James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 26 20:11:00 UTC 2002

In a message dated Thu, 25 Apr 2002 10:03:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:

>   Mice-stronauts?  Well, the Muppet Show had "Pigs in Space."  And a cow
>jumped over the moon.--ed.

If I remember the words correctly:

     Hey, diddle diddle
     The cat and the fiddle
     The cow jumped over the Moon
     The little dog laughed to see such a sport
     And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Over the years, as Professor Tolkien pointed out, the original meaning of the poem has been partly lost.  Specifically, the
"cat" in line 2 has nothing to do with felines (in fact is an
etymythology suggested by the "dog" in line 4) but in the
original was the "catapult" which sent the cow moonwards.

Now we know that an ordinary cow cannot survive in space, and
this cow necessarily must have been (and indeed was) a mutation
with space-survival capabilities.  "sport" in line 4 has nothing to do with athletics but rather uses the meaning of
"sport" in animal breeding, where it is a synonym for "mutation".

The "dish" in line 5 is neither a piece of crockery nor a
pretty female but, as should be obvious, is the radar dish used
to track the spacefaring cow.  As for why that dish ran off with
a piece of silverware, the best explanation can be found in
the old folk song "Spoon River" (particularly in the version
collected by Edgar Lee Masters in "The Spoon River Anthology").

     James A. Landau
     systems engineer
     FAA Technical Center (ACB-510/BCI)
     Atlantic City Airport NJ 08405 USA

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