RECOMMENDED READ: “Angel, Monster, Man” (with props to @sentencebender and @nightmaremag)

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this (and the audio version—also free on the Nightmare Magazine website—is really good).  

Nominally a horror story, Sam J. Miller’s “Angel, Monster, Man” is, in fact, a really interesting piece of speculative fiction.  Gets me thinking about how frequently fiction that speculates on a disenfranchised group getting power gets slotted into “horror”—and once you start thinking that way, all horror starts to look like a liberation fantasy as seen through the establishment’s eyes: Is Night of the Living Dead more about zombies, or more about the terror experienced by rural whites and the patriarchy when confronted with a competent black man? Is The Exorcist about demon possession or the threat of women’s liberation (see also, Carrie)?  Is Psycho about a “psycho” or about the terrifying prospect of homosexuals no longer shackled by shame/guilt?

Looking for Something to Call Your Reps About? May I suggest Mick Mulvaney?🇺🇸📞

Long story short: Mulvaney the current head of the Office of Management and Budget, and last week the President also made him acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  This is a little odd, since Mulvaney is on the record calling the agency a “joke” that he’d eliminate—but that’s all just talk.  What’s fundamentally rotten is that Mulvaney received roughly half a million dollars in donations from financial organizations that have been fined muy mucho dinero by the CFPB.

I’m not casting aspersions on Mulvaney or claiming he’s done—or would do—anything wrong; I’m sure he’s a great guy, and plausibly has many good ideas that make him highly qualified to filly two essential 120-hour/week gov’t positions.  But just as a thought experiment, say you had a kid in day care, and that day care hired someone who seemed like a fine pick and totally passed the criminal background check, but had also accepted millions of dollars from a group of notorious and powerful pedophiles.  Would this cause you concern?

Anyway, please take a minute and call your reps, and explain that you think there is maybe a moral hazard here.

*Record Scratch* *Freeze Frame* Yup, that's me; you're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. Lemme tell ya; it all started…
*Record Scratch*
*Freeze Frame*
Yup, that’s me; you’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. Lemme tell ya; it all started…

Dave-o Is Helping Folks Find the Good Noise in Toledo!!!

Almost every Saturday in December I’ll be down at the Toledo, Ohio Imagination Station Hands-On Museum as their “guest tinkering artist,” showing folks how to find the Good Noise.

Lots of other cool stuff going on there (Dinosaurs!  Star Wars! You can ride a crazy tight-rope bike!!!)—plus, I’ve built a little “Slinky Sound Forest” for you to explore, any day of the week, all December long

My schedule in Toledo is something like this:

  • Saturday, December 9: Diddley bows, acoustic and electric
  • Saturday, December 16: Simple synthesizers
  • Saturday, December 30: New Year’s noisemakers (free make-n-take!)

I’ll also happily show folks how to make quick-n-easy didgeridoos, elephant trumpets, and “two-handed” double-reed quacker bagpipes, and give them a tour of the Slinky Sound Forest, on any of those days.
ToledoImaginationStation

Beats per Week #09: “The Excitation of Sympathetic Song” (Russian monks? Aliens? Cthulhu cultists?)

Found this in a stack of unlabeled 78 rpm records I bought off eBay, like, a billion years ago.  No time to lay down a new track this week, so I just digitized this instead.  Mysteries within mysteries, etc.

In Case You Missed It: Beats per Week

Since September I’ve been posting a new track each week.  Nothing new this week (I’m in a cabin in the woods right now, and thus can’t upload new music; this post was pre-scheduled).  In the meantime, here’s a little widget so you can listen to all of the tracks in one go.

Have a great holiday weekend!  #gobblegobble!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING: “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!” #gobblegobblegobble

(Yeah, I repost this every year, because I love this gag, and because watching this on TV—and rehashing it with my mom and sisters each year—is one of my fondest childhood holiday memories.)

This is, in my humble, a damn-near perfect gag—which is saying something, because I find single-camera laugh-track situation comedies almost entirely unbearable to watch.

I hope your day is good and sweet.  Gobblegobble!

(If you wanna read more of my thoughts on this specific gag and what it can teach writers, you can do so here.)

This Trick is Incredible Because It Isn’t Even a Trick

I’ve seen several recorded performances of this trick, and watched it live at least once—and yet this is the first time it dawned on me that there is no trick to this trick.  (i.e., I’d bet that if you take just a moment to think about this—even if you’ve never touched a nail gun before—you can think of at least two totally different ways to modify a stock nail gun or fabricate a fako, and once you accept that the nail fun is gaffed, then there isn’t a memory trick at all, just some patter).

In fact, there’s a degree to which this trick is about the trick’s tricklessness, if you catch my meaning: It’s about delivery and panache and the fascination that comes with the risk of grievous bodily harm. It is an amped up, thoroughly Modern America version of Barnum’s wonderful(!), stupendous(!!!), incomparable(!!!) Egress.

BONUS: Penn & Teller’s greatest of misdirections—They get you caught up on the idea of being live and doing camera tricks, thus distracting you from the obvious explanation revealed at the end—AND THE FACT THAT THEY DO USE CAMERA TRICKS[1]!!!

Continue reading “This Trick is Incredible Because It Isn’t Even a Trick”

Beats per Week #08: “Desire” ( @johnchurchville )

Another remix of deep cuts from my crates of old Simpsons episode LPs and highly recognizable bits and bites from the original motion picture soundtrack for the 1986 cult-classic horror-thriller Churchville’s Purgatorio. (As with the last two installments, be advised that big bass demands big headphones.)

I love that it goes totally unmentioned that he stole her watch…

 

…on stage, in front of several thousand people.  He slips it off the left wrist of the assistant standing to his right (our left) at the 1:40 min mark.  You can even see him pocket it.  I love this, because it never plays into the trick (which is, itself, an incredibly rudimentary one; I did a version of this when I was 10 and got my first magic kit for Non-Denominational Gift Giving Holiday Season. I’m pretty shocked this made it on.)  In many ways, it’s the greatest grift of all time: Dude does a frenetic rendition of a less-than-mediocre effect (even his patter is a decade old, and sorta stock) in order to create a grand misdirection so he can steal a junk-jewelry watch.  It’s one for the ages.