FAQ #18

Question: Was your wife's hat at the Internet Yard Sale the only one you have? Ubi possum potiri petasi similis isti? I saw it was sold, and I would like to buy one.
Answer: First of all, it's my EX-wife! To the reader who sent in the query in Latin, I applaud you. Splendid! Where did you go to school? For all of you who have asked about Harriet's hats, I do have two others. In my opinion they are so unfashionable that I thought they stood little chance of being sold, so I didn't bother to list them. You may feel differently. As you can see, they are creations from Harriet's "feather" period. After that there was a "tree bark" period and a "wildflower, moss, and lichen" period, neither of which proved as popular or profitable. Harriet, an amateur naturalist as you may know, spent endless hours roaming the fields and woods picking up specimens for her collections (and, after we were married, enjoying pastoral trysts with that @*&$%! Pomeroy). One day she found a pheasant carcass in a field up near the Big Woods and the rest is history. Now, I don't believe that the hats below are pheasant-based, but they are made with real bird feathers. They are both in like-new condition and worth, I estimate, about $200.00 each. There is no visible mold on them, no tears in the mesh of the first one, and I doubt very much whether there are any dormant parasite cysts or louse or tick eggs hidden in the feathers, although I cannot guarantee that. If you're seriously interested in these unique items, you know how to get in touch with me.

A feathery creation by my ex-wife
Another feathered wonder

Question: We hear again and again in the Freddy books about Mr. Bean's pipe. You wouldn't by any chance have picked it up during the big fire at the Bean farm or at the estate sale afterward, did you? If so, is it for sale?
Answer: Yes I did, and yes it is. I accidentally scooped up the pipe along with other items I carried out of the house that day. I was saving it for my Second Annual Internet Yard Sale next spring, but as long as several of you have asked, I'll make it available now. It is in remarkably good condition considering its age and the fact that it survived the fire with almost no damage to itself. I think an item laden with such significance to the Freddyites and with such indisputable provenance should go for about $500, don't you?

Yes, indeed...the very pipe you've read about.

Question: Was there a full moon the night you were born? If so, that might explain some of your behavior and thought processes.
Answer: No, the moon was not full the night I was born. Here is a picture of the moon on October 31, 1920. It's almost full, but not quite. I hope you are not insinuating that there is something wrong with my behavior and thought processes. Because there is not. Everything is under control and has been for more than forty years.

Question: Do you know anything about Alfred A. Knopf, the publisher of the Freddy books? Was he a Martian dupe, too?
Answer: I know very little at all about him because I am not interested enough to find anything out, and what I might say concerning him would be pure speculation. (If you would like to do some research of your own on Mr. Knopf and his company, here would be a good place to start: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records, 1873-1996.) Does Mr. Knopf look like a Martian dupe to you? I don't think so. So far, the Martians have not been remotely interested in spreading their influence through our media. They would not find entertaining or useful the widespread cultivation of human puppets to serve their ends. As I have said, conquering the Earth appeals to neither Martian instinct nor intellect. (Eradicating the human species is another matter altogether.) However, they are amused in a pitiless sort of way by our antics and have a highly developed appreciation for dramatic irony. I'm sure that they view our media-induced pandemic of mental and moral idiocy and its hastening of the inevitable disintegration of human civilization with a pleasure similar to that experienced by fans of soap operas and/or Greek tragedy. So, whereas the Martians probably do not manipulate our media, they certainly do delight in our media's manipulation of us. I do fear, though, that the Martians may eventually become bored with our predictable, repetitious shenanigans and wipe the Earth clean of us as we might capriciously level an anthill.

Three Views of Mr. Knopf Who Was Not a Martian Dupe

Mr. Knopf

An elder Knopf

Mr. Knopf

(Young Mr. Knopf: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection)

Question: Any luck getting your Studebaker back yet?
Answer: No, not yet, but I haven't completely given up hope, even though I've sold my "Studebaker Parking Only" sign. You'll know that I have finally given up when I put my Studebaker owner's manual up for sale. Here is a picture of my beloved Commander as depicted in an old advertisement I dug out of the vertical file in the Centerboro Library. I think you will see why I am so eager to get it back. I urge my readers from Montana and Florida to be particularly vigilant as Herb is a resident of both states. If you happen to spot this car, please contact me immediately with the particulars!  It was glossy black when I had possession of it and there was not a blemish on it, but I would not put it past Herb to have repainted it, in which case it might be some shade of blue, his favorite color. Given his tastelessness, it may even be azure, turquoise, or some other horror between 450 and 490 nanometers on the electromagnetic spectrum.


If you spot a 1942 Studebaker Commander,



I want my car back!



please report it to Mr. Eha A.S.A.P.


Substantial Reward!
(Note: Reward Will Not Be Pecuniary In Nature)

Question: Has there been a winner in Contest #6 yet? Are you going to give us any clues? I don't even know what the contest actually is or how to answer. I am clueless. Help.
Answer: Dear "contestants": There is no winner yet. When (or if) there is, I will mention it at the freddylist and on the Official Contest Page. I told you it was a "brainer." You have to figure it all out for yourselves.

Short Answers to Infrequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, perhaps the "33" on Rolling Rock Beer does originate with the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.
  • To R.W. I will be publishing something like "Curiosities, Mysteries, and Contradictions in the Freddy Books" here in the near future--perhaps this fall. Thank you for your contribution about "Uncle William."
  • I think it's worth a try to tune in the Martians with an old diving helmet and a couple hundred feet of speaker wire. I would not try to connect your contraption to the high tension wires along the road, though. That would insure your early (and spectacular) demise. Instead, why not construct an aerial--you know, like in a crystal radio--in the trees in your backyard. Let me know if it works.
  • No, I didn't know there was a Centerboro Court in McLean, Virginia.
  • Dear E.T. Thank you for telling me that you followed Mrs. U. and me up to Tobermory, Ontario, earlier this summer. I have added this information to the report I have filed with the State Police.
  • I think New York State could do worse than Hillary, but better, too. Remember that she's a politician.
  • I am acquainted with Ambrose Bierce, yes. One of my favorite definitions from The Devil's  Dictionary is that for pig: "An animal (Porcus omnivorous) closely allied to the human race by the splendor and vivacity of its appetite, which, however, is inferior in scope, for it sticks at pig." Bierce makes you think, doesn't he?
  • I feed Chloe twice a day--once in the morning to fire up her metabolism and again in the late afternoon. And no, there won't be any puppies for you or anyone else.
  • My favorite contemporary mystery writer is P.D. James.
  • To B.R. I imagine the space-time continuum to resemble a loaf of bread. An infinitely thin cross section of it would represent any one of the so-called "present moments." So, your question about free will vs. predestination seems to be less philosophical and more physical than you imagine, the notion of the "passing of time" being an illusion based on our limited perceptions of the true nature of the universe. I'd be happy to continue this line of discussion via private e-mail from here on.
  • My countertops are inexpensive laminate. Not cheap, but inexpensive compared to Corian.
  • Yes, Tom, you remember correctly. When first built, it was called the Centerboro Cinema Palace. It was nice to hear from you. How are things in Sarasota?
  • To A.W. I believe the first Bean animal to speak to a human in the Freddy series would be Georgie the dog to Adoniram in The Clockwork Twin. If a Freddyite scholar knows of a previous verbal communication from Bean animal to man in the books, let the rest of us know. Off the top of my head, I know that the circus animals in Freginald speak with humans, but do any of the farm animals? I don't recollect and don't feel like looking it up.
  • We were unable to produce the software version of the Work Parity Wallchart cheaply enough to make a decent profit, so the project was dropped.
  • Should I be fortunate enough to live to 80, I am planning a big, and I mean big, backyard Hallowe'en-birthday party for my surviving friends and relatives, of whom there are not very many left, come to think of it. I guess maybe it won't be so big.

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