Saturday, January 20, 2007

Art Buchwald, R.I.P.

Years ago Buchwald was on the radio with that wonderful voice, described in this WaPo obit as "like he was trying to hold a dime under his tongue while talking." As I was getting ready to go to class I often heard his crazy stories. One of my favorites was about a friend of his who was working on a new strain of laboratory mice that would revolutionize science and medicine.

His friend said that most laboratory research involving rats was based on statistics. The stats were derived from how many test animals lived or died or suffered ill effects or none at all from various experiments. His plan was to go to all these places and collect the rats that didn't die or didn't suffer the bad effects from whatever it was that was being tested.

He then would interbreed them and produce a new, disease-resistant line of laboratory rats that would then produce different results. Consequently, lots of substances that were shown to be harmful would then be declared safe and all kinds of revolutionary improvements would come about.

The man had a wonderful, gentle, crazy, fertile imagination for everything. No matter what happened he could find a funny angle. And he was always non-partisan and non-judgemental. That's why I liked him. And that's why he will be missed.

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