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Bootleg Whiskey - Jacob Lawrence, 1943

Bootleg Whiskey – Jacob Lawrence, 1943

There are few things as beautiful as a glass bottle filled with deep amber whiskey. Liquor shines when the light hits it, reminiscent of precious things like jewels and gold. But whiskey is better than some lifeless bracelet or coronet. Whiskey is a living thing capable of any emotion that you are. It’s love and deep laughter and brotherhood of the type that bonds nations together.

Whiskey is your friend when nobody else comes around. And whiskey is solace that holds you tighter than most lovers can.

I thought all that while looking at my sealed bottle. And I knew for a fact that it was all true.

True the way a lover’s pillow talk is true. True the way a mother’s dreams for her napping infant are true.

But the whiskey mind couldn’t think its way out of the problems I had. So I took Mr. Seagram’s, put him in his box, and placed him up on the shelf where he belonged.

Walter Mosley, Black Betty

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“The Siamese Python” is a flash fiction I wrote, published in Issue 2 of a delightfully twisted UK magazine called The Alarmist back in February 2013. Until recently, the issue was only available in print. But now The Alarmist has posted excerpts from that issue online, and they were kind enough to include “The Siamese Python” in its entirety:

The Siamese Python, if you haven’t already guessed, is a two-headed snake. It’s not actually from Siam, or even Thailand. The Siamese Python is a cold-blooded creature of the U.S.A.

As to where exactly in the U.S.A. it originated, few people can agree. Among the 200 or so living souls who have encountered The Siamese Python, there are approximately 112 different opinions on where it came from. Some folks say it emerged from the sewers of Manhattan. Others claim it jumped right outta the Rio Grande. A couple swear it couldn’t have taken its first slithers anywhere else but the bayous of New Orleans. One man, Gunther Flendricks of Tergen, Ohio, swears The Siamese Python hails from Tergen, Ohio.

Excerpts from The Alarmist, Issue 2

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Over at FLAPPERHOUSE, I review Stanley Kubrick’s least-famous Lost Film, Stanley Kubrick’s Shit Happens:

IT’S EASY TO FORGET THAT STANLEY KUBRICK, the pensive, punctilious director of 2001 and The Shining, was also the cheeky, impish ringmaster behind wickedly funny films like Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket.  Read any critique of Kubrick’s work– even a favorable one– and chances are you’ll find words like “clinical” and “icy-balls.”

Perhaps that’s because so few have ever seen (or even heard of) this esteemed filmmaker’s least-famous Lost Film.

Click for the rest

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RonSwansonHunting

(I’ve never written fan fiction or mash-ups before, and I doubt I will again. But I couldn’t resist trying to combine one of my favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation, with one of my favorite books of the past few years, Frank Bill’s Crimes In Southern Indiana.)

In the cloudy, gravel-gray dusk, Ron Swanson crept past the motel parking lot in his dark red Buick Park Avenue and rolled to a stop. He snatched the .12-gauge double-barrel from the passenger seat, flung open the driver’s door, marched toward the only room with piss-yellow lamplight seeping through the curtains. Didn’t bother to close the car door or even take the keys. No one was around for miles, and besides, he didn’t plan on staying long.

He knew this was serious business. Tom could be dramatic and fragile, sure, but Ron had heard much more than the usual Tom Haverford whining when the little man called him 30 minutes ago in a shrieking panic. Ron heard something he’d never heard in Tom’s voice before: genuine, blood-chilling terror. Ron didn’t even ask what landed Tom in this kettle of shit. He assumed it had to be the fault of Jean-Ralphio, that slimy skid-mark of  a human being. Probably stiffed some gap-toothed mullet-head dealer on a bag of whatever drug he was into this week.

Ron stood before the motel room door and pointed his shotgun at chest-level. He saw a sturdy November breeze rattle the door’s flimsy knob, and figured he could just kick the door open, save a shell. So that’s what he did.

