Lego and Logo: the Simple Joys of Childhood, Revisited

You’ve read all the front-page headlines so you know by now that it’s the 50th anniversary of Lego (give or take a few days). Oh man, hurray! Over at Boing Boing Gadgets, Joel has a list of the 9 lego sets he lusted over most. I remember pining over 7 to 9 too, but I totally had numbers 1 and 2! For a while my folks had a Christmas tradition of tagging the biggest gift as being “from Santa” and parking it in plain sight in front of the tree. I remember coming down to find the #375 castle awaiting me. I also remember my parents reflecting on being up all christmas-eve-night putting the 779 pieces together. I don’t think either they or I really took the santa concept very seriously.

I’m also pretty stoked that this year (give or take a year) is the 40th anniversary of Logo. Logo is a programming language–in fact a legitmate derivative of Lisp, the most revered of computer languages–but they didn’t tell us elementary school students that when we used it. They cleverly told us it was an art tool. I used it extensively for my art-ucation on our family’s Franklin Ace 1000, the Icons at school, and one heady summer when my dad brought an Icon back from his shcool and let me keep it in my bedroom. A computer in my bedroom! It sat next to my lego bins. I don’t use lego very much in my daily life, but I’m still using a version of logo for my graduate research today. I like that.

This video from the Logothings website is great:

Hey look, them kids are hacking in lisp!

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