Friday, November 27, 2009

The Crypto-Politics Of Flowers And Kites

All the flowers of the future worked together
to send one marigold back in time to tell
me not to give a bunch of flowers to this girl
because of what she is going to do.

All the kites of the future worked together
to send one vinyl bat-wing kite back in time
to tell me not to take this girl kite flying
by the Pacific ocean because of what
she is going to do.

But I didn’t listen. I gave her flowers and
I took her kite flying by the Pacific

And now I’m wondering about the future.
I’m wondering what this girl will do someday.

All the flowers of the future didn’t send a
robot marigold back in time to kill me.

All the kites of the future didn’t send a
robot vinyl bat-wing kite back in time to
kill me.

They just asked me politely not to do it.
They told me in the future there would be no
flowers, there would be no kites, if I gave this girl
flowers and if I took this girl kite flying by
the Pacific ocean.

But they didn’t kill me. And they didn’t tell
me details of what she is going to do.

And to be honest I really hadn’t been
planning on giving this girl flowers or taking
her kite flying by the Pacific ocean
until the marigold from the future and
the vinyl bat-wing kite from the future told
me not to do those things.

I wondered if I could trust the time traveling
marigold and vinyl bat-wing kite.

Maybe they were both mischievous pranksters from
the future trying to make me wreck things by
not doing those things.

Maybe they were both future psychologists
using reverse psychology trickery
to make me do things by telling me not to.

They told me not to give her flowers, not to take
her kite flying by the Pacific ocean.

But I didn’t listen. I gave her flowers and
I took her kite flying by the Pacific

And now I’m wondering about the future.
I’m wondering what this girl will do someday.

This is how the modern world makes you crazy.

It makes you second-guess every little thing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lana Lang And “The Supervillain’s Nightclub”

This is a scene from season four of “Smallville:”

This is Lana Lang in Paris. That’s a picture of her friend proto-supervillain Lex Luthor as the cover story in Forbes magazine being advertised next to her.

At the end of season three Lana left Smallville and flew to Paris to study art. Lex helped her finance her trip by buying her share of the coffee shop they owned together. This is one of the rare moments in the series where Lana is happy.

This is all pretend of course. It’s actress Kristin Kreuk pretending to be Lana Lang and actor Michael Rosenbaum pretending to be Lex Luthor. And “Lana Lang” and “Lex Luthor” are cartoon characters anyway. It’s pretend pretend.

But these early years of Smallville are my favorite TV show of all time.

This is good stuff.

Cool characters.

I’ve known some real cool characters in my life.

The cool characters make the other stuff endurable.

Even the pretend cool characters help.

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“Good Little Naked Mole Rat”

The World And The Supervillain’s Nightclub

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

“Good Little Naked Mole Rat”

This is a scene from the old Disney show, “Kim Possible:”

Kim is petting Rufus and saying, “Good little naked mole rat.”

This scene is from the season one episode, “Bueno Nacho.” Kim took a job at a fast food restaurant because she needed to make money to buy a new jacket, the green one in the picture above the cheese machine.

I didn’t watch the first few episodes when the show was in its first run. But when I saw this scene in a commercial there was something about a beautiful girl petting a rat and saying the words, “Good little naked mole rat” that grabbed my attention. I tuned in and fell in love with the show.

The first season was great. Most of season two was good. Things started getting less good in season three and I find season four to be unwatchable. But that happens a lot with TV shows. Production teams change. Shows change.

But iTunes carries all four seasons of Kim Possible. You can buy just the episodes that are good. I recommend all of season one. Then check out the episode guide at Wikipedia for seasons two and three and get episodes that sound good. There’s nothing from season four I’d buy.

This is good stuff. I’m trying to forget some bad stuff. So I’m watching a lot of good stuff. Even if it’s not real, pretend good stuff is better than real bad stuff.

Kim Possible is good stuff.

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Politics, Philosophy And Hilary Duff

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Quick Badfinger Note

I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore
I can’t live
If living is without you
I can’t live
I can’t give anymore

Almost anytime somebody from my generation—I was born in 1960—or from around my generation gets all sad the topic of Badfinger usually comes up. But it occurred to me that the youngs probably never heard of Badfinger so I am going to do a quick summary.

