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Thursday, November 13, 2014


As Dorothy Parker once famously wrote:

I'd rather flunk my Turing Test,
than read a poem by Edgar Guest.

I am of conflicted loyalties, since it seems my paternal ancestors were full of praise for Mr. Guest, once poet laureate of The Detroit Free Press. I have some editions of his work that came from them. Of course, they are not exactly well thumbed, dog-eared, and marked by the flotsam and jetsam of being assiduously read while eating and drinking... but I think Mr. Guest was esteemed.

His poetry was all the rage back when a plate of eggs cost a quarter or five bees.

More to the point, I find myself more and more flunking those Turing-Test-Thingies in the comment section of blogs, where one is asked to enter what one see in order to prove that one is most definitely not a robot.
Not a robot, not half-blood-robot, not quarter-servo-robot... not even an octaroon-robot.
Which raises the distinctly unsettling notion that maybe I do have some Robot blood in my history.

This is not a far-fetched possibility. Recall that Hero of Alexandria devised such busybody gizmos back 2,000 years ago, and Homer sings to us of mechanical maidens of gold and self-proplled tripods buzzing through the hallways of Hephaestus, bringing tea pots under Mycenaean cozies to all and sundry.
And then there's the story of dewy eyed Pasiphaea, which is not exactly a robo-cow-story, but is a much more interesting story than is my post.
(I almost wrote "postern" instead of "post", sort of being all overcome by that cows and bulls and gates leading to the meadows business...  very much a georgic nature have I in the worst Virgilian sense.)

Anyway, I write that I see bricks, lumber, post boards, posters admonishing the populace that loose lips doing something awful to ships, and adverts for Victory Gin. What they seem to actually want is some fuzzy and obscure sequence of numbers attached to the stoop of an unfamiliar house.

In some uncanny sense in this day of identity theft and widespread computer hacking, this blurry sequence of numbers has become a mezuzah upon the door which leads to the admittance of  your comment.
(Maybe I should have a a scholar and scribe write the Shema on a shtikl paper and create a mezuzah for my computer?!...
By the way, within the past few months I have been accused of studying Yiddish for the jokes. As if my life were a Seinfeld episode!
Did I tell you I was having some Mandelbaum's Gym T-Shirts made up?)

Where's the sense in that test? Any robot can recite a sequence of numbers.


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