Local News – Fall 2006

Stranger Creek has a rich history, and many unique local traditions. Although almost everyone reads the town newspaper, it does not cover all the events of interest. For the deeper news, we must depend upon our friends in the community to check in and share their news, announce events, and post other items of interest here.

Out of town visitors will find this the best place to learn what’s really going on, what appears to be going on, or what may never happen at all.

29 Comments

  1. Pamela Locust said,

    For those of you who weren’t there or missed the simulcast on Cable Public Access Channel 3, here are the:

    Stranger Creek Town Council Minutes
    November 1, 2006
    Ben Hobbs, Facilitator

    Present: Hobbs, Bellweather, Bluebeard, Alexander, Talisman, Chen, Hearn, Zeus, Hungadunga, Entwhistle, Gemson, Popdickel, Thompson, Huizinga, Heisendorf, Jenkins, Elder, Mortimer, Thimrod, Wayfarer, Unger, Josti, Dolmen, Matsunaga, Running Water, Locust, Xavier, Forbes-Planet, and Seemer.

    Items:
    Hobbs called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

    I. Approval of the minutes from the last meeting.

    II. Announcements:

    Unger of Public Works said that the new pilings on the bridge have become dangerously corroded. Wayfayer commented that the EPA had tested the creek waters which proved that they were no more polluted than comparable waterways. Unger said that he had seen such reports on the web and that the corrosion appeared to be caused by other factors. Hobbs asked Unger to investigate.

    Gemson announced plans to a commemorate the 1891 Squirrel Gathering. Though news of Gemson’s presentation at the Theosophical Society today had spread, Gemson had to refresh the councilors’ memory about the event 120 years ago. Thimrod asked what the technical term was for a 120th year anniversary, and Hobbs asked Unger to investigate. Unfortunately, due to a broken slide projector those present were unable to see Gemson’s squirrel slides. Gemson invited us all to coffee at his house tomorrow morning when he said that the squirrels in his backyard were most active. Gemson then spoke of his plans for the commemoration which stirred much debate. Hearn proposed a new slogan to be painted on the water tower: “2011 We Shall Never Forget.” Gemson said he would take that idea under consideration, but that Bluebeard’s idea of a petting zoo might raise liability problems. Finally, Gemson asked about obtaining tax free status for his group and Dolmen said he needed to contact the IRS, which caused everyone to laugh darkly.

    Chen reported that the evening events at Hearn Gardens were a great success. Some of the glowing mushrooms were damaged by fireworks, but no one was injured in the resulting spore surge.

    III. New Business

    Wolfgang Heisendorf, owner of the All Souls Bookstore, requested a license to open up a natural foods market that would be called The Natural Foods Market, or simply The Mark, for short. Heisendorf explained that the Mark would carry “bulk foods,” which he defined as foods taken out of their boxes and put into large clear plastic containers allowing customers to inspect the contents of said containers and transfer the contents by use of tongs to plastic or paper bags which would be weighed and then valued according to the assigned price per unit of measurement of the goods in question, the resulting calculation to be recorded legibly on the side of the bag to make the item ready for purchase. Alexander commented that it seemed a lot of work just to buy something. Hobbs asked what sort of foods would be sold. Heisendorf replied that these would be things like cereal, oats, rice, and dried snacks. Hobbs said those items didn’t sound very bulky, and Heisendorf replied that that was just a word for this type of transaction. Gemson asked if the store would include a large selection of nuts. Heisendorf responded in the affirmative. Bluebeard asked about whether pre-peeled fruit could be sold in the same way, and Heisendorf said he had not thought of that. Further suggestions of goods for sale were made by those present; these included cigarettes, slices of bologna, mousetraps, lighters, semi-precious stones like rose quartz, mice, mothballs, breath mints, light bulbs, the little erasers that go on top of pencils, ball-bearings, corks, golf tees, guitar strings, piano wire, small figurines, those air fresheners that look like pine trees that you hang on your rearview mirror, fake tattoos, little pieces of paper suitable for writing a shopping list on, single pieces of chewing gum, and toenail clippers. Heisendorf said that he would think about all of these things when the time came. The Town Council said that it did not sound like a viable business, but that it was his money and he could do what he wanted to with it, and so they approved the license on a voice vote.

    Normal Thompson asked for a permit for an archaeological dig next summer. After a discussion about who would own the mineral rights in case gold or diamonds were discovered, the council approved of the permit on a voice vote.

    R. Jenkins of Roswell Construction complained again of the vandalism at the construction site of Gentle Glen Homes. Hobbs explained that the town was not liable for this. Jenkins responded that the town would be liable unless sherifs responded to repeated calls from the site for investigation. Hobbs said that he would look into the matter and he asked Unger to investigate.

    III. Hobbs and Council Members adjourned to meet in executive session at the Anti-Temperance Tavern. They were still there when I left them at 10:00.

    Respectfully Submitted

    Pamela Locust, Secretary

  2. Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch said,

    Breaking News
    Dateline: Stranger Creek
    November 2, 2006

    Mayor Harold Hobbs held an impromptu political rally at the home of long-time political rival Harold Gemson signaling an end to a once bitter political feud between the “two Harolds” as they are known locally. Hobbs, who is running unopposed in the upcoming election, spoke of the importance of voting next Tuesday, commenting “there are a few matters in the state that Stranger Creek residents might want to voice their concerns about.” Hobbs then turned to international issues speaking of the war in Iraq. “The problem there is that people don’t understand the culture,” said Hobbs. He then traced the history of Iraq from the time of Sargon of Akkad in the 24th century BC to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (d. 562 BC). Hobbs, who is a local expert on cuneiform and the Epic of Gilgamesh, is also president of the town’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society. He concluded his presentation by singing a few patter songs from H.M.S. Pinafore accompanied by Gemson on piano. Asked to comment on the speech, Gemson admitted he was distracted by things happening in his backyard, however he quickly noted that Hobbs had a wonderful singing voice.

  3. Maribel Geers said,

    I couldn’t be more thrilled at the prospect of having a natural food store here in town–but my word, the esteemed members of our town council seem to have their heads even further up their behinds than usual. I suggest we leave the stocking to Wolfgang–and if he stocks his bins half so well as he stocks his bookstore, I’ll be more than satisfied.

    My only advice is to steer clear of selling foods such as olives and dill pickles out of open vats as one never knows what might find its way into the brine. As a mother of nine, I have some experience in this matter.

  4. Bluebeard using Harolds Computer said,

    Hi. I told Harold about my thought and he said I should write them here. So he lent me his computer. I don’t use these things much so I type slow so please know that.
    I said to him I had my idea to let people know about his Squirrel thing and other things in town. Especially those of us not websited and computerized the way he is. So that we could know these things too.

    I thought about what I liked and how I learned new things. And came up with a idea. This is to have our own town Nascar Car. Stranger Creek #404 (is a good number).

    People know that Nascar is the biggest sport in the world ever and that we can see Nascar in Kansas not so far away from us and on TV too. So I dont need to tell you that these cars have lots of Words on them. Many seem to be moving commercials for cigs, soap, Beer and stuff. So why not a Stranger Creek Nascar #404. I was thinking.

    I always liked cars and going fast and you know that i have my Harley. So I can drive that car good. Harold said that was ok by him too. He also said that maybe I could get some money to buy this car from doughnations which I liked as an idea!!

    So here is the thought. The car would have the names of local businesses painted on it, like All Souls Books, the college, the new bulky grocery place, Theosophical society, cemetary, coffin company. I am letting Harold put a picture of a squirrel on the hood since this is his computer I am using.

    Now since this is advertisement you must PAY!!! Different parts of the car will cost more. Maybe people also just want to have their names on it and that is ok too. You come talk to me about all that and we will deicide on the price and cost.

