All posts tagged John Barnstead

Signs of the Times

By Alan B. Combs and John Barnstead

A local street preacher was listing the signs of the coming Apocalypse. I found myself shouting, “Omen, Brother, Omen!”

John responded:

“…whereas *some* men I know, dear Alan, viewing the approaching end, would rather cry “W-omen, Brother, W-omen!” remarks Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat, whose interest in these matters has been purely theoretical since his double orchidectomy a decade ago…”… Read the rest...

The Potters’ Mantra

By Alan B. Combs

This is a secret I learned in the local Pottery Barn, a place that sells knick knacks and other things made of pottery. Certain lines of pottery are crafted by tribal artisans who take great pride in their work.

Recently, one of the tribes fell on hard times because of the economy and had to branch out into other endeavors. They decided that next to pottery they were most skilled in thuggery, skulduggery, and murder. Soon … Read the rest...

More About Animal Rights

A charming little continuation by John Barnstead as posted in alt.callahans.

“Reading Larry Niven’s “Ringworld Engineers” has prompted my curiosity in the area of inter-species sexual interactions,” Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat’s faithful amanuensis and general factotum admits somewhat sheepishly as he prepares to depart in search of his missing employer [Combs’ note: The Cat was missing at that time in the alt.callahans ficton].

During the course of my research and practical experimentation, prompted by such venerable literary antecedents … Read the rest...

An Issue of Animal Rights

This is by John Barnstead and Randall Bookman. It was published on alt.callahans, my favorite virtual bar.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat’s faithful amanuensis and general factotum just read an article in today’s Toronto Globe and Mail about representatives of a clandestine animal-rights-cum-ornithological- observation-of-olfactory-exploitation group who have long been opposed to many of the more esoteric religious practices of members of a small Central Canadian nature cult (“Only in Canada”, eh? Pity…). He was touched by the account the … Read the rest...

Yet Another Untimely Death

From the unique and beloved John Barnstead posting on alt.callahans.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat is sad to submit the following news item from the latest issue of the “You Dork Times”:

Paris (AP): The entire city turned out this afternoon to mark the passing of that great entertainer, Marcel Morceaux, who met his untimely end three days ago when his shirt-sleeve was caught in a bread-slicing machine at the little boulangerie near the Moulin Rouge, where he had … Read the rest...

The Hester Prynn Purity Test

Thus, is reported a recent conversation on alt.callahans between John Barnstead and Sailor Jim Johnston, a pair whose punning talents makes me jealous. If you are unfamiliar with the Callahan ficton by Spider Robinson, Fast Eddie is the piano man who administers peace and quiet to those who overly express uninvited curiosity. Such quiet is frequently administered with a frown or a blackjack.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat rises from his customary Place of Repose. “If you posed right … Read the rest...

Another Tall Tale by Barnstead

This was posted by John Barnstead in alt.callahans.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat, relaxing more than he has managed since the end of DJ’s wonderful Birthday Bash, and abetted in this endeavour by the fortuitous continued malfunctioning of the Anagram Detection Device (ADD) which has prevented his AWOL amanuensis and general factotum Barnstead from attempting to make his life miserable, looks up from the copy of the “Evansville Courier” which he has been reading desultorily while absent-mindedly lapping at … Read the rest...

The Spratt Family Zingers

This tall tale is by John Barnstead. That’s all I need say. I have been holding on to it for too long. The setting is Callahan’s virtual bar, and Pernicious is The Cat. We have met them before.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat’s faithful amanuensis and general factotum wanders in and remarks: “I’ve just returned from attending the graduation ceremonies at Calvin Seminary, and was reminded of this ol’ thing:”

Buses, even such paragons of omnibusapient virtue as the … Read the rest...

Legal Story (A Tale by Two Johns)

The first part of this tale is by John Vinson (aka John the Wysard). Both were posted in alt.callahans.

John the Wysard comes in, chuckling. “My brother… I haven’t introduced my brother Ed have I?… came up with this the other day, and I thought that the Place would enjoy it:

In a large Eastern city, the movie theaters lobbied and finally got the city council to pass an ordinance prohibiting patrons from bringing outside food or drink into a … Read the rest...

The Filly

By Stan Kegel

This Kentucky horse breeder had a filly that won every race in which she was entered. But as she got older she became very temperamental. He soon found that when he raced her in the evening, she would win handily, but when she raced during the day she would come in dead last.

He consulted the top veterinarians and horse psychologists to no avail. He finally had to give up because she had become … a real … Read the rest...

A New Set of Weals (Long and Shaggy)

This is from John Barnstead, raconteur extraordinary. The word and letter games within the tale are no accident, believe me.

[NOTE: this piece is around 225 lines long, and contains references to OUR PATRON(Spider Robinson)’s story “Melancholy Elephants” and a quote from “Time Pressure” — Caveat Lector!]

It was a dark and stormy night at Callahan’s, but it is over now.

Mike Callahan finishes wiping the last few glasses and replacing them in their cabinets as just a hint of … Read the rest...

Tall Tale – Francis Herkell

This is by Jacob Sommer on alt.callahans.

I used to hang out with a fellah named Francis Herkell. Nice guy. He was pretty smart even if he could be a bit dumb about ladies sometimes. Of course, lots of guys are, but Francis was a bit unusual — he wore more jewelry than Mr. T. He had all sorts – necklaces, chains, all sorts of religious symbols, all in silver. I was curious about it but didn’t really want to … Read the rest...

Middle Eastern Food in San Francisco

By Alan B. Combs, John Barnstead, and rosecatt.

