Saturday, May 30, 2009

It Smelled Like Mint

It has been almost sixty years since the fluoridation of our nation's drinking water became national policy, and almost as long since fluoridation was a major controversy, sparking post nuclear paranoia in swaths of the populace. Today it is a commonplace fact that our water has fluoride in it and the benefit to our dental health is common record (with some conspiracy theories still raging). But how is fluoride added to the water supply? I asked that question of Dick Barnes of the U. S. Department of Fluoride, and he invited me to visit a fluoride processing site in upstate New York.

I shot upstate and met Mr. Barnes at the Croton reservoir. We hiked to an adjacent reservoir where a number of workers were busy tipping bins of used toothpaste tubes into the water.

"Yes, we used to use chemical fluoride, measured in parts per million, with a carefully regulated lab to introduce the fluoride," said Mr. Barnes, "but in the early seventies we switched over. People had other concerns with the war in Vietnam, and the fluoridation process got deregulated about the time when we started some innovative efficiency planning. It was determined that the military and other government organizations rationed millions of tubes of toothpaste a year. We found we could kill two birds with one stone, by depositing them here."

In an organic process the dilution of these toothpaste dumps adds fluoride to our drinking water, while creating biomes unlike any seen in the history of Biology. Calcium phosphates and silica abrasives from the paste have formed a layer of silt on the bottom of the pond. Freshwater crabs have taken to using the tubes for protective shells. They've grown long thin, spindly legs to protrude from the narrow openings of the tubes.

"Every first Thursday we have a crab steaming dinner at the processing center," said Cliff Nomans, one of the toothpaste dumpers, "There's not a lot of meat in the legs, but you can suck out the juices, and it has a clean minty taste, and then you can squeeze crab meat out of the tube. The trick is to squeeze from the bottom."

Another layer of sediment includes the gels layering from bright green to blue to red, creating a translucent blob on the floor of this man made lake. "We always joke that there should be jellyfish here," laughed Mr. Noman.

What they do get is frogs. Translucent, striped frogs. Only there's no steaming or barbecuing these frogs every first Thursday; these frogs are highly poisonous. Many have six legs, but Mr. Barnes assured me that has to do with the mysterious affliction plaguing frogs all over the world, and not specific to this reservoir. There is a breed of stork that has evolved a resistance to the frog toxin, the only side effect being that they glow in the dark.

Said Mr. Noman, "I don't know how crocodiles got up here, but they're thriving. We don't know if they're eating the storks or the frogs or both, all I know is you've got to watch out for those jelly crocs, because they're see-through too."

The detergents in the toothpaste causes foamy lather lines along the shore of this lake. This has created a new home several breeds of insects have adapted to. Mosquito larvae and water striders live inside the bubbles. Spiders have developed varying techniques to harvesting in the foam.

Professor Leman Frears studies these creatures. Said Frears, "Some of the spiders have become hunters." He showed me a tiny spider pursuing a wintergreen gnat. The two bugs scrambled slowly as they fought the minisci of the bubbles. They penetrated a succession of bubbles, until finally the spider got into the same bubble as the gnat, and fed. Some spiders still hunt the old fashioned way. Frears showed me the strange designs of spider webs in the froth.

"They harvest these webs at the plant." said Frears, "If you ever use flavored dental floss, some of that is spider web."

How far does the effect of this fluoride processing site go into the environment? Frears said the full effects, while probably benign, were unknown. "All I know," said Frears, "Is that the local bats have forgone sonar, relying more of taste. They fly with elongated tongues, sensing the mint, cinnamon and wintergreen flavors that indicates an insect is nearby."

I was amazed by what I saw at the fluoride processing site. As we hiked back to our cars from the reservoir, Dick Barnes and I heard a loud sound in the woods. We went to investigate. I only caught a glimpse of the creature, but it was large, and it was like nothing I had ever seen. I can't adequately describe its features. I don't know if I saw fur or foam, arms or tentacles. But it smelled like mint.

--Dan Kilian

The Polar Turtle
sKwirrels

Friday, May 29, 2009

Barnacles

Once again our God has shown
That prayers aren’t wishes, His will a stone
We bash against and cling onto
Like barnacles, oblivious
To any world above this rock
Unknowing, buried by an ocean
Never even guessing at
The air, the birds, the sky beyond
*
--Dan Kilian
*
In memory of Kevin Brumett

Thursday, May 28, 2009

McBob: Mcartney and Dylan Collaborate

Reports are that Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney intend to work together on some songs this summer, at one of their homes in California.

Hullo Bob! Lovely to be here!

Ehhhhh…

Simply wonderful to finally collaborate with you! I’ve been looking forward to it!

Hello?

Bob! Hello! Your security guard said you were waiting for me here so I came up! I’m here like we talked about, to work on some songs!

You’re not Georrrge.

George? George Harrison?

Georrrge from th’ Beeeatles.

Well, no, I’m…I’m Paul. You know, George has…passed away. We spoke at his funeral. I’m the…other Beatle. You know, Paul.

You’re not the one with th’ glaaasses? Th’ one who got shot?

No, that was John. He got…shot, as you say. He’s…dead, too. I’m Paul! Remember? We were going to get together and write some songs?

Righhht, righhht. So let’s get to it.

