Memories of Antietam

child of the corn by imagecarnival
child of the corn, a photo by imagecarnival on Flickr.

Little Jehoshaphat was born in 1832 to a family of carnival performers and technicians that roamed the Americas.

From Georgia up to New England, as far west as the Mississippi and all along the east coast, Dr. Prognosto’s Travelling Circus entertained with clowns, freaks, burlesque and the “Wonder of the Modern Age”, the Magic Lantern Show that Jehoshaphat’s father ran. The Magic Lantern was able to project enlarged images of photographs onto a flat surface, and was nothing short of remarkable for the age. A clever manipulator of the technology could create effects like ghosts and spirits, and the show of Jehoshaphat’s dad was the undoubted highlight of the carnival.

Jehoshaphat’s childhood was a happy one, though his mother had died while giving birth to him. The rest of the carnies took him under his wing, and he had an entire community to help raise him. He was, by all accounts, a happy child, up until just after his eighth birthday.

Shortly thereafter, the images his dad projected at night became disturbing representations of dead Americans, wearing uniforms of blue or grey. They portrayed the agonized endings of thousands upon thousands of men, killed in a battlefield that could only be American. They were horrifying. Electrifying. The show became even more popular than before, though only a “certain kind of person” would be willing to admit they had seen such a show. But flocks of rubes paid their 2 cents to see the show. His father became a celebrity, and Jehosaphat became withdrawn, sullen, a teenager before his time.

The images became progressively more disturbing, showing all kinds of horrors that were beyond anything that the average American could imagine on their own. But it was all a phantasm, wasn’t it?

Of course it was. No human being was capable of such cruelty. What Christian would ever do such a thing, particularly to another Christian?

It was unthinkable.

At age 10, Jehosaphat ran away from the circus, but he never escaped the memories of Antietam, not until he fought there, 20 years later.

Alltop didn’t find that funny. Not one little bit. In fact, it was kind of disturbing. Originaly published, March, 2012.

The Trustworthiness of Beards

Trustworthiness of beardsFinally, a new advance in the Beard Sciences! Here at the Institute of the Hirsute, we applaud this initiative.

This exhaustive study of trustworthiness, vis-a-vis a gentlemen’s hair foliage, will help generations better understand who they’re dealing with. (Click the image on the left to see the full spectrum of beard/trustworthiness.)

I would like to note one area where this study has made, what I believe, to be an error. Of course, I’m talking about the Stalin’s Moustache paradigm. Please note the shape of Stalin’s moustache, and then map it on the trustworthiness scale. As you can see, it is clearly falling somewhere between the Full Moustache (aka The Wilfred Brimley) and the Cop Moustache (aka The Burt Reynolds, aka, The Fireman), which both fall into the Mildly Trustworthy category. Stalins' moustacheI note a very slight, almost impossible to detect upturning of Stalin’s moustache, which may lead one to place it slightly towards the Handlebar (Questionable), and would like to propose that the Stalin have it’s own place in the scale. Based on the purges, his ruthlessness, and general history, somewhere between Dangerous and Disastrous.

In all other regards, though, this new Chin Covering Spectrum is an extremely important tool for those of us in the Beard Sciences.


Check out some hairy reads here …

Alltop is sporting some Mutton Chops, but we think it’s okay.

Apocalypse Cow

apocalypse cow

Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were going all the way. Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole fuckin’ program.

And me? I was off the boat the same time as Kurtz. Sure, I’d been obeying orders, but my mind was gone. I was in fields of green and clover. With milkmaids.

Oh man, those bullshit milkmaids…

But I had a job to do, and there would be no welcome, supple fingers pulling on my teats when we got to the end of the river. Only charcoal briquettes.

The barbecue … the barbecue.

Alltop is the catastrophic cattle baron of humor. Originally published on Name Your Tale, 2009.

The five second rule

red buddhaIt was the best game of zenball ever, and the crowd was wild with excitement: the whisper of butterfly wings was deafening.

The Rotrovra Koan Kangaroos had just scored their first all-in kensho, and the Targenville Half-Lotus Lions replied with a double-satori. The Roos launched a full-out dharma walk, but they were unable to penetrate the Lions’ impressive grasp of paradox.

The Roos had to do something or the Lions would surely win. The hush of the field filled with the deadly susurration of arrows, as they invoked the five second rule.

Afterwards, only the voice of a bamboo flute.

Alltop is the sound of one hand clapping. Originally published on Name Your Tale as The five second rule. Buddha courtesy of Kim Denise.