13 July 2009

Humboldt State University

7 Mar 2008. When in Arcata, do as the granola-eating, hemp-growing, earth-massaging Lumberjack fans do, and get a California Springs reusable water bottle.

The Humboldt Bodtle and the
Towson Tumbler get daily usage, while the rest of the cup collection holds my dust collection.

Alexander von Humboldt: Mr. Darwin, the days grow weary.
Charles Darwin: I, too, feel the nostalgia of adventures past filling my head, Herr Von Humboldt.
AVH: Ho! Those salad days do not have to end quite yet!
CD: What say you?
AVH: I challenge you to a race around the Cape!
CD: But my cape is still at the tailors, kind sir!
AVH: Nay! The Cape Horn!
CD: Ah! My loins fill with great anticipation! The parameters, praytell!
AVH: We aim for the great northern California bay, coordinates 40'45' N, 124'12' W.
CD: Gadzooks! The journey itself will be a reward.
AVH: Patience, knave. The government of Spain has chartered a school of higher learning in the baytown. The winner shall be written into the charter and will be the namesake to that institution!
CD: Mystical carp gullets! Pardon my language, but a Darwin University in the new world! Dare I dream so?
AVH: An equal chance to dream for Humboldt University, have I.
CD: Then preparations must begin.
AVH: To be fair, as I knew of the Spanish charter five days beforehand, I will give you a sporting chance on this competition. When your vessel clears the horizon, it will be, let us agree, a full seven days to the minute until my departure.
CD: Indeed a charitable gesture, kind sir. Are we allowed to bypass the Cape completely?
AVH: What intriguing ideas are there swimming in your brain pool?
CD: A camel convoy crossing of the Central American continent. A short-cut if you will.
AVH: Sweet degrees of bonhomie and chagrin! I failed to allow for the Dar-win-at-all-costs ingenuity! All routes are fair game. Feel free to discover the Northwest Passage in your spare time, you swashbuckler!
CD: You flatter me, Alexander. I wish you luck.
AVH: May the best man win, Charles.

Alexander kept his promise to depart one week later than Charles. Charles did indeed complete a dromedary portage over the Nicaraguan isthmus. Thus he arrived in the bay one month before Alexander. He was surprised to see it marked on local maps as Humboldt Bay. But he was pleased to see the construction on the university already beginning. Inquiry into the Spanish charter revealed the school already had a name: The Humboldt Institute of California. The Spanish governor was adamant about the name, and was not entertaining any ideas about name changes. The story of cross country camels did little to change el jefe's mind. Charles had many questions upon Alexander's arrival.

CD: Alexander, you must speak to the governor! He claims to have heard nothing about our contest. And the school and bay are already named Humboldt!
AVH: Already named Humboldt? What a strange coincidence! None of my relatives have ever been here, and I certainly never have.
A local man in a woven poncho walks by with two small boys in tow.
AVH: Greetings Enrique! The twins are growing strong I see! Well, Charles, I guess we have to call this contest a draw. Better luck next time, eh? I have a ride to catch.

Alexander leaped onto a locomotive pulling out of the depot. The local children chased the steam engine while he doffed his sailor's hat and waved to the village. The freight cars had the words Humboldt Railways painted on the sides in green and gold lettering.

I've been had! B...b...by that cad! ...Alexander von Humboldt, you've had a nice laugh, but I will claim the last one!

The last painting that Alexander and Charles would pose for as friends.

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