April 25, 2001

Silly Wabbits
And White Rabbits

By Roy Rivenburg

Yo Quiero E=MC2: How come famous British pop stars and physicists always sing with American accents? Nobody can explain the pop stars, but they do know why physicist Stephen Hawking sounds like a Yankee. The 59-year-old Oxford native speaks through a computerized voice synthesizer made in California.

But he might soon switch. The London Times says Hawking is considering an electronic voice system that uses a British accent.

Boring! It would be more fun if Hawking presented complex scientific theories with the voice of, say, Elmer Fudd or the Taco Bell Chihuahua. Another possibility is adopting the timbre and vocabulary of game-show announcer Don Pardo: ‘‘The secrets of the universe are behind Door No. 3, along with a beautiful set of Samsonite luggage and a home version of the Big Bang!’’

Or he could try the phone company lady’s voice: ‘‘We’re sorry, you have reached a space-time continuum that has been disconnected or sucked into a black hole.’’

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: The average number of people flying in airplanes at any given time is 366,144, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Magical Mystery Tour: After being arrested last week on suspicion of possessing psychedelic mushrooms, Aaron Sorkin, the creator of NBC’s ‘‘The West Wing,’’ issued this statement: ‘‘I am glad to be surrounded by such a supportive group of people and am prepared to proceed as directed by my attorney and in the best interest of my family. I appreciate your respect for my family’s privacy during this period.’’

However, before releasing that statement, Sorkin wrote several other drafts, which we obtained:

Draft 1: I am glad to be surrounded by such a supportive group of COLORS, man. Far freakin’ out! I am prepared to proceed as directed by the hookah-smoking caterpillar who has given me the call. I’ve just had some kind of mushroom and my mind is moving slow. Also, the white knight is talking backwards and I’m not sure what he’s saying, man. Something about getting in touch with Alice, but I don’t know if he means Alice Cooper or Alice from ‘‘The Brady Bunch.’’

Draft 2: This is ridiculous. I mean, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) will just pardon me anyway.

Draft 3: MAGIC mushrooms? The guy at the gourmet market said they were portabellos. I’ve never done drugs. Well, maybe some cocaine once, but I didn’t inhale.

Draft 4: You’ve gotta be kidding me! ‘‘The West Wing’’ won nine Emmys last year. Nine! That’s an industry record. I’m pretty sure that means I’m above the law.

Just Add Elephant Dung: Die-hard Southerners who want to fly the Confederate flag should try a new strategy if they hope to win liberal support, says Gene Veith: Call the flag ‘‘art,’’ then say it’s SUPPOSED to offend people.

Full Employment Bureau: Downsized dot-commers needn’t worry about finding new jobs. Express Personnel Services offers many exciting opportunities:

-- Wiping blood off the plexiglass at hockey games for $7 an hour.
-- Answering phones at a hormone saliva testing facility for $12 an hour.
-- Opening cans of beer and pouring them down a drain for $6 per hour.
-- Sitting in a Redmond, Wash., office pretending to be busy so visitors will think the company has lots of staff.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘The World is Running Out of Vampires and Ghouls! Monster-Rights Groups Blame President Bush!’’ (Weekly World News)

Yet another consequence of efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act.

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Ann Harrison.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate