Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Appeale to Reason

Welcome once again, dear listeners. We are charged with many divers qwestions and Trubbles todaye, but first I must address a quandrie of my own. I must use my station as a leading member of the Advice Columnist Community to protest an attack on my own kind. I recently reviewed a shrill letter to my compadre Ann Landers. The Authore of this unprovoked attack declared her to be 'The Whore of Babylon' and a shrew. Her advice, given freely and signed with her own name was judged unfairly to be 'useless drivell' and 'Nonsense'. I am here to tell you that despite the uninteresting qwestions her producers drege upp, she is there to help. No matter the tiny minds at work behind the requests for advice, and their senseless arguments. Without regard for her reputation, she humbley dives in to debates about wedding invitations and brides-maid dresses and the coloration said dresses should or should not be!

This is a situation to by pitied, not censured, dear listeners.

And across the Web at the Slate magazine, Cary Tennis makes do with similar chaff in his advice mill. "How do I stop picking my nose?", literally formed the gist of an article entire. He took this foul biskit and ran with it, dear friends, like a man hurying to put out a Judge with a wigg on fire. With no thought of his own sanity, he publishes one drool-worthy answer after another in response to the lower-brain-stem firings of complete wastrels.

Your dutiful Finknottle has of course only the instincts of a surgoene, wishing to excise the lumps of dread in the heads of my poor partners in this business. Would that every columnist had a stable of cool heads and global talent to draw his meat and potatoes from. We can't all pluck the low-hanging fruit. We can't all be Priviledged to address the autonomous Island nation of the Caymans, discourse with super-intelligent dogs, and wrestle with existential searching of the highest level. I am enlifted, embiggened by this flowe of halcyon entreaties, and to perform this Service is an honor.

To the detractores I say, "Leave Ann alone! She writes for the unwashed millions who need to pretend they can read while riding the trains. Take your claws off Cary! He studied at barber college, and can afford no better position in the industry. Take a swipe at Finknottle, foul critics! See what a real columnist is made of, and release the smaller fish back to their brackish ponds."

Finknottle has thrown the gauntlet, and in the interest of full disclosure, Finknottle is running for President of the Advice Columnists Union.

Now, on to the letters:

Hey Finkpoodle - I was watching some humpback whales off the Hawaiian islands the other day and it looked like the markings on one of their tails said, "Bite Me". Do you think this was a hallucination or did I somehow unknowingly piss off a humpback? What should I do? (and please, please let it cost me less than $237 - that's all I have in the world)
Signed-Desperately Humping

Dear Desperately Humping, I have no idea what you are talking about. I literally cannot parse the words. Let us try a substitution code: read the next Ann Landers column you can put your grips on. Insert "Humpback" where it says "Bridesmaid", and "Hallucination" where it reads "Mother-in-Law". Report back what you glean from this exercise.

Next Qwestion:

I have heard that there may still be more works of Shakespeare which are yet undiscovered. I think Shakespeare would have meant to write a play about Mary and Jesus. Would it be worthwhile for me to try to write up a script, and say that I found it under a seat at the Globe Theater? How many farthings shall I demand for it?

Well, as the Authore of several erzatz Shakes plays myself, I can help you along. The nub or crux of the exercise is to borrow as much verbiage, say 70%, from the Bard. This will ensure that the resulting mess will at least scan with some flavor of the right sort. Then, scramble the parts, assigning the mens' roles to women and vice-versa. This will effectively disguise the donor text. For Mary and Jesus I recommend Rosencrans and Guildenstern.

As for the discovery of the manuscript, make it an event. Perhaps during a performance! Bribe the hungriest-looking usher and let him share the limelight, perhaps by helping pry up a flooreboard where you have chanced upon the script. If he plays the foil with gusto, you'll not only have a partner in crime, but a potential Guildenstern.

I am wanting to move to a new city. How can I determine which place is best for me?
-anonymous wanderer

There is but one way to find the true home for a wandering soul. First, the soul must be prepared for transport. The host body on the other end of the trip must be likewise assembled and tested. Various tonics are needed to cushion the Phsycik blowes to a soul-in-transit, and these should be administered by a licensed soul-mover. They are in the book. Next, some nice plantings around the base of the host body will dress up the elevation from the street and generate interest in the real-estate community. An open-house may be planned in advance, but buy the flowers the day-of.


Fink, how can I find a nice girl to marry?
harry (and lonely)

Dear Harry and Lonely, I trust you are looking for one girl each, for a total of twoe girls to be delivered into your matrimonial escrow account. "Nice" is an insufficeint advective to begin a shopping trip with, however, and I would have more specifications to work with.

That is the lot today, faithful Readers, and I thank you for tuning me in. Please do make yourselves heard at the next Advice Columnist Pik-nik and don't forget to Vote for good old Fink in the following categories: "Least Offensive Columnist in their Weight-class", "Best Use of Misinformation", and "Best Dressed".

Augustus Q. Finknottle

Monday, June 26, 2006

Greatings, Truth Seekers

Greetings, Truth-Seekers, It is I the Great Finknottlo who encompasses your destiny and so forth. Today our questions come from the many areas of our country served by the Liverputty vehikles.

Dear Frinkmuzzle,
What kind of animal would make the best birthday gift for my mother? I would like to surprise her.

warm regards,
from Ms. Amanda Huggenchiss

The best animal for any circumstance is the Badger. He is a friend to man and very industrius. He can dig for miles and never tire. I recomend a system of tunnels be constructed with teams of badgers. This can serve many uses. The first being improved sewage flow and rain evacuation from your property. Next there may be ways to increase the production of your crops with badger-tunnel technology. Experiment and get back to me.

