31 December 2011

One Last Post for 2011, Gratitude All-around!

Well, ladies and gents, to put it mildly it has been one hell of a year.

I got fired, established some incredible working relationships with some awesome people, and managed to get a book deal. With all of that in mind, I believe some heartfelt gratitude is in order before the close of the year.

I would try to include this in the final printed work, but I feel that this would be too long. If there is a thank-you, I will likely make it very all-inclusive and terse. This is the best way I feel I can express my deep sentiments of gratitude in a more specific way.

To the people responsible for my termination: thank you. You freed me to do what I really love, even if it doesn't produce a steady paycheck. You know what they say about doing what you love...

To John, Jen, and D., and Cameron: Thank you for offering me the opportunity to work with you. I have learned so much from all of you. It is a privilege and an honor.

To Jeff: Thank you for pointing me in the right direction!

To Kevin: Thanks for starting the Brigade! I enjoy every minute of it!

To all those writers and authors who signed on early for my little anthology project: Thank you for putting your trust in me. You had little to no reason to join me on this venture. I only hope that I can repay that trust in kind in the coming year.

To those who are joining my project now: Thank you. It is incredibly humbling to have so many talented people entrust their work to me.

To Kate and Omnium Gatherum Media: Thank you for taking the chance on this anthology. It is appreciated more than my words can describe here.

To my online friends and acquaintances who have spread the word for my Call for Submissions: You are all amazing! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

To my family: thank you for everything this year. All you have to do is call, and I will find a way to be there for all of you.

Finally, but certainly not least, to my wife. My Cinnamon Girl. I still have no clue why you married me, but your love and support in these trying times has meant the world to me. By some miracle you've managed to keep this house together with your incredible intelligence and goddess-level multitasking skills, and I hope I let you know everyday how much I love and appreciate you. If I'm failing there, just keep this little note in mind. Believe me, I know I don't deserve you, but I'll try to figure out how to get you that Ferrari eventually. Love you, hon.

With that I bid all of you a Happy New Year! If you have not yet, may you find your bliss as I have. If opportunity comes knocking, let it in and embrace it as you would a loved one.

PS: Be on the lookout for "Death to the Brothers Grimm!" in March of 2012!

29 October 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011

Well, it's that time of year again. Once more I shall attempt to bang out a short novel in thirty days.

My only success, Intergalactic Pizza Whores in the 3rd Dimension, has been sitting in my writing directory gathering digital dust. My first attempt, 1NF3RN0, is doing the same. The other three failed projects, I'm just not sure if I'll ever go back to them. All have been my sorry attempts at writing Bizarro novels, and I have to admit to myself: I'm no Carlton Mellick III.

So this year I'm going to take a stab at something more traditional, but with my own twist.

A few months ago I put out a call for submissions for a Bizarro Fairy Tale anthology, and that project is coming along swimmingly. Not a lot of response from the many publishers I've inquired with, but there's definitely a lot of support from the authors who have graciously joined in my venture. I mention this because I think I'm going to go with the idea that spawned the antho to begin with: I'm going to fix a fairy tale.

I know this has been done before, possibly by far more talented writers than I could ever hope to be, but as a publisher friend once told me: take the story and make it your own.

I won't go into specifics about what I have planned (as far as the particular tale), but I will describe how I intend to "fix" it.

I am a D&D junkie. I love rule books. I am the quintessential rules lawyer: if it isn't listed or done the way the book says, then it is wrong. This is what aggravates me about fairy tales in general, or at least the modern depictions (e.g. Disney). So I intend to marry the modern concepts of fantasy with the fairy tale, as well as present more realistic conflict. There will still be a happily ever after, but the characters are going to work for it dammit, and there will be farther-reaching consequences and reasonable explanations for everything.

Am I taking the "magic" out of it? Maybe. But as Chris Knight said "it's a moral imperative."

Yes, I went there.

12 September 2011

In Which I Declare Myself Imperator Vitae of North Carolina

Today the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill on to the Senate that, if passed, would create a (state) constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriage in this state. This does not surprise me, given the ultra-right wing leanings (read: christian with a lower-case “c”) of the south on certain issues.

Personally, no, I have no dog in this fight. I am a 30 years-old heterosexual white male conservative. I have three kids, a cat, and a dog. I am not afraid to pull the “some of my friends are _____” card. My mind works in rationality when it comes to real-world applications. No emotion, just logic.

With that in mind, let's have a little thought experiment on how this little event should play out were I to be the dictator-for-life of North Carolina.

First off, let's examine the concept of marriage. Wikipedia likes to put an emphasis on the “social” and “legal” parts of the definition, while at the same time is unable to offer even a remote origin for the practice. Strange how that works. We have a rough idea of when humans began settling down into the currently accepted model of civilization (+/- a few centuries), but darn it, we just can't pin down that pesky date when we decided that it would be a good thing to engage in monogamous life-long relationships witnessed by the greater community. Anthropologists of the world: your kung-fu is weak.

In my mind, marriage has been and always will be a tradition that finds its origins in the metaphysical and spiritual. It is not a contract. That is a legal term, and law stems from the Hammurabic Code, which we have a definite date of origin for. It is a bond between two people that is based in mutual and enduring love which, as any storyteller will say, conquers all.

Thus, I posit that marriage is above the law. It transcends the law. Regardless of what a bunch of pencil-pushing vote-grabbing narcissists and sycophants would have you believe, there should be no secular law governing the application and indulgence of such a relationship.

Nay, friends, the problem truly lies with material issues, which are governed by contracts and at this time in certain circumstances by marital status. Wills, estates, insurance benefits, medical decisions, etc. are all passed along to your other half with a much smoother transition if a marriage license is presented. This, by my decree, must be done away with. If soulless entities (read: businesses) can enter into mutually beneficial agreements for the distribution of material goods and legal protections, then so too should soul-mates.

So what I propose is this: anyone may enter into a contract with anyone else for the transfer of material possessions and legal authorizations regardless of race, ideology, or sex. In return, my government will stay out of your homes and allow you to pursue life, liberty, and happiness in whatever way you deem best for you. Institutions of religion may continue to selectively choose to recognize (or not) such relationships as is in accordance with their dogma, policy, longstanding tradition, etc.

Your sublime and terrible leader hath spoken.

P.S.: the NC legislature can bite my ass.

