Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com

February 13
"Part of you thinks it's in poor taste,
Part of you wants an XL"

One of the best things about the internet is that the more questions you can rapidly answer, the more questions you are going to have. One thing leads to another, to another, to another...

For instance, I was updating this page today and "The Yarn of the Nancy Bell" reminded me of Jeffrey Dahmer which led me to the story of the almost-auction of Dahmer's freezer which gently segued into some woolgathering about ghoulish souvenirs in general. So I googled "ghoulish souvenirs" and, lo and behold: the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office (morgue) has a gift shop upstairs. Yes, it does. And the gift shop, called Skeletons in the Closet, has a motto:

Part of you thinks it's in poor taste;
Part of you wants an XL

In my case, it's an extremely underdeveloped and oft-ignored part of me that thinks it's in poor taste, so I'm getting my XL in time for my next cancer checkup. It's going to be black with a big CORONER in yellow on the back and a smaller CORONER on the front. I might get the one with the body outline, too.

Now, if you are wondering about Dahmer's freezer, that's an interesting story. Several years ago, some of the relatives of Dahmer's victims planned to auction off a few of Dahmer's posessions, like the freezer, knives, and dirty movies. I remember when I heard about this I immediately thought that this was an auction that Michael Jackson just had to be told about. Anyway, before the auction could be held, saner heads (and other body parts) prevailed. A civic group formed and raised enough money to buy the stuff from the relatives, who agreed to accept less than what they had expected to receive if the stuff had been auctioned. The civic group had the material destroyed.

The Yarn of the Nancy Bell
by W.S. Gilbert

(I've had this online for a long time--I don't remember why. Maybe because it
surprised me that W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan wrote it. I loved this poem when I was a kid.)
Saints celebrating feast days today include Saint Polyeuctus, Saint Martinian the Hermit, Saint Stephen of Rieti, Saint Modomnoc, Saint Licinius or lesin, Saint Ermengild or Ermenilda, and Saint Catherine dei Ricci.
Famous birthdays include Stockard Channing (1944, NYC) and Kim Novak (1933, Chicago).

'Twas on the shores that round our coast
From Deal to Ramsgate span,
That I found alone on a piece of stone
An elderly naval man.

His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And weedy and long was he,
And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
In a singular minor key:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
Till I really felt afraid,
For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,
And so I simply said:

"O, elderly man, it's little I know
Of the duties of men of the sea,
But I'll eat my hand if I understand
How you can possibly be

"At once a cook, and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

Then he gave a hitch to his trousers, which
Is a trick all seamen larn,
And having got rid of a thumping quid,
He spun this painful yarn:

"'Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell
That we sailed to the Indian sea,
And there on a reef we come to grief,
Which has often occurred to me.

"And pretty nigh all o' the crew was drowned
(There was seventy-seven o' soul),
And only ten of the Nancy's men
Said 'Here!' to the muster-roll.

"There was me and the cook and the captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig
And the bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig.

"For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,
Till a-hungry we did feel,
So we drawed a lot, and accordin' shot
The captain for our meal.

"The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate,
And a delicate dish he made;
Then our appetite with the midshipmite
We seven survivors stayed.

"And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,
And he much resembled pig,
Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,
On the crew of the captain's gig.

"Then only the cook and me was left,
And the delicate question, 'Which
Of us two goes to the kettle?' arose
And we argued it out as sich.

"For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,
And the cook he worshipped me;
But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed
In the other chap's hold, you see.

"'I'll be eat if you dines off me,' says Tom,
'Yes, that,' says I, 'you'll be,' --
'I'm boiled if I die, my friend,' quoth I,
And 'Exactly so,' quoth he.

"Says he, 'Dear James, to murder me
Were a foolish thing to do,
For don't you see that you can't cook me,
While I can -- and will -- cook you!'

"So he boils the water, and takes the salt
And the pepper in portions true
(Which he never forgot) and some chopped shalot,
And some sage and parsley too.

"'Come here,' says he, with a proper pride,
Which his smiling features tell,
' 'Twill soothing be if I let you see,
How extremely nice you'll smell.'

"And he stirred it round and round and round,
And he sniffed at the foaming froth;
When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals
In the scum of the boiling broth.

"And I eat that cook in a week or less,
And -- as I eating be
The last of his chops, why, I almost drops,
For a wessel in sight I see!

"And I never grin, and I never smile,
And I never larf nor play,
But I sit and croak, and a single joke
I have -- which is to say:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig!"

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© Marilyn Jones 2000-2008