Badfinger was a music group from the Sixties.

In the early Sixties some young British musicians including guitar player Pete Ham formed a group called “The Iveys.”

The Iveys played around Britain and did okay. Soon another guitar player, Tom Evans, joined the group. Ham and Evans became friends and the group continued to tour around Britain and continued to do well.

In fact Ham and Evans did remarkably well. The group was almost always considered the “next big thing” and even already famous musicians enjoyed their music. Ray Davies of The Kinks briefly took them under his wing and produced some of their songs.

Then the Beatles took Ham and Evans under their wing.

Paul McCartney gave them his song “Come And Get It.” He produced it for them and guided their arrangements of their own songs.

While working with the Beatles Ham and Evans became Badfinger. Their hits “Baby Blue” and “Without You” were recorded as Badfinger.

Like almost every other band of that era Ham and Evans experienced all sorts of trials and tribulations with their managers and bankers. But Badfinger was loved by fans, respected by other musicians and their songs were covered by performers in almost every genre.

They were at the top of the global music scene and the future seemed to be theirs.

But for Ham and Evans, apparently, the sad lyrics to their songs were written from the heart.

In 1975 Pete Ham hanged himself in his garage.

Tom Evans continued with music, continued with money troubles.

In 1983 Tom Evans hanged himself in his garden.

That’s the Badfinger saga. They started with nothing. They conquered the music world and inspired the very best. They wrote and performed some great songs. They had it all. And they killed themselves.


So when someone from my generation gets all sad and someone asks how they’re doing and the sad person says, “It’s awful, but, you know, don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Badfinger” people smile because it means things are sad but nobody is going to commit suicide.

Badfinger. They wrote some great songs. They were sad songs. And the sad songs were, apparently, truly from the heart.

I can’t forget this evening
Your face when you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes it shows

Well I can’t forget tomorrow
When I think of all my sorrow
I had you there but then I let you go
And now it’s only fair that I should let you know
What you should know

I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore
I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore

Well I can’t forget this evening
And your face when you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes it shows

I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore
I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Angle Of Repose Of Corpses

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Angle of Repose at Wikipedia

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cat Stevens In The Real World

Now that I’ve lost everything to you
You say you want to start something new
And it’s breaking my heart you’re leaving
Baby, I’m grieving

But if you want to leave, take good care
Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
And I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do
And it’s breaking my heart in two
Because I never want to see you sad, girl
Don’t be a bad girl

But if you want leave, take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware

Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
And I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

“One time I broke up with a guy,” Joanne said. “When I told him I didn’t want to see him any more, he took out his guitar and played and sang that Cat Stevens song, ‘Wild World.’

“That’s a cool song,” I said.

“Yeah,” Joanne said.

“That was a sweet thing for the guy to do,” I said.

“Yeah,” Joanne said.

We looked at each other for a moment.

“I bet you just laughed at him,” I said. “He’s being sweet and singing you a cool song and I bet you laughed right in his face.”

“No, I didn’t laugh in his face,” Joanne said, looking hurt. “You think you know me so well. You don't know me that well.” She pouted.

I just stared at her.

Joanne giggled. She said, “I waited till I got outside then I laughed.”

I nodded.

Joanne laughed, remembering. “It was so fucking funny,” she said, and fell against me, laughing. “I broke his heart and he sang me that sappy Cat Stevens song. I laughed so hard I had to sit down against the curb by my car.”

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The Difference Between Flowers And People

Thursday, November 19, 2009

“Where Do The Children Play?”

Last week when I wrote The Empty Lot Entanglement I very much wanted to embed this video.

I talked myself out of it, however, because I wanted that post to be a personal statement and I knew some people clicking over and seeing “Yusuf Islam” would think I intended some political statement.

For people who don’t know, there used to be an amazing songwriter and performer named Cat Stevens. At the peak of his fame Stevens gave away his guitars and converted to Islam and devoted his life to charity under the name Yusuf Islam. That was his personal statement.

