Eric Idle OnlineMy Life

The Road To Mars

By , November 28, 2011 9:54 am

I’m on my way to Mars.

Well alright my name is.

It successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Sunday on a 354 million mile journey to the red planet and in eight and a half months’ time, in August 2012, it will touch down on the surface of Mars.

And ok, it’s not just my name. It is also my wife’s name, and my daughter’s name and the name of Tasha Goldthwait my Dogchild (I’m her atheist Godfather.) In Tasha’s case she is deeply sorry that she gave the Pasadena campus her real name and not Tashole Goldtwat. Only a comedians daughter would have anxiety about landing a joke on Mars.

And alright, as you may have guessed, it’s not just our names but several hundred people who happened to visit the Mars lander during the many months it was under construction at JPL in Pasadena, and who, like us, put their names on a list. Still it is a giant step for my name even if it is a miniscule step for mankind, and I confidently lay claim to being the first ex-Python on Mars. It’s certainly a lot further than Michael Palin has been. In name anyway. Although there are asteroids named after all the Python’s, so I guess technically they are farther out, but they are named from here, my name will be there.

Curiously it’s on a space vehicle called Curiosity, which as we all know killed the cat, so let’s hope this lander arrives safely. Curiosity is a $2.5 billion nuclear-powered machine meant for the exploration of Mars in hopes of finding evidence of microscopic life. NASA’s MSL took off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, November 26, on an Atlas V rocket. It’s the largest probe we’ve ever sent there, about the size of a mini cooper. It is about four times as heavy as the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. It has a large robot arm, a weather station, a laser that can vaporize rocks at seven meters, a percussive drill, and 4.8kg of plutonium-238. And my name. Did I mention that?

The Beatles almost beat the Pythons into space. When the Voyager space probes left earth in 1977 they included a Golden Disc on which were inscribed a sampling of the many sounds of earth, its languages, its music, its rhythms, its speech. Both Voyagers have now left the Solar System. It will be forty thousand years before they make a close approach to any other planetary system, and maybe millions of years before anyone gets round to playing the Golden Disc. Prominent amongst the ninety minutes of music was the Beatle recording Here Comes The Sun, but, alas for human folly, it had to be removed because the British publisher Lew Grade would not let them have the rights!

So I like to think that someday our names will be inscribed on the walls of a Martian Museum. Who was this Tasha Goldthwait they may say, as they revere us on Martian Independence Day. Or perhaps our names will be read out at the Mars Parade to be remembered on Martian Thanksgiving as they carve the Space Spam.

And if all else fails I am at least the author of The Road To Mars which for a very brief moment landed on the LA Times Best Seller List.

Who wrote Shakespeare?

By , November 28, 2011 9:42 am

While it is perfectly obvious to everyone that Ben Jonson wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays, it is not so well known that Ben Jonson’s own plays were written by a teenage girl in Sunderland, who mysteriously disappeared leaving no trace of her very existence, a clear indication that she wrote them. The plays of Marlowe were actually written by a chambermaid called Marlene, who faked her own orgasm, and then her own death in a Deptford tavern brawl. Queen Elizabeth, who was obviously a man, conspired to have Shakespeare named as the author of his plays, because how could a man who only had a Grammar school education, spoke Latin and a little Greek, possibly have written something as bad as All’s Well That Ends Well? It makes no sense. It was obviously an upper class twit, who wished to disguise his identity so that Vanessa Redgrave could get a job in her old age.

Many people hold the belief that Richard the Third was not only a good man who would never hurt a fly but actually wrote She Stoops To Conquer and that the so-called author Oliver Goldsmith found it under a tree when visiting the battlefield at Bosworth field in 1773, now a multi-story car park, (clearly an attempt to cover up all the evidence for this.) Oscar Wilde’s plays were written by a stable boy called Simon, though Wilde gave them both a good polish. Chaucer was written by a Frenchman on holiday, whilst Simone de Beavoir wrote all of Balzac and a good deal of Les Miserables, despite the fact of not being born yet. Beau Brummel wrote nearly all of Jane Austen and two men and a cat wrote most of Charles Dickens, with the exception of A Tale of Two Cities, which was written by Napoleon while on holiday in Saint Helena. Incidentally Napoleon was not Napoleon but a man called Trevor Francis, who later turned up playing for Birmingham City.

The Bronte Sisters’ novels were actually written by a vicar called Norman, except for Charlotte’s, whose Aunty Betty wrote most of her things. Thomas Jefferson used a ghost writer to write the American Constitution, a woman of color called Betty Mae, who was a non-voluntary worker, (doncha hate that slave word?) while Moby Dick was written not by Herman Melville but by Herman Melbrooks who wrote most of it in Hebrew on the boat over from Coney Island, but Melville, who spoke only Yiddish, had it translated by his dentist.

The Scarlet Letter was originally The Pink Letter before Nathaniel Hawthorne stole it and published it under his own name, originally as The Scarlet Pimpernel. Swift did not write Gulliver’s Travels, but found it in the toilet of Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, took it home and copied it out in his own hand writing. The Shorter Pepys, an Oxford paperback, was actually written by the taller Pepys, a man named Doris Pepys, who was no relation, but worked as a candle cleaner in Wapping (home of the Liar.)

Henry James did write all of his own works, because nobody else could be that boring, and more significantly no one else has ever bothered claiming them. Edith Wharton was clearly Henry James in drag, and he wrote her novels in Rye at the weekends, while hosting gay parties for a few friends in from town.

Mere lack of all evidence of course is no reason to denounce a theory. Look at Intelligent Design. The fact that it is bollocks hasn’t stopped a good many people claiming to believe in it. Darwinism itself is only supported by tons of evidence, which is a clear indication that Darwin didn’t write it himself. It was most likely written by Jack The Ripper, who was probably King Edward V11th, since all evidence of this has been destroyed.

Paranoia? Of course not. It’s alternative scholarship. What’s wrong with teaching alternative theories in our schools? What are liberals so afraid of? Can’t children make up their own minds about things like killing and owning automatic weapons in the playground ? Surely it is up to parents to decide whether their children should go armed to school? Far better they have something to protect themselves with than go without food. Bush was right: No child left unarmed. What is all this dictatorial approach to learning anyway? What gives teachers the right to say what things are? Who’s to say that flat earthers are wrong? Or that the Church wasn’t right to silence Galileo with his absurd theory (actually written by his Proctologist) that the Earth moves round the Sun. And why shouldn’t something be taught in schools just because a bulk of evidence says it’s erroneous? Surely it’s up to parents to decide what should be taught to their offspring, even if so-called science “proves” it ain’t. I’m with Sarah Palin on this. It’s so snobbish and elitist to cite “evidence.” I think we all know what lawyers can do with evidence. Look at Shakespeare. Poor bloke. Wrote thirty seven plays, none of them his.

c) Eric Idle (most likely Michael Palin really)