Friday, July 31, 2009

"The Book Versus Kindle"

Hey on the same note as "Big Brother Has Got Your Nose."

Author Michelle Richmond posted a YouTube video filmed by Green Apple Books, in which the mighty book battles The Kindle.

And no, I never needed a doctor's note for a book, either. If you haven't read Seth Marko's list from the first link, you really should and if you dropped a book, would this happen?

Methinks not.

P.S. One David strikes back at Goliath.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Update To Rebecca's Post

From Rebecca's "Just A Thought" blog, concerning the brutal abuse of dogs in Réunion-

UPDATE: One of my commenters, BeckEye, had sent a link (thank you so much Beck!) that wrote of the skepticism of some on whether this was a true story or not. But that article linked to this video of the dog as proof of its veracity. Though the video was filmed the day the dog was captured, it is mostly an interview with French lawyers about this case and what had happened as a result (apparently, a law was subsequently passed that banned fisherman in that island to carry any dog or cat, dead or alive, on board).

I believe this video deals with a case of a local fisherman being charged with the crime that was now considered illegal. Read here to learn of the law that was passed and also, if you are interested, Patti Davis' (President Reagan's daughter) Newsweek's article on this crime, which was written in October 2005.Thank you to all that stopped here, commented, and helped spread the word and informed others of this crime against animals.

Though I thought initially this was a recent crime - and see now I was not alone in not knowing about this - I am happy the French government took swift action and if there are still fishermen that continue to do this today on the sly, we will never know but, nonetheless, it is comforting to know that there are now laws in place to prevent this senseless practice from continuing to happen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Replay: "In The Purple And Gray Morning"

The way JJ worked it, he came up with the starting sentence and he would post it on Friday, around 11 AM. Then, you had to come up with the story by Monday 12 PM C.S.T.

Well, I had writer's block that weekend, so it tends to be a good idea to go with what is in front of you and what do you knnow? That's what I decided to write about.

Check out, "In The Purple And Gray Morning."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lighter Fare

Well right now I'm waiting on a response to a story and I have one that will be published before September, but other than that? The "W-I-P" pile is all over the place, literally.

The response to the older stuff is underwhelming, so I'll go with the usual standby-
(All the pictures are from the SF Gate's Day In Pictures)

Ocicat says, "I can haz Cormac Burger?"

I'm a native San Franciscan, so I'm fairly liberal when it comes to consenting adults doing what consenting adults do. Yet Hemingway impersonator on Hemingway impersonator love is like, well...

...yeah, that pretty much sums it up (shudder).

My neighbor Tonkatsu Kaki Fry: That idiot Cormac came home two minutes late again? One of these days he's going to be five minutes late and his wife will destroy the entire neighborhood!

And kids, what did we learn from "Ghost Busters?"

Dogs + Cats + Living Together = Disaster of Biblical Proportions!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

There's A Book In There

The New York Times has a blog called Papercuts that deals with all things literary, and recently they had some excerpts from the new book on Hunter S, "Ancient Gonzo Wisdom: Interviews With Hunter S. Thompson."

I pity the poor reporters that had to interview him, not for his shenanigans, but because I rarely understood a damn word he was saying, and I'm a mumbler myself. Well, let's go straight to the good stuff. Right after Nixon's resignation-

Playboy: Do you think a smarter politician could have found a man to cover it up after the original break-in? Could Lyndon Johnson have handled it, say?

H.S.T.: Lyndon Johnson would have burned the tapes. He would have burned everything. There would have been this huge wreck out on his ranch somewhere - killing, oddly enough, all his tape technicians, the only two Secret Servicemen who knew about it, his executive flunky and the presidential tapemeisters.

He would have had a van go over a cliff at high speed, burst into flames, and they’d find all these bodies, this weird collection of people who’d never had any real reason to be together, lying in a heap of melted celluloid at the bottom of the cliff. Then Johnson would have wept - all of his trusted assistants - “Goddamn it, how could they have been in the same van at the same time? I warned them about that.” …

Wait a minute, stop right there. There's a book, right there, waiting to written.

HST: You know, I was actually in the Watergate the night the bastards broke in. Of course, I missed the whole thing, but I was there. It still haunts me.

Playboy: What part of the Watergate were you in?
H.S.T.: I was in the bar.

