Letters: October 2003

Written correspondences from good natured gentlemen who have read our previous installments and wish to comment on some aspects thereof.

Esteemed Sirs and Mdmes,
Throughout your previously printed perambulations and-nay, at times, peregrinations – thru the punctillia of terrestrial wonders, I have seen very little attention given to a subject very close to my heart and indeed as important a matter as there possibly is.
I am talking about the very ground itself: soil, in all its magnificent permutations, the very earth onto which the first slimy little pseudo vertebrates crawled and upon which we, the more advanced and infinitely more slimy vertebrates, now crawl!
Dirt, not to put too fine a point on it, my bailiwick, if you will. Sandy, loamy, claylike, muddy, ah, we betray our shame of the dirtiness of our origins by reviling our mother Earth day in day out-like the time my nanny caught me rolling on the parlor floor in her foundation garments that I’d “borrowed.”? “You dirty little boy,” ?she fairly bellowed- though at the time what dirt had to do with anything, I am hard pressed to tell, unless of course you consider that she may have been worried about my rolling in her fresh clothes and would probably have to clean them again.
I didn’t think it was dirt I got on them. However that may be, I think we have relegated a mistakenly lowly estimation to dirt. It grows all our food, holds the trees down and our houses up. Why, many people do not even know the number of different varieties and types of dirt there are or that it is often full of decomposing and fermenting nutrients so very difficult to obtain in a normal modern diet. Why I myself am not above tossing a spoonful in my morning porridge and keep a sort of larder containing jars of the many different kinds for when friends of similar predilections drop by, you should see our meetings!
Now there are some dirty little bastards if you like! All smeared and dripping- well, let me not digress. Suffice to say, we would love to see more articles and studies along these lines-with pictures!
What say you-let’s have a little more dirt-eh? All the best in your tireless endeavors to civilize this clod, one reader at a time, and here’s mud in your eye.
Yours Truly,

Sir Evans Wang-Chung
(President, Malaysian Society of Soil Science)

Dear Persons to Whom This May Concern:
I would like to whole-heartedly congratulate you on the grandiose triumph of your invasion of Northern Italy. The swiftness with which you laid waste to the villages of the Lombards serves as an inspiration to us all, as does your burning of the purulent settlements of Venice. So, chip chip cheerio to you, good people, and much luck in your further endeavors and excursions.

Leo X of Sicily

To Axes and Alleys,
Last month’s issue featured Sammy “The Dark Wombat” Sneed’s nature article “How to Identify Various Types of Frogs’ Vomitous Excretions.” This article, unfortunately, featured several factual errors.
First and foremost, the vomit of the Hobson’s Lesser Grounded Frog (Ceratophrys migmum) is paste-like, with very very few bits of grit and extraneous pieces. While Sneed apparently felt that this vomit was coarse and gummy, I would have to disagree.
Secondly, the Boring Frog of the Upper Esperon Delta (Ceratophrys sansodor) has never vomited in captivity and thus the true texture of its naturally-occurring oral escapations cannot be positively known. Mr. Sneed has based his identifications of Boring Frog vomit only on the vomit of captured frogs which, from what I understand, bears little resemblance to the hypothesized vomit textures of the wild frogs. This does not appear to be fully scientific. Everything else appearing in the article was spot-on, though.
Good work, Sneedy.

Luscious Hattermourne
(Professor of English Literature, University of Chad)

Dear Cap’n,
It is very lucky that many of us are not shot on a daily basis. Why, I myself have ventured from my home on many daily occasions and have rarely had the flesh of my body torn to shreds by the terrifying power of shells, bullets, musket balls or harpoons. How fortunate for those of us who remain alive each day.

Victor Zokhast
(People’s Liberation Army)

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