Tag Archives: sci-fi

The Future

future

This week, aaron.Jacob and I look to the future of hoverbikes, robots, augmented reality and bio-hacking. Forecasts and predictions exceed our wildest imaginings, but will they prove realistic or surrealistic?

Try not to get too future shocked as we set the dial on our experimental time machine and hope for the best… tomorrow!

PLAYLIST
In The Hall Of The Mountain King (Terramix) – terraon
Future Shock – Curtis Mayfield
“The Daleks” (Serial B): TARDIS Computer – Brian Hodgson
Past Present and Future – Demon Fuzz
Tank! (TV Edit) – Seatbelts
Robot Parade – They Might Be Giants
2014 – The Unicorns
Idioteque – Radiohead
Violent – The Faint
Remember The Future (part 1-2) – Nektar
Buffalo Stance – Need New Body
In The Bio Burbs – PASSAGE
Energy Traffic – The Mole
We Are the Future – Non Phixion
Virus – Deltron
Seventeen Years – RATATAT
Friends 4 Ever – Girl Talk
IBM MT/ST The Paperwork Explosion (instr.) – Scott, Raymond
Uske Orchestra – Pel-Pun
Polka Electronic Death Country (Otto Von Schirrach remix) – Mochipet
Laser Eyes Clip – Sifl & Olly
Cyborg Control – Man Or Astroman
Look Back And Laugh – Minor Threat
Jetson’s Theme – Man… or Astroman?
The Future – Leonard Cohen

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-23: The Future by The Stranger on Mixcloud

In the not-too distant future, political scientists have reason to suspect what the major issues of the next few years will be. Climate, Drones and Terrorists, Pentagon Spending, Agriculture/Energy, and Campaign Finance Reform.

This all seems a little optimistic to me. But as we’ll soon see, these wonks aren’t the only big dreamers.

The World Futurist Society has released their forecasts, and they are impressively grand. Some seem inevitable, others outlandish, but all of them progressively more challenging, and some beneficial, to mankind.

  1. Electric cars powered by fuel cells earn extra cash for their owners
  2. Open-source robot blueprints cut the cost of robots by 90%
  3. Smart phones help spur political reform in Africa
  4. The world’s oceans may face “mass extinction event” by 2050
  5. The “cloud” will become more intelligent, not just a place to store data
  6. 3-D Printing Revolutionizes manufacturing
  7. India may eclipse China in population and innovation by 2028
  8. Robots may become gentler caregivers in the next 10 years
  9. A revolution in smart materials creates a new energy boom

Idealistic indeed, as those of us who see their gadgets more as personal adversaries than helpful widgets.

“Technology that promises to remove small annoyances of one kind introduces small annoyances of another.” ~Pamela Haag

But there is the tendency to hope for the Best of All Possible Worlds,
in science-fiction, in science fact, and in augmenting our very reality. Soon people will be able to purchase Google Glass and make immediate (if superficial) improvements in their worldview. It gives new meaning to the concept of ‘rose-colored glasses’. I personally can’t wait for Super Saiyan mode, They Live mode, and Cyclops mode.

But the fact of the matter is, you can’t predict how new technologies will change the world until they become part of the commoner’s usage.

Tim Maughan argues in a fascinating new interview about augmented reality with the Huffington Post:

Technology becomes the most effective — and thus potentially the most damaging— when it passes that novelty stage and becomes mundane and commonplace. The way smartphones have radically changed the way we lead our daily lives is perhaps the most recent example. It’s been an incredibly short six years from revolutionary product launch to utterly mundane ubiquity.

And few of us have had time to pause and think about the effect it has had on us, either as individuals or society. When it comes to judging how technology effects us there’s an understandable tendency to look at the bleeding edge, at first adopters and hackers, those that take the plunge and dive in. I think it’s a tendency in part by academics and journalists to want to be seen as ‘cool-hunters’, finding the latest trends and speculating about what they could develop into.

The truth is until it becomes commonplace and in the hands of a massive range of people we can’t tell how it will be used. I don’t want to bruise anyone’s geek-pride here (okay, maybe I do a little) but being an early adopter only makes you special for a short while, and on your own you’re not going to make any paradigm shifts. By definition you need everyone else with you to do that.

Many people just don’t know what to do with the future transforming reality around them. It makes them uneasy, even panicked; Future-Shocked. And others worry that the technocratic digerati will forge ahead, leaving other classes behind; an ageless human problem for every era, none better than the rest.


Can Futurists even make a difference? Does science-fiction and those rosy-eyed optimists benefit the scientists in hot pursuit of tomorrow? Do they create a Utopian vision for which we aim? Or can they do more damage than good? Or are we all just way off the mark?

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-23: The Future by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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Machinations


The world trembles as it is eaten by the different engines of war machines, political machines, corporate machines and… y’know… actual machines.

With an appropriately science-fiction-themed playlist culled from the halls of io9, we explore our fantastical present and technologically-foreboding future, as we try to build better laws of robotics against their hungry machinations.

PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the Mountain King – Erasure
Tunnel Of Light – Ayreon
The Battle of Evermore – Led Zeppelin
Movements Of A Visionary – Tangerine Dream
The Fish [Shindleria Praematurus] – Yes
The Supernatural Anaesthetist – Genesis
Surfing with the Alien – Joe Satriani
Engines of Difference – Man… or Astro-man?
Rusty Metal – Aphex Twin
Into The Void – Black Sabbath
Veteran of the Psychic Wars – Blue Öyster Cult
When The Machines Rock – Tubeway Army
celestial annihilation – unkle
The Sprawl – Sonic Youth
Sirius – Alan Parsons Project
Supernova – Mike Oldfield
Supernova at the end of the Universe – The Orb
La Via Della Droga – Goblin
Cats on Mars (DMX Krew Remix) – Gabriela Robin
Strict Machine – Goldfrapp
Elektrobank – The Chemical Brothers
3000 – Dr. Octagon
Positive Contact – Deltron
Mira et Ten – Alain Goraguer
Space is the Place – Sun Ra

The judicial decision to closed-circuit broadcast the arraignment of the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks and four other Guantanamo Bay prisoners is a strange step in favor of transparency. Strange during an era where Bradley Manning, the brave United States Army private and whistleblower who leaked evidence of war crimes, is tried without cameras with an inordinate amount of the kangaroo military court drama playing out behind the scenes. Still, the machines of war and the military-industrial complex are finding some minor ways of being progressive, that is, not backsliding into an authoritarian state.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing to announce that questionable interrogation techniques used by the CIA have not resulted in any noteworthy victories in the war on terror.

Committee investigators believe the collected evidence does not substantiate claims by some Bush supporters that the harsh interrogations led to counter-terrorism coups, people close to the inquiry told Reuters. The investigators went through millions of pages presented to the Committee by the CIA. The documents recorded daily operations, including how and when controversial techniques were performed.

Republicans withdrew from the commission, presumably so that they wouldn’t be put into a position where they look foolish in their continued support of obvious falsities, or otherwise claim to find the committee itself invalid in order to support obvious falsities.

I mean, one side supports torture and the other doesn’t! If you believe anything at all from what movies have taught you, you know who the bad guys are.

The former CIA officer who ordered the destruction of videotaped interrogations which showed the torture of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri in a secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002, says he did so because he worried about the global repercussions if the footage leaked out and wanted to get “rid of some ugly visuals.”Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw the CIA’s once-secret interrogation and detention program writes critically of President Obama’s counterterrorism policies and complains openly about the president’s public criticism of Bush’s torture policies.

“I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled ‘torturers’ by the president of the United States,” Rodriguez writes in his book, which the Associated Press previewed in a new report.

However, the post-Wikileaks, post-“don’t-ask-don’t-tell” military is changing.

In a big reversal, the Army has issued a stern new set of guidelines to doctors tasked with diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning soldiers. Stop spending so much time trying to spot patients who are faking symptoms, formerly identified as “malingerers”, the new guidelines instruct. Chances are, they’re actually ailing. Astutely, the report actually follows the science, and declares that poor test results ‘does not equate to malingering.’”

This is an era of increased scrutiny by groups like the ACLU claiming that the FBI “has improperly targeted American Muslims and Americans of Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent, and their religious, community, cultural, and student organizations, and that it has violated the Privacy Act by recording and disseminating as intelligence, information about these innocent Americans’ First Amendment-protected speech and activities.” And increased sensitivity since Danger Room’s investigation of anti-Islam material in the FBI’s counterterrorism training last September:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to ensure it doesn’t contain anti-Islamic content, Danger Room has learned. The order came after the Pentagon suspended a course for senior officers that was found to contain derogatory material about Islam.

The extraordinary order by General Martin Dempsey, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. armed forces, was prompted by content in a course titled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” that was presented as an elective at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. The course instructed captains, commanders, lieutenant colonels and colonels from across all four armed services that “Islam had already declared war on the West,” said Lt. Gen. George Flynn, Dempsey’s deputy for training and education.

