Thou Doth Quoth Too Much: An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe

masque of red

“It’s a lovely evening; I thought we could take a stroll through the park, get some fresh air and look at the fall foliage,” I said.

Poe removed his top hat and shook it, making a cloud of dust. “I was thinking we could go down to this crypt I know, sit in some of the coffins and watch vampire bats feast on old rotting flesh,” Poe said.

“That was actually going to be my next suggestion if you didn’t like the park idea.”

The crypt was in an old church, which was weirdly situated between a Costco and a Starbucks. The Starbucks door swooshed open and a raven flew out carrying a cup in its talons. “Poe skinny mocha latte” was written and underlined on the side. Poe grabbed the latte from the raven.

“That’s the last time I’m getting your fucking latte. Nevermore,” quoth the raven as he flew away.

He offered me a sip but I declined.

“I love their lattes! They’re a little pricey though, considering I only make about $2 annually.”

There’s an ominous blood red moon in the sky tonight. A wolf begins to howl from some where close by, even though we are downtown in an urban area strip mall. I was mentally composing my will , when a kid came bounding up to Poe.

“Can I get your autograph?” The boy asked, thrusting his pen and Starbucks napkin at him.

“I love that one story, where the narrator does something unspeakable over another character’s minor offense and then all of his irrational fears come to fruition,” the boy gushed.

Poe signed the kid’s napkin and whispered something in his ear. The kid turned deathly pale, letting out a blood curdling scream as he ran away.

“What did you say to him?”

“I told him that he was going to die in a week, by being boiled alive in a cauldron of his own blood. Then I told him to never give up on his dreams.”

I noticed someone with a black cloak, carrying a scythe had been following us for some time. Every time I looked back, the hooded-figure darted behind a parked car. Not very furtively though, because I could still see the scythe protruding out from around the car.

“Is that the Grim Reaper following us?”

Poe looked back, “yeah, his name is Bob.”

Poe pushed open the creaky old door of the church. The first thing he did was to sprinkle holy water on the two of us. “Just in case,” he winked.

A guy in a purple robe was standing in front of the altar. He had a symbol of blood on his forehead, and was mumbling some sort of incantation over a skeleton. He looked up when we approached.

“Oh, hello. It’s a lovely night for a resurrection.”

“It’s a perfect night for one,” said Poe jovially.

When we get to the door leading down to the crypt I asked, “What was that all about?”

“I have no idea,” Poe said.

We descended into the crypt and I could see a plethora of coffins but they were all occupied. “I don’t see any empty coffins.”

“Just take out the corpses; they won’t mind.”

“I think I’m just going to find a dry place to sit.”

Poe shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

I wrinkled my nose. “What’s that smell?”

“It’s mold, fungus, rot and other toxins. So, try not to breathe in too much.”

I tucked my knees in so tightly to my chest, that it looked like I was ready to re-enter the womb.

“Do you ever think about death?”

“Only every time I’m with you,” I said.

“Most people think I’m obsessed with being buried alive, death, retribution and first person narrative, but I think about other things too like … well just other things.”

I nodded and watched a rat the size of a smart car idle bye. It looked at me with sadness, that my life had been reduced to such a state.

“Really though, all I have ever wanted to do is to tap dance.” He began to rummage around in some of the coffins. “Found them,” he said holding up a pair of tap shoes.

“You keep tap shoes in a crypt?”

“Of course, I keep them down here so they won’t get stolen.”

He laced up his tap shoes and began prancing around the crypt, tapping like a maniac. Bob, the Grim Reaper, peeked around the corner but then dropped the scythe and made a run for it. He had witnessed death so many times but the sight of Poe’s jazz hands was just too much for him.

When Poe was finished, he was sweaty and out of breath. I clapped, even though it was the worst dance performance piece I had ever seen in my life, and I’m including that time I had a twitch in my leg.

“I feel so free when I tap dance.”

The rat was gone but it left a piece of paper behind with something scrawled on it. I pick it up and on it the rat had written the number for emo’s anonymous. I put it in my pocket for later.

Poe felt rejuvenated. “Let’s get out of here. I could really go for some ice cream.”

I began to cough and continued coughing for the rest of the night.

“You really should see someone about that cough. I know this really good witch doctor at the cemetery near my house. We will need to bring a few items. Do you happen to have a strand of wombat hair?”

You Can’t Go Home Again

nope mat

The Druids were an interesting Celtic culture, made up of religious leaders, philosophers, and political advisors. We associate them mostly with Stonehenge. The Druids told their history orally, so no personal accounts were ever written down to be preserved. We mostly know about them from the writings of other civilizations that encountered them, like the Greeks and Romans. Fortunately for everyone, on one of my “archaeology” expeditions, I found some old scrolls that had been lost to the annals of history, until now. The scrolls contain a personal account written by a Druid named Seisyll about his time at Stonehenge.

