29 Comments

  1. The “Bug Martini” got me to look up the “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” riddle. No, I am NOT going to post the results. It’ll be the best Google search y’all do all day. Or the worst. Almost exactly a 50/50 chance.

  2. You weren’t familiar with the “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” riddle?

    Well, no-one is expected to know everything. But I think you’ll be surprised that very few here will have to google it.

  3. The first one says, “The staff are stupid and annoying.”
    The second one says, “The customers are stupid and annoying.”
    I’m thinking the two cartoonists were in the same checkout line, one after the other.

  4. Well, I admit that I had to look it up. I was surprised by the source, but it’s been decades since I read the book, and my kids aren’t ready for it yet.

  5. Martin Gardner’s annotated version will help you appreciate a
    lot of the humor and other interesting tidbits that go over the
    heads of those who are not nineteenth century Brits.

  6. Well, I remember the source, and join in the endorsement of the Martin Gardner annotated edition, — BUT I don’t recall if there has ever been agreement on the best answer. Maybe I am due for some lookup.

  7. I don’t think there’s an agreement on the best answer. I’m a little unsure what MiB means by “the two,” since I wasn’t even aware that there was a canonical set of two answers to choose from.

    My proposed solution: “Neither of them are (usually) killer robots.”

  8. “BUT I don’t recall if there has ever been agreement on the best answer. ”

    Oh, there’ll never be agreement on the best answer.

    I think the canonical two are: “there is a B in both and an N in neither” and “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front”

  9. woozy, the second answer is Carroll’s, and doesn’t impress me, but I really like ‘because Poe wrote on both’.

  10. Woozy: It’s funny you think those are the canonical two, because I would prefer “Because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes,” and then Treesong’s answer, above either of those two.

  11. ” I would prefer…above either of those two.”

    Canonical doesn’t mean best liked. I’m simply saying Huxley’s and Carrol’s are the most well-known and accepted if not particularly well-liked.

    I personally *hate* “Poe wrote on both”. You might as well tell a *real* riddle if it’s going to have an answer as straight forward as that.

    I still think it is best to not have an answer.

  12. The answer for “Why is a laser beam like a goldfish?” works equally well for ravens and writing desks: “Because neither one can whistle

    P.S. Don’t blame me, I didn’t make it up.

  13. They used to correct the “misspelling” of “nevar” in Carroll’s answer – “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front” – and only recently started to notice that “nevar” is “raven” backwards.

  14. “Canonical doesn’t mean best liked.”

    True. I guess the “canonical” ones are whichever answers that I heard first, and I heard the ones that you gave later.

  15. “Why is life like hanging upside-down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?”

    “I don’t know; why is life like hanging upside-down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?”

    “I don’t know either; wretched, isn’t it?”

  16. Rufus T. Firefly: Now, what is it that has four pairs of pants, lives in Philadelphia, and it never rains but it pours?
    Chicolini: Atsa good one. I give you three guesses.
    Rufus T. Firefly: Now let me see. Has four pair of pants, lives in Philadelphia… Is it male or female?
    Chicolini: No, I no think so.
    Rufus T. Firefly: Is he dead?
    Chicolini: Who?
    Rufus T. Firefly: I don’t know. I give up.
    Chicolini: I give up, too.

  17. I said I *thought* those were the two canonical answers. Apparently I was wrong. Perhaps you should ask Mark of Boston what he meant be the two answers. I guess he, like you and me, has a pair he first heard and assumed they were the two that everyone knew most, and probably like me, was wrong.

  18. A joke my niece hates but I think was cute: “What’s the difference between a crow and a raven”.

    “A crow has four letters and starts with C, while raven has five letters and has a V in the center”.

    There’s also the “What’s red, hangs on a wall, and whistles?”

  19. Woozy: I’m not disputing that what the two canonical answers are. I have no idea what they should be. I was just commenting that I learned them in a different order.

    My Russian teacher claimed that “What’s green and squeaks under the bed?” was a classic Russian joke that Russian would laugh at for hours on end. In retrospect, she was pulling our leg. Or a little crazy. Or both.

  20. 1. a few notes, 2. nevar. I always took it to mean that he gave two answers. If you didn’t like one you could use the other.

    Now can somebody please tell me: Why does the porridge bird lay his egg in the air?

  21. Wenn ist das Nödstück git und schlottermeier?

    Ja, beyerhund, das, oder die flipper Weld gerschputt!

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