Island Dweller writes in:
A carrier piegon from my esteemed associate currently in the Belly of the Beast has just landed bearing a message expressing wonderment at COMCENTCOM Allen’s prowess with a keyboard (and possibly another instrument). My associate also speculated that given the makeup of this club (for “club” it appears to be, which so far seems to include only general officers and Service Academy grads associated with CENTCOM) we may be looking at a CENCTOM redux of Ben Franklin’s “Hellfire Club.”
BTW we would love to hear any descriptions you may have of your attendance at this club’s meetings, or similar arrangements you may have had at the Kremlin. If this thing turns out to be as I suspect, we may be looking at a sort of military “Cherry Pit” club with membership restricted to those above a certain general officer rank. Do you recall any other similar antics on the part of Czar Aleksandr Nevskiyy, or similar figures in the history of the steppes?
Some minor points, of course. The Hellfire Club certainly predated Ben Franklin (who was Twitter before there was Twitter, and by the way, he was a mean drunk—but hysterically funny when sober). In fact, he was only 13 (and in Boston) when the first Hellfire Club was started in London by Philip, Duke of Wharton. Actually, he held the title Duke for only a couple of months when he started the club after his 21st birthday.
How does the Czar know all this? Well, when Mandarin arrived in London to start the first English-speaking regional headquarters for the Gormogons in 1724, whom do you suppose was the local sponsor? Right. So here’s what happened.
So Phil Wharton was this hopeless jerk fratboy who managed to hang out and get drunk every other day with his Hellfire friends. British regs at the time said that no foreign organizations could legally form and purchase property without local sponsorships. So when Mandarin announced that we were holding sponsorship tryouts at the Castle Tavern on Fleet, he wisely put No Freemasons or Esperantists, Please at the end of the ad.
Wharton, who hated Freemasons, took this as a sign that we might be an organization worth sponsoring. We admit he had a very attractive offer and gave it to him. It worked perfectly for a few years. However, when he learned of our plans of world domination, he saw for himself a perfect vehicle. He intended to make all his reprobate Hellfire Club morons immortal life members of the Gormogons, but Prince Tochmas (you remember him) got wind of it and threw the bums out.
So Wharton got ticked off and renounced his sponsorship; frankly, we couldn’t have been happier. He finally tried to get his Hellfire goons to trash our place, but the Tcho-Tchos pretty much cleaned the flesh off their bones; we are sure you realize that is no metaphor. Finally, after a few years of repeated harrassment, Mandarin kicked him in the stomach and killed him. He was probably 33 or 34 at the time. The Czar does not exactly remember.
Hope that helps! Also, remember, the Kremlin was a dumpy little swamp when the Czar was there. He never spent any time there. Sheboygan, Wisconsin, yes, but (a) only for breakfast in 1982 and (b) this has nothing to do with your question.