Now, as for presentation of the gift, choose a time when your Mother is scheduled to be away for at least a fortnight, a month would be better. Let the Badgers loose in the grounds with specific instructions for the network of tunnels and inter-change stations (to transefer from one tunnel line to another.) Be sure to allow for seasonal and daily bottlenecks and make small adjustments in traffic flow to fine-tune the system.

When Mother arrives home, parhaps from the South of France, she will see an eye-popping marvel of Badger ingenuity.

Dear Mr. Finknottle,
Is it true that the best way to advance your career is by advancing your boss on the tip of the knife you have planted in his back?

Wesley James, Bentonville, AR

I have consulted with Machiavelli on this topic many times and his answer is firm: Maybe. There are always many variables to consider, according to M, and they are in descending order of interest: The State of the Economy in the Realm, The Popularity of the Court Member in Question, His Holdings and Assests and lastly his length of Tenure in the Court. You must consider the wind speed and various other 'envireonmentals' in your plan or scheme. Knife-tip boss-advancing is not to be taken lightly, in other words.

That is all I can..ooh! DO also make sure to consult your local statutes, as knife-wielding for the purpose of career improvement may be frowned upon in Township Bentonville.

Dear Mr. Finklestein,
How can I instill values in my 3 sons?

Chance Livestrong
Tempe, AZ

I can only hope to someday have sons of my own, as the right moment has not arrived for Self yet. But I feel I can give something on this subject. Let's begin with the source. Do you, for instance have the values you wish to instill? If not, it is a simple matter of writing away to a clearing house and requesting a set.

Now, once the values arrive, they must be prepared in a light whale oil. This should be done at sunset to minimize updraft.
Now, taking the values one at a time, grasping them firmly by the shaft, insert them (or Instill them to use your word, which I find appropriate) and turn anti-clockwise to set the screws. Repeat for each son, and let stand over night. The instilled values should take hold, but do not stress them much in the first 10 years. Good Luck.

Finally, I have had many requests to describe my process of divining information to relate to you, the viewer. Take the following question as emblematic of this gist of inquiry:

Mister Finknottle,
Once again your advice brings much needed clarity to a world that so very much lacks it. Though the written format allows one to consider the most appropriate response to your readers' questions, I can't help but wonder if the format of the wireless radio might provide you with an even more direct impact on your readership. Lost souls and anxiety-ridden folk in need of immediate consultation could have instantaneous advice when calling in to you.

Please understand, this suggestion in no way intended to say that you should give up on your column. No, indeed it is a great way for us to spot the details of your understanding of the human being and all its facetes though caeful reading, and re-reading. Nay this would merely be yet another route throught which to guide those of us who need the beacon of true understanding.

Merely a suggestion.
-8th man

Now, Eighth Man, one thing I would mention first is that Dear Old Finknottle is not in the best of health either. He is neurotic, occasionaly suffers inflamed membranes and is prone to over-indulge. That is the chief reason I feel I have something to offer the 'Lost Souls and Anxiety-Ridden Folk' that you make mention of. A perfect person would, in this role, be perfectly useless.

As for understanding of the human condition and all its facets, I have the advantage of 761 years of experience, most of which I have forgotten. So great age is a mixed blessing. But I can say that technology has made great stides and the wireless idea you present intrigues me. We will discuss it at the next meeting of the Junoire Natural Philosopher's Club. They are my eyes, ears and pickpokets in the great city and can cover more ground on their shoeless feet than I can in a year of ambling.

Goodnight, little figgyies and good hunting.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Christopher Wren is a Douchebagg

As we open the proceedings to-day, I have turned the duties over to my Assistant. We are in situ at the bar, and I will now enter the scene, in medias res, so to speak.

"You write my column today, Assistant. The last one on currency fluctuations was well received," I said, and took a short pull on my ale.

"T'is true, t'was received nicely," said My Assistant, "save I fear your Editore noticed the lapse in style."

I grumboled. "You mean you put in too many big words and spelled them correctly. You need a shorter, less authoritative dictionary, and a rustier quill." I handed him one of mine. "Take that, Assistant," I said

"You may call me Scribble, Sir," he said

"Why would I do that?" I asked.

"It is my name, Sir. I have only just now remembered it. Yesterday I was known as 'His Assistant'. And before that I was a gleam in the Editore's eye. He created you, Sir Finknottle, and shortly after, he created me to assist you."

"Fascinating. Scribble, can I call you Scrib?" I inquired.

"Ooh, Sir, a Nick-Name! Are you giving me a nick-name?" he asked.

"A what?" I wanted to know.

"A familiarization of my name!" he screeched.

I was still fuzzy. "Hey?" I said.

"A diminutive form of the root name, Sir," he elaborated.

"Oh, I thought you were complaining about the ale," I replied. "They can't get the good hops because the Enemy have cut off supply."

"Who, Sir? The Austro-Hungarians?"

"No, you nitwit, the Farmers."

"You need to answer your mail, Sir." he said.

"Fine, read them to me and I will dictate the answer. Include this bit where I'm talking to you, it adds.. what do you call it?" I looked up, as if the word I wanted were written on the ceiling.

"Verisimilitude, Sir?"

"Yes. Proceed with the qwestions," I said.