    To give you an idea about what the Nascar car will look like I am fixing up the old 75 Cutlass in my yard. Jim Roberts from the Garage and some other guys like Red, AJ, Monkey-man, and other guys with wrenches and tools and maybe some women maybe will come on Saturday, I think when the sun is warm, around that time to help me get the car off blocks and running again. We will also paint it and thats where the ladies will come in since they is much neater than us guys and maybe they can also serve as models in case we want a picture of one of them on their too. That would be free for her to have it on there this time I think.

    If you want to help with this one, come on over Saturday to my place about 1 o’clock. I am setting to paint part of the car this afternoon too, so you can see that too then if you want. If anyone has extra paint or beer or some new air filter they can bring those too. Anytime is fine for that.

    I hope to have the car ready to drive in the Thanksgiving parade. It will be a sight to watch I think.

    From Bluebeard!

    PS. And this is to Sarah. Sorry about the other night. Coming home so late that I woke you up. Don’t be so mad please. How about we go for a ride on my bike today. I will come by before Bobbie gets out of school.

  5. Freddie Mackbane for Mackbane Auctions said,

    PUBLIC ANTIQUE, ARTIFACT, & COLLECTIBLE AUCTION

    SAT. NOV 18, 2006• STARTING 10 A.M.

    MACKBANE AUCTION CENTER

    1224 Jeralang Street, Stranger Creek, KS

    HIGHLIGHTS ONLY! RITUAL ITEMS – OVER 75 PIECES Oriental, Pacific Island, Middle Eastern, South American. Very old alembic. Black-worm seed. Ornate ritual drum. Very unusual collection of burnable offerings. Guns sell at Noon: Winchester 22 model 69A rifle; AK 47 Chinese vintage; Remington 22 model 510 rifle with bayonet; Russo-Japanese War steam-driven Mitsubishi machine Gun; O.F. Mosberg and Son 22 model 46 rifle with infrared scope; Black powder shot gun; other Semi-Automatic firearms with conversion kits. Pen and Pencil Collections; Crocks; Coolers; Churns; Antique dental equipment; Xu-nu Sacrificial Knife Set with attractive walnut holder. Ground-stone tools (e.g., axes, celts, manos, metates) of local provenance. Muromachi-period tachi (5’); unusual Edo-period wakazashi and matching knife set; Bohemian ear-spoon; and other edged weapons. LPs: Procul Harum, King Crimson, Spirit, Moody Blues. Large selection of Fenton art glass; Royal Doulton, Shawnee, McCoy items; Railroad items; H.P. Lovecraft action figures; Hummel figurines. Mummy collection sells at 4:00 PM: baby mammoths, remains of Capuchin friars from Palermo catacombs, Soviet-era embalmed officials, head of philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832); Siberian Pazyryk remains (female); Jivaro tsanta (shrunken heads) with display stands; grab bag of saint relics; bog body parts; remains from Sir John Franklin arctic exposition of 1845. Lot of fishing lures and reels.

    Auction Conducted by
    FREDDIE MACKBANE AUCTION SERVICE
    Freddie E. Mackbane, Auctioner
    Stranger Creek, Kansas

  6. Bluebeard using Harolds Computer said,

    Hey. I call dibs on that philosopher’s head.

    From Bluebeard.

  7. Sandy Morrison for the Quick Dispatch said,

    LOCAL POET ANNOUNCES NEW SOCIETY

    Randolph David Emerson, a student at Linden College, and noted local area poet (Blue Kansas) held a press conference today to announce the establishment of a local White Voodoo Society, and ask that a chair in Cemetery Magic be established at the College. Presenting a petition with over 75 signatures to Beverly Stillwater, one of the College counseling staff, he said,

    “It is most unfortunate that the elderly members of the Theosophical Museum and the overly timid Council of Elders have once again blocked real growth and development for Stranger Creek. It is obvious from the results of their programs that they have long ceased to have any original or seminal ideas for dealing with the unique situation we face here. Baron Samdi represented a real possibility for radical and profound change. It is a great mistake to prevent his free movement. The White Voodoo Society will seek to re-establish contact, on its own terms, and by its own methods. Those who are brave enough to venture into the future should join us, as we hold our first meeting by Drucker’s Lake in the Congregational Church Cemetery late this evening under the full moon.”

    When asked about the special meaning of ‘White’ Voodoo, Emerson said, “In Voodoo to lose all color is a sign that one has reached a state beyond opposites. White is also a color that denotes an extreme state of detachment from corpuscular compulsions.” He added the frequent use of cemetery ash to cover the skin of participants during ceremonies, was also was a factor.

    Ms. Stillwater accepted the petition and said it would be turned over to one of the College’s academic sub-committees for consideration in the next fiscal planning cycle.

  8. Rod Tyler said,

    Chen Yet Chen’s earlier announcement of the Hearn Garden Tour neglected to mention why it would be inadvisable for the public to wander off the paths. Parts of the garden, those that generally closed to the public, are modeled after a certain experimental horticulture area in Kyushu near Fukuoka that specializes in poisonous plants. There are a great number of these, and perhaps not unsurprisingly they do well in the Kansas climate. Of course, as hardly anyone ventures out into the woods here, and certainly wouldn’t eat anything from the woods, the pharmaceutical properties of native substances, is a relatively untapped field of knowledge. The Hearn gardens includes many of the local Rhus Toxicondendrons such as poison ivy, poison sumac, and trailing poison oak which can cause burning pain in the throat and stomach, thirst, nausea, vomiting, death by shock, convulsions and exhaustion if consumed in quantity. Chen Yet Chen has also nurtured a rare strain of Osage Orange, whose fruit which when mixed with Habanero Tequila causes quick spasms from the head downwards, paralysis, confused vision, and death from exhaustion within two hours. To offset these native plantings, he has developed healthy infusions of the Sand-Box Tree (Hura crepitans) used as a fish-poison in Brazil, and which, if contact is made underneath the skin causes death in 7-10 days. There is also the Witch Oak, whose bark, ground into a paste then dried as a powder, cause spectral illusions, delirium, dilated pupils, madness and death by drowning within two hours; the enormous, unusually aggressive, Venus Flytraps; the Swampbriar Thorns which eject their points at a fairly sharp velocity; the False Musk Grass (P Klinus) which dissolves flesh upon contact; and many other plants of similar disposition. Of more immediate threat are the insects, both native and imported, some, like the Sumatran Preying Mantis, which reach four to six feet in a good year, and require a large daily intake of flesh to sustain themselves; and others, microscopic in size which cause no less damage. I wouldn’t advise swimming in the ponds on the property either. For these reasons I am happy to hear the tour went well this year and there were no accidents.

  9. Chazz Levin said,

    Hey, Blue–

    Count me in for Saturday. I’ll bring Sam and Herk unless they get too wasted Friday night. Sam rebuilt the Mustang he drives (the silver one with the GOFRIT plate). Herk ignorant about cars but he’s a real good artist. He’s done most of the grafitti they’ve been writing about in the paper (don’t tell).

    I’ll bring my sister, too, if you promise to let me drive–not for the parade, but at least one Fri or Sat night between now and Christmas (or maybe a few if things go like I hope). Anyway, Sher says she’ll model as long as she can keep her clothes on but you can use your imagination (good luck–I can’t, but maybe because she’s my sister). She’ll paint, too, but she’s not as good as Herk.

    My bike’s making that noise again. If I come early, can you take a look at it?

    Chazz

  10. Henderson's Weekly said,

    “Henderson’s. Not quick, but well mulled over.”

