The most expensive, bizarre, and obscure work ever created by Dr. Seuss.
Written by Jennifer Noonan • 24 minute read
With graduation less than a week away, the President Emeritus of Lake Forest College was trying not to panic. He’d had an especially difficult time organizing the ceremony that year, and he’d just received word that the scheduled commencement speaker for the class of 1977 was refusing to give a speech.
“I talk with people, not to people,” insisted Theodor Geisel, better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss. The renowned author and illustrator had misunderstood Lake Forest’s invitation, believing the college intended to award him an honorary doctorate—which it did, but with the polite understanding that honorary degrees are the usual currency for graduation speeches. Seuss told President Hotchkiss that he was completely unwilling to address the eager students with anything more than a few words of thanks. He did not, he felt, have any useful advice to offer them.
Hotchkiss found this assertion as baffling as anyone would, considering Seuss’s long and productive career, but Hotchkiss’s subsequent flattery, cajoling, and even abject pleading had no effect. Seuss was willing to chat one-on-one with students at a reception the night before, but he simply wasn’t in the business of telling others how to find success. In desperation, Hotchkiss made one last, whispered overture on the graduation stage as he handed Seuss his certificate. “Would you be willing to say a few words?”
To Hotchkiss’s great relief, Seuss reached into his gown and pulled out a scrap of paper. Despite his capitulation, however, Seuss hadn’t really changed his mind about the value of his own advice: the title of his speech, “My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers,” secretly alluded to the most devastating, colossal failure of his career.
Three times a day, every day–roughly 9am, 2pm, and 8pm Coordinated Universal Time–an extremely low frequency electromagnetic pulse races around the Earth, reverberating between the lower edge of the ionosphere and the planetary surface. These pulses correspond to the peaks of daily lightning activity along the world’s three “lightning corridors” in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. The portion of the lightning-induced electromagnetic emissions whose frequencies match the Earth’s circumference, or a multiple of the Earth’s circumference, are magnified with each pass around the world when the peaks in amplitude align. These “resonances” were first predicted by a German physicist, Winfried Schumann, in 1952, and first measured reliably in the early 1960s.
This regular global pulsation has been likened, somewhat poetically, to the Earth’s “heartbeat” or its “breathing”. In a manner analogous to human cardiac activity or respiration, its rhythm and power are subject to various extraneous influences, such as the seasons, solar activity, or variations in lightning activity. In particular, the phenomenon of positive lightning can cause ectopic spikes or “extra beats” of Schumann resonance.