Video: Come Sail Away With Paul and Storm on JoCo Cruise Crazy

On JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, Paul from Paul and Storm sang Storm’s signature karaoke song, Come Sail Away by Styx. On JoCo Cruise Crazy 3, Storm sang it. I edited my videos of the two performances together to show Paul and Storm both singing the song at once, because Paul and Storm are so good together.

JoCo Cruise Crazy 5 is coming up, and if you want to sign up for it, it’s best to do so before the end of the month, while the full range of stateroom types is still available.

While editing this, I came to the conclusion that Styx missed an opportunity to rhyme ‘virgin sea’ with ‘emergency’. ‘Emergency’ doesn’t have that many single-word polysyllabic rhymes, and it probably gets rhymed with ‘urgency’ far too often and ‘insurgency’ far too rarely, so if you’re going to go to the trouble of making a strange combination of words such as ‘virgin sea’ sound natural, you could at least give ‘emergency’ the interesting rhyme it deserves.

This is only my second video made in Final Cut Pro X rather than iMovie. The first was a video of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center, which only had some of the fancy transitions and titles. In this video, however, there is almost nothing that I could have done in iMovie. I learnt a lot. Here are the main things I learnt, in case anyone else needs to know:

  • Final Cut Pro can do a lot. All the things I wished I could do in iMovie, and more. Consequently, there’s a lot to learn.
  • Using Final Cut Pro, gonna need a lot of keyframes (to the tune of ‘Peaches‘.)
  • If you want to change the position of a clip at a constant speed, which you need to do if you want to move it in sync with changing the cropping of it (which I did to pan over the video of Paul; normally something like this could be done using the Ken Burns effect, but as far as I know that only works when the aspect ratio is the same as for the whole video) all the transform keyframes have to be set to Linear, even when the previous keyframe has the same position. They are Smooth by default. To change them to Linear you have to right-click (okay, two-finger tap; do people still use mouses?) on them in the viewer, and if there are multiple keyframes on the same point, you can only change the topmost one this way, which is the latest one in the timeline. So it’s best to create keyframes in order and set them to Linear as soon as you make them; otherwise you may need to temporarily change the position of a keyframe so that you can right-click on it to change it to Linear.
  • If weird green frames or other green bits appear in your video in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3, you need to delete the render files for that project and then wait for it to render again. Going by the solutions I found on the internet, in older versions of Final Cut Pro X you had to do this manually in the Finder.

I’d like to thank Cayenne for not only supplying the karaoke library used on the cruises, but also helping me figure out which of the two videos had the most accurate length for the song — they were shot with two different cameras at different frame rates, amounting to a four second difference in song length and a lot of trouble synching them up. Also, thanks to Tyler for the second pair of ears when I had trouble captioning a few parts.

In other news, I also put up video of the presentation of the Launch Pad 39 complex from a tour I went on at Kennedy Space Center in 2013, and the Jurassic Park ride at Universal from the same year. These are the kinds of things you can see if stop by Orlando on your way to or from JoCo Cruise Crazy.

I’ve also been reciting a lot of my poetry at Open Phil and Open Mic 2.0. Some day I’ll know enough of it well enough to put on some kind of show of my own. There will probably be an Open Phil on JoCo Cruise Crazy 5 too, because awesome things attract.

On the subject of things with ‘Phil’ in their names, the comet lander Philae did a lot of science, and is now not only probably in a coma, but also comatose. You did well, little lander.

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Hooked onto Philae (Hooked on a Feeling parody)

I wrote this comet landing parody/filk/Philk of ‘Hooked on a Feeling‘ about eight hours ago, and I still like it after sleeping, so here you go:

(If you like the ‘ooga chakas’ of Blue Swede’s version, you can use ‘hook a-chucker’ if you like.)

I can’t stop this Philae
coming down to me.
Earth, you just don’t know yet
what you’ll do to me.

When you touch me
at your landing site
you let Earth know
everything’s all right.

I’m hooked onto Philae.
No, actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

That’s a sweet as landing*.
Now try it two more times.
Earth folk must be reaching
for another cup o’ wine.

Don’t fall in my coma.
Stay awake for me.
You just keep on sending
your telemetry.

I’ll be your rock
when we’re all alone.
I’m your teacher,
your Rosetta stone.