{Druids busy laboring with placement of stones. One Druid named Divicacus is barking orders at the others}

Divicacus: No … no … no! I didn’t want that stone there and I told you that other one was too small. You people are ruining my vision.

{Two Druids, Seisyll and Maedoc are off to the side discussing Divicacus.}

Seisyll: What’s going on with Diviciacus?

Maedoc: I think he’s just going through a midlife crisis. He just turned 15 and he knows in a couple of years he could get a splinter and die.

Seisyll: Why can’t he just redecorate his cave like the rest of us?

Maedoc: I don’t know why we had to travel a 150 kilometers, rolling these huge stones along just to find this particular plateau. There were plenty of perfectly good plateaus near home.

Seisyll: You know after this, Divicacus said he’s going to Rome to become a Christian.

Maedoc: Christianity seems to be the all the rage this season.

Seisyll: I guess it’s alright; you’re supposed to be charitable to your fellow man but you have to pray to a God though. No more worshiping trees and harmonizing with nature.

Maedoc: Oh, you have to pray? I don’t know about that; it sounds like a big commitment. I thought it might be something I could do on the weekend in between my turnip farming.

Seisyll: How is your turnip farm?

Maedoc: Good, I think they might all be edible this year.

Seisyll: I dread the long journey home.

Maedoc: I’ve decided that I’m not going home.

Seisyll: What about your wife?

Maedoc: I told her I was going hunting. That was five months ago! If I tell her we rolled all these huge stones all the way out here because Divicacus was gong through a Suprematism phase, she would tell the elders that I’m crazy and the villagers would all throw stones at my head. Besides, I have a callus. Can you die from a callus?

Seisyll: Probably.

Maedoc: I already have a place to live in mind.

Seisyll: Where’s that?

Maedoc: I’m going to live in that sinkhole we passed on the way here. I’ll put a thatch roof over it. That should probably keep out about 2% of the rain and hail. I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I threw some sheep bones and the way they landed indicated good fortune. Of course, it could also mean I could die from a rash. Divination is kind of pseudoscience. {itches leg}

Seisyll: That was a nice sinkhole. You know if you put in a bear skin rug and had the right lighting, you could really turn that sinkhole-house into a sinkhole-home.

Maedoc: Hopefully, it won’t sink any further because I’m not tall enough to climb back out.

Seisyll: I wish you luck. I hope there’s a still a home left for me when I return, and the Gauls haven’t sacked it.

Maedoc: Yeah, those Gauls can be galling.

Seisyll: I see what you did there.

Maedoc: Bye my friend; I will really miss you. Try not to freeze to death.

Seisyll:  I have another robe on underneath this robe, so I should be good.

{Maedoc and Seisyll hug and hear a commotion. One of the stones has toppled over and landed on Divicacus.}

Seisyll: That’s really a shame. I guess he won’t get to see Rome after all.

Maedoc: Wasn’t Divicacus carrying the only map?

Seisyll: Does your sinkhole have room for two?

 

An Ode to the Absurd

funny books

People enjoy all kinds of literary genres and sub-genres. Books can evoke a wide range of emotions. For me however, I like nothing better than reading a book that makes me say, “um … okay?” It’s like saying, I see what you did there, when you really didn’t see what they did there. Nothing gives you that feeling of wtf more than absurdist literature. Absurdism if you will. No other genre of literature mimics actual life quite as well. It’s the joy of creating an entire world and then just sitting around poking it with a stick. Life is theater of the absurd; and if you don’t believe me, you’ve been dead since 2016 because we now live in a Kubrickian nightmare, where our president has lost all of his fuzzy warbles. Nothing in life is certain except death, taxes, and absurdity.

Take Waiting for Godot, it’s all about pointless conversations and waiting around for nothing, which is exactly how I spend the bulk of my time. If you really want to add bats to your belfry though, Kurt Vonnegut is always a good choice. His life and literary mantra is, “so it goes.” He once famously said, “we are here on Earth to just fart around, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.” Figuratively speaking, (literally if it’s Taco Tuesday) farting around is really what humans do with most of their time. Absurdity is practically limitless because it can expand and be stretched like rubber. I recently read Sudden Death by, Alvaro Enrigue. It’s about a tennis match between the painter, Michelangelo Mersi da Caravaggio, and the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo. Among some of the spectators are Galileo, the Pope and Mary Magdalene. They play with a special ball made from the hair of the recently beheaded, Anne Boleyn (human hair was one component put in tennis balls in the 16th century, in France the hair was mostly taken from a person who had recently encountered Madame Guillotine). Surely we can all relate to a surreal tennis match, where we hit a ball around made from the hair of a disembodied head; we’ve all been to the DMV. It’s also a great scene to put in a Fellini film because no one would notice.

