Monday, August 25, 2008

The Real Dr. Seuss Impersonator

I recently received a cool poem in my e-mail that rhymed and carried a rhythm well. It was entitled "Why Computers Crash" and was attributed to Dr Seuss.

I've been an admirer of the works of Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr Seuss) since I was a kid. One of my favourite books during my childhood was called "I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew" which was about a guy who went looking for a place to escape his troubles and went off to search out Solla Sollew "...where they never have troubles, at least very few...". It was such a popular book in our family that when we bought a farm in 1981 and ran the place on solar panels we called the property "Solar Sollew". Clever eh?

However, knowing that Dr Seuss had passed away in 1991 I went off to find the origin of this poem and found the answer via Google at one of my favourite websites - Hoax-Slayer. (I might just add this to my links list while I think of it.)

The original poem is quite a bit longer and carries the Dr Seuss feel all the way through. However the poem was written in 1994 by Gene Ziegler. It can be found in it's entirety published online by the author on his Cornell University homepage. The poem is actually called "A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer".

Then some bastard edited it, renamed it and re-attributed it to Dr Seuss - digital vandalism.

Apparently Gene was unimpressed and he tears some virtual shreds off his dastardly digital nemesis with a second poem entitled "Hang the Information Highwayman!" - also a good read knowing a little of the history behind it.

Of course this abridged version of the poem has been circulating by e-mail since 1995 and has probably had the title changed numerous times since it's original plagiarism. The e-mail I received had the acronym risc incorrectly spell corrected to risk and even thanks Bill Gates for supplying the experiences described in the poem, yet it was written about a Macintosh computer about a year before the release of Windows95.

So if you get this e-mail sent to you, be sure to let the sender know about the original. Not only for Gene's sake, but also for the readers, because the original poem in its entirety is simply a better read.

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