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth
to a child.  She must be found and stopped.
                -- Sam Levenson
Why not have an old-fashioned Christmas for your family this year? Just
picture the scene in your living room on Christmas morning as your children
open their old-fashioned presents.

Your 11-year-old son: "What the heck is this?"

You:        "A spinning top!  You spin it around, and then eventually it falls
down.  What fun!  Ha, ha!"

Son:        "Is this a joke?  Jason Thompson's parents got him a computer with
two disk drives and 128 kilobytes of random-access memory, and I get this
cretin TOP?"

Your 8-year-old daughter: "You think that's bad?  Look at this."

You:        "It's figgy pudding!  What a treat!"

Daughter: "It looks like goat barf."
                -- Dave Barry, "Simple, Homespun Gifts"
"IBM uses what I like to call the 'hole-in-the-ground technique'
to destroy the competition..... IBM digs a big HOLE in the
ground and covers it with leaves. It then puts a big POT
OF GOLD nearby. Then it gives the call, 'Hey, look at all
this gold, get over here fast.' As soon as the competitor
approaches the pot, he falls into the pit"
- John C. Dvorak
In the beginning, I was made.  I didn't ask to be made.  No one consulted
with me or considered my feelings in this matter.  But if it brought some
passing fancy to some lowly humans as they haphazardly pranced their way
through life's mournful jungle, then so be it.
- Marvin the Paranoid Android, From Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide to the
Galaxy Radio Scripts
Do not allow this language (Ada) in its present state to be used in
applications where reliability is critical, i.e., nuclear power stations,
cruise missiles, early warning systems, anti-ballistic missle defense
systems.  The next rocket to go astray as a result of a programming language
error may not be an exploratory space rocket on a harmless trip to Venus:
It may be a nuclear warhead exploding over one of our cities.  An unreliable
programming language generating unreliable programs constitutes a far
greater risk to our environment and to our society than unsafe cars, toxic
pesticides, or accidents at nuclear power stations.
- C. A. R. Hoare
Software entities are more complex for their size than perhaps any other human
construct because no two parts are alike.  If they are, we make the two
similar parts into a subroutine -- open or closed.  In this respect, software
systems differ profoundly from computers, buildings, or automobiles, where
repeated elements abound.
- Fred Brooks, Jr.
Digital computers are themselves more complex than most things people build:
They hyave very large numbers of states.  This makes conceiving, describing,
and testing them hard.  Software systems have orders-of-magnitude more states
than computers do.
- Fred Brooks, Jr.
The connection between the language in which we think/program and the problems
and solutions we can imagine is very close.  For this reason restricting
language features with the intent of eliminating programmer errors is at best
- Bjarne Stroustrup in "The C++ Programming Language"
At the heart of science is an essential tension between two seemingly
contradictory attitudes -- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre
or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny
of all ideas, old and new.  This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep
nonsense.  Of course, scientists make mistakes in trying to understand the
world, but there is a built-in error-correcting mechanism:  The collective
enterprise of creative thinking and skeptical thinking together keeps the
field on track.
-- Carl Sagan, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," Parade, February 1, 1987
One of the saddest lessons of history is this:  If we've been bamboozled
long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.  We're no
longer interested in finding out the truth.  The bamboozle has captured
us.  it is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that
we've been so credulous.  (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the
new bamboozles rise.)
-- Carl Sagan, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," Parade, February 1, 1987
Regarding astral projection, Woody Allen once wrote, "This is not a bad way
to travel, although there is usually a half-hour wait for luggage."
Each team building another component has been using the most recent tested
version of the integrated system as a test bed for debugging its piece.  Their
work will be set back by having that test bed change under them.  Of course it
must.  But the changes need to be quantized.  Then each user has periods of
productive stability, interrupted by bursts of test-bed change.  This seems
to be much less disruptive than a constant rippling and trembling.
- Frederick Brooks Jr., "The Mythical Man Month"
It is a very humbling experience to make a multimillion-dollar mistake, but it
is also very memorable.  I vividly recall the night we decided how to organize
the actual writing of external specifications for OS/360.  The manager of
architecture, the manager of control program implementation, and I were
threshing out the plan, schedule, and division of responsibilities.

The architecture manager had 10 good men.  He asserted that they could write
the specifications and do it right.  It would take ten months, three more
than the schedule allowed.

The control program manager had 150 men.  He asserted that they could prepare
the specifications, with the architecture team coordinating; it would be
well-done and practical, and he could do it on schedule.  Futhermore, if
the architecture team did it, his 150 men would sit twiddling their thumbs
for ten months.

