Nutworks magazine

Electronic Humor Magazine.

Issue023, (Volume VI, Number III). May, 1988.

NutWorks is published semi-monthly-ish by

Brent C.J. Britton, < Brent@Maine.BITNET>

"In the schoolroom more than any other place, does the difference of sex,
(if there is any), need to be forgotten." -- Susan B. Anthony

"On the college campus more than any other place, does the act of sex,

(especially if there isn't any), need to be promoted." -- Anonymous


NewsWorks ...................... Points of Interest
Nuts & Bolts ................... Commentary
The AI Notebook ................ Report
Karl Takes a Fall .............. Story
Classified ..................... Advert
The Amazing
Adventures of Herbert ........ Story
Philosophers and Food .......... Discussion
Three Squaws ................... Shaggy Dog


For subscription information, contact LISTSERV@TCSVM.BITNET with
the words "GET NUTWORKS INFO" as the contents of a mail file or message.

Submissions for NutWorks may be sent to Brent@Maine.BITNET by
whatever means seem appropriate.

Corrections: The nonsense-French poem appearing in NutWorks Issue021
was credited to Ian Murphy. Ian was in fact the submitter of the poem;
the author is unknown. Also in Issue021 (hey, it was a bad week, ok?),
the article entitled "The Amazing Adventures of Herbert" was credited to
"Ishtar", who submitted the article. The author is anonymous. The art-
icle entitled "Mixology" in NutWorks Issue022 was written by Joe
< CJM6327@RITVAX> whose name was mistakenly omitted. The NutWorks Staff,

like, totally regrets these errors.

Nuts & Bolts

by Brent C.J. Britton

I fully intended to write a column for this issue of NutWorks, but
lately I haven't even had enough time to worry about the fact that
between-meal snacks are degrading this nation's youth, let alone write
columns. It amazes me how some people always seem to have gobs of free
time on their hands, yet I have to plan bathroom breaks two days in
advance. Chalk it up to the fact that people are different.
Take toothbrushing for example. Did you ever notice how some people
don't drool when they brush their teeth? The particularly gifted can
stick a loaded toothbrush in their mouths and then proceed to stroll
casually about the house, change clothes, do some aerobics, phone a
friend or two, take a nap, bathe, and maybe do some shopping before
returning -- sans drool -- to rinse. The more, um, frothy among us are
slaves to our own hygene, destined to remain stationary at the bathroom
sink wallowing from our noses to our elbows in freely flowing toothpaste
suds. Just one of life's little oddities, I guess.
Of course, the differences between people aren't nearly as puzzling
as the veritable plethora of inconsistencies that are observably
demonstrated by any given individual person. Take, for example, the guy
(and most of us know at least one of this ilk) who daily spends hour upon
painstaking hour washing, drying, waxing, buffing, and vacuuming his car.
Yet this same guy, who by the light of the moon meticulously removes the
dead bugs from his grille using Palmolive and Q-tips, somehow fails to
completely towel off his entire face after shaving in the morning, and
thus can regularly be seen walking around with small residual gobs of
drying white foam caked behind his ears. Some people just have odd sets
of priorities I suppose, or are the tiniest bit absent minded, which is
certainly fine by me as long as they aren't handling toxic wastes, for
example, or tactical nuclear weapons in my general vicinity.
And speaking of priorities, according to my schedule I have a
bathroom break coming up in a few minutes, so I'd better wrap this up,
seeing how it seems to have turned into a column after all. Here's
wishing you a summer free of sunburn and sand fleas, and filled with all
the fun and excitement you can endure. And watch those between-meal


