Benjamin Jordan

Mostly creative, mostly nonsense.

Read this first

The author

It would be helpful, for your own sakes, to imagine the author (this mule fellow) hunched at a writing desk with a quill. A physician walks sullenly out of the house, unsure if he’ll ever return. The author has been left at his desk to take a draught of an elixir that will hopefully address the unknown but incessant psychological issues (if you’ll recall, he once turned himself into a mule). This is the type of ailment where the author has frequent headaches and sometimes coughs up blood and the best medicine is simply a good deal of rest, but for whatever reason the author decided that the best rest is had somewhere else. He spent a month or so with his cousin in West Essexingtonshire who advised him to marry soon (at a time like this??). This cousin is of questionable repute, and the author only learned of his cousin’s existence upon leaving the orphanage where he was raised. It’s all...

Continue reading →

Potato Salad

My mother is really no good with recipes.

I have saved an email with the subject “RE: Potato Salad?” in which my mother has typed up a rather normal looking recipe for potato salad (no mustard or peas, that would be cruel). However, after the rather normal looking recipe, there is a paragraph in which she explains which items from the above recipe she doubles, triples, or leaves out entirely. It’s a very roundabout method for recipe writing.

My mother’s potato salad contains no flour, but her hands are lightly dusted in the fine white powder from a previous culinary endeavor. She is chopping potatoes while she describes an excerpt from a book. She’s a thinker, a real thinker, and I wonder how much thinking she does while chopping those potatoes.

In a large pot to her right, water rolls and bounces about in a deceptively playful way, occasionally splashing down the sides to meet a...

Continue reading →


What became of man? What grievous misfortune spelled out his demise? Or perhaps, more frighteningly: the last remnants of humanity have vanished on a voyage deep into space!

Our top people are on it! Drones from around the world have united to uncover one of the galaxy’s greatest mysteries! Use your spare cycles! Contribute to the cause! Only The Network can uncover the truth about history’s greatest evil!

  • The Network

View →

The Junior Ranger Badge

Just a few weeks ago I made my way across the country from San Francisco to Chicago with one of my good friends from high school.

We spent 53% of a five day trip (that is, 65 hours) confined in a plastic box too short to stand in, to small to lay in, and too uncomfortable to sit in. My wife claims it’s a car called a Chevy Cobalt, but it didn’t appear to posses any of the typical qualities of a car. No cruise control, the seats couldn’t lean back, and there was a high pitched whiiiiiiiiiiiiiir sound that made you envy the dead.

To get to Chicago from San Francisco, as we all know, you have to head due North out of the city until you hit the Canadian border. It’s a very long way. Then you cruise along at a happy 80 MPH in a plastic box designed for 40, analyzing the likelihood of all potential crash scenarios. According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, you’ve got somewhere...

Continue reading →


He asked to be paid only in bananas so of course we hired him. He received exactly one bunch of bananas daily, and they didn’t even have to be good bananas. One time we were all out of bananas and he seriously did not come into work. Let me tell you, we have never been out of bananas since then.

We have three refrigerators, one for the boss, one for employees, and one for bananas. He also does not like frozen bananas but it’s not in his contract so that kind of sucks cause we give him frozen bananas sometimes. Only when we’re out of unfrozen bananas of course.

View →

The Split

He was twelve feet tall! Welllllllll, no he wasn’t he was probably seven feet (I am bad at estimation). I know he wasn’t as tall as eight feet because our ceilings are eight feet high but he was close enough to our eight feet high ceilings that I was worried that he might look up and bump his nose. Man, that would stink– we would have a mess on our hands then! A real pickle!

I only knew the ceilings were eight feet because my dad once said that the ceiling was just high enough for him to wear a two foot tall hat (now THAT would be silly). He was six foot and of course six and two make eight (6 + 2 = 8, yep checks out). Eight foot ceilings then.

“The State is reassessing–”

Wow this man was skinny! If my dad was here you could tell better. My dad would probably make a joke about how many shirts the man had on or something (oh oh the man had three shirts on, whoops, should have said...

Continue reading →

Satoshi Nakamoto: Time Traveler

Originally published here on 3/21/14– this is a revised edition. It is a fictional story about the mysterious, unidentified man behind Bitcoin.

Imagine for a moment, that in the distant future, the first time traveler makes his (or her) first voyage. He’s been working in his garage for months, maybe years on whatever interesting things he can think up. There are all sorts of homemade robots and automated devices that scurry about his house. He is frequently seen taking walks– he’s a social person generally, except at night when he says goodnight to his friends and disappears into his workshop. Then one day, he’s gone. And he never comes back. He’s transported himself to a time and a place where things are not quite what he thought and he’s stranded there to live out his days. Whoops.

Imagine the first country that makes the first trip in time and arrives safely back in the present...

Continue reading →

Letter from R. Atwater to T Edison, circa 1869

Mr. Edison,

I have built an ingenious device that may be of interest to you. It is at the moment unfinished, but I hope that together we may work out the details presently. I believe I have made a final invention– one that may render ever device and idea obsolete, even our own.

I have built, though it may sound unreasonable, a creation machine: a device that takes, as its input, all the data of the world (census information, taxes, surveys of all types) and outputs an invention entirely its own, best suited for the data. It has already invented marvelous things– a machine that stamps letters on paper as fast as can be input, a glass sphere capable of producing enormous light, and even a system of wireless telegraphy by the induction of metal coils.

I believe this machine and its applications to our field may be astounding, but I have lately found myself at an impasse, which is why I...

Continue reading →

Ten dollars well spent

I gave ten dollars today to each of two of my friend’s kids and why I did it goes back to seven dollars that have stuck in my mind for almost twenty years (I was, of course, adjusting for inflation).

It was a hot day and the moving van was packed out front of our house. I have no idea which house, we lived in so many, so the memory fluctuates between a few different ones.

In one remembrance, the truck sat in the extra long long long paved driveway, white like a bone running from our house down the red clay hill– there I had learned about velociraptors waaaaaay too young and was afraid to make the trek down to the mailbox to get the mail for fear of being hunted down and eaten.

In another remembrance, the truck sat under a pair of enormous oaks that occasionally dropped off a legion of cicadas that crunched under your feet like old leaves. There were vines growing on the truck one of...

Continue reading →

Next steps, hopefully

Coding by voice.

View →