"First Qwestion, Sir, from the Empire of Japan: 'Hey, Funknobber, Stocks, bonds, or CD’s?'. It is signed Jeremy Stokes, Okoboji, Iowa."

"I've never heard of the Prefecture of Iowa, dear boy, but let not that stay us from responding to his earnest querie. Hmm, put this: 'Stocks are quite handy for holding cattle, bonds do well with restraining servants and what do you suppose are 'see-dees', Assistant Scribble?"

"I couldn't say, Sir."

"Well, you'd better say, this is your column and the author of the qwestion needs our help. Make something up."

"How about this, Sir, 'I reccommend CD's whole-heartedly.'" said Scribble.

"Promising start," I encouraged, "Now pick up the pace."

"Indulge in CD's to youre heart's content, so long as they are of goode quality, and not too ripe," he read.

"Good. Next qwestion, Scribble." I drained my ale and looked around for another.

"The second qwestion begins: 'Dear Mr. Finknottle, A year ago, I encouraged my husband to lose some weight for health reasons. He finally took up a workout program and lost 60 pounds. The problem is, he now likes to show off his new physique at our friends’ dinner parties. It’s embarrassing. What should I do?' and it is signed, 'Lee Ann Maywicke, Athens, Georgia'."

"Very good. Let's see. I myself am in perfect physical form, and I feel for the Protagonist in this little dyad. Or do I mean 'Antagonist'?"

"I am not a linguist, Sir."

"And I am not a Horticulturist! Nevre mind. Write as follows: 'Dear Lee Ann, are you the Protagonist in the situ. or the Antagonist? Sincerely Finknottle.' I'm out of ale again, do you want some while I'm up, lad?"

"Sir, there's no need to determine the logical status of the people in the question in order to answer it. I reckon we may proceed without that information."

"So you don't want more ale?"

"Sir, Please!"

"Yes, yes, all right. Hmm, skip this one and put it at the bottom of the pile."

"Yes, Sir. Next qwestion, Sir. Are you up for this, Sir, you are looking green."

"I am not."

"I forget, does turning green indicate the opium has worn off or is increasing in effect, Sir?"

"Read, young Assistant."

He read. "'Finkpuddle, I have an unusual sort of painfull swelling in my groin areas, it is a bothersome trouble the like I have never had before. I am inclined to a variety of odd behaviors to make this swelling go down, but yet it always returns. Are there any liniments or aspics which may provide a cure? Sincerely, Sir Fullstaff Longfellow.'"

I said, "Ah, yes, I believe it was Chekov who said, 'When there are many treatments for an illness, you may be sure there is no Cure.' "

"Well put, Sir, do I attribute this to Chekov now or wait and look it up?" Scribble held his quill aloft, ready for my instruction.

"Attribute it to me, you ninny," I barked.

"Next qwestion, sir, " Scribble said and looked down at his notes, "It is unsigned."

"Then ignore it." I waved a hand.

"'Punknottle, How do I know which beer is right for me? I am visiting a nearby tavern.'"

"You'll drink whatever the waitress brings you and you'll always be full, so goes the song, dear boy," I said.

"No, sir that was the question."

"I see. Ask him what tavern is currently surrounding him, this is pertinent to the reply," I said, and took out a menthol cigarillo and lit it from the fireplace.

Scribble looked confused. "Sir, I cannot ask him a question, he's not.." he began.

I saw the path through the thicket and jumped in, "Never mind, Scribble," I said, "It is The King's Cross, I'll wager. Or the Dog and Duck. Either one has a good smelly Stout. If it's the Happy Clam, then recommend he slither out and go next door to the Hole in the Floor. Much better ambiance. There he is free to sample all their wares, but stay away from the brine-soaked animal parts. They look appetizing, but have been known to cause blindness. Hmm.. The Gilded Daftwaddel is a little out of the way, I don't suspect our visitor is there. I know, tell him to order a stout, and if they have it, order three more. If they don't, it is grounds to leave. And bring me some tobacco."


"Write it!"

"Yes, sir."

"Are we almost done, Scribble, my glass is empty."

"One more, Sir."

"Well, begin, young Scribble. Time is of the essence," I said and tried to signal a serving-wench.

"It's rather personal, Sir, perhaps not intended for the official mailbag, Sir," squeeked Scribble.

"Nonsense," I said nonchalantly, "Dispense the words of the Vox Populi with all speed."

"Sir. It reads, 'Oh, Finkie,'" Scribble stammered.

"Steady on, Scribble," I said.

He continued, "'You can pretend it's all a blur and that you were "sleeping one off". But I know the truth. And those past 3 (4? 12?) days and (even better) nights are none that I'll regret. Come on Finkie, don't you remember any of the fun we had most recently? You called me beautiful and..'"

"And what, Scrib?" I asked, "please keep the narrative flowing."

"Yes, Sir, sorry, Sir. 'You called me beautiful and ran your fingers through my mass of thick red hair. Or perhaps you're protecting my virtue (ha!) by pretending to remember nothing of our adventures. Ah, but I remember, my sweet, talented Finkie. I remember...
Until next time (when you can scrape another 27 pence together to enjoy my company - but hurry, rates are going up!)'
and it is signed, 'your Sassy Wench '. Is she an aquaintance of yours, Sir Finknottle?"

"I've never met the woman," I said weakly.

"She is taking a very familiar mode sir, are you sure you don't know her?" Scribble prodded me.

