Surely I’ve said so before, here and elsewhere, but just in case it’s fallen through the cracks: I really, really like being friends with — just knowing — smart people. I could cite any number of reasons for this (better reading and music suggestions, better jokes, and so on). One perhaps not so obvious (and if they knew, they might prefer otherwise): better quirks.
Consider the case of a woman I’ve known for, oh, ten years or more, but have never met-met. (Our first encounter took place via email while she was doing some tech work for my computer-books agent’s site.) She seems quite level-headed and nice, and also (importantly) smart as heck. She’s published books on a couple of topics — including an excellent reference on using Google, back in the days when almost no one knew all the ins and out. And she also publishes a several-times-weekly e-newsletter of Web-research and -data tips. In all of these venues she’s exhibited an excellent, modestly skewed sense of humor.
Anyhow, on Facebook yesterday she posted the following non-technical status, which I frankly believe too good to keep to myself. (I checked with her before including this verbatim here on RAMH, by the way.)
I dreamed that a job applicant mentioned he had won $2000 solving King Friday’s Rubric. I was curious so I ordered a copy to see what it was.
It showed up as a large printed list, 1,000 large file cards and a hanging cloth, printed with a grid, the size of a shower curtain (in the dream we used shower curtain rings to hang it up.)
The list was a list of saints. The file cards were clues about the saints that you had to match to the list. The clues were in logic format. (“This saint was kind to birds and lived to be exactly 20 years older than the saint who is celebrated in March.”)
Once you matched up the saints to the clues, you had to use the letters on the back of the cards and arrange them on a grid in something that was kind of like Sudoku, only for letters of the alphabet.
I have no idea.
King Friday’s Rubric. I got that far and practically swooned. (Who dreams in words like rubric?!) And it testifies, indirectly, to her Web-research influence that I immediately had to look that up. King Friday, as it happens, is the name of one of the puppet characters in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood — specifically Friday XIII, don’t you know — but rubric? Maybe it didn’t mean what I thought it meant… [Calm down, self: yes, it does.] It certainly doesn’t seem to be something in need of a solution, let alone a solution someone would pay for… a solution involving shower curtain rings? A Sudoku grid using letters instead of digits?
I have no idea, either. But is that a great dream or what?
About the post title: This is a quotation from Twin Peaks. The speaker, FBI forensic examiner Albert Rosenfield (played by Miguel Ferrer), is responding to some characteristically off-center pronouncement by Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). In full:
Cooper. In observation, I don’t know where this is headed. But the only one of us with the coordinates for this destination and its hardware is you. Go on whatever vision quest you require. Stand on the rim of a volcano, stand alone and do your dance. Just find this beast before he takes another bite.