A Persian family escaped the persecutions in Iran and emigrated to San Francisco. The one thing the family knew best was the restaurant business. They decided to open a restaurant featuring Middle-Eastern cuisine. Now, the restaurant was located in one of those parts of San Francisco not well known for its hetero clientele. Wanting to indicate a willingness to serve these customers, but not wanting to alienate others, they decided to put … Read the rest...

A Tall Ship Tale # 6: Dead Rite

This is the next chapter in the excellent series by Paul de Anguera. This chapter was inspired by Percy Perch’s (a.k.a. John Barnstead’s) contribution to the Trial of Humanity on alt.callahans.

Almo Sather held a lantern over the ship’s rail and gazed down at the dreary land passing below. A sign caught his eye:


The First Mate shook his head. “You don’t want to go there, Almo. That place sucks!”

The horror of the night deepened … Read the rest...

When They’re Gone, They’re Gone

In reference to my story in which I talked about my father’s picture book about animal reproductive techniques, a book written by Mr. Robert A. Wallace, John Barnstead immediately fired back with the following response from Pernicious, his cat.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat notes that there *was* a time when he could also have felt an affinity with Mr. Wallace, but alas! that was *before* he went to a pinochle game with T. S. Eliot… “Mr. Eliot had … Read the rest...

Another Unusual Death

This was posted on alt.callahans by John Barnstead’s cat Pernicious.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat is sad to submit the following news item from the latest issue of the “You Dork Times”:

Paris (AP): The entire city turned out this afternoon to mark the passing of that great entertainer, Marcel Morseaux, who met his untimely end three days ago when his shirt-sleeve was caught in a bread-slicing machine at the little boulangerie near the Moulin Rouge, where he had … Read the rest...

A Stop in Lower Economy

It is probably time for another of these. I have about twenty more on this theme, but am afraid to use them too often. This is by John Barnstead. It’s long and shaggy. I’ll bet he forgot he wrote it.

It hasn’t been much more than an hour and a half since the blue and silver bus left the Acadia Lines Terminal on Almon Street headed (eventually) for Boston – it runs as an express between Halifax and Truro, but … Read the rest...

Bad Pharmaceuticals

The following exchange took place a few years ago on that virtuous (or was that virtual) bar, alt.callahans. Here we feature John Barnstead followed by Magus Firecow.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat tsk tsks sadly at the misinformation willfully propagated by this no doubt well-intentioned morality tale (a tale formerly included in this collection): imagine ANYONE considering being made a MOUSE to be a PROMOTION (in anything but the advertising sense of that word…). He meows mournfully, which, being … Read the rest...

Having a Gas at Wolfcon

This is a pun from John Barnstead. It was published in alt.callahans a few years ago. (Yes, John, I still have a few of these left.) The term filk, as I understand it by the way, is used to indicate a modern song, usually a parody, done in a folk song mode.

Barnstead and Pernicious are looking forward to the WolfCon coming up soon in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, although they hope that their filksong version of famous forms of flatulence … Read the rest...

Lost in Translation

This was written in 1996 by John Barnstead and posted in alt.callahans.

Many among the Patronage-at-Large will recall the embarrassment of President Carter during his visit to Poland when it was discovered that he had an incompetent interpreter. But perhaps few still remember an earlier incident along these lines, which was blamed for the unreasonable concessions made to Stalin by Roosevelt during the summit at Yalta near the end of the Second World War.

Roosevelt had made some little joke … Read the rest...

Jiggery-Popery (Very Shaggy)

In all of Pundom, there is no one quite the match of John Barnstead and his excellent cat Pernicious who together gave us this effort on alt.callahans.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat, who, to his sorrow, has been following the threads discussing Pope John Paul II’s recent activities, has been inspired (God knows why, no doubt) to recount the following Hollywood (“Don’t you mean `Holy Rood’, Pernicious?” snickers the proverbial Patron at the Back of the Bar) Magic Moment:… Read the rest...

Bay of Fundy

This was posted on alt.callahans by John Barnstead.

Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat, who has found there to be somewhat of a dearth of TALL TALES at Callahan’s lately, has decided to try to ameliorate this sad state of affairs.

Many Callahanians, well-informed bunch that they seem so often to be, are no doubt aware of the continuing research being conducted throughout Atlantic Canada on questions of harnessing the powerful tides to be found in the Bay of Fundy … Read the rest...


This response to another pun was posted on alt.callahans by John Barnstead.

Then there was the method by which ancient Vikings made certain that their water sources were kept clear of excess sediment: they simply set fire to the nearest opponent and threw him in, it being well-known even in those days of yore that a well has no slurry, by a foe man warmed….… Read the rest...

Gamey Dice II

I recently posted the pun, Gamey Dice, a pun that was created by Lin Ka-Ming (aka Magus Firecow). The punchline in this story was “Milton’s pair of dice lost to Al + Gary’s define comedy”.

To which John Barnstead replied:

The first omitted bit concerns the fabled Kublai Khan Kallahan’s Mystic Artifact Repository Tower (aka KKK-MART), which, as the architecturally astute Magus has rightly indicated, had serious structural flaws. These had, in fact, brought about the collapse of the tower … Read the rest...

Liverish Pun 02

In response to a “whiskered old chestnut” I posted to alt.callahans some time ago, John Barnstead posted the following.

Alan, Alan, Alan… Despite the fact that this is old enough to enthuse Methuselah, you’ve entirely garbled the story. I can see that an infusion of vacation-renewed blood is required here. Here is the WAY THINGS REALLY WERE:

Everyone knows that Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour farm cat loves to have fairy tales read to him before he goes to sleep each … Read the rest...