THE PUF REPORT: Part 3 of 5
As a rule, PUF always has a mascot.
Now, the thing about the mascot is that it changes every year. I’m not entirely sure what the first few mascots happened to be, because while I have been headlining the fest for something like 8 years, I came into the mix somewhere around the time of PUF #3.
Back in ’01, when #3 happened, the “mascots” were sheep. Not real sheep, mind you. Nobody wanted to clean up the sheep poo. So, real grass eating wool makers were replaced by the next best thing – life-sized cardboard cutouts made in their likeness. But then, they eventually progressed not only into cutouts, but plush stuffed animals and plastic toys as well. Which is one of the things that drove the mascot diversity PUF is known for today. Even so, I believe sheep were still the mascot in ’02, as to this very day I have a nubbly little plastic novelty toy sheeplike thing that was somewhat of a party favor handed out at the fest.
The picture above is obviously not a sheep. It was taken in ’08, when aliens invaded PUF. Although, now that I think about it, sheep and little green men might have gotten along just fine. Well, maybe not gotten along per se, but I’m betting the alien dudes would have had some fun with the sheep. What the sheep would have thought of that is anyone’s guess. I suppose it would largely depend upon the individual sheep and… well… things we simply won’t go into here.
Uhh… Ahem… So, moving right along…
Of course, the point here is basically to illustrate that the mascots have become an important – and expected – fixture at the Festival. To that end, I’d like to offer the following quote directly from the Festival Organizer herself, Tish Owen. In her book, Chasing The Rainbow: Facilitating A Pagan Festival Without Losing Your Mind, she states:
WHY ARE THERE ANIMALS AT PUF? – We really have no good answers to that question, except that it amuses us. We did not start out with an animal mascot or even a name. But over the years, we have had too many bagels donated, cooked pigs, a sheep incident, the fire, the accident, the flood, and then we just started adding the animals for fun. Then at some point, someone started killing the mascots and it has devolved. We have had: bagels, sheep, pigs, penguins, flamingos, Chihuahuas, and flying pigs!
There have been more, such as the aliens, since the publication of her book. And, as you can see here on the right, she wasn’t kidding about the mascot killings. A poor, inflatable blue-green dude met his demise on the road right outside the VIP cabin one night. The scene was odd since no cars had come by for several hours, yet there it was, flat as the proverbial pancake. It definitely made us wonder if it was perhaps a “staged accident”.
But, at least in this case the particular end met was a bit more swift. Among other victims of the “serial mascot killer” another alien was found in the walk-in freezer in the dining hall. It was frozen solid, and still had a… well… there’s simply no delicate way to say this… It still had an “anal probe” protruding from its rectal orifice, which prompted site investigators to conclude that the green dude had been tortured as well as frozen to death. Of course, this theory led to… Yeah, you guessed it… An Alien Autopsy.
Sometimes there have been notes from the killer. Sometimes not. I think it largely depends upon the particular killing – that being whether it was one of the planned murders, or merely an opportunistic sort of hack and slash.
Still, there are times when the method or arrangement of the corpsified mascot remains is a message unto itself. For instance, during the year of the flying pigs many a winged swine met a horrible and terrible fate. One in particular was the little piggy who had none. In point of fact, the reason he had none is because he was the roast beast. He was even layered between two slices of breand and served up to Tish herself in her lunch one day – ostensibly so she could “taste test” the roast pork that was to be served for dinner that evening. It’s quite possible you heard her laughing when she unwrapped the sandwich, no matter where you happen to reside. We definitely heard her from one end of the campground to the other, and many points beyond.
By now I’m sure you are wondering just exactly what all this has to do with “dingles”… Well, nothing at all really. But, we’ll get to them eventually…
This year, 2009, was a first for PUF mascots. You see, instead of sheep, or frogs, or chee-hoowah-hoowah’s, we had Pirates. That’s right, Pirates. Not Pie Rats. Although, Pie Rats could possibly be fun. But, I digress…
Since the mascot was actual human being type of people it made things a bit more difficult on the “serial mascot killer”. After all, if you “kill” a stuffed, plush penguin, all you do is make a mess. If you actually kill a festival attendee who is dressed as a Pirate, the sheriff shows up and there are hard questions demanding answers. Therefore, miniature rubber duckies with pirate garb molded onto them served as the victims. Them, and Peeps. Yeah, I know, it was sort of like Peep sacrilege, but what can ya’ do?
Anywho, moving right along, this year’s PUF had a fantastic lineup of guest authors. Kristin Madden, Dorothy Morrison, Raven Grimassi & Stephanie Taylor, Moi, and even Christopher Penczak. (Can anyone see where this is going?)
Well, just in case you haven’t caught on just yet, think about the following… Pirates are the mascot, we are a bunch of authors who like hanging out together, because we are authors we make a living with words, and we all pretty much have severely warped senses of humor… And, we’re punny… Very punny… Ya’ there yet?
Yeah… We dubbed ourselves the Pirates of Penczak…
But, even through the “bad pun groans” wafting from my PC speakers I can still hear you asking, “But, Murv, what the hell does all this have to do with a dingle? And, moreover, what the hell is a dingle anyway?”
Well, to answer the first question, not a damn thing.
To answer the second, you’ll have to ask Raven and Stephanie, because you see, all I know is Raven won’t let Stephanie go into the dingle by herself…
More to come…
The next installment in THE PUF REPORT: Part 4 of 5 – Food, Glorious Food…