Saturday, October 09, 2004

No one in the media has so far commented, or even seems to have noticed, but, at one point in the last Presidential debate, Bush attempted to blame the underestimates of troop numbers going into Iraq on his generals. Always dangerous for a CinC to blame failures on the generals. They tend to get pissed off and stage a coupe. I also recall that Hitler did much the same before he shot himself in the bunker. (Along with Eva and the dog Blondi.)

Attempts to characterize the recent Florida hurricane rampage as a meterological flook is kinda negated by the fact that the very same thing is happening in Japan with typhoon after typhoon slamming into Tokyo.

The debates in Photoshop (from fidicen)

The secret word is Woof

CRYPTIQUE -- Sell the car to Little Richard.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Americans seem somewhat upset that the English have screwed up their flu vacine. Did I understand correctly that the problem was at a factory in Liverpool? Payback, at long last, for John Lennon, perhaps?
In the review below, I especially love the phrase "zany yet brutal".

Thursday, October 07, 2004

When the workers aren’t paid enough also to be consumers, capitalism screws the pooch and the game is over.

While googling myself to prove I was really real, I came across the following very cool review of The Renquist Quartet by bookslut. I shamelessly pass it on because I am extremely fond of my vampires and would love for them to find a wider audience. They were a little – as they call it – underpublished.

The final vampire series worth checking out is Mick Farren's Renquist Quartet (which includes The Time of Feasting, Darklost, More Than Mortal, and Underland). Farren, a former rock journalist known for psychedelic sci-fi novels, started the series off with a mostly mainstream horror story of a colony of New York vampires thrown into disarray by internal politics and external hunters. However, with the second book, the series took a turn for the bizarre that had only been hinted at previously, as Farren established vampires (and most other supernatural creatures) as being the result of long-ago alien experimentation on earth. Had he taken the theory too seriously, the books would have come across typical cheesy sci-fi (or a late-series X-Files episode). But since Farren pervades the series with a sense of fun (while never letting the characters themselves be utterly serious about the world in which they live), we end up with a zany yet brutal world in which alien vampires mingle with ancient wizards, in which a vampiric Kurt Cobain and Lovecraft's Cthulhu can be found, and in which Nazi Mole Men and UFOs square off against secret US government immortality projects. At the core, though, the novels are still about Renquist and his crew of vampires as they travel the globe and try to make sense of the insanity. Farren's quartet manages to be a hoot, without ever tripping too far into the "humorous" side of the humorous horror realm.

And on the subject of reviews of vampire novels, Anne Rice has posted a unbelievably demented defense of herself and her vampires on Amazon, explaining at undignified length how she hasn’t jumped the shark, and apparently blaming a lot of it on her readers. (Unless it’s revealed as a cruel and unusual hoax.) Excerpts...

First off, let me say that this is addressed only to some of you, who have posted outrageously negative comments here, and not to all. You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. Indeed, you aren't even reading it.

You are projecting your own limitations on it. And this book is most certainly written -- every word of it -- by me. If and when I can't write a book on my own, you'll know about it. And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art.

If this reaches one reader who is curious about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I've served my goals. And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He always has and he always will. You really wouldn't much like being around either one of us. And you don't have to be. If any of you want to say anything about all this by all means Email me at And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I'm not a coward about my real name or where I live. And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!

For the whole tirade go to , dial up her new(ish) book The Blood Canticle, and scroll down the reader reviews.

I still love Maureen Dowd – even though one of Doc’s lady admirers has laughingly threatened to "scratch that redheaded bitch's eyes out!"
"Senator Kerry evoked the voice of Bush 41 to get under 43's thin skin. The more Mr. Kerry played the square, proper, moderate, internationalist war hero, the more the president was reduced to childish scowling and fidgeting, acting like a naughty little boy who refuses to sit in his seat and eat his spinach and do all the hard things a parent wants you to do."

Our dazzling pal hipspinster has been out on the razzle...

And try this. It’s really worth the effort.

CRYPTIQUEHe’s drunk!

The secret word is Ovoid

Last night during the VP Smackdown, Darth Cheney defended Haliburton by telling viewers to go to to read all about his former company’s philanthropic innocence. I recommend you try it, but actually type the URL into your browser or the hilarity will not ensue.