I’m hooked onto Philae;
No, actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

I’ll be your rock
when we’re all alone.
I’m your teacher,
your Rosetta stone.

I’m hooked onto Philae;
No, actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

I’m hooked onto Philae;
well not actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

I said I’m hooked onto Philae,
but not actually, not really.
It’s not harpooned to me.

If you want to learn more about Philae, I believe the mission control webcast will have a briefing in about three hours. Or you could follow any of the links from the ESA page about it, or from my last post. Really, it’s all over the web; you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding information.

* Sweet as‘ is or other ‘[adjective] as’ expressions are common in New Zealand, meaning ‘[adjective] as anything’ or ‘[adjective] as it could possibly be’. If that doesn’t make sense to you, substitute ‘sweet-ass’ but be sure to put the hyphen in the right place.

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Comet Landing (a Rubber Duckie filk by Chella Quint)

Earlier today Chella Quint mused that she’d like someone to write a filk of ‘Rubber Duckie’ about the Philae lander’s arrival on the rubber-ducky-shaped comet,  67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko:

But soon enough, she wrote her own, and tweeted it in multiple tweets. I wanted it to be preserved somewhere where it could be read more easily than on Twitter, but since she doesn’t have a blog, she said I could blog it instead. So here it is, Comet Landing by Chella Quint (with help from Sarah on the chorus) to the tune of Sesame Street’s ‘Rubber Duckie‘:

#Cometlanding Number 1
Philae lander’s having fun!
Nice one, ESA we’re awfully fond of you

(woh woh, bee doh!)

#Cometlanding joy of joys
Using ESA’s high tech toys
They’re not working but we’ve got some harpoons it’s true

(doo doo doo doooo, doo doo)

For a decade we
Waited patiently for you
Comet Sixty Seven P Slash C-G We Adore You
(and Churyumov and Gerasimenko)

Rosetta mission you’re so fine
love the selfies you post online
#Cometlanding we’re awfully fond of you

(repeat chorus)

For a decade we
Waited patiently for you
Comet Sixty Seven P Slash C-G We Adore You
(and Churyumov and Gerasimenko)

Philae Lander lots of luck
Touching down on that rubber duck
Hope Agilkia is awfully fond of
you and that the harpoons form a bond cos
#Cometlanding is awfully hard to do

(doo doo, be doo.)

I wrote my own filk about Philae (Philk?) which I will post soon. Meanwhile, you can find out more about Philae and Rosetta at the ESA livestream site, where there will be a press conference at 2p.m. European time, or how about Phil Plait’s post about it. You could also follow the events of the landing through xkcd 1446. which followed the events of the landing. Or just Google Philae; you don’t even have to search for anything, just click on the doodle.

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Shoe Shop Map

A while ago a friend of mine was excited to discover that she could fit the shoes in the children’s section, which were cheaper. Someone else was delighted to discover that she could fit shoes in the ladies’ section, having assumed her feet were too small. This kind of thing happens because shoe shops label sections according to who they are trying to sell to, rather than what is in those sections. So I walked around a few shoe shops in Vienna and made a rough map of the actual contents of each section, so that you can figure out from your shoe size and shoe design priorities where the shoes you’re looking for are most likely to be.

The maps just happen to fit neatly onto two pages, so if you want, you can print them and hang them at the entrance of a shoe shop as a public service (though I do not advise this, as it may be considered littering or vandalism or something like that.) You can click on the image below to get a nice smooth vector pdf.

Okay, here's the summary. Kids: Practical shoes European size 39 and under suitable for anyone who fits them and wants to wear them often cheaper than the shoes in the other sections. Men: Primarily practical shoes size 40 and over suitable for anyone who fits them and wants to wear them. Women: primarily decorative shoes sizes 36 to 42 suitable for anyone who fits them and wants to wear them. Cashier: cashier, and accessories they can upsell.

Note that not all shoe shops contain all of these sections, and some others contain ‘sport’ sections, which I think are reasonably self-explanatory. Also, there are of course exceptions and differences between shops — I found one pair of size-36 boots in a ‘men’s’ section, and there’s usually a small cache of shoes designed primarily for comfort in the ‘women’s’ section, and some shops only go up to size 41 in that section. This map is simply intended to let people know which sections they might find shoes they like in, in case they had missed those sections due to their age and gender and the shops’ inaccurate signage.