16 July 2011

History of Bizarro Part 1: the Early Years

Bizarro. The word is most familiar to comic book fans, referring to the strange world of DC Comics' Superman where everyone and everything is flipped around and distorted including the eponymous Man of Steel's counterpart, who is of course named simply Bizarro.

The references in popular culture abound. Perhaps most famous of all, the episode of the 1990's situation comedy “Seinfeld” where the main characters found their Bizarro counterparts. Tens if not hundreds of mentions and nods to the illogical and mind-bending realm of Bizarro-world came before and after, but none sticks in the public consciousness quite as firmly due to “Seinfeld's” relative popularity.

So why then name a fledgling genre of fiction “Bizarro”? There are many reasons one could list “why not”, but what was the reason a group of small and independent presses decided to place this label on their work?

Publisher Rose O'Keefe (Eraserhead Press) said it best in a 2005 post to the Mondo Bizarro forum (http://mondobizarro.yuku.com/topic/362):

“It's all about the audience. A lot of people love this type of work but have difficulty finding it. They don't even know what to call it. Well, by creating the Bizarro genre this just makes it easier for readers to find Bizarro books and films. It also makes marketing to the Bizarro audience a bit easier.”

Weeks later on the same forum, author Kevin Dole 2 (Tangerinephant) posted an essay entitled “So What the Fuck is this All About?” Some fans and critics have said this piece is a “manifesto”(Dole firmly denies this before the essay begins), when in reality it is a history lesson on the early days before the term “Bizarro” was adopted.

As Dole classified it as “copyleft”, I present the whole of the essay here (http://mondobizarro.yuku.com/topic/968?l=1):

I realize that most of you have probably already read this, but I thought that I'd re-post my essay here for posterity seeing as it was in a way the impetus for this board. Consider it copylefted--- feel free to link to, replicate and distribute as necessary.



but rather, an attempt to shallowly explicate this new genre, whatever it's called, thus far . . .

In October 2001 I sold my first short story to an interesting little journal out of New York named Happy. It was a formally experimental piece with a faux-recursive structure titled "We're Counting On You,"in which a science fiction-ish device is used under the guise of the supernatural to an end so bleakly horrific that it could only be satirical. It featured artificial intelligence, a Pentecostal preacher, S&M, a fraternity party, gay sex, and gerbil sacrifice all in less than 1400 words.

While trolling the dark dungeons of the internet for other places to publish my writing I ran across some zine-ish thing called The Earwig Flesh Factory. It turned out to be published by an outfit called Eraserhead Press, named for a David Lynch pic I still haven't seen. The EHP site listed some more chapbooks but also some novels (with ISBNs and everything!), mostly by some guy named Carlton Mellick III.(I didn't know it then, and if you're still reading this chances are that you don't know, that Carl Mellick is both the Johnny Appleseed and the Johnny Rotten of this thing I am trying to explain. He's also our Nyarlathothep and thankfully, NOT our Neal Cassady. I could also rightfully compare Carl to both R. Crumb and Beavis, but Carl is uniquely Carl, and despite that fact manages to make a living.) The books had weird cover art and ridiculously provocative titles like Satan Burger. What the fuck was this all about? I email the guy and he told me that EFF was kaput, but that I should check out their webzine The Dream People, which the website said was about perverted sex fantasies. Ummm . . . no thanks.

Instead, I sent my writing to every listing in Writer's Market that claimed to be interested in "adventurous" and "experimental" fiction. With the notable exception of Happy, I received nothing but rejection upon rejection. The few non-form rejections indirectly asked, What the fuck is this all about?

By Summer of 2002 when "We're Counting On You" finally saw print, I was putting the finishing touches on my first novel, Tangerinephant. It's about an advertising executive in a make-believe future where the relentless pursuit of money is the only force keeping society together and people cybernetically modify themselves to have really weird sex. From this my Tangerinephant is abducted by deranged aliens who force him to reenact bad daytime TV from the 20th century. You could call Tangerinephant sci-fi, except there's no science in it. The action was kind of surrealist, but things followed logic, mostly. The language was aggressively experimental, still intelligible. The plot seemed absurdist, but it had a happy ending and was concerned with character development. It was a book that I was proud of but could not imagine the publisher who would risk printing it. Ace Science Fiction? My main character came equipped with what can only be described an "anal blade." Grove Press? They seem rather content to keep republishing the formerly radical books they bought in the 60s whose authors are now dead and can no longer collect royalties. McSweeneys? They're actually pretty cool, but like to publish books that stand a chance of getting reviewed in the New York Times. Xlibris? Please-- I wasn't that desperate.

The following November an editor friend of mine told me about a contest being run by some web publication called Bold Type, the only criteria be that the story needed to be under the word limit and prominently feature a fish. BT turned out to be owned by Random House, but hey, they were "bold" right? So I went for it. My entry was a funny little story called "The Sainted Lady of the Sea" which featured not only a fish, but a really big fish with a vagina! Also therein were global warming, mermaid mythology, and randy pirates who make surprisingly moral decisions.

I never heard back from BT. A later reader would call my story "just plain nasty and vile," which made my think again of The Dream People. By then it had apparently been taken in a whole new direction. So I submitted, and they liked it, as they would later like a story of mine, conceived as the script of a comic book, about Ernest Hemingway breeding giant killer housecats as he descends into alcoholic oblivion. This kind of acceptance prompted me to take another look at EHP, which had spun off TDP to another press entirely. Apparently Carl had gotten tired of every weirdo with a manuscript knocking on his door and told them to start their own damn companies if they wanted to see their work printed so badly, so that's exactly what John Edward Lawson and Jennifer Barnes did, setting up an outfit called RawDog Screaming Press. Also, it turned out that EHP was running a first book contest.

So I entered. And waited.

In the meantime it started to dawn on me that something was brewing.
New venues for what had been previously unpublishable started to pop
up all around me. There was Bastard Fiction (R.I.P.); The New Absurdist and bizarrEbooks (R.I.P.? Resurrected? Who knows?); a goth-ish affair called The Dodsley Pages. Kevin Donihe was asking people for weird story about walruses--excuse me, walri--- and The Dream People had become a rather fertile spawning ground. Soon, I was guest-editing an issue. I was in the middle of a new literary scene, witnessing the emergence of a new genre of fiction that some call "bizarre," others "irreal," or "new absurdism."

