June 19, 2007 · Posted in Everything Else  

an Olive Ridley hatchling in French GuianaThe illustrations in this story make no sense. I see the images whether my eyes are open or closed. I don’t know where they are coming from. Are my eyes even open?

A turtle hatchling on a beach? Why do I feel no sand under my feet? I’m on a train maybe. Could be on a bus. There are other people around. I smell cold sandwiches in paper bags. I smell leather clothing, like old shoes. Or a purse.

I can’t feel anything. Am I in a coma?

I hear a soft sound, like squeezing toothpaste. Like unscrewing an Oreo cookie. The turtle moves. The turtle doesn’t move. I can’t tell. Is it making the noise? What does an egg yolk sound like?

When I shift my head the image fractures with a feeling like a brief loud buzz would feel like if you felt it instead of heard it. Like a jangle of a struck nerve. Like maybe there’s a splinter of something in my brain. Is that possible?

I think about shaking my head but I can’t make myself do it.

I feel like I’m sitting up, but I can’t tell. I twitch, or at least I feel like I twitch, and now I see a baby hippo.

Newborn baby hippo at Berlin ZooI don’t know what to do about the splinter. Would a splinter in your brain work its way out the way a splinter in your hand would?

It feels like it’s been days.

At no time do I feel the splinter trying to work its way out. Shift my head slightly, image fractures into static with the jangle-buzz feeling, then image is instantly back.

I still smell old leather and cold sandwiches.

Am I dying? I don’t feel like I’m dying. I don’t feel like much of anything. If I were dying, wouldn’t I be dead by now? Days of nothing, it seems. No hunger. No thirst. Just a baby turtle, then a baby hippo, illustrating a story that doesn’t tell a story.

Something happened, but I don’t know what happened. There is a splinter in my head. A short-circuit. A feeling of people around me, a soft sound, a feeling of sitting up, a smell of clothes and stuff people carry with them in the mornings. A turtle and a hippo.

How long have I been like this? What is up with that splinter?

How long can I live like this? Turtle, hippo, why don’t I feel afraid? I want to be afraid. I want to be afraid of the splinter in my head. I feel no fear. Is that how deep the splinter goes?

Am I breathing? I can’t tell if I’m breathing.

Turtle. Hippo. Splinter.


June 15, 2007 · Posted in Everything Else  

I’m thirty-nine-and-a-half today.

In front of me I have a signed cover-letter for a short story I’m itching to submit to a literary magazine of which I’m certain the non-Philistines among you have heard. It’s quite possible I can even afford envelopes and sufficient postage for putting it (and the story, of course) in the mail and getting an eventual response returned.

I have a short list of places to which I intend to send the submission if it gets rejected, sorted (in descending order) by cojones required for pestering them.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done this sort of thing. This is, however, the first time I’ve done this sort of thing with any measurable hope of success.

Provided you’d like me to be wealthy and/or famous enough to be in a good position to repay any favors or generosity you’ve sent in my direction in the past, please keep your gonads crossed on my behalf and make any appropriate sacrifices to the gods, muses, and other associated entities that you feel you can afford.

And someday soon I may have the free time to write more fiction.


June 11, 2007 · Posted in Everything Else  

The Dead Walk Again!I missed the first anthology, but that’s okay. I have two pieces in this upcoming sequel to the Shocklines best-seller The Dead Walk (Die Monster Die! Books, 2004).

In keeping with the 80s-punk theme of getting Stephen Blickenstaff, artist for the cover of The Cramps’ Bad Music For Bad People, to do our cover, I have a short piece in here called “Too Dead to Walk” (although “Too Dead to Fuck” would be just as appropriate).

I guess if we were going with an 80s-pop theme and had a cover artist from one of Prince’s albums, I would have a piece in here called “2 Ded (2 Walk)”. Maybe next time.

My other piece in this anthology is called “The Spare” and features med students, bowling, cheap beer, and more brutally kick-ass elderly folk of the sort you’ve come to expect from me.

Also, murnkay has stuff in this one, as well as Jim Chambers, CJ Henderson, John French, and a couple of other names you might have heard of but I won’t be able to confirm until I have the proof copy sitting in front of me.

It will be available for purchase in … August? August sounds right.


This overly commercial post has been brought to you by Die, Monster, Die! and SHOCKLINES, premier horror-seller on the web! and all of us authors who stand to make $4.17 apiece on the sales of this book over the next two years.

Thank you.