To this the architecture manager responded that if I gave the control program
team the responsibility, the result would not in fact be on time, but would
also be three months late, and of much lower quality.  I did, and it was.  He
was right on both counts.  Moreover, the lack of conceptual integrity made
the system far more costly to build and change, and I would estimate that it
added a year to debugging time.
- Frederick Brooks Jr., "The Mythical Man Month"
The reason ESP, for example, is not considered a viable topic in contemoprary
psychology is simply that its investigation has not proven fruitful...After
more than 70 years of study, there still does not exist one example of an ESP
phenomenon that is replicable under controlled conditions.  This simple but
basic scientific criterion has not been met despite dozens of studies conducted
over many decades...It is for this reason alone that the topic is now of little
interest to psychology...In short, there is no demonstrated phenomenon that
needs explanation.
-- Keith E. Stanovich, "How to Think Straight About Psychology", pp. 160-161
Remember thee
Ay, thou poor ghost while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe.  Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there.
Hamlet, I : v : 95   William Shakespeare
Overall, the philosophy is to attack the availability problem from two
complementary directions:  to reduce the number of software errors through
rigorous testing of running systems, and to reduce the effect of the
remaining errors by providing for recovery from them.  An interesting footnote
to this design is that now a system failure can usually be considered to be
the result of two program errors:  the first, in the program that started the
problem; the second, in the recovery routine that could not protect the
system.  -- A. L. Scherr, "Functional Structure of IBM Virtual Storage Operating
Systems, Part II: OS/VS-2 Concepts and Philosophies," IBM Systems Journal,
Vol. 12, No. 4, 1973, pp. 382-400
"This isn't brain surgery; it's just television."
- David Letterman
"...if the church put in half the time on covetousness that it does on lust,
this would be a better world."  - Garrison Keillor, "Lake Wobegon Days"
I've got a bad feeling about this.
"There was nothing I hated more than to see a filthy old drunkie, a howling
away at the sons of his father and going blurp blurp in between as if it were
a filthy old orchestra in his stinking rotten guts.  I could never stand to
see anyone like that, especially when they were old like this one was."
- Alex in "Clockwork Orange"
In order to succeed in any enterprise, one must be persistent and patient.
Even if one has to run some risks, one must be brave and strong enough to
meet and overcome vexing challenges to maintain a successful business in
the long run.  I cannot help saying that Americans lack this necessary
challenging spirit today.
- Hajime Karatsu
My brother sent me a postcard the other day with this big sattelite photo of
the entire earth on it. On the back it said: "Wish you were here".
-- Steven Wright
I believe that part of what propels science is the thirst for wonder.  It's a
very powerful emotion.  All children feel it.  In a first grade classroom
everybody feels it; in a twelfth grade classroom almost nobody feels it, or
at least acknowledges it.  Something happens between first and twelfth grade,
and it's not just puberty.  Not only do the schools and the media not teach
much skepticism, there is also little encouragement of this stirring sense
of wonder.  Science and pseudoscience both arouse that feeling.  Poor
popularizations of science establish an ecological niche for pseudoscience.
- Carl Sagan, The Burden Of Skepticism, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 12, Fall 87
If science were explained to the average person in a way that is accessible
and exciting, there would be no room for pseudoscience.  But there is a kind
of Gresham's Law by which in popular culture the bad science drives out the
good.  And for this I think we have to blame, first, the scientific community
ourselves for not doing a better job of popularizing science, and second, the
media, which are in this respect almost uniformly dreadful.  Every newspaper
in America has a daily astrology column.  How many have even a weekly
astronomy column?  And I believe it is also the fault of the educational
system.  We do not teach how to think.  This is a very serious failure that
may even, in a world rigged with 60,000 nuclear weapons, compromise the human
- Carl Sagan, The Burden Of Skepticism, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 12, Fall 87
"I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience.  And
in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the
additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.
- Carl Sagan, The Burden Of Skepticism, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 12, Fall 87
I believe that if people would learn to use LSD's vision-inducing capability
more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjution
with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonder
- Dr. Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of LSD
...Another writer again agreed with all my generalities, but said that as an
inveterate skeptic I have closed my mind to the truth.  Most notably I have
ignored the evidence for an Earth that is six thousand years old.  Well, I
haven't ignored it; I considered the purported evidence and *then* rejected it.
There is a difference, and this is a difference, we might say, between
prejudice and postjudice.  Prejudice is making a judgment before you have
looked at the facts.  Postjudice is making a judgment afterwards.  Prejudice
is terrible, in the sense that you commit injustices and you make serious
mistakes.  Postjudice is not terrible.  You can't be perfect of course; you
may make mistakes also.  But it is permissible to make a judgment after you
have examined the evidence.  In some circles it is even encouraged.
- Carl Sagan, The Burden of Skepticism, Skeptical Enquirer, Vol. 12, pg. 46
The challenge of space exploration and particularly of landing men on the moon
represents the greatest challenge which has ever faced the human race.  Even
if there were no clear scientific or other arguments for proceeding with this
task, the whole history of our civilization would still impel men toward the
goal.  In fact, the assembly of the scientific and military with these human
arguments creates such an overwhelming case that in can be ignored only by
those who are blind to the teachings of history, or who wish to suspend the
development of civilization at its moment of greatest opportunity and drama.
- Sir Bernard Lovell, 1962, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
The idea of man leaving this earth and flying to another celestial body and
landing there and stepping out and walking over that body has a fascination
and a driving force that can get the country to a level of energy, ambition,
and will that I do not see in any other undertaking.  I think if we are
honest with ourselves, we must admit that we needed that impetus extremely
strongly.  I sincerely believe that the space program, with its manned
landing on the moon, if wisely executed, will become the spearhead for a
broad front of courageous and energetic activities in all the fields of
endeavour of the human mind - activities which could not be carried out
except in a mental climate of ambition and confidence which such a spearhead
can give.
- Dr. Martin Schwarzschild, 1962, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
I do not believe that this generation of Americans is willing to resign itself
to going to bed each night by the light of a Communist moon...
- Lyndon B. Johnson
The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being
as his Father, in the womb of a virgin will be classified with the fable of
the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.  But we may hope that the
dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with
this artificial scaffolding and restore to us the primitive and genuine
doctrines of this most venerated Reformer of human errors.
- Thomas Jefferson
The notion that science does not concern itself with first causes -- that it
leaves the field to theology or metaphysics, and confines itself to mere
effects -- this notion has no support in the plain facts.  If it could,
science would explain the origin of life on earth at once--and there is
every reason to believe that it will do so on some not too remote tomorrow.
To argue that gaps in knowledge which will confront the seeker must be filled,
not by patient inquiry, but by intuition or revelation, is simply to give
ignorance a gratuitous and preposterous dignity....
- H. L. Mencken, 1930
The evidence of the emotions, save in cases where it has strong objective
support, is really no evidence at all, for every recognizable emotion has
its opposite, and if one points one way then another points the other way.
Thus the familiar argument that there is an instinctive desire for immortality,
and that this desire proves it to be a fact, becomes puerile when it is
recalled that there is also a powerful and widespread fear of annihilation,
and that this fear, on the same principle proves that there is nothing
beyond the grave.  Such childish "proofs" are typically theological, and
they remain theological even when they are adduced by men who like to
flatter themselves by believing that they are scientific gents....
- H. L. Mencken
Yes, many primitive people still believe this myth...But in today's technical
vastness of the future, we can guess that surely things were much different.
- The Firesign Theater
...this is an awesome sight.  The entire rebel resistance buried under six
million hardbound copies of "The Naked Lunch."
- The Firesign Theater
I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and
tired of being told that ordinary decent people are fed up in this
country with being sick and tired.  I'm certainly not.  But I'm
sick and tired of being told that I am.
- Monty Python
This was the ultimate form of ostentation among technology freaks -- to have
a system so complete and sophisticated that nothing showed; no machines,
no wires, no controls.
- Michael Swanwick, "Vacuum Flowers"
Modern psychology takes completely for granted that behavior and neural function
are perfectly correlated, that one is completely caused by the other.  There is
no separate soul or lifeforce to stick a finger into the brain now and then and
make neural cells do what they would not otherwise.  Actually, of course, this
is a working assumption only....It is quite conceivable that someday the
assumption will have to be rejected.  But it is important also to see that we
have not reached that day yet: the working assumption is a necessary one and
there is no real evidence opposed to it.  Our failure to solve a problem so
far does not make it insoluble.  One cannot logically be a determinist in
physics and biology, and a mystic in psychology.
- D. O. Hebb, Organization of Behavior:  A Neuropsychological Theory, 1949
Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact.
Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it. ... Only
atheists could accept this Satanic theory.
- Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, "The Pre-Adamic Creation and Evolution"
Evolution is as much a fact as the earth turning on its axis and going around
the sun.  At one time this was called the Copernican theory; but, when
evidence for a theory becomes so overwhelming that no informed person
can doubt it, it is customary for scientists to call it a fact.  That all
present life descended from earlier forms, over vast stretches of geologic
time, is as firmly established as Copernican cosmology.  Biologists differ
only with respect to theories about how the process operates.
- Martin Gardner, "Irving Kristol and the Facts of Life",
   The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 2, ppg. 128-131
As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making
it round this time.
- Mike Dennison
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms
industry is now in the American experience... We must not fail to
comprehend its grave implications... We must guard against the
acquisition of unwarranted the military-industrial
complex.  The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power
exists and will persist.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, from his farewell address in 1961
This restaurant was advertising breakfast any time. So I ordered
french toast in the renaissance.
- Steven Wright, comedian
The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events, the firmer
becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered
regularity for causes of a different nature.  For him neither the rule of
human nor the rule of divine will exists as an independent cause of natural
events.  To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural
events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this
doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge
has not yet been able to set foot.

