Monday, June 05, 2006

The Case of the Oddly Priced Airline Tickets

"My Dear Watley", says I, "time for a spot o' the vacation. Where shall it be this year? The pub? The hallway? This nice comfy chair? Not that there's room for the both of us. You'll have to wait in the hallway."

Watley, though dim as a light bulb, knows his way around the Crimean, Caribbean, Caspian, and other seas starting with the letter "C". It was in one of those places that he suffered his legendary war wound. Now on which leg was that war wound suffered? I poked him vigorously in both legs with my cane until a sharp cry of pain identified the gamey leg: the left. And yet ... a good detective double-checks all the evidence. Suppose I had inadvertently struck the left leg more forcefully, due to the increased leverage afforded by the angle it presented to my cane-wielding right hand? The cry of pain may have been due more to the impact of the iron-tipped cane end than the gangrenous wound. To be sure, I poked the right leg with renewed force. A cry of pain now threw all my previous hypotheses into confusion. Sensing the need for additional data, I gave Watley a forceful poke in the left forearm, then another in the right foot. Damned if the man didn't seem to be gangrenous from head to toe.

"I say", says Watley, abruptly changing the subject, "I've got the ideal spot: a cabin on Lake Crappian, in Inner Mongolistan."

"Agreed," I cry enthusiastically. "Be a good chap, and secure us a pair of aeroplane tickets." Watley, who is dumb as a hitching post and nearly as tall, attempted to ring up an agent on the teleophone.

"My good man," says I, poking him insistently in his left buttock, "it's all done on the Intereonet these days. Observe."

At this juncture I pulled out my trusty laptop compeoter, and connected forthwith to Orbeotz.

[editor's note: this post was never completed, presumably because the protoganists were too busy preparing for their trip to Inner Mongolistan.]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Case of the Leaked Cases

A good detective makes use of all available data, and so do I. Ipso facto, yesterday when I was working on "The Case of My Missing Socks", I decided to check out this Google thing that all the other detectives are talking about down at the Detective Club. You'd be surprised how much there is to learn about socks, with the single exception, apparently, of where mine are. At that moment I was blinded by a brilliant insight: if Lance Sleuthe couldn't find his socks on the internet, perhaps his socks could find Lance Sleuthe on the internet. (It's the kind of insight that separates me from the other detectives.)

Entering "Lance Sleuthe" in the Google search box turned up surprising results, however. A number of my most fascinating cases are described in excruciating detail here. Yet the author appears to be a mendicant of the highest order. Many sections are riddled with inaccuracies, and the others make me look like a fool. I can only hope that the intelligent reader will be able to make out the difference.

In the meantime, I will have to have a word with Watley. As the only other person who was present during the leaked cases, he may well know something about the nefarious perpetrator. A shame he's such a dimwit.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Case of the Painful Shoulder

This case was easily temporarily solved with a few morphine injections.

If only all cases could be solved with a few morphine injections!

On second thought, perhaps they can be.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Case of the Undead Dandelion

The dandelion is an insidious weed. But that's not all about the dandelion. It defies the laws of science and nature, possessing a supernatural ability to return from the dead. I cannot prove this, but I have a hunch.

Take today, for example. I removed a dandelion from the lawn in front of the house. Tomorrow there will probably be another dandelion there. What possible explanation could there be, except one that defies explanation?

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Case of the Recursive Pile of Tests to Grade

Even after hours of grading, the pile does not diminish. It's like some sort of fiendish plot!

As an experiment, I set up a freshly opened and limed bottle of beer at my right hand, and the pile of tests at my left. (I soon came to regret the folly of this arrangement, as I will explain below.) Oddly, the more I drank, the emptier the bottle became. Yet the more I graded, the same-heighter the pile of tests became.

I also observed that my handwriting was exceptionally illegible. Further experimentation will be required to determine if this is due to a beer-induced state of inebriation or to the unpracticed use of my normally quiescent left hand.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Case of the Paradoxical Pasta

My faithful companion Watley and I were tidying up after a very satisfying pasta lunch with pesto sauce. It must be admitted that pine nuts are no filberts; nevertheless, it was a tasty sauce. I must say, there are so many varieties of the Italian national noodle that only a mind of mine's caliber could possibly keep track of them all and their ridiculous Italian names. This time it was that type that looks sort of like little ears, or maybe trumpets.

But I digress. There was a significant portion of the wheaty little squiggles left once we had finished our repast, and I was seized with a post-prandial desire to package and refrigerate them for future consumption. Yet the largest plastic container in the pantry was only sufficient to accommodate one half of the leftover comestibles. I filled it, and selected the next-largest container, only to find that it was capable of storing but half of the remaining half. "Great Scott!" I cried, "I wonder where this will end! Watley, my good fellow, pass over the next largest plastic container, if you would be so kind!"

Watley proved kind enough, and to my astonishment, only half of the half of the original half fit in the container. After several complex mathematical calculations, I came to the conclusion that one-eighth of the original quantity still remained unconstrained.

"Watley!" I cried, "How many plastic containers are left?"

Watley responded that there were more than the eye could see, or than the mind could count. Of course, the man's a half-blind dimwit, but still, a fear of infinite regression began to insinuate itself like a snake, or a little ear, or a curly trumpet, into my fevered brain. Soon enough we would reach one-sixteenth, then one-thirty-second, and then numbers so infinitesimally small that no one could possibly imagine them.

Thinking quickly, I knocked Watley over with a swift blow to the sternum, scattering plastic containers about the kitchen. Then, still thinking quickly, I swept the remaining pasta up in my hand, forced it into my gaping maw, and chewed. Then thinking somewhat less quickly, I swallowed.

"Watley," I said, "we've dispensed with yet another case. Perhaps if that so-called detective Zeno had been a bit less philosophical and bit more peckish, his 'paradox' would have met an equally satisfying end."

There was no response from Watley.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Case of the Insufficient Quantity of Beer

Twelve ounces seems like plenty. Yet after a few short swigs, the bottle is empty. Baffling.

Also, why is the lime wedge so difficult to extract? It went in easily enough. It defies logic.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Case of the Missing Keys

"When all but one possible location of the car keys has been eliminated, the remaining possible location, no matter how implausible, must be where the car keys are." Such were my thoughts as I peered into the depths of the dishwasher. Yet, astoundingly, no keys.

When I reached up to scratch my pate in bewilderment, I nearly disemboweled my eye with my car keys. I'd made an elementary blunder: the keys had been in my hand the entire time.

It was only after I left the house, nearly 20 minutes late for work, that I recalled that I ordinarily bicycle to the office.