I was going to title this wonk "One-Hit Wonders," but to my mind there is something chintzy about the phrase, something slightly disrespectful, and Steve Goodman deserves a lot better than that. We’ll get to the late Steve Goodman in a minute, which will give you time to try to place the name.
If you are reading this wonk in my neck of the woods, the American Southwest, you can stop right now and go back to Facebook. In fact, wherever the climate is very hot and very dry you, too, can probably skip it, at least if the term “swamp cooler” or “evaporative cooler” is familiar to you. But a swamp cooler was new to me when I came here many years ago* and it underscored the fact that I wasn’t in Kansas (well, Pennsylvania) anymore, Toto.
Maybe I'm just a wuss after all. After all, I survived EMD as did so many others who were not physically crippled or emotionally scarred by the experience. And it wasn't the physical labor, the "hoppin' like a bunny," that made the pre-load such hell. In fact, I regret now that I didn't take up serious running until ten years later. With the legs that EMD gave me, I'll bet I could have run a marathon in under three hours! When I got home in the small hours, my legs used to tingle wonderfully and I weighed 130 pounds, tops.
One problem that I had with the job at EMD—or, rather, that the job had with me—was that, at 33, I was about ten years older than the other guys. Troublemaker. Malcontent. I was bad news in the same way that a 33-year-old draftee would be bad news in the army even if he was as fit as a twenty-something. A twenty-year-old is gung-ho and malleable; a thirty-year-old is just a tad cynical, a pain in the ass. That was me.
Not long ago, the wireless authentication system at the college where I worked was having issues. It wasn’t a “secure” network per se, but you did need to enter a student or staff login to use it. With the rapid proliferation of handheld devices, it was getting, to say the least, temperamental. Adding to the confusion was a spate of traveling I did that brought my iPhone and me through a variety of airports and hotels that required some form of login to gain access to their public wireless system.
Perl is a widely used programming language developed by Larry Wall in the late 1980's. Since being originally written as a scripting language to assist in system administration tasks, it has taken off as a popular language for doing everything from low-level systems programming to website scripting. If you have ever thought about getting into programming on your Mac, Perl is a great place to start!
Preparing for Perl
One of the first things most of us learned back when Safari 4 appeared was how to turn off the "Top Sites" feature (via the General tab of Safari’s Preferences) and return to our normal home page.
I have had the usual run of jobs to support my real life. I have driven tractors, forklifts, and trucks—dump trucks, delivery trucks, garbage trucks. I have done farm work and construction work and warehouse work. I’m not averse to physical labor, but when my grown-up job, teaching, finally became my career, I welcomed that development. What I’m writing about here is the worst job I ever had, the job from hell.
Is your world drab and drear, Bunky? Do people snicker when you slink into a room? Has your love life been on hold since the Clinton administration? Well, you don’t have to be that guy! Doctor Shea is here with a cure, my man! With Dr. Shea’s help, the sun will break through, men will respect and envy you, and the women...oo la la!
Whence comes this salvation, you wonder? Two words: absolute phrase!
There, that’s out of the way.
We gather today, brethren and sistren, to talk about obscenity, vulgarity, cursing. Bad language not in the grammatical sense but in the moral sense. I warn you that we may get to talking dirty.