The Beatles Meet Camus!

John: Ahoy, mate.
Paul: Watcha got there?
Camus: It’s a giant boulder.
George: We like rock too.
Ringo: Yeah. Rock. Haha.
Paul: Why are you pushing it uphill?
George: It’d be a lot easier the other way, you know.
John: That’s why we rock and roll, not rock and push. I’m dead lazy.
Camus: There is always a philosophy for a lack of courage.
Ringo: Ouch! He told you, mate.
Paul: Let’s help him. C’mon, lads.
John: You go on. I’m not.
[Paul and Camus push at the boulder ineffectually]
Camus: The absurd is lucid reason noting its limit.
Paul: That’s deep, that.
George: So what you’re saying is there’s nothing more daft than pushing this rock uphill?
Camus: Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful.
John: You’re entirely bonkers, bloke. But the best people are.
Paul: I know! Let’s turn our amps all the way up. It’ll create a sonic blast and it might help push the rock uphill.
George: You mean rock the rock?
Ringo: Rocking the rock will roll the rock? Or roll rock rolling– I’ve confused myself.
John: You’ve confused me. All right, let’s hear some of the rock and roll music!
Paul: One, two, three, four!
[The boys blare Roll Over Beethoven at full blast]
John: Roll over, Big Boulder! Or Camus will keep singing the blues!
[the rock slowly moves uphill]
Paul: It’s working!
John: Reel it, rock it, absurdity! Rocking is absurdity too!
[With the rock at the top of the hill, Camus is impressed]
Camus: At this point of his effort man stands face to face with the irrational.
Ringo: We’re not the irrationals. We’re the Beatles! [Ringo punctuates his joke with a loud ba-dum-boom! The sound quakes the rock, which dislodges and rolls downhill, toward the Beatles and Camus]
Paul: Run for your life!
George: Help!
John: I should have known better!
Camus: To understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion!
Ringo: Turn away faster!
[The boulder comes to a stop at the bottom of the hill; everyone is out of breath.]
John: Sorry, Camus. We can try again.
Camus: Not a second time.
Paul: Bye, then! Don’t be a stranger!


The Beatles Meet Sartre!

The Beatles Meet Jean Paul Sartre!

Sartre: Excuse me, waiter.
John (disguised as a waiter): Oui, Monsieur?
Sartre: This soup is cold.
John: Oh no! That’s outrageous!
Paul (disguised as restaurant manager): What’s going on here?
John: He says the soup is cold.
Paul: The soup is cold?! That’s outrageous!
John: Your face is outrageous.
Paul: I’ve had enough of your backtalk. [hits John]
Sartre: Please, if you could just–
George (disguised as a cop): What’s going on here?
John: The soup is cold!
George: That’s not a crime.
Paul: You snitch! [hits John again]
George: All right, enough of you lot. [arrests John & Paul, exeunt]
Sartre: My soup is still cold.
Ringo [in wig and dress, sits at table]: Oi, Jean.
Sartre: Who are you?
Ringo: Don’t you know your own girlfriend? It’s me, Simone.
Sartre: Talk about bad faith.

The Beatles Meet Che Guevara!


John: You say you want a revolution?
Che: Si, Senor Moptop.
John: Well, you know, we all want to change the world.
Che: Let the world change you and you can change the world.
John: But when you talk about destruction, you can count me out.
Che: The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.
John: Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right?
Che: We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.
John: If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you, brother, is you have to wait.
Che: The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.
John: All right! All right! All right!

The Beatles Meet Hamlet!

Hamlet: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
John: Is it your shorts? You’ve got to change them out every week.
Ringo: I’m not wearing any.
George: Oy, mate, you’ve got to cheer up. All this to be or not to be jazz is gettin’ me down.
Paul: You’ve got a nice girl.
John: She loves you.
George: She almost lost her mind.
Paul: Yeah.
John: Yeah.
Ringo: Yeah.
Paul: Don’t you want to hold her hand?
Hamlet: My uncle murdered me dad!
George: Oh.
Paul: That’s a bummer.
John: Yeah, a real drag.
Ringo: I guess it can be bad.

The Beatles & the Categorical Imperative

John: You ever read any Kant, Ringo?
Ringo: I tried but I can’t.
George: Well, he bangs on about the categorical imperative.
Ringo: What’s that?
Paul: It’s like the golden rule.
Ringo: Him with the gold rules?
John: Not that golden rule, you daft git.
George: Do unto others, you know.
Ringo: Before they do unto you.
Paul: No, no, that’s not it.
Ringo: What’s an unto?

