Although I am not particularly famous, I have had several close calls.
- My teeth have been cleaned by King Fahad's personal dentist.
- I have had my hair cut by Norman Schwartzkopf's barber.
- My dental hygenist has a neighbor who gardened for the Queen of England.
- Former residents of my parents' house (Corvallis, OR) lived in a
house that had been inhabited by and written about by a famous novelist.
- I have met and have an autographed picture of Mr. McFeely (`Speedy
Delivery!'), the mailman on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. (My
kindergarten classroom was featured on the show the year after
my second attempt at kindergarten.)
- I have played (delayed by 3 years) on the same stage as did Bon Jovi.
- I have twice been confused for John Lennon, once for the bassist of
Aerosmith, and once for the drummer of Poison. The latter was at a
smoking shop in Istanbul, and allegedly we had the whole band there.
- I share a middle name with cartoonist John Blair Moore, and a first
name (in either spelling!) with sculptor Henri Moore, although a last
name with neither.
- A violin-playing cousin of mine is married to the nephew of a
(now-deceased) famous astronomer.
- My bicycle was stolen by (and recovered from!) a man soon charged with
two counts of attempted murder. I had talked with him on the street
well before either incident occured.
- The grandfather of my chiropractor introduced the caper berry to
northern Africa at the beginning of the 1900's.
- I have consumed minestrone with the daughter of the alleged
inventor of the Happy Meal.
- I have lived with someone who had a sign made by the sign-shop
occupying the oldest land-grant property in the country (given by the
federal governemnt to the widow of a casualty of the War of 1812).
- I have made pizza for the world's most-published mathematician.
- I have visited the next-door house to that lived in by Mork &
- I have played pool in Denver with a (former) member of the FBI's most-wanted list.
- I have played Trivial Pursuit on the team of the daughter of the
runner-up to the 1955 Miss America competition. (My partner aced the
pink questions, including one relating to this very pageant.)
- I have walked a poodle who was a sister of a poodle belonging to a
- I have been played Scrabble with (and lost to) someone who regularly
beats a Nobel-winning physicist.
- I shared (delayed by 20 years) a high school physics classroom with
one Nobel laureate, and a college dining hall with another.
- My lovely, concrete, one-story middle school was recently bulldozed
and a new one built in its place. The new, asbestos-free facility is
named after another Nobel laureate. But wait! The mother of another
Nobel laureate still lives in town, and was going on a campaign to get
the new place named after her son instead! (What is it with all the
Nobel laureates? Perhaps I should meet some Grammy nominees instead.)
- At a science museum panel, I was identified as being `most likely
to be a rock star' (while an astronomer colleague of mine was identified
as probable realtor).
- My uncle's third wife's niece is married to the son of a well-known
Broadway portrayer of Mark Twain.
- The girlfriend of a former housemate (and cello-playing standmate)
of mine lives in a youth hostel owned and operated by the grandmother
of pop sensation Jewel.
- Another housemate's sister was Ani DiFranco's roommate in college.
- Friends of mine once ate dinner in Cheech's (or Chong's?) living
room, courtesy of the interior decorator sprucing up the place.
- My 6th grade friend Dan memorized pi to 350 digits.
- My 7th grade friend Paul went on to design the SSL encryption scheme
(and crack others) and be featured on page one of the New York Times by
the time I was barely of drinking age. I sold him a lot of floppy disks
in 7th grade.
- My 8th grade science fair rival David was hired as employee #5 at
Google, where he still works. His father also wrote my quantum physics
- I one time met the wife of the US Ambassador to Mexico, as she was
drinking a Corona.
- I do not have an asteroid named after me, but there is a
spaceship `Henry Throop' in the hit SF book Orphans of Earth.
- An ancestor of mine was one of twelve judges responsible for
ordering the beheading King Charles I.
- Popular poet Geoffrey Chaucer testified in 1386 on behalf of
the right of another actual ancestor of mine (Sir Henry Scrope) to bear
arms [NB: `Scrope' was changed to `Throop' when relatives moved to
America after the Charles I beheading incident]:
GEOFFREY CHAUCER, Esquire, of the age of forty and upwards, armed
twenty-seven years, being asked whether the arms, Azure, a bend Or,
belonged to Sir Richard Scrope, said yes, for he saw him so armed in
France before the town of Retters, and Sir Henry Scrope armed in the
same arms with a white label, and with banner; and the said Sir Richard
armed in the entire arms, and so during the whole expedition, until the
said Geoffrey was taken. Being asked how he knew that the arms
appertained to Sir Richard said, that he had heard old knights and
esquires say that they had had continual possession of the said arms;
and that he had seen them displayed on banners, glass, paintings, and
vestments, and commonly called the arms of Scrope.
- Henry Scroop, Lord of Masham -- based on another actual long-dead
ancestor! -- plays a minor role as an inordinately-enthusiastic
supporter of the monarchy in Shakespeare's King Henry V:
Trumpets sound. Enter KING HENRY V, SCROOP, CAMBRIDGE, GREY, and Attendants
KING HENRY V
Now sits the wind fair, and we will aboard.
My Lord of Cambridge, and my kind Lord of Masham,
And you, my gentle knight, give me your thoughts:
Think you not that the powers we bear with us
Will cut their passage through the force of France,
Doing the execution and the act
For which we have in head assembled them?
No doubt, my liege, if each man do his best.
Never was monarch better fear'd and loved
Than is your majesty: there's not, I think, a subject
That sits in heart-grief and uneasiness
Under the sweet shade of your government.
I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Richard Earl of Cambridge.
I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Henry Lord Scroop of Masham.
Henry Blair Throop, SWRI / throop (at) boulder swri
Last modified 18-Mar-2009