But I am persuaded that such behavior on the part of the representatives
of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal.  For a doctrine which
is able to maintain itself not in clear light, but only in the dark, will
of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human
progress.  In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion
must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is,
give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast
powers in the hands of priests.  In their labors they will have to avail
themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the
True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself.  This is, to be sure, a more
difficult but an incomparably more worthy task.
- Albert Einstein
However, on religious issures there can be little or no compromise.
There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious
beliefs.  There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than
Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being.
But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf
should be used sparingly.  The religious factions that are growing
throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.
They are trying to force government leaders into following their position
100 percent.  If you disagree with these religious groups on a
particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of
money or votes or both.  I'm frankly sick and tired of the political
preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be
a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C," and "D."  Just who do
they think they are?  And from where do they presume to claim the
right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?  And I am even more angry as
a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who
thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll
call in the Senate.  I am warning them today:  I will fight them every
step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all
Americans in the name of "conservatism."
- Senator Barry Goldwater, from the Congressional Record, September 16, 1981
...And no philosophy, sadly, has all the answers.  No matter how assured
we may be about certain aspects of our belief, there are always painful
inconsistencies, exceptions, and contradictions.  This is true in religion as
it is in politics, and is self-evident to all except fanatics and the naive.
As for the fanatics, whose number is legion in our own time, we might be
advised to leave them to heaven.  They will not, unfortunately, do us the
same courtesy.  They attack us and each other, and whatever their
protestations to peaceful intent, the bloody record of history makes clear
that they are easily disposed to restore to the sword.  My own belief in
God, then, is just that -- a matter of belief, not knowledge.  My respect
for Jesus Christ arises from the fact that He seems to have been the
most virtuous inhabitant of Planet Earth.  But even well-educated Christians
are frustated in their thirst for certainty about the beloved figure
of Jesus because of the undeniable ambiguity of the scriptural record.
Such ambiguity is not apparent to children or fanatics, but every
recognized Bible scholar is perfectly aware of it.  Some Christians, alas,
resort to formal lying to obscure such reality.
- Steve Allen, comdeian, from an essay in the book "The Courage of
  Conviction", edited by Philip Berman
As I argued in "Beloved Son", a book about my son Brian and the subject
of religious communes and cults, one result of proper early instruction
in the methods of rational thought will be to make sudden mindless
conversions -- to anything -- less likely.  Brian now realizes this and
has, after eleven years, left the sect he was associated with.  The
problem is that once the untrained mind has made a formal commitment to
a religious philosophy -- and it does not matter whether that philosophy
is generally reasonable and high-minded or utterly bizarre and
irrational -- the powers of reason are suprisingly ineffective in
changing the believer's mind.
- Steve Allen, comdeian, from an essay in the book "The Courage of
  Conviction", edited by Philip Berman
We may not be able to persuade Hindus that Jesus and not Vishnu should
govern their spiritual horizon, nor Moslems that Lord Buddha is at the
center of their spiritual universe, nor Hebrews that Mohammed is a major
prohpet, nor Christians that Shinto best expresses their spiritual
concerns, to say nothing of the fact that we may not be able to get
Christians to agree among themselves about their relationship to God.
But all will agree on a proposition that they possess profound spiritual
resources.  If, in addition, we can get them to accept the further
proposition that whatever form the Deity may have in their own theology,
the Deity is not only external, but internal and acts through them, and
they themselves give proof or disproof of the Deity in what they do and
think; if this further proposition can be accepted, then we come that
much closer to a truly religious situation on earth.
- Norman Cousins, from his book "Human Options"
Already the spirit of our schooling is permeated with the feeling that
every subject, every topic, every fact, every professed truth must be
submitted to a certain publicity and impartiality.  All proffered
samples of learning must go to the same assay-room and be subjected to
common tests.  It is the essence of all dogmatic faiths to hold that
any such "show-down" is sacrilegious and perverse.  The characteristic
of religion, from their point of view, is that it is intellectually
secret, not public; peculiarly revealed, not generall known;
authoritatively declared, not communicated and tested in ordinary
ways...It is pertinent to point out that, as long as religion is
conceived as it is now by the great majority of professed religionists,
there is something self-contradictory in speaking of education in
religion in the same sense in which we speak of education in topics
where the method of free inquiry has made its way.  The "religious"
would be the last to be willing that either the history of the
content of religion should be taught in this spirit; while those
to whom the scientific standpoint is not merely a technical device,
but is the embodiment of the integrity of mind, must protest against
its being taught in any other spirit.
- John Dewey (1859-1953), American philosopher,
  from "Democracy in the Schools", 1908
In the broad and final sense all institutions are educational in the
sense that they operate to form the attitudes, dispositions, abilities
and disabilities that constitute a concrete personality...Whether this
educative process is carried on in a predominantly democratic or non-
democratic way becomes, therefore, a question of transcendent importance
not only for education itself but for its final effect upon all the
interests and activites of a society that is committed to the democratic
way of life.
- John Dewey (1859-1953), American philosopher
"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God but to
create him."
-Arthur C. Clarke
"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God but to
create him."
-Arthur C. Clarke
...One thing is that, unlike any other Western democracy that I know of,
this country has operated since its beginnings with a basic distrust of
government.  We are constituted not for efficient operation of government,
but for minimizing the possibility of abuse of power.  It took the events
of the Roosevelt era -- a catastrophic economic collapse and a world war --
to introduce the strong central government that we now know.  But in most
parts of the country today, the reluctance to have government is still
strong.  I think, barring a series of catastrophic events, that we can
look to at least another decade during which many of the big problems
around this country will have to be addressed by institutions other than
federal government.
- Bobby R. Inman, Admiral, USN, Retired, former director of Naval Intelligence,
  vice director of the DIA, former director of the NSA, deputy directory of
  Central Intelligence, former chairman and CEO of MCC.
[the statist opinions expressed herein are not those of the cookie editor -ed.]
In arguing that current theories of brain function cast suspicion on ESP,
psychokinesis, reincarnation, and so on, I am frequently challenged with
the most popular of all neuro-mythologies -- the notion that we ordinarily
use only 10 percent of our brains...

This "cerebral spare tire" concept continues to nourish the clientele of
"pop psychologists" and their many recycling self-improvement schemes.  As
a metaphor for the fact that few of us fully exploit our talents, who could
deny it?  As a refuge for occultists seeking a neural basis of the miraculous,
it leaves much to be desired.
-- Barry L. Beyerstein, "The Brain and Consciousness:  Implications for
   Psi Phenomena", The Skeptical Enquirer, Vol. XII, No. 2, pg. 171
"By long-standing tradition, I take this opportunity to savage other
designers in the thin disguise of good, clean fun."
-- P. J. Plauger, from his April Fool's column in April 88's "Computer Language"
I did cancel one performance in Holland where they thought my music was so easy
that they didn't rehearse at all.  And so the first time when I found that out,
I rehearsed the orchestra myself in front of the audience of 3,000 people and
the next day I rehearsed through the second movement -- this was the piece
_Cheap Imitation_ -- and they then were ashamed.  The Dutch people were ashamed
and they invited me to come to the Holland festival and they promised to
rehearse.  And when I got to Amsterdam they had changed the orchestra, and
again, they hadn't rehearsed.  So they were no more prepared the second time
than they had been the first.  I gave them a lecture and told them to cancel
the performance; they then said over the radio that i had insisted on their
cancelling the performance because they were "insufficiently Zen."  
Can you believe it?
-- composer John Cage, "Electronic Musician" magazine, March 88, pg. 89
An optimist believes we live in the best world possible;
a pessimist fears this is true.
"You're a creature of the night, Michael.  Wait'll Mom hears about this."
-- from the movie "The Lost Boys"
"But this one goes to eleven."
-- Nigel Tufnel
"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse!  This gun is so futuristic that even
*I* don't know how it works!"
-- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse
"I believe that Ronald Reagan will someday make this
country what it once was... an arctic wilderness."
-- Steve Martin
"You stay here, Audrey -- this is between me and the vegetable!"
-- Seymour, from _Little Shop Of Horrors_
"You know, we've won awards for this crap."
-- David Letterman
"Hi.  This is Dan Cassidy's answering machine.  Please leave your name and
number... and after I've doctored the tape, your message will implicate you
in a federal crime and be brought to the attention of the F.B.I... BEEEP"
-- Blue Devil comics
"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead
girl or a live boy."
-- Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards
        "And we heard him exclaim
         As he started to roam:
         `I'm a hologram, kids,
          please don't try this at home!'"
        -- Bob Violence
-- Howie Chaykin's little animated 3-dimensional darling, Bob Violence
"The Soviet Union, which has complained recently about alleged anti-Soviet
themes in American advertising, lodged an official protest this week against
the Ford Motor Company's new campaign: `Hey you stinking fat Russian, get
off my Ford Escort.'"
-- Dennis Miller, Saturday Night Live
"Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!"
-- The Ghostbusters
Riches:  A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I
am well pleased."
-- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)
Inadmissible:  Not competent to be considered.  Said of certain kinds of
testimony which juries are supposed to be unfit to be entrusted with,
and which judges, therefore, rule out, even of proceedings before themselves
alone.  Hearsay evidence is inadmissible because the person quoted was
unsworn and is not before the court for examination; yet most momentous
actions, military, political, commercial and of every other kind, are
daily undertaken on hearsay evidence.  There is no religion in the world
that has any other basis than hearsay evidence.  Revelation is hearsay
evidence; that the Scriptures are the word of God we have only the
testimony of men long dead whose identy is not clearly established and
who are not known to have been sworn in any sense.  Under the rules of
evidence as they now exist in this country, no single assertion in the
Bible has in its support any evidence admissible in a court of law...

But as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily be proved
that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to
mankind.  The evidence (including confession) upon which certain women
were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still
unimpeachable.  The judges' decisions based on it were sound in logic and
in law.  Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than
the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death.
If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike
destitute of value.  --Ambrose Bierce
This is now.  Later is later.
"If I do not return to the pulpit this weekend, millions of people will go
to hell."
-- Jimmy Swaggart, 5/20/88
  "Emergency!"  Sgiggs screamed, ejecting himself from the tub like it was
a burning car.  "Dial 'one'!  Get room service!  Code red!"  Stiggs was on
the phone immediately, ordering more rose blossoms, because, according to
him, the ones floating in the tub had suddenly lost their smell.  "I demand
smell," he shrilled.  "I expecting total uninterrupted smell from these
f*cking roses."