Absurdity is everywhere, most especially in bureaucracies and government. The inefficiencies of the military industrial complex are written best in Catch-22, where the hero, Yossarian, is diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having, “a morbid aversion to dying.” It’s a catch (excuse) that is used the entire book for every outrageous thing someone does, even though it has no relevance. The office that wins the prize for being ineffectual, would have to be the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit. It’s a place where nothing gets done and gets done well. The office constantly pats itself on the back about what a good job its done (sounds vaguely familiar). My favorite line that embodies the senseless existence of a bureaucracy is when one worker begins complaining, “he walked in without an appointment and said he wanted to know. You know.” It really captures the futility of certain corporate establishments. In the play, The Memorandum, an organization creates a new language called “Ptydepe” to maximize efficiency. In the end, no one can really understand the intended meaning. The memos are constantly getting misconstrued. It has the same cryptic effect as sending a text with the poop, gun, and thumbs up emojis. In, 1984, the use of “Newspeak” eliminates words by artificially combining then into a portmanteau, so that people can think less. Incidentally, this is also Betsy DeVos’s entire educational policy. The words become so deceptive and misleading, they create a new reality. It’s kind of like “alternative facts.”

In life, sometimes we can’t tell if we are Rosencrantz or Guildenstern; it really doesn’t matter though because we are all going to end up like Yorick. It’s 2020, and things are fucked into a cocked hat of absurdity my friends. Life is Kafkaesque, so don’t be surprised if you wake up as a giant cockroach, waddling around being cannonaded by fruit.

kafka

 

Gonzo’s Journalism

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Gonzo Journalism sadly has nothing to do with Gonzo, the Muppet, skulking around Washington, D.C waiting for his big scoop. It is a style of journalism that is not objective by the reporter. It is the antithesis of the journalist Edward R. Murrow. The journalist reflects his or her opinions and emotions. The term was first used to describe Hunter Thompson’s style of journalism. “Gonzo” is a slang term for the last man remaining upright in a drinking contest. I don’t know if it fits his style of journalism or not, but it’s certainly spot on for the man himself. In his novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, he uses this style of journalism to discover the, “American Dream.” I conducted my own search for the American dream by taking a journey to Washington, D.C. and unlike Thompson, my journey was drug free; mainly because I’m not cool enough to know anyone that would sell me drugs.

I started my trip from my hometown in North Carolina. I decided to ask some of the locals, who were standing in front of a Confederate monument, proudly defending their heritage by waving Confederate and American flags, what they thought the American dream might be. I pointed out that the American flag and the Confederate flag were two diametrically opposing flags if they thought about it. They did not want to think about it though.  I wrote down several key words that I heard: wall, freedom, International House of Pancakes, Kyle Petty, Walmart, Jesus, Trump, the good book (bible?), heritage, Confederacy, Budweiser ( Interesting note, there was an adverse reaction to the exact same beer in a lighter form), the Alamo, Tim Tebow, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ulysses Grant (Union Officer?) and okra. I was excited by one word I heard which was, successful but due to a translation error caused by annunciation, I later found out they meant secession. I couldn’t arrange these words into any type of coherent meaning, so I journeyed on to my destination, Washington, D.C., in order to get a different perspective.

My first stop was to speak with Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. I couldn’t see him at first, because he was sitting behind numerous unsigned bills that were stacked up on his desk, but then he slowly poked his head out of his turtle shell. I asked him what he thought the American dream was and he enigmatically said, “American dreams can only be fulfilled by hard working Americans.” He went on to clarify, those people indigenous to this great land. I asked him if he meant Native Americans and he said, “the second most indigenous people in this great land.” I decided not to challenge him further on that point. He also mentioned conservative ideology, capitalism and filibuster. I mulled over what turtle-man said, but I still wasn’t convinced that was the American dream.

My last stop, was the top brass, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. I asked him to tell me about the American dream. He said it could be achieved by, “beautiful Americans with beautiful dreams.” I thought he was done because he paused for a long while, but then I literally heard a clunking noise coming from inside his brain, as if information were being filtered through a rusty, ill-used pipe. He laid out a whole series of ways the American dream could be achieved, through both beautiful and great means. Then he had to excuse himself because he said he had to sign, “important things” and needed to find his sharpie. I thanked the singled-cell organism for his numerous non-sequesters and departed for home.

On the way home, I thought about everything that was said, but I couldn’t form a pattern in all of it, except maybe for logical fallacies and weird syntax. I wasn’t discouraged though; I hope to find a different meaning of the American dream on November 3, 2020.

The Funeral of Wulf

viking funeral ship 2

The angel, Netzach, was on Earth for the express purpose of meddling in mortal affairs, as angels sometimes do, like in the form of a burning bush, etc. Netzach was just “killed” in a Viking duel and is now at his own funeral. He wasn’t really dead, because angels can not die, but since he was playing the part of a human, in this case a Viking named, Wulf, he needed to see it through to the end. In attendance at the funereal on the island of Bornholm, was a small audience of Danes and an English monk named Thomas.

