Monday, December 07, 2009

More from Meyer: hoaxes, poetry, games, etc.

On Friday, E. Alan Meyer, PhD, handed over an accrual to the collection of his papers, originally donated in late summer.

The meat of the day's haul are folders containing every reprint, paper abstract, and scientific report from Meyer's 51-year research career. We also got a copy of the book Meyer co-authored with Romanian colleague Simona Radulescu, Parazitologie medicala (Bucharest, Editura ALL, 1994)--which is unrecorded in WorldCat, so it may be unique to American libraries.

But if the research is the meat, then the rest of the material we took in must be the delightful garnishes--radishes carved as roses, cucumber boats, perhaps even a butter lamb with clove eyes and a red ribbon round his neck.

In 2002, Meyer self-published Bingo Anagram Headlines, with the tagline: "Imagine a world in which every news headline is a Bingo anagram!" Some examples include "Lingcods scolding straying stingray" and "Moorhens + Hormones = Horniest Ornithes". For conservators out there, we even have "Regluing is Grueling!" A great fan of word games, Meyer also printed out his lifetime (to date) record in Scrabble tournaments and a few of his published poems.

Meyer is also something of a practical joker, has been since he was a young man. On his tour of duty as a cryptographer in the Azores during the Second World War, Meyer decided to have a little fun with the military's plan to detonate unused dynamite on the island. He fabricated a wire report from the Royal Observatory Greenwich noting that "Officials of Greenwich Observatory today reported unusual earth tremors occuring regularly for the past few days. The Observatory explained that slight shocks probably originated under the ocean off Portugal and the seismograph had recorded numerous tremors of short duration. Experts added that earthquakes are known to occur in cycles but that cycles of such short duration are classified as very unusual phenomena." His audience bought it: we have a copy of the short notice that ran in Life magazine shortly afterwards.

Wordsmith, parasitologist, prankster. Add library booster: all the materials were delivered in a tote from the Newberg Public Library, on whose board Meyer serves.

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