Happy Birthday, Laura King!

A few months ago, Laura King was riding a bus in Argentina with some nerd named Jeff Buckley, and they started talking about some weirdly amusing little blog called “Pharyngula”, which led to a long discussion of evolution, which led to a relationship*, which led to her now-boyfriend asking me to send her birthday greetings over the internet while she’s spending her special day working at a field station.

So…Happy Birthday, Laura King! May your every year make you smarter and wiser, and may you continue to contribute to human knowledge.

This brings back memories. Growing up in the Puget Sound area, every morning before school we would watch the local television clown, JP Patches, who would do jokes and skits and introduce cartoons. Every show would end with JP reading off the list of boys and girls who were having birthdays that day. I have become that noble clown now — it’s a good day for me.

*I hope. If I’m enabling some creepy internet stalker, I’ll feel awkward, for sure.


  1. Bride of Shrek says

    Truly, I had this moment of epiphany on my third child’s 1st birthday a few weeks ago. Everone’s ringing in from around the country, wishing her well, sending her preents and cards and I’m thinking, no really, it was a truly shitty day for me. From now on, I’m sending my mother a present on my birthday, she did all the bloody work and she’s the one that deserves the pressie.

    As an addendum strangely I did not have this thought on my second child’s birthday which is the day after mine and, as she was born 2 minutes after midnight I spent 20 hours of my own birthday in labour at 30 weeks AND my hubby hadn’t bought me present. Now that day was truly fucked.

  2. says

    My mum was born on my mother’s 29th birthday… so my grandmother spent her 50th birthday organising my mother’s 21st (the big one, here) AND my mother’s wedding, which was put on the same date for convenience. I’m not sure whose…

  3. Stephen Couchman says

    I’ll say it before the IDiots can:

    You’ve been a notable clown for years, Doctor.

  4. says

    the local television clown, JP Patches

    I remember JP Patches. Talk about a blast from the past…

  5. casz says

    JP Patches! I remember watching him when growing up in Vancouver. Ah the local kids show era:)

    Happy birthday, Laura. Many successes to you.

  6. the source of all families says

    “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, of whom every family on heaven and earth is named.” – Ephesians 5:14-15

  7. says

    Happy Birthday Laura! And hi Jeff! The things that come out of field courses with Lougheed, I was on the one the year before to Mexico….

  8. True Bob says

    “Patches? We don’t need no stinking Patches!”

    Our local clown was Ronald McDonald, reading us Prince Valiant etc., out of the Sunday funnies.

    Oh, Happy Bidet, Laura!

  9. says

    Speaking as a creepy Internet stalker, it’s things like this that give me hope in humanity. Thanks, PZ! Now the dead chipmunks I mail to my beloved’s workplace have that much more meaning.

  10. CrypticLife says

    If the relationship works out, it wasn’t stalking.

    Least, I hope not. Otherwise I’d have been stalking my now-wife. Not through Pharyngula, though. She was a fashion design major.

  11. dead santa says

    In Minnesota, we had Axel and his dog. Axel spoke with an outrageous Scandinavian accent. You can see him here: treehouse

  12. Mooser says

    I hope. If I’m enabling some creepy internet stalker, I’ll feel awkward, for sure.

    Don’t worry. It wasn’t me.

  13. fusilier says

    Bride of Shrek:

    Daughter #2 shares a birthday with My Beloved and Darling Wife. Since we’d been married 12 years, I knew better than to forget a present.

    According to the OB nurse, opal earrings in a platinum setting were the perfect accessory to an epidural syringe.

    James 2:24

  14. says

    Yes, I actually had a conversation with JP Patches at a county fair a few years ago, and he reminisced about being from Minnesota, and even knew where Morris was.

    Seattle has a substantial population of Minnesota expatriates — including my mother’s family. I think lots of them moved there when they were hauled off the family farm to fight in WWII, and came back via the Seattle harbor…and decided the Pacific Northwest was a nicer place to live than Frostbite Falls.

  15. Morfydd says

    JP Patches and Gertrude were doing a book signing at Seattle Center a few years ago. I happened to be dragging a friend around sightseeing, saw the signing and had to buy a book and get my picture taken with them.

    My hair was crayon-red at the time, and they complimented it. So I’ve had my haircolor complimented by clowns, which horrifies my mother no end.

    And happy birthday Laura!

  16. MissAgentGirl says

    In light of the new found glory, what kind of notable clown name is PZ Myers anyway?

    I smell a contest.

  17. watercat says

    “If the relationship works out, it wasn’t stalking.”

    What the hell’s that supposed to mean? It sounds dangerously close to those who claim it wasn’t rape if he marries her after. Stalking is criminal harassment. It’s a crime, and for good reasons.