So, you ask, What the Fuck Is This All About?

Allow me to explain by way of example. Harlan Ellison was never a fan of the phrase "science fiction," at least not when applied to his own work. A more appropriate term, he felt, would be "surreal fantasy." After all, even though the bad guy in "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" was supercomputer, it might as well have been the devil. Nor did H.P. Lovecraft like it when people called his stories "supernatural"--he preferred "weird fiction"--because what did his hateful cosmic nightmares have to do with Victorian ghosts and goblins? And William S. Burroughs was not, despite what any prosecutor said, no matter how explicit Naked Lunch got, a pornographer.

Those writers to not belong to us, but in some ways we clearly belong to them, to the extent that we belong at all. On the Venn diagramof literature I place us at the point where all the disreputable (and some reputable) genres overlap. We're kind of sci-fi, but more concerned with the aesthetics of technology than material prediction; magical realism with a little too much of the former and not enough of the latter; horror more interested in the grotesque than the macabre; stuff that would be pornographic if it were in any way an attempt to be sexually titillating. Very dark, but often funny, and while not always in consensus with objective reality, making sense when taken on its own terms. This stuff embraces the elbow room won by post-modernism while tending to be entirely unacademic. We mix our metaphors when we feel like it. D. Harlan Wilson may have a PhD in literary theory and most of us have a decent grasp of it, but we try not to be snobs or assholes about it.

On New Year's Eve 2003 I learned that I did not win the EHP 1st novel contest, but I came close. Rose O'Keefe (by now EHP's "dominatrix in chief") told me that they'd like to publish Tangerinephant anyway. That never happened, because, as Nick Mamatas likes to put it "writers make lousy accountants," but Carl & Rose were kind enough to put me in touch with Karen Townsend, who was starting up her own press called Afterbirth Books. Another runner-up in the 2003 contest, Alyssa Sturgill's Spider Pie got picked up by RDSP.

As I write this my book is in print and many more like it are in production, from myself, from writers I've mentioned in this essay, and from people I haven't even heard of. This little rant may be over, but this new type of literature, whatever you call it, is just beginning.

-Kevin Dole 2
June 19th, 2005

To be continued...

11 July 2011

Achievment Unlocked

We live in an age where everything has to have a list of achievements attached to it. Why shouldn't Bizarro fiction? Thanks to Stevie for pointing me in the direction of the Achievement Generator!

30 May 2011

On Memorial Day

Ahh, Memorial Day. Yet one more (and often the first) excuse for Joe Average American citizen to break out the grill and down some frosty barley pop. Like so many of our nationally-recognized holidays it is often forgotten (or at least pushed to the back of our minds) why we are celebrating.

From the wikipedia article, Memorial Day:

"is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. First enacted by formerly enslaved African-Americans to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars."

Some would also say that all wars should not be remembered. Bollocks, I say. My father served in Vietnam. He made it out, but a lot of good men who served beside him did not. Before you start with all the 60's and 70's rhetoric about we should have never been there in the first place, let me remind you: My father chose to serve. Just like the men and women in harm's way today in the Middle East. They did not choose where they would go. They chose to take an oath:

"I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Paraphrasing from one of my favorite games (Metal Gear Solid 3): Politicians make the wars. Soldiers go where they are ordered. An enemy today could likely be an ally tomorrow. Regardless of the reasons and what history may say, these people died in honoring that oath. For that we should be thankful and ultimately grateful.

If Memorial Day should be treated as with a funeral or memorial service, are we getting the whole thing wrong by throwing a party, shopping, attending sporting events and the like? Or are we getting it right by indulging in the freedoms paid for in blood? Which is more appropriate?

I say that like all things right and good in our nation, it is a matter of choice. We have the individual liberty to treat this occasional as a solemn and somber day, or we have the choice to celebrate in the way most meaningful to us. Whether this is in the mall, by the graveside, or at home matters little. What should be most important is that as we participate in these activities we choose, we always keep in mind that someone we likely never met has made that ultimate sacrifice so that we could do these things.

History remembers the generals. It is our responsibility to remember those who were under their command. However you choose to do that, have a great Memorial Day.

27 March 2011

Perhaps I should learn the secrets of hopscotch...

Once again, it is that time. Time for yet another trip into the twisted mind that belongs to the Pueschel. It's 4:00 am EDT, I have the Cocteau Twins' first album (1982's Garlands) playing as I type. The stage is set, let the act begin.

This week, death is in my thoughts. Unlike most, death is something I (and my family) are intimately familiar with. Since the age of, oh say, eleven or twelve I have had to deal with the fragility of life in all its many stages. My grandmother in her twilight, my sister in her dawn; other family and friends representing the ages in between.

Nothing makes me more depressed than considering my own mortality. I never want to die. Not out of fear of what lies beyond (no point in getting worked up over that) but rather because I want to watch the grand drama of history unfold. I want all the knowledge of the universe open to me. Death, in my mind, is the closing of a really good book before everything is resolved. Well, closing the book and then tossing it in the fire, after which the ashes are buried in an undisclosed location under six feet of soft peat.

If given the chance I would go full prosthetic. No, not cut off my limbs and replace them with the cheap imitations commonly issued. Replace my whole body with a machine. It has not been done, and likely won't before I finally shuffle off, but it's nice to dream.

So, what has me in such a morbid frame of mind this week? Well it seems that celebrities of all types are dropping like flies this month. Nate Dogg, Elizabeth Taylor, and just today Geraldine Ferraro are but three examples of famous people who've died in recent weeks. There are so many that it defies that old assertion that celebrity deaths come in threes. Then couple that with the fact that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (Captain Kirk and Mister Spock of Star Trek fame) both turned 80(!) in the past week. (Before you ask, yes I am still a Star Trek fan though I haven't done more than watch the odd episode of Enterprise on SyFy in recent years.)

Why should celebrity birthdays and death dates concern me so much? Because when the rich and famous die it is a blantant in-your-face reminder that eventually the cold hand comes for us all. There is no escape. As the old saying goes the only certainties in life are death and taxes, and when someone who can buy a small country keels over the idea is reinforced that much more. Well, that and the twenty-four hour coverage of the corpse on CNN. They love dead celebrities during slow news cycles. But I digress.

