This evening I was strolling along University Avenue up in Palo Alto - I very much enjoy the scene along that boulevard. A new restaurant has opened, the third branch of "Pluto's" - the other two are in San Francisco. A scrawny, hairy, bespectacled individual implored me to take the empty plastic chair opposite him at a table out front of "Häagen-Dazs" - usually I'd turn down such a request but I was feeling particularly open to conversation with a stranger in the balmy night air. He was quite mad, his brains scrambled, although he wasn't grungy like a street person. He had a notebook and a medical dictionary; when I asked his name he said "Oxford University" and that he'd never seen the Atlantic Ocean. Yet he'd earned a degree there, in diction, and he wanted me to guess how it was he'd been there without seeing the Atlantic. I rose to the occasion and responded with matching daffiness, claimed I was a tabula rosa, a blank slate <1> and that I had no opinion. After scrawling the expression into his notebook (with many extra letters) he rolled a cigarette from a pouch of tobacco and requested two cents for a cup of coffee. I handed over two pennies, then ponied up two more. Finally I gave him the rest of my change, shook his hand and left him there. Other questions of his I answered were whether I'd ever been to Switzerland, or to London, and what kind of dictionary I had.
Y2K Humor SpotlightFound the following posting on Usenet today:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Tiberius) Subject: Programmer available Newsgroup: comp.software.year-2000 On 16 Aug 1998 19:29:07 GMT, "RP"
Background if you're not laughing: COBOL is a common mainframe language; many of the non-Y2K-compliant applications are written in COBOL.
COBOL - COmmon Business-Oriented Language
Y2K - Year 2 Kilo
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<1>It's really tabula rasa