The Blog = Library Card

Today our continuing series of literary classics which may or may not have been improved if conveyed through the medium of texting turns its focus to the great tradition of Victorian ghost stories. The selection we’ve chosen is The Horror at Braughmsby Gate: A Tale of Unsettling Transpirance by C. H. Metherwill, a popular author around the time when wainscoting was much discussed.

The Horror at Braughmsby Gate: A Tale of Unsettling Transpirance by C. H. Metherwill

It was on or about the 23rd of October, 18__ that the following exchange occurred, which with pen and patience I hereby relate 4 posterity.

I had chosen 2 take lodgings @ the parish of the local vicar for the summer solstice, being of temperant custom @ the time, and none 2 infractious. During dinner, he was seen 2 recline at leisure w/ pipe & tobacco & heard 2 recount this chilling factual narrative:

“It was on the eve of frostmas, 18__ that a most troubling apparition materialised @ Underswich Moor past sundown, causing the charwoman 2 wring her hands most fitfully and exclaim, in a tone that it pains me 2 say in such pleasant company can only be described as tremulous, ‘My word! ‘Tis an apparition that bears the most striking resemblance 2 the late Mme. Foursault!’ At which point she made haste 2 call on Father Wickerby, who was undoubtedly put out by the lateness of the hr., having been inclined 2 put himself abed early w/ pipe & tobacco & his notes 4 a defence of the Episcopacy @ the Archdeaconry of Chulbridge Friar.’ “

I leave it upon U, dear reader, 2 judge whether this extraordinary tale seems 2 ring of truth or cruel fiction, but whithever, it has now certainly been set down, & thus no further comment can be made which may affect the behaviors or attitudes of those named within it. May God look kindly upon their labors!


Questions for review:

1) How do you think this story would have differed if it were actually, you know, good?
2) Imagine the names in this story were names like Flannery, O’Shaughnessy, and Doyle. Would that make you even angrier? Are there any nationalities you can think of besides the Irish that you don’t particularly care for?
3) How much would you pay to get the last two minutes of your life back, and why?


Do Read the Fine Print Etched Upon Your California Roll

Yes, Akihiru, the valiant one they call The Whispering Ghost is dead, his body left for the gods upon the mighty Rock of the Tenth Son---and you are the Last Samurai. Yes, it is true; as you had long believed you might be, you are the final soldier in a great and proud line, and thus you must fight on, carrying the burden of all those samurai who have fallen before you. If you are ready for the immense responsibility of being the Last Samurai, draw your sword gently across my left palm, and your destiny will be sealed.

You make me proud, Akihiru! All right then. As the Last Samurai, your main responsibility will be to write the story of your people for future generations to learn from. Deep in the cold woods of the Kabato Mountains will you spend day and night listening to the spirits and transcribing their individual histories, going without food or drink for long periods out of respect for their sacrifices, writing until your hands bleed and break. We’re looking to have this project done by next summer, next autumn by the latest, and then your words will ring out through the coming centuries, and all that the samurai have struggled for will not be in vain. Best to start outlining and taking some basic notes right now so you don’t forget everything. We’re going to need about a hundred leather-bound copies. No, two hundred.

Also as the Last Samurai, it falls upon you to compile a spreadsheet of all your dead comrades, listing their achievements, their glories, and yes, even their failures. Like the story of your people, this too is for the future generations. The spreadsheet will be long and its compilation most difficult; again there will be no food and water for long periods, but I know that you have the inner strength to prevail. It goes without saying that the headers of each column should be in bold blue type, does it not, Akihiru?

I’m thinking it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to keep hosting the samurai web site, so as the Last Samurai can you give Yahoo a call and have that taken down? Also, the samurai bulletin board in the sacred chamber beside the Nobu River seems to be sort of pointless, so that should go, just be careful not to damage the wall when you unscrew it. What else...oh, you should probably send out a message to the email list and let them know it’s just you now. Put a thing in there about how downloading the samurai social networking app we were working on will probably be a waste of time and money.

Um, someone has to clean out the Ivory Temple of Kenta...and since there are no other samurai left...well, you get the picture. There’s a lot of trash in there, soda bottles and such, so you’ll probably have to stop at CVS and get a bunch of bags. After you clean it, make sure all the lights are off, kill the AC, lock up, and make sure the great warrior Haatu gets both copies of the key. I’ll write to him on blessed parchment and tell him that you’re the Last Samurai and he won’t give you any hassles. Cancel the mail there, too, now that I think of it.

When you’re done all that, just take a look around the area, you know, give it a once-over, make sure we didn’t forget anything, and after that I guess you can just go keep upholding the noble ideals of the samurai, fighting whoever needs to be fought and such. You might want to be, you know, extra careful, since after you, there’s really no backup plan. We really don’t have the budget to just keep cranking out samurai.

Shoot, you know what? We had that charity thing all set up where those lonely women were going to bid on dates with samurai. We can’t cancel that, we already paid for the ad, so as the Last Samurai...do us a solid?


