The Steadfast Amity of the Porte-cochère

We are pretty sure this is another appearance of Raro, Ileop and Plorumquith, with Plorumquith in his orchid-like form rather than his more common body, which takes the shape of a jackal (according to Michael Veerduer) or an aardwolf (the opinion of Benedict Thorarinsson).

The Amicale Porte-cochère is a dance popularly performed at Jackalopian wedding receptions; it is usually the dance that precedes the departure of the bride and groom. Apparently, the primary function of Raro, Ileop and Plorumquith as demigods in the GLP universe is to dance at weddings.

Vernal Mars

The note attached to today’s comic reminds me that Martians love the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, and that May 15, 1985 was an earth date for the vernal equinox of Mars.

It has been a while since I posted a GLP comic with Martian context, although I have posted a wealth of kiGamnch material lately, and Martians are as enthusiastic about kiGamnch traditions as jackalopes, and have adopted many of the traditions as their own. There is a theory (favored by Michael Veerduer, GLP historian, and Algernon and Agatha Dawe-Saffery, GLP fans extraordinaire) that kiGamnch concepts originated on Mars and were exported to earth through the buoyant cultural exchange between Martians and jackalopes. This exchange probably dates back to the nineteenth century, maybe even earlier, and was definitely an elaborate and thriving affiliation by the time Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars in 1912.

(Some people think this is a cover from a popular Martian comics version of A Princess of Mars.)

Today is Kopje Modder Dag on the Official Geranium Lake Properties Calendar. Cup of Mud Day. Cup of Java. Cup of Joe. Today we can celebrate coffee, the rocket fuel of the modern world. Martians do not drink coffee, they brew it, with their terribly precious water, for the aroma of the fresh pot. A Martian’s sense of smell is not like ours, which is not surprising, considering that they have no mouth, no nose. They do not even have a head! Which is weird, because they still love to wear hats, so it is accepted knowledge that Martians once had heads.

I understand there might be some of you who have met Martians and will insist that they have heads, but either the person you met was not actually a Martian (a Venusian perhaps, I think they have heads) or you were not aware that Martians don elaborate gear that gives them the illusion of “headness”. Martians have their own word for the quality of headness, but since we have no biological capacity to speak Martian, they have politely rendered it into a word for human use, “umnaalom”. They think umnaalom makes humans more comfortable with their presence, plus it allows them to wear hats.

“This could be your name, no. 189”, with six variations. It could also be an asemic writing version of “umnaalom”.

I believe that the sensory information Martians receive from the scent of freshly brewed coffee includes experiences that equate to visual and auditory hallucinations for humans. Whatever the experience is for Martians, it must be phenomenal, for them to use their horribly limited supply of liquid, pure water for such an extravagant use. Yet Martians are by nature extravagant, very charmingly so. To be in their company is such a joy that a human sense of delight can become quite exhausted after a few hours. Jackalopes have more stamina for marvelous events, which must be beneficial in their successful associations with the denizens of the red planet.

Mistaking the Self-interest of the Minotaur

Written in pencil on the back of the artwork for this panel: “Lacunae of a hypergraphic object in decay” and “color might be from iodine sublimation”. The sublimation of iodine, the transition of solid iodine into a gas without passing through a liquid state, produces a vivid purple gas.

Yost’s title for this comic comes from something Jack Loki said several times during the twelve-year run of Geranium Lake Properties. “Do not mistake the self-interest of the minotaur for the logic of the machine.” On two occasions, Yost passed it off as a quote from Lao Tsu, in situations where Jack Loki quoted Sherlock Holmes quoting Lao Tsu. In another scene the line comes as an admonishment from Jack Loki’s maternal great aunt Ottilie Dorothea.

Chocolate, Marzipan and Chestnut Scarabs

Upon closer scrutiny, I have realized that the two other GLP comics about Scarabaeus Day, one from 1993, the other from 1995, might have some kind of tricky connection with Enochian, which was an angelic language created (discovered?) in the 16th-century by John Dee and Edward Kelley. I may need more than a day or two to discover whatever I can about this mystery, so I will not be posting those two panels after all.

Also, in the comments of my previous post, Ficus Stangulensis pointed out that scarabs made from the finest chocolate (dark or milk) are a very nice thing to give to your best beloved on this day. Marzipan scarabs, delicately tinted to imitate watermelon tourmaline, are also quite lovely for those people who enjoy marzipan. I do, but marzipan is not a treat for everyone. Some people have a powerful aversion to it.

And if you have no carnelian, chalcedony, agate, onyx, paper, chocolate or marzipan scarab to give, you may give your best beloved a chestnut.

Scarabaeus Day

This is the first of three GLP comics I want to share with you on the subject of Scarabaeus Day. I hope to make another post later today, or maybe even tomorrow. It is always appropriate to extend a Jackalopian holiday if there are leftovers. (I cannot be the only one who appreciates 75% off peppermint bark in the second week of January.)

