There is No Cookie at the End

Oh, I like to write a poem
When I feel that I’ve been being
Altogether far too useful
So as to be very careful
Not to send the wrong idea

If you get into the habit
Of, to other people being
A supremely useful fellow
Then they’re likely to expect it
Any time that they should see ya

So if people start depending
On the rate of your production
Wreck assumptions with a poem
It is guaranteed to throw ’em
Like a bop upon the nose

But if now they cry for poems
And demand that you continue
To supply, ad infinitum
You must jar them off quite firmly
With a helpful bit of prose explaining that while you appreciate their patronage, the level of dependency they show is a trifle alarming, and that while escapism is fine, no artist can ultimately provide the sense of meaning that we all strive for, that to do so would, in actuality, be an unfair replacing of the audience’s sense of self with that of the poet or playwright or songsmith, and that, in the end, everyone will let you down, be it friend or family member or favorite author, but you cannot use that as an excuse not to seek connection, only to be aware that all will, in time, fail you, and furthermore, that an author does not write for his audience, but for himself, which of course, is seven soggy pounds of horseshit, because if he wasn’t writing for an audience, he wouldn’t be writing at all, just sitting around thinking all day until he shriveled up from malnutrition, but what it actually means is that the author or poet or screenwriter, though writing for you, is not necessarily writing to please you, but may seek to challenge you with uncomfortable concepts, exercise your feelings with emotionally-wrenching imagery, or galvanize you into action through lack of closure, but ultimately, to express his or her unique self to you, and that can’t be changed or adapted to meet some larger consensus on ‘the way people ought to be’ because we are all different, as different as one snowflake is from another, only more so, because snowflakes at least share the commonality of being delicate crystals of frozen water, and we are hairless mammals with different heights, weights, skin colors, hair colors, religions, political views, sexual orientations, histories, preferences, fears, birthdays, genetic predilections, flaws, and glories, so of course we’re going to come to heads, of course we’re going to disagree, of course we’re going to marshal armies and wage wars and drop bombs over the proper way to break boiled eggs, but the reason we write poetry, the reason we paint portraits, the reason we make books and movies and songs and television shows and podcasts and video games and Facebook posts and blogs and tweets and Youtube videos and operas and fan fiction and tiny sculptures made out of paper clips, the reason we live and breathe and eat and fuck, the reason for all of it is found in those split-second moments where unlike meets unlike and finds something in common, says ‘I see you, I know you, I am you,’ and that’s all there is to it. All there is. Now it’s your turn.

Posted in Art, Philosophy, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A Surfeit of Somethings

I was so busy doing somethings
Big blue rolly somethings
Little orange crinkly somethings
Somethings left hanging on the line
Somethings buried under old piles of newspaper
A something that burned up like a candle, leaving a smell like incense
The irritable something that lives in the toboggan factory at the top of the hill
Three somethings that rhymed with purple, each in different ways
The something you get when you leave the bread out too long
Somethings that wore tuxedos and pretended to work for the government
A something that would have gone away if ignored
Something that had to be done right that very second
Something that went well with egg and mayonnaise
Five somethings that combined into one enormous something
And something else
I was so busy doing somethings
That I entirely forgot to do nothing
And nothing was the only something
That I really needed to do.

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The Morning Commute in D Minor

It was Friday night this Thursday morning
And I partied in the sun as the rain fell down
It felt so good to be next to you as I drove alone
I cried to know I’d lost you, but my cheeks stayed dry
I rage against the machine
Without really feeling anything at all

A spider crawls across the sky
Before colliding with a meteor beetle
Millions of bacterial dinosaurs go extinct

An empty school bus precedes me, periodically stopping
Opening its doors
But neither acquiring nor disgorging children
I wonder what ever happened to my inner child
And whether its face is on a milk carton
Next to someone’s bowl of Cracklin’ Oat Bran

There’s a speed trap up ahead
Police officers like antlions lurking
Waiting for a 32 in a 25
Keeping people safe
I look for the police officer
And a jogger disappears under my wheels
It’s okay
Nobody much cares about joggers
And also there is no police officer

I get to work as the weekend starts
And the party on the radio is just ramping up
The song makes me think that this is the day everything will turn out my way
That today I’ll see the purpose of this daily drudge
It will fall into a greater plan
A complete narrative from beginning to end
But I always arrive at work right in the middle of

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Biological Imperative to Punch Jason Sudeikis in the Face

There are very few constants in the realm of science, and foremost are these: Gravity, the inevitability of entropy, and the irresistible urge all living beings have to punch Jason Sudeikis.