I contemplated this. "I am contemplating this, be sure to put that!" I yelled.

"Finknottle pretended to contemplate this," said Scribble, writing furiously.

I made as if to think, muttering, "Perchance I do, perchance... perchance to sleep perchance to dream... Aha!"

"Sir? You've remembered?" asked Scribble hopefully.

"No, I'm out of ale," I replied. I needed time to think. I walked up to the bar alone, (but how is this being written without my assistant taking dictation? Perhaps I am writing this on my sleeve and will slip it into publication later.) What does the poor boy know of doomed love? He's only a pup. He only heard his own name today! The Sassy Wench and I shared more than I cared to admit, but there were some rather large Jovian-type planets betwixt us and happiness. These constituted, reading from left to right: her husband.

I returned to the boothe where Scribble was... scribbling, and read carefully over his shoulder. The top of the page read, "Symptomes" and there were entries about Self and descriptions of various types. 'Drunken, de-hydrated, Greenish pallor, &c.'

I roared, "What's that? Are you spying on me for my editore? What's his game? Tell me!"

Scribble shrugged and said plainly, "He wants to have you declared insane so he can ruin you and take your property."

I calmed down. This was not as bad as I had feared. "Oh is that all," I said and slumped into the boothe.

"Isn't that bad?"

I shook the head. "No, no. The Editore-slash-Advice-Columnist relationship is strong and can survive any needling problems..." Just then I caught sight of a news-paper lying open on the table. "Slander! He's suing me for slander!"

"Five times, Sir, this month alone."

"Five MORE times? TEN slander cases?" I was baffled.

"No, no," Scribble said quickly, "Five, total of five. Five total."

Scribble seemed nervous at my outbursts, and spoke, hoping to distract me. "We need a name for the column, Sir. How about, 'Sir Finknottle answers his mail?'"

"No we've used that one," I said. I thought about the matter and replied, "Better go with 'Christopher Wren is a Douchebagg'."

"Ahhh, see Sir, my version, while prosaic, is not technically Slander."

I allowed this was true. I tried again. "How about 'Christopher Wren is a Slanderer'," I offered.

"Clever, Sir, clever! But still slander, I fear."

"I don't see how."

Scribble coffed slightly. "You falsely acused him of a crime, Sir."

"What crime?"

"Falsely Accusing People of Crimes, Sir."

"That's a crime?!"

"Yes, Sir, Slander, Sir, and, dash it now I'm out of ale."

"Mary, Mingo and Mitch, it's about time." I pushed my glass over to his and picked them both up.

"Could you take over dictating, Sir, I'm going to step outside and see if Aspirin's been invented yet."

"Stout fellow," I said, "and ask about chewable opium supplements while you're at it."

"You have one in your mouth currently, Sir," Scribble whined.

I grinned, "Not the sour kind, I don't."


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Finknottle Returns, Denies Everything

Welle, my little figgyies, It is I, your cherish'd Finknottle. News of my various deaths have been widely reported. And theye are all true. As true, thate is, as my Editore's usual headlines! He claims that I absconded with the company letter of credit, and implied that I have spent the week at the opium market stalls. Why, that murderous... welle he has not yet actually murdered, and to say so woulde be slander. Let us accuse him of being a well-known Vegetarian and Philanderer.

He also let the implication across that he 'won me' in a poker game. This denigrates us bothe so I must set this lie in print so I may refute it:

Before I came to Liverputty, I was bought by the War Department. My editor, in a shrewde moment he has not matched since, made a deal with those in power. Theye desired a war in a far-off opium colony. My Editore told them, "Give me the pictures and I'll give youe a war." They did, and he did, and they refused to pay.

Apparently, the war ravaged an opium-colony in a thorough-going and sincere manner, but in the wrong Hemisphere. The War Department stopped payment. My Editore whined like a little girl, and a Compromise was reached. I was despatched, apparently one Finknottle can be redeemed, at current market rates, for one war.

The real story of this past week is obscured in a haze of claims and counter-claims, and a rich foamy opium-hangover. But what follows is what I have pieced together:

We open our scene in a ditch, the party-of-the-first-parte (Self), face downe in the muck. Enter, ditch-left, an Urchin. It speaks. What he said did not register, as I was watching a steadey trickle of silvery bits dropping from his mouth. On inspection, they turned out to be shiny new quarters. Rhode Island issue. The commemerative ones. Although I saw the quarters dripping out of his mouth, he didn't seem to notice, so I scooped a couple of handfulls into my pockets. (This parte maye have been the opium wearing off, as I later discover'd my pockets fulle to overflowing with common gravel.)

"Mister Finkfottle, Sir, is that you?" He poked me with a stick, as if testing my corporeality. "Sir, you're filthy!"

"I am not," I said.

"Filth adheres to you in six areas which I shall enumerate.." he said.

"Can't talk, little boy, coming down," I mumbled.

"You're that advice bloke from the Liverputty, aren't you?" He screeched.

"You recognize me from that ink smear next to my byline?" I said, amazed. "My Editore has never managed to spend the money on a proper press to repoduce a worthy likeness of Self."

"I'm sure your Editore does his best.." he began.

"My Editore walks on four legs!" I screamed, so loudly I hurt my spleen.

"My Dad says your talent evaporated along with your brain a long time ago." He retorted.

I raised myself up, not without some effort, onto an elbow. "Your Father is made of daub-and-wattle," I croaked, and don't you know I meant it to sting. He seemed non-plussed so I waved a hand airily and said "I've seen
his cross-section. He's a clockwork-driven Automaton. He was designed by Christopher Wren."

