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So I had this long elaborate piece about found art and the aesthetic value of accidents, but then I said, hey, why not scrap all that and do a popular internet thing instead?
Every year on or around April 1st there’s the International Edible Book Festival which I only learned about because one was held at the Vanderbilt University Library, which is close to where I work. Here are some of the entries from the event:
A popular theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. There were at least five entries based on it.
There were also some creative interpretations of the theme with items inspired by scenes from well-known books.
Or just loose interpretations.
And a lot of clever puns.
My favorites, though, were the ones that went for the most literal interpretation of the idea, creating works that were as readable as they were eatable.
Those last ones reminded me of a quote from Gargantua & Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, translated by J.M. Cohen, that I have on the wall behind my monitor at work that always reminds me that you are what you read:
The philosophers, preachers, and doctors of your world feed you with fine words through the ears. Here we literally take our teachings orally, through the mouth. Therefore I do not say to you: Read this chapter, understand this gloss. What I say is: Taste this chapter, swallow this gloss. Once upon a time an ancient prophet of the Jewish nation swallowed a book and became a learned man to the teeth. Now you must immediately drink this, and you’ll be learned to the liver. Here, open your jaws.
That’s a literary equivalent of one spicy meatball.
April 2017-The Freethinkers Anonymous fiscal year runs from April 1st-March 30th for reasons no one can remember and no one really wants to bother to research because the archive is located in the attic and there are wasps up there. This year the team responsible for writing the 2017/2018 annual report looked at the calendar and was faced with a crisis: delay because April 1st was Easter, or go ahead and risk getting egged? After much discussion the decision was made to go ahead when an assistant manager said, “If you’re going to postpone it you better hurry up and do it.” There was also discussion about whether April 2018 would be mentioned in the report, but this was put aside with a company-wide vote affirming that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb with really bad diarrhea.
May 2017-An internal audit revealed that sometimes the company finances are in the red and sometimes in the black and sometimes in green and once in a color that, after much research, was revealed to be Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm. A team was put together to figure out whether there’s actually any money coming in and also to figure out what the word “amortize” means.
June 2017-A series of focus groups drawn from the general population was brought in and asked whether they preferred the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated version of J.R.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit or the three-part live-action version directed by Peter Jackson released beginning in 2012. Respondents fell into three broad categories: those who were unfamiliar with or had never seen either adaptation, those who preferred the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated version, and those who preferred the live-action version. The first two groups were dismissed. The final group was kept and asked a series of additional questions starting with, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
July 2017-Kevin was sent out for milkshakes. At the time of this report he has not yet returned.
August 2017-Blah blah blah productivity blah efficiency blah staff morale blah blah blah accounting something something pensions lost blah blah criminal charges blah prison time yadda yadda something something anyone else remember the show Hill Street Blues and the guy who called people “dogbreath”? What was that supposed to mean?
Chuck: Let’s take a call. It looks like we have Gloria from Poughkeepsie on line 2. Hi Gloria, welcome to the show. What’s your question?
Gloria: Hi Chuck. My husband and I have invested in a small property which we plan to use for short-term rentals. What zoning regulations do we need to look at most carefully, and what kind of insurance should we get in the case of property damage?
Chuck: That’s a great question, Gloria. That’s a really good question. Boy, is that a good question. You know, when my producer suggested we do a show on real estate I didn’t anticipate a question that good. In some cultures people eat leeches. To get back to your question, Gloria, it’s a really good question. That’s the sort of question you really put a lot of thought into. The Beach Boys used a theremin in their song “Good Vibrations”. Anyway, regarding your question, that’s a really good question. One of the most famous stage directions in theater is “Exeunt pursued by a bear,” from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, and on that note it looks like we’re out of time. Thanks for your call, Gloria! And the producer is telling me we still have a minute and a half, so I’m going to curl up into a ball on the floor until everyone goes away.
October 2017-The company corn maze was deemed an enormous success. The only dissenting voice came from Tom in advertising who suggested that it would have been better if the corn had actually been planted several months earlier instead of just scattered on the ground. Katherine in security took him aside and explained that if he didn’t think it was a success he’d be “sent out for milkshakes”. After this brief meeting staff approval of the maze was unanimous.
November 2017-A staff memo recommending that Kevin be put in charge of the office thermostat contained a typo with the result that the office thermostat was adjusted to Kelvin. Staff remarked that it did seem a lot warmer now that all temperatures were adjusted upward by 273 degrees Celsius or 460 degrees Fahrenheit.
December 2017-The annual office holiday party was held, as usual, at the Sheepshead Pub on 27th Avenue. As usual no one showed up.
January 2018-Management announced that this was the perfect time to wash the car. A focus group made up solely of managers was put together and subjected to a series of questions starting with, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
February 2018-Valentines were exchanged by all staff on February on Tuesday, February 13th, because that’s how we roll. Accounting reminded everyone that the question of black versus red ink had been brought up several months earlier but never fully resolved. A decision was made to use multiple colors and let everything sort itself out later. This was followed by a toast made with glasses of chartreuse.
March 2018-Exeunt pursued by a lamb.
A few years ago I wrote a post about worms and how whenever I see one struggling to get somewhere I like to help it along. Little did I realize that would come back to haunt me, and I’ve agreed to allow a member of the community to offer some further thoughts.
So my wife gave me a literary tea collection because, well, I’m a bit of a reader, and by “bit of a reader” I mean I always have at least five or six books stacked up on my bedside table and a long list of books I wish I could get to, but that’s another story. Anyway I noticed a theme running through the collection.
This one might make me go blind.
This one might make me go bald.
This one might make me go bearded.
This one I can only drink when it’s brillig.
You may have noticed something else they all have in common, something which reminds me of Henry Ford’s statement, “You can have it in any color you like as long as it’s black.” He was referring, of course, to the Model Tea.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, a fun and exciting holiday that involves a lot of swallowing and gulping and devouring and consumption and chewing, and then there’s the food. With that in mind I’m just going to stuff this in here.
The other day when I came home my dogs were barking, but taking my shoes off would have to wait because our real dogs were barking and needed to go out. They usually bark when I come home; I like to think this is because they’re excited and happy I’m home. Several years ago my wife and I went to see a stage production of 101 Dalmatians that featured some real Dalmatians, and also some actors in Dalmatian costumes. Instead of barking the actors would yell “HEY! HEY! HEY!” and this is what I often think our dogs are saying when they’re barking, although they’re also quite capable of intelligent conversation, but that’s another story.
Anyway I had a dog on a leash in one hand and my phone in the other and decided to send my wife a text to let her know I was home safe and sound. And because I’m a little goofy, especially after a day at work, I asked my phone to send her the message, “I’m home with the barking bow wows.” And this is the preview message that popped up:
Obviously this was my fault. I’ve given my phone a British accent and occasionally this causes some confusion. For instance when I’m dictating a message I can’t end a sentence with “period” or it will spell out the word “period”. I have to say “full stop”. So I tried again.
Again, obviously my fault. I think I stumbled as I was talking. Third time’s a charm.
Powerhouse was a short-lived television show produced by PBS in 1982 about a plucky little community center and the diverse young people who frequent it. It also ran on Nickelodeon back in the network’s early days, and the cast included a very young pre-SNL Ana Gasteyer. ” I was not yet ready to give up.
No clue where this came from, although “Powerhouse” is also the name of an instrumental composition used in many Warner Brothers cartoons. None of this has anything to do with the message I was trying to send, but, hey, that was a nice little diversion. I was determined, though, that persistence would pay off.
It would have to do.