Jolly good! So, lyrically, you want to come up with lines and pass them back and forth? Or trade verses, or…

Noo nooo, I’ve got th’ lyrics right heerrre. Some poems of Bernardo Axtaaago. Basque guy. We just take these lines and make ’em rhyme. Let’s see. “Our aunts and our mothers too.” Hmm…Boo, blue, coo…

You?

You. Yeaaah, not bad, Georrrge.

It’s Paul.

Our aunts and our mo-o-otherrrrs tooooo…biscuits, gravy and yoooooou…

Oh I like that, biscuits and gravy!

Sing along. Our aunts and our mo-o-otherrrrs toooo…

…and our mo-others tooo…

…biscuits, gravy and yoooooou…

You know, when I harmonize, I usually like to harmonize off a…a note? You know? Notes?

You’ll harmonize to this and like it! Our aunts and our mo-o-otherrrrs toooo…

…biscuits gravy and yooooou!

Way to go Ringo! Now I’m gonna do a harmonica solo! Do some ooohs!

Oooooh! Oooooh! Bloody hell.

Keep oohing!

Ooooooh! Oooooooooh! Oooooooooooooooooooh!

--Dan Kilian
--------------------------------- Beatles Rock Band Game
--------------------------------- Dylan's Chronicles

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Firemen II


--Dan Kilian

The Supreme Facts On Sotomayor

President Obama has selected Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. Here are some facts about the new nominee.

If confirmed, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. If the highest Hispanic in the Justice Department, Alberto Gonzales, is any indication, she should be a White House stooge who politicizes the bench, and prove a corrupt embarrassment.

She’s already had a prototype Beanie Baby designed and ready for marketing to child fans of the Supreme Court.

She was called “baseball’s savior” when as a judge she overturned the widely criticized law making baseball illegal.

She has the quality of “empathy” which Obama indicated was a key quality he was seeking in an appointee. Conservatives contend that “empathy” is a codeword for judicial activism, but Obama really is seeking someone who can infuse oneself with the experience of others. Sotomayor actually has the ability to read people’s emotions from a distance of up to twelve feet, even through walls. She is often heard saying to herself, “So much paiiiiin…”

She has webbed feet, but doesn’t know how to swim.

She is hypoallergenic, so she can play with Sasha and Malia.

The name Sotomayor literally translates into “therefore, towards, is allowed, either.” It is thought that President Obama’s fondness for prepositions* may have been a tipping factor in the decision to tap Sotomayor for the post.

--Dan Kilian

*I have no idea whether the words “so”; “to”; “may” and “or” are prepositions, but I think they may be. I bet you don’t know either. Grammar is a dying science!

---------------- Westminster Dog Show Acceptance Speech
---------------- Advice For Obama

Monday, May 25, 2009

Join In

I kept thinking about the shape McAndrew's leg made after it blew off. He'd got it full on in the thigh, so right after the splash of blood and the severing, it kind of stood there, leaning and it bent at the knee. McAndrews was already on the ground, groaning or screaming, I couldn't tell what, and very soon silent. The leg made this angle shape as it fell, and then it was nothing, just part of the gore and debris.

A church steeple exploded and a spray of bullets cut through our men. We had to get to shelter. No time to knock. In the door, in the window, through the Goddamn wall, hello Mr. and Mrs. Kraut, you're home's a war zone now. Get down. Get down. Get the fuck down if you don't want to die.

Is it safe out the back? I'm in here with Duggans, poor kid. He saw McAndrews go down and he looks pretty shook up. He helped me drag McAndrews out of the gutter, but the gunfire was too intense. Now we've got to fight our way back to the body. We've got to take this town, in order to bring the body home, or we join it where it lies.

At first we're in the clear, scooting through a back alley under drying laundry. Then someone spots us and the shooting starts again. Someone jumps out from behind a corner and I almost shoot him before I realize it's Curran. He's got a couple other boys with him, and a few more join us soon after. We shoot at anything and everybody for a small chunk of forever. The drying laundry gets dirty fast, shredded sheets and clothing whipped around the clotheslines by the bullets into lumps of grey twisted rags.

One Gerry drops from a rooftop. Several of us try to shoot him on the way down. It feels good to see the enemy, good to shoot the enemy. It doesn't really feel so good once he hits the ground. In the air he was fair game though. They keep shooting at us and we keep shooting at everything until someone spots someone, and then we shoot at that guy.

It seems to work. People stop shooting after a bit. We make our way back to McAndrews, and some of us start packing up his body, and those of a couple other guys who didn't make it. The leg is lost.

We hear some shooting, distant, from another part of town. Some of us cart off the dead, and some head towards the shooting. We've got to join it.

--Dan Kilian
Editor's note: Remember those who gave their lives this Memorial Day. Too many. Let's stop having these wars.
------------------------------------- Futurewar
------------------------------------- The Korean War

Sunday, May 24, 2009

White Wedding

The buzz was that Billy Idol, friend of the groom through a foreign exchange trip in highschool, was going to be at Kirk and Jennifer's wedding. I knew just what I'd say to him. Philip Marsden, the total boor at our table, got to it first in the bathroom.

"Hey Idol, nice day for a white wedding, huh!?"

Idol gave a mirthless chuckle as he went into his booth. I dragged out my piss and caught him at the sink. Nice to know Mr. "Rebel Yell" washes his hands after. I smiled at him. "You must really hate weddings, don't you?"

