Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa Baby

The following article was posted by dear pal The Bablatrice back at Christmas 2006 down in Arkansas. Ten years later it still remains my favorite holiday article ever. I am re-posting it here with her permission. At least I assume I would have her permission if I asked for it. But I'm not taking any chances. Now excuse me while I turn off the spell-checker:


In the local paper this week (yep - our town only has a weekly paper) there were letters to Santa from kids at the local schools. Here are a few of the better ones, with my comments. Did you really think I wouldn't comment?

Dear Santa,
Is it cold up ther? I am shr it is. dont wre it will be wrm in my house. there will be hot chaliket. i been bad and good sometimes. I hop I get the theng's I want for cricmus. I hop you will give me wut I want for cricmus.
Love,
Will

Will- I hop you get what you want for cricmus, too - as well as a few vowels. You need them.


Dear Santa,
How are you and Mrs. Claus? Thank you for the gifts that you gave me last year. I would like to have pjs also a barbie. I will leve you cookies and milk.
Merry Christmas,
Jennifer.

Jen - If Santa doesn't bring you pajamas and a Barbie, he's a big, fat mean bastard, and I will personally help you kick his ginormous, lard-filled ass.


Dear Santa,
I hope you and Mrs. Claus are okay. Thank you for the prezes. I wuld like to have for Christmas this year I'd like to have urk eestrik log shot. Id like to havv ddgn. I will leave kookez and nelk.
Zakkari

Um...Zak..are you an alien? 'Cause the last half of your letter sounds a lot like what I would imagine alien-speak to be.


Dear Santa,
I wont to send you a meshig. What I rillie want is a new puppy. Next, I rillie wont is a horse. Last, I onte is a nother puppy for crismus. I rillie want theshe things.
Love,
Kensey.

Kensey - you're entirely too young to be drinking. Lay off the sauce until you're at least in the 5th grade, okay?


Dear Santa,
My name is Autumn. I really want a baby bed for all of my dolls. I would like to say "I love you, and be safe, your going to splash your bottom going into my house."

Autumn, dear child, do you possibly live in a houseboat? Swamp? A raft in the middle of a pond? C'mon kid, I'm dyin' to know exactly how Santa's going to get a wet tush going to your house.


Dear Santa,
I hope you and Mrs. Claus are don w wenl. Thank you fur the presents. I would like to have for Christmas this year is a makn chrowch chok. And I wont is a now viteo gom. And the last sta I kan am irtnel is I wont a I wont a naw bike.
Gabe

Yo Gabe! Are you by any chance related to Zak the Alien?


Dear Santa,
Emily is my name. I would love to have a yellow moon shape touch light from the dollar tree. I would like to say "Merry Christmas and tell the rain deer hi for me."

It just breaks my heart that Emily only asks for one thing from the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree, people, where everything's a fucking dollar. Emily, if I knew who you were, I'd go to the Dollar Tree and buy you every single yellow moon touch lamp they had.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

'Tis the EPUC season...

Martian receives giant yam for Christmas

New Rudolph model




Eat cat you poop

Santa misses Christmas

Ancient tapestry discovered

Octopus holiday rituals
Rudolph the red-nosed spider

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ghosts of Belle Castle

“It’s creepy,” says The Flaming Liberal, speaking of the correctional services college where, primarily new corrections officers, probation officers and parole officers do their training, not to mention the tactical crisis specialists etcetera, and where the basement of this historic primary school building has been outfitted with an authentic jail cell environment. Indeed the old place emits a lot of weird noises; all of which I attribute to after-market heating and air conditioning measures.
Such explanations are not embraced by the security guard who insists he heard voices talking to him through the intercoms at primary exterior doors during his rounds or the voice in the fitness room which told a night shift manager to “Get out of here!” all while the building should have been empty of other life.

Another manager claims that a 200 lb dummy used for some kind of training had moved positions between his visits to the gymnasium; had got itself up off the floor and seated itself in a chair.

Stories abound of guards who have left, swearing never to return to the building, including one guard who locked himself in the guard office all night and refused to do his patrols before resigning at the end of his shift.

Other folks have offered to share their stories and I have declined. While never having had much use for ghost stories, nor suspecting them legitimate, I am a writer after all; with an imagination, and being occasionally alone in the building and walking my rounds, I don’t necessarily want to be thinking about certain ideas.

I walked into one conversation between night shift occasionals and immediately departed again, hearing one say, Which ghost? The other said, The little boy. The first: Oh good. He’s the nice one.
The nice one! Who the hell is the other one!

It’s okay. I don’t want to know.

But wait. I am having a change of heart. I am a writer (at least in my own mind) and an explorer; a seeker. Why would I not take this opportunity to delve into something new, as I have made it my policy to, for years now?

There was an incident of sorts during the Thanksgiving weekend when all staff and residential students had departed for the entire weekend. The place was officially closed. On my first outdoor patrol I saw that the light was on in (residence) room 108. On my next indoor patrol I stopped at room 108 and discovered the door unlocked, which is a no-no, and quite strange that the Friday evening guard had not remedied this already, as there is a mandatory security room-check on Friday nights. Otherwise we do not normally touch the residence rooms.

I checked out the room; one of the few which was not currently rented. It was thus clean and pristine inside. I shut off the light and locked the door and carried on.

The next night when no one should have been in the college except for the weekend day shift guard, I did my first patrol – indoors, and suddenly found myself testing the door to room 108 which I don’t recall was my intention. The door was unlocked again and the light was on again. Very strange. The next time I crossed paths with the intervening guard, he claimed he hadn’t touched room 108.

So…

Weird.

And not terribly frightful as far as poltergeists go, I admit. Still I was creeped out.


Captain Vino
Yo kids

FWG
hey

Captain Vino
Word

FWG
Hey Jo!

Friendly Exorcist
Hi

Captain Vino
There we go

FWG
What are you doing the Friday after next, late at night?

