Halloween 2008

     Every year the Dead would visit him and when they did he would not tell them to go away nor would he welcome them quite.  He was polite, offering them what little he had in his cupboard, and he would extend himself for tidbits of conversation. Outside his little house, witches would fly aloft like cardboard blacknesses, brooms tucked tight between their legs. On his porch were orange heads with glowing eyes and jagged teeth and candles guttered in sconces on his sagging walls.

     When silences fell upon the little conversations, he would stay still as one does with Native Persons when there is no need to talk and so no one does. We ride in silence, we and the hitchhikers, in this case Navajo kids from Many Farms or thereabouts. In Navajo Country, the hitch-hiker will not look at you, walks quietly backwards so that when you stop and pull off to the side of the long red road and step out to motion him into your car, he is now looking at you for the first time. You must nearly beg him to ride with you and there is no conversation once inside and travelling. It was that way with him and the visits of the Dead.

     When the Dead came visiting, they often wished to dance and drink beer. When the Dead came visiting, they seemed to want to forget, to get a little high, to talk a little loud, to sing a bit.

 Dead in automobiles would slowly drive by outside his house, the booming thumps of their magnificent sound systems rumbling through the foundations of his house. Their blown V-8 engines purred like panthers, black in the Southern forests. The Dead preferred the big band sounds of El Salvador and the strange Norteno sounds of Los Tigres and would park their rigs and join the party. The strange skulls of the partiers were not good at showing emotion, but sometimes, as he sat in silence watching the dancers, he thought he could see a smile here and there.


    “I’m hungry for sugar,” said the child and her mother said “Quiet, little one. The nice man will feed us soon. He asks for nothing and fears us little and is quiet and unassuming and genteel.”

     “Still, I am hungry,”  complained the child.  She had travelled a long way from old high altitude caves where she had been bound in odd positions for some centuries, and her skin had shrunk down on her bones and the tragic story of her former wet and fleshy parts had been at least partially discerned by the producers of at least two semi-scholarly film documentaries commissioned by the Public Broadcasting System.

     “We are proud people,” whispered her mother. “We will wait for him to offer us sugar.”

     When he finished showing the big skull with the iron eyes how to plug in the CD player and the other skull thing with the necklace of thighbones had boosted the EQ to emphasize the rock-solid bass players of the South and the beer was flowing, he would motion to the skeletal child and offer her sugar in the form of little heads made of the stuff and other little things, butterflies and crosses and saquaros and woodpeckers, all of delicious sugar. All the Dead would eventually have a bite of sugar somethings, even the ladies with luscious hips and skeleton faces rouged and painted would have a tiny bite, so tiny that it posed no threat to their wonderful figures. The girls in the little skirts and halter tops and high, high heels who danced with each other out by the sulking lowered cars passed sugar from his kitchen each to the other.  All the dead would eat and dance and have a beer or two and slide away into the night until finally he was alone.

October Nineteenth


     Fall is fallen. The red trees are red and not faking green. The yellow trees have slipped in overnight and tower above humans chastened by diminished daylight.   It is not light at ten or nine or eight in the evening. It is not light at six in the morning. Our world is getting closed down.

     Two more weeks of electoral insanity, to be followed probably by lawsuits and recounts and insults and assaults. I have friends who have lost half their imagined wealth in the space of a year or two.   Our world is getting closed down.

    So the screen gets darker at the top and darker at the bottom and the light in the middle seems wider, perhaps.  Maybe that’s why ceremonies get more complex in Winter.  The light side of the year is all wacky fun and the dark side is severely ceremonial.    The dark is narrower and wider.  You have to stand back, all the way behind the last row of seats, leaning against the back wall, watching the little figures in the light and listening for their words.  It all means something, no doubt.  We await the reviews, the steam geysering out from the vents, the newsies dodging the delivered bundles, the playwright ripping open the edition to find the page.  It’s two in the morning and the reviews can’t be good.  The damn thing tanked in the third act.  People were slipping out the doors, giggling, right past the playwright still leaning against the back wall, no longer taking notes.  There was a stab at spirited applause, but it fell short and actors were left at the last call ducking their way back under a falling curtain to the silence of people standing up and looking for the exits.

      Or, there could be a Democratic victory and both houses of Congress and the battered but now powerful Executive Branch could line up and force the McCaniacs and Bushmen and Palindromes back into their huts for a moment while the foolish, well-meaning and left-leaning leftouts try to figure out what to do. You wonder at the Obama Dilemma.

