Knotty Problems
I can't   figure 'em out ...

here are about 10,000 different knots invented by man (mostly sailors). When I was working in a Borsch Belt Hotel I had a lot of time on my hands and ... some rope. Instead of hanging myself (which is what one guy there did after scribing all sorts of pentagrams on his walls), I took an interest in knots in general. I learned to tie some very esoteric knots ... but ... this is the basic problem with knots ... I don't remember a damn one of them (well, maybe one or two). When you need your knot you don't know how. So, unless you are going to be a sailor, forget the knots and get some plastic "ties" and a pair of snips to get 'em open.

Here is what you will remember ...

knot.gif - 4kb

Knot "A" is the simple knot. Knot "B" is the simple knot tied in two ropes ... but ... it's really one rope cause there's a loop "F" on one end. In other words, this is the best way to put a loop on the end of a rope that stays put ... and ... it's also the best way to tie two ropes together (imagine loop "F" gone and the two ends in its place). For all other knot problems ... use the "woodpile effect". This means, tie a whole bunch of "A's" till you're sure it won't come undone. But everybody knows that ...

I invented re-invented a knot. I wanted to be able to tie up a bundle of stuff and draw the rope tight but not have it loosen ... and ... I wanted to be able to loosen it easily as well. In other words it must be impervious to the outward force arising from the bundle but responsive to a deft touch at the knot itself.

I came up with a variant of the hangman's noose. In the noose part make three coils. Then, thread the other end through the coils. Work this knot tight and if you do it right ... you can quick ... put it over your enemies head ... and ... pull it tight ... and ... he pulls and pulls at the thing while he's gasping for air ... and ... he can't get the damn thing loose ... and ... then ... he expires ... and then ... you walk up and ... gently release the knot by pulling the knot itself up toward the end thereby loosening the garrotte. It works. You can also tie up your sleeping bag and gear real tight and get it open quick. It won't come loose by itself.

The Telephone Cord Bleep

This problem has given me pause ever since I worked the Catskills. I saw thousands of phone cords with this
!#@$#?$&'n, G-damn little kink in them. How does it get there? It's impossible. Let me show you what I mean.

cordblep.jpg - 7kb

I manufactured this for the pic. You just twist the cord, starting at the end, into the opposite handedness coil. You MUST do this one coil at a time and conversely to undo the bleep, you must undo ... one freakin' loop at a time. Obviously, this can't be done by any quick motion on the part of the user. That would require "magic" because one quick move would only create one loop ... and one loop in the middle of the cord does not change the handedness of more than one loop. You just get a kink in the cord that is equally as easy to unkink. And the kink looks different. The bleep kink if left to itself gives a right angled lay to the cord.

The question here is, "Why do I find this damn bleepin' thing in the middle of so many cords?". Are there really that many lunatics loose in the world? Do people actually sit by the phone and change the handedness of the telephone cord one loop at a time?

Maybe I'm crazy.

A few days ago, I remembered this problem when I spotted a kink in the middle of a telephone cord at work. So I thought, let's examine this kink and see what goes. I look, and see it is not a handedness reversal kink ... just a standard kink and both sides of the cord are the same handedness. So, I make a few quick moves to unravel the kink and ... the bleep was there in the cord! ... And the handedness of the two halves of the cord were changed also. What? says I. I walked away from the cord and did something else. Then went back to look again. Still there ... you son-of-a-b ... why??!? I could swear that the two halves of the cord had the same handedness before ... now ... they are different. Impossible. I'm mad I tell you ... mad. Hahahahahahahah ... Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh !!!!

The Chanille-Gordian-Ribosomic Knot

This is the most troublesome and vexing thing I have ever seen in the genre of knots. Look at this crap. What the hell is that??? There are tassels on my chanille blanket (one of those little 4x5 things that you buy in Walmart, etc.). They are on both ends ... and ... only one end ties itself in these God-awful knots.

On the other end, the tassels are free and easy ... but ... the chanille fabric itself is unravelling !? (See other pic) Why unravel on one end and tie knots on the other? Does this have something to do with the mechanical weave of chanille? Certainly, the knots pictured are "electromagnetic" ones. That's why I call them "ribosomic". They may be of interest to geneticists as macroscopic tangled proteins. They can't be mechanically tangled else the other end would have tangles in it too. And ... this is not unique to my blanket. I've seen them in K-mart with the same tangles (though the unraveling is not found there ... that takes awhile to material-ize). The fabric is 80% Rayon and 20% Acrylic according to the tag ... and ... it's made in China. (Is that meaningful? Do they have magic blankets like this in China?)

chanill2.jpg - 28kb

chanill1.jpg - 23kb

Notice above that 7 tassels have tied themselves together. All the tassels on that side are tied together in groupings of 3-7 apparently reflecting the fact that when the blanket is opened, the force pulls apart very widely spaced threads before they can get too tangled to undo. They grip each other like octopus tentacles. My wife untangled them once (I have no patience for that) and they came back right away. It can't be caused by a simple static charge (+) on one end and (-) on the other. This would cause the tassel threads to spread apart like a kids hair on a VanDeGraff generator. This is a case of positive and negative nodes all over the tassel threads. How? Why on only one end of the blanket?

I must guess that the unravelling on the other end is related somehow. How? Why? Is the key to the universe to be found here? I don't know. I only know that ...

I want my blankie !


Ebtx Home Page