It was inflammatory,” Flynn told Danger Room on Tuesday. “That is not how we view this problem or the challenges we have in the world today.”

But the ‘industrial’ component of the ‘military-industrial complex’, like its other corporate counterparts, seems defiant of reform. This week, the three military contractors that do the most business with the Pentagon announced their quarterly war profits for 2012. Their war profits continue to grow while they push Washington, D.C. to protect their budgets at the expense of the rest of us.

Here’s the breakdown so far for this year:

I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.” –President Franklin D. Roosevelt, May 22, 1940.

Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the Nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains of the South and their countrymen mouldering the dust.”  –President Abraham Lincoln.

Additionally, we here in the states are trying to defend ourselves from a virulent, vitriolic culture war that the 1% began waging years ago under the radar. Confessed conspirators, crooks and liars like Rupert Murdoch try to sell us lines of horseshit, dividing us up to make us easer to conquer. But there is a turning back from hate and division.

Against Violent Extremism (AVE) is an online platform (sure to be dubbed a “Facebook for terrorists”) where former extremists (known as “formers”) and survivors of attacks can share their experiences, with the view to help other individuals leave or avoid falling into violent extremist groups. If they can rehabilitate their hateful mindsets and enter a social support structure with victims on the far other side, what does that say for liberals and conservatives in America (which hopefully we can agree are not as divided yet).

But Big Religion is pushing for (and getting) wasteful government spending, with taxpayer-funded crisis pregnancy centers using religion to oppose abortion, and many of them only hire Christians. In 2010, Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center was awarded a $34,000 “capacity building” grant as part of President Obama’s stimulus bill. Last year, the nonprofit National Fatherhood Initiative, with “support from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance,” awarded the center $25,000 for capacity building.

It’s easy to understand why so many default to the right in their culture war. The constant barrage by conservative mainstream media, the desire to be on the winning side… and the brain itself.

A recent study by Scot Eidelman, a psychologist at the University of Arkansas, and colleagues published online in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that one of those energy-saving shortcuts our brains utilize may have us defaulting to more conservative ideology when we don’t have the resources to think through a situation.

Another big study shows that religious belief (intuitive thinking) and analytical thinking are two different operating processes in the brain, with one effectively overriding the other.

Will Gervais asked 93 university students to rate their own belief in God and other supernatural agents such as angels. Then, several weeks later, they underwent “priming” for analytical thinking – they were asked to unscramble sentences that included words such as “ponder” and “rational”, read text written in hard-to-read fonts, or even just look at a picture of Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker.

Controls were given less analytically charged tasks: looking at Myron’s Discobolus, or The Discus Thrower, unscrambling sentences containing words such as “shoes”, or read text written in easy-to-read fonts. Norenzayan and Gervais then asked the students to again rate their supernatural beliefs. The students who had been exposed to analytical priming consistently downgraded their belief in the supernatural, regardless of their previous degree of belief. This was also true of 148 adults tested online.

The simplest way to explain these effects, the team conclude, is that intuitive thinking leads to belief and analytical thinking suppresses or overrides this process. That gives analytical thinking a causal role in disbelief.

And a look at the conservative comments in online forums and youtube display a severe lack of critical thinking. They actually criticize liberals for supporting teachers? They also argue that the government is “giving too much to the little people and making the middle men pay for it!” But where do you think the middle is sliding? Up? We’re all going to be the little people before too long when GOP austerity is implemented (like the European heathens they emulate). Radically conservative moves that, until recently, President Obama has been all-too-willing to support.

Now President Obama will have to win back the young voters, minorities and independents he’s alienated by capitulating to the radical far right.

Up for grabs is the white working class, which constitutes a key segment of the electorate, especially in the important Midwestern states that are likely to decide what now looks like a close race. Romney’s anti-union rhetoric and what pollster Stanley Greenberg calls the “collapsing Republican brand” – may open the white working-class door slightly to Obama.

American workers’ pragmatic progressivism shows through in other polls: three-fourths of white workers want government to reduce inequality, and 55 percent are concerned that not everyone gets an equal chance in life, for example.

While the Obama campaign has attacked the Republican “war on women,” it has not targeted as explicitly the GOP “war on workers.”

The promise of economic fairness and solidarity that could win over many white workers holds broad voter appeal. It also offers the potential of healing some of the divisions of the working class that are among the main barriers to a more progressive politics in America.

And though the musicians, actors, artists and other types are struggling (employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show just how badly the press and media have missed the story), the regime is still trying to sell us on the idea of elitist Hollywood types who are fabulous successful. Wall Street and the Auto Industry got taxpayer bailouts, but they are still victims in the eyes of our lawmakers, while low-income workers, and that includes the creatives, are seeing jobs in their fields fall.

Jobs in graphic design, photographic services, architectural services all peaked before the market crash and and fell, 19.8 percent over four years for graphic design, 25.6 percent over seven years for photography and a brutal 29.8 percent, for architecture, over just three years. “Theater, dance and other performing arts companies” – this includes everything from Celine Dion’s Vegas shows to groups that put on Pinter plays – down 21.9 percent over five years.

But it’s easier to dehumanize and demonize them if they are the ‘other’. Those filthy liberals, those West Coast elites. Those red states, those backwater reactionaries.

Watching events play out during the protest on April 24 at the San Francisco Wells Fargo helps elucidate. The big bank, and the police outside, took the unprecedented step of locking more than 100 of its shareholders out of its annual meeting – a meeting they had every legal right to attend. The shareholders’ demands were simple: they called for a moratorium on foreclosures, principle reduction for homeowners who are deep under water and the end of the bank’s predatory lending. They also called on the bank to divest its 7 percent stake in the GEO Group – one of the nation’s largest private prison corporations.

Organizers said that some shareholders – not affiliated with the protests – continued to be let in, a move organizers said was illegal.

But one woman who got in reported that the room was largely empty, and another said that many of those in attendance were Wells Fargo employees. The woman also said that as soon as one of the community shareholders attempted to speak, they were immediately threatened with arrest and removed from the building.

And as survivors of the Oakland raids noted, to see who was looking for a riot, look at who dressed up all prepared for a riot. Now Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan has announced a series of reforms in his department’s crowd-management policies in the wake of criticism of how it has responded to Occupy Oakland protests that began last October.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has showed her contempt for the people, both in action and in word. And in San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee is launching an ad campaign to discourage contributions to panhandlanders, essentially treating them as inhuman eyesores with a message of “Don’t Feed the Homeless.”  Instead of tackling out-of-control rent prices and supporting drug rehabilitation, Edwin Lee would rather continue to feed the overweight rich.

So just look at what happens to people in the U.S. if they challenge government actions in any meaningful way — if they engage in any meaningful dissent. Warrantless surveillance, harassment, arrest, strip searching… it seems that every day now more of our civil liberties are being stripped from us.

A Manhattan judge ruled that writer, Occupy Wall Street participant and prankster Malcolm Harris will not be able to block a subpoena on his Twitter account, including “any and all user information including email addresses” tied to it because, according to the judge, our tweets are not ours at all, and that Harris has no legal standing of right to privacy.

“Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.”

–William Binney

“Th[e National Security Agency’s] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.“ –Frank Church

We are being pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed and numbered by the machines.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-04-28: Machinations by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

Awesome Source

If anyone were to ask me (they never do) what sort of sources I use on the internet as News Director for Mutiny Radio, for my own show The Stranger in a Strangeland, or just as a web surfer, blogger, podcaster or podcast-listener, I wouldn’t have had a list readily available. Modern technology, however, would allow me to whip up an answer in the form of the feed aggregators on Google Reader, Blogger and iTunes. All the same, I thought I’d have a “little” entry prepared with some words about each and why I use/enjoy them, should anyone become inquisitive in the future, or for posterity.

News Sites/Aggregators

Generally, I have a preponderance of news waiting for me to skim in my Google Reader each morning. This includes the wealth of information from the New York Times, BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and Russia Today (RT), all of whom I trust to varying degrees to deliver a broad picture of what the world looks like at the moment. I typically do not trust the NYT’s coverage of Iran (or hardly any American sources for that matter), but agencies like Al-Jazeera, RT and the Conflict Monitors of the Human Security Report Project are usually reliable for producing a look at international issues from every side. Talking Points Memo (TPM) showcases what would be considered the progressive side of the news, but often without comment, with links to entire quotes and context, and a diligent job of muckraking. Their charts and analysis are great fodder for any news feed.

To get at the real heart of matters, however, we want journalists and researchers who will more deeply cover the stories than the national conversation would normally dictate or allow. Intrepid newmen and editors from Alternet, Truth-out, Democracy Now! and the Real News Network provide hard-hitting watchdog journalism, and pose incisive questions to power. Salon is a refreshingly progressive source of news, comment, and blogs written by the likes of Glenn Greenwald and Mary Elizabeth Williams, and Truth Dig, which features progressive columnist Chris Hedges. The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur is perhaps the greatest news resource on the internet or anywhere if you want to escape the drudgery of big corporate-driven conservative media.

