lundi 15 décembre 2014

The Roadrunner Philosopher

dimanche 14 décembre 2014

The Street Crier conducted by Jamesola Langola

As I was relaxing one Sunday afternoon trying to wash 2800 dishes with just one bottle of vinegar wild berries dishwashing soap that advertised such a feat was indeed possible, I could hear a small cry through my triple-paned windows. I immediately thought it was the firemen or the sanitation engineers who were passing to collect their Christmas collections.

I reached anxiously into my pockets forgetting to dry my soapy hands only to realise that the cry I heard was moving down my street. I opened the kitchen window and peered out to see the back of an old man walking sluggishly and holding up a small box in his hand and crying,
"fa-fii, fa-fiiii!!!"
With little time to digest the spectacle I ran outdoors in my slippers to ask the stranger an essential question. I caught up with him, cut off his advancement and barked:
"As an Oxford scholar of early Samoa" I proceeded, "do you proclaim to be an Afafafine, the group of Samoan thirds genderites long thought to have disappeared?"
The coloured man looked at me with dark, cloudy eyes. He then took a breath and whistled with such force that I thought I stood before a car alarm. Immediately a ruby feathered bird came fluttering as light as a petal and landed on his shoulder.
"I, I" he said.
"You are one of the Afafafine of early Samoa, aren't you? Did you weave that basket yourself?"
He looked at the basket and then to my face he said,
"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm selling wifi connections. Want one?"
"Wifi?" I asked.
"Fast wifi. Fa-wifi. Fa-fi. Fa-wifi-fa-fiii!!!" And the bird went fluttering above and around his head.

I excused myself and went back to the kitchen, my cheeks had reddened from disappointment. I had never met an Afafafine and probably never would. But the old man had rekindled my interest. After all, 20 years ago I had written my thesis on male basket weaving and the refusal of hunting amongst the male Afafafine population in early Samoa. Still, there was that bird and that whistle and what was such a character doing down my street trying to sell wifi?

Perhaps I was overreacting. After all, only 150 years ago in the times of Dickens sellers used to abound in the streets of London. I remembered vaguely scholars of language had analysed how street vendors deformed the language by selling their art.
"Old clo, old clo" stood for old clothes.
"Rat trap, ra-trap, buhy a rahtap" or "Fresh cat meat a penny a toss! A slice ah cat fuhapenny!"

I went back to conducting my hand dishwashing experiment. I forgot if I was at 2010 or 2110. Regardless, it was a perfect Sunday to wash dishes and I always felt it was the best way to contemplate and plan my day; the steam condensed the windows and the bubbles were so thick they concealed all the dirty dishes.

I smirked an laughed to myself about the incident when I heard another noise approaching my house.
I opened the window.
""Fluffy, frosting, fondant, Cuhh-cakes! Fo-fo-fo caahkes!!! Fo-cahkes!"

I ran back out in my slippers to find myself face to face with the same man wearing a pink and white polka dot dress pushing a wooden cart. When he cried he looked towards the sky, blasted another whistle and the same ruby winged bird came fluttering round his head and landed on his shoulder.
"What are you doing on my street, first selling wifi and now cupcakes?" I enjoined.

This time he took a cupcake out of the cart and held it up to my nose.
"It's a seven minute frosting" he said, his upper lip curling into a smile revealing a golden tooth.
"Ok, how much?" I asked
"Seven minutes to frost but seven days to prepare. $7."

At my nearby Cupcake Emporium I was used to dishing out $5 for the banana-oyster gluten-free special of the day. $7 would have mother rolling in her grave.
"$6?" I tempted.
"The fluffy frosted fondant has secret message inside." and he turned to get on his way.
I bought the cupcake and back in my kitchen I took a butcher's knife and split the cupcake with the skill of a lumberjack.
The message in the cupcake had filled me with anxious expectation. Before me I beheld a silk thin crimson crumpled paper.
With a sense of urgency I took the vinegar wild berries dish washing soap and undoubtedly added more than a few drops of detergent than would have been necessary to free the paper of its encrusted gluten-free environment. The lettering was small and there was a drawing on the back. I decided to blow dry the document before examining it in my study.
It seemed like old English but I wasn't sure.The message went like this:
"You are in Henri Rousseau's painting "The Dream". You have a safari hat and a snake necklace. The jungle is so thick that you can  barely advance with a machete. Giant lotus leaves cover your boots. You come across a naked girl, a tiger that has its belly planted in the bushes, a snake and a snake charmer playing a flute. You open your camera case to take a picture with your Leica but you realise there is no film in it. The naked girl points a finger at you and says,
"What are you doing?"
"Taking pictures" you reply.
"But your camera has no film"
"I know but I'm a photographer"