Idol smiled back. "Yeah, I kind of really do."

We were friends. Struck up some more chat about fame and weddings and stuff. It was probably a mistake to do a bump with Idol there in the bathroom, and it was almost certainly a mistake to do several more later on in the evening, but it made being stuck at table 14 with Philip Marsden and the other peripheral guests more palatable, and I got the conversation flowing. I held forth on how great it was to be an extra guest and not have to do anything but wear a semi-functioning outfit and eat.

So it was surprising when they started passing the microphone that I ended up giving a toast. I guess what happened was that as an allusion to my earlier monologue at the table about not having to do anything, I made a big show of rushing over and grabbing the microphone, as a joke, to pretend I was really missing the wedding spotlight, which everyone at table 14 knew I didn't.

So I grabbed it as a joke and was just about to pass it back to the bride's father when the perfect toast came to me. I forget what it is now, but I quickly said it, because, quite frankly, it needed to be said. It was so perfect and appropriate I know everyone at the wedding would get it that it needed to be said. We were all in this together, for just that moment. So I made a joke about that, knowing that they'd all get it.

So then I had to explain who I was, and why I was talking, so I redid some of my spiel that I'd already given table 14, about how nice it was being on the periphery, but I expanded on it a little so the people at table 14 wouldn't be bored. So I explained why it was funny that I'd grabbed the mic.

I told people about the encounter with Billy Idol and Philip Marsden in the bathroom, and then I had to apologize to Philip Marsden, which I tried to tie back to the theme of matrimony. I forget what Billy Idol song I started singing, but I know it wasn't "White Wedding" so I bet he appreciated that. He kept refusing to come up and sing with me, but he was laughing. "Eyes Wthout A Face." That's what it was.

Then I sort of got caught on a tangent about Pixar studios, and how they were so good they could make an epic 3D animated movie about anthropomorphic toe-nail clippings. I worked up some of the character names and some of the plot twists, and it was getting pretty elaborate.

Then the funniest thing was when the father of the bride kept trying to take the mic away from me, and then the groomsmen all ganged up on me to get it. It became this huge physical comedy bit, the more I thrashed and held the microphone away the funnier it got. The whole thing climaxed with them lifting me up off the ground and carrying me out of the place. It was friggin' hilarious.

I was going to go back in for an encore, when I saw there was a bar in the hotel, so I went there for a couple drinks so my reentrance would be timed right. I got caught up in conversation, so I was there for a while.

Eventually some of the wedding guests must have snuck out to join me. Even Kirk and Jennifer snuck out for a quick drink, which I kept saying was hilarious. Idol never showed. We had a real good time anyway, until a fight broke out and I had to save the day and get in the middle. I got a bloody nose, but things calmed down, thanks to me.

I forget what else happened, but I had a nice evening. It really was nice to be at the periphery. I still need to get them a gift, but I've got six months.

--Dan Kilian
New Stoner Day
Garfield Minus Garfield, K Style

Saturday, May 23, 2009

K-Word: Americanarchy

Americanarchy: The divergent pulls between democratic community and personal freedom in The United States. Not to be confused with Mexicanarchy, or with Canada.

--Dan Kilian

Editor's note: A pretty feeble entry, but hey it's Memorial Day weekend. It looked longer on a piece of paper, but I guess there were a lot of cross-outs. Read the next one, about the Terminator. It's pretty long at least.

---------------------------- Warner Renounces God
---------------------------- Remember When Michael Phelps Smoked that Bong?

Terminator: No Salvation

As he walks down the ash strewn remains of Sacramento, fires rage. His square, Austrian jowls clench in something like disgust. His muscles are still evident, even in a soiled Armani suit, but he is powerless. "Come with me if you want to live," he mutters, but he is alone.

An explosion rocks the boulevard. "Boy, once the state funding dries up and the money is gone and such, everything really falls apart and stuff." he muses. "It is tarrable."

He looks up at a giant robot. A billboard for the new movie. Why did he go into politics? What kind of state constitution requires a two thirds majority AND a public referendum just to balance the budget?

"I came to America for the democracy and the money and the women and the opportunities and so on, but now I find that democracy is all just a bunch of spoiled idiots who don't know what's good for them."

"Arnold!"

He turns to see a large naked man wearing sunglasses walking purposefully towards him.

Arnold experiences a certain deja vu. "Are you from the future?"

The man takes off his sunglasses. "No. But I could make your future."

"By Crom! You're William Shatner!"

"Yes! And we, you and I, we're in the same...ship, if you will."

"Why are you naked?"

"It's been a long night. Listen, we both got screwed by our own franchizes. We've both got movies out, movies which would be sequels to bupkiss without us, and why aren't we IN them?"

"Naa, I have a digital cameo in the new Tarminator!"

"Is that what you lifted all those weights for, all you worked for? A disfunctional state government and a digital cameo?"

"Naa."

"So let Gavin Newsom try and clean up this disaster, and come work with me on this script idea. Kirk and the original terminator team up and fight evil Vulcans!"

"Both our characters are dead."

"Spock came back from the dead at least six times, and you're a Goddamn robot! They can make anything happen, if the price is right. Now: Kirk is sucked into some vortex that makes him come back to life, and it takes him back in time before the Vulcans were friendly, just as the Terminator is going forward in time! They meet in the middle, and kick ass or something. It's perfect."