You just about smashed your monitor there, didn’t you?

Wanting to Punch Jason Sudeikis in the Face: An Overview

It’s an undisputed fact that literally everybody wants to punch Jason Sudeikis. But science has long asked the question, ‘Why’? Is it his career? Is it his personal life? Is it his external links? Or can his punchability be attributed to something that isn’t a subcategory on his Wikipedia page?

Let’s do a little experiment. I’m going to show you a picture of Jason Sudeikis. This is not the real Jason Sudeikis, so please refrain from punching the image this time.

Now let me ask you a question: When you felt the overwhelming urge to punch Jason Sudeikis (which you, of course did feel, by the very fact of your existence and humanity), where did you want to punch him? Did you want to punch him in the career? Did you want to punch him in his personal life? Of course not. You wanted to punch him in the face. And so it is to the face that we must turn…with science!

The Science Behind Wanting to Punch Jason Sudeikis in the Face

Actually, first let’s talk about the psychology of wanting to punch Jason Sudeikis in the face.

The Psychology of Wanting to Punch Jason Sudeikis in the Face

Why does everybody want to punch Jason Sudeikis’ face? He isn’t an ugly person, although, if someone said this to you, your response would most likely be, ‘No, but he will be when I get through with him!’ implying that you are about to punch him in the face. Where does the punch-urge come from?

It’s the smirk.

How can you not want to punch that smirk? No matter how nice the person inside, a smirk like that on the outside will always invite violent repercussion. It’s like the smirk says, “Oh, I’m sorry, did you want that last piece of peanut butter fudge that Cheryl from accounting brought in? Shucks, sorry, but I already picked it up and everything. That’s too bad. But hey, my needs got met. That’s all I really care about. Sucks to be you!”

And now we can discuss the science.

The Science Behind Wanting to Punch Jason Sudeikis in the Face, For Real This Time

Let’s jump back to evolution times. Neanderthals are neandering all over the place, survival of the fittesting, and getting naturally selected. But, uh oh, what’s this? A genetic outlier! The very first smirker (Sudeikis erectus).

jason sudeikis

Does that smirk say, “I have the best interests of the species at heart”? Of course not! That smirk says, “Sorry, but I’ve got to look out for number one! Even if it means the tribe will starve,  I’m gonna eat as much as I want of this mammoth steak, sabertooth filets, and that sweet nutty paste that Oogyl from rock counting brought in.”

And thus, did man learn to fear and to hate the smirker. And whensoever one would smirk, he would be struck down, for the safety of the group. And though many of our behaviors would die off as the survival of the species became more secure, the instinct to punch smirkers remained even to this day.

That is why you want to punch Jason Sudeikis in the face. Now you know. Thanks, Science!


Thanks for reading, Science fans! Next up, we’ll be covering cooking in Cheryl’s Fudge: Why Is It The Best? A Sociological Perspective. Seriously, Though, It’s Just So Good. How Does She Do That? No, Jason, You’ve Already Had Three Pieces. This Is For Research. Please Go Away Before Someone Punches You in the Face, And By Someone, I Mean Me.

Posted in Humor, Science | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Freewriting, U-U-U-Uuuuuvula!

there’s a way to drop your hearts from over a cliff

never can you find what left you through the shine

Selfish kindred spirits undermining their undercarriages

choose your secondary moonshine challenges

don’t beware the rain of all you’ve outrun in this October lullaby

gems are sunlight’s children who’ve been left bereft, adrift

Timber rest your weary eyes Polish children

erstwhile findelabrums


hi-fi dreams

a world of cheese never lacks for minstrels

here’s what you’ve been trying to understand

white racquetballs are in the eastern sky

portobello mushrooms never go on a diet

Quiescent questing quispers quadrugling queltzerbaskets

rumb rumb rumba in the plaza

hiccup if acorns drink to forget

burd is not a bird its a berd though

mavens of ravens don’t chew your food to groom the brood


seltzer water not for nose yo

youthful exuberance is the number 6

left-handed shadows can’t be trusted with unwanted jewelry

weep the leg!

pronouns: don’t use pronouns or pronouns will pronoun the pronoun

recessive jeans are back in fashion this spring

polizei policia polemic polecats pole-dancing prolifically

dish-drained fishwives mishmash wishmakers


RECESS PECESS: the peanut butter candy you eat when you’re taking a break from court



the eight sided malevolent octagon

count its angles

are there eight?



make it a sexy sexy sexadecagon

mmmmm, dem angles

if at first you don’t succeed

burn it burn it burn it burn it burn it









Why pie?

