Roller Derby Comes to Scurveyshire

Oy Rodney – Lee Duigon

Who has time to worry about medieval curses when roller derby is coming to your town?

In Chapter CDIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the populace of Scurveyshire has worked feverishly to set up a roller derby rink on the village common, where the Plaguesby Headhunters will take on the Vichy Poisoners, France’s number one roller derby squad, in a match that promises to be an all-out war.

Meanwhile, the ancient curse, activated by Lady Margo Cargo when she dug up a prehistoric plate with an inscription which she has wrongly interpreted as a recipe for Store Brand Corn Flakes, has been taking its toll: a hangnail here, a dislocated coccyx there, a bad set of involuntary ear-wiggling somewhere else.

But Lord Jeremy Coldsore is otherwise occupied, re-wooing Lady Margo and trying to get their upcoming marriage back on track.

“I can’t help having second thoughts,” says Lady Margo. “You’ve been acting very queer lately, when you’re Willis Twombley. Threatening to shoot me–what kind of fiance does that?”

Ms. Crepuscular intervenes. In an aside to her audience, she writes, “I have a letter from a reader in Palookastan, Mrs. Amy Tanystropheus, who asks, ‘Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Lord Jeremy to have explained to Lady Margo, months and months ago, that he and Mr. Twombley are not the same person? Wouldn’t that have eliminated all this confusion?’

“Well, Amy,” Violet replies, “I’m afraid that ship has sailed! It’s much too late now to clear up that matter. Lady Margo is entirely convinced that Jeremy and Willis are one person, albeit with two totally different personalities. And did I mention that multiple personalities are kind of a tradition in Lady Margo’s family? Her father, Lord Largo Cargo, had four personalities, none of which was functional.

“But even matters of the heart must take a back seat to roller derby!”

Ah! But will the curse adversely affect the roller derby match?

Stay tuned!

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Victorian roller derby uniforms were much less revealing than these.

I’m Going to Be in a Movie!

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Well–! Denzel Washington is going to play me in a movie!

Dig this plot. An aging fantasy writer–that would be me–comes out of semi-retirement (writers never really retire, we can’t afford it) to take on El Borracho, the most ruthless, fiendish, unpleasant drug lord in all of… I think it’s Kazakhstan, but bear with me, I’ve only read the screenplay once… to avenge the murder of his second cousin’s nephew’s brother-in-law. Brushing up on his jumpin’, spinnin’ kicks, he also invents a whole new martial art, involving boxes of Kleenex tissues, that no one has ever seen before. That’s what gives him the edge!

Written by Violet Crepuscular, the working title is Murder My Second Cousin’s Nephew’s Brother-in-Law, Will You? It has a certain ring do it!

Filmed entirely in my front yard so I can sit there and be a technical adviser, we’re still rounding up a supporting cast. A US president known only as “The Big Guy,” in cahoots with El Borracho, will be played by a large stick insect that has worn out its welcome at the San Diego Zoo. We’re looking for big-name actors to play assorted bad guys, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is on board to play the Russian honcho, Biff Putin. We’ll also feature some really great cat videos.

It’s going to be directed by a guy who did some kind of work on a Godfather movie that never made it to the theaters, but it wasn’t his fault and besides which, he works cheap.

That’s all I can tell you for now. The rest is shrouded in secrecy!

Byron’s TV Listings

CTVA - US TV Listings - 1961

G’Day! Byron the Quokka here, with Quokka University’s TV listings for the weekend. Are you craving something edifying, absorbing, rib-ticklingly hilarious, or butt-scratchingly suspenseful? Me, too. I wonder where you can get it. Meanwhile, there’s this:

4:30 P.M.  02  03  BAKED NEWS (News & Cooking)

Make mint toothpaste cookies with Violet Crepuscular while the world stumbles into one crisis after another. Reporter: Cy Anara  Weather: Angela Merkel


Join pro wrestling legend Gorilla Monsoon as he interviews this weekend’s prominent news makers. Guests: Andre the Giant, S.D. “Special Delivery” Jones, “Nature Boy” Buddy Rodgers, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and a newt.


Harvey Yardarm visits Sayreville, New Jersey, and shows slides taken on the campus of Mr. Potato Head Community College.


“One for the Money, Two for the Show” (1982)  The aging Bowery Boys are in for the scare of their lives when a Soviet spy (Mel Torme) hires the Chinese People’s Army to wipe them out. Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall.  General Hai: Oscar Levant.  General Lo: Walter Mondale. Music by F. Lee Baily and his orchestra.