Regardless of politics, I choose not to read the Huffington Post due to their abysmal science reporting. Without a good sense of the scientific method, I cannot trust their standards for journalism.

For science news, there are more resources than time to read in a day, with my inbox overflowing more in this category than any other, a reminder of the rapidly developing times we live in. New Scientist (both the magazine and the site) and Physorg provide a constant stream of scientific discovery, with timely technorati Ars Technica and WIRED revealing where the state of technological advancement has us (WIRED recently broke the story of the NSA’s mega-base in the Utah desert). The Electronic Frontier Foundation combines civil libertarian advocacy work and news with parsing large amounts of technical and legal information, “defending our rights in a digital world.”

For an alternative view, Disinformation aggregates strange and conspiratorial stories from around the web, defiant of the Big Brother states that allows their continued existence.. for now.

Whereas sites like Laughing Squid, Flavorpill and Neatorama offer up pop cultural items, mashups, fun topics and much needed escapism, in other words, all things neat-o. Neat facts, and topics can be had at Mental Floss and life’s big questions at Soul Pancake (co-created by Rainn Wilson). Gizmodo’s (itself a tech news giant) sister-site io9 (as well as Syfy’s own Blastr) keeps us at the cutting edge of science-fiction, which of course could be light years ahead of science fact reporting, or as their tagline boasts “We come from the future.” Whereas Lifehacker helps you get your shit together with easy, simple fixes, showcasing shortcuts to life’s tedium.

And just as general resources go, you’ll find that Snopes has been the greatest defender against internet and urban legend chicanery for years, and that the TV Tropes wiki will help you understand how fiction, culture and memetics works a whole let better. You won’t believe they actually have names for some of these things!

Podcasts

The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe is hosted by Steve Novella, neurologist, professor, president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, with his panel of skeptical rogues, brothers Bob and Jay Novella, Rebecca Watson and Evan Burnstein. The interesting science topics, audio games and quirks, in-depth interviews, numerous sci-fi references, and of course the irreverent, conversational and casual wit of the skeptics makes it a welcome treat on my ipod each week. These usually go over an hour, but I consistently find myself wanting more.

Brian Dunning’s Skeptoid are a much smaller, so if you want your dose of critical thinking in a fifteen minute dose, enjoy his cool presentation of the self-researched topics ranging from Bigfoot to the Denver Airport. Now over his 300th episode, he somehow manages to uncover a seemingly endless array of new and intriguing myths, legends and misinformation.

Big Picture Science (formerly Are We Alone?) is hosted by Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley of the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute. With the big picture question of ‘Are We Alone’, the goofy gang of serious scientists have springboarded into the world of the atom, the future, the cell, the virus, the planets, the brain, and any other area where an inquisitive microphone can go. Ideation of this magnitude can also be found by watching Dr. Michio Kaku expound on science’s great questions on Explorations in Science.

Neuropod, hosted by neurogeek Kerri Smith, comes out once a month (with a few bonus episodes here and there), to fill you in on some of the latest discoveries in the world of Neuroscience. Not all of the aspects catch my interest, but the ones that do really do. And since it isn’t as prolific as some of the others, and the information not as time-sensitive, I can enjoy it at any pace without them piling up.

Two more that have been around for a while but I am just now beginning to check out and delve into are the BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific and the backlog of wonderful TED Talks (both audio and video).

Though I am now well-planted in the firm reality of scientific discovery, a nostalgic craving, sense of zany fun, and a smirking incredulity keep me coming back to Coast to Coast AM hosted by George Noory, with John B. Wells, George Knapp and Ian Punnett playing weekends and backup. I have been hooked on this show (along with many other listeners, of which there are now estimated 4.5 million listeners every night, making it the most listened to late night show in North America) since the mid-to-late-90’s, when Art Bell‘s grizzled tones would part the airwaves to spook us with the most arcane topics. Today’s shows are sometimes less esoteric, and the format is more formalized, but George Noory is absolutely charming in his innocent and nonjudgemental inclusion of a wide variety of topics in the realms of politics, conspiracy, the paranormal or speculations on the future.

The Psychedelic Salon with Lorenzo features lectures from some of the world’s strangest and deepest thinkers, such as Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Albert Hoffmann, Alexander Shulgin, and of course the inimitable Terence McKenna. I must admit that I skip some shows that do not feature McKenna’s brilliant form of rhetorical styling and intellectual mastery. Of late, however, I keep coming back for Lorenzo’s faithful coverage of the Occupy movement, and related audio, which I sometimes use on my own show. Another fun nugget of mind-body awakening can be found in the Alan Watts Podcast, rebroadcasting short philosophical bites from the Alan Watts Library.

The Philosopher’s Zone with Alan Saunders, whose received pronunciation may at first seem strange on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio National, nonetheless perfectly mixes deep, philosophical questions with silly, simple ones. Part history lesson, part mind expansion, don’t allow your own life to go unexamined without at least inspecting some of the introspections bound to arise while listening!

Similarly, philosopher Tim O’Connor‘s Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot (taken from a Carl Sagan line), raises startling, tortuous questions about God, self, reality and being with atheists, agnostics, deists, and religious scholars of every faith. The show aims to “take philosophy to the street, illustrating how conversation… can be carried out in a careful, civil, and constructive way by people who disagree.”

When I first started listening to The History of Rome, I thought I would listen through the reign of Augustus or perhaps Claudius and then get bored. Here we are near the beginning of the Dark Ages, and I’m still hanging on to Mike Duncan’s carefully researched and recited dissertation on the storied lives, politics, drama, battles and intrigue (with a little cheesy humor thrown in at times) of Rome’s expansive civilization. To jump around in time, the adorable and well-read Deblina Chakraborty and Sarah Dowdey present Stuff You Missed in History Class from HowStuffWorks.com. Thrilling and yet sometimes obscure historical stories, often examining a subject from as many angles as possible, revealing personal stories from time in the process, heartbreaking, brave, humorous and epic.

The International Spy Museum SpyCast is a great bit of history and political science education if you’re into the worlds of espionage, military history (and present), and the skullduggery of terrorists and intelligentsia alike.

Even the hilarious and conversational entertainment programming I subscribe to, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s Smodcast and Ricky Gervais‘ podcast with Steven Merchant and Harvey Pilkington, present a sort of primer on critical thinking. Often revealing stories of science, religion, and history in the same casual manner as pop culture or scatalogical humor, the more skeptical Mosier often guides Kevin gently through the scientific method, whereas Ricky and Steve will taunt and ridicule Harvey’s mistaken notions of how the world works, ultimate culminating in an Idiot Abroad. Two different examples for how friends interact, and two different methods for how skeptics or atheists can talk to believers, and either way, all in good fun. The Onion adds another satirical bit of aural pleasure to your inbox, giving you some sensationally fraudulent talking points for the week.

And finally, X Minus One (X-1) has been my constant ipod companion since my first Nano. Classic tales of science fiction and horror from the 1950’s and 1960’s, the same spine-tingling diversions into space and time that probably elated my father when he was a boy.

Blogs

The frequently updated blogs on WIRED are some of my favorites, and I think I’ve been following them the longest, as they equally rate with other news in my feed. Epicenter, which puts the reader in the heart of the constantly changing world of digital media industries and business. Writers like Kim Zetter and David Kravets present absolutely essential information on Danger Room, closely following military gadgetry and national security, or Threat Level which, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, highlights the latest threats to our privacy, individual freedoms or civil liberties pertaining to technology and surveillance.

Nick Bilton, tech blogger for the New York Times’ Bits, is also the author of I Come From the Future and This is How it Works, a stunning analysis of how the shifting media and technology landscape is affecting industries, our culture, and our brains. As a blogger he is adept at finding and focusing in on lesser talked about yet important issues in technology, often raising stirring points about the trends and transactions.

Michael Anissimov (who was interviewed on the Strangeland) is media director for the Singularity Institute and co-organizer of the Singularity Summit. He is co-founder of the Lifeboat Foundation, which seeks to find safe and responsible developments for emerging technologies. His blog, Accelerating Future, bring our minds closer to the future of nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, transhumanism, Artificial Intelligence, the Singularity, and extinction risk.

Harvey Silverglate (another former guest), criminal defense civil liberties litigator, author of The Shadow University: The Betrayal of of Liberty on America’s Campuses and Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, former ACLU attorney, partner of the aforementioned EFF, and co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has many articles available at Reason Magazine, which is aptly named.

Whereas Law and the Multiverse serves to illustrate how legal actions might come to be decided in the worlds of fiction; comic book superpowers, science fiction, and even AMC’s drama Breaking Bad are all made the subject of legal analysis.