    Oracle Theatre Renovation Planned
    Randolph Christopher, IVth announced today that he will be undertaking a renovation of the old Oracle Theatre on Superior Street entirely at private expense. The Theatre, housed in one of Stranger’s great Romanesque mansions, was a noted entertainment center in its day, often drawing crowds of over three hundred to performances. Boarded up since the 1912 election day fire, the place has been subjected to many alleged hauntings. Christopher laughed at questions relating to the supernatural. We will not be bring back any ghosts he said, only good entertainment. He said he expects the work to be finished in time for a New Year’s Eve Show.

    Noted Local Medium Dies
    Madame Marie Lasavere, 84, died Friday at her home on Old Gardener’s Road. She had become ill the evening before during a reading at the Theosophical Museum and did not recover after been driven home and put to bed with a warm drink. Those participating in the reading, which was held in the Olcott Chapel were especially distraught by the event and went into seclusion. Melissa Berkeley, Secretary for External Affairs, at the Museum said, “This is a sad time for all of us. We all deeply admired Madame Lasavere and respected her ability to give voice to those on the other side. It is fortunate her legacy will live on in the lives of her students.”

    Girl Missing After Cemetery Outing
    There has been no official confirmation from Linden College, but the Gazette has heard a number of stories related to events held at the Congregational Cemetery last Saturday by a group of students, including a disturbing report that a young woman who participated in the events has not been seen or heard from since that night. College Officials said that they were looking into the matter and that a statement would be issued as soon as they could verify what had actually taken place. There is concern that the recent ordinance adopted by the Town Council on experimental metaphysics may have been broken.

  11. Sandy Morrison for the Quick Dispatch said,

    CONFEDERATE FLAG AT HALF-MAST AFTER EASTERN KANSAS GOES BLUE

    Stranger Creek resident Rod Tyler lowered his red and gray confederate flag to half-mast this morning, as results from yesterday’s election showed eastern Kansas going blue. Although Stranger Creek residents have not voted in an election since 1940 when Wilkie carried the city in a tight race over Roosevelt, many citizens followed this year’s campaign with interest.

    Tyler said he managed to slip out to cast his vote in a nearby County, as did a number of other local residents. “Things were looking good until yesterday,” he said, “I thought we were just around the corner from overturning the 14th amendment. Now, I just don’t know.”

    “This is a sad day for the South,” Rod lamented as eastern Kansas and much of the Midwest rebuffed attempts to be part of The Greater Confederacy. “Next thing you know, people from Canada might start emigrating here. I might just have to move to Texas.”

    Privately, several Town Council members said they were relieved at the results, saying that perhaps Tyler would consider dropping his annual proposal to erect a statue to Jefferson Davis on the old County Courthouse grounds.

  12. Bluebeard using Harolds Computer said,

    Hey This is Bluebeard again

    Harold said I could use his computer for now. He is taking a break from it. He said. He said he felt misunderstood by folks, so he said he didn’t want to even see his computer he said. So, I says that I would, take it off his hands, for a while. And when he wants it back I will give it to him but then maybe I will get my own one then if I want.

    So thanks to all you guys and the ladies for coming to my place on Saturday. To people who did not come then let me tell you we got the car going and off its blocks it was up on. Some people had different ideas about how to paint it and we all set to work on different sides of it. So now the car looks different coming and when its going since one side is black with flames and the other blue and other colors. But that is ok for a Nas-car all of us said.

    Thanks goes to Sarah for showing up. See I told you it would be a blast!!!!
    Same time on this saturday was when what we all said to come here again so come again and bring some paints and tools and I still need that air filter, ok someone?
    So since i took his computer, I asked Harold about writing and how to do it and he said that I should write what I knew and felt about to find the voice but writing about bikes is a good idea but not everyone of you know rides them but I might maybe write about my HOG some other time although I find that when I think about it i cannot find the good words to say. So give me a break on that one for now.
    Now I think I will write about another thing i like that is FINE eating, sort of like they do in the magazines that harold gets where they write about fine restaurants. So that is my idea today, ok?

    So my place to go to eat that is my favorite is International HOUSE of Pancakes which is also called I-HOP. Let me say why.

    1st is because they have all the meals all day and even the night so you can almost live there and it does not matter what time you woke up since you can always get breakfast.

    2econd is because it is International which is why they speak Spanish in the kitchen and why their are foreign foods you can get. I can name some of the French ones. French Toast (but not French fries which are not even French, did you know that?), Belgian Waffles, and Rooti Tooti which is a French word Which the waitress said is all the pancakes with the fruits on them.

    3rd is because they have a large parking lot where all of your friends can meet before a ride on a Sunday. They also have a speaker that plays music into the parking lot, even though it is not so loud it is there which is a good start I think.

    4th is because the food that comes looks real close to the pictures on the menu.

    5th is because if you are on the road and you go to a IHOP in a different place you almost think you are at the one near your home since they even have the same foods and prices for you. Makes me wonder where the first IHOP is at the one that everyone else copied.

    6th is because they give you all that syrup and coffee if you ask (and pay, for the cofffee) and that ain’t a bad thing at all. They even give you seconds on salsa and butter even right at the start if you ask.

    Well, I could make the longer list but I guess that is enough writing for this time. What do you think and where is it you’re best place to go? Like for a date since Sarah doesn’t want to go to IHOP again for a long time after what happened there last time when I was talking and looking long at the waitress named Sheila, but that is a different story to tell or not. So if you know a good place, tell me, ok?
    From Bluebeard.

  13. Henderson's Weekly said,

    Linden College announced that Samantha Wilson, daughter of Dean Roosevelt Wilson, and a student at the College, has been declared missing, and asks that any local residents with relevant information contact the Town Elders. Samantha was last seen Saturday night at an informal student gathering off campus. A reward of $2000 has been offered for her recovery. The College also announced that Randolph Emerson has been put on academic probation, and his transcript will be frozen indefinitely. In a related announcement, the Town Council has instructed Grover Daniels, groundskeeper for the Congregational Cemetery to keep the Cemetery locked after dusk. However, a proposal to increase the sales tax on ritual instruments and artifacts, and to strengthen warning labels on such artifacts was tabled for later consideration.

  14. Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch said,

    Unfinished Symphonies to Remain Unfinished

    Professor Gorton Elm of Linden College has announced an end to his two-year project to channel the great composers. In 2004, Dr. Elm, professor of ethno-spiritual-musiciology and director of the college’s Espiritu Collegio Musicum, launched an ambitious project to recover musical masterpieces employing techniques pioneered by Dr. Normal Thompson of the Department of the Recovery of Lost Cultures. Dr. Elm won a prestigious Cormorell Grant for this project, which he described in press reports as an attempt to “summon the lost harmonies of the world’s greatest composers Bach, Mozart, and others in the hopes of finishing unfinished symphonies and collecting new masterpieces.” Initial experiments with medium Albert King, who uses the stage name Mr. Astoundo, were successful. Astoundo, who never played piano before, was able to pick out simple melodies on a keyboard while in a trance state. In later sessions, he broke out into song, mostly up tempo ballads with off-color lyrics in English and Italian. “We thought that we would be able literally ‘turn the channels’ within him and tune in earlier composers,” commented Elm, “but, that proved impossible.” The only musician Astoundo is able to channel consistently is Louis Prima (d. 1978). “Actually his version of ‘Oh, Marie’ is spot on,” noted Dr. Elger’s collaborator Thompson, “but I guess that’s to be expected.”

    In related news, Mr. Astoundo will be appearing Saturday November 18 as Louis Prima with the Linden College Jazz Band. “Now all we need is someone who can channel Keely Smith,” said Thompson

  15. Bluebeard using Harolds Computer said,

    Hey Bluebeard here again.

