Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Leather Clad Elfin Parcel

In all honesty, I hesitate to place this leather clad elfin parcel up for auction. Although I'm certain it will fetch a handsome sum, I am loathe to depart with it at this time. You see, the magic it contains could very well come in handy next week when I set forth to sally into yon enchanted woods for so as to visit the lair of my forebears. The wood is full of creeping things and it helps to be armed with a little fairy dust. And this is just the thing to carry it in.

Still in all, I need to buy some hardtack and a decent pair of boots, so I offer this fine example of Second Age Rivendell knapsackiana to the highest bidder. My reserve price of $250 may seem a bit steep, but please keep in mind that this pack is identical to, and may actually be the very pack worn by Elrond Halfelven to haul around his various elvish amulets and talismans. There is some amount of honest wear - please note the mended tear in the lower left quadrant - but, generally speaking, this parcel is in good to very good condition, or at least as good as any other Second Age article of elfwear you're likely to find, and face it, you're not all that likely to find any at all. So bid high and bid often, Middle Earthlings; it could be yours!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Solution to the Korean Crisis

"Yo, Jong!"
""Say, wha?"
"Is that you, Dear Leader?"
"No go by Dear Leader anymore."
"No? Peerless Leader?"
"No Peerless. No Dear Father. Now just General Secretary of Worker's Party."
"Oh. Demoted, huh?"
"No, not... Who is this?"
"Yeah, it's me."
"Who?"
"Right."
"What?"
"Not what. Hu. Hu Jintao."
"Oh. Hu. Why you not say so? How you been?"
"Not bad. Yourself?"
"Not too good, myself."
"Oh?"
"Just a touch of radiation poisoning. No big deal."
"Yeah, about that..."
"I know, I know. You don't like our new bomb."
"Hey, it's nothing personal. It was kinda puny, though."
"Next one will be bigger, I promise. So why you vote to impose sanctions, declare war?"
"Whoa, hold on there, Oh Mighty One. We don't want war."
"Too late. You side with American dogs. We at war with China. We at war with Russia, Japan, whole world. Especially USA."
"Funny you should mention the USA. I just got off the phone with Bill Clinton. He offered you a deal."
"Wait a minute. Bill Clinton is not president. George Bush is president."
"Yes, but George Bush won't talk one-on-one, you know that. Bill Clinton is still willing to talk one-on-one."
"Hmmm. So what does Bill Clinton have to say?"
"He says if you give up your existing weapons, allow inspectors in and agree not to pursue a nuclear weapons program at any time in the future, the U.S. will make it worth your while."
"I heard that one before. They bring us into the 21st century. They send us medicine, pizza, sushi.."
"All that, but more."
"They help us build nuclear plants. They run them for us, provide cheap power."
"Yes, but there's still more.."
"They give us quick infusion of American dollars. Gold. Gadgets and videos."
"Yes, yes, they'll give you all that and more. Especially one thing more."
"I already said no to all that. Even gadgets and videos. What more does USA have to offer?"
"Disneyland."
"Disneyland?"
"Disneyland. Disneyland Pyongyang, to be precise. And not just an equal to Anaheim or Orlando either. Disneyland Pyongyang would be bigger and better than both of them put together. Bigger rides. Twice the fun. Shorter lines.."
"Lines?"
"What am I saying? No lines for the Dear Leader, of course."
"General Secretary of Worker's Party."
"Right. Just lines for millions of Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese visitors. All with lots of money to spend. Bill Clinton says if you act today, USA will throw in 40 world class 18-hole golf courses. That's 720 holes."
"Is that so?"
"It is so. And just think, Dear General, Number One Son will no longer have to run off to that tiny Disneyland in Tokyo anymore. The best will be right here at home. So, what do you say, Kim? Is it a deal?"
"Hmmm. Let me think about it."
"This offer won't stay on the table long, you know. Next week we start boarding your ships."
"Tell you what. Tell Bill Clinton we want a Hollywood, too. Then we have a deal."
"I'll get back to you."