Netzach was placed on a pyre that was set up on the beach by two young Danes, who were just barely old enough to be considered men. The Viking Chieftain was growing a little impatient; he wanted to get started with the funeral because the gray sky was foreboding rain. Thomas, an English monk was standing next to the Chieftain. It wasn’t the first Viking funeral he had witnessed, having been there about a year already, but he still found them fascinating.

The chieftain raised his hands and said some words that Thomas could only understand in bits and pieces. “May Odin give you knowledge on your path and may Thor grant you strength and courage on your way.”

He still wasn’t that good at translating but thought the Chieftain also said, “Stop your coughing, Torhild, or we will be having two funerals this evening.”

Wulf the Viking as he was known here, and Netzach the angel as he was known in  heaven, opened one eye just a slit to see what was going on. He had no idea why they had put him on a slab of wood, but he was looking and waiting for his chance to slip away.

“Bring up the offerings,” the Chieftain said.

One by one, everyone put something beside the dead Wulf. The Vikings believed in giving gifts to the dead, so they could take them with them on their journey to Valhalla. The Chieftain wondered about giving gifts at all. Surely Wulf would not be going to Valhalla, but to Helheim. Wulf’s death wasn’t a very noble death, dying at the hands of a foreigner, who was barely able to swing his sword. Netzach opened an eye again admiring all the gifts.

Oh my, what a beautiful tunic. I like that color. What craftsmanship on these weapons. It’s too bad I won’t be able to take any of this with me. 

He watched as the two young Danes who had put him on the wooden slab, were arranging the stones into what the Vikings called a, “stone ship.” After burning the body, the ashes were buried inside the stone ship, along with all their gifts. Well—most of them—every now and again, someone stole something from the dead.       

Netzach was becoming irritated. He was wondering when everyone was going to leave so he could disappear. He had not had a private moment since his, “death.”

The two young Danes who were holding torches walked towards Netzach; when something clicked in his mind.

Wait, I’m dead which means this is my funeral. They aren’t going to burn me, are they? I won’t stand for it! I won’t stand for it … again.

Netzach had been “killed” before by fire, hanging, crucifixion and he once drowned  trying to save a badger that fell down a well. A disguised angel was never supposed to reveal himself to mortals but he didn’t care. Netzach jumped up, determined not to be burnt alive.

“I’m terribly sorry for all the trouble,” he said and pushed one of the young Danes carrying a torch. He dropped the torch and it fell on to the pyre setting it ablaze, but Netzach was no longer on it. There was a collective gasp at seeing a man rise from the dead. Knut, who had been drinking all throughout the ceremony, let out a loud belch.

The Chieftain was the first to speak, “Odin, forgive us. We did not know it was you. Surely we did not offend thee with anything improper.” Had it really been Odin, he most likely would have been offended by the whole thing.

“I will forgive all of you, but only if I can have this,” Netzach said and picked up the tunic. “It’s exactly what I wanted.” He no longer cared about the rules of not bringing earthly possessions into heaven. He no longer cared about anything.

 “Of course, oh great one. Please take our humble—”

Netzach did not hear the Chieftain’s last words. He snapped his fingers and disappeared. The collective gasp was heard again at the sight of the angel Netzach, who was pretending to be a Viking named Wulf, who was pretending to be Odin, vanish into thin air. Out of all the Viking funerals from that day forth, none would ever compare to the funeral with the vanishing corpse.

A Dane named, Freydis, was grinning from ear to ear. “Odin favored my tunic,” she said. Freydis became very prosperous from selling her tunics and by the time of her death, she had amassed a small fortune. After all, if Odin were willing to come to Earth just to get one, they must have been glorious.

A revised excerpt from the Gnostic Keepers.

 

The Island of Plenty

Deserted Island

Day 1:  I’m not sure how I got here. One minute I was on a booze cruise headed toward the Bahamas, and the next thing you know, I’m in the drink both literally and figuratively. The boat was set ablaze by a passenger, who tried to light their whiskey on fire. You should never try to light 92 % alcohol, that has been quadruple-distilled. A valuable lesson for us all. The fire extinguishers were useless because they expired twenty years ago and all the compressed air had long escaped. There weren’t any life boats or jackets on board, and the captain said he had to skimp here and there because how else could he afford all of the alcohol. No one could argue with that reasoning. I can tell you though, that’s the last time I book a cruise from a sketchy-looking man, while shopping at Costco. I jumped overboard, resigned that I would try to swim to an island. Besides, the speakers were blasting the Cha Cha Slide and I refused to die to that song. I seriously doubt the Titanic went down playing a kids party tune, that told you where you were supposed to move and when to clap your hands. The last thing I remember before passing out, was grabbing an ice bucket that floated by which still had a beer in it. When I woke up, I was washed up on the shore of this tropical island.