Animal Magnetism

Randy, I know that look on your face, but just keep the flashlight steady and listen to me, all right? Here...put your hand against this part of the wall right here. Now tap on it. Hear that echo? It goes through the entire thing. Which means this wall, which we know from the schematics to be no more than five inches thick, is also hollow as a drum. Look at this hole someone accidentally kicked in it last month--you could break through this thing in about three seconds if you wanted to bad enough. Seems we’re confronted with some basic, incontrovertible facts here. Number one: tomorrow morning at ten a.m., the 2010 Chumbler’s County Cat Show will begin in this space, drawing more than seven hundred and fifty attendees over the course of two days. Number two: the cat show crowd will be separated from space 2A by a hollow five inch wall which can be breached practically by breathing on it. Now it’s fact number three which terrifies me, Randy, absolutely terrifies me. Point the flashlight at the registration book, right here. Hold the beam steady, now. Read those words and try not to panic.

That’s right. Noon tomorrow is when the Association of Portly Women Who Tend to Wear Sweatshirts Advertising Midwestern Vacation Spots convenes for their semi-annual convention, right beyond this wall. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me they won’t be able to hear what’s happening on the other side. You tell me that, dammit! Because if and when they do...I don’t want to think about it. I just don’t. What I want is for you to round up Sal and Pepito and Luscious Larry and get them out here on the double, because if we start right now, we might just be able to collect enough bricks and cement to thwart a potential catastrophe. This building was not even remotely designed for a possible stampede like the one we’re facing--we’re missing three fire extinguishers, the structural integrity of the floor itself is by no means guaranteed, and Mercy Hospital is chronically understaffed since Target started hiring again. If two inevitably attracting forces are going to collide tomorrow, Randy, they’re going to be a bottle of Michelob Ultra and my grateful mouth, and nothing else, not if I can help it. Because this has happened before, and no one learned. What happened was...well, there was this one group of people in this building, and at some point they became aware of something close by that really compelled them...just a second, it’ll come to me...

Oooo...what a weird feeling I just had, Randy. I don’t know why, but I just got this sense that somewhere out there, there’s some dude sitting in front of a battered typewriter trying to come up with one more easily-mocked-segment-of-the-population-is-wildly-attracted-to-something-they-tend-to-really-go-for analogy in order to close out a blog entry with a cheap joke, and he just can’t seem to pound one out, mostly because his boss keeps passing by his cubicle and if he gets caught slacking off again, it’s back down to Elixirs and Potions where he started, and this time the lead apron stays on through the entire ten hour shift--no exceptions. Do you ever get that feeling?

No? How about the feeling that somebody somewhere has just sat down to eat a baked potato, not realizing that it happens to look exactly like them? Could you imagine? Could you imagine them dying someday having no idea what they had eaten?

These are the things I think about, Randy. Will you hold me?

Blogs in Review: D+
Woman’s Day: C-
Electronic Media Monthly: D-
The Boston Herald: F
Cat Fancier: F
Mom: B for effort

The Streak

A List of Assfaces and Their Trespasses Against Me, the Week of 10/2/2010

1) That dude behind me in the center lane on I-70 at about 4:15 on Tuesday
2) Bob


I’m sorry, but I think this may be the last week I’m going to need someone to transcribe my weekly lists of assfaces and their trespasses against me. As you can see, I’m kind of running out of steam. I know you’ve been doing this for me for nineteen years and I hate to think you’ll have to look for another part-time job, but as I make out the lists I keep having this weird thought that in certain circumstances, maybe it’s
me who’s the assface, not the other parties involved. Do you think this could be? I’m not sure. Whatever the cause, at this rate the only assface I’ll definitely be able to list on a weekly basis is Bob. I’ve thought about splitting him off from the assface list and making a kind of sub-list which details the actual reasons he’s on there from week to week, but honestly, I don’t think that one would have any greater chance at publication than the original.

I’ll gladly pay you through the end of the month if you could just do one wrap-up favor for me, which is to go through the lists since 1991 and circle any duplicates on them so I can get a more accurate total assface count spanning the last two decades. Also, I know I said your son could have the microphone and tape deck I bought last year to create an audio record of the lists, but if Deathraisin is really broken up for good this time, do you think I could have the stuff back to sell on eBay?

Anyway, I’d say we definitely had a good run, wouldn’t you? Lots of memories. As long as every assface since 1991 has been accurately identified, I guess I can make peace with stopping here. And while I once couldn’t imagine you going to work for Bob, I know he always needs help with his daily record of unbelievable jerkwads, and in this economy I wouldn’t blame you for going over to “the other side.”

Thanks for everything,

P.S. If it’s not too much trouble, go back and add the layout editor of Modern Scoutmaster to the list for the week of 3/27/2005. I know I have a hard rule against being retroactive, but I feel I absolutely must make an exception in this case.