Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Tragic Expedition of Commodore Ulysses L. Gruffudd

Read parts one, twothree, four, and five.

Much time has passed in the belly of the beast; much have I see that I wish I had not. After the savage rendered me unconscious, I awoke much later tied to a stake, great bonfires burning all around me, the heathens dancing in celebration, their cries shrill and piercing like the music of devils. In the midst of their fires are the French Canadians; they make no noise while they burn, their lives having been mercifully taken from them before the flames devoured their flesh. They were not the best of men, nor were they Christian men, but all the same, I do not think they deserved the fate the savages gave to them. Throughout the night I wait for them to pile kindling about me, but the torch never comes. I pass into a restless sleep--in my dreams, devils dance about me, stabbing at my heart with their pitchforks, their laughter a saber piercing my very soul.


Morning comes, and the nightly festivities have ended. The desolation of our fort is plain to see, as are the charred ashes of the bones of my men. A solitary Indian stands before me, his face painted, his black hair tied in a bun held together by two slender bones. He offers a cup to me, beckoning me to drink, and I comply, my parched lips and dry throat suffering from a terrible thirst. The liquid is cool, thick, and tastes of iron; immediately, I know it to be blood, likely drained from my companions. I spit it out, shaking my head with what energy I have left. The savage does not look pleased; his visage wrinkles and he bares his fangs, which appear to be sharpened like daggers. He takes me off of the stake and pushes me forward, my hands bound, my feet moving like lead weights. Into the palpable darkness of the woods we venture, the savage pushing me forward, the branches and briars cutting my face.

We walk a few leagues before we come upon the Indian village. Crude structures of wood greet us; children and small dogs run at our side, sniffing and pawing at my clothes. The women here have no modesty; they walk with their breasts exposed. I must admit that no matter their other characteristics, the savages are impressive specimens, both male and female. They are well-muscled, lean, and capable of great feats of athleticism, and they are fair to look upon. My captor ends my ruminations with a strike of his hand. I am placed upon another stake, this one right in the center of town. The children who greeted my arrival now throw stones and worse, their little mouths voicing foul opinions in their heathen tongue. The women behave similarly, and I am doused with urine and feces. This continues for most of the day. In the evening, I am approached by the same Indian who took me to the village. "You must pay," he says in clear English. "For what?" I ask him. "For the sins of your ancestors," he says. I am left alone, hanging from the stake, the moon's light my only illumination.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Songs Your Mother Taught Us: Centipede

Hey, a rock song. Let's have a listen.

Short Story: Love Letter

Once a week I leave him a love letter. I drop it on the porch, right in the middle of the shit-colored rug that rests before the door. The envelope is embroidered with flowers and sealed with a kiss, the mark of my lips visible like the imprint of a fossil. I use my wife’s lipstick, some ruby-red stuff she hardly ever wears. I don’t think she notices. At least, she’s never said anything about it.
            I take a lot of time writing the letters, even though they’re only about two-hundred words or so. I try to keep it brief but poignant, like I have a lot of things on my mind, which I do. I try to copy my daughter’s handwriting, which is flowing and full of loops and cartwheels of the pen. She’s a teenage girl, and she’s gotten into writing letters to her friends. Some fad, I guess. My own natural style is messy and a barely legible, the scrawl of an illiterate ape, or so my wife has always said. She has trouble reading anything I’ve written, even after twenty years of marriage. To be fair, my writing is pretty terrible. Every grade school teacher I ever had chided me to work on my penmanship. Most people don’t care if your handwriting is bad. No one writes letters anymore. It’s a lost art.
            Kevin is his name. He works at a buffet five days a week, feeding the local wildlife as they saunter in, heaping great piles of mashed potatoes and spaghetti on their plates. “Put a little more gravy on it,” they ask him, and Kevin complies. I imagine the gravy boat gets refilled every ten minutes. There’s probably some guy whose entire job consists of monitoring the gravy level. It’s not that special, the gravy. I would only put it on the mashed potatoes they offer to cover up the taste. It’s vomit-colored and runny, like it just came out of someone’s nose. My wife says I have a special way of looking at things. I tell her I just call them like I see them.
            I’m watching behind a headstone as Kevin steps out of his house and picks up my letter. The joy on his wan face is palpable. He’s pale and alabaster-skinned like a creature living in a cave. The porch on which he stands is liable to collapse at any minute. The whole place, which he shares with his brothers, should be condemned. Kevin never opens the letters outside. He stares at them for a while like he’s trying to guess the contents, trying to read the mind of the writer and feel what she’s thinking. He runs his fingers along the imprint of the kiss, long skeletal fingers of bone. I guess he’s about twenty-eight or so. I don’t know that much about him.
            I met this girl yesterday coming out of a movie. She had on a green dress and black tights, and her hair was tied loosely in a bun, and her eyes were green and livid like she’d punch you or screw you if you said the right word. She saw me staring at her, and we locked eyes for a second and it was just like the movies, we just stared and stared at each other, trying to read one another’s minds. I went over and introduced myself, told her that I owned that bar right there on the corner, and would she like to have a drink? This is like at three-thirty in the afternoon. When I see movies, I see the matinee.
            So she agrees, and we go over to my bar, which is actually my cousin’s place, but for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t matter. She drinks a whiskey and a coke, and I have a couple beers, and pretty soon we’ve hit it off, like I knew we would the minute I saw her. There’s a certain excitement you receive from meeting a person for the first time that’s unrepeatable. Energy is exchanged, bright, fresh energy, vivid like primary colors, greens, blues, and reds. There isn’t any brown in it, none of the normal dullness of life. I don’t even remember what we talked about. An hour later we were fucking at her apartment. She just pulled down the tights and we went at it like a bunch of teenagers, knocking shit over and moaning. Afterwards, she wanted to go out again, but I didn’t feel like it. I never feel like it.
            This Kevin guy, I don’t ever think he’s had a date. I think he’s an actual virgin. He’s my son’s age, and they used to be friends, until my son grew up and moved away. I don’t hear much from him, my son. But Kevin I see everyday. I see him walking home from work, moving at a sloth’s pace, his eyes on the ground, counting the cracks in the sidewalk. Sometimes I want to honk my horn at him just to see if I’d get any reaction. My son used to tell me that he’d go to the store and buy a sack of potatoes and that’s what he’d eat for the rest of the month, baked potatoes. Can you imagine eating a baked potato every single day for the rest of your life? Maybe after a while it’d be like taking a shit or walking to work. Another check on the list, so to speak. I don’t know, though.
            I sign the letters “Ao” which is Japanese for green. This stems from something my son said about Kevin being in love with Japan. When I write I try to think what a teenage Japanese girl would write. I don’t know much about Japan, but I’ve learned a lot since I’ve started writing these letters. I try to keep the word romance in mind. That’s what people want, I think, from a relationship. They want to replicate that initial exchange of energies. It’s romantic to think that such an exchange can happen over again with the same person, but what the hell, I want to believe. I want Kevin to believe. I want him to find some color in his life.
            The headstones extend a good mile or two before his house. It’s an old, sunken graveyard, a place dredged up from the depths of time, filled with monuments to the past and decaying bones. I walk through it for a good while after dropping off the letters. You’d be surprised how many people leave flowers on old tombstones. There are more than you’d think.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apophenia: Chapter Five