Friendly Exorcist
let me check....

Captain Vino
Ghostbustin'!

Friendly Exorcist
apparently yes
what time?

Captain Vino
Bustin' makes me feel good!

Friendly Exorcist
oh god make him stop

Captain Vino
Boo

Friendly Exorcist
so what time do you want me there?

FWG
I don't know. I'd prefer it was just you and me in the building. Is 2AM too late?

Friendly Exorcist
can it be a bit earlier?

FWG
I'd like to say 1AM which should be safe. Everyone should be out by then but we might have to be a bit flexible.

Friendly Exorcist
Just tell them I'm the call girl

Captain Vino
I'll be your pimp

FWG
good grief
you should come too Captain. I will need someone to hide behind if things go sideways

Captain Vino
Did you just call me fat, motherfucker!?

FWG
No Captain, I didn't.

Captain Vino
Alright

Friendly Exorcist
So just a thought. If some of the others have seen things then they might want to share their stories with me. why not just tell them that you know someone that is willing to come take a look and see how they react?

FWG
I could mention you and see what they say.

Friendly Exorcist
Ya just mention me and see their reaction

FWG
tell me what to say about you

Captain Vino
Fun loving party girl

FWG
LOL

Captain Vino
Likes long walks on the beach

Friendly Exorcist
I do clearings and paranormal investigations all the time....and I'm willing to check the place out

FWG
can I call you Buffy the Ghost Slayer?

Friendly Exorcist
sure

FWG
Sorry. Okay, I will talk to them.

Friendly Exorcist
great. Let me know what they say

Captain Vino
Have you mentioned what you've encountered, to the other staff?

FWG
Only to one other guard - to ask if he unlocked the door. Which he says he did not
Okay, Jo. I will

Friendly Exorcist
K great

Friendly Exorcist
Looking forward to seeing you again and checking the place out

FWG
I think the visit would have to be unofficial. I think it would not be an income opportunity

Friendly Exorcist
understood.......I'm not going to get arrested am I??

FWG
No. You're my guest. It is just a school after all.

Captain Vino
I've been in there a few times. They like me there.

FWG
there you go

Friendly Exorcist
ok good

Captain Vino
Not that I intend to go at o' dark thirty

FWG
you disappoint me

Captain Vino
I disappoint a lot of people

FWG
I'll get back to you as I get feedback. The night MGRs rotate. It will be a while before I get to hear from all of them
thx for setting up this conference Captain

Captain Vino
Any time!

FWG
I'll mention you when the book comes out

Friendly Exorcist
lol

Captain Vino
The story of how two of your friends got killed at your workplace?

Friendly Exorcist
sounds good......I'm still trying to convince the Captain to join us

FWG
He really should

Friendly Exorcist
I agree

FWG
Two people screaming are better than one
(I expect Jo to keep her composure. She's a pro)

Friendly Exorcist
Lets hope

FWG
lol

Friendly Exorcist
Are you working right now?

FWG
No I'm at home not-writing

Captain Vino
Better strap on a pair of depends

FWG
I'll just have a good pee before she arrives

Captain Vino
Good call

Friendly Exorcist
Take care all!

Captain Vino
Ditto!

FWG
g'nite !!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

EPUC Entourage

Another telephone-pictionary trek from the eatpoopucat gang:


Friday, December 16, 2016

Movie Tips

When folks ask me for film recommendations I have been in the habit of directing them to my facebook movies page, touting "anything I've given four or five stars." However, facebook now seems to have silenced the star-giving so it looks like the blog will be taking over that function. Here's my take on some flicks you may want to see – or avoid, given your own priorities:



Dr. Strange ***
(2016) Benedict Cumberbatch
If you’re not quite sick to death of the constant bombardment of super-hero movies, this one should do it for you. All the required shtick and a main character who is almost three-dimensional. Almost.



Arrival *****
(2016) Amy Adams
Dynamite stuff: intriguing, suspenseful and particularly resonant given the struggles of our times (and of all times). This goes deep beyond the sci-fi banner, digging up rare insights into the significance of language and the magic of human relationships. Catch it in the theatres while there’s still time!


Cartel Land ****
(2015) documentary
Gutsy, penetrating, laudably-balanced look at the criminality of drugs, the criminals who thrive from it and the devastating effects on both sides of the international border, all through the eyes of the peoples of these borderland communities. A very intimate view of their particular struggles and the conflicting beliefs for which they fight. Tense and unsettling.


Hitler’s Olympics ****
(2016) documentary
A satisfactory dissertation on the nature of the modern Olympics which we all seem to whole-heartedly embrace while imagining it is something else, and a reminder of the architect whose vision we have made a reality.


Ex Machina ****
(2015) Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson
Creepy, twisty, thrilling and fascinating. The most compelling look I’ve seen at the concept of artificial intelligence since The Matrix and by far the most emotionally and viscerally striking.


Hello My Name is Doris ***
(2015) Sally Field
Surprisingly satisfying feel-good fluff.


Entertainment ****
(2015) Gregg Tarkington
Uneasy, off-beat, perversely humorous fare with a serious creep factor. It’s like a book you want to put down but can’t.


Mad Max: Fury Road **
(2015) Tom Hardy
The wispy plot and cast of caricatures are just barely stable enough to hold this action and special effects bonanza sort-of together.


Ricki and the Flash ****
(2015) Meryl Streep
The package looks deceptively corny but Streep’s fine performance is just one of the gems that keeps this neat little effort afloat. It’s Little Miss Sunshine without the kids.


Spotlight ***
(2015) Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
Some excellent, arguably under-rated actors made an Oscar splash with this Best Picture which is nice, but is that the reason it won? I found it a routine, competent unfolding of a true story


The Boy ****
(2015) David Morse
A troubling little tale of a boy who is trapped in unacceptable circumstances and seeks a logical solution within his considerable limitations. Gripping and eerie. And if you’re a writer, don’t miss it for its modelling of tidy efficient short-story telling!









Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Addendum

The snowfall has turned to rainfall and the ground snow, orange here, in the orange lights, is speckled; pelted into a field of tiny stalagmites.

Great drops plummet from the trees, aiming for my head which contains not much of a brain or I would have worn a hat. My footprints, lingering from the previous lap, have pressed the snow into slush-bottomed pools. Dark ruined leaves fall and further muddy the scene. 

At an early age I believed that the snow fell for some noble purpose; not strictly to provide for Santa’s sled, but to purify; to virginalize, which I perceived vaguely, not knowing such words. I would trudge sparingly at times, re-tracing paths, or sometimes tracking at will, with shameless indulgence, but paying for the privilege: honoring the snow gods with a snow angel.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ominous shore

I’ve never until now been down at the shore at night during one of these carnival snowfalls; these bright peaceful wet snowfalls where the ground is white with it and the sky immediately overhead glows with it and everything is gently illuminated by added streetlight reflection.

But standing, looking out at what should be the sea (a great lake officially), the view is arrested and without glimmer. It is no usual vista tonight nor occasional wall of fog. It is instead a dark translucence. A thick, blurry realm with a darkest imprecise layer where the horizon should be, but pressing unnaturally close to the shore, just out of reach.

Without this glowing shoreline modernity, the lake would be left alone in the darkness I suppose. A simple void, unpenetrated; unperverted.

I have never seen a natural space so visually unsettling; gloomy; foreboding. Like a giant filthy window pane; like a dome which seals from some most final dystopia. It is the edge of some dark unstable half-world.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Pipelines

Kinder Morgan
The Ponderer has been pondering the current crisis of North American oil pipeline projects and the chaos that surrounds them. She shared her latest thoughts; sensible ones, which I have responded to from a perspective of perhaps wider context:


The Ponderer:  Maybe the best way to stop the Pipelines is to stop creating a demand for the oil that it's transporting. But we can't do that can we? We have to have our cars and our vehicles and we have to heat our homes among other things. I think very few of us are willing to live without those things. It's easy to be all pro save the environment until it causes us discomfort or inconvenience. Perhaps the pipelines are the safest way to transport the oil, that we tell ourselves we so desperately need. Is there a safer way? Train? Ship? Trucks? I don't think so. Don't get me wrong I am not pro pipeline I just think the solution is a lot more complicated and I think our government made the best decision in a bad situation. And thank you to my friend Barb for giving me a different perspective.


New Day Rising:  Yes, we're very greedy, very spoiled. Life itself is not naturally easy. Life has been a very difficult thing for every species except for a small percentage of humans for a tiny blip of time. Us. But as bizarre and unholy as our circumstance is, it is our normal. It is natural for us to embrace the unnatural normal we are born into.

But it will not be our normal for long and we'd be really smart to get our stubborn heads around that and plan accordingly instead of so fully embracing this brief Disneyland with such entitlement. What we have not yet discovered about ourselves is that we do have the capacity for change and for embracing new normals. Oil will be gone in another tiny blip of time no matter how much extra destruction we wreak to get at it. And if we survive the disaster that is born of denial and inequality and our enmity against the biosphere then we'll do just fine with the next normal, as all the YA dystopia books so brightly suggest, but unfortunately the next normal's forecast grows worse and worse every day that we resist it. Every day that we refuse to cut a deal with mother nature, the less she will have to offer when we finally do, or else on the bleak day that there is no more leveraging available. The life-capacity of the biosphere is shrinking every day. We are trading it away for the gadgets and comforts which can not last, which we pay for with death. And if we never cut that deal then the Earth will have almost nothing left for us.

North Dakota
The new oil pipelines are an investment in the future. They are a commitment to expansion of death; a commitment to cut no deals. They are a migration in the wrong direction. I know its very hard not to be greedy but if I woke up tomorrow and every gas station was dry, I would be immensely delighted. Giving up my car would then be easy because we'd all be in the same situation together and we would survive just fine. We would adjust together. Where as giving up my car on my own tomorrow would seem disastrous because my society would not cooperate with me; would not bend to the changes I would require.

"Oka could happen again..."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The end of NaNo

On November 26th, 26 of 30 days of National Novel Writing Month gone, I had a word count of 24,751. Not even at the half-way mark of the 50K target. Two evenings later, having jumped to 29,365 I said, fuck it. Fuck you universe and your rules! I am going to write 20,000 words in 48 hours… somehow! Or at least try! I mapped out the next 48 hours assigning sleep time and 750-word writing hours and nothing else, planning to write my balls off. Planning to hit 40K by 1AM on the morning of November 30th and then breaking my personal record (8,500 approximately) with a 10K final day! Hell yeah!

The 29th did not go precisely as planned. For one thing I discovered that I would have to take breaks to eat! Surprise! And I traded away some writing hours to go to bed earlier. That may have paid off. I got the only good sleep of the entire cough-ridden month last night. Almost eight hours I think.

It is just after noon on the final day and I am just now approaching the 40K mark. I am sitting at the Station One Café in Grimsby; their former fire hall. Sickboy and The Liaison and Sweetproserpina have departed leaving me and the Healer. The Healer met her 50K goal earlier here, and now remains with me while I tap away, lending me some of her woo-woo energy perhaps!

I am writing about some of the things most dear to me. People. Longings. My connections with the universe. The things that the big ol' universe and little ol' me have in common. Which should be much. We are the universe after all. We are the universe’s consciousness. We are how the universe dreams.

Word count check: 39,857


I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it went. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

No. No you didn't

The Toyota Motor Corporation should be given an award for being the most dedicated mockers of people’s intelligence.

Right on the heels of their recommendation that we buy a camera-studded Rav4 in order to turn parking into a video game where we must avoid carnivorous shopping carts on the loose – Oh,  and presumably more realistic parking hazards such as – well: dancing fire hydrants maybe? Evil lance-brandishing gremlins riding giant rats? Am I missing something?