One of my persistent beliefs throughout my always-changing philosophy, is that Americans need to take more holidays. I do not intend to be disrespectful, (maybe just a bit frivolous) but I would like to point out that if Congress had been closed for Twelfth Night and Three Kings Day and today, Scarabaeus Day, the violence at the Capitol yesterday might not have happened. Of course, that is only a Utopian fantasy, but if you haven’t noticed yet, that is the America where jackalopes live. In some ways, Geranium Lake Properties is an invitation to you to consider the benefits of living the Jackalopian way.

Traditionally, Scarabaeus Day is the day to consecrate or give away scarabs carved from carnelian, chalcedony, agate and onyx. For those people who are fresh out of carnelian and other such scarabs, you may draw a scarab and cut it out of fancy paper, or color it, then give it to your beloved giftee. Here are some scarabs designed for you by Yost, the mythical author of GLP comics. You can print these out and color them, or use them in a design of your own.

There are some splendid images of scarab beetles at Wikipedia.

Whenever you see a black and white image posted here in this blog, whether it is a scarab, or a rendering of some bit of asemic writing that has appeared in a GLP panel, you are welcome to use it in a creative endeavor of your own, if you are so inspired.

Myrrh, Frankincense and Gold

Three Kings Day, or more formally, the Epiphany, is the last day for a reasonable excuse to continue celebrating Christmas. Jackalopes do not worry overmuch about behaving reasonably, so tomorrow (Scarabaeus Day) is one more holiday, making the twelve days of Christmas into a nice baker’s dozen. If you did not get all your Christmas decorations put away by the end of Twelfth Night, today can be a leisurely day of packing up those last ornaments and eating cake. I have Christmas ornaments that hang around the house all year because they have no put-away place. Also because they are pretty and are well-suited to my ideas of interior decor. My hope is that by the end of the day, I will have taken them all down, cleaned off the dust, and put them back up. (If the job does not get done today, I have nearly a whole year to finish it.)

I have no frankincense or myrrh, so I am burning my favorite scented candle from the Cuba Candle Company.

A Jackalopian house also lacks frankincense and myrrh on Three King’s Day. Instead, they add a bunch of dried cicely and fennel to the brashpunch kettles, and star anise too, if they can bear to waste it in the brashpunch mixture. Jackalopes love anise flavorings, and are unrepentant licorice fiends. Instead of star anise, many jackalopes throw extra Maybe Green Hibiscus blossoms into the mix.

As for gold, I like it very much as a color, but I do not share the human mania over its preciousness as an ore. Jackalopes share my attitude towards gold, but they can get a little crazy about fool’s gold. They go especially nutty over large, naturally perfect cubes of pyrite crystals from Spain.

Aggie Drewsticks, Twelfth Night

I thought I had jotted down some ideas about how to play “Aggie Drewsticks”, a kiGamnch board game that is a favorite pastime for jackalopes at family gatherings during the winter holidays. The only memo I have found is not much help, simply noting that each player needs a set of eight colored toothpicks (two each of blue, green, orange or red, and yellow) and eight rubber fingertips.

I have chalked my door for good luck in the Twelfth Night tradition, using white chalk on my white door. I used a sage green pastel pencil to add asemic invocations on either side of the standard form of the blessing.

Asemic writing is twisted up inside a paper spill, bound with a toothpick cross, hanging from the screw that held the Christmas wreath in its place on the front door. The sunburst is from a string of solar-powered fairy lights that hangs all year along the eaves of the front porch. Each light has its own tiny metal sunburst, and a few of them have escaped the string.

If the paper spill outlasts the weather in the time between now and April, I can burn it on the eve of Fool’s Day.

Last Count

New Year’s Day/January 1, 2021

Election Day/November 4, 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

I made the gifs for August, September and October on June 27, 2020. I made the gifs for Election Day and New Year’s Day on July 1, 2020. The numbers were based on estimates for projected deaths from Covid-19 in the United States. The estimates were made six months ago by experts. It was easy to find the numbers online. It was harder to grasp the reality of it. I remember thinking that maybe the numbers were too high.


Today’s post is a collaboration with Cathryn and David of Byopia Press. Several months ago, Cathy e-mailed me a photograph David had taken of a flight of birds inscribing an asemic message in the sky above their home.

Etymology of Inauguration

“The Latin noun inauguratio was derived from the verb inaugurare (to take omens from birds in flight).”

Clementine Time

Acelasi-Njejtes and Same-Same Day are two different traditions observed by jackalopes during today’s holiday, the Wednesday before New Year’s Eve. When Christmas or New Year’s Eve falls on a Wednesday, the holiday is celebrated on December 29th.