But he wrote many incredible songs before he abandoned the music business and now and then he comes out of retirement and sings some of his old songs and sometimes new songs.

This is one of his old songs.

This song was a good question almost forty years ago when it appeared on one of the greatest albums every released, “Tea for the TIllerman.”

If there were children any more this would still be a good question.

I first heard this song when I was a child. I heard it again when I met Cathy.

Even though there are no more children, it’s still a good question.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Alaska Cauldron

The politics of breaking things apart,
what is sometimes called social alchemy,
would not heat what is broken already.
Fragmenting one-to-many is its art.

And the opposite. Many cells, one heart.
Toil and trouble bubble for all to see.
Fire some things imprisons, some things sets free.
The start is the end. The end is the start.

Assassinating a hated actor,
the father of an estranged family,
only breaks what is already broken.

But the beloved Queen, the mother factor,
the heat from her breasts and her fierce mercy
gunned down, and the word “Chaos” is spoken.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There is a lot of talk on the internet about
President Obama being in danger. Everybody
from Gore Vidal to Lyndon LaRouche seems to have
warned that the President’s life is in jeopardy
from extremists.

But modern American politics seems
to be about destabilization. The Left
just tolerates the President and the Right
hates him. Assassinating the President
doesn’t seem to destabilize anything.

But the Right loves Sarah Palin.
And the Right is well-armed and
already perceives itself as oppressed.
The Right was bringing weapons to
townhall meetings. The Right
is ready, even eager, to take its
fight to the streets. If some political
force wants to destabilize America,
it appears to me Sarah Palin is in much
greater danger than the President.


Sunday is the anniversary of
the Kennedy assassination,
the Killing-of-the-King.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Post-Christian Party Talk

Recently I read an essay (in Newsweek, this one: “The End of Christian America,” by Jon Meacham) which purports to address the question: “Is America becoming a post-Christian nation?”

“Post-Christian” is a hot-button phrase lately among people interested in religion and culture and I have thoughts on the topic myself. I’m not going to post about “post-Christian America” today because I’m trying to work my thoughts into some kind of entertaining arrangement. But I want to make a couple of points about what passes for pop culture discussion.

It can be tricky. It’s a good idea to pay attention and not take anything too seriously.

A few years ago a famous film director and a famous writer did a commentary track for a famous movie they made together. During their discussion, they agreed their movie was a “post-modern horror film” but when they tried to explain what “post-modern” meant they puttered around and ended up laughing and admitting they had no particular idea what the phrase meant but used it because it’s a phrase that sounds smart and everyone more or less knows it means something about breaking with traditions.

Good enough for Hollywood use. (It was Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson talking about “Scream.”)

A lot of writing I’ve read about “post-Christian” is pretty similar. It’s like party talk, people just trying to be current without even attempting buttoned-down thinking.

But there is also tricky writing in a kind of devious way, too. I suspect a lot of tricky writing these days isn’t the writer consciously being devious. I suspect a lot of tricky writing these days is just adult writers acting like teenagers trying to finagle their parents into buying them expensive jeans or a new muffler for their car. It’s a sort of “say anything” approach to talking where the issue isn’t communication but something like expression, because basically that’s all kids have to do, just express themselves and then it’s the parents’ job to be all loving and giving and caring. That’s kind of what adults do now. They just express themselves and expect their friends or bosses or—in the case of writers—their readers to appreciate their feat of expression and love and respect them for it.

It’s the twenty-first century. There are no children any more and there are no adults any more. There are just people with power and people without power and the people without power are forever calculating how to acquire power and how to appease and amuse the people with power.

People have become post-human in a post-modern sort of way.

In a post-Christian sort of way, too.

The Newsweek essay is an example of a silly bit of writing. It starts with discussing post-Christian America and morphs quietly into a discussion of post-religion America as if the concept of religion were the same as one particular religion, and as if nobody would notice that it is easier to explain away the re-defining of a generality than it is to dismiss the re-defining of a particular concrete.

