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The Essay
Show #108
Orlando's Historical Context
David Gunn
History can be a very rewarding discipline, especially when the facts that relate to historical events can be skewed and twisted to fit one's own designs, no matter how foul or repugnant they may be. We learn history through many sources: from books written in the language of our ancestors, by word of mouth uttered in the dialect of our progeny, through antediluvian advertising palaver, in computer journals of lie detection monitors and other polygraphic machinery, from the scent records of plasmafish, and also through myriad mass communication attempts of the Extraterrestrials.

History tells us many things, most of which, in hindsight, are apocryphal. It tells us, for example, that 403 years ago today, Guiseppe Orlando, royal taverner to the Fauxking of Seville -- a Spanish city shaped not unlike a Cadillac -- found that an olive could be flash-pickled by soaking it in a mixture of whiskey and vermouth for 60 minutes, a period of time now known as a cocktail hour. The discovery was forgotten until 1949, when members of the Manhattan Project, themselves apocryphal subject matter of a previous squintro, stumbled onto Orlando's bartending notes, duplicated the process, then reaped an atomic windfall by accidentally dropping a jigger of uranium-235 into the shot glass and inaugurating rapid transit to Cleveland. Orlando, meanwhile -- again, this is all according to history -- met a perspicacious woman named Monrovia Salteen who, had she not spontaneously appeared 3,700 years earlier during the waning hours of the Age of Pluperfectry, would have had to have been invented after the fact and then inserted into historical context. Monrovia, profiting from a knowledge that only existing in a parallel universe can provide, introduced Orlando to the rodeo. While the elderly taverner fared poorly in the bareback bronc-riding and bulldogging events, he excelled in the calf-roping competition. From the moment the beast was released into the arena -- which in this case was a huge storage room of a castanet manufacturer -- Orlando was on his horse galloping in hot pursuit, a thick rope of mohair coiled in his free hand. As soon as the calf crashed into the shelving unit at the far end of the room, the blithe barkeep flung the lariat over the calf's dazed head, flipped the animal onto its hind shell, and soldered its cloven hooves together, all in record time. And it was not a fluke. Time and again, Orlando mounted his elastic steed, urged it forward as the calf slid down the chute into the arena, and launched his lariat the moment the animal collided with the shelving unit. Record after record, as well as untold thousands of boxed castanets fell that day, 403 June 14s ago. Heady from his success and also intoxicating refreshment, Giuseppe saddled up for one final challenge, the bull-riding event. As listeners to this show know, bull-riding for profit is not an activity encouraged by Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this portion of the 108th episode of which has unintentionally refuted the Interference Principle, an historical allegory of obscure corpuscular presentations of different distance values which accommodate the physiology of vision in the Rugby School, and which now returns your radio to a semblance of regular programming. In the event, a rider must hold on to a rope that circles the webbed belly of a ferocious Brahma bull and stay aboard for eight seconds. Orlando, alas, stayed on for only seven seconds. During the critical eighth second, the weighty bull was atop Orlando, forcing eviscera out of every available orifice. But in tribute to his fine ropesmanship earlier in the day, rodeo officials posthumorously proclaimed him Orlando the Lasso, or Le flambeau oriange.

Historical allusions pervade much of what we hear and do on this program, and here to pervade much of the next hour fifty is WGDR's own Brahma intoxicant, Kalvos.

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