     Cheneybush have so returned secret power to the presidency that The Kid would have to think once or twice about relinquishing what they’ve left him.

      Faust for President.

October 6

I’ve posted Chapter 21 of Beaver Teeth in the sidebar. And under the Blogroll category, I’ve included an interesting link to Goon Shows, if anyone’s interested.  It’s always fascinating to me to listen to Milligan’s work as a writer, and I must say it’s influenced me for years. The core of the Goons is his writing, once you get past the considerable charm of Sellers and Seagoon and Spike himself as performers.

This was the year when not only did we not go to the Big Fair, but didn’t go to Oysterfest either.  It’s been a rocky time with our kidz and their idiot parents and they’ve moved and we’re stuck with trying to sell their house (the one we bought out of foreclosure when Dad went to jail, etc.) in a stunningly evil credit market.  I’m sure we’re not alone here, but they trashed the house and now we’ve got to put yet more money-we-don’t-have into repairing damage, a new roof, etc. It saddens me to feel our influence lessening on the twins, but what can we do?  They’re in middle school now and inevitably change was going to happen and blah and blah.  Life goes on.  Presumably.

The new Firesign Theatre box set (Box of Danger) is just released and sits happily at the moment in the top ten of Amazon comedy albums as well as number one in Spoken Word and Radio there. No reviews yet. I’m happy with the package and, as usual, haven’t really sat down and listened to all of it and probably won’t. I did rewrite and re-record the final cut (called “Scaled-Down Danger”) so at least one thing is virtually new. The company that produced it is called Shout!Factory and is headed by Richard Foos who was one of the two original guys who invented Rhino.  Very nice and very honorable people. And Taylor Jessen, who sometimes contributes to this site, production-managed the whole project for us and did a wonderful job. 

If anyone gets a minute, please make a comment to this post so I can check and see if I need to nag people because somehow I’m no longer getting my usual email notification when someone posts. And to Dana in particular, if you post a link to any pictures, I can download and put it up into a post so everyone can see it.

September 28






Big Blonde on the left, me on the right.  This is a detail from the Bil (that’s right, one ‘l’) Stout album cover of Firesign Theatre’s “In the Next World, You’re on your Own.”


Thanks to RobberG’s suggestion, I’ve opened a new section in the sidebar to the right with stories and I’ve started with “The Precipice of Angels.”  I hadn’t looked at it in a long time and I’ve been so much writing about the American West lately that I’d forgotten that the kind of Euro style to it works.  You’ll notice that I’ve drifted away from Good Writing.  That last sentence is, as I’m sure John McCain would say, a doozy.


It’s suddenly Summer up here on Mystery Island.  After three months of pretty constant rain, the sun is out again.  It’s been three weeks in a row of great weather.  We’re insane up here. Let the country collapse in sub-prime despair.  Let the credit cards not work. It’s nice outside.  By the way,

“You can put all the lipstick on John McCain you like,

  He’s still John McCain.”

I said that.

Now we start again

     Well, it’s been a while but I’ve finally posted Chapters Nineteen and Twenty of Beaver Teeth over on the right there, for anyone interested, and I’ve revamped this blog and sort of learned how to work this new format and I’m returning to the older blog format where I can post Beaver Teeth stuff over on the right and return to more frequent postings ala a normal blog.  Not that it’ll ever be normal, because I get into these stuck areas where I don’t post for months because I’m worried about something or other.  Lately it’s been the progress of Beaver Teeth.  I’ve been working on this novel since the early Nineties of the lamented last century and there are some twenty chapters to go, but the re-writing has become more burdensome and necessary as I actually confront what I’ve got myself into.

     But, on the other hand (where is that other hand and what is it doing?) I’ve finally reached some conclusions and I’m finally moving ahead.  I’m happier, that’s for sure.  Thanks to everyone who reads this blog for the patience.

     Erin, the guy who theoretically manages this blog for me, is going to get the posts we’re still missing up if I nag him enough.  At least the old ones are back, listed as Manila, for reasons no one needs to know.

     One thing missing is the ability for anyone to post pictures directly to the comments and I’ll try  to figure this out pretty soon.

     First, we’re going camping for a week.

Addendum to Beaver Teeth

These three discussion messages were the first on Beaver Teeth and I’ve been rearranging things on this page and can’t figure out how to include them in the new discussion group, so I’m keeping them here. And Zen, by the way, I’d love to hear what you or anyone else thinks about B-Teeth. That’s the reason I’m posting it, to try to get it out into the conversation.