(more…)

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FLAPPERHOUSE

La_lunaire_de_Tour_horlogeThe Fall-Back Hour is one of the most magical hours in the entire 4th dimension, and yet so many people seem to sleep right through it. If you’re still awake when we repeat 1 – 1:59 AM at the end of Daylight Savings Time, look at all the amazing things you can do and see!

source: Factual Science, Volume 9, Issue 23

1. If you perform a  palindromic act during the Fall-Back Hour– for example, writing in pencil for 30 minutes, then spending the next 30 minutes erasing everything you just wrote, moving backward from the end–  you will open a wormhole that leads to a Möbius Strip Museum.

2. If you fall asleep during the Fall-Back Hour, you will dream you’re in a labyrinth filled with flying jellyfish.

3. All TV broadcasts aired live during the Fall-Back Hour will appear on DVR recordings as old PM Dawn videos.

4. Analog…

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FlapperHouseCoverSmall

Next Spring I will launch a publication called FLAPPERHOUSE. I’d like to tell you about it, though I’m not really the type to write mission statements or manifestos. So I’ll say this instead:

Dorothy Parker, Jorge Luis Borges, and HP Lovecraft walk into a speakeasy. Louis Armstrong sings “St. James Infirmary Blues” over a rusty phonograph. Behind the bar, Salvador Dalí pours absinthe into a hubcap full of peanut butter and raw macaroni, and he stirs the mixture with the antler of a live moose.

“Four martinis, Sally,” says Parker. “Plus whatever the boys want.”

Borges excuses himself to the basement in search of the restroom. He must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere because before long he’s lost himself in an infinite labyrinth full of shelves with mirror-spined books. He starts to imagine what stories these books contain, and how he might review them.

Back upstairs, Josephine Baker dances in sensual ecstasy on Fritz Lang’s table while he peeks at her sideways through his monocle and pretends he’s not aroused. René Magritte paints himself painting them both through a castle’s window. Apples hover before their faces.

The ghost of Franz Kafka’s in a corner, leaning sharply against the wall.  Lovecraft spots him and approaches, timid yet determined, as if helpless to confront his most horrifying fear. “What’s it like?” Lovecraft asks, referring to death. Kafka’s ghost replies only with facial expressions: First with what seems like laughter, then a grimace like he might cry instead, and finally he shakes his head to say no, I really shouldn’t tell you, no. Lovecraft sits and stares at the floor for a while.

We are neither living nor dead!” shouts TS Eliot, raising a glass of gin. “And we know nothing, looking into the heart of light, the silence!

Parker’s sipping her second drink when she finally notices the ants crawling from the stem of her martini glass and onto her hand. Fucking Dalí, she thinks, as she swats and squashes as many bugs as she can. Kafka’s ghost can hear their screams.

She holds her cameraphone in front of her face: bemused, rankled, heartsick, yet almost drunk enough to be tickled by it all. Once she’s got enough good madness framed in the background, she sips, clicks a picture, and posts it to Instagram, caption, “Just another night at the Flapperhouse… #thirsty”

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the-false-mirror-1928(1)

The False Mirror, Rene Magritte, 1928

I’ve been in kind of a rut lately, so I thought I’d shake things up a little. First, I bought a copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook” on Amazon. Then I called a bunch of my friends on my Verizon phone and ranted to their voicemails like “Let’s start a revolution against Big Brother and destroy the status quo!” and so on. Finally I went on 4chan and proposed that Anonymous should hack the White House and publish Obama’s browser history, or whatever it is Anonymous does. I was certain the government would quickly identify me as a potential threat to their surveillance-driven oligarchy, and my life would soon become much more adventurous and exciting.

Alas, I just received the following email from the NSA:

“Dear Mr. O’Brien,
We thank you for your interest in the United States Government, and are flattered by your desire to become an enemy of the state. Unfortunately, after careful examination, we have decided that you have neither the intelligence nor the influence to become a legitimate threat to us. Of course, we’ll still continue to monitor your every transaction and communication, and we wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. But we thought we should let you know that we really don’t take you very seriously as an adversary.
Sincerely,
The Feds
PS – Your dog’s bowl needs fresh water.”

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