“I’m Sure It’s My Sciatica!”  The Health Complaint Squad finds Mr. and Mrs. Muldoon (Clint Eastwood, Linda Hunt) a confusing mix of symptoms, and Dr. Twinkly (Abe Vigoda) is dangerously close to blowing his stack. Special guest star: Carl Yastrzemski as “the Beaver.”

Well, that should be enough to get you started! And this is me high-tailing it out of here before somebody asks me where we got these shows.

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Another Curse on Scurveyshire! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CDVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Nothing happened in the preceding three chapters, so I have left them out. If you want them, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope and a check for $340.99.”

And so, in Chapter CDVIII, with Lady Margo Cargo still under the impression that the plate of ancient runes she found with her metal detector is a prehistoric recipe for Store Brand Corn Flakes, and trying to make them in her lavishly-appointed kitchen, we have an entirely different translation by Johnno the Merry Minstrel–one which reveals that a terrible curse will fall on all of Scurveyshire if anyone digs up the plate and removes it from the ground.

The very day that Lady Margo brought the plate home, a man named Scupper twisted his ankle trying to roller-skate down the sloping roof of his cottage.

“It begins!” says Johnno.

Meanwhile the corn flakes are not going at all well, which is only to be expected, given that Lady Margo’s translation is 100 percent wrong.

“Some of these ingredients seem altogether ridiculous,” she complains to her crusty old butler, Crusty. “Earth from the grave of of a shogun, for instance–they don’t have it in the store! I don’t think we’ve ever had a shogun in Scurveyshire.”

“When I was a boy,” says Crusty, “we had a neighbor who said he was a shogun. He could never find a job.”

Johnno warns Lord Jeremy Coldsore that everyone in Scurveyshire is now at risk. Lord Jeremy feels somewhat put-upon. “What am I supposed to do about it?” he cries. Johnno’s eloquent shrug is worth a thousand words (“None of them printable!” Violet adds).

Here we break the chapter because of exciting news.

“Roller derby is coming to Scurveyshire!” Ms Crepuscular exults. What with television not having been invented yet, it’s truly a red-letter day.


Byron’s TV Listings

CTVA - US TV Listings - 1960

G’day! Welcome to another weekend of Quokka University TV, live from Rottnest Island. I’m your host, Byron the Quokka. We always show a TV Guide page to get you cranked up for our offerings. I do wish I could watch Make That Spare, from the Paramus NJ Bowling Center–and Prehistoric Women! Uncle Shinbone thinks it might be the best movie ever made.

Well, here are some of our listings. Sit back with a handful of nice chewy leaves, and enjoy it!

8:14 P.M.   08, 09  HOWLER MONKEYS (Nature). A glorious 28 minutes of Costa Rican howler monkeys screeching at the cameraman, the late Ivan Pitfall.

8:15  11  Barney Dottle, Police Defective (Crime Drama) Barney thinks he’s hot on the trail of a desperate gang of armed robbers, but his continual misinterpretation of clues leads him to arrest the attendees of a PTA meeting. Barney: Jack Palance. Mrs. Dogless: The Lennon Sisters.

12  Movie–Classic Tragedy

The Naked and the Clothed” (1957) The Bowery Boys are caught napping when Nikita Khrushchev, posing as just another neighborhood character, tricks them into revealing America’s funniest military secrets. Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall. Khrushchev: Himself. Timon of Athens: Tim McCarver.

13  Battle of the Brains–Public Affairs

Pinky Lee hosts a debate between former U.S. Senator Biff Boff and Rep. Rosie Hejaz on the topic, “Should prayer be allowed in churches?” With Willie Sutton and his orchestra, and the June Taylor Dancers.

8:32 P.M.   03  Bowling For Dear Life–Sports/Drama

If you really need that medicine, you’d better bowl a strike! Up for grabs tonight: life-saving medicine, parole from Chateau D’If Prison, ownership of a home, graduation from law school, and other goodies. Join host Willis Twombley  as he reminds the contestants, “No pressure!”

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Some readers have complained that they can’t trust these TV listings unless my picture is published with them. So that’s me, right up there–and it’s TV time!

The Invention of Breakfast Cereal (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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When we last saw Lady Margo Cargo, in Chapter CDIV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, she was dowsing perilously close to the vicar’s fatal wading pool. Her crusty old butler, Crusty, is obstreporating every time he has to stop to dig a hole. But in Chapter CDV, they turn up a prehistoric treasure!

Just three bone-breaking feet below the surface, they find a metal plate inscribed with mystic runes. It looks sort of like this:

Image result for images of plate with mystic runes

“Oh, Crusty!” Lady Margo evaporates. I am not at all sure about her use of that word, but she’s the author. “This is a runic inscription produced by a shaman of the ancient Celtic tribe, the Iguanodon People, unless I am very much mistaken!” (“You probably are, you daft old bint,” grumbles Crusty.) “It must have been buried here sometime around 537 B.C.”

