Tales From the Rapid Eye (Being Social)

Strange Loop, Texas.  1987.

I stood before the toilet holding IT in my hand.  IT was big and fuzzy and IT was wrapped with duck tape.  On the duck tape, I’d written, “Howdy!”

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Haiku (August 2005)

While I think the 5-7-5 structure of haiku best suits its native language of Japanese, a small kite helplessly caught in some power lines inspired me to compose this haiku.

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Psychiatric Help 5¢

Composed in December 2005.

We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate, you know?  —Lucy Van Pelt

Last night I promised my girlfriend that I’d attend a party with her.  I dressed, gathered my keys and my wallet, and headed for the door when my dad yelled, “Hey! The Charlie Brown Christmas Special just started!”

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The Man with the Stereo Pants

First published May, 4, 2008

Years ago I flirted with cut up engines.  Like all flirting, it was short lived, but did produce one short piece from the experiments.  The result is something that’s reminiscent of So I Married An Axe Murder or the Hep Cat beatniks from Pee Wee’s Playhouse.  So when you read it, think of roasted coffee and a jazzy, bouncy bass.

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Tales From the Rapid Eye (Ken and Barbie)

Originally published November 2005.

One night as Amber and I lie in bed, I asked, “Hey, you ever pretend your Ken and Barbie had sex?”

“Nah,” she said, and as she snuggled closer added, “You know I had nine Barbie dolls and a Ken?  I rarely whipped him out—most of the time he sat in the closet without his pants.”

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That’s Surveillance!

On the eve of 2012, our Congress passed and our President signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.  Here’s a jingle celebrating the passage of this momentous legislation allowing the continued unconstitutional spying on Americans.

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Why Marvel NOW and the New 52 Can’t Save the Superhero

Days ago I learned that Marvel plans to launch Marvel NOW in order to modernize many of their flagship characters.  At first blush, I was skeptical, but after reading their press release, I now understand Marvel’s desperation, and it is the same desperation that drove DC to create the New 52 and years before it, The Crisis on Infinite Earths. Read More »

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Patricia Savage, The Bronze Goddess Of Pulp Fiction

“Some bear it better than others.  We Savages, I think carry it poorly.” —Patricia Savage, “I Died Yesterday” (1948)

Of all the Doc Savage stories published by Street & Smith during its sixteen-year run, “I Died Yesterday” is unique in being the only story told from Patricia Savage’s point of view.  Who is Patricia Savage?   She is only the Bronze Goddess of pulp’s Golden Age, and distant cousin to Doc Savage, the Bronze Man of Tomorrow.  And she is more fun and psychologically complex than the man whose shadow she lives under.  Patricia Savage is also an underdog not because she lacks intelligence and skill, but because the men that surrounded her – both heroes and villains – forever underestimate her.

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The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), How Crane Operators are this Year’s Jumping the Shark

For your consideration, I submit the following plot structure from SONY’s Amazing Spider-Man (2012).  This post is all spoilers so be warned. Read More »

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Henry Kuttner’s Galloway Gallagher

Are you a technician or a driveling idiot?  — “The Proud Robot” (1943)

The story goes that Galloway Gallagher got his name when his author, Henry Kuttner, called the frazzled protagonist “Gallagher” in the “Time Locker”, then mistakenly called him “Galloway” while writing its sequel.  Kuttner, realizing his error, combined the names and thus, Galloway Gallagher was born.  Whether fact or fiction, these two names are fitting since Mr. Gallagher is a man divided.  On one hand, he is a laymen possessing only enough technical savvy to press a button and on the other, a somnambulist and technological virtuoso.

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Farcebook

I signed into Facebook today and after glancing over and scrolling down the news feed, I wondered, “What the #$%& has happened to us?” Read More »

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Rockets and Robots and Missed Opportunities

Originally written June 16, 2007.

This evening I was woofing down dinner while waiting for The Abrams Report when something raised my ire—that something was Keith Olbermann.  His show, Countdown, featured a story on Honda’s unveiling of Asimo II – a robot that boasts a humble nineteen joints and using them, can walk like a human while reaching the modest pace of three miles per hour.*  Olbermann like that blockhead from Fox Evening News, ridiculed the little robot.  What I cannot understand is why cable news finds these modest gains in robotics quaint to the point of being amusing?  Before we scoff at Asimo, we might remember how this these experiments with robots is reminiscent of Robert Goddard’s experiments with rockets. Read More »

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The Bathing Beauty

This is my attempt to write a short, focused essay in the style of Roland Barthes, a critic famous for his 1967 essay, “The Death of the Author”, in which he argued authorial intent is an unimportant consideration for criticism.  Barthes published many works using structural linguistics to analyze literature, movies, advertising, and commonplace items. I most admire his Mythologies (1957) with “Einstein’s Brain” and “Plastic” being favorites. Read More »

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The Peculiar Sensation of Time

I am afraid I cannot convey the peculiar sensations of time travel.  They are exceedingly unpleasant.  —The Time Machine (1895)

Today I finished the final chapters of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and felt the sadness I always feel when finishing a great book—it is the sadness of parting ways with people I have grown to love with every turn of the page.  But mixed with this sadness was the pride of accomplishment since I started the book numerous times and until today, had always lost my way.

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Dateline Hollywood—Mars Attacks (Without Reason)

It is an Associated Press dispatch, describing a universal nightmare.  The Critic, April 23, 1898

 

After two unsatisfying attempts, one by George Powell and another by Steven Spielberg, it is obvious to everyone that Hollywood – from its producers and directors down to its writers and its gaffers – does not understand H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1898).  In both films, the directors modernized the story and doomed both projects before the end of their opening credits.  Like the Martians, who did not survive leaving their native soil, The War of the Worlds does not survive modernization without cheapening it, and turning it into another clichéd invasion film with its sole distinction being H. G. Wells’ name on the credits.  The War of the Worlds acquires its significance and power not from a generic place in universal time, but from its precise place in history. Read More »

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