Playboy: What kind of a reporter are you, anyway, in the bar?

H.S.T.: I’m not a reporter, I’m a writer.

Ha, good one! And no, despite what he said, he was a reporter too. Certainly a writer first, but he was a reporter. There's a wonderful political story in the middle, but I'm sticking to writing on this post-

And in 2000, Douglas Brinkley, along with Terry McDonell and George Plimpton, interviewed Thompson for The Paris Review:

The Paris Review: Almost without exception writers we’ve interviewed over the years admit they cannot write under the influence of booze or drugs — or at least what they’ve done has to be rewritten in the cool of the day. What’s your comment about this?

H.S.T.: They lie. Or maybe you’ve been interviewing a very narrow spectrum of writers. It’s like saying, “Almost without exception women we’ve interviewed over the years swear that they never indulge in sodomy” — without saying that you did all your interviews in a nunnery.

Did you interview Coleridge? Did you interview Poe? Or Scott Fitzgerald? Or Mark Twain? Or Fred Exley? Did Faulkner tell you that what he was drinking all the time was really iced tea, not whiskey? Please. Who … do you think wrote the Book of Revelation? A bunch of stone-sober clerics?

Actually, I write sober 98% of the time, only because I can't write anything coherent (shuddap!) when juiced.

Check the whole article right here.

All The Fool Kids Are Doing It

I suppose there are worse crimes in terms of inanity, but this strikes me as one of the lamest of all. Apparently some kids in the City are getting street cred by stealing bus driver jackets and caps.

Of course most MUNI operators are on the verge of being morbidly obese, from the overeating and boozing that comes with the job, so it shouldn't be too hard to apprehend the perpetrators. Just look for the kid wearing the huge sh*t brown jacket that is big enough to be a poncho.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Of: "Retribution"

This was originally titled "Mingo Zamora's Revenge," which is probably why is was initially rejected without comment. Then it was changed to "Mingo's Revenge" and then the light bulb above me head smacked me above the hairline and said "moron, change the title."

I wrote this as being in the Tenderloin (District) of San Francisco, then I changed it over to Chicago, for a Black Lizard contest that I never bothered to enter. At any rate, the story's name became "Revenge In Room 208," and then it became "Retribution." Geoff Eighinger was gracious enough to accept this story and to publish it in the premier issue of "Crooked Magazine."

This features the character with no name but known simply as "The Heist Man." No, I'm not being lazy, just purposefully obscure as I understand Donald E. Westlake did the same for one of his characters. Here is "Retribution"

“You’re a misogynist.”

I didn’t need to open my eyes to confirm that she was glaring at me; I felt her eyes boring into me, minutes ago. Since she got the better of our carnal give-and-take, I thought she’d sleep off the remaining time we had left together. This was spoiling my fun…I didn’t want her hating me too soon.

I rolled over and tried to kiss her on the lips, but she pulled back and skirted away from me on the bed as far as she could without falling off. I shrugged and mumbled, “that’s a good piece of fiction. You should be writing about robberies, instead of planning or participating in them.”

She leaned into me with a smile and said, “you can change the subject, but you can’t change the fact that you hate women.”

Not all women, just one in particular.

“What gave you that odd idea?” I whispered. I took her right hand and gently nibbled on it, because her hands were as close to a weakness as she seemed to have. She enjoyed that for all of ten seconds, until that tangent she was on resurfaced in her conscious.

“All of those things that you said last night-“

“You seemed to pretty much enjoy them.”

“Those are not the things that a man with even an ounce of respect for women would say.”

To one woman in particular, yeah, he would, and I did.

“Those words were spontaneous. They were of the moment, in the moment and you didn’t say ‘no’ or tell me to stop. You didn’t push me away, quite the contrary.”

She smiled at me without a hint of happiness. I imagined that her smile was like a dolphin’s sonar except it wasn’t echoes that were to bounce back to her, but my thoughts. Those words weren’t “spontaneous” at all and they weren’t meant to be.

Those very same words were said to her in Spanish instead of my grunting and gasping English, or so a man told me a few months ago.