Micah Allen’s Neuroconscience researches brain plasticity and cognitive neuroscience, while Mo Costandi’s Neurophilosophy deals with

Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy is astronomically great, and is hosted along with several other fascinating science blogs at Discover Magazine. If you enjoy a good skeptical dose like his, I would check out the above-mentioned Dr. Steven Novella’s NeuroLogica blog, his advocacy on Science-Based Medicine, or the contributions to Skepticblog along with the likes of Brian Dunning, Micahel Shermer and others.

Illusionist/Future World Dictator Derren Brown has lots of fun updates of stunning imagery, science, magic, psychology, skepticism and the supernatural, all especially appealing to my eclectic tastes. Author, psychologist and skeptic Richard Wiseman offers up puzzles, brain teasers and illusions each week that will make you want to show someone else.

Mind Hacks keeps readers abreast of the news in neuroscience and psychology, with the bold assertion that with such understanding, such tricks will help figure out one’s own brain.

I’ve recently become addicted to the grand ideas presented at Big Think. Similar to TED, you can find great links, lectures, and interviews, but in a much more condensed and potable form. Politics, science, society, and the mind are all game to their host of editors.

Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings is yet another brilliantly curated web resource for intellectual pursuers with a love for art, literature, photography, biography, science, philosophy, and historical oddities. I cannot emphasize how much I love Brain Pickings!

Especially significant of late in the wave of psychopaths taking control of our democracy, the Ponerology Blog details discoveries in the science of evil, spearheaded by Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Ph.D.

I also put together a little tumblr concerning the fate of the publishing and retail book industry in this historically significant shifting media landscape, dramatically titled Likely In Store.
As for food blogs, dire decadence demands that one consume updates from Fancy Fast Food, Insanewiches, Cook to Bang, This is Why You’re Fat and the Cheese Underground.

I’ll also occasionally head over to the Brothers Brick or Brick Testament to get my LEGO on, but I do worry that this may open up into a black hole of LEGO blogs for me.

Webcomics (Bonus!)

Of course I’ve been a lifelong fan of Penny Arcade and PvP, (as long as they’ve been live), and Brian Clevinger’s spritely 8-bit Theatre back in its day, and Diesel Sweeties, the robot romance webcomic. I’m also stunned by creatively experimental and remarkably crafted works like Scott McCloud’s Zot! Online, yuumei’s Knite or Demian5’s When I Am King. Pervs will enjoy S.S. Myra or Chester 5000 XYV. And just about anything anything with art by Scott Campbell, John Allison, or Kate Beaton.

I know I just fired a lot at you, and it’s all just the tip of the iceberg! But with an overabundance of digital information, news, discovery, curiosities and entertainment, we all have to be our own curators, or as author James William Powell puts it, our own ‘SPAM filters.’ Hopefully by pointing toward some of my favorite daily, weekly or monthly sources, I can help some curious internet wanderer in the future. Of course, it may all be different by then! At the very least it stands as yet another blog time capsule to what I ‘fed’ on at this point in my life.

I’m always looking for new sources! Of course, it goes without saying that Mutiny Radio should be your source for a much more streamlined helping of these sources! And Mutiny Radio is always looking for intrepid journalists, editors, aggregators or bloggers! Get a hold of me at thestranger@earthling.net!

Reading List

Some of my top favorite authors and titles as per my Good Reads profile.
My tumblr follows the publishing industry, retail books, the e-book revolution, libraries and other bibliographical, bookish-type things at Likely In Store!