What about when they have birthdays? Especially for ages sixty-plus? You are reminded that even your icons are mortal and that time has them under the screws just as much as you. Yeah, some of them will defy average life expectancy, even tell death to kindly wait a few more decades (I mean YOU Dr. Hawking), but eventually all of us experience that sinking feeling when we hear about a favorite celebrity's death.

Just to be clear, I haven't really been fans of any of the people who recently died, but they did get me going on this tangent.

Give me a good anonymous war in some distant corner of the world. Genocide I can deal with. It's impersonal. It is cold facts. Individuals you know and love to some degree are much harder to push out of mind with logic.

Well, that's enough rambling for one week. Maybe next week we'll do some fiction excerpt. We shall see.

Until next week, be excellent to each other.

20 March 2011

Excuses, excuses. A likely story, even.

Well, it's been three weeks since my last post. Falling down on those resolutions, but I have a good reason.

I've been really, really, really busy. And it's all work related.

See, after the previously posted-about deposing of my boss someone had to fill the vacuum at least temporarily. So guess who did all the work minus the salary and title? That's right. Me.

But that's okay. We now have a new boss. A better boss. Someone who realizes that our business is dependent on people, both inside and out. And while I'm still doing the job, it's only to transition them into the position so that I can go back to being the hourly support guy. I like being the patch-up guy. I held things together, and now we are on track to repair some damage.

On the news:

Japan may be a major economic power, but holding out donations of kinds based on that is stupid. That would be like saying New Orleans didn't need help after Katrina or the BP incident because they are part of the largest national economy in the world. Even the richest man in the world can trip and fall. Should we just walk on by?

If you said yes, then you are part of the greater problem of the world: ignorance. Ignoring problems and being ignorant of them does not make them go away. The ostrich syndrome only applies to a significant other's past sexual exploits. Even the most extreme of liberal causes have some grain of truth and necessity to them.

You know, now I'm incoherently rambling. Give me another week to get my head on straight. Then we can discuss this in more rational and logical terms.

In honor of the recent St. Patrick's Day holiday and in keeping with promising a fun post last time, I give you dancing monkeys:

27 February 2011

The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

"... we choked 'em with those words. We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty. Just a little while longer. Our angels are gonna be soaring overhead, raining fire..."

- Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly (pilot episode: Serenity)

Most people will recognize the title of this post from various period films/shows/theatrical productions because it is usually used by some background character to announce the death of a regent. Historically it was used less as an announcement of death and more to assert the continuation of the dynasty, i.e. though the current king is deceased, his heir stands ready to assume the mantle. Well, that is exactly what happened this week at work.

I will warn everyone that what follows may sound a bit arrogant, or worse self-important horn-tooting. I don't like that, but even with my grasp of the English language there was no way around it.

I'll not go into details about my employer, or all the specific grievances that the other employees and myself had with our boss. Suffice it to say that there was a serious lack of real leadership. The above quote perfectly reflects how the ball got rolling on the situation. The crew went to our boss' boss and poured out their problems. Our customers did the same. When the upper echelon finally had the information, I was told you could see the fires of rage in their eyes. There were, of course, policies/standards/procedures that had to be followed (they didn't just walk in and channel George Carlin saying "Get the FUCK OUT OF HERE!"), but once all the t's were crossed and lower case j's dotted the individual was terminated. Unlike the last time my direct superior had to be removed, I had little-to-nothing to do with it. Was it a mutiny? After a fashion, I suppose it was.

Now all of this would not have been possible if I had not said that I would assume the boss' duties. There is currently a dearth of qualified (read: trained and ready) individuals to take the job, so the reality was that either I reluctantly took over, or continued to suffer with the rest of my people. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.

I said above that the core root cause was a lack of real leadership. While I don't feel that I am the picture-perfect representation of such, I will go into what I feel are the simple rules for effectively leading a group of other human beings.

1. Put yourself last.

I was raised on the notion that the "officers eat last". This is not just a literal meal time rule, but an ideal for prioritizing your needs. Your people should always come first, even if you must starve yourself. This applies to your family, your job, and anywhere else you have a leadership role. Real leaders suffer so that their people may succeed.

2. Place trust and respect in your people, until such time as they breach that trust.

This is more a job-specific rule. Trust and respect should be earned in life, but in a situation such as being thrust into a leadership position with a new group of people you will have to throw out freebies. Whether your people respect you or not in return is an entirely different matter.

3. Never ask your subordinates to do anything you will not/have not do[ne] yourself first.

This is self-explanatory. If you're not willing to get into the trenches and get your hands dirty, how can you honestly expect anyone else to do it for you? This goes a long way towards building upon the trust you hand out from rule #2.

4. Maintain high expectations for your people, but hold yourself to a higher standard.

Personal accountability is something that I feel is lacking in today's society. That's not to say it is gone altogether, just misplaced. Push your people to do better, and often they will out of a sense of personal pride (this goes back to the blanket respect clause). Just remember, whatever standard you hold for them, your personal standard must be higher. You must set the example.

5. With great power comes great responsibility.

Channeling my inner geek here, Stan Lee's immortal words (like most universal truths) ring true in many situations, but most especially in leadership roles. You are not there to rule as a tyrant. At best you are a guide, showing people how to get the most out of themselves. Further, you must be willing to put yourself in harm's way to protect those under your command.

6. Maintain a friendly, but comfortable distance.

You may have to remove someone for the betterment of the group. Getting too close can cloud your judgment. Take a genuine interest in your people, sincerely care about their lives, but always keep in mind that the survival of the group as a whole must always be the primary concern. Objectivity is difficult to maintain, but paramount.

7. Know when it is time to step aside.

Going back to the title of this post: There always comes a time when the reins of leadership need to be passed on. Death/dismemberment/incarceration/retirement, these are just a few extreme examples. Suffice it to say that if at any time you feel you can not fulfill the above rules, get out and let someone else do it.

I am sure there are other things that could be said. There are enough books on the subject to fill an entire library. I prefer to keep it simple. I hope that it's enough to carry me through the coming weeks and months, or however long this position is entrusted to me.

Tune in next week for some off-kilter fun posting. Not sure exactly what, but nothing so serious as this.

Until then, keep your heads low everyone.

23 February 2011

Busy week...

I was going to fill this space with my treatise on leadership, but given my circumstances this week it will have to wait. Stay tuned. If you haven't already seen the show, go watch "Firefly". Great example of effective leadership in Mal Reynolds.

