Years ago, I was applying for a job as Director of a community center in Terre Haute. I was working on my doctorate at the time. The community center was largely patronized by African Americans, and I was, of course, white. The interview team was courteous and interested, though I was getting some obviously questioning looks. Then a woman on the panel asked me, "How would people who know you well describe you?"
Well, that's a standard interview question, I suppose. The thing was, my older sister had just started a Masters degree, and for one of her writing classes had had to write a description of someone she knew well. She chose me. So I actually had an answer for that question. I immediately replied, "As a cross between Chaucer's Clerke and Neil Diamond's Brother Love."
I didn't get the job.
There was a research team at a private university investigating the secrets of human longevity. They had a promising new drug to test, but they couldn't do human testing yet.
Porpoises constituted a good genetic model for this drug's action in humans, so they were designing a drug to make porpoises live longer -- even, indefinitely.
One of the critical components needed in this drug came from the organs of sea gulls. But to make it really effective, they needed to tinker with it. Eventually, they hit on the idea of doing some genetic engineering to add a couple of genes from African lions to their sea gulls and use the combined DNA to make their cetacean "elixir of life."
They had permission to use the porpoises at the local aquarium. Sea gulls were plentiful in the area. But lions were hard to come by. The only lions were in the local zoo, and the zoo was operated by the government, so they would have to get permission from the State Department of Natural Resources as the technical owner of the lions, who oversaw their care.
Well, somebody forgot to sign the form, but the team went and procured blood samples from the lions anyway. But that meant that when the (now signed) form showed up at the State DNR a week later, together with the information that the lions' DNA had already been collected, the State Police was alerted and State Troopers promptly arrested the entire research team.
Why? Because everybody knows it is illegal to cross State lions with gulls for immortal porpoises.
I finished the rough budget for our trip to the UK, and we came up $700 short for the group (Total budget for group is about $18,500). Of course, I figured every expense as high as I dared, in order to leave wiggle room. But what it comes down to is, we're not going to be able to afford about 45 GBP (c. $90) each in admissions and activities. But considering the punishing number of things we say we want to do/see/visit/tour, my guess is time, travel deadlines, and lack of energy will whittle down the list of admissions that much easily. (The total for admissions and activities came to almost $3000 for the whole group, and would kill a carthorse to do them all.) The crew will just have to watch the money carefully and make choices as we go.
So, as near as can now be figured, we're dead on. Can I cook, or can I cook?