Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Love's First Bloom

Or something alone those lines. This episode is definitely delivered in a plain brown albeit virtual wrapper. You can read about it or listen about it, as suits your fancy. Or you can poke your eye out with a stick, if that's the way you roll.

We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the dad-blamed guvmint, as he calls it. "You think they didn't do anything the last two years?" he says. "You ain't seen nothin' yet. Or, more to the point, you're going to see so much more nuthin' that the nuthin' you're seeing now will look like a beehive on methedrine."

Whatever. Me, I always vote for the Whigs and I expect nothing from our Lords and Masters aside from debt, taxes and a little TLC going through airport security. As my mother likes to say, wear clean underwear: you never know when you'll have to stand up for a body search.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obama in stitches over this week's Nostrum!

The latest episode is in the usual sort of place, audio and eyedio.

We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole NYC school board business. Good old Mike wanted to hire some magazine babe, and the powers the be sayin' no to Mike said, uh, how about you get us somebody with some experience in education? So Mike crumbled, and now it's a two-person job, held sort of jointly by Magazine Babe and Education Guy. "It's almost like the Roman Empire," the Mite opines. "All they need is one more person for a triumvirate, and we all know how well that worked out." On the other hand, he wouldn't mind getting a publishing magnate to run the Boston schools. "I'd like free magazines in the faculty men's room," he says.

He always was easy to please on the hard stuff, and hard to please on the easy stuff.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The lame duck episode

The latest Nostrum is up and running (audio / pdfio). We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the rise and fall of the Democrats. "They had majorities in both houses and they still couldn't do squat," he moans. He's a big moaner. "Now we've got three parties—Democrats, Republicans and Tea Baggers—and nobody will ever be able to do anything ever again because all they care about is sending Obama back to Kenya where he belongs. Even the Democrats want to send him back to Kenya where he belongs. I'll bet Pelosi is pretty pissed off now about forging that birth certificate for him lo those many years ago..."

Never hold a conversation with the Nostrumite around election time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nostrum Series 2, Now in Amazing Nostrumvision! Featuring Real State-of-the Art Monophonic Sound Recording!

Episode 29 of Series 2 is now available at no cost to you either as a pdf or an mp3. What you do with it is up to you.

We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole 3D movie thing. "On the one hand, I'm happy that Harry Potter Part Seven (Part One) is missing a D or two, given that the whole 3D thing is enough of a ripoff, much less two Harry Potter movies from the same book that was in fact the dullest of the lot. Why don't they make a weekly series out of it? Harry Potter 5-0 or CSI: Hogwarts if they just want it never to end?" On the other hand, the idea of Tron 2 in 3D has him leaking from every pore. He just sits around all day muttering "Tron," "Tron," "Tron"—one for each D—while the Nostrumate goes about seeing to the children and making sure there's gruel on the table.

Is it any wonder it takes us so long to get to these episodes?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do I contradict myself? Feh!

All right. That's not exactly Walt Whitman. But whenever I go back and look up something in Nostrum, it seems as if the last time we wrote about it, we called it something else. Take New Haven, for instance. For the longest time, we called it New Haven. Then all of a sudden we started calling it Pup City. I blame the Nostrumite for this lack of consistency, since he's in charge of remembering where we've been, but lately he's been useless. The lad is in a state of permanent depression over imminent arrival of an operating system upgrade for his iPad, which he treasures more than his wife, his children or his left lung. "If it's like every other Apple upgrade," he moans, "it won't work for a week, it will erase all my data, and I'll lose my high score on Angry Birds."

How he survives in the world I do not know. Anyhow, speaking of people who hardly seem to survive in the world, Menick, operating at his own rate of non-speed, has finally recorded and posted N2_28 in both live performance and dead electron versions. Have at them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A long time between drinks

You know, Menick can really stretch these suckers out. We delivered the latest episode to him last week, and it wasn't until last night that he recorded it, and not until two minutes ago that he bothered to tell anyone. Jeesh! Of course, even before this, the Nostrumite was in a state of permanent depression over his experiences at Bronx Science. He showed up with the Tennessee Williams team on Friday, rarin' to go, and he found out that no one had ever gotten his preference sheet which he swore he sent before the deadline, he found out that he was the lowest preferred judge in the pool, meaning that he adjudicated exactly one 0-6 round, and he came to the conclusion that, "no matter how you slice it, whether or not you call it 'Tastes of the Mediterranean,' it's still debate ziti."

