Etiquette & superstition: losing one’s virginity

Someone on the internet scans and posts an out of print book, and copyright holders of said book ask them to take it down. Old story. But here’s the good part: copyright holders actually decide to get the book reprinted for all to enjoy. Kudos, Estate of Edward Gorey.

ETIQUETTE (from The Recently Deflowered Girl, written and illustrated by Edward Gorey under the pseudonym Hyacinthe Phyppe; originally published 1965): “Deflowerment at Seance: At seance conducted by smooth-talking gypsy, you ask him to produce spirit of Rudolph Valentino. Spirit of Valentino appears and you are deflowered.

After deflowerment, you say, ‘Gee, Mr. Valentino, may I have your autograph?’

He says, ‘To tell the truth, this whole seance is a fake.’

You say: ‘Personally, I don’t believe in them either.'”

SUPERSTITION: A hooting owl is a sign that one of the young virgins in the village has been deflowered. Damn gossipy owls.

Words of the day for Friday, October 30th

Woooooooooo! It’s Hallowe’ene’en, everybody. I don’t know about you, but Hallowe’ene’en puts me in the mood for scary creatures, and words about scary creatures. Actually, today’s words aren’t really about scary creatures, but they sure do sound like they are.

Halloween textand

Halloween fonts
Mulligrubs and fantods? I hope you locked the doors, Benny. Now, I don’t know where I got the idea that mulligrubs were monsters rather than a depressed state, but I do know that the fantod confusion came from Edward Gorey, noted chronicler of the humorously macabre. A mysterious taxidermied creature featured in his story “The Unstrung Harp” is identified as a fantod, and I always just assumed that he had just coined the term to describe the creature, even when I read another story by another writer that frequently referenced “the howling fantods.”

The Estate of Edward Gorey happens to be quite protective of its copyrights, so I’m not going to be able to provide you with Edward Gorey’s depiction of a fantod without fear of receiving a takedown notice. Being pretty well-versed in intellectual property law, however, I am quite sure that I can provide you with a drawing that I myself made of Edward Gorey’s depiction of a fantod:


Benny, are you sure you locked the doors? I don’t want any fantods creeping in. Wait. What? Fantods aren’t creatures either? When you have a case of the fantods it simply means that you’re in an agitated and restless state? Well, what do you know? I still hope you locked the doors, Benny.

Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Brown that banana


When I was a kid I used to talk in my sleep, but the only phrase I speak clearly in my sleep these days is “honk shoe.” It’s kind of sad. Some people get better at somniloquy when they get older; why did I get worse? Some people are so good, in fact, that they are recording themselves and posting the results online. Nate at Night speaks with different accents, DanDan has discovered that his sister also talks in her sleep, and Rich Jones analyzes himself. I don’t think any of them are up to the level of the king of somniloquists Dion McGregor, but just give them a few years. There may be a major label record album in one of them yet.

Sometimes it all comes together

I just had another one of those moments – one of those moments when I find a few of my interests have come together in a fantastic package, and I’m amazed that I didn’t know about this fantastic package earlier. An example earlier this year of one of these moments was when I started hearing about Edward Gorey’s naughty etiquette book The Recently Deflowered Girl. I have loved Edward Gorey and naughty books and etiquette since I was a kid, so how was it that I never knew about this book until this year?

But anyway, I just had another one of those moments. I love Mad Magazine artist Don Martin. I inherited my parents’ pretty good ’50s-’60s jazz vinyl collection. I play trombone. Why was I not aware until just 30 minutes ago that Don Martin made album covers for Prestige Records?


Finding these moments makes me feel like I’m on the right path somehow. Do you ever have these moments?

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