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Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 10th, 2018.

It was on this day in 1992 that the worst holiday movie ever made was released. It was entitled The Mithras Mixup, and was heavily marketed to families with small children. Large crowds attended during the opening weekend, and most of them left less than halfway through the film, with many of the parents demanding refunds. Attendance dropped off sharply in the second week, and there were no attempts to make the film a cult classic. Many of the children had in fact enjoyed the movie, but, as one parent stated, “There is a limit to the amount of meaningless brightly coloured shenanigans I will put up with, even to keep her quiet for two hours.”

And today is the birthday in 1543 by the human calendar, and in 4502 by the mole person calendar, of the great mole-person excavator Caves-of-Silence. In terms of duties, excavator translates roughly to architect, but the position is held in much greater esteem than architects are in most human societies. Caves-of-Silence designed and managed the excavation of many caverns and tunnels that are still in use by the mole-people today, including the Riverside Tunnel and the Cavern of Roots.

It is the feast day of Saint Ada, patron saint of computer programmers and the children of neglectful parents. Saint Ada is depicted as a richly dressed young woman holding a fan.

The interns have been finishing up the winterizing of the garden. At this time of year Pastor Drom is usually hanging around making suggestions for decorations for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, but this year she has instead been holed up in her bunker for the last week. There have been no disturbing noises and food is regularly missing from the Hidden Almanac Test Kitchen, so nothing concerning seems to be going on and we are all taking advantage of the respite.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. Also sponsored by Susie’s Seasonal Assassins. Spots are filling up quickly for this year’s holiday season. Book your hit today, by leaving a message under your drink at the Silent Nightclub, and never have to put up with that one relative’s idea of holiday cheer again.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 10th, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 12th, 2018.

It was on this day, in the Year of Uncertain Flies, that the town of Echo Harbour was—

Mord! Mord! I need a beta!

A what?

A beta reader! You know, someone who reads over your work and checks it for mistakes—

No.

Come on, Mord, this is important!

I refuse to even consider reading, let alone editing, one of your deplorable volumes of ... self help.

What? No, no, this isn’t for that. This is fiction!

I was not aware you wrote fiction.

I’m branching out! You see, there’s this annual Juultide challenge, where you sign up to write a story based on someone else’s prompts, and they write one for you, and everyone gets a present for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. I mean, not technically for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, because we’re a religiously diverse community and no one wants to offend anyone, and especially no one wants to offend anyone’s gods, but that’s the basic idea. And I thought it would be good to expand my writing horizons, so I signed up.

I see.

So will you beta read for me?

No.

But it’s about Phil’s chicken! You were following the election! And all the stuff after the election!

I was not. I was, if anything, involuntarily dragged along after you into the events, but that does not mean I wish to dedicate further thought to them. Why are you writing about Phil’s chicken?

Okay, um. So it’s a fanfiction exchange, and my recipient requested local politics fic about Phil’s chicken and Phil’s turkey, and they said they were open to anything, and the chicken seems really uptight, and I kind of scribbled down some ideas while we were wandering around the Thanatopic Embassy last year, so I’m writing them interspecies hatesex erotica.

[pause]

You know, I don’t know how you manage to look so horrified while wearing that mask. It’s kind of impressive.

I recommend that you write about ... something else.

Why?

Apart from any other possible reasons, the chicken will certainly object to such a story. Given his past actions when upset, he may withdraw his sponsorship, or attempt to have the radio station shut down.

How would he know that I wrote it? ...Wait, are you recording?

That is what I usually do in the recording studio.

Don’t lie, you’re in here for ninety percent of the time that you’re not in the garden. But Mord, it’s an anonymous challenge! I have breached the sacred trust of Juultide! Now I have to start all over again! And find something else to write about! Help!

[sigh] The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. Also brought to you by ... oh Lord. Scarlet Wombat Publishing’s latest volume: Political RPF for Fun, Activism, and Stress Relief, a writing manual by Pastor Drom.

Woo!

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 12th, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 14th, 2018.

Mord, I don’t think you appreciate the seriousness of my situation here.

You are correct. I do not.

I have to come up with a whole new story! In four days!

Why are you so concerned? You are capable of writing one of your dreadful self help books in a matter of hours. Surely this is easier?

This is fiction, Mord! Fiction is different! In fiction people notice if you’re telling them the same thing ten different ways. Also my recipient is a very nice person and I want them to enjoy their gift.

And they requested ... political R P F?

I told you, we can’t talk about that, Mord! Dire consequences!

And what terrible consequences will occur if you are unable to complete your story on time?

Bears, Mord! Bears will eat me!

That seems unlikely.

No, really, the moderators send bears after anyone who doesn’t meet their Juultide obligations. It’s a sacrifice to ensure prolific fic posting in the year to come. It’s kind of like the Sacred Order of Bull Moose Men, except for fanfiction writers. It can get pretty gruesome.