Day 2:  I explored the entire island today and it is completely deserted. Well, at least I’m finally away from all the noisy people and the every day chaos of life. I can be alone with my thoughts in a tropical paradise. There is no one around to bother me, and there are enough coconuts and fish to keep me alive for years. I absolutely love coconuts!

Day 3: Fuck these coconuts!

Day 4: I tried catching fish using a hairnet that washed ashore, but I didn’t catch anything. Also, spearing fish is a lot harder than it looks on the Discovery Channel. Still, it’s nice being alone. I do long for the occasional conversation though, but it’s fine. I’ll be fine alone.

Day 10: My precious!

Day 31: I saw Wilson today and I pretended I didn’t see him as I walked by, but he made eye contact, so I had to say hello. He’s really annoying.

Day 54: I got attacked by an actual tortoise today while in my tortoise pose. I’m not sure if it was offended by my yoga or the fact that I referred to it as a, “goddamn turtle” instead of a tortoise.

Day 80: I tried to build a raft, but Wilson and I couldn’t agree on the best way to make it. We argued for hours and I finally passed out from the heat.

Day 115: I can’t stand the sight of Wilson anymore, so I waited until he was asleep and punted him into the ocean. In the morning, he washed back up on the shore. I said I was drunk and couldn’t remember what happened. It was awkward.

Day 220:  How can I still be fat???

Day 365: It’s exactly a year ago today that I washed up on this island. I don’t care anymore; I’m just going to try and swim for it. With any luck, I’ll wash up on another island that has lots of bananas instead.

Day 366: I’m saved! I was picked up by a cruise liner by the exact same captain. I asked him how he survived, and turns out, he had floated to safety on a passengers inflatable sex doll. I told him I wanted my money back, or I was going to give him a bad Yelp review. He didn’t give me my money back but said he would comp all my drinks, so I didn’t want to complain.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Farm: The Worst Farm Ever Built

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George Orwell wrote Animal Farm because he was concerned about Stalinism. In the book, the animals overthrow the farmer and take control of the farm. Well, we have a new ism and it’s called Trumpism, and it’s by far the dumbest ism ever. Our current farm is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It perpetually smells from all the steaming horseshit and is run by a pig, along with all of his sheep.

Trump: {In the Oval Office} We’ve overthrown the Democrats, with our clever ploy of barging into every room, and refusing to leave. When does my reign of terror start?

Pence: November 8, 2016.

Trump: {Looking at his Game of Thrones 2019 Calendar} What? It’s not even November yet Mike … and the media thinks I’m the stupid one.

Barr: I’ve been to almost every country, trying to get leaders to help investigate the origins of the Russia probe but no one wants to touch it.

Trump: Did you try some of the shithole countries?

Barr: Which ones are those?

Trump: The ones without McDonald’s.

Barr: Yes, those too.

Mulvaney: Should I hold another press briefing about Ukraine?

Trump: No, you’re worse than Giuliani and that’s why I have him locked up in the White House basement, along with my dumbass son-in-law Jarred.

Pence: I’m going to make sure everyone gets a copy of the Seven Commandments of Trumpism.

Trump: Oh yes, tell me what those are again.

Pence: Well, you copied the first three directly from the Ten Commandments. Have no other Gods before Trump, no graven images or likenesses, unless it is a really cool action figure of Trump and do not take Trump’s name in vain.

Trump: Yeah, I read through the other commandments and I didn’t like them, especially the one about adultery.

Pence: Anyway, the others are, whistle-blowers will be subject to death, Democrats are the enemy, the press is forbidden from reporting any bad news about Trump and McDonald’s must serve the McRib all year around.

Trump: I really want a McRib now. Mick, since you’re completely useless, how about picking me up a McRib and a large chocolate shake.

{Mulvaney leaves the room}

Trump: {Looks at Barr} I want you to get rid of him. Send him to Siberia.

Barr: Why Siberia?

Trump: Putin will make sure he disappears, so I never have to see his rat face again.

Barr: What am I supposed to tell the public?

Trump: No one will even notice that he’s gone, just tell them he went to a ski resort.

Pompeo: I have a new conspiracy theory to promote. We could say that Alexander Graham Bell never invented the telephone; therefore, the telephone doesn’t exist; ergo, the Ukraine call never happened.

Trump: There’s a transcript though and telephones do exist. They’re everywhere; I have one on my desk.

Pompeo: The phone is just a deep state conspiracy.

Trump: Telephones exist and not even that nutball Hannity could sell that one.

Pompeo: Phones don’t exist; just say it a few times and see if you like the sound of it.

Trump: Are you blind? There’s a secure phone on my desk; I use it to drunk call Kim Jong-un. You need to go see Mnuchin’s optometrist.

