I'm not a real doofus, but I play one at a national laboratory. (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 14:34:38 -0600

I've been having an extended conversation with Dr. Ernie (aberrant pranks eh?)
and Dustin Laurence (Dr. Lute-Nuisance), and introducing them, in a virtual
sense, to Russell Dewhurst (We'll hurt Dr.
Seuss), the Secretary of The Oxford University
Douglas Adams Society (Arthur Dent's vicissitude dooms galaxy. Fooey.), known
to the wise as DougSoc. Russell's also a physics student, Doctor Who fan (and
inventor of the Dr. Who Dynamic Rankings system), part-time eccentric, citizen
of the universe, and a gentleman to boot, among other things.

At one point Russell had pointed out that:

> Coincidentally, the day CS Lewis died was also the first day that Doctor
> Who was broadcast in England. Aldous Huxley died on that day as well,
> and the day before, President Kennedy was assassinated. Quite an
> eventful time, really.

In response, I wrote the following stream-of-unconsciousness-bits, which Dr.
Ernie said should be FoRKed, for reasons I can't fathom. It differs in a few
minor details from what I sent the above-mentioned individuals last night, but
I wrote it whilst asleep, and only noticed my errors this morning. Anyway ...

Julian Huxley, ex-Balliol, did *not* die on that day, but coincidentally, was
one of the first biology professors at the newly-established Rice Institute,
which eventually became Rice University shortly before I arrived there as a
freshman almost 60 years later. I don't remember the day Lewis died at all,
but I remember the afternoon of the day before quite well. It was sunny and
warm in Houston, and my 5th grade teacher, the young and pretty Juanita Alford
(no relation to either of the Jack Alfords I when to high school with) had been
visibly disturbed ever since the principal had come in and whispered something
to her. She didn't tell us about it until just before the end of school.
Julian, on the other hand, didn't keep many secrets, even if they were
upsetting. In 1916 he had advocated equal rights for women, and posited that
humans had evolved from tailless apes. These remarks stirred a good deal of
controversy among the Houstonians, but not as much as Sociology prof. Lyford
Edwards did 3 years later with his opining that Lenin's newly formed Soviet
system of government would prove to be superior in efficiency to all others,
and that Lenin was a greater idealist than was George Washington. Not
coincidentally there's a bridge in New York City called the Washington Bridge,
which happens to have the same initials I do. So does Warner Bros., but I
usually don't mention that when I'm at my parents' house because I grew up in
Disneyland, and Mom works for Disney Studios. I've held one of their Oscars in
my hands. It was heavy. There's also a Baisley Mountain and Baisley Creek in
Riverside County, California, but they can't match the effect of the concrete
scar called Baisley Boulevard which cuts across Queens, NYC and is probably
visible from Low Earth Orbit, which coincidentally has the initials LEO, but
has nothing to do with lions. An anagram of LEO is OLE, and like the Microsoft
wares, relates more to bulls and their byproducts. Baisley Boulevard runs
quite near one of the three large airports around NYC. But it's not Rice or
Lewis or Huxley. I have ancestors who immigrated from Hesse, and were probably
mercenaries in that war that George Washington fought against Winston
Churchill, whilst Charles deGaulle just sat there in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises
and drank cheap vodka and laughed in French, not coincidentally. I saw the
Lewis wing of (Karl "Marx") Mauldin (not to be confounded with Maudlin) college
but it was covered with scaffolding so they could clean the exterior stonework,
but that was before Russell was born. One of my sisters was born in Kansas,
but it was Topeka, not Russell, so I've never met Bob Dole, but I've had Dole
pineapple which comes from Hawaii and my other sister, who was born in Corpus
Christi, which is also an Oxford college where my favorite (or favourite as we
like to say when abroad) English musical comedy team of Flanders and Swann went
to school, used to live there but we never took the opportunity to visit her
while (not whilst, since George Washington didn't steal Hawaii from King Log)
she was living there, but oh well, it was a pretty small house and we wouldn't
have all fit in there and would have stayed in a hotel anyway so what's the
difference, except that now we will have a much harder time finding the grocery
store where she used to run into one of those famous drunkard English actors,
Peter O'Toole I think it was, only he seemed to be on the wagon and quite nice
and so on, but you really need to use sun block in those equatorial climes, and
even in a place like Houston, which after all is on the same latitude as
Kuwait, which I don't even want to go into since my dad used to go there on
business, not to mention Algeria, which is one of the levels of Hell, in
Donkey's, not Dante's, Inferno (and why, for crying out loud, when a sleezy bar
called itself Dante's Inferno back in the 60's did they also paint "air
conditioned" on the door just below that, doesn't that ruin the effect?), and
they used to bring the Viet Namese boat people to Houston because the climate
is so like the jungle there. There meaning Viet Nam, not Houston. I felt I
had "grown up" in a very unfortunate sense when I turned 18 and had to register
for the draft, but my lottery number, one number was picked for each day of the
year, and whatever your birthday was, that was your number, with the 1's being
the worst, since they went first, was 330-something, so there was no way they
would get as far as that and that was a relief, but I still felt upset about
the whole thing. And, even though we survived the Great War and the Red Scare
and the Good War and the Korean War and the Cold War, and we have more-or-less
equal rights and haven't found any fossil links to tailless monkeys, and even
though there's a plausible argument to be made that the containment doctrine
and the domino theory (the Indo-Chinese combo, not a pizza box) were true and
Kennedy did the right thing to get us into the war in Viet Nam, I wonder how
things would have been if he hadn't. They might have been worse. It's hard to
say, but, I'm fairly certain that things would have been different. And, among
his other small concerns, a certain 5th grader wouldn't have been annoyed that
the only thing on all 3 TV channels was this long, sad funeral. There would've
been cartoons, and The Mouseketeers, and Leave It To Beaver.

There wouldn't have been any Dr. Who in any case.


"When you said ``HEAVILY FORESTED'' it reminded me of an overdue
COIN COLLECTION and HAD to murder the ONLY MAN who KNEW!!"
Zippy the Pinhead