Author Archives: Devin Kidde

Two men are found dead in a cabin

Context: This riddle was told to an audience of one in a fraternity dining hall.

Background: The informant learned this riddle during a long car ride, when he was trying to pass the time

Q: Two men are dead in a Cabin in the middle of the woods. How did they die? * The guesser is allowed to ask as many yes/no questions about the cabin as they want, until they have the answer.
A: It is the Cabin of an Airplane, which has crashed in the middle of the woods.

This riddle plays on the word Cabin, and requires an understanding of English vernacular language.

How do you get a violist to play with vibrato?

Context: This joke was told to over the phone by an older relative of mine

Background: This relative has been teaching music for 15+ years at a small liberal arts college.

Q: How do you get a violist to play with vibrato?
A: You write the word ‘Solo’ above the notes

This joke plays on the idea that Violists are very timid, and generally try to avoid solos.

The Conductor came to MY House?

Context: This joke was told to over the phone by an older relative of mine

Background: This relative has been teaching music for 15+ years at a small liberal arts college.
A violist comes home one day and sees his home is burned down. The policeman says, “Conductor came, killed your family, and burned down your house.”
The Violist says, “The Conductor came to MY house?!”

This joke plays on the idea that Violists are very timid, and would not typically be noticed or acknowledged by the conductor.

Hug Bug

Context: This game was explained in a fraternity dining hall to an audience of one.

Background: This game was taught to the informant by his parents, who did not like violence very much.

“In my family, instead of doing punch buggy or slug bug, where you would like see a Volkswagen Beetle and punch the person sitting next to you, we would say “Hug Bug” and hug the person next us.”

This game is a pacifist substitute to the more popular violent version game, “Slug Bug.”

Cats vs. Dogs, Armenian tale

Context: This tale was performed in the apartment of the informant to an audience of 3 people.

Background: This tale was told to the informant by her father, who is Armenian.

“So this is the story of why cats and dogs don’t like each other. Back in the day cats were seen as tailors, and the dogs were seen as I guess common people. So dogs would bring wool to cats for them to make hats and stuff with the wool. The dog asked the cat to make a hat for him, and the cat says, “OK OK OK.” The dog comes back next week and says “Is my hat ready?” the cat says, “Next week it will be ready.” The dog comes back the following week and asks “Is my hat ready?” The cat again says, “Next week.” The dog comes for a third week and asks, “Is my hat ready?” and the cat again says “No.” This goes on, and explains why cats and dogs do not like each other today. Because the cat never finished the hat for the dog. ”

This myth seems to indicate that Armenians may favor dogs over cats, as the dog is painted as the victim in this story.

Enter through the Dragon Door

Background: This was is a common tradition in Taiwan and China, with religious significance.

Context: This story was performed in the Architecture studio, for an audience of two, in order to pass time while working on projects.

“If you are entering a temple in Taiwan, there are three openings in front, and a statue of god inside. On the door to the left is the Chinese dragon, and on the right is the tiger based on the god’s view. The middle is the door for the god. When you go through the door, you have to go through the dragon door, because you don’t want to walk in through the tiger’s mouth, and you exit through the other door. Always. You just have to. Usually there will be some donate box. ”

This seems to be indicative of the Taiwanese attitude towards dragons versus tigers: Tigers being viewed as a source of bad luck, and dragons being good luck.

The Girl with the Red Dress

Background: The informant learned this ghost story in Taiwan, his home country.

Context: This story was performed in an Architecture studio, for an audience of two, in order to pass time while working on projects.

“You drive or walk around in this mountain and you see a small girl with a red dress walking around. The first time that you see the girl is if you are recording a video while hiking, and you go over the video you will see the girl with the red dress in the video. If you look closer, the girl has the face of an old woman. In Taoism there is a belief in reincarnation, so people believe that she died in an accident and is looking for someone to replace them so that they can be reincarnated.”

I believe this ghost story is told by people as a way of affirming Taoist beliefs, and shows a curiosity towards what happens in the afterlife, and how the process of reincarnation in Taoism might work.