Which is a perfect segue to the new Quixote Syndrome, which just wrapped up a discussion of the Symposium that made me (almost) wish I were back in college, if I could be back in college at Stanford, where I never went, as a student of Peter Mann.
The "almost" being that I wouldn't actually want to wade through the Symposium again, but, if I had to, that's how I'd want to do it.
I like professors who introduce characters and situations that make you say, "Okay, I know he's making this one up," and then you go to Google or wherever and find out, no, that one is real, too.
Which is the case with August Englehart and so I'll be looking forward to learning more about the Coconut King of Kabakon, even though -- or possibly especially because -- it will never have the slightest bearing on anything.
Except that it will, because there are very few of these historical oddities that don't illustrate something or other, and the extremes they go to simply makes them easier to study, much as you might cultivate a bacterium in order to get a better look.
My class somewhat adopted Anacharsis Cloots as a mascot or a patreon or a running gag through our three years in the major, the attraction, as best I recall, being wonderment over his grandiosity and amusement over his eccentric nom de guerre and his exalted self-styling as "citoyen de l’humanité."
Times change, but sparking student curiousity with examples of improbable reality never goes out of style.
Just as we had Cloots to inform our appreciation of our friends who went gallivanting off to Cuba to spend a couple of weeks harvesting sugar cane and becoming experts on Life in the Worker's Paradise, Englehart may be a fitting icon for a generation spooked by genetic modification and enamored of quinoa and kale.
And I say that as someone who has brunched several times at Sylvester's in Northampton and who would have eaten there much more often if it didn't take so long to get a table, an issue that would likely disappear if the place actually followed the dietary rules of its namesake, Sylvester Graham, who, in turn, would be aghast at the very thought of Eggs Benedict, which they do extraordinarily well, being served in his former home.
Which is somewhat related to the fact that I like coconut water, but I tried cooking with coconut oil, which is said to be quite healthy but which made everything taste like goddam coconut, and I don't eat candy or desserts, so most of my coconut intake is in the form of Thai curry.
I suspect that this does not identify me as a likely disciple of the King of Kabakon but we shall see.
And speaking of believing insane things
Tank McNamara is looking into "one day fantasy leagues" which are a fig leaf for sports gambling, the fig leaf being that they call it a "game of skill," a front which allows them to make outrageous promises of your likelihood of making money.
Because you're not "winning" it. You're "earning" it through your skill in predicting random events.
If you simply chose who you thought was going to win a game, or how close a game might be in terms of a point spread, that would be gambling.
But this isn't, because ... well, it just isn't, and the fact that Draft Kings and Fan Duel spent a ton of money to advertise on NFL and ESPN's cable channels and setting up revenue-sharing partnerships with professional teams has nothing to do with it.
Gawd, you people are so suspicious! Why do you hate rich people, and average guys like me who will be rich as soon as I finish filling out my Draft Kings entry?
I know, Sedgewick! It's almost more than we rich people -- and soon-to-be-rich-people -- can bear!
And now for something completely different: