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Aluminum foil and baking soda?

There's some trick you can use to restore silver plating, when the spoons get scrapey on your tongue; I think it is a kind of electrolysis, such as that which thrilled me in grade 10 chemistry. That's what I've been up to today. (See the Beaver Update for the back story.)

After a hurried correspondence with Michael (the Saint) Hunter, it was decided by a power higher than I am (the Saint) that the Aesop paper was not going to work for the BPI volume not on the same topic that had already been vetted by the publisher. So I put everything back in the blender, ramped up the electrolysis machine, stuck my tongue to the frozen fence-post, and sprouted yet another version, trying to stay faithful to the original while grafting things that I have learned or thought since the first writing of the paper. The resulting electroplated topiary has been sent to London.

Poor Michael -- all he had said is could you add a couple of sentences to the opening here? But that was like a fuse setting off a bomb! He said -- I hate to be a nuisance -- but do you think you could just write those two sentences? If you can't, he said, don't worry, I will. Who's the nuisance here, I wondered? I honestly feel I should be made to wear a placard like David Copperfield did, but saying "nuisance." 

So the sentences are crafted and the thing is sent. I write this for graduate students and others who want to know more about what we actually do. Now you know what I do, which is basically nothing, but I do it the really hard way. I snort at Sysiphus and his silly rock. I wave my hand dismissively at the Augean stables and their masses of manure. I sit down and re-write one paper a thousand different ways. Intellectual oragami or Asperger's Syndrome? As I am thus harmless to the world, no one will ever know.

Actually it's great. I think the paper is okay, and I'll be happy to see the collection, which is dyn-o-mite. Aesop will get sent somewhere else, very soon. I can start to go outside, talk to real people other than myself, perhaps even shower. Best not in that order, even I understand that. Socks first, then shoes.