Friday, October 30, 2009

The House of Wrongs

He tried to lie down inside his body, but the two never melded again. He could not sleep again.

He had to go for a walk.

He felt himself seeping into the cushion and the curtains, like smoke. Particles of himself mixed with the grime in the cracks of the house, a fine tar of anger and dismay.

They had killed him! He needed revenge. He needed life. He needed purpose, and as the black soot of the house infused his being, he joined its collective need for justice.

Someone had been killed! His was only the latest corpse to rot in the walls of this evil mansion. It's wood creaked with rage, and he groaned with its collective sense of violation.

He lost himself, but gained a greater sense, and a stronger power. When he acted as he remembered himself, he could only flutter and howl. As the greater thing they could break glasses, knock things over, throw plates, cutlery, axes.

The place was empty for years as they whirled and howled, disintigrating and reforming into a refined dust of hate.

The family were strangers to him, then they stayed awhile and some of the odor of the place bagan to stick to them, and they became the ones who were here before, and they began to deserve to die. They embraced their fate, and the house and the ghost he sometimes was tested their collective strength.

Sometimes he appeared to them as himself, in the hopes that some selfish, unremembered goal might be achieved. They might find his bones, or his killer. But he was only partly there. His body had crumpled into a pile of broken bones and dirt, and he was scattered throughout the house. Soon he joined the other, and his forever remembered wrongedness joined the other forgotten crimes, and they punished the newcomers with flapping doors, flying tools and falling walls. They were crushed and torn, every one of them, and their ghosts tried to stay lying inside their bodies too, until the insomnia of death pushed them out, and they too joined the wronged in the house of wrongs.

--Dan Kilian

Hard Case

The Adventures of J.D. and The Rye Guy

Abandoned Halloween Costume Ideas

Fail Whale

Using tape and plastic bags, create a vaguely whale shaped blob, then with wires indicate birds hoisting me.

Problem: Too bulky. People who would get would deem it passe. People who don't twitter would deem it trendy, and stupid.

Barack Obama

A suit and tasteful make-up job, as well as some trimmed Spock ears.

Problem: Don't actually own a decent suit. "Tasteful" make-up job harder to execute than expected, veering from slightly monstrous to monstrously racist. Ears just look strange. Not as strange as the one they sell at the costume shop.

Tea Bagger

Tea Bags. Obama Hitler sign. Rage.

Problem: Be careful what you pretend to be. Depressingly dutiful accolades from liberals. Confused camaraderie from some lost conservative.

Coraline Dad

Big buttons over eyes. Would totally be creepy.

Problem: Blind for the night.

Evil Refrigerator

Cardboard, white paper, carefully sliced take out containers, velcro, photos of rotting food, drawings as if by some frightened grandchild, Some sort of fake neck. The outside has two panels covered with scared grandchild drawings. One of the drawings is a family portrait including grandma, whose head is mine. Open velcroed panels and inside the fridge is rotten food containers, and inside the freezer is my severed head.

Problem: A little ambitious, and would have to spend the night wearing a cardboard refrigerator.

The Midgard Serpent

Sew together a series of sleeping bags. Have friends run the giant sleeping bag tube through the bar or party, then slowly climb through and then rise up midway screaming "I've been eaten by the Midgard Serpent, the giant snake that encircles the world!"

Problems: Again, bulk and ambition. Might get stepped on. Not everyone hip to Viking mythology. Have to fight anyone dressed as Thor.

Radovan Karazic

Beard. Wig. Strange knot.  Dousing rod.

Problems: Pretty obscure. Whole genocide thing's kind of a bummer.

The Sense of Unease Felt in the Quiet Dark Cornors of the Night.

Black argyle sweater and black jeans. Plastic whistle.

Problem: Whistle might be creepy but the argyle thing might just make it look all Vampire Weekend.

An Actual Weekend for Vampires

Highlighted calender. A dance troupe of vampires. Disco ball on a stick. Vampire DJ.

Problem: Again, too Vampire Weekend. Might prove costly.

