Friday, July 31, 2009

Queens Vacation: Klog goes to the Movies

Thanks to my furlough, I’m on my Queens Vacation. I don’t call it that other word for when you don’t go anywhere on your vacation. That implies resentment of the lack of travel. Travel sucks. It is the greatest luxury to stay in one’s apartment trying to write a songs and such, and when it gets hot I take in any movie that’s playing at the Sunnyside Movie Theater around the corner from my apartment. The movies are almost always air-conditioned.

Bruno

Except when they’re in the basement theatre. Watching a movie in the Sunnyside movie theatre is a lot like watching a movie in some friend’s unfinished basement. The screens about the same size, though it is a little warmer. At least the smell reminds me that I’m at least closer to the bathroom. Bruno has a message: No matter what your gender or orientation, it’s no fun being sexually harassed. The movie is not devoid of laughter. I preferred the parts that were written to the parts that seemed like a jerk bothering strangers. If his interruption of a fashion show was staged then it was staged, if it was an actual disruption, isn’t the very talented Sacha Baron Cohen messing with other creative people on their big night? At a point towards the end the film fluttered to a stop, and the lights came up. We’re being busted! I thought. The decadence of this movie has brought in the thought police. It was the theatre manager saying that because of heavy rain, the theatre basement was being flooded, and he had to stop the movie. Wanted to shuffle me into Harry Potter, already four minutes in. No. Well how about some popcorn? I took my money back. Now there’s a hand written sign that says “No refunds once you’ve been seated for Bruno.” Comes off like it’s because of the outrageousness of the movie, but it’s probably because of flooding. Now I’ll probably never see the last fifteen minutes of this movie. I can live with that.

Harry Potter

Yeah it’s good. I do have the same problem with Harry Potter that I have with Superman. Mofo’s just too powerful. He who must not be Voldemort will never beat him. Sure, that’s true of most heroes, but there’s just some blessed inevitability hanging over these stories that bugs me. Why do their English accents sound fake, even though they’re from England? It’s because these kids weren’t born to mothers in England, but were genetically manufactured on a masterpiece theatre set back in the 80’s. Margaret Thatcher eventually closed down the project, but by then it was too late. Still, these kids have grown into their roles and made them their own. I wish Dumbledore would decide, in an eerily lit scene full of ominous import, that he would stop wearing an anklet in his beard. There should be a word for people like me. I stopped reading the books, but I’m watching the movies. I think I was waiting on a loaner, once my neighbor was finished, and never got into the rhythm again. Now I can’t remember which book it was. They all look alike. It was a particularly tomey looking cube of a book, but the titles and artwork all run together. Also, I’m a grown-up. A grown up who goes to Harry Potter matinees. People at the theate might think I’m a pedophile. I felt much more comfortable the next day, when I went to see Orphan.

Orphan.

This is a sterling piece of well acted, well produced horror for anyone who enjoys seeing children getting hurt. It starts out with a protracted and bloody miscarriage scene just to set the mood. Isabelle Fuhrman is brilliant as a slightly more psychotic version of my niece Pearl when she was nine. SPOILER ALERT Best scene in the movie: The threatens her adopted brother with a box-cutter, saying, “I’ll cut off your hairless little prick. You piss yourself.” Fannings beware! Aryana Engineer is the new cute kid. Vera Farmiga, whom you might remember from The Departed does another fine job. I think Peter Sarsgaard has a rider in his contract (The kind Ryan Phillipe used to have) that he has to get naked in all his movies. I feel like I’ve seen his schlubby fur matted body far too much for one lifetime. I also have a theory That Peter Sarsgaard is just Paul Rudd’s alter ego when he’s been eating and drinking too much.













--Dan Kilian

Benjamin Button from the POV of Benjamin Button

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The State of The Art in Horror


Each time the world embraces a new technology Hollywood finds a technologically illiterate method of incorporating that public change into its more hokey plot lines. Seventies television was kept alive because of the hologram. Matthew Broderick had to teach a computer the futility of nuclear war. The idea of virtual reality freed us from any need for plot structure. The Internet inspired a great deal of screenplay devoted to people talking aloud as they type. What is the next new technological innovation to be exploited by Hollywood? I propose that it is that mysterious means of communication: The Fax Machine. Here is my treatment to cash in.


FAXED

Nad Kliian (It’s Hawaiian) is struggling to get by in a go nowhere administrative assistant job, when he notices some malevolent squiggles on some faxes he is receiving. He and his lovely coworker Janicatrice LeVotte decipher a mysterious sublanguage hidden in faxes that are brainwashing people.

They call in a fax repairman, who tells them that the problem is not specific to this one fax, that fax machines are a conduit to an inter-dimensional world. “Where is the image when it’s not in one fax machine or the other? No one knows.”

Using a giant scanner jury-rigged as a fax machine attachment, Nad enters the netherworld within the fax and must confront the evil kingdom of Faxonia, ruled by the evil wizard Faxor. He must lead a rebellion, bringing Hawkman, Prince Baron and the Treents together to defeat Faxor. All the resemblances to Flash Gordon and The Lord of The Rings should be all winky and self aware, and so will be totally hilarious.

But then it gets serious. Faxor was only ruling this inter-dimensional kingdom as a ruse, and intended to invade our world the whole time. Nad figures out that if you put too many sheets of paper into the fax machine, you could close the portal forever. So they do it but then he gets trapped forever in Faxonia, but is he really trapped, no he finds a way out.

