Wil Baden (Neil Bawd) in Hospital

Rev. 18-May-2001
[Wil Baden, Jocelyn Baden in Dec. 1999] Please sign our guestbook. I've been printing out the new entries and take them to my father in the hospital. -Chas.

Wil Baden, aka Neil Bawd, tool designer and Forth sage, was admitted to Hoag Hospital Memorial Presbyterian in Newport Beach CA on Thursday, 12-Apr-2001. (His last hospital visit was in 1955, for a ganglion cyst removal, probably as an outpatient. Since then, he's been married and has four children.)

A web page has been set up for updates on his condition at http://www.boston-baden.com/hazel/dad/. Good health wishes can be sent to a special e-mail account at dad@bostonbaden.com or to his regular e-mail address. Until he's back home reading his own e-mail, we're printing out his messages and bringing them to him in the hospital.

On Monday, 07-May-2001, he started back on solid foods (at home), and he's working on getting around by himself without help.

He was suffering from a sigmoid colon volvulus, which is impacted. Basically this means there was a slipknot in his colon, and nothing could get through. His feet had swollen up up from a size 10 to a size 15 (because of a side-effect from Darvocet), and he was in constant pain for two months. Also, the swollen feet acquired blisters, the blisters popped, and now his feet (esp. the right foot) are badly infected.

As near as we can figure out, he fell down in February and his trouble started then. He somehow got the kink in his colon during a trip to Arizona, we think, and that affected the nerves in his leg. Pain is mostly a new experience for a man who's been in good health almost all of his life. (Apart from the occasional minor malady. His family doctor, for the entire time he's been in California, has been and continues to be Dr. Granzella.) He seems to be in good spirits, though, and has made jokes about the volvulus being a small Swedish automobile. He's got Presbyterians, Papists and Pagans praying for him.

His incision is about 6" long, they took out about a foot and a half of his colon on 26-Apr-2001. They were able to splice the colon back together - no colostomy bag needed. (I guess since they cut out part of it, he now has a semi-colon.)

[Wil Baden reading his e-mail, 16-Apr-2001] Monday night 16-Apr-2001 they gave him dinner - his first meal since he got to the hospital Thursday, four days previously - of Grape Juice, Strawberry Gelatin, Beef Broth, Decaf Coffee, plus a Salt Packet and a Sugar Packet. He was really happy and proud to be eating real food again. The meals alternate with gelatine and Italian ices. (He likes the lemon flavor ones. Wednesday night Lynn and I sat around eating dessert with him, when the nurse was kind enough to bring a few extras for us all.) Currently he's back on the IV, but as soon as his stomach and so forth start working again, they'll ease him back into meals again.

On Tuesday 17-Apr-2001, he was given two liters of "cherry" flavored Nu-Lytely, which is an equivalent for Go-Lytely, to drink, 200 ml at a time. (We think Cherry Golytely might be Holly Golightly's younger sister.) The Golytely/Nulytely stuff apparently is what's supposed to empty out his colon. (Dissolve it and pass it out through the kidneys? Not really sure.)

Since he grew up in a time when schools still taught Latin (he's older than the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall), he's fascinated by the use of Latin in medical terminology. Such as the abbreviations "b.i.d." and "t.i.d." for twice a day and thrice a day (q.i.d. for 4x), or "h.s." for bed time (hora somnium == hour of sleep). He hasn't spent a lot of time visiting people in hospitals before, so it has a certain novelty aspect.

Who is Wil Baden?

Wil Baden went to prep school in New York, attended Princeton University where he (and most of the other math students) had tea with Einstein, and lived in Malba, Queens, New York with his wife and three children (two daughters, one son) up until mid-1964 (which is when IBM announced their new computer, the System 360). The third child (who happens to be the one maintaining this web page) had a nasty case of croup in his first year, over the winter of 1963-1964 (during which New York saw three blizzards come through). Already in the computer business (Wil Baden, that is, not the son), and seeing an advertisement for a company in California (Collins Radio - they were in the building that's now Harbor Municipal Court on Jamboree) that was going to build an emulator for IBM's System 360, a move to the Golden State seemed in order. (In New York, he'd already made a splash in the computer field when he wrote a one-pass load-and-go assembler, which meant that you could load your deck of punch cards into the hopper and push "Start" and you wouldn't have to deal with passing the cards through twice, or waiting for a binary deck to be punched and loading that.)

