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Matt Weinstock -- January 14, 1959

January 14, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Capricious Electron

Matt_weinstockd An engaging stranger named Peter Buchanan came into the office, apologized for taking my time, handed me a typewritten half-sheet of paper and asked me to read it and perhaps check it.

It was a theory he had spent 15 years developing, he said, and he felt it was vital for the world to know.

"As American scientists study the electron," it began, "the electron will become more capricious, defiant of observation and measurement because American scientists start with the wrong hypothesis."

That's as far as I got because the rest of it was about wave mechanics, quantum phenomena and mathematical equations, including Einstein's. He lost me.

1959_0114_kimpton_01 I'VE BEEN around when electronics engineers and space guys get together and tried to understand them, too, but I can't. They're also very polite and considerate but they speak a strange language.

I'm sure all this is for the best for we want our boys to do well in outer space or whither we are drifting, but I simply do not know what they're talking about.

Why, I wouldn't know a capricious electron if it sidled up and handed me a chocolate malted milk.  I happen to be the fellow who flunked the same high school course in plane geometry -- twice.

* *

ONLY IN Beverly Hills -- On arriving home, Maggie, 7, was asked by her mother what she'd done in school.

"We didn't have any written tests," was the reply, "but the girls beat the boys in a moral tests." Ma gasped, then realized that to a 7-year-old oral sounds a great deal like moral.

* *

In places of peril
You'll always find Errol.
Twist his arm -- I don't doubt it.
He'll tell you about it.

* *

1959_0114_kimpton_02YOU KNOW that dispirited look you sometimes see on the faces of policemen? They come by it the hard way. A lady named Grace who routed a prowler in her apartment by screaming was later asked by an officer, "Was this man a Caucasian?" "Oh no," she replied. "I'm sure he was a white man."

* *

ON RETURNING to L.A. from a trip north, Jess T. Martinez found his wallet missing. He remembered stopping and getting out of the car on Highway 33, outside Coalinga, so he phoned Coalinga police and told an officer about where he'd parked. Next day he received his wallet in the mail. The following day he received the change from the dollar bill kept to pay the postage. About a 1000-to-1 shot.

* *

MONDAY AT UCLA Anastas I. Mikoyan denied the existence of an Iron Curtain. "This is fiction," he said.

Apparently no one thought of it at the time but Bill Graydon, a specialist in belated retorts like the rest of us, points out that another bit of fiction tops the American best seller lists -- Boris Pasternak's "Dr. Zhivago," which blasts communism.

* *

AT RANDOM -- Add writer Sylvia Tate ("The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown") to the roster of those convinced a person isn't safe anywhere. Last July she was stung by a wasp. Since, she has had 39 antidote shots, has seven more to go. She has a susceptibility which could be fatal . . . Phone number of the UCLA Extension Division just opened in Orange County is TRojan 12380 . . . Mr. and Mrs. Jerry T. Meek ask a typographical posy for La Puente deputy sheriffs and firemen, whose names she does not know, who responded instantly and probably saved the life of Kali Kathleen Meek, 12 days old, choking from a chest cold . . . Dr. Glen Erwin Bonecutter of Long Beach has been elected to membership in the County Medical Assn. . . . One of the three city high school girls in the state cherry pie contest Friday at the Department of Water and Power Service Center in Van Nuys is Cherie M. Courtois of Bishop Conaty Memorial High. Yep, she can bake a cherry pie. Wonder if Peaches Browning ever baked a peach pie?