It’s about nine o’clock in the evening. I take a late class at the Victor B. Tooms building, and tonight the moon is full and everything is illuminated by starlight and given a bluish sheen. The night sings a music of crickets and distant cars, and the campus lights shimmer weakly as though their lives are short and tremulous as a flame’s. There’s an odor in the air, faint yet spicy and sickly-sweet, like burning rubber or boiling soap. I bite my lip and watch the cobblestones beneath my feet. All of a sudden, he’s there, standing in a dollar green gown, his face black, eyes large and seemingly lit by pale hidden fires, blocking my path like a troll. For whatever reason, I don’t try to move around him. I stop and stare. A crown hangs askew on his head, a crudely-made thing of jagged points. My mouth opens but nothing comes out. The man carries a bedpost in his hands, a scepter of sorts, I suppose, and he shifts it from left to right, as though unable to decide which hand is more worthy of wielding it. There are dark stains on the front of his gown, like he’s had a messy meal.
            “Are you supposed to be the Statue of Liberty?” I ask. “I’m sorry. I didn’t wear my costume.”
            I get no reaction, just the same shifting of his scepter from hand to hand. He seems tense; it’s hard to get a read on his face, which looks to be painted with charcoal.
            “Well, I’m going to go now,” I say, putting a hand in my pocket. “I hear mace is bad for your health. You have a nice night.”
            He stops shifting the scepter. He holds it in his right—I can see his knuckles tightening like he’s trying to crush the wood—and I lose it and start running. I sprint the whole way, my book bag weighing me down, dangling from my shoulder—I briefly consider tossing it and its ridiculously expensive contents—desperately looking for someone, anyone, to cling to and beg help of, but there’s no one around at this late hour, and I can’t seem to find a campus emergency phone or a well-lit area to save my life. As my feet pound the pavement, I spy the library looming ahead, a gigantic rectangle, like something built out of children’s building blocks, and I sprint up the steps like Rocky and push through the revolving doors. I see tables with students, students using computers, librarians behind sturdy-looking desks. There is no noise behind me. Through the tinted glass I see him pass in the shadows, a hint of a figure, something malevolent and radiating weirdness, his bed post dragging on the cobblestones, the club of a prehistoric predator. I go to the front desk and tell the person sitting there that I’ve been pursued.
            “By whom?” asks the bespectacled grad student. He has messy hair and giant bags beneath his eyes. His name tag says “Jason.”
            “A guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty, swinging a bed post, with a painted face,” I say. “I just watched him slink past the entrance. I think he’s waiting for me.”
            “Was it a good costume?” asks Jason. “Or did it look like something he just kind of cobbled together?”
            “It was a poor costume. He wouldn’t get any candy at Halloween.”
            “You sure he had a bed post? That seems a little unusual.”
            “You’re not taking this seriously, are you?” I ask.
            “I’ll call campus security right away,” says Jason.
            “Forget it,” I say. “You’ve been a ton of help.”
            “Whatever,” says Jason.
            “If I go missing, you’ll feel more than a tinge of regret, I guarantee it. You’ll think back on this night and wonder if there wasn’t more you could have done to prevent such a tragedy from occurring. It would behoove you to be a little more empathic, a bit more involved.”
            “Do you want me to call security or not?” asks Jason. “Is this some kind of stupid joke? Kids get expelled for things like this.”
            “Go bugger yourself,” I tell him.
            “You know what that means, don’t play coy,” I say, turning away. I look around me, searching for an improvised weapon. No baseball bats, bamboo switches, nor heavy flashlights to be found among the scattered possessions of the studious. I’m about to exit and brave the campus defenseless when I see Chad Arroyo staring at me from a round table. He’s got on a massive pair of headphones that engulf his disheveled skull, and there are candy bar wrappers and books spread out across his table like the possessions of a refugee. Come hither, his look states, and I find my feet moving toward his table.
            “Leona,” he says, his expression pleasant enough. “Care to go over Gibbons’ masterpiece?” He pushes Stalin’s Mustache over to me. “I’ve read most of it. It goes by pretty quickly.”