Of course some monster from Faxonia gets out too and starts faxing. That’s the final scene: A taloned finger tapping on a keypad “Doot. Doot. Doot doot. Doot…”

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY DAN KILIAN

Feng Shui

James Bond's Bad Day

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nicey Nice: The Obama Crowley Gates Beer



This Thursday President Obama has a beer with Professor Henry Louis Gates and Officer James Crowley, the two primary parties in the racially charged arrest that has become drawn media focus away from the Health Insurance Reform promotion Obama has been pushing. It’s being hyped as the most important alcoholic drink in Civil Rights history since Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King split a bottle of Jim Beam in 1968. Johnson went on such a tear he actually passed the Civil Rights Act before finally drying out. What will this accomplish?

Here’s the secret advance transcript from the meeting.

President Obama: Welcome here Gentlemen. Officer Crowley. Professor Gates.

Officer Crowley: It’s an honor, Mr. President

Professor Gates: Thank you Mr. President

Obama: Let’s all sit down. Shelly will be right here with our beers.

Crowley: Well I’m looking forward…

Obama: Shut the fuck up.

Crowley: I’m sorry?

Gates: I think he said…

Obama: BOTH of you shut the fuck up. I have absolutely no time to hear whatever crap is your fucking problem. I am trying to pass a Goddamned Health Care plan. It’s not a “Have Beers With a Couple of Assholes” plan. I’m trying to get on Mount fucking Rushmore, not have beers with…oh here’s Shelly.

Shelly: Hello gentlemen! Just to confirm, what kind of beers would you like?

Crowley: Blue Moon.

Gates: I actually don’t drink beer.

Obama: You will drink a Goddamned beer, even if I have to get one of those G-men to waterboard it down your fucking throat. Now Gates, I know you. So I know what a pompous ass you are. Officer Crowley, you seem to be a fine officer, teaching a class on racial sensitivity to the other police.

Crowley: Yes Mr. President, I’m very proud of…

Obama: Now you can teach a course on how to completely fuck up an interracial encounter. Because you are one stupid Goddamned bastard. I’m sorry I said it was stupid for you to arrest a man in his own home, because it fucked up my Goddamned agenda, not because it wasn’t 150 % true. You have got to be the stupidest Goddamned cop in America, and you know, even though politicians are always calling you the finest, there’s a hell of a lot of dipshit power tripping cops. How the fuck did you not just get the hell out of there once you’d realized it was all a big fuck-up? How the hell do you end up with this old guy in cuffs when it’s his Goddamned house?

Crowley: Well, as you know from the reports and the news, Professor Gates became belligerent…

Obama: What, did he hurt your feelings? Did he make you feel bad? He’s a rich black man, in his own Goddamned house and you’re busting him. Here’s what happens: He screams bloody murder, and you tip your cap and back the fuck out of the house.

Gates: I’ve been trying to explain just that Barack…

Obama: And you, have you lost your mind? You think you’re fucking cop-proof? Un-coppable? Jesus H. Christ! A black man mouthing off to the cops. Cops aren’t your students, dipshit; Cops are assholes who will fuck you up if they get a chance. You must be the stupidest idiot since officer idiot here. And you’d better keep your Goddamned head low for the next eight years. You are not going to play this for your fifteen minutes. Remember Reverend Wright? Notice you don’t see him anymore? That’s because he’s rotting in a cave full of scorpions in North Afghanistan. I can do these things. I’m the Goddamned President. Officer Crowley, I can have a bullet put in your head, and I don’t mean shot. I can get a man who will physically put the bullet in your head, with his fingers. So both of you shut up and drink your Goddamned beers. Then we’re going to do a little press conference and you guys are going to act all nicey nice and smile, or I will ruin your fucking lives and your families’ lives too. I’m the Goddamned President; I’ve got better things to do than this.

Crowley: What about your “teachable moment?”

Obama: This is it. I’m teaching you to shut the fuck up, drink your beer and then make nicey nice. Have you learned the lesson, or do I have to show you how my security can work your inner organs without leaving a bruise? Yes? Yes? See! You’re learning. Now you two drink your beers, while I sit in silence and think about fucking Health Care.

mmm…

Okay, done?

Crowley: Yep.

Gates: Yes, Mr. President.

Obama: Okay. Let’s go make nicey nice.

--as transcribed to Dan Kilian
Nixon and Obama
Ayatollah K talks to the other Ayatollah K

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

End of Conflict II: The Squid & Whale Tattoo


Klog recently posted an image entitled End to Conflict. As evidence of the long-range influence that Klog has on the mission of worldwide peace, we present the attached photograph of the End of Conflict image tattooed on the body of Bennie, seasoned bartender at Home Sweet Home. You can click on the image for a larger view.

It is in ways such as t
his that great movements begin. This will be marked by future ages as the turning point.


It's interesting to note that Bennie incorporated all the textures of the original post it note while we bleached them out.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Montanapocalypse

Look at the Montana state quarter.

You might think it's odd that this state, located somewhere in the U.S. Northwest among all the square shaped states, chooses a cow's skull to represent itself. Why this demonic death's head? Are they devil worshipers? Probably. But I tell you this skull is just a distraction from something far more sinister.

Normal people such as you and I have never known anyone who lives in Montana, yet we know from census takers that people live there. We have simply never guessed at their sinister nature, a nature so malignant they must cloak their secret message of nihilistic destruction with more commonly accepted totems of morbid evil.

Below the skull, floating in the void of The Big Sky, is clearly The Doomsday Machine from Episode 35 of the original series of Star Trek. This allegory for nuclear destruction features a giant cigar shaped monstrosity making its way from some intergalactic war of mutual destruction. It destroys planets and eats their rubble for fuel, moving from star system to star system leaving a wake of complete destruction. Behold the horror.


