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.