Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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75 Responses

  1. ScarletNumbers says:

    9) temptation, Wilde, Lady Windermere’s FanReport

  2. ScarletNumbers says:

    6) Violence, Asimov, FoundationReport

  3. ScarletNumbers says:

    2) spirit, Matthew 26:40-43, New TestamentReport

  4. greginak says:

    4) Partner

    The Maltese Falcon, Daishiell HammetReport

  5. Kolohe says:

    3) mockingbird
    9) temptation
    16) muddy
    19) killed
    17) shortcut

    (all are guesses, most are probably wrong)Report

  6. 3. “a mockingbird” Harper Lee.
    5. “pretty.” Hemingway
    14. “company.” Heller
    17. “ring” TolkienReport

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    8. Voice. Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald.Report

  8. aaron david says:

    20. Gigolos Waugh, Brideshead revisitedReport

  9. Tod Kelly says:

    1. Wise, Shakespeare
    2. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh/ Matthew
    3. Mockingbird, Lee
    4. Partner, Chandler
    5. Pretty, Hemingway
    6. Violence, (don’t know)
    7. No idea
    8. Voice, Fitzgerald
    9. Temptation, Wilde; or ice cream, Tod Kelly
    10. No idea
    11 Wheelbarrow, Golding (This is a guess, because it’s line from the movie Princess Bride,but I haven’t read the book)
    12. No Idea
    13. Ineluctable, Joyce
    14. Syndicate, Heller
    15. No idea
    16. No idea
    17. Ring, Tolkein
    18. Walrus, Carrol
    19. modest, Twain
    20. No ideaReport

  10. Mike Schilling says:


    1. wise, King Lear, Shakespeare (Tod)
    3. mockingbird, Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbrid (Kolohe)
    4. partner, The Maltese Falcon, Hammett (greginak)
    5. pretty, The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway (Gabriel)
    6. violence, Asimov, Foundation (Scarlet)
    8. voice, Gatsby, Fitzgerald (Saul)
    9. temptation, Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan (Scarlet)
    11. wheelbarrow, Golding, The Princess Bride (Tod, who should read the book.)
    13. ineluctable, Joyce, Ulysses (Tod)
    14. syndicate, Heller, Catch-22 (Tod)
    17. ring, Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (Gabriel)
    19. killed, Twain, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (Tod)

    Scores so far:

    Tod 5
    Scarlet, Gabriel 2
    kolohe, Saul, greginak 1

    Still outstanding:
    2, 7, 10, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20


    The authors of 10 and 16 have both won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The author of 15 won the Pulitzer, but for a different book.

    2 is not from a religious work.

    I expected at least one of the contestants to know 15. I am very surprised that one of the others hasn’t gotten 20.

    18 has been partially guessed, but no one has gotten all of the pieces correct.

    10 and 12 are reasonably obscure, though I expect we’ve all heard of (and even read things by) their authors.Report

  11. Alan Scott says:

    7. Dictator, Wodehouse, Carry on Jeeves.Report

  12. RTod says:

    Oh crap. I did the poem and not the book on 18.

    Through the looking Glass is the title, everything else standsReport

    • Mike Schilling in reply to RTod says:

      Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter are different poems, but they’re both in Through the Looking Glass. One point to Gryffindor.Report

  13. Saul Degraw says:

    16. Dark? Beloved, Toni Morrison.Report

  14. Chris says:

    I’m too late again, but I see some Wodehouse made it here, too. These are fun.Report

  15. Mike Schilling says:

    Monday updates:

    18. walrus, Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass (Tod)
    20. bears, Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (Marchmaine)
    Aloysius is a bear. You can see him in Marchmaine’s avatar.

    7 has been partially answered (the missing word and author, but not the title)

    Still open 2, 10, 12, 15 16

    Monday hints:

    2. Think “magician”.

    10. From one of a very well-known author’s first books. The speaker is San Francisco himself.

    12. Dada.

    15. The speaker is the book’s protagonist. Her name sounds like public transit.

    16. It’s a description of the series’s chief villain, and is not a complaint.Report

  16. Tod Kelly says:


    15: “friends”/ Wharton, House of Mirth!!!!Report

  17. Tod Kelly says:

    Now to 16. It has to be a villain that shows up in multiple books, and since it’s Mike it probably has to be old-school literature villain, not someone like Voldemort or Hannibal Lecter.