Two months ago in a motel room much like this one, she laid in bed with Domingo Zamora, a man that was almost the polar opposite of me, yet Domingo and I had something in common. I apprenticed under him and he taught me almost all of what I know now. I chauffeured for a friend of his and that friend said that I was both a good driver and trustworthy. So I eventually became Domingo’s go-to driver when he would hit jewel couriers, and after a few years I became the number one man in his crew.

He was double-crossed in a hotel room much like this one, by this very woman, and she couldn’t just be content with keeping the entire haul for herself. She killed him in a particularly gruesome and painful manner that no one deserved, much less Domingo.

The lights from a plane taking off from Midway Airport shot through the curtains and lit her smile. That too-bright smile was fading into a snarl and I had to throw her off the trail, because she was adding things up a little too fast.

“You’ve got me wrong. I love women and everything about them. What I do hate is the way some men have tainted them. Rare is the woman that hasn’t been wronged or tarnished by some screwed-up asshole that couldn’t get a date in high school, and he spends the rest of his life taking it out on every woman that can’t quite see past his lies.”

With my lips, I moved up her hands and her arms to her slender shoulders. Her smile returned with just a touch of wariness. She was more concerned about her pleasure. She grabbed my head and we kissed. Ugh, her tongue running across my teeth seemed to me to be more of a brain probe than passion-related.

This heist came together by accident, and it had more to do with the right people vouching for each of us. Those of us that rob jewel couriers are a small and efficient group. We keep to ourselves. If Domingo mentioned me during their pillow talk, I believe that she would’ve done away with me right after the job. It’s happened to me before. I’ve been both lucky and smart in that during my first job that I was lead that my partner for that particular job didn’t kill me. For the second job? I figured everything out before a pair of brothers could double-cross me.

We pulled this job off without a hitch, and the energy seemed to carry over into us pulling off each other’s clothes yesterday afternoon. While she was in the shower, I planned out, texted a message and set everything up in just under two minutes. Now came the hardest part, breaking this off while the rest of my body told my mind that it was crazy for wanting to stop-

“Um, wait.”

The look on her face said that she’s never heard that one at this stage, before. I pretended to look through my pockets.

“I’m out of condoms. Do you have any?”

I already knew her answer before she said no, as I had checked.

“I’m going to get some.”

She grabbed my shoulder before I could get my boxers on and said “we could do other things.”

I smiled and said, “why do other things, when we can do the real thing? I’ll be right back.”

I put my clothes on and she pulled a gun out from under her pillow. She beckoned me over and she searched my pockets. She unzipped my pants and pulled them and my boxers down. She looked me over and bit her lip.

“Whoa, hold on! You’re not looking back there-“

“You didn’t have enough time to put anything back there,” she grinned, “but if you want me to look.”


She looked down at my feet and grimaced. “Put your shoes and socks up here…slowly.”

I picked them up…gently and I put them down…just as gently, as if they were made of unstable nitro-glycerin. She searched them with the fingers of her free hand, while her eyes stayed on me.

“No jewels” I told her as she passed my shoes back to me. “I wouldn’t rip you off, I trust you.”

My last three words stung her like a slap to the face. I guessed that she never trusted anyone in her life, nor had she given anyone a good reason to trust her. I put the money that she pulled out back in my pocket and winked at her.

“I’m just going to the store on the corner; I’ll be back in a few.”

Just as I got to the door, she blurted “what makes you think that either I or the jewels will still be here when you get back?”

I nodded at her and, “like I said...I trust you,” came out of my mouth.

I winked at her again as I closed the door, and she had that vacant smile again with a single tear to accompany it. Was it a crocodile tear? Look, Domingo couldn’t read her and like I said, he taught me almost everything I know. You figure that he was on this Earth almost twice as long as I was, and when a fifty-seven-year-old veteran criminal gets played like a twelve-year-old that hasn’t done a minute in juvenile hall, you know that you are out of your league.

I feigned an elbow to the door and that was the signal. I went down the stairs and by the time I crossed the small parking lot, there they were, Begley and Boyle. Two cops that didn’t even trust themselves, let alone me. Yet I didn’t have to trust them at all, Cryptic did. He was a debt collector and he owned them, lock, stock and barrel, and no one was dumb enough to screw him over.

