Why Lisp macros are cool, a Perl perspective

Why Lisp macros are cool, a Perl perspective

I used to be really into learning cool programming languages, which to me included cousins of Perl like Ruby and Python, Lisp-family languages like Scheme and occasionally Common Lisp, functional or logic languages like Haskell and Prolog, and others like Io, Icon, and Javascript. (“Learning” in this context means “reading about and trying out some tiny toy programs with” in the case of all but Ruby, Scheme, and Python.)

I don’t do that much anymore cause I have my brain full with Perl all day, but just because of that, I enjoyed this short note about the main way Common Lisp (and other macroful lisp dialects) rocks over Perl — written by Perl maestro Mark-Jason Dominus, who has just written a book on the really cool topic of higher-order programming in Perl.

I Have No Boobs And I Must Grope

Now tell me that ain’t a grabby title. No pun intended. (Shouts from the cheap seats: “NONE TAKEN!”)

Last year Harlan Ellison was an ass to the Penny Arcade Guys, one of whom gave him a smackdown.

Now he’s on video groping Connie Willis, one of the finest science fiction writers alive,

Appropriate comments here:

Harlan Ellison groping Connie Willis on stage at the Hugos wasn’t funny and it wasn’t okay. I understand (from third parties; I haven’t spoken to her about it) that Connie Willis’s position is that Ellison has done worse and she can handle him, but I really didn’t want to watch it and neither, I think, did a lot of other people in the audience. Up to then the comedic schtick aspects of the Hugo presentation had been genuinely funny. After that, I think, many of us just wanted it all to stop.

Just as with George W. Bush’s now-famous uninvited shoulder-rub of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the basic message of Ellison’s tit-grab is this: “Remember, you may think you have standing, status, and normal, everyday adult dignity, but we can take it back at any time. If you are female, you’ll never be safe. You can be the political leader of the most powerful country in Europe. You can be the most honored female writer in modern science fiction. We can still demean you, if we feel like it, and at random intervals, just to keep you in line, we will.”

It’s not okay. It’s not funny. It wasn’t a blow against bourgeois pieties or political correctness. It was just pathetic and nasty and sad and most of us didn’t want to watch it. It’s another thing that’s going to stop.

My wife’s been involved in a lot of science fiction convention work back in the day and Ellison’s always come off as a bit of a sleazy jerk.

The video’s out there on google video but it seems like it’d be hypocritically voyeuristic to link to it.

I found out about this a week or so ago, but what made me think to post it was Topher’s suggestion of going back a year and seeing what you were blogging about back then. I saw that I’d blogged on the Penny Arcade thing, and suddenly remembered that Ellison acting like a jerk at a con was also in the news just lately, so I thought I’d post to link them together.

Don Rumsfeld, SCAdian?

3quarksdaily sez:

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is widely known for his oracular speaking style, unique vocal cadence and undeniable charisma. Indeed, in the early days of the Iraq War, he managed to charm many in the press corps and the public with his witty pronouncements on the status of the conflict, notwithstanding the grim subject matter. So it is perhaps not a surprise to learn that Mr. Rumsfeld is a widely respected Laurel (a title of achievement in the Arts & Sciences) in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), Middle Kingdom (comprising Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and parts of several other states). The SCA is familiar to many for its presence on American college campuses, and is best described as a Medieval and Renaissance-themed arts revival organization. Members of the SCA gather for festivals and demonstrations in full costume, and participate in combat tournaments, arts exhibits, classes, workshops, dancing and feasts. Mr. Rumsfeld, whose SCA persona is Wilhelm von Steublen, is renowned in the Bardic Arts, specifically poetry and storytelling. He excels in creating ribald, historically appropriate ballads, set to Gregorian Chant tunes and performed during regional and national festivals. He is also noted for his “fyrewalking” at nighttime events, in which a performer moves from campsite to campsite offering entertainment, in exchange for food, drink and other, bawdier refreshments. The secretary is unusual within the SCA for joining as a full-fledged, dues paying member at the late age of 44, in 1976, during his first tenure as Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford. But it wasn’t long before he was fully invested in the organization: Honored with the title of Laurel in 1980, he quickly became the Middle Kindom’s principal authority on the Bardic Arts (including poetry, storytelling and early music), and has received numerous awards and honorary titles since then. In 1992, he was selected to sit on the SCA’s Board of Directors, and continues to serve in that position to this day.

A little googling found lots of Rumsfeld/SCA mentions, but they all seemed to be quoting each other word for word. Anyone heard this from an independent source?