    Here are the old school villains of series I can think of (some of which link to authors or books from the last contest)…

    Moriarty, Blofeld, Capt. Hook, Mrs. Coulter, Ripley, Golum, The Mule, Capt. Nemo, Saruman, Wicked Witch of the East, and… um…

    Does anyone have others, or do these help anyone suss out the quote about the eyes/water?Report

  18. Mike Schilling says:

    Tuesday updates:

    15. friends, Wharton, The House of Mirth (Tod)
    I thought our resident Edith Wharton fan might get that one.

    Still open 2, 10, 12, 16


    The answer to 2 is a proper name.

    Saul is mostly on the right track for 10.

    The speaker in 12 is Tristan Tzara and, as you’d expect from that old loon, what he wants is pretty surreal.

    The villain described by 16 is not an urban legend. You could look that up on the web.Report

    • Hmmm… I would have said “Eureka!” to #2, and assumed the answer was Barkis/Dickens/DCopperfield. But because of the “magician” clue, I know that’s not right. (Barkis is a cab driver, yes?)Report

    • I’m going to take a shot in the dark after your clue that the word for 12 is “smell.” But that’s a wild ass guess, and I have zip to go with it anyway.Report

    • And 16 makes me want to think the villain is Capt. Hook? But he can’t be, because Barrie was a Brit. (Wasn’t he? He writes like one.) And although I don’t know for sure, I would be surprised to learn he was a Nobel Laureate.

      But man, the “hook hand” just feels so right with that clue.


      • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It’s Faulkner.
        (Don’t click that unless you want the answer.)

        If you knew the word that modifies “water” in the quote, you’d probably guess correctly almost immediately, particularly with the hints.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I clicked. I couldn’t help myself.Report

      • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Faulkner (including that “series”) is one of those things that I hated as a teenager, because his writing seemed so… drawn out, but love as an adult.

        It probably doesn’t help that in English in high school they always have you read Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and then Faulkner. The contrast in their writing styles can’t possibly favor Faulkner when one is being forced to do the reading. I mean, Fitzgerald can be a bit wordy, but Faulkner can write three pages (one paragraph) on a falling leaf, while Heming way would be hard pressed to write more than, “The leaf fell. It landed.”Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        any of the three is better than reading The Emperor Jones.
        And I loathed “As I Lay Dying”… Faulkner’s description, when done well, is a joy to read.
        But when he fails, he fails utterly — listen to this:
        “The two indians crossed the plantation toward the slave quarters. Neat with
        whitewash, of baked soft brick, the two rows of houses in which lived the slaves
        belonging to the clan, faced one another across the mild shade of the lane marked and
        scored with naked feet and with a few homemade toys mute in the dust. There was no
        sign of life. “Report

      • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Wait, you think “Red Leaves” is a failure?Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        by no means (for one thing, I haven’t finished reading it yet!). But that sentence is confardled and contangled in the middle. It makes my brain hurt, and the red pen itch to rewrite it with better flow.

        Just a bit later: “The first Indian’s name was Three Basket. He was perhaps sixty. They were both squat men, a little solid, burgherlike; paunchy, with big heads, big, broad, dust-colored
        faces of a certain blurred serenity like carved heads on a ruined wall in Siam or Sumatra,
        looming out of a mist. The sun had done it, the violent sun, the violent shade. Their hair
        looked like sedge grass on burnt-over land. Clamped through one ear Three Basket wore
        an enameled snuffbox. ”

        That reads like a dream. Ornate, detailed — feels a bit baroque, but from my mouth that’s a compliment.Report

      • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “Red Leaves” is almost a perfect short story, and in fact almost a perfect piece of English-language writing, period. That first paragraph you quote is entirely intentional.Report

      • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “faced one another across the mild shade of the lane marked and scored with naked feet and with a few homemade toys mute in the dust” is just plain spectacular. That is writing.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Yes, I do like that bit. it’s this part that makes my teeth grind: ” Neat with
        whitewash, of baked soft brick, the two rows of houses in which lived the slaves
        belonging to the clan, ”

        First, you get two different subordinate clauses — both of which refer to the houses. “Two rows of houses” is fine, if a bit wordy. But then you get “in which lived the slaves belonging to the clan” grr… (yes, I am gnashing my teeth!).

        Two rows of baked softbrick houses, whitewashed neat, inside which dwelled the clan’s slaves.

