Florida Sailor Doesn't Eat a Babelfish (But Finds One)
In the run-up to Towel Day, we happened across a delightfully instructive video called 'The Making of Babelfish Candy for Towel Day 2016'. You'll enjoy it. It shows you how the candy is made, and the candymaker reminisces about meeting Douglas Adams.
We wanted to know more, and thought we'd drop a few pixels in the direction of Florida Sailor, who happens to live in…er, Florida. I mentioned that the candy company, Lofty Pursuits, was in Tallahassee. Which is also in Florida, in case you're from Betelgeuse (or Europe).
Our mild request was greeted by the following rant in Guide Entry style:
Florida is big! Most people do not know how mind boggling big it is.
No, it is not as big as space, and with the exception of the thousands of watery places, it has a breathable atmosphere. (Unlike the paper mill areas of Georgia.)
Many people visiting for the first time call us from time to time – 'We are almost in your neighbourhood, we are staying on Miami Beach. (Only a six and a half hour drive away.) Why don't you stop by for cocktails? Or: 'We are almost there, we just crossed the border from Georgia.' (Maybe only four hours or so.)
The drive to Tallahassee is only a little over four hours each way without stops or traffic. We could go by commercial airplane, only am hour from Tampa. Then again the airport is also another hour's drive, another hour or two for security, air fare and car rental.
Back when Great Britain was given the territory after the Seven Years' War they split it into East and West Florida because they felt it was to big to manage. Back in those days the panhandle extended almost to New Orleans. The capital of East Florida was Saint Augustine, while West Florida was ruled from Pensacola.
When the US took over after the 2nd Spanish period, they decided to reunite the two halves; of course they had given a good chunk of West Florida to Alabama and Mississippi. They decided to build a new capital halfway between two British ones. There was an old Spanish mission located there that was called Tallahassee.
Just for fun I checked Google maps, they say the driving time from Pensacola to Key West is only twelve and a half hours via the turnpike with tolls, or three and a half by direct flight.
Well, that's us told.
And he's right. Florida is mind-bogglingly big. That's why it sticks out so far at the bottom of the US map. (That big blue hole in the lower half is Lake Okeechobee, more of an inland sea.) So colour us impressed, and informed – although we're sorry we didn't get anybody to sample the Babelfish candy. That will be a pleasure deferred. However, if you're near Tallahassee, maybe on your way to Florida Sailor's house, you should probably stop in. You've missed the Vogon Poetry Slam for this year, but we notice there's an ice cream eating contest in July.
If you go, let us know all about it.
Oh, and Florida Sailor is still working on getting a babelfish. He sent us a link to Waverly Labs' In-Ear Translator, which sounds pretty exciting. Okay, as a linguist, it makes me snort ('No, they'll never get it right, and it will cause hilarious confusion and/or start wars!') and feel tired ('Now nobody will ever try to learn another language, and thus miss all the ways that improves your thinking') at the same time. But of course, I want one right now.
That, or some Babelfish candy.