Evil Coroner

Fake blood. Lab coat. Blood shooting knife. Actual cracked open human skull. Morgue which transforms into a Satanic Coven worshiping the demons which come for the dead. Pipe organ. Mad priest. Zombie army. Gateway to hell itself. Angels which battle the demons in the final apocalypse. A giant chasm of fire which opens further to reveal a giant satan, able to bestride worlds and freed to consume the cosmos, Glowing light symbolizing God's mighty power to destroy the infernal Lucifer once the talisman is activated. Some aluminum foil.

Problem: Yes, a little bulky for a night on the town.


Helmet, beard, hammer

Problem: If someone does come as the Midgard Serpent, you'd have to both fight the snake, and admit that it is by far the better costume.

Dan Kilian

Trippy and Groovy: 8 Song Playlist

The Friends of Greta

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stephen Hawking Contemplates The Void

She moved him from the chair to the seat. They waited. He wondered once again whether the longer wait each time was symptomatic of his shame or of his continuing degeneration.
Eventually he voided himself. She cleaned him with a precision and professionalism that seemed all the more tender for it. He loved her most at this most shameful moment. He wondered again if love, whatever it was, had an energy. As always, he discarded the question. Too many disciplines involved; he would have to answer smaller questions first, and he wanted to answer larger questions in his own field. This woman brought him so far afield!

She put him back on his chair, and slowly pivoted him, turning him back towards the basin. It was time to look.

He activated the pre-set phrase with his cheek. “Everybody looks.”

“Everybody looks,” she replied. It was their catechism, to acknowledge both the strangeness and the normalcy of the moment. Again, love and shame flooded his limp body.

This time it was a number of dark pellets. His diet didn’t vary much anymore, so he wondered that his stool would. They looked like planets. No, like a model for elementary particles. When she flushed he thought of gravity, of black holes.

“It looks…” he started, but then stopped activating his speaking device. It was strange enough this standing over the toilet bowl together, there was no call for more talk.

“What was that?”

“Never mind.” He activated another ready phrase. “Let’s go.”


As she got behind him to pivot his chair once more, he saw something come rising back to the surface of the settling water. He activated his cheek.


She looked at the remaining pellet. “Oh I’m so sorry!” she said, and flushed once again.

So many things went through his head. He was drawing out the intimate shame of this part of the day, and she was the one apologizing. He’d just realized something important, something that might revolutionize his field, and all he wanted to do was confess his love, while they hovered over a toilet.

Words raced through his head, and his inner cheek trembled, but he said nothing. She wheeled him away, back to his study, just as always, though everything was different. He would confess his love. Though his body was all gravity, it radiated love. It was a different universe. Something, at least something could escape a black hole.

--Dan Kilian

End of Conflict II: The Squid & Whale Tattoo

Monday, October 26, 2009

Batman vs. The Taliban

There they are. Mullah Omar’s henchmen at their wicked games again. Well, they’ve chopped off their last finger. 

Oof! Ow!

You guys may think you're religious heroes, but you’re just punks to me.

Someone coming behind you. Spin, kick, punch!

Anyone else want to try something clever? No?

You kicked my father in the head!

He had it coming.

I will never rest until I have avenged him!

The little punk’s running into that farmhouse. Can’t follow, too many ways to get trapped, and he could have reinforcements in there. Robin, set the Batplane on autopilot and have it destroy the building at the following coordinates. 10…

Holy blowback Batman! What about civilian casualties! Won’t we be turning the people against us if we blow up their building?

Yes, you’re right, Robin. Cancel that last order. We’ll do this with old fashioned detection skills. Need some civilian help. You there! Yes? I’m looking for the son of this criminal here. Do you know where he lives?

I cannot help you.


Because you will leave. And then the Taliban will cut out my organs.

I don’t leave. I…I sink back into the darkness.

Well, when you sink back into the darkness, these guys come and cut us up.

Look. You’ve got to give me a chance.

Give you a chance, you’ve been at this for eight years! And nothing ever changes!

Well, a lot of that time I was really focused on beating The Joker.

When you were fighting the Joker, we were dying! He wasn’t even doing anything. You just attacked him, and he was under house arrest.

The Joker may have conned those credulous fools at Arkham Asylum, but I knew he was up to something. Would you prefer a world with the Joker still alive? Anyway, now I’m focused on Afghanistan. And I’ve got back-up from the rest of the Justice League.

Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it.

Yeah, me too. Time to make a phone call. Superman? Yes Batman! I’ve captured a couple Taliban members, but there’s a new convert. I could use some other caped crusaders to…

Please, Batman, don’t call us crusaders!

Sorry! Sorry! I need some...masked vigilantes to patrol and pick up this kid.

You know, we’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. There are a lot of supervillains in the world, and popular support for the war is way down. Don’t you think this is something Aquaman could handle, with maybe a little help from Wonder Woman’s invisible plane? He could monitor this whole thing from the ocean, and then when an actual supervillain pops up, they could bomb the hell out him.

Yeesh, I don’t know Superman. This situation is really dicey. And what about the people?

Well, maybe NATO can help out. I’ve got to go rescue a cat from a tree in Wisconsin. Up up and away!

Great. Well, I still need to get these guys on my side. Don’t worry! Help’s on its way! Can you help me tie these Taliban up so I can bring them to the local Commissioner or Warlord or whatever you’ve got here?

Batman just tore up the Quran! Everybody riot! Everybody riot!

Time to sink back into the darkness. See you later everybody! I’ll be back once you’ve invested in a bat signal!

Dan Kilian

Back to The Return To The Last Trip To The Well, Part Two

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Ghost Is Dead But The Corpse Is Still Walking Around


In fact, the body is yet to die. He's been living in the haunted mansion for fifteen years, and never seen a ghost, until he started haunting himself. It took him a long time to recognize his shade, and it never made a sign that it recognized him. It just howled like a soul in torment, and left strange pale stains on the curtains and the furniture.

The exorcists arrive with a camera crew. It's as big a production to film the ceremony as to perform it. He can't tell if they were repeating prayers for ritualistic purposes or to get different angles. He enjoys the attention. The eternal afterlife and the fifteen minutes of fame. Which lasts longer?

The holy water leaves similar, though smaller stains on the furniture. "It is the power of Christ that compels you!" Was the movie accurate or did it influence the ritual? Are these holy men or hacks?

Evidently they're the real deal because his ghost disappears for good. None of the original ghosts of the Haunted Mansion take his place.

He gets a tape of the show, and watches it when it comes on the Sci-fi channel. The ghost looks fake, and he looks fat. He's glad to have the ghost gone, but he feels a little empty now.

--Dan Kilian 

Men On The Moon

Mark Twain, Karl Marx, and Socrates: At It Again

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Felix From The Flame

Editor's Note: This bit comes from the program from the first performance by The Ks to feature Soup, Ray and horns.

The title of tonight’s show is a triumph of alliteration over literature, sound over sense, Sinead O’Conner over storytellers of old. It was David Benjoya, the new  Musical Director of The Ks (excellent job Dave!) who pointed out that the Phoenix, the mythical bird, rises not from flames, but from the ashes. Still, the song goes, “phoenix from the flame,” and so goes our namesake show.

That is something art does: it transforms sense into beauty through nonsense. Or is it sense into nonsense through beauty? Are we getting to the spiritual essence of things or just smoothing the corners? Certainly there’s a little too much pretty nonsense in politics these days, but we fight the ugly reason behind the well tested words with the loving illogic of our untested illogic. We lose, and burn, but it is that fire that we rise from. We turn our ashes into fuel, and we rise not from the debris of our loss, but the flames of our beauty.

--Dan Kilian

End of Conflict

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Project Run For Your Lives

Fans of Project Runway have been commenting on the up-tick in scorn evinced by Heidi Klum as she critiques failing designers. Whether the harshness evidences Klum’s fatigue with the popular show now in its sixth season or (more likely) a conscious decision by the producers to add a more vicious element to the reality, references to “Octoberfest”; “Disco Pumpkin”; "Cheap witch costume” (perhaps the writers are just psyched for Halloween) and the ever reliable “Prom Dress” abound.

Klog’s inside source at the Runway office has leaked some teasers that show the second half of the season will be even meaner. Take a gander at some of the put-downs to come!

You say you want us to see your real style. Well, if this is your style, you should try to look like someone else’s style. Someone good.

The stitching is about as detailed as a football’s. A very sad, amateurish football.