...Oh.

So you see my problem.

But you are foretold to be martyred by the followers of Corvus-Wrax. You cannot first be eaten by bears.

I don’t want to rely on that, Mord! Maybe the bears will just maul me a little, and that still won’t be fun! Or maybe the bears will be followers of Corvus-Wrax! Have we investigated that possibility?

We have not. I assume, however, that were there any ursine followers of Corvus-Wrax I would have come across mentions of them in my researches. It would have stood out.

Well, while that is reassuring in that it implies that I will somehow finish my assignment on time, I still probably have to do the work myself.

Yes. Why don’t you go do that now.

I was hoping for some help coming up with ideas, jeez.

I am still recording.

Oh for crying out loud. Okay, I’m going to go brainstorm, and you come down and help when you’re finished the show.

[door opens and closes]

[sigh] It is the feast day of Monkeys. Be kind to any monkeys you meet today.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. Also brought to you by Scarlet Wombat Publishing’s latest volume: Ambushing the Muse: Hunting Down Inspiration with Snares, Keyboard, and Tequila, by Pastor Drom.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 14th, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 17th, 2018.

It was on this day, in 1869, that a wedding was celebrated between Princess Agatha of the Mountain Kingdom and a minor duke from a nearby city. It was an arranged marriage of great political advantage for the duke, but he died of a septic insect bite two days later and the Princess stepped in as ruler of the city in his place. She ruled wisely and well, and on her death the city was absorbed into the Mountain Kingdom. There were a number of rumours and conspiracy theories that she had secretly poisoned him, but given the state of medicine at the time it is more likely that his death was in fact an accident.

It is the feast day of St. Kitty, patron saint of things you probably shouldn’t do, and that probably won’t work, but it would be really cool if they did. We at the Hidden Almanac recommend that you do not celebrate this feast day.

In the garden, one of the newer interns plans on replacing George’s Cheetos with healthy cheese flavoured pea snacks. I have strongly advised against this, but she is adamant. Hopefully there will be no repeat of what happened the last time this was attempted.

After finally accepting that I have no interest in assisting her with her Juultide ... project, Pastor Drom has retreated to her bunker, where she has remained for the past three days. However, in the last few hours I have heard shouts of phrases such as “Perfect!” and “I am a genius,” so it seems unlikely that I will have to intervene to prevent any unfortunate sacrifices. Thanks be to the Madonna of Leaves.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. Also sponsored by the Sacred Order of Bull Moose Men. The Sacred Order of Bull Moose Men invites you to witness our upcoming Annual Fun Run and enjoy delicious pancakes afterwards, and reminds you that only divinely sanctioned ancient rituals truly have the ability to ensure a fruitful harvest in the year to come. Be sceptical of modern imitations. ...Yyyes.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 17th, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 19th, 2018.

It was on this day in 1934 that the Penrod House was added to the Royal Register of Historic Buildings. The Penrod House was built in the 17th century, and due to the dramatic lives of the Penrod family residing there quickly acquired a dark reputation. In the 19th century, after the house had passed out of the family’s hands, the writer Milton Hardwax wrote the classic novel The Penrod House based on its history. Fifty years later, the house was bought and renovated by a fan of the book, who made several changes to the original structure in order to bring it in line with the fictionalized description from the novel, much to the dismay of local architectural historians. The house became a popular tourist attraction for fans of the book, though due to changing tastes in fiction it is now mostly visited by high school literature classes.

And it was on this day, in the Year of Dead Grass, that every animal in the Echo Harbour Zoo was replaced by a different animal of precisely the same mass. This being Echo Harbour, this was considered to be a very minor incident, and caused no disruption aside from the necessary efforts to ensure that all the animals had the appropriate food and habitats. The petting zoo was temporarily closed. A sign was placed at the main entrance informing patrons of the changes in exhibits, and the transformations reversed within twenty-four hours.

It is the feast day of Truffles. This is not a particularly useful feast day for those who do not have either a lot of money or access to a truffle pig. However, if you do happen to have truffles, today is a good day to feast on them.

In the garden, George is currently refusing to eat the healthy cheese flavoured pea snacks. I am neither surprised by nor in disagreement with his decision. Meanwhile, the boltonia is taking over one of the beds. I will have to be stricter with the interns on the subject of wasting valuable weeding time.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. Also brought to you by Angelina’s Greek Chorus. Ever needed someone to stand on the sidelines and narrate exactly how everything is going wrong? We offer holiday specials. Slots are filling up fast, so book yours today.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 19th, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 21st, 2018.

On this day in 1996, a seven year old taught themself how to use a basic graphics program. This may have led to a great future career as an artist, or it may have just been fun. Records are unclear.