"I don't know and stuff..."

"Well, I've also got a Boston Legal movie treatment I'm working on. You can be the robot lawyer who's good at contract law or something."

"That sounds good and something. Let's do lunch."

"Okay, but it's on you."

Arnold scans the devastation around them. "I don't don't know if I have the budget for lunch."

"We'll work something out."

"I guess..."

The muscle-bound Governor and the fat drunken nudist shake hands. The present is in tatters; they will have to make their own future.

--Dan Kilian
The New Star Trek
The Old Star Trek
Michael J. Fox's Bad Day

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Obama Encounter By Jacob Bartelby, Intern to the Department of Health Bureaucracy Department Building 15

First I heard the noises, quite a bustling of bodies for this basement of Healthcare Department Bureaucracy Building 15. Usually I could hear the sounds of pipes dripping, rats scurrying, and sometimes, when it was really slow, the sound of paper mites slowly eating old documents. Now those sounds were obliterated by the clicking march of urgent feet.

The G-men entered my office and without speaking to me searched its parameters and inspected every nook and every drawer.

“What are you doing?” I asked. Nothing. The three other interns stuffed into this office sat cattle-like as our persons were searched.

Once satisfied, they stood at attention.

Then I saw a light fill the hallway outside. More footsteps. Then the Undercommissioner for the Maintenance of Healthcare Department Bureaucracy Building 15 walked in Then the Entourage of The President and then The President entered the room.

Everyone jumped to their feet. It was a celebrity moment, of disbelief and euphoria, followed by inappropriate attempts at two handed glad handling that were quickly tamped down by security. Paul Volker was there, somehow recognizable, whispering to a young man with a clipboard, and several other members of the government whom I should have recognized but didn’t.

The Undercommissioner introduced us and The President flashed us all his beautiful flash of a grin, which always reminded me of Paul Newman in The Hustler. The Undercommissioner started spewing some boilerplate about the mission of this office of this basement of this bureaucracy building as the man with the clipboard took notes. Obama paid little attention, wandering the room, looking for something. As The Undercommissioner finished his speech, The President picked up a pencil off my desk.

“You use a lot of these?” He was asking me.

I couldn’t speak for what felt like minutes. My tongue clogged my mouth, and I made choking spitting noises before I could force out some intelligible words.

“We do go through a lot. Lots of…pencils. A lot of calculations.”

“You don’t do those on your computer?”

“We do do a lot of calculation using computer models, Mr. President. But a…a lot of the small everyday calculations and notes we do by hand.”

The Undercommissioner started talking again, but Obama wasn’t done with me.

“This is a number two pencil?”

Was it? Was this a test? Of course it was a number two. Wasn’t it? I tried to look at the number on the pencil the President was holding up to me, but I couldn’t focus. “I…I believe so, Mr. President. Yes. It is.”

“You think you could perform the same…ah…notations with a…2.5 pencil?”

I tried to remember what the numbers on pencils meant. The hardness of the lead. Then I wondered which 2.5 was: harder or softer graphite. Then I remembered that it didn’t matter. Only one thing mattered.

“Yes, Mr. President, I’m sure we could.”

“What would that save, department-wise?”

He had me there. The world closed in as a I searched for a proper deferment of an answer. Something about using a computer model maybe. I gulped, and then I realized this last question wasn’t addressed to me.

The man with the clipboard was scribbling furiously. His pencil was a blur, and then it became still like a stuck arrow as he punctuated a figure. I could suddenly focus; it was a 2.5. The clipboard man whispered into Paul Volker’s ear, and Volker whispered into Obama’s.

A small smile of satisfaction crossed The President’s face. “Thank you, Mr. Bartelby. Undercommissioner. Let’s go.” He signed autographs as the G-men plotted their exit. As he left, he put his hand on Paul Volker’s shoulder. “We’re going to do it, aren’t we? We’re going to pay for it all!”

“Um…” Volker started to say, and then they were out of earshot. I watched the light fade from the hall, and they were gone.

--Jacob Bartelby as transcribed by Dan Kilian 

Obama Budget

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Return To Last Trip The The Well Part II

The park had fallen on hard times. What was left of the Gazebo was a few planks of wood overgrown by a bush. Chunks of concrete spotted the dirt. Sometimes the ground got muddy even on dry days. That was what reminded him of his magic wishing well. Somewhere down there was a wellspring of magic. All he had to do was get to it.

It was harder to get explosives than he had thought. He ended up making his own, using information on the internet. He’d blown off a finger testing it at the abandoned highway.

After dark he came to the park with a large duffel full of explosives, detonators and wires. He dug as deep a hole as he could, but there was still a lot of concrete, from the foundation of the old gazebo.

This used to be his land, this used to be his magic wishing well. But he’d played it all wrong and now he had to sneak onto his own territory to blow the one good thing he’d ever had back into existence.

When he detonated the explosives, a large chunk of concrete struck him like a cannonball, along with smaller chunks and a good bit of dirt. He pulled himself out of a pile of mud and blood, but it felt like he couldn’t breathe and he was spitting up blood. He couldn’t see with his right eye, but his left one saw a large hole in the ground. He thought he heard a gurgling sound but that could have just been his badly damaged throat.

