29 November 2007

MARCVS CRAPVLARIVS: the tranquil glen

The new spirit here at Roma Aeterna is called Glenmorangie, and I had to flog most of the staff to find out how to say it properly in the barbarian tongue. (It rhymes with "orangey.") It means "the valley of tranquility" and is--I'm told--hand-crafted by "The Sixteen Men of Tain." Now I'm sure these Caledonian fellows are clever and all, but it seems impossible that it only takes 16. I probably have 16 working in the stables alone, not to mention the orchards, vineyards, granary, and household. (I can never keep track--they keep dying off and being born, and some I ship away--that is why I have a staff.) Regardless, these whisky-men got the terribly original notion to age the stuff in wine barrels. Imagine! The Iberian Gauls make madeira out on the Purple Islands, and somehow the used barrels find their way north. (They must have good help.) The whisky, naturally, is a rough and uncultured brew, but the madeira "finish" has a, naturally, civilizing influence. The result is a dangeroulsy quaffable drink! The bottle is almost empty this morning! I must say, even I would never have thought of using wine to improve whisky, but what a breakthrough. Rumor has it that burgundy barrels are used as well. No wonder I can't get any decent Gallic wines.

a.d. III Kal. Dec.

25 November 2007


April Day was Johnny's girlfriend. When she disappeared, Matt Cadd tracked her down.

"I ran. I thought he'd been killed. He knew some bad men. Now I know it was just rotten luck." She sobbed.

"Take it easy, kid." He held her. "You're my family now, OK? And no crying."

And, after 50 days, the spirit moved them.

24 November 2007


This is my 150th post! And I'm even more excited about the arrival of Out of the Gutter 3.

18 November 2007


Johnny had a closed casket--victim of a hit-and-run. Matt Cadd found his little brother's killer: a decrepit drunk with a stolen car.

"You took my only family. I have nothing, now."

"Yeah? Tough. Join the club."

The avenging blade went deep, and the taste of steel brought the end.

After 50 days, the law came down.

16 November 2007

And we're in bed with these bastards?

Check out this NY Times story (which was carried by other newspapers including the Sacramento Bee today):


These clowns are our ALLIES. They FLOG people. They flog the VICTIMS of rape. The VICTIMS!! These Islamic "leaders" and "clerics" are PHONIES. Corrupt, stupid LOSERS. Flogging the VICTIM of a RAPE? Are you kidding me?

I wonder if GW, when he's hangin' with his buddy "Prince" Bandar al-Saud, asks him, "yo, Bandy, how's that floggin' thing work? Does it keep the damn liberals off yer back?"

Why aren't we bombing the damn House of Saud into the Stone Age where they belong?

14 November 2007

Dear everyone,

I have so many "thank-yous" to my friends and family for all the lovely gifts, cards, calls, notes, thoughts and *other* extra-ordinary efforts made on behalf of my XLVIIIth birthday that I hardly know where to start. It has to be the best birthday ever! THANKS TO ALL OF YOU! I'm overhwhelmed by your love and affection. I'm rich--rich with the best thing in life: wonderful friends.

Love always,


a.d. XVIII Kal. Dec.

13 November 2007


Diem natalem felicem mihi!

Yes, friends, it is my birthday: Happy Birthday to Me!

Here at Roma Aeterna on the Ides of November, the gods have been good to us. An exotic new spirit has come in to my hands, not the work of my household (the miserable wretches), but a gift from visiting friends. Once again those clever barbarians from across the Mare Atlanticum have concocted a new drink, this one in "imitation" of the Caledonians! Imagine that--a tribe of woodsy roughnecks copying the practices of those bog-dwellers! And speaking of bogs, this spirit, called McCarthy's, is flavored with the very bogs of the Caledonian homeland. Yes, this "whiskey" (so-called in their savage tongue), has a "peaty" flavor, something like burning tar or pitch. Vile to imagine, I know, but wondrous on the tongue. Smooth and full with this dazzling smokiness, I can't get enough of McCarthy's. It is from someplace called "Oregon," filled with foreigners, not even provincials, and I shudder to think what life there is like. I shall set the servants to work making offerings to Juno to thank her for our abundance. And if they do a poor job of it, I'll sacrifice one of them! Beware the Ides, indeed.

Id. Nov.

12 November 2007

pridie Idus Novembris

Beware the Ides, my friends! Indeed, it is my birthday tomorrow, on the Ides of November. I will have XLVIII candles on the cake. Speaking of numbers, how many plots are there? According to Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead, there are 8 ("The Eightest Stories Ever Told!!"). That strip is from 28 Feb 93, and I have it on my wall. Georges Polti says there are 36 (The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations). He wrote that in 1917. I found a 1973 reprint in a library book sale for a dollar. (Some folks on the net updated it to 37 plots here.) Finally, there is a website called Hatch's Plot Bank, which is at 2,382 and counting. The outfit is called TCR Press, and seems to be the creation of a writer named Laurence C. Hatch. I'll have to dive in and try a few some time. So, how about the answer to my question--how many plots? Well, I reckon some fellers are lumpers and some fellers are splitters. Which one are you?

prid. Id. Nov.

11 November 2007


It was Matt Cadd's birthday and he'd ordered a new suit. But the jacket didn't fit, his haberdasher was crestfallen, and his tailor was closed.

Back home, trenchcoat on a hanger, fedora on a shelf, he smoked, drank, and brooded to Sinatra.

"I like it 'My Way,' too, Frankie boy."

50 Long--right off the rack

04 November 2007


Raven's belly dance revue opened to rave reviews. But her ex, Mr. Cairo, made threats. So she hired a bodyguard--Matt Cadd.

"Relax, doll, the only belly he'll see will be his own--when I cut it open."

She protested: "He's a gangster!"

"You shimmy," he replied, "and I'll shank."

Quoth the Raven: "50 more."