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"The Column Before the Storm"

Zbigniew Skzafvinstavitčh  

One of Poland's most unknown 19th-century artists, Skzafvinstavitčh (pron: SKA-vin-STA-vitch) became entranced with the possibility of combining his erratic painting style with English-language puns. His fondness for the language sprang from his reading a biography of fellow Pole Józef Teodor Konrad "Klebstfalk" Nalecz Voluminastowstwitz-Korzeniowski, who jumped ship in England, learned the language by reading discarded matchbook covers, then rose to literary fame writing under the pen name "Jack London."

Skzafvinstavitčh (pron: Ska-VINtC[h]E-ta-vitCH) wasn't quite that ambitious, and settled for reading discarded English matchbook covers only until he had a sufficient grasp of the language¹ to realize it was capable of an immense variety of puns,² and that he could combine this knowledge with his mediocre painting style and perhaps catch the attention of the less-demanding English-speaking art critics. It never did, but by that time Skzafvinstavitčh (pron: Zķavintzta-VIŒNQ) had ground out many more.

"The Column Before the Storm" was the first of these efforts. It was finally sold by his estate after the artist (pron: AHR-tist) was run over by a double-decker bus and killed while sketching London's West End electrical distribution network for his proposed "Piccadilly Circuits."
¹Although he was still pretty much useless in conversation, thinking, among other mental malapropisms, that "Can You Draw Me?" was a formal, though insincere, greeting.
² Polish presents no such opportunities to the budding paranomasiatist. The only successful pun is between the words "nie powiązany," (incoherent) and "nie powiåzany" (a duck's udder) and that one has been done to death.

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