13 February 2011

Soothing the savage beast...

I've noticed that since changing my news feed options on Facebook, a lot of people I know like to put up links to music videos. While it's not as great a method of finding new music as say, Pandora, but it does give me insight into what makes others tick. For instance: if you were to link up the latest Lady Gaga video, I might have to assume one of two options. One, you are an idiot; Two, you were bitten by the pop music bug (insectus notalentus) and in the resulting fever lost all grip on reality and were driven to link up the track for all your friends to see. (It's okay. We've all put something on social venues we probably wish we hadn't in hindsight.)

Continuing on the subject of music, those of you who've known me long enough are aware that I am extremely particular when it comes to what I listen to. It all boils down to this: I know what sounds good to me. You will probably disagree with me as much as I will disagree with you. When it comes to base genres I will not listen to contemporary country, and Christian-themed music in all its many forms (Gospel, Rap, Rock, etc.). Everything else I will give a chance before I say "meh". (Yes, even pop.)

Here's an example: My dear friend Rich became enamored of the rave scene years back (though I think he's outgrown most of that crap). As such he was always introducing me to new forms of electronic/techno. Ninety-five percent of it I could not stand. The remaining five percent belonged to the much-maligned subset of "Big Beat" techno; e.g. the Chemical Brothers, the Prodigy, Aphex Twin, et. al. While most would ask "what's the difference?" I could not then or now give you a rational answer. It just feels "right" and everything else feels "wrong".

There are a few core elements of what I feel is right, though. Unique instrumentation in non-traditional settings, like Korn's occasional bagpipes and Cornershop's heavy use of sitar. Harmonized vocals, whether it is multiple singers (the Beach Boys) or layering of one voice (Queen). Unusual timing (think Tool and Nine Inch Nails) I also find to be quite enjoyable. Also, older is not necessarily better, but I tend to enjoy a wide range of periods from early medieval (Mediaeval Baebes) to classical, and all the way through modern arrangements.

Well, I think I've rambled long enough. Now I'll share a few tracks that I've been listening to heavily for the past few months. Maybe in another few weeks I throw some more up.

1. Puscifer - "Indigo Children (JLE Dub Mix)" from V is for Viagra: The Remixes (2008)

This is one of those rare tracks where I prefer the remix to the original album cut. For those who don't know, Puscifer is Maynard James Keenan's (lead vocalist for Tool) other side project.

2. Peter Gabriel - "The Tower that Ate People (Remix)" from the Red Planet OST (2000)

Yeah, another remix, but this one stands alone better than the original.

3. Cocteau Twins - "Love's Easy Tears" from Love's Easy Tears EP (1986)

Just a beautiful track. You can't make out most of the lyrics, but for me that is part of the appeal. You may recognize Elizabeth Fraser's unique vocal stylings from the more recent "Teardrop" by Massive Attack (a.k.a. the "House" theme).

4. U2 -"Numb" from Zooropa (1993)

Yes, Bono's a piece of shit. We all know that. On this track, however, he is relegated to backing vocals where he belongs.

5. The Jesus and Mary Chain - "Snakedriver" from The Crow: OMPS (1994)

The whole of "The Crow" soundtrack is solid. This is just one of my favorites.

6. Afro Celt Sound System - "Life Begin Again" from Volume 3: Further in Time (2001)

The Afro Celt's third album featured two tracks with famous guest vocals, "When You're Falling" featured Peter Gabriel (another favorite) and this track featuring Robert Plant.

Hope you enjoyed that short playlist. Until next week, kids!

06 February 2011

Things I've Learned This Week

I hope this week finds everyone well. I am currently reading D. Harlan Wilson's "Codename Prague", and Bradley Sands' "It Came From Below the Belt"(Hurry! It's out-of-print and Amazon has only 2 copies in stock as of this post!). D does not disappoint in this second book in the Scikungfi Trilogy (I'll review it in full when I'm finished), and contrary to what this e-anthology has to say Bradley Sands is not a dick. Well, maybe he is, but his writing is great.

And now for something completely different:

I may not be the most religious man in the world. In fact, as you can probably tell by the title of this blog and previous posts, I prefer to make fun of religion as much as I can. Does that mean I think your faith is ridiculous and stupid? No. Everyone believes in something greater than themselves (even atheists!) and that faith can be a good thing. Keeps one humble for starters, but I digress. The point I'd like to make is that no matter what foundation your faith is built upon you can agree with me that in all probability when you shuffle off this mortal coil, if there is a life hereafter the least you get to take with you is your life experience and knowledge. So for me, knowledge is more important than anything else.

With that in mind, I'd like to share some of the things I learned this week.

First, I got a five minute education in the details of the United Kingdom:

Feel smarter already? Well, let's keep the ball rolling! Shall we?

Next, a friend on Facebook posted a link to something on Moveon.org's site concerning a Republican congressman who wanted to change the definition of rape. Of course, being conservative, I was intrigued. It turns out that House of Representatives Bill 3: The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act is an appropriations bill, or rather a lack of it. Put simply: the bill wants to make sure that taxpayer dollars are not used to pay for abortions. I'm sure you figured that out from the title. The "rape definition" comes from Section 309-1 which is actually saying that they WILL pay for an abortion in the case of rape or incest. Now, in trying to argue that this was not a change in criminal law I learned a lot about the federal government's take on rape (namely U.S.C. Title 18, Part I, Section 109A). Seems to me that the feds have the same opinion of rape that most civilized people do, i.e. it's not a good thing and should be punished by death (or at the least a lengthy prison sentence).

In doing all that arguing I also learned that I hate women, that all women want to carry babies, and that I don't consider incest a form of rape. Hold on, no, that was somebody else somehow implying from what I said that I believed all that. Silly me. (And no, I will not repeat the conversation. It is long, drawn out, and full of ignorance.)

Well, I hope everyone has learned something useful from this. Class dismissed until next week.

30 January 2011

Events of the Week & "An Evening Out"

Hello again, everyone. Time for the weekly post.

Lots of exciting things going on. In reference to last week's post, all but two of the books I've ordered have arrived. I read Jordan Krall's Fistful of Feet, almost done with King Scratch, halfway through David Agranoff's Screams from a Dying World, finished Gina Ranalli's Wall of Kiss, and plan to start Christian TeBordo's Better Ways of Being Dead this week.

