The Hidden Almanac for
Friday July 24th, 2015
Episode 286
Previous episode: 2015-07-22
Next episode: 2015-07-27


Today marks the day Eland the Younger described the Great Eagle-Shrike. It is also the day “Burning Tobacco” debuted at the Royal Opera House. It is the Feast Day of the Exceptional Otter, and in the garden, it is good to be home.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


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

Today is July 24th, 2015.

It was on this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Great Eagle-Shrike. Ordinary shrikes are predatory songbirds who eat small reptiles and insects, and frequently impale their prey on twigs and thorns to store for later. The Great Eagle-Shrike is the size of a large eagle and eats primates. Early explorers discovered shrike larders—sections of forest hung with the bodies of dead monkeys. They spun stories about evil shamans and dreadful anti-monkey cults to explain this grisly sight. However it was actually a very large predatory songbird. Whether this is more or less alarming depends on the temperament of the individual.

And it was on this day in 1979 that the play “Burning Tobacco” debuted on stage at the Royal Opera House. Featuring a grim boys prep school, it centers on a forbidden liaison between the math teacher and the headmaster, who later elope to the Coriander Isles, leaving the boys to riot and eventually burn down the school. The play was lauded by many critics, although one said that it read like a revenge fantasy written by a bright thirteen year old determined to use as many swear-words as possible. The play has been parodied various times, and opinion varies as to whether it is a tender love story or a harsh denunciation of the prep school system.

It is the Feast Day of the Exceptional Otter. What makes it exceptional is not known, but we are assured that it is truly exceptional. There is a single report that it has twenty-four heads, but not by a reliable witness.

In the garden…it is good to return. It has been very hot and many of the plants are wilting, but they seem to have held up well. Intern Steve has been diligent with bird netting and hand watering. George was very pleased by our return and has taken to tapping on the glass of my office window in order to be let in. I have given him extra Cheetos. This is probably not healthy, but one only returns from the dread abyss so often.

There is a certified letter from CharmX renouncing their claim to the ley lines beneath the garden, and including a check for damages caused by digging operations. The check is for eleven dollars. It will pay to replace a single bulb of the narcissus they have trampled, if that.

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

Also brought to you by Elwood’s Pickles! The finest curly-stemmed cornichons are almost ready for adoption. Bring home a show pickle today!

That’s the Hidden Almanac for July 24th, 2015. 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 through 2015, Ursula Vernon.

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