Poetry for Strangers: Carpe Diem

you ask yourself what’s it all for
tacos and beer the hobos implore

i seized the day but lost the week
the month dangles from a toucan’s beak

poets will be the heroes when the revolution comes
we’ll need their visions like cold black plums

i believe in the phantom time hypothesis
as it relates to my life’s synopsis

i saw the news last night it was mean
cosmic dust has settled on the guillotine

this moment this moment we breathe in and out
eternal now is the drug of the devout

language grows in the garden of the mind
nonsense like liana blooms undefined

the windmill actually is a giant
it’s reality that is defiant

For more, visit Poetry for Strangers: Carpe Diem

SteamHuck FinnBot: How Huck Finn Discovered He Was a Robot, Chapter 2 #multiverse #steamhuck #finnbot


WE went tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees back towards the end of the widow’s garden, stooping down so as the branches wouldn’t scrape our heads. When we was passing by the kitchen I fell over a root and made a noise. We scrouched down and laid still. Miss Watson’s big nigger, named Jim, was setting in the kitchen door; we could see him pretty clear, because there was a light behind him. He got up and stretched his neck out about a minute, listening. Then he says:

“Who dah?”

He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly. Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn’t a sound, and we all there so close together. There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn’t scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders. Seemed like I’d die if I couldn’t scratch. Well, I’ve noticed that
thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain’t sleepy–if you are anywheres where it won’t do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places. Does androids dream of electric sheep? I don’t reckon I know the answer to that conundrum but does robots itch when they can’t be scratched? Blessed be, yes!

Pretty soon Jim says:

“Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn’ hear sumf’n. Well, I know what I’s gwyne to do: I’s gwyne to set down here and listen tell I hears it agin.”

So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom. He leaned his back up against a tree, and stretched his legs out till one of them most touched one of mine. My nose begun to itch. It itched till the tears come into my eyes. But I dasn’t scratch. Then it begun to itch on the inside. Next I got to itching underneath. I didn’t know how I was going to set still. This miserableness went on as much as six or seven minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that. I was itching in eleven different places now. I reckoned I couldn’t stand it more’n a minute longer, but I set my teeth hard and got ready to try. Just then Jim begun to breathe heavy; next he begun to snore–and then I was pretty soon comfortable again. Tom he made a sign to me–kind of a little noise with his mouth–and we went creeping away on our hands and knees. When we was ten foot off Tom whispered to me, and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for fun. But I said no; he might wake and make a disturbance, and then they’d find out I warn’t in. Then Tom said he hadn’t got candles enough, and he would slip in the kitchen and get some more. I didn’t want him to try. I said Jim might wake up and come. But Tom wanted to resk it; so we slid in there and got three candles, and Tom laid five cents on the table for pay. Then we got out, and I was in a sweat to get away; but nothing would do Tom but he must crawl to where Jim was, on his hands and knees, and play something on him. I waited, and it seemed a good while, everything was so still and lonesome.

As Tom played his game, I pondered on how he was the way he was and why he got to always be such a scamp. Without fail, by and by Tom would find a way to put one over you no matter who you was and no matter how heartless the situation was. It was like he was programmed hisself.

As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, around the garden fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the hill the other side of the house. Tom said he slipped Jim’s hat off of his head and hung it on a limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but he didn’t wake. Afterwards Jim said the witches be witched him and put him in a trance, and rode him all over the State, and then set him under the trees again, and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. And next time Jim told it he said they rode him down to New Orleans; and, after that, every time he told it he spread it more and more, till by and by he said they rode him all over the world, and tired him most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils. Jim was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he wouldn’t hardly notice the other niggers. Niggers would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was more looked up to than any nigger in that country. Strange niggers would stand with their mouths open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder. Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and letting on to know all about such things, Jim would happen in and say, “Hm! What you know ’bout witches?” and that nigger was corked up and had to take a back seat. Jim always kept that five-center piece round his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil give to him with his own hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by saying something to it; but he never told what it was he said to it. Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; but they wouldn’t touch it, because the devil had had his hands on it. Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches. Notice how’s ain’t neither Jim nor me mention this anecdote anymore for the rest of the book, even when witches come round in the conversation with another slave.

Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever so fine; and down by the village was the river, a whole mile broad, and awful still and grand. We went down the hill and found Jo Harper and Ben Rogers, and two or three more of the boys, hid in the old tanyard. So we unhitched a skiff and pulled down the river two mile and a half, to the big scar on the hillside, and went ashore.

We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made everybody swear to keep the secret, and then showed them a hole in the hill, right in the thickest part of the bushes. Then we lit the candles, and crawled in on our hands and knees. We went about two hundred yards, and then the cave opened up. Tom poked about amongst the passages, and pretty soon ducked under a wall where you wouldn’t a noticed that there was a hole. We went along a narrow place and got into a kind of room, all damp and sweaty and cold, and there we stopped. Tom says:

“Now, we’ll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer’s Gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood.”

Everybody was willing. So Tom got out a sheet of paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must do it, and he mustn’t eat and he mustn’t sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band. And nobody that didn’t belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued; and if he done it again he must be killed. And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot forever.

Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said, some of it, but the rest was out of pirate-books and robber-books, and every gang that was high-toned had it.

Some thought it would be good to kill the families of boys that told the secrets. Tom said it was a good idea, so he took a pencil and wrote it in. Then Ben Rogers says:

“Here’s Huck Finn, he hain’t got no family; what you going to do ’bout him?”

“Well, hain’t he got a father?” says Tom Sawyer.

“Yes, he’s got a father, but you can’t never find him these days. He used to lay drunk with the hogs in the tanyard, but he hain’t been seen in these parts for a year or more.”

They talked it over, and they was going to rule me out, because they said every boy must have a family or somebody to kill, or else it wouldn’t be fair and square for the others. Well, nobody could think of anything to do–everybody was stumped, and set still. I was most ready to cry; but all at once I thought of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson–they could kill her. That turned out to be a powerful piece of foreshadowing in the end. Everybody said:

“Oh, she’ll do. That’s all right. Huck can come in.”

Then they all stuck a pin in their fingers to get blood to sign with, and I made my mark on the paper. If you was readin’ close, you’ll’ve noticed I didn’t say that I pricked my own finger. I couldn’t, of course, bein’ a robot.

“Now,” says Ben Rogers, “what’s the line of business of this Gang?”

“Nothing only robbery and murder,” Tom said.

“But who are we going to rob?–houses, or cattle, or–”

“Stuff! stealing cattle and such things ain’t robbery; it’s burglary,” says Tom Sawyer. “We ain’t burglars. That ain’t no sort of style. We are highwaymen. We stop stages and carriages on the road, with masks on, and kill the people and take their watches and money.”

“Must we always kill the people?”

“Oh, certainly. It’s best. Some authorities think different, but mostly it’s considered best to kill them–except some that you bring to the cave here, and keep them till they’re ransomed.”

“Ransomed? What’s that?”

“I don’t know. But that’s what they do. I’ve seen it in books; and so of course that’s what we’ve got to do.”

“But how can we do it if we don’t know what it is?”

“Why, blame it all, we’ve got to do it. Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what’s in the books, and get things all muddled up?”

“Oh, that’s all very fine to say, Tom Sawyer, but how in the nation are these fellows going to be ransomed if we don’t know how to do it to them? –that’s the thing I want to get at. Now, what do you reckon it is?”

“Well, I don’t know. But per’aps if we keep them till they’re ransomed, it means that we keep them till they’re dead.”

“Now, that’s something like. That’ll answer. Why couldn’t you said that before? We’ll keep them till they’re ransomed to death; and a bothersome lot they’ll be, too–eating up everything, and always trying to get loose.”

“How you talk, Ben Rogers. How can they get loose when there’s a guard over them, ready to shoot them down if they move a peg?”

“A guard! Well, that is good. So somebody’s got to set up all night and never get any sleep, just so as to watch them. I think that’s foolishness. Why can’t a body take a club and ransom them as soon as they get here?”

“Because it ain’t in the books so–that’s why.” About this time I got to wondering when Tom read all these books he was gumming on about. The Tom I knowed weren’t much of a studier. Now, Ben Rogers, do you want to do things regular, or don’t you?–that’s the idea. Don’t you reckon that the people that made the books knows what’s the correct thing to do? Do you reckon you can learn ’em anything? Not by a good deal. No, sir, we’ll just go on and ransom them in the regular way.”

“All right. I don’t mind; but I say it’s a fool way, anyhow. Say, do we kill the women, too?”

“Well, Ben Rogers, if I was as ignorant as you I wouldn’t let on. Kill the women? No; nobody ever saw anything in the books like that. You fetch them to the cave, and you’re always as polite as pie to them; and by and by they fall in love with you, and never want to go home any more.”

“Well, if that’s the way I’m agreed, but I don’t take no stock in it. Mighty soon we’ll have the cave so cluttered up with women, and fellows waiting to be ransomed, that there won’t be no place for the robbers. But go’ahead, I ain’t got nothing to say.”

All this talk of robbing and murdering didn’t sit right with my circuits–they’s was going bloop-bleep-bloop–but I hadn’t become atuned to them like I is now. Of course, my programming never would have allowed me to take part in such acts and most like would’ve compelled me to help the people’s we were robbering and murdering. But it was all make believe anyhow.

Little Tommy Barnes was asleep now, and when they waked him up he was scared, and cried, and said he wanted to go home to his ma, and didn’t want to be a robber any more.
So they all made fun of him, and called him cry-baby, and that made him mad, and he said he would go straight and tell all the secrets. But Tom give him five cents to keep quiet, and said we would all go home and meet next week, and rob somebody and kill some people.
Ben Rogers said he couldn’t get out much, only Sundays, and so he wanted to begin next Sunday; but all the boys said it would be wicked to do it on Sunday, and that settled the thing. They agreed to get together and fix a day as soon as they could, and then we elected Tom Sawyer first captain and Jo Harper second captain of the Gang, and so started home.
I clumb up the shed and crept into my window just before day was breaking. My new clothes was all greased up and clayey, and I was dog-tired.