There's some other news, but it's family related and I do not believe I'm at liberty to reveal that quite yet. Waiting for the confirmation that everyone else has heard about it first.

Once again I was visited by Jehova's Witnesses, and once again I was annoyed. I was about two seconds away from throwing them the "Can I tell you about my Lord Satan?" or rolling my eyes into the back of my head and espousing the dark virtues of dead Lord Cthulu (long may He sleep) when I was saved by the wife. I am entirely too diplomatic.

Then we have the whole world watching Egypt. It's about time someone other than the US started a national uprising. When humans rise up of their own free will to exercise their inherent rights to freedom, I am a happy camper.

Now from the Pueschel's craptastic-why-did-I-waste-time-writing-this file I give you (and pardon the formatting, openoffice and blogger don't seem to mesh very well):

"An Evening Out"

It's been so long since I had a nice quiet evening with a lady. It would be a longer time still until I would actually have one. She's so lovely too. Deep blue eyes you just want to crawl into. Long auburn hair so soft it might not even feel like it's there. Too bad it's probably going to be a looonnngg night. Oh well. Might as well start up some conversation.

“So, this is a nice place.”
Oh shit. There's one now.

“Yeah, has a nice atmosphere.”
She certainly took that well.

“Wanna tell me why you just shot that man?”
Really well.

“He was a ninja.”
She raises an eyebrow, “A... ninja?”

“Yeah, my grandfather pissed off a whole clan of them back during the war.”
“So they want to kill... you?”, the eyebrow still stands at attention.

Oh fuck.
Look around, everyone staring as usual, but no objections.

“Yeah something like that. They got grandad years back. Poor guy, he was in the bathroom. They just keep coming, though. Sins of the father and all that.”

She leans back in the chair, eyebrow resting for the moment, “What about your dad?”
Ow. Barrel of the gun tries to blister my leg through the napkin on my lap. I've go to remember to bring along a hand towel or something next time.

“They'll get him eventually. They've backed off on him. Prefer to focus on me. Fortunately I'm the last.”

Is that? Maybe?
“How many have you killed?”
Collect my thoughts. Check the clip. Ten rounds.

“Sorry, ummm... that makes three tonight.”
She gives me that uniquely feminine “you dumbass” look, “I mean altogether.”

Pop the clip back in. Quickly feel under my jacket for the spares.
“I dunno. Couple hundred maybe.”

“Doesn't it take years to train a ninja?”
What's with all the damn questions? I mean yeah, having a contract on your head is interesting, but it's a pretty straightforward thing.

“Normally, yeah.”
They're not backing off tonight. Oh well.

“So where are they coming from?”
Duh. Japan. Where all the honor-bound psycho killer ninjas come from. I'm really starting to think trying to get laid isn't worth it anymore.

“Not real sure, actually. I think dad and grandad got all the really good ones. I think they just pull anybody off the street nowadays. I know for damn sure I'm not good enough to take on real master ninjas.” I look to the gun in my lap, “Especially with a pea shooter like this.”

“Must make life interesting for you.”
Yeah, yeah. Real fucking interesting. Haven't slept a full night in years, not to mention relationship difficulties. I probably shouldn't mention that.

“Eh... Not really. You get over the adrenaline rush of killing another human being after the first hundred or so. Now its like putting on your socks.”

“That's cold.”
No shit.
“The truth usually is. So. You want some wine? Try the house vintage, it's exceptional.”

Dammit, here comes another one. She may be on to something. Where the hell DO they get all these guys?
“I dunno... This is really weird.”

Reach behind me. Get the second gun.
“Nah, nah, come on. Here. I brought one for you too. If you see any waiters coming at me with a steak knife, just point and click. Like checking e-mail.”

Like checking e-mail? Where do I come up with this crap?
“Look, I'm sure you're a really nice guy...”
Here we go...

“I've heard that one before.”
Mother Fucker!
“But I should probably go...”

Like I didn't see that coming. Well, guess I better warn her.
“Well, alright. I understand. Look, just remember you've been seen with me, so they'll probably come after you too.”

Her eyes light up, “Excuse me?”
“Yeah, you know. Hostage situation. Just giving you a heads up.”
“But I barely know you...”
"Yeah, well, they don't know that. They should. But they don't”

“What am I going to do?”
“Well, the way I see it, you've got two options. One, taken from the cheesy action film bible, you stay with me and stay alive.”

“And option two?”
“Take the gun and go home. They'll quit bothering you after the first five or so you take out. Should blow over for you by morning.”

“But I don't want to kill anybody.”
How many times have I seen that flabbergasted look?
“They want to kill you. Head down!”

“I don't care!”
“Neither do they.”
“Fine. Look. Just take me home.”
Throw number two back in its place. Now for the most important question...
“Do you get sick on rollercoasters?”
“Good. Just checking.”

23 January 2011

Post-mortem: Afterbirth

I tried to come up with something new this week. Well, that didn't work. Sure there's plenty of stuff irritating me, there always is. The local NAACP chapter is being more of a disservice to the community than a help; American Idol started again and that always annoys me; and work sucks. I think that you don't want to read me whining about things that are far beyond my powers to change. So I guess I'll go to something more positive, and perhaps a little spammy.

First some background. A little over a year ago (2009, actually) one of the publishers I try to promote had to close up shop, Afterbirth Books. I won't go into details about the whys and wherefores, as it is not my place to say. Suffice it to say this was quite a shame, as all of the books they have put out are excellent and deserve a wider readership. As of this past December that will not be possible as their entire catalog went out-of-print.

So how is the closing of an awesome outlet for some highly creative authors a positive thing? In some ways it is not. A lot of readers will now never know the absurd joy of Ray Fracalossy's Tales From the Vinegar Wasteland or the wild and weird trip that is Gina Ranalli's Chemical Gardens. Then there's Vic Mudd's Deity, and Vincent W. Sakowski's Not Quite One of the Boys. In all, 19 titles that are now on the endangered species list.

When the news came it hit me like a punch to the gut, then there was the big "Oh shit." that ran through my mind. I had spent roughly a year not buying any books from my wishlist, even though the Afterbirth titles were at the highest priority. With the out-of-print announcement it seemed my procrastination had finally cost me dearly. When it comes to my books I am quite the obsessive-compulsive. Maybe that's not the right term, but it's the closest I can think of right now.