The Newsweek essay starts by discussing the possibility of post-Christian America and toward the end comes up with this:

America, then, is not a post-religious society—and cannot be as long as there are people in it, for faith is an intrinsic human impulse. The belief in an order or a reality beyond time and space is ancient and enduring. "All men," said Homer, "need the gods." The essential political and cultural question is to what extent those gods—or, more accurately, a particular generation's understanding of those gods—should determine the nature of life in a given time and place.

The issue, then, isn’t about sin, salvation and Jesus. The issue is just the “impulse” to believe in something “beyond time and space.”

There you go. Newsweek says America isn’t becoming post-Christian at all. The issue isn’t whether Man is fallen or whether God wants Man to be saved. The issue is whether or not people believe in, say, Zeus and his sister-wife Hera, or Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones, or, I suppose, Scientology.

At some point I’m going to do something with the topic of post-Christian America. But I’m taking my time because I want to say something that is better than saying nothing at all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jenny Paid Her Respects At Sara’s Grave

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The Zombie Issue Destroyed Their Friendship

Sara’s Zombie Quest Disgusted Jenny

Zombie Sara Terrorized Jenny From The Start

Zombie Sara Made Jenny Question Their Past

Zombie Sara’s Zombie Urges Destroyed Her World


This is the end of the cartoon version of the story of Jenny and Zombie Sara.

Jenny lives. Sara dies. Sara actually dies twice but that’s how zombie stories work.

I’ve got a lot—I mean, a lot—of background to this stuff with Jenny and Sara. Lots of other people die too and a few other people also live. But for the cartoons I just looked at six scenes of Jenny and Sara confronting each other.

Maybe some day I’ll get a chance to come back to this story and explain why Sara wanted to die and come back to life, and why Sara had such a contentious relationship with Jenny.

This for me was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on here at Impossible Kisses. It was fun doing these six scenes which involved so much backstory (at least in my mind) and drawing everything using just a few pencils, some Pigma markers, a set of Bic Mark-It markers and one Prismacolor marker (I used a Prismacolor Deco Peach for flesh tone midtones).

I may have more to say about Prismacolor markers in another post. In a weird way Prismacolor markers have played a role in my life almost for as long as I can remember. Right now out in the real world Prismacolor seems to be fighting a marketplace battle with Copic. I actually used a Copic Skin White for the flesh tones in the first cartoon, “The Zombie Issue Destroyed Their Friendship,” but when I realized I wanted to do a whole series I switched to Prismacolor. I think Copic markers are better in almost every way than Prismacolor markers but for me Prismacolor markers are something like magic. I’ll talk about that someday in another post.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Empty Lot Entanglement

I feel entangled
with all the empty lots I’ve walked through
places where children played
crickets and grasshoppers and spiders and butterflies
mice and rabbits and sparrows and blackbirds and hawks
weeds and wild flowers
discarded telephone poles
stones and boulders
puddles of rain water

I feel crushed flat myself
like all the empty lots that have been plowed up
filled in and leveled and paved over
turned into concrete and asphalt parking lots
wood and brick and steel and glass buildings
homes and businesses

I feel lonely
like the few empty lots that remain
open surrounded by closed
places where people throw garbage
metal things turning to rust

I feel entangled
and it’s only the presence of the past
places where children played
something like memory
permeating everything
out beyond the stars
deep through the center of the Earth
that allows me to continue walking
over and through what used to be empty lots

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Empty Lots

Impossible Kisses: The Empty Lot Behind My House

Thursday, November 12, 2009

“Out Of This Door Might Come Something”

The Large Hadron Collider is ready to start smashing particles together again, equipment, the laws of nature, and the Almighty permitting. The $9 billion particle accelerator has been fully repaired after a short circuit put it out of action for more than a year, and should be ready to roll come Christmastime. Scientists have begun firing protons around one section, once again eagerly awaiting proof of the existence of the Higgs boson or "God particle," although a few argue that the short circuit may foreshadow further problems, including sabotage—from the future.

The creation of the Higgs boson may be so“abhorrent to nature” that it would ripple back in time to destroy itself like a time traveler killing his own grandfather, a pair of physicists argued recently. They suggested the failure of the collider and earlier projects might even be proof of the existence of God. Some others suggest that the project could spawn planet-destroying black holes. Just as scarily, the Los Angeles Times notes, a physicist working on the project was arrested for allegedly having al-Qaeda links last month.