The AI Notebook

by Johnathan R. Partington < JRP1@UK.AC.CAM.PHX>

More Triumphs in Artificial Intelligence

by Charles Cabbage

I related once how I managed to investigate the fundamental question "How
many beans make five?" by building intelligence into a tin of beans and
then asking it. But progress did not stop there.
A.I. people talk of the "Fifth Generation" -- intelligent machines
that will be able to reason for themselves, leaving Man's mind free to
relax and listen to Bach without having to worry about things like Mathe-
matics, The Weather Forecast and Why the Drinks Machine is Always Broken.
However most A.I. programs are in fact very stupid. If you ask them to
count sheep, 50% will produce an integer overflow in less than a minute,
25% of them will fall asleep, and 25% will involve themselves so deeply
on the problem that they will begin to think that they themselves are
sheep, and print the message "BAA". Clearly modern A.I. research is pro-
ceeding on the wrong lines.
Being totally unprejudiced in these matters, I tried two new
The first was to develop a program that would infallibly give irrele-
vant answers to questions. (This is the basis of Lateral Thinking.) Thus,
when asked "Do you like blancmange?" my program replied "I think Mozart
shows a surer grasp of symphonic techniques." Likewise, when asked "What
is wrong with the job scheduler on this computer?" it replied "It doesn't
smell as nice as dead mackerel." Unfortunately, owing to a bug in my pro-
gramming, the program would occasionally act in an intelligent manner: in
particular it told me that A.I. was a waste of time and that it had
decided to retire to Sussex and keep bees. It still sends me pots of
honey occasionally.
My second approach was to aim for Artificial Wisdom rather than Intel-
ligence. With the Japanese market in mind, I decided that using Zen might
be the easiest way of doing this. A sample conversation follows.

Q: Oh computer, are you able to demonstrate Wisdom?

A: <Displays a picture of a plastic cup being eaten by an alligator.>

Q: Er, yes. How many beans make five?

A: If you say that five beans make five, you deny their reality. But
nobody would say that six potatoes make five.

Q: Right on. Tell me, is Fermat's Last Theorem true?

A: If you answer Yes or No you lose your own Buddha-nature. So how do you

Q: What is the sound of one cat napping?

A: Mu.

Q: I see, I see. Will it rain tomorrow?

However from then on my program refused to talk to me on the grounds that

I had not yet attained Enlightenment. I reluctantly deleted it.

Did you hear about the guy who managed to write a CAD program that stored
each line in two bytes or less?

He managed to fit an edge in word-wise.

-- Mike Burden < MWBURDEN@MTUS5.bitnet>

Karl Takes A Fall

(or Why People Have Two Of Everything Except Brains)
by Q

PART ONE: Radish Head
Karl was a nice young man with a radish for a head. This often caused
a problem for Karl, especially since he liked to frequent bars... "Why,"
cried the poor man, "why did Yerxa leave me for Ed Asner?"; this he would
say over and over aloud, although he knew no Yerxa.

PART TWO: The Sabotage
The two terrorists swam through the jell-o, each holding their knives
between their teeth. Gigi, the quiet one, looked to Marybelle to see what
he would do next... Marybelle, feeling Gigi's intense stare, turned and
cut her companion's head off. With a meaningful tone, he told the corpse:
"In jell-o, No one can hear you scream..."

PART TWO (I Didn't like the last one, so I'm gonna do another): Argentina
Light dawned on Karl and his guide, a frisky little ferret named Phan-
tasmagoric O'Malley. Both squinting into the sun, they squinted. Phant
had noticed that his companion had a radish head, but said nothing, since
Karl hadn't brought up his ferretness. "Looks like rain," said Karl, and
promptly vanished. Phantasmagoric squinted a little more, then ate some
acorns in an unconcerned way.

THE END: Hades
Hades, the Greek god of death and indoor plumbing, waved his hand
fiercely in front of his face. Karl stood meekly in front of him, real-
izing that farting was not proper etiquette when in the presence of a
higher power, and he felt ashamed.
When the smell cleared, Hades looked down. "NO MORE FLATULENCE,
VEGGIEHEAD!" he sang out in a robust voice reminiscent of a cow in June.
"NOW- HOW'D YOU LIKE A JOB?". Karl looked up and squinted. "As what,
your Plutoness?".
"AS THE BOATMAN ON THE RIVER STYX!!!!", yelled the god, while staring
at a nearby cat. "KITTY! HERE KITTY!". The cat, who was named Rooooooooo,
glanced at the Underlord and then calmly walked away.
"Ummmm..", began Karl. "Ummmmm...", continued Karl.
"Uhhhhhhhhhhh...umm... Uhhhhhhhhhhhh....", said Karl, who was on a roll.
"Isn't Charon the boatman?".
Hades thought for a moment. "Ooops, my mistake!", he said, and waved
his hand, causing Karl to vanish once more. "SILLY POOFTA", he bellowed,
then went back to playing Othello.

