Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Planet May

Was amused by literary high-flyer Blake Morrison’s little essay in The Guardian about discovering the other Blake Morrison, a US author with the same name who has written a book called ‘How to Cook Your Daughter.’ The mild and amusing confusion caused to both parties will now be solved by the latter adding a middle initial R to his name.

Amused because, with Google at your side, it is possible to uncover numerous other humans who share your name as the ‘documentary comedian’ Dave Gorman discovered when he set out to find 54 other Dave Gormans (in fact, he made a tv series, a book (‘Are You Dave Gorman?’) and a road show out of the idea, and did a lot of travelling to meet many of them). The full story is on his website, which reveals that fresh Dave Gorman’s continue to keep turning up wherever he goes and although he thinks the whole thing is over, everybody else seems to think he is still looking. He’s a funny man.

So in that spirit, I set out to find some of the other John May’s on the planet. A good place to start is the Yournotme site, which allows you to search the 2001 UK Electoral roll to find out how many people have the same name as you. Answer in my case? : 595. Slightly scary.

From Google I discovered:
John May is the Group Leader for Computer Science in the Center for Applied Scientific Computing (CASC) at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory – one of the main weapons labs in the States. His interests include parallel programming models, performance analysis, parallel I/O, and parallel programming tools. He has served on the MPI-2 Forum, the High Performance Debugger Forum, and the Steering Committee of the Parallel Tools Consortium. Currently, he works on the Parallel Performance Improvement project, where he is investigating performance analysis techniques for massively parallel computers.

I also found ‘The John May RV Park and Museum Center’ in Colorado Springs Colorado. You’ll definitely be tempted to make a visit when you learn that this John May ‘has spent over eighty years travelling and exploring the world to accumulate what is now considered one of the world's outstanding collections of giant insects, related creatures and rare artifacts’ for his Museum of Natural History.

Amazon, of course, is another useful source where I discovered the many and various John May’s who are the authors of the following delights:
- ‘Baccarat for the Clueless’ and ‘Get The Edge At Blackjack’
- ‘State of the Art: An Executive Briefing on Cutting-Edge Practices in American Angel Investing’ (Editor)
- ‘Pluralism and the Religions: The Theological and Political Dimensions’ (Editor)
- ‘Tympanoplasty, Mastoidectomy, and Stapes Surgery’ (with Ugo Fisch)
- ‘Rif Survival Handbook: How to Manage Your Money If You're Unemployed’.
- ‘Tropical fish: Their care and breeding’
- ‘Commemorative pottery, 1780-1900;: A guide for collectors’
- 'Philip,' the schoolday adventures of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh’
- ‘The Magic School Bus Inside Ralphie: A Book about Germs’
- ‘A declaration of the estate of clothing (The English experience, its record in early printed books published in facsimile)’
- ‘Omar Khay-yam for bowlers’
- ‘The theory and construction of the quadrature of the circle: Also, the globe or ball reduced to the cube, and two new measures--the octants, with the inclination of the perpendicular line’

Then there is the prolific John May who is the author of: ‘A Book of Welsh Birthplaces’, ‘Cardiff day by day: the diary of a Capital city’, ‘Reference Wales’, ‘Quiz Rhondda’, ‘Millennium Cardiff: The Last 1,000 Years in the Welsh Capital’, ‘A Chronicle of Welsh events’, ‘The Yearbook of Welsh Dates’, ‘The Twentieth Century Welsh Quiz Book’, ‘The Cardiff Quiz Book.’

The best find was probably various books by John May about another John May – namely Col. John May (b. Pomfret, Conn, Nov. 24, 1748: died Boston, July 13, 1812), an Ohio Company agent and business adventurer

Enough already I think. Given the possibilities for confusion it seems quite astonishing that in my long life so far I have yet to bump into another John May or find another John May’s book or be mistaken for another John May. No doubt I am tempting fate by writing these words.

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