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Larvals

When Arnie & Harvey Larval's mother died, it caused quite a stink. No foul play or anything like that - I mean it caused a stink, a funk, an eau-de-corpus, as it were. We caught wind of it a quarter mile away, while Arnie and Harvey, who had lived in Mrs. Larval's basement since they was teenagers, never noticed a thing other than meals were getting scarce. Once aroused by the sheriff, they had to come out of the house in order to get her buried. Harvey suggested digging a hole in the basement but the sheriff wasn't having any of it.

As funerals go, it weren't nothing much.

Later they was to find out the food their mother'd fix them had to be bought at a store and prepared. It was all more than they bargained for, especially Arnie who couldn't so much as pick his teeth without help. We hear tell Harvey found a stash of cash in a closet and learned himself how to use the telephone to call out for pizza. I hope they can hear the doorbell away down in that basement.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I, Satyr

Believe it or not, I was once one of those devil-may-care baby satyrs. I was happy lapping up the wine and rubbing up against the young nymphs. Dionysus himself once gave me a pat on my hairy rump and told me how much he enjoyed watching me cavort.

But that Dionysus, despite his mortal mother, is a god, and, hence, immortal. Not so us lowly satyrs. We grow old and wizened. Our hooves crack and our horns become nubs. The drunkeness and the debauchery take a toll. We turn bitter. It doesn't help that those damned nymphs stay young and hot forever.

My only solace now is my flute. Trite merry trills are the fluff of the past. My playing is seasoned now with long bended minors and polytonality. I call it the Sadder Blues.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mallacy

Mallacy never meant to hurt anyone. It's just that he never cottoned to prying eyes and that's about all that's about.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nothing



Nothing can be done except little by little.
- Charles Baudelaire

Thursday, October 12, 2006

el Diablillo de Dios

God's imp stations himself by the cave entrance and watches as pilgrims make the climb. A shame, he thinks, they all waste their time so. You'd think they'd confer with earlier trekkers and learn that no one - no one - gets in.

Back on Mount Olympus, they were too high for mortals to reach. (That was where the cloud legend originated; as if God, weighing in at 310, could walk on water vapor.) Before you knew it, a couple of million years went by, the mountains folded in on themselves and God became a cave dweller. Word got around. The place was besieged by spelunkers and the need arose for a concierge.

That Heaven had to go to Hell for a doorman shows how effective the underworld army is at defending the underworld. They make good agents and lobbyists, too.

The little devil God adopted was more than up to the task. He kept his teeth and claws sharpened. He learned to crack his tail like a whip. And should the do-gooders slip by him, they were no match for him once inside the cave. El Diablillo could see clear as day in near total darkness and he could scamper like no one's business, up walls, off rocks, you name it. He was in his element.

The pilgrims approach. The imp eyes ankles, salivating.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stone Worship

Before before, there was the veneration of stones. Gems and meteorites were held in highest regard, followed by stones that, cloudlike, contained the faces of animals. Fossils explained life underground and stones brought back from mountaintops were the properties of gods. The dead were returned to earth and anchored with stones, first to deter the animals from digging them up, later to keep the ghosts from their haunts, and finally to mark the lives gone on. As close to permanent as anything the earth had to offer, stones were to be revered.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The King Who Couldn't Make Up His Mind

Once there was a king who couldn't make up his mind as to whether his kingdom should be real or imaginary.

If his kingdom were real, he could hold intelligent two-way conversations with a wide range of subordinates and subjects. They could produce real goods that he could commodify and trade with neighboring kingdoms for more real goods which he could in turn sell to his subjects. He would become wealthy beyond all imagining.

But if his kingdom were imaginary, he wouldn't need to listen to the inevitable harping of his subordinates and subjects. He could imagine they were singing his praises and extolling his virtues. And while the goods his subjects produced were the stuff of dreams, surely there was a market in other lands for such ephemera. He was certain he would become wealthy beyond all imagining.