Read it or listen to it. What do we care?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The man is impossible

And I don't mean the Mite.

So the Nostrumite and I, we work, we slave, we grind out episodes like Sarah Palin grinding out grizzlies, and what does he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They're sitting there, piled up on his whatever, while he goes out gallivanting and clubbing baby seals and generally enjoying total hoo-ha. In other words, Menick has sent both of us into a state of permanent depression. "What Would Menick Do?" Well, aside from putting off narrating Nostrums, we would have to answer, Not much.


Finally you can listen to himself ruin yet another episode, or read it as we originally wrote it, before he tucked his liver lips into it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Notes from the swamp

I mean, what the hell other place was all that hot, humid weather in New Haven all about? Good grief, as they say in the funny papers. I haven't felt like this since my years as a guide on the Amazon (the river, not the website). As I thought would happen, I ended up judging JVLD, which made me feel a little like a superstar because I alone in the pool was a native English speaker not from a certain Catholic School (Regis) that will remain unnamed... They put me in every round they ran and a couple they didn't run. If you want to nuke somebody, or not, I'm your man.

Meanwhile, the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole MJP thing they used down there. He had a judge in the pool who sat out the whole tournament. Normally this wouldn't be so bad, because that means you can usually make it all the way to Alpha Centauri in whatever version of Civ you happen to be playing, but in her case, she had no computer and, apparently, she was allergic to dank. And let me tell you, Hell House High School was dank on a stick. On the positive side, while the ladies room went offline pretty early in the day, the men's room remained hale and hearty for the duration. Which is more than can be said for the Mite's varsity judge. They had to carry her out on a rail late in the afternoon and bring her back to the motel, where she recovered by watching Judge Judy reruns. I sympathize with the whole being carried on a rail business, although for me, there's usually also tar and feathers involved.

Through it all, the Mite and I managed somehow to produce a new episode, both on paper and off. Pick your poison, as they say.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

See you in New Haven

It turns out that both the Mite and I will be in New Haven this weekend. He'll be shepherding his team of Tennessee Williams people—they're registered in every activity known to man—and he's asked me to come along and help keep track of the little darlings. I did ask Menick to add me in for mutual judge preferencing in LD, but I'm not sure if he did or not. Then again, how many strikes can one poor old ex-debater suffer through? Maybe he put me into JV instead. Whatever. Say hello if you run into me there. I'll do the same if I run into me there.

Of course, the new forensics season notwithstanding, the Mite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole Japan business. "I mean," he opines, "first they won't let Steve Jobs out because of a few ninja murder weapons, and now they won't let Paris Hilton in because of a few drug convictions." As usual, he is stalking around in anger as he makes this pronouncement. "They're vicious, those Nipponers," he says. "They want to keep Jobs in the country so they can turn Apple into a Japanese corporation and make the country a dominant tech power again, and at the same time they're smart enough to keep Paris Hilton out of the country because her very presence would threaten their economy and their sanity both. And anyone who's ever watched Japanese television knows that that's saying quite a mouthful."

Whatever. Speaking of mouthfuls, you can hear the latest episode, or read it, in the usual places, the usual way. If you like what you hear/read, shower us with money when you run into us this weekend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Your hopes and dreams are all shattered. We're back.

It looked for a while as if the Mite would never return from the Gulf, what with the oil well proving especially pesky, not to mention all those hurricanes and volcanoes and earthquakes and generally inclement weather making things difficult. But as promised, he capped the well and has returned to his day job teaching at Tennessee Williams High School. I wish I had had such an exciting summer. I did get promoted to Assistant Manager in charge of the Miley Cyrus collection at the book store, but no one in Cambridge has ever bought a book about Miley Cyrus, so this is sort of an empty honor. Oh well, at least they didn't ask me to take a cut in pay.

Anyhow, as you can imagine, the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole Tea Party candidate business. It's not that he believes that everyone in Congress shouldn't be tarred and feathered—far from it, he'd like to do them, SCOTUS and the Executive Branch to boot—but he is extremely intolerant of intolerance. "There's too many people in this country complaining about too many of the people in this country not being the right kind of people," is how he puts it. As far as the Mite is concerned, the only right kind of people are the ones who think exactly like the Mite, and since those are limited to exactly one, and no man is an island, nor even a peninsula—nor, in some cases, a monadnock—he understands that other people need to be around too, if for no other reason than to answer the phone when he has a help desk question. So, he says, live and let live, and while you're at it, shut up. Better advice was never given.

