Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Poetic Professor

SPOGG sent the following letter to Harold Levine, a professor emeritus in Stanford University's math department:

Dear Professor Levine:

In the course of our research, we came across an advertisement for the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City.

We were disturbed to note that instead of a hyphen the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel management has inserted an equal sign between its two names.

It did occur to us that perhaps there is a legitimate mathematical relationship being expressed by the equal sign, one that we are presently failing to appreciate.

In your vast mathematical experience, does Waldorf, in fact, equal Astoria? Or is this simply an example of a hyphenation abomination?

Sincerely yours,


As it turns out, the professor has a good sense of humor. His reply:

That Waldorf equals Astoria
Comes as an unexpected surprise
Which should not provoke hysteria
Though grammarians must avert their eyes

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