AIList Digest            Sunday, 15 Dec 1985      Volume 3 : Issue 187

Today's Topics:
  Humor - Alice's LISP Machine


Date: Thu 5 Dec 85 11:25:15-CST
Subject: Humor - Thanksgiving Story

                    [Forwarded from NIKHIL@MIT-XX]
          [Forwarded from the UTexas bboard by Laws@SRI-AI.]

                         ALICE'S LISP MACHINE

             Chris Stacy, Alan Wecsler, and Noel Chiappa

          This song is called "MIT's AI  Lab". It's about MIT and  the
AI Lab, but "MIT's AI Lab" is not the name of the lab, that's just the
name of the song. That's why I call the song "MIT's AI Lab."

          Now it all started two full dumps ago, on Thanksgiving, when
my friend and I went  up to visit the hackers  at AI lab on the  ninth
floor. But the hackers don't always live on the ninth floor, they just
go there to use these complex order code stack machines they call Lisp

          And using a special purpose processor like that, they got  a
lot of room upstairs where  DDT used to be,  and havin' all that  ROOM
they decided that they didn't have  to collect any garbage for a  long

          We JFCLed up here and found all the garbage in there and  we
decided that it'd be a friendly gesture for us to take all the garbage
down to the system dump.

          So we took the half-a-meg of garbage, put it in the back  of
a red  ECL  Multibus, took  subrs  and hacks  and  implementations  of
defstruction, and headed on toward the system dump.

          Well, we got there and there was  a big pop up window and  a
write protect across  the dump sayin',  "This Garbage Collecter  Under
Development on  Thanksgiving,"  and  we'd never  heard  of  a  garbage
collector NOP'd  out on  Thanksgiving before,  and with  tears in  our
eyes, we CDR'd off  into the sunset lookin'  for another place to  put
the garbage.

          We didn't find one 'til we came to a side area, and off  the
side of the  side area  was three hundred  megabyte disk,  and in  the
middle of the disk  was another heap of  garbage. And we decided  that
one big heap was  better than two little  heaps, and rather than  page
that one in, we decided to write ours out. That's what we did.

          Branched  back  to   the  Lisp  Listener,   had  a   Chinese
Thanksgiving dinner  that couldn't  be beat,  went to  SI:PROCESS-WAIT
SLEEP, and didn't get up until the next quantum, when we got a funcall
from Mr.  Greenblatt.  He said, "Kid, we found your name on a cons  at
the bottom of a half-a-meg of garbage and I just wanted to know if you
had any information about it".

          And I said, "Yes sir, Mr. Greenblatt, I cannot tell a lie. I
put that structure under that  garbage." After speakin' to  Greenblatt
for about  forty-five million  clock ticks  on the  telnet stream,  we
finally arrived at the truth of the matter and he said that we had  to
go down and link up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak  to
him at the Lisp  Machine Factory. So  we got in  the red ECL  Multibus
with the  subrs  and hacks  and  implementations of  defstruction  and
headed on toward the Lisp Machine Factory.

          Now,  friends,  there  was  only  one  of  two  things  that
Greenblatt could've done at  the Lisp Machine  Factory, and the  first
was that he could've given us another 64K board for bein' so brave and
honest on BUG-LISPM (which  wasn't very likely,  and we didn't  expect
it), and the other thing was that he could've flamed at us and told us
never to be seen BLTing garbage around in the vicinity again, which is
what we expected.

          But when we  got to the  Lisp Machine Factory,  there was  a
third COND-clause that we  hadn't even counted upon,  and we was  both
immediately Process-Arrested, Deexposed,  and I  said, "Greenblatt,  I
can't GC up the garbage with  these here ARREST-REASONS on". He  said:
"Output-Hold, kid, and  get in the  back of the  Control CAR."  ...And
that's what we did...sat in the back of the Control CAR, and drove  to
the sharpsign quote open scene-of-the-crime close.

          I wanna tell you 'bout the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts,
where this is happenin'. They got seven hunnert stop signs, no turn on
red,  and  two   campus  police  CARs,   but  when  we   got  to   the
sharpsign-quote-open scene-of-the-crime  close,  there was  five  Lisp
Machine hackers and three scope carts,  bein' the biggest hack of  the
last ten years  and everybody wanted  to get in  the HUMAN-NETS  story
about it.

