Musicless Video

You’d be watching TV if you wanted all your
entertainment distractions supplied.
This is interactive media. Write your own
lyrics and melody.

Couldn’t Put It Down

Try as I would, I couldn’t. My vet had no luck at all— “This argle-bargles the hell out of me,” she sputtered. “Most tenacious doggerel I’ve ever seen.”

“I knew I should’ve studied English Lit instead of Feline sepsis,” she fretted, breaking another needle on its spine. “Pretty soon this gets into the general population and jiggery-pokery becomes the norm— oh, my God, I’m doing it, aren’t I!”

“Maybe we should burn it,” I blurted out, then immediately regretted it.

“Don’t go medieval on me, that’s just what they want,” she said not unkindly. Her hand rested a moment on my shoulder, I felt the human warmth beneath her latex.

Then she brightened. “I’ve got a litter of stray pups in the back— they’ll chew up anything!”


She apprehended my concern. “It’s all right. They’ve got iron constitutions. They’ll crap it out and be yapping happily again in no time.”

You Put That in Your Mouth?


It’s finished, even if I’m not all there.

What God Hath Wrought

Who even knows what wrought means? Who talks like that? 
Can we get a proofreader and editor in here?

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Move over Bernie, there’s new hair in the race (Lord, please have these guys debate soon!).

The Donald’s team comes out with a bold, aggressive slogan his campaign says is inspired by the “Let’s roll” heroes of flight 93.

Quoting Trump’s boast he’ll be “The greatest jobs President that God ever created” his campaign headquarters offshore in Aruba informs us he aims to take this hijacked country back from the far left Emperor Obama and make universal employment a fact for everyone but lazy immigrants, who will be “returned to their country of origin either voluntarily or in body bags.”

Even though the outcome of the ’16 election is a forgone conclusion based on post-Citizens United algorithms the Kochs perfected in the 2014 midterms, it’s still shaping up to be a hell of a contest.

Because His Swag Kinda Sucked

Bernie’s official campaign stuff is graphic retreads from political clip art so here’s some new stuff.

Gave him a slogan because Bernie’s a candidate who comes right out and tells you what he’s for. Says he’s a socialist— but gets a little testy when a big deal is made of it, saying they should attach “capitalist” to the other guys if they wanna be fair.

Bubba got elected with “it’s the economy stupid” which 20 years later is as true as ever, except stupid is money just running uphill and like a stuck valve. Stupid is calling corporations people and letting them write our laws because greed. Watching dinosaur retread movies while the planet overheats, poverty’s epidemic and veterans beg for healthcare is stupid.

Bernie’s too nice a guy to have bad graphics. Maybe too nice to be President, too, but I’m glad he’s running.

They Don’t Make a Chardonnay

But I have to say, the marketing department out-did themselves with the branding on this zesty red varietal.

 “We’re positioning ourselves as the Mateus of the Millennials,” said Brandon Smerk, head of advertising, adding, “a good many people under 30 in fact owe their conception to Mateus, but that once indomitable label is over.”

“Wine’s fundamental role in the mating game and most young peoples’ impatience with wine complexities haven’t changed. Studies show that their response to labels is vastly more important than actual product taste, and Millennials are particularly driven by perceived authenticity. We come right at them with Bad Red. We’re saying sexist is sexy without apology.”

Asked just how bad it is, Smerk did something like Mr. Spock’s eyebrow lift. “It’s not in a box, it’s got a cork and it goes down exceptionally well.”

On the matter of their NSW label, Mr. Smerk affectionately cradled the bottle displaying its titian-haired, spread-eagled model and told me, “That’s my daughter, Zoe. She gets the hair from her mom and she’ll be accompanying me when we go pitch Walmart next week.”

Chzekoslovakian Cartoon Workshop

Precise translations aren’t guaranteed.

And Now, a Few Virtuous Words

Virtue is the only irreducible asset. It’s present in all commerce but vanishes the instant its purchase is contemplated. It leverages the most delicate, secretive and expensive deals but never takes a cut. Virtue inspires profit but cannot be bought.

Truth can. Truth is pliant, subjective, fungible. It will sell to the highest bidder. Virtue is inviolate and incorruptible. Virtue is the essence of all transactions but can never be commoditized. Truth is merely virtue’s ticker tape.

