Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Stuffed::turkey
  2. Armstrong::LiveStrong
  3. Bruise::car accident
  4. Content::peaceful
  5. Musical::Christmas carols
  6. Assistance::money
  7. Scrambling::rat race
  8. Battle::No more gold stars
  9. Extended::over-extended
  10. Discount::That count, you count, I count

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Computer Memory

The first computer I ever owned was made by a doll company! Remember Cabbage Patch dolls? They were made by Coleco. Coleco also made 'Colecovision' gaming system for home entertainment, the fore-runner of today's GameCubes, PS2's and XBOX 360. In the early 1980's, Coleco came out with a home computer, the "Coleco Adam".

It came with a whopping 80K ram and you could expand it to 144k! It had a tape drive for storage. No disks or hard drive, just a tape; it looked like a regular audio tape, but was super-charged to run back and forth at high speed. And best of all, the whole package cost me $499.00!! Less then half of what the IBM-PCjr was retailing for.

It was a good idea. However, Coleco had over-reached their technical capabilites. They dropped the whole platform about 3 months after I purchased my Adam, thereby creating a lot of "Little Orphaned Adams". The no longer created add-ons, distributed or repaired their computers. Not that they had ever repaired them. The first Adam I had never ran properly and when I called the Coleco support line, was told to take it to a Honeywell repair site!

I don't remember what happened to my Orphaned Adam. I suppose at some point I threw it in the trash. The next computer I owned was a 'portable computer': an Apple ][c! If you are interested you can read more about early 'home computers' at the Classic Computer Magazine Archive.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hello? Is this the ACLU....

"Hello? Hello? Is this the ACLU? I wish to report on behalf of my brothers and myself religious harassment.
"You have reached the American Civil Liberties Union. Why do you feel you are being harassed?"
"My brothers and I, we are Moslems. We go to public university. I and some of my brothers go to school here in Minnesota, some of my other brothers go to school in Iowa"
"How many brothers do you have?"
"I have one brother"
"and you and your brother feel you are be harassed for you're religious beliefs?"
"My brothers and I..."
"but you just said..."
"I have many Moslem brothers!"
"okay, I see you are speaking metaphorically..."
"Yes, yes we are all being harassed by the University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa"
"Just those two schools? Please tell me when and how the harassment started"
"These schools are fine institutions, but they are insulting and ridiculing us. It starts every Autumn, for several weeks, and then things go back to normal until the following year"
"Only those two schools and only in the Fall? Please be specific as to the nature of the harassment."
"These two schools they have football teams. Every year they get together and play a 'border battle' game. There is a trophy that is given to the winning team to enshrine for the year"
"Yes, that is a common tradition in many colleges and universities."
"Ah, but you see, the trophy-award in this case, is called Floyd. It is a pig! I would like to say, I normally have as much 'school spirit' as my fellow students. But a pig! Moslems are forbidden to have anything, anything to do with that unclean animal!! It is offensive to even look upon one!"

"Sir, it is just a statue..."
(shrieking) "Of a PIG!! A graven image of a pig named Floyd! When this disgusting tradition started they actually used a live pig!! It is an idol! Aren't Jews and Christians alike forbidden to possess idols? How can they be so insensitive! "
"Every Fall, it starts as a low whisper and builds in crescendo until all over both campuses all we hear about is Floyd! We Need to Keep Floyd, or We Need to Bring Floyd Back With Us!" We are ridiculed and challenged about our lack of 'team spirit'
"They worship that trophy! They worship that PIG!"
"I can see your point. There have been some court cases in Europe regarding 'piggy banks' being offensive. Especially when given to a Moslem child to save change in. It is rather insensitive. Has anyone done anything, maybe spoken with anyone about your concerns at the schools involved? Or written a letter to the campus newspapers?"
(calmer) Well not really. We think they should be made to change the trophy to something else..."
"Such as?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe a fish?"

Note: the above conversation is purely fictional. It has taken place only in the author's brain. (Don't get any smart ideas).