Australian reader Snoggeramus, who's contributed many candidates for our Doofus Of The Day award, drew my attention to this 1997 report.
George Alexander of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports that attorneys for Oleg Cassini phoned, saying how dare JPL put the fashion designer’s name on its Saturn probe without permission.
JPL’s lawyers replied that the Cassini spacecraft was named for Jean Dominique Cassini, an 18th century astronomer.
“There was a long silence on the other end of the phone,” Alexander said, “followed by an ‘Oh.’ ”
Talk about an argument lost in space.
Yes, that would have left egg on the lawyers' collective faces. I wonder if they were even aware, before this happened, that their fashion idol boss was named for someone rather more historically famous than he'll ever be? It's probably too late to give them a Doofus award, but I reckon they deserved one!