So right on the heels of this indulgent farce; this gratuitous tech-nonsense which no one has ever needed unless they’re such an incompetent driver it is scandalous they have a license, they come out with this possibly-most-belligerent claim I’ve ever heard:

“Can you make joy?” They ask. “We did!” Then you see an image of their shiny car scooting down the road with the label Joy.

I can’t think of a more ignorant message.

A whole lot of people will go through life without ever experiencing a moment of legitimate joy but could any be so hopelessly removed from the possibility as automakers?

And by automakers I mean the masterminds who shape our culture: our car culture. I’m not talking about the people who are trapped within that culture with me and who happen to be employed in the car industry because they require employment.

Joy is a product of truth, beauty and love. Three things which automobiles fiercely oppose.

You know what? Come back in April! I have decided on my next April A-Z topic: Twenty six important perspectives on the automobile. And I promise I’ll try to be polite about it!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Finding the words

I’m at the Craperoo Coffee House typing these words while Grampa Munster quietly circles groups of letters in one of the jumbo word-search puzzle magazines which I grab up for him at the dollar stores. He goes through these exercises like a machine; for hours while I write, research or loiter on facebook. He’s just content to be away from the home. “Happy Acres,” he calls it.

Last night, for the first time in years, I talked to an old friend on the phone. The exuberant astral-travelling writer friend who once taught me to call myself a writer – what? Ten years ago? Who’d talked about fear before I was ready to listen.  Last night she told me that her husband; another old writing friend of mine, now has Alzheimer’s and has for six years now. It hurt to hear this. Her life has been simplified. She spends nearly every moment at home and on guard now. When he’s not acting out violently or trying to escape the front door in order to get hit by cars, he too sits in front of word searches, endlessly circling words.

Two nights ago I was out with Munster at a different Coffee Crap Stand location but without laptop or magazine, and there he told me about a new concession. They’ve been dangling the promise of the phasing out of “counseling” visits with the non-present-psychiatrist’s zany husband, and non-renewal of various mundane conditions come January 2018, if he will commit to permanent residence at the government-sponsored Happy Acres or like facility, and he’s been all over that. If he had even the slightest excuse for a spine he could ditch all of this because no judge could possibly deny his plea that he has been entirely rule-abiding and a non-threat for years.  But any judge will also go along with any proposed sanctions where the target is too intimidated by his masters to protest.

Now his masters have wiggled a new condition into the mix which Gramps failed to mention to me until now, after it has gone into effect. He has added a new “anti-arousal” drug which he is now taking in addition to the Lupron he’s been having injected for decades.

The problems around Lupron and associated anti-arousal measures are plentiful.

“I wish you’d told me about this,” I said. “Find out the name of the drug please. I want to do some research on it.” He didn’t seem compelled; suggested it was a done deal. “I want to see what the potential side effects are.”

“Well, there are no side effects from the Lupron,” he says.

“We don’t know that for certain.”

“Well, I haven’t had any side effects.”

“You can’t be sure,” I said. “These things might be affecting your brain!”

Damn it.

Why did I say that?

Gramps started to tear up.

Days later I am still regretful. How the hell could I be so unthinking? So insensitive?

I was on edge because here he was making decisions which could have serious detrimental effects on his life without consulting me… ME! The only person in the world who gives enough of a damn about him to want to protect him from potential harm.

We remained quiet for a while and his tears ceased before they really got going but I knew that he was thinking about it. He knows he is slow. We both know he is prone to anxiety. Have I sentenced him to a remainder of life always wondering if he has let his own mind be destroyed by buying a few optional privileges in exchange for submission to treatment that is quite probably barbaric and medieval by honest accounting?

It was so stupid of me. A moment of frustration. A moment unthinking. I have to be more mindful than this. I must not lay unnecessary burdens on him.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The origins of a TV commercial

Scene: Toytoyo Auto Corporation, head office executive boardroom, Tokyo Japan

Present:
Chairman: Dudley Warbucks
President: Akary Toydoyo
Executive Vice President: Macrame Nekktai
Executive Vice President: Screwge Makduk
Director of Innovation: Ernst Bloefeld
Director of Shizzle: Simian Scythe
Director of Plebe Manipulation: Hachiko Tigama

Toydoyo: Listen up, homies: I’m having some cash-flow concerns. I’ve only got sixteen swimming pools across 14 of my mansions. I need more and of course more staff to care for them. I’ve got mistresses in twenty eight different countries who all want a raise and higher credit card limits. All my private planes are more than five years old and need replaced and Satan has upped my monthly payments again. We need to invent some new consumer needs to fill and fast! What have you got for me?

Bloefeld: We ran out of believable ideas a long time ago!

Scythe: For the domestic market; yes, but not for the Western market. They’ll believe anything. They watch dum dum television all day and night.

Bloefeld: Ah, yes. For the western market; we have many ideas.

Toydoyo: Give me your best two!

Nekktai: We’ll choose the most believable.

Makduk: No. We’ll choose the most profitable!

Warbucks: We will make… the most profitable… the most believable.

All others: Ahhhh!

Warbucks: Won’t we, Tigama?

Tigama: Of course.

Bloefeld: (tapping his laptop keys) Okay. Here is the idea I like best: We appeal to their environmental sensibilities. We make a commercial telling them how driving from west to east is causing friction against the Earth’s spin, and how that friction causes heat which contributes to global warming!

Scythe: Are you crazy, Blofeld! Do you know how much money we’ve spent shutting people up about the global warming contribution from autos! You’ve come off your noodle, sir!

Bloefeld: But wait! We then introduce our new anti-earthspin friction condenser! It fights global warming!

Nekktai: Climate change. Not global warming. Climate change sounds less dire, and kind of fun.

Bloefeld: Of course. Of course. (taps a few more keys) We’ll option it on all models. Big money.

Makduk: It doesn’t sound believable at all.

