Thursday, May 05, 2011


Who is the smartest man in the world?

Is it Stephen Hawking?  No, probably not.  Sure he's hell-on-wheels with a wicked robot voice, his own personal black hole theory and a recorded IQ of 160, but no, that ain't gonna do it.

Christopher Langen?  Well, he certainly has the highest recorded IQ in the United States at 195 (He'll tell you 200...), but no, contrary to our collective national delusions of grandeur, we are not the world, and there are others, like Kin Ung Yong of Korea, whose IQ scores redefine the charts...

And yes, before you get all snippity at your poor old sub-genius bartender, I know that IQ is not the only measuring stick or even within the only definition of intelligence. However, for the opening to this, my little literary puppet show, it gets us there...

There are geniuses of the heart and of the mind.  There are geniuses in the arts and in the trades.  For certain, the weary waitress who, upon taking my chicken fried steak order as I left Salem for Portland for good, asked me whether I'd like the sausage gravy "all over everything, hun?" was a culinary savant of the highest order.

And yes, I did in fact want the sausage gravy all over everything...

One thing is for certain, however, when a man tells you, in no uncertain terms, that he, and he alone is indeed the one and only smartest man in the world, then he is, most certainly, and without quest, not.

Which is why, despite the grandiose self-adulating title of his podcast, Greg Proops is most definitely worth listening to.  Yes, the gay one from Whose Line is it Anyway, although, turns out he's not actually gay.  Well, not-gay insofar as he is sexually attracted to women, but apart from that, all bets are off...

And maybe I'm the only one who gets it. Certainly the live-audience laughs are thin (or poorly miked), but his hypnotic staccato of turned phrases and verbal miscues can lead his lemming-like horde of digital disciples down a swirling whirlie ride of post-hip cultural references, obtuse historical musings and the occasional wry 12-year-old-girl-like exclamations...

Smartest? In the world? Well, sadly no, but genius in its own tragically-erudite fashion. And no, I do it no justice.

But this week, in his latest submission from his sojourn in the southern hemisphere, the smartest man in the world took questions from the quick-witted denizens of Melbourne (Melbin for those in the geographic know, as it were) when what to my wondering ears did appear, but a nagging query from a snarky foreign lass which made reference to my very own Portland.  Which was recognized for its fine Stumptown coffee and for with devilishly good VooDoo Doughnuts.

And so, when both the smartest man in the world and nagging Aussie harpies and can agree, it only bears further proof that Portland is the greatest city in the world. (And that, my friend, is no delusion of self-agrandizing grandeur...)

Portland Coffee
2 splashes Triple Sec
1 oz Bacardi 151
1 oz Kahlua
3 dashes Cinnamon
3 dashes Nutmeg (are you ready for the nutmeg??)
1 pinch Sugar


  1. The Smartest Man in the World is the one who knows when not to argue with his wife. You may quote me on this gem.

  2. They do kind of pronounce the R in Melbourne. It's more like Mellbhu(r)n. While definitely not MellBORN, Americans sound really annoying trying to say Melbin. And 4 out of 5 Aussies would agree. I can even have them write you, if you'd like. Also, Melbourne has better coffee than Portland. Of that I can most definitely attest.


Be compelling.

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