Pie am spy

cuckoo clocks


are where bad birds go when they






no no no don’t go in there

not the reformation shed

it’s not time for that, there’s plenty of time to rethink from out here

two’s company, so who are we missing?

isthmus Mike, of course

He’s been wading in the deep end of the chupacabra

strip the orchestra naked

poor lonely oboes, they only wanted to be loved

blue-footed boobies

do not appreciate being pigeonholed

because they’re not pigeons

shredded wheat

a silo full of damnable shredded wheat

who shreds it?

Wheat Shredder

do you see him when you close your eyes?

hide your wheat

for the love of God, hide your wheat!


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Stuff I’m Reading – ApproxiMarch

Superman: Doomed / Convergence – Various Authors


I read both Marvel and DC Comics, but these days I find myself leaning more toward the Marvel side of things, and stories like these are part of the reason. Both of these crossover events are written by a cadre of different writers, and the end result is less a collaboration and more a mish-mash of uneven and non-complementary writing skills. The focus is not on telling a good story, but on making you buy as many books as possible so that you get the “full story”. I realize this is sort of the point of crossover events, but I feel that Marvel has done a better job of telling a cohesive standalone crossover titles that carry the main story, while side books supplement the narrative.

Graphic Novels, Crossovers, Action/Incoherence


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo


I’d heard about this one a few months back from one of my library coworkers. It’s a short book about decluttering and tidying from a Japanese perspective. Some of the concepts are hard to take seriously (thanking your belongings for a job well done at the end of each day) but there are lots of interesting methods and information about how to choose which of your things are really meaningful to you.

Self-Help, Cleaning, Mysticism


Punisher – Rick Remender


A couple months ago, my comics catch-up writer was Matt Fraction…currently it’s Rick Remender. This run on Punisher (directly following Fraction’s run) follows Frank Castle on a vendetta against Norman Osborn (during the Dark Reign crossover event). This vendetta ends poorly for Frank…like, dead poorly. But after a little mad scientistry and a lot of stitches, he re-emerges as Franken-Castle: un-dead Punisher and protector of an underground city of monsters that really just want to be left alone.

Graphic Novels, Violent, Science-Fiction


The Lady or the Tiger, and Other Logic Puzzles – Raymond Smullyan


The Lady or the Tiger is a book-length collection of logic puzzles. These begin as fairly simple truthteller/liar puzzles (knights always tell the truth; knaves always lie), but quickly grow more complicated, venturing into realms of combinational mathematics and Godelian logic.

Logic, Mathematics, Puzzles


Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror – Junji Ito


After reading Junji Ito’s Gyo: The Death Stench Creeps, I wondered what else the manga author had created. A quick search brought me to Uzumaki, where the same twisted, almost humorous sense of horror was unleashed upon…spirals. Spirals in all their forms: whirlpools, snail shells, hurricanes, and more. The series is bizarre and grotesque throughout.

Horror, Manga, Maybe Tongue-In-Cheek?


Many Waters – Madeleine L’Engle


When I was a kid, I loved A Wrinkle in Time, but I never read the rest of the series. In Many Waters, the fourth book of the Time Quintet, Meg’s siblings Sandy and Dennys Murry, through a quantum physics accident (be honest, we’ve all had a couple of those), end up in biblical times, where they meet Noah and his family before the big flood. Like other books in the series, there are many fantastical elements, like seraphim and nephilim, tiny mammoths, and quantum unicorns.

Fantasy, Children’s/Teen’s Lit, Romance


The De-Textbook – Staff

de-textbook has long been a repository of humor, but in recent years, they’ve dipped their toes into the pools of history, science, and pop psychology. The De-Textbook collects a couple hundred pages worth of debunked science myths and unromanticized history. While its claims may not be as iron-clad as you’d like, the book does a good job of opening one’s eyes to seeing how easy it is to be caught up in over-simplified education.