He let his subjects know of his dilemma. They were none too keen on being put to work producing real goods in order to make their king richer than he already was, which was a hell of a lot richer than any of them were. Thinking that the profit margin on unreal goods was lower than that of real goods and that it would be much easier on them to produce things that didn't exist, they opted for the imaginary kingdom. That was good enough for the king. He changed the name of the kingdom to Hollywood, put his subjects to work 22 hours a day, broke up the unions, and made a killing selling nothing to nobodies. In this way he became wealthy beyond all imagining.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Koreans Face Off

South Koreans fired warning shots over the heads of North Korean soldiers today at the demilitarized zone between the two countries.

From the BBC:
"One Southern military source, speaking anonymously to The Associated Press, said it was unclear whether the intrusion was 'intentional or whether it was to catch fish'."

"We saw them advancing and it appeared they were armed with long, narrow poles of some sort," the source went on to say. "They could have been fishing poles, but they might just have well been some kind of new-fangled rifle. Then, when we saw they were also equipped with woven rattan baskets attached to their waists, we figured they might be carrying radio controlled mini-nukes and that the pole-like things might be antennae for the trigger system. You never know."

After being fired upon, the North Korean soldiers retreated the thirty yards back to their side of the DMZ, possibly to regroup and rethink their strategy.

Tension has been high between the two countries ever since this week's announcement from North Korea that it was preparing to test a nuclear weapon. South Koreans have been told to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, such as incoming rockets or young North Koreans with nuclear bombs strapped to their bodies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pope Freaks

Pope Ben Edict freaked today when he learned limbo abolishment, or 'limbolishment' in the coloquial terms of the day, shall soon be the order of it - the day, that is - as well as the letter of the law.

"Oh woe betide us all" he is said to have moaned on learning that dead unbaptised babies will be made homeless once kicked out of Limbo Land. He expressed his concerns to a luncheon of popeseekers this afternoon thusly:

"We're not about to condemn the poor little souless tykes to the fiery pits of Hell, now are we? Of course not. But you can bet we aren't letting them join the country club either, if you catch my drift. So Heaven's out, Hell's out, Limbo's out.. what's left? Guantanamo?"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Buddhacocoon

Siddhartha's father emptied his vaults to lavishly furnish a palace for his son, who was prophecied to be king or Buddha, take your pick. Dad chose king. He might have put the money to better use. The castle became a jewel-encrusted cocoon, Siddhartha Gautama nestled therein.

Singing, dancing, laughing child actors were paid to play their joyous roles. Crying and yelling were made capital crimes. Echoes of some muffled blues were once heard but mistaken for honky-tonk.

Excursioning out from the palace, Sid came upon four passing sights.








An old man, a sick man and a corpse taught him of change, decay and inevitability. And a mendicant monk taught him of his destiny. All to the same end. He gave it all up and readied himself for a nap beneath the Bodhi Tree. He awoke without resplendence, the Buddha.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Unknown

At least, his identity was unknown until Bluggle Stumply filled me in. It seems this is Neville Crabs. See comment.

Note to all: Please feel free to identify those personages lacking stories.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

October

October leads you into the woods like a park ranger. He draws your attention to juniper, thrush, laurel and chipmunk. Enthralled, you follow. It gets a little darker, a little cooler. What's green turns olive, gold and brown. He points out salamanders, mushrooms. You kick aside fallen leaves. The path narrows. That's deadly nightshade. There's something with black wings flying fast toward you. You duck. Never mind that, here's witch's snuff.

Pretty soon it drizzles. You slow down to avoid the webs and vines. October moves on ahead of you and is soon out of view. The path is now less a path, more a series of choices you have to make. Briar patch, no. Swampy area, no. Chasm, no... It rains. Gets darker. Something canine barks and howls. A flash of lightning, the crack of thunder. Bushes and trees grow arms, the wind waves them around at you. Thorns tear into your flesh. It's getting harder to pull your feet out of the mud. The smell of your sweat and blood catches the wind and carries.

Never get swept up by October.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tarqeq

The Inuit look to Tarqeq, the moon spirit, to keep them on the straight and narrow. For Tarqeq, from his perch, can spot those gone astray and nudge them back onto the path.

But when the Man in the Moon is sleeping and the night sky is dark but for stars, all bets are off. Forget the full moon; it's the new one that produces mad poets and fools.