Re: Keys. (derives from Re: Sequences of combining characters.)

From: John Cowan (
Date: Fri Sep 27 2002 - 13:12:34 EDT

  • Next message: Barry Caplan: "Re: Keys. (derives from Re: Sequences of combining characters.)"

    Tex Texin scripsit:

    > After a bit the new guy shouts out: 42! Dead silence. He asks his
    > neighbor what went wrong. He turns to him and says" "That one is not
    > funny.".

    Other punchlines I have heard:

    (about a third party): "Steve should know he can't handle Swedish dialect".

    (after uproarious laughter): "Hey, we've never heard that one before!"

    (after silence): "I guess you just don't know how to tell a joke."

    > This is a very old joke. It is an indication of how old the idea of
    > numbered messages might be. ;-)

    As William mentions, commercial telegraph codes are almost as old as the
    telegraph itself; when the five-letter-code principle was eventually
    accepted internationally, it became possible to use a single group to
    represent things as complex as "We are shipping to you, care of your
    agent in X, our product Y" where all possible combinations of X and Y
    were given individual codes. This of course was a code commissioned by
    a private company; public codes necessarily had to be more inclusive and
    thus more verbose. Several of them were indeed published in multilingual
    editions, so that the same code sequence could be read as English,
    French, German, ....

    In the case of public codes, company code clerks became quite adept
    at reading the more frequent codes without reference to the code book.
    On one occasion, a code clerk got a cable from an agent located halfway
    around the planet reading simply AHXNO, a code entirely unfamiliar to him.
    Unfortunately, when he looked it up, he found the reading to be:

            Met with a fatal accident.

    John Cowan
    Please leave your values        |       Check your assumptions.  In fact,
       at the front desk.           |          check your assumptions at the door.
         --sign in Paris hotel      |            --Miles Vorkosigan

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