    Word of thanks to you guys and the ladies for Saturday. With you we got that car out the mud. Hope we can do it again since RJ got her stuck again. So get over hear again soon and we can move it all over again. Hope that is the last time. You hear that RJ?!!

    Thanks to Monk for rigging the muffler with the holes drilled in it. Now it makes a noise like a real Nas-car. You all can hear us coming from long away. Thanks to to the guys who put some bars and fencing inside her too to give her that Nas-car cage look. Don’t know if it will help with roll overs but the look sure kicks.

    So lots of you and Sarah liked my thinking on the IHOP restaurant and Harold said I could almost be like a food critick and I do eat alot and You all know That.

    So. Here is another one. I went with Sarah to Chinese food. That Hu Chew China Buffet Place on 5th. Even if you don’t know it, alot of those China places taste and look the same. Maybe you have been to one too where there aint a menu and its the buffet and the food is all red and sticky and smells and tastes the same like all the others. You Know? Many of these places must be a chain restaurant like IHOP. China must have millions of them. Imagine that.

    So here is my list of what I like.

    First, there are alot of people in China. About 20 billion I heard. So these buffets have lots of food laid out in case lots of people come to dinner which is what happens in China all the time. Now this is in America, so those 20 billion Chinese are not coming, so it is the Job of us Americans to eat as much as we can. That is why it is all You can eat and they mean that.

    Second, it is healthy which is what Sarah said. Many Vegetables and some are green and other colors. Now most are fried but that is still healthy and tastes good that way.

    Third, they have seafood called Crab Rangoon. Myself I never yet found the crab in them, but I will soon I bet. Lots of folks take alot so that they can find the crab. Must be a Chinese game or joke on us or something. You know.

    Fourth, the Chinese restaurant is one place where I feel skinny. Now I am NOT FAT, but I admit I have a beer handle or two on me. But the Chinese place has real fat people. I mean real BIG. Ladies who are like just one big leg moving since their two fat legs is so close together they look like they grew together like a penguin. And real fat dudes too all wide in the middle like walking mountains which is what I think Dr Thompson was writing about. But all them fat people are trying to loose weight and that’s why they are there to eat lots of Chinese fried healthy food to loose that weight. More power to them, I say.

    Fifth, China is a old culture with its OWN WAYS. One of these is that instead of a menu, they have the placemat that tells you you are an Animal. I think that is the idea of rein-carnation Harold told me about. We are all just born as animals inside but look like people outside and that placemat tells us which one is inside us. Or maybe that placemat is their way to say to people we should not each too much like animals! Too many of you pigs out there.

    Sixth, they have a soup that is both hot and sour. Just sour would taste bad.

    Seventh, it is ok to eat only what you want. Like eat just chicken. Plate after plate. That’s ok.

    Eight, lots of food is named after Kung Fu moves which is their sport. Pot-sticker, Spring Roll, Wonton, General Chicken, Egg Drop, Egg Roll, Kung Pow, and others too many to write. That is why watching Kungfu movies always makes me want to eat chinese. And Vice versa.

    Nine. They don’t give you a knife ever since they think you all got your own samurai’s sword. I use a buck knife and that is ok too. They always look impressed when I take my ten inch buck out to cut the meat off those little sticky red ribs.

    Ten, I always say to Sarah that I want to try the Triple Delight with her and some other gal. She pretends to get angry, but it is still funny. Then she says that she wants a Happy Family and that shuts me up quick.

    Well, I give the place a finger up, meaning I like it. And I will go again when I am real hungry or watched some Kung fu movie. Maybe see you there too.

    From Bluebeard.

  16. Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch said,

    Do it Yourself Dentistry Now Available

    Dr. Brian Walkenstone D.D.S. of Stranger Creek is offering do it yourself hours 3:00-5:30 Fridays. “We will make all of our state of the art facilities available so customer can try fillings, extractions, cleanings or just relax and watch television in one of our reclining chairs,” Walkenstone explained. Patients can use all the equipment for a flat rate of $50 for 30 minutes. “The equipment even the x-ray machine is all computerized so it practically runs itself, and anyone who can operate an electric toothbrush can run the drill, which is far more effective for removing plaque,” assured Walkenstone. Walkenstone, author of the forthcoming book Root Canal for Dummies, reports that he was inspired by recent trends in do it yourself remodeling and the self-check out line at grocery stores. He hopes that a visit to his office might become a fun activity for after school clubs, church groups, and office workers especially since he plans to offer laughing gas in the waiting room. Interested customers will need to sign a waiver and attend a brief orientation. The reception staff will remain on site in case of emergencies.

    Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch

  17. Henderson's Weekly said,

    Tavern Announces Upcoming Ritual

    Simone Saint-John, proprietress of the Stranger Creek Tavern, announced that the annual Planetary Ascent Drinking Ritual will be held Friday, November 24th at 9PM at the Tavern.

    “Many in Stranger Creek are avid followers of planetary correspondences, and hold in their private possession numerous charts and diagrams linking the planets to various internal and external phenomena. While it is obvious that the intention of studying such correspondences is to facilitate the Ascent, much of the work done by residents is purely of a theoretical nature. To remedy this situation, we have instituted a practical means by which those who seek to free themselves from earthly limitations can do so,” she said in her prepared statement.

    In consultation with senior patrons, Simone said that they would follow a set sequence of drinks.
    “We work with the nine planet model,” she said, “We have had some results with the seven planet model, but feel this is more comprehensive, as it provides the necessary ballast from which to separate the ethereal

    The cumulative effect is then accentuated by a midnight pilgrimage to “The Rocks” a mystical nodal point near Witches Grove.

    “In the past other liquors have been used,” Simone noted, “Notoriously ouzo, which will generate sufficient thrust for lift-off, but is completely unreliable with respect to obtaining any kind of controlled trajectory.”

    When asked if the ritual might violate recent restrictions by the Town Elders on occult experimentation, Simone replied, “The Town Elders do not have jurisdictional authority over the Tavern as they well know, but there’s no need to worry as there’s nothing occult about this,” Simone replied, “We’re talking about transcendence. It’s all about transcendence.”

  18. Butler Brown said,

    I’ve been enjoying reading all the local stories, especially hearing from my friend Bluebeard about his NasCar. I thought maybe I would tell you all something that happened to me last week just to sort of warn you people about some of the stuff that goes on round here.

    Sunday night Wes and me were out near the Grove working a job. It was getting dark quick and I was worried. I thought we shouldn’t be doing this. Not down here. Not at night.

    Besides that I had the worst toothache ever. I’d been over to try that Do It Yourself Dentist thing, and I think I pulled the wrong tooth. It’s easy to make mistakes when you’ve tanked as much Nitrus as I had. Wes had said anyone who can take apart a 62 Valiant carburetor can fix his own teeth – that may be true, but I wasn’t tanking Nitrus when I worked on the Valiant.

    This job Wes had us working would pay us $200 each. All we had to do was go down to the bend in the creek by the Grove and pull us a catfish. What’s you wanting one of them catfish for anyways I said. They don’t look right at all. They’re big and mean and that red color ain’t natural, not at all.

    Seems that he’d been over to the Biology Department talking to that Professor Caskenstein again. Caskenstein has him a nice little stem cell farm over there tucked away in the lab – they’re gonna make him some serious money someday. I don’t truck much with stem cells myself, for one thing, they are the most finicky eaters of any cell I know. Almost any cell will grow wild if you give it bloodserum but not them stemcells, no, there a tough feeder they are. So Caskenstein has to try something out of the ordinary – I hate to tell you how many things Wes and I have caught and bled for him. Now he says he wants the Red Catfish. I don’t like this one bit.

    I’ve caught my share of catfish in my day – and I know the way they like to lay their holes underneath the waterline and how you got to thrust your fist up in there to get em hooked. I’ve noodled with the best of them. I ain’t nearly as good as my Uncle, but I don’t go around with just stumps for hands either.