They were both police detectives and Begley used to be skinny, while Boyle was fat. They got tired of the obvious comparisons to Laurel and Hardy, so they both decided to lift weights. Begley got buffed up to ridiculous proportions while Boyle gave up after about a week’s worth of workouts. So now they were called “The Incredible Hulk and Hardy,” which didn’t have the same ring to it, though everyone called them that because it endlessly pissed them off.

I always had to work hard to hide that queasy feeling I got when I was around them. You should always be wary around thin-skinned people with guns and badges. I wiped my fingerprints off of the motel room key, handed it to Begley and walked past them.

Before they got too far, I said in a low voice “there are three rubbers that shouldn’t be in the garbage when all is said and done.”

Boyle hissed, “are you fucking kidding me?”

“What? I couldn’t have removed them without looking suspicious.”

“Well, I’m certainly not gonna-“

Begley shut Boyle up with a gesture and they went for the stairs. I chose this motel off of South Archer for a reason. The sound and lights from the Midway air traffic would help them out and they were going to need all the help that they could get.

I admired Begley. His eyes were on the curtains of the room, the whole time, and that was the kind of focus that would’ve made him an excellent stick-up man. I also figured it was just that that kind of focus was why, despite their shortcomings, those two assholes were still alive.

I pretended to go around the corner as they took the safeties off of their guns. I was as careful as I could’ve been with my fingerprints while I was in the room, and despite what the TV and movies tell you, it’s nearly impossible to find good latent prints in a motel room with so many travelers and maids going through it. I usually don’t like to stick around for anything, but I found myself lurking around the corner like a teen voyeur drunk on hormones.

Boyle crawled just under the window of Room 208 and Begley walked right past the door. He doubled back and slowly put the key in the door, and then four bullets tore through the wood from the inside. Boyle crawled forward and Begley quickly opened the door and blindly returned fire. He ducked low, peeked in and fired twice more, before he charged in. The lights went out or were shot out.

From my angle at the edge of the parking lot, I couldn’t tell what happened next, but I was amazed that a few pistols could hold that many rounds. The room looked almost like a disco gone amok; the flash from the gunfire was like a strobe effect. I decided to cut out at this point instead of waiting for the outcome. People would be looking out of their rooms and apartments right now and I didn’t want to become a “person of interest” if those two didn’t succeed.

The next eleven hours were excruciating. I couldn’t figure out if there was some kind of media blackout when the morning papers, the TV and the radio failed to mention anything about the shoot-out. I went across the Illinois-Indiana border to Gary to lay low, and finally on the five o’clock news, they said there was a shooting…with more details to come at six.

Finally at six, they mentioned two robbery detectives had stumbled onto a drug ring at a motel room and a shoot-out ensued. Begley was wounded and was in stable condition at the hospital. They didn’t mention Boyle by name, though apparently nothing happened to him other than the usual paid administrative leave pending an investigation of the shooting.

Of course you can guess that there were no drugs on me or her in the motel room. The agreement was that Begley and Boyle’s payment was to be the jewels, and they were to plant heroin in the precious stones’ place.

Finally, they talked about Claire Chambers, which I didn’t realize was her real name. She did a stint for attempted murder and another one for grand theft larceny. Domingo’s ghost could finally rest in peace, but I knew that I would now be haunted by a spirit that would be less forgiving than his and one that couldn’t be silenced by any other act of revenge, other than my death.

The End

To Bridge Things, A Little Bizarro

To bridge the heaviness of the last post, with the "Best Of" that I will publish tonight/tomorrow, I decided to lighten things up a bit with-

Go here to get the full illustration in all its glory.

Go here to check out Dan Piraro's blog and examples of his comic "Bizarro."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Please Read This...

Please, read this (warning, graphic photo)...

and this...

and if you would be so kind, please sign this.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Now, how obscure is this story? To my knowledge, only six people have read it and only one has ever commented on it. Yet it I believe that it deserves a second airing and hopefully it will find an audience this time.

Let me do a better job of selling it, by giving you the opening paragraph-

Whether it's in books, movies or the news, everyone wants to talk about the heist gone wrong. Yet, nobody wants to talk about the robbery gone right and the crooks that got away. Least of all, nobody in this car or we might jinx it. And when I say it went right, I mean we were out of the bank three and a half minutes early. That counts as at least five less patrol units to deal with.

