David Raffin

The Arkansas Traveller

They don’t have a lot of religious relics in the United States but those they have they hold dear. In Arkansas they have the original pogo stick Jesus used to jump on. When a traveller challenged the authenticity of the relic he was murdered by true believers. This happened in 1919 the same year sticks were patented and imported to the US.
Today there is a song schoolchildren sing about it, but the revised song purports to be about a bumble bee. It is no longer the state song, having been supplanted in 1974 with “Arkansas’ll Getcha.”

Cursed objects and the purchase thereof

Not every item at The Old Curiosity Shop is cursed. In fact, those that are we keep safely behind the counter. You may only gaze upon them in the presence of our highly trained staff. Touching is forbidden unless you are over the age of eighteen and are certified to handle cursed objects. We will not sell a cursed item to any customer without a full background check and a waiting period.

An exception to this is the cursed item grab bag by the door. Pick a box, any box. You never know what you will get and that is part of the fun. As always, re-gifting from the grab bag is forbidden. You get what you get and what you got is yours and yours alone.

Some items, however, are magical without the added onus of being cursed, per se. There is no extra charge for this. The magic, we give away. This saves the consumer from having to pay the magic tax, which can be hefty.
No magic tax on any item bought this year. We eat the magic tax. Literally. We transform it into cupcakes that we sell next door. Please stop by on the way out. This is how we pass the magic tax back onto you.

Buy three objects and you may refer to them as a Trinity. No charge.
The Old Curiosity Shop. Unending Bargains! Ceaseless Havoc! Eternal Joy! Constant Dread! Free Parking! Soundproof Walls!

Mark Of All Trades: An Interview With DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh « The WILD Magazine

Great interview in The Wild magazine with Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO.

The people that are able to influence our world the most are evil! But their techniques work! We were impressed with Madison Avenue, that they could talk people into doing things that were bad for them. But what if you used those techniques to spread good information?
[…] It seemed that subversion worked better in our culture than rebellion.

Mark Of All Trades: An Interview With DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh « The WILD Magazine.

Their last album was Something for Everybody.

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The Taoist Farmer

A man who lived on the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?” Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a disaster?” Their household was richer by a fine horse, which his son loved to ride. One day he fell and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?”

A year later the nomads came in force across the border, and every able-bodied man took his bow and went into battle. The Chinese frontiersmen lost nine of every ten men. Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other. Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.

The Lost Horse,
Chinese Folktale.

As told by Ellen J. Langer, in” The Power of Mindful Learning,” Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, page 99-100. (1997).

More versions of this story here.