We now know that the people of Montana have greater technology than we'd previously assumed. They've seen television, have obviously watched Star Trek and are seeking to replicate the Doomsday Machine for their sinister purposes. Please note that the state slogan is "The Last Best Place." It's easy enough to be the last best place if you've destroyed every other location in the Universe.

Either through hubris or betrayal, the secret of these Monsters in Montana has gotten out. It is they, not us, who must be destroyed. It will be tougher than Afghanistan, with all the mountainous terrain, but there is a way to do it. In the Star Trek episode it took the thermonuclear detonation of a Star Ship's impulse engines to destroy the Doomsday Machine. We must tell NASA to develop this technology immediately, so we might match the evil Montanan's lust for destruction.

Either they die or the entire Universe will be rendered as barren as a dead cow's skull. The choice is ours.......






--Dan Kilian

Inconsistencies in the New Star Trek Movie

Top Trek: A Pan Fiction

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Citadel: Undone

It was perhaps his greatest work, and nobody would know him as its author. Worse, they wouldn't even know it had happened it all.

He drew the catgut through the powdered jewels, trying not to cut his fingers too badly in the process. Then he strung the silver lines between the nodes of the vault, tracing out the patterns he'd found scattered among the texts he'd collected. In places the web-work was so dense he needed a wooden shuttle to thread his way through the lines. When that was done he went about the floor, plugging cracks with beeswax. Finally it was sealed tight and he rolled over the cask, cursing the lead lining that kept its contents pure. He worked it over onto its side and pulled the stopper, letting the quicksilver flow out onto the floor, settling into a perfect round mirror reflecting the shuttered oculus above. The domed ceiling was covered with the runes he'd drawn over the previous three weeks, words in forgotten languages written with inks obscure and profane in their composition.

Now all he had to do was wait for the sky to catch up with his plan. The almanacs said he had two days to wait. It was just time enough to begin the incantation. He climbed the winding stair to the roof, pulled his cloak tight around him and began the chant. Every hour or so he would drink from a flask of bitter spikepine liquor, and his hunger would subside. His urine ran from his pantleg down to the gargoyled scupper at the edge of the roof. The sun wheeled by once, chased by a sliver blade of moon. On the second day the moon made its cut, the black disc edging its way across the sun in time with the rising words of the spell. Finally the sun was directly overhead, obliterated by the moon, and he cried his throat raw, cutting his tongue on the harsh angles of the alien words.

He threw back the shutters of the oculus, exposing the quicksilver mirror. He could see the sun's halo flaring in the vault below, the strings fired with its muted light. The sun above flared brighter, as if in response. Blue wisps of arcane energies pulsed along the lines of web. The sky folded along these lines, forests and continents compressed into irrational geometries. He could not hear the final words as they were torn from his throat, drowned out in the great rush of in-folding matter and event. Time bent to the same twisted skein he had created, battles and famines curled like scrolls and tucked into newly formed alcoves in the universe. His body was buffeted by the swirling forces around him, chaos shrieking as it was imprisoned in the calculus of the spell. In three short barks he uttered the closing syllables that would mark the unbending of the new world, changing the paper-doll creases just slightly, but enough to work his will:

The first battle for the Citadel was undone, recast, and became again, and the forces of Matthew stormed the black walls, finally taking the parapet.

The second battle for the Citadel was shattered and the fragments cast into the ocean. A million times the sea tumbled the shards, blunting them into dull rounded memories of what had happened. A old fisherman's widow collected the pieces and lined her hearth with them, where they fused into a sooty bowl. After she died her few possessions were distributed among the villagers, and a small girl held the bowl up to the setting sun, where she saw images of the black keep under siege, the forces of Daniel being repelled from the walls. Matthew's soldiers had won again.

The third battle for the citadel raged in the signet ring of an imbecile king, a drooling savant who cared only for digging mines in the barren hills of his dying kingdom. Fields went unplowed as the peasants starved and still he sent troops to the pits and galleries, looking for nonexistent treasure. When the king was finally assassinated the ring was stolen and passed from noble to noble, losing value with each transaction as if it somehow bore the curse of its former owner, until finally being paid to a storyteller in exchange for a tale of a defeated army throwing their bodies against an obsidian fortress, unable to avenge the deaths of their brothers in the previous battle. It was yet another song of Matthew's victory.

As these restructured events blossomed back into being the wizard finally lost consciousness. He wondered in that last moment if even he would remember the thing he had wrought.

--Steve Kilian
Death To Everyone
Capsule

Saturday, July 25, 2009

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

Editor's note: This is the third part in series celebrating the online release of The Ks video "Last Trip To The Well."

Centuries past. The park turned into a desert. Sandstorms whipped the geography unrecognizable. He was still alive, supernaturally, but it felt all too natural to him. One of his wishes kept him an aging zombie. Sometimes he wished for death, sometimes he wished for other comforts. Mostly he wished for more wishes, and he was free to wish as futilely as he could. He wrapped himself in skins and marched around the desert hoping to find some grasses, or just a coolness to the sands, anything that might be a sign of his old wishing well.

He saw something on a dune miles away, flashing. He marched towards it. It could be water, it could be mica, it could be a mirage or a hallucination. It disappeared as he marched towards it but he staggered towards where he thought he’s seen it last. He kicked up sand, wailing, his life, once a magic realm of wish fulfillment, now reduced to finding some thing he’d seen, some distraction his only focus.

