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A dark and Strommy night

Thurmonned on February 27, 2011.

It was a dark and Strommy night. The rain fell in torrents; except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of rhetoric which swept up the streets (for it is in the hallowed halls of Congress that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the filibustery.

Our setting would once again be 229B Bouillabaisse Boulevard but for the massive explosion that had rocked my tiny little town this past Thrudsday (née Turdsday, née Thursday), covered over 60,000 square acres in mechanically extracted and spiced ham product, and resulted in the formation of a Congressional inquiry. Not since Bermuda’s disastrous pie-eating contest had an environmental disaster of such epic proportions taken place. (Well, except perhaps that monkey-spanking accident back in 2009… and that shoehorning disaster a few months ago… and one mustn’t forget the Great Fluffernutter Deluge of ’58 nor the treacle mine explosion back in 1829, of course. Come to think of it, an awful lot of environmental disasters seem to center around my town—or me, myself, and I!)

And speaking of “me, myself, and I,” I—being the Hormel spam-canning plant’s newest employee—was left holding the bag. And now I was being dragged before Congress by none other than the undead Senator Strom Thurmond to explain what had led up to the explosion that had killed no one and injured another zero (but encased an entire town in spam).

“Mr. Årp,” Zombie Thurmond began molderingly, “Are you now or have you ever been an employee of the Hormel spam-canning plant in your hometown?”

“…Murp?” I murped.

“And did you work for one Norb McBorbley canning spam in his spam-canning plant?”

“…Murp?” I murped again.

“And on the day of the explosion, did you can more spam than all the other spam-canners canned?”


“And, Mr. Arp, would you say that you can can more spam than any other spam-canner can can?”


“And yet is it true that you learned all that you know of the art of spam-canning by merely reading the CAN-SPAM Act article on Wikipedia, the… ‘free encyclopedia that even a hyperactive twelve-year-old can edit’?”


“And is it true that you received the remainder of your training in the field of spam-canning at the… ‘University of Canning Spam’ in… your own back yard?” Clearly ol’ Strombo was reading from a copy of résumé.

“…Murp?” I held fast.

“And in all this learnin’ that you supposedly learnified, did you ever become aware that compressing a block of spam beyond a certain point would result in a cataclysmic chemical reaction that would release enough energy to vaporize a small crate of cornpones?”

“…Murp?” Still I held fast. Strommy would get no incriminating evidence from me!

Suddenly his questions veered in an entirely new direction: “And would you believe, Mr. Årp, that if a woodchuck could chuck wood, said woodchuck would chuck as much as he could?”


“And that if a Wundt-chuck wouldn’t chuck wood, said Wundt-chuck wouldn’t chuck as much as he should—or even could?”


“And would you believe that bears do not, in fact, shit in the woods?”


The gentleman’s corpse from South Carolina continued pelting me with questions, each more surreal than the last, each to which I always gave the same exact answer: “Murp?”

It seemed like a good idea at the time, and as time went on (as it often does, especially now that my alarm clock is actually plugged in!), Thurmond spent less time asking questions and more time bloviating and putrefying like a cadaver running for higher office. Eventually he lapsed into a filibusterous bout of guffoonery that went on for 24 hours and 18 minutes.

At the end of all that, all the other senators had either left the chamber or fallen asleep. Sen. Kneehigh (D–Vermont) was snoring softly in the corner; Sen. Crapo (R–Idaho) had excused himself to use the crapper sixteen hours earlier and hadn’t been heard from since. Garden gnomes had begun accreting in the door jambs—as usual, an ominous sign if there ever was one. I decided to quietly excuse myself from their august presence and return home at that point—before those gnomes stopped merely accreting and decided instead to wheedle and needle me to death! Not since that hot yet bizarre lesbian scene with Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin that I’d seen on TV years ago was I so surprised at the ease with which I gave them the slip!—freebirding merrily as I did go, of course.

I arrived home safely this evening, but then I remembered that I can’t sleep: Clowns will eat me. So, I spent the night once again contemplating the fleeting nuances of Dingleberry–Hampsterism—in particular the witless boob who spelled “hamster” wrong when he invented such an inane ideology…