Twas The Night Before Yule

I got this off [[]].

‘Twas the night before Yule, when all through Bag End
No Hobbit was stirring, not even a Baggins;
The teapot was hung in the kitchen with care,
In hopes that Gandalf the Grey soon would be there.

Bilbo and Frodo lay all snug in their beds,
While visions of mushroom-pies danced in their heads;
And Gaffer Gamgee next door, at Sam’s behest,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s rest,
When out on the Hill there arose such a clatter,
Sam sprang from his chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the garden he flew like a flash,
Fell in the potatoes and rolled on his back.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to all Bagshot Row,
When what to his wondering eyes should appear,

But a train of ponies, loaded with Dwarves and gear,
With a little old wizard, so lively and quick,
Sam knew in a moment it must be old Mith.
More rapid than Eagles his Dwarf-friends they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, called them by name;
“Now, Bombur! now, Dwalin! now, Bifur and Bofur!
On, Gloin! On, Gimli! on, Nori and Nar!
To the top of the road! Don’t trip and do not fall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves before the hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to Bag End the Dwarves rode on through,
With a wain full of gold, and dragon-jools too!

And then, in a twinkling, Sam heard a loud “Oof!”
As Dwarves tumbled and ponies stomped on the hoof.
As Sam rose up to stand, and was turning around,
Through the round door Gandalf the Grey went with a bound.
“Now that won’t do!” Sam cried as he stamped his foot,
The Dwarves all chuckled, and Sam sighed with an “Oh, shoot!”
A bundle of gold Gandalf had on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, and his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as grey as they go;
The stump of pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He was known for fireworks and a little mischief,
But, Great Goblins, now he seemed no more than a thief!
He was grimy and gruff, unlike Bilbo’s High Elves,
And Sam wept when he saw Gandalf knock off a shelf.
But a wink of an eye, a twist of the head,
Soon told Sam he had much, much worse things to dread!
Gandalf spoke no word, but went straight to his work,
And ripped all the clean socks, oh! what a jerk!
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
He said, “Give ’em Hell, Sam! These rags have to go!”
And he sprang out the door, to the Dwarves he whistled,

And away they all fled like they sat on a thistle.
And Sam had to exclaim, ere they were all out of sight,
“No more Miruvor for you! Oh, what a long night!”

***’By Michael Martinez’***

Graphic Calculator

This is how one of the great killer apps for the first power PC macintoshes came to be.

I used to be a contractor for Apple, working on a secret project. Unfortunately, the computer we were building never saw the light of day. The project was so plagued by politics and ego that when the engineers requested technical oversight, our manager hired a psychologist instead. In August 1993, the project was canceled. A year of my work evaporated, my contract ended, and I was unemployed.

I was frustrated by all the wasted effort, so I decided to uncancel my small part of the project. I had been paid to do a job, and I wanted to finish it. My electronic badge still opened Apple’s doors, so I just kept showing up.

I had many sympathizers. Apple’s engineers thought what I was doing was cool. Whenever I gave demos, my colleagues said, “I wish I’d had that when I was in school.” Those working on Apple’s project to change the microprocessor in its computers to the IBM PowerPC were especially supportive. They thought my software would show off the speed of their new machine. None of them was able to hire me, however, so I worked unofficially, in classic “skunkworks” fashion.

You just gotta love a story like this. This is how all the cool stuff gets made, by a programmer with passion.