Large Hadron Collider is ready to roll
after a year of repairs

A top boffin at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) says that the titanic machine may possibly create or discover previously unimagined scientific phenomena, or "unknown unknowns" - for instance "an extra dimension".

"Out of this door might come something, or we might send something through it," said Sergio Bertolucci, who is Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, briefing reporters including the Reg at CERN HQ earlier this week.

The LHC, built inside a 27-km circular subterranean tunnel deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border outside Geneva, functions like a sort of orbital motorway for extremely high-speed hadrons - typically either protons or lead ions.

The differences are, firstly, that the streams of particles are moving at velocities within a whisker of light speed - such that each stream has as much energy in it as a normal car going at 1000mph. Secondly, the beams are arranged in such fashion that the two streams swerve through one another occasionally, which naturally results in huge numbers of incredibly violent head-on collisions.

These collisions are sufficiently violent that they are expected to briefly create conditions similar to those obtaining countless aeons ago, not long after the Big Bang, when the entire universe was still inconceivably small - it was smaller than a proton for quite some time, seemingly, still with all the stuff that nowadays makes up all the supra-enormity of space and galaxies and so forth packed in somehow.

Naturally, some extremely strange phenomena are to be expected when one mangles the very fabric of space-time itself in this fashion. Various eccentric nutballs have claimed that this would doom humanity in one fashion or another; perhaps converting the entire Earth, everything on it and possibly the rest of the universe too into "strangelet soup", monopole mulligatawny or some other sort of frightful sub-particulate blancmange or custard.

It has also been suggested that cack-handed boffins at the LHC might inadvertently call into being a miniature black hole and carelessly drop this into the centre of the Earth, rather irritatingly causing the planet to implode. It's certainly to be hoped that the button marked "Call Black Hole Into Being" on the control board has some kind of flip-down cover over it.

Obviously all that's utter rubbish. But some boffins have speculated that black holes might alternatively act as spacewarp wormhole portals into alternate universes, or something. This would seem to chime with Bertolucci's remarks this week on hyperdimensional "doors" out of which might come unspecified "somethings".

Anyone who has watched a TV, read any sci-fi or seen any movies will be well aware that hyperdimensional spacewarp wormhole portals don't normally lead to anything boring like empty space, parallel civilisations where humanity lives in peace and harmony or anything like that.

Rather, it seems a racing cert that we're looking here at an imminent visit from a race of carnivorous dinosaur-men, the superhuman clone hive-legions of some evil genetic queen-empress, infinite polypantheons of dark nega-deities imprisoned for aeons and hungering to feast upon human souls, a parallel-history victorious Nazi globo-Reich or something of that type.

We took the matter up with Dr Mike Lamont, a control-room boffin at the LHC.

"We're hoping to see supersymmetry and extra dimensions," he confirmed.

Pressed on the matter of doors through which something might come, as hinted at by Bertolucci, Lamont rather elliptically said "well, he's a theorist", before recommending the book Warped Passages by physicist Lisa Randall. This explores ways in which extra-dimensional space and entities might interact with our own. It uses among others the example of how a sphere moving in 3D space would appear to someone living on a single 2D plane-space - that is as a mysterious circle suddenly blossoming into existence, growing, perhaps moving about and then shrinking down and vanishing again.

"There's no maths in it," added Lamont encouragingly, having assessed the intellectual level of the Reg news team with disconcerting percipience.

Summarising, then, it appears that we might be in for some kind of invasion by spontaneously swelling and shrinking spherical or wheel-shaped creatures - something on the order of the huge rumbling stone ball from Indiana Jones - able to move in and out of our plane at will. Soon the cities of humanity will lie in smoking ruins, shattered by the Attack of the Teleporting Juggernaut-tyrants from the Nth Dimension.

Dr Bertolucci later got in touch to confirm that yes indeed, there would be an "open door", but that even with the power of the LHC at his disposal he would only be able to hold it open "a very tiny lapse of time, 10-26 seconds, [but] during that infinitesimal amount of time we would be able to peer into this open door, either by getting something out of it or sending something into it.