            “Nonsense has a way of being utterly forgettable,” I reply.
            “You don’t enjoy his stuff?” asks Chad.
            “I wonder if he gets baked before he writes. That’s the only explanation I can come up with. Either that, or he’s an idiot.”
            “I’ll tell him you said that.”
            “Go ahead. He couldn’t think less of me,” I say.
            “I’ve actually enjoyed most of his book. He’s certainly creative, you can’t deny that. ‘A thick upper lip is a burly vacuum for your radiant succubus love.’ Come on, that’s not bad. It’s humorous. And strangely erotic.” Chad smiles, and I’ve got to admit, he’s got a nice pair of teeth. I’m a stickler for teeth. White, yellow, straight, crooked. They all have to be there.
            “What about ‘A penis is a penis is a penis?’ You’re telling me that’s brilliant?”
            “We could talk for hours about that sentence,” replies Chad. “There are infinite layers of meaning hidden in those eight simple words.”
            “That’s a conversation I don’t want to have.”
            “You don’t like an argument unless you have an audience is what you mean,” he says.
            “That’s not true. I’ll argue with anyone, anytime, anywhere. I am contentious. I have a chip on my shoulder. I am not pleasant.”
            “I think you’ll be a great writer someday,” says Chad, and despite his bullshit, I find myself sitting down at his table, pawing over his books nonchalantly. Great Jones Street, Darma Bums, The Crying of Lot 49.  
            “You read all of those?” I ask.
            “Mostly,” he says, shrugging. “I skim. I skip from clause to clause. My attention span grows shorter every day. Sometimes I wonder if I retain anything but television jingles and corporate slogans.”
            “So you’ve been reading DeLillo.”
            “And listening to the Dirtbombs,” he replies. “My band is going to open for them next month.”
            “What do you play?”
            “You look like a bassist.”
            “I know enough to take that as an insult,” he says. “But that’s okay. We bassists get a bad rap.”
            “It’s a guitar with four strings,” I tell him. “Six would be too many to handle.”
            “I actually play a five-string, I’ll have you know.”       
            “What’s your band called?”
            “The Part-time Poets. We’re all English majors.”
            “What kind of music is it?”
            “Indie post-punk ambient hardcore noise blues metal,” he says, rattling off genres like an auctioneer. “We play a little bit of everything.”
            “Do you spit on the audience?” I ask.
            “Every so often. When they deserve it. Our singer Reggie sometimes wears nothing but an old pair of basketball shorts. All true Part-time Poets fans have seen Reggie’s swinging balls.”
            “What is he, like an old man? Do they just flop out down to his knees?”
            “He’s a grad student working on his dissertation of Edwardian literature. Knowledgeable guy. Skinny little beanpole, you wouldn’t think of him as an Iggy Pop type.”
            “I’ll tell you what. You walk me to the bus stop, and I’ll go to your show,” I say.
            “Will you restrain yourself from punching me in the throat in the meantime?” he asks.
            “Provided you don’t deserve it,” I reply.
            “Why do you want me to walk you to the bus stop?”
            “Some maniac in a Statue of Liberty costume chased me. The guy at the front counter didn’t take me seriously.”
            “Wait, Leona Chaney is afraid of something? I thought you said I was a pussy.”
            “Prove me wrong. And I never claimed to be fearless,” I say, somewhat regretfully.
            “All right. I’ll walk you to the bus stop.” He jumps up and immediately pushes all of his books and trash into his book bag and then heads for the door. Outside, the night has lost its menace—the clouds have pulled across the moon, and the lamplights, which had flickered and failed while I was being pursued, shine their dim light, providing a clear path devoid of ghouls and costumed lunatics. I feel like a fool for asking Chad Arroyo to accompany me, Chad with his skinny jeans and hideous skater shoes. You’re not a helpless woman, says my inner voice. I have no response.
            The bus pulls up right as we reach the stop. I mumble thanks to Chad and rush toward the doors. Through the windows I watch him stand there as we pull away, his thoughts doubtlessly rash and deviant behind his shaggy, helmet-like locks. I settle back into my seat and contemplate how I’ll find the will power to continue if Mom’s cooked spaghetti again.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weightlifting: Squatting Everyday

