Today, in the name of experimentation, and because I can't go on a real road trip, I decided to go on a journey through Wikipedia.
Beginning at National Talk Like a Pirate Day I decided to see if it was possible to get from there to Douglas Adams.
I'm sure we all know what Talk Like a Pirate Day is. Within the article was an intriguing link to "Pastafarians (those who follow the teachings of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) who consider pirates to be absolute divine beings and the original Pastafarians."
A cult of pirate worshippers warranted further study, especially as they further the case for pirates being cooler than ninjas. The Pastafarian link diverted me to an article on the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the highest object of their faith.
Pastafarianism, it turns out, is a parody religion "to protest the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to biological evolution." And is seen as a modern version of Russell's Teapot.
Whatever that is.
The prospect of a teapot being a parallel to a creature made of spaghetti and meatballs was too tempting an idea to pass up, and so I duly explored Russell's Teapot, also known as the Celestial Teapot:
"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."
A similar idea, apparently, is the Invisible Pink Unicorn, so naturally I went there next.
"The Invisible Pink Unicorn (IPU) is the goddess of a satiric parody religion aimed at theistic beliefs, which takes the form of a unicorn that is paradoxically both invisible and pink....The IPU is commonly used to highlight the perceived fallacious or arbitrary nature of supernatural beliefs by, for example, replacing the word "God" in any theistic statement with "Invisible Pink Unicorn".
The IPU apparently cast out the Purple Oyster (of Doom) because of a disagreement about pizza toppings, and losing socks is a sign of Her favour.
The information on the IPU handily pointed me to the idea that "colorless green ideas sleep furiously," a nonsense sentence that is yet grammatically perfect and made me immediately think of Tor (of course). This led me to "the gostak distims the doshes," another nonsense sentence that is meant to illustrate the nature of language in that the relationship between the gostak, the doshes, and distimming can be clearly understood even if the words can't:
Q: What is the gostak?
A: The gostak is that which distims the doshes.
Q: What's distimming?
A: Distimming is that which the gostak does to the doshes.
Q: Okay, but what are doshes?
A: The doshes are what the gostak distims.
This is a place that I think Tor would enjoy holidaying in. There is an interactive fiction game called The Gostak, which is written mostly in a nonsense language that the player must decipher. A bit like A Clockwork Orange:
"Glauds! How rorm it would be to pell back to the bewl and distunk them, distunk the whole delcot, let the drokes discren them."
This decidedly strange place led me to the world of interactive fiction. And of course, given as an example of this is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game, "the first interactive fiction game to intentionally cheat players."
Which, of course, led me neatly to Douglas Adams.
Which just goes to show that in Wikipedia you can get to anywhere from anywhere else, if you have too much time on your hands.