Here’s what I’m excited about today: End of History Ale! Okay, it’s English ale, and I believe it’s 110 proof (!) and it comes in dead-animal bottles, and there’s only 12 bottles made (seven stoats, four squirrels, and a hare) and it costs $762/ bottle, so probably I shall never have one. But I am no Janey-come-lately to the world of rogue taxidermy—far from it! As a child I became enamored of the jackalope, beast of lore and legend and Wyoming roadside attraction rest stops, and I began collecting jackalope postcards at a very early age.
By the time I finished college and moved to New York, I’d amassed a nice little collection of several dozen jackalope cards from various states. Then some guy I was dating had a birthday and I didn’t have enough money to buy him a present and I wanted to give him something really, really nice. So I gave him my entire jackalope postcard collection. He totally hated them, and then we broke up, and he never even gave them back. BUT: Here is the happy ending! When I told Sluggo that story, he got me my very own jackalope— a REAL one! Look! Here’s the picture!
Now I have a small collection of actual rogue taxidermy: my baby-alligator-and-some-kind-of-shell candy dish; my handbag-made-from-an-actual-armidillo (with garnet eyes!); the fish that I can’t even begin to explain ... In fact, the armidillo handbag won second place at the first annual Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest, hosted by Union Hall’s Secret Science Club and curated by WFMU’s own Dorian Devins, plus authors Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson. (Buy their book!)
Back when I did a show called Truckstop Teaparty on WFMU, I once did a weekly special feature with all the instructions of how to stuff an owl to give to your mom for Mother’s Day. And in 2001, I interviewed a 14-year-old homeschooled taxidermist named Amy Ritchie on the first incarnation of the Thunk Tank program, and you can hear the archive from this page. And don’t forget the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, ’cause, you know, I never do.
But knowing our fine American tradition of rogue taxidermy, I couldn’t believe we don’t have dead-animal bottles of our own. So I went looking, but found something even more useful, which is, of course, the deer-anus bottle opener which you are gonna need when you want to pop the top on that stoat.
Thanks, Taxidermy Tube and good ol’ American ingenuity!