Sunday, October 28, 2007

North Dakota Man Marries 16th Century Courtesan

Deep in the North Dakota "up country," a recent migration of single women to the infinitely more sophisticated North Dakota "down country" has skyrocketed the male to female ratio to a staggering 17 to 1. The resulting severe feminine deficiency has led to an over-abundance of lonely, desperate bachelors littering the up country's streets and sleazy bars.

Although many bachelors have resorted to personal ads, matchmakers, and eHarmony, one up countryman was lucky enough to meet the love of his life while on holiday in Rome, Italy. While on a tour of the Colosseum, "Albert" spotted the beautiful and effervescent Genevieve floating serenely through the legendary hypogeum. Albert originally attributed Genevieve's glow and gravity defying grace to dehydration hallucinations, but later realized her otherworldly attributes were just that . . . otherworldly. Being a lonely and desperate up countryman, Albert seized the opportunity to meet a nice and presumably single woman, and quickly asked Genevieve out on a date.

Over a romantic dinner of rigatoni and chianti, Genevieve explained to Albert that she is the ghost of a 16th century courtesan who was strangled by a jealous lover in the corridors of the hypogeum. As many Rome natives will explain, Genevieve is a well-known local ghost who can be seen wandering the abandoned hypogeum at night still dressed in her courtesan white garb. She is said to wander in search of the true love she was denied in life because of her "profession."

It didn't take long for Albert to fall under the spell of the ghostly courtesan. Genevieve's finely honed feminine wiles made short work of capturing Albert's heart. Knowing he may never have this opportunity for love once he returned to the sausage-fest up country, Albert quickly asked the courtesan for her hand in marriage. Genevieve, having never been allowed to marry as a courtesan, eagerly accepted.

Although all public agencies and legitimate clerics refused to wed a man to a ghost, an internt-ordained minister wed the two in exchange for Albert's eHarmony account, which has been prepaid for the next three years. Pictured above, Albert and Genevieve were married in the minister's unfinished basement. The two lovebirds vowed to "love, honor, and cherish." The "'till death do us part" clause was understandably omitted.

Although it took the residents of the up country some time to accept Genevieve into their small, tight-knit community, they eventually warmed to the apparition, the men, of course being overwhelmingly susceptible to the charms of a courtesan.

All this Librarian can say is . . . Happy Halloween!

--Katherine O'Brien-Smith

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Irish Lady in White

While on a trip to Milwaukee last weekend I came across a fitting story to relay. It seems the folklore behind the Lady in White or La Llorona as it is more commonly know is alive and well. I stayed at the County Clare a well and fine Irish Pub and Inn. While getting a warm meal an old Irish woman was performing for the crowd singing Ditties and telling tales. She was quite the character. She had her own clay pipe and harp that she took turns holding during the night.

One of her tales was of a local legend about the pub's name. It dates back to when it was first built in 1846. The family was forced out of Ireland due to the potato famine.

The Branigan family was large and every child had to find odd jobs to help support the family. Clare, the youngest daughter was weary of being made to mend socks and chew rich people's food for them. Clare wanted to seduce a young rich suitor, in hopes of a better life. Clare found a young man who was smitten by her beauty and they wed secretly. Clare had two children by him and for three years was truly happy, until the young man's father prearranged a beneficial marriage. Legend says Clare was driven mad with grief and worry and drowned their two kids in the Milwaukee river.

This is an actual picture of the attack, a young man named Joseph Tanner Mason, was near the river using a new invention called a camera, and mistakenly pointed the lens behind him near the river. He was surprised to discover these pictures instead of the rollicking paddle boats.

The picture can be found at the Pub next to the pay phone.

Clare drowned herself by getting in a large sack of potatoes and three feral cats and hopped into the fast moving river. The old Irish Lady said Clare's actions inspired two young siblings who witnessed the event, to create a game that we now know as the sack race.

Clare's family was heart broken and began to drink away their sorrows. One day it occurred to the family they should make a business out of their loss and opened the Country Clare Pub and Inn in memory of their daughter. Unfortunately Clare returns to her name sake every 38 years on the full moon and picks a young child to drown in a bathtub in room 404. Investigators say she doesn't want to do it, but is compelled to repeat her tragic mistakes. Unpleasant people say Clare's still mad even after death.

