Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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March 28, 1997

How enthusiastic were the responses to last week's winners of the First Official Imitate Through Flattery Sir Charles Grandiose Jubilee Contest! How supportive! At least, that is the impression one formed from the several dozen inquiries reading, "What in blazes is St. Swithin's day?"

But readers, those entries, though each a glittering wave in the shining sea of things that one might have said oneself (but didn't), were nothing, simply nothing, to the tours-de-force we will encounter this week. Here, here we will see the marks of true genius!

Picture: A Comfy CushionOne hopes one's readers (and one has it upon an unshakable authority that these masses of the faithful are so numerous that were each to telephone the Prince of Wales and ask him if he had Prince Albert in a can. . . . well, there is no metaphor to be found here. But one would find it most amusing, nonetheless) recall the details of one's second contest. The situation: Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe, has just referred to the famed Crystal Ballroom at Blandsdown as 'The Crusty Ballroom' once again. Instead of snatching off the old bat's wig and tossing it to the spaniels (an impulsive action that would only harm the spaniel's digestion), one sits down and writes her a letter.

Let us see up with what our readers have come. First, we have two letters, admirably terse.

To Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe:

I understand you have a titular disease.

Yours, etc.

(Submitted by Mr. Nash)

And then we have the second:

Bite my ass Duchess.

(Submitted by Paul)

One admits a certain degree of bemusement at the latter entry. Why would one ask the Duchess to gnaw upon one's field animals? But let us proceed to the lengthier entries without further ado.

Dearest Eunice,

I, Sir Charles, baronet of Blandsdown, was pleased you could attend one's latest soiree.

I hoped you enjoyed yourself with all the food and drinks you consumed; there is no wonder the you might have felt that sitting on that divan all night and yelling to all that you were "happy they could attend this cheap little get together of Sir Charles'," all the while stuffing your mouth with everything that passed you by.

One can excuse you of your bad manners of not saying hello to me, but my wife was very upset by your snub. She had a line to die for in response to anything you said.

So in conclusion: If you darken my doorstep again without personal invitation you will be fed to the hounds.

(Submitted by Mr. O'Connor)

My dear Duchess:

If one were the sort of one to mention it, one should admonish you not to visit the British Museum unescorted, for fear one of the guards might mistake you for a stuffed warthog and ensconce you behind protective glass in the "Animals of the Veldt" exhibition. But since one is not that sort, one will not mention it. Indeed one will not.

(Submitted by Miss Mushko)

One is rather taken by this last entry. It certainly has the ring of truth about it. But for sheer emphatic resonance, for raw power, for the complete distillation of elegance and a showy use of vocabulary, one awards the Grand Prize in this category to the following entrant. Many congratulations!

Oh, denizen of Philistia, thou foul pustule upon the epidermis of mankind--yes, I am deigning to address YOU, madame!

Were one to extract that insignificant globule to which some have mistakenly refered as your "brain" from its foul encasement, and to place it upon the keen edge of a razor, and to view the unsightly mass through a microscope, it would appear even to the most discerning of scientific eyes as a pea sitting upon a six-laned motorway.

Crusty Ballroom, indeed! It would be so-named only after having been transferred over to your possession for any amount of time. Not that you should even hope for such a thing, thou mendacious, insufferable, and dare I say it--unsanitary--quintessance of all that is foul and low in this and the neighboring four or five counties at least!

(Submitted by Still Enlightened Among Heathens)

Picture: A Portrait of One's SecretaryIt is with reluctance that one comes to one's last category of competition, the Reply To The Inane Letter. You have received the following missive from a dunderheaded correspondent:

Dear Sir Charles,

Love the column, dewd! I'm trying to finish a book report on 'A Tail of Two Cities' and figured you could give me the low-down on it. So who's this chick with the knitting, and what's with all the chopped off heads?

Keep the faith, my man,

P.S. It's due Friday. So hurry.

This plea for help produced several amusing responses. So amusing, in fact, that one cannot quite tell which one likes best. Let us examine the best of the lot.

Bearded One:

How opportune of you to compose your missive at this point in time! Why, only yesterday, one was browsing through one's collection of literary classics in the library and happened upon that very opus (no, one is not referring to "Bill the Cat's" companion in the comic strips; one can envision one's loyal readership stampeding to the dictionary at his very moment).

Written by one of the greats (and one of one's personal favorites), Dick Ens (inspired by Shake Spear), one has it upon impeccable authority that this volume metaphorizes the difficulties experienced by the French during the French Revolution. But one has, of course, always found the French to be revolting (with the possible exception of Brigitte Bardot).

Hoping one has been of assistance, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

(Submitted by Miss Kinney, Official Minion to Sir Charles Grandiose)


The book in question, you will find, is a metaphor for the decline of fly-picking in African savage races. The knitting is an undercover police operation designed to snare that notorious known Norfolk Broads criminal, Mr. B. Matthews. And as for the chopped off heads . . . well, let me just say that I know your tutor-- Ezeiakel Smith--he has spoken of you much and and I am expecting one more addition to my collection come Friday.

Yours, etc.

