I don’t know what it is, but I must find/learn it post haste! The other night Dan and I were talking about graphing calculators and he mentioned something about a calculator that he had that put numbers in ‘stacks’ or something. He stammered a little trying to find the words to explain it, and said something about “reverse Polish” or something, which sounded mysterious, and then paused again. He pauses a lot when he’s trying to think and talk at the same time and this always makes me want to suggest words for him to insert… So, fishing for words to recommend, I suggested “double Chesterfield?” “Huh? What’s that?” he asked. “I dunno! I was just trying to come up with something good, because you sounded stuck!”
This led to a burst of the sillies and a giggling fit and I think some tickling ensued. But anyway, now I have a mission to discover the hidden secrets of the Double Chesterfield. What is it? Is it a sailor’s knot? A piece of furniture? A dance move? A type of padlock? Security encryption? What could it be? Help!
It’s actually what the locals would call a goomak whistle. The old Sessimecc Tribe in the area would secure it to the end of some rawhide cordage and swing one or two of them over their heads around over a pond. The original whistles were made of bone or hard wood but when trade opened up with Westerners they’d get these in iron as the sound carried better.
The whistle made a sound that attracted the goomak, a now extinct small duck-like bird. These birds would eat mosquitoes and larvae out of the ponds thus making life better for the Sessimecc people.
Horace Chesterfield was an English explorer that happened to see the natives using these whistles, bought two of them and introduced them to Europe. A Chesterfield is actually just the anglicized name for the goomak whistle.
Close. It’s a complex knot used to combine two neckties into a single, reversible unit. Indispensable for when you need both a “power” tie and a subdued tie, like days when you have a meeting with the Board of Directors and a funeral in quick succession. It was named for its inventor, noted efficiency expert Temple Chesterfield.
Reverse polish notation (pronounced pah-lish - like furniture polish) was used in the Hewlett-Packard financial calculator - the famous HP 12C that is used to this day by Wall Street financial types.
I used to write programs for the 12C to do complex calculations for Reg Z disclosure statements. RPN takes some time to get used to but it really is a better system than what you use with normal calculators.
Once when I was half asleep and crazed from studying for finals in the UK I had a very vivid recollection of people talking about “the Van H.” The only thing I can remember about it clearly was someone saying “you need at least 30 people to do a real Van H.” I think the Van H. might be the group equivalent of the Double Chesterfield.
Balderdash is a game for recreational liars, based on a set of cards with obscure words on them. You take it in turn to draw a card and read the word off. Everyone writes down a definition for it on a slip of paper and hands it to the reader, who reads off the definitions, including the correct one copied from the card, and lets each player declare which definition they think is correct.
You can get some points by getting the definition right, but in a decent-size group, the real scoring comes from writing a convincing false definition and getting other people to pick it–you get a point for every player who picks your definition.
There’s also Beyond Balderdash, which adds obscure* acronyms, dates, movie titles, and people.
*For example, you might be given the date January 24th, 1935 and be required to describe what event happened on that date. For the record, the correct answer is that it’s the date on which beer was first sold in cans.
I was served a Double Chesterfield once, down at Mel’s on 53rd street. A buffalo (technically, bison) patty, an ostrich patty, russian dressing, pepper jack cheese and sun-dried tomatoes on a poppy-seed bun.
Actually the Double Chesterfield was developed by Prussian General Gerhart Ganzhorst While facing a superior force of Cossacks. He employed the Cyclical echelon skirmish formation made famous by the Viceroy of Chesterfield. But Ganzhorst maintained a secondary reserve force in flanking position to pincer his enemies. This was of course only possible because of the large fissures under the sand.