  Unfortunately, the service captain didn't realize that the Stiggs situation
involved fifty roses.  "What am I going to do with this?" Stiggs sneered at
the weaseling hotel goon when he appeared at our door holding a single flower
floating in a brandy glass.  Stiggs's tirade was great.  "Do you see this
bathtub?  Do you notice any difference between the size of the tub and the
size of that spindly wad of petals in your hand?  I need total bath coverage.
I need a completely solid layer of roses all around me like puffing factories
of smell, attacking me with their smell and power-ramming big stinking
concentrations of rose odor up my nostrils until I'm wasted with pleasure."
It wasn't long before we got so dissatisfied with this incompetence that we
-- The Utterly Monstrous, Mind-Roasting Summer of O.C. and Stiggs,
   National Lampoon, October 1982
We decided it was night again, so we camped for twenty minutes and drank
another six beers at a Young Life campsite.  O.C. got into the supervisory
adult's sleeping bag and ran around in it.  "This is the judgment day and I'm
a terrifying apparition," he screamed.  Then the heat made O.C. ralph in the
-- The Utterly Monstrous, Mind-Roasting Summer of O.C. and Stiggs,
   National Lampoon, October 1982
This is, of course, totally uninformed specualation that I engage in to help
support my bias against such meddling... but there you have it.
-- Peter da Silva, speculating about why a computer program that had been
changed to do something he didn't approve of, didn't work
"This knowledge I pursure is the finest pleasure I have ever known.  I could
no sooner give it up that I could the very air that I breath."
-- Paolo Uccello, Renaissance artist, discoverer of the laws of perspective
"...I could accept this openness, glasnost, perestroika, or whatever you want
to call it if they did these things: abolish the one party system; open the
Soviet frontier and allow Soviet people to travel freely; allow the Soviet
people to have real free enterprise; allow Western businessmen to do business
there, and permit freedom of speech and of the press.  But so far, the whole
country is like a concentration camp.  The barbed wire on the fence around
the Soviet Union is to keep people inside, in the dark.  This openness that
you are seeing, all these changes, are cosmetic and they have been designed
to impress shortsighted, naive, sometimes stupid Western leaders.  These
leaders gush over Gorbachev, hoping to do business with the Soviet Union or
appease it.  He will say: "Yes, we can do business!"  This while his
military machine in Afghanistan has killed over a million people out of a
population of 17 million.  Can you imagine that?
-- Victor Belenko, MiG-25 fighter pilot who defected in 1976
   "Defense Electronics", Vol 20, No. 6, pg. 110
"There's always been Tower of Babel sort of bickering inside Unix, but this
is the most extreme form ever.  This means at least several years of confusion."
-- Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft,
   about the Open Systems Foundation
Another goal is to establish a relationship "in which it is OK for everybody
to do their best.  There are an awful lot of people in management who really
don't want subordinates to do their best, because it gets to be very
threatening.  But we have found that both internally and with outside
designers if we are willing to have this kind of relationship and if we're
willing to be vulnerable to what will come out of it, we get really good
-- Max DePree, chairman and CEO of Herman Miller Inc., "Herman Miller's
   Secrets of Corporate Creativity", The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 1988
In his book, Mr. DePree tells the story of how designer George Nelson urged
that the company also take on Charles Eames in the late 1940s.  Max's father,
J. DePree, co-founder of the company with herman Miller in 1923, asked Mr.
Nelson if he really wanted to share the limited opportunities of a then-small
company with another designer.  "George's response was something like this:
'Charles Eames is an unusual talent.  He is very different from me.  The
company needs us both.  I want very much to have Charles Eames share in
whatever potential there is.'"
-- Max DePree, chairman and CEO of Herman Miller Inc., "Herman Miller's
   Secrets of Corporate Creativity", The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 1988
Mr. DePree also expects a "tremendous social change" in all workplaces.  "When
I first started working 40 years ago, a factory supervisor was focused on the
product.  Today it is drastically different, because of the social milieu.
It isn't unusual for a worker to arrive on his shift and have some family
problem that he doesn't know how to resolve.  The example I like to use is a
guy who comes in and says 'this isn't going to be a good day for me, my son
is in jail on a drunk-driving charge and I don't know how to raise bail.'
What that means is that if the supervisor wants productivity, he has to know
how to raise bail."
-- Max DePree, chairman and CEO of Herman Miller Inc., "Herman Miller's
   Secrets of Corporate Creativity", The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 1988
"The stars are made of the same atoms as the earth."  I usually pick one small
topic like this to give a lecture on.  Poets say science takes away from the
beauty of the stars -- mere gobs of gas atoms.  Nothing is "mere."  I too can
see the stars on a desert night, and feel them.  But do I see less or more?
The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination -- stuck on this carousel
my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light.  A vast pattern -- of which
I am a part -- perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten star, as one
is belching there.  Or see them with the greater eye of Palomar, rushing all
apart from some common starting point when they were perhaps all together.
What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the *why?*  It does not do harm to the
mystery to know a little about it.  For far more marvelous is the truth than
any artists of the past imagined!  Why do the poets of the present not speak
of it?  What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but
if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?
-- Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988)
An Animal that knows who it is, one that has a sense of his own identity, is
a discontented creature, doomed to create new problems for himself for the
duration of his stay on this planet.  Since neither the mouse nor the chimp
knows what is, he is spared all the vexing problems that follow this
discovery.  But as soon as the human animal who asked himself this question
emerged, he plunged himself and his descendants into an eternity of doubt
and brooding, speculation and truth-seeking that has goaded him through the
centures as reelentlessly as hunger or sexual longing.  The chimp that does
not know that he exists is not driven to discover his origins and is spared
the tragic necessity of contemplating his own end.  And even if the animal
experimenters succeed in teaching a chimp to count one hundred bananas or
to play chess, the chimp will develop no science and he will exhibit no
appreciation of beauty, for the greatest part of man's wisdom may be traced
back to the eternal questions of beginnings and endings, the quest to give
meaning to his existence, to life itself.
-- Selma Fraiberg, _The Magic Years_, pg. 193
"A commercial, and in some respects a social, doubt has been started within the
last year or two, whether or not it is right to discuss so openly the security
or insecurity of locks.  Many well-meaning persons suppose that the discus-
sion respecting the means for baffling the supposed safety of locks offers a
premium for dishonesty, by showing others how to be dishonest.  This is a fal-
lacy.  Rogues are very keen in their profession, and already know much more
than we can teach them respecting their several kinds of roguery.  Rogues knew
a good deal about lockpicking long before locksmiths discussed it among them-
selves, as they have lately done.  If a lock -- let it have been made in what-
ever country, or by whatever maker -- is not so inviolable as it has hitherto
been deemed to be, surely it is in the interest of *honest* persons to know
this fact, because the *dishonest* are tolerably certain to be the first to
apply the knowledge practically; and the spread of knowledge is necessary to
give fair play to those who might suffer by ignorance.  It cannot be too ear-
nestly urged, that an acquaintance with real facts will, in the end, be better
for all parties."
-- Charles Tomlinson's Rudimentary Treatise on the Construction of Locks,
   published around 1850
"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became
a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb. "You aren't nearly
through this adventure yet," he added, and that was pretty true as well.
-- Bilbo Baggins, "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien, Chapter XII
"An entire fraternity of strapping Wall-Street-bound youth.  Hell - this
is going to be a blood bath!"
-- Post Bros. Comics
Now I was heading, in my hot cage, down towards meat-market country on the
tip of the West Village.  Here the redbrick warehouses double as carcass
galleries and rat hives, the Manhattan fauna seeking its necessary
level, living or dead.  Here too you find the heavy faggot hangouts,
The Spike, the Water Closet, the Mother Load.  Nobody knows what goes on
in these places.  Only the heavy faggots know.  Even Fielding seems somewhat
vague on the question.  You get zapped and flogged and dumped on -- by
almost anybody's standards, you have a really terrible time.  The average
patron arrives at the Spike in one taxi but needs to go back to his sock
in two.  And then the next night he shows up for more.  They shackle
themselves to racks, they bask in urinals.  Their folks have a lot of
explaining to do, if you want my opinion, particularly the mums.  Sorry
to single you ladies out like this but the story must start somewhere.  
A craving for hourly murder -- it can't be willed.  In the meantime,
Fielding tells me, Mother Nature looks on and taps her foot and clicks
her tongue.  Always a champion of monogamy, she is cooking up some fancy
new diseases.  She just isn't going to stand for it.
-- Martin Amis, _Money_
"You can't get very far in this world without your dossier being there first."
-- Arthur Miller
"They know your name, address, telephone number, credit card numbers, who ELSE
is driving the car "for insurance", ...  your driver's license number. In the
state of Massachusetts, this is the same number as that used for Social
Security, unless you object to such use. In THAT case, you are ASSIGNED a
number and you reside forever more on the list of "weird people who don't give
out their Social Security Number in Massachusetts."
-- Arthur Miller
"Although Poles suffer official censorship, a pervasive secret
police and laws similar to those in the USSR, there are
thousands of underground publications, a legal independent
Church, private agriculture, and the East bloc's first and only
independent trade union federation, NSZZ Solidarnosc, which is
an affiliate of both the International Confederation of Free
Trade Unions and the World Confederation of Labor.  There is
literally a world of difference between Poland - even in its
present state of collapse - and Soviet society at the peak of
its "glasnost."  This difference has been maintained at great
cost by the Poles since 1944.
-- David Phillips, SUNY at Buffalo, about establishing a
   gateway from EARN (Eurpoean Academic Research Network)
   to Poland
"Is this foreplay?"
   "No, this is Nuke Strike.  Foreplay has lousy graphics.  Beat me again."
-- Duckert, in "Bad Rubber," Albedo #0 (comics)
If this is a service economy, why is the service so bad?
"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the
sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment."
-- Richard P. Feynman
-- uunet!sugar!karl  | "We've been following your progress with considerable
-- |  interest, not to say contempt."  -- Zaphod Beeblebrox IV
-- Usenet BBS (713) 438-5018