(Submitted by Mr. Nash)

However, one believes one will declare the following pair of letters the winners in this category. Although all the letters contain a certain breath of fresh air, a certain quality that one can only call 'The Quintessence of Sir Charles Grandiose' (though others, undoubtably envious, have referred to it as 'constipation'), these two last contain it in spades.

Ah, a plea from man (or is it a cat? under such a nom de plume, who can tell?) of letters! An epistle from one whose sparkling words bear the unique cadences of an American education. It brings a tear to one's eye. Whether of agony or amusement, one cannot tell.

"A Tail of Two Cities", my officious scriptor, is a textbook freqeuntly used by the students of that invaluable course of learning, "housewifery". It provides instruction to those unfortunate enough not to have been born with such knowledge already ingrained within one's cranium. What instruction, you say? Naturally, lessons upon the gentle arts of knitting and of culinary preparation. This, quite naturally, is why one finds frequent depictions of knitting and decapitation. After all, one usually chops off the head before one serves virtually any cooked game or beast of the field.

I do so hope that this has answered your question, and that you will pass on such enlightenment to all your friends. Let's see if you have any after Friday.

Weeping for the state of pedagroggy, er, pedophiliagogy in today's world, I remain

Sir Charles Grandiose

(Submitted by Still Enlightened Among Heathens)


One wonders why you should even attempt literature, given that it is obvious from your letter that in your inevitable career, you will not be called upon to discuss the great books when you inquire, "Will you have fries with that?"

However, one is mildly impressed that you are aware of what reading actually is, though it is a skill you will never apparently master.

Keeping one's faith, though not in you, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

(Submitted by Miss Mushko)

With many huzzahs for all the the clever entrants, and a promise of another contest in the future, one remains for another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Loves Martha writes:

Listen, you,

That's TWO WEEKS in a ROW that you've slammed Martha Stewart and her defenders. Let me say it once and for all: MARTHA IS A GODDESS! No one can bake a ham in grass like her!!!

What puzzles ME is why SOME PEOPLE get columns where they can show what IDIOTS they are and how STUPID they are and how IGNORANT they are of THIS CENTURY and what's going on in it! What puzzles ME is why SOME PEOPLE get columns where they can just blather on and on even though everyone KNOWS how STUPID and DUMB in the HEAD they REALLY are.

Martha-Lover in Boston

Sir Charles replies:

My dear friend,

So you got your own column, did you? Many congratulations.

With warm fuzzies, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

The Lolling Tung Moto-Hotel writes:

Picture: When One Said It Was Bone China, One Did Not Intend You To Eat The Marrow My dear Sir Charles:

As proprietor of the Lolling Tung Moto-Hotel, I wish to officially welcome your minions as our guests during the annual Tung Frolics here at our picturesque village of Cheeke. We have taken the liberty of assigning them to the top floor, so they will not be unduly bothered by the Peeping Toms' League, Local 126, which is this year occupying the ground floor. I am unaware of whether or not you read reports in our local paper of last year's 'incident' involving the PTL's stay at a our fine establishment, but I assure you that the desk clerk who mistakenly thought that they were a group of optometrists conducting eye exams by peering through other guests' windows has been summarily discharged.

I do need to determine exactly how many and what sort of accomodations your minions will require, whether you want them to have royal penthouses, luxury suites with private baths, or econo-rooms with facilities down the hall. Also, will you be wanting our special 'Tung-in-Aspic' buffet for your minions? There will be a slight extra charge for that, although we do provide a complimentary continental breakfast (Indeed, our chef will present his exquisite buns to you in the privacy of your room, if you so desire!)

It is my understanding, however, that you will not actually stay here with your minions yourself, but will reside in the nearby manor at Tung-in-Cheeke. While I am sure your minions have been thoroughly instructed in proper decorum, we have had problems in the past with minions running amok when they are not under strict and proper supervision. Given that we not only have as guests the PTL, but also the International Order of the Sons of Leofric Lodge (who have assured me that last year's destruction involving several feather beds and the pots of honey pilfered from the dining room will not be repeated), a word to the wise is sometimes insuffficient. Therefore, do I have your word that your minions will be tightly supervised?

Thanking you in advance, I remain,
Ebenezer Lolling, Inn-keeper

Sir Charles replies:

My dear proprietors of the Lolling Tung Moto-Hotel,

One scarcely imagines one must assure you of one's minions' behavior. They are a most proper group, and would never behave in a way that would reflect badly upon oneself. You will find their table manners, in particular, most admirable.

One might take this opportunity, however, to make a few special dietary notes.

Two of one's minions are fond of a grunion, when breakfasting. One prefers that the grunion be prepared without onion. A grunion with onion is a bad union, in this minion's opinion. This minion's companion, however, hails from a dominion in which grunion and onion are in common reunion.

As for one's other minion, one fears she suffers from a bunion that pinions her to her location, leaving her with a disinclination for communion. At your discretion, you may allow her a bit of grunion (with or without onion), but one fears, being American, that she will sit in her room, nursing her bunion, snacking upon 'Funions.'

Certain that one's instructions are clear, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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