So if the heist has gone right, what could go wrong? Well, superstition certainly doesn't help. So here we go with a little "Reversal."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The San Francisco Literary Map

For this Sunday's Chronicle, Ian Huebert created a San Francisco Literary Map...

...composed of quotes from the greats and near-greats. Click here for the full-sized map or here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Big Brother Has Got Your Nose

I've never been a huge fan of E-books, though I know they will eventually be the future, because publishers prefer them from a cost standpoint. The material and shipping costs are much lower, and if they can get around bootlegs and illegal copying, there is loss on theft (yeah, right!).

So I read this post over at Corey Wilde's blog, "The Drowning Machine" last night and it made me chortle-

Suppose you walked into a bookstore, purchased a copy of 'Animal Farm,' went home and began reading it. About halfway through it you get a phone call lasting perhaps five minutes. When you return to your book, it is gone. The bookseller has forced his way into your home and taken your book away (along with the notes you had made in the margins for an essay), leaving a notice and a refund in its place. The note says, 'sorry, this publisher didn't have the rights to print and sell this book.'

Just how high would your blood pressure go?

Because that's what did to Kindle users today. Removed two of George Orwell's books from Kindles everywhere. Most Kindle users weren't even aware amazon could do such a thing. It surely doesn't surprise anyone that, with that power available, that amazon would do such a thing.

Chortle, scoff and...hah!

Yeah, uh, I was actually contemplating buying an E-book when they actually got around to perfecting the durability and contrast issues. Now I know I never want to buy one, unless the only way a story is going to be offered, is via an E-reader program. Even then, I will download it on my computer and I will print it on paper, to be read later.

Further down the post, Corey linked a blog post by Seth Marko listing every misgiving I have with E-crooks, er, books. Including one that I should have given a whole more thought to-

Independent booksellers cannot sell you one, nor can B&N or Borders, actually - Amazon has proprietary rights over the unit and the software.

Grrr, strike another deadly blow to the indies? My guilt already overwhelms me on that issue.

And I leave you with the most salient point on that list, which you can click and see Seth's list in its entirety-

You can't jump in the ocean & leave your Kindle on your beach towel. Someone will steal it. If they are a bookseller, they will most likely throw it in the ocean. (Seriously, think about that - do you ever read books in a public place? What a drag that would be to have to worry about some d-bag stealing your ENTIRE library while you're in the men's room...)

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Huge Collection of Pulp Covers!

I was glancing through Paulie Decibels links when lo and behold, I hit the motherlode of pulp fiction magazine covers at Lots Of Pulp. This blog has covers from the Golden Age of Pulp up through the 50's. We're talking every genre; action, romance, westerns, crime, science fiction, and even some subgenres that you probably weren't aware of.

"Why isn't anybody listening to me? Yes, I said that 'I wanted a bra that lifts and separates,' but that doesn't mean that I didn't want the thing to be comfortable!"

"I, Robot?"

No, I haven't read the Asimov book and I only saw about forty minutes total of the Will Smith movie, but I'll wager good money that neither version was like this. Oh, and this is really fair. It's not bad enough that robot is almost eight feet tall, has claws for hands and is bullet-proof, but he has a rabid wolf too?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Story "The Trees" Is Up At Powder Burn Flash

Do you ever check the trees to see what is up there?

You would be surprised at what you can find.

Over at Powder Burn, Aldo Calcagno has posted a story of mine concerning the once in a lifetime things that a teenager has discovered in "The Trees."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"In Vino Veritas, In Tequila Mors"

Over at The Clarity of Night, they have a contest where the challenge is to tell a story in which wine (or liquor) plays a crucial part. It has to be 250 words or less.

The list of the submissions so far; which include Eric Beetner, Sandra Seamans, John Carlucci, and one by that ill-tempered hack, Cormac Brown, called "In Vino Veritas, In Tequila Mors."

Instead Of Buying Books, How About Trading Them?

The Chronicle/SF Gate had an article recently about two book swap sites; and

Now this is a wonderful idea whose time has literally come, but towards the end of the article comes one of my main caveats-

Mooching is one thing. But lending - and expecting the book to return - may still not be advised for many a reader. Even Milner keeps her favorites from Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse or Henry James for herself.

