Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016
Friday, August 19, 2016
Once upon a time a Reader wandered into the back of a second-hand bookstore. The immortal Spirits hanging out there quickly hid inside the books that they wrote when alive.
The Reader paused to scan a shelf. He saw an enormous leather-bound tome; Megabiblion, by Loquacius Maximus. He said, “I’ve heard of that!” He reached up, pulled it down, and blew on it. A huge cloud of dust billowed; he coughed. The Reader opened the front cover; inside someone had written “to the Mayor” in gold ink. The Reader opened Megabiblion to the middle and read a passage at random. He scratched his head. He riffled three pages forwards, then six backwards. He closed the tome and heaved a sigh.
Before returning the book to the shelf, the Reader removed a slim volume, to make room. He heaved Megabiblion back into its niche, then looked at the book that he took out. It was Half-Witticisms, by Tilder. The Reader opened the book to the middle, read a passage at random, and Tilder’s immortal Spirit whispered this Fable’s Moral.
The Reader smiled. He looked left, he looked right. He closed the slim volume and slipped it into a coat pocket. Then he strolled, whistling, to the front of the bookstore, past the desk, and out the door.
Moral: Never waste a perfect stranger’s time.
Comment: The title means “too long, didn’t read”. The Moral was writing advice from Kurt Vonnegut. Everybody reads Tilder’s Half-Witticisms from cover to cover, but only Loquacius Maximus has ever read all of Megabiblion.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Carrollian Quatrain Solved
Once Charles L. Dodgson got an invitation to a party; to which he austerely replied, in the persona of Lewis Carroll:
Yet what are all such gaieties to me
Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?
x^2 + 7x + 53
= 11 / 3.
I went to the trouble of solving it:
x = (-7/2) +/- i sqrt(1335) / 6
Note that 1335 = 3*5*89; three prime Fibonacci factors!