"That's as may be," the Urchin continued, "but I didn't recognize you from your byline, as you haven't published in many an age. I recognize you by your demeanor, your dress, your periwig, your distinctive smell and your photo in Tax Cheats Monthly."

I was slightly mollified. "Now that's a reputable periodical. I wishe I worked for them." I let a sigh escape. "So I suppose youe want a job, eh?"

"I have a job, Mr. Finknottle, I'm your assistante."

The news stunned me. You could have knocked Finknottle over with an f., had I been vertical.

"I'm here to ressusutate youe and get youe back to worke."

He held out a goat-bladder full of liquid and indicated turning it upside down with a 'bottoms-up' gesture. I opened the Gullet and doused the Larynx good and thoroughly. I immediately coffed and spat. "What do I have the pleasure of drinking...?" I trailed off, not really wanting an answer.

"It's your recipie, Mr. F, for a restorative tonic. It's made from four parts gin and three parts gin."

"Ahh! A Riverboat Gambler, fine drinke, fine indeed." I made the good effort and downed the rest in one go. Feeling refreshed, I was not exactly ready to tackle the current set-up, (read: Self and my ongoing tennancy in a ditch), but I did need some pertinent intelligence vis-a-vis recent history.

"What am I doing, not to put too fine a point on it, in a ditch?" I enquired of My Assistant.

Before he could reply, I felt a sharpness in between the ribs, and reached down to discover a dagger, ornate and perhaps Mideval, in my belt.

"Holy Mother of Dungeness Crabs!" I shouted. "I am armed! What does this mean? Think, Finknottle, think! I must have finally snapped and plotted murder against some vile nemesis. But what could it be, and have I succeeded? Am I on the lam?" I suddenly remembered the Urchin, a fixture there in the ditch with Self.

"Am I a foul common criminal, one necessarily more dashing than most, but still guilty of some dark deed?"

"No, sir, you fell out of the window, after sleeping one off in your writing chair."

He indicated a third-floor opening.

"What do you mean 'sleeping one off'? And what sort of gelatinous tone is that to take with me? How do you explain this dagger?"

I knew I had him. A man with my limited dexterity does not fight with handheld weapons, he uses barrels of ink to drowne his opponents. So this must indicate extreme circ's.

"In the first place," he began, sounding tired, "that's not a dagger. It is a book."

I was amused by this inspired lie, so I inspected the dagger again. It was indeed a book, a long, narrow one. The opium haze had tricked me again. I looked closely at the cover and saw it was one of my own, 'A Children's First Finknottle Omnibus'.

"This is still no justification for speaking to me in that rather drippy manner. I am a celebrated author!"

"You are a broken down old man," he said matter-of-factly.

"Opinions differ on that," I allowed gallantly.

He rolled his eyes. What does he know of the adult world? Sometimes, for reasons obscure even to himself, a man must lie in filth, stoned to the gills, absent from his job, penniless and stinking of gin with pocketfulls of gravel. Children! What do they know?

"Well, don't just stand there like a mute horse, get me out of this muck. I can't be seen like this! I am the famous Inventore of bi-focused lenses!"

"You are confuseing yourself withe the American, Benjamin Franklin again, sir."

"I concieved and flew a system of wax wings to a record-breaking height," I retorted haughtily.

"That was the mythical Icarus, sir."

I blanched.

"Enough of this pleasant give-and-take, young man. Let us away, my many legions of fans have waited long enough to hear the silvery tongue of Yours Truly. I have Admirers from the firste column I wrote who have remained loyal to me and I must not let them downe."

"Your last loyal reader died of Syphillis in 1754." He said.

I must have seemed unconvinced, for he added, "We held a small gathering and mourned his passing."

I shrugged.

"You spoke for three and a half hours in the rain."

"Not possible."

He threwe up his hands. "I have called a carriage, and when it arrives we can away to youre office."

"And by 'my office' you mean...."

For a tense moment I thought he meant the Liverputty Editorial chambers.

"Sister Lucy's Home for Wayward Girls and Grill," he replied.

"Lead on, MacDuff," I said cheerfully, "lead on!"


Monday, June 12, 2006

Finknottle Rails Againste his Editore, Answerrs Fan

My Editore thinkes I am scatterbrained, and while he has never accused me of workeing too harde, he has suggested I take up a hobby. He suggested raising rabbites. A goode choice, for foode or pets, but I chose something else. I enjoye all mannere of chewing lice, as they rewarde youre attentions with Affectione. But I wanted somethinge to really dazzle the Liverputty offices.

I have decided to cultivate wormes, in the Thames they'd be called Teredo wormes, and would live in the side panels of Shippes. (Juniore Natural Philosopher's note: the Shippeworme is not a true worme, but an elongated clam.)

But in this case theye live in the Floor-boards beneath my Editore's chair. (yes, my little ones, eat up!) At this very momente they are chewing heartily through the planks beneathe his fat rumpus. The wormes chew, the planks weaken, the wormes chew, the planks weaken.... That's right, rant at your Finknottle, rant and Rave! (eat, my little wormes, eat! It's all for YOU!) Shake your fat fists at me once more, Editore, I deserve it! Make the roome bellow with your foul breathe. Rant, my Editore! Louder! Harder! Louder, Harder!!

