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July 26, 1999

More Official Sir Charles Grandiose Manners Cards

Gentle readers,

One hopes that you all will discreetly tuck a few of these cards away in your wallets, purses, or (heaven forfend) hatbands for those occasions in which your very sensibilities are outraged by horrid behavior, yet in which discretion requires closed lips, and a quick get-away from the parties in question.

For those who, in a public place, allow their young children to wreak havoc without curbing them:

For those who inexcusably break into a queue just in front of you:

For the lady or gentleman who feels it perfectly appropriate to take their mobile phone calls in a restaurant, theatre, or other public venue:

Baron Alexei writes:

Picture: The Raptures of PucciniDear Sir Charles,

I am writing on behalf of our local opera here in the fair and somewhat lofty township of Brown-On-Toast. Really, one is most distressed to learn that Mr. Vandiver, the head of the opera company and also a rooster, has made a formal decision, which was announced in the papers yesterday, that there shall be no more performances of Gilbert and Sullivan.

His reasons for this decision are decidedly fiduciary, and he takes the position that Buttercups, Yum-Yums and Nanki-Poos can no longer be shipped in on the Toast for a reasonable price. (We have to occasionally import some of our singers due to a small population and the fact that the company members are constantly en vacances, most of them being independently wealthy. But one is tempted not to speak of such vulgar matters when discussing art. However there is always money to be considered, as I'm sure you will agree; and opera, being the most expensive art form, unless you count building skyscrapers or designing hats for Elton John, has its monetary considerations as well).

Now for the real shocker: Mr. Vandiver has also declared that henceforth, the only music the opera company (called The Fabulous Van-Divas, for lack of anything better at its inception in 1965, and also due to the fact that the costumes and props and such were transported about to outdoor performances in a large van . . . but this you might have guessed) shall perform shall be that of Puccini. Don't get me wrong; I simply adore Puccini's work, and I dote on Turandot on tour . . . but a steady diet of it on the stage will likely turn other patrons away, not to mention the point that it might attract bad singers, as Miss Maria Callas herself has certainly said (in front of everybody, and probably without thinking) that anybody can sing Puccini.

As you can probably tell, I am in an utmost state of distress. And while awaiting your worthy answer to this letter, I await the possible advice that may influence the entire aesthetic conundrums of our fair city. And so, up until that time . . . let Brownians-On-Toast sleep in velvet silence, until your rigourous word is pronounced.

Yours respectfully,
Baron Alexei von Schtoolhocken, Castle Schtoolen-On-Toast.

Sir Charles replies:


It is decidedly untrue that anybody can sing Puccini. One is fond of declaiming a bit of 'Nessun Dorma' oneself during one's morning ablutions in the bathtub. The servants seem fond of one's rendition, as they all have tears streaming from their eyes when one finishes. One has even noticed that they have taken to wearing cotton in their ears during one's performances, no doubt the better to erase the salty trails of tears from their cheeks.

And one is hardly just anybody, sir.

But no more Yum-Yums? No more Patiences? No more Bunthornes or Pirate Kings or Modern Major Generals? It's positively un-British. Why, what perfidies will be committed next, to remove the rich fabric of tradition from our green and blessed land? Giving Scotland its own Parliament? Removing hereditary rights from the House of Lords? Banning fox hunting? Starring Ginger Spice in a new series of The Darling Buds of May?

All for tarring and feathering Mr Vandiver, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

The Duke of Abercrom writes:

Sir Charles,

I quite apologise for having to trouble you on this matter, but I am afraid that I have located a spot of inaccuracy on your website.  Repeatedly, you have stated that a "Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe" is eighty-fifth in line for the throne of the United Kingdom, although at some points you state that she is ninetieth.  Herein lies the problem.

According to the Royal Geneaological Society, the holder of the eighty-fifth place in the line of succession is HRH Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, and the holder of the ninetieth place is HRH Prince Michael of Yugoslavia.  In fact, no "Penelope Windsor-Smythe" is even listed among the first five-hundred in the line of succession (as such is the extent of the Society's displayed list).  This means that there is not a "Penelope Windsor-Smythe" among the descendents of HM Queen Victoria.

I must request an explanation, as it appears that you have been stating something that is not factual, viz. a falsity.  As well, I must enquire as to Miss Windsor-Smythe's relation to either HM Queen Elizabeth II or Princess Sophia, the Electress of Hanover, as necessitated in the Act of Settlement 1710?

The Duke of Abercorn KG KT CGB OM GCVO

Sir Charles replies:


The Royal Geneaological Society, eh? The Royal Genealogical Society of Yugoslavia, more like. What do we want with one of those inexpensive and decidedly shoddy sub-compact car-making peasants taking the crown, when a young English rose such as one's ward, Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who is indeed eighty-fifth in line to the throne, no matter what one some Cyrillic-scrawling Slavic potato eater might say), is ready to serve her country with wisdom and grace?

Besides, does Prince Michael of Yugoslavia have his own fan club? One thought not.

Curtly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose BIG SOB XOXO

Adam  writes:

Picture: Augusta Windover-Midden: A Portrait in PudginessDer sr. Chars

Wy iz awmost evrbody in Ammarrikka FAT????? Ar ther enny FAT pipl en INGLUND?????



Sir Charles replies:

Young Adam,

Everyone in America is fat because they go to their places of employ, sit in front of their desks all day 'smurfing the internet,' as they say, eating snacks of pork rinds, drive home in their automobiles, eat a dinner of 'Taco Bell' or 'Kentucky Frayed Chicken', and then spend the evening sitting on their couches watching the telly. A close examination of their thumbs, however, will prove them highly muscular and developed from pushing the button on the remote control that changes the channel from Baywatch to Friends.

The lard-like composition of the average American, however, is quite a different thing from the comfortable curves of the British aristocracy, who have carefully cultivated their genetic destiny in order that future generations may also benefit from the well-rounded abdomens and the plush posteriors that appear so noble when captured on canvas by a modern-day imitator of Gainsborough.

More to the point, however, is the question: Why is almost everyone in America such a bad speller? Is there a twelve-step program for those who are sadly 'Hooked on Phonics'?

Shaking his head, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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