    We figure the Red Catfish won’t be no different – although I’m not sure these fish are on the same evolutionary branch. These things might have cut loose from the tree a long way back.

    Well it’s sure dark enough now. Come on I says to Wes, we’ve got to get this over with. He’s been walking up and down the bank with a flashlight looking for where there might be a hole. Damn it, he says, I can’t see nothing. We’re going to have to get in the water. I look over the bank and it don’t look good. I don’t know what it is about the creek here, but that water is black, even in the sunlight.

    You sure this is a good idea I say to Wes. We gotta do it man he says. We been through a lot together, you aint gonna bail on me now are you? I don’t answer that one. I just ease myself over the bank and get in the water. AAH! What’s the matter Wes says? It’s cold! I tell him. It’s real cold. Just feel along the edge he says gotta be a hole somewhere here.

    Sure enough I find a hole. It’s a big one. I don’t like that. I don’t think I ever seen a hole that big before. Damn it Wes I says – this holes three feet across! I look up at him and even he’s getting worried now, and he ain’t even the one in the water! Wait a second he says before you put your fist in there. I got some rope here – let me tie it around you case I got to pull you out or something.

    After we get the rope in place, I steel up my courage and thrust my hand in that hole. I don’t know what I’m expecting but nothing happens. Ain’t nothing here I tell Wes. You gotta get it in deeper he says – don’t worry I got you covered. Well there’s only one way to do that. I dive under and swim into that hole, hand first of course. I must be six or eight feet into that hole when I get a hit. And man do I get a hit.

    Normal catfish aren’t supposed to have teeth, but this thing’s got something. I start pulling back real quick – but I can’t move at all. You’d have thought a pickup truck had bit me. This is not good. My lungs are starting to ache and I’m thinking of just cutting the hand that’s stuck off with the machete in my other hand, but then I feel the tug of the rope.

    At first nothing moves, it’s just a standoff, but then whatever it is that’s got me lets go and I go shooting backwards out of that hole with Wes tugging on the rope. I hit the waterline just in time to keep from swallowing half the creek. Did you get it he says? Hell, I says, scrambling up on the bank, that things a lot bigger than we are. What’s with your hand he says. I look down. There’s a circle of tiny dark red spots around my wrist as if I’d just run it through a rusty sewing machine. The skin around the red spots has turned black and is starting to blister.

    Just about then we start hearing some weird sounds from deep in the Grove and figure its time to hightail it out of there. We make it back to the pickup and hit it hard on the way into town. Don’t you think I should take you to the Doctor about that hand he says. It looks bad I admit but it don’t hurt all that much. Course I’m still in general shock so maybe I can’t feel much of anything in the way of pain. I’ll be OK I said. No worse than what those girls did to me when I got fresh with them at that Easyrider photo shoot. He shakes his head. Have it your way. I’ll drop you off at the house.

    When I got home I should’ve gone inside but there was some lights coming from my garage and I thought maybe someone was messing with my Valiant so even though I was starting to feel a bit dizzy and none too sure of myself, I went over to see what was up. I thought maybe the headlights were on, but just as soon as I opened that door, the lights went off, turning that garage pitch black. Damn it I thought — someone’s in my car! I reached for the handle on the passenger side, but couldn’t find it. Then I ran my hand down the side of the car and got the biggest shock of my life. I wasn’t touching metal, I was touching something soft – it was some kind of smooth skin almost.

    Then it started to move – whatever it was, it was alive. At the same time the most horrid smell, like something that had been buried a really long time hit my nose. I knew that smell. I’d smelled that down at the creek. No. What I was thinking couldn’t be happening. I backed out real fast, and started running like a crazy man. I didn’t even go into my house. I didn’t want to know what was waiting for me there. I ran all the way to the gas station and had em call Wes to come and get me. By then I was hallucinating pretty badly. The walls were starting to open up and things were coming out of the cracks. The young kid at the cash register looked at me like I’d just escaped from the State Hospital. And I felt like I did.

    Well, Wes got me and took me to the Doctor and after a couple a days or so I got to feeling better cept for that nasty rash on my arm that won’t go away. I won’t tell you all the things I saw before the Doctor’s drugs kicked in and I calmed down, but let me just say Wes and I are going to find us a new line of work to do from now on. And I don’t think I’ll be going fishing anytime soon.

  19. Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch said,

    Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch

    Getting A Head

    Stranger Creek resident Colin “Bluebeard” Omms paid a record price of $80,000 for the mummified head of philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) at auction today. Bluebeard, who is independently wealthy and heir to the Mrs. Butterswells Pancake fortune, outbid several contenders including local members of the Theosophical Society and several anonymous buyers bidding by phone. Responding to questions after the auction about his plans for the head, Bluebeard stated that since it was Bentham’s headm it “was sure to be useful somehow.” Mackbane Auctions reported great excitement over the other items at auction today, which were all from an anonymous collection.

    Housing Prospects Sinking Fast

    Robert Jenkins of Roswell Construction announced that his firm has a ended plans to build Gentle Glen Homes adjacent to Witches Grove. The building site, which had been plagued by mysterious acts of vandalism in recent months, has been declared a public danger zone by Mayor Harold Hobbs after the appearance of a giant sinkhole last Thursday. Jenkins reported discovery of the sinkhole on November 16 near the construction trailer. By afternoon several portable toilets had disappeared into the waters within the rapidly expanding hole. Friday morning, the sinkhole had grown to the size of two football fields and Roswell employees reported seeing strange, blind fish swimming in its waters. Mayor Hobbs directed Chris Unger of the Department of Public Works to erect fencing around the perimeter of the property, and declared the area a public danger zone under public ordinance 808.83 H. Jenkins commented that the entire Gentle Glen Building project seemed to be a total loss.

  20. Henderson's Weekly said,

    REWARD INCREASED FOR SAMANTHA WILSON

    Beverly Stillwater, spokesperson for Linden College announced today that the reward for the recovery of Samantha Wilson, missing for over two weeks, has been increased to $4000, but will be paid only upon presentation of Samantha. Dean Wilson is very upset about the disappearance, she said. Those who have knowledge of her whereabouts should be talking to authorities and aiding in the quest to return her to her family, she added.

    Earlier in the day Stephanie Weaver, editor of The Black Mirror, a campus literary magazine, reported that noted local poet, Randolph David Emerson, is missing as well and students are concerned. Asked if Linden College would also offer a reward for the return of Mr. Emerson, Ms. Stillwater replied, “Not very likely.”

    Attempts to question Dr. Chen Yet Chen on the matter came to naught. Our reporter was gently turned away at the gate to the now closed Hearn Gardens by a Ms. Wu, who said that Dr. Chen is “out of the country” and would not be returning for some time.

  21. Henderson's Weekly said,

    The third annual “May Day in November” pageant ended badly when it was discovered that three performers were unable to remove their costumes. Speaking through her faucet facepiece, Maribel Geers (as Ms. Waterworks) declared, “It just won’t come off!” As Eleanor George and Dottie Gemson (Ms. Nuclear Power and Ms. Electrical Energy, respectively) soon encountered similar difficulties, panic ensued and the event disintegrated into chaos, two pieces prior to the end of the program.

    Ebby Mullins, chairman of the costume committee, blamed the problem on the Magic Touch velcro closures, a new product that apparently was rushed to market despite having failed numerous reliability tests. “I never would have used it,” admitted Mullins, “had I read the fine print.” She further explained that the script was in an unidentifiable language but as the product had seemed straightforward enough, she “didn’t think twice” about using it.

