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More at Nihilistic Password Security Questions

* Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx), Horsefeathers

Baravelli [Chico]: …you can’t come in unless you give the password.
Professor Wagstaff: Well, what is the password?
Baravelli: Aw, no. You gotta tell me. Hey, I tell what I do. I give you three guesses. It’s the name of a fish.
Professor Wagstaff: Is it “Mary?”
Baravelli: [laughing] ‘At’s-a no fish!
Professor Wagstaff: She isn’t? Well, she drinks like one! …Let me see… Is it “Sturgeon”?
Baravelli: Aw, you-a craze. A “sturgeon”, he’s a doctor cuts you open when-a you sick. Now I give you one more chance.
Wagstaff: I got it! “Haddock”.
Baravelli: ‘At’s a-funny, I got a “haddock” too.
Wagstaff: What do you take for a “haddock”?
Baravelli: Sometimes I take an aspirin, sometimes I take a calomel.
Wagstaff: Y’know, I’d walk a mile for a calomel.
Baravelli: You mean chocolate calomel? I like-a that too, but you no guess it. [Slams door. Wagstaff knocks again. Baravelli opens peephole again.] Hey, what’s-a matter, you no understand English? You can’t come in here unless you say, “Swordfish.” Now I’ll give you one more guess.
Professor Wagstaff: …swordfish, swordfish… I think I got it. Is it “swordfish”?
Baravelli: Hah. That’s-a it. You guess it.
Professor Wagstaff: Pretty good, eh?

“Pinky” (Harpo, who, of course, operated only in pantomime), gets into the speakeasy by pulling a sword and a fish out of his trench coat and showing them to the doorman.


As we take security desperately seriously, we might recall that it was on this date in (what we now call) 46 BCE, that the final year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar, began.  The Romans had added a leap month every few years to keep their lunar calendar in sync with the solar year, but had missed a few with the chaos of the civil wars of the late Republic. Julius Caesar added two extra leap months to recalibrate the calendar in preparation for his calendar reform, which went into effect in (what we now now as) 45 BC.  The year, which had 445 days, was thus known as annus confusionis (“year of confusion”).

Fragmentary fresco of a pre-Julian Roman calendar



Written by LW

October 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

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