For thirty-seven years (so far), Mr. Wil Baden and Mrs. Jocelyn Baden have lived in the same city, at the same address, with the same phone number, area code, and zip code. They've raised four healthy children (the second son was born in Hoag Hospital, here in California), and Wil Baden has continued his work in the field of computers. He worked on the Logistics Programs for the Apollo moon project while at Collins Radio, he was on the standards committee for Fortran '77 and was an early champion of structured programming. (If you write software and never use a "goto" statement, you're using structured programming.)

He has also been active in the Forth field (Forth is a computer language, you can find out more on the newsgroup comp.lang.forth. His home page assumes a working knowledge of Forth). He has presented papers at numerous Forth conferences, usually presenting them under two names - his own, and his anagrammatic alias.

He also has a family he loves, with (grown) children who love him.

What Else Has He Done?

My father's natural modesty prevents him from advertising this on his or "Neil Bawd's" home page, but he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Usenix for his contributions to software tools. He also first became internationally known back in the 1970's for his work on public domain software for the IBM 1130. (He was on the board of directors for the IBM 1130 user group "COMMON.")

In the 1980's, the People's Republic of China invited him to speak at their universities, not once but three times (1984, 1986, 1991), and during each trip he gave his lectures in Mandarin Chinese. He and Jocelyn Baden also went on a similar trip to Germany in 1985. (But he didn't lecture in Chinese on that trip.) He and Jocelyn had a lot of fun on those trips. On one of them they arrived during eel season, and had eels for 38 meals during a 21 day stay. On another he dragged six reluctant companions into a snake restaurant in "Snake Alley." (Most cities have a Snake Alley - it's usually not far from the Red Light District. Snakes have a reputation in China similar to oysters here.) He says that "One of the reasons I don't read science fiction anymore is because there are enough other worlds on this planet."

He specified the control structure functions for Standard Forth.

He proved that GOTO name and LABEL name can be defined in Standard Forth with IF...THEN and BEGIN...AGAIN. (More information available on his home page)

He has shown that Peephole Optimization could be accomplished with threaded code.

He defined and promoted Text Macros in Standard Forth.

He wrote several articles for "Dr. Dobb's Toolbook of Forth."

He is known to the National Security Agency as "The Masonic Cryptographer."

He lived in Hollywood California for about three years when he was about 6 or 7, and appeared as an extra in an "Our Gang" birthday party crowd scene.

In 1964 he drove a Honda motorbike to commute to work. One day he was chased by a rampaging wild tumbleweed... Another day, he ran into the back of a parked truck, and spent several days sitting in a lawn chair reading The Lord of the Rings on the patio. (He wasn't hospitalized for that.) He gave up the motorbike and switched to driving the car again.

Mr. Baden, Loving Father

His home in California had room for himself, his wife, four children, and a living room full of bookcases, but no television. He read "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (and "...Great Glass Elevator"), "The Hobbit," and "The Narnia Chronicles" to his children and to his children's classmates in elementary school. (The second time he read the Narnia books to us, he did so in internal-chronology order instead of books-published order, i.e. he started with "The Magician's Nephew.")

If you sneezed, instead of "Bless you!" he'll give you a blessing. The first sneeze would result in "Health!" and the second "Wealth!" It was a sort of mock-fortune telling. If you sneezed many times in a row, you'd work through the following blessings (or some variation on these)

... Or something like that. Mom often seemed to sneeze in groups of seven, and I think if you made it up to eight or nine sneezes he'd start making them up.

