Lovely, Crafty

"... with extra tentacles, please!"

        --Bart Simpson, "Homer's Night Out"


Ho ho!   Usually, it is Professor Bainbridge who first links to risible variants on the horrific and tentacular mythos of H.P. Lovecraft: here, for instance, and again here, and yet again here.   (There are more, but you will have to find them yourselves.)    Today, however, with thanks to Morgan Meis and 3quarksdaily, I can command you, before Professor B does so, to

Harken, worthless mortals, to the mind-and-soul- devouring Calls of Cthulhu!

PHONE COMPANY: Hello, you have reached the Arkham Phone Company.  Our goal is to make your phone service the best.  If you have a question about your service, press 1.  If you wish to change or cancel your service, press 2.

(CTHULHU presses 2.)

PHONE COMPANY: If you wish to change your service, press 1.  If you wish to cancel your service, press 2.

(CTHULHU presses 2.)

PHONE COMPANY: Please stay on the line while we connect you to an operator.

(CTHULHU waits.)

PHONE COMPANY: Hello, you have reached the Arkham Phone Company.  Our goal is to make your phone service the best...

(CTHULHU hangs up.  CTHULHU quietly weeps.)


What is it Fills Your Hovercraft, My Liege?

From The Secret Lives of Important People by Jeff Vandermeer, fresh and extraordinary scholarly insights concerning that slippery sly boots, William "Da Conqueror" Plantagenet:

I believe, based on my findings -- and certain emanations I felt whilst walking over places William would have trod -- that during the dusks and evenings of his days, the Conqueror led a secret life as an ophichthusanthrope.  In layman’s terms, William led a secret life as a giant eel.  I cannot tell if his transformation was voluntary and he changed only at night so as to keep his ability a secret, or if the transformation was involuntary.  If involuntary, was his transformation tied to the lunar cycles?  To the way in which river water changes from season to season?  Did he only change during the spring and summer, for example?  Did silt or clarity compel or entice him?  It is maddeningly impossible to tell from the written record, or even from anecdotal evidence.

However, that he did change into an eel seems to me to be certain. . . .

For Sir Bob Geldof & Co.

Here is my own little contribution to the hoopla surrounding today's LIVE 8 concerts: the opening section of a slightly rewritten Rolling Stones song, mostly just an excuse for the wordplay in the chorus.  With apologies to Mick and Keith:

I saw you today at the stadium,
Rockin' out for the things you believe:
Flashing lights, colored smoke glowed like radium,
Leather fringe, and your heart, on your sleeve.


[Remember now:]
You can't always G8 what you want,
You can't always G8 what you want,
You can't always G8 what you want,
But if you try sometime
You might find
You'll get on TV!

Of related interest, from this morning's Los Angeles Times:

Despite the big-name lineups or estimates that global coverage of the concerts could reach a potential audience of billions in 140 countries, there remains a monumental gap between political reality and the humanitarian intentions of pop music stars and their fans, many of whom have little understanding of the issues.  On Thursday, a London forum with Blair and Irish rocker Bob Geldof kicked off with a videotape in which rapper Snoop Dogg asked, "Excuse me, Mr. Prime Minister — or President — Tony Blair, I'd like to know who or what is the G-8?"

Ask and it shall answered, Snoop: here's a helpful link to President Prime Minister Tony Blair's very own G8 Gleneagles 2005 Home Page.

Why Don't You Just Vigneron Business?

A rrrriot is an oogly ting . . . und I think it's about time ve had vone!

-- Inspektor Kemp [Kenneth Mars], in Young Frankenstein

"Only in France," I said to myself with a smile and a chuckle, "could there possibly be such a thing as dissident wine producers."  But seriously, isn't this situation getting out of hand?  The Independent [April 21] reports:

The grapes of wrath fermenting in the French wine industry boiled over into a mini-riot on the streets of Narbonne yesterday.

A group of 50 young wine producers hurled molotov cocktails, cobble stones, bottles and flares at riot police at the end of a turbulent but mostly peaceful demonstration by 10,000 growers from the French deep south.

Joined by a sprinkling of local anarchists, the young wine-growers taunted and confronted the CRS riot police for nearly two hours across two bridges over a canal in the heart of the town.

At one point a launch crewed by Dutch tourists found itself trapped between the two bridges, on which wheely bins had been set aflame.

The CRS bombarded the rioters with tear gas. The Dutch tourists turned their launch and escaped. Finally, the rain came down and both sides dispersed.

The riot was always more theatrical than violent but demonstrates the growing anger of French wine-growers, especially in the south.