Humor, History, Science, Psychology


Captain America – Rick Remender


More Remender! This run on Captain America follows Steve Rogers on a 12-year detour into a hellish dimension created by Arnim Zola, where he raises an adopted son as his own. His return to our reality brings him up against psychedelic superweapon Doctor Mindbubble, as well as the rise of Iron Nail.

Graphic Novels, Action, Sci-Fi


World of Trouble – Ben H. Winters


The end of the world is coming in a week, and Henry Palace has one last case to solve before it happens. This is the final book in The Last Policeman Trilogy, a set of mysteries that take place in the weeks and months before Earth’s collision with a life-ending asteroid. As the last day nears, the world gets more unpredictable and unusual, placing new wrinkles in the path of Palace as he searches for his missing sister.

Mystery, Pre-Apocalyptic, Last Days


The Guest Room – Chris Bohjalian


All Richard wanted to do was host a bachelor’s party for his brother Philip. He didn’t know there were going to be strippers…or that the strippers were actually prostitutes…or that they would kill their bodyguards and flee, leaving him and the fellow party attendees with a blood-soaked living room and a lot of questions from the police. Though it centers around a crime, the story is less thriller in tone than it is family drama, with chapters told from the POV of several different characters. The audiobook is performed with convincing, exciting readings from two narrators.

Audiobook, Drama, Crime, Relationships

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Myself, The Greek, and The Man of a Million Tomorrows

Last night was laundry night, and when I pulled my comforter from the dryer, it was alive with radiant heat. I cocooned myself in its warmth and pulled a chair out onto my porch, where I could look out at the night sky, safe from the chill breezes.

And it so happened that my porch afforded a perfect view of Orion…my eye being caught first by the belt, then the four surrounding stars, and then the dangling line of stars known as Orion’s ‘sword’, which I still maintain is a euphemism for Orion’s dick.

orion constellation

And I thought about a Greek man, a million yesterdays ago, looking up at those same stars, and I wondered if he was thinking about me as well.

I wonder what he would think of this world, of our many advances and inventions. I think he’s a smart lad, and would be able to grasp a great many things. Cars may be a new and wondrous device, but I imagine he would quickly understand and accept the basic principle. So too with airplanes and telephones and television. He would not understand the whys and wherefores of these devices any more than I do, but he could learn to use them: get in this box, and it takes you into the air; talk into this machine, and your voice comes out the other end.

But we have innovations built on innovations built on innovations. At a certain point, the mind loses its ability to fathom such things. Suppose this Greek imagines a simple adding machine. Can he, from that, extrapolate the possibility of a computer? If he can get his mind around that, can he dream of the internet, or is that a stretch too far? What about something like Facebook? Is our Greek capable of imagining an entirely new form of social interaction, based on a massive invisible interlinking of unbelievably complex machines?

I don’t think so. And I mean this, in no way, as a slight on my dear Greek friend. I don’t think any genius of this modern age, were he born in this earlier era, would be able to make so many leaps of concept to imagine these things that we take for granted.

And this thought gives me hope. For as I’ve thought on our Greek from a million yesterdays gone by, I think also of a man of a million tomorrows, looking back on these same stars, or perhaps rocketing towards them at incalculable speeds. And I wonder what he thinks of me, an Ancient American, and which of his mundane marvels I could have conceived of.

For I can imagine a great deal, as can we all. Science fiction has given us minds to consider ideas like faster-than-light spaceflight, teleportation, psychic abilities, time travel, artificial intelligence, and more.

But what will a million tomorrows really bring? Will these current impossibilities be cracked, and serve as stepping stones toward ever more unimaginable heights? Composers writing music that can only be heard at relativistic speeds. Nanosecond-speed social networks for AIs. Chefs cooking paradoxical dishes using time travelling culinary techniques.

I have no idea. The world of a million tomorrows is as foreign to me as my world is to the Greek. But you know what? I’m excited about it. And you should be too.

We like to come up with reasons to fear the future. We think of time travel, and we imagine a woman going back in time and kills her own grandmother. We think of psychic abilities, and we imagine people bursting heads with telepathic death waves. We think of artificial intelligence, and we imagine robots rising up to enslave humanity.

And if our Greek friend thought of mechanized flight, he imagined Icarus’ wings bursting into flame from he heat of the sun. The future is never as frightening as we think it will be. In the end, a million yesterdays ago, or a million tomorrows hence, all you find is more of us, looking up at the same stars.

The future is an exciting place.

I’ll see you there.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment