The Hidden Almanac for
Friday June 27th, 2014
Episode 124
Previous episode: 2014-06-25
Next episode: 2014-06-30


The Mechanique Typewriter was introduced over 100 years ago today. It is also the release day of “Mondo Beast,” and the anniversary of the Wilkington Garden Club Elections. It is the Feast Day of St. Dana, and in the garden, there are butterflies.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I’m Reverend Mord.

Today is June 27th, 2014.

It was on this day in 1878 that the Mechanique Typewriter was first sold throughout the city. It rapidly spread, displacing several older models, and became the first cheap, reliable typewriter on the market. Because of its availability to the individual consumer, the Mechanique was referred to, somewhat disparagingly, as “the machine that launched a thousand terrible memoirs.” Mechaniques remained in use for nearly a century, with only minor updates, until finally displaced by the advent of the home computer.

And it was on this day in 1989 that the game “Mondo Beast” was launched. One of the first wildly successful stand-up arcade machines, “Mondo Beast” had graphics head and shoulders above any game previously released. It was an overnight sensation and arcades reported lines over an hour long to play. As it was also hellishly difficult, play time rarely lasted more than eight minutes and separated players from quarters with great efficiency.

And it is the twentieth anniversary of the Infamous Wilkington Garden Club Elections. Among political strategists, Wilkington is widely studied as an example of the old truism that the smaller the stakes, the more bitter the fighting. The Garden Club Elections were a referendum on the respective merits of “pom-pom” vs. “saucer” dahlias, and escalated to tire-slashing, vandalism, arson, anonymous threats and smear campaigns. The eventual victor, 93-year-old Mathilda Smith, was described by one political activist as “the coldest soul I’ve ever known.”

There have been no further garden club incidents.

It is the Feast Day of Saint Dana, patron of small, lost things. She is represented as a young woman with a pen in one hand and the other held open, palm forward. She is invoked when you have forgotten where you have put your keys, watch, wallet, birth certificate, etc. There are several saints that fulfill this function, perhaps on the understanding that if you have lost your keys, you may also have lost your saint.

In the garden, Common Wood-Nymphs are flying. This elegant butterfly deserves rather more respect than the name “common” implies, having a bold patch of lemon yellow on the wing, with two small spots set within it. Their larvae feed on certain purple-top grasses and they are a generally delightful presence in the garden.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wumpus Tea Company] purveyors of fine and inaccessible teas. Red Wumpus --- “We Hunt Tea.”

Also brought to you by a small rock in a mountainside some miles away, who wishes to remain anonymous but really believes in radio.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for June 27th, 2014. Be safe, and stay out of trouble.


Out of Character

The Hidden Almanac is a production of Dark Canvas Media, and is written by Ursula Vernon. Our exit music is Red in Black and our into music is Moon Valley, both by Kosta T. You can hear more music from Kosta T at the Free Music Archive. The Hidden Almanac is copyright 2013-2014, Ursula Vernon.

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