By Genre

Classics & Fiction
Things Fall ApartThe Canterbury TalesParadise LostSilas MarnerWhite NoiseHeart of DarknessThe Picture of Dorian GrayInvisible ManUp the Down StaircaseA Clockwork OrangeThe New York TrilogyThe Sadness of SexFuck MachineA Modest ProposalIt Can't Happen HereFlowers for AlgernonTo Kill a MockingbirdThe Catcher in the RyeThe Great GatsbyAnimal FarmOf Mice and MenThe Grapes of WrathCannery RowTravels with Charley: In Search of AmericaMe Talk Pretty One DayLord of the FliesLittle WomenA Tale of Two CitiesThe Count of Monte CristoMoby-DickMemoirs of a GeishaMiddlesexLolitaGone With the Wind1984Veronika Decides to DieAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-GlassAnd the Hippos Were Boiled in Their TanksBeowulf: A New Verse TranslationBig SurOn the RoadThe Call of the Wild, White Fang and Other StoriesCandide: or, OptimismThe Brothers KaramazovDemonsThe Old Man and the SeaThe Sun Also RisesTo Have and Have NotA Hunger ArtistIn The Penal ColonyThe MetamorphosisThe TrialR. Crumb's KafkaThe Cheese MonkeysOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestThe ChosenThe Tevye Stories and OthersAdventures of Mottel: The Cantor's SonA Christmas CarolOliver TwistThe Divine ComedyDoctor FaustusThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeTreasure IslandNaked LunchLove is a Dog from HellHam on RyeThe Most Beautiful Woman in TownHot Water MusicThe StrangerThe Satanic VersesPortnoy’s ComplaintAtlas ShruggedChokeDiaryRantLullabyFight ClubCatch-22FaustLife of Pi
Poetry
Budget Travel through Space and Time: PoemsThe Collected Poems, Complete and UnabridgedPoetry as Insurgent ArtA Coney Island of the MindHowl and Other PoemsSongs of Innocence and of ExperienceThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other PoemsMeditations in an EmergencyLord Byron: The Major Works
Drama
Les MisérablesThe Diary of a Madman, The Government Inspector, and Selected StoriesOedipus RexArsenic And Old LaceThe Odd CoupleRosencrantz and Guildenstern are DeadThe CrucibleDeath of a SalesmanFocusThe Portable Arthur MillerThe Oedipus Cycle: Oedipus Rex / Oedipus at Colonus / AntigoneHamletA Midsummer Night's DreamMacbethThe TempestOthelloRomeo and JulietShakespeare's SonnetsThe Taming of the Shrew
Mythology
Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round TableArthurian LegendsKappa; A NovelThe Saga of the VolsungsThe Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One NightsEgyptian Ideas of the AfterlifeAncient Egyptian MagicSir Gawain and the Green KnightAesop's FablesThe Hero With a Thousand FacesBeowulf: A New Verse Translation
Paranormal
The Coincidence File: Synchronicity, Morphic Resonance or Pure Chance?The Young Oxford Book of AliensFaces of the VisitorsThe Mothman PropheciesCasebook on the Men in BlackThe Lost Continent of MuCommunion: A True StoryThe Celestine Prophecy50 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time: History's Biggest Mysteries, Coverups, and Cabals
Science
CosmosBonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and SexElephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre ExperimentsThe Golden Section: Nature's Greatest SecretThe Man Who Tasted ShapesI Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work & Brain Are Being Creatively DisruptedThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat & Other Clinical TalesFlatland: A Romance of Many DimensionsThe Man Who Tasted ShapesWhat We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of CertaintyWhat Is Your Dangerous Idea?: Today's Leading Thinkers on the UnthinkableWhat Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting BetterWhat Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink EverythingTricks of the Mind
Business
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and RealityHey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great AdsThe Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing CapitalismThe 48 Laws of Power
History
The Iliad & The OdysseyThe IliadThe OdysseyI, ClaudiusNazi GermanyWhat a Way to Go: The Guillotine, the Pendulum, the Thousand Cuts, the Spanish Donkey, and 66 Other Ways of Putting Someone to DeathGuns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human SocietiesA Little History of the WorldOne Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear WarThe War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-08Lincoln's DevotionalLies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got WrongCrossfire: The Plot That Killed KennedyBenjamin Franklin: Wit and WisdomNightThe Diary of a Young GirlNickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in AmericaThe Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian SuperpowerA People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the WestYou Can't WinThe Prince
Philosophy
A Little Book of LanguageA Little History of PhilosophyMeditationsGod's Debris: A Thought ExperimentUniverse and EyeCommon SenseThe Communist ManifestoThis Is Not a PipeAstonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday LifeDo You Think What You Think You Think?The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair PhilosopherComing of Age at the End of HistoryThe Society of the SpectacleOn BullshitGödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden BraidThe Five People You Meet in HeavenAristotle and an Aardvark Go to WashingtonPlato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through JokesZeno and the Tortoise: How to Think Like a PhilosopherWays of SeeingLateral ThinkingDo You Think What You Think You Think?Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?The Michael Eric Dyson ReaderBullshit and PhilosophyTwilight of the Idols/The Anti-Christ
Media Theory
Extra Lives: Why Video Games MatterThe Medium Is the MassageArt & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of ArtmakingMad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s AmericaHow to Watch TV News: Revised EditionDon't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate: The Essential Guide for Progressives50 Things You're Not Supposed to KnowImpro101 Things to Learn in Art School
Humour
The Devil's DictionaryThe Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus; All the Words Volume OneNapalm & Silly PuttyBrain DroppingsLies & the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair & Balanced Look at the RightThe Illustrated ManStuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of MillionsWhere's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never ArrivedHow To Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming RebellionHow to Be a Villain: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans, and More!!!I Am AmericaCurb Your Enthusiasm: The BookThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme EditionThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and SexThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: TravelThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival HandbookHeaven and Hell: A Compulsively Readable Compendium of Myth, Legend, Wisdom, and Wit for Saints and SinnersOur Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet EarthOur Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News SourceI'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have YouThe Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st CenturyThe Joy of Work: Dilbert's Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-WorkersThe Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace AfflictionsGreat Comedians Talk about ComedyHow to Rule the World: A Handbook for the Aspiring DictatorThe Groucho Letters: Letters from and to Groucho Marx
Horror
At the Mountains of MadnessThe Complete WorksFrankensteinThe ShiningThree Ghost StoriesWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarThe Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living DeadRudyard Kipling's Tales of Horror and Fantasy
Don QuixoteThe Confidence-Man
Crime
Homicide: A Year on the Killing StreetsThree Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the InnocentThe Maltese FalconThe Big SleepThe GodfatherThe Complete Sherlock HolmesDetection by GaslightThe Big Sleep & Farewell, My LovelyThe Murder of Roger AckroydAnd Then There Were NoneThe SicilianOmertaThe Thin Man
Science Fiction
The Challenge Of The SpaceshipTimelineJurassic ParkThe Lost WorldPrey2001: A Space OdysseyR Is for RocketThe Martian ChroniclesA Sound of Thunder and Other StoriesThe VeldtVenus on the Half-ShellMore Stories from the Twilight ZoneStories from the Twilight ZoneBrave New WorldFahrenheit 451The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThe Time MachineStar Wars: A New HopeThe Lost WorldThe HobbitEnder's GameDuneStranger in a Strange LandParis in the Twentieth CenturyThe First Men in the MoonNeuromancerSnow CrashThe Island of Dr. MoreauWhen the Sleeper WakesThe Country of the Blind and Other Science-Fiction StoriesThe Best Time Travel Stories of All TimeFrom the Earth to the MoonJourney to the Center of the EarthThe Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th CenturyBrave New World/Brave New World RevisitedStarship TroopersMona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3)Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Children’s
Mr. Popper's PenguinsWatership DownBunniculaThe Complete Grimm's Fairy TalesMrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMHThe Indian in the CupboardFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. FrankweilerA Wrinkle in TimeA Wind in the DoorRikki-Tikki-TaviJust So StoriesThe Jungle BooksThe Princess BrideOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue FishHorton Hears a Who!The LoraxGreen Eggs and HamThe Sneetches and Other StoriesFox in SocksOh, the Places You'll Go!The Cat in the HatThe Butter Battle BookThe Cat in the Hat Comes BackHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!I am Not Going to Get Up Today!Where the Sidewalk EndsThe Giving TreeThe Little PrinceThe Polar ExpressSix MenStrega NonaWhere the Wild Things AreThe Night Before Christmas
Art
Mad Men: The Illustrated WorldThe Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be The Artist You Truly AreGnomesThe Complete GnomesThe Magic Mirror of M.C. EscherThe Graphic WorkH.R. Giger's NecronomiconDynamic Figure DrawingEx Libris: The Art of BookplatesThe Small Stakes: Music PostersThe Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese InventionsBanksy Locations & Tours Volume 2: A Collection of Graffiti Locations and Photographs from around the UKBanksy Locations & Tours: A Collection of Graffiti Locations and Photographs in London, EnglandWall and PieceStreet Art San Francisco: Mission MuralismoGraffiti World: Street Art from Five Continentsi am 8-bit: Art Inspired by Classic Videogames of the '80sThe Art BookThe Cult of LEGOCartooning: Philosophy and PracticeWreck This JournalThe Book of TikiInfinite City: A San Francisco AtlasMid-Century Ads: Advertising from the Mad Men EraUnpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books
Graphic Novels
Rex Libris, Volume I: I, LibrarianHandmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Friendly Home DesignScud: The Disposable Assassin -The Whole ShebangThe Sixth Gun, Vol. 1: Cold Dead FingersThe Perry Bible Fellowship AlmanackThe Walking Dead, Book OneCats are Weird and More ObservationsI Kill GiantsInvincible, Volume 1: Family MattersJack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Vol. 1Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing Vol. 1Persepolis: The Story of a ChildhoodThe Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse SuiteSweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep WoodsDaredevil Legends, Vol. 1: YellowThe Sandman: King of DreamsFrank, Vol. 1The Complete Far Side, 1980-1994Usagi Yojimbo, Vol. 1: The RoninDarth Vader and SonKick-AssAmerican Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey PekarDr. Horrible and Other Horrible StoriesTransmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the StreetChew, Vol. 1: Taster's ChoiceEverything Can Be BeatenBatman: The Long HalloweenWiener Dog ArtThe Far Side GalleryChris WareHow to Draw Comics the Marvel WayEverything is Its Own Reward: An All Over Coffee CollectionAll Over CoffeePaula Scher: MAPSKirby: King of ComicsY: The Last Man, Vol. 1: UnmannedThe Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other StoriesThe Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy TalesPinocchioThe Complete Calvin and HobbesThe Complete MausMaus, Vol. 2: And Here My Troubles BeganRamayana: Divine LoopholeEssential Doctor Strange, Vol. 1Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 3Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 2Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1The Art of Steve DitkoStrange and Stranger: The World of Steve DitkoNew GodsSavage Dragon Archives, Vol. 1Mouse Guard: Roleplaying GameMouse Guard: Winter 1152Mouse Guard: Fall 1152Moomin Book Five: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic StripMoomin Book Four: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic StripMoomin Book Three: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic StripMoomin Book Two: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic StripMoomin Book One: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic StripTintin in the Land of the SovietsCigars of the PharaohTintin in TibetThe Complete ConcreteDiesel Sweeties: Pocket Sweeties Volume 1A Zits Treasury 02: Big Honkin' ZitsEditorial WorksLittle Nemo: 1905-1914Zippy: Walk a Mile in My Muu-Muu (ZippyZippy StoriesAre We Having Fun YetHow To Go To HellAkbar and Jeff's Guide to LifeWork Is HellChildhood Is HellThe Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite FamilyBart Simpson's Guide to Life: A Wee Handbook for the PerplexedSimpsons World - The Ultimate Episode GuideThe Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of HomerSchool is HellThe Big Book of Hell: The Best of Life in HellThe AlcoholicScott Pilgrim's Precious Little LifeScott Pilgrim Vs. the WorldScott Pilgrim & the Infinite SadnessScott Pilgrim Gets It TogetherScott Pilgrim Vs. the UniverseScott Pilgrim's Finest HourUncle SamDrawing Words and Writing PicturesSilver Surfer: ParableThe Halo Graphic NovelZot!: The Complete Black-and-White Collection: 1987-1991Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic NovelsUnderstanding Comics: The Invisible ArtReinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art FormRed Meat GoldThe Goon, Volume 8: Those That Is DamnedThe Goon, Volume 9: Calamity of ConscienceThe Goon, Volume 7: A Place of Heartache and GriefThe Goon, Volume 6: Chinatown and The Mystery of Mr. WickerThe Goon, Volume 4: Virtue and the Grim Consequences ThereofThe Goon: NoirThe Goon, Volume 5: Wicked InclinationsThe Goon, Volume 3: Heaps of RuinationThe Goon, Volume 2: My Murderous ChildhoodThe Goon, Volume 1: Nothin' but MiseryThe Collected Sam and MaxThe Walking Dead, Vol. 11: Fear the HuntersThe Walking Dead, Vol. 8: Made to SufferThe Walking Dead, Vol. 3: Safety Behind BarsThe Walking Dead, Vol. 2: Miles Behind UsThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeSin City, Vol. 7: Hell and BackSin City, Vol. 6: Booze, Broads, and BulletsSin City, Vol. 5: Family ValuesBatman: The Dark Knight Strikes AgainSin City, Vol. 4: That Yellow BastardSin City, Vol. 3: The Big Fat KillSin City, Vol. 2: A Dame to Kill For300Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard GoodbyeBatman: The Dark Knight ReturnsBatman: Year OneElektra Lives Again Beanworld, Vol. 1: Wahoolazuma!Beanworld, Vol. 2: A Gift Comes!Arkham Asylum: MadnessWolverine Legends Vol. 1: Wolverine/HulkThe Maxx, Vol. 3The Maxx, Vol. 2The Maxx, Vol. 1Empowered, Volume 1Empowered, Volume 2Empowered, Volume 3Empowered, Volume 4Empowered, Volume 5Bigfoot: I Not DeadIn Me Own Words: The Autobiography of BigfootBoneCagesThe Fate of the ArtistThe Big Book of the UnexplainedThe Big Book of ConspiraciesThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black DossierSwamp Thing, Vol. 1: Saga of the Swamp ThingThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2From HellThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1Batman: The Killing JokeV for VendettaWatchmenThe Amazing Screw-on Head and Other Curious ObjectsDoctor Strange, Doctor Doom: Triumph and TormentHellboy, Vol. 10: The Crooked Man and OthersHellboy, Vol. 9: The Wild HuntHellboy: Odd JobsHellboy, Vol. 8: Darkness CallsHellboy, Vol. 7: The Troll Witch and OthersHellboy, Vol. 6: Strange PlacesHellboy, Vol. 5: Conqueror WormHellboy, Vol. 4: The Right Hand of DoomHellboy, Vol. 3: The Chained Coffin and OthersHellboy, Vol. 2: Wake the DevilHellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of DestructionDonald DuckPogoTales from Outer SuburbiaThe ArrivalMirrorMaskThe Sandman: Book of DreamsThe Day I Swapped My Dad for Two GoldfishThe Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly OnesThe Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream CountryThe Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll's HouseThe Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and NocturnesMarvel 1602MarvelsThe Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the RenaissanceCartoon History of the Universe II, Vol. 8-13: From the Springtime of China to the Fall of RomeCartoon History of the Universe I, Vol. 1-7: From the Big Bang to Alexander the GreatBat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in JapanBeasts! Book OneGorillaz: Rise of the OgreTank Girl (Tank Girl, #1)Sloppy SecondsHair HighMutant AliensThe Sleazy Cartoons of Bill PlymptonWhen We Were Very MaakiesMaakiesAlias, Vol. 1GoldfishPowers, Vol. 3: Little DeathsJinxPowers, Vol. 7: ForeverPowers, Vol. 1: Who Killed Retro Girl?Fortune & Glory: A True Hollywood Comic Book StoryPowers, Vol. 11: Secret IdentityAlias, Vol. 3: The UnderneathPowers, Vol. 9: PsychoticPowers, Vol. 5: AnarchyPowers, Vol. 4: SupergroupAlias, Vol. 2: Come HomePowers, Vol. 8: LegendsPowers, Vol. 6: The SelloutsPowers, Vol. 2: RoleplayPowers, Vol. 10: CosmicAlias, Vol. 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica JonesHouse of MSecret InvasionTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Book IThe Contract With God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie AvenueWill Eisner's New York: Life in the Big CityThe Best of the SpiritTransmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the StreetTransmetropolitan, Vol. 1, Revised: Back on the StreetBatman: Joker's AsylumX'ed OutLiberty Meadows Volume 1: EdenLiberty Meadows Volume 2: Creature ComfortsLiberty Meadows Volume 3: Summer Of LoveClerks: The Comic BooksChasing DogmaBluntman and ChronicCerebus, Vol. 1Cerebus, Vol. 2: High SocietyCerebus, Vol. 4: Church and State IICerebus, Vol. 16: The Last DayCerebus, Vol. 6: MelmothCerebus, Vol. 9: ReadsCerebus, Vol. 7: FlightCerebus, Vol. 3: Church and State ICerebus, Vol. 5: Jaka's StoryCerebus, Vol. 11: GuysCerebus, Vol. 10: MindsCerebus, Vol. 8: WomenCerebus, Vol. 13: Going HomeCerebus, Vol. 14: Form and VoidCerebus, Vol. 12: Rick's StoryCerebus, Vol. 15: Latter DaysDoctor Strange, Doctor Doom: Triumph and TormentBlanketsThe Acme Novelty Library #17The Acme Novelty LibraryThe Acme Novelty Library #16The Acme Novelty Datebook: Sketches and Diary Pages in Facsimile, 1986-1995Quimby the Mouse: Or Comic Strips, 1990-1991Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on EarthThe Acme Novelty Library #18The Acme Novelty Datebook, Vol. 2The Acme Novelty Library #19The Acme Novelty Library #2The Acme Novelty Library #1The Acme Novelty Library #3Kingdom ComeThe Best of Gahan WilsonJohnny the Homicidal Maniac: Director's CutSquee's Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable HorrorsFillerbunny in My Worst Book Yet!JellyfistI Feel Sick #1Fillerbunny #1Revenge Of The FillerbunnyI Feel Sick #2The Bad Art CollectionA Right to Be Hostile: The Boondocks TreasuryAmphigorey TooAmphigoreyAmphigorey Also