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Dinosaurs and Meteors (Arrogant Worms Parody)

Yesterday I read an article about quasicrystals in New Scientist (which I am still several issues behind in) in which Paul Steinhardt is quoted as saying:

It turns out with wealthy people there are two subjects they’re interested in: dinosaurs and meteors. We just had to find the meteorite people.

I immediately read the phrase ‘dinosaurs and meteors’ to the tune of ‘Tylenol and Clearasil’ from The Arrogant Worms’ song ‘The Prescription Drugs Song‘, and I put down the article to start writing a parody. This kind of thing happens to me a lot; I’m halfway through writing another parody inspired by a New Scientist headline I read last week.

I had the chorus written in pretty short order, then had to look up the rest of the lyrics to remember how it went. The verses have a lot of pauses for dramatic effect where I expect there to be more unstressed syllables, and it’s all somewhat irregular due to the way the quoted speech is read. Since I didn’t have the song available to listen to at the time, I just added in the syllables in most cases, making the verses sound a bit more like the chorus. Hopefully you understand how it’s meant to be sung, because as usual, I’m probably not going to sing it. Here are the lyrics:

I ended my first quarter, as broke as broke can be.
I wondered if my customers were twice as broke as me.
So I went to a rich man with the stock I hadn’t sold
hoping that he’d pay each worthless trinket’s weight in gold.

He said, “Fellow dirt-poor fellow, the highness of my birth
means I am far above the things that still are made on Earth.”
He pondered for a minute then he said, “I’ll tell you what,
I’ll give you the Earth for these two things I haven’t got.”
He asked for:

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
-ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.

I ended my second quarter, half-starved and far in debt,
with dust from Hayabusa that I shot a star to get
and amber-cased mosquitos that had dined on dino blood
and went back to the rich man, gave his door a torpid thud.

He said, “Fellow, dirt-poor fellow, this asteroid is dust.
If you can’t provide the meteor right, the rest I cannot trust
I’ll have to grow a dinosaur before you get your pay.”
He had his lawyer shut the door and tell me, “go away!”
I gave him:

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.

I came back the third quarter, too poor for skin or bone
to ask if he could pay me for the dino he had grown,
but as I sat there chewing the remainder of my shoes
I faintly heard the rich man deliver his bad news.

He said, “Fellow, dirt-poor fellow, oh, I should have known!
My dinos were wiped out by your infernal deep-space stone!
So I have failed in my travail to ‘teach a man to fish’
but worms have turned and I have learned: be careful what I wish
’cause I got:

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.”

…and I died and that was that.

Now, you might complain that Hayabusa is an asteroid, not a meteor, but since there’s no way to get a meteor, the rich man should have specified in the first place whether he wanted an asteroid, a meteoroid, or a meteorite. I’m not sure if rich people are particularly interested in chromatophores, but I like the word (and I especially like the rhythm of ‘cephalopod chromatophore‘) so I included it anyway. The other things all seem to be things certain people will pay a lot of money for.

Without planning it, I managed to mention the Arrogant Worms album titles ‘Dirt‘ and ‘Torpid‘ in this song, so I changed the original ‘shooting stone’ to ‘deep-space stone’ in order to mention ‘Space‘. The song this is parodying is on Beige.

On the subject of song parodies, I think I forgot to mention that Glen Raphael recorded a parody of Oasis’s Wonderwall about the van der Waals force, and I contributed some of the lyrics over Twitter.

If you need yet more funny music, James Dempsey has finally released an album of his songs about Cocoa development. I’ve been listening to him since a song he sang at WWDC 2003 was put online. You can see that 2003 Model View Controller song in the background of my music video for A Laptop Like You, at around 2:13, so who knows, perhaps that stealth advertising sent an average of half a viewer his way. Anyway, I saw James Dempsey do another song at WWDC 2004 and asked when he was going to release an album. Last week at NSScotland I even met a conditional Breakpoint (an occasional member of his band) and he said the album was doing really well on the Billboard comedy charts. Anyway, I love the new album and you should listen to if it you’ve ever done software development or if you just like listening to great-sounding funny songs you don’t understand.

