Even the Beeb Gets the Pain In the Diodes Down My Left Side All Wrong

I loved seeing an article on the Beeb devoted to the 30th Anniversary of the debut of Douglas Adams’ radio show.

I was kind of appalled, though, to see that the writer managed to say this bit of nonsense about the number 42:

“Ever since, speculation has been rife as to what Adams meant. There is the “paperback line theory” – 42 apparently being the average number of lines on the page of a paperback book. Was Adams paying homage to the medium of his success?”

Um, hello? The radio series came before the books, which were an adaptation of the radio series — you know, that thing whose anniversary we’re celebrating, as stated at the beginning of the article? 42 couldn’t possibly have alluded to the success of the paperback book, which came long after the radio series had been written, aired and seen success. Unless, of course, Adams wrote it in the Starship Heart of Gold. Then maybe in one of those moments when everything was happening at once and his head was sprouting a penguin beak he noticed the books and made this astounding observation.

You’ll see in the comments that there’s a guy named Peter Stilliard who gets it right:

“Douglas Adams was asked many times during his career why he chose the number 42. Many theories were proposed but he rejected them all. On 3 November 1993 he gave an answer on alt.fan.douglas-adams: ‘The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought ’42 will do’. I typed it out. End of story.’ “

If only the Beeb had done such good research on Adams before writing about him. I’m sure that Adams would have loved that, despite the journalistic mangling, his true fans have not forgotten him.

Sadness, Gladness, Badness

R.I.P. Douglas Adams

Six years ago, Douglas Adams died of a heart attack at the age of 49. He’s sorely missed, that hilarious man who taught me words like “hoopy” and “frood,” and that I’m not alone in never getting the hang of Thursdays.

I wrote an In Memoriam entitled “Goodnight, Marvin” for him that was published in this book published by Benbella Books. The truth is, thanks to Amazon’s “Search Inside This Book” feature, you can read all of it without buying the book.

As for the living…

I’m please to be among them. I played longer with my sword this morning, did some grocery shopping and carried a lot of things all the way home. I’ve been spider wrangling as I do the laundry, pulling long, woolly threads off of the line and finding their inhabitants a safe place in the grass. We encountered a massive ochre spider the other day. Actually, I encountered it when I opened the front door and found it dangling at face level. It high-tailed it down the thread to the ground. The Frenchman wanted to kill it but I just blew on its fuzzy butt until it scrambled away. Hopefully it’s tormenting the girl who lives behind us now.

I ordered the first three Buckaroo Banzai comics and they arrived the other day. I’ve been reading them rapturously except that these days I’m not remotely enamored of the fact that the women all still seem to be either evil sex objects, carrying clipboards or knitting. Penny Priddy isn’t even in the story (yet). I’m giving it until Issue #3 and then Earl gets a Maria Letter(tm).

Another chore, and then I’m going to write. Or try, anyway.