Needless to say, we haven't returned to the fray of life in 21st Century America without bearing gifts, namely, both the yakkety-yak and the eyeball-burner versions of Episode 23. Ain't life great?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer hiatus

We thought we'd be able to keep it up through the off-season, but the Mite has taken a summer job with BP. He's their chief diver down in the Gulf, pretty much the guy in charge of capping the well, the vinegar, if you will, in the salad that is so far mostly oil. Which means that he won't have much time for Nostrum for a while.

With luck, we'll be back in the fall, and the Gulf will be as clear as—well, we're on vacation, so metaphors are just going to have to wait.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We live in fear!

Well, I don't live in fear but the Nostrumite sure does. He is in a state of permanent depression over the release of the new Twilight film. "Those people don't know nothin' about vampires," he mutters, kicking a stone down the street. "And if this is supposed to be my big Fourth of July movie, I'm not buying it." When I told him that there was going to be an M. Night Shyamalan picture also opening for the holiday, I thought he was going to bite my head off. "Curse you, Jules O'Shaughnessy," he said as he stormed off.

I'm still trying to figure out why he was wearing a Team Jacob t-shirt.

Oh, yeah, we do have a new episode this week. You can read it or listen to it or watch it in 3D at an IMax near you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The livin' is easy

We have not abandoned the field, even though Tennessee Williams High School, where the Nostrumite teaches, is off for the summer. In the olden days, when men were men and maidens were forever being hounded by dragons and there was nothing for it but to go off on quests and swear allegiance to the Dark Lord, we used to take the summer off in Nostrum as if it were a real school. This was, of course, because with N1, we were going to school ourselves, and when summer rolled around, the last thing we needed was a virtual school. But as I say, that is then and this was now, and we won't be taking the summer off, although we may be a little less than punctual. Then again, as the Mite likes to say, if you want these things as regular as clockwork, you might consider paying for them rather than expecting them as your due, you selfish #^$(@^! Anyhow, there's the usual audio and visual versions in their usual slots, and feel free to have at them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I say pooh-pooh to you, sir!

Blogger keeps wanting me to use new templates. To which I respond, pooh-pooh to your new templates. I've just gotten here, metaphorically speaking. It's all still new to me. How much newer do I need to get? The Nostrumite, on the other hand, couldn't care less. He is in a state of permanent depression over the whole vuvuzela business, which he finds faintly obscene and which he wishes he had never heard of, or, for that matter, never heard. I told him this is totally unoriginal on his part, and that every blogger in the world, literally, was writing up vuvuzelas, but did that stop him? Of course not. Nor did it seem to stop Menick, who managed to record the latest episode, which we now present in gaily printed or gaily narrated form, take your pick.

This blog will henceforth be a vuvuzela-free zone.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Are emails the new epistles?

PJ Wexler raises an interesting point in his comment to our last post. The answer is, no, email is not the new epistles. There was email back in the time of St. Paul. In fact, he used email for the first time in his message to the Corinthians, entitled First Email to the Corinthians. He abandoned email shortly thereafter and reverted to paper when many of the Corinthians, unfamiliar with their computers, clicked on the Reply All button. The resulting confusion is seen by some historians as the beginning of the end for Corinth as a hot spot on the Greco-Roman casino resort circuit, although a number of others blame Sarah Palin.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

For fanatics only

Way back when, during the years of series one (McKinley was President, if I recall correctly), we would announce each episode on the LD-L, which was the LD listserver where everyone who was anyone communicated with everyone else. Somewhere along the way we put the episodes up on the internet (if I'm remembering correctly; before that I think we just carved them on these gigantic stones and just hoped people would read them when they came back to the cave after the mastodon hunts) and put the announcement there as well. These announcements came to be known as the Epistles of St. Jules to the Forensicians. At least that's what they came to be known as to me and the Nostrumite. Back when Geocities (that's this place where you used to get free web space, which was exactly the amount of money the Mite and I were willing to pay) was going out of business, we pulled off all those epistles. The earliest ones were never captured, but the later ones where still there, plus a bunch of correspondence with our obnoxious adoring fans.

