Dear Friends

DF 64 - Cats, cardboard & a competition




A few days later, August 18

Dear Friends,

Regarding the cat...I've had a few enquiries.

When the cat box was opened prematurely by a bevy of drunken quantum students, during an orgy of destruction or a beautiful time, depending entirely upon where you were standing before/after/at the moment.....they found nothing. Fearing a negative peer review they re-sealed the box, crept from the crypt and returned to their libations down the pub.

What they were expecting to find, or to be more precise, what some of them, (exactly half of them to be even more or less precise), were expecting to find, was a dead cat...Erwin Schrödinger's cat. The other half believed that the cat would be alive.

But, none of them knew, that Rascal Zeno had slipped in a tortoise when Schrödinger's back was turned. The tortoise promptly went into hibernation (as they do quite naturally, when boxed) and, blissfully unaware of her influence, upset the delicate abstraction upon which the whole experiment was based. Zeno has always denied this, but the act of sabotage was caught on CCTV (confirmed by Stadtpolizei Zürich) and so it remains the only proven element in the entire scenario, from beginning to end, or even earlier, and later, of course. In any event, he and Erwin were soul-mates, so it probably doesn't matter; just like the rest of it.

The purpose of Schrödinger's experiment was to deny the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. And so, he placed into the enclosure, one cat, one Geiger-counter and a flask of cyanide; the second of which would detect any decaying atoms, and upon doing so, would cause the latter to shatter, release the poison and kill the cat. Straightforward enough, you might think.

But the Testudine became a Diptera in the Feline ointment.

Here's what actually happened.

The cat died of boredom within hours. The tortoise inhaled all of the decaying catoms, and continued to exhale the correct proportions of nitrogen, oxygen and water vapour; thereby depriving the Geiger-counter of information regarding any change in the existential state of the cat. So, by the strict terms of the experiment, Schrödinger's cat indeed had been dead and alive at the same time, and all thanks to Rascal Zeno. But that was before the tortoise (her name was Heloise by the way, known by the diminutive 'He') awoke, hungry and thirsty…and because of that, (the suddenly-very-modern) She/He ate the Geiger-counter, drank the poison, and also died. Over the years, her shell emptied and deflated. Her markings faded until she resembled a flat piece of cardboard; indistinguishable from the bottom of the box; which appeared empty to the inebriated students (I'm just wondering if that last phrase is border-line tautology).

And therefore m'Lud, just like Tommy Cooper, I rest my case, Q.E.D. Sorted.

And now for another competition:

Your task is to discover and correct the non-deliberate error in the first paragraph of The Javelins sleeve notes by IG.

"In the early 1960's, you might have seen The Beatles doing Chubby Checker's 'Twist and Shout' at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, or The Rolling Stones doing Chuck Berry's 'Come On' at the Station Hotel in Richmond, and The Javelins doing Howlin' Wolf's 'Smokestack Lightning' at Wistowe House in Hayes."

Usual terms and conditions apply.

Prize(s) A Javelins CD, will be awarded for accuracy and wit: Judges decision is final.

Entries to:


Cheers for now,

Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2018

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