Favorite Authors

Douglas Adams
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxySo Long, and Thanks for All the FishLife, the Universe, and EverythingThe Restaurant at the End of the UniverseMostly Harmless
Isaac Asimov
The End of EternityDavid Starr, Space RangerThe Foundation TrilogyFoundation and EmpireFoundationSecond FoundationMort
Philip K. Dick
UbikDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?The Man in the High CastleA Scanner DarklyThe Collected Stories, Vol. 4: The Minority ReportThe Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick 2: We Can Remember it for You WholesaleThe Minority ReportThe Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick 1: The Short Happy Life of the Brown OxfordPaycheck and Other Classic StoriesThe Shifting Realities of Philip K. DickThe Philip K. Dick Reader
Hunter S. Thompson
Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. ThompsonThe Gonzo Tapes: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. ThompsonGonzoGonzo: The ArtFear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American DreamThe Joke's OverHell's AngelsThe Rum DiaryBetter Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie
Kurt Vonnegut
Breakfast of ChampionsCat’s CradleWelcome to the Monkey HouseGalápagosThe Sirens of TitanMother NightGod Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: A NovelA Man Without a CountryPlayer PianoTimequakeDeadeye Dick: A NovelBluebeardBagombo Snuff BoxGod Bless You, Dr. KevorkianWampeters, Foma and GranfalloonsArmageddon in RetrospectLook at the Birdie: Unpublished Short FictionSlaughterhouse-Five
Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom SawyerA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtThe Prince and the PauperThe Complete Short Stories of Mark TwainPudd'nhead WilsonThe Diary of Adam and EveLife on the MississippiThe Bible According to Mark TwainThe Mysterious StrangerThe Wit and Wisdom of Mark TwainMark Twain Tonight!Mark Twain's San FranciscoThe Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other SketchesThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Adventure

I awoke to a strange and trembling new terrain about me,
Popping with the white-hot glare of a sandblasting heat,
And an enormity that flashed in all directions in my ears,
But the most strange and trembling part of it all,
Was that I had awoken fully awake, and standing.

The last thing I remember was drinking coolly of the murk
Of a dark and deep cave, grimy with the silt of the ages.
A small black cavecat skittered right across my pass,
And hovered a moment, head backturned to study me,
Eyes all aglow and flaming as a falling sun set behind.

And the sharp and angled shadows that had followed me,
Fell into grey and blurred figures of dissimilarity, so that
I could tell no longer the fine details in the cracked rock,
Or the floating speckles in the water, and soon my hand
Was gone from the end of my arm, as was the nose from my face.

It could have only have been a couple of seconds,
And then again it seemed that I lived several lifetimes,
And perhaps I was awake for it all, or maybe I slept.
But what affronted my eyes when I snapped awake,
Was a terrible and nightmarish sight like I had never seen.

A procession of swimming, blubbering, insectoid larvae,
Each shiny in its beetle’s shell, its legs instead discs of cool flame,
Pushed along like smooth caterpillars with hard organs,
Following an invisible river, a path cut deep into the ground.
But they appeared to overtake each other like minnows.

Indeed, they swam as in a school, lined up in neat trembling rows,
Like the paired segments of the carnivorous desert bandiwurm,
Old myths, but I have seen them in my traversing the far off dunes.
And this travel had become a frightening one, everything disjointed,
An unforgiving apathy of all the interconnectedness around them.

The shimmering, glassy foreheads of each of these monsters
Housed demons, eyes piercing into me with a truth that I couldn’t know.
Almost hairless, and quivering with sadness and turmoil and paranoia.
They stepped into and out of their host creatures as they pleased,
And were garbed in the most fantastic and peculiar of ways.

Looking down to shield my eyes from the glare of the sun,
I noticed that I was wearing a coat of flat animal’s skin,
Green and brown and black and the soft color of wet stone.
Like a pressed reptilian leatherskin padded with foliage,
But it had not the weight nor the texture of such a makings.

As my eyes adjusted to the day I noticed two things;
Those singularly beautiful and indescribable clothes,
(With the nagging wonder as to the point of their origin),
And the cold. For despite that incandescent ball of day,
A biting chill explored my extremities and slowed my blood.

I lifted my hand from my eyes, cautious against my surroundings,
And took a hard, squinting look from beneath the stabbing shadow
At the forms and figures that passed this way and that.
Many wore dark cloth, and carried taut packages at their sides.
Most of them hurried as if to a hunt, but walked in a straight line.

They reminded me of the familial people of my home,
In the land of the craggy caves and crooked rocks.
For protruding from the ground were hills and mountains,
But I saw that they were sheer as if crafted by these demons.
And many had pointed juts that cut into a familiar sky.

Towering, shimmering immensity, they must have housed giants,
And I thought that they would awaken from their shapely
Cocoons and make with their attack at any moment.
And the one largest before me had a cavernous carved opening,
As if its inhabitant had recently emerged and bounded away.

