Monthly Columns

Weyland’s Whey

Weyland’s Whey 

by Weyland Smith

For Your Deliberation

Cody’s Wish

Cody Dorman was born with a rare genetic disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.  It severely impacts growth and development.  During a Make-a-Wish visit to Gainsborough Farm, Kentucky, in 2018, a 5-month-old weanling came over to Cody and his wheelchair and placed its head in his lap.  They bonded.  The horse’s owners decided on the name Cody’s Wish.

Cody and his family often journeyed to watch the horse compete.  At the 2023 Breeder’s Cup, the horse’s final race before retirement, expectations were low.  Too many great horses.  No way Cody’s Wish could win.  When the bell rang, he started out at the back of the pack.

Then it began.  Splattered all over with mud from bringing up the rear, Cody’s Wish slowly but inexorably made his way up to the front.  The crowd was on their feet.  No matter who they’d bet on, everybody was cheering for that horse.  He won by a nose.  Cody Dorman joined his friend in the winner’s circle.

Cody Dorman passed away on his way home after the race.  He was 17.

Sounds Like Salem, Part One: The House of Seven Gables.

It was a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  And a movie.  (Vincent Price was in it.)  The house itself was designated a National Historic District.  Sparkle had seen it before and warned me it was small.  I’ve been an apartment dweller most of my life, so the rooms didn’t strike me as cramped, although the ceilings seemed kind of low.  Our guide told us that wasn’t because people were that much shorter then–he said folks were only two or three inches smaller back in 1668, which seems like a pretty sizeable difference to me, but wth.  I learned four things (besides how short people were back then): Sarah Good–executed by hanging–shouted at Reverend Nicholas Noyes during her trial, “I’m no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink!”  Twenty-five years later, the Reverend perished himself…when he choaked on his own blood.  I also learned that a gable is a pointed section of wall enclosing the end of a roof, the shape and design of which depend on various features.  The house didn’t always have seven of them, but it does today.  I believe the number of gables varied from time to time.  And the kitchen, at least to me, was a horror show.  The fireplace where servant women cooked was open.  Those women wore long skirts–which were flammable.  That rated a shiver from me.  And the girls slept in that room, amid the dust and cinders.  How well could you sweep that up in those days?  Last but not least, Hawthorne himself may have been kind of a dick.  He thought of the town as in the process of melancholy decay and saw its slavery sins as both fascinating and shameful.  On the bus ride out of town, we passed a statue of Hawthorne which our guide claimed had its back deliberately turned to Salem.  I guess he held a grudge about losing his post as Surveyor…

Note: Some reports claim Reverend Noyes died from a brain hemorrhage instead of gagging on his own blood–but hey, that’s close enough for me!

(Sources: The tour, American Writers Museum, and Wikipedia.)

MUSIC Review: Saliva

Hard rock.  They played their first show on Halloween in 1996.  Founding member and guitarist Wayne Swinny died while on tour in 2023.

My verdict: 3 broomsticks.

(Found ’em Music Choice!)

TV Review: The Irrational

“Oh, you’re the science guy.”

“That’s Bill Nye.  I’m actually the behavioral science guy.”

Billed as a “whydunit”, this American crime drama stars Jesse L. Martin as Professor Alec Mercer, who is frequently called in by police to help out with puzzling cases.  (People can act so irrationally, after all!)  I’ve watched three episodes, and while my favorite was the pilot, I’ll always have a soft spot for the one with the Tarot cards.

Premiered on NBC September 25, 2023.  Based on a 2008 non-fiction book titled Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.  By Dan Ariely.

Verdict: 4 broomsticks.

MAGAZINE Review: Weird, NJ

I’ve been reading this mag off and on for years, and it never disappoints.  Published twice yearly, WNJ can be found at stores throughout the Garden State.  (Look for their web site addy below.)  It’s a sort of guidebook for local legends, folklore, spooky stories and news bits.  Every cover has a bizarre photo on it.

Verdict: 4 broomsticks.


(Sources: Ish #61, Knowledge and Wikipedia.)


Last year, while rushing to beat what’s known in the trade as the Dreaded Deadline Doom, I tapped out a column late at night only to realize to my horror after submission that it was riddled with typos.  Fortunately, that turkey never saw print, but it made me wonder what I’d do if (nah, let’s be real, when) I goof up again.

The Army has a solution of sorts, called the 5 Ps.  The sanitized version goes like this: “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.  So here’s the plan, Pilgrims: henceforth, anybody who spots a typo or similar mistake in one of my columns and points it out to me via e-mail will automatically win a coveted Null Award–which, as the name implies, is actually nothing at all.  Nada.  Zilch.  Like the millions in my bank account, they only exist in my imagination.  Great concept, hah?  Hah?

(I stole the idea from Smilin’ Stan Lee himself.  Hey–the Weylander only swipes the best!)

Send your observations to [email protected].  Go easy on name calling and profanities, you know how sensitive I am.