A Faerie Groan Companion
Behind the scenes of a goblin soap opera audio podcast recording session. "Trapped in The Gap," Chapter 7 of Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks. Starring Rob as Josie the Goblin, with special spousal guest Melinda as Sinsi the Faerie.

I spent at least an hour manipulating that title card image pulled off the Prairie Home Companion poster, so be sure to appreciate it.

...And if you came here looking for full episodes of Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks, it's actually at I give links to this site to make you look around and see the cover of my book of short stories and think about buying a copy of it. Yeeha!


Chapter 7: Trapped in The Gap
Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks
Josie and a faerie both want the same tanktop at the mall. While they struggle inside, goblin forces attack the faerie mall from outside with catapults and magical artillery. How will they escape the crumbling dressing rooms? Who will come out on top with the tanktop? Find out in Chapter 7: Trapped in The Gap.
[Run time: 7 minutes, 37 seconds. The link above points to 128kbps, 7.3 MB mp3 file. Click here to see other file formats for downloading or streaming.]


Guide on left, Troy Gentry on right.Do you suppose Troy Gentry harvested these legally for a change? The guy on the left is Gentry's guide. Because it's hard to find deer when you don't bother scouting the area or knowing what you're doing.

And check this video below. Since when do country "artists" swing their hands in gestures they saw Snoop and Em throwing? (Okay, the guy throwing signs is actually Montgomery, but Gentry is the one acting out the macho morality play from inside his SUV. Gentry is accused of shooting a tame bear in a fenced area with an arrow, in case you were too lazy to click the link. His lawyers are apparently backpedalling and claiming that his guide misled him into believing it was a wild bear. The video might show more. Either way, it sounds like he's pretty ignorant as a hunter. How many plain folks in Montgomery Gentry's audience can afford to hire a guide to do all the scouting for them?)
If I remember correctly Eastern Michigan University's fight song was:
"We're a bunch of wild injuns, woo woo woo!
No wait, suddenly we're birds!"

Chelsea High's fight song was:
"You think we're assholes to you on the opposing team?
Just think how we treat people everyday at school!
We eat our own,
eat-eat, eat-EAT our OWN!"

[A lot of freeform poetry back then, rhyming just wasn't trendy. And EMU switched from using "Hurons" as their mascots to a very generic eagle logo. I wish they would have settled on emus instead.]


Shopping Spree is a great article from The Stranger (Seattle alternative newspaper) about how to reduce the money available for Focus on the Family's harmful crusades against gays and children's asses (pro-corporal punishment). Do your part to reduce their harmful warchest by becoming a consumer of all their free junk. They have books and CDs and DVDs which they will send you for free from their website, as long as you don't abuse them and order more than $100 at a go.

"Congratulations! You have just removed a few dollars from the coffers of a major anti-gay organization. You can further capitalize on your brief investment of time by selling the item/s on eBay. ... Not only does ordering free stuff from Focus on the Family—-sent to myself or people I don't like-—satisfy a deeply juvenile impulse, it has the added benefit of taking money directly out of homo-hater Dobson's pocket."

Please spread the word.


Government Cheese
Vocals, guitar and video by Evil Bob Dayjob.


After four weeks of war, Israel and Hezbollah each claims to have come out on top. I thought about it a little on my drive home from work, trying to generalize about what this means. My first thought was that both sides think that PR is their strongest weapon. If there's no decisive winner or loser in a battle or in a war, then declaring you won can be just as good as actually winning. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to witness it, then an imaginative propagandist will have everyone believing it fell because of his side's military prowess.

It doesn't matter what happened in reality. They just need to keep talking confidently, and maybe it will intimidate the other side. Bringing down one side's confident PR might comfort the enemy, or it might lower morale on your side. The truth might hurt.

Why would any government in that situation admit it's having problems? Admitting errors would just make troops mad at them, constituents mad at them, and bolster the other side. Admitting errors could get elected officials voted out, or it could get generals and officers demoted or reassigned to backwater desk jobs. That's just in the US where we have something resembling democracy. Hezbollah isn't elected, so they could get physically attacked by their own "constituents" if too many of them get mad, or if their troops and members get demoralized to the point of leaving the group.

At any point while two nations or political groups are fighting like this, as long as one side is not totally in retreat, it is in their interest to mislead, lie and deny any errors they have made or any indications that they have a chance of losing.

My second thought (which happened a lot more quickly than this, I didn't have three paragraphs of garbage and explication in between thoughts) was that Israel and Hezbollah feel like they're winning because their forces are not taking the brunt of the damage. Civilians are taking heavier losses than either Israeli Defense Forces or Hezbollah fighters. Israel and Hezbollah are both really winning because civilians are the ones who are losing!

