by Valerie Kimble

SANTA FE, Jan. 29, 2008 – Meep-meep.

Popular cartoon character Wile E. Coyote may finally have a chance to capture his longtime nemesis, the Road Runner, when New Mexico Tech’s Van Romero addresses the New Mexico State Senate Wednesday at the Roundhouse.

Romero, Vice President for Research and Development at New Mexico Tech, will join State Sen. Joe Carraro in introducing a Memorial to explain to the upper house why it should endorse the university’s proposal to rub out the Geococcyx californianus version of the state bird.

In the days before the scheduled presentation, a line was added to the Memorial (a request for the Legislature to go on record with its support) referring to Daniel H. López, Tech’s president.

“Everyone knows Dan at the Legislature as one of the chief leaders behind higher ed legislation, and his, shall we say, small frame is a very familiar sight there,” Romero said.

As such, López is referred to in the Memorial as Baccicus shorticus, a take-off on the humorous variety of names ascribed to the two lead characters in the Warner Bros. cartoon cast.

Romero said Warner Bros. is planning to re-release the cartoons, which first appeared in 1949 as animated shorts in American theaters.

But times have changed since the Coyote first set out to trap the speedy avian, and it’s here where New Mexico Tech can help.

As part of a six-part series co-produced by Warner Bros. and Pilgrim Films, the Coyote will seek technical assistance from the science and engineering research university in Socorro “to improve his chances of capturing the Road Runner once and for all,” Romero said.

Specifically, the Coyote will tap into the expertise of the technical wizards at the university’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC).

Those familiar with the basic premise of the cartoon will recall Wile E.’s always-futile attempts to trap the Road Runner, generally using Rube Goldberg-type techniques – elaborate contraptions designed to bring about by complicated means what could been accomplished by much simpler methods.

“It’s the Coyote’s hope that New Mexico Tech will be able to correct his endless fiascos, and see if man can succeed where cartoons have failed,” Romero said.

“Man vs. Cartoon” is the working title for the series to air on True TV, an award winning independent production company, based in Glasgow, Scotland, and networked world-wide.

Romero said that Johnny Gould, head of casting for Pilgrim Films, along with a sizeable crew from the Los Angeles-based company, will accompany him to Santa Fe for the presentation.

Gould said production on the series tentatively is scheduled to begin March 17 at EMRTC.

No live animals will be used during production, Romero added.

-- NMT --