Thread within a forum. Just another thread. Stream of consciousness. Like Faulkner. Only I’m sane. I don’t think my mother is a fish (Vardaman, he of Indeterminate Age (I think he’s six, mostly)) or that I should beat children (Addie Bundren) or that I need teeth (Anse. Never a man misliked Anse more than I, ere talking in his stupid unplaceable dialect and full of undecision.) and I don’t ride Snopes horses, full of meanness and love and things for which there are no words, things about which words lie (Addie again, there, in that reference, the old crazy dead woman with holes bored into her face by poor claustrophobic Vardaman).
Take a breath. Mentally let
Lacunae. Mental spaces. I don’t like to have them. I like to think. I read about Church’s lambda calculus while I walk around my land. I think about Turing machines as I walk, piecewise, up and down my road, each step an iterative function and each stone on the gravel road a mark in the infinite tape stretching out in front of me and behind me all the way forward to the death of the Roman-inspired civilization and all the way back to the Pax Romana and the Appian Way and the era of Latin in Europe, the era that supplanted the pre-writing (pre-verbal as far as history is concerned) cultures that came up like a wave of humanity and culture and art, bubbling up out of the Middle East Tigris and Euphrates. A single dialect. A single dialect of people living in mud huts, people who trembled under the malicious barbarism of the Celts and the innocent barbarism of the elements, who invented the word barbarism based on the assumption that those who could not speak their dialect could only make repetitive noise, that dialect spread like kudzu through Southeuropa, from Italy to France and the islands inhabited by the Brittias and the Angles and the Jutes and the Saxon tribes. That is why I speak like this and not with hwaet and eek and cween and other Anglo-Saxon words preserved by scops in ballads.
I have beef and veal and cow and sheep and ewe and ram and goose and paté. I have a language with huge dictionaries and theasauri. The thesaurus. Few languages need one. English is, or might be, alone among the European tongues to need the concept of a list of words that mean the same thing or the opposite thing, and a knowledge of which words don’t quite meand the same thing (large/corpulent, poltergeist/soul). It’s a spacious language, suitable for kings and queens and whores and pimps and ladies and bag ladies. It grew like moss, like mold, with thousands upon thousands of speakers worldwide and more coming (more English students in China than English speakers in the US) and always changing the language (Chaucer spoke a different language than Shakespeare spoke a different language than the unnamed scops that carried the Beowulf tales and yet all spoke English). It’s beautiful and ugly and uses fly to mean an insect and an opening in a pair of pants and an action only birds and machines and that damnable insect can perform.
867-5309 is a valid phone number. Was and is. I don’t want it. I don’t know any jennies because I don’t raise mules.
APL and FORTRAN 77 are both mathematical languages. They are both high-level, as the words mean different things now and in 1957. Fortran liberated people from machine language. Fortran forced people away from machine language. Both statements are true. What do you think a language should allow you to do?
Should it allow you to overrun a buffer and write machine language instructions directly to memory?
Should it let you directly address a memory location and write to that location indiscriminately?
Should it let you eat up all of a machine’s resources and crash it so badly you cannot recover anything but garbage from a disk scan?
Should it do what you say or what you mean or what you specified it would do in your white papers?
Should it assume you know what you are doing or assume that it knows best?
If the former, welcome to *nix. Be careful.
If the latter, welcome to MS. There is no escape.
Have fun with this thread. It is more readable than Dewy Dell’s monologues in As I Lay Dying.