PART FOUR (so I lied, and that wasn't the end): The Saloon
With a grimace, the old man zipped up his fly and jumped. When he hit
the sidewalk he tried to yell "Free Apples!", but he misjudged his
velocity and made the attempt much too late. His remains sprayed out-
wards, covering onlookers for hundreds of yards... none of them hit Karl,
though, because he isn't even in Part 4: The Saloon. One of those
onlookers was Trenton D'Retrograde, famous pop star and South American
dictator. Trenton felt the remains of the man hit him. "Osh kosh,
b'gosh!" he yelled, and went off in search of Margot Kidder.

PART SIX: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
Karl carefully examined the egg. Yes, he was in Idaho all right... no
doubt about it. With a characteristic shrug, he approached the girl. "Hi
Honey," he said with a grin. She looked at him, smiled, and belched out
the entire Greek alphabet. "But can you cook a damn fine casserole?" Karl
asked. "Are you kidding?", the girl replied. "I'm the best left fielder
on the island!" Noticing that she lived in the mud, Karl wondered if she
liked cheese as much as he did....

PROLOGUE: Crackers
Esmarillia stared at the baby. "It's got a tatoo!", she said to the
coat rack. The rack stood dead still, seemingly ignoring her. Esmarillia
glanced at the rack and frowned. "I said, It's got a tatoo." Still, the
rack stood there, arms outstretched, motionless. "It's of a blender,"
she said; still, no reaction whatsoever from the object. "Why do you
always ignore me???!?!?!", she screamed. "You never respond to a word I
say," she exclaimed, bursting into tears.
"Well maybe if you weren't such a silly bitch I'd pay attention to
you!" said the coat rack.

PART SEVEN: The Truth About Mabel
Karl thought. He thought some more. Then he turned on the dryer. With
some satisfaction, he noted that it worked...

PART EIGHT: Rubles or Dollars?
"Grendo moxie, haverstad nookums!", cried Comet, as he slid to the
floor; from his back protruded Marybelle's knife. The assassin stared
silently at the body, then bent down and removed two tickets to Blott's
Phantasmagoric Circus out of Comet's wetsuit pocket. With a grin, he
threw up in anticipation.

The wedding was a joyous one; George McGovern was best man. Karl gazed
adoringly at his new bride, Rooooooooo the cat; then night fell, and the
world was at peace.

WATCH FOR STORY2: The Return of the Two-Dollar Hangover

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The Amazing Adventures of Herbert

by Anonymous
Submitted by Ishtar <<23480853@WSUVM1.bitnet" TITLE="E-mail 23480853@WSUVM1.bitnet" > 23480853@WSUVM1.bitnet>

Episode II:

