Friday, December 6, 2013

Mayburn Key, 1672

Ambrose looked past his bare and sunburned feet straight down into the sea.  The mast to which he clung was nearly horizontal at the extreme end of each roll that threatened to send the boat to the bottom.  As the vessel heeled back upright he was carried up over the deck and then off the port side, riding an inverted pendulum.  His hands were riddled with splinters, one of which had gone clear through the meat between his thumb and forefinger.  The muscles of his forearms were so cramped that he did not think he could un-hook his arms from around the pine.

Not that he would want to.  The creature was still on deck, arranging pieces of the slaughtered crew into perverse constructions, knitting the flesh together with gobs of caustic saliva that sputtered and smoked in the howling wind.  Legs and arms ringed clusters of merged ribcages and jawbones, forming grisly anemones that muttered and moaned long past the point when the sailors should have died.  Had the Captain not been disemboweled and made part of that horrible work he would no doubt have steered clear of the heavy weather.

And Ambrose would not then have been at the top of the mast, debating whether history would blame him for activating the distress beacon. 

--Steve Kilian

Regarding the Events off of Mayburn Key, July 23rd, 1964

Fire and Ice 2009 Remix

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Post Season II

Mariano walked to the back of the empty locker room.  Their season was over, early.  No playoffs this time. 
He entered a seven-digit code into the keypad and waited while his eyes were scanned.  The door hissed, made popping sounds as cylinders retracted, and slid open.  He stepped over the shallow bulkhead into the chamber of arms.
There were seven of them on the wall, each plugged into power and diagnostic cables.  Three of the hands were twitching their way through preset limbering routines;  they would be used on the practice range in the morning.  By other pitchers, though.  Or perhaps just technicians probing the outer envelope – a hundred and twenty miles per hour fastballs, metachaotic knuckleballs, recursive sliders . . . things that couldn't be used in League play.  They were beautiful to watch, though.    
He stepped onto the platform before the empty space where the eighth arm should hang.  He unbuttoned his shirt, marveling at how his fingertips – not really "his" at all – could feel each thread in the weave of the cloth.  He disconnected the fluid hoses and sensory cables, feeling the arm go progressively more and more numb.  Finally he pulled it from the stump, sickened a bit as he always was by the wet sound of broken suction when it finally came off.  The orifices in the arm and stump retracted their frills and fronds in reluctant farewells, finally clenching shut. 
One last time he hung the arm on the wall.  The fist opened wide and relaxed, the calloused palm still dusty from the last few pitches.  Somewhere in the dugout there was a baseball that was still a bit warm from it. 

"Goodbye," he said.  

--Steve Kilian


Listening to Sunn O)))


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Summer's Gone (Program)

It’s a well known fact that the second half of the hourglass runs through twice as fast as the first. Hourglass sands come from beaches, and that is why our shorelines are receding. Not only does it bring the ocean rushing in, but it also lowers the sky, which is why the sun sets earlier. This leads to depression and seasonal sickness. I recommend fish oil and vitamin  C. They work for me, though I’m also a believer in the power of placebos. I also believe in the power of gazebos, though like gravity, it is the weakest of the four fundamental forces. I’ve got to say, for such a weak force, it can have a doozy of an effect on a body. The four undemental forces are placebos, gazebos, prayers and promises. None can stave off Autumn.

Beach sand is made from broken down baby's teeth, which is why time bites. These are the facts people, and it’s a known fact that facts are 60% fat. You can try to burn it off, but it still goes to your hips. They  call them love handles but you can’t handle love, though you can candle it, though the fat in the candle wax burns an oily black. Once again I recommend vitamin C and fish oil. The C stands for candle and the fish oil is for oily black, which would be the name of a sailer in a book I’m never going to write. I’ve got a library full. Oily Black is the opposite of Ahab; he refuses to share his fire or search for whales. It turns out he can’t swim, or sail for that matter, and his name isn’t Oily Black it’s Sandy Beaches, but his time is running out.

You see how I tied it all together? You see how I  didn’t? I don’t tie knots I tangle threads and sometimes I tangle yarns and sometimes kittens run out and play with it, but I haven’t seen the kittens in a while. Perhaps they’ve turned to cats or perhaps they’ve turned to unicorns. Impossible you say? What, you didn’t say that? Well I heard someone say something, at some point. My point is that you can’t spell can’t without cat. n’ the n’ is all that remains. Of course n’ is always bringing along a friend, which is a nice way to go, if you don’t mind company. Which is why I always keep live dynamite strapped to my chest. I lit it one time, and it turned out only to be love candles, lit from both ends. There was a lot of oily smoke (A gambler character from a series of books I never wrote) and melted wax that left me with second degree burns, though it felt a lot warmer than that. Must have been measured in Celsius. Far n’ height is how I measure the weather, and it’s a tall storm a few miles away.

--Dan Kilian

Note: This was the program from my show at Fat Baby 9/29/13. I think like six people showed, leading me to my decision that it is time to retire from live performance. 

Here’s What I Was Thinking At 5:30 Today When I Should Have Been Sleeping

Listening to Sunn O)))



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Winston Churchill Talks To Barack Obama About Anthony Weiner Via Tom Friedman

Today we are pleased to have Tom Friedman as a guest columnist.* Or DO WE? Because he’s writing one of those crazy columns where he takes on the voice of some other prominent politician writing a letter! Actually, it’s two voices!

Here is an excerpt from correspondence between Winston Churchill and Barack Obama about the unwinding campaign of Anthony Weiner. —T.F. 