Another thing you might want to do if you like geeky comedy is back the Kickstarter for the Full Frontal Nerdity DVD, featuring Helen Arney, Matt Parker and Steve Mould. Oh, and check out my friend Black Pig’s comic, and if you’re in Vienna, come to Open Phil! And I almost forgot, support Arrogant Worm Trevor Strong‘s Patreon. Gosh, there’s really too much cool stuff out there. Don’t worry if there isn’t time and space to do it all.

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Haiku Detector Achieves its Purpose (and will now proceed to have an existential crisis)

I originally wrote Haiku Detector because my friend Gry saw Times Haiku and wondered whether there were any haiku in her Ph. D. thesis. The other day I heard back about the haiku she found. It turns out that even the title of the thesis is a haiku:

Developments for
studies of the extremes of
nuclear matter

Here’s another one, which could be about anything. The last line is a bit of an anticlimax.

As of today, the
origin of this strength is
not well understood.

When I read this one, I wondered if miniball was a mini-golf style version of another ball game:

the MINIBALL would be used
for the same purpose.

The impurities
of 48,50Ti
are easily seen.

After seeing these, I sent her the as-yet-unreleased new version of Haiku Detector, which can detect haiku made up of several sentences. Having mostly had my name on papers authored by the entire CMS collaboration, I expected her to find a lot of haiku in the author list. But ISOLDE is much smaller, and also this is her thesis that she wrote, not some paper whose author list she got tacked onto. So she got some from references:

Kitatani, S.
Goko, H. Toyokawa,
K. Yamada, T.

C 47,

and some things with section numbers tacked on:

Open shell nuclei and
collective models

This matrix is the
starting point for the Oslo
method. 45

That last one has so many possibilities. I like to think of it as being about an electronic band called The Oslo Method which released a 45rpm record about The Matrix. Unfortunately, nobody can be told what the haiku is. You have to see it for yourself. And indeed, you can see the other haiku she found on the #MyHaikuThesis tag on Twitter.

I noticed something interesting while writing this post — some of the ‘haiku’ Gry found include gamma (γ) symbols:

The γ-ray strength functions
display no strong enhancement
for low γ energies.

Particle energy-γ-ray
energy matrix

Haiku Detector on her Mac has treated them as having zero syllables, as if they are not pronounced, and I think I recall characters like that not being pronounced in the Princeton Companion to Mathematics. But I just checked on my Mac running Mac OS X Yosemite, and the speech synthesis (which Haiku Detector relies on for syllable counting) pronounces γ as ‘Greek small letter gamma’, so Haiku Detector does not find those erroneous haiku. I think that this might be a new feature in Yosemite.

But here’s where it gets weird: you’d think that it’s just reading ‘Greek small letter gamma’ because that’s the unicode name of the character. I tried with a few emoji and other special characters, and that hypothesis is upheld. But the unicode character named ‘chicken’ (🐔) is pronounced ‘chicken head’. Spooky. Another strange thing is that there is no unicode ‘duck’ character.

If you’ve been paying attention, you probably know why I happened to come across those oddities. I’ll have to investigate them later, though; right now I’m in Edinburgh for NSScotland, and it’s about time I looked at some tourism information.

So, Haiku Detector; what now? Maybe look for supersymmetric haiku?

Update: It seems that in Mac OS X 10.8, γ is not pronounced, and 🐔 is pronounced ‘chicken emoji’. Other emoji also have ‘emoji’ in their pronunciations, while still others are not pronounced. I wonder if pronunciations were added (and later edited to remove the ‘emoji’) for certain emoji, and now the default pronunciation has changed from nothing to the unicode name. So ‘🐔’ ended up with the explicit pronunciation ‘chicken head’ while others which were not previously pronounced use their unicode names. So this should be a haiku in Yosemite, though for some reason Haiku Detector does not detect it:


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Forms and Formulae: Proof and Presupposition

A picture of the Sun peeking over the spine of The Princeton Companion to Mathematics as it rests on top of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & PoeticsThis is the sixth in a series called ‘Forms and Formulae‘ in which I write about articles in the Princeton Companion to Mathematics using poetic forms covered by articles in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. This installment’s mathematics article is entitled ‘Geometry’, and the poetic form is anecdote. This poem tells a true story I was reminded of by the discussion of the many attempts to prove Euclid’s parallel postulate from the other postulates, before people finally considered what would happen if it were false, opening up whole new geometries. This anecdote is not directly analogous, however, since I actually proved a statement to be false rather than proving it to be independent of the other axioms and then investigating what would happen if it were false.

