Editor: David Herrle

me and my son, Emerson, June 2018

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Don’t eat the red snow.

Trish Regan has the best speaking voice on Earth.

I don’t like to brag, but I put the hipness is squareness.

My Works Cited is bigger than yours.

Thanks to the Amazon, this is no longer a mall-dominated society.

Nausea. I think I have nation sickness.

If I ever do decide to get a tattoo it’ll be four letters: NSFW.

Irving Greenberg on the uniqueness of the Shoah in “Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire”: “Limits were broken, restraints shattered, that will never be recovered, and henceforth mankind must live with the dread of a world in which models for unlimited evil exist.”

A favorite clip from Byron’s Manfred: “Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most/Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth…”

I will name my next daughter Hyperbola.

We’ve all had our fall from gross.

From now on, saying “no pun intended” should be against the law.

To bae, or not to bae…

Always remember that it’s never too late to give up.

An Oliver Stone is needed as much as a Ronald Reagan.

I reject the happiness-obsessed utilitarianism (hedonism’s formal-dressed cousin) that’s nauseatingly popular these days, without necessarily going as far as Carlyle’s indictment that it’s a philosophy suited for pigs.

Call me aesthetically backward, but I tend to like before photos better than after photos.

Sometimes I forget that most people don’t read. Even most readers don’t read.

I‘m a born leader. But I’m also a born loser. So I lose at leading, and I lead at losing.

French playwright Edmond Rostand created hip hop with Cyrano de Bergerac’s ballade.

Beethoven ♥s quaternity. But of the three-motif second movement of his Ninth, I wonder like Jung: “There are three, but where’s the fourth?”

Charles Dana Gibson was the Victorian Era’s Frank Cho.

Disney animation influences Japanese animation, then Japanese animation influences Disney animation. John Ford Westerns inspire Kurosawa, then Kurosawa inspires Sergio Leone Westerns. Surrealism gave birth to Bugs Bunny and the other *Looney Tunes* characters.

Sometimes Coldplay outU2s U2.

Yes, beauty fades with age, and the loss itself can be a depressing burden, but ugliness also is a burden, a lifelong state that doesn’t fade with age. Those who are saddled with the beauty burden are lucky. Good for them.

“Television is now the movies, and movies are increasingly like television,” Bret Easton Ellis said on his podcast. Right on! Though I think Ellis’ statement isn’t meant positively and he might not like what I’m about to say, I recently binge-watched David Lynch’s and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Return, and I’m convinced that this third – and inordinately superior – season of the series may be the most thrilling, delightful and compelling television ever.

I’m a heretic who dislikes Blue Velvet, finds Eraserhead so-so and believes that the first season of Twin Peaks deserves many yawns (I favor the second season and the Fire Walk With Me film), and my favorite Lynch works used to be Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. Used to be. The Return, unchained from network censorship and myopia, is not only Lynch’s apotheosis, it’s more than enough penance for Inland Empire.

Twin Peaks: The Return‘s Dougie Jones character, who becomes a soft simpleton after Agent Cooper’s transmigration into the real world, radiates innocence and non-duplicity, as strongly as normal Cooper is iconized for his righteousness, bravery and fundamental goodness. And Dougie’s near-blankness and tic of repeating key words that he hears allows him to be a clean slate for others’ interpretations and projections. Though his inscrutability may frustrate or perplex at first, it has the tendency to evoke positive emotions and awaken kindness where it might otherwise be lacking or dormant. This salvational-simpleton trope has been effective since Don Quixote, and it’s particularly delightful in Karl Childers of Sling Blade, Chance of Being There, brain-damaged Henry Turner of Regarding Henry – even E.T. (whose “simpleness” is due to extraterrestriality rather than mental defect, of course).


Heinrich Heine was wrong to say that burned books lead to burned people. Books burn because people burn.

Political correctness is a puritanical movement championed by merciless meddlers, bitter buzzkills and uptight busybodies, and its extreme enforcement produces stuff such as the French Revolution’s guillotine. I wish for a backlash against the witch-burning mob before we are doomed to be craven asskissers and clockwork oranges, denying/suppressing the nuanced, unmathematical, volatile nature of the human heart.

Japanese poet Issa says that we walk on hell’s flower-covered roof (so ruin and death are existentially fundamental), but G.K. Chesterton warns us not to mistake the troublesome siege on the citadel as the citadel itself.

In his Gilliamesque memoir, Terry Gilliam said, “The most important single cultural influence on my teenage years was Mad comics.” Though Mad wasn’t the most important influence for me, it certainly was up there with superhero comic books, recordings of the old Inner Sanctum and The Shadow radio shows, Stephen Kings novels and morose music such as The Smiths and The Cure.

If there were a novel called AtLancaster Shrugged, its rhetorical question would be “Who is John of Gaunt?”

Stephen King at Jerry Jenkins’ blog: “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”


Sweet Pea