Acelasi-Njejtes is a holiday tradition that is only about a century old, but the name comes from an ancient language that originated with the Inultaru. The Inultaru were a tribe of jackalopes who had lived since the time of Rome in the Bardenas Reales desert in the Navarre region of Spain. In the sixteenth century, they began to emigrate to the New World, but a jackalope community remained in Bardenas Reales until 1969. Because of the United States escalating their bombing tests at NATO’s Bardenas Reales firing and bombing range, the last Inultaru left the region in 1972. The Inultaru now live in various other communities scattered around the world.

Acelasi-Njejtes is often translated from Inultaru as “Crowning-with-Clementines”. The word “njejtes” is a word used for any hybrid of the mandarin orange, much the same way we use the word “tangerines”. Satsumas are almost as popular as clementines for Acelasi-Njejtes. “Acel” is the act of putting a thing on top of another thing, and “acela” is the act of crowning royalty.

Crowning-with-Clementines is a wish-making tradition. For example, if your wish is that a friend will enjoy good fortune in the coming new year, you would put three clementines on top of other things that are not clementines. You are not allowed to put all your clementines together on one thing, you must put them on three different things. However, someone else is allowed to put one of their clementines next to yours, crowning the same thing. In fact, this is a good move, because the chance of good fortune doubles with each added clementine. The type of wish you are making for the new year requires a specific number of clementines. The count goes thus:

One clementine is a wish for a death. (This sounds scary and morbid, and indeed it is not a popular wish. It is meant for people who are very old and/or terminally ill, who would like to depart this world quickly and painlessly. People take care not to leave a clementine sitting alone somewhere in the house on the holiday. Even without the wish, it is considered bad luck.)
Two is a wish for your own good fortune.
Three is a wish for the good fortune of a friend.
Four is a wish for true love.
Five is a wish for the healthy birth of a baby.
Six is a wish for wealth.
Seven is a wish for a mystery solved or a secret revealed.
Eight is a wish for the defeat of an enemy.
Nine is a wish to live forever.

It is common knowledge that Crowning-with-Clementines is a tradition that did not originate with jackalopes. The Inultaru may have given it a Jackalopian name, but they insist they stole the tradition itself from somewhere outside of Jackalopian culture. However, they failed to make a record of the source. I have not been able to find a tradition like it. The only thing that turned up in my Google searches was a video of the Monty Python sketch about the Royal Society For Putting Things On Top of Other Things.

(Reprint of this comic as it appeared in the Viet Mercury, a Vietnamese language newspaper published by the San Jose Mercury News, on December 27th, 2000.)

If you are a jackalope, Same-Same Day should be dated the same as the day before (so today would be December 29th). Or so I thought. Recently I discovered that this tradition was originally established only for members of certain vocations. Poets, lyricist (including librettists), scribes and translators, lexicographers and cartographers, paper hangers and house painters, gravediggers and professional mourners (practitioners of keening and oppari), brewmasters, winemakers and distillers are among those who observe Same-Same Day as a tradition of their professional life.

Like Crowning-with-Clementines, the tradition of Same-Same Day is not a truly venerable one. It was created by jackalopes in 1918, in retaliation for the adoption of Daylight Savings Time by England, Canada and the United States. Since DST was instigated as a scheme for greater profit for industry, participation in the Same-Same tradition is a choice for job-holders. Unions and guilds can vote as often as every year on the issue; they can observe Same-Same Day one year and ignore it the next. Most labor organizers hold a vote every four or five years.

Jackalopes regard Daylight Savings Time as useless and confusing, and have various reasons why they dislike it, but they have two major philosophical objections. The first is that it was adopted to make war easier, specifically, World War I. Jackalopes do not consider themselves pacifists. They have professionals in their culture–adventurers, thieves, assassins–who are trained to use violence if the act is necessary and justified. Jackalopes intimately understand the requirements of the vendetta and the need for vengeance. Yet jackalopes are entirely opposed to war, and they certainly detest any machination that is supposed to make war easier. The Jackalopian attitude is that war needs to be hard and horrible and costly, so people will make great efforts to avoid it. They hate the way wealth in America has made war far too easy. They hate the way men make war into a game.

Advocates of Daylight Savings Time insist that having more hours of daylight after the end of a workday induces people to consume other goods and services. Jackalopes respond to this argument with their second major objection–they do not want or require industrialists to help them use their leisure time more productively. Jackalopes accept capitalism as a marketplace model, but they do not care for it as a life philosophy or a cultural identity.

Same-Same Day is their bit of absurd defiance against Daylight Savings Time. Yes, they will conform and turn their clocks forward one hour in the spring, and one hour back in the fall. So what? The US government can make two hours each year disappear, but on Same-Same Day jackalopes will turn back the calendar one day, and make a whole day disappear.

If You Want It

Yost used the design of this GLP comic as his Christmas card for several years. In his Christmas cards, along with the personal notes and greetings, Yost always included the line “War is over if you want it.” This is of course a quote from “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon. In the archive, we have three actual cards, including their envelopes, that he sent to people, one from 1989, two from 1991. Many people have been gracious enough to send me photocopies of their cards for the archive, including the interior notes. In every example, Yost emphasized “if you want it”, sometimes making the letters larger or bolder, mostly by underlining them. I don’t have the permission to show an entire personal note, but I can show you this little piece of one card’s interior:

It has been many years since I had the room in my house for a Christmas tree, and many years since I have had the inclination or time to put one up and take it down. This is one of my pots of cactus that have come indoors for Christmas. Not so much to get out of the cold, although the dark early mornings are becoming frosty now, but to get out of the sun. Sunburn is a danger for pampered domesticated succulents. I think a cactus in my kitchen is going to be a great Christmas tradition.

You can just make out the jars of dried lemon and orange peel behind the cactus. Today I am going to experiment with orange peel in my flaxseed mug muffin. I am almost sure the result will be unfortunate, but I have to do it. The lemon peel will be added to my version of shrimp scampi, another experiment for today, maybe. I may be too full of ham today. The shrimp is frozen, it can wait for another day.

A wonderful friend, who in herself was a gift from my sister Nancy, gave me a fat bag of my favorite coffee as a Christmas present. Plus firewood and soup! This is a lavish gift by every measure! Quintessa is a local coffee roaster, about 25 minutes from my house, traveling down the main drag of California. I am slopping up my coffee in a gift from myself. I think it is absolutely necessary, and terrifically efficient, to give yourself gifts at Christmas.

Flourless Miracle

Last night I forgot I had some decent pictures of the No-Gluten-And-Almost-No-Carbs Muffin. That mug is now my designated muffin mug. It is a fairly capacious mug, I bought it for soup. (To tell the truth, I bought it because I really like the way it looks. I do that sometimes, I’m a sucker for bowls and mugs. I have far more bowls and mugs than any person needs.)

In the last two pictures you will see vanilla, cardamom and walnuts, which I tried at different times and then decided against including them in the final recipe.

Say it with yellow

There is no story with this one, although you can make one up if you like, because it is asemic. I’m having a nice holiday, I’ve been in a good mood since yesterday. I would even go so far as to say I’m feeling mellow tonight, no psychotropic substances involved. Except I did eat a lot of good ham.

This is not a recipe for ham (my ham came fully cooked–I do not labor when there are other people who will do it for me.) This recipe is a sweet, spicy adaptation of a very low carbohydrate bread you can bake in a mug in your microwave. It is surprisingly good. I have been denying myself the joy of a good tea cake because I cannot afford the carbohydrates, so it was fantastic for me when I finally got this recipe sorted out.

One Minute Flaxseed Mug Muffin, Spice Cake Variation
3 to 6 carbohydrates in one muffin

The dry stuff:
2 Tablespoons Splenda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon – Rounded or heaping, depends on how much you like cinnamon.
Allspice, ginger, cloves, nutmeg – Somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon for each of these spices. My smallest measuring spoon is 1/4 teaspoon so I had to eyeball it. I recommend AGAINST using cardamom. I tried it a couple of times, it seemed to make the flaxseed taste sourish.
Poppy seeds – Use your own discretion. I like poppy seeds, I don’t mind if they make the muffin a bit gritty. The flaxseed meal makes the muffin somewhat coarse and dense, so the poppy seeds are an acceptable added texture. I also tried chopped walnuts and pecan chips. Don’t bother, they added nothing to the bliss.
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup golden flaxseed meal – I suppose you can use non-golden flaxseed meal, if such a thing exists, your muffin might look grayish, maybe. Flat cup measurement, not heaping or rounded.

The wet stuff:
2 teaspoons (no more, you can even get away with a little less) unsalted butter, melted – Do not use salted butter, and do not add salt to the ingredients. This is unusual for me, I always add at least a dash of salt to my cookies. Salt perks up all the flavors, but it does not work well in this recipe. Also vanilla extract DOES NOT improve the flavor. Nor does almond extract. I tried both.
1 egg

I grease the inside of the mug with a smear of butter before I throw in the dry stuff. Then I add the egg and melted butter. Stir everything together in the mug with a fork, making sure it is all thoroughly mixed. Cook in the microwave at High for at least 60 seconds. Cooking time for your microwave might vary. I have tried 60 to 80 seconds, and settled on 66 seconds. Your muffin will rise, then fall a bit at the end. Run a knife around the sides of your mug to loosen the muffin, it should tip easily out onto a cooling rack. I don’t let my muffins cool down much because I like to eat them warm with butter. Again, I only use unsalted butter.