th-th-th-th-That's all, folks!

----------- cut here, don't forget to strip junk at the end, too -------------
"Psychoanalysis??  I thought this was a nude rap session!!!"
-- Zippy
...Saure really turns out to be an adept at the difficult art of papryomancy,
the ability to prophesy through contemplating the way people roll reefers -
the shape, the licking pattern, the wrinkles and folds or absence thereof
in the paper.  "You will soon be in love," sez Saure, "see, this line here."
"It's long, isn't it?  Does that mean --" "Length is usually intensity.
Not time."
-- Thomas Pynchon, _Gravity's Rainbow_
Work was impossible.  The geeks had broken my spirit.  They had done too
many things wrong.  It was never like this for Mencken.  He lived like
a Prussian gambler -- sweating worse than Bryan on some nights and drunker
than Judas on others.  It was all a dehumanized nightmare...and these
raddled cretins have the gall to complain about my deadlines.
-- Hunter Thompson, "Bad Nerves in Fat City", _Generation of Swine_
"This generation may be the one that will face Armageddon."
-- Ronald Reagan, "People" magazine, December 26, 1985
David Brinkley: The daily astrological charts are precisely where, in my
  judgment, they belong, and that is on the comic page.
George Will:  I don't think astrology belongs even on the comic pages.
  The comics are making no truth claim.
Brinkley:  Where would you put it?
Will:  I wouldn't put it in the newspaper.  I think it's transparent rubbish.
  It's a reflection of an idea that we expelled from Western thought in the
  sixteenth century, that we are in the center of a caring universe.  We are
  not the center of the universe, and it doesn't care.  The star's alignment
  at the time of our birth -- that is absolute rubbish.  It is not funny to
  have it intruded among people who have nuclear weapons.
Sam Donaldson:  This isn't something new.  Governor Ronald Reagan was sworn
  in just after midnight in his first term in Sacramento because the stars
  said it was a propitious time.
Will:  They [horoscopes] are utter crashing banalities.  They could apply to
  anyone and anything.
Brinkley:  When is the exact moment [of birth]?  I don't think the nurse is
  standing there with a stopwatch and a notepad.
Donaldson:  If we're making decisions based on the stars -- that's a cockamamie
  thing.  People want to know.
-- "This Week" with David Brinkley, ABC Television, Sunday, May 8, 1988,
   excerpts from a discussion on Astrology and Reagan
Astrology is the sheerest hokum.  This pseudoscience has been around since
the day of the Chaldeans and Babylonians.  It is as phony as numerology,
phrenology, palmistry, alchemy, the reading of tea leaves, and the practice
of divination by the entrails of a goat.  No serious person will buy the
notion that our lives are influenced individually by the movement of
distant planets.  This is the sawdust blarney of the carnival midway.
-- James J. Kilpatrick, Universal Press Syndicate
A serious public debate about the validity of astrology?  A serious believer
in the White House?  Two of them?  Give me a break.  What stifled my laughter
is that the image fits.  Reagan has always exhibited a fey indifference toward
science.  Facts, like numbers, roll off his back.  And we've all come to
accept it.  This time it was stargazing that became a serious issue....Not
that long ago, it was Reagan's support of Creationism....Creationists actually
got equal time with evolutionists.  The public was supposed to be open-minded
to the claims of paleontologists and fundamentalists, as if the two were
scientific colleagues....It has been clear for a long time that the president
is averse to science...In general, these attitudes fall onto friendly American
turf....But at the outer edges, this skepticism about science easily turns
into a kind of naive acceptance of nonscience, or even nonsense.  The same
people who doubt experts can also believe any quackery, from the benefits of
laetrile to eye of newt to the movment of planets.  We lose the capacity to
make rational -- scientific -- judgments.  It's all the same.
-- Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe Newspaper Company-Washington Post Writers
The spectacle of astrology in the White House -- the governing center of
the world's greatest scientific and military power -- is so appalling that
it defies understanding and provides grounds for great fright.  The easiest
response is to laugh it off, and to indulge in wisecracks about Civil
Service ratings for horoscope makers and palm readers and whether Reagan
asked Mikhail Gorbachev for his sign.  A contagious good cheer is the
hallmark of this presidency, even when the most dismal matters are concerned.
But this time, it isn't funny.  It's plain scary.
-- Daniel S. Greenberg, Editor, _Science and Government Report_, writing in
   "Newsday", May 5, 1988
[Astrology is] 100 percent hokum, Ted.  As a matter of fact, the first edition
of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, written in 1771 -- 1771! -- said that this
belief system is a subject long ago ridiculed and reviled.  We're dealing with
beliefs that go back to the ancient Babylonians.  There's nothing there....
It sounds a lot like science, it sounds like astronomy.  It's got technical
terms.  It's got jargon.  It confuses the public....The astrologer is quite
glib, confuses the public, uses terms which come from science, come from
metaphysics, come from a host of fields, but they really mean nothing.  The
fact is that astrological beliefs go back at least 2,500 years.  Now that
should be a sufficiently long time for astrologers to prove their case.  They
have not proved their case....It's just simply gibberish.  The fact is, there's
no theory for it, there are no observational data for it.  It's been tested
and tested over the centuries.  Nobody's ever found any validity to it at
all.  It is not even close to a science.  A science has to be repeatable, it
has to have a logical foundation, and it has to be potentially vulnerable --
you test it.  And in that astrology is reqlly quite something else.
-- Astronomer Richard Berendzen, President, American University, on ABC
    News "Nightline," May 3, 1988
Even if we put all these nagging thoughts [four embarrassing questions about
astrology] aside for a moment, one overriding question remains to be asked.
Why would the positions of celestial objects at the moment of birth have an
effect on our characters, lives, or destinies?  What force or influence,
what sort of energy would travel from the planets and stars to all human
beings and affect our development or fate?  No amount of scientific-sounding
jargon or computerized calculations by astrologers can disguise this central
problem with astrology -- we can find no evidence of a mechanism by which
celestial objects can influence us in so specific and personal a way. . . .
Some astrologers argue that there may be a still unknown force that represents
the astrological influence. . . .If so, astrological predictions -- like those
of any scientific field -- should be easily tested. . . . Astrologers always
claim to be just a little too busy to carry out such careful tests of their
efficacy, so in the last two decades scientists and statisticians have
generously done such testing for them.  There have been dozens of well-designed
tests all around the world, and astrology has failed every one of them. . . .
I propose that we let those beckoning lights in the sky awaken our interest
in the real (and fascinating) universe beyond our planet, and not let them
keep us tied to an ancient fantasy left over from a time when we huddled by
the firelight, afraid of the night.
-- Andrew Fraknoi, Executive Officer, Astronomical Society of the Pacific,
    "Why Astrology Believers Should Feel Embarrassed," San Jose Mercury
    News, May 8, 1988
With the news that Nancy Reagan has referred to an astrologer when planning
her husband's schedule, and reports of Californians evacuating Los Angeles
on the strength of a prediction from a sixteenth-century physician and
astrologer Michel de Notredame, the image of the U.S. as a scientific and
technological nation has taking a bit of a battering lately.  Sadly, such
happenings cannot be dismissed as passing fancies.  They are manifestations
of a well-established "anti-science" tendency in the U.S. which, ultimately,
could threaten the country's position as a technological power. . . .  The
manifest widespread desire to reject rationality and substitute a series
of quasirandom beliefs in order to understand the universe does not augur
well for a nation deeply concerned about its ability to compete with its
industrial equals.  To the degree that it reflects the thinking of a
significant section of the public, this point of view encourages ignorance
of and, indeed, contempt for science and for rational methods of approaching
truth. . . . It is becoming clear that if the U.S. does not pick itself up
soon and devote some effort to educating the young effectively, its hope of
maintaining a semblance of leadership in the world may rest, paradoxically,
with a new wave of technically interested and trained immigrants who do not
suffer from the anti-science disease rampant in an apparently decaying society.
-- Physicist Tony Feinberg, in "New Scientist," May 19, 1988
"I turn on my television set.  I see a young lady who goes under the guise
of being a Christian, known all over the nation, dressed in skin-tight
leather pants, shaking and wiggling her hips to the beat and rythm of the
music as the strobe lights beat their patterns across the stage and the
band plays the contemporary rock sound which cannot be differentiated from
songs by the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, or anyone else.  And you may try
to tell me this is of God and that it is leading people to Christ, but I
know better.
-- Jimmy Swaggart, hypocritical sexual pervert and TV preacher, self-described
pornography addict, "Two points of view: 'Christian' rock and roll.",
The Evangelist, 17(8): 49-50.
A student asked the master for help... does this program run from the
Workbench? The master grabbed the mouse and pointed to an icon. "What is
this?" he asked. The student replied "That's the mouse". The master pressed
control-Amiga-Amiga and hit the student on the head with the Amiga ROM Kernel
-- Amiga Zen Master Peter da Silva
"Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care
what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything
you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness.
Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to
insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the
destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be,
be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to
insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as
your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be
yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your
receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this
thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen."

