table of contents
December 2002 TOC
Archived letters

Letters to the Editor, November 2002

This a traditional letter column. You are encouraged to write a letter of comment on anything that you find worthy of comment. It will (may) be published in this column along with my reply. As editor I reserve the right to delete material; however I will not alter the undeleted material. E-mail to me that solely references the contents of this site will be assumed to be publishable mail. All other e-mail is assumed to be private. And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication. Oh yes, letters of appreciation for the scholarly resources provided by this site will be handled very discreetly. This page contains the correspondence for December 2002.

NOTE: Between my trip, changing my site address, having my hard drive crash, and other goodnesses, the October letter column never happened. November was nominated as catchup month. December will have to do. Patience children, normality will happen any millennium now.

Index of contributors

Other Correspondence Pages

From: Charles Hitchcock
Date: 11/14/2002
Subj: New come

apparently is still played; a search on “newcomb” and “volleyball” on Lycos pulls up 3 different summer camps in the first 10 hits, and more as you continue. (Some sites explain it as a “pre-volleyball” throwing/catching game, some seem to assume that parents of small fry will know or guess what it is.) And of course no etymology (“waddayou, some kinda brain?”), and some confusion about whether it should be capitalized (cf Rugby/rugby, or Teresa Nielsen Hayden on the difference between Deringer and derringer).

In some of the recreational games I’ve seen it is not clear whether they are playing volleyball or newcomb/Newcomb. Anyway, thanks for the info.
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From: Phil Morton
Date: 11/12/2002
Subj: real programmers use teco

where does that come from and is it online.

It comes from the infamous “Real Programmers Don’t Use Pascal” paper. The original source was a letter by one Ed Post to Datamation, volume 29 number 7,

A google search on “Real Programmers Don’t Use Pascal” turns up a lot of copies. The one at http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/joke/quiche.htm has the provenance. The relevant paragraphs are:

Some of the concepts in these Xerox editors have been incorporated into the editors running on more reasonably named operating systems–EMACS and VI being two. The problem with these editors is that Real Programmers consider “What you see is what you get” to be just as bad a concept in text editors as it is in women. No, the Real Programmer wants a “you asked for it, you got it” text editor–complicated, cryptic, powerful, unforgiving, dangerous. TECO, to be precise.

It has been observed that the TECO command sequence more closely resembles transmission line noise than readable text [4]. One of the more entertaining games to play with TECO is to type your name in as a command line and try to guess what it does. Just about any possible typing error while talking with TECO will probably destroy your program, or even worse–introduce subtle and mysterious bugs into a once working subroutine.

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From: Ginger Larsen
Date: 12/15/2002

I’ve been looking for a 5 year diary for my mother. She’s been keeping one since I can remember and I’m 45!! I’ve been looking in bookstores and online but can’t seem to find a 5 year one. Lots of one year, but she wants 5 year. Any suggestions? Your help is much appreciated. I live in Yankton, SD. Thanks!!!!

I suspect that the larger stationary stores and office supply stores might have them. In any case here are some online places that have them.


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From: ShininStar139
Date: 12/12/2002

what is the moral of the story cold equations?

That’s a good question. The conventional wisdom is that it is much as follows: Your actions determine the consequences you suffer; it matters not whether you are wise or foolish, innocent or guilty. Humans judge you by what you are; the universe judges you by what you do.

My take is that the moral is that nice people can find themselves doing really vile things if they don’t question the dictates of bureaucracy.

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From: MrDave
Date: 12/6/2002
Subj: Humor

Can you please send to me a copy of these fine jokes that lay before me. I would very like to share them with my family and friends.

Thank you for your time. Laughing out loud!

I’m glad that you like the jokes. Unfortunately I don’t have a separate file containing them all. I would have to cut and paste them, something you could do as easily as I.
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This page was last updated December 16, 2002.
It was reformatted and moved November 29, 2005

table of contents
December 2002 TOC
Archived letters