Finally his foot hit something. It was a music player from back when they had computers. This had the solar power chip, and amazingly, after all these years in the sand, still worked. Of course he had no headphones, so it was silent. But he could read the names of the songs pm the little screen, and see the album cover art float past. He lay on the ground, blocking out the sun with his new toy, wheeling through the menus.

It had a single video. A skinny man battling a robot, with flashes of a band playing. He wondered what it meant, and then remembered there was music, an inaudible and long forgotten song. He tried to imagine what it sounded like. He made up songs in his head as he lay there, watching it over and over and over and over and wishing for things.

--Dan Kilian




Return To The Last Trip To The Well, Part II
Return To The Last Trip To The Well

Friday, July 24, 2009

Intro from last night's show: Asphalt Planet

I knew we were in trouble when the road-making machines started to self-replicate. It only took three years before the whole planet was a blank ball of black asphalt hanging in space, featureless but for gravel shoulders at the poles and a double yellow line around the equator.

We lived off of the legless birds that fed on the bats that fed on the insects that fed on the algae and yeast suspended in the atmosphere. We drank dew from our cart-sails in the morning and ran from the pothole fillers in the afternoon.

It couldn't last. We needed to pull over, crack the crust and get to the buried topsoil. We needed to drill down and get some water so we could raise up a proper median.

We needed to get back to the return to the last trip to the well, part two

. . . ladies and gentlemen,

the Ks.

--Steve Kilian
----------------------------------- Tools
----------------------------------- Jesus in Hell

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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

Editor’s note: Here at Klog we’re honored to have a master of parody: Mr. Dan Kilian. His knack for replicating voices in his writing, led us to consider a challenge: Could he present the stories of today as if through the great minds of yesteryear? We picked three current hot topics, and three archetypal thinkers of old: our health-care debate as viewed by Samuel Clemens (AKA Mark Twain), the economic downturn from the point of view of Karl Marx, and the post-election turmoil in Iran through the eyes of Socrates. Mr. Kilian has risen to the challenge, mimicking them perfectly in this new context. Enjoy!
*
Samuel Clemens on Health-care
*
Holy fuck! These Democrats are such fucking morons they’re going to blow their one chance at the motherfucking power. People elected Obama to get a health care system, people want a fucking system, and they’re still going to fuck it up! Un-fucking-believable! They just think the Republicans are going to be stupid fuck-ups forever, but people hate the god-damn Democrats too, so it’s time to deliver. Shit or get off the pot, motherfuckers! Or you’ll be the shit, and I don’t mean the shiiiit, I mean a big chunk of human shit that gets flushed. Fuck!
*
Karl Marx on The Economy

You motherfuckers are going down! I told you so! Boom and bust, baby, boom and BUST! You are all so fucked! You can try all the Keynesian bullshit you want, but you’re still shifting the goddamned deck chairs on a fucking sinking ship. People can only take so much shit. They are going to rise up and string the rich people up and strangle them in their own goddamn intestines! Just because it started in Russia and China, the twin shit-holes of the world, and those countries continue to suck doesn’t mean shit. It’s your turn to eat shit, America, so open wide and chew hard. Holy fuck!
*
Socrates on Iran

What the fuck is going on in Iran? Is this an Ayatollah power grab or is it a motherfucking revolution? Holy fuck! Literally. That Khamenei is one religious asshole. I guess the question is, does Rafsanjani want to free the goddamn people, or does he want to be the motherfucking Shogun? Either way, some poor bastards are gonna die. One things for sure, no one gives a fuck about the goddamn Uighurs. For all I know, the Chinese have already killed the whole fuckload of them, and no one gives a flying shit! Guess they picked the wrong color. Should have gone with green.* More people care about the goddamned Darfurians than the fucking Uighurs, and people don’t give a shit about Darfur! Holy fucking fuck!

--Dan Kilian

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When Charm Fails

When charm fails you can always fall back on money. The Supreme Court has ruled that just as money equals speech it also equals charm. There’s a case pending: Gates vs. Happiness, which should settle other ephemeral financial matters.

When charm fails you can try violence. Kill them with cruelty. Beat love into their hearts while you wipe the smiles off their faces. You’ll be greeted with flowers, so why bring a bouquet?

When charm fails there’s always unctuosity. The spell checker tells me I should try punctuality, which is probably better advice.

When charm fails you can always choose clich├ęs. They’re used, but at the end of the day (
an expression that either flogs the dusk or portends the apocalypse – either way, everyone needs to stop saying it) they kill the necessary time spent uselessly talking to others.

When charm fails, there’s always contempt or pity. There is a difference, and contempt often comes closer to charm. Let’s face it, we’d rather be friends with the boor who says “You disgust me!” than the creep who calls you “Poor thing.”

How about flattery? Flattery is like a bribe without money.

Did I mention money? Money money money money money.

--Dan Kilian

Monday, July 20, 2009

Keepstones

The little boy led his older sister up the path to the trove. It was under an old pine tree that had been split long ago. One trunk was surviving, more or less, while the other was a mass of kindling suspended in the air. He crawled under the tattered canopy and beckoned her in. "See what I found, Evvie?" he said, pointing at the a pile of glassy black shards mixed with more ordinary pebbles. "I think they must be arrowheads."

Evelyn sighed. "No, stupid. That's just keepstone." She was tired of always having to explain the simplest things to her little brother.

"What's keepstone?" he asked.

"It's old, and it's boring." Evelyn started walking back down the path to their parents' hut. Dad had netted two pigeons that morning and she had the juniper berries for the stew in her apron. Cole scampered up behind and asked, "How old?"

"Older than grandpa's grandpa. It's from before, when there were armies and things."