A statement that the learned man had tried for days to prove
was set for students as a test
for four points extra credit,
to boost percentage marks assessed
of anyone to get it.

I mined brain gold with mind-brainpan, but things did not improve.
My efforts could not beat a path
from axiom to conjecture.
I sighed, and then let go of math
and headed to a lecture.

As I was sitting on the can, the shit began to move.
I saw the field with eyes anew
and found a boundary sample
that proved the statement was not true —
an outright counterexample.

To draw for years a foregone plan, for sure does not behoove
explorers hoping quests provide
not just what’s sought, but more.
Perhaps the field was opened wide,
but I scored one-oh-four.

I’ve been sitting on a draft of this one for a while, because, as noted above, disproving something is not the same thing as proving that one axiom can neither be proven nor disproven from the others, and then launching new fields of mathematics in which the axiom is taken to be false. Besides that, it’s a poem mentioning poop (though written before Shit Your Inner Voice Says), and it has a really weird rhyme scheme and awkward rhythm, for no good reason. Then again, I did once credit my short-story-writing success to the mention of toilets.

It is a true story; my abstract algebra professor at university set a couple of problems he hadn’t managed to prove himself for extra credit, and after proving problem number one I happened to think of a counterexample for problem number 2 while doing number 2s, and ended up scoring more than 100% for that class. I felt like I couldn’t make up an entirely fictional anecdote (though that is allowed, according to to the encyclopaedia) and while I’m sure I could write all sorts of other poems about geometry (on top of at least one I already have), I don’t have a lot of anecdotes about it.

Unimpressed as I am by this particular effort, I have to publish this to get onto the next Forms and Formulae, which will be… oh, for the love of Gödel — a national anthem for the development of abstract algebra?! What have I let myself in for?! It will take a while, because I’m heading to a programming conference followed by a translation conference soon, and then I’ll probably have to exercise my fledgling musical skills again.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy the highlights videos from Open Phil, an awesome open mic night in Vienna, where I’ve been practising reciting my poetry for audiences, and other people have been doing amazing musical things and other performances. Also, here‘s a very Vi-Hart-esque video I found while searching to see whether Vi Hart had anything to say on non-Euclidean geometry:

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The Vatican Nag (Tom Lehrer Parody)

I visited the Vatican recently, and a friend was kind enough to put this song in my head beforehand:

After arriving early enough to get to the front of the line for Saint Peter’s Basilica fairly quickly, being turned away because of a weapon I’d brought from Geneva (no, not antimatter), coming back unarmed and being let through without waiting in the then-hours-long line because they noticed I had ‘problems’ (I had blisters. Also, I’m not very good at walking), and then being repeatedly offered paid guided tours to skip the line while I was going to the post office and generally chilling out, I decided to write a parody. Here it is; The Vatican Nag:

Half off gods that come in threes!
Twelve for ten on rosaries!
Fourteen euros ninety-nine
to skip the line, skip the line, skip the line!

Buy a stick to take a selfie.
Try a discount saved-from-hell fee.
Whatever your indulgence is,
they’ll upsell the whole Jesus
doing the Vatican Nag.

Get in line for that basilica?
Only clueless pilgrims will, a co-
lossal fee will leave you poor as a m-
onk enjoying guided tourism.
You don’t have to spend the day there.
Save the day and spend your pay there.
Two, four, six… great!
Ninety euros, skip the wait!

Half off gods that come in threes!
Twelve for ten on rosaries!
Fourteen euros ninety-nine
to skip the line, skip the line, skip the line!

Hawkers oft insisting crap’ll
put you off the Sistine Chapel.
Don’t Holy See ‘em;
try the Colosseum.
Hide in your attic and
never do that again.
Out of the Vatican Nag!

I used some artistic license here, but a lot of it is true. There were plenty of people selling 12 one-euro rosaries for the price of ten, and the ‘skip the line’ tours were either €15 or €43 depending on the kind of tour. People selling selfie sticks, hats, cellphone chargers, and flat wooden things that magically transform into sets of bowls were all over Rome and the Vatican. I did not see anyone selling indulgences (‘saved-from-hell fees’), however. Also, it wasn’t all that annoying, really. But do see the Colosseum.