And it was on this day, in 1827, that an archaeological dig began at Tel Annon, just outside of the city of Troyzantium. This dig was unusual for the time in that it was organized with the full cooperation of the local government, and the organizer, Miss Anthea Karatasos, had been born in Troyzantium. Her methods, unfortunately, were similar to those of other archaeologists of the time, so much information was likely lost, but she left enough of the site intact that future archaeologists were able to reconstruct the stratigraphy. Tel Annon was the site of a Bronze Age city, and Miss Karatasos recovered many excellent examples of the pottery and metalwork of the time. All her finds went to the newly founded Troyzantine Museum of Antiquity, where they remain to this day. Tel Annon is now a tourist attraction, and visitors can walk on raised clear plastic floors and look down into remains of the Bronze Age city below.

Today is the Winter Solstice. It is also the feast day of St. Angerona, patron saint of good advice, silence, and the ability to tell which of the two is most useful at any given time. St. Angerona is usually depicted as a tall woman wearing draperies, with a stern expression.

In the garden, if I look out the window I can see George the Crow dive-bombing the intern holding the bag of healthy cheese flavoured pea snacks. I would intervene, but they have to learn sometime.

We have finally received our copy of the Echo Harbour Book of the Soil. Shipment of this book was delayed for reasons which the publisher refuses to detail, but it has come in at last, and after the customary week of acclimatization with regular feeding, it will provide much scope for optimistic imagination over the coming winter months.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. Also brought to you by Miss Yolande of Sunlight Street, who believes strongly in public radio.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 21st, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 24th, 2018.

It is the Eve of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the Feast Day of the Unconquered Sun. Historically speaking, nothing is usually scheduled on this day. It is instead occupied with cooking, wrapping, travelling, and, in cases of extremely poor planning, last minute shopping. The Hidden Almanac would like to take this opportunity to remind you to be kind to retail workers, if you must venture into a store today at all.

It was on this day in 1856 that a horse threw its rider and ran away. This would not normally be considered historically significant, but the horse was part of a statue group honouring the Spice Wars and was cast in bronze. It ran down the street and stopped two blocks away on the corner of South Street and the Road of Wandering, where it returned to immobility. No explanation has been presented for this event, and the horse remains in its new location to this day. The statue of the rider, Prince Sergei III, which did not acquire the ability to move, was returned to the original podium, but it was decided that the new arrangement lacked dignity and it was eventually melted down and recast.

It is the feast day of Saint Magenta, patron saint of—Good Heavens. That is not in my copy of the Ecclesiastical Calendar. I suspect one of the interns of playing a prank. This will be dealt with. However, as most of them have already left on their vacations, this may take some time.

It is in fact the feast day of the Dying Winter, except for our listeners in the southern hemisphere, for whom it is only the start of summer and who may soon desperately long for the relief of winter. The world contains all kinds of weather at all times, but rarely where they are most wanted.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. And all of us here at the Hidden Almanac Test Garden would like to wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season, however you wish to spend it.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 24th, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac. I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 26th, 2018.

Hi everybody! I’m Pastor Drom!

...Did you have a good holiday, Drom?

Yep! I mean, the Chinese delivery was great, you were there for that.

You spent most of the day in your bunker.

Oh yeah! I got a really cool fic about Polly of Green Dormers for Juultide!

...The classic children’s book series?

Yep! I loved those books when I was a kid. And the fic is really sweet! How about you, Mord? Did you have a good holiday? You seemed happy. You were sitting in the garden with George all afternoon, feeding him Cheetos.

I did. George is an excellent crow. It is good to spend the holidays with ... close friends.

Mord! Was that plural? Were you actually including me?

I was speaking generally.

Anyway. I’m going to go back and keep reading all of the Juultide fic. Some of it’s amazing.

Is that what you have been doing in your bunker for the past two days?

Yep! Did you miss me?

Your absence has been very restful.

Hmph. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure that you hadn’t heard about the exposé. Bye!

The what?

Dammit, Mord, did you lock the door again?

What were you referring to, Drom?

Um. I was definitely not referring to the exposé on the Thanatopic Embassy, cunningly disguised as a work of fanfiction, which all the news outlets are discussing. I had absolutely nothing to do with that.

[pause]

Yes. I am sure no one associated with this radio station would be so foolish as to write such a thing.

Of course not.

Yes.

Yes.

[pause]

Can I go now?

Yes. [door opens and closes] Madonna of Leaves protect us.

It is Boxing Day, the traditional day in many cultures to provide thanks, gratuities, and gifts to household staff, service workers, and, historically, cottagers and tenants. I have distributed suitable packages to the interns’ mailboxes, even that of the one who attempted to adjust George’s diet.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Resistance Company, purveyors of fine and revolutionary teas. Red Wombat: Fight the Power. Also brought to you by Emmett, Emmett, and Herne Legal Offices. Take care with any books you may have received as holiday gifts. If you become lost in a book, contact our legal offices at once to find out your rights.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 26th, 2018. Be safe, and remember: You are not alone.