Tigama: The Yankees will fall for it.

Scythe: Yes, and then the Canadians and Europeans will fall right in line. They copy the Yankees in everything now.

Toydoyo: What will this condenser equipment actually do?

Bloefeld: It will make the air conditioning work better. They’ll feel cooler which will ensure them they are fighting global warming!

Warbucks: I don’t know about this. The environmentalists are pretty smart. They might kick up a fuss about it; launch a campaign.

Nekktai: Our advertising budget is a hundred thousand times what theirs is.

Makduk: The greens are not so smart anyway. They think that recycling and windmills will save them.

Toydoyo: (looks confused) Well, won’t they?

All others: (stare at Toydoyo, aghast)

Toydoyo: (falls apart laughing)

All others: (fall apart laughing)

Scythe and Tigama: (fall off their chairs laughing and have to re-seat themselves)

Makduk: You had us going there!

Toydoyo: (wipes tears from his eyes) What else have you got, Bloefeld?

Bloefeld: Okay. I warn you: this one is even crazier. You ready?

Toydoyo: Go on.

Bloefeld: You know the camera we have on the back of some models? For backing up?

All present: (look around at each other and then start to giggle)

Warbucks: That’s one of my favorites!

Toydoya: Did we come up with that?”

Scythe: I wish.

Bloefeld: I think it was a Yankee. They put them behind their giant campers because they couldn’t see behind them and they’re too lazy to go look in person before getting into the driver seat.

Toydoyo: How did we convince them they needed a camera behind a Rav 4?

Tigama: Commercials that said the devil will steal your soul if you look in mirrors too much.

Warbucks: Excellent!

Bloefeld: Now we will tell them that one camera is not enough! We will put cameras all over! In every direction! And then turn the windshield into a solid widescreen TV instead!

Toydoyo: Genius! We can partner with Netflix.

Warbucks: Stop it! You people got that idea from the car in the Daybreakers movie!

Bloefeld: No! This is different!

Nekktai: Why would they want these cameras all over? How do we convince them?

Tigama: They’ll want them. Westerners are lazy. They hate the idea of having to turn their head to look at side mirrors or out windows. They find it unbearable!

Makduk: I don’t know. This may be too much, too soon.

Warbucks: Agreed. But what if we leave the windshield alone for now? And just add the 360 degrees camera system option?

Tigama: Make it 380 degrees. Sounds better.

Nekktai: Some of them will know there are only 360.

Scythe: A small minority.

Tigama: We tell them the Earthspin friction has caused a rift which accounts for twenty new degrees of direction.

Warbucks: No! We’re choosing one innovation here. Not integrating both.

Toydoyo: That’s right. So now we choose.

Makduk: The Earthspin story is far more sensible. The camera thing is strictly nuts.

Bloefeld: But the camera thing is more profitable.

Toydoyo: Then that is our answer. We need a commercial that will convince them they need the extra surveillance!

Scythe: Imagine this scenario: we have a married couple in a Rav 4. They’re backing up and almost hit a homeless person!

Warbucks: No homeless people! Don’t remind them of charity! We want them spending all their money on cars.

Scythe: An unwashed hippy, then?

Tigama: They call them hipsters now. And that won’t work. Our target market would just as soon run the hipster over. They don’t like hipsters.

Toydoyo: Why?

Tigama: They mistrust everyone who’s different. I guess they don’t understand why anyone should have different priorities. Plus they’re secretly resentful I think. They have a vague notion that the hipsters are kind of smart and more responsible; socially and environmentally, and they're afraid of looking selfish in comparison, I guess. I don't know.

Toydoyo: I don’t like it. Keep the hipsters out. No allusions to responsibility! I want them thinking about buying shit!

Scythe: How about a living shopping cart then? Or a robot shopping cart? One that will be their shopping agent and help them buy lots and lots of shit really efficiently! People would love that! But they wouldn’t want to back into one. It would scratch their paint. And every westerner knows that a pristine car finish means a pristine soul!

Toydoyo: I like it!

Warbucks: I love it!     

Tigama: Me too! And we’ll make it a nice red Rav 4. Red makes people hungry or angry! And angry hungry people want to buy more!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Hunt: conclusion

The Hunt: Part Two


“I shall now recite the accusations!” Cried Counsellor Timothy Hormone. “Accusation number one, as charged by Mrs. Amy Cruller!”

Mrs. Cruller gasped. “I didn’t know they were going to use my name!” she hissed in her husband’s ear. “I thought this all was anonymous!”

“Upon entering the cottage of Wendy McFwig she discovered the floor was spoiled by the presence of several pieces of straw!”

The crowd of villagers gasped.

“How does that make me a witch?” said Wendy.

“Silence, Accused!” roared Judge Horntoad. “You shall remain quiet until I invite you defend yourself against these allegations!”

“Yes sir,” said Wendy.

“Carry on, counsellor.”

He did so: “Stated Mrs. Cruller: Wendy explained the presence of debris by saying, I used my flying broom!” The villagers gasped again. “I presume I need not explain that only a witch might own a flying broom!” Wendy laughed, then opened her mouth to speak but immediately caught the judge’s glare and closed her mouth again. “Accusation number two!” cried Counsellor Hormone. “As charged by young Mr. Timbit McGuff!” All eyes turned to the youngster. “When delivering the morning newspaper to the cottage of Wendy McFwig, he did hear her inside the cottage, speaking in tongues!”

The crowd gasped anew. Wendy just smiled and shook her head. She looked into the crowd and met the eyes of a tall black man who met her gaze and shook his head ruefully.

“And sometimes her voice went really deep!” said young McGuff. “Like a – a demon or something!” The villagers grumbled at this.

“Accusation number three!” Counsellor Hormone continued. “As charged by Mrs. Mathilda Latte: When Mathilda offered Ms. McFwig a tub of homemade soup to take home with her, she brandished her magic wand and made it vanish into thin air!”

