How Landon, Ontario got its name

The Thames River, London, ON

Here’s a little snippet that didn’t make it into The Fridgularity. I cut the description of Landon, Ontario’s founding because it doesn’t really add much to the story, though it’s fun for anyone who lives in the real place, London, Ontario. Folks who have lived in London, Ontario (known to some as the Forest City, and others as the “For Rest” City), or even anyone who’s spent a bit of time visiting will probably enjoy trying to spot the various locations in the city. Most of the places are fictionalized — like the founder of Landon — but they’re based on reality.

Maltley Village in Landon, Ontario
The neighborhood wasn’t as architecturally interesting as Old North Landon, but Maltley had been consistently ranked in the top ten neighborhoods to live in Canada. Of course, only residents of Maltley were aware of this fact. Blake … arrived at the village itself, two blocks of storefronts, most of which he had never been in as they were either hair salons or little knick-knacky gift shoppes. (Definitely shoppes, not shops.) … Past the village, Blake walked down a steep cobblestone pathway to a park that ran along the river. Native Ojibwa called it the Askunessippi, or ‘antlered river’, but Blake thought the early French explorers had captured its essence a bit better in naming it La Tranche, or The Ditch — the river was barely navigable by canoe, being so shallow.

The discoverer of Landon, Jeremy Tombes Landon, dubbed the river the Medway, after the river that ran through his home town of Rochester, England. Landon actually wanted to name the town Rochester, but that had already been used in New York State, and Landon still had hard feelings about the American revolution, so he’d graciously agreed to name it after himself instead. Blake always thought that was real big of Landon. The park was one of many that wound itself through the city along the Medway River, and even if it was a bit muddy, it was pretty in the morning sunshine, lined with bright red and gold maples, amber ash, and rusty oak. It would have been perfect if not for the raven that stalked him.

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Alltop stalks humor. Photo by Chen Vision via Flickr. Originally published November, 2012.

Ask General Kang: How do I keep my New Year’s resolutions?

Ask General KangWe had a similar custom on my homeworld, Neecknaw, but there we called them Slorg Wishes.

Slorg was once the Overlord of our planet, back in the Taupe Ages — he was known colloquially as the Beige Lord, but he was actually quite a colorful character.

Every year, he would Wish that he could make something better about the people who worked for him. For Bluknark the Compulsive Eater (Minister of Celebrations and Public Executions), Slorg required that he lose some of his massive monkey gut. For the Minister of War and Love, Lord Prangdong, Slorg required fewer paternity suits. And so on.

And then the next year, Slorg would review their progress during his Annual Performance Evaluation Festival. (Known amongst the commoners as the APE-fest.) If you did not keep to your goals, then Slorg exacted some kind of punishment, depending on how badly you missed the mark. The aforementioned Bluknark actually gained weight one year, and he was fed to the Almighty Cram-Beast, and is presumably still being digested. Though Ministers were held to a higher standard, everyone was terrified of not meetings Slorg’s Wishes.

If you succeeded, that was called “Meeting Expectations” and you were only lightly tasered, right before the Breakfast After APE-fest. (This kept costs down because people were usually not too hungry then.) Naturally, the following year’s Slorg Wishes were quite a bit more onerous, because if a tool like you could meet your goals, then clearly, they weren’t challenging enough.

My suggestion is that you engage me as your Slorg. I have my own taser and everything.

Next Time: Has anyone ever told you, that for a diminutive simian, you’re dead sexy?

Alltop always exceeds expectations. Originally published, January 2007. Wild.

A Traditional ‘Christmas’ at the Tundra Household

Roast turkey with skull & crossbonesDr. Maximilian Tundra was heading home again for the holidays, dread clutching his heart like an iron fist. He’d managed to avoid Thanksgiving, but there was no escape from The Feast.

The Feast, as it was known amongst Clan Tundra, was a toxic stew of carbs, fats, and pharmaceuticals that had a tendency to drive the family bonkers.

Not that they weren’t certifiable to begin with.

Dr. Tundra’s sister, Eugenie, was a brilliant “installation” artist, who was nevertheless, seriously bi-polar. His younger twin brothers, Xavier and Xenophon, had never really recovered from their childhood “incident” — as the family called it — following a plane crash in the Andes. His Da, Dr. Halvard Hemming Tundra, seemed perfectly normal; of course, the Great Danger of attending the Feast was that Dr. H. H. Tundra didn’t attend, and that he sent his doppelganger, Mr. Angry McBucktooth in his stead. His Mum, Beatrice Pelagia Tundra (nee Sweeney) was in denial, but otherwise safe to be around.

And that was just the nuclear family. Getting the extended clan together required a number of court orders, insurance waivers and to be on the safe side, Da usually hired off-duty members of the SWAT to patrol the grounds.

Perhaps it was for that reason, or perhaps it was the family’s iconoclastic nature, but The Feast was never celebrated on Christmas. It always happened on the Solstice.

The darkest day of the year. Of course, it also marked the start of days getting brighter and brighter. The rebirth of the sun, his Da called it. But when it came to the holiday, his family and The Feast, Dr. Tundra was definitely a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy.

The policeman checked his ID, and waved him past the checkpoint, a set of gates loomed ahead, which would let him into the Tundra compound. A high fence, razor wire atop, surrounded the area. Guards and German shepherds patrolled the grounds, checking the fenceline for weak points.

It would do no good. It never did.

He parked, put on his flak jacket and entered the Tundra mansion. The smell of roasting turkey and peyote stuffing filled the house, and Dr. Tundra shuddered.

An outside observer would wonder if that was a shudder of anticipation, excitement, or perhaps the thrill of visceral familiarity that we get when we return to our childhood places.

But no, it was dread.

Alltop freebases its turkey. The reasons why festive feasting can cause family fracases.. Thanks to ckirkman for the turkey pic. Originally published December 2005.