Virtue appears to be scarce, but it isn’t— it’s everywhere: in gulps of air for the drowning, in infinite stars for the poet, in hidden veins for the miner, in gapped-tooth smiles for raggedy-assed street hookers. Virtue has the impregnable honor of a selfless gift bestowed—and really is its own reward. Virginity isn’t; virgin scarcities notwithstanding.

The idea that innocence and virtue are synonymous is way off. Virtue sometimes requires estimable cunning.

Virtue is also more durable than morals, ethics or laws. The latter are derivatives. Virtue is a window into a natural order apart from deeds, words and numbers; its elusive purpose resides in speechless, numberless potentials. It is as fragile as a notion and vaster than the observable universe because— in its observation— the universe becomes worth inhabiting.

From The Saltine Council of America

We ordinarily eschew commercial endorsements,
but this is a particularly worthwhile message for
your consideration.

This is Sad, Even for a Thursday

No bees were harmed in the making of this twaddle.

Scrubbing Pots

Don’t use use steel pads or abrasive cleaning agents on a Le Creuset, it damages the enamel. Baking soda and dish detergent can lift burnt residue with persistent hand scrubbing or aid of an electric toothbrush.

A Draw Up the Block From Bloomie’s

I went to “Sketch Night” at the Society of Illustrators on East 63rd tonight.

About 40 people sat around an improvised stage in the large dining hall and sketched a male and female model, both of whom had three costume changes apiece. The evening was dubbed “Vanity and Friends.”

One of the female’s gowns was a 60s haute couture volcanic bloom that made the bare- shouldered model appear to either be stuck mid-sacrifice or possibly emerging from it like porcelain lava. Another one had a prominent, predatory black zipper up the back and breast cups that looked like twirly crinoline puff pastries or possibly hydrangeas.

The guy reminded me of Charlie Manson on Prozac or a semi-feral French monk who’d got caught up in his auntie’s wardrobe chest, where auntie in his case was a retired groupie who followed Black Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad.

They dressed extravagantly but only held the first hours’ poses for about five minutes apiece, enough time for me to adjust my glasses and find the pen I’d dropped under my chair.

Noticing the sketchers themselves stayed still a lot longer, I drew them first. Later on, the models’ poses lasted longer, so I made a few stabs.

What Happens When You Die?

Death is life without doubts. 
The worst has happened, what a huge relief.

Years of nagging doubt can wreck your looks, hence the oft-repeated phrase at funerals,“(S)he looks good.” My friend Ed was at the funeral of his uncle, whose remains had been returned north following his unexpected demise in Miami. Gazing into the coffin, his mom said, “He looks good.” Ed reflected thoughtfully and replied, “Well, he should, ma— he just got back from Florida.”

Ed’s mom thought that the immediate lift this gave her spirits should be shared with her grieving sister-in-law. Ed had his doubts. Ed in fact had grave doubts. But his stubborn mother crossed the parlor and Ed watched her convey the Florida angle to the widow. The result was bad, confirming Ed’s doubts.

Doubt is a nag. You want a life strategy that’s nag-free but not necessarily doubt-free. Doubt is important, it’s life-affirming. Doubt hedges against stupid. Doubt reads the label, vets strangers, checks the forecast and calculates the consequences. A decision without doubt is called impulse. Impulse is what you resort to when your starship has four flats. Doubt would’ve checked the air before departure.

Religion, not to be impolite, is a doubt strategy. Somebody’s letting you in on the secret to a doubt-free life. Lots of somebodies belong to this religion; its doubt strategies have all been thought through. The doubt-work’s been done for you. The worst that can happen— death— no longer holds you in fear. You want to share this wonderful doubt-free life. Eventually you come to learn that competing religions cast doubts on yours, so they need annihilating. Your capacity to doubt this logic has been removed, so killing for your infinitely loving diety makes sense.

Life with doubts is better than a doubtful death. Poltergeists (not a religion) have this problem. They’re nagged with doubts whether they’re dead or not. Poltergeists want it both ways, sort of like folks who voted for Ralph Nader or Ross Perot. The only guaranteed doubt remedy is death, so if you fervently and noisily insist you’re doubt-free, you may in fact already be dead and not know it.