So we come now to how all this anxiety and fear are a good thing: because it gave me the perfect justification to purchase the handful of their titles yet to make it into my collection. Thanks to some generous friends and family at Christmas, the remaining titles are on the way and I couldn't be more excited. Sure, I could have bought the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader like I had originally planned, but I'm still a fan of paper and to my knowledge the Nook has yet to become obsolete and out-of-production.

Most of you reading this know me personally out in the analog realm, and know all too well how strange I am. If you looked at my primary Amazon wishlist it becomes even more apparent that "the boy ain't right". That's okay. I've been comfortable with my quirks for a very long time, and you still associate with me despite this. But if I might ask a favor:

Go to Amazon and purchase a Bizarro Starter Kit anthology. There are three (Orange, Blue, and Purple). I would suggest the BSK:Orange as it was my first and I believe best represents the core of what Bizarro is. Also it features a couple of the aforementioned out-of-print titles. Read it, don't read it, that's up to you. If you decide not to, then pass it on to someone who you think will. Also, I know all too well that money is an issue for everyone nowadays, so I understand if you can't. All I can do is ask.

The stories are exceptionally weird, and I'll admit not for everyone. That can't be helped, and is in fact one of the selling points. I ask this of you because I do not want to see these stories die. They are exceptionally creative and engaging in a way that mass-market fiction can not hope to imitate, and if I had the know-how and financial means to do so, I would love to resurrect all of Afterbirth's titles myself. Lord knows I have the time. Regrettably, this won't happen, so instead I'll just ask you all to help me further immortalize a small part of Afterbirth as best I know how.

Until next week, be well.

15 January 2011

The Family Tree

Before the fiction begins, I just wanted to thank everyone who've been stopping by and offering their two cents. It's good to know my words are being seen by anyone other than myself.

Also, in keeping with the resolutions, I need to play a little catch-up. I have read a new book and listened to a new album.

The book is Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. Here's the review I put on Goodreads:

Reading this book was difficult. Not because of any grammatical or narrative flow issues, but rather I had to stop after every few paragraphs or quotes to finish laughing before continuing. It is, as Chelsea Handler is quoted on the cover, "ridiculously hilarious".

Justin Halpern's family reminds me of my own. A little dysfunctional in a fun way. Each anecdote reminded me in some small way of my own father, and my own experience growing up with him. While my dad will reserve his more colorful language for moments of extreme irritation, like Sam Halpern he is a man of principle and possessed of his own unique wisdom.

While I am not usually inclined to purchase NY Times bestsellers, having been a fan of the original Twitter feed I could not resist picking up this gem. It is touching in a weird way, and a good laugh all the way through. A short, but solid collection of wit, wisdom, and humor.

As to the music selection, it was Alice in Chains' 1990 debut Facelift. The one single everyone will be familiar with is "Man in the Box". Honestly, I was not impressed with the album as a whole. The aforementioned track is really the only one (to me) that expresses the depth of Chains' talent and sound. Their 1994 EP Jar of Flies for the moment remains my favorite.

And now, may I present for your reading enjoyment, "The Family Tree":

It was a perfect day down on the farm. Wide-open spaces everywhere you looked. Blue skies, green grass. A picturesque farmhouse right out of a Rockwell. Out front, under an old oak tree, sat a young lad of not quite ten.

Alone, the boy had his multi-tool knife in hand, a thumb-thick twig in the other. Slowly, meticulously, he cut away the unwanted wood with the swish-chip that was more tactile than actual sound.

Swish-chip. Swish-chip. Swish-chip.

He leaned against the base of the oak and sighed a little, admiring his work. The boy twisted his wrist this way and that, examining his craft from every angle. He wasn't sure what it was going to be, but he knew it would be something good.

Ever so gently, a nearly-naked branch creaked and bent around to the boy's level near the ground. The cluster of twigs at the end wound around like a hairpin, bringing into focus the only leaves on the limb. They grouped in the shape of a face, like a medieval woodcut of the green man, though feminine in form.

Without so much as causing the boy to raise his eyebrows, the wind rose and passed through the leaves, giving the face a rustling voice familiar to his young ears.

“So, what're you doing there, hon?”


“On what?”

“A twig you and the family dropped this morning.”

“Really? And what are you making?”, the branch pulled in close to get a better look.

The boy held the twig between his thumb and forefinger, staring at it intently as he spoke, “Well, I'm really not sure. I'm just kinda letting my hands do what they feel is right.”

More of the ancient oak's branches began gathering over the boy's head. The collection of visages were silent as the wind could only blow one direction at a time. A grizzled, spanish moss-bearded branch joined the others.

The branch addressed the newcomer, “What do you think, Dad?”

The grandpa branch twisted up, down, and all around. He looked at every bit of the boy's handiwork before giving his two cents, “Looks like a peanut to me.”

The boy laughed heartily, “Grandpa! It's not a peanut!”

The branch came to within an inch of the boy's nose, “And how do you know? You just said you weren't sure what you were doing!”

He kept giggling, “Well, I know it's not a peanut.”

The grandpa-branch turned to the other branch, “He's your son. Why'd you ask me for?”

The stodgy old branch ruffled his leaves in irritation. He went back to facing the sun's warmth near the top of the old oak.

Before anything else could be said, the boy's father came out of the front door, “Henry, it's time for lunch. The family isn't bothering you too much are they?”

“No, Dad. Mom just wanted to know what I was doing.”

“Well, come get your sandwich. What are you doing, anyway?”

“Just carving on a stick the family dropped.”

The man addressed the mother-branch, “So that's what caught your mother's attention.”

The branch turned to the father, “What? I can't take an interest in my son?”

“Well, you are dead, dearest. Current incarnation notwithstanding.”

The leafy face smiled, “Hey! I resemble that remark.”

“Dad! Mom is not dead! She's as alive as you or me and everybody else.”

“I know son, I know.”

The woman-branch crossed her twig-arms and gave the man a look only a wife can throw.

The father looked to his wife-branch and returned her amused glare with an equally amused “what?” expresssion, “Son, go on in and eat your lunch.”

“Okay, Dad.”

The mother-limb called to the child as he walked toward the house, “Enjoy your lunch sweetie.”

“I will Mom!” he called back.