Madrak, in _Creatures of Light and Darkness_, by Roger Zelazny
"I figured there was this holocaust, right, and the only ones left alive were
Donna Reed, Ozzie and Harriet, and the Cleavers."
-- Wil Wheaton explains why everyone in "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
    is so nice
"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having
a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc
      ...and before I knew what I was doing, I had kicked the
      typewriter and threw it around the room and made it beg for
      mercy.  At this point the typewriter pleaded for me to dress
      him in feminine attire but instead I pressed his margin release
      over and over again until the typewriter lost consciousness.
      Presently, I regained consciousness and realized with shame what
      I had done.  My shame is gone and now I am looking for a
      submissive typewriter, any color, or model.  No electric
      typewriters please!
                        --Rick Kleiner
   "Are those cocktail-waitress fingernail marks?"  I asked Colletti as he
showed us these scratches on his chest.  "No, those are on my back," Colletti
answered.  "This is where a case of cocktail shrimp fell on me.  I told her
to slow down a little, but you know cocktail waitresses, they seem to have
a mind of their own."
-- The Incredibly Monstrous, Mind-Roasting Summer of O.C. and Stiggs
   National Lampoon, October 1982
        So we get to my point.  Surely people around here read things that
aren't on the *Officially Sanctioned Cyberpunk Reading List*.  Surely we
don't (any of us) really believe that there is some big, deep political and
philosophical message in all this, do we?  So if this `cyberpunk' thing is
just a term of convenience, how can somebody sell out?  If cyberpunk is just a
word we use to describe a particular style and imagery in sf, how can it be
dead?  Where are the profound statements that the `Movement' is or was trying
to make?
        I think most of us are interested in examining and discussing literary
(and musical) works that possess a certain stylistic excellence and perhaps a
rather extreme perspective; this is what CP is all about, no?  Maybe there
should be a newsgroup like, say, alt.postmodern or somthing.  Something less
restrictive in scope than alt.cyberpunk.
-- Jeff G. Bone
...cyberpunk wants to see the mind as mechanistic & duplicable,
challenging basic assumptions about the nature of individuality & self.
That seems all the better reason to assume that cyberpunk art & music is
essentially mindless garbagio. Willy certainly addressed this idea in
"Count Zero," with Katatonenkunst, the automatic box-maker and the girl's
observation that the real art was the building of the machine itself,
rather than its output.
-- Eliot Handelman
It might be worth reflecting that this group was originally created
back in September of 1987 and has exchanged over 1200 messages.  The
original announcement for the group called for an all inclusive
discussion ranging from the writings of Gibson and Vinge and movies
like Bladerunner to real world things like Brands' description of the
work being done at the MIT Media Lab.  It was meant as a haven for
people with vision of this scope.  If you want to create a haven for
people with narrower visions, feel free.  But I feel sad for anyone
who thinks that alt.cyberpunk is such a monstrous group that it is in
dire need of being subdivided.  Heaven help them if they ever start
reading comp.arch or rec.arts.sf-lovers.
-- Bob Webber
As for the basic assumptions about individuality and self, this is the core
of what I like about cyberpunk. And it's the core of what I like about certain
pre-gibson neophile techie SF writers that certain folks here like to put
down. Not everyone makes the same assumptions. I haven't lost my mind... it's
backed up on tape.
-- Peter da Silva
Trailing Edge Technologies is pleased to announce the following
TETflame programme:

1) For a negotiated price (no quatloos accepted) one of our flaming
   representatives will flame the living shit out of the poster of
   your choice. The price is inversly proportional to how much of
   an asshole the target it. We cannot be convinced to flame Dennis
   Ritchie. Matt Crawford flames are free.

2) For a negotiated price (same arrangement) the TETflame programme
   is offering ``flame insurence''. Under this arrangement, if
   one of our policy holders is flamed, we will cancel the offending
   article and flame the flamer, to a crisp.

3) The TETflame flaming representatives include: Richard Sexton, Oleg
   Kisalev, Diane Holt, Trish O'Tauma, Dave Hill, Greg Nowak and our most
   recent aquisition, Keith Doyle. But all he will do is put you in his
   kill file. Weemba by special arrangement.

-- Richard Sexton
        [May one] doubt whether, in cheese and timber, worms are generated,
        or, if beetles and wasps, in cow-dung, or if butterflies, locusts,
        shellfish, snails, eels, and such life be procreated of putrefied
        matter, which is to receive the form of that creature to which it
        is by formative power disposed[?]  To question this is to question
        reason, sense, and experience.  If he doubts this, let him go to
        Egypt, and there he will find the fields swarming with mice begot
        of the mud of the Nylus, to the great calamity of the inhabitants.
                A seventeenth century opinion quoted by L. L. Woodruff,
                in *The Evolution of Earth and Man*, 1929
"Just out of curiosity does this actually mean something or have some
of the few remaining bits of your brain just evaporated?"
-- Patricia O Tuama, rissa@killer.DALLAS.TX.US
"Science makes godlike -- it is all over with priests and gods when man becomes
scientific.  Moral:  science is the forbidden as such -- it alone is
forbidden.  Science is the *first* sin, the *original* sin.  *This alone is
morality.* ``Thou shalt not know'' -- the rest follows."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
>One basic notion underlying Usenet is that it is a cooperative.

Having been on USENET for going on ten years, I disagree with this.
The basic notion underlying USENET is the flame.
-- Chuq Von Rospach, chuq@Apple.COM
"Every group has a couple of experts.  And every group has at least one idiot.
Thus are balance and harmony (and discord) maintained.  It's sometimes hard
to remember this in the bulk of the flamewars that all of the hassle and
pain is generally caused by one or two highly-motivated, caustic twits."
-- Chuq Von Rospach,, about Usenet
"The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to
safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster
the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source
of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity."

"Religion is verily the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the
world and of tranquillity amongst it's peoples...The greater the decline of
religion, the more grievous the waywardness of the ungodly. This cannot but
lead in the end to chaos and confusion."
-- Baha'u'llah, a selection from the Baha'i scripture
Q: Somebody just posted that Roman Polanski directed Star Wars.  What
should I do?