And now, they're back. We have scanned them in, and they're not exactly Vermeers, but they're readable. If you want to know what the Mite and I were up to ten years ago, when we were young and hale, now you will. We've put them onto the main Nostrum page, where The Original Series mainly resides. They're just a little below the fold, so to speak, so scroll down a bit.

Check it out. Or not. I've sort of browsed a little bit, and the worst thing is, we're still using all the same dumb jokes. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Everything old is old again

I'm not quite sure why we ended up where we did in this week's episode (throw it at your ears / throw it at your eyes). Nostalgia, I guess. Speaking of which, the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the primary races. He's not quite sure what it means that Meg Whitman could be governor of California. First of all, why would anyone want the job in the first place? Second, why would they pay all that money for it? "I mean, eighty million dollars?" he asked. "For a primary? Hell, she could have bought the whole state on ebay for half that!"

Such a wit, that lad...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

If this is Wednesday, it must be Thursday

All right. We're a day late. And, no doubt, a dollar short. Don't blame me. The Nostrumite couldn't take pen in hand (or word processor in fist) because he's in a state of permanent depression over the breakup of Al and Tipper. For him, this is like the breakup of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, or Idi Amin and the Ugandans, or Eng and Chang, the Siamese twins. It's a rip in the fabric of the universe. WIth something like this going on, who has time to write or narrate silly episodes of high school soap operas.

It's not easy being the Nostrumite.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Family business

Menick says he has some sort of family business this weekend, but he did manage to squeeze out a new episode (audio / pdfio) Whatever. The sooner he catches up with us the better. As it is, the Mite is in a state of permanent depression over this whole journalist-moves-next-store-to-Palin business to write a biography of her. According to the Nostrumite, a good biographer ought to be able to live across the street, or even in another neighborhood entirely. He's told me point blank that when I go all Boswell on him, if I try to move next door to him and his kids he'll build a fence the size of Cleveland and out me to the media on a daily basis. Much like Palin, actually. I know that I, for one, have no intention of moving next door to Palin or the Mite or, for that matter, anyone else I don't want to see as President. There's too many of them out there for that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Maybe it's time for a new narrator...

Thanks to Menick's vacation, we were on hiatus for a couple of weeks, which just doesn't seem right. I mean, we're the ones who do all the work. All he does is read them aloud, and not even all that well. James Earl Jones he ain't! And if that weren't enough, the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole CatNats topics brouhaha. He's going to be in Omaha judging PuFo, and as far as he's concerned, the topic is about as biased as a Pope in a nunnery. Lucky him. I'm going along with him and the Tennessee Williams High School team to cover their LD entry (am I a mensch or what?), and I'm going to have to listen to a bunch of yabbos explain why non-citizens should be allowed to vote. Oy. I mean, I'm a non-citizen of France. Is there some good reason why I should be able to vote in French elections?

Welcome to the Bahamas.

Anyhow, we seem to be back in business, and episode 16 is now available (lovely written version / despicable spoken version). We'll try to get Menick (who's not going to Omaha because of a family event he can't get out of) to catch up over the weekend and maybe get back on track. It's one thing to take the summer off. It's another thing entirely to go on vacation in the middle of the school year. Hell, just the thought of it is giving me a little permanent depression myself.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Apparently the natives are getting restless

I, for one, do not understand it. Whole bunches of Menick's kids (translated into purer math, that would be 2) have complained that the debate world is not infested with vampires. Which debate world are they living in? Vampires, werewolves, zombies, Unitarians—you can't swing a cat without hitting one or the other of them. Needless to say, this has put the Nostrumite into a state of permanent depression over the lack of the ability of the youth of America to appreciate metaphor. "If something as simple as this trips them up," he moans, "what happens if we use syllogism or litotes or, even worse, double negatives?" The Mite, of course, is also prone to double positives, but that's another story altogether.

Speaking of stories, Menick jumped the gun last night and put out another episode. He's getting pretty close to clearing out the warehouse if you ask us, but we won't stop him, at least not yet. If you've got your glasses, you can read it, and if you've got your ear trumpet, you can listen. It's entirely up to you. Same price, either way.

See you in the funny papers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

That's the worst New Hampshire accent ever!

Why we let Menick narrate this stuff is beyond me. I mean, Dude Firmguns is supposed to sound like a New Englander. If that's New England, my name is Uriah Heep!