Pompeo: Is there really a phone there though? {winks}

Trump: Goddamnit! Stop winking at me. {Rips phone out of the wall and hurls it at Pompeo, hitting him in the head}

Barr: {Checks Pompeo’s pulse} You killed Mike.

Trump: {Sits back in his chair with his feet on the desk} Good, that’s one less person I’ll have to fire later for leaking the dumbshit that comes out of this administration. I am the king; no one can ever remove me from this office.

{Nancy Pelosi enters}

Pelosi: That’s where you’re wrong. {Takes off her Anne Klein pumps with orthopedic inserts}

{Barr and Pence make a swift exit}

Trump: Your standing in front of me, and pointing an old lady finger at me days are over cat lady. {Takes off his ridiculously long circus-like tie}

Pelosi: {Lunges at him with one of her pumps}

Trump: {Dodges her and tries to rap his tie around her throat}

Pelosi: {Grabs an Orange You Gorgeous spray can from his desk, and sprays him in the face} Die you orange fascist!

{Mulvaney enters with Trump’s shake and the McRib}

Trump: {Blinded, staggers into the American flag and bumps into Mulvaney, who drops the food} Don’t let it hit the ground!

{Mulvaney dives to catch the flag before it hits the ground}

Trump: No you idiot; not the flag, my McRib.

{Mulvaney saves the flag but the McRib lands on the carpet. The shake splatters over a dead Pompeo.}

Trump: {Grief stricken, he lovingly picks up the McRib with microfiber carpet hairs} You may have won this time, with your seasonal Chico’s couture but you haven’t seen the last of Donald J. Trump. {Leaves in tears}

Pelosi: {Clutching her pearls, turns to Mulvaney} You look familiar; are you one of the kitchen staff?

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Brian Lageose

BrianLInterview

Today I’m speaking with the prolific writer, Brian Lageose. He is the author of Unexpected Wetness and Screaming in Paris. His blog Bonnywood Manor is fifty percent hilarity, forty percent ingenious and ten percent Cheval Blanc.

M: Your blog is called Bonnywood Manor. Enlighten the proletariat and tell us how you arrived on that title. 

B: The concept of Bonnywood Manor evolved over time. Many centuries ago, when we bloggers still used stone tablets and chisels, I shared my writing on another blogging platform. Since I am an admitted overachiever, I often had multiple blogs going on at the same time (up to 10 at one point), as I am also an admitted masochist.

In a moment of epiphany (drinking was probably involved) I realized that I needed to coordinate all these sites in some way. I set up my own website (which required me to learn coding to some degree, as back then we didn’t have point-and-click website creation; I still have nightmares about the experience to this day) and, thusly, “Bonnywood Manor” was officially launched. In my questionable vision, the Manor was an artist’s enclave established in the Roaring Twenties, allowing me to share my love for old movies, art deco, manor houses and hedonism.

To get a better sense of the conception, you can still visit this long-abandoned website: http://lageose.net/

There’s much more to the story than I can share here but, end result, “Bonnywood Manor” is meant to be a writer’s collective, encompassing all styles and voices, a community. And it also happens to be the name of my publishing company, one that I created and registered with the state of Texas just before I published my first book, although it really only exists on paper, with no employees or assets or, well, book-printing machines. (I had naïve visions that my first book would be a huge bestseller and I actually thought I might need said company for tax purposes. This proved not to be the case, whatsoever.)

M: I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you miss a day without posting. How is it, that you are better than everyone?

B: While I generally post every day, there is a wee smidge of cheating underlying that impression. There are often times when I don’t have something fresh fully prepared, so I’ll dig something out of the archives, bang it around a bit, and then throw it back out there. (Sometimes it will be a complete re-write, other times it will be mere minor fiddling.) As I mentioned in the previous response, I have worked on a number of blogs for many years. The archives are brimming, with both treasures and absolute failures, so I have plenty of things to recycle without getting too annoying or repetitious.

But yes, I try to post something every day. It forces me to constantly be creative on at least some level, and I think we should all strive to do that, whether it be writing or gardening or singing or curing cancer.

M: What are some of your favorite topics to write about? Do you laugh or chortle at your own material?

B: The most easily-satisfying pieces are the “Past Imperfects”, wherein I take old photos and envision a story to go with them. Since folks are already accustomed to these being warped little adventures, I’m free to go wherever I want with them, and go I do. (Really, that’s what writing should be, going wherever you want, but so many of us write for others and forget to write for ourselves.) And yes, I do laugh at some of my own lines, but usually not while I’m writing them. It’s only later, when I’m digging through those archives, when the chortling ensues. Sometimes you need a little distance to appreciate what you’ve done.

The most fully-satisfying pieces, however, are the “nostalgia” stories, from my childhood and early adult years. My writing style changes somehow, a switch just gets flipped, and I enter this other zone as I reflect and contemplate. And yes, I cry over my own words, while writing them in these cases, as I’m often revisiting demons and heartache, even if I give everything a delicate veneer of humor.