        I’m not going to pretend that my rephrasing is fabulous, but it is a third shorter, and a good deal clearer.Report

      • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        If clean is what you want out of your literature, I’m afraid not even Hemingway is going to work for you. You might try novels written by Metro Section editors.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Unless a writer is shooting for being deliberately obfuscatory(Brust!), clarity is a virtue.
        (to be clear, it’s really the editor’s job just as much as the writer’s to catch problematic turns of phrase).

        It’s harder to write long sentences that aren’t confusing, but when they’re well-done, they flow like a river.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “Series”? It’s three books that chronicle the rise and fall of a single character, whose titles parallel that character’s arc. Why the scare quotes?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Paarfi is not obfuscatory. His sentences are quite clear and always perfectly grammatical. They’re just really long. In the right mood, I can write pages and pages of it.Report

      • Chris in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Mike, I wanted to call it a trilogy, but didn’t want to make the answer obvious since no one had actually mentioned it yet. It is, of course, a “series,” but in any other context I’d have called it a “trilogy.”Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I fear you are right. Brust’s style in those books, while self-consciously affected, isn’t obfuscatory. Perhaps a humorist or mystery author has managed to turn such an authorial sin into a crowning achievement? Not to pun, but to deliberately conceal the second meaning…Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Who loved three things: the pasture which was sold to pay for Candace’s wedding and to send Quentin to Harvard, his sister Candace, firelight. Who lost none of them because he could not remember his sister but only the loss of her, and firelight was the same bright shape as going to sleep, and the pasture was even better sold than before because now he and TP could not only follow timeless along the fence the motions which it did not even matter to him were humanbeings swinging golfsticks, TP could lead them to clumps of grass or weeds where there would appear suddenly in TP’s hand small white spherules which competed with and even conquered what he did not even know was gravity and all the immutable laws when released from the hand toward plank floor or smokehouse wall or concrete sidewalk.

        Yeah, that guy could write a little.Report

  19. Mike Schilling says:

    One more:

    2. Barkis, Dickens, David Copperfield (Tod)

    Still open: 10, 12, 16

    Wednesday hints:

    10. The speaker is St. Francis of Assisi, though the person he’s speaking to refers to him as “San Francisco”. The latter is known as “The Pirate”.

    12. It’s from a play, a very funny one. The person being spoken to is James Joyce.

    16. As Chris said, it’s Faulkner. He only ever wrote one series of books, which is usually called “The XXX Trilogy”, and the sentence describes Mr. XXX.

    If there are no further guesses by tomorrow, I’ll give the answers.Report

    • Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      OK, I had to look up 12, because I thought I knew the answer, but didn’t realize the true answer had been (mis!)quoted in a play.

      QNQN erfgr qnaf yr pnqer rhebcéra qrf snvoyrffrf, p’rfg gbhg qr zêzr qr yn zreqr, znvf abhf pbhybaf qbeéaninag puvre ra pbhyrhef qvirefrf cbhe beare yr wneqva mbbybtvdhr qr y’neg qr gbhf yrf qencrnhk qrf pbafhyngf.

      Gur bevtvany vf orggre. Fb, fb zhpu orggre.

      QNQN erznvaf jvguva gur senzrjbex bs Rhebcrna jrnxarff, vg’f fgvyy fuvg, ohg sebz abj ba jr jnag gb fuvg va qvssrerag pbybef gb nqbea gur mbb bs neg jvgu gur syntf bs nyy gur pbafhyngrf.

      Urapr zl zreqr! Ohg abj V xabj vg fubhyq unir orra fbzrguvat ryfr.Report

    • OK, the hint for 10 lets me know we’re talking bout Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flats. But I’m no closer to the word.

      The hint for 12 makes me assume it’s the Stoppard one with the actor who has met the two you’ve mentioned and Lenin, but I’ll be damned if I can remember the title and of course it doesn’t help me with the word.

      The hint for 16 lets would have let me know it’s the Snopes trilogy, but I already looked at Chris’s Google so it doesn’t count; plus, if I’m being honest it wouldn’t have gotten me the exact book or the word.

      All of which is to say that I think I’m tapped out on this one.Report

  20. Mike Schilling says:

    The stragglers:

    10: dirty, Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
    (“He called you that?” “Well, I was, and he is not a saint to be telling lies.”)

    12. urinate, Stoppard, Travesties

    16. stagnant, Faulkner, The HamletReport