FoRK meets the ASA

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Wed, 18 Dec 96 18:35:29 -0800

Well, Wayne and I discovered we have a connection through the
American Scientific Affiliation (Christians in Science). We started
chatting, and he CCed his eccentric friend Russell, so I CCed my
eccentric friend Dustin, which led to the following eminently FoRKable
post from Wayne, in reply to Dustin.
-- Ernie P.
[I've taken some liberties with editing and formatting]

Begin forwarded message:

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 0:03:22 -0600
From: "I'm not a real doofus, but I play one at a national
laboratory." <>
Re: ASA connections

Wayne> I'm an irrepressible anagrammista,

Dustin> Really?

No, not really. More like incorrigible. And I'll take any
incorrigement I get.

Dustin> Aldous Huxley died on that day as well,
[same as CS Lewis and right after JFK]

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 after quite well. It was sunny and warm in
Houston, and my 4th grade teacher, the young and pretty Juanita Alford
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 the 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 in NYC. But it's not Kennedy 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, no 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

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 one, not
the pizza one) 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 4th grader wouldn't
have been annoyed that the only thing on the 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.