That was the cupcake message. I flipped the paper and i could roughly make out the details of the drawing. It was all adding up but in the wrong way. What did this mean? Who would believe me if I told them. Was I going mad?
I ran back to the kitchen. There was the stack of dishes that I had washed and rewashed for the past 4 hours. I had noted 2136. Each stack of 10 dishes had an X on a sheet of paper. I had 210 X's and 3 lines.
I rubbed my gums to check whether I was thinking straight. Yesterday my dentist had pulled a tooth and there was the space that my tongue kept seeking. And what about the Afafafine guy selling wifi connections? And what about that bird? I went  to my computer to check the veracity of the trans-gender tribe. No connection. I looked again at the drawing of Rousseau's Dream. On the nude girls's arm there was a tiny tattoo barely visible.
It said, "Fa-fi".

vendredi 5 décembre 2014

December 3, 2014, December 3, 1926

On this day 104 years ago George Claude, nicknamed the French "Edison",celebrated his invention of neon lighting at the Paris Motor show. Neon,went on to change the face of the planet. In the states it was embraced everywhere and people would drive from afar to see the first road sign advertisements that used neon. Neon has seen its heyday but many light artists employ it rather successfully.

It is also the day at 9:25 pm in 1926 when Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Reading into the event I have learned it is far from being completely elucidated. Was she plotting to interfere with her husband's plans (Archibald Christie) to spend a weekend with his mistress or did she suffer from a rare form of amnesia or fugue syndrome or was she planning a publicity stint to promote her next book. She was eventually found in the St George Hotel and spa in Harrowgate.

The Radiant Elephant Community sent Ashley to investigate on Agatha Christies' tragic 11 day disappearence and he has come back with an incredible finding.
“In the St George Hotel and Spa” related Mr Peterose, "I found an elegant work desk in the room formally occupied by Mrs Christie. The tapestry of cats on the walls made me feel at home and the easily accessible ironing board and wifi service made my stay most enjoyable.

Mr Peterose recounting his stay in Harrowgate as Mr Graves holds his chin.

I kept looking around but had found nothing. (Something, I had a feeling might turn up.) I went down to the hot tub and ordered some calming treatments for my visage when I remembered a corner of the room under the ironing board that I had not investigated. I rushed out dripping wet, running past Betty's tearoom to eventually reach my suite. There it was, in a dusty cupboard: I found a needlepointed pillow with the message "Time is the best killer", skillfully executed.

However, on the rear or flip side of the pillow I could read, “I will marry an archeologist because the older I get the more he will be interested in me.” This was the famous missing pillow, I held it against my thumping heart and I deduced that the verb in the future must have indicated her desire to marry Max Mallowan, the celebrated archeologist at the time of her fugue and not after."

The rare needlepointed pillow, recto-verso, by Agatha Christie

Furthermore Mr Peterose uncovered a thimble, the thimble used by A.C. which was a gift from Mr Mallowan who was all knowing of Agatha’s love for needlepoint.

"The thimble was the most exciting thing" continued Mr Penrose who got up to pace a few steps, his thick corduroy pants going "thumpa, thumpa", my fingers were literally trembling as it rolled onto my hand" There were some curious epigraphic signs inscribed on the thimble that Max Malawian must have used perhaps inspired by his UR site findings in Syria where he eloped with Agatha."

The symbols etched into the inside, have been translated as follows,

“Anno domini 1926 consacratum my heart Agatha Christie, my love, Poirot is chill, Max.”

Agatha Christie's thimble, circa 1926

The suspense and tension in the lounge area of the New Hotel in Versoix was palpable. Everyone had their eyes riveted on Mr Penrose as he reached into his deep pockets to extract the thimble.
But the thimble wasn't there.
To make a long story short the police was called, nobody could leave the hotel, because the thimble of Ur was listed as one of the most precious thimbles in the world. Sewing enthusiast described it a priceless.

A big rock smeared with epigraphic symbols

Finally John Sheehy was found to have had the thimble in his jacket pocket. The Versoix cops had put him in a chokehold but the Elephanteers decided to grant him a pardon and he was let go.

To conclude, this thimble was purchased last week for the dignified sum of 18,400 dollars by this very Elephant Community. However, having already defaulted in payments to Parabank,our Azerbaijani bank,their collection agency will retake the thimble tomorrow.

Max Mallowan and Agatha Christie contemplating archaeology in Syria