"Of course," adds Bertolucci, "after this tiny moment the door would again shut, bringing us back to our 'normal' four dimensional world ... It would be a major leap in our vision of Nature, although of no practcal use (for the time being, at least). And of course [there would be] no risk to the stability of our world."

'Something may come through'
dimensional 'doors: CERN

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The Windmills Of PHYSICS TODAY

This Is Lisa Randall. Not Lisa Randall

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

“She’s A Pussy Cat”

UK starts study on using human DNA in animals


Right this second I don’t have anything new prepared to say about chimeras, but I wanted to post this story because it’s kind of a follow-up to a story I posted last year in When We Meet Monsters.


People who follow conspiracy theories often take it as a kind of truism that any cutting-edge science we read about in the mainstream press has been available in black ops laboratories for ten years or more.

According to the mainstream press, now, scientists are so familiar with intermingling human and animal genes that we should try to set some culturally acceptable boundaries to the practice.

It is reasonable to wonder how long scientists in black ops laboratories have been mixing human and animal genes and it’s reasonable to wonder what those scientists have accomplished unbound by culturally accepted norms.


In the 1996 John Frankenheimer film of H. G. Well’s 1896 [!] classic story, “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” Fairuza Balk plays the character Aissa. When Edward watches Aissa dance, then talks to her, he is almost hypnotized. Aissa is beautiful, smart, curious yet oddly out-of-touch with the modern world. Later Edward speaks with Moreau’s assistant and tells him Aissa is beautiful. Moreau’s assistant smiles and replies, “She’s a pussy cat.”

Later in the movie, of course, when Moreau’s control of the island breaks down we discover Aissa in fact is a pussy cat, a chimera, partly human, partly jungle cat. Unable to live as a human, unable to revert fully to animal, Aissa dies tragically—in the classic sense of that word—fighting other chimera that have reverted almost completely to their animal nature.


Scientists are mixing human and animal genes so frequently that they want to establish culturally acceptable boundaries for the practice.

When we meet people who seem attractive, smart, curious yet oddly out-of-touch with the modern world, should we wonder if there is more going on than meets the eye?


The simple phrase “She’s a pussy cat” makes me shiver.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Circular Stacks

Another feature of Chuck's new Forth virtual machine model is his circular stacks. They greatly simplify the construction of his hardware and make the stacks in his architecture faster than general purpose registers in other architectures. They also greatly simply Forth. Chuck has said that stack overflow and underflow errors have always been a problem not just for Forth but for everyone. The problem is that they are destructive. Unanticipated errors happen but then the return stack gets corrupted errors can compound and systems can crash. Overflowing stacks can corrupt code and other data structures causing systems to crash. Hardware and software designers have put a lot of attention into managing these errors with elaborate hardware and software. That elaborate hardware and software adds complexity in other places like compilers and applications and that leads to more bugs. Chuck wanted to find a simple solution that wouldn't introduce complexity. Having the bottom N elements of the stack as a circular data structure meant that there was no arbitrary starting point. When you were done it was empty. You never had to empty it out before using it again, it was always at the start if you wanted it to be. If you program had bugs the worst thing that could happen on the stack is that stack data would be corrupted. That kind if error is a lot easier to deal with than corrupted code or memory structures. It also means that a Forth system does not have to deal with complex hardware mechanisms or complex software mechanisms the problem is either avoided or minimized as well as any approach can make it almost for free.

Jeff Fox
Thoughtful Programming in FORTH - Chapter 3

Thoughtful Programming in FORTH - Chapter 1

Thoughtful Programming in FORTH - Chapter 2

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A Fourth Generation Computer Language

Charles Moore Goes To Saturn!

Design Of A [Computer] Language

Do you need an operating system?

Two Schools Of Thought About Computer Science

T. J. Pughe: Chip-Making Fool


Friday, November 06, 2009

Where Is The Delectable Creature?

There’s a certain Shakespeare creation
I’ve fantasized about creating
an animation film featuring
because my defining sensation

is this person had no relation
to the grief of others rejecting
law and decency and embracing
madness as insane consolation.