A: Post the correct answer at once!  We can't have people go on believing
that!  Very good of you to spot this.  You'll probably be the only one to
make the correction, so post as soon as you can.  No time to lose, so
certainly don't wait a day, or check to see if somebody else has made the

And it's not good enough to send the message by mail.  Since you're the
only one who really knows that it was Francis Coppola, you have to inform
the whole net right away!

-- Brad Templeton, _Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette_
Q: How can I choose what groups to post in?  ...
Q: How about an example?

A: Ok.  Let's say you want to report that Gretzky has been traded from the
Oilers to the Kings.  Now right away you might think
would be enough.  WRONG.  Many more people might be interested.  This is a
big trade!  Since it's a NEWS article, it belongs in the news.* hierarchy
as well.  If you are a news admin, or there is one on your machine, try
news.admin.  If not, use news.misc.

The Oilers are probably interested in geology, so try sci.physics.  He is
a big star, so post to sci.astro, and because they are also
interested in stars.  Next, his name is Polish sounding.  So post to
soc.culture.polish.  But that group doesn't exist, so cross-post to
news.groups suggesting it should be created.  With this many groups of
interest, your article will be quite bizarre, so post to talk.bizarre as
well.  (And post to comp.std.mumps, since they hardly get any articles
there, and a "comp" group will propagate your article further.)

You may also find it is more fun to post the article once in each group.
If you list all the newsgroups in the same article, some newsreaders will
only show the the article to the reader once!  Don't tolerate this.
-- Brad Templeton, _Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette_
A selection from the Taoist Writings:

"Lao-Tan asked Confucius: `What do you mean by benevolence and righteousness?'
Confucius said:  `To be in one's inmost heart in kindly sympathy with all
things; to love all men and allow no selfish thoughts: this is the nature
of benevolence and righteousness.'"
-- Kwang-tzu
"As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and
I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life -- so I became a scientist.
This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls."
-- Matt Cartmill
"I am convinced that the manufacturers of carpet odor removing powder have
included encapsulated time released cat urine in their products.  This
technology must be what prevented its distribution during my mom's reign.  My
carpet smells like piss, and I don't have a cat.  Better go by some more."
-- timw@zeb.USWest.COM, in alt.conspiracy
"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world.  I just wish
it wasn't this one."
-- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN
        "Yes, I am a real piece of work.  One thing we learn at Ulowell is
how to flame useless hacking non-EE's like you.  I am superior to you in
every way by training and expertise in the technical field.  Anyone can learn
how to hack, but Engineering doesn't come nearly as easily.  Actually, I'm
not trying to offend all you CS majors out there, but I think EE is one of the
hardest majors/grad majors to pass.  Fortunately, I am making it."
-- "Warrior Diagnostics" (wardiag@sky.COM)

"Being both an EE and an asshole at the same time must be a terrible burden
for you.  This isn't really a flame, just a casual observation.  Makes me
glad I was a CS major, life is really pleasant for me.  Have fun with your
chosen mode of existence!"
-- Jim Morrison (
                     THE "FUN WITH USENET" MANIFESTO
Very little happens on Usenet without some sort of response from some other
reader.  Fun With Usenet postings are no exception.  Since there are some who
might question the rationale of some of the excerpts included therein, I have
written up a list of guidelines that sum up the philosophy behind these

        One.  I never cut out words in the middle of a quote without a VERY
good reason, and I never cut them out without including ellipses.  For
instance, "I am not a goob" might become "I am ... a goob", but that's too
mundane to bother with.  "I'm flame proof" might (and has) become
"I'm ...a... p...oof" but that's REALLY stretching it.

        Two.  If I cut words off the beginning or end of a quote, I don't
put ellipses, but neither do I capitalize something that wasn't capitalized
before the cut. "I don't think that the Church of Ubizmo is a wonderful
place" would turn into "the Church of Ubizmo is a wonderful place".  Imagine
the posting as a tape-recording of the poster's thoughts.  If I can set
up the quote via fast-forwarding and stopping the tape, and without splicing,
I don't put ellipses in.  And by the way, I love using this mechanism for
turning things around.  If you think something stinks, say so - don't say you
don't think it's wonderful.   ...
-- D. J. McCarthy (dmccart@cadape.UUCP)
"Stan and I thought that this experiment was so stupid, we decided to finance
it ourselves."
-- Martin Fleischmann, co-discoverer of room-temperature fusion (?)
"We want to create puppets that pull their own strings."
-- Ann Marion

"Would this make them Marionettes?"
-- Jeff Daiell
There was, it appeared, a mysterious rite of initiation through which, in
one way or another, almost every member of the team passed.  The term that
the old hands used for this rite -- West invented the term, not the practice --
was `signing up.'  By signing up for the project you agreed to do whatever
was necessary for success.  You agreed to forsake, if necessary, family,
hobbies, and friends -- if you had any of these left (and you might not, if
you had signed up too many times before).
-- Tracy Kidder, _The Soul of a New Machine_
   n = ((n >>  1) & 0x55555555) | ((n <<  1) & 0xaaaaaaaa);
   n = ((n >>  2) & 0x33333333) | ((n <<  2) & 0xcccccccc);
   n = ((n >>  4) & 0x0f0f0f0f) | ((n <<  4) & 0xf0f0f0f0);
   n = ((n >>  8) & 0x00ff00ff) | ((n <<  8) & 0xff00ff00);
   n = ((n >> 16) & 0x0000ffff) | ((n << 16) & 0xffff0000);

-- Yet another mystical 'C' gem. This one reverses the bits in a word.
I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradictions to the sentiments of
others, and all positive assertion of my own.  I even forbade myself the use
of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion,
such as "certainly", "undoubtedly", etc.   I adopted instead of them "I
conceive", "I apprehend", or "I imagine" a thing to be so or so; or "so it
appears to me at present".

When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the
pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing him immediately some
absurdity in his proposition.  In answering I began by observing that in
certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present
case there appeared or semed to me some difference, etc.

I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I
engaged in went on more pleasantly.  The modest way in which I proposed my
opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction.  I had
less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily
prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I
happened to be in the right.
-- Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
"The simple rights, the civil liberties from generations of struggle must not
be just fine words for patriotic holidays, words we subvert on weekdays, but
living, honored rules of conduct amongst us...I'm glad the American Civil
Liberties Union gets indignant, and I hope this will always be so."
-- Senator Adlai E. Stevenson
"The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each
citizen to defend it.  Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do
his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure."
-- Albert Einstein
One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with
Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just
to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't
be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending
to be so outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn't understand
hat was going on, and really being genuinely stupid.  He was reknowned for
being quite clever and quite clearly was so -- but not all the time, which
obviously worried him, hence the act.  He preferred people to be puzzled
rather than contemptuous.  This above all appeared to Trillian to be
genuinely stupid, but she could no longer be bothered to argue about.
-- Douglas Adams, _The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_
"I don't know where we come from,
Don't know where we're going to,
And if all this should have a reason,
We would be the last to know.