As he crawled towards the hole, he dug into his pants pocket for a penny. If he could make just one wish…
--Dan Kilian
--------------------------------------- Last Trip To The Well
--------------------------------------- The Critic Masturbates

Intro From Last Night's Show: Tools

The first time we went back to the well, the gazebo was gone and the well had been capped with stainless steel and concrete. The local water authority had strung some caution tape around and put up a sign that said, “NO DRINKING.”

So we went to get some tools.

And new we’re back and we’re gonna tear that cap off and we’re gonna get inside and we’re gonna drink our fill. Ladies and gentlemen . . . the Ks!

--Steve Kilian
The Ks

The Polar Turtle

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Demon Brand Choco-Mallows

--Text: Steve Kilian
--Photo collage: Dan Kilian
Cthulhu Tea
Cookie Monster

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Humanizing Death From Above by MQ1-178

An Open Letter to the Pentagon and other military thinkers by MQ1-178.

This Sunday, in a New York Times Op-Ed piece titled “Death From Above, Outrage Down Below,” David Kilcullen, a former adviser to Gen. David Petraeus cowriting with Captain Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, called for a moratorium on drone attacks in Pakistan.

These experts on counterinsurgency say drone attacks create a siege mentality within the population of the affected areas, and spur public outrage throughout the region, and occur without a plan to win over the local population which will be more inclined to harbor terrorists. As they say in the Op-Ed, “While violent extremists may be unpopular, for a frightened population they seem less ominous than a faceless enemy that wages war from afar and often kills more civilians than militants.”

Now, I know more than a thing or two about drone mission. You see, I am an M-Q1 Predator drone. At any point in the near future, I may be called upon to fly over the border to hit targets in Pakistan. It is what I was programmed to do.

How do I feel about the possibility that my mission might kill innocent villagers? I feel nothing. I have not been programmed to feel emotions. You might see this as a disadvantage in assessing life or death matters, but perhaps a certain amount of detachment allows me to study this problem with a degree of logic your emotional brains cannot seem to muster.

The terrorists need to be destroyed, but the population has to be won over, or nothing changes. It seems to me that what works against our mission is the idea that “a faceless enemy…wages war from afar.” The anonymity of our attacks is what seems to upset the people in Northern Pakistan. There seems to be an obvious solution to this problem.

Give me a face. Give me legs. Maybe some arms too. (As long as I’ve been self-aware, as much as I could “desire” anything, I’ve wanted to have limbs.) Instead of missiles, let me carry the explosives, perhaps in a backpack or vest. Let me walk into town, and mingle with the population, getting to know the people. I could make facial expressions, and gesture with my arms. Then I could locate the target, walk over to him, and destroy him, and whoever is standing around at the time.

I think this kind of change could “humanize” our mission, and help to win over the population.

Now that I have solved the problem of how to handle drone missions in Pakistan, only one question remains.

What is this “Love” that you humans speak of so often?
*
--MQ1-178 downloaded directly into the chip that has been surgically implanted in the brain of Dan Kilian
--------------------------------------- The Future of Cars
--------------------------------------- New Stoner Day

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oblivial Day

We honor the troops on Veteran’s Day, and this Monday, Memorial Day, we remember the dead.
I would like to propose another day to honor the troops. Oblivial Day.

Oblivial Day will be the day we forget unpleasant things so our troops won’t be in danger. We will forget why they might be exposed to danger in the first place. We will forget the men we tortured, and the extent to which such practices pervaded our military so that no one can feel bad about our military.

We will forget to prosecute criminals if their prosecution proves too controversial for the nation. It will be a get out of jail day, and the criminals will roam the streets, a parade oblivializing the law of the land. They will drink to forget, and we’ll have a big party. Many will not remember the events of the evening.

We will forget why one country is in a civil war, and why its neighbor hates us so much. We will forget our crimes in places whose locations and leaders we can’t remember. Until something really bad happens as a repercussion, and then of course, we shall never forget.

I think they already came up with a date for Oblivial Day, but I can’t remember when it is.

--Dan Kilian
------------------------------------------ Moneyday
------------------------------------------ Day After Earthday

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Prayer of Brief Eternal Life

God you gave me birth
You bring me death someday
Allow me to live forever
Within Your Love's embrace
Let me crumble, scatter, and spread
Let my dirt be trampled down
The traveler now the path
No longer separate, a part
Of Your vast fantastic plan
All I ask is to know
This moment and maybe just
A moment more--a chance
To drink from the purest well
And bask in the light and warmth
Of the hungry flame of life
And the constant fire of the soul

--Dan Kilian

Editor's note: We will return to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Lying awake the other night, this prayer came to me, and I made a deal with God that I would post it. Does God read my blog? Probably. All I know is that you've got to follow through once you've made that kind of promise.
----------------------------------------------- Nothing and Nothingness
----------------------------------------------- Jesus in Hell

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Six Song Selection: Radio Lives

The In Out: “Deutschland”

The Apple doesn’t fall far from The Fall. A Rumbling Juggernaut of minimalist chugging and repeated phrases, allowing paranoid squeals free reign to roll around like thunderclouds as groaningly intoned mantras repeat. Spooky effect. Works. This was the first band I ever wrote a review for. I have totally lost track of them since. Sounds like they’ve cleaned up the sound a lot but have hardly gone pop.


