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The weather seems to be playing a multi-level April Fool's joke.
"Oh, you thought it was going to be spring? Haha, have an April Fools blizzard! No wait--psych! Snain. But it's going to snow in earnest tomorrow. Oh, you actually believed that? Ha, no it's raining..
Yes! Got you to go outside in street shoes with an umbrella. Psych! Wintry mix."

Meantime, in an interesting slice of life, North Station in filled with people in either Bruins jerseys or kirugami.
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Most *memorable* moment from Arisia: explaining to a fellow-attendee from Denmark that the tune I had been humming on the train ("Nelson's Blood ") was the song traditionally sung while marching around the lobby in your swimsuit, recruiting people for the Shanty Sing In The Pool.
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I was procrastinating on registering for RomneyCare this morning, and came across this gem:

A lost stash of Guiness ad. drafts surfaces.

Apparently Gilroy - the man behind the Zoo ads. for Guiness, replicas of whose art live on in Irish pubs per omnia saecula saeculorum - was also an important portrait painter:

"...which may mean that somewhere in the bowels of the Kremlin, there’s a portrait of Winnie by the same guy who made a living drawing cartoons of flying toucans balancing pints of Guinness on their beaks."

(Also, did you know that there was a plan to export Guiness - complete with adaptations of the ads - to the Soviet Union in the early 50s? I certainly didn't.)

I was looking this up, of course, to fact check my occasional drunken rant anecdote about Dorothy L. Sayers. Turns out she DIDN'T come up with the idea for the campaign (Gilroy did, after a visit to the circus), but the iconic Toucan was all her.

I would like to note, finally, that it is a source of regret for me that the Octopus and Rhino versions of the ad. never made it into print.

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By some minor miracle, I still have a bedroom rather than a swamp.

It's been raining (for those of you not in these parts) for the past 36 hours. Hard. As in, on the way back from game night last night my car was throwing up waves.
While going uphill.
The Cathedral's basement has flooded.* (Well, a bit--the choir room was merely damp in places; some of the Sunday School rooms were a bit less lucky.)

* To be fair, St. Luke's was built in the 1850s, and the undercroft was probably not really meant to be used. This explains some things about its layout...

Confidential to Squigamunk: OK, yes, technically "guano" refers only to the excrement of bats (and seabirds. And seals, for some reason.) But you offered to take up a job for my crazy business idea "selling stuff made from guano.)
And no, I do not own a pig. I was more thinking of this.
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Although the decorations have been up practically since Christmas, and Blätzle (people in the traditional Fas(t)nacht costume which looks kind of like an early medieval rendering of a chicken) have been wandering about the place for several weeks, often carrying musical instruments, yesterday night was the official beginning of Fasnacht. We went out to watch the opening parade, which had about a zillion different groups. Unfortunately, I´d forgotten to clear the photos off the camera before we headed out so we didn´t have a lot of space for more. Grace has no doubt already posted what we did get: the official Night watch, complete with real lanterns and replica halbards, which should amuse Catherine, people and their kids in random costumes, slightly scary guys in knee pants and hoods (I was wishing for my garb...), and some of the gajillions of groups in the parade. But no camera could really get the flavor of the occasion. The impressiveness of people throwing flags of Konstanz and various Narrenzünfte (fools´guilds) into the air and catching them doesn´t translate well, even onto video. There´s no way to photograph the sound of two dozen Blätzle, in rainbow and black feathers and covered with bells, going by. And a camera can´t really capture the mood of the drunk ravers in skin-tight clothing skipping against the direction of the parade while shouting the traditional cry of "Ho Narro!" (as the crowd shouted it back at them, while trying to get them out of the way). Or the way the sound of a dozen guys in what look like gorilla suits all twirling wooden noisemakers...or the tiny bit of primeval panic when they charge you (and possibly throw glitter at you). I guess you could get a photo of the guy who looked like Jesus selling sausages and beer in the trailor pulled by a tractor...but that wouldn´t include the techno beat. And I tried this morning to get photos of the people cracking whips, but that doesn´t get the explosive noise, or the excitement. And of course, cameras aren´t good at getting the THUMP in your very bowels as a band all wearing goblin heads goes by.
Oh yes. There were bands. The WCMB (or the YPMB, for that matter) would have been having WAY too much fun. And hey, they´ve already GOT the basic requirement of silly hats.
Really cool. And ruling. Lots of beer, but people of all ages from retirees to babies marching while wearing silly--and yet somehow numinous--costumes. Later on, when we went out again, the bratwurst stands were in full operation, the X-treme Guggenmusik (minus most of their goblin heads, but still with the banner of Imperia with one) were holding an impromptu concert on the Münsterplatz, while the Überlinger Löwen (more like the medieval idea of a lion--all in red, and with crowns) had taken over the Leckere Waffeln place near our apartment. Later still (when I went out to see if anything was going to be open today), they´d teamed up with a band in silly peasant hats to sing and dance on the Münsterplatz. I joined in, despite not knowing any of the words (note: they should really have taught us some drinking songs in Landeskunde). And the "Jacobiner" had taken over the square by the Tiergarten (with the statue of a renowned Fasnacht standup comic in the middle), continuing 200 years of the Konstanzer making fun of the French revolutionary army that took over the city in the 1790s.
Professor Patschovsky warned us that this was the one time of year when we´d probably want the shutters on the apartment. We didn´t realize that we´d want them (and earplugs) not at midnight, but at 6:30 AM, when what must have been a "Coalition of the awake" paraded down Konradigasse. With a band. Twice.
I can understand now why there´s a "No Narro" party for people fed up with the whole business. But I still think it´s pretty damn cool.
It´s now Schmötzige Donrstag (dirty Thursday). Everything is closed except the bars and restaurants, a number of additional examples of which have sprung into existance, seemingly ex nihilo. And I´m up at the Uni for IT´s Fasnacht party. Which reminds me...I need to get into costume. By this evening, I´ll probably be speaking with a swiss accent (kinda like Margaret...). So more later.


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