  18. says

    PZ, are you sure you’re not Boris S. Wart?!!

    I, too, grew up with JP Patches and always went looking for the City Dump whenever the folks took us Downtown or to the Seattle Center (from “Big Hair” Lynnwood). Loved the unscripted double entendre and, of course, wanted to be a Patches Pal like all the other kids.

    And Happy Birthday to Laura.

  19. CR3 says

    “What the hell’s that supposed to mean? It sounds dangerously close to those who claim it wasn’t rape if he marries her after. Stalking is criminal harassment. It’s a crime, and for good reasons”

    Stalking is unique in that it’s criminality rests on the perceptions of the victim. Depending on whether they are slightly interested or repulsed, the exact same actions can be regarded as “sweet” or “stalking”.

    Of course, there are some actions that will ALWAYS be stalking, as they are so unbalanced that they would cause a person to lose any interest they had in their potential suitor.

  20. Marshall says

    If anybody were ever to convince me that God exists, they would have to use Jeff Buckley’s music as evidence.

  21. TheWireMonkey says

    Jon Stewart proposed to his girlfriend (now wife) via the NY Times crossword puzzle. I remembered the puzzle, but it wasn’t until Will Shortz was a guest on the Daily Show that I found out that it was for Jon Stewart.

    We had Bozo the Clown. Why do they need to add “the Clown”? the clothes generally give that fact away, no?

  22. Bryn says

    We had Bozo the Clown. Why do they need to add “the Clown”? the clothes generally give that fact away, no?

    It was to differentiate between his evil twin, Bozo the Evil Incarnate. Like many twins, they were dressed alike by their parents; confusing the two was a frequent, if final, mistake.

  23. Cathy in Seattle says

    Happy Birthday, Laura, keep up the good work!

    Hello Patches Pals!!

    As PNW’ers know, JP is alive and well and still out there. He still has his sence of humor, and is still wonderful around kids.

    I went to my friend’s 50th bd party a couple of years ago and his wife had hired JP PAtches to show up – which he did – and he led us in a hula hoop contest.

    He showed up at a halloween party we went to, and last Saturday my husband went to another party that JP was at. You can never be too old to be a “Patches Pal”…

    (BTW, my little sister’s Brownie troop got to be in his TV audience back in around 1970. JP asked for a volunteer for a dental exam demonstration, my little sister volunteered, and when the dentist asked Judy if she was agood girl and brushed her teeth every day, she said “no”. Honest, but my mother almost died of embarrassment.)

  24. says

    You Aren’t Really A Clown.

    If You Don’t Have Really Really Big Shoes.

    Which Require A Creator (the Great Shoemaker).

    And Which Evolved From Regular Shoes (To Be Funnier/Sexier).

    So, Clown Shoes Prove Both That There Is A Creator (of Clown Shoes).

    And That Evolution Is True! (Chicks Really Dig The Big Shoes)

  25. says

    I believe this marks the first time I’ve seen J P Patches in connection with evolution… or anything or than retrospectives on KIRO, for that matter. Well done! :)

  26. says

    Sheesh, watercat, PZ simply hopes that it’s *true* that there’s a relationship. If the guy has lied about it, and he’s not actually her boyfriend, then it’s deeply weird and probably stalking. There’s no equation of the two concepts.

    Happy Birthday, Laura!

  27. fatherdaddy says

    I loved JP as a kid. I freaked when he not only wished me a happy birthday on TV, but he told me where to find my present. Good times.

    Happy anniversary of your birth, Laura.

  28. Sili says

    TheWireMonkey (#29),

    I gather you haven’t watched Sex and the City.

    I’m afraid I can’t find a clip on Youtube, but there was an episode where Samantha discovers signs of age and ends up sporting Bozo the cunt.

  29. trollhattan says

    Holy cow, a JP Patches reference! In that spirit and lest we forget, a moment for Stan Boroson with SloMo and NoMo the basset hounds and Brakeman Bill with Crazy Donkey, the only one of the bunch who could crack up the cameramen.

    Damn liberal kidz media!

    We return you to the birthday felicitations!

  30. Josh Hayes says

    Ironically, although I live in the former JP Patches area now, I grew up in Buffalo, where we had Commander Tom (who was also the weatherman; now that I think of it, that poor shlub must have had a LONG work day).

    Commander Tom had, on his show, Roger Ramjet cartoons, and as I remember them now, 40-some years later, they strike me as pretty subversive. But what stuck with me was that Roger had a dog, named “Dog”, who barked, “Bark. Bark. Bark.” It was almost Pirandello-esque.

  31. says

    OMG I haven’t thought about JP Patches in years. Thanks for the memory jog. Some of my best childhood memories are of that show. :)