Cole's eyes flashed. "Do you think there's a sword in there?"

It was too much. Evelyn turned and swatted at Cole. "No, stupid! Leave me alone," and she ran off faster than he could follow. All the swords (and nails and cart-axles, for that matter) had been carried off by scavengers long ago, no more than a year or two after the Keep fell. "Fell" probably wasn't the right word for it, though, since piles of keepstone could be found miles away from the lake where it used to stand. "Exploded" would probably be better, although Evelyn had never seen anything actually explode. She had once seen a lampglass break when it got too hot, and a few bits of glass shot away from the flame. It was enough for her to imagine what had happened, or so she told herself. And she thought, "All the swords but one."

She opened the door to the cabin and smelled the stew already cooking. Mother had put spring onions and yellow tuberoot in with the birds. "I've got the berries, Ma," she said. "Thank you, dear," said her mother, taking the berries in one hand and patting her on the head with the other. "Run go get some more wood for the breadoven." Evelyn walked off toward the woodshed.

When she got to the shed she looked around to be sure that her mother wasn't paying attention. Her father wouldn't be back until suppertime; he went to smoke with the men at the brewery in the afternoons. She climbed up onto the woodpile and reached above the third rafter from the end of the shed roof. She would need a different hiding place once winter came, but for now nobody had found the bundle. She took it down and opened up the dirty chamois cloth. The hilt of the dagger shined, the silver matching the trim on the scabbard, which was made from a heavy black wood like ebony but harder. She eased back the latch that held the dagger safely shut and drew out the blade. She turned it in the light, watching the runes etched into the blade come in and out of relief.

Was it from the Fourth Onslaught? She couldn't remember a time when she hadn't wondered what it must have been like to be part of that attack, when the besieging armies had finally breached the Citadel wall. The outer chambers of the keep had fallen first, the defenders retreating to the central tower before Daniel's soldiers. They barricaded themselves within while the attackers looted the stores of food that had been left behind. For weeks they'd had to live off the land, stripping it bare of what livestock and game the defending Servants of Matthew hadn't hoarded in the time before the First Onslaught. On their night of victory they could think of no sweeter reward than oat porridge spiced with goatgrass and honey. But they knew they needed strength for the final assault.

"What's that?" asked Cole, startling her. She turned to see him standing not two feet away. He must have seen everything. "Cole! What are you doing?"

Cole looked worried, and not at all interested in the dagger she was clumsily wrapping back into its cloth. "There's men on the road," he said.

"What men?" she asked.

"Men on horses," he said, and inexplicably broke out in tears. He ran off to the cabin sobbing, arms reaching out for Mother's legs long before he reached the door.

Evelyn tucked the dagger into her apron and walked around to the side of the woodshed. She could see the cart-track that led down to the mill and the brewery. There were indeed four men on horseback, dressed like penitents in grey woolen sacks. But she was more startled by the men who walked alongside, leading the horses by the reins. They were wearing armor -- black armor, like in the stories.

It was the color of the final guard who defended the Keep during the Fifth Onslaught. Daniel's soldiers had battered down the great door to the inner Citadel, swarming in to exterminate the Servants of Matthew. The battle had raged for a day and a half in tight corridors, the dead propped up by those behind them, men hewing into each other through shields of meat and bone. Finally they came to the tower sanctum where Matthew himself was surrounded by the black-armored Marchers of the East. Daniel's soldiers seemed like a ragged group of farmhand conscripts in comparison, motley arms and armor against an elite cadre of trained warriors. But they had lost brothers and fathers and sons in the fields outside the wall, and their numbers carried the day. The fell on the Marchers and then Matthew himself, hacking into him and pulling his corpse to shreds.

In that chamber their bloodlust exceeded all reason and became an orgy of violence. Men coupled with organs or the blood-slick stones of the Citadel itself. Soldiers who had once been priests defiled the fallen bodies of the Marchers. Matthew's severed head was hoisted on a pike to observe his final defeat. When the rage finally subsided the victors couldn't believe what they had done. Nor could they understand why the walls of the Citadel seemed to be glowing red, as if they had become penetrable to the light of the sun which shone through their thick coating of blood. And they certainly could not understand how Matthew's ruined skull was now laughing, the dangling eyes weaving and mad. And then they knew nothing, for the keep was broken and scattered.

Of this last assault Evelyn knew almost nothing, other than that Daniel has won but had his army destroyed when the Citadel erupted in a fountain of blood, metal, and stone. It was the story that explained why there were no more armies in the land, and why the black stones of the bridges were so strong and so strange. But before her on the road were these four penitents and their warders who looked to be soldiers. When she saw the smoke from where the millhouse stood she wondered if it all could happen again.

--Steve Kilian
------------------------------------ Sweet Nothings
------------------------------------ Globama

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Feathers

She unbuckled the case and opened it. The familiar smell of leather and feathers reminded her of school, back when the craft of her old profession still required precision tools manufactured in Germany, fine constructions of stainless steel with knurled surfaces and threaded rods. These were mixed incongruously with small bits of graphite and charcoal, clumsy earthen lumps gripped in zero-tolerance pincers. All this was in the service of rendering an approximation of a mental image of space and material. It was no wonder then that more direct methods were devised, that these crude workarounds were abandoned to handsome velvet-lined wooden boxes set on high shelves of closets. These boxes had form-fitting depressions for each tool, and inevitably one or two would be empty, slowly losing their crispness, as if forgetting the shape of what they were made to hold.

