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Jabberwocky for Geeks
Jabberwocky for Geeks

The Great Lakes Geek has always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland - but maybe for different reasons than most. In college I was exposed to the mathematics of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass are loaded with logical puzzles. So are the the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky."

Dodgson was a pretty good mathematician, and not just in logic. He also did good work in geometry and matrix algebra.

Other Geeks have created their own versions of Jabberwocky.

Check them out.

Euclidean Geometry Jabberwocky

Wockyjabber (Integral Solving)

The Derivative Jabberwocky

ARPAwocky (The ARPANET)

Viruwormy (Internet Worm)

Jargontalk (Hackerspeak)

C-Wocky (C Programming)

Joystick Jabberwocky (Nintendo Games)


Plain Geometry

Emma Rounds

'Twas Euclid and the theorem pi
Did plane and solid in the text,
All parallel were the radii,
And the ang-gulls convex'd.

"Beware the Wentworth-Smith, my son,
And the Loci that vacillate;
Beware the Axiom, and shun
The faithless Postulate."

He took his Waterman in hand;
Long time the proper proof he sought;
Then rested he by the XYZ
And sat awhile in thought.

And as in inverse thought he sat
A brilliant proof, in lines of flame,
All neat and trim, it came to him.
Tangenting as it came.

"AB, CD," reflected he--
The Waterman went snicker-snack--
He Q. E. D.-d, and, proud indeed,
He trapezoided back.

"And hast thou proved the 29th?
Come to my arms, my radius boy!
Oh good for you! O one point two!"
He rhombused in his joy.

'Twas Euclid and the theorem pi
Did plane and solid in the text,
All parallel were the radii,
And the ang-gulls convex'd.


Rounds, Emma, "Plain Geometry". In Creative Youth, Hughes Mearns, 1925 by Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York.

Also in Fantasia Mathematica



Wockyjabber

Hilbert Schenck, Jr.

'Twas finite, and the polar cusp,
Orthogonal to the secant lay.
The semi-tacnode operates on
The Gudermanian of A.

"Beware the integral, my son,
With shape of non-symmetric bell,
Beware old Van der Pol, and shun
The curious vector del."

He took his program in his hand.
Long hours the real root he sought.
Then rested by the storage drums,
And sat awhile in thought.

And as in tedious thought he sat,
The integral without a name,
Rose from a skewed, conformal map,
Diverging as it came!

Pi-e, Pi-e, and x, y, z,
The digital went clicky-clack.
He found the norm in series form,
And brought the work sheets back.

"Oh, hast thou solved the integral?
Here is a raise, my brainish boy!"
He threw his time cards in the air
And clapped his hands with joy.

'Twas finite, and the polar cusp,
Orthogonal to the secant lay.
The semi-tacnode operates on
The Gudermanian of A.

Schenck, Jr., Hilbert, "Wockyjabber". In Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1960. 1960 Mercury Press, Inc.

Also in The Mathematical Magpie


The Derivative

Francis J Menotti

'Twas boring, and his lofty gaze
did nod and waver from its task.
Although he had been in a daze,
his daydream he did mask.

"Beware derivatives, students!
The functions, primes, and asymptotes.
Beware all calculus and hence
refrain from taking notes."

He took his purple pen in hand,
long poem his wand'ring mind did write.
So scribbled he his words to be:
indeed a worthy sight!

But though a worthy sight it seemed,
reality, with wrath unfurled
came flailing back--its strength redeemed--
while confidence it hurled.

One, two! One, two! The numbers grew.
The purple ink went splitter-splat.
And through his head, the numbers sped
as patiently he sat.

"Well, have you solved the problem yet?
Come to the board, you number-sleuth!"
Once satisfied, professor sighed,
"You're wise despite your youth."

'Twas boring, and his lofty gaze
did nod and waver from its task.
Although he had been in a daze,
his daydream he did mask.

With thanks, apologies, and admiration to Lewis Carroll. I came up with it during my first semester calculus class here at Penn State University. (I was pretty damn bored: easy class.)


ARPAwocky

D. L. Covill

Twas brillig, and the Protocols
Did USER-SERVER in the wabe.
All mimsey was the FTP,
And the RJE outgrabe,

Beware the ARPANET, my son;
The bits that byte, the heads that scratch;
Beware the NCP, and shun
the frumious system patch,

He took his coding pad in hand;
Long time the Echo-plex he sought.
When his HOST-to-IMP began to limp
he stood a while in thought,

And while he stood, in uffish thought,
The ARPANET, with IMPish bent,
Sent packets through conditioned lines,
And checked them as they went,

One-two, one-two, and through and through
The IMP-to-IMP went ACK and NACK,
When the RFNM came, he said "I'm game",
And sent the answer back,

Then hast thou joined the ARPANET?
Oh come to me, my bankrupt boy!
Quick, call the NIC! Send RFCs!
He chortled in his joy.

