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Squid #388
(published June 26, 2008)
Ask the Giant Squid: Beware das Rennmausführer, My Son
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

Should I call Dalen?

Cedar Rapids, IA

Dearest Prospective Dalen-locutor,

In a word, Yes. Yes, you must call Dalen. But, of course, the more pressing concern is What should you call Dalen. I make the following suggestive septet, to be used with my blessing:

  1. the longdevil
  2. backdoor doxy
  3. windlass spittoon (esp. of use on Thursdays!)
  4. Our American Cousin
  5. sightless, mustachioed buffoon
  6. jabberwauling mooncalf (with the proviso that, due to licensing terms with the estate of Wllm. Shakespeare, Esq., the term is best reserved for use with abortive cows)
  7. Rennmausführer

While I was preparing my brief discursion on How you had ought to contact Dalen—the cellular phone, in my estimation, having grown quaint, I was strong to suggest the use of semaphore; "jabberwauling mooncalf" is a sublime and graceful flag-gesture—the cartoon lightbulb did incandesce above my own flawless headsac, and I thought to wonder more specifically Who Dalen might be. In a nonce it was clear that, in all likelihood, you are considering contacting that mustachioed cane-tapper, Nobel Prize physicist Gustaf Dalén. This I doubly applaud (noting that you should, this being the case, remove arrows 4 and 6, above, from your What to Call Dalen quiver.) I myself have not spoken with Dalén in ages, since his untimely demise following the 1936 Olympics (his passion for the longjump was both beyond compare and, when enflamed, quite fatal. Ironically, Albert von Szent-Györgyi Nagyrapolt received the Noble Prize in Medicine for research that would, before the close of the decade, provide the foundation of an efficacious cure for this very condition, though far too late for our dear Dalén.) And, frankly, I am not sure I completely certify the wisdom of contacting him now. In my experience, aerie spirits have something of a tendency to be the "downers," always mopping about, passing through walls and generally moaning about never being recognized during hauntings. It is always "Mom! Mom! A GHOST!" instead of "Mom! Mom! The spirit of noted film diva and broadcast-protocol patentrix Hedy LeMarr!" There are few so vain as the Dead.

Furthermore, I imagine that, at this stage, Gustaf Dalén is something of an embittered denizen of the spirit realm, the advent of electricity having reduced his AGA mega-oven and Nobel-prize worthy sun valve from household names girding the globe to a Swedish schoolchild's extra-credit question. At one time—say at roughly the hour of Gustaf's own death—an anachronistic lunarnaut might lie back against his picnic's basket, gaze up at our own blue-green globe, and see a thousand brilliant pinpricks friscillate across the orb's glassy surface—beacon's from Dalén's countless acetylene lighthouses, fail-safely and nobly defending rocky outcroppings from the battering hulls of wayward ships, whilst additionally bedeviling whales, moths, ocean-going fowl, and the hearts of many a sea nymph. Alas, today, should a cosmonaut inadvertently glance down at our swift-warming world through the moonbat-flecked windshield of his eternally plummeting space-station, he would see only brown clouds, dying seas, and the You got the right one Baby UH HUH International Tetrahedral Complex", commissioned by PepsiCo, Incorporated in 1898.

As to Why one might contact Dalén at this late date—apart from him being a congenial conversationalist and, despite his sightlessness, a startlingly evocative Charlestoneer—I leave as an exercise for the Readers.

Yet I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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