But this was not the sort of case she opened. These tools were part of the day-to-day work of her new profession. She ran her fingers along the row of feathers, condor and albatross for distance, starling and swallow for control, selecting them individually and fitting them to the armature. Soon she was nearly complete, and snugged the harness-straps over her shoulders, testing the spring tension and flexure limits. She drew out the wings to their full span and brought them in quickly, fluttering them to be sure no feathers slipped free from the clamping bar. Satisfied with this she folded them back and returned to the case.


She selected a last feather, and drew a small blade from its sheath. With a practiced swipe she took a quarter-inch from its tip, examined the quill to make sure it wasn’t split, and dipped it in a small pot of resin-ink. She laid out a sheet of parchment and quickly documented her flight plan. There was enough of the quill for two or three more uses. She hesitated for a moment, since if everything went as planned she wouldn’t need to file any more flights. But a good tool is a good tool, so she fitted the feather back into its slot. She folded the case and buckled it shut.


--Steve Kilian

----------------------------------- Russian Roulette

----------------------------------- The Future of Cars

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Milky Sputum: Dan and Pat do Siren Fest

As we got ready we watched Alien on TV.

“Dan we’ve got to go.”

“Just until the robot guy loses his head.”

Ian Holmes twitched and spat milky sputum. There was an alien loose on the ship, and there was no way to stop it. They interrogated his head, and we went to the Siren Fest.

The Future of the Left had clear sound, every drumbeat, every word audible, loud as hell. All bouncing angles and silly words “Sausage on a stick!” shrill and hard. I like it, but I totally understand those who are annoyed by it. Manchasm rocked. “Colin is a pussy, a very pretty pussy Colin is a pussy, a very pretty pussy cat”

We didn’t know where the main stage was. We thought this big beer cage was the mainstage. I stopped to ask, almost lost Pat. We got together, started the march to the mainstage. Big line for the VIPs. If there’s so many of them, they can’t be all that "I," can they? Take that fuckers!

Ran into old Ks singer Maggie Grise. She and some guy were looking to see Built To Spill, but we weren't. You can hear her on the album The Ks Can't Get It Together which you can buy just by clicking HERE

Grand Duchy had more instruments, and less stellar sound. Frank Black got a decent acoustic guitar tone out of an electric guitar. Violet Clark, his wife, does a good Kim Deal imitation, and was no doubt a good front-woman for whatever band she used to be in but she strains in the bigger leagues.

Pat walked a couple blocks for food, and I got into a line for some free drink product. We were split up and we had no contingency plan. I panicked, but got my free drink. Selzter and milk and berry flavorings. Much better than I’d anticipated.

Still no Pat. I got reeled by a food booth run by con men. Fried shrimp and a cup of grape bug-juice for nine bucks. Pat turned up, having spent two dollars on a bag of chips and a can of grape juice. We both got two new free milk and seltzer drinks.

Pat spat his drink out, and started twitching. Then his head fell off his neck, dangling by a cable. Milky sputum spouted from the machinery in his neck hole.--Dan Kilian
--Pat McNulty
Flames vs. Lips
Fleetwood vs. Mac

Friday, July 17, 2009

War-holes

Though given dispensation to mate using the war-hole, the spiky offspring of that sub-tribe's unions were often vilified by standard citizens. Even the gaunt product of famine-hole couplings would hiss and spit at warlings' passage. Not that the taunts mattered to those at which they were hurled. They lived apart from and above the cares of the citizens - without genitals, they produced no offspring, and so were not beholden to the web of obligations that dominated that society. Instead they served as sentries at the perimeter of the city, or flying above in fragile contraptions of shell, iron, and sailcloth.

Strange thing, then, when a scholar or merchant would apply for war-hole mating. Was it an aberration of the natural desire for such a thing that would overcome the citizenry during times of true warfare? Much like those who held a fetish for the famine-hole even in times of plenty, were there those who longed for the armored orifice of the war-hole? Perhaps.


--Steve Kilian

--------------------------------- Joseph in the North

--------------------------------- Dan's Almost Daily Musings

Thursday, July 16, 2009

40 Years Ago Today

That’s one small step for man, one great leap for mankind.


What did he just say?


I think he said one small step for a man…


No, he said one small step for MAN one great leap for MANKIND. What’s the difference?


Between Man and Mankind?


Not a whole hell of a lot. There you have it. The immortal words of the first man on the moon. It’s small, no wait, it’s big.


I think he meant it’s small for a single man.


Then he should have SAID that.


Maybe there was some static?


I knew Armstrong would screw this up! It should have been me. I would have said something that would have blown the world’s mind!


What would you have said?


This is Buzz Aldrin. We just “Buzzed” the moon.


Oh.


What? You don’t like it?


It’s a little…silly? And it’s more about you than it is about humanity.


Well, I’ve only been thinking about it for a second. It’s been Neil’s thing to think about for forever, and he just blew it.


Sounds to me like you’ve been thinking about it for longer than a second.


This is one big "Buzz" for a Buzz, and an even bigger "Buzz" for mankind! No, that’s terrible.


Well…


Okay okay okay, I’ve got it. This is the moon. This is man on the moon. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve “Buzzed” it.


Maybe you should skip the “Buzz” thing.


Well the first part’s got this beautiful simplicity.


It is simple.


No wait, how about this? One world, one moon, now a man from that world has walked on that moon, and here we are people, on the moon. At least I am. On the moon. Wait, let me write this down…


You might be on to something…One world, one moon….


Okay! It’s a world. A whole other world. A moon. And the world we live on has just...stepped on that other world. Wow, that’s even worse than what I had before. What was I saying before?


One world, one moon…


One world, one step, and now one man has stepped on the moon, and now one world has stepped on another world. It’s been “Buzzed.”


