Public Notice


To: New Salemites

From: Justice Korbin Minotaur

Date: 10 Nivose 225

It’s time to winterize your bees!



Journal Entry: Bureau of Instruction Inspection

Journal entry, 4 Nivose 225: New Salem has long spent significant taxpayer dollars on its Bureau of Instruction Inspection, an agency charged with “reviewing all instructions of any kind and identifying those that may be confusing.” However, the agency has no ability to then require the instructions to be rewritten or the relevant item to be removed from sale. As Third Lord Barrister Pull Stingmore explained in Dumpor’s Case, “Once the agency has identified potentially confusing instructions, its authority is at an end–an end as final as that of the life of the famous kangaroo from legend who was shot 25,000 times in the head by a howitzer over a case of mistaken identity. If the agency had power to rewrite or otherwise curtail confusing instructions, this would have an Aleutian chilling effect–the people of this giant land of New Salem would no longer want to explain things to each other.”

Minotaur has served on this agency for more than twenty years. He explained last night to a group of revelers that some of the most confusing instructions he has seen in his years on the agency are those “where the trademarked name of the item is also a term in common usage, and both trademarked term and common term appear together in the instructions.” Asked to explain further what he meant by this, Minotaur cited the following “real-world cases and/or examples from my service on this most important body.”

From the instructions for a shampoo named Honey: “Take a huge handful of Honey and rub it into your hair.”

A hot-dog roasting stick from the Hands company: “Once the fire is hot enough to melt rock, stick your Hands in there. Yeah, that’s right–and keep your Hands in there until you smell the blessed smoke of the roasted meat ascending into the empty cavity where your brain should be.”

A pencil sharpener named Eyes: “Take the pencil and jam it into your Eyes like you are fighting for your country.”

A therapeutic stress ball from the Wife and Son company: “If you are really mad, now you can take it out legally on your Wife and Son and no one will ever ask any questions.”

A clog removal chemical called Expensive Jewelry: “If your drain is clogged for some reason, like you have body hair like a gorilla that is always shedding, put the Expensive Jewelry down in the drain and then run the water for 20 minutes.”

[The following example doesn’t seem to quite fit the mold of the others but may be worth including anyway.]

A sports utility vehicle from the Ted Kaczynski company: “On weekends you are going to love exploring the mountains with Ted Kaczynski.”

Journal Entry: Surprise Twists in Shakespeare Plays, Part Trois

Journal entry, 23 Frimaire 225: This web log has already been nominated for several awards for its two recent reports on Minotaur’s proposals for “Surprise Twists in Shakespeare Plays” (part 2, part 1). These awards include “Herod’s Award” and “The Yellow Cone Hat Distinction.”

Urged on by such adulation, Minotaur hereby, through his scribe Mr. Cornwall, reveals additional surprise twists in Shakespeare plays that he believes will “soon become commoner than the traditional plots and trappings themselves.”

Henry’s Crispin’s Day speech is revised as an appeal to his forces to secure their food handler’s permits before returning to England.

What is Troilus like, really? What motivates Cressida? The audience is not likely to find out, as all dialogue in the play is delivered in semaphore.

Sebastian and Viola are never reunited because the actor portraying Sebastian is trapped offstage in finger cuffs.

Dungeons & Dragons fans will love seeing Antony with a +3 vorpal axe. The experimental costumery doesn’t end there, as the whole cast wears shooter’s earmuffs for no apparent reason.



Journal Entry: Surprise Twists in Shakespeare Plays, Part Deux

Journal entry, 22 Frimaire 225: Three days ago, this web log provided a transcript of a document in which Justice Minotaur advocated for certain “surprise twists” to be incorporated into Shakespeare’s plays for local performances. Minotaur later revealed to Mr. Cornwall over drinks (the two split a huge bottle of equine cough syrup) some additional surprise twists he “expects and trusts” will be included in next season’s line-up:

At the wedding of Kate and Petruchio, the dry remains of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are shot into the audience by a large slingshot.

Caesar spends most of the play starching his robe and never does make it to the fateful meeting with the senators. When his ghost appears, the two talk awkwardly like exes seeing each other at a party.

Henry IV Part I is performed in utter darkness in a Volkswagen large enough only for the cast. This spares anyone from actually having to see the performance.

The hump on Richard III’s back is formed of a huge quantity of Gouda.

Once Birnam wood reaches Dunsinane, it makes an unexpected turn southwest and keeps on going clear to Costco in Glasgow.

Journal Entry: Surprise Twists in Shakespeare Plays

Journal entry, 19 Frimaire 225: For the past three years, Minotaur has served as a volunteer associate dramaturg at the Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster Memorial Theatre in the town of Glee Falls. Yesterday he submitted to the theater director a list of “surprise twists in Shakespeare plays” that he proposes the theater incorporate next season. A true and faithful transcript of that list appears below.


Hamlet unwittingly dips his rapier in a magical juice rather than poison. This has the effect of giving Claudius an unshavable neck beard.

Desdemona survives and becomes a modestly successful colporteur. Serving time in jail on an attempted murder conviction, Othello tries to make it up to her by mailing her shoehorns.

Shylock is loathed not for his religion but for practicing illegal dentistry.

The “Full of vexation come I, with complaint” soliloquy is performed from a three-quarter front position. This so disturbs the audience that two intermissions are necessary, meaning we can hopefully sell out of that expired guacamole at the snack desk.

Lear goes mad in a Bed Bath & Beyond over “an excess of choices in shower curtains.”

[works with any Shakespeare play] After describing to the audience how working in local theater is anything but a realization of their dreams, the cast take Quaaludes on stage–and are eventually joined by most of the audience.

The role of Juliet is portrayed by an Alaskan Malamute. Romeo’s interest in the dog is limited to wanting to use it in medical research. When the play ends, Juliet is grilled up and served to any homeless people in the vicinity.

Journal Entry: Christmas Carols

Journal entry, 18 Frimaire 225: This evening Justice Minotaur appeared by invitation at the Ladies Auxiliary for Local 140. He had been asked to speak about “fun and festive holiday traditions” but instead started with a gory retelling of the crash of the Hindenburg. He followed this by singing solos of “favorite Christmas carols from my youth and/or my time in the merchant marine.” The carols included the following:

A Moist Christmas

Psycho for Pudding

Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem [In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags]

I Saw Santa Punch a Short-Order Cook

Frisky Elven Queen

“The Time Is Out of Joint”: Ballad of the Marginalized 20th-Century Chimney Sweep

A Shiv in Every Stocking

Fraternity Lullaby [entire song is belched]

[Click here if you would like to learn more about Lorne Greene.]



Journal Entry: Martian Conversation

Journal entry, 15 Frimaire 225. This morning Minotaur went around the kitchen opening all the cabinets and slamming the doors. When he saw the gravy boat in one of the cabinets, he cried out, “This vessel is not seaworthy.” This seemed to exorcise some force that had control over him and he settled down at table for a breakfast of fried dingo. When he was full he said:

“Last night I dreamed a dream in which I saw two helmeted, diminutive, green Martians talking to one another in a nasally monotone.

“One said, ‘We keep talking about invading Earth, but we never do it. We should have invaded thousands of years ago when they were all dressed in ramskins. Now they have developed powerful weapons. I would have much rather faced a man with a club. Now they have the nuclear bomb.'”

Further Minotaur saith not.

[Click here to have your name, weight, mother’s maiden name, address, favorite seasoning, and bank account information sent to local gangster Jerry “The Hammer of Death” Montero.]