Obviously we're in a Dickens of a mood this week, as a knowledgeable listen / read of the latest episode will demonstrate. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over Menick's leaving town. "He isn't much but he's all we got," the lad moans (although it's really hard to moan the phrase, "He isn't much but he's all we got"; try it, if you don't believe me). "And he's heading off to parts unknown and the Nostrum Nation must wait, unsatisfied, until he moseys back again. Feh!"

Yeah. Feh.

At least we're going on hiatus with a bang. This episode is twice as boring as usual supersized, running half again as long as normal. Enjoy it. Savor it. If you're listening to it, run it at half speed to make it last. If you're reading it, close one eye.

See you at the end of the month.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Referential overload

I have to admit it. This week's episode (in the ear / in the eye) has got too many subtextual references for its own good. Making it worse, the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over all the time he spent in preparation finding a decent rendition of "When the foeman bares his steel" on YouTube. "Subtitles?" he complained. "Who needs subtitles for Gilbert and Sullivan? Who's on this YouTube thing anyhow? Damned furriners?" He got so upset he was seriously thinking of moving to Arizona, where they know how to handle damned furriners, but his wife and kids looked at him with that look that they save for whenever he starts ranting about stuff like subtitles for Gilbert and Sullivan on YouTube, and that was the end of that.

Meanwhile, don't forget to follow us on Twitter via @NostrumNation. Going over the old correspondence, I'm now in the part where the Mite was working at the meatpacking plant, where the volume of sausages coming out was 10% higher than the volume of mystery meat going in. Those were good times back then. Good times...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cue the circus music!

Episode 12: Deep in the Liver of Texas, is posted (ears version / eyes version).

I have to admit that I'm enjoying digging up the old Nostrumiana and posting it all on Twitter @NostrumNation. This may be because the Nostrumite has been no help whatsoever lately with N2. He's in a state of permanent depression over the whole Icelandic earthquake business and its effect on international air traffic. The thing is, he has never trusted Icelanders, not a single one of them. "Devious little worms" is the expression he's usually used to describe them. According to him, it's just like those SOBs to send a cloud of schmutz into the air to screw everybody up. When the country went bankrupt, he was the only person I know clapping his hands in glee, but then they banned what he calls exotic dancers, which perplexed him because he didn't know whether he was for or against.

He's a tough guy to read, let me tell you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

La Nostalgie

Quelle une drag, as the Frenchies say, or not, as the case may be. I seriously wanted to get down to Lakeland last weekend to judge a few rounds and meet up with Menick and Cruz and set them straight on some Nostrum business (for instance, Menick needs to work on his voices because everybody sounds alike, and Cruz needs to understand that nothing, not nohow, no part of Nostrum, is about him, the Bronx or, in many ways, the state of New York, except, maybe, for one or two things that are not the things you think they are). But I couldn't get away because at the last minute the Nostrumite went into a state of permanent depression over the existence of Justin Bieber, a condition (realizing Justin Bieber's existence, not the permanent depression) for which there is no known cure. I had to make him go cold turkey on the internet completely, so we went into the Nostrumian attic and did some spring cleaning and, lo and behold, we uncovered the old archive of epistles from St. Jules to the Forensicians. These are the letters I used to send to the LD-listserver announcing that week's Nostrum episode. For the next couple of hours, over the odd pousse-cafe, we reminisced about the good old days (there were Debaters back then, with a capital D), and then we decided to start the @NostrumNation feed on Twitter. I'm not quite sure how we got to here from there, but you know how the Mite is when he gets wound up. We decided to mix all manner of N1 and N2 trivia on the site, so it's for serious fans, not just the occasional piker. Check it out.

Oh, and yeah, we do have a new episode this week (audio visual), beginning the trek down to the Monteverdi in Texas. I, for one, swear that Obomash and Rand-Walsh sound alike, but Menick swears that one is a British accent and the other one isn't. Yeah, right. You can judge it for yourself. (By the way, if you read the pdf, you probably won't hear the different accents. I just thought I'd point that out.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

If you can't get enough of Nostrum...

...then there's something seriously wrong with you.

Nevertheless, we are now tweeting. Follow us: @NostrumNation. We expect to talk about things there that would never make it to the episodes. Or maybe stuff that does make it to the episodes. Or maybe neither. Or both.

We'll see.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Welcome to the Bahamas

This afternoon the Mite and I met with some so-called fans of Nostrum, and I have to admit that, as a result, the Lad is now in a state of permanent depression. First of all, they raved about all these stories from E1 that, to be honest, neither of us remembered. All right. We're getting old. We could deal with that. But as the session wore on, then they started complaining about the episodes they didn't like. It seems as if the Don's funeral, which went on for about twenty episodes, was beyond the pale. And also they hated whenever we'd discuss something like the Social Contract.


The thing is, we wrote this stuff keeping in mind the person who wasn't already a part of the debate universe. There's this thing called exposition: maybe you've heard of it?

Anyhow, new rule. No more meeting with the fans. It turns out they aren't fans at all, but vipers lying in wait. I'm almost reluctant to let them have the episode 10 (audio pdf), the ingratess!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hell in a handbasket

Sometimes I feel that we could entitle every entry that way. Hell in a handbasket. I mean, if it isn't one thing, it's another. For example, at the moment the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole Wear Your Guns to Starbucks business. Law and order in the old west was established when people stopped wearing their guns into the saloons, not when they started. But to tell you the truth, to the Mite it's more that Starbucks are the new saloons than that a bunch of idjits feel the need to arm themselves before drinking a cup of coffee (I mean, Starbucks coffee isn't that bad, people). It used to be, life was lived in bars, with a shot o' red eye. You lookin' at me, pardner? Smile when you say that. Does a Colt .45 beat a pair of aces? Transfer all that to a coffee shop, and it's just too...metro. Instead of those four-handed poker games, you've got people in the comfy chairs doing the Kenken puzzles in the back of the Times. I mean, who are you going to shoot if you get two fours on the same line? Jeesh. Anyhow, at least Sarah Palin now has some place where she can get a cup of joe and feel comfortable about it.

By the way, is a Palindrome a really big auditorium where ex-governors put on gladiator displays? Whatever.

Because there was no school at Tennessee Williams for the various holidays, and business was slow at the bookstore because everyone is down in Florida at Disney World wishing they had looked up the crowd numbers before making their reservations, we've got a supersized episode this week. You might even detect an extra load of plot in it, as compared to some of our narrative-free entries. That should give you something to shoot about next time you're in the mood for a latte.

Episode 9: audio / pdf.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Somehow we managed to get an episode out this week (audio / pdf), but truth to tell, the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole health care bill deal. The thing is, he has perfectly good health care coverage at Tennessee Williams HS, so he needs this like he needs a hole in the head. On the other hand, at the bookstore where I work, the closest thing we have to a health care plan is a half-empty jar of outdated aspirin in the employee bathroom. So I'll benefit royally while he gets nothing out of it at all. I guess I said "Hoo-ha!" to him one too many times or something. Whatever. In any case, I've already made an appointment with my podiatrist to have these pesky bunions removed. And maybe a few corns while he's at it. And the Nostrumite is just staring at me as if I just robbed Fort Knox or something. (He's obviously never had any foot problems.)

Thank you, Congress. Thank you, Obama. And thank you, Mite, for earning enough to pay all those extra taxes to make my feet finally look less like barnacle-encrusted shipwrecks and more like nuclear-powered submarines.

(I think I need to buy a book of metaphors with the money I'll save on podiatry. That last one just isn't working for me.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New feature on Nostrum Nation

No, this isn't to announce a new episode.

The thing is, the Mite and I are already confused about what has happened in the world of Nostrum, and what is going to happen. For instance, have the vampires shown up yet? We've decided the only way to keep track of things is to add a new text box to the blog page, outlining the content of the episodes to date. We are also working on outlining the content of the episodes to come, but that's between the two of us. If we let you have that too, who knows what would come of it. Halefoil Cumcut complaining that he doesn't want to be a part of the ##### subplot? Eric Rand-Walsh not recognizing who the real dragons are and demanding to be included in Nostrum when he already is? Tarnish Jutmoll complaining that he's not ready to retire yet, either in fact or in fiction? It's too much for us to handle. Let it suffice that we will publicly summarize what happened, and if you have any private concerns to bring to us, do it somewhere else. The feature, along with the running list of the people and places in the narrative, is now posted.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

But wait! There's more!

