Completely Unfair Comparisons: On Chess, Eating, and Being a Fugitive

by Sean Adams

There are plenty of places on Woot where you can find helpful information. This is not one of those places. Every week we will be comparing 3 pairs of things that shouldn’t be compared using this formula: Unrelated Thing X vs. Unrelated Thing Y in terms of Function Z. Facts will be misunderstood, overlooked, or changed for the sake of the argument. Enjoy.

1. A Mountain vs. A River in terms of Chess

Chess is a game of much stillness. When there is a move, it is important. Rivers are constantly in motion, flowing, rising, falling, all that. They just don’t have the patience necessary for a strategic game like chess. They’d be like the guy who uses his queen to take out a pawn leaving his king in check. Mountains, on the other hand, are the very picture of patience. In fact, they move so rarely that the phrase “to move mountains” has come to imply difficulty. But don’t ever confuse their stillness for laziness. No, mountains do make bold moves – like exploding and covering the surrounding landscape in lava and ash.

A Mountain

2. A Rat Tail (Hair) vs. A Rat’s Tail (Rodent Appendage) in terms of Winning an Eating Contest

Here’s everything you need to know:

  • When I was a kid, I had a rat tail.
  • I wasn’t allowed to have rodents as pets, so I never had a rat’s tail.
  • I once won a watermelon eating contest. And seriously, it wasn’t even close.


A Rat Tail (Hair)

3. A Pocket Watch vs. A Propensity for Solving Riddles in terms of Running From the Law

This one’s weird because if you’re the kind of person who can solve riddles, you probably have a pocket watch, and if you’re the kind of person who has a pocket watch, you can probably solve riddles. And if you’re the kind of person who has a pocket watch and solves riddles, you’re probably not shy about displaying either of these things in public. Also, it’s very likely that you’re the kind of person who wears old-timey wool suits (top hat and all) in the summer. What I’m getting at is you should just turn yourself in because you’re going to have a hard time playing it incognito.

Neither (you're getting caught)

Last week , I decided against the standard rebuttling approach and instead decided to host a dad-tastic Blank Comparison Contest. Winning the prize of having me copy-paste their response into the Woot blog is none other than user DisplacedAv[and then I can't see the rest of the username] who argues the virtues of the Venus fly trap over the championship belt:

It has become increasingly common these days to give out scads of trophies, to the point where everyone even showing up at an event is likely to receive one, regardless of the competition's outcome, their contribution to the final score--or even whether they contributed or not. As a consequence of these "participation trophies", it has become less and less exciting to actually receive an award. Similarly, if every dad had a championship belt--how exciting would that really be for any dad (or his children)? No one brags that their dad can beat up someone else's dad because he has a belly button--they all do!

If every dad had a venus fly trap, on the other hand, the world would have far fewer pesky bugs spreading disease around. Imagine going to a picnic without having to worry about dirty flies walking all over the potato salad!

Clear advantage: venus fly traps.

For this week, we'll be going back to Rebuttal of the Week format, so feel free to disagree, and I'll name the best disagreer next Tuesday!

Photos:"Mount Rainier, West Side" by flickr user, brewbooks; "French Rat Tail" by flickr user, cameronparkins; "Cumbria police officers" by flickr user, MichaelW1996. All used under a Creative Commons License.