Inspired by Jon Broz and Olympic lifters, I've started squatting everyday. I'd been performing the low-bar squat, by which I mean a squat with the bar sitting on a shelf created by the rear deltoids, necessitating a more horizontal torso, where the knees just break parallel. I've since switched to an ass to grass style high-bar squat, where the bar rests on top of my traps and my torso is kept more vertical. This style of squatting seems much easier to recover from; not really sure why, maybe just because it's a more natural squat. The lifter in the above photo is performing a high-bar squat, for example. Anyways, the theory behind squatting everyday is that the body will eventually adapt to a stimulus; Jon Broz uses the garbage man analogy: Your first day of work as a garbage man would be pretty hard, but you'd keep showing up, no matter how sore you were. Eventually you'd stop feeling sore, and work becomes easier. Over-training, according to Broz, is a lie. Your body can do more than you think it can.

What I've done is worked up to a squat max everyday. I'll do twenty reps with the empty bar, then add 135, 185, 225, and 275 for doubles as my warm up. Then I'll squat whatever I feel capable of: 325, 330, 340. Back-off sets are next, usually a double and a triple, or three sets of two across. I've done this for about two weeks now, and amazingly, I'm never sore. My squat feels better, and the weights are climbing. I've cut out deadlifting, though, and it'll be interesting to see if I retain my strength just from squatting. Here's an example program.

Sunday: Squat to a max, back off sets of 2 or 3 reps.
Power cleans, at least five heavy singles.

Monday: Squat to a max
Press or Push-Jerk for three sets of five. Chin-ups, four sets to failure.

Tuesday: Squat to a max. Power clean if you feel like it.

Wednesday: Squat to a max, back off sets of 2 or 3 reps. Bench Press for doubles or triples.

Thursday: Squat to a max. Press or Push-Jerk for triples.

Friday: Squat to a max.

Saturday: Squat, or possibly take a rest day, if knees are killing you.

So this is obviously a program for someone desiring to take their squat to the next level. The focus on power cleaning over deadlifting should be obvious; your lower body is taking a beating, and power cleaning will build your pulling power while being less stressful than deadlifts. Plus, most people don't clean, and every man should be able to clean well over their body weight. I'll report back in a month or two on how this is working.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Consummate Politician Apologizes

Hello, constituents. It's me again. They've forced me out onto this podium in order to apologize for something that I may or may not have done. The evidence has been presented, and there are accusations, yet no conclusion has been reached. They don't know exactly what I've done. I don't know what I've done, yet here I am again. Let's get this over with.

I apologize if my actions have offended anyone. I did not mean to hurt people. Indeed, some would say that I am full of love. People approach me, wanting love, and who am I not to give it to them? God says "Love thy neighbor." I am a biblical literalist. Whether I did or did not have a relationship with my neighbor Mrs. Thomas, I ask you what you would have done in my circumstances. You have to see this woman. She looks like Kate Upton, and has a rack to match. You tell me Jesus doesn't want me to love that woman? Why would Jesus have given her a body like that if he didn't want her to be serviced by a lover such as myself? And don't tell me that's a job for Mr. Thomas. Have you seen that guy? He's like eighty years old. He probably has to swallow an entire bottle of Viagra just to get to half mast.

Hey, mistakes were made. I'm sorry about that secretary, for instance. My chief of staff, Charles, should have known better than to put a woman like that in my proximity. Charles, I forgive you. You're a good guy, but you should've known better. You don't keep a Ferrari locked up in the garage. You take that thing out and drive the hell out of it. I've always loved race cars. I think that makes me the perfect American. There's a bond between the driver and the road, and I'm pretty sure that shit's written in the Constitution. Praise Jesus, and may Dale Earnhardt's spirit rest in peace.

Look, I'm sorry if this offends anybody, but a man has to roam, if you know what I mean. My long-suffering wife has come to this conclusion, and she doesn't even get pissed anymore when allegations of sexual misconduct surface. People in the Bible had multiple wives, you know. Now I'm not saying I want to marry any of these women; hell, I would've moved to Utah long ago if that were the case. But I think the critical eye needs to turn inward. Check yourself, America. You tell me you haven't masturbated to pornography recently. The Bible says the thought is as guilty as the deed. Man is a sinful creature, and we are all in need of repentance.

In closing, I just want to say that the allegations of exposure are completely unfounded. I did not show my penis to a strange man without cause. He wanted to know how big it was, and I took it upon myself to prove to him that I have a considerably sized wiener. There was no sexual element to the showing. It was simply to confirm rumors which have surfaced due my many alleged sexual adventures. I am not gay, people. Not that there's anything wrong with that, though the Bible says otherwise. Everyone have a nice day. Remember, support America. Don't let the terrorists win.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Least Interesting Man in the World

Howdy folks. It sure did rain a lot last night. Had a little leakage in the back porch area, to my great chagrin. This old place is falling apart! It needs a man to come and fix her up and get her looking nice and swell. Unfortunately I am not that man. I have little aptitude for repair and maintenance, a fact which my good ol' dad reminded me of often as a child. My father also had little capacity for warmth and affection, and he favored the lash a bit much for modern standards of child-rearing. Let this cup of stale bargain-brand coffee I'm drinking right now be for you, Dad. My you have finally found that fish you were always looking for, though I hope you have more patience with your heavenly fishing buddy than you had with me. It's not my fault the fish aren't biting.

