Author Archive | Mark A. Rayner

Camusic of the Spheres 

kermit smokingThe dreams had returned, again, and no amount of coffee and cigarettes could keep their influence at bay.

The ennui was crushing at times, and even talking with an outrageous French accent would not help.

He thought of his days in the theatre. Oh, the crazy antics they’d get up to behind the proscenium. His torrid affair with the La Belle Cochon. All of the strange creatures that inhabited his world back then seemed like a forgotten summer’s holiday: it was a feeling. The intimation of sunlight glinting off his green skin… pretty girls in crinoline … absinthe parties under the panoply of the Milky Way. And so many more wisps that could be regrets if he could only recall what they were.

He was hollow. A shell. A cipher and an entertainer. These things he could be certain of, but nothing else.

Except that he always smelled of bacon.

Alltop is hammy.


Forty-seven Signs of the Apocalypse (#29)

pin in hair bun for men

From the Book of Coiffureum

And unto the Faithful, a terrible abomination will stalk the land, and there will be a great wailing.

Unto the bros there will be a hunger & impatience. Verily, their own hair will not suffice, nor will they wait for it to grow into Fullness, and they shall take the hair of the apes, and the donkeys, and many Unclean beasts. They will gather the hair, and curl it into the shape of leavened bread, and anoint their heads with these aesthetic Excrescences.

And the Blessed Hairdressers will weep with shame, that their arts were not enough to sate the Hipsters.

Verily, the Clip-In Man Bun will corrupt the covenant of Levi. It will anger the Lord of hosts, and a great Plague of Goofiness will sweep the land.

Alltop is hairy enough. No joke, the clip-in man bun exists.

The Lost PowerPoint Slides (Battle of Vimy Ridge Edition)

attle of Vimy Ridge -- a painting by Richard Jack
General Ludwig von Falkenhausen presents “The Week of Suffering” (circa April 2-9, 1917) –>slide 2

  • Artillery relentless
  • I’d guess about a million shells
  • Somehow can target our artillery, even though they’re hidden behind ridge
  • We ran out of aspirin, earplugs.

Allied General Arthur Currie presents “Better Creeping” (circa April 9, 1917) –>slide 4

  • first wave attacks behind creeping barrage
  • continuous line of shells
  • improve on what we did at the Somme.

Corporal Gus Sivertz (2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles) presents “Nervy” –>slide 7

  • a macabre dance
  • nerves vibrated
  • thousands of shells, machine gun bullets whizzed overhead
  • advanced over no-man’s land
  • if you put your hand up, you’d touch a ceiling of sound
  • and probably lose a finger or two.

French soldier learns of victory at Vimy –>slide 1

  • C’est impossible!

French soldier learns four Canadian divisions fighting at Vimy with one British division–>slide 2

  • Ah! les Canadiens! C’est possible!

Notes: The shelling at the battle began April 2, 1917, and the battle itself began on April 9, 1917. Vimy marked the first time that Canadian troops fought together on a a corps level, and they took the ridge with casualties of 10,000. Previous attempts to break the strong-point in the German line had cost French and British troops more than 150,000. Vimy is often seen as a defining moment in Canadian national history, and as Pierre Burton wrote in his book on the battle, it quickly attained mythic status. This seems like an appropriate post for Remembrance Day.

Alltop is in the trenches of comedy. Originally published November 2008.