          And they was usin'  up all kinds  of digital equipment  that
they had  hangin' around  the Lisp  Machine Factory.  They was  takin'
backtraces,  stack  traces,  plastic   wire  wraps,  blueprints,   and
microcode   loads...And   they    made   seventeen   1K-by-32    pixel
multi-flavored windows with turds and arrows  and a scroll bar on  the
side of each  one with  documentation panes explainin'  what each  one
was, to be used as evidence against us.

        ...Took pictures of the labels, blinkers, ๔he cursors, the pop
up notification windows, the upper right corner, the lower left corner
...and that's not to mention the XGP'd screen images!

          After the ordeal,  we went back  to the Factory.  Greenblatt
said he was gonna locate us in a cell. He said: "Kid, I'm gonna INTERN
you in a cell. I want your manual and your mouse."

          I said,  "Greenblatt,  I  can  understand  your  wantin'  my
manual, so I don't have any documentation about the cell, but what  do
you want my mouse for?"  and he said, "Kid,  we don't want any  window
system problems".   I said,  "Greenblatt, did  you think  I was  gonna
deexpose myself for litterin'?"

          Greenblatt said he was makin' sure, and, friends, Greenblatt
was, 'cause he took out the  left Meta-key so I couldn't double  bucky
the rubout and cold-boot, and he took out the Inspector so I  couldn't
click-left on Modify, set the PROCESS-WARM-BOOT-ACTION on the  window,
*THROW around the  UNWIND-PROTECT and have  an escape. Greenblatt  was
makin' sure.

          It was about four or  five hours later that  Moon--(remember
Moon?  This here's not a song about  Moon)-- Moon came by and, with  a
few nasty sends to Greenblatt on the side, bailed us out of core,  and
we went up to  the Loft, had another  Chinese dinner that couldn't  be
beat, and didn't  get up until  the next evening,  when we all  had to
go to court.

          We  walked  in,  sat  down,  Greenblatt  came  in  with  the
seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel multi-flavored windows with turds and  arrows
and documentation panes, sat down.

          McMahon came  in, said,  "All rise!"  We all  stood up,  and
Greenblatt stood up with  the seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel  multi-flavored
windows with turds and arrows  and documentation panes, and the  judge
walked in, with an LA36, and he sat down. We sat down.

          Greenblatt looked at the LA36... then at the seventeen multi
flavored windows with the turds and arrows and documentation  panes...
and looked at  the LA36... and  then at the  seventeen 1K-by-32  pixel
multi-flavored windows with turds and arrows and documentation  panes,
and began to cry.

          Because Greenblatt came  to the  realization that  it was  a
typical case  of LCS  state-of-the-art  technology, and  there  wasn't
nothin' he could do about it, and  the judge wasn't gonna look at  the
seventeen 1K-by-32 pixel multi-flavored windows with turds and  arrows
and documentation panes, explainin' what each  one was, to be used  as
evidence against us.

          And we was fined fifty zorkmids and had to rebuild the world the snow.

          But that's not what I'm here to tell you about.
          I'm here to talk about the Lab.

          They got  a buildin'  down  in Cambridge  called  Technology
Square, where you walk in,  you get your windows Inspected,  detected,
neglected and Selected!

          I went down and got my  interview one day, and I walked  in,
sat down (slept on the  beanbag in 926 the  night before, so I  looked
and felt my best when I went in that morning, 'cause I wanted to  look
like the All-American High School Tourist from Sunnyvale. I wanted  to
feel like ... I wanted to be the All-American Kid from Sunnyvale), and
I walked in, sat down, I was  gunned down, brung down, locked out  and
all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things.

          And I walked in, I sat down, KAREN gave me a piece of  paper
that said: "Kid, see the CLU hackers on XX."

          I went up there, I said, "Eliot, I wanna lose. I wanna lose!
I wanna see hacks  and kludges and unbound  variables and cruft in  my
code! Eat dead  power supplies with  cables between my  teeth! I  mean
lose! lose! lose!"

          And I started  jumpin' up  and down,  yellin' "LOSE!   LOSE!
LOSE!"  and Stallman walked  in and started jumpin'  up and down  with
me, and we was both jumpin' up and down, yellin', "LOSE! LOSE!   LOSE!
LOSE!!" and some professor  came over, gave me  a 6-3 degree, sent  me
down the hall, said "You're our distinguished lecturer."  Didn't  feel
too good about it.

          Proceeded  down   the   infinite  corridor,   gettin'   more
inspections, rejections (this  IS MIT),  detections, neglections,  and
all kinds of stuff that  they was doin' to me  there, and I was  there
for two years... three years... four  years... I was there for a  long
time goin' through all kinds of mean, nasty, kludgy things, and I  was
havin' a tough time there,  and they was inspectin', injectin',  every
single part of me, and they was leavin' no part unbound!