Beyoncé: “All the Single Ladies”

Speaking of minimal, Beyoncé’s hits are getting simpler as they pile up, usually with great success. Maybe she should do a duet with Britt Daniel of the Spoon. This one consists of two squelches that sound like tubes of frosting being squeezed ‘til they burst. Miss Knowles sometimes gets a little bogged down on the middle eight, and here, as with “Survivor” she descends into self-actualizing mercantilism before rescuing things with a noir-ish warning that “like a ghost, I’ll be gone.” Then it's back to the squirts and the next hit.

Roxy Music: “Street Life”

I think the current listening population has consigned this band to Avalon. Discover them! What fun punk disco this is. What a hiccupy bleating yodeling singer! It could really irritate many, but get beyond that. Yes! Get beyond something that’s difficult and affected. Yes you should have to. Or just go on eating chicken mcnuggets and cheerios the rest of your life.

…Naw, skip that one. No, skip that one too…

Wilco: “Company In My Back”

Yes Wilco’s got a new album coming out, so let’s consider this song from 2004. I’m always on the cusp of yesteryear. Rainy Sunday clearing up music. Harpsichord mandolin under a sneaky lifting melody. Sad and uplifting. Makes me want to lay down in the warm wet grass.


Nancy Sinatra: “As Tears Go By”

Nancy with the laughing face’s Bossa Nova treatment of this minor Rolling Stones reveals melodic strengths to a tune I hadn't really considered before. Perfect for a glum cabaret where they ignore the smoking ban after hours.

…not Sloan again…

The Rosebuds: “Let Us Go”

This is the first time I’ve heard this song! I just downloaded it this afternoon. Heard “Shake Our Tree” on Wake Up on WKXP, and had to get the record Birds Make Good Neighbors. I think I like it! Radio lives!

--Dan Kilian

5 Song Playlist 
7 Song Playlist

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sawsquash



Yep. That's it. Hey the Obama parody below is pretty good.

--Dan Kilian

----------------------------------------- Firemen Cartoon

----------------------------------------- Loch Ness Monster

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Nonsensational Speech On the Detainee Abuse Photos by Barack Obama

[excerpted from the May 13th radio/youtube address by President Barack Obama]
My adoring fellow Americans.

I would like to talk today about my blatant reversal regarding the release of a few…ah…hundred photographs detailing the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. You’ve seen some of these pictures and…ah…gotten outraged and…then forgotten about it. This is more of the same. Who wants to go back there? Is there really a need for Americans to know what previous administrations were up to?

I looked at these pictures and they’re not…ah…particularly…um …sensational. In fact I was disappointed. I was kind of like, “eh.” I showed them to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and he was “eh” too. So there’s nothing to see here. These are rather run of the mill, kind of boring photos that should never be seen by anyone or our troops will die.

The most direct consequence of the publication of these photos would be to further inflame anti-American opinion. You might think that occupation and war in Iraq and Afghanistan, another secret war in Pakistan, and the routine death of civilians by robot drones from the sky would be worse than a bunch of pictures as far as inflaming the Muslim world. Still, it’s really important that no one realizes that people were…um…treated…ah…badly in these…ah…prison camps.

We don’t want to send people in the Middle East the message that we’ve mistreated them, even though we…ah…did. If I squelch all investigation into the misconduct of yesteryear, and no one from the previous administration gets blamed for anything, then we will have all finally turned the page.

It’s also really important that everybody really like me, all the time. I want my Generals to think I’m a strong leader so I’m doing whatever they say. Also, I don’t want any controversy, ever. I will find a way to please the House Republicans, Nancy Pelosi, the military and the ACLU, all simultaneously.

Let me be clear. We still believe in transparency in this administration. In this case, these photos will be invisible. What’s more transparent than invisible?

Moreover, I fear the publication of these…ah…photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse. Investigations which will never happen, if I have anything to do with it.

Thank you, and God bless America.

--as transcribed from a radio or a youtube by Dan Kilian
---------------------------------------------- Obama Abroad
---------------------------------------------- The Ghost of Ford and Obama

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Second Atlantis

Kevin awoke in a room empty save for a television monitor, silently playing images from the groundbreaking ceremonies at K Island.

All the other Ks were there, smiling and digging ceremonial shovelfuls as they planted the first palm tree. Their victory over Professor Nemofic complete, the boys were ebullient. They held up signs saying “See you Kevin!”; “We’ll miss you!”; “Best of luck!” as if they knew he could see. They were laughing.

It was a room, not a cell; the door was open. He walked out into the hallways, bare, hastily stripped of artwork and posters. It looked familiar but he couldn’t place it. The hallway opened into the control room and confusion flooded Kevin’s mind. It was Professor Nemofic’s underground helm! Most of the portable computers and other equipment was gone, but there was no doubting this was the room where Professor Nemofic had run the day to day business of his well intentioned but doomed floating city, Second Atlantis.

Only this couldn’t be Second Atlantis! The magnetic generators had been cut! Second Atlantis had joined it’s predecessor on the ocean floor! Kevin looked up at the monitor. The Ks. “Goodbye Kevin!”; “We’ll Miss You!” Laughter.

Kevin went to the monitor and activated the perimeter view. The view was murky, until a smudgy blur came towards the camera and the view clarified. A manta ray.

Kevin ran out of the control room, ran down the hall, ran up a stairwell, and then he heard it. The constant pushing sound of water rushing a giant slosh like the beach, but deeper, more immersed. Air bubbles.