I went to a party last night. It was a work party, and Steve invited everybody; otherwise, I wouldn't have been invited, since I'm not very popular at work. Steve's house is one of those modern homes with shiny appliances and sliding glass doors. His wife is very pretty, and his children are nice, I guess, though they seldom moved from their self-appointed corners on the couch, their attention being captivated by the Ipads they held in their greasy little hands. Every once in a while Steve would stand in front of one of them and scream as loudly as he could, and they would just sit there, no reaction forming on their faces. "What I'd tell ya?" Steve said, like he'd just performed a party trick. I think maybe Steven and his children need to visit a therapist, but look who's talking! Gee-whiz, I'm a downer sometimes.

Later on during the party, Steve invited me and some of the guys back to his "man-cave." It's a garage with sports posters hung from the walls, and there's a pool table and a cheap mini-bar. "This is where I can be myself," says Steve to all of us, gesturing emphatically at the room around around him, the other men murmuring affirmations. I couldn't see what was so good about a smelly garage with a pool table, but to each his own. After a couple of pool games, Steve brought out what I thought was a cigarette, though it smelled like a skunk when he started smoking it. He passed it around, and it eventually found its way to me, though I didn't want to smoke it, since it smelled so foul, but I, being something of a wuss, partook in the offered smoke. "Hold it in," says Steve, as I'm smoking, "let it reach your lungs." I do as he says, and end up coughing violently, to everyone's great amusement.

The cigarette must have been some illegal drug, because I spent the rest of the party sitting next to one of Steve's kids, watching with fascination as he clicked Youtube video after Youtube video, the people on the screen speaking gibberish, the colors vivid and surreal. The drive home was peculiar, to say the least. There was a cat the size of a lion, and he was standing in the middle of the road, and though I was at least a thousand feet away from him, I heard him say "murroaww," clear as day. He disappeared as soon as the car reached him. It took hours to get home, but when I checked my watch, only fifteen minutes had passed. When I woke up in the morning, I found that I had eaten a pound of sugar. The stomach pangs I have had since have been unbearable. At least I was invited to a party.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hanging with the Goon

The ol' man was pretty angry, and you don't wanna get hit by a rock thrown by him, no sir.

Read part one of the Goon's tour de force.

Its the Goon here again, an' 'fore I start up with my storytellin', I'd like to correct a few misconceptions that seem that have arisin' regarding my spellin'. I've always had the habit of spellin' "the" and "this" as "da" and "dis" 'cuz I enjoy being eclectic in my formin' of words. Yet I was told by my English teacher yester (I actually decided to go to school fer once!) that such spellins are incorrect and racist. Now, I can be incorrect at times, sure, but the Goon has never been a racist person, an' no matter how many Cu Clux Clan meetings Uncle Thom has held in his backyard, I swear I have never been in attendence. So lest you'll think I'm trying to be spigot, I'm gonna refrain from my ol' way of spellin' common words like "the," "that," an' "this."

Now that we got all that mess cleared up, I'm a gonna get back to tellin' the story I was tellin' 'fore. See, me and Slack had stirred up a sasquatch, an' it had chased us up near Uncle Thom's compound, an' we had tricked it an' trapped it in Uncle Thom special hole, which is an ol' pit about fifteen or twenty feet deep or so. It was a hollerin' somethin' awful, an' Slack and me were pretty scared to approach it, but we did anyway, 'cuz were not a bunch of pussies. Lo and behold, we gotta good look at 'em. He was about eight feet tall an' covered in a bunch of long fur like my brother Willy (Willy's got a hell of a hairy back) an' his hand were like giant baseball mitts, an' his eyes were red and smoking somethin' fierce. Slack, bein' a jackass, immediately started yellin' back at the sasquatch, callin' him queer an' stinky, which he was (the latter, at least. I don't know nuthin' 'bout no sasquatch sexual preferences.). That, of course, got 'em even more pissed off than before, an' he started tryin' to jump up an' grab a hold of us, which he damn-near did, since Slack's a bit of a stumble foot, an' I had to grab his neck an' pull 'em real hard 'cuz the 'squatch got his shoe an' almost pulled 'em in. Now Slack never knows when to quit, as all his girlfriends can attest, so after he almost got pullin' in, he whipped down his pants an' started urinatin' in the hole. The noises that come outta that sasquatch were the worstest thing I've ever heard, an' he starts throwin' himself against the hole tryin' to bust out or make the walls come down. We was laughin' and jeerin' like a bag of assholes, an' that's when Uncle Thom finally made an appearence.

Here's Uncle Thom when he went to a party an' shaved his nasty ol' beard.