I could see myself wearing that dress. In a nightmare. A nightmare with ghouls.

That dress looks like a pile of rags. I would like to douse it in gasoline and light it on fire. You should have!

That looks like a cheap prom dress. The one Sissy Spacek wore in “Carrie,” after it was doused in pig’s blood.

I don’t really care what that dress looks like. I do not like it because I do not like YOU. You are a horrible person and no one will ever like anything that you do. Fuck off and get out.

You are out. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. Do not hug everybody and pack up your stuff. Just get out. Security!

In fashion, one day you are…oh let us just cut to the chase. Nicolas, your dress sucked. You are out.

You’re out. Ow! Your dress got me so mad I made a contraction! I did not even know how to do that until now!

That dress makes the model look like a gay man’s vision of what a beautiful woman should look like, starved for years, coked up and shellacked with makeup and hair products.

In my country we are very ashamed of the Holocaust. You should be even more ashamed of that dress.

I hate you! I hate you and I am going to kill you! Get out! I will kill your whole family. Why! WHY! WHY DID YOU MAKE THAT HORRIBLE DRESS!!?

Your dress looks like the end result of some meaningless exercise of some trifling entertainment set in the context of a completely shallow and trendy industry! It’s pointless! Also, it is poorly sewn.

After scouring the entire internet, this is the only picture I could find of Heidi Klum where she wasnt beaming like an angel.
After scouring the entire internet, this is the only picture I could find where Heidi Klum wasn't beaming like an angel.

--Dan Kilian

The Video: Last Trip To The Well

The Fascinating Then Curious Then Fairly Blah Case of Benjamin Button

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dropping Science

A while back some of the scientists at the Large Hadron Collider posted a rap video to the internet:

It has received some press and pulled in a not insignificant amount of traffic.  Now I like high-energy particle physics as much as the next guy, but unfortunately this rap is awful.

My issues with it are twofold:

1)  There is an unspoken premise that the rap is entertaining because it is about a technical subject and is sung by white people.  Those silly scientists!  How amusing, to see intelligent white people rap – because we all know that rap is really sung by black folks, who could never conceive of something as complex as a supercollider.  It's a thinly veiled racist joke, and one that's not even particularly funny.

2)  The rhymes are weak.  Just because you're a white scientist doesn't mean you get a pass on this.  The authors should not assume that they'll be judged on a sliding scale compared to real hip-hop.  Again, race comes into play:  "Surely we can't be held to the same standard as those negro rappers, since they have a natural affinity for all things rhythmic, as surely as we have a natural race-based affinity for science."  Get a thesaurus or something, and don't repeat whole verses over and over again.

My suggestions to the LHC folks who produced these broke-ass rhymes:

A)  Check out the Carl Sagan/Stephen Hawking Glorious Dawn video

Here somebody has made real art about science with a more palpable sense of wonder at the mechanisms of the universe.  I don't doubt that you share this spirit of curiosity and awe, but please don't conceal it under lazy writing and sloppy meter.

B)  Stick to your true business of opening a rift in space-time through which swarms of chitin-sheathed insect-demons will pour and feast on humanity.

--Steve Kilian

Back From The Past

Vicious Viking

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Great Wisdom and One Great Truth

Any sane person should call testicles "dickballs."


Also, to the tune of Ah-Ha's "Take On Me":


Don't fuck with me,

Or I will fucking kill you

Don't fuck with me,

Or I'll have to motherfucking kill you. . . .

Fuck with me?




Fuck with me?

Fuck with me

I swear I'll motherfucking have to kill you.

--Steve Kilian

Gilligan's Isle


Monday, October 12, 2009

Thomas Friedman is BSI

I've often thought Thomas Friedman was wrong, but then he says some things that aren't wrong. I almost always find his "I'm writing from the point of view of the President" thing embarrassing. The Nobel Prize thing is not a deep issue, but this article has brought me a new level of understanding to Thomas Friedman: He is bat-shit insane, with an Orwellian view of what our troops do in times of war.

Never mind that President Obama answered the Nobel Committee’s awarding him the Peace Prize with just the right degree of insight needed for such an embarrassment of accolade. Here is what Friedman would have him say.