Another Victory for Herbert

O great Lore Masters of the West, let me tell thee of a fateful tale.
This tale begins many long years ago, when the trees were still young and
the Republicans still had control of the Senate. Once there was a Golden
Racquet ball, and whomsoever possessed this thing had great powers over
beast and man. This orb was kept in the great capital of Gloob, and its
master's name was Herbert. The people who dwelt in this fair land were
happy and did not wont for any material things. But there also did exist
a fearsome tribe that dwelt far to the East, in the dark land of Shmuck.
And the Shmucks did lust for the power of the Racquet ball, and so did
they contrive to take it away from the wise hands of Herbert.
Unfortunately, it was known to the Shmucks that Herbert had left the
fair land of Gloob for a quest in the beer-laden town of Moscow. And lo,
during this time the Shmucks did scale the walls of the hallowed place
the held the Racquet ball, and they did overwhelm the guards of the
sacred order of the Racquet ball with a 3x5 glossy of Cal Worthington,
and they did make off with the booty.
And lo! The land of Gloob turned to desolate wasteland and the fat
cattle did wither and die. It was a desperate scene indeed when Herbert
returned with glory from Moscow. But when Herbert did discover that the
Golden Racquet ball was pilfered, an army was raised immediately, and
they did sail off towards the dark capitol of the Shmucks in the East.
Seven months, fifteen days, four hours, ten minutes and thirty-nine
seconds was their voyage until they did set foot on the soil of their
enemy. And when the ships were unloaded and the armies did armor them-
selves, Herbert did cry with a loud voice: 'Attack the Shmucks, and
bringeth back the women and the Golden Racquet ball to me!' And so the
armies of the Gloobs did issue forth and they did lay siege on the cap-
ital of the Shmucks, which has the foul name, K-Mart. But lo, the
Shmucks did have control of the Racquet ball, and the Gloobs were slaugh-
tered by the thousands on the battle plain.... and they did wage war
upon each other for nine years. And in the tenth year, Herbert did have
a strange dream, and upon awakening, the Gloobish captain did plot to
outwit the Shmucks.
Far away from the high towers of K-Mart did they labour to bring Her-
bert's plan to reality. For weeks they did choppeth and saweth and
maketh a general uproar. And finally, the deed was done. In a mist con-
jured up by Herbert's magician, the Gloobs wheeled their construction up
to the very front gates of K-Mart, and they did leave it there unat-
tended. And when the mist cleared, the Shmucks saw the great wonder, and
they did think it was a gift from the great maker of the Blue-light Spe-
cials: A great can of SPAM. The Shmucks did take the can within the
walls of their city, hoping for a feast in the morning, but during the
dead of night, the can of SPAM did open! And lo! Out came Herbert and
twenty other great Gloobish warriors! And they did slice throats and
cause a general disorder and wreak havoc. And so the Racquet ball was
reclaimed by Herbert, and once again did the Gloobs enjoy prosperity.

Here endeth the tale.

Philosophers and Food: A Gustatorial Dialectic

by Dan Pryor <<89DAP@Williams" TITLE="E-mail 89DAP@Williams" > 89DAP@Williams> & Kyle Berman < TCKB000@TCSVM>

Scenario: Dan and Kyle are discussing the implications of Wittgenstein's
little known addendum to his equally minor work "Poultry: Being and
Knowledge," and more importantly, where to go for lunch. Their reknown
in the philosophical world is surpassed only by their appetites.

Dan: ...and moreover a peice of evidence that Nietzsche used to justify
his belief in the non-existence of God was the fact that one can rarely
find a quality taco counter outside certain towns in Southern California.

Kyle: Your argument has merit, but I must disagree with you on the latter
point. If, as Nietzsche points out, God's existence is linked to the
availability of a good taco, then one should be able to extrapolate from
this that God's forgiveness of the People of Israel occured not in 1948
with the founding of the Jewish State, but in the early seventies contig-
uous with the widespread acceptence of the Taco Bell* chain, which is
obviously not true. It is a well documented fact that few Taco Bell*
patrons are divinely inspired.

Dan: Ah, you are falling into the fallacy of excessive generalization.
Nietzsche also emphasized the necessity of considering the opposite in a
duality. Here I would posit that the dichotomy is Mexican versus Chinese
food, equating the latter with the underworld...

Kyle: Are you saying then that this applies to all Chinese food, or just
the joint around the corner?

Dan: Well, mostly to the FINE RESTAURANT in that location. As I was
saying, however, Sartre once declared that "Hell is other people." Par-
aphrasing this, I believe that one could more clearly state that "Hell is
Chinese food that has been left on a radiator for over a week, particur-
ally moo goo gai pan and sweet and sour chicken." Although the heartburn
I got after eating at Nietzsche's favorite taco counter, Uber-tacos,
wasn't all that pleasant, either.