June 8, 2007 · Posted in Everything Else  

And now, a stylized form of homoerotic performance art made popular in Japan:

Mongolian-born sumo grand champion Hakuho

From personal experience, I know what the backside of one of these looks like. There are some people in the audience back there gettin’ a good look. Look at them, craning their necks like that.

I dunno, man.

General Vang PaoMeanwhile, our belabored US Attorney General’s office has decided to prosecute nine or ten people for plotting to overthrow the Communist government in Laos.

Talk about mixed messages.

This guy over here on the right is General Vang Pao, who, back in the mid seventies, got CIA-backing to do this exact thing. Although in the seventies, he was a Loatian general, in Laos, and was fighting against Communist guerillas. Problem was he lost, they won, and we just “normalized” relations with Laos in 2005. So the Feds picked him up.

You can almost hear Laos Foreign Minister Yong Chanhthalansy snickering as he tells Reuters the following: “We hope the United States will prosecute them strictly under the Patriot Act and punish the violators of the law severely…. I am sure that such vigorous investigation will lead to the uprooting of the network of the villains who have caused the most difficulty in bilateral relations between the Lao and Thai governments.”

Chanhthalansy can’t be serious, right? Because, you know, the Patriot Act is for catching and punishing US collaborators conspiring with foreign terrorists fighting insurgencies against governments we’ve installed versus catching and punishing US collaborators conspiring with foreign terrorists fighting insurgencies against governments we’ve failed to topple and now merely tolerate. It’s like he doesn’t even know what Patriot means!

And, although Nancy Pelosi said impeachment for Bush was off the table, we have this wonderful list compiled by David Swanson:

  • Cities and towns that have backed impeachment by resolution, public vote, or both: 79.
  • Largest cities: Detroit, home of the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and San Francisco, home of the Speaker of the House.
  • Earliest and most frequent city: Santa Cruz beginning in 2003.
  • States where impeachment has been introduced into the legislature at least once: 10 (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont).
  • State legislative bodies that have voted on impeachment: 3 (Vermont Senate, Vermont House, New Mexico Senate).
  • State legislative bodies that have passed impeachment resolutions: 1 (Vermont Senate).
  • National political parties backing impeachment: 1 (Green).
  • Non-Democratic state political parties backing impeachment: 2 (Vermont Progressives, California Greens).
  • Democrats Abroad Chapters backing impeachment: 1.
  • Local political party organizations that have backed impeachment: 32.
  • Labor unions backing impeachment: 1.

(Updated list with extra details available here.)

We all know that articles of impeachment against Cheney have been drafted by Dennis Kucinich. Articles against Bush have been drafted by wacky and lovable Cynthia McKinney, who is basically a neighbor of mine.

And back in Guantanamo, a US military judge has already thrown out charges against a Canadian man accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan with a grenade and the famous Yemeni who has been accused of being Osama bin Laden’s driver. The reason for this is that they are designated as “enemy combatants”. Fine, says the judge. Soldiers fight enemy combatants all the time. We call them “enemies”. We kill them or capture them as the situation warrants, and if they survive we send them home. We do not put them on trial. If they were “unlawful enemy combatants”, on the other hand, then we could have some show of legal proceedings.


As of ten minutes ago there were exactly zero detainees at Guantanamo that were designated as unlawful enemy combatants. We’ll see what that number looks like tomorrow.


June 5, 2007 · Posted in Everything Else  

It’s been tough to catch my breath lately. I have it on good opinion that things do indeed continue to happen in the outside world. Like, for instance, The Footnote experienced a fourth anniversary and has lots of new stuff up, including what I think is the first overtly political piece I’ve written for them since I joined up. Also, Presidential candidates (of whom we’ll be tired of hearing long before time to actually vote for any of them) have been exhibiting themselves publicly here and there, and meanwhile holidays and bombs and shit have been happening and who cares because none of it impacts American Idol.

Not that I watch American Idol.

Whenever Sporty Spice isn’t drooling hydraulic fluid onto the pavement I work on learning to drive a manual transmission. I fear for the next manual transmission car I get to drive because this one lets me get away with shifting directly from second to fifth. Going uphill. And still accelerates. It’s gonna be a while before I’m invited to join the racing team.

Business stuff is weird as usual. I’m losing count of the number of non-disclosures I’ve signed (or made others sign) in the past few months, which I can only hope is a good thing. Lately I’ve taken to wondering why we use the French word entrepreneur for the purposes to which we put it, and then I realize that our native-language option is, um, undertaker. Or enterpriser. Which actually sounds even worse.


June 4, 2007 · Posted in Everything Else