from December 15, 2003
The significant advance we were prepared to report in my last blog, our breathless readers will recall, was put on hold on counsel of our editor, who advised us to report the findings of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the reappearance of the ozone layer over our whitest continent.
We are now prepared to return to the aborted problem of the so-called “shrinking universe” with our significant findings.
Those who have followed the peregrinations of our previous reports will recall the following. That the Miles Junior Think Tank (MJTT) has long suspected that the late-twentieth century scientific doctrine of an expanding universe has come aground on the fact that certain parishes in the State of Louisiana have been slowly sinking. That the MJTT has put boots on the ground, so to speak, by sending half a dozen interns to the bayous of that state in order to learn (pidgin) Cajun, the better to communicate with the locals on this phenomenon of potentially cosmic significance. That Miles Junior has hypothesized that the famed writer and pedophile Lewis Caroll was also a cosmologist ahead of his time, as evidenced by his famous parable of Alice’s adventures, which began by her fall “Down the Rabbit Hole.” That the aforementioned interns arrived in New Orleans and stayed there for some time in order to “get the lay of the land.” That these bright youngsters made their way to Cajun country, only to be apprehended by the local constabulary and placed in a parish jail. That, having served their time and paid their fines, they returned to New Orleans in quest of a Cajun-speaking university on or around Bourbon Street.
So far, so good. Or perhaps not. To our consternation, we have discovered that our interns have found a more remunerative occupation than we have been able to offer them. They have become, in a phrase, exotic dancers. To their credit, they so informed us via email, hinting though not promising that they would return the salaries with which we had richly endowed them. Suffice it to say that our lawyers are on this job; the many major contributors to our project need not experience angst.
So, what are our significant findings?
As the CEO of the MJTT, I took it upon myself to fly to New Orleans to finish this promising project. I then hired a tourist service to transport me directly to the back bayous, where, in a café frequented by the locals, I learned the nuances of the Cajun dialect in three days. (During that time I also came across the original version of Evangeline, which was composed by an unsung Acadian poet before being translated, without attribution, by the American poetaster Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But that is material for another blog, perhaps by my venerated colleague Ab Ennis.)
From conversations and exchanged hand signals with an elderly fortune-teller, I was able to determine that, though the villages of the parish were indeed sinking, the reason for this trend was not cosmological but was merely the result of overlogging in the area. In a phrase, the perpetrator of this phenomenon was not some Cosmic Force but human activity.
Her explanation was convincing. In scientific terms: if X occupies 100 cubic centimeters at point A, and X is transported to point B; and if points A and B comprise a totality; then the totality in terms of cubic centimeters is not affected by this move.
Applied to the problem at hand, the sinking of Louisiana, this principle implies that the logs that disappear from the bayou country show up in another area, albeit in the form of timber and sawdust.
From this we at the MJTT are able to deduce that the world is not shrinking. Thus our working hypothesis, that the entire universe is shrinking, has been found to be flawed.
But scientific progress is not measured by positive results alone. We learn from our mistakes. And what we learned is that this negative result can lead to something constructive, namely, that the plains that dot significant portions of the American landscape can be made to develop into mountains.
The bolt from the blue that led to this conclusion came about as I was visiting my colleague Thalia Mews in her natural habitat, the State of Washington. We were sitting in her back yard, discussing Ab Ennis’s candidacy for president, when we observed the activity of a colony of moles, digging up dirt and forming molehills.
“What would happen,” I asked Ms. Mews, “if, instead of seeking to exterminate these creatures by banging their little heads with a sharpened shovel, we were to encourage them in their work?”
After a brief pause, she replied, not without some indignation, “Why, they’d make a small mountain of my back yard!”
“Exactly!” responded I. “And how would this help our Dead Rights candidate render his campaign promise to create a Mount Rushmore for every dead American scientifically respectable?”
She immediately saw my point. But she proceeded to raise a critical question. Would the engineering feat of transporting a large population of moles to the prairie states be sufficient for such an admirable goal?
We pondered this question overnight.
Come morning, the ideas were flowing as freely as the tequila-laced orange juice. The nub of our proposal was that biotechnology grow more and larger moles. This could be accomplished in several ways: feeding the creatures buttered popcorn and pizza; putting them on orgasm-enhancing drugs; and of course constructing tiny barbells for the workouts in which we would encourage them to engage.
The MJTT is thus pleased to report not only that the universe is not sinking, as some alarmists have feared, but also that the candidacy of one Ab Ennis has received what it so abundantly deserves, a shot in the ashes.