This should serve as a lesson to those dastardly civilians. No one likes you, civilians. You are wimpy losers who always take heavier casualties in every war. Some day these vile civilians will surrender, and we can stop fighting them, and the world will be a better place for all of us who will be members of militaries or militias or gangs or whatever. Hurray.


"The most important thing you need to know about Israel today and how it has performed so far in the war with Hezbollah is Warren Buffett."
-- Thomas Friedman's 11 Aug 2006 column.


Alleged Terrorist Plot to Attack Mackinaw Bridge ... with 1,000 prepaid cellphones.

Nothing this exciting has happened to the Big Mac Bridge since gale-force winds lifted a Yugo over the side in 1987.


Summer Squash Risotto
Easy to make, and people at your department potluck will be impressed by the name of the dish, if not the taste.

1 summer squash or pumpkin, about 2 pounds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup arborio rice
2.5-3 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Remove seeds and skin from pumpkin or squash. Cut into half inch chunks.
2. Heat oil. Fry onion and garlic 3-4 min, stirring often. Continue frying until both are lightly golden.
3. Add squash or pumpkin and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Pour in half of the stock and season. Stir well. Half-cover it and simmer 20 min, stirring occasionally. As the liquid is absorbed, add more stock and stir to prevent mixture sticking to the pan.
5. When squash and rice are nearly tender, add a little more stock. Cook uncovered 5-10 min. Stir in the cheese and parsley.

[From Vegetarian and Vegetable Cooking by Christine Ingram.]


"The news came down the wire this morning that the British have foiled a terrorist plot to blow up in the neighborhood of 10 jet planes with liquid explosives. I'm here to tell you that the era of terrorism is over. The jihadists have finally gone and fucked with the wrong people. I certainly wouldn't want to be the one responsible for denying women their shampoos, lotions, and perfumes. If my theory holds, the ladies of the world will rise as one and put an end to terrorism once and for all."
- Garth Johnson on his blog, Extreme Craft



I don't plan to read Imagining the Tenth Dimension by Rob Bryanton, but the flash animation on his site purports to help you understand it. I always wondered what the hell dimensions five through ten are supposed to be. This definitely helped me understand that five through ten are speculative bullshit, and probably four. But I'm undecided about four (time). How can we tell if it is something objectively existing outside of ourselves or if it's just our fallible perception?

I especially like how they go through these absurd contortions to define dimensions five, six, seven, eight, nine, then everything previous is encompassed in dimension ten, and finally they refuse to imagine anything further because everything possible is encompassed in ten. Bump that. My refusal begins around 3 and a half.


I heard news that pissed me off today. Jack Lessenberry on Michigan Radio talked about some study showing that people in Western European have an easier time moving to higher income levels than Americans do (links to streaming audio m3u). Among the other statistics that may piss you off, they mentioned that the Slovak Republic has a lower rate of women dying in childbirth than the US. People in Spain have an average life expectancy three years longer than the US, while paying something like half the amount we pay for health care.

Are you ready to fund some god damned social services yet? Do you have a different way to explain this stuff? I suppose pregnant women in the Slovak Republic and all people in Spain are more responsible than Americans. That's supposed to explain it better than the obvious deficiencies in funding US public health care. Get real.

Here's some other public funding you should think about. On 9/11/2001, NORAD control center used technology from the Seventies. You should listen to those tapes that just came out. Notice how they had to rely on FAA way too much. They have since upgraded to the kind of state of the art equipment that FAA already had. Oh yeah, plus NORAD lied or ommitted or misled in their testimony to the 9/11 commission about times and activities on that day. They didn't know that Flight 11 was the one that had crashed into the World Trade Center, so they scrambled jets to look for the hijacked flight after it had crashed.

How many stealth bombers should we have paid for before getting modern shit in NORAD?

In other news that pisses me off, NPR described the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza. They hit on the conflict a little bit, but they make it sound like a natural disaster. It's a crisis that humanitarians need to address, but it should more rightfully be called a crisis of inhumanity. A warmonger crisis. There would be no crisis if not for the war there. It's like they're allowed to talk about aid agencies running all around trying not to get shot or bombed, but they want to avoid the idea that war could be stopped with public pressure.
from the webcomic XKCD by Randall Munroe


"Mrs Jabr's corpse presented a terrible dilemma to the Lebanese Red Cross yesterday. Should they cut her in two, put the pieces in a body bag and take her to the hospital morgue, or leave her behind, in the hope that more powerful equipment could lift the concrete slab from her back and would reach her before the dogs did?"