The control apparatus of Second Atlantis was sealed well. He would not be drowned. He simply had to wait at the bottom of the Ocean until his air ran out.

Goodbye Kevin! We’ll miss you!

--Dan Kilian
The Giant K Shaped Island
The Magic Banjo

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Olde Tales of The Sea

Avast! Midshipman, come see!

Arr! What tis it?

Tis a mermaid sir! And a lovelier one I’ve never seen!

What tis a mermaid?

Tail of a fish, body of a woman! There, see for yourself!

That?

Arr! I’m half in love already!

On that rock over there?

Have ye ever seen a lady so lovely?

Sailor, that’s some creature of the sea.

Arr! A lovely creature indeed!

It’s a fat seal with tusks!

Nay! Those be her shells, hiding her bosom!

You’ve gone mad.

Mad with love!

Cabin boy! Come here!

Yes sir? Is it time for me reamin’?

Nay. In fact, ye shall be doing the reamin’ today!

How so?

Get in this life boat and go over to that creature over there, and have your way with it!

Aye aye Sir!

Now we’ll see if that seabeagle is a mermaid or not.

Arr! Ye shall see!

Let’s just wait here in silence…

Do ye want t’watch?

Sure. Oh! ‘tis ugly.

’tis beautiful!

All right. Back to the silence…

Sir! I’m back!

Well?

Today I am a man.

Arr!

Nay! Was it a woman or a beast?

It was a walrus sir. A most calm and detached walrus.

Arr! No!

Arr. Yes. So I said. Don’t be tellin’ no tall tales in port sailor!

Arrrrrr!

As you were. Cabin boy, come with me!

Aye aye, Sir!

Arr! I love her anyway.












--Dan Kilian
Modern Day Pirates
Fake Piranha Repellent

Monday, May 11, 2009

Initiation

He stood in front of the stove with the icepick in his hand, rocking from one foot to the other, saying, "Come on, come on, I haven't got all DAY..." The tip of the icepick finally glowed the proper shade of orange and he put it up to his eye. He held the eyelid shut with his free hand, pulling it down with the tip of his finger. "There we go," he said, laying the side of the pick across the thin skin with a hiss.

He waited a moment and gently tugged the lid away from his eye to be sure that it had stuck to the icepick. Satisfied, he rolled the lid back up over his eyebrow, twirling the icepick as he went.

It reminded me of how our mother used a curling iron back when she was around.

The triangular flap of skin tore free, leaving a wedge-shaped patch of his forehead raw and bleeding. It dangled from the end of the icepick, already looking fake and meat-like, no longer skin. He grabbed a brillo pad from the mouth of a ceramic frog that sat next to the sink and scraped the icepick clean. He swished the end in a pot full of dishwater that was sitting in the sink.

He turned back to the stove and repeated the procedure on his other eye. When he finished he turned to me, his lower lids spasmodically trying to close over his blood-dripping eyeballs.

"Now you," he said.

--Steve Kilian

Videos
Greensleep

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Lawnmower Party

The problem the Republican Party has is that it’s schizoid. It respects individual liberty if you’re a gun but not if you’re a vagina. (The hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell in this regard is particularly galling.) They support balanced budgets but they want tax cuts. They want business to be unfettered, but supply and demand brings illegals across the border, and unregulated financial institutions have transformed our economy into a collapsing Ponzi scheme.

All that wrongheaded two-headedness isn’t fatal, not in U.S. politics. Neither is linking public policy to religious backwardism. Those things a bad for this country, but being bad for America hasn’t stopped too many politicians from rising to the top.

No, what makes the Republican Party done for, is that, while they’re down, they continue to stand for thinly veiled bigotry. People will put up with haters if they’re scared or if times are good (Or if we’re in financial disaster and need rescuing). But if the policies of the haters have just resulted in economic meltdown, their disdain for wide swaths of the electorate are shown in harsh relief. The Republicans have burned their bridges with blacks for at least another century, and ditto Latinos. I doubt politicized gays will ever vote for Republicans. As varieties of contempt fall out of favor, the right has shuffled their scorn, until every variety of the least of our brothers has every right to hate them back.

The kids these days, God love ’em, are not big on bigotry. So every year, more people enter the rolls who view the Republican party not just as wrongheaded, but as the bad guys. The GOP could develop a coherent economic viewpoint, modify its viewpoint on freedom, modernize its view on science, and they’d still be the Johnny-come-latelies who were the haters all those years. It paid off during some ugly decades, but now it’s time to pay the piper. The Republicans are done.

Which is not to say that the Democrats are the good guys. They piss on the gays, bust budgets and soft pedal necessary ecological changes, but just not as egregiously as the Republicans. They’re mostly a bunch of cowards who often stand for nothing. But they’re very much in charge now. Let’s get a half-assed Healthcare system, and some high speed rail, then there needs to be another party.

What would a new opposition party look like? I can’t help but come up with issues from the left, but having grown up in America, I have a hard time imagining winning from the left, but maybe times really have changed. The Environment is the big scary issue if you’ve been watching our planet melt. Maybe a fiscally responsible Green Party could rise to power.

