Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rude Tales and Glorious #19

I should have known that any author willing to satirize Chaucer and Arthurian Legend in one fell swoop would share my zodiac sign.

I finished this afternoon Rude Tales and Glorious by "Nicholas Seare"

I tell my students that if one of their answers makes me laugh out loud that I will give them a giggle point. Some of them push their essays to the limit in the effort to wrangle a giggle point. How ridiculous can one be when describing Gothic architecture? They try and sometimes they succeed.

Rude Tales makes me laugh so hard, I almost have an unfortunate bladder response.

The author was a college professor who wrote under several pseudonyms. Another notable work was The Eiger Sanction which he wrote as "Trevanian." The man behind the mystery was Dr. Rodney William Whitaker. I wish I'd known this fellow. I would shake his hand for having so much gall.

"Rude Tales" centers around the hall of a Welsh baron who is bored with the lack of good storytelling found at his hearth and hall. The old priest has gone away and the new one seems good for very little (other than the shriving of women folk in private chambers).

There is a skritching at the door. The wind wails outside. It's cold and dreary. Through the peephole a servant spies a hag. He describes her as foul and loathsome. Wanting to verify the information the Baron peeps himself and says "Aye, tis a hag." He would return to his meal when the priest reminds him of his Christian duty to be kind and with some fuss the Baron admits the hag to the hall with the instruction that she be kept in the corner.

A moan occurs at the door and a pile of rags is there. A noxious old gentleman is found to inhabit the rags and at the priest's urging is admitted. Stripped of the rags, he is given a cheese rind to gird his loins.

As the Baron complains of the lack of entertainment, the entertainment begins. The odious visitors reveal that they are in fact Lancelot and Elaine. They have been bewitched and cursed to wander in a foul state. To earn their supper, they regale the company with bawdy and lusty tales. Some of these tales have some familiarity to a well-read person. They take familiar tales and render them in a very "earthy" fashion.

This is amusing stuff for lit geeks. I must be one!


I'm making a mess. There's a reason for it.

I've been really good this year. I've not smoked in the house even one time. I've sat on the porch and frozen my hoohah off for the sake of nicotine.

I must say it has been more pleasant the last few weeks. The weather has been fine, although still cool. I've watched spring erupt in my neighborhood and seen more of the neighbors than I want.

I told Mark that I needed a small table to set my coffee cup/water/beer on while I read and smoke. We wandered around to garage sales the last few weeks and we've found everything but a small table to my liking. I really am NOT that picky. I guess the tables have just been sold out or put to other uses.

Yesterday when he picks me up from school, he tells me he has a surprise. This is also a relative thing. Some surprises are good, some are not so good. This one has potential.

He was wandering around the neighborhood. It's "bulky trash" week and he found a night stand in someone's trash pile. Actually there were two, but he fished out the best one and picked out the two best drawers and there it was on my porch when I got home. It's very dated. I'm thinking it was prefab rent to own stuff from the eighties. It was white and the drawers are in good shape and clean. I peeled off some of the gold trim. I had an artist moment and immediately got out the acrylic paint.

It's not white any more. I have committed bizarre color and design upon it. My artistic talents lean toward the monochromatic arts. Jewelry can be totally without color. My drawings are strongest in pen and ink. My color sense involves the spectrum. I've fished out some books with cool pictures in them and I'm going to commit decoupage on this chest as well. I've got a case of spar varnish, so after I get it the way I want it I'm going to shellac the thing into place.

It's really fun. I'll take a picture of it soon and show the progress. Garish would be a kind thing to say about it. My mind reels as I think about what I'm going to attach to this thing.

Meanwhile, I can set my coffee on it. Coffee rings would only add to its charm at this point.

I better get to the varnish soon before it warms up much more and I have to pick the gnats out of it.