I wrote the following book review for LA CityBeat, but since it was to small to make the website, I thought it’d share, now the issue is off the stands....
Ever had the urge to annihilate the individual next door who is loudly and ineptly learning an electric instrument or insists on playing bass-heavy post-Soviet disco at pain-threshold volume? Has anger reached the level were simple homicide will not suffice and you feel the need to level the entire building in which the culprit lives? Or did you just find those catapults in Return of The King just too cool? Either way, author William Gurstelle has the book for you. In The Art of The Catapult, he not only chronicles the plus two millennia history of catapult technology – along with notes on siege tactics, and the use of poisonous snakes and severed human heads as projectiles – but provides detailed DIY instructions to build your very own, environment-friendly, boulder hurling engine of death. Fancy a Macedonian ballista? A Roman onager? Or a reconstruction of the big English trebuchet nicknamed Ludgar the War Wolf? All are yours to command provided you can muster a minimal skill with sharp and heavy tools, protective eyewear, and all the other stuff beloved by Homer Simpson. Just observe the important swinging arm and flying object alerts in the diagrams and be the first on your block with artillery! Gurstelle’s plans are for scale models, but one can, of course, multiply.
Art of The Catapult by William Gurstelle (Chicago Review Press, $14.95)

Seemingly London bookies are now giving odds on which Simpsons character will come out in the new year. Favorite at 5-2 is Waylon Smithers.

CRYPTIQUEWhich format do you prefer?

The secret word is Clamp

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Yesterday another hospital emergency room closed in Los Angeles. Since the late eighties, Southern California had lost sixteen emergency or trauma facilities. Only eleven remain. The cited reason is that hospitals are mandated by state law to provide emergency treatment to all who seek it, regardless of whether they can pay or not. Thus the problem is deemed to be the fault of the poor, the indigent, the homeless, and the illegal. Whether LA, a clear target for potential terrorist action now has the needed medical facilities to cope with such an event, or a major earthquake, or another urban uprising is highly debatable. In the War on Terror, funds are available to create a police state, or contract for a Haliburton-imperial, top dollar war of conquests, but we must not mention healthcare. Such talk hints at socialism and endangers the profit margins of inequality.

To ensure he doesn’t wipe out all trace of his highly creditable history, Ralph Nader really has to stand down right now with all dignity, or risk being chronicled as the looney spoiler of 2004, and maybe much worse.

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." – President John F. Kennedy

War Is A Racket
["if you've never read this masterwork, do yourself a favor" – People’s Daily Briefing]

And now take the Patriot Pledge

CRYPTIQUENo blindfold!

The secret word is Casualty

Monday, October 04, 2004

Having slept, now I wander in a haze muttering to myself that I have so much to do, I have no idea where to start, and should maybe go back to bed because Mt. St. Helens will explode triggering massive earthquakes, death and apocalypse. (I can contrive really massive excuses to go back to bed.) But here, in the very act of writing this, I have broken the deadlock of creative sloth and the day begins.

Yesterday was the 40th birthday of Underdog. Tomorrow is the 102nd birthday of Larry Fein of The Three Stooges, or it would be if he wasn’t dead.

And take a listen to "Fortunate Son" by Creedence. The relevance is eerie.
Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
Ooh, they point the cannon at you,
Lord, It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no senator's son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no,

Yeah! Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no.

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, one.


CRYPTIQUEJust walking around to save funeral expenses.

The secret word is Duck

I thought I should make a brief post so you would not all think I had wandered off again. I have spent some of the last few days with the Felix Dennis, Glass Half Full Poetry Tour, and Felix can not only stage a reading, but put on a hell of an expansive lunch.

But as it’s still Sunday, because I haven’t gone to bed yet, here’s a segment of a story from The New Republic – WHY BUSH DOESN’T GO TO CHURCH by Amy Sullivan

But, even if Bush had the time for church services, supporters protest, the security precautions necessary for a presidential visit would drive congregants away. This is the exact same argument the Reagan White House trotted out to explain why the patron saint of the religious right hardly ever attended church from 1981 to 1989. Bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors, and security personnel, so the theory goes, would pose an onerous burden for the average church. "The president wants to avoid the sort of major weekly disruption that would be caused if he went to church," says David Aikman, author of A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush." As it happens, I attended Foundry United Methodist Church for several years during the late '90s when the Clintons were members there. The only imposition was the extra ten seconds it took to walk through a metal detector. Parishioners did not leave the church in droves; on the contrary, many were pleasantly surprised to find that the Clintons played an active role in church life, particularly while Chelsea was involved in the choir and youth group.
Full story –

The secret word is Effluvia