Ooh, ahh. I can tell by the lovely puddle of snuffe-flecked droole on the page that I have been dreaming. Just as welle, I have emerged from the reverie with renewede vigore and so forthe. Let the Vox Populi inform us now, and we shalle Disparage my Employere at a later date.

On to the Letteres!

Q.)Dear Mr. Stink-bottle, I am a small, but well-heeled island group pleasantly situated in balmy waters. I have been blissfully enjoying my scrupulously discrete existence, catering to ladies and gentlemen of rather different financial needs, when I suddenly became afflicted by an infestation of super-intelligent dogs.

This is, as you may apprehend, a disquieting development. Imagine, if you will, unwelcome guests, sticking their noses (coolly and moistly, of course-I have a damnably healthy climate)where they don´t belong, sniffing out sensitive information, baying it to the stars, wagging their uppity little tails and piddling on the carpet. This is the tropics, man, and even super-intelligent piddle stinks after a few hours.

I tried ignoring the problem (stiff-upper-lip and all that), and then I tried serving them (in attractively prepared bits) on toast. All to no avail.
Please help me, Sir Gussie.

-I am, Careworn in the Carribbean

A.) Please reade on:

Q.)Hey, Finkster,
My super-intelligent dog ran off to the Cayman Islands. Should I try to retrieve him or just get a new one?


A.) This is a funney one, as I also got a matching querie from a super-intelligent dog in the Cayman Islands, asking if he needed to fill out formes to be emancipated, or did his exile to the tax-haven Islands do the tricke post-hoc-ergo-prompter-hoc. I am going to answer you both conservatively by reporteing the two of youe to the proper authorities.

Q.) Mr. Finknottle,
You make my knees tickle with your lavish choice of words and strange musings. I could listen to you prattle on for hours on end. I was wondering if there was maybe a Mrs. Finknottle or some other companion that is lucky enough to share your company. I love your column and can't wait to read your next installment.


A.) Of course there's a Mrs. F, my sainted Mother. As for me I am contractually required to ask you to consult the dating service -Elizabethen Re-enactor's Guild Anti-Lonliness Alliance. I subscribe and they deliver a freshe anacronistic whore twice monthley. I recommend paying extra for the simulated-plague-free ones.

Now, in the Intereste of Science, I muste attende to some Molde spores I am training in the martial artes. Never slacken during training seasone, as the saying goes. Until nexte time, I am


Thursday, June 8, 2006

Finknottle Rewards His Readers

Welcome again, my Faith-fulle Rabble. Today's Column is dedicated to answering youre petulante Qeuries, Quandaries and Over-weening Motives. I'll truncate the usual rante to it's pithiest form, "My Editore is a filthe-laden sow", such that we have more roome for youre missives.
Let us Begin:

Q.) Hey Finkfizzle, My buddy here says I'm drunk. But I say I'm just pretending. How can I prove it?

-Someplace sticky in Daytona

A.) Well, I can't fathome why anyone would pretend to be drunk when the real thing is reasonably priced and available to even the styckyest Daytonian. Grab your friende's heade by the triangular tendons in front to force open his gullet, and pour in a full dram of Finknottle's Famous Elixer (recipiee belowe) and get him on your level.

Now one skool of thoughte is to scrupulously Not use a pal's drunken state to your advantage. I have a differente scheme in mind. Use this temporarey unawaredness to full potential. Wreck his credite, forge his name on documentes, take compromising pictures. These are all applicable. Then get creative. Why merely ruin him in this life? Why not induce him to pray to the Gods for favors? The Gods hate that. He'll be assured a low-rent slice of Hell when he arrives. And to really load-up the Afterlife with maggotes, make him tell the Gods to "Be Snappy about it!" Then sit back and wait for his death with a knowing smile. Be sure to sende me a cut of what you glean from his pockets.

Q.) I am raising an army to take back a small patch of verdant valley that rightfully belonged to my great-grandfather on my mother's side, but currently is under the tyrannical boot of that vile brigand, _____. My forces out number his 3 to 1, but our weaponry is bronze and his is iron. The nearest iron technology, aside from my enemy's, is leagues away. Battle season is upon us. What is your counsel? Attack now with bronze or wait for iron?


A.) Ahh, yes the Danish Prisoner Dilemma. A good one. You have laid out the technikal manifest nicely, and I can picture the scene. But the Devile is in the Details. What strengthe of Winged Lizards do you have? What number of Screeching Wooxles? Are your troopes' bootes weather-tightened? Are the archers drunke or sobere? Is the winde from the Southe?

In general, there are Five ways to defeate and army made up as described, and they all involve Cheating. I reccommend Smallpox and Propaganda to cause a minor rebellion on the Lefte flank of his camp.

Then, while your opponente is dealing with this, call in a Favor from the local Gentry you have carefully cultivated in the off-seasone. You're not asking for much, just the loan of a few Sulphure bombes and specially hardened brain-spikes. Your Spikers should know what to do with these.

Then, using Hypnosis and the teckniques of Mind Controol, gayther a splinter group of the Church (whichever Church you have handy) and begin a Schism, using the forms available at the Poste Office. This will split the loyalty of the countryside, and provide a side-showe to the battle which you can use as distraction, and in a pinch, charge Admission. A well-planned battle can be victorious and profitable, and if you live, I'll expect a consulation fee.

