The Hidden Almanac for
Friday September 20th, 2013
Episode 4
Previous episode: 2013-09-18
Next episode: 2013-09-23


Today in history, the last performance by composer Irwin Fleming[1] happened 100 years ago. There is also a turtle. It is also the feast day of St. Calliope. In the garden, we discuss deer prevention.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I'm Reverend Mord. Today is September 20th, 2013.

Today marks the 100th[2] anniversary of last performance of the avant-garde composer, Irwin Fleming.[3] Fleming wrote three operas and seven symphonies and was himself an accomplished pianist. Critics hailed him as the greatest musician to emerge from the Ram's Horn School of Arts, describing his work as brilliant, sophisticated, and depraved. Fleming's final composition, "Ode to a Grey Stone," [4] was performed only once. A packed opera house witnessed this performance and within minutes, ladies fainted, gentlemen suffered nosebleeds, and bats were shaken from the rafters and began to circle the hall. Three were declared dead during the intermission and the majority of the audience fled the hall. The performing musicians later complained of heart palpitations and night terrors. Fleming himself was bitten by one of the bats during the performance, contracted rabies, and passed away under medical supervision some weeks later.

Today, twenty years ago,[5] small turtle reached the summit of a mountain. It was not the highest mountain on earth, but a respectable sized mountain nonetheless. The turtle watched the sunrise from the top and ate a small picnic breakfast. Then he climbed down and went home and was very happy.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Calliope.[6] Saint Calliope is represented as a hummingbird-headed man, or as a torso with a hummingbird hovering in the space that would have been occupied by the head. He holds a dagger in his right hand with a vine wrapped around the hilt. His robes are dark green and he wears a blood-stained scarf at his throat.[7] The origins of Saint Calliope are lost to antiquity but may relate to an incident in the eighth year of the reign of the Emperor Lamperius[8] who was pricked by a rosebush in the imperial pleasure gardens. He ordered the bush chopped down but a hummingbird dwelling within it attacked the gardeners and the guards so fiercely[9] that the Emperor relented and instead had the garden paths re-routed. This would normally mark Lamperius among the enlightened Emperors, had he not then ordered the guards put to death on the principle that if they could not defend him from either a stationary rosebush or a bird the size of a moth, they were clearly incompetent to defend the royal person from actual threats. Icons of Saint Calliope are sought by those seeking courage from forces greater than themselves and are often given as gifts to children.

Speaking of forces greater than ourselves, deer are often a menace in the garden. While there are many home remedies, such as hanging bags of human hair,[10] predator musk, and bars of soap from trees, their effectiveness is limited. Plus once you've got a reputation as the sort of person who hangs bags of human hair from trees, it's difficult to move on. PTA meetings become filled with awkward silences and you may find it difficult to go next door to request a cup of sugar from the neighbors. As the growing season winds down, now is the time to consider adding hardscaping to the garden. Deer fence is one of the truly effective methods of discouraging deer. This may be a great way to use up some of that excess zucchini![11]

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Tea Company, purveyors of fine and inaccessible teas. Red Wombat — "We Dig Tea."

Also sponsored by Bob's Discount Car Lot, Which Is Totally Better Than Steve's Used Cars.[12] For the finest gently used and nearly new cars, visit Bob's Discount Car Lot. We'll make you a deal and best of all, there's absolutely no chance of encountering Steve.

That's the Hidden Almanac for September 20th, 2013. Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Out of Character

The Hidden Almanac is a production of Dark Canvas Media, written by Ursula Vernon and performed and produced by Kevin Sonney. Our theme music is Moon Valley and our exit music is Red in Black, both by Kosta T. You can hear more from Kosta T at the Free Music Archive. All other content is copyright 2013, Ursula Vernon.


  1. the page says Irving, but the Reverend clearly says Irwin and it says Irwin in the script
  2. September 20, 1913
  3. Hey music people, I think this is a reference to a couple of composers. Could you name them? As put on the page, Irving might be a reference to Irving Berlin. Irwin has shades of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
  4. Shades of Vogon poetry ( from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, although it's not like Douglas Adams invented the concept
  5. September 20, 1993
  6. Calliope was the Muse of heroic poetry
  7. Perhaps a reference to the Aztec god of sun and war, Huitzilopochtl. Aztec warriors believed they'd be reincarnated as hummingbirds.
  8. The start of fake year names, which, while it makes keeping track less important, makes it harder to keep a timeline
  9. On the other hand, it's equally likely that it's just a reference to how fiercely hummingbirds defend their territory, as anyone who has hung a feeder or otherwise been buzzed by hummingbirds can tell you
  10. This is a real thing. I'm as amazed as you
  11. For other uses see episode 1 and episode 3.
  12. And the rivalry begins in earnest.