    The women discovered the problem while taking second bows following their stunning rendition of the “Anthem of Azerbaijan” (lyrics by Vurgun & Rustam), a rousing song-and-dance number revived from the ’03 pageant. “We were supposed to remove our masks, ” explained Ms. George, “but they simply would not remove!”

    The women have been “keeping to themselves” as they await intervention which they hope will result in the removal of the head gear. Ms. Geers and Ms. George are staying in the latter’s country place where they have begun work on a cookbook. Ms. Gemson has returned home after being gone for some time. It seems in her case, there is an upside to the inconvenience of wearing what is for all practical purposes a miniaturized generator. “It’s very convenient for vacuuming, as the cord can be kept quite short,” she notes. Also, the sound of the generator serves as “white noise” in blocking out annoying environmental sounds. Her husband, Harold Gemson, was unavailable to comment, but neighbors say he is glad to have her back and looks forward to substantial cost savings on their winter heating bills.

  22. Maribel Geers said,

    It is with tremendous gratitude that I’ve emerged from the May Day in November debacle. Without the cooperation of the entire Theosophical Society (and Arthur’s seminal collection which remains remarkably relevant to our times) and the surprise appearance of Baron Samdi in the Grove (Yes–he lives!) I might still be encumbered. At the risk of sounding petty, I must admit that the physical discomfort of wearing a hunk of metal over my head for nearly a month was nothing compared with the psychological strain from what I had to endure from certain people of this community. (“Oh, let me turn you on, Maribel” soon became a very tired joke.)

    No matter, and all is forgiven.

    Eleanor and I are nearing completion of a cookbook we plan to sell to help raise funds for the upcoming 120 Anniversary of the Great Squirrel Gathering. We are missing some key recipes which I will officially solicit in this posting: From Melinda Josti, the recipe for Gingerbread Pancakes made famous by the Cafe Vienna (amazing mit glazed apple slices & schlag). From Simone Saint-John, the recipe for the red drink featured during last year’s high holidays. (Rumor has it containing vodka, cranberry juice, Chambord and Cointreau liqueurs, and lime–but how much of each?) It is not to late for other submissions and requests, but without these key recipes I’m afraid our project has come to a halt.

    Yours,

    Maribel Geers

  23. Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch said,

    Horde Ousts Confederates from Attic Ending Ceasefire
    Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch

    Monday December 4, 4:30 PM, members of the Strange Horde disrupted a meeting of the Rebel Militia at the home of the Militia’s commander “Colonel” Jeb Attkins. Militia members were seen fleeing in their Confederate uniforms from Attkins’s home chased by masked Horde “warriors” in Mongol armor waving rattan swords. Several militiamen including Attkins were treated for minor injuries.

    Militia soldier Private Moe Johns described the scene when the Horde burst into the meeting. “We were in the middle of singing Oh, Alabama, when we heard a tremendous crash. I thought it was the end of the world. The attic windows shattered and all I saw were smoke and men in armor swinging in on ropes,” reported a shocked Johns. Horde warriors apparently scaled trees around the Attkins home to make their assault on the third floor attic.

    Today’s violence signals an end to the fragile peace accords of last May 8th when the two groups agreed to respect each other’s vision of the past and restrict any battles to the annual summer campaigns waged on the village green. These popular “ahistorical reenactments” began in 1985 when the Horde first met the Militia on the field of mock battle. However, in 1990, after witnessing five straight years of humiliating defeat, Horde commanders argued that according to their primitive world view the Horde should be allowed to use magic to repel the Confederates’ bullets. The Militia initially agreed to these terms, but when Horde warriors refused to pretend to die when shot multiple times, Militia soldiers traded their black powder firearms for paint guns and shot various bodily fluids at Horde attackers. In retaliation, Horde warriors burned obscene slogans on Militia’s members’ lawns in their so-called “glorious scorch and burn campaign of 1992.” Due to these acts, both the Militia and the Horde were expelled from their respective national organizations, The Honorable Gentlemen of the Old South and the Society of Creative Anachronism. This meant that the two groups could only fight one another, and they have been doing so every summer except for a one-time joint “friendship raid” on a meeting of cowboy poets in Lawrence in 1991. The last “off season” skirmish was the “bloody February incident” of this year, when Militia soldiers pelted participants at a Horde fertility ritual with dung. The May peace accords had set in place talks intended to resolve doctrinal differences between the two groups, but discussions broke down last month over the issue of war reparations.

    The Horde is largely a secret organization and police do not have any immediate suspects. Horde spokesman Kungzhen the Great of Tuve, leader of the Horde front organization, Thralls of the Glorious World Emperor, could not be reached for comment, but his answering machine blared the Khan’s war chant. Monday evening, Colonel Attkins issued a formal declaration of war from the courthouse steps and reported that he was taking a temporary leave of absence from his job at the hardware store. One local merchant, speaking on the condition of anonymity, worried about the economic disruption of any prolonged military conflict: “I think this is a civil war we’re gonna see and it ain’t going to be pretty.”

  24. Henderson's Weekly said,

    Things went horribly awry at the Congregational Church’s first live nativity display last night as several members of the pageant were wounded in an exchange of gunfire. It appears from witness accounts that the incident was sparked by a small group of men who had recently been celebrating ‘A Confederate Christmas’, an event organized by Rod Tyler, at the Odd Fellows Lodge on Main street. The men, dressed in a combination of confederate uniforms and Santa Claus suits, mistook the turban clad shepherds of the nativity scene as ‘Arab Terrorists’ and opened up with rifles and pistols. The shepherds, who had a wide assortment of small weapons concealed under their robes returned fire. A gunfight ensued for about ten minutes until broken up by Sheriff’s deputies called onto the scene by frightened bystanders. Thirteen people, including the Virgin Mary and Joseph were treated for gunshot wounds at Stranger Creek Memorial hospital. Fortunately, a doll, rather than a live baby was used in the manger itself, as the manger was thoroughly riddled with rifle fire. Miraculously, no one was killed, although two donkeys, three goats and an ox did not survive the conflagration. It appears that both groups had been drinking heavily in the hours leading up to the conflict. In a prepared statement given to Henderson’s Weekly this morning, the Reverend Katherine Talisman deplored the violence saying, “It is shocking that some citizens of our community put more faith in a concealed piece than Peace on Earth.” She also announced that the nativity display has been closed for the remainder of the season. “We will have our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service,” she said adding that attendees would have to pass through a metal detector before being admitted into the sanctuary.

  25. Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch said,

    Kid’s Winter Concert Deemed “Oppressive”
    Morris Popdickel for the Quick Dispatch

    Stranger Creek Elementary School cancelled its annual winter concert after the school board decided that there were no politically correct holiday songs. Once called the Christmas Concert the event came to be known as the Holiday Concert and later the Winter Concert. In recent years school administrators have worked to remove any religious messages from the program. “At first, we tried to have a multi-cultural concert featuring music from many lands,” Superintendent Longcock explained. “We even changed the lyrics of popular songs, but the children had a hard time remembering the revised version of White Christmas: ‘I’m inclusively celebrating the voices of a multi-cultural festivity just like the kind all peoples by birth deserve….” Longcock sang.

    In 2003 the school opted for a concert of “culturally, gender, and sexually neutral songs,” to be prefaced by a statement on the advisement of the school’s attorneys that these songs did not reflect the views of the school.

    This year a report by the Junior High School Semiotics Club sparked renewed controversy that even the most innocent songs were “encoded with sexism” and “sugar-coated oppression.” The report faults Jingle Bells, one of the few songs remaining on the winter concert program, for the way the single horse is made to run in the snow. “The horse is a code for the enslaved subaltern worker whose native ‘color’ is bleached away by the white snow as its first-world masters laugh all the way,” explained Donna Bragleton, one of the report’s authors. Donna is the seventh grade daughter of English Professor Harriet Bragleton of Linden College. According to the same report, “Let it Snow” mocks the homeless and makes us “complicit in a voyeurism of their suffering.” References to “chestnuts roasting” ignore the effects of global warming and the report interprets Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer as “phallocentric.”

