obscure in an obvious way 

October 7th, 2010

What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left.

Oscar Levant


For rent: chair of a university classics department. One damaged arm. Daily or weekly rates. Box 753BCE.
As a tribute for the 55th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's Howl why not listen to Garth Hardy and Glen Johnson's Whine?.
Wanted: people who are good with numbers. Box 30976354287.
For sale: stovepipe hat and jeans. Ideal for slim hipster into Abe Lincoln. $40 for the set. Box 1865.
Mark it on your calendars (or collanders if you can't avoid the strain): October 28th - The Return of Uncle Glennie. Creepy stories at ATOMIC., The attic of 167 Logan Avenue. Doors will open at 7:00PM. Stories: 7:30- 8:00PM; 9:00- 9:30PM. Doors will be locked during Uncle Glennie's reading. It is cold, bring a sweater. Knock three times at ground level to be considered for entry.

The Mystery of the Lost Lenore

Listen to Part Seventy-Six

Click on the picture. (2:37)

Or start from the beginning.



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The Civilisation Known as "Western"

It has come to my attention recently (only minutes ago - well, I guess it's about half an hour now -which is really still minutes, 30 if I am not mistaken) that Western Civilisation (or civilization if you prefer the American spelling) has not turned out exactly as planned.

I am not, by nature, an optimist so I cannot really say that I am surprised. Right from the get-go my hopes were not all that high. Some of the claims being made for the thing just seemed inflated to me. For instance, someone mentioned an end to barbarism. I never thought there was much chance of that. People loved their barbarism. They're not going to let that go just because somebody says "Hey, let's all get civilised!". That wasn't realistic.

But I remember some talk about technology making out lives better. Actually I remember quite a bit of talk about that. And the shorter work week. Fairly explicit promises were made.

Somebody, and sadly now I don't remember their name, said that machines would be doing all the work and we would all be wearing pocketless jumpsuits (we wouldn't need pockets because there would be no need for money - HA!) zipping around with rocket packs or riding on smart highways in cars that would just go where you told them.

Nobody was supposed to get sick anymore because of wonder drugs and fantastically intuitive diagnostic machinery. Well I've had two colds already this year and the only wonder drugs I experienced lead me to believe my cat was talking to me. I do not consider this progress.

If you are the kind of person who believes advertising then you are probably fairly cheesed off right now. I feel bad for you. It must be a terrible blow.

I know of a group who are considering a move back to the oceans although recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have slowed their plans somewhat. The water just isn't as appealing anymore.

It is hard to know just what to do. I myself am beginning to consider this new planet they've just discovered. It's only a few trillion kilometres away (quite near in space terms). Maybe that's a good next move.

Hugh Briss


Part Four

The squirrels were happy to see her and made quite a fuss, complimenting her on her stylish new hairdo (she actually hadn't had her hair cut but went along with it), her new work clothes (which surely they had seen before) and her recent weight loss (that one was true - Simone put that down to no longer being surrounded by little bowls of mixed nuts all the time). They said that they missed her and that the new guy, although a much better employee, was no where near as charming, talented, pretty etc. Squirrels, once they get going, can be quite the little ass-kissers.

They wanted to know all about her new job, where it was, what she was doing, what were her co-workers like, how was the coffee and who was her new employer. When she answered the last question the mood changed dramatically. A few of the squirrels just nodded as the smiles dropped from their little faces, most of them grunted and they all somehow seemed to have urgent business that they needed to attend to. All except Leonard.

Leonard was the oldest of the squirrels and the most senior in their organisation although he didn't really seem to be in charge of anything. He just more or less went his own way. It was obvious to Simone from the expression on Leonard's squirrelly little face that he had something to say about Mr. Turble but he was reticent for some reason. Curious, she asked the old nut-storer if he knew her employer.

Yes, yes he did. It seems that quite a number of years ago Mr. Turble had lived with the squirrels in the park. Now this struck Simone as really quite strange as squirrels are not inclined to seriously co-habit with non-squirrels. They would work or socialise with others outside the Family Sciuridae, sure, but living with - that was something else entirely. Old Leonard recognised the look of surprise on her face and surmised what had caused it. He leaned in close. He looked right and left and whispered the horrible secret to her. Mr. Turble had been a squirrel.

Yes, it was true. Mr. Turble had been, at one time, a squirrel in good standing. This was more than Simone could comprehend. How? Why? What? Were among the many questions that flitted through her addled brain. She simply had never heard of such a thing. She had never known a single animal that had changed species.

Old Leonard told her the terrible story.

To be continued...