Archive | Hinky History

A Bottle and a Friend

Robbie BurnsThere’s nane that’s blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, etc.

Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?

Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.

Other Titles Ta’ Raise A Brow:

  • Bessy and Her Spinnin’ Wheel
  • Cock Up Your Beaver
  • The Fornicator
  • Nine Inch Will Please a Lady
Alltop will be raisin’ a wee dram this evening in honour of his birthday.

How Anne of Green Gables Destroyed the World

How Anne of Green Gables Destroyed the World

“Like most of you I was inclined to say the war was caused by fish.”

However, after a close examination of the evidence, Cadman Michaels — who held doctorates in theoretical physics and history, but who called himself an Alternate Historian — could say now with some confidence that the roots of World War III could be found in three things: beer, ice hockey and something called Tim Horton’s coffee.

He could say this with some confidence. And he did.

“My extensive work in multi-universal alternate histories, made possible by my invention, the Moorcock Inter-Dimensional Time Inversion Tunneller (patent pending), shows the cause of the war was actually much earlier in history, well before the breakup of Canada. I intend to outline this series of events in this presentation.”

There were grumbles from the learned audience at the annual History of WWIII Conference, held in sunny and (relatively) radiation-free Blenheim, NZ. The MIDTIT was controversial technology, but several papers had proved its efficacy at determining historical turning points.

“I’d have to say it stems from an incident in 1972, during the so-called Summit Series, an ice hockey match played between Canadian NHL players and the Russian Red Army team. Prior to the sixth game, played at the Luzhniki Palace of Sports in Moscow, Russian officials “lost” a shipment of beer the Canadian team had been expecting. Few other historians have noted how grumpy this made the Canadian players, and in particular, Bobby Clarke. ”

The audience stared at Michaels blankly.

“Clarke was the player who slashed Valeri Kharlamov’s ankle, fracturing it; this took him out of the next game, and made him ineffective for the final game.”

“Wait, that’s not true!” someone from the audience shouted.

“Exactly,” someone else said, Michaels thought it was Hans Gruber, Professor of Pre-Radiation Sports at the University of New Heidelberg, in Perth Australia. “Kharmalov played brilliantly in the remaining games, which is how the Russian team took the series four games to three, with one tie.”

“Ah,” Michaels smiled. “You are right of course. I’ve been telling you about the alternate history. Now, the other surprise I have for you is actual images of this alternate history, taken by a recording device that can utilize the inter-dimensional tunnel created by the MIDTIT.”

He played several minutes of grainy, black and white video, showing the events he described, including the Canadian victory in game eight.

“My apologies for the quality of the video, but for some reason, I can only capture video and stills from sources broadcast during the time period the MIDTIT is examining.”

This produced fewer grumbles, but a higher level of chatter in the room.

“I agree. It is fascinating, yes? In this alternate history, the Canadians win the Summit Series, and really, this enables the country to keep from falling apart, unlike our own timeline. We have always thought the Canadian experiment failed because it was a historical necessity. Really, when you look at the absurd country, there was very little to hold it together, given the regional differences, an active separatist movement in Quebec, Western alienation, and the pressure from the United States. But imagine if Canada wins the Summit Series …”

Terry McDonaldson, who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, when it was part of the defunct country called Canada, and who actually played “ice hockey” as it was called in New Auszealand, could be heard muttering, “beauty, eh?” Continue Reading →


Evard Munch: The Revenant of Kristiania

Edvard Munch's Evening on Karl Johan

Most art historians will recognize this painting as “Evening on Karl Johan”, painted sometime in 1892, while its creator Edvard Munch was still a young man.

Modern commentators have described this painting as an existentialist cri de coeur, a public declaration hoping to wake up the somnolent crowd and face the reality of their lives. This is a reasonable interpretation if you did not know the true story of The Revenant of Kristiania, the painting’s original title.

Kristiania, now known as Oslo, was founded by Harald Sigurdsson in 1048. Harald’s career is a storied one. He fought for the Byzantine Empire (distinguishing himself with his valor and luck, and reputedly making himself one of the richest men in the world by looting the Imperial treasury after the death of three emperors.) He escaped Byzantine prison, and returned to Norway to discover that his half-brother was ruling in his stead.

According to legend, he made a pact with the forces of darkness so that he could be the sole ruler, and when his brother was killed by tainted lutefisk, he made Norway a great kingdom; he then invaded England in 1066. He was killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and his soul returned to city that he founded to forever rule over it with a crushing sense of ennui and depression.

Most people like to blame this effect on long winters, shortened daylight hours, and the existence of lutefisk, but Munch had the courage to show the real story.

Check out more Famous Paintings with SF Titles here.

