Charles de Gaulle is reputed to have complained about France: "How can
one expect to govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six kinds
of cheese?".  Fifty million frenchmen implies an ungovernability index
of 4.92 x 10^-6 cheese varieties per person.

Pity the over-cheesed nation.  In the past two hundred some years,
France has experienced monarchy, a revolution, a first republic, a
reign of terror, a directorate, a consulate, an empire, a first
restoration of the monarchy, a hundred days' restoration of empire, a
second restoration of the monarchy, a second republic, a second
empire, the Paris Commune, a third republic, the Vichy Regime, a
fourth republic, a near military coup, student revolts, she's now in
her fifth republic.  It's enough to put you off cheese for a

So imagine the horror of belonging to a polity with an ungovernability
index four orders of magnitude higher.  Unfortunately, dear reader,
that most unwieldy entity, the one that measures in at a whopping 4.36
x 10^-2 cheese varieties per person, is our very own Computer Science

Check the figures yourself.  Here are the Monday morning cheeses
[disclaimer: not all cheeses available each Monday morning]:

   Plain cream cheese
   Veggie cream cheese
   Cream cheese with chives
   Bacon Scallion cream cheese
   Cream cheese with honey and walnuts
   Jalapeno cream cheese
   Smoked salmon cream cheese
   Olive with pimentos cream cheese
   Light plain cream cheese
   Light herb and garlic cream cheese
   Light veggie cream cheese
   Light strawberry-flavored cream cheese

That last one should count double towards ungovernability, even if it
is made from real strawberries, so 13.

And here are the people: 43 faculty, 89 staff, 166 graduate students,
so 298 in all.

Jim, our Chairman, is just back from a year's sabbatical in France.
Has he sought guidance in the drafty cliffside caverns where Roquefort
acquires its distinctive blue-green hue?  Has he braved the legions of
bacteria that haunt the unpasteurized Camembert?  Has he tasted the
Chabichou, the Picodon, the Caillote de Brebis? ... Let us hope he

But perhaps his task will not be as tough as the cheese index

Consider Britain, a country with nearly the population of France.  In
the past two hundred years she has had one continuous, uninterrupted
system of government.  And she is no cheeseless land.  What is her

Not so long ago, this Meister visited a Safeway's supermarket in
London.  And here is a list of Safeway's own-brand cheeses that he
saw there:

   English mild cheddar 
   English medium cheddar 
   English mature Davidstow cheddar 
   English extra mature cheddar 
   English vintage Davidstow cheddar 
   Irish mild cheddar 
   Irish medium cheddar 
   Irish matured cheddar 
   Scottish mature Campbeltown cheddar 
   West Country farmhouse mature cheddar 
   Australian strong cheddar 
   Canadian mature cheddar

We must revise Charles de Gaulle's measure.  It is not merely the
number of kinds of cheese, it is their varietal dispersion that
counts.  The British stick with cheddar, we will stick to cream

Cream cheese, and of course bagels, donuts, and coffee, will be
available in the department lounge at 10am.

- Message Meister

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