Fragrance Industry Mind Control

Pheromones aren’t the final frontier, they’re the first one.
Engineer the smell and behavior bypasses the brain.
A lot of otherwise pretty smart folks are making bad choices.
This is happening, right under your nose.

Bird Story

When I was thirteen, I found a sparrow chick fallen from its nest.

The local vet said that if you feed him raw burger on a straw he’s got a 50/50 chance of survival. I kept him in a cigar box with rags and twigs and doted on him. He thrived. When he was old enough, I taught him to fly. I'll never forget how his hurt look changed to amazement when I dropped my perch finger for the umpteenth time and he suddenly realized what his wings were for. A week and many painful mirror collisions later, he was fully fledged, so I took him outside and set him free.

He flitted off, but not too far. Talked a blue streak from an overhead branch, circled and landed, circled and landed, telling me the whole time what a freakin miracle he was experiencing. Took him half an hour to finally fly away.

A month later a crowd was gathered at the community beach as I rowed up in my canoe. There in the middle of this amazed circle of folks was my guy, holding court. A tiny little overjoyed preacher, head cocked up, chirping a mile a minute as he hopped about, addressing each one of his gathered flock in turn. I made my little call from the back of the group and he immediately shot straight up, hovered until he spotted me, then lit onto my finger.

Course I was fit to bust, being Doctor Doolittle like that. He had so many tales to tell, so much excitement and wonder that he just gushed over with.

When I rowed home, he gingerly perched on the butt of my oar as it took lazy strokes through that firelit lake and he imparted a few last thoughts which he emphasized with little nods and tilts of his head. Finally, he made some artful loops above the boat, soaring in ever bigger and higher circles until he became part of the sunset.

Soul of the Internet at the Ramparts

The FCC’s going into last rounds of decisions about Open Internet and activists outside FCC headquarters are putting up a Jumbotron—here’s one submission for broadcast:

How To Be a Feminist

First, remove the notion “feminist” means weak or lesser. Women have survived every war, conflict and debacle men have concocted and were there to pick up the pieces.
Next, if you’re not a woman, conceive conception...wrap your head around having a human being exit your groin. Paradoxically, an analogy Bill Cosby came up with helps: take your lower lip and pull it over your head. Then consider that’s only the final phase of nine months acting like life is pretty normal despite daily changes to your body that that lunch table scene in the movie “Alien” only hints at. The “sensitive sex” has pain tolerances men get faint just guessing at.

To be a feminist, just understand why nobody ever says Father Nature. If not an outright oxymoron, it only conjures man-made chaos. Mother Nature’s chaos is so much less frequent; she is predominantly orderly, fecund and accommodating. But when she does get pissed off, there’s no refuge, no quarter. Men soil themselves and cry for their mommies.
Because of this extreme power imbalance men were deemed needful of more muscle mass. Sadly, without a feminist sense of proportion, it dominates their brain.

Pays to Remember the Little Things

Adweek says millennials want “authenticity” because they hate advertising. Sounds right. The list of people who like advertising is shorter than the one for people who want rectal cancer.

It’s too bad that 20-somethings never knew commercial-free anything. Because in a mythical past, movies were just movies, journalists did journalism, and politicians were corrupt in secret. These days the bribes aren’t just obvious, they’re mandatory. Everybody’s on the make, everything’s a transaction and authenticity is a renegade aberration of the rat race on steroids that Madonna set off with Material Girl. Oh yeah, it’s on her.

Coming from an age of illusionment I know what I’m talking about. Once, we were dedicated to preserving the illusion money didn’t rule everything. It actually made things sexier. Don’t think so? Picture something really sexy and then stick Donald Trump into it. Capisce?

So my heart goes out to an age of disillusionment and the generation doing their best to restore authenticity—or at least identify it. A note of caution: there’s always a beat ’em or join ’em moment along the way. Try not to screw it up.

100% Off the Newstand Price

When the profane holds court and the fashion is taunting contempt for dignity and tradition; even as patience, virtue and decency fade like scallop-edged Kodaks into a virtual wasteland of now, now, now, always three milliseconds to fast, hot and vulgar, things like this will pop up, challenging the order and meaning of things, disrupting for the sake of disruption and then passing like casual flatulence into the ancient bijou seat cushions of eternity.