Archive for July 24th, 2004

How to solve the triangle peg game

Jul 24, 2004 in Pop Culture

Anyone who has ever eaten at a Cracker Barrel has played the triangle peg game. The objective is to jump and remove the pegs, leaving as few pegs remaining as possible. One peg remaining is “genius,” two pegs is “purty smart,” three pegs is “just plain dumb,” and four or more remaining makes you an “egg-no-ra-moose.”

Despite the obvious simplicity of the game, two pegs remaining is the best that many people can do. I’ve played this game probably hundreds of times (I used to own one of these as a kid), but have yet to find a one peg solution, except by accident.

Since puzzles are inherently mathematical, the full range of solutions can be found with a simple computer program. Dan O’Brien’s Peg Board Puzzle Page features downloadable text solutions and the source code for his program. This Cracker Barrel page also has instructions, history, and an online version of the game.

Miss me?

Jul 24, 2004 in Personal

I’ve been on “hiatus” for two weeks. More specifically, I’ve been away from home. I went home to Pennsylvania for my mother’s wedding. Stayed at their house for about eight days, pretty much doing nothing…

Well, I did read three or four books: Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them by Al Franken, Heavier than Heaven, the bio of Kurt Cobain by Charles Cross, Bringing Down the House, about the MIT cardcounting blackjack team who earned millions, and Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig. (If you’re not already aware of it, that last book is available for free in many digital formats, and you should read it if you care about the fate of copyright and creativity in the Internet age. For any MTSU recording industry/mass comm. students reading this, this goes double for you.)

I also saw Fahrenheit 9/11 at the same theatre that made nationwide Sunday morning headlines when local Republicans got in to see it for free.

Afterwards, I visited an old friend in Gettysburg, who took me on a tour of the battlefield and the national cemetary (where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address). Being there really gives you a perspective on how bloody and pivotal this event was. While a thousand Americans have died in Iraq, tens of thousands of Americans were killed or injured in Gettysburg in just a matter of days. I also made a quick trip through Washington DC, but gave up and drove home as I found out that parking in downtown DC is about as easy to find as an honest politician.

A few miles past the Tennesee border, my ‘89 Hyundai Excel gave up the ghost on me. A local repair shop told me it would need a new motor. I called it a loss and drove a rental car the rest of the way home. The thing that burns me is that I spent $600 on it just two weeks prior on tires and front-end repair, and I’d only bought it four months ago.

Ever notice how financial disasters happen just after you’ve made a major purchase, such as $400 of computer hardware and OS software? At least the machine on my desk is fast and reliable, although I lament the fact that Windows XP erased all of my Opera bookmarks and my Thunderbird mail.

And I’d be remiss if I made a blog post without including some sort of meme: JibJab has an animated parody of “This Land Is Your Land” featuring John Kerry and George Bush! Hilarious, regardless of your political orientation.