Q.) Dear Gussie, I was going to take my mistress to Vegas for her birthday, but my wife found the airline tickets in a dresser drawer. To get out of a pickle, I told her they were for her and that I wanted to surprise her. I had a great time in Vegas with the wife, but now my mistress is steaming mad. How should I placate her? I can't afford expensive jewellery, or even another trip somewhere. That Vegas shuttle airfare and two nights at the Four Queens was just a package I won on the radio. Flowers won't work because she is a professional florist. What do I do?

-In a pickle in Idaho

A.) Ahh, yes, the Danish Prisoner Dilemma. I can picture it well. You want to Dominate and Keep two women at the same time. I see no legal or moral probleme with this, so let's skip righte to tactics. Keep the two women separate, making use of handcuffes and a Systeme of winches and pulleys. Lift one Woman up and out of the way to gain access to the other. If this is not Deemed practicable, perhaps because of a low ceiling, you may substitute rolling gurneys.

Q.)Mr. Finknottle, Every day, all day, I stare at a computer screen and insert numbers into blank boxes. When I am through filling up one screen, I hit 'enter' and a whole new screen with blanks to be filled in pops up. I know this happens every time when I hit enter, because I've been doing this for twenty years, but every time the new screen comes up my heart sinks, my tongue gets dry, and I feel the presence of a dread shadow. How can I keep from strangling the next one of my co-workers that comes near me? Please help quickly, someone is coming.

-Angst in a cubicle, Dead End, U.S.A.

A.) Relaxe, fellowe sufferer. As you have omitted the Contexte of youre worke, and referred to it cryptically, I assume you are working for the Gouvernement. Youre appelation of U.S.A. pearks my interest, but I suspect you are in League with theyre mortale eneamy, the C.S.A. or Confederate States of America. Youe are clearley a Mole, and a deepley-buried one at thate.

As for youre Worke, the less we all knowe, the better for Security and Safety of the Populuous. As for youre Angste and obvius Dreade, I recommend putting two women in a Systeme of winches and pulleys. Lift one up and away,... Waite, ah yes, I am beginning to repeate myself. Youre Troubble, Dear Reader, is in youre Frontal Lobe. No punn inteanded, none recieved. Whate I imply is not merely a localized problem behinde the Foreheade, but more likeley spread throughout your Torsoe. We shall Cleave you in twain, divine the source of the Dreade, sew you back together and leave you to dry for 7-10 dayes in the Vineyarde on a bed of rice and Parmesan cheese. Once youre cheque clears, we'll decide if youe are Cured. Shall we say 8-ishe, in my Gueste-Laboratorey.

Q.)Finknottle, When a cat sprays on your duffel bag, how can you get rid of the smell?

-Perplexed in London, Ohio

A.) I admite my Ignorance, for I have no Idea whate is a 'cat'. Surely the saeme Method would apply, however, that I use to rid my Studey of the Odour of My Editore. Viz: arm yourself withe rubberized gloves, and purchase the largest Whore you can afforde. Give her a weeks' rations of Tobacco, on condition that she smoke it all at once. Then apply a thin coaeting of grain-liquour to her facade, using even brush strokes. Put her in the butler-pantry for 7-10 days, and wait for my next column.

That is the lot of the legible correspondence that I did not use for kindling. More thought-fulle Readers may, in future, send kindling instead of letteres.

Yours, &c,
-Augustus Roderick Finknottle

Monday, June 5, 2006

Intro Thingy

Advice for the lovelorn and confused by Gussie Finknottle

Recently I've been asked to come out of semi-retirement at the age of 761 to help you silly mortals. So be it. My Editor, a rapcious beast of a person with greedy claws for hands, has turned the screws and called in old bad debts. I relish it! A chance to overwhelm the poor public wth my snuff-covered pages of scribble and screed? What joy. I won't let the indignity of the terms of my employment even come to the surface of the boiling pot of menace in my mind.

Ah, there. We've struck the 'right note' to begin in a feeling of collaboration and good feeling. You will be encouraged by the usual means to contribute humble queries and so forth on your little topics. You'll be offered a chance at free subscription giveaways and meat-and-liquour tickets, and various enticements. If that's what it takes to apply for and recieve written instuctions from Yours Truly to remedy the open wounds of your withered soul, fantastic. Naturally you could have done this on your own, but we'll let the massive machinery of publication work its market-shaping magic.

The first 1000-pound bag of mail will be arriving by today's camelboy express and I will welcome the chance to ignore it for 7-10 days while I vacation in Frontal Lobe Falls. There I will sip G&T's and wait for my medication to take hold. Yes, Gentle Reader, it is an imposition to be bothered like this, and embarassing to do it in print. This is not your cross to bear, it is mine alone. So unsheath your disgusting implements and string those words together. Enlist assistance from the agency at left to help you compose your simple requests. Don't be shy, that's what the operators are paid for!

Now little fetterlings, be still and let Daddy absorb his octuple-shot breakfast. You will be entertained in the order received etc. My contract calls for many many more paragraphs, but as I have cat-like reflexes and sharpened wits, I've naturally finished with the pertinent ideas a page early. So we'll just slam in here a random chunk of last year's column, still shatteringly relevant, and let the keys cool off.

-Augustus "Sir" Finknottle

Column #2

Augustus "Finky" Finknottle here, atop the horrible rumbling Wordkrinder, my Coale and Steam powered word juicer. The Authorities are constantly trying to shut this device down, not because of the noise and the billows of foul effluent from its drains, but the Indignity of having more horsepower-per-word than the National Armoury. But I will not hand it over to them, they will use it to punch endless meat-and-liquor tickets, a task far far beneathe its abilities.

