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.
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?
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
(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.
you spot a 1942 Studebaker Commander,
report it to Mr. Eha A.S.A.P.
(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
- 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
- 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
- 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,
- 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.