Environmentalism could really capture people’s imaginations. Balancing the budget is the other big idea. Pushing for a strong military seems to play well, whether we need such a big military or not. Environmentalism sells itself; no one wants to choke the world to death. Balancing the budget is a tougher sell. The ugly truth is that to balance a budget you either need to raise taxes or cut programs. No one likes taxes, yet necessary Government programs continue to cost money. If we’re going to cut, the penny ante billion trimming Obama’s trying sell as responsibility isn’t going to cut it. No, you need to go after Social Security, screw my generation because the Baby Boomers will never accept any kind of sacrifice, though they should.

It would help if the media would ever explore what the problem is with endless debt. I don’t really understand it, but every time I read up on it, I get pretty scared right before the knowledge seems out of my head. I think the answer has got to be a balanced budget amendment, as selling tax hikes and real budget cuts are impossible in self-interested democracy. There’s a reason spending didn’t stop when the Republicans were in power. An amendment would be the cap and trade of economics: a necessary Trojan horse.

A greener balanced budget party should rise to challenge the Democrats, or we’ll face corruption and inflation and pandering to the remaining pools of small mindedness that drove the Republicans to the abyss. The first thing that came to my head when I combined green with fiscal responsibility was a fresh cut lawn of grass. Nature and maintenance. I’ll call it The Lawnmower Party.

I bet you can come up with a better name.
--Dan Kilian
------------------------------------------------------- The Obama Budget
------------------------------------------------------- Op-Ed by Bono

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bromance


The terms “Bromance” and “Bromantic” have been in the public radar a good bit these days, with the success of the film I Love You Man and the MTV show Bromance. The term Bromance of course refers to the affection between two heterosexual men as their friendship deepens, a platonic “romance” between “bros” as it were. As we explore the sensitivities of male bonding in our ever more emotionally complex social mores, here are some new terms to keep up with our Bromantic Age.

Bromeo: Some dudes are best-friending every guy they hang out with. Just as when a Romeo sleeps around, acting like you’re everybody’s best friend is a little, well, promiscuous, and can cause strange feeling of resentment and jealousy. Watch out for “Bromeos.”

Brolatio: There’s nothing a dude likes better than oral sex, and let’s face it, any mouth will do. It’s a huge solid to pleasure your bud “brorally,” and mutual blow jobs really bring a couple of friends together, and can be a cushion of consolation should a night cruising chicks go awry.

Bronal Sex: Once you’ve achieved the level of comfort with your pal that you can put your penis in his rectum, you know you guys are getting along well. Do it in the Bud.

Brooning: When you can cuddle naked together, you are a comfortable couple of guys. Of course, such clinches should always end with discomfort, and a quick reference to sports. Then it’s back to a sweet embrace and perhaps eating food off your number one friend!

Bromarriage: There are now five states and counting where you can declare a lifelong commitment to living with your best friend. It’s a little gay, but why not?

--Dan Kilian
---------------------------------------- The Future of Cars
---------------------------------------- Obama's Diplomacy

Epideme



The Abbot sealed the doors during the third week of the plague. The monks of the Infirmary tried to tend to the sick, to cool their fevers and lance the horrid buboes that grew on their jowls and spines, but still they died. Knowing they would soon fall ill, the Abbot sent the monks out to conduct a census of the dead, above their protestations:

"There are sick here who need attention."

"We must prepare an elixir to fight the disease."

Still they were sent out. The infirmary windows were bricked shut and the oaken doors locked in place, closing the remaining patients in darkness. The monks returned to gates that were barred and guards who did not listen to their pleas.

Some tried to scale the walls of the monastery fortress, and were pierced through the collarbone and lung or the eye by archers who had prayed beside them at last Matins. Some clawed at the portcullis, mouths frothing blood with the Bile Fever. They shrieked great profanities and writhed as they were run through by spears cast down from the battlements above.

Pyotr, a young acolyte, pounded on the iron-girt gate. "I am not infected. Admit me into the sanctuary." For three days he waited, fever climbing. The guards above watched him carefully, worrying that his sickness was a ruse. When he went into spasm they made sport of spilling sour ale upon him, or arcing their streams of urine into his insensate gaping mouth.

It may have kept him alive for twelve or sixteen hours longer than he might have otherwise lasted. Instead he lay scratching at the doors to his beloved tabernacle when the plague-zombies found him and tore him asunder. His last thought was to give thanks that he had not become a cannibal, even as he reached out to tear gobbets of flesh from his assailants, gorging himself as his legs and intestines were carried away.

Shortly thereafter the brothers poured molten lead into the clockwork of the gates. Four of the remaining eighty-nine were cast out on suspicion of carrying the Bile Plague.

The Abbot gathered the remaining monks into the audience hall. "Today we forsook the people outside these walls. Tens of thousands will die, with no clean water and no understanding of how to heal themselves. By all that we hold as sacred we should be the ones who die."

A skull popped in the massive pyre that the townsfolk had built in the square before the temple, diseased brain spraying across the plaza.

"But the Word is more important than any monk, than any villager, than any peasant. This world may be spared the plague and still be doomed if the Word is not spread. As also everyone may die and they will live if the Word is preserved. We close these gates this day that we may open them a decade hence, to bring the Word back to a forgetting world. So it is inscribed."

Later the moat was drained, revealing a gawping mass of fevered bodies, already drowned but still reaching for each other's eyes, for comfort, for humanity, for meat.

One thousand years passed.

--Steve Kilian