The Ecphorizer

A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer
Gene Ziegler

Issue 10 (July 2007)

Bits Bytes Chips Clocks
Bits in bytes on chips in box.
Bytes with bits and chips with clocks.
Chips in box on ether-docks.

Chips with bits come. Chips with bytes come.
Chips with bits and bytes and clocks come.

Look, sir. Look, sir. read the book, sir.
Let's do tricks with bits and bytes, sir.
Let's do tricks with chips and clocks, sir.

First, I'll make a quick trick bit stack.
Then I'll make a quick trick byte stack.
You can make a quick trick chip stack.
You can make a quick trick clock stack.

And here's a new trick on the scene.
Bits in bytes for your machine.
Bytes in words to fill your screen.

Now we come to ticks and tocks, sir.
Try to say this by the clock, sir.

Clocks on chips tick.
Clocks on chips tock.
Eight byte bits tick.
Eight bit bytes tock.
Clocks on chips with eight bit bytes tick.
Chips with clocks and eight byte bits tock.

Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say....

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory
makes your floppy disk abort
then the socket packet pocket
has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item
followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon
puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted cause
the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless,
and your system's gunna crash.

You can't say this? What a shame, sir!
We'll find you another game, sir.

If the label on the cable
on the table at your house
says the network is connected
to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel
on another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected
by the printer down the hall,
and your screen is all distorted
by the side-effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window
are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot
and go out with a bang,
cause as sure as I'm a poet,
the sucker's gunna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's
getting sloppy on the disk,
and the microcode instructions
cause unnecessary risc,

then you have to flash your memory
and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
quickly turn off your computer
and be sure to tell your mom!

Gene Ziegler has his own website where he has published a number of poems in the style of Dr. Seuss.  Here is the accompanying story behind the work to the left. Gene kindly gave us permission to reprint this as part of The Ecphorizer.  Know then, that this is one of the few Official reprints! History of the Poem This poem has probably received more attention and circulation than anything I have ever written. It was created in an hour, late one night in the fall of 1994 after my four year old grandson and his older brother had significantly rearranged the resources on my Macintosh. It was originally a gift to internet friends and was passed from person to person, and posted on newsgroups and web sites in several countries. It has since been published in NetGuide Magazine, March 95, p86, and in the Seattle Times, Sunday Edition August 13th, 1995, and has generated more than 1000 fan messages. A Web search will usually turn up 100 or more copies posted hither, thither, and yon. Unfortunately, the internet being what it is, some scoundrel whose editing skills exceeded his or her ethical standards edited the poem, reduced it by half, removed my name, and recirculated it under the title "If Dr. Seuss were a Technical Writer", attributed to the ever prolific "Anonymous." Dr. Zseuss, the real Dr. Seuss impersonator, responded with Hang the Information Highwayman! in the summer of 95. Ten years have past and the fan email and requests to repost just keep coming. Writing programs and teachers' groups around the world often quote the two poems to teach youngsters internet publishing ethics. This poem has been set to music twice, once by a rapper and in the second case made into a Gilbert & Sullivan-like opera by a music teacher in Bangkok, who had his students sing it at graduation. It's been made into a brass plaque and sold in a gift shop in Dallas, recited on an Australian talk show (recently) and for the closing moments of a Vancouver TV show, "Data's Cafe." In January 2004 Internet columnist Eric Shackle said that "A search of the internet shows that despite all that publicity, Ziegler has good reason to feel cranky and forgotten. When we googled his memorable phrase "socket packet pocket" we found about 3410 references. We checked out some of the websites. In nearly every case, the original poem had been cut in half, and posted without the author's name.

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