You’ve got to lose the “Buzzed” business, but you’re getting close.It kind of sounds like…planets with feet, though.


That’s it! Feet! This is one small foot, stepping on the moon, but one giant foot for a planet! Huh? Huh?


Um…


Okay forget it. This is one small foot for a step, but one awesome step for the foot of mankind!


Well, it’s kind of academic. It looks like Neil wants you to go out there now.


Oh man, if I’d been the first to go out there, I’d have come up with something.


Well, you can dwell in some kind of magnificent desolation, or you could enjoy being the second man on the moon. It’s still pretty great you know. I just get to sit in the capsule.


What was that?


I said it’s still pretty great to be the second…


No, before that.


I said you could dwell in your…


Magnificent…what was it?


Desolation, I think.


You know, that’s pretty good! Okay! Here I go!


Have fun Buzz! Congratulations!


--Dan Kilian
--------------------------------------- Mars Capsule
--------------------------------------- July 4th, 1777

End of Conflict


--Steve Kilian
flikp!
Demon Brand Chocolate Mallows

The Citadel: Death on the Ladder




The moat was choked with corpses, the centuries-old lizards crushed beneath the weight of armored men. The advancing troops marched over the backs of the fallen, scaling the wall with ladders and grapnels. Boiling pitch rained down from the machicolations of the battlement, and the sweet smell of roasting flesh hung around the battlefield.


It was this last absurdity which ruined the attack. Matthew, numb with fatigue, clung to the ladder, wondering where the wonderful scent came from. My God, he thought, I've only had cabbage and bread for two weeks now. He glanced from side to side, not noticing the archer leaning over the parapet above. The arrow entered just above his collarbone and was buried to the fletching, piercing the lung, which instantly filled with blood. Matthew tried to look up, but could only raise his eyes to the level of his hands, which were growing slack on the ladder rung. They seemed somehow grey and alien, as if they were someone else's hands.


I should hold on, he thought, and fell.


--Steve Kilian

-------------------------------------- Epideme

-------------------------------- Quickleaf

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Deadbeats & Deloreans

Before I became disenchanted with the music scene, I worked as a studio musician at Prescription Studios in Hackensack. I sold away my legal right to any future royalty payments for 80 bucks per song. Like most session drummers, my ability to do this was directly hindered by the session drummer’s arch enemy, the synthesizer.


If a musician was talented enough to program a synthesized drum beat, they would find my 80 dollar fee totally unnecessary. Fortunately for me, most of the people who came in to our dark, windowless, hole-in-the-wall at the far end of the McDonald’s parking lot were completely oblivious to all technical aspects of music. This meant I was frequently forced to translate some of the vaguest musical direction possible. You have no idea how frustrating it is to spend hours on end being yelled at because you can’t properly interpret what some acid casualty means by “play a ba-da-ba-da beat.” As if that weren’t confusing enough already, there were always heavy opium fumes leaking out from the sound booth and filling up the studio, making coherent conversation a damn near impossibility.


When your boss is frequently getting wasted, your work hours become more and more negotiable. He’d stumble out of his office and ask me if I was still on for working Saturday night, and knowing full well that he’d already booked me for that time slot, I’d respond with “no, was I supposed to? You never said anything about that.” Then, feeling embarrassed, he would apologize and tell me that he must have been confused, and from there I’d offer to swing by on Sunday, for which he’d thank me as if I were doing him a favor.


That scenario took place quite often, in one form or another, and although I probably should have felt bad about taking advantage of a drug fiend like that, the trouble I gave him seemed like the least of his worries. Feeding his addiction had caused his business to take a financial plunge into the toilet, which in turn left the studio in desperate need of cash. In the end, my boss had to sell his Delorean to save his sinking business.


He would always tell me though how much he loved racing that car over the studio’s P.A. system while I hooked up the drum microphones, tested the sound levels, and took care of all the other recording necessities he’d neglected. He described his Delorean exploits to me in great detail, making sure to mention how many “ricers” he made eat his dust. Unfortunately, having never actually seen him take part in any of these races, I couldn’t help but feel a bit skeptical that a guy who had trouble cleaning the Cheetos out of his hair could outrace anyone, let alone a custom Japanese race car in a gas guzzling anachronism barely capable of 88 miles per.


The decision to sell the car was a big one for him, and it just might have been the first time I ever saw any emotional expression in his almost perpetually dazed face. He didn’t have a wife, kids, or any real sort of family, and working so long and unsuccessfully at Prescription Studios had basically robbed him of an attachment to his job in any sense other than as a means of income; that car was all he really loved. He cared for it as if it were the child he never had, and when a problem as tiny as the radio not getting proper reception would arise, he’d postpone any recording sessions we needed to do that day to drive up to some Delorean specialist’s garage in Long Island. He’d book a hotel room there and stay until the repairs were finished, going to the garage every day to visit his car. Sometimes, he’d even call to tell me that I didn’t have to come in to work that week.


Instabilities in my work schedule like these meant that my paychecks wouldn’t be coming half as frequently as they once were (which wasn’t even all that frequently to begin with); suddenly, my empty pockets made a steady job at some kind of big chain store sound more and more enticing. But as I quickly learned, it’s hard to get legitimate employment from a respectable enterprise with shaggy hair and torn jeans.


So, there I was stuck going down with this sinking ship of a studio watching my boss squirm under the increasing financial pressure being put on him. In retrospect, there’s a certain humor in the whole debacle: just as John Delorean had turned to selling drugs to help keep his beloved car company afloat financially, my boss had turned to selling his beloved Delorean to help keep his drug habit from running his studio into the ground.