“I cannot accept this award on my behalf at all. But I will accept it on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century — the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.”

Our troops are a tough bunch of noble fighter whom the rest of us take for granted. They fight for their country, and because they're volunteers, the evils of a draft don't touch us. They're better fighters than some poor saps impressed into a war they don't want. Often that makes war too easy for us to stomach, especially when the media is so timid about printing the images of war's destruction. That's not our soldier's fault. Our soldiers are brave responsive fighters.

But they are not peacemakers. They are shit-kicking killers. That's what they should be. If we need to fight a war, we want to win it. All the peacemaking business is nonsense and propaganda. If a region is stabilized by our soldiers, it is policed, not pacified. If some troublemakers show up in a place being protected by our soldiers, these Friedman nominees for the peace prize will likely kill them.

That is in no way a criticism of our soldiers, just as it’s not a criticism to say a boxer throws a mean punch. Our military is a lean mean fighting machine and we use it way too often. They are not peacemakers, they are war-fighters.

Obama himself isn’t a peace-maker, he’s more like methadone for the war addicted. There are plenty who fought harder against the Iraq war, and spoke out more firmly against it. The Pope comes to mind. Still, when George W. Bush uprooted The United States of America from its core beliefs of national sovereignty and humane treatment of prisoners, he scared the world severely, in a way we can’t understand in the American Bubble. A superpower had run amok, and the world is incredibly grateful she’s gotten back to some semblance of sanity. I will be glad when Thomas Friedman gets back to some semblance of sanity, but let’s remember that he said this idiotic thing.

--Dan Kilian

Bitchin’ about Hitchens

Khomeini and Khamenei: A Dialogue

Friday, October 9, 2009

Give The Nobel Peace Prize a Chance and I'm Out of Here!

There were surprised gasps when the Nobel committee awarded Barack Obama the Nobel Peace prize, just nine months into his Presidency. Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee cited “some really nice things Barack Obama has said” as the basis for the reward. Nobel followers were further surprised when the Nobel committee rescinded the Nobel Prize for physics award they’d given the creators of fiber optic technology, and gave it instead to Barack Obama. “He’s really been a booster of science,” said Jagland, “We figure that will inspire far greater inventions than some puny fiber optics.”

President Obama issued a brief statement, “I am humbled to receive this, the greatest award for peacemaking there is. Now I’ve got to hold an important meeting with my defense team to strategize on the two ongoing wars we’re conducting, as well as some Predator Drone strikes into Pakistan.”

While ostensibly a reward for reengaging the United States with the concept of international diplomacy and for promoting a world free of nuclear weapons, this is really a prize for not being George W. Bush. Now personally, I think there should be a Not Being George W. Bush Prize, and we should give out one a day, until everyone but key members of the Bush administration gets one, but as far as rewarding Barack Obama for being a nice guy, the Olympics would have been sufficient.

In what is no doubt a slightly racist train of thought, I’m reminded of what Chris Rock said about how a certain subset of black people brags about things they’re supposed to be doing, as in “I take care of my kids.” Fortunately, Barack Obama isn’t outright bragging “We make diplomatic overtures to other countries,” but that’s really what he’s being rewarded for.

This prize is really a down payment on unfinished business. I join the Nobel Committee (Note: Committee is one of those words that always look misspelled, like “hemorrhage” or “misspelled.” More on that another time.) in lauding Obama’s vision, and I wait for the awards to come.

Perhaps they could give a posthumous award to John Lennon, for imagining a world with nothing to kill or die for, a  vision that has influenced everyone from other singer-songwriters to the makers of Beatles Rock Band Game. Or Cat Stevens: He came up with a “Peace Train.” Sure, he said some unfortunate things about Salman Rushdie, but it turns out that was a bit of a bum rap. How about Israeli (Another word that looks misspelled!) President Bibi Netanyahu and whoever’s in charge of the Palestinians? They’re sure to bring us Middle East peace someday.

Or we could just keep giving them to Barack Obama. Anything to keep Bill Clinton furious. The guy did play a big part in negotiating a lasting peace in Ireland, but he’s a walking fellatio joke. Obama could be the Meryl Streep of the Nobel Prize. He really really isn’t George W. Bush, and let’s face it, that guy was a major asshole. Don’t just take my word for it, just ask the Nobel Asshole Committee. Bush has now won their award eight years running.