"I only lend books," she said, "to people who I know really well and I know where they live."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Replay "The News"

I would put this story in my best of, but I believe that Katie Schwartz is one of four people that read it and as far as I know, it isn't anyone's cup of tea.

It's too long.
It's not a happy subject and there's very little humor in it.
Except for the victim of the crime that kicks the whole thing off, nobody in the story is portrayed in virtually any kind of a positive light.

This piece does not reflect my personal view of San Francisco's Finest, but I don't live in the neighborhood that I used as a source for this piece. So my opinion like gas mileage listed by the EPA...varies. You can tell when this was written if you cross-reference the events and the narrator's criticism of all media will still hold true a hundred years from now.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, for better, for bad, here is "The News."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Uh, Is That How It Works, Samuel?

Here we go, writing quotes from the Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter and Samuel Clemens gets cryptic...

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very,' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."

-Mark Twain


-Mel Blanc, Bea Bernadette, Daws Butler, Dick Beals, and everyone else that voiced the running Warner Brothers cartoons' ubiquitous line of disbelief.

"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is paperwork."

-Peter De Vries

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Mr. Ellipsis"

Pronunciation: \i-ˈlip-səs, e-\
Function: noun

1 a: the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete b: a sudden leap from one topic to another

2: marks or a mark (as …) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause

*From the Merriam Webster online dictionary

Since I work at night, I have a tendency to overhear more conversations than I should. It is not so much a question of me eavesdropping, but more a phenomena of audio osmosis. People are either tired, drunk, high or any combination thereof. So just like teenagers at the movie theater or those loud idiots at restaurants, malls and street corners, I hear conversations as if everyone were on a cell phone.

Last night was unique, in that the conversation was fairly one-sided for nearly three minutes. There were two bicyclists walking down the stairs with their bikes; a young woman whom I will call "S," and a young man I will call "Mister Ellipis." "Why'd you call him that," you ask? It will be fairly obvious as I you read their conversation in quasi-screenplay form-

Babe, are you happy? Because I'm happy!
Mr. Ellipses
Babe, listen, are you happy? Because I'm happy!
Mr. Ellipses
Jane, get me off of this crazy thing!
Baby, I love you so much, do you love me? Because I love you!
Mr. Ellipses
If you have to ask him this many times and he hasn't
responded, then the answer is "no."
Babe, we're gonna be so happy together, I just
know we are! Right, babe?
Mr. Ellipses
Baby, did you hear me? I just know we're going to be happy.
Mr. Ellipses
Yeah...we are...going to be happy.

They had stood their bikes next to bench and then they sat down. He was lying face up in her lap, but he wouldn't look her in the eyes as she played with his hair. They were as close to an unrequited love as a couple could possibly be, while still technically being a couple.

I caught snippets of...

"We don't have enough space. I want my space, S."

"Sure babe, you can have your space, we can work this out. I can feel it."

...and silly variations of that.

Both of them were living in a separate world, and both of them were equally delusional as to what the other one was thinking. They are a young couple...hopefully she will move on. And more important, hopefully they won't make the mistake of marriage. If I were to judge them solely on the basis of those minutes that I spent watching them, he didn't respect her at all and she was giving him far more respect than he deserved.

Before you think I am being entirely too sympathetic to her, she was whining most of the time and no, the whining was not her regular voice.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"It's A Bird! It's...A Flock Of Books?"

No, no, put away that hair gel because it's not a "flock of seagulls," it's "a flock of books."

From The San Francisco Chronicle's SF Gate site-

"Language of Birds," a floating installation of 23 illuminated polycarbonate books at the corner of Broadway and Columbus avenues, has just been dubbed one of the best public artworks in America.

It was chosen from among 300 entries at the Americans for the Arts convention in Seattle last June.

Since it was installed last fall by San Francisco artists Brian Goggin with Dorka Keehn, the street corner has become focal point for art lovers and tourists.

The flock of twenty-three white translucent books are suspended from a web of stainless steel aircraft cables, and resemble birds in flight. The books are opened in various positions, which give the books the appearance of flying.

At night LED lights embedded within the books create visual patterns.

Goggin and Keehn worked with scientist David Shearer and Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookstore to provide solar power. The solar panels are mounted on top of the iconic bookstore, located half a block away.

