Doing battle with daily dragons

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Sarky Ghost In the Machine

The purple, All Knowing Ball arrived on our doorstep just as the Rock Star and I were heading out to this weekend’s wedding festivities, so naturally, I delayed us long enough to cut open the packaging that would survive a nuclear holocaust to get at the shiny toy inside. I also accidentally cut the instructions in half, but luckily, this little gadget seems pretty intuitive, being in possession of only 4 buttons that read, “Yes”, “No”, “Sometimes” and “Unknown”.

The first game we played, we decided to go easy on the ball. We chose to try to make it guess “elephant” which it did, leaving both of us rather speechless. Obviously, the questions the ball asks mean more to it that they did to us, because try as we might, we couldn’t see how it could have gotten “elephant” from the questions that it plied us with. Not only did it guess correctly, but every 5 questions or so it would issue sarcastic comments like, “This is too easy!” or “You think you’re being tricky?”

So, for the second game we decided to give the taunting ball a challenge and test its metal with specifics. The Rock Star suggested “Stonehenge”. To be fair to the ball, I can imagine there’s only so much room in its little database and it can’t really be having with proper nouns on top of everything else. It’s answer turned out to be “A mountain” which was kind of along the same lines, but not quite close enough, and we revelled in our cleverness at having outsmarted a small piece of plastic and electrical connections.

For your amusement, here is an example of a game that I played with it just now which the answer being, “A hippopotamus”

Is it…Animal? Vegetable? Mineral

Is it small?

Is it dangerous?
Sometimes (When the Rock Star went to South Africa as a teenager, he learned that hippos and crocodiles had a racket going on where the hippos would capsize a boat and then the crocs would come and clean up the mess.

Does it have short fur?

Is it smooth?

Does it live in groups?

Does it have legs?

Does it help accomplish a task?
No (Unless they are specially trained, hippos are usually complete rubbish at accomplishing tasks. Like doing your taxes and things. Best leave that to crocodiles.)

Does it have four legs?

Taunt: Hmmmm….Are you trying to confuse me?

Does it have a long tail?

Does it have fur?

Is it a mammal?

Does it come in many varieties?

Can it swim?

Is it an herbivore?

Taunt: I can’t believe you’re thinking of that!

Can it run fast?

Does it live in water?

Does it bring joy to people?
Sometimes (It all depends how excited you are about hippos, I guess.)

Is it soft?

Is it involved in movies?
No (Not any more, anyhow. They had terrible problems with drink and drugs and are now drying out at a rehab centre in Arizona.)

Taunt: I’m thinking. You can do better!

You’re thinking of…a hippopotamus?
Yes, you fucking smartypants ball, I am. And I’d lose the attitude unless you want your next challenge to be trying to guess which electronic graveyard you’ll be consigned to when I tire of your divinatory antics.