M: Besides Liam Hemsworth’s whimsical hair, where do you get your inspiration?

B: Quite simply: Life. Humans are extraordinary and messy and warm and cold and desperate and heartless and glowing and stupid and stunning, all at the same time. The story-triggers are everywhere.

M: You wrote a book titled Screaming in Paris, about a family’s misadventure on their Paris vacation. Is this somewhat autobiographical; is the family in the book based upon your own family experiences?

B: Yes, it’s entirely autobiographical, with 90% of the goings-on entirely true. (There are absurd “dream sequences” inserted throughout, thus requiring me to put a disclaimer on the copyright page that said book “should be considered a work of fiction”, even though it’s mostly not. Despite that nod to possible whimsy, there are certain family members who have never forgiven me for how I portrayed them. I guess they don’t like looking in a mirror.)

M: You also wrote a book called Unexpected Wetness, again about a family’s misadventure, but this time in Six Flags. I too had a few misadventures on vacations as a kid, but mostly because my dad said, “I am going to turn this car around,” and he actually would. He didn’t believe in idle threats. What or who were some of the catalysts that caused your vacations to go off the rails?

B: The catalysts are easy to identify: People behaving inappropriately, be it family members (notice the theme?), Six Flags employees, random tourists who should never have strayed from the family farm, or corporate officials who only look at numbers and not patron enjoyment. Everything that could go wrong, did. And I took notes.

By the way, it sounds like your father is my father as well. I find it pleasing that you might be my sister, but I will be slightly annoyed if I learn that you knew this the whole time and didn’t bother to send me something lovely for my birthdays.

M: Do you prefer writing for your blog over novels?

B: This is an excellent question, one that I have been pondering quite a bit recently. I greatly enjoy the “instant gratification” of releasing a blog post. You know right away if folks like something or they don’t. And there are many times when the commentary discussions are much more satisfying than what I may have written in the blog post proper.

At the same time, spending most of my day either composing/revising a new blog post or responding to comments leaves little time to work on my novels. I currently have five said novels that are in various stages of development, two of which I have been working on for years. (And one of which weighs in at roughly 700 pages of rough draft and clearly needs some whittling.)

I haven’t released a new novel since 2014, which is ridiculous. I’m retired, I should be putting out a new book every 6 months or so. But the allure of blogging is beguiling, and I let myself get led astray. Perhaps it’s time that I pull up my socks and get the deed done. Thank you for giving me this gentle shove, even if you did not mean to do so.

M: Who are some of your favorite authors/influences?

B: This question is always tricky, at least for me, as I have many influences, all for wildly variant reasons, but I’ll give it a run, with the admonition that this is only a sampling:

Zilpha Keatley Snyder: I worshiped her books as a tweenager.

Stephen King: Despite the horror angle, he has a solid understanding of humanity.

Anne Rice: Two words – hypnotic atmosphere.

Anne Tyler: She takes the tiny moments and gives them grandeur.

Douglas Adams: To be allowed into his warped, immensely-imaginative mind was a pleasure.

Gore Vidal: Extremely arrogant and off-putting in his personal life, he could structure a whopper of a tale.

John Rechy: Bold and fearless.

Garrison Keillor: He paints small-town life with loving brushstrokes.

Fannie Flagg: And she does the same.

Ray Bradbury: Science-fiction angle aside, when he shares his childhood via his characters, I’m mesmerized. “Dandelion Wine” is one of the books I wish I had written although, to be honest, I wish I had written some of the books by anyone on this list.

M: Is there any one book that you read as an adolescent or young adult that had a profound effect on you? Did it actually put you on a different trajectory in life, like it made you decide not to become an Alaskan Fisherman?

B: I think it’s fair to say that nearly every (respectable) book I read as an adolescent or young adult confirmed my belief that I was meant to word-smith. I wanted to be a writer when I was 8 and I still want to be a writer at 54. There has been an amazing amount of life-crap thrown in my way over the decades that kept me from this goal, but it’s still what I yearn for, still what I want. I have so much to say, so many, many things, and I’m sure I will continue trying to write the right words until old-age and happenstance dictate otherwise.

M: Where can the masses find your books and you online?

B: My Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Brian-Lageose/e/B00EECSIH2/

My main blog: https://brianlageose.blog/

My Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/BonnywoodManor

My Author Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bonnywood-Manor-328812236679/

Lost: Jessie’s Girl. If Found, Please Give Her a Name

19-of-the-funniest-lost-and-found-signs-ever-made

Jessie’s girl; lost but not forgotten, even though we try. Who is Jessie’s girl? Lets examine the facts that we know. We know that Rick Springfield is a shitty friend and rather than write his secret desires in a diary, he chose to put them to lyrics that have haunted us our entire lives. She is a girl without her own identity, trapped forever in a love triangle so wrong, it ended up in a song. To solve the mystery of Jessie’s girl once and for all, I interviewed Jessie (last name not given to protect his identity) to find out about, “his girl.”

