Columns » Bob Lancaster

Einstein Q's and A's

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Q: I’ve seen reports of this person or that “running for governor.” What is the meaning of this term? Is it running like in a 100-meter race? Is it running like the engine of a car? And why would someone want to do it who didn’t have to? A: The type of running that is involved in a political campaign is best expressed in the old simile, “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” There’s nothing purposeful or sensible in it. It’s just egotism amuck. I’ve given much thought to that question of why people do it who don’t have to do it. The only thing I can figure is demons. Demons ride these characters around like donkey basketball. Q: I saw this bird out here that I thought might be one of them ivory-bills. Do you think it is? A: From the description elsewhere in your query, I would guess not. Best I can tell, your sooty-looking bird is either a crow or an escaped parrot that got in somebody’s chimney. The part about the curse words, each one preceded by the graawk, has me leaning toward the latter. Q: Didn’t De Soto discover Arkansas? This igmo friend of mine says it was an Italian named Arkansio Vespucci. He saw it on AETN so it can’t be a prank. A: I’ve never heard of any Arkansio Vespucci, and neither has State Historian Myrtle Travelogue. She says maybe he was Amerigo’s little brother, but the Vespucci family records are sketchy back in medieval times. De Soto was indeed among the first group of Europeans to tour here, but a place named Arkansas didn’t exist back then, and I don’t know if you can properly be said to have discovered something not yet extant. Even now, Arkansas is only an abstract concept, and no one can really tell where Junction City, Arkansas, leaves off and Junction City, Louisiana, begins. Or Texarkana, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas. We know the boundary lines exist because they’re visible from space in the satellite photos they use on the TV weather programs, but they disappear in the close-ups. Q: Where can I get me some catalpa worms for fish bait? A: Catalpa worms grow on trees in these parts — catalpa trees, which may just be a coincidence. The growing season is roughly the same as for cotton, although there’s no laying-by of catalpa worms. You harvest them in the fall and quick-freeze them for use the following spring and summer. Just grab one from the bucket and put it on the boat seat to thaw. Takes about 10 seconds in the August heat, quicker than a microwave could do it, and they don’t explode on the boat seat. A microwave with exploded catalpa worms is a hard thing to live with. Mexico has been bad in recent years to send rustlers up to nab our catalpa worms and send them back illegally for use in the bottom of bottles of tequila. NAFTA forbids this but the Mexicans just wink at it. The legislature named the catalpa worm our official state worm a few years ago. Q: I’ve kept up my boycott of all things French and German because they wimped out on us in Iraq. My brother-in-law asked me if that included boycotting French ticklers, and I didn’t know what he was talking about. Do you? A: A French tickler is a joke thought up or first told by somebody from France. There are no German ticklers. A genetic quirk replaced the German sense of humor with a dour blank space on the helix.. They don’t know why “Springtime for Hitler” in “The Producers” is funny, so naturally they couldn’t appreciate the “another fine mess you’ve gotten us into” aspect of the Bush & Blair Mesopotamian routine. Baghdad Bob left them scratching their heads. The problem with the French, on the other hand, was too little comedy in the Iraq business instead of too much. A President Jerry Lewis pratfalling on WMDs and mummying up with duct tape would have brought them aboard, laughing, in no time. Q: I saw in Billy Graham’s column that saved people can expect to have their favorite pets with them in Heaven. I had this dog one time that I liked a lot, but after he passed I realized I was plumb sick of waiting on hjm hand and foot while he soiled the furniture, chased the old people of our neighborhood fleeing frantically in their little scooters, failed to catch a Frisbee a single time ever, and cost me nearly $9,000 in vet bills. Why would I even want to go to Heaven knowing this no-sense bad-breath fleabag will be there to greet me? What do you think? A: Damnation, man, we got real problems to be worrying about. We can’t be sitting on our yahyah, waiting for our nahnah thinking about some old dog that’s already dead. Billy Graham is a grand old thumper, but the gong whanged on his oracle a long time back, so c’mon. Three-headed Cerberus guards Hell’s turnstile and Pandemonium brims with curs, and I just can’t see the sons-a-bitches keeping the straight and narrow. All of them I’ve known or heard about always took the path of least resistance.

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