Answers to the ultimate questions

I was rereading two novels by the late Douglas Adams the past month - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul

When Adams was finsihed with the Hitchhiker's series, he came up with this diptych starring Dirk Gently, an eccentric who runs a self-titled Holistic Detective Agency. He doesn't use many/any traditional detective methods, but in a odd Holmesian way he seeks the "fundamental interconnectedness of things."

Dirk says: "I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose."

One of his specialities is finding missing cats. Of course, he uses Schrodinger's quantum mechanics equation to find them. (Why use that, you ask? Check out this book.)

Adams was the script-editor for Dr. Who from 1978-1979. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't like sci-fi, so they avoid the Hitchhiker books. That's really a shame. It's not Star Wars and all that. When I taught his first book, I always read the first few pages aloud and had students read the rest of chapter one silently before they decided if they wanted to read that book or choose another. There were always a few who laughed out loud at some line along the way.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

If you're still disinclined to trying his books, do the same thing with the Dirk Gently books. I think you'll be happily surprised.

The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul

, the second Dirk book, is described at like this: "When a passenger check-in desk at London's Heathrow Airport disappears in a ball of orange flame, the explosion is deemed an act of God. But which god, wonders holistic detective Dirk Gently? What god would be hanging around Heathrow trying to catch the 3:37 to Oslo? And what has this to do with Dirk's latest--and late-- client, found only this morning with his head revolving atop the hit record "Hot Potato"? Amid the hostile attentions of a stray eagle and the trauma of a very dirty refrigerator, Dirk Gently will once again solve the mysteries of the universe..." It's full of gods. Norse ones.

Dirk also has a I-Ching calculator that helps him find answers. There's one online that is based on the one Dirk uses in the book The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul. Don't adjust your monitor. The "red" key IS blue.

How to use it:

1. Concentrate soulfully on the question which is besieging you.
2. Write It Down.
3. Ponder It.
4. Enjoy the Silence.
5. Achieve Inner Harmony and Tranquility.
6. Push the Red Button.

Need to use the calculator? Click here

I am not a video game player at all. I've been reading about the use
of gaming in education, but I'm not convinced of the value yet. My kids
didn't have video games when they were young. I have never sat with a
joystick in my hands for hours and hours. In fact, I have only
completed ONE computer or video game. It was a crude, all text game that I had on a big old floppy disk and that ran on my Apple IIe computer. It was based on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It was sold by Infocom in 1985. It was one of the best-selling games of 1985 (250,000 copies that year) It was really "interactive fiction." I am delighted to say that the old clunk classic is available online at

There are also a few jazzed-up, modern, Flash versions at

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something more bizarrely inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened." ~ Douglas Adams

More on Douglas Adams at his site and at


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