She bent back to her usual spot near the middle of the tree's canopy. Father and son walked into the house, the elder's arm around the boy's shoulder.

“So can you tell me?”, the man asked his son.

“Tell you what?”, the boy shot back.

“What are you carving?”

“Something special.”


“You'll see.”

Really the boy wasn't sure what the twig would become. He did have an idea. He hoped his small hands and his knife were up to the challenge he had made for himself.

He quickly ate his lunch, practically inhaling the sandwich in a manner only the young could manage. After washing the sticky bread and peanut butter from his mouth with an equally hasty glass of milk, he went back to his seat at the base of the tree.

Swish-chip. Swish-chip. Swi-i-i-ish-chip.

“Careful you don't cut yourself, nephew.”, an aunt-branch had com forward, “I'll still want my lashes pruned this week.”

Henry giggled a little, “I know Auntie. I'll be careful.”

“I know you will. For all your mischief you're still a good boy.”

“Thank you, Auntie.”

“Are you any closer to knowing what your hands are making?”

“I think so. But I don't want to say. I might spoil it.”

“Is it that important, nephew?”

“I think so.”

The aunt-branch knew she would get no farther with the boy, and so joined the others for some afternoon sun.

Swish-chip. Swish-chip. Swish-chip.

The afternoon passed quickly for the boy, and before he knew it the sun was setting on the horizon.

The little twig Grandpa called a peanut still looked like a peanut, though now it had little nubs at the middle and end. Henry was proud of what he had done, though he was not yet finished.

His father had come out on the porch, watching the young boy's progress. He had an idea of what Henry had done, and could not have been more proud.

“Hey Dad!”, Henry called from his seat.

“Yeah son?”

“I think I'm done, but I need your help! Can you get me some tape from the kitchen drawer?”

“Sure thing. I'll be right out.”

The man disappeared into the house and returned a moment later with the tape. He gingerly crossed the yard to hand the young child the roll.

He called to his mother-branch, “Mom, could you come here, please?”

The mother-branch was quite tired, as gathering sunlight was an exhausting exercise, but she made the effort anyway, “Honey, it is far too late for you to be out. Isn't it time for dinner?”

“I know Mom, but I have a present for you.”

“Is that what you've been working on? That's very sweet of you, but I don't need anything.”

“But you did say you always wanted another child. And I've always wanted a brother or a sister. So here you go.”

Henry took his blade and scraped a little bark away from the mother-branch's neck. He then gently took the small twig-peanut-thing and carefully placed it against the moist wood, wrapping it carefully with the tape.

As he tore the tape from its roll, the little nubs of the peanut began twitching. The mother-branch cried dewdrops from the corners of her acorn-eyes.

The whole family drew their branches near the boy's handiwork. His father stood behind him, hands on his shoulders, eyes slightly red in that joyful sort of way.

“You did good, son.”

The twig-fetus gave a shrill little cry as the sun laid to rest behind the horizon.

08 January 2011

Something that has bothered me this week...

Well, it's time for my resolution-fulfillment post for the week. Those of you who actually stop by Fuzzy Theologic probably noticed the template change. Yes it's Blogger-standard, but I like it and the space needed sprucing up a bit.

On to what's bothering me. Most of you are (or now are) aware that I consider myself a tripod conservative. The legs of this tripod are fiscal, social, and national defense. This does not mean that I agree with Homeland Insecurity's policies, or the current crop of Republicans' definition of fiscal conservatism, and most certainly not all social policies. Does this make me a bad conservative? I don't think so. In fact (boosting my own ego here) I believe this defines me as the ideal conservative.

Here's what's got me going on this tangent: this week in Charlotte, NC a local city councilman by the name of Bill James (R) went on our local talk radio station (News/Talk 1110am WBT) and expressed his view that homosexuals are sexual predators. His logic went something like this:

Men who have sex with little boys = sexual predators :: Men who have sex with little boys = homosexual :: Homosexuals = sexual predators

Now, any rational human being will automatically see the flaw in this logic. Namely that grouping all homosexuals in the sexual predator category is not only asinine, but just damnably ignorant and irresponsible. Especially coming from the mouth of an elected official. However this is par for the course for Mr. James. A few years back he referred to predominantly black residential neighborhoods in Charlotte as "moral sewers". You would think that stuff like this would get a man ousted from office, but oh no, not in Charlotte, no sir. He was re-elected after that little faux-pas. As much as the movers and shakers in this town would like to think that this city is as cosmopolitan as New York, it's crap like this that keep "Dueling Banjos" playing in people's heads whenever Charlotte is mentioned in conversation.

My take as a tripod conservative is this: while the science for homosexuality is still inconclusive (i.e. genetic v. conscious decision) it is a factor in our culture and society. Sexual preference is protected by the same laws that guard against discrimination of other forms; be that race, religion, age, or gender. This falls under the category of protecting individual liberty, something that all who would call themselves conservative should hold as part of their guiding philosophy. This is not to say that you have to like it, make friends with every gay person you meet on the street, or even be tolerant of it. It does mean that if you hold the belief that homosexuality is a sin, or a disease, or whatever; keep it to yourself, discuss it with like-minded groups of people, or rally against it with said like-minded individuals, you have a Constitutional right that protects that.

But for the love all that is reasonable don't go running for (and winning) a political office spouting off crap like this. Not only does it color people's perception of the area you represent, it also affects the larger group you choose to be affiliated with.

In short, an elected conservative should only be concerned with keeping the budget balanced, through that keeping social policies in check, and by further extension keeping the citizenry safe. Beyond that, your opinion on other matters is irrelevant.

As to arguing against Mr. James' position, what's to debate? My family and myself have people we work with and some we consider friends who to varying degrees of disclosure are gay. Pardon my descent into vulgarity, but they aren't trying to fuck me or my wife, and they aren't trying to rape my children. Could there be some individual out in the wider world that would? It's very likely. But as to brazenly calling people I choose to associate with sexual predators? I have but two words for you: Fuck You.

In closing, I know I go around saying the cliche "I don't discriminate. I hate everybody." I say this to get a weak laugh from those around me, but this is not completely accurate. I only hate stupidity, which Einstein accurately pointed out is infinite when it comes to humans. Bill James (regardless of how much education he may have) is stupid.

I feel better now. I'll feel even better if and when Mr. James is ever removed from office.