He never liked the Halloween custom of rewarding beggars who come to the door asking for something for nothing, so instead he required trick-or-treaters to "do a trick for a treat." For really small children, this might mean jumping up and down for how many years old they were (or at least holding up the right number of fingers); for older kids who came unprepared, there were always books of "Pumpkin Carols" to sing. Some of the neighborhood kids who came back the next year would come prepared, though, and sing songs they'd learned or do cheerleader routines or back flips or whatever they'd come up with. (I've continued this tradition in Anaheim; some of the kids were a little leary at first, but I give out full-size candy bars or jumbo Pixie Stix in return for this moment of their time. And some of them have started to come back with their friends saying "This is the house I was telling you about!")

He used to sing lullabies to his children when they were very small. One of them was "Going Back to Nassau Hall" (Princeton's song), which Dorothy knew as "Back Back." Another one was

The bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me
The little devils sing-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me
O Death where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling, o grave thy victory?
The bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me.
Another lullaby, which will make sense if you know something about two-complement 32-bit arithmetic, was: Two American Billion, one hundred forty seven million,
Four hundred eighty three thousand, six hundred forty seven
Plus one is ... Negative ...
Two American Billion, one hundred forty seven million,
Four hundred eighty three thousand, six hundred forty eight.
(An American Billion is a thousand million, as opposed to an English Billion which is a million million.)

When his children were young, computer printers all used continuous-form paper. On some of this paper (even today), the feed hole strips could be detached from the paper because they were attached with perforations. (It takes longer to explain this than to tear the perfs off of the paper.) He would bring home the perfs from enormous printouts, that had been carefully torn off to make the longest possible continuous strips. The children could then tape them up all over the living room to make an enormous spider web, and then charge through them and tear them down and/or get wrapped up in them. (Try this with your kids!)

He taught the children the sentence "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs" which contains all 26 letters A-Z (and is shorter than the Quick Brown Fox version). In fact, for his 60th birthday, he received a box that was packed with five dozen liquor jugs (the miniature size you get on airplanes), all different. Plus a set of alphabet cookies that spelled out the magic sentence.

Who is Neil Bawd?

Neil Bawd is the alter ego of Wil Baden. "Neil Bawd" was invented in the 1950's, when he didn't wish any official recognition for editing a club newsletter. Nowadays, "Wil Baden" lives in "Costa Mesa" and "Neil Bawd" has an address in "Goat Hill."

Where is Goat Hill?

[Henry 'N Harry's Goat Hill
Tavern] "Neil Bawd" signs his e-mails "Goat Hill, California." Goat Hill was the name of one of the communities (also including Paularino and Fairview) that were incorporated into the city of Costa Mesa when Costa Mesa incorporated. Both "Costa Mesa" and "Goat Hill" refer to the fact that the city sits on a bluff or a mesa overlooking the coast. The city line doesn't quite make it all the way to the edge, at least not on the Newport Beach side. (It does on the side that borders Huntington Beach.) So Hoag Hospital is just over the line, in the city of Newport Beach, but still on the mesa that Costa Mesa sits on. Most of the tower rooms have views of the ocean, and they all get ocean breezes if you open the window.

There is an establishment known as "Henry 'N Harry's Goat Hill Tavern" in Costa Mesa on Newport Blvd. at the corner of Newport and Harbor Blvd., which has 141 different kinds of beer on tap.

Who is Darth Mingo?

[Darth Mingo] This is a plastic lawn flamingo, painted and decorated and costumed (at a Flamingo Party) to look like Darth Maul. It was entered in the North American Science Fiction Convention Art Show (see Part 4 for pictures) as a piece by "Neil Bawd." It was purchased by Colin Roald.

Who is posting this web page?

Wil Baden's older son Chas., who goes by Chaz Boston Baden online. (He married Lynn Boston and took "Boston" as a middle name.)

We all live in California, and half of us are still in Orange County. I live in Anaheim, my brother Thomas (the youngest) lives in San Diego, Dorothy (the eldest) lives in Huntington Beach, and Elaine lives in the S.F. Bay Area.

Please sign our guestbook. I've been printing out the new entries and take them to my father in the hospital. -Chas.