I thought about saying ‘then the cost’ll send you Pentecostal’ but I think that’s even worse than the lines I have. I also wanted to use ‘poperies’ in the first line, but since it would be indistinguishable from ‘pot pourris’ if anyone actually sang it, I decided to go with the holy three-for-one deal.

In other news, I’ve been reciting my poems at Open Phil, a great open mic night in Vienna hosted by the Phil half of Crazy for Jane. You can watch some of the performances on the online highlights reels, but to see the whole thing you really have to be there.

Also, Shit Your Inner Voice Says is now on The FuMP Sideshow.

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Shit Your Inner Voice Says (a song)

I am learning about four-part harmonies, so I wrote and recorded [mp3] a short song about self-confidence and poop. Anyone with a head and a butt should understand; understand also that I do not condone headbutting buttheads. These are four voices that might accumulate in one’s head as a child grows up and vacillates between self-confidence and self-doubt. Here are the lyrics:

Soprano: Look how in-control my bowel is. Clearly I know where my towel is.
Alto: What if all I do is shit? How do they put up with it?
Tenor: Push and push and I’ll improve. Know my shit, my bowel will move.
Bass: Everyone poops.

All: If everyone poops…

Soprano & Tenor: Maybe I’m no better than them.
Alto & Bass: Maybe I’m no worse than them.

All: Maybe I am just as good.

It is sung by my robot choir (a program I wrote to make my Mac sing using the built-in speech synthesis), with the voice Princess as the soprano, Victoria as alto, Fred as tenor and Ralph as the bass, unless I’ve misunderstood how the parts are named or which octaves they were meant to be singing in, which is entirely likely after one half-hour lesson on the topic.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing music lessons with John Anealio over the internet. A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to learn about harmonies. We picked out some chords and random and then decided which notes each voice would sing from them. I checked out what they sounded like using instruments in GarageBand, then I decided I may as well write some words with it, with each voice singing the same sequence of notes over and over. I remember thinking about making them conflicting inner voices, but I’m not sure what made me decide that those inner voices were full of shit. Of course, I can’t tell whether this song is shit, good shit, horse shit, or the shit; when it comes to music, I’m still figuring out how not to soil myself. But it’s about poop, so it ought to entertain someone.

One of these days I’ll find a more convenient way to host podcasts so that I actually bother to put things like this on mine.

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Unintentional Haiku Spoken in a Courtroom 241 Years Ago

When I discovered that the court proceedings of the Old Bailey were available online, naturally I had to see whether they contained any haiku. The archive is too huge to put into Haiku Detector all at once, so I just checked the ‘on this day in…’ link whenever I had time. The most haiku-rich I’ve seen so far was from a wounding case on 8 September 1773, which, now that I think about it, should not have appeared as an ‘on this day…’ link yet. I had to clean up the text a little first, to remove all the Q.s and speakers’ names. Here are some of the 55 haiku that were left.

These ones sound like some kind of metaphor for the fiddly final steps towards achieving goals, and the monsters that might demotivate us from climbing toward those goals, but which are secretly part of ourselves:

How far is it from
the upper step of the stairs
to the door itself?

Upon the landing.
Was the door within view of
you at that time?   Yes.

The General must
have seen you coming up two
or three steps at least?

How far had you got
up stairs before you saw Hyde?
Did you hear Hyde’s voice?

Who else was with you
there?  I cannot remember
any one but me.

Where did you wait while
Hyde went into the house?   At
the top of the street.

The world’s simplest riddle:

Yes. Where did you go
when you came into the house?
Into the entry.

And some more intriguing questions:

After Lee struck me:
the knife dropped upon the ground.
Was it by a blow?

Had he no blow with
the butt end of a pistol?
Not that I know of.

You say you knew the
General very well; do
you think he knew you?

When you came back what
part of the family did
you find below stairs?

In what condition
was the door when he fired
the second pistol?

What did he tell him?
That a parcel of fellows
were below with sticks.

Did you observe the
hole in the door case that was
made by the pistol?

Did you look through the
door to see the direction
the ball had taken?

Was the General
upon his legs or not? He
was upon his legs.

Some which sound like bloody massacres until you get to the last line:

I believe this is
the knife you was cutting the
bread and butter with.

Was James in the room
with you while you was cutting
the bread and butter?

Finally, a few which sound a bit dirty (or so I am told) if you have that kind of mind:

Read the rest of this entry »

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