h a l f b a k e r y
"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
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I am recently returned from the farthest reaches of East
Fenglia, where the intercalary twin requested that I
him at a wind-farm to see a demonstration of the latest
sport he had devised.
The wind off the local mountain range was brisk and,
standing near the base of a monster wind turbine,
mesmerized by a regular "whoom....whoom....whoom."
"Turn your bloody iPod off", the intercalary twin yelled at
me and, doing so, I could now hear the wind turbine as
massive blades beat the air above us.
From his trusty haversack, the intercalary produced
hundred feet of bungee rope, a harness of dubious
construction, a parachute rigged for base-jumping, and a
In a trice and a stiff breeze, the small boy was strapped
into the harness, to which one end of the bungee rope
secured. The intercalary ran the rope through his hands,
coiling it on the ground, until he reached the far end,
to which was appended a crudely fashioned leather bag
lead weight sewn into it.
"Just watch this", he said to me. Under the
this request was unnecessary.
Holding the rope about two feet from the weighted bag,
he started to swing it faster and faster, keeping his eyes
fixed on the whirling blades.
At the critical moment, he released the rope, and the
leather bag arced into the air. He had timed it
and the bag settled neatly over the end of one of the
blades as it travelled upwards.
I waited with anticipation. The intercalary waited with
anticipation. The small boy also waited although, being
the slower sort of Norfolk lad, he did not anticipate.
As the rope on the ground uncoiled rapidly, the
turned to the boy. "Now remember", he said "when you
reach the highest point it's very important
to", at which moment the child hurtled skywards with a
twang and a look of resignation.
The child rose, and rose, and continued to rise skywards
a manner which was both trebuchesque and catapulty.
the time the blade had reached the vertical, the child
still ascending, and the weighted leather bag slipped off
the end of the blade.
" pull the big metal ring on the parachute harness.",
finished the intercalary.
We watched in awe as the child, who by all accounts was
not good at remembering instructions, described a
parabola before landing conveniently in some bushes
several hundred yards distant. We could tell he had
survived by his cry of "Oh shi" as the weighted leather
||As I still have a valid security ID (a perk of having worked
in security), I'm going straight up to the wind farm to try it
out. Now all I need are a small boy and an intercalary
||Enjoy, and please let us know the results or charges.
||I write with the intent of clarifying a small
mystery, as it were, and would be most grateful if
you could clear up the reason/s for your use of the
word "intercalary" to describe your possibly
||As I recall it, an "intercalary" is usually something
you insert, often into a calendar to align or
harmonise it with the solar year, though I am
concerned you have devised some dubious
definition all your own for the word.
||If your "intercalary" is something other than one of
the February 29ths inserted in 97 of the years
elapsing in each four hundred, or a period of 10
mythical days between March 11 and March 21,
1582 in order to bring the liturgical calendar into
harmony with the solar calendar, we should be
pleased to know.
||If you are, however, fatuously using the term to
somehow denote insertion, could you please
specify the bodily orifice (preferably one of your
own) and the method of insertion of your
"intercalary"? Posting video footage would be
Your (adoring) Public.
||The intercalary twin was born between myself and
Sturton, the third of the Buchanan triplets. When
I say "between", I hasten to explain that I do not
mean that his birth was a joint effort between
myself and Sturton. Nor do I mean "between" in
the physical sense of the word (although,
coincidentally, his birthplace lies roughly between
the places where Sturton and I were born). He
was born between us only in the temporal sense
of the word.
||He does have a first name but, due to bad lighting
at the time when our father (who was one and the
same for all three of us, an unusual occurrence
these days) was filling out the paperwork, his first
name is Buchanan. Hence, he is Buchanan
Buchanan which, you will agree, could cause
confusion*. Hence, we refer to him simply as "the
intercalary" for convenience.
||I trust that this clarifies matters.
||*This sort of thing seems to happen in our family
with depressing regularity. I have a cousin called
"27th July 1952 Beardsley", although he doesn't
use his middle names.
||Ha - never thought of you as a calary counter Max.
a crudely fashioned leather bag
his cry of
"Oh shi" as the weighted leather bag hit him
that's not a very nice way to talk about your rather
portly retro-fashion-loving female assistant.
||//never thought of you as a calary counter Max//
||//any relation to 8th of July?// It's hard to know,
what with the Borg not having surnames. Their
family tree must be a bit of a thicket, what with
all the assimilations.
||//his cry of "Oh shi" as the weighted leather bag
hit him// The intercalary has reported further
developments, specifically the successful
deployment of the parachute. Unfortunately, the
boy this time deployed the chute far too early,
whilst still in the rapid ascent phase of his
trajectory. The result, shortly after the parachute
attained full inflation, was that the child was
brought to a rapid halt in mid air by a harness
which had not been designed with due
consideration for the male anatomy.
Immediately beneath the child was an inflated but
upside-down canopy and, many tens of yards
below this, a weighted leather bag at the end of a
still-taut bungee cord.
||This situation was kinetically, gravitationally and
elastically untenable, of course. By sheer
coincidence, the boy hit the parachute canopy
from above, at about the same time as the
recoiling weighted bag reached it from below, the
thud being muffled somewhat by the crumpled
||Experiments are, of course, ongoing.
||Very interesting... 27 July 1952 was the date of a
famous UFO sighting in Washington DC, as I recall.
||<Licks tip of pencil stub. Makes cryptic note in
||//27 July 1952 was the date of a famous UFO sighting
in Washington DC//
||Precisely so. My cousin's mother (who was in
Washington at the time) may well have been
startled by that very event, precipitating the