Browsing All Posts filed under »tall tales«

The Prince Who Would Seek Immortality

September 25, 2019


A story from Andrew Lang's The Crimson Fairy Book

T-Rex and the Inner Cartoonist

July 13, 2014


Let me tell you about my inner cartoonist.  He only comes around occasionally, gives me an idea, and goes away, leaving me helpless to do anything about it.  My inner cartoonist can’t draw.  Neither can I.  And honestly, he doesn’t come around consistently enough to make it worth my while to learn a new profession. […]

The People Who Invented the Wheel

April 16, 2013


Once upon a time there was a guy named George.  He was a real guy.  He really lived.  Maybe his name wasn’t George. The thing about George is that one day he invented the wheel.  That was the really special thing about George.  He was the only guy who ever invented the wheel.  Not that […]

Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid Is Coming by Charles Kingsley

April 14, 2013


Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies is a fundamentally unpleasant piece of Victoriana suffering from many of the vices of the era.  It is preachy, condescendingly moralistic, racist and—as the following passage makes clear—sadistic as well.  Our hero Tom has drowned and been reconstituted as a water baby, but he still has some lessons to learn […]

The Mad Gardener’s Song by Lewis Carroll

March 12, 2013


It is not well-known that, beside the Alice books, Lewis Carroll wrote another nonsense novel, Sylvie and Bruno (1889).  The Alice books are masterpieces.  Sylvie and Bruno is laboured and tedious, unfunny and unexciting, and for the most part, well forgotten.  The exception is the following poem which appears as a refrain, a verse at a time […]

European Studies 101

August 11, 2012


This course is a prerequisite to a major in European studies and introduces the student to Europe, its people, its languages, its geography, its history, its rich artistic, literary, musical, cultural and philosophic traditions. The peoples of Europe are heirs to one of the world’s richest and most exciting cultures.  We’ll have plenty to discuss […]

10 Million Miles for Science

July 18, 2012


Folks, here is Simple Sam joining us for this special imaginary broadcast.  Well, Sam, what do you think?  Glamour, excitement and hype!  O my! “What am I doing here?  This piece has nothing to do with climate change.” No, Sam, but we’re a small operation, the Father Theo shop.  I thought you might like to […]

The Vindication of Comic Sans

July 4, 2012


If WordPress is capable of accommodating Comic Sans, I don’t know how to make it.  The Higgs boson has finally been discovered.  Maybe scientists can now turn their efforts to this other problem.   In the meantime, a message from a much-abused typeface…

The Free Rider Problem

June 10, 2012


My local Skytrain station has been undergoing construction for some time now.  Last year they closed down one entrance for several months to rebuild the stairs.  This year they tore down the stairs to build a turnstile and accompanying bureaucratic paraphernalia – to fight against free riders. It’s already been calculated that the money they […]

The Circumlocution Office by Charles Dickens

March 5, 2012


The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to […]