    “After reading the report, we just don’t feel right to sing those songs,” stated Third Grade Teacher Ms. Periwinkle. “I never knew that Christmas carols were so bad.”

  26. Henderson's Weekly said,

    RECREATION OF HINDENBURG DISASTER WINS LAWN ORNAMENT CONTEST

    Stranger Creek Oddfellows’ Lodge announced today that Butler Brown won first place in the annual “Inflatable Lawn Ornament Contest” with his creation of a perfect 1:8 replica of the Hindenburg blimp as part of his one acre extended nativity display. The judges were highly impressed with the realism of the airship especially when it collided with the thirty foot Christmas tree and exploded in a fireball. “I wanted to tell a story this year,” Butler explained, “You see, there are these Jews and they want to find the Messiah, but they aren’t having much luck with donkeys so they build themselves this blimp. But then it gets lost in the fog and hits this lighted tree that the Holiday Inn has erected to boost business. Meanwhile, these wise men – the blowups over here dressed like confederate soldiers—they are also looking for the Messiah. They think it’s going to be Jeff Davis, but actually it’s the Christmas child – that would be Snoopy over here with Lucy and Charlie Brown. You see they have come to the Inn but since they don’t have the money it takes to get a room this time of year, they have to make do in the swimming pool, floating on air mattresses. It’s pretty rough, cause there’s a lot of alligators in there too – that’s those blow-up green things. Meanwhile Santa Claus– that’s him there in the golf cart hooked up to the spotted cows – he’s come down from on high to bid Peace on Earth. This scares the shepherds a bit – that’s Casper, Colonel Sanders and the Coke Bottle over there hiding near the tree.” Asked if he considered this an accurate historical portrayal of the gospel, Butler admitted he had added a few details left out in the original account to boost the dramatic interest a bit. “Also, you know, you pick up a lot of this stuff at garage sales over the years and you don’t always get exactly the piece you’re looking for. That’s when you gotta use your imagination to figure out how it all ties in,” he said. The display has been a big hit though drawing appreciative crowds each night. “It’s awesome,” said eleven year old Tim Tinselton, “I especially like it when the blimp explodes and the bodies start falling out.”

  27. Melinda Josti said,

    Here, Maribel, is the recipe you requested from me. I apologise for my delay in getting it to you. I was taught in the old way, from my mother who learned from her mother and so on. I have no recipes for anything I serve in the Cafe. I have never owned measuring cups or spoons. In fact, the ones you loaned me are the first I ever used. You told me that the process of writing down the recipe would be simple–that I should just do what I have always done, but to measure and record along the way. It did not work like that! Each time I stopped to measure, I lost my way. The final result was unpalatable: my first lot was like cardboard; my second remained like pudding no matter how long I cooked it. Finally, Josti came to me rescue, making the measurements quickly and discreetly as I did my best to ignore him. Here, then is the result, which I believe you will find a trustworthy guide. Only the range of candied ginger calls for the cooks’ discretion; I have found that some customers need far more than others in order to wake them up. I must say, this did seem rather too much trouble to go through for a pancake. In future, I’d rather you simply send folks to the Cafe and I will gladly provide whatever they require.

    Gingerbread Pancakes

    1 1/3 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon each: ground cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, cayenne
    1-3 tablespoons finely-chopped crystalized gingerroot
    2 large or extra-large eggs
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/3 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup strong coffee
    1 Tablespoon dark molassas
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Combine wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Stir these mixtures together just to combine, then cook on buttered skillet as usual.* Serve with fried, glazed apples or applesauce along with yogurt, sour cream, or schlag.

    *Forgive me, Maribel, but if your cooks don’t know how to fry a pancake, they should not attempt this recipe.

    Yours,

    Melinda

  28. Bluebeard using Harolds Computer at the Bennigans at Denver Airport said,

    Hey This is Bluebeard again.

    Sorry. Have not written in a long time. Now seems like a good time, Our flight was delayed and I am in the Denver Airport now with Harold and we are in Bennigans which has internet axis near the bar. Shirley-Jane — that’s two names for one waitress has let us sit here for the last two days. They ran out of food last night but the well for well drinks has not dried up yet. Lots of chips yet too. Harold is off of the nuts FINALLY !! for good, so that I can write this which could be a long story but will try to keep it short since we are supposed to have a flight soon. So, I will save the review of Bennigans restaurant for a different time.

    Sometimes i think my life is a movie. Like say when I have my car radio blasting like a soundtrack and I am on the road going reel fast. I imagine the credits flashing, hoping that the cool movie is just starting and the adventure beginning, and not ending.

    So, this movie begins with a scene before Thanksgiving. I park my hog on Harold’s sidewalk. Im checking in on him. Camera cuts to squirrel in yard twisting its head around to check me out. I says “Yeah, I know all about it, that’s why Im here. Doc Chen saw it and said it to me about Harold.

    So knocking on the door does not bring Harold out. I find it unlocked. Imagined camera looks inside, sees Harold in front of tv set sitting crossed legged in only his not so white anymore underwear. His heat cranked up in house but it is still weird to see him like that, him being a guy like that. Harold cannot hear me yell. Harold is wearing headphones watching tv. Except nothing is on there but static.

    I look at him. Then at the tv, Then at him again. Trying to understand. Taking off the headphones off him, he says. Hey! I say, “What are you watching there? He says “it is the only thing that clears my head.”

    Harold is in trouble.

    Harold has scratch marks on his legs. His fingers are blood stained. Nails broken too.

    A ton of small empty bottles of Vanilla all around him, I notice.

    My mind thinks: HOW DO I HELP HAROLD?

    This is not time for an enter-vention, like what we did for my Uncle Mike where we crowded around at him and yelled at him for gambling his house away and beat his head in. And its not good to get Harold out in Nature since those squirrels are what made him sick anyhow.

    Another film flashback. Harold in backyard two weeks earlier. WWI helmet on. Digging squirrel size trenches. Wearing gas mask while piling up stores of turnips. Saying something about how the squirrels need to see WWI to understand that there is no sense of Progress in the world, that Reason does not move in HIstory and etc etc.

    That was a bad scene. That was what made Dr Chen worried about Harold. Dr Chen saw it first. Made the neighbors real angry too for Harold digging sapper’s tunnels under there yards, ruining their sprinkler system. Harold screaming about there being a MOLE in his organization. Blowing up the tunnels at night.

    Flash up to the present, Harold sitting on his floor rocking back and forth trying to rhyme words with the word “chittering.”

    I make some calls. Cancel some plans. We need to get away and not just too IHOP. We needed to get him a vacation from Stranger Creek.

    Got Harold dressed in his clothes now baggy. Put my hog in his garage and get his car out and ready with a few things. Harold does not need much.

    Back at my place. Trixie — my latest — understands when I tell her. Need some of my things too, most of all the Head of Jerry Bentham, famous dead mummified philosopher what I keep in a bowling bag. Bringing it out into the car, Harold is in the back seat asleep, just as well. Taking the head out I look at its glass eyes. Bentham had green eyes and these swivvel all around. Shaking the head I watch the eyes. Spinning around and around then they both look to the West. A sign for us to go there.

    Since that Day of November 22. Harold and I have been on the road. Seeing some of my old friends and other newer ones we met and the World as it is in America. Had some adventures a few I can report others I couldnot either becuase I promised or because it would get me in trouble. Dont ask me I cannot. The film is blank there.