The crowd gasped and grumbled and hissed and shook their heads angrily. “Burn her!” someone cried out.

“Quiet, you!” ordered judge Horntoad. “We must practice diligence and burn her after establishing her guilt! Be patient! Now… Constable George McMacken. You were the arresting officer?”

“Yes, your honor,” said George, stepping forward.

“Did the accused come willingly or did she resist?”

“Oh, she tried to talk me out of it. And she tried to trick my deputies and I into eating her witch’s brew!” The crowd gasped.

“Oh please!” cried Wendy, stifling a laugh.

“This is your last warning McFwig!” cried the judge. “One more unscheduled outburst and we shall proceed immediately to the burning! Now… Constable, have you any further observations to add?”
“I’m afraid so, your honor. For one, her cottage door was unlocked when I arrived. I was able to open it unhindered, and after dark, no less!”

“Well, that is compelling!” said the judge. “What mortal woman would not fear the dark!”

“Only a mistress of darkness!” said McMacken. “Um… in my experience.”

“Indeed,” said Horntoad. “Will that be all then?”

“No, there is one other thing.”

“Go on then.”

“She freely confessed to me that she had put eye of newt in the brew.”

“Eye of newt!” cried several villagers. “Burn her! Burn her!” cried others.

“Quiet now!” said Horntoad. He shook his head.  “Ms. McFwig, as you can see, the evidence against you is overwhelming. Will you confess your witchy ways at once and volunteer to cleanse your soul at the stake of holy fire? It is getting late after all and tomorrow is festival day; a big day for us. We all would like to be up early! Please be considerate!”

“Is this my opportunity to defend myself?”

“If you insist.”

“Well I also would like to be up early tomorrow morning and not lying about in a pile of ashes, so yes, I do insist!”

Horntoad sighed. “Very well then.  To the charge of owning a flying broom, how do you respond?”

“I own no such thing. Amy misunderstood me.”

“Mrs. Cruller,” said the judge. “Did you witness the flying broom personally?”

“I beg your pardon!” shouted Mrs. Cruller.

“Did you see the flying broom for yourself!” Mr. Cruller shouted in her ear.

“Well, no, but she said…”

“I said fraying broom!” said Wendy. “Fraying. Not flying. My old straw broom has been fraying, hence the loose bits of straw on the floor. She misunderstood me.”

“Mrs, Cruller?” said the judge. “Is that possible? That you misunderstood Ms. McFwig?”

“I beg your pardon?” said Amy Cruller.

“I said, is it possible that you misunder-“

“I’m sorry!” shouted Mrs. Cruller. “Can you speak up? My hearing aid is on the fritz!”

Judge Horntoad rolled his eyes. “Mr. Cruller, how long has your wife’s hearing aid been on the fritz?”

“Oh – ah – a couple weeks now.”

“Since prior to her visit with Mrs. McFwig?”

“Yes sir.”

“Right. It seems we must dismiss accusation number one. Now… as for accusation number two, Ms. McFwig, that you were overheard speaking in tongues: what say you for yourself?”

“I would appreciate some clarification from young Mr. McGuff, please.”

“What is there to clarify?” said Horntoad.

“With regards to my voice going deep, I would like to know how deep. For instance, was it as deep as the voice of Mr. Ouagadoudou there, for instance?” Eyes turned to the tall black man whose head stood above the crowd. He was known to have the deepest voice in the village.

“What do you say to that, Timbit McGuff!” said the judge.

“I’m not sure!”

“Mr Ouagadoudou, will you please say something for us?”

The big man stepped forward and cleared his throat. “Um… testing!” he said in a very deep voice. “One two three testing! Boom chugga lugga! Elvis has left the building!”

“Thank you,” said the judge. “Well, Timbit?”

“Yeah, I suppose it was about as deep as that. But just some of the time. Sometimes it sounded just like her own voice.”

“You suppose?”

“Yeah, I’d say so.”

“Mr Quagadoudou, will you say a few more words so we may be clear?”

“Well,” said Mr. O, “I think I should say what I’ve been up to these last few weeks. That is – I’ve been spending my mornings at Ms. McFwig’s cottage. She’s been teaching me how to cook and I – Well I’ve been teaching her how to speak Swahili. My native language.”

“Oh really?” said Horntoad.

“Yes sir.”

“Will you say a few words in this uh - Sawheelies language for us please?”

“Very well,” said Mr. O. And here he rattled off a string of sounds which sounded very strange indeed and not one villager could understand a word of it. In fact, what he’d said was, Lord but you’re a bunch of precious little pale-faced idiots! Anyone tries to light Wendy here on fire, I’ll knock you the hell into next week! But no one had a clue as to these sentiments.

“Ms. McFwig,” said the judge. “Is this your allegation? That you have been speaking Waheelies with Mr. O?”

“That is the truth of it, your honor.”

“So you say. Now what about this matter of the witch’s brew which constable McMacken caught you stirring?”

“Why it’s the festival soup of course! I’ve been making it every year! Everyone in the village has drank of it!”

“And every year you’ve poisoned us with newt eyes, have you!”

“Of course not. It was George who made the eye of newt joke and so I went along with it. At least I thought he was joking. I had no idea this all was coming down. I’ve never been anything but a friend to every one of you! Witchcraft indeed! This is preposterous! Go search my cottage if you wish. You won’t find any flying brooms or newt eyes or magic wands!”

“Then what say you to the door being unlocked!”

“I say there is no need to lock my door! Who among you should I fear! Every year on this night my neighbors drop by to taste a sample of the soup and tell me that it needs a little sugar or a little salt or just a pinch more sage! It’s tradition! I leave the door open for them!”

“Then what do you say about the vanishing trick!”

“What vanishing trick?”

“You cast a spell on Mathilda Latte’s soup and made it vanish!”

“I did no such thing! I took it home and ate it. It was delicious!”