And just like the hundreds of major investors in the Delorean auto company during the 80s, I had no other choice but to hang on for the ride.

--Ilan Moskowitz

Editor's note: We're proud to welcome Ilan Moskowitz as a new writer. Thanks Ilan!

-------------------- The Human Fly

-------------------- Steve Perry Takes Over Journey

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

10 Questions to Stump Sotomayor

Unless you have a complete meltdown, you are going to be confirmed.

--Lindsey Graham at the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings.

That may be true, but it’s not too late, Republicans! Here are some questions that are a sure-fire way to trigger meltdown in the most poised of Supreme Court nominees.


If you had to choose between an immediate member of your family or a white New Haven firefighter perishing in agonizing flames, which would you pick?

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: What do you have against white New Haven firefighters?


If they develop armor piercing bullets made from stem cells, would you be in favor of the procedure?


If the flood of illegal immigrants led to the need for strip searching young Hispanic girls at schools, why would a white male be the best judge of the legality of such searches?


If our brave undercover secret assassination teams need to fool the Al Queda operations they’re infiltrating by speaking in Pig Latin, would you find that racist?

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: An-cay ou-yay understand-ay at-whay I’m-ay aying-say? Was THAT racist?


The Bible says “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Isn’t everything you do in direct opposition to The Bible?


Is a wise-ass Latina woman snarkier than a wise-ass white man?


Would you be willing to take the “Love Tester” at Murphy’s bar around the corner to prove your empathy?

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: Are you saying we should just throw the test out?


Doesn’t your graduating summa cum laude from Princeton after being a product of affirmative action really overturn any arguments about your intellectual capacity, and isn’t that in itself a form of reverse discrimination?


Can The Constitution make a rock that is too heavy for it to lift?

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: Can The Constitution lift that rock?

FURTHER FOLLOW UP QUESTION: How can The Constitution lift a rock that is too heavy for it to lift?


Aren’t Hispanic voters great?

FOLLOW UP QUESTION: Can you possibly love them as much as me?

FURTHER FOLLOW UP QUESTION: Don’t you think they should reconsider the All New Republica├▒o Party?


--Dan Kilian

-------------------------- The Supreme Facts on Sotomayor

-------------------------- The Ghost of Nixon Talks To Obama

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Soup of the Day: Persian Pessimism and Rape

Q: You seem pretty cynical about the prospects for the popular unrest overturning the Iranian government. Why?

It's not cynicism. It's facts on the ground. At this point in Persia, you have about .00001% of the population arguing against the power grab. They are all children of the elite living in comfortable homes in one city. Children of the elite can always do what they want. But for a revolution, you need tens of millions of peasants converging from the provinces to the focal point of the argument and joining with the children of the elite.

The Russian Revolution is a good case in point. The flash point in that Revolution - naval officers of the Tsar mutinied on the Battleship Potemkin, and joined the children of the elite with big guns. Game over. Nicholas II and al of his children were slaughtered in a basement. Sadly, instead of opening a flower to freedom, it ushered in what many would argue is the absolute most diabolical period in Russian history, eclipsing Ivan the Terrible, and even eclipsing the aftermath of the French Revolution by dark multiples. How many were slaughtered by Lenin and Stalin? Historians are still counting.

In my view, peasants in Persia side with the Guardian Council on matters of morality and religion, and complete separation from the west. The Persi are a proud people, always have been, and always will be. The Guardian Council are their beacon of light in their struggle against the west. Right or wrong, it's self determination.

So far, we have Basij doing a dance against the line of the children of the elite in the wealthy regions of Tehran. Basij are simply Hezbollah thugs and thugs connected with clerics. In western parlance, gangs. The Revolutionary Guard is the real deal in Persia and they have no reason to awaken from their sleep. They have surrounded Tehran, and will be called to slaughter, only if millions of peasants join the argument. However, in my view, peasants in Persia have no clear reason to oppose the Rev Guard, or the GC, or separation from the west, or Islamic asceticism. There are no Hooters and no Michael Jackson tributes in the provinces of Persia. The Persi peasants do not want these things. If the Rev Guard is called to awaken from their sleep, it will be Tiannamen Square. But in my view, they will not be called from their sleep. No reason. .00001% of the population does not awaken a death machine. The reports indicate that contending politicians have already caved into these facts on the ground and have told the GC they will not protest without a permit. A wise choice. But that does mean lights out.

On to South Africa. If any women who are reading this, or any woman in America, or the west, wants to "represent", now is the time. You have a golden opportunity. The World Cup is being staged in South Africa next summer. That means 4 billion folks will be watching. The latest UN report ranks South Africa number in crime and rape. My data indicates 40% of women in South Africa today have been raped, many as children. All this has happened under home rule - Zulus.

Zulu men make the strange argument that if a woman walks past him, it is his duty to provide her with sexual pleasure, so as to express his virility. I don't buy it. I believe that is false and wrong. It should stop. But it continues. Will Obama speak out against this sickness next summer? I don't believe so. Diamonds are a girl's best friend. No matter who is in charge in South Africa, that seems to trump all, like oil and natural gas in the Middle East. Keep the money flowing. Ignore everything else. Time to "represent" big time on this one. Nobody else will. This is much worse than men forcing women to wear veils and modest clothing, so as to "shield them" from being poached by strange men.

Peace and love against all facts on the ground. Keep the fire burning.

Where is Chief Joseph when you need him? He was the coolest of all time.

--Dave "Soup" Campbell
My Secret Life as an Iranian Proxy Server
Bush vs. Obama in Iran