01 February 2008

Due to the Tyranny of Geometric Progression, I Won't Be Passing This Along, but I Will Play . . .

. . . if everyone followed the forward to five people rule of this meme, then you'd run out of people on the planet fairly quickly, so as usual, I am where chain letters and memes go to die (people who spread these memes, especially ones who demand they are forward to such a large number of people as five, are displaying an ignorance of exponential growth, or they are counting on the laziness of most people who won't bother forwarding the meme in question).

But, I don't mind answering the question posed (via Pastor Jeff at Conblogeration)

Now as to the rules,

    1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
    2. Open the book to page 123.
    3. Find the fifth sentence.
    4. Post the next three sentences.
    5. Tag five people.

1. The nearest book, it's a book I've always been meaning to read, yet have never finished, it happens to be nearest to my person at this moment. I would have much preferred something more lowbrow, as this book is often cited as one of the greatest books ever written by really pretentious English major types. That book, the one every English major probably owns, but has never finished reading (including myself), that'd be James Joyces' Ulysses. My copy is a paperback Vantage Books version published in 1961. Just for fun, I checked the ISBN number of this edition (0394703804) and it shows up on Amazon, sales rank 1,099,394.

2. I'm ashamed to admit, I've never actually read all the way to page 123, so this will be virgin territory for me.

3. Found.


    He took out his handkerchief to dab his nose. Citron-lemon? Ah the soap I put there. Lose it out of the pocket.

5. I don't play tag, I screencapped (see above) a quick excel sheet I did to illustrate how such a geometric progression quickly gets out of hand, by about the 12th generation you've probably used up every active blogger currently blogging, by the 13th generation you've exceeded the current population of the United States (not that the meme is limited to the USA), by the 14th generation you've exceeded the number of people who have ever used a computer (not sure on that, but I doubt more than 1 in 10 people planet wide have even limited access to computers), and buy the 15th generation you've exceeded the current population of all the people on the globe, with or without computer access. People who spread these memes forget the parable of the grains of rice and the chessboard.

(and don't those quoted sentences above just scream, "greatest work of literature, ever!")


Pastor_Jeff said...

Interesting. I neither own a copy of Ulysses nor have any idea what it's about, so I must be hopelessly low-brow.

Thank you for stopping the madness. I actually had someone forward me a version of the "Microsoft will pay you to forward this" message (I think it was originally Netscape - I'm so old I can remember when IE was new). It's like multi-level marketing. Eventually everyone will be selling to everyone else.

reader_iam said...

Oh, I dunno. I think the word "demand" is a tad overwrought. However, there's no disputing that the word "play" inherently contains the concept of "different strokes for different folks.

Viva la difference!

Yeah, I read Ulysses back in the day--and so what? I also understand the concept of exponential growth--and so what?


"How about a nice game of chess?"


; )

reader_iam said...


I don't believe for a second that you're "ashamed," btw, anymore than I believe that most people would think you should be.

So there, dude.

bill said...

My email conversation.

Wouldn't apply to this situation though my reaction would be much like XWL's. And my book would be Donna Hay's "The Instant Cook." Page 123 is a photo of nori-wrapped salmon with wasabi mash, so I'm done.