“It’s junk,” opines Crusty.

“Nonsense!” quips Lady Margo. “Can’t you read it? Didn’t they teach you anything in school?”

Easily translating the mystic runes, Lady Margo discovers that the inscription is a recipe for what we would now, in the 21st century, call Store Brand Corn Flakes. “All we have to do,” she says, “is build a factory and start producing these. They’ll sell like hot cakes! The most feverish imagination will hardly suffice to calculate the profits!”

But this is how they get out of venturing close enough to the wading pool to get sucked under. They rush back to Cargo Hall to clean the plate and summon Lady Margo’s solicitor, a man who was once a trapeze artist but had to quit because he kept falling off the trapeze.

“Little do they know,” Ms. Crepuscular writes, “that Lady Margo has mis-translated what is actually a dreadful curse on anyone who removes this object from its burial place. The Iguanodon People are not extinct for nothing!

“And now I shall break for breakfast! It so happens I have a box of corn flakes, along with plenty of mint-flavored toothpaste with which to sweeten them. An experienced romance writer,” she adds, “is always on the lookout for real-life details to plug into her story!”

That’s just what makes her book so wonderful.

Byron’s TV Listings

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G’day! Byron the Quokka here, on Rottnest Island. I hear a lot of you Yanks have been snowed in, can’t get out and have fun. Well, it looks like I’m here with more TV listings just in time! We don’t want you going mad with cabin fever, do we?

So here are the Quokka University Broadcast System’s (see? we’ve got a name for it now) offerings for this weekend. Happy viewing, everybody!

8 p.m.   03  MY MOTHER THE NEWT (Sitcom) Harry and Debbie get kicked off their middle school band when Mr. Roomba discovers their mother is a giant newt. Can Uncle Beefy, a rather large frog, save the day? Mr. Roomba: Ricardo Montalban. Uncle Beefy: Dick Cavett.

05  NEWS WITH RUDE NOISES  (News and Weather)  The same news you got on all the other channels, but this time with crude and impolite noises in the background. Anchorman’s identity still unknown.

8:10 P.M.  05  MOVIE OF THE MILLENIUM  “I Hear Earwigs Singing” (1971)  The Bowery Boys take on a mad grocer (Colin Clive) who has been flouting London’s health codes–in Yuma, Arizona. Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Chou En-lai. Special guest appearance by Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine.

8:39 P.M.  04  TRAGEDY PLAYHOUSE  (Drama) “When You Lose That Beat” combines Oedipus Rex with Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom for a totally incomprehensible waste of 93 minutes. Guaranteed to impress your friends and family, if you say you watched the whole thing. Oedipus: Rory Calhoun. Marlon Perkins: himself. Music by Bobby Fischer and his Orchestra.

8:45 P.M.  07, 11, 13  SLUGGO POTASH, GUNSLINGER!  (Western, as if you didn’t know)  In “Duel at the Lost City of the Poptecs,” Sluggo (Darren McGavin) must shoot it out with his arch-enemy, Mitch McConnell, who has made himself dictator of a lost city inhabited by people no one ever heard of. King Axolotl: Jon Hall. Princess Chipotle: Joey Heatherton. High Priest: Soupy Sales.

Well, that’s enough for now! I still don’t know how we got our hands–I mean our paws–on all these shows, and I’m sure I don’t want to.

The Lovers’ Quarrel, and the Art of Dowsing

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Introducing Chapter CDIV (what happened to CDIII?) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular cites a fan letter she has received from Geoffrey the Dowser, of Ginseng Corners, Australia.

“Dear Mrs. Cripustuler,” he writes, “I have been reading your epic romance novel Oy Rodney for sevrul years and I could not help notcing youve got nothing in it about the ancient and Romantic art of dowsing. Please correct this, or i will stop reading!!”

In a confidential aside to the reader, Ms. Crepuscular rises to the challenge. “It’s as if Geoffrey has read my mind!” she ululates. “I can think of no better way to resolve a lovers’ quarrel than for the offending lover to appease the injured party by presenting her with an Acme Official Dowsing Kit! I had a lovers’ quarrel once, some 30 years ago, and when my boyfriend gave me a dowsing kit, I was off to the races!”

She has quite forgotten that today is Valentine’s Day. Oh, well.

With his author’s example to inspire him, Lord Jeremy has bought Lady Margo Cargo a fully-equipped dowsing kit, complete with Y-shaped willow dowsing rod and an instruction pamphlet.