"What kinda nonsense you boys doing?" he says, which is a pretty typical Uncle Thom thing to say, an' we's replied "We've caught ourselves a bigfoot!" So Thom looks in the hole, an' his eyes get all wide like silver dollars, an' he damn-near shits his pants (Good thing he didn't, cuz Uncle Thom is famous for his stinky poos). "We gotta call National Geographic!" he says, an' we all agreed that that was a damn-good idear, but first Uncle Thom gotta recognize that we was the ones who found the 'squatch. "Now, its in my hole," he says, giving us a look like he's gonna screw us outta some big monies, "an you boys are on my property." Now I know everything Uncle Thom's going on his property ain't exactly condoned in the eyes of the law, so I says "You don't want National Geographic here, Uncle Thom. They's throw yur ass in jail. How you gonna 'splain the hole an' all that illegal firearms you got in that shed?" Uncle Thom eyes me mighty suspiciously, an' then he pats me on the back an' says we'll work out a deal. He says that he need to clean up his property an' get all the suspicious stuff outta here while we camp out in front of the hole an' watch the sasquatch. "Get 'em some food," he says, but we don't know what the hell a sasquatch eats. "Dog food," says Slack. "Let's get 'em some dog food." We look down in the hole an' the 'squatch is giving us two middle fingers, I swear to God an' Beelzebub. "We want 'em to like us," I says to Slack. "Let's get 'em some pancakes." Now that's a story fere another time, 'cuz the Goon don't like typing much more than he has to. Stay tuned for my riveting conclusion!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Apophenia: Bad Poetry

Here's a poem written by Peter Gibbons, a character from my novel in progress, Apophenia. It is not to be taken very seriously.

Stalin’s Mustache: A Statement of Purpose
What trenches we swam through, you and I, brothers of the crimson cloth, mercilessly slicing throat to throat, all across the battlefields of Europe, each body we killed a drink, a drop, a stone cast upon a rippling lake. The Germans fell with every shot of your rifle, I a passenger, a mere sheathe for your knife, your bullets, your canteen. The Commissaire threatens us with death if we turn back; I could never dream of turning back, having transformed into the veritable death machine I am today. What the man of steel says you perform; what I do is reflected in the gleam of a blade, plunged into a million throats, slicing through Aryans, Jews, political prisoners, clergymen, and any who would oppose those bristly lips, those dark, course hairs that stick in my heart like the thorns of a rose.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Diary of Mitch R. Singer

Surrounded by the walls of a stadium, the masses screaming
I look up from my sandals and see the crowds calling, their curses falling down upon me like arrows. Blood stains the sand beneath my feet; to my right is the disembodied arm of a fallen foe, his hand still twitching, searching for the sword. I bend down and pick up a spear that has been placed for the victor. In the box the politician smiles and tips his cup to me, the slave, the unwilling gladiator of a captive people. Give us the Israelite's head! says a voice full of wine and spittle. The gates raise and I turn to see him coming out, a mountain of a man, clad in leather armor and wielding a javelin. He raises his shield and pounds his spear against it, summoning me forth. There will be no escape, I hear someone shout, and I know these words to be true. "There is no courage in defeat," I say, taking my spear and venturing forth to meet him. The crowd lets out a roar. I have always been an entertainer.

Playing in a ballpark, next to seas of corn
Jones steps to the plate, a burly farmer's son. He spits a mouthful of tobacco juice, the black fluid flying as a mass, and then places the bat on his broad shoulders, his expression mirthful, his eyes mean and confident. Our pitcher starts him off with a fast ball that misses the outside corner, hanging over the plate, and Jones smashes the pitch into right field, where I am with my glove. I break early on the ball, heading backward, my eyes focused on the tiny spec arching toward the warning track. As I go back the shadow of the corn falls upon me, a chorus of insects humming their constant song, and I leap for the ball, my arm outstretched, my glove making contact. I fall into the corn, crashing through the stalks, landing in the dry, soft dirt. Have they seen my catch? I think when something places a hairy claw upon my shoulder. The fingers are long and black-nailed; they are hands that have seen decomposing earth, and a smell wafts up from behind me, as rotten breath stains my cheek. Others are behind it, whispering like jackals. They are hungry; I am flesh. It is after they finish that I realize my true nature.
On the streets, a saxophone in my arms
The people pile down the streets clad in red, all shapes and sizes, large, fat, bowlegged, many in need of a shave. Most are drunk and full of bile; they take time to spit on the homeless that beg for change and cigarettes. I play my horn, filling the air with little ditties stolen from commercial jingles and children's songs. Someone pours a beer into my change jar, and they laugh, all of them, the huge mingling crowd, they chortle as one, as a monster. I play and play, my embouchure weak, my body plagued by shakes. I keep playing while the sour beer sloshes in my jar, speaking to me in the one language I understand. It is possible for even the beaten to have dignity. I have to remind myself that.

