The Locked Boxes Paradox

Imagine an infinite row of boxes, each unlocked, each with a key in its lock. At time , lock Box 1 and put its key into Box 2. At time , lock Box 2 and put its key into Box 3. . . . At time , lock Box  and put its key into Box […]

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Of Accounting and Mangement

Here’s something for you to ponder. This was shared to me by my accountant friend: If Account Managers manage to manage accounts, and Management Accountants manage to manage costs, who manages to manageably manage the accounts of Management (besides Management Accountants and Account Managers) when the accounts are unimaginably unmanageable and the accountants just can’t […]

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An Interesting Advertisement for a Printing Press (Which Also Inspired a Parody)

Hoe Double Octuple Newspaper Press — 1903 Model The July 1911 issue of Munsey’s Magazine ran an advertisement for a printing press by R. Hoe & Co., a printing press manufacturer. Instead of writing a usual product spiel, the company opted to turn the ad into a creative writing exercise: I am the printing press, […]

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Less Is More: A Poetic Paradox

Image: NASA In his Paradoxes in Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics (1986), Gábor J. Székely shared a paradox learned from his professor, Alfréd Rényi: Since I started to deal with information theory I have often meditated upon the conciseness of poems; how can a single line of verse contain far more ‘information’ than a highly […]

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Chaos in English Pronunciation and Spelling

Dutch writer, poet, traveler, and teacher Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870 – 1946) wrote a remarkable poem aptly titled “The Chaos”. The poem demonstrates several of the most famous (and infamous) irregularities in English spelling and pronunciation.  Trenité managed to collect about 800 of those irregularities and versified them into this chaotic, albeit amusing poem. “The Chaos” […]

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“Mortal Limit”

Robert Penn Warren I saw the hawk ride updraft in the sunset over Wyoming. It rose from coniferous darkness, past gray jags Of mercilessness, past whiteness, into the gloaming Of dream-spectral light above the lazy purity of snow-snags. There–west–were the Tetons. Snow-peaks would soon be In dark profile to break constellations. Beyond what height Hangs […]

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The Sunken City

Image: DeviantArt The following poem is written by German poet Wilhelm Mueller (1794 – 1827) and translated to English by James Clarence Mangan (1803 – 1849): Hark! the faint bells of the sunken city Peal once more their wonted evening chime! From the deep abysses floats a ditty, Wild and wondrous, of the olden time. […]

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Gleanings from the Past #78

Arrière-Pensée Sir, Will you allow me to draw your attention to a very interesting example of the ethics of modern journalism, a quality of which we have all heard so much and seen so little? About a month ago Mr. T. P. O’Connor published in the Sunday Sun some doggerel verses entitled “The Shamrock,” and […]

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Last Words

In 1934, Walter Dittman of Illinois was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by electric chair. Before his execution, he wrote this poem which he titled “The Chair of Death”. It also served as his last words: I see it grimly waiting patiently for me, To send me as its victim into eternity. Not […]

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Verses Written on the Seashore at Agrigentum in Sicily, 1784: A Polish Poem

I found the following interesting and whimsical verse written by a Polish poet named Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz (1758 – 1841): Upon this lonely margin of a far-off sea, Behold! With tears I trace thy well-beloved name; With it, the dawn comes, crown’d with roses, back to me, But wild waves wash the record out, erase […]

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