The artists embedded words on the ground under the flock, to create the sensation that words had fallen from the pages. Working with shop owners and residents, the artists chose words from books that reflect the area's literary history, including works by Armistead Maupin, Gary Snyder, William T. Vollman, and Jade Snow Wong."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"The Saint Dismas Chip"

Doc wrote a story about how narrow the road is for those that need to change their lives for the better.

It's called "The San Dimas Chip" and he dedicated to yours truly. Thanks Doc, I am honored, and you really need to submit that story to site.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Replay: "They Should Make People Take A Test"

I believe the gist of this Friday Flash Fiction challenge, was JJ was channeling Keanu Reeves' remark in "Parenthood"

"You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father."

So JJ wanted us to run with our own version and I came up with something a little different. Not so long ago, people were taking up extreme sports with little or no training at all, with predictable results. So here is "They Should Make People Take A Test."

BTW, I don't want to hear about the narrator's orgasm remark again, I heard it all last time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Top Notch Interview With Paul D. Brazill!

On Outside Writers, Jason Michel gives us quite a bit of insight into the mind and imagination of Paul D. Brazill.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Two Writing Quotes And Happy Fourth of July!

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."
– Albert Camus

"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."
– Pearl S. Buck

From the Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter.

Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Replay: "Spin, Couch, Spin"

This story doesn't really qualify for the "Best Of," yet it bears retelling and I know that most of you will enjoy it. Schadenfreude at its best, don't ya know?

Here is "Spin, Couch, Spin."

BTW, this is dedicated to Doc.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Best Of: "Swerved"

With "Swerved," the chase is a foot and as usual, all is not what it seems. Will the predator corner his prey? "Swerved" originally appeared on

My victims have been plentiful throughout the years, and I must say that I have an aptitude forthis sort of thing. I don't get to choose them at all, yet that is what makes hunting them such fun.

Some of them get radar.

They panic.

Their eyes go wide with fear as I reach into my jacket pocket.

Even in places crowded with people, they see me before I can separate them out.

Even with those dark sunglasses on, I could see the whites of his eyes.

Even as big as he was, he broke off from the pack like a frightened gazelle.

He was not graceful. He was not lithe by any stretch of the imagination. Yet like a sumo wrestler or a defensive tackle, he had that good initial burst of speed.

The chase was afoot.

With some of the victims, you want this…this sheer, unadulterated panic. The thing was not to be a like a lion, but like a hyena.

The lion is not built for long-distance pursuit, but for the quick kill and he will usually not go after his prey beyond the initial five hundred yards. The hyena will follow his prey…and follow…and follow. When you are a hyena, you simply and relentless pursue. You let the prey panic and that panic will help wear them down and disorient them.

His once sure feet now became uncertain…then they started stumbling. His tongue was lolling out just like prey when the predator sinks his jaws into the throat. Schadenfreude may not be good for the soul, but the brain enjoys it entirely too much.

I was within feet of him and just when I reached into my jacket, he stumbled into the street. A minivan skidded just inches short of him and a woman got out of it. She was beautiful, this angel, this would-be savior.

I kept a certain distance and with a quick certainty, she glared at me.

"Are you okay?" she asked him, and he responded simply with a wheezing gasp.

"Hold on" she said as she got her cell phone out and dialed. Some of his breath came back to him when he saw me at bay.

"Hello, 911 Operator? Yes, hello? I'm here with a man and it seems that he is being chased. We need the police and I think we might need an ambulance." This angel looked down and asked my prey, "What is your name sir?"

"Jerry" he huffed, "Jerry…Benson."

I quickly closed in and reached into my jacket for the last time that day, to deal the fatal blow.

"Gerald Benson, you have been served!" I threw the subpoena at his heaving chest and pointed at the woman "and witnessed!"

The look of shock on his face? Literally priceless. You can't buy that or have somebody recreate it. I got into the driver's side and the woman got into the passenger's side. I drove around the heaving and bewildered Jerry Benson.

I asked the woman sitting beside me "did you get the picture, Sis?"

"No I didn't take a picture this time, Carl. You're sick, do you know that?"

"But that reaction? Oh, that would've the best one for my trophy room yet."

"Carl, you are sick and you need help," she said as we drove off into the Sunset…District, that is.