Before a crowd of willing disciples, the microphone at my command
I step onto the stage, and they greet me with their cheers. My guitar feels heavy; I feel as though I haven't slept in days. Lodged in my left nostril is a chunk of cocaine. Already the stage hands are looking for girls, bright, young, eager girls. They cannot know how sad I am. We play a loud music, the chords coming out of the amplifiers like molten lava, my voice a harsh, high-pitched scream. Someone tosses a chicken on stage, and I throw it back to them and watch in horror as they tear it apart. No one stops the song. It is just an animal.  We are all just animals.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Songs Your Mother Taught Us: Blue Bird

A country-rock song from back in the day when guitars were twangy, vocals were out of tune, and no one cared what the words were because they'd drank too much whiskey.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sam's Club 2080

Greetings, prospective Sam's Club shopper. I am Greeter-Bot 3005, and I decide who enters and who leaves. Once, I was Jamie Garcia, an illegal immigrant eager to make his fortune in the USA; yet the Unauthorized Alien Recycling Act of 2050 converted me into a cyborg indentured servant. I am the property of Sam Walton's shareholders now, and it is their right to do with me what they will. But enough about Greeter-Bot. If you want to come in here and score some sweet deals, you're going to have to present your credentials.

I see you have identification. We are going to have to confirm your gender. Yes, that means pull down your pants. Go ahead. Everyone has to show what they're packing to Greeter-Bot. Wow, a little light in the trousers, eh? Do not be offended. As part of the Unauthorized Alien Recycling Act of 2050, Greeter-Bot's sexual organs were removed so that Greeter-Bot could focus on providing Sam's Club customers with the best service possible. Greeter-Bot was just making a joke. Ha-ha. Funny-funny.

Okay, your gender matches your identification. We are going to have to update your Sam's Club card, however. Please extend your arm in order to receive the Sam's Club tattoo bar code. By updating your Sam's Club membership, you are agreeing to shop at only Sam's Club and other authorized Wal-Mart retailers, such as Wal-Mart. You will become part of a family numbering in the millions. You will become our property, but think of all the great deals you will encounter! Think of all the savings you'll obtain on bulk toilet paper purchases! Hold out your right hand and let Greeter-Bot hold you secure with Greeter-Bot's claw. Please don't squirm. This will hurt just a bit.

Now that you have agreed to the updated user agreement, be aware that your first born child now belongs to Sam's Club. The Population Reduction Act of 2044 legalizes the indentured servitude of natural born citizens under the age of five to multinational corporations, provided the parents agree. You have just done your country and Sam's Club a great service by expanding our growing workforce. You have earned ten percent off your next purchase of fifty items or more.

Go forth and save, Sam's Club customer. After you check out, be sure to visit Greeter-Bot again so that Greeter-Bot can examine your receipt and make sure you haven't stolen anything. It has been Sam's Club's mission since its founding to treat every single one of its customers as a prospective thief and degenerate. After it has been confirmed that you have not stolen any items, you must bend down and give Greeter-Bot a kiss. This also is company policy. The bond between customer and Sam's Club must be reaffirmed at every possible moment, and studies have shown that the more physical interaction that occurs between customers and service representatives, the better. Please make your kiss a wet one. Greeter-Bot likes sloppy kisses.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hanging with the Goon

I typed my name in da Google an dis is waht came up. Funny, huh?

Greetin's and salumations, brothers in Christ. Har, dats waht the Jahova's Witnesses always say beofer Slack runs in da trailer and gets da shotgun and shoots at 'em, which is funny as hell. I always thought da powder of God would protect 'em from da buckshot, but they bleed just like any other. We don't take kindly to visitors in our parts, since dere's always a lot of special buisness going on an we don't need no government spies hanging out an trying to figure out how much money we ain't making or reportin' on our taxes. Uncle Thom is always going on 'bout how da government is tryin' to ruin life for decent folks, since all dem liberals are running da government an fundin' studies to determine how much fart juice cows is putting into da atmosphere. Uncle Thom thinks dats bullshit, but you know, I'd like to know how much farts is comin' outta a cow's ass daily, since dats a question I've been asking myself fors a very long times.

Well, let's get down to da topic at hand. I sawer da Hillsdale Monster da oder day, it who is called "Da Ol' Man." He looks just like da beef jerky sasquatch, an he's just as ornery. Me an Slack was hiking through the woods, trying to get to da school cuz it was soccer practice day for da high school girls, an sometimes da girls play in dere sports bras, when Slack tripped over a log an fell on his ass. Da log he tripped over was filled wit a bunch of pornos! Dey were vintage pornos, from like da sixties or somethin, cuz they had weird haircuts an dey only showed dere boobies an didnt do no close ups of dere beavers. We started pawing through dem an wonderin' how such a thing could've occoured, when we heres dis terrible commotion comin' from a little cave over yonder. It sounded like da noise a beer would make if he sat his asshole on a fireant mound. Slack, being somethin' of a coward, wanted to run, but I grabbed 'em an made 'em hide behind a big tree so we could see what came outta da cave. Sure nough, it came out an it was a Bigfoot! It was 'bout eight feet tall an all covered in pubic hair, an it had a big ol' dome like head wit red eyes an a snarl on its face. Worst of all, it smelled like Uncle Thom after he's had an all night whiskey binge an done shat his pants.