As dusk fell, the earlier secret eyes of the swimming bugbeasts,
Awoke into yellow flame against the rainy snow and erupted with a crackle.
I fell to sit against flat stone and held myself warmly, awake with fear.
Images and colors I had scarcely seen, shot me like lightning bolt arrows,
Whenever I flickered my eyes, trying to sense an imminent attack.

As my breathing calmed, I stood once more, and my blood stirred from it.
It didn’t look like I was in any of harm’s way, and no longer panicked.
But I kept my wary guard and balanced evenly on the balls of my feet.
I looked to the sky directly above me, and saw the stars shyly emerge.
Hidden behind a murky veil, I struggled toward them to see.

The clouds had grown here, presuming this was at all like my home,
To encompass a sky once lively with wood and leaf and birdlife.
Never before but on the mountains and plains had such a sky been seen,
Presented and obscured at the same time by the contempt of the wind,
And the temperamental spirits that control its destiny over climes.

Far on the horizon, my sharp eyes cut through the sheer rock faces
To witness a pink and dying sunset, hidden by a veil of rainless rain clouds.
The wind sprites had long abandoned their posts here, or perhaps,
Had never graced this land with their benevolent dance of balance,
Instead leaving only these demons, and I thought at once that I was in hell.

Had I died in that cave, and gone to the dark place for my final trial?
Perhaps the legends had been wrong about our gods and demons,
And this ‘other-world’ was all that had been real, for it was too real.
Had I been alive, I wondered, in that cave I had known since my youth,
Which was the dream, and was this some god or wizard’s intervention?

As if in answer, the vertical hills and mountains filled with sorcerer’s light,
And the dead leafless trees themselves lit in defiance of the moonless night.
Luminescent as the day must be in hell where no sun can survive,
I rubbed my hands together to bring life to my crackling digits and joints,
And tried to ignore the jungle-roar of my neglected and long-famished belly.

Though I dare not move from my post, as any good hunter has learned,
I thought it best to acquaint myself with this alien terrain and peoples,
If anything to better prepare myself to survive this new life, or afterlife.
In no direction was a path home to be seen, and I tasted an acrid copper
Smell in the air, heralding a burning death that permeated this place.

I had passed a dozen eyes before I realized that these were no demons,
But passive, cold humans, each aimed directly towards their destiny,
That little beyond the ebb and flow of the invisible river could hinder.
They had in them the warm blood of life, though I had no way of knowing,
If perhaps this was some trickery, or still the suitable case of being in death.

And that’s when I saw a young human, timid and weak for survival,
Who averted his eyes from mine, his elder, and challenged no one.
He pulled himself back into his skins and cloths, and sneezed.
I reached out to him in a moment for information, for simple guidance.
He reeled when my fingers curled around his arm, and as they did…

…I had this dream last night that I was back in high school,
And that was also Strategic Air Command for some reason,
And that for some reason we were located in a box canyon,
And that a deadly sandstorm was barreling down to kill us all.
And so I went to find my old high school girlfriend (how lame),
And couldn’t see over the tumultuous panicking crowds,
And each of the escape pods in the plastic tubes jettisoned,
And so I made my way towards the center of the school,
And retrieved my jet pack from its locker in shop class.
And as the flesh-searing sands stormed closer, I was off.
And I searched and I searched for my lost sweetheart,
And just when I thought that I saw her amongst the throng,
And the deadly tearing particles of dust inched ever closer,
And her eyes finally met mine…

I lost control of the nonsensical vision, of the stalwart spirits between us.
A highly confusing affair, the information seeped into the crevices of my brain.
I lost grasp of the man, the parasite for whom these angels of night suckled.
He walked faster past and away from me, and I fell full onto my front,
And tasted the cold stony air of the hard canyon that grew above me.

I had read his dreams, like the old ones of my people were learned to do,
As I, my father’s son, would have been taught to do, had it not been for–

I firmed myself, convinced that these demon people were as real as I,
This place simply their fantastic village, as in stories told by my well-traveled uncle
And fully accepted that I was trapped in a world of evil gods, or the dead.
I approached a woman of this massive opal-smooth chasm of echoes,
Hoping her matronly ways and instincts would convince her to help me.

As I spoke and stumbled, she moved away, perhaps afraid of my kind?
With a start, she was gone, and my vision darted, suspiciously grasping.
Could it be that these demons were afraid of a man, a man such as I?
Is it possible that I was brought here against their will, not in accordance?
Had I power over their monstrosities? Would I battle their highest king?

Chiquita Shares

CHIQUITA SHARES

Once upon a time there was a tiny island upon the land of which lived a tiny race of tiny people, whom where known as… “The Japanese.” Long ago there had been a tiny war with their embittered rival… “The America.” America, a great, expansive, faraway land, was a proud nation with great talk shows and chicken wings of great fire. They waged a great war with great bombs until a great peace treaty was signed. And it was all pretty great.
Over many years, the Japanese and the American economies fused into one amorphic symbiotic entity, an increasingly indistinguishable mixture in some sort of pot… with melting in it. I don’t know if you know where I’m going with that or not. The culture gap, thusly, was blurred as growing children of each nation were raised on the cartoons of the other. Leaders and speakers from each land slurred their languages together into one. And so it was, that Japan and America became… “Jamericorp.” A company dedicated to liberty, harmony, and low, low prices on all brand name items. Any vestige of former government was abandoned, forgotten for this new enterprise.
Soon after this abrupt and poorly crafted plot point was put into effect, the Japanese scientists renowned for developing square watermelons were contracted by Chiquita. Their project was top secret, the utmost in national security. In fact… I don’t think I should really be telling you this… hmmm… don’t know if I can trust you to… weeeell… hokay, you got an honest face. As it so happened, they were trying to create a single banana, independent of the rest of its bunch, large enough to feed a family of eighteen. (Ed: That’s how large the average Jamericorp family is. Yeah.) And they succeeded. And Chiquita shares went up forty points, giving them a total of… forty points.
But the Japanese scientists soon became very bored, as they are wont to do. They hypo-theorized: if this was all it took to feed a family of eighteen, then why not a family of twenty-seven, the age that Kurt Cobain died at? Or why not a small African village? Hell, why not even a moderately-sized African village? Why not Detroit? You know those scientists. They are all about the charity and stuff. So they developed a meta-banana, immense as a skyscraper and at least 20-60% tastier. (Ed: This does not include some of your well-known tastier towers such as the Coit Tower or that one in Pisa.) And they succeeded. Chiquita shares went up one hundred more points.
However, the scientists noticed that their meta-bananas, lacking meta-refrigeration, were becoming rotten shortly past their prototype phase, and that some of the larger and more meta of the bunch didn’t even make it past R&D. And so the scientists genetically altered the makeup of the banana’s DNA even further, endowing it with impenetrable peel and allowing the sweet and juicy innards to stay sweet… and juicy, rendering the banana invincible, as it were. (Ed: ‘As it were’? Shouldn’t it be ‘as they were’ or ‘as it was’? Whatever.) And they succeeded in doing so, and Chiquita shares went up one hundred and seventy points.
Again, they became very bored. They had exhausted all practical and ideal developments for the banana. So much so, in fact, that now these bananas could not even be opened to be eaten. Not only could they not be eaten, they couldn’t even be consumed. So they gave the bananas an artificial intelligence comparable to Nintendogs or Albert Gore. This banana would ripen on command and peel itself. And they succeeded, and as they did so, Chiquita shares went up ninety points.
But one fateful night, something went frightfully wrong. As the scientists slept in their tiny beds, Prototype Banana-43 awoke and, crashing through the minimally secured compound walls, (this is Japan, after all), headed the ludicrously crowded city of Tokyo. That’s right. Tokyo.
Kimi Fukishawa was the first to see the giant banana, and the first to meet her fruity fate. Standing atop her apartment building on the outskirts of town, smoking a cigarette, her eyes widened as they took in the monster, shaking off its debris. She let loose a horrendous scream, slightly out of sync with her lips. Her husband raced upstairs, but he was too late. All he found was trail of wreckage blocks wide, fiery carnage spewing from gas mains, and both his wife and half of his roof missing.
In the following days, madness ensued. The weak Japanese army and cheaply made American weapons were no match for the impregnable peel of the beast. Tanks toppled like Matchbox toys, and bodies smeared against the pavement resounding with terror! The death count reached into the millions, rose even higher, as the property damage counted in the million-billions! I’m not great at math, but I can assure you, that’s a fucking lot!
Screaming and running from what reporters and analysts had dubbed ‘Bananazilla,’ the masses were soon crushed under the enraged stem of deranged lunacy. Having utterly crushed Japan’s center of commerce, its economy inadvertently destroyed, and subsequently, America entering its worst Depression since the cancellation of TV’s Jeopardy!, Bananazilla retired to the Oceanic depths, waiting to strike again in a fervor of tyranny! Jamericorp ceased to be! The scientists, in their final moments, had decried their folly in playing God, and were now also dead. The remaining Japanese hid underground surviving on regimented diets of sewer-sushi and Li-Chi, millions of Americans with nothing to eat at all but mayonnaise, confused and wandering their emptied cities. Luxembourg became the world’s leading superpower. Didn’t see that one coming, didja?
There was no recovering, and there was no respite, for at any given place and at any given time, Bananazilla, scourge of humanity and developed civilization, could and would strike again. Wreaking havoc neatly and constantly striking fear into the already chilled souls of every man, woman, and tender child, each quaked, as they knew they were still at risk. The beast… hungered. It delighted only in darkness and the bringing of great nations to its knees, removing their proverbial jugular veins in a fit of willful and impassioned fury, when least suspected. It was, and still is out there somewhere, the embodiment of all that rings evil.
And Chiquita shares went down five hundred points…

ANACHROMISTIC

“Graffiti is beautiful, like a brick in the face of a cop.”

-Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Professor Ducard had discovered the secrets of time travel. They lie not in some convoluted device powered by highly radioactive and unstable elements, nor by reciprocating magnetic fields, nor by hypnotic regression or aliens or astral travel. The much sought after method of breaking the fourth dimensional wall, so to speak, was found in art.

A well-respected curator, restoration conservator, and avid collector, the good Professor was quick to discover that paintings, with little to no magical impetus, would transport the viewer to the millennia and decade they depicted. And in no metaphorical sense, either, as countless unwitting museum patrons were sadly killed in unexpected Inquisitions, dropped into pits of hellish fire, bitten in the genitals by snakes, mauled by dragons before saintly knights could even react, or found nude and fallen down fractured abstract staircases.

Ducard’s gallery was a tourist trap in more ways than one, and as such, had to be shut down. The French government, for the first time since before its last socially important revolution, found itself censoring an entire gallery of art. Many scholars agreed that it was a great loss to both the worlds of physics and art history, though few agreed what censorship, if ever, was justifiable, and fewer still claimed that France should have been censoring its pretentious art decades ago.

The Professor himself was hardly missed, however, when he went missing in some dark part of the museum one weekend, perhaps drowned in one of any number of Tempests. He was survived by a loving wife, three fully-grown children, and a cadre of art restoration fan-girls/girlfriends, of which there were two.

But this story truly takes place after the paintings were separated by retailers and oceans, and the gallery itself destroyed in a rather poetically justifiable widespread fire, of which I will not comment, other than to say that both physicists and artists would agree on its beauty.

One such painting, Cave, an obscure artist’s reference of an archaic time, was sent to modern day  Chicago, where it still resides. Though it was assumed by the buyer to have lost all ‘magical’ properties with its separation from its gallery collection, and the aforementioned loss of said gallery, it was chanced upon one night by Ex-Cop turned Security Guard Ermine Hester.

Officer Hester, no longer bound for glory-filled days on the street, busting junkies’ heads against sidewalks as his only artistic endeavor, (and Pollock-approved, at that), now had a beat of three wings and a foyer to walk. Though the occasional kicking-on of the air-conditioner would sometimes spring him into paranoid frenzies of attention, gun wavering with nerves and experience, most of his time was spent at his post in the foyer, reading cheap True Crime novels and Detective Fiction, depicting little difference between the two. At the bottom of each hour, he would interrupt such endeavors to stand creakily from his metal chair, stretch his body, yawn widely, and brandish a club for a nighttime prowl.

There was not much to do, as there weren’t many people with the common decency to try and burglarize a collection of priceless art. Probably because, if True Crime tells us anything, ‘priceless’ means ‘immobile’ on the black market. In fact, in his Security Firm job, just as in his former law-enforcement days, Officer Hester had but the occasional distraction of loitering vagrants and graffiti artists about the building to threaten.

Time took its effect on Hester, and employees and even patrons were heard to refer to him as ‘Festerin’ Hester.’ Senility, though not entirely taking hold, was able to grapple effectively with Ermine. The building wasn’t particularly big, so he was the only security guard necessary, and yet was still seen calling for backup on the walkie-talkie he’d insisted on carrying. The curators feared, in the back of their minds, the day when Ermine too his zeal a little too far, and broke open the skull of some hapless spray can hooligan.

Ermine Hester didn’t have much of a background in art, Jim Davis notwithstanding, and as such, defined art as ‘that which resides inside the building inside a frame’ and graffiti as ‘everything else.’ The definition constituted fine as far as the owners were concerned, and Ermine did his job.

Half-crazy as he was, though, it certainly didn’t bother Officer Hester much when he walked into the wing of the museum dedicated to realism in art, and discovered Cave. He may have squinted at it for a second, perhaps even rubbed his eyes a bit, as he walked back and forth to notice the vantage point within the painting changing with his movements. Not a painting at all in fact, he assumed, but an open window to some hitherto unknown outdoor portion of the museum. When it was constructed, Hester thought, he couldn’t remember.

It was daylight according to this portal, and Officer Hester couldn’t recall missing that amount of time that had transpired between seeing it was clearly night at his initial post, and daylight here. Perhaps this was some newly installed modern art piece, or a fancy door that led to another gallery room that was only well-lit enough to look to be outside. Perhaps again, he thought, this was just a shining example of what those longhairs could do with a horsehair brush and plenty of paints. They never cease to amaze.

Ermine took a solitary fingertip and, wary of the damage his oily hands may cause, carefully tried to brush the canvas, only to discover that there was none. With as much trepidation as somebody expecting a window when there wasn’t one, and as much surprise as somebody who quickly discovered a glass pane where they hadn’t expected one, he put his entire hand to the painting’s surface.

Clearly, it was no painting. He couldn’t remember if this had been here yesterday or not, but then again, Ermine couldn’t even recall what paintings were directly behind him in that very room. So, assured now of its integral structure to the building, and as such, his duty to patrol it, he stepped through the hole.

On the other side of that wall lie no other room such as he had ever seen, but a lush forest surrounding the entrance to a cave hallway. Surely, the strangest museum exhibit since Mapplethorpe. Well, perhaps not that bad.

So he continued along, so transfixed, that he didn’t look back behind him to mark his progress. If he had, he would have seen that there was no longer a wall holding a frame, but simply a floating portal that had presented to primitive people quite a spectacle over the years.

In fact, just an hour earlier, Took (a coincidental primitive ancestor of French Enlightenment thinker Alex De Tocqueville), had stopped by to see ‘what was on.’ But he was sadly disappointed to see it hadn’t appeared yet, and made a mental note to stop by later.

 

Years ago, ancient French tribal people had seen a single brushstroke appear in midair. It startled much of the womenfolk, and several of the men tried to kill it. The children were the only ones in awe of its beauty from the very start. Slowly, however, in a gauche-like haze, a man appeared set in a rectangular backdrop of Mahogany and various instruments. That bespectacled  and hairless biped on the other side smiled and waved at these cave-denizens. They screamed and hollered back, and he suddenly disappeared, much faster as he had appeared, and this upset the indigenous people much more. Especially Took, who was a child himself at the time. Over the years, the painting would appear, containing a happy little man who taught them various artistic endeavors, such as constructing their own brushes and paints, and how to depict what you see in your environment.

Where the concept originally came from remains a mystery of poor writing.

Took took to the art form from the beginning, and impressed even that anachronistic teacher with his ingenious ability to incorporate design flaws in the slate tablets as part of his overall composition. Soon after, cave walls were filled with men, with animals, with symbolic gesture drawings with perhaps even no meaning at all. The expressionists had their competition.

Tribal spirals and herds of animals, the first fast food menu, if you will, adorned much of their dwellings. It was something to do, when you weren’t worried about survival or reproduction, which sadly consumed much of the cave people’s time, or else they may have gotten into such abstract concepts as shading, backgrounds, and the philosophical importance of social archetypes. But for now, wild beasts roaming freely floating one on top of the other would have to suffice.

Whether he had fulfilled some fated cyclical need, or was simply speeding up a process that would have commenced without him, the beloved art teacher vanished, and the backdrop changed. The primevals watched as the rectangle showed them moving pictures, different faces, and views beyond their ability to comprehend.

Equally frustratingly unaware was Ermine Hester, as he infuriatingly shook with rage at the blatant disregard for public property, for modern established law, and just downright decency! He tried to rub off some of the icons from the stone walls, but only a few were fresh enough to vanish on his sleeve.

Suddenly, he heard a skittering behind him, and grabbed his club, another unnecessary device he warranted for his nightly use. Didn’t seem so stupid now, did it, as several greasy, nubby madmen appeared out of the darkness, hair matted down into their faces, eyes glowing animalistic through and darting about. They finally fixed upon Ermine, and he gathered enough courage to flail about erratically.

His club was designed to prevent the breakage of skulls.

Theirs, (though hardly designed much at all so much as simply found), weren’t.