All work and no play all night and all day
Not even half a moment of sleep, you see!
Look for me in the details (or check in the fai retails)
When you’re loathe to decide — I’ll then come stand beside
Whilst over your shoulder looms the deep blue sea
To your petty conceit placate I’ll send my advocate
He’d gladly plead your cases with one of many faces
Of which he has thirty-six, like a pair o’ dice
If you are lonely and laust, remember Comrade Faust —
You only need to sign on the dashed dotted line
And I give you on this sorry earth a paradise
Yet I seek no gratitude, only purple attitude
So that folk may call your air yours-truly-may-care
How I shall then take care of you dearly!
But I must speak to you b’cause on your soul there is a clause
That you may haven’t knone: let’s talk this over phone
Just dial two-thirds of one thousand [well, nearly]
(The verse is falling free at the moment.)
Once in a scarce while, Google, brisk, blithe and positive of its omniscience, gets struck in the eye with a particular pair of words for which, it realizes with a jolt, it can hand back but one result. Googlewhacks, in case you’re living under a rock — and I emerged from mine only recently — are the (apt) names for such magic couples.
There are rules. Use quotation marks and you are red-carded. Unlawful words? Unwise.
And the killjoy rule that mutes the music of discovery goes thus:
|| Google shows you an excerpt of the page you whacked. Look at that text. If it’s merely a list of words (such as a bibliography, concordance, encyclopedia, glossary, thesaurus, dictionary, domain names, or plain old machine-generated random garbage), No Whack For You! ||
Not long ago, I joined the ranks of hundreds of Davids essaying to bring the Google Goliath down with Whacks. The Stack is out of order, and this seemed a safe place to put these out.
Ones that found bull’s eye
1 Carroll’s choreography course to cure your creeps for crowds.
2 When a summa gets a lemma right.
3 Can you differentiate that Whack?
[Click on the serial numbers]
The unclassifiable one
Scrutinize the kids and worship the moths? Study adults and deify larvae?
Ones let down by the killjoy rule
[Run them on rot13]
And then there’s always these
Salmagundi futterwacken, adiabatic rannygazoo, dissipative futterwacken, chargino googlewhack, amoebaic salmagundi…
Do send your Whacks my way if you find some!
As put down on a blank leaf a couple of pages away from the cover of a paperback:
Until last year, I was practically an airspace virgin. I had flown only twice before, aboard domestic jets. The first time, I had apparently fallen asleep at takeoff and woken up at landing. This largely had to do with the fact that I had at that time lived just as many months outside my mother as I had inside. The second instance, happening in my II Grade, has escaped me but for the memory of grabbing one too many candies from the stewardess’ platter; whether my distribution of them to classmates on my birthday is a memory or a fig. of my im., I’m uncertain.
So when I air-travelled last year, I found it hard to keep my jaws together. Years back, I had taken half an excruciating day to visit Mangalore by train. Now it was below me in twenty minutes from departure; behind me in 21. From that point onwards, I entered denial. This speed was non-intuitive.
The novelty of sensations so enlivened me that sleep failed me. It was evening when I reached final destination, so my insomniac fatigue made sure that jet lag was beaten.
On my return home last month, I spanned the Pacific, thus becoming the first scion in my dynasty to have crossed all 360 longitudes. Which brings us to ‘today’.
For a start, my seat number in the first flight was 30A. The ‘A’ stands for window seat. The port and starboard columns were two seats wide and my neighbouring passenger had given the ride a miss! Thus my spot doubled as an aisle seat. The ’30’ stands for first row, which in turn translates to (i) leg room, (ii) potty proximity, (iii) highest strength of pheromone trails left behind by flight attendants, (iv) special mechanisms for the TV and the dining desk.
Last year, I headed westward. This time, my ‘orient’ation is opposite. I’m essentially retracing the path I took home. The first aircraft (dest.: Hong Kong) became airborne at 04.00 a.m. If you define ‘dayline’ as in the picture, my plane and the dayline were cruising for a headlong collision. I fought back sleep and waited to witness this rare glory, and was handsomely rewarded.
My second plane (on which my stern rests this very moment) is a time machine. I embarked upon it at 02.00 p.m. on Sep. 04, I will touch terminus at 11.00 a.m. on Sep. 04. This leg of the voyage turned out to be much more spectacular than I had imagined.
I slid the window down to cut out the sunlight and slipped into slumber. When I rose an hour later and reopened it, I was totally taken aback. It was pitch dark outside. I had simply unaccounted for the fact that in an aeroplane flying east, particularly when the geodesical trajectory is more parallel than perp. to the equator, the durations of dark and light are halved. There was no way I could go across to the other edge of the Pacific without cutting through night. It was obvious once it happened. All these meant I met the dayline a second time in the journey, which is when I began to pen this. Now the window is a splash of divers degrees of blue and white.
36 hours would this day last, two sunrises and two sundowns would it include. An I.D.L. day — an ideal day.
Like bowling pins on an ice-rink did wickets tumble
When the ball spun off the fingers of Kumble,
‘Twas like the fireworks on the Fourth of July
When the sixes flew off the willow of Ganguly,
One billion point one hearts were achin’,
Whenever to the pavilion walked Sachin!
Cricket to IPL is like movies to Cannes,
Unearthing Ojha, Marsh and Nannes!
O IPL, thou art , despite your auctions obscene,
A beauty pageant to men like Jayawardene,
A shot at glory, though the odds are bare,
To the likes of Jakati, Pandey and Tare,
An opportunity to play nefarious fungi
For second-rank cricketers like Tyagi,
Or E Coli,
For V Kohli
And the story of Hansel and Gratel
For Yuvi, Munaf and Parthiv Patel,
Lost as they were. And like Zimbabwe,
Never really in IPL was der Merwe!
A treat it was to at cheerleaders ogle,
As was listening to the outspoken Mr Bhogle,
As was listening to the outspoken Mr Bhogle.
[Author’s note: The original is my favourite joke ever.]
Having lost his poetic touch, W. B. Yeats works at a corporate office. A popular tabloid, finding that his fame has survived, telephones him and wonders if he would be kind enough to participate in a photo-session for their pages. Thrilled, he writes to his manager asking for (i) a day off and (ii) permission to attend the picture-taking.
In response, the manager informs, ‘Both your requests need to be approved by a panda in the upper floor, specifically recruited for the purpose.’
‘What! Why?’, says W B.
‘Look it up’, replies the boss.
The former poet thumbs through the office catalogue to get wind of the job description of his mammalian colleague. Which reads thus:
“Panda: Yeats’ shoots and leaves.”
A robin glides into a café. She orders a sandwich, eats it, then starts telling a joke over and over again till everybody dies of boredom.
‘Why?’ asks the confused, surviving waiter, as the robin gets airborne exitward. She produces a badly punctuated ornithology manual and tosses it over her shoulder.
‘Well, I’m a robin’, she says, at the door. ‘Look it up.’
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
‘Robin: Many-coloured species of bird. Native to Europe and North America. Eats, bugs and flies.’