          Proceeded through, and I finally  came to see the very  last
man.  I walked in, sat down, after  a whole big thing there. I  walked
up, and he said, "Kid,  we only got one  question: Have you ever  been

          And I proceeded to tell him  the story of the half-a-meg  of
garbage with full orchestration and  five-part harmony and stuff  like
that, and other phenomenon.

          He stopped me right there and said, "Kid, have you ever been
to court"? And  I proceeded  to tell him  the story  of the  seventeen
1K-by-32 pixel  multi-flavored  windows  with  turds  and  arrows  and
documentation panes...

          He stopped me right there and  said, "Kid, I want you to  go
over and sit down on that bench that says 'LISP Machine Group'... NOW,

          And I walked  over to  the bench there,  and there's...  The
LISP Machine Group  is where  they put  you if  you may  not be  moral
enough to join Symbolics after creatin' your special form.

          There was all kinds of  mean, nasty, ugly-lookin' people  on
the bench there ...  there was Microcoders,  DPL hackers, File  System
hackers, and  Window System  Hackers!!  Window System  hacker  sittin'
right there  on  the bench  next  to  me! And  the  meanest,  ugliest,
nastiest one... the kludgiest Window System hacker of them all...  was
comin' over to me, and he was mean and ugly and nasty and horrible and
all kinds of things, and  he sat down next to  me. He said, "Kid,  you
get a new copy of the sources?"  I said, "I didn't get nothin'. I  had
to rebuild the world load."

          He said,  "What were  you arrested  for, kid?"  and I  said,
"Littering..." And they  all moved away  from me on  the bench  there,
with the hairy  eyeball and all  kinds of mean,  nasty things, 'til  I
said, "And making  gratuitous modifications to  LMIO; sources..."  And
they all came  back, shook my  hand, and we  had a great  time on  the
bench talkin' about microcoding, DPL designing, file-system hacking,
... and all kinds of groovy things that we was talkin' about on the
bench, and everything was fine.

          We was drinking Coke smoking all kinds of things, until  the
RA came over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and said:


And he talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that
he said. But we had  fun rolling the mice  around and clickin' on  the

          I filled  out the  special form  with the  four-level  macro
defining macros.  Typed it  in there just like  it was and  everything
was fine.  And  I put down  my keyboard, and  I switched buffers,  and
there ...  in  the other  buffer...  centered in  the other  buffer...
away from everything  else in  the buffer...  in parentheses,  capital
letters, backquotated, in 43VXMS, read the following words: "Kid, have
you featurized yourself"?

          I went  over to  the RA.  Said, "Mister,  you got  a lot  of
damned gall to ask me  if I've featurized myself!   I mean, I mean,  I
mean that you send, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm  sittin'
here on the Lisp Machine Group bench,  'cause you want to know if  I'm
losing enough  to  join  the  Lab, burn  PROMs,  power  supplies,  and
documentation, after bein' on SF-LOVERS?"

          He looked at  me and said,  "Kid, we don't  like your  kind!
We're gonna send  your user-id off  to the DCA  in Washington"!   And,
friends, somewhere  in Washington,  enshrined  on some  little  floppy
disk, is a  study in ones  and zeros of  my brain-damaged  programming

          And the only reason I'm singin'  you the song now is  'cause
you may know  somebody in  a similar  situation. Or  you may  be in  a
similar situation, and  if you're  in a situation  like that,  there's
only one thing you can do:

                              [ CHORUS ]

          You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they  may
think he's really dangerous and they won't take him.

          And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think  they're
both LISP hackers and they won't take either of them.

          And if three  people do  it!  Can you  imagine three  people
walkin' in, singin' a bar of "MIT's AI Lab" and walkin' out? They  may
think it's an re-implementation of the window system!

          And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY  people
a day, walkin' in, singin'  a bar of "MIT's  AI Lab" and walkin'  out?
Friends, they may think  it's a MOVEMENT, and  that's what it is:  THE
MIT AI LAB ANTI-LOSSAGE MOVEMENT! And all  you gotta do to join is  to
sing it the next time it comes around on the circular buffer.

                            With feelin'.

                    You can hack anything you want
                         on MIT Lisp Machines
                    You can hack anything you want
                         on MIT Lisp Machines
                   Walk right in and begin to hack
              Just push your stuff right onto the stack
                    You can hack anything you want
                         on MIT Lisp Machines

       (but don't forget to fix the bug...on MIT Lisp Machines!)


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