} Thoroughly sick of being asked this question, Lewis Carroll tossed off
} this answer: Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very
} flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front! (If you think
} 'nevar' is a misspelling, look a little harder.) However, as he had
} not intended an answer for the riddle, this was just to get people to
} shut up so he could get back to stalking the primary school playground.
} Others have given all sorts of silly answers, like: "Poe wrote on
} both." "Because there is a B in both and an N in neither." "Because
} the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical
} notes." These are very ridiculous answers from obviously unstable
} people. Therefore, you might appreciate them.
} The truth is that ravens and writing desks have many things in common.
} They both contain carbon. Neither of them have swum the English
} Channel. Neither have won a spelling bee. Neither have even *entered*
} a spelling wasp. Both have refused to ever vote Republican. Both are
} things that Loki likes to turn into during parties.
} Of course, the best course would be to ask the Mad Hatter, since he
} posed the riddle. As everyone knows, however, he didn't have a clue.
} So who in Wonderland would have a clue? No one but the Caterpillar or
} the Cheshire Cat, naturally. There are, of course, troubles with
} asking either of them, proven by what happened when they WERE asked:
} Caterpillar: Hmm. The answer is obvious if you know the words.
} You: Pardon?
} Caterpillar: Do you know the words?
} You: Uh... I would say so.
} Caterpillar: [takes a big puff from his hookah] I would say not.
} You: Okay...
} Caterpillar: [taps hookah on his chin, or where his chin would be if
} he were not a caterpillar] A raven may be a bird, as you know, but it
} may also be a flower.
} You: Wow. I see.
} Caterpillar: Do you see?
} You: I think so. And a writing desk?
} Caterpillar: That is an aquatic creature with one arm and a clock for
} a head.
} You: So... how is this flower like a... that aquatic thing?
} Caterpillar: I don't know. Want a hit?
} You: Um. No thanks.
} No luck there, so we try the Cheshire Cat.
} Cheshire Cat: That is a serious question.
} You: Is it? I thought it was a riddle.
} Cheshire Cat: A riddle can be very serious and this one is rather dire.
} You: Really?
} Cheshire Cat: Oh yes.
} You: So what does it mean?
} Cheshire Cat: What do you want it to mean?
} You: I hadn't thought about it.
} Cheshire Cat: It would seem to me that you haven't thought at all.
} You: Hey, you're rude.
} Cheshire Cat: [slowly disappears] I'm a cat.
} You: Wait!
} Cheshire Cat: [reappears quickly] Yes?
} You: Do you know the answer?
} Cheshire Cat: [claws the branch he's on] The answer to what?
} You: [sighs] To the riddle?
} Cheshire Cat: What riddle?
} You: How is a raven like a writing desk?
} Cheshire Cat: Oh yes.
} You: So what is it?
} Cheshire Cat: What is what?
} You: Never mind.
} Cheshire Cat: You wouldn't happen to have some catnip, would you?
} I hope that answers your question.
} You owe the Oracle some clams and a bottle of cocktail sauce.