SteamHuck FinnBot: Chapter 1 (excerpt) #steamhuck #finnbot #multiverse #fictionisreal #marktwain #huckfinn

Chapter I.

You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. That book was made  by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly–Tom’s Aunt Polly, she is–and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.

This here book that I’m telling is about how I came to realize I was a robot. That was the biggest stretcher in Tom Sawyer, if you can call leaving out considerable important information to be a stretcher. For an example, he left out the part where Injun Joe aimed to stab me with a knife but the knife didn’t go into me like it would a person. Tom knowed I was a robot even then but he didn’t let on, not even to me. And I didn’t knowed it my own self until this tale you’re studying on now. When the tellin’ is over and done, I reckon this book is about a far sight more most like. About how I learned to throw off my pap’s wicked programmin’. And about how’s I learned to be human.

Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom and me found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand dollars apiece–all gold. It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year round– more than a body could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas she took me for her son without knowing I’s a robot of course, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went back.

I wondered why Tom had such a power to see me civilized. Later when I found out he knowed I was a robot before I did, I put blame on him and reckoned he just wanted a robot in his gang to use me like a slave. But by and by my mind changed and I judged he just wanted me as a friend, robot or no, and that meant civilizing.

The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, too, but she never meant no harm by it. She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn’t do nothing but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up. Well, then, the old thing commenced again. The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn’t go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn’t really anything the matter with them,–that is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better. Besides my circuits recognize the different particular flavors just as well as if they weren’t swapped up.

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn’t care no more about him, because I don’t take no stock in dead people. What I didn’t knowed at that time was that this warn’t surprising, given my circuits. I don’t want to rush ahead of my yarn, but what I discovered later is that I had been made by my maker to always care for people and to try to do good by them. But dead people ain’t people, see? I don’t got to put no hustle to care for a corpse.

Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldn’t. She said it was a mean practice and wasn’t clean, and I must try to not do it any more. She also said something about it gumming up the works, but I didn’t know what she meant by that then. That is just the way with some people, I figured. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it. Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it. And she took snuff, too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself. Does not compute, by gum!

Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and took a set at me now with a spelling- book. She worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then the widow made her ease up. I couldn’t stood it much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull, and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say, “Don’t put your feet up there, Huckleberry;” and “Don’t scrunch up like that, Huckleberry–set up straight;” and pretty soon she would say, “Don’t gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry–why don’t you try to behave?” Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there. She got mad then, but I didn’t mean no harm. All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn’t particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn’t say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I couldn’t see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn’t try for it. But I never said so, because it would only make trouble, and wouldn’t do no good. I wonder if robots even go to the good place or the bad place, either one.

Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn’t think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together. Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome and lonesome. By and by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was off to bed. I went up to my room with a piece of candle, and put it on the table. Then I set down in a chair by the window and tried to think of something cheerful, but it warn’t no use. I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I couldn’t make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me. Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that’s on its mind and can’t make itself understood, and so can’t rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving. I got so down-hearted and scared I did wish I had some company. Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriveled up. I didn’t need anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes off of me. I got up and turned around in my tracks three times and crossed my breast every time; and then I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches away. But I hadn’t no confidence. You do that when you’ve lost a horseshoe that you’ve found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I hadn’t ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep off bad luck when you’d killed a spider.

Some folks have got to wondering how I could be so superstitious when later on I couldn’t tolerate Tom’s imagining up elephants and Arabs out of a Sunday school picnic. What’s more, as a robot, my logic circuits don’t abide tomfoolery. Well, that ain’t nothing. When you got a superstition, it’s easy to find the evidence to back it up. Take the spider I killed. All I have to do to continue to believe that it’s bad luck to kill a spider is take up any piece of misfortune I run into after killing the spider. This tale will relate a heap of misfortune so that’s blame easy. Same goes to the tying up a lock of my hair to keep witches away. Obviously that worked just fine because I never encountered a witch that I knows of after that.

I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as death now, and so the widow wouldn’t know. Well, after a long time I heard the clock away off in the town go boom–boom–boom–twelve licks; and all still again–stiller than ever. My computer in my head wanted to power down but I resisted. Pretty soon I heard a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees– something was a stirring. I set still and listened. Directly I could just barely hear a “me-yow! me-yow!” down there. That was good! Says I, “me-yow! me-yow!” as soft as I could, and then I put out the light and  scrambled out of the window on to the shed. That’s about when I realized my Sawyer-sensors were beepin’ softly like a bird chirping. Then I slipped down to the ground and crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough, there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.