Which brings us, as it were, to today's topic. My Editor, in every other guise, is a purveyoure of filthe and degrading literature. But in My Department, he seems to think that quality is paramounte. I am, if you can believe this my little columnists, Not living up to the terms of my contract! Not employing enough Verve and Genius in my columnar space!

"The masses will pay gratefulley for the handsome lithotype of Self and indulge me my every digressive," I assured Him.

He said that the people growe weary of useless rantes and attacks on the Management of Liverputty. They send their queries in hopefulle little packets that arrive on my desk and are then ignored so I can use my Advisory station to hurle invectives at my enemies, so goes the accusation.

"Yes," I reply, "and what is the matter with thate?"

My Editor insists that these complaintes mean something, singly and in toto. I say they are like rain on the roof. And there the matter stands today. My Readers adore me, and I them. There is no pressing need to Prove this by adressing them directley, if you follow my logic. But should a topique come through the transome that has merit, like the lump of lard floating to the top of the brothe, I will scoop it up. Now, to stir the pot and gleam the result:


Sunday, June 4, 2006

Column #1

Welcome once again, little figgyies. It is I, your beloved Finknottle-comma-Augustus-comma-Sir. First off the top, we must assault the topic of ravenous Editors. When you little ones grow up and have editors of your own, you will need to distance your selves from their vaccuum-like clutches. Protect your privacey as best you can, but you will eventualley need to confronte the reality that you cannot hide, even in your vast estates abroad. He will send Messengers, Courriers, Runners and phalanxes of telegrammes. He will appear to you in your sleep, his claws rifling you bedclothes for your columns and notes. He cares not for your privacy or your dreams.

My dreams tonight are, as they usually are, of my Ascension to the Throne of Reunified France-China. They were torn apart by the politicians in the scandalous Treaty of Anti-Utrecht, and the hard-won empire skattered to the fifteen duchies. But then enters on this wind-swept scene Yours Truley, with his doublet whipping in the wind, astride an armoured large-miniature African Rhino. Usually I have a poisoned rocket-powered missle-sword. Sometimes it is a dagger-array that flings 42 blades at once.

Either way, I ride into the royal courts at all fifteen Douchies and separate the Prime Ministeres from their respective heads. Then I proclaime the New Peace, which is frankly a lot like the old peace only with Self as the titular icon at the top of the old food chain. Then a rain of toades confirms my Ascenscion has gained favor with all the gods, including the Pagan, Greek, Roman and Christian ones, and general singing and merriment breaks out. This lasts almost a quarter of an hour until my first dazzling Proclamation of Martial Law, sweeping in it's scope, hideously unfair to everyone in equal measure, is read aloud by a chorus of brainwashed servants of the former regimes, their feet firmly encased in hard clay.

It's a standard dream, one that many people have on a nightly basis.

My theory, and I thought this was quite sound, was to put the questions last.

My Uncle worked for Liverputty, back when it was the official organ of the Alkemichal Society for the Advancement of Superstition and Fear. We used to publish a new recipie for Gold every week. Now my task is to use words to solve the populous's problems. I should have thought there no better way to solve problems than to turn household items into gold, but this 'talking therapie' is all the rage now. Let no one say Augustus 'Finky' Finknottle doesn't change with the times. And even the venerable Liverputty building no longer houses the liver-reduction and processing machines. The bottomless pit that took a dozen generations of proofreader-interns to dig has been filled in. So be it. This concerns us not today. On to the Letters!

Our first plaintive missive comes from the Americas, perhaps the North half. Read on:

I can't write much here today, hasn't the hurricane season already started. I am more aware of this than ever before. I know I need to do something about it, but I don't know what exactly. I worry about this even though I do not live near that Atlantic. I don't have time to prepare a decent meal for myself, I will have to go through one of those fast food drive through windows, what other choice do I have? I am too busy to exercise, I can't respond to every single email. Where does all of this time go? Modern conveniences were supposed to create more time for us to do other things, where did it all go wrong? Thanks for listening, I feel better.

Party Poker

Yes, the Hurricanes are a worry, and the ghastly food-windowes are a constant source of trial and unhappiness. In a perfect world I would be given a budget of a Quintillione Dollars hard cash to build and maintain a ginormous wall around the country that was hurricane-proof, earthquake-resistant and rain-of-toade capable. It would encircle all the populated areas and give shelter to all the sea creatures displaced by the stormes. It would dispense gourmet dishes and palatable foodes from its 300 million individual foode-windowes.

But sadly even if the budget were there, I am busy with other concerns. I must salvage my official royal title from the hands of my unscrupulous attourney who mortgaged my Earldom to pay his fees. (He is slated to die under completely explainable circumstances in a future episode.)

Then there is the constant rain of wadded-up banknotes from defunct regimes flung through my window containing threates and mean wordes from the unpaid Opium merchants I associate with. (If you have ever tried to find really good Opium that does not cause Freak-out without consulting a licensed merchant, you understand my situation and/or pickle.)

Then there is the public shame of having been rejected in my quest for a patent for Scalpium, a runny liquide that turns dandruffe into Gold.

"Oh, yes," I hear you say, "the problems of the Upper Classe must be rough indeed. You whine about your wayward Earlitude when I have just this morn sold my last two children to feed the pig." The pointe is well taken, Dear Listener. The bigger the Earl, the bigger the problems, I suppose. And I am not without a heart.

Next question: