You know what’s even better than not researching anything about a topic? Having someone else do all that research for you. The Czar won the lottery (figuratively) twice this month when receiving two emails (literally) about his recent Spotlight on Kiribati. The Czar wants you to know know that since writing that essay, he can now spell Kiribati with only a moderate slowing of typing speed. Typing Kiribati is like rounding a corner at high speed; you sort of need to tap the brakes a bit.
No matter. Our first letter arrived from our loyal minion Badger Trowelsworthy, who presently has been assigned to monitor who enters and exits the Motorways Motel in the heart of Monte Carlo for reasons only we know and he doesn’t. His expense account shows he’s definitely been up to the task, but he hasn’t been too busy to monitor our website. Are you aware we have a website? Well, we do—and you happen to be on it, right now. Go ahead, Badger.
|Oh Most Dyspeptic Despot
Making up stuff about Kiribati is good malicious fun….given the distances involved it would seem highly improbable that an aggrieved band of Kiribatians blowing conch shells in protest will turn up outside the portcullis.
But as a quick dive into Wikiville shows, the real information is better than the casual fakery.
The main island of Kiribati is Tarawa Atoll, a place hallowed in Marine Corps tradition.
Kiribati used to be called The Gilbert Islands. In the local parlance, Kiribati is as close as they could come to the word “Gilbert.”
And best of all, when the original British Protectorate was formed from these islands there was a proposal to include Christmas Island. The United States protested quoting the provisions of The Guano Islands Act.
I think the world is simply a better place for the mere existence of a Guano Islands Act. Its been around since 1856 and is still invoked once in a while. In 1964 Ernest Hemingway’s brother, Leiceister, tried without success to claim an 80-by-30-foot bamboo raft anchored near Jamaica as an independent republic quoting The Guano Islands Act. I have not been able to determine exactly how many bird droppings might be required for a successful petition.
Who says we made any of that stuff up? Actually, the Czar did, right up front. But your reply is just chock-filled with the kind of marshmallow and nougat trivia caramel that our own Volgi enjoys, so no doubt he will send us a message correcting about fifty of the things you said. He’s like that.
Volgi once appeared on Jeopardy, which rhymes with Leopardy. We don’t think the episode was ever televised, but he got annoyed with Alex Trebek’s mildy surpressed haughtiness with everyone, and decided to provide real questions to unanswered responses. When the answer was something like “This 1814 treaty formally ended the War of 1812,” Volgi buzzed in and asked “Why did you linger by the Exit 26 underpass in Philadelphia, in April of 1981, thinking no one would ever find out?” or “Why does anyone think it’s okay to take three rolls of toilet paper out of a hotel bathroom and hide it in his luggage, Alex?” After about six of these, Trebek totally lost his cool, and threatened the Volgi, which you should never do. As a lesson to Trebek, Volgi erased the show’s wacky comedic sidekick, Ned Bunners, from history past and present. As a result, no one ever heard of him. That’s what happens when you screw with anyone Œcumenical. That’s the fact.
Also, we got this email from long-time Castle lounge lizard ScottO, who’s actually very nice although you should not underestimate his capacity to humiliate a competitor in any drinking game. His beer pong serve alone produces sufficient backspin to slice through plastic. The Czar isn’t kidding; don’t mess with him. In fact, you, gentle reader, seem to be messing with a lot of people lately, and you need to stop it. You’re going to get hurt. But ScottO writes in:
|Most Dread Czar,
I recently had the pleasure of reading your nearly informative and highly suspect primer on the micronesian nation of Kiribati. It reminded me of the first foreign vacation my Dear Wife and I took together, to the exotic Kingdom of Hawaii. While there, we visited the Polynesian Cultural Center associated with the Oahu campus of Brigham Young University, and went whole roast pig on the experience, for the kingly ransom price of 65,000 Shells (which worked out to about 24 American dollars), and got our very own personal guide to the extensive 3-acre facility.
Well, imagine our surprise and bewilderment when our guide told us he was from Kiribati! I will try to remember the experience and fill in a couple of the blanks in your essay.
According to our guide, Kiribati is indeed sunny, warm, and wet. There isn’t much wildlife, unless you count the visiting missionaries. The native language is English, a legacy of missionaries of years past. Your notes on diet are spot on, especially now that the borderline communist government has forbidden the occasional missionary hunt.
One interesting note is that our guide’s uncle was one of the group who forced Google to draw that weird hook thing in the International Date Line. Of course, it should be no surprise that they are related, since there are only a couple hundred people in the whole country. Also, it’s common for young people to call the older generation “Uncle” and “Aunty”, so take from that what you will.
I hope my letter will be taken in the spirit intended, and you will refrain from taking my spirit with intention.
As ever, Your (all six of you) faithful minion,
See how smart he is? He knows to butter up the Czar, but also to butter up the other five Castle dwellers. That’s good politics. And his letter to us is also filled with useful information, and the Czar briefly skimmed it and assumes it totally contradicts Badger Trowelsworthy’s letter on some fundamental level so perhaps we will let them fight it out. Or we could ask you, the reader, since you probably read both. The Czar just copies and pastes.
Just remember one of our old-timey axioms: Nihil agis, nihil moliris, nihil cogitas quod non ego non modo audiam sed etiam videam planeque sentiam, which if you had to learn Latin, is a phrase you need to learn.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.