    For the first week or so Harold was asleep in a catacolonic state like not saying nothing at all. So i brought him to a Silent Film festival in Dodge City. First smile I saw from him in weeks came after we left that.

    Tried gambling in Nevada at Bentham’s suggestion. Would have bet a lot too since Bentham knows how to count cards, but apparently they have a thing in Vegas about heads in Bowling Ball bags. Must be a law about it there. HAD TO LEAVE THERE FAST.

    Another time we was shopping in a Walgreens for dinner and the manager came up to me and asked to see in the bag where I had put some nicotine gum. He thought we stole that or planned to even though I just bought it from the farmacyst. He sure got a freak when he saw Bentham there. Must not know Bentham’s utilitarianism I said to Harold who laughed uncontrollabely for about 40 minutes until I punched him (Harold I meant).

    Decided we needed to go back East and up north.

    Harold seemed to have liked the tour of the Harley Plant in Wisconsin. But our real first breakthrough was at a Monster Truck rally in Racine at the Bart Starr Arena. Got to see Haunted House a cross between a Humvee and a Mobile Home. That baby crushed 8 toyotas. Totally awesome. Also saw HUN-DIE, a truck some Russian guys put together that smashed a Volkswagen. And DIE WU, the Kungfu truck, which was a bit of a disappointment as all it did was plays the song Kungfu Fighting. Harold’s first words came after leaving the Cab of “Mama’s Home” a monstertruck drove by a lady named Red who let us sit in it after I bought her a drink. Harold says “That was Awesome” when he saw her interior DVD player inside, so I went out and got him one for his car which I mounted in there for him in the back seat.

    Now we traveled the country and Harold could get caught up on some of the shows he likes. We would check them out of one public library then return them in another one in the next town. By the way, libraries have good things like books in them and bathrooms and also old television shows on dvd which they is saving for your posterity.

    Changes in Harold’s taste in tv shows was the way I tracked Harold’s improvement. You see, first he only watched Hogan’s Heros, which worried me since it involves tunnels, then Gilligan’s Island was his favorite, but that still showed he was trapped I thought. When he got onto My Favorite Martian, I knew we had had a break through then. I saw those black and white tv shows were for him a television RE-AGRESSION back to his childhood. (You see I have been reading pshycollegy books, like ones by Dr Phil, so I know those words now). Harold finally understodd what many now know is true is that television is a reality too of sorts. It may not always be true, and you may not always like whats on, but its a lot better than watching static or in looking out the car window in some of the states weed been through. And most of all with DVD you can make your own reality without the commercials, which Harold found EmPowering (another special word). A final test for him was Leave it to Beaver. which i had been keeping from him until he was ready. I think that it really helped him through the rodent trip he was on and it helped get us both through parts of Indiana. Harold went all 69 episodes never once seeing that giant Beaver he was worried about (the animal kind) or a mole or a squirrel which made him real happy that he even stopped scratching hisself.

    When we were in Green Bay we decided on our own to head back home after visiting the Packer Hall of Fame. It was time. I decided that Harold was healed (more or less) by the distance we traveled on the roads and by the tv shows. and we was both sick of eating bratwurst in Wisconsin where its too cold to have drive in restaurants there like at home where we can both sit in the back seat of the car and watch tv and feed Dr. Bentham his tatertots.

    How we wound up in Denver was I got to following a semi on I70 and Harold was too busy watching Bewitched in the back seat so that we missed all the turn offs. Some navigator he was. Well, his car died near Hays and we rented a car to Denver which seeemed like the best thing to do at the time so as not to waste our time going over the same road again, and Harold said that there would be better public librarys there in Colorado too. I reasoned too that flying would be good medicene for Harold too since it would not involve tv and he seemed excited about it. And I had the miles.

    Hey. I just heard the call for the flight now so I got to rap this up. We get to finally board. By the way, Trixie can you pick us up at the airport. Flight UA 492 at 11:12 PM? Ok, cause we don’t have a car anymore ok? See you then.

    Also, that guy from UPS who will come sometime soon really is from UPS and is not the MAN. I had to mail Bentham back since the people at the airport didnt like him neither and I thought that would be more dignified then riding in checked luggage and there is no more room there anyways with Harold’s dvd player now. So dont chase the UPS guy away when he comes, ok? I put something in that box there for you too.

    From Bluebeard.

  29. Harold Gemson, finally at home said,

    My Dear Friends,

    I apologize for my recent absence from your discussions. I have been in a period of intense reflection. For those of you who have not yet devoted yourself to a period of intense, introspective contemplation, I recommend it fully. It has changed my life as has a recent trip I took with two friends, Mr. Bluebeard and Mr. Jeremy Bentham. I am perhaps the first to admit that I was in need of a vacation, but Mr. Bluebeard again reminded me of that fact and insisted that I visit some of his friends who are scattered in diverse parts of this great land of ours.
    Our first trip was to visit Bluebeard’s army buddys who live in a sort of commune setting. I was delighted to meet Mr. Hogan and the rest of his companions whom we quickly took to calling his “heros.” It was an international group with members from Scotland, France and a large contingent from Germany. Despite their excellent English, I initially sensed some tension between the Germans and the rest since both camps insisted on living separately, and I believed supported different athletic teams judging by their clothing; but, the charm of Colonel Clink and his constant boon friend Schultz overcame my misgivings about the German side, and they became a great source of pleasure for me especially in light of Mr. Hogan’s efforts in that regard.
    Our next stop took us to a tropical island where we were able to forget the cares civilization in a place famous for “not a single luxury.” We planned on making a short, three hour visit, but we decided to extend our stay at the pleas of our new friends the Howells, Skipper, Mr. Gilligan, and others. They were a cheerful lot, on the one hand, preoccupied with selling their vacation timeshares, but on the other hand clearly having too much fun with one another to do so. In that respect they reminded me of Mr Hogan and his friends caught more in the joys of companionship and life than bound by any physical barriers.
    Our last visit was to the Cleaver Family, who really charmed me. June Cleaver kept an immaculate home and her two sons were model boys. The image of Mrs Cleaver vacuuming while wearing a fashionable dress and pearls is etched into my memory. I felt truly at ease amongst them to the point that I forgot all my cares as I played catch with young Wallace and the “Beave” as the younger brother is known. How fortunate I was to share some of the reserved intimacy of their lives if only briefly.
    But I have to extend the greatest appreciation to my dear friends Bluebeard and Mr Bentham. Jeremy turned out to be a fountain of wit and sage advice at every turn. Bluebeard and I have a long friendship together, but this was the first time I had to spend with Mr Bentham who is such a practical man, but one who also understands the simple pleasures of life such as fine cognac and cigars. One could not wish for more wonderful friends on the road.

    Besides relating some of my recent activities my other reason for writing is to inform you that the squirrels and I have had an amicable parting of ways. (Allow me to underline rhetorically the word amicable). As many of you know, I was keen on celebrating the anniversary of their great gathering of 1891. However, they were never much taken by the idea which I now understand is a sign of their modesty and dare I say grace. Consequently, I am now planning only a small celebration, which I promised Bluebeard will consist of a few friends gathering to listen to the Chimpmunk Christmas Album that is so dear to me. Additionally, Bluebeard and his compatriots, Malooney and Sons Exterminators, are in the process of completely re-landscaping my backyard in accordance with civil ordinance PL4675-32-9.

    So my friends, my best wishes and thoughts are with you this holiday season. I myself am entertaining guests this holiday, the Brady family whose numbers have taken over my house but simultaneously filled it with their love. This love I extend to you and I welcome you into our home twice daily Monday through Friday 10:00-11:00 PM and 3:00-4:00 AM.

    Yours Faithfully,
    H.D. Gemson

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