Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Humble Pie: Part Seven of The Case of the Lady Slipper Stalker

[This is Part Seven of The Case of the Lady Slipper Stalker. See also Parts OneTwoThreeFourFour-and-a-Half,  Four-and-Three-QuartersFive, and Six, along with Suggestions for My Dear ReadersA Note from Mrs Hudson, and A Plea For Help.]

The Misplaced Monkey
Dick Culbert / Foter / CC BY
It has been a full week, Dear Readers, since I have had reason to address you, but do not think that I have been idle during this interlude. I do occasionally accept commissions from the local Orchid Society, and I was engaged in a most fascinating problem involving a Misplaced (and Bloodthirsty) Monkey (Dracula simia), but that is "a story for which the world is not yet prepared" ("The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire").*

I still eagerly await a reply to my Plea for Help from the League of Mathematical Scholars regarding the Coded Message, but I am pleased to announce that the Two Chocolate Pies are now spoken for (see the list below), and I have received many interesting clues as a result of dangling these tasty treats before my Dear Readers.
  • Thanks to Mrs Castle, I learned that Mr Diener (Prime Suspect #1) uses ciphers in a geo-caching project; she also reminded me that Mrs Birnbaum's classroom pet was a lizard of some kind (--I had forgotten all about the companionable reptile!). 
  • Mrs C also informs me that a Ceasar shift (such as the one used in the Coded Message) is far too rudimentary a cipher for Mr Pearson to employ. 
  • The Ely Scholar (my DNR-intern friend) also thinks the lizard points to Mrs Birnbaum, but that whoever the Lady Slipper Stalker is, s/he has many silent accomplices! (I agree!)
  • According to Sean S (and his older sister Clara, who engaged in a lengthy Facebook messaging session with me late one evening), and also according to Mr Mattson, who arrived at a similar conclusion, we cannot suspect English, Social Studies, Math, or Science teachers because the Confusing Miscellany, along with the Strangely-Punctuated Rhyming Quatrain, would seem to clear those Departments; thus, we must look to the Phy Ed or Fine Arts Departments for our culprit. (If so, I would favor Mr Anderson, with Ms Powell as runner-up.) 
  • Finally, from Tiffany W, I learned that Ms Durant is famous for her collection of rubber ducks (I had no idea!). 
I must also call your attention, Dear Readers, to a rather Philosophical Exchange between Yours Truly and a Ghostly Anonymous Commenter. See the screenshot below. 
The Philosophical Exchange

If any of you, my Dear Readers, can help me identify this Ghostly Anonymous Commenter, please let me know. He or She must be a former teacher (Mrs Birnbaum or some other?). I know of at least one who is both eloquent and fond of coloring books...
* * *
Dear Readers, I must now come to my main reason for communicating with you today:  I made a humbling discovery only yesterday. I have said previously that "I pride myself on noticing details, on hunting down the answer to the most perplexing problem, on checking and re-checking all the data at my disposal...Could I have missed something?" (Part Five). Well, clearly I missed something that has been staring me in the face for many weeks now. I was walking past Señor Woodward's room yesterday, and I happened to glance at the bulletin board across the hall from his room. What should catch my eye but an "Orchids of Minnesota" Poster, just like the one I have in my room! The one in my room was a gift from the Ely Scholar (my DNR-intern friend, who has commented so often on The Case of the Lady Slipper Stalker).
The "Orchids of Minnesota" Poster across from Señor's room
The "Orchids of Minnesota" Poster in my classroom.
I mentioned the existence of this second "Orchids of Minnesota" Poster to my 4B English 12 class, and Emily W told me it had been up on that bulletin board since just before school started. If this is true, then it is also true that...

  • Although I used the Great Detective's famous judgment ("You see, but you do not observe") as an epigraph to a post about training one's eye to see details, I myself failed to observe this telling detail ("A Scandal in Bohemia")!
  • I must, therefore, eat a slice of Humble Pie! (But not umble pie! As a vegetarian, I just couldn't!)
  • The Lady Slipper Stalker, who put the Photo in Question on my car on August 27 or 28, may very well have put up this Poster at the same time, which I must take as evidence of a pre-meditated strategy...
  • The "Orchids of Minnesota" Poster is yet another item produced by the DNR, which points once again to Prime Suspect #1, Mr Diener!
Speaking of our Prime Suspect (who has so far garnered 50% of the votes in my sidebar Poll--closing date 11/3/14 at 9 pm), he called my attention to the Wildflower Mural above the 8th grade lockers just yesterday. Although I have seen it many times, I have not thought to examine it for clues! The Mural is very beautiful, and I recognize in it several flowers that grow in our area, including one lady Slipper. 

Unfortunately, I do not know who painted the mural, though if you look very closely along the bottom of it, you will see a few sets of initials. I also do not know when it was painted, though it has been here nearly as long as I have, I think. To my knowledge, it was not a senior project. I hope Those Who Know will enlighten me by leaving comments on this post...
Wildflower Mural, section 1 
Wildflower Mural, section 2

Wildflower Mural, section 3
Wildflower Mural, section 4: notice the Lady Slipper at the
right edge...

Wildflower Mural, section 5: here the Lady Slipper is
more visible.
Finally, Dear Readers, I present the list of Chocolate Pie recipients so that they may plan to come to my room on Tuesday, October 7th, during Community Time, to pick up their slices. I look forward to dishing out Chocolate Pie (it tastes much better than Humble Pie) and to making my donation to the Twenty-Five Year Club! And, of course, I look forward to hearing more of what my Dear Readers think... 

Chocolate Pie Recipients:
  1. Mrs GR
  2. Mrs GR (because she earned two slices!)
  3. Mr Mattson
  4. Ms Oswald
  5. Ms Tessier
  6. Mrs Fishel
  7. Mr Pearson 
  8. Mr Diener
  9. Mrs Kiero
  10. Mrs Castle
  11. Mrs Castle (because she earned two slices!)
  12. Jonathan T
  13. Tiffany W
  14. Brent L
  15. Sean S
  16. Mrs VB
  17. Lilly M
  18. Derek F
  19. The Ely Scholar 
  20. The Ely Scholar
  21. The Ely Scholar (who earned three slices! Delivery/Pick-up arranged)
  22. Charlie H
  23. Madame Greenan
  24. Mrs Lafond 

* Nota Bene: Dr N was using her Poetic License here, as she has never been employed by the Northland Orchid Society, but she does plan to attend its annual Fall orchid sale this weekend. 


  1. The comments by "Anonymous" have a certain spiritual bent to them, do they not? When one combines that fact with the translated message, a singular suspect presents himself.

    1. Perhaps you have made an error in your assumptions. Perhaps you are searching for answers in all the wrong places. Perhaps all of this is meaningless and inconsequential. But to know that, you must first ask yourself: What is consequential? What truly IS meaning?

    2. Meaning is what humans make, with that most impressive tool, the brain.

      You repeat yourself, Ghostly, which makes me think--especially with Mr Pearson's remarks above in mind--of former Chaplain Chico, current Chaplain Weaver, former art teacher Mr Hanson (who is also fond of repetitious existential questions), and former philosophy teacher Clabaugh.

      My question to you is Who are you?

  2. That some person would even pose the existential question is important. It should be part of our daily sunrise questions, ya?
    Perhaps it is The Hokie Pokie. JB