Recursion's Curse

Cursive Having recently embarked on an ambitious project to teach my computer to do my writing for me, I was only mildly surprised when Paul Simon came to me, speaking words of wisdom. "I can read the writing on the wall," he said, which I immediately recognized as an upbeat reference to Pink Floyd's important work in the field of photography.

As my mind began to clear, the true significance of my vision propelled me toward the armchair I've come to think of as a place to sit, especially when I want to write a program. The trouble with computer-generated writing is knowing when to stop, by which I mean knowing when to tell the computer to stop, which is the same thing because computers only do what they're told. Aping the techniques of my elementary-school teachers, I instructed my computer to make letters one stroke at a time, which should have worked, but didn't.

A non-terminating loop resulted in the cursivus ad nauseam repetition of the principal portion of the letter, leaving no exit strategy with which to continue on to the final flourish. In other words, cursive writing became recursive writing, which, when you think about it, isn't at all the same thing. Tragically, the same Recursive iterative process responsible for early-onset stutteringitself a form of recursive speechtorpedoed my illustrious project before it could be put to proper use in the film industry.

Cursive speech, used to great comedic effect by pirates and other colorful characters, might have reached new heights with such a tool.


Vacation Plans: A Chant for Four Voices

Some chants require four-part harmony. First voice

We'll lie in state beyond the gate
Where stars go streaming by
And polish our spoons in the moonlight
While eating our Hubble pie.

Second voice

We'll trip the light fantastic
As he swaggers about the room
Then lie in wait on his estate
In Lima or Cancun.

Third voice

We'll forge ahead at the shoulders
And stumble the dark mundane
We'll win the races at Nazca
While barreling over the plain.

Fourth voice

Mi mi mi la si do la do
Fa si si fa si mi do
Do re mi fa sol la si la sol
Si si si do si do.