“Mrs. Latte,” said the judge. “Did you see Ms. McFwig dispatch your chowder into thin air? Did you? With your very own eyes? Speak the truth!”

“I did not, your honour! But she told me herself the next day! She said she made it disappear!”

“I said it disappeared as a clever way of saying that I ate it all. Are we done with this farce yet? I’d like to get back and finish with the festival soup in time to get some sleep!”

“If we burn her, what will we do for soup tomorrow at festival?” said a man in the crowd.

“That is of no consideration to this proceeding,” said the judge.

“It’s already taken care of!” announced Mr. Latte. “Mathilda’s been making soup for two days now! We’ve got it covered!”

“Hush!” hissed Mathilda, punching her husband on the arm.

“Ouch!” he moaned.

“What!” said Wendy.

“But Mathilda,” said judge Horntoad.  “How did you anticipate such a need? This trial was not planned!”

“It’s not fair!” cried Mathilda. “Every year it’s Oh Wendy! Your festival soup is so yummy! Oh you make the best soup! It gives me tingles! Well I’ll have you know that I make excellent soup! Why don’t I ever get a turn!”

“Is this how all of this started!” said Wendy. “Did Mathilda cast the first accusation! Mathilda, I would have happily turned over the festival soup reins to you! All you had to do was ask! You didn’t need to have me burned alive!”

The crowd erupted in chatter. Angry eyes were cast at Mathilda Latte. Other angry eyes were cast at Wendy McFwig.

“Quiet everyone!” shouted the judge.

“Quiet everyone!” aped Constable McMacken.

The crowd did settle and eyes turned to Judge Horntoad. “Ladies and gentlemen: the time has come to vote on the fate of Wendy McFwig. You’ve heard the accusations. You’ve heard the explanations. I must counsel you: This charge of witchcraft no longer appears very convincing. I am tempted to abort the trial and send everyone home.”

Villagers looked down at their gas cans and matches and lighters and torches and suddenly felt extremely uncomfortable.

“But...” said old Mr. Muffin. People looked his way. “What would we do next? We’ve never had a trial that didn’t end with a burning.”

“We would go home and rest and gather again for festival tomorrow!” said Horntoad.

“But won’t Wendy be there?”

“Of course. She’s the official festival souper!”

“Won’t that be kind of awkward? We just tried to have her killed! She’s not likely to forget about this!”

“He’s right!” cried Mrs. Eggbagel. “I don’t look forward to running into Wendy about town anymore! There will always be this elephant in the room!”

“We should just burn her,” someone muttered quietly.

“Yes, burn her!” spoke another. “It’s better for everyone that way!”

“She’s probably a witch anyway,” said Mr. Finegrind.

“We need not worry about ever running into Wendy again!” said Mr Ouagadoudou in his deep resonant voice which cut through the crowd like thunder. All eyes turned his way. “Wendy and I were speaking just this morning and she told me her plans.” Wendy looked at him curiously. She recalled no revelation of any plans. He met her eyes briefly. “She was going to make an announcement at festival tomorrow but under the circumstances I think you all should hear it now.” He looked around and saw that he had garnered everyone’s attention. “She was going to announce tomorrow that she is planning to leave the village and travel far away, never planning to return. She’s planning to leave the day after tomorrow, and with a heavy heart, for she loves you all muchly and mourns that she will never see you all again. And she was planning to make a recommendation that Mathilda Latte be considered for new official festival souper.”

Mathilda’s hand went to her mouth as she flushed.

“She said that Mathilda makes the best soup in the village – ah – leaving her own soup out of the equation that is.”

“Is this all true?” said Judge Horntoad to Wendy McFwig.

“Um. Yes, it is so. In fact Mr Ouagadoudou has volunteered to do all my packing for me.”


< ---------- {0} ---------- >


As Wendy McFwig rode along the bumpy trail, the reins of a two-horse team in her hands, a covered wagon full of belongings at her back, she thought in amazement of all that had transpired. What struck her the most was her own reaction. She could not summon an ounce of anger toward the people who had conspired to have her burned alive. She could only feel a detached fascination at this witnessing of the darkness of the human mind; that such a secret pleasure; such a yearning to see evil in others; for the excitement of scandal, that it eclipsed all the love she had shown them.  As much as her friends and neighbors professed goodness, and publicly regarded and awarded nobility, deep inside it was evil that excited them; evil they wished to imagine; evil they wished to seek and expose. And all it took was one coward to plant a seed.

Fascinating.


The preceding story was essentially true.

However:  the names, genders, locale and pretty much every detail, have been tweaked or altered just enough to protect the identities of one innocent anonymous security guard, and a gang of bona fide cretins whose cretinship they likely came by honestly and innocently enough, given the soul-crushing malaise inflicted upon them by the corporation they are slave to; a corporation whose product has evolved into the soylent green of coffee and donuts; a corporation who exists in a dimension where only money is visible to the naked eye and for whom humanity is an obstacle. I shall leave them respectfully unnamed!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Hunt

The following is based on a true story!

Wendy hummed a happy tune as she deftly sliced up parsnips. Chop chop chop! She raised and tipped the cutting board and scraped the chucks into the great simmering pot of stew which monopolized the entire stove. Then she pulled another basket up onto the wooden table and took up a stiff brush and began scouring the next lot free of soil. A firm knock sounded at the cottage door.

“Hello!” she cried.

“Constable McMacken here!”

“Come on in, George!”

The door creaked open, revealing a man in tall hat standing in the shadow of night. He removed the hat and stepped forward; presenting his lined, clean-shaven face to the bask of candle light. “Good evening, Wendy,” he said in a deep gravelly voice.

“Make yourself at home,” she said. “Here! Try the soup.” She handed him a wooden spoon. “Be honest now! It’s not too late to tinker with it!”

George McMacken frowned uncomfortably. “Oh, uh. I’m really not hungry currently.”

Wendy laughed. “You needn’t finish an entire bowl, constable! Just have a sip. Tell me if it needs more salt or what not!”

