The Hidden Almanac for
Wednesday November 19th, 2014
Episode 186
Previous episode: 2014-11-17
Next episode: 2014-11-21


Today we remember the capture of the Catgut Strangler. It is also the day the Grey Ant was catalogued. It is the Feast Day of St. Dart, and in the garden, it is cold.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


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

Today is November 19th, 2014.

It was on this day in 1996 that the great violinist Pierre Lafone was discovered to be the notorious serial killer known as the Catgut Strangler. Lafone was playing the last concert of his life in the Royal Orchestra when the police burst in to the hall. “I shall come with you peacefully, gentlemen,” he is reported to have said, “but pray let me finish this piece.” The police surrounded him and he finished his part of the concerto and was escorted from the premises. The conductor had strong hysterics, and the other violinists had even stronger ones. Lafone died some days later in custody, having taking the precaution of putting a cyanide caplet in his molar. Proceeds from his many popular albums were placed in a fund for the families of the victims and the classical music scene did their best to never speak of the matter again. It is a sad fact of this life that talent and virtue are not always wedded together.

And it was on this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Moon-Ant, a small, pale gray ant that is entirely nocturnal. Found in the hot sands at the edges of the Glass Wastes, Moon-Ants come out before the sand has quite lost its heat and scavenge for much of the night, before returning to their underground burrows. Golden moles are their primary predator. Moon-Ant populations are stable, but may be at risk from habitat loss.

It is the Feast Day of Saint Dart, patron of domestication. Those seeking to breed plants and animals for human use would be well advised to seek the aid of St. Dart. Dart is represented as a man with a stalk of wheat for a head. As only a few species are currently being newly domesticated, he is most often invoked by those who study plants for new medicinal compounds.

In the garden, a hard freeze has killed most of the annuals. The radishes are somehow still hanging on. We lack snow, which would make a good insulator on the perennials and protect them from thawing and freezing, so we must hope that the fallen leaves will do the job.

George the crow is hanging around the porch and begging the interns for Cheetos. Our attempts to locate a new family for George are so far foundering. Apparently wildlife rehabilitators are swamped with animals that are actually injured and have no time for those who are merely sad.

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

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That’s the Hidden Almanac for November 19th, 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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