The old Irish Woman ended the story by giving this warning, "if you have any young ones or are young at heart. Don't go bathing on a full moon, as Clare might find you. Tis better to stink, and live another day."

You’ve been warned...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Blog Action Day!

Today is the day, loyal readers, that thousands of bloggers unite their voices to discuss a common topic in order to spur a global conversation (yes today, check the date stamp). This year, that common subject is the environment.

We here at Library Conspiracies take the topic of the environment extraordinarily seriously. For this reason, we jumped at the opportunity to become part of the Blog Action Day Movement. When considering the many angles we might take for participating in this revolution, we unanimously decided on exposing the disheartening story of Ostergard, Minnesota.

A small town in southern Minnesota, Ostergard was once considered the sugar beet capital of the world, producing more gross tonnage of sugar beets than Kirghistan, Romania, Turkey, Iceland, Detroit, and Bulgaria combined.
That prestigious capitalship has recently been cruelly and without sympathy stripped away from the small town after a series of devastating droughts.

This unprecedented drought has rendered the city's entire sugar beet crop unpalatable by all save for a small colony of garbage-gut, starving postmodern artists who settled in the city in 2005. Unfortunately, those "broke-ass, hippie-dippy artists" as one town elder refers to the colony's resident's, refuse to pay more than 9 cents per pound for the shriveled Ostergard beets.

This would traditionally be the point in the post where we would digress into an in-depth discussion of global warming, shifting ocean currents, or even agricultural overwatering, but this wouldn't be Library Conspiracies if Ostergard's water shortage were a simple case of climate change or irresponsible squandering. Instead, Ostergard's farms have become victims of groundwater-siphoning Vaettirs.

Vaettirs (pictured right) are a Norse breed of pint-sized otherfolk who make their homes and reside underground. Natives of Norway, the Vaettirs settled in Ostergard in 1952 when they stowed away in a Minnesota-bound Jarlsberg cheese crate in search of religious freedom. The Vaettirs quickly built a thriving miniature metropolis beneath the fertile soil of the Ostergard sugar beet farms. For over fifty years, the Vaettirs lived in harmony with farmers, redirecting only enough water away from sugar beet roots to sustain their community and safeguard the plants from overwatering.

Two years ago, however, the death of benevolent King Thor Haralsson IVX left the Vaettir community under the rule of King Sven Olafson, or as his subjects refer to him, Olaf the Terrible. As you would expect with any garden-variety tyrant, Olaf swiftly instituted a set of self-serving social initiatives.

As his first act as King, Olaf ordered the construction of an ostentatious palace which includes a ridiculous number of Greco-Roman baths and pools, the likes of which have not been seen since the time of Nero. Olaf's obsession with enormously extravagant swimming and bathing facilities have led those who don't refer to him as Olaf the Terrible to refer to him as Little Nero.

In addition to the pools and baths, Olaf has also overseen the construction of an intricate fountain system, the likes of which have not been seen since the time of Louis XIV. It is said that the water needed to run the grandiose fountain system is so great that when they are activated, all bodily functions must be suspended because there is not enough water left in the Vaerttir civic water system to even "let the yellow mellow" let alone "flush the brown down." Olaf's obsession with ornate fountain systems have led those who don't refer to him as Olaf the Terrible or Little Nero to refer to him as Lil' Louis.

The water needed to constantly run the self-serving aqua-pleasures of Olaf have become so great that legions of able-bodied Vaettirs have been consigned to labor camps which force workers to constantly wring out the sugar beet roots into large aquifers in order to ensure a constant flow of freshwater to his pools, baths, and fountains. Large, complex aqueducts have also been built which redirect water from irrigation canals, watering basins, ponds, and bathtubs.

As you can imagine, this constant and brazen siphoning of groundwater away from the sugar beet roots has created a devastating drought despite record precipitation. Because of this groundwater drought, farmers are unable to grow anything other than tiny, withered, crusty sugar beets that taste like . . . tiny, withered, crusty sugar beets. Many farmers have already been forced to sell their farms and pursue careers as vikings in Capital One commercials.

The few farmers remaining in Ostergard are pinning their hopes on the results of a coup currently being planned by Olaf's second cousin, Hans the Procrastinator, but he has been talking about starting this coup for the last two years . . . so you can imagine.

All this Librarian can say is . . . sugar beets . . . what the hell are sugar beets?

--Katherine O'Brien-Smith