“Or more eye of newt!”

Wendy laughed. “Okay then! Or more eye of newt!”

“So you confess!” McMacken blurted. His face hard.

Wendy blanked. Her hand which held the spoon dropped to her side. “Whatever do you mean?”

“You confess to – to – eye of neutering!”

“Are you quite mad, George? I was joking. As you also were, I sincerely hope.”

“Wendy, I’m sorry but – well, there is no easy way to say this. Accusations have been brought forth against you. It is my duty to take you into custody.”

“Wha-! Surely this is some fine jest! You can’t be serious!”

“Oh but I am. Put down the spoon please. And any other implements you might have on your person.”

“This is madness! Implements? Whatever-“

“Like a – your wand or what not.”

“Wand? Oh this has gone too far. Really George.”

“Do you declare yourself free of devices? And charms?”

“I declare I’ll not go along with this farce a moment longer!”

“You will submit to the will of the law! You have been accused!”

“Of what? By whom?”

“Of witchcraft! By villagers. Several in fact.”

“That’s preposterous. I’m fast friends with everyone in the village.”

“Friends or not, no sorcery shall stand in this fair village of Horton! You’ll come with me now. You’ll cooperate or I shall have to use force!  Come at once. You’ll receive a fair trial.” He pushed the cottage door wide open and outside she spied another pair of men standing by a carriage.

“Merrick?” she said. “John?”

“Good evening Ma’am!” said John.

“Come in from of the cold!” she said. “Have a foresampling of tomorrow’s festival soup!”

“Why thank you!” said Merrick, stepping forward.

“There will be no foresampling!” cried the constable, “nor any other trickery!”

Merrick halted. Wendy rolled her eyes.

< ---------- {0} ---------- >



Wendy found herself standing in the centre of the wide circle of villagers. Behind her stood a pyre of straw and from the centre rose a thick wooden pole. Many of the villagers held such cheerful recreational items as ropes, gas cans, torches, matches and lighters. One young fellow had a long tweezery metal sparker device which made a gentle grinding noise and emitted sparks. Perhaps the author will look up the proper name for this device and edit this stupid paragraph. Or maybe not. The fellow wore a dark grin and a sparkle in his eye as he squeezed the device repeatedly, causing tiny sparks to dance.


To be concluded tomorrow…

Monday, November 14, 2016

Too many vacations

“Why wouldn’t you?” said Neo.

These words ring in my mind probably every day. I think it has been a couple months at least. Or many months? I have almost no ability for tracking time.

Why wouldn’t I?

The answer I gave him was not fair. For some reason I did not approach it in a straight-forward way. Instead of explaining what I think the barrier is; I found myself trying to show him instead. It’s not that I wish to be tricky. Not at all. I deeply regard clarity. But the problem here is so very delicate. I think I tried to show him as a way to ask for help. I have long made a habit of underestimating him. We gathered weekly for so long and then, when our visits fell to monthly or bi-monthly, I failed to anticipate his swift maturation. Now on this occasion I gave him unlimited credit. I allowed that maybe he could be so brilliant as to see right through my problem. If indeed it is a problem.

Why wouldn’t I?

Why wouldn’t I want to cross that threshold? Why wouldn’t I want to further evolve? To perhaps embrace a permanently enlightened state, if indeed I was as close to such a state as I felt like I was those – what – five years ago? Ten?

I was so joyful and so at peace for so long that I told no one; only hinted. For no one would have believed me, or so I figured. And let’s face it: a lot of people have been tricked into such an apparent state by subscribing to other people’s programs built of compromised logic and puny scope. Born again or what not. People would have assumed that of me and I was in no mood to carefully explain the integrity, the courage and the patient wholeness of my journey. And I did not trust the submission of my ego enough to get into something that could become bragging. There is nothing to brag about. I have never forgotten the long roster of failures which allowed me to slide into such a rare space that reality became so easy to see. My story is not one of successes.

Why wouldn’t I?

Why wouldn’t I want to be genuinely enlightened? Permanently so?

In so many ways I have slipped backwards; too often impatient; too often tribal; too often unforgiving. Temporarily I mean. I always smarten up after some amount of time; seconds or minutes; perhaps hours rarely.

It seems I never lock the cell door anymore. My ego takes little parole vacations according to its own whims and on my own whims I say, “Hey fucker! Get back in your cell!”

I forget my goals. I am disloyal to my own plans.

Build the plan. Work the plan! The foundation of any enterprise. I suspect sometimes that I fail out of fear. If you work the plan and the plan fails, then what next? Working the plan invites possible failure and I don’t know what post-failure looks like. I don’t know what the new plan is. I know I should have more clarity than this. I’m not clear what is holding me back.

Why wouldn’t I?

I’m not sure I can express here, the difference between what I should have explained versus what I did say.

I think I’m afraid of losing my identity. My identity is dear to me despite its seductive torment. As it is with the child abuse survivor who refuses to give up being a child abuse survivor. I’m the guy who loves immensely and wants nothing but to show it and is always handcuffed from showing it; whose heart is always dangerously close to bursting.

“But when you’re enlightened you won’t care about that anymore,” says Neo.

I must presume that is true. But it is still unimaginable.

I worked so hard to get so far and then I paused and said, No, I can’t go any further because I’m leaving everyone behind. I can’t remember what it was like to be like them. I am losing my ability to relate! I must back up a bit so I can reach them; so I can communicate, so I can help them along! Why ever should I go on alone? If I can do this, anyone can and everyone can! I have achieved out of rare opportunities, not rare talents.

I took a long journey, a working journey, and I came to what I perceived was a gateway; another one-way gateway, for I’d lingered at such a structure before, prior to marching forward, when I’d understood the matrix and decided I had to leave it; that despite the terror there was no turning back. No blue pill after all. But here at this new gate I did turn back and I have been too often on vacation ever since.

It has to change.