I would make it a monster movie
and I’d do what seems unthinkable—
I’d make this character the creature.

There’s something esthetically groovy
in something that seems delectable
devouring hearts as a feature.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Destination Of The Moth

1 — A Moth At Night

Bright city lights shine
against iridescent wings
of a moth at night,

above the buildings,
below the constellations,
flying to someplace

the moth at night knows
but city lights and star light
can never reveal.

2 — A Girl Who Likes Clouds

A girl looks at clouds,
watches the clouds slowly move
and she takes a step

and the planet Earth
slowly turns under her feet
as she slowly moves

watching the clouds move
and the universe rotates
around her watching.

3 — Writing

A pencil draws shapes,
the shapes form into letters,
letters into words

and something like love
draws words into sentences
about a moth, clouds

and a universe
that rotates around a girl
and writing and love.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Maybe Between The Earth And The Moon

Somewhere out there.
Maybe between the Earth and the Moon.
Maybe among the lost angels.
Maybe just minutes away.
Somewhere out there.

I can think it.
I can’t see it.
I can’t touch it.
I can’t kiss it.
I can think it.

The blue jeans I’m wearing are ripped
but I’ve lost weight and can button
my new blue jeans if I want to.

I still want to put on those jeans
even now sad and cynical
and separate from everything.

I can think it.
Somewhere out there.
New blue jeans. Blue. Blue like the sky.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Things Not Jazz: Ice Cream Sadness

The Crow Equinox

That video is interesting. I didn’t make it and I don’t know who did. And I never saw that video until after I wrote and put up today’s post.

This is weird and it happened like this.

Starting last night and ending this morning I wrote “Maybe Between The Earth And The Moon.”

Then I posted the poem.

I realized—as I often do—that today’s post echoed an earlier post, in this case “Things Not Jazz: Ice Cream Sadness,” so I edited today’s post to include a link to that earlier post.

When I looked at “Ice Cream Sadness” to get the link, I remembered I’d included a video on that post. So I thought about what video I could include on today’s post. I’ve been thinking a lot about slow music lately, and I recently bought David Essex’s “Rock On” from iTunes because it’s my favorite example of a slow song that’s still—to my ears—very much a rock song. So I looked on youTube for a video of “Rock On” and found this.

A lot of the imagery seemed perfectly suited for my post, so I embedded it. The crows in the video reminded me of “The Crow Equinox” so I added that link.

It’s kind of like a collage or found art, various pieces that randomly seem to fit together even though they have no explicit connection to each other.

It’s all chance. But it seems pretty cool to me.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

“Between Us And You A Great Chasm Has Been Fixed”

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

"'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

Luke 16:19-31 (NIV)

This is one of my favorite Bible passages.

I’m not going to dwell on it today, but someday I will come back to this.

It’s always seemed to me there are at least a couple of great metaphysical points in this quote.

For instance, I love the phrasing of: “...between us and you a great chasm has been fixed...

It is intriguing to think there may be absolute demarcations between people. This passage, of course, is speaking about a demarcation between the physical places of Heaven and Hell, but often concepts of Scripture can also be interpreted as “types” and “shadows” which have applications in ways that are not immediately apparent.

Now and then I meet a person and although we speak the same language and completely agree on a context when we try to have a conversation we are forever misunderstanding each other. It is as if there is some kind of metaphysical chasm set between us and regardless of our motivations and energy we are unable to make serious heart-to-heart contact. I wonder if in instances like this our physical reality is a “shadow” of some other reality and inexplicable distance here is a result of some mechanism over there.

Another thing that’s amazing to me about this passage is the observation: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

Remember this is Jesus telling a story about Abraham. Jesus is explicitly telling His apostles that people who do not believe in Scripture will not be swayed by a person who returns from the dead. And Jesus, of course, already knows that He will return from the dead. And He knows, and wants His apostles to know, that the Resurrection in itself will not move people to belief.

That’s a pretty brave message for the New Testament to embed within its own narrative. And pretty cool, too.

Scripture is very interesting to read while keeping on the look-out for nuts & bolts metaphysical things. Very often people who promote Christianity have agendas very different from rational understanding of the content.