Twas brillig, and the Protocols
Did USER-SERVER in the wabe.
All mimsey was the FTP,
And the RJE outgrabe.

Written by D. L. Covill in May 1973. Adapted by R. Merryman very shortly after. Submitted as RFC 527: ARPAWOCKY to the Network Working Group on 22 June 1973.


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Viruwormy

Ed Combs

'Twas eunicks and the asky chars
Did grepp and skanneff at the nik:
All mimdy were the hyperstars,
And the rad ravs outsmick.

"Beware the Viruworm, my sun!
Let not its bits in temp space get!
Guard well the Passpass word, and shun
The durbious Internet!"

He put his darpal code in ram:
Long time the decson foe he sought--
So waited he, in the Dirdir tree
And slept awhile, swapped out.

And as with hashish dreams he slept,
The Viruworm--that spawn from shell--
Fast fingring through the mayle, it crept,
And gettessed from Koornell!

Ping, pong! Ping, pong! And long by long
The darpal code went hicker-hack!
It ran no more, and with its core
He went dispiling back.

"And hast thou killed the Viruworm?
Nok bless your promms, my sparkish toy!
O megga win! Ess are eye! Bee bee enn!"
He broadcast in his joy.

'Twas eunicks and the asky chars
Did grepp and skanneff at the nik:
All mimdy were the hyperstars,
And the rad ravs outsmick.

This parody was inspired by the Internet Worm, the virus which made use of the bugs in Un*x's sendmail and finger programs. The virus was written by Cornell grad student Robert Tappan Morris (rtm) and it crashed computer systems all over the U. S. in November 1988.


Jargontalk

Larry Colen

Twas Unix and the C++
Did compile and load upon the VAX:
All Ritchie was the Kernighan,
And LISP ran in GNU EMACS.

"Beware the Jargontalk, my son.
The Mac that talks, the dull PC.
Beware the Amiga, and shun
The voluminous PDP."

He took his listed code in hand:
Long time the pointer bug he sought--
So rested he by the Coke machine,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in nerdish thought he stood,
The Jargontalk, with awk and grep,
Came geeking through the COBOL wood,
And edlin'd as it schlepped.

One two! One two! And through and through!
The line printer went click'ty clack!
And with a meg of memory dump,
He pulled an allnight hack.

"And hast thou slain the Jargontalk?
Telnet to me, my nerdish boy!
Copyleft GNU! Callooh! Callay!"
He deroffed in his joy.

Twas Unix and the C++
Did compile and load upon the VAX:
All Ritchie was the Kernighan,
And LISP ran in GNU EMACS.

First posted to rec.humor.funny on 5 February 1994.


C-Wocky

Soh Kam Yung

T'was night, and glowing monitors
Did illuminate the shade
All silent were the printers
And the CPUs lay in idle state.

"Beware the C bugs, my son,
The dangling else, the unmatched brace.
Beware the floundering pointers
And shun the nonsense case.

He took his keyboard in hand
Long the hidden bugs he sought
So looked he at the source code
And stared awhile in thought.

And, as in silent thought he stared,
The C bugs, with cries of glee,
Came crowding into his code
And broke it as they came.

Cut! Paste! Cut! Paste! And save and save.
His keyboard went clickety-clack.
He killed the bugs and with his code
He went joyfully back.

"And you have killed the C bugs, my son?
Show me the code, my wonderful boy.
O beautiful work! Hurrah! Hurray!
He laughed in his joy.

T'was night, and glowing monitors
Did illuminate the shade
All silent were the printers
And the CPUs lay in idle state.


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Joystick Jabberwocky

Frank Jacobs

'Twas Billy, and the Shyguy Clones
Did Grax and Grumple in the Kraid;
All Lizzie were the Hanger Zones,
And Phanto Renegade.

"Beware the Shadow Boss, my son!
The Killer Clams, the Mummy Men!
Don't Goombah with a Neul, and shun
The Death Breath known as Ken!"

He Holtzed at Zigmos from afar,
Dodged Zombie Slime with lightning scroll,
While Zelda in her Mamda Jar
Made Yuki with a Troll.

And as he Beaked for Pyradoks,
The Shadow Boss Twinbellowed through,
Backed up by Pengs, Chicago Ox,
Twelve Ninjas and McGoo.

Dagoom! Dagoom! Zabs met their doom!
And when the final Folfu fell,
Lay Bloopered ranks of Battletanks
And Mario as well.

"And hast thou zapped the Shadow Boss?
Well, spike my Foss! No Sniffit thee!
Kello! Kello! O Porcupo!"
He Dakkered in his Skree.

'Twas Billy, and the Shyguy Clones
Did Grax and Grumple in the Kraid;
All Lizzie were the Hanger Zones,
And Phanto Renegade.



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