Alltop loves having its ennui crushed. More on the painting here — Great Works: Evening on Karl Johan (The Independent)


One of the Magi Explains About the Myrrh

Melchior had a sense of directionEveryone keeps giving me shit about my gift to Jesus the Son of God and the Messiah, King of Kings.

“Isn’t myrrh basically perfume for mummies?” these ass-clowns keep asking me. “Is that an appropriate gift for a BABY?”

Look, first off you have to realize that I planned to bring gold.

But Caspar called dibs on that. Fair enough, I thought, he is the “Keeper of the Treasure” or whatever those freaky Chaldeans call him. I don’t know. Those people have some weird habits. Every heard of doing the Chaldean Donkey? But they have lots of gold, and Caspar is wealthier than Croesus.

So I thought, no problem. I’ll give Him some nice Frankinsense. That stuff rocks. I would wear it every day if it didn’t make me smell like a Babylonian prostitute. But then I found out that bastard Balthazar already had a pearl-encrusted, gilt box filled with the stuff.

“WTF Balthazar? I was going to give The Messiah Frankinsense.” He just flipped me off. That Balthazar is an Indo-Parthian twat, and a show-off to boot. Pearl-encrusted, my ass. We said one gift.

I was happy to represent though. I mean, of the three magi sent from The East, I was the only one who was a real magi. I went to Zoroastrian High, did my undergraduate degree at Azura University and my doctorate at the prestigious Zoroaster School at the University of the Great Whore of Babylon (a party college, but the program is well respected.) Without me those tools, who are kings and members of the high caste, but who never finished their basic studies, wouldn’t have even found Bethlehem. I mean, they couldn’t even identify their own asses, let alone the Star.

Myrrh, for those in the know, is one of the most holy of essential oils, which is why those decadent Egyptians use it for their mummification rituals. And yes, it’s a little bitter, but really, I have to object to the freakin’ hymn:

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

It’s about salvation, not just death and dying. It’s meant to represent that he was going to help us rise above death again. AND it’s got freakin medicinal values. Suck on that gold!

But I must admit, I probably shouldn’t have given it to him in a Lamb’s Bladder. That was taking the symbolism too far.

Alltop loves a good lamb’s bladder cup. Originally published in 2010.

Unwanted Christmas Gifts Through the Ages

Vincent, without the lower half of his earIn 1170, King Henry II says, “What a parcel of fools and dastards have I nourished in my house, and not one of them will avenge me of this one upstart clerk.” Said fools and dastards decide that this means they should kill Archbishop Thomas Becket.

In 1600, Queen Elizabeth grants a formal charter to the London merchants trading to the East Indies. This doesn’t work out very well for the East Indies.

In 1777 George Washington’s Continental Army is given “cozy winter quarters” at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

In 1888, artist and talented loon Vincent Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his left ear, to give to a prostitute named Rachel, who worked at a brothel nearby. Um, thanks, but does it come in, like, not bleeding?

In 1912 the Parisian literary review, Nouvelle Revue Francaise, rejects an excerpt from Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. Doh!

In 1915 Sir Douglas Haig is made the commander-in-chief of the British army in France, and eventually gives his soldiers the thoughtful and exploding gift of the Somme.

In 1972 Pepe Lopez is invited to join the Stella Maris rugby team, and gets a free trip to Chile on Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 over the Andes. He proves to be very tasty.

Another parcel of fools and dastards can be found at Alltop. Originally published December, 2008.

Time travel/pop culture mashups with humor potential

Gilligan looks surprised

  • Gilligan is marooned on “Más a Tierra”, later renamed to Robinson Crusoe Island, with Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who had a low tolerance for bullshit
  • Joey (from Friends) is sent back in time to live with Fourth Earl of Sandwich, while the Earl was still working on his eponymous invention. (I recommend sending Joey back to the time when Sandwich was still using cedar boards instead of bread.)*
  • Transport all the characters of MASH (season 7 or after) back to the actual Korean War. This could be first offering in a series of pop culture/war mashups, which could include:
    • McHale’s Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar
    • China Beach at the Crimea
    • Hogan’s Hero’s at the Battle of Gaugamela (put them on Persian side for maximum laughs)
  • Jerry Seinfeld is sent to work at a medieval tannery in Sweinslop, Germany, without any sneaker polish
  • Cliff Claven and Norm Peterson join the Donner Party.
  • The main cast of Sex in the City visits Krakatoa, in 1883, moments before it explodes with the 13,000 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb.

This is just the beginning. Now all we need to do is invent a working time machine, and have some kind of way of turning fictional characters into real people.

*You may want to check out Woody Allen’s excellent article about the invention of the sandwich, Yes, But Can the Steam Engine Do This? Alltop would love to join the Donner Party. It loves parties!