We here at Nostrum HQ wonder why, as we studied the life of He Pingping, the world's shortest man, all of the photographs were of him and the world's tallest man, or occasionally, the world's tallest woman. I mean, the guy was a couple of feet tall. You could stand him next to Betty White and he's still look like a really small person. Obviously your average media photographer either doesn't understand the concept of overkill or, for that matter, the irony of real life. Anyhow, one thing that we do know is that there is now a new world's smallest man. Our advice to him is to steer clear of really, really tall people. Forget basketball, for instance. No March Madness for you, my little friend. Hang out instead at bowling alleys and bingo parlors. Get your photograph taken with normal people. We promise you—in fact, we guarantee you, money back, no questions asked—that you will still look both itsy and bitsy. You can take that to the bank.

You can also take a bonus episode of Nostrum to the bank this week. Pick your poison, audio or pdf.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If this is Wednesday, it must be Tuesday

I'm not quite sure why this episode is coming out a day early, but I do know that the Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the death of He Pingping, the world's shortest man. It's not that the Mite doesn't have sympathy for the little fellow or his family so much as the fact that the name He Pingping was out there in the first place and the Nostrumite never knew about it. Would that be perfect for a Nostrum character or what! He Pingping would definitely being doing OO. Poorly.

We have seriously lost something here. Console yourself with the audio or the pdf of Episode 6.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nostrum on hiatus, but still manages to produce!

This has been the week from hell. A rumor that Sarah Palin was going to appear at the bookstore for a signing had people lined up out the door, clutching their Going Rogues to their breasts in hopes of getting that miraculous signature (who knew that the woman was able to write her own name?), Then it turned out that, in fact, all of the people on the line were plants hired by the Palin organization, which had provided the books, which meant that the store wasn't going to make a penny out of this, plus they were blocking traffic for the books that would make a penny. Then the news broke that Palin was disguising herself as a Canadian and sneaking across the border to get free health care, and well, there you were. panic in the self-help aisle and riots down by the James Pattersons. When I went to ask the Mite if all of this had sent him into a state of permanent depression, I couldn't find him: the Mate told me that he had disguised himself as a Canadian and snuck across the border to have someone look at his hemorrhoids. This is understandable, as what true-blue American would ever want to look at the Nostrumite's hemorrhoids, so what alternative did the lad have? The only thing that perplexes me about any of this is where one gets these Canadian disguises. Do they actually sell kits that put "eh" at the end of all your sentences? Amazing.

Because of all of this activity, the Mite and I were not able to get an episode out this week. The good news is that we were able to substitute an entry from our favorite blog instead. Avail yourself of the audio or pdf, as you wish. Note that both of them are misnumbered, which is SBO's fault and not ours.

We'll be back next week with a return to our regular scheduled programming.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Worst. Weekend. Ever.

So it started when the Mite said, hey, let's go skiing up in New Hampshire. Cut to the chase: Friday, in his car, the two of us, the blizzard to end all blizzards, stuck off-road for seven hours in a snow drift listening to old The View from Tab podcasts. It doesn't get any worse than that? Don't believe it. After we were rescued by the state police, we managed to crawl to a Holiday Inn Express in some NH town so small I think their name is "You Are Now Entering Leaving—Goodbye!" The bad news was that said Holiday Inn Express had no electricity, so the Mite and I sat around in the dark for 48 hours waiting for the roads to clear, no electronic entertainment whatsoever, with nothing to preserve our sanity other than a deck of cards the front desk sold us for $11. Hearty folk, those New Hampswegians. Stingy bastids, too. So we played honeymoon bridge for a couple of days (the Mite now owes me $3428.42, give or take a few bucks) before we were finally able to make it back to Massachusetts. Thanks to a deep seabed of inner serenity, the NostrumMate had stayed behind with the kids, which was a really good thing because that would have made 5 of us playing honeymoon bridge in an electricity-free one-night-cheap hotel for two nights, and, well, none of us really would have wanted to go there. Talk about your states of permanent depression!

On the bright side, we're now all melted out, I'm back at the bookstore and the Mite is back at TWHS, and everything is roughly normal. For instance, this week's episode of Nostrum (pdf) brings us back to Mr. Jutmoll and his plans for the future. Enjoy it. And think of the blood, sweat and tears that go into these productions, the creative strain, the endless hours of honeymoon bridge...