Me: How did the two of you meet?

Jessie: She and I were both deadheads. We would follow the Grateful Dead all over the world. We stopped following them after Jerry Garcia had an ice cream named after himself. It just got to be too much. That’s when we decided to join the Illuminati.

Me: Why has her identity been kept a secret? Tell us her story.

Jessie: It was so that the Illuminati wouldn’t find her; she stole thousands of dollars worth of Gothic ashtrays. Rick blew her cover with that song. The Illuminati found her and bludgeoned her death with Bavarian sausages. So sad.

Me: How did you and Rick become friends?

Jessie: We met at an auction; he and I were both bidding on Bob Dylan’s mood ring. We talked afterwards and found out we both used the same hair spray, so we became fast friends.

Me: Did you suspect he was after, “your girl?”

Jessie: Not at first. He asked me where he could find a woman like that. I said in various cults and secret societies.

Me: Why did he feel so dirty when you guys started talking cute?

Jessie: I didn’t know this at the time, but he bugged my car and my home. He would listen in on our conversations.

Me: Did Rick Springfield end up with, “your girl?”

Jessie: Yes, but then he quickly moved on to Jenny, after he found out her number was 867-5309.

Me: What are you doing now?

Jessie: Currently, I’m one of the writers for the Iron Sheikh’s Twitter account.  You might recognize some of my tweets. “I WILL SUPLEX YOUR DREAMS YOU JABRONI” and “DANCE OR GO FUCK YOURSELF”

Me: Do you also tweet for the president?

Jessie: No, I get that a lot though, because of the similarities.

Me: Where is, “your girl” buried?

Rick: She’s not my girl anymore; she belongs to the world. Her ashes were scattered in a Costco, to commemorate her love of bulk purchasing.

Me: I guess there’s a fine line between sweet and misogynistic. Are you and Rick still friends?

Jessie: He sent me a friend request on Facebook, but I didn’t accept it. I’m just not ready to forgive him.

Me: Neither is the world.

Rick Springfield’s last known whereabouts.

Know-It-O’s: The Cereal That Makes You Smart

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Introducing Know-It-O’s, a non-approved FDA cereal that makes you smart.

Are you tired of being a dumb ass? Is your vocabulary extremely limited? Are you in the presidential adjectives club? According to the latest survey, Americans on average, are as dumb as a windmill and for those people who don’t know, windmills are stupid and cause cancer. Let’s face it, your T-Rex size brain can only concentrate for so long. Who has time to be well-read these days? We are not our grandparents, who sat by the fire reading A Tale of Two CitiesYou can’t spare the time away from your phone to read the tale of one city, let alone twoNo, it’s a new era of technology. It is the dumber of times; it is the more dumber of times

I know what your thinking; you’re perfectly happy to wallow in your own ignorance, because after all, it’s gotten you this far in life and you don’t want people thinking you’re now an elitist, because you learned how to pronounce ignominious. It takes years of reading, to develop a decent vocabulary and expand your  point-of-view, beyond your own little narrow slice of cheese. If you had that kind of time, patience and intellectual curiosity in the first place, you wouldn’t be working as an unlicensed acupuncturist in upstate New York. We guarantee that if you eat one bowl of Know-It-O’s a day, for an entire week, your IQ will go up by five points. Just think where you could be in two weeks. Maybe the manager at Arby’s; the possibilities are endless.

You may be wondering what’s in our cereal that makes people smarter. We have all the usual artificial ingredients that make you fat, corn syrup, starch, dextrose trisodium phosphate, etc., but there’s one key ingredient that takes you from Vanilla Ice to Voltaire, in just the span of a few weeks. Our special ingredient is called wiseoflavin, discovered by accident, when one of our employees nuked a hot pocket for too long and it exploded in the microwave. The resulting goop is what comprises wiseoflavin and makes you into a one person think tank.

It works, but don’t just take our word for it; read the testimonials of some our satisfied customers.

“I love Cheerios.” – Courtney Stanley, Satan’s Kingdom, Massachusetts.

“I saw the face of Jesus in my cereal bowl and you can see it too for $5.” – Sam Roberts, Mormon, Utah.

“It makes me gag, but my dog really likes it.” – Dan Salisbury, Children of the Corn, Nebraska.

Try Know-It O’s today and stop being the dumbest one in the room.

Disclaimer: May cause false sense of superiority, hives, dysentery, multiple personality disorder, dementia, bad fashion sense, the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918, penchant for obscure yogurt flavors, bad puns and pregnancy. Do not eat while driving, sitting, standing, lying down, walking, running, or having sex. The sudden influx of knowledge may cause some to have an aneurysm. Product not meant for Fox viewers.