Buzz Off, Banana Nose

While I was studying Artificial Intelligence at the State University of New York at Buffalo, somebody sent me a feebly comic “activity book,” manufactured by the sort of publishers who publish cheap coloring books with half the captions misspelled. One of the pages challenged the reader to write a sonnet on the topic “Buzz Off, Banana Nose.” This naturally reminded me of the Turing Test, so I posted it on a wall at my department.

I thought no more of it until I took my Ph.D. qualifying exam, whose final gag question directed me to write a program that would compose such a sonnet. With forty-eight hours to complete the exam, I had just enough spare time to fake a plausible computer listing based on the inferred themes of insects, fruit, and face parts—with a suitable sonnet as the output:

Buzz off, Banana Nose; relieve mine eyes
Of hateful soreness, purge mine ears of corn;
Less dear than army ants in apple pies
Art thou, old prune-face, with thy chestnuts worn,
Dropt from thy peeling lips like lousy fruit:
Like honeybees upon the perfum'd rose
They suck; and like the double-breasted suit
Are out of date; therefore, Banana Nose,
Go fly a kite; thy welcome's overstay'd,
And stem the produce of thy waspish wits:
Thy logic, like thy locks, is disarray'd;
Thy cheer, like thy complexion, is the pits.
Be off, I say; go bug somebody new,
Scram, beat it, get thee hence, and nuts to you.

Col. G. L. Sicherman [ HOME | MAIL ]