“Oh, Jeremy!” she gushes. “I’m going to go out right away and find underground water, oil, treasure, and gold!”

Neither of them has thought of what perils might accrue to anyone dowsing in the vicinity of the vicar’s backyard wading pool: follow the flexing dowsing rod to an indescribably horrible doom.

Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, has to accompany her with pick and shovel to dig wherever the dowsing rod points to. It has put him in a bad mood. Neither of them notices that the rod’s gyrations are leading them closer and closer to the fateful wading pool–which, when last heard of, sucked down a locomotive and several cars full of passengers.

“And here,” writes Violet, “in the interests of suspense, I must break the chapter. Think of it, dear reader! Will Margo and Crusty be sucked down under the wading pool? Or will they first uncover buried treasure–perhaps a hoard of gold coins deposited by a prehistoric king?” What this really means is that she doesn’t know what happens next.

Byron’s TV Listings

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G’day! Byron the Quokka here, with TV listings to spice up your weekend–if you call watching TV spicy. The Quokka University TV Network makes these shows available–I don’t know how, and I don’t ask. If anybody asks, I haven’t been here today.

7 p.m.  03  HITTITE NEWS  Anchor: Shuri-Teshub son of Ishmak

04  THE FACEHEADS (Comedy). Randy gets some peculiar ideas after watching a movie about “Killer Kats.” Randy: Denzel Washington. Dr. Gesundheit: Sandy Becker. Special guest appearance by Sabu as Chief Dawson.

07  BEAT THE CROCK (Game Show) New! Ordinary schlubs team up with celebrity schlubs to see who can swim across The Pool of Death without getting pulled under. Emcee: Orville Redenbacher.

7:17 p.m. 11  MOVIE–TRAGEDY

“That Darned Hamster!” (1961)  The Bowery Boys tangle with an ancient Ethiopian sorceress brought back to life by fish flakes, and only Duncan the Hamster can save the day–if they can find him! Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall. Madame Fong: Dame Judith Anderson. Song: “Oh, Those Cedar Shavings!” Perry Mason and his orchestra.


Don’t waste time with words when simple grunts will do! Tonight: Professor Spigot reduces Moby Dick to a mere 20 seconds, using grunts, eye-rolling, and hand gestures.


Judge Hobart Hornswoggle tries re-enacted criminal and civil cases involving kitchen grease and various kinds of slop–in front of a jury of stuffed plush animals.

Well, that’s all I have time for now–I have to hurry on to the next post. See you in a bit.


A Lovers’ Quarrel (‘Oy, Rodney’)

Image result for images of lord of the tube socks

Introducing Chapter DCII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “We are still waiting for the wedding of Lord Jeremy Coldsore to Scurveyshire’s richest widow, Lady Margo Cargo. Because she can’t tell the two of them apart, some of the wooing must be done by Lord Jeremy’s boon companion, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad. We join Willis and Lady Margo under a romantic grape arbor full of bees.”

“Once we’re married,” Lady Margo asks, “will I be Queen of Akkad? I mean, I’m still trying to find the place, it’s not on any of my maps.”

“Well, sweetness, there must be somethin’ wrong with them maps,” said Willis. “Heck, it’s right next door to Babylon and then some–it’s kind of an umpire.”

“An umpire? You mean like in a cricket match? Surely you should have said ’empire.'”

This rubs Willis the wrong way. “Umpire, empire, what’s the difference? You ain’t gonna turn into one o’ them know-it-all womenfolks who’s always correctin’ her husband, are you? I won’t stand for that!”

Lady Margo removes her upholstered wooden leg and uses it to knock Willis off his stool. “And I can’t stand an ignorant boor, Jeremy Coldsore!” she expostulates. (“I love that word!” declares Violet.)

“I oughta shoot you right now!” erupts Willis. “Erupts”? We are getting stylish here!

“Oh, go shoot yourself, you swaggering lout!” revolves Lady Margo. (This is getting out of hand.) “And as far as I’m concerned, our marriage is off, off, off! You’ll be smirking out of the other side of your face when you see me marry that nice Mr. Twombley!”

“That’s me, you numbskull! Jeremy’s the other one!” expectorates Mr. Twombley.

And so on. The marriage is now in critical danger. Lord Jeremy is not pleased.

“You had to threaten to shoot her, didn’t you?” growls Jeremy. “You know she hates that!”

“Well, old hoss, she got my dander up!” Mr. Twombley pauses to adjust his monocle (which Ms. Crepuscular has not mentioned up till now).

“And here, dear reader, I will break the chapter to heighten the suspense,” adds Violet. “Besides which, too much passion gives me the vapors. I must have a cup of fish-flavored tea.”