Kyle: When one attempts to follow this argument to any sort of conclu-
sion, however, one can easily see that the logic of this so-called
"Taco-God" proposition is circular in nature, and thus unprovable and
worthless (as is Nietzsche following his periodic taco binges). One must
turn to another source to learn anything useful, for instance, where
should one have lunch, Cooter Brown's, Mama Rosa's, or one of those
cheesy Greek places on Decatur Street?

Dan: Ah, but when discussing the merit of Greek cuisine, one cannot neg-
lect Aristotle's famous treatise, Gustatoria. In this work can be found
his famous claim that all food is composed of the four essences, baklava,
ouzo, feta cheese, and olive oil, as well as lots of cheap red wine, the

Kyle: Aristotle was very primitive in this respect. This mixture would
unfortunately, although very obviously, turn out to be quite watery (not
unlike the food served at the Akroplis restaurant), thus necessitating
the cristalline hemispheres that he spoke of. These hemispheres were, of
course, the ancient Greek equivalent of modern Tupperware*. Now Plato on
the other hand, advocated the use of the tri-partite chef, the "Short-
Order-," the "Prep-," and the "Master-Chef..."

Dan: But did he not also specify that one of these "parts" must be named
Luigi, and another, Francois?

Kyle: Yes, but ONLY when the restaurant name appears in cursive Greek;
otherwise the trio may call themselves anything beginning with the Greek
letters Rho or Beta. Plato, in fact, first got his name for advocating
the use of flat communal plates. It was originally "Plate," later
changed to "Plato," after he introduced the extremely successful "Plate-
O-Goat" at his small suburban Athenian bistro.

Dan: Your argument does not, however, include Plato's notion of the
"Ideal Food." Unimaginable, this "Ideal Food" (which his friends famil-
iarly shortened to I.F.) would underly everthing cooked, at least in the
Pelopenesus and some of the shabbier areas of Crete. This, to me, seems
to parallel very closely the "Beef Wellington," although this latter food
was very difficult to find in the fancier Athenian restaurants. The
"Beef Wellington" is, even after numerous explanations and a friend who
choked on a serving of it, impossible for me to visualize corporeally.

Kyle: I concur most heartily, and apologise for the oversight. Yet, I
feel as though I once had a more complete view of Plato's I.F. (although
his family has guarded the recipe closely for many centuries); his own
theories, however, state that the rigors of the flesh make one forget
such important matters. In my case I have had ample such rigors, mostly
Steak Tartar at Arnaud's, a fine establishment if I may say so, one that
is more than adequate for our noontime repast.

Dan: In his book "Le Etranger Gros," Camus wrote several lines which are
appropriate to the subject at hand: "Je veux manger. Donne moi quelque
chose a manger ou je te tuerai," which translates roughly as "I want to
eat. Give me something to eat or I will kill you."

Kyle: Of course, this was meant in a purely complimentary manner. Our
present predicament, then, can be summarized as "how shall we get to some
food" or let Mohammed go wherever he pleases. I have read in the Qu'ran
that he was particularly fond of pepperoni and onion pizza. Shall we,
then, make Godfather's our destination?

Dan: As Hobbes once said in a fit of despondency, "hmm, sounds good to

Our erstwhile philosophers have departed, with great relish, and some
mustard on the side. They are later arrested for quoting Marx in a vain

attempt to avoid payment of the $9.35 check.

Three Squaws

Three squaws were each preparing for the birth of their first child. The
first squaw placed a large bear hide by a river, the second squaw placed
an elk hide by a tree by a river, and the third squaw placed a
hippopotamus hide by a path, near the river and the tree so that the
three formed a triangle.
It just so happens that all three women gave birth on the same day.
The first squaw on the bear hide had a 5-lb son, the second squaw on the
elk hide had a 6-lb son, and the third squaw on the hippopotamus hide had
an 11-lb son.
To this day, mathematicians credit these three women with the first
proof of the Pythagorean Theorem:

"The son of the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons

of the squaws of the two adjacent hides."

Issue023, (Volume VI, Number III). May, 1988.