So let's just hope there is a promised land,
And until then, best as you can."
-- Steppenwolf, "Rock Me Baby"
'On this point we want to be perfectly clear: socialism has nothing to do
with equalizing.  Socialism cannot ensure conditions of life and
consumption in accordance with the principle "From each according to his
ability, to each according to his needs."  This will be under communism.
Socialism has a different criterion for distributing social benefits:
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his work."'
-- Mikhail Gorbachev, _Perestroika_
A man would still do something out of sheer perversity - he would create
destruction and chaos - just to gain his point... and if all this could in
turn be analyzed and prevented by predicting that it would occur, then man
would deliberately go mad to prove his point.
                -- Feodor Dostoevsky, "Notes From the Underground"
Adam was but human--this explains it all.  He did not want the apple for the
apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden.  The mistake was in
not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.
                -- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"
All I've got left on the list of desirable vocations is heiress to the
throne of any country in Western Europe and Laurie Anderson.  "Be
practical", was the choral reply from the dinner table.  Well, Laurie
Anderson is already Laurie Anderson, but I read an article in Harpers
that said there were eleven countries, in the world this is I think,
that have queens as sovereign rulers.  That's probably my best shot.
All we know is the phenomenon: we spend our time sending messages to each
other, talking and trying to listen at the same time, exchanging information.
This seems to be our most urgent biological function; it is what we do with
our lives."
                -- Lewis Thomas, "The Lives of a Cell"
Animals can be driven crazy by putting too many in too small a pen.
Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself.
                -- Lazarus Long
"Anyone can say 'no'. It is the first word a child learns and often the
first word he speaks. It is a cheap word because it requires no
explanation, and many men and women have acquired a reputation for
intelligence who know only this word and have used it in place of
thought on every occasion."
                -- Chuck Jones (Warner Bros. animation director.)
Apathy Club meeting this Friday.  If you want to come, you're not invited.
But I find the old notions somehow appealing.  Not that I want to go back
to them -- it is outrageous to have some outer authority tell you what is
proper use and abuse of your own faculties, and it is ludicrous to hold
reason higher than body or feeling.  Still there is something true and
profoundly sane about the belief that acts like murder or theft or
assault violate the doer as well as the done to.  We might even, if we
thought this way, have less crime.  The popular view of crime, as far as
I can deduce it from the movies and television, is that it is a breaking
of a rule by someone who thinks they can get away with that; implicitly,
everyone would like to break the rule, but not everyone is arrogant
enough to imagine they can get away with it.  It therefore becomes very
important for the rule upholders to bring such arrogance down.
                -- Marilyn French, "The Woman's Room"
Charlie Brown:        Why was I put on this earth?
Linus:                To make others happy.
Charlie Brown:        Why were others put on this earth?
Do you know, I think that Dr. Swift was silly to laugh about Laputa.  I
believe it is a mistake to make a mock of people, just because they think.
There are ninety thousand people in this world who do not think, for every
one who does, and these people hate the thinkers like poison.  Even if some
thinkers are fanciful, it is wrong to make fun of them for it.  Better to
think about cucumbers even, than not to think at all.
                -- T.H. White
        Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and
looked at himself in the water.
        "Pathetic," he said.  "That's what it is.  Pathetic."
        He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards,
splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side.  Then he
looked at himself again.
        "As I thought," he said, "no better from *____this* side.  But nobody
minds.  Nobody cares.  Pathetic, that's what it is.
                -- A.A. Milne, "Winnie the Pooh," Chapter VI, "In Which Eeyore
                   Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents"
        Everthing is farther away than it used to be.  It is even twice as
far to the corner and they have added a hill.  I have given up running for
the bus; it leaves earlier than it used to.
        It seems to me they are making the stairs steeper than in the old
days.  And have you noticed the smaller print they use in the newspapers?
        There is no sense in asking anyone to read aloud anymore, as everbody
speaks in such a low voice I can hardly hear them.
        The material in dresses is so skimpy now, especially around the hips
and waist, that it is almost impossible to reach one's shoelaces.  And the
sizes don't run the way they used to.  The 12's and 14's are so much smaller.
        Even people are changing.  They are so much younger than they used to
be when I was their age.  On  the other hand people my age are so much older
than I am.
        I ran into an old classmate the other day and she has aged so much
that she didn't recognize me.
        I got to thinking about the poor dear while I was combing my hair
this morning and in so doing I glanced at my own reflection.  Really now,
they don't even make good mirrors like they used to.
                Sandy Frazier, "I Have Noticed"
        "For I perceive that behind this seemingly unrelated sequence
of events, there lurks a singular, sinister attitude of mind."
        "MINE! HA-HA!"
For those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like.
                -- Abraham Lincoln
He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.
                -- M.C. Escher
Hi!  I'm Larry.  This is my brother Bob, and this is my other brother
Jimbo.  We thought you might like to know the names of your assailants.
I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions.
                -- Lillian Hellman
I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable
to sit still in a room.
                -- Blaise Pascal
        I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradictions to the sentiments
of others, and all positive assertion of my own.  I even forbade myself the use
of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such
as "certainly", "undoubtedly", etc.   I adopted instead of them "I conceive",
"I apprehend", or "I imagine" a thing to be so or so; or "so it appears to me
at present".
        When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied
myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing him
immediately some absurdity in his proposition.  In answering I began by
observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right,
but in the present case there appeared or semed to me some difference, etc.
        I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the
conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly.  The modest way in which I
proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction.
I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily
prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I
happened to be in the right.
                -- Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
I treasure this strange combination found in very few persons: a fierce
desire for life as well as a lucid perception of the ultimate futility of
the quest.
                -- Madeleine Gobeil
I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in
my body.  Then I realized who was telling me this.
                -- Emo Phillips
I've found my niche.  If you're wondering why I'm not there, there was
this little hole in the bottom ...
                -- John Croll
In this world some people are going to like me and some are not.  So, I may
as well be me.  Then I know if someone likes me, they like me.
In this world there are only two tragedies.  One is not getting what one
wants, and the other is getting it.
                -- Oscar Wilde
It has been said that man is a rational animal.  All my life I have
been searching for evidence which could support this.
                -- Bertrand Russell
"Just out of curiosity does this actually mean something or have some
of the few remaining bits of your brain just evaporated?"
                -- Patricia O Tuama, rissa@killer.DALLAS.TX.US
Many mental processes admit of being roughly measured.  For instance,
the degree to which people are bored, by counting the number of their
fidgets. I not infrequently tried this method at the meetings of the
Royal Geographical Society, for even there dull memoirs are occasionally
read.  [...]  The use of a watch attracts attention, so I reckon time
by the number of my breathings, of which there are 15 in a minute.  They
are not counted mentally, but are punctuated by pressing with 15 fingers
successively.  The counting is reserved for the fidgets.  These observations
should be confined to persons of middle age.  Children are rarely still,
while elderly philosophers will sometimes remain rigid for minutes altogether.
                -- Francis Galton, 1909
Most people in this society who aren't actively mad are, at best,
reformed or potential lunatics.
                -- Susan Sontag
Nobody is one block of harmony.  We are all afraid of something, or feel
limited in something.  We all need somebody to talk to.  It would be good
if we talked to each other--not just pitter-patter, but real talk.  We
shouldn't be so afraid, because most people really like this contact;
that you show you are vulnerable makes them free to be vulnerable too.
It's so much easier to be together when we drop our masks.
                -- Liv Ullman
Oh this age!  How tasteless and ill-bred it is.
                -- Gaius Valerius Catullus
One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with
Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just
to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't
be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending
to be so outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn't
understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid.  He was
reknowned for being quite clever and quite clearly was so -- but not all the
time, which obviously worried him, hence the act.  He preferred people to be
puzzled rather than contemptuous.  This above all appeared to Trillian to be
genuinely stupid, but she could no longer be bothered to argue about.
                -- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
People (a group that in my opinion has always attracted an undue amount of
attention) have often been likened to snowflakes.  This analogy is meant to
suggest that each is unique -- no two alike.  This is quite patently not the
case.  People ... are simply a dime a dozen.  And, I hasten to add, their
only similarity to snowflakes resides in their invariable and lamentable
tendency to turn, after a few warm days, to slush.
                -- Fran Lebowitz, "Social Studies"
Something better...

13 (sympathetic): Oh, What happened?  Did your parents lose a bet with God?
14 (complimentary): You must love the little birdies to give them this to
        perch on.
15 (scientific): Say, does that thing there influence the tides?
16 (obscure): Oh, I'd hate to see the grindstone.
17 (inquiry): When you stop to smell the flowers, are they afraid?
18 (french): Say, the pigs have refused to find any more truffles until you
19 (pornographic): Finally, a man who can satisfy two women at once.
20 (religious): The Lord giveth and He just kept on giving, didn't He.
21 (disgusting): Say, who mows your nose hair?
22 (paranoid): Keep that guy away from my cocaine!
23 (aromatic): It must be wonderful to wake up in the morning and smell the
        coffee ... in Brazil.
24 (appreciative): Oooo, how original.  Most people just have their teeth
25 (dirty): Your name wouldn't be Dick, would it?
                -- Steve Martin, "Roxanne"
Stupidity got us into this mess -- why can't it get us out?
The right half of the brain controls the left half of the body.  This
means that only left handed people are in their right mind.
The worst is not so long as we can say "This is the worst."
                -- King Lear
        Then there's the story of the man who avoided reality for 70 years
with drugs, sex, alcohol, fantasy, TV, movies, records, a hobby, lots of
sleep...  And on his 80th birthday died without ever having faced any of
his real problems.
        The man's younger brother, who had been facing reality