Does anyone even know what honeymoon bridge is anymore? Life is so tough sometimes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

True grit from the get-go 'R' us

Not much happening around the old Nostrum corral these days. Everybody was off last week, including the Mite's school, Tennessee Williams, which put him in a state of permanent depression because he wasn't able to work with his LDers on jury nullification. The Mite has the idea that his team should simply run total nullification, i.e., judge nullification, prosecutor nullification, bailiff nullification, defendant nullification, the guy who sells coffee down on the main floor nullification, the works. He calls this his throwing out the bathwater with the baby approach. Doesn't sound all that great to me, but what do I know? I just judge 'em, I don't coach 'em.

There's a new character or two in this week's Nostrum (mp3—the episode # may look wrong, but it isn't—some technical glitch too insignificant to worry about, pdf), which is now ready for prime time. Hautboy LeMonde, for one. We did not make up that name. Hautboy is entirely real. As is, of course, all of Nostrum. We just write it down. So don't write us complaining about our insensitivity or whatever. If you want sensitive, buy the expensive toothpaste. We're true grit from the get-go.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Theoretically, I was judging.

Ya gotta love the Harvard tournament. I mean, y'all come here from the proverbial four corners, you pay through the nose for the tournament and motels and food, you're lucky if you get to even touch the hem of the garments of anybody who breaks, and still you come, year after year, undeterred, battered and bruised but still full of pluck. I was shocked—shocked!—to see that the tournament was still this popular after so many years. By now I figured everybody would have wised up and gotten their pluck out of there, but what do I know. Never underestimate the value of a brand name, eh?

I ended up judging LD for the Mite. LD, unlike Harvard, has changed a bit since I've been away. Nowadays, no one debates anymore, they just theorize about what they would say if they were debating, and they tell you why, because the moon is in Pisces or something, you have no alternative but to theoretically not only drop their opponent but also eliminate his family, friends, school and place of origin with a barrage of tactical nuclear weapons. Back in my day, we had these things called resolutions, but they seem to have gone the way of the mullet. (Which would make an excellent philosophy book title, I think: "The Way of the Mullet." Baudrillard should have written that one while he still had the chance.) Anyhow, I managed to get through it. Blocked against the Mite's Tennessee Williams team, of course, but there were enough other gay writers with schools named after them in the field that I more than got my fill. Way to go, guys (although I am a little ambivalent about Jean Genet Prep)!

Anyhow, I can't say that I liked everything that I heard, but I got paid to hear it, so who am I to complain? You want to debate about whether value/criterion structures are intrinsically abusive to one-eyed hermaphroditic students from Idaho, you go right ahead. I'll vote on it, but I won't be happy about it.

I gotta get me my own debate team. Then I can solve the problems of the world. And speaking of debate teams, the whole point of this message is to let you know that Episode 3 is on the books (audio or pdf), concerning a couple of members of the Nighten Day team Once again that seems to be the high school that will be the focus of the story, or at least our story so far. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just a little update/preview

For those who are anal obsessive, or merely Nostrum obsessive, I just wanted to point out the list of people, places and things over to the right. It looks ahead a little bit, if you're interested. I mean, who doesn't want to know more about Boner Corkzit and Halefoil Cumcut?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What a crappy day

I mean, there's snow coming at us from all directions. The Mite is in a state of terminal depression because he had planned to give surprise quizzes in all his classes today, including study hall, lunch and detention, but he got snowed out. Meanwhile old Jimbo back at the Hud worked for a while and then boogied back to his home base, read a book and then was climbing his walls, so what could we do but jump the gun a bit?

Who ever said that starting friction was the worst? Episode 2: Too Many Beans for Dinner. PDF. Audio.

If this is Wednesday...

...it must be Nostrum.

Wow, was that long ago or what? Every week we'd send out that message announcing our latest posting on the ld-l listserver. And every week the ld-l listserver would respond by threatening legal action if we didn't cease and desist. Good times, man, good times.

So why are the Mite and I doing this again? Well, as for me, I'm between real jobs, having failed to accede to the Moravian throne, and what else have I got to do? And the Mite has been quite active in forensics, keeping up on things with his team (Tennessee Williams HS, up here in Cambridge), and he wanted to update the world at large on how things have both changed and remained the same (he always was deep, that one). He's got me judging for him this weekend at Harvard, so I'll also be able to check things out for myself.

Anyhow, here's episode one, as an audio and as a pdf. Collect them all while you still can!

See you next Wednesday.