Dear President Obama,

’ello, gov’nor! Actually it’s ’ello, President, isn’t it? Wot wot! Cheerio! It is I, Winston Churchill, writing through a time machine to comment on the New York mayoral race. That Weiner really stepped in it, didn’t ’e? You might think that, world leader to world leader, talking via interdimensional correspondence and all the blimey crazy goin’ on in the world and wot wot that I’d ’ave more important things to talk about than the peccadillos of a New York City perv-olitician (I made up that word, got a bleedin’ trademark from beyond the grave, I do!), but in fact it speaks to me favorite concept, that the world is flat! I knew it all the way back in 1932, I did I did! 

See, Weiner needed to outsource his sexual needs . In the olden days, wot wot, he’d go to the knocking-shop in the ol’ red-light district. But today we’ve got the Internet, and the whorehouse is now the WORLD house. He can be shacking up with willing ladies from India, China, wherever, because the world is flat. An’ it’s all ones and zeros, it is, so no syphilis for Weiner’s old boy! 

I know what you’re thinking. “WHAT?” (Wot wot.) You’re sayin’ “What’s this ol’ Brit know about the Internet?” Let me assure you, if I can send time-machine letters from beyond the grave, I get the Internet. Everything in the afterworld is run on computers, it is. Bit like being in ’ell.


Winston C’urc’ill

Dear Prime Minister Churchill,

I agree with everything you’re saying. The world is flat. We can eat dates from Madagascar and kiwi from China using a fork made from a three-dimensional printer. What used to be the information age is now the infor-ACTION age. The banana peel we used to throw out the window is now coming out of the trapdoor in the middle of the floor! Watch out you don’t slip on it, or overlook the opportunity it presents, because some kid in India is going to turn that peel into the next iPhone! 

I also think that the Nobel Prize should be awarded to the military. The Egyptian military! But enough about international matters, because now it’s the opposite of what Tip O’Neill said: All politics isn’t local, all locales are global! Which is why Anthony Weiner was foolish to apologize for his online sexting, and especially foolish to act like it was all behind him. He should have said he was outsourcing his sex life, increasing efficiency so he could do more work at home. He’s a sexual entrepreneur. 

Actually he’s an AUNT-repreneur, because more and more women are on the cutting edge in local/global flatworlding. It’s our daughters, our sisters, and our parents’ sisters who are paving the way for a greener, more connected world, even if some of them are doing it by typing out sexual scenarios (I call them sexnarios) for guys like Weiner. Okay, he can’t be an AUNT-repreneur, because he’s almost certainly a guy. Like everybody else in the world, I’ve seen his penis. It’s like Tip O’Neill would have said, “All penis is global.” 


President Barack Obama

Dear President Obama,

I bleedin’ agree with everythin’ you’re sayin’! The walls ’ave come down an’ we’re all dancin’ naked in each other’s livin’ rooms, so we all better be gettin’ cybertans! The new economy is the grew economy is the green economy is the penis economy. The subtext of the sex text is the pretext for me prix fixe! Only the sex-texters will be able to edit the next draft of ’istory. The only thing that isn’t flat is me trousers!

By the by, don’t worry, I was never upset about you returnin’ me bust. Glad to see you’re ’ip to the flatglobularity of the world. Now all you’ve got to do is use the power of leadership to get your political opponents to pass legislation they have no interest in passin’. It’s called leadership. Maybe it was easier when there were a bunch o’ bleedin’ Nazis tryin’ to conquer the island. Fight the Nazis or die? No bloody argument there, mate. Maybe you need some Nazis. Wotwotever, just use your leadership powers to get them to pass an immigration bill, right? It’s a cause dear to me heart. You know how I love the golliwogs. 

Tut tut!

Winston C’urc’ill

--Dan Kilian

*Meta to the meta. Take THAT, John Barth!

The Critic Masturbates

Garfield Minus Garfield


Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Randolph set down his magnifying glass and closed his eyes.  How could this be?  The timing of all of the other broods had matched the predictions exactly.  Even the geographic distribution had been spot on.  And yet there on his desk sat living refutation of all of his work.  Cicadas simply didn’t work this way – singletons didn't survive.  And this cicada had been one of thousands reported throughout Central Park.  In the middle of October, no less.

He flipped back through the logs.  Even something as basic as the temperature didn’t make any sense.  The soil was too cold for nymphs to become active.   Even if there was a brood that was completely out of synch with the rest, it shouldn't--

He sat back suddenly.  Hard data on the eastern broods went back about a hundred years.  Anecdotal evidence from newspapers and almanacs was good for fifty more.  What if he went farther back?  What was it Balachandran had said about temperature cycles at the Ipswich conference?  He'd been going on about periodicity in the Little Ice Age, but the time scales were way outside of the range of cicada dormancy.

He brought Balachandran's paper up on his screen.  Figure 12 was fairly compelling – major and minor sets of temperature oscillations, quite regular.  The minor sets came just over a century apart, with the major swing happening about every 660 years.  That put the next big dip at about the present day.  Of course, that could be offset by the radical change in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide over the past hundred years.  But adjusting for that, late springtime temperatures during the dip would be most closely approximated by the temperatures of . . . October.  October of 2015 would feel very much like May of 1350.  That would be a long dormancy indeed.  Interesting.

Out of curiosity, he pulled up a page on global history during the 14th century.  Not much in the Americas, but Europe was another story altogether.  What would the geographic distribution of a 650-year brood be like, he wondered.

When the first buboes started forming in his armpits and groin, he had a fairly good idea

A Molting Cicada - Created at
--Steve Kilian

The Polar Turtle

C is for Kooky