--Dan Kilian

My Secret Life as an Iranian Proxy Server

Bush vs. Obama in Iran

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Final Thoughts of Lamplighter 34

The Lamplighter probe was dying.  Much of its processing core had been ripped away, so while it knew that it was crippled it did not know why.  It also knew that its reactor cells were eating through what shielding remained between them.  Soon they would merge into a supercritical mass microseconds before vaporizing the probe and its payload.

It was on the payload that the probe concentrated as it fell for the last time into a target system.  Unable to adjust course, it ignored the fertile gas giants of the outer system.  As rich as they were, there was no way to reach them.  Instead the probe performed one final analysis on the fourth world, rocky and thinly shrouded in ammonia and carbon dioxide.  Only a handful of the payload packages were designed for such places.

It experienced something akin to regret,  noting the low probability of success as it chambered and ejected those few packages, loaded with lichen and pre-biotics tailored to that class of world.  Perhaps it would bring forth a strange form of life, millions of years off.  Or perhaps nothing.

As the probe reached perigee it struggled internally and computed its   probable losses. Whole subsystems of control were shutting down as radiation spewed from the deteriorating reactor.  In a decision-process fugue,  it chambered and ejected each of the remaining payload units, firing them one after another at the unpromising planet.

The packages were designed for ocean worlds, spheres of molten lead buried in crushing atmospheres of sulfuric acid, toruses of methane shrieking around neutron stars, magnetic hellstorms flickering across shifting clusters of nickel-iron asteroids.  Anything but this world.  But they would certainly be destroyed when the reactor went, or when the debris of the probe fell into the system's star.

Package after package rained down on the planet.  Slime molds and field-viruses swarmed from impact canisters.  Spore-bound algae hissed from suborbital pods streaking through the lower ionosphere.  Bacteria were inserted deep into polar ice fields on the tips of deep-penetrating missiles.  All frothed and bloomed and died or recombined, struggling to shape their new world into a thousand incompatible ecosystems.

What was left of the Lamplighter felt an analog of satisfaction, and then it became light.

--Steve Kilian

Wolcott Pond


It noted the low probability of success as it chambered

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fight For Your Right To Parkside

parks3Editors Note: This was the program from Saturday Night's gig, a benefit to help save The Parkside Lounge from high rent. You should stop by, it's a nice place, at Houston and Attorney in New York City. Actually, I never printed up the programs, my printing place closed before I finished my second nap on Saturday, and the FedExKinkos on Houston was closed. I'm told no one cares about the programs anyway, so there's another thing we're wasting our time on. Who's we? The Ks! This is a band's literary arm. Probably another thing we're wasting our time on.

Party for your right to fight. I remember the first time I played the Parkside no I don’t I don’t remember all my brothers and sisters names. You are all my brothers and sisters no you’re not actually yes you are. I fail but I try though sometimes I fail to try. Sometimes I try to fail. But (you can’t start a sentence with but oh but yes you can Latin grammar on a Germanic tongue makes no sense) this isn’t about me it’s about this place like every other place unlike every other. If we all chip in maybe we can but probably we won’t really though we should all be doing more to help the hungry. Just saying that was my way of helping no it wasn’t. Hey I’m really strapped for cash but I did write these songs though I’m not going to take credit for these program notes. Just because everything pales in comparison with the starving doesn’t mean other things aren’t worthwhile. Seriously folks, this is a decent club where they do care about the musicians, so if any of us ever makes any music worth listening to, it would be a lovely thing if we could play it here. I don’t do much in this world but I’ve written some songs and conned some nice fellows to play along. You play along as well. I don’t mean pick up a bongo for the love of God put that down! I just mean buy into the story, it’s about a hitchhiker who leaves all his money to a truckdriver when he dies it turns out it was a ten dollar bill other than that he was completely broke.

--Dan Kilian

Gilligan's F-ed Up Isle

Nono-tech War Cloud Note: I had a dream last night about a nano-tech war cloud, and I had no idea that this story would be coming up as my next recommendation! Weird weegie stuff!