Nifty Fortunes

From Bilbo
Jump to: navigation, search
It is possible by ingenuity and at the expense of clarity... {to do almost
anything in any language}.  However, the fact that it is possible to push
a pea up a mountain with your nose does not mean that this is a sensible
way of getting it there.  Each of these techniques of language extension
should be used in its proper place.
                -- Christopher Strachey

He had that rare weird electricity about him -- that extremely wild and
heavy presence that you only see in a person who has abandoned all hope
of ever behaving "normally."
                -- Hunter S. Thompson, "Fear and Loathing '72"

        A Scotsman was strolling across High Street one day wearing his kilt.   
As he neared the far curb, he noticed two young blondes in a red convertible
eyeing him and giggling.  One of them called out, "Hey, Scotty!  What's worn
under the kilt?"
        He strolled over to the side of the car and asked, "Ach, lass, are you  
SURE you want to know?"  Somewhat nervously, the blonde replied yes, she did
really want to know.
        The Scotsman leaned closer and confided, "Why, lass, nothing's worn
under the kilt, everything's in perfect workin' order!"

        A sheet of paper crossed my desk the other day and as I read it,
realization of a basic truth came over me.  So simple!  So obvious we couldn't
see it.  John Knivlen, Chairman of Polamar Repeater Club, an amateur radio
group, had discovered how IC circuits work.  He says that smoke is the thing
that makes ICs work because every time you let the smoke out of an IC circuit,
it stops working.  He claims to have verified this with thorough testing.
        I was flabbergasted!  Of course!  Smoke makes all things electrical
work.  Remember the last time smoke escaped from your Lucas voltage regulator
Didn't it quit working?  I sat and smiled like an idiot as more of the truth
dawned.  It's the wiring harness that carries the smoke from one device to
another in your Mini, MG or Jag.  And when the harness springs a leak, it lets
the smoke out of everything at once, and then nothing works.  The starter motor
requires large quantities of smoke to operate properly, and that's why the wire
going to it is so large.
        Feeling very smug, I continued to expand my hypothesis.  Why are Lucas
electronics more likely to leak than say Bosch?  Hmmm...  Aha!!!  Lucas is
British, and all things British leak!  British convertible tops leak water,
British engines leak oil, British displacer units leak hydrostatic fluid, and
I might add British tires leak air, and the British defense unit leaks
secrets... so naturally British electronics leak smoke.
                -- Jack Banton, PCC Automotive Electrical School

        Wouldn't the sentence "I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish
and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign" have been clearer if
quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and
and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and
Chips, as well as after Chips?

        Several students were asked to prove that all odd integers are prime.
        The first student to try to do this was a math student.  "Hmmm...
Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, and by induction, we have that all
the odd integers are prime."
        The second student to try was a man of physics who commented, "I'm not
sure of the validity of your proof, but I think I'll try to prove it by
experiment."  He continues, "Well, 1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is
prime, 9 is...  uh, 9 is... uh, 9 is an experimental error, 11 is prime, 13
is prime...  Well, it seems that you're right."
        The third student to try it was the engineering student, who responded,
"Well, to be honest, actually, I'm not sure of your answer either.  Let's
see...  1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is... uh, 9 is...
well, if you approximate, 9 is prime, 11 is prime, 13 is prime...  Well, it
does seem right."
        Not to be outdone, the computer science student comes along and says
"Well, you two sort've got the right idea, but you'll end up taking too long!
I've just whipped up a program to REALLY go and prove it."  He goes over to
his terminal and runs his program.  Reading the output on the screen he says,
"1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime..."

"Deep" is a word like "theory" or "semantic" -- it implies all sorts of
marvelous things.  It's one thing to be able to say "I've got a theory",
quite another to say "I've got a semantic theory", but, ah, those who can
claim "I've got a deep semantic theory", they are truly blessed.
                -- Randy Davis

Every program has at least one bug and can be shortened by at least one
instruction -- from which, by induction, one can deduce that every
program can be reduced to one instruction which doesn't work.

"Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the
usual way.  This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody
thinks of complaining."
                -- Jeff Raskin, interviewed in Doctor Dobb's Journal

You can do this in a number of ways.  IBM chose to do all of them.
Why do you find that funny?
                -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350, University of Washington

        Festivity Level 1: Your guests are chatting amiably with each
other, admiring your Christmas-tree ornaments, singing carols around
the upright piano, sipping at their drinks and nibbling hors
        Festivity Level 2: Your guests are talking loudly -- sometimes
to each other, and sometimes to nobody at all, rearranging your
Christmas-tree ornaments, singing "I Gotta Be Me" around the upright
piano, gulping their drinks and wolfing down hors d'oeuvres.
        Festivity Level 3: Your guests are arguing violently with
inanimate objects, singing "I can't get no satisfaction," gulping down
other peoples' drinks, wolfing down Christmas tree ornaments and
placing hors d'oeuvres in the upright piano to see what happens when
the little hammers strike.
        Festivity Level 4: Your guests, hors d'oeuvres smeared all over
their naked bodies are performing a ritual dance around the burning
Christmas tree.  The piano is missing.

        You want to keep your party somewhere around level 3, unless
you rent your home and own Firearms, in which case you can go to level
4.  The best way to get to level 3 is egg-nog.

        Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great
crystal river.  Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs
and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and
resisting the current what each had learned from birth.  But one creature
said at last, "I trust that the current knows where it is going.  I shall
let go, and let it take me where it will.  Clinging, I shall die of boredom."
        The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool!  Let go, and that current
you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will
die quicker than boredom!"
        But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at
once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.  Yet, in time,
as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the
bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
        And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See
a miracle!  A creature like ourselves, yet he flies!  See the Messiah, come
to save us all!"  And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more
Messiah than you.  The river delight to lift us free, if only we dare let go.
Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.
        But they cried the more, "Saviour!" all the while clinging to the
rocks, making legends of a Saviour.
                -- Richard Bach

        One day a student came to Moon and said, "I understand how to make
a better garbage collector.  We must keep a reference count of the pointers
to each cons."
        Moon patiently told the student the following story -- "One day a
student came to Moon and said, "I understand how to make a better garbage

You must realize that the computer has it in for you.  The irrefutable
proof of this is that the computer always does what you tell it to do.