More from the Mailbag

Claudia, in response to my LOTR-with-Muppets project, suggests that Saruman and Grima Wormtongue be Dr. Honeydew and Beaker. Especially with the scene in which Grima nearly drops a torch into the high explosive, how could I possibly disagree? This change would unemploy Slimey the Worm and Oscar the Grouch, theprevious leading contenders for the roles. Perhaps Smaug (yeah, yeah, that's Hobbit territory, I know) and Denethor, respectively would work better for them.

Ephi observes that "laboratorium" means "laboratory" in both Dutch and Indonesian. Previously, I'd known only that "laboratorium" was a real word in German.

And Mike, going way back into the archives, observes that legacy preferences in college admissions are profoundly regressive. These preferences disproportionately favor the children of the rich, but it's government grant money that keeps universities running. The result is that everyone's tax dollars are going to educate Geoffrey Lowell Cabot III.