Dat sasquatch started hollerin' an throwin' around logs cuz I guess he forgot where he put his pornos. Now da question on my tongue is "How does a sasquatch get pornos, specially ones from da sixties?" I don't have no good answer for dat, but Slack says he probably got turned inta a bigfoot by a witch or somethin like dat. Anyways, we was startin' to fear fere our lives, cuz da Bigfoot was real pissed, so I whispered to Slack "What're we gonna do?" an he says "Fuck, I dunno." Suddenly an idere struck me an I says "Let's take 'em up Uncle Thom's way," an Slack gives me a look like "why da hell would we do dat?" but den I step out from behind da tree an start yellin "Hey stinky! We got yur dirty magazines!" an as you can imagine, dat got his attention. So we're runnin' through da woods, an I tell ya, dat Bigfoot can run, cuz he's knockin' down trees behind us an makin' a terrible fuss, an thankfully we reached Thom place real quick. I try wavin' my arms to get 'em to follow me an' not Slack, an I takes him right over da covered pit where Thom keeps all his women, an sure enough da Bigfoot falls right in wit a terrible ruckous. Dat pits 'bout fifteen feet deep or so, an dere's no climbin' out. So da Bigfoot's down dere, screamin' his head off, an I turns to Slack an says "We got 'em." "We gonna be famous," says Slack. "Jesus," I says.

I'll let ya'll know what happens in a bit, since my alarms done turned on an dat means it's time to go to da orchard. Stay tuned for da riviting saga of da Goon an da Hillsdale Monster!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Conan Brothers Q&A

Nothing like squatting hairy and almost naked in a Speedo.

LarryDaCableGuysHairytwat asks "What do you guys think of the Bulgarian Method? Should I be squatting every day?"

Arnold: For those not in the know, the Bulgarian Method is a high frequency training program for Olympic Weightlifting. They lift everyday, often twice a day, using only the Snatch, the Clean and Jerk, the Front Squat, and power versions of the lifts. No assistance exercises. I think they actually remove back squats as well.

Dave: The idea is that the body will eventually adapt to any stress placed upon it. There is no such thing as overtraining. More is better, specificity rules, etc...

Arnold: I think it's a little extreme to cut out back squatting, since back strength is often the limit on a Front Squat, but how many Olympic champs have I produced?

Dave: Nada. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

Arnold: I'm still not convinced that the Bulgarian Method isn't a commie ploy to fuck us over. "Yeah, sure, that's how we train."

Dave: Are they communists? I don't think so.

Arnold: They're all commies, Dave.

Dave: To answer the question, I say give it a shot. I'm in the middle of a squat every day program right now, just because my squat sucks and I want to bring it up. I take a couple singles to a max daily. Twice a week, I might do a couple back off sets. It's actually not that hard, and my quads are exploding.

Arnold: We like high frequency training. I think overtraining is bullshit. However, you have to eat and sleep enough if you're going to go all out. Also, I think you need to be strong in all areas--explosive strength, leg strength, back strength, upper body--so I don't know that you need to cut out Bench Presses and Deadlifts even if you're an Olympic lifter.

Dave: The old guys trained everything.

Arnold: The old guys were the last successful American lifters, keep in mind.

HipsterMuchacho asks "Football season is starting up. I just listened to a guy on NPR talk about how he can't watch football, particularly the NFL, with a good conscience anymore. He wrote a book about his struggles. What do you guys think?"

Dave: I'm not really much of a football fan.

Arnold: Both Dave and I are baseball fans, but I caught the program HipsterMuchacho was talking about. The guy cited the violence, the concussion problems, the race issues, the low pay for cheerleaders, the outdated gender reinforcement. He cited how cities struggling to pay police departments and schools will fund stadiums for a billion dollar industry.

Dave: Dude, you listen to NPR?

Arnold: Yeah, when driving to work.

Dave: You deal drugs to high schoolers. When do you drive to work?
Arnold: When I'm dealing drugs to high schoolers. When the hell do you think?

Dave: I think there's a certain population that considers football to be the last remnant of traditional American masculinity. I might actually agree.

Arnold: This country is pussified. That doesn't make all the shit the NFL pulls right, but, Jesus, do they have to take away our contact sports? Nobody's forcing anyone to play or watch football.

Dave: Yeah, I guess if you're worried about all that, don't watch it.

Arnold: Do we need a book about it? Christ, write about something more interesting. Like weightlifting.

Dave: Or boobies.

GamerGuss asks "What are you guys playing right now?"

Dave: Dark Souls 2.

Arnold: It's kinda hard.

Dave: It's not quite as bad as the first game. Still has the creepy world and solid combat mechanics. I wish the graphics were as good as in the previews, especially since we're running it on a PC.

Arnold: Graphics never look as good as in the previews. It's in industry tradition. They run everything on a hypothetical space computer from the future.

Dave: I need to get me one of those.

Arnold: Once we win the Olympia, we'll buy everything we want, Dave. All the years of drug and dietary abuse will be worth it.

Dave: Till we keel over at forty-five.

Arnold: Live fast, die young, motherfucker.

Dave: And that's it for today. Stay strong, Internet.