The problem: while southern French grape growers have been pulling up vines to reduce the risk of oversupply, their Bordelais brethren have been planting just as many vines of their own.

This year, the unsold stocks in France are largely 'appellation controlee' (i.e., supposedly medium quality) wines from the Bordeaux region ­ something unprecedented in the history of French wine.

Jean Roger, 58, president of the wine growers of the Pyrénées Orientales département ­ himself convicted recently of hijacking a lorry-load of wine ­ said: 'While we were suffering and destroying our vines and reducing production and improving quality, the Bordeaux growers were planting new vines, thousands of hectares of new vines.'

'Now they have run into trouble and they are bleating but it is we, the Roussillon and Languedoc growers, who are suffering most.  Just when we should be reaping the benefits of the sacrifices we have made, our prices have collapsed.'

I can understand the French growers' anxiety, but I can't help but perceive a splendid opportunity for wine consumers.  In a spirit of international amity, here is my suggestion:

Some aspiring French entrepreneur1 needs to emulate California's Fred Franzia2 and his Charles Shaw brand, better known as "Two Buck Chuck."  Buy up all that excess supply, especially that "supposedly medium quality" Bordeaux.  Bottle it.  Sell it at an absurdly low price to thirsty French and Americans.  Give the product a sunny Gallic3 brand name such as "Bon Francois," then -- and this is the critical bit -- let it become known by the perfect snappy nickname, one that harks back to those halcyon, romantic days before the adoption of the Euro.  I refer, of course, to . . . "Deux Franc Frank!"



1 An ambitious, creative business person; what is called in English an "entrepreneur."

2 Despite his potentially confusing surname, Fred Franzia is not French.

3 "Gallic" does not mean "of or relating to the Gallo family," although it should be noted that the Gallos are already operating in Languedoc.

You Need Schoolin', Honey I'm Not Foolin'

Last year on this date, I attempted to cover over a fit of laziness with a statement of principle, thus:

Just as laborers do not labor on Labor Day, and Christians take the day off on Christmas, and memoirists rest and recreate on Memorial Day, so April Fool's Day is a day for we Fools to drop tools and relax.

Not so this year.   It is late in the Day, I admit, but I will not leave you empty-handed.

I have been genuinely surprised how little traction the Poetical Listing Method [PLM] demonstrated below has generated among webloggers.   Having launched the idea, Greg Perry almost instantly swore it off, succumbing to the very gentlest of peer pressure.  Well, this is one Fool who will not give in!   What is worse, I shall compound my sins and heighten the horrors of the PLM by wedding it to an oft-detested technology: the PowerPoint slide show.   

Reader, if you are still with me, it is with profuse apologies to the Muse that I give you:

Sonnet XVIII.ppt


[If you lack the means to open PowerPoint presentations, the PowerPoint Viewer may be downloaded from the evil enablers in Redmond, here.]

Yule Brynner

Rick, for Hannukah, provides a link to a toe-tapping (if often misspelled) tribute to the Festival of Lights à la OutkastHey-yahmulke?

In a similar spirit, for That Other Holiday later in the month and for the benefit of headbangers everywhere, I give you:

  • "Christmas Rhapsody" by Pledge Drive, a visit from that jolly old elf as it might be reimagined by Freddie Mercury & Co., with fleeting guest vocals by the Whos (the ones down in Whoville).  [Download or stream it from the band's site, here.  Lyrics available here:]



St. Nicholas has a lump of anthracite for me
For me
For meeeeee . . . .

[Link via Fluxblog.]

And Boy, Are My Arms Tired [Ba-dump-bum, Ching!]

Yes, I just flew in from Chicago and, no, that old chestnut still isn't funny even when you tell it backwards.  In any case, a combination of whirlwind demands on time and the poorly-timed collapse of the high-speed connection at the O'Hare Hilton resulted in no posting.  And what's that I smell? [Sniff, sniff]  Oho! Fires to be put out on my desk, of course.

Trivial space-filling items follow.

Dining advisory: If you find yourself in Chicago, you will not suffer if you pay a call on the West Town Tavern, the current outpost of chef-proprietors Susan and Drew Goss, who formerly operated the now-closed (much lamented) Zinfandel restaurant.  Hearty, mostly 'Merican cooking and a wine list that's eccentric in all the right ways.  Recommended, for sure.

Pointless but Amusing:  Can't now recall who I spotted linking this one, or from whom they got the link -- so I apologize for not giving credit where it is due -- but you should derive at least a small chuckle from this little presentation that I will refer to as the Shootout at the Desktop Corral.