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“There’s been a lot of work done on this old planet and we never we just never think about how all of our comfort and all of our opportunity and all of our security is absolutely dependent on the hard work and the craftsmanship and the skill of the people that have built the world around us.” — Scott Wadsworth


You see, you learn something when you listen to old people. They ain’t fools, see. You don’t get to be old by being no fool, see. A lot of young wise men are deader than a motherfucker, ain’t they? – Mudbone aka Richard Pryor


The Magic of Childhood

I’m not at all sure which pagan religion my 10-year-old nephew belongs to. Perhaps it is the arcane cult of “Nintendoism” with its secret rites of “The High Priests of the Thumb”. Perhaps he is an acolyte of “Transformerology,” which evidently commands him to amass enough Legos to build a Romanesque Chapel in the corner of his room large enough for himself and two friends.

I am disturbed that this unknown cult requires him to keep a graven image in his room that resembles a large square sponge with legs and a Satanic expression. From time to time, he is known to take trays of burnt offerings, in the form of charred circles of dough covered in melted cheese and a sauce as red as blood, into his room. The offering trays are later recovered, but there is no trace of the sacrifice, only vague stains of red on the sponge and rug beneath it.

I am not sure how or when he came by this religion. Perhaps he was converted during one of those dead of night gatherings known among his set as “sleep-overs.” Sure, they sound innocent enough, but I am positive that these are covens at which much arcane and secret knowledge is transferred.

No matter what the source or nature of his unknowable religion, one thing is clear about the dangers of it. He has become convinced that there is such a thing as magic. My fear is that he may be right.

I suspect this because I have witnessed this dark magic at work in my own home.

One often seen magical incident is what I have come to know as “The Ritual of the Spirit Shoes.” In this ritual, he discards his shoes at any place in the house in the sincere belief that they will appear lined up in pairs in his closet. This, you will be astonished to learn, is exactly what happens. They actually do appear in the closet within the next 24 hours. At times they even appear, if they sense they will be his choice of footwear for the day, next to the front door ready for his feet in a kind of reverse Cinderella moment.

I have come to understand that “The Ritual of the Spirit Shoes” is only one of the strange effects that come about through the intervention of  “The Magic Floor.” This “force” seems to be able to cause any and all items of his clothing discarded at any point in the house to vanish only to reappear, clean and folded, in his drawers and closets.

By far the most stunning proof that my nephew’s religion is dark magic with large mojo is what I have come to understand as “The Miracle of Toys and Games.”

As a 10-year-old boy, my nephew has no job, no prospects for a job, and is currently doomed to be a member of the hard-core unemployed for an unknown number of years. Because of this, he does not enjoy positive cash flow. In fact, if he has any cash flow at all, it is decidedly negative.

Still, he seems to have an ever-expanding number of possessions. No sooner does he obtain, through prayer, an X-Box than he calls out to his strange gods for a Playstation II and, poof! it appears. It comes complete with several strange circles of shiny metal that he places in the slot on the Playstation altar for an extended period of worship.

Objects of this level of expense must, it would seem, be chanted for intensely, and the chants repeated frequently, over a period of time. The more mundane items such as school supplies seem to be the fruits of silent prayer. Still, the miracle manifests itself on a daily basis when, without any tapping of his own horde of cash kept in a large brown cigar box, his possessions multiply around him.

All this happens behind his back and without any intervention from him while in a trance state. At this level of contemplation and meditation, he receives visions from strange beings that appear to him hour upon hour. Observing him in this state I can only conclude he is channeling his arcane gods through some mystical conduit that he calls “The Cartoon Network.”

I am not sure what messages he is receiving since those few visions I have been allowed to witness involves bizarre figures of a slightly oriental cast flying about on alien worlds. Other than flying and exploding, they are unmoving except for a vibrating crimson squiggle where their lips would be. I am not sure what gospel they are preaching. I am sure, however, that I am paying a monthly tithe for this on my cable bill.

No matter. Although it is a bit unnerving to witness the magical power of my nephew’s unknown religion, I am at least comforted to know that he, unlike so many of our materialistic children, has a rich and full spiritual life. That’s so important these days when the secular seems to be dominating so much of our culture. Since many of his friends seem to share the same religion, I am also gratified that he has chosen peers whose family’s values also accentuate the spiritual.

Yesterday I thought that I would help my nephew take one of his first steps towards adulthood by getting him his own wallet. In this way, I believed I could begin to show him how to be responsible for his own finances. On reflection, I have thought better of it. His religion is so powerful that he would simply take it into his room, mutter some words over it, expose it to the mystic rays beamed in via “The Cartoon Channel,” and it would be transformed into “The Boys’ Wallet of Wonder — Money checks in, but it doesn’t check out.” He would always leave home without it.  As long as he knew I’d brought mine along.  

[October 10, 2004]

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Noted In Passing: Pssst! Pass it on.

“It’s probably nothing….”


Townsends is a YouTube channel on the life and the minutiae of the 18th Century that he has been hosting for 12 years.

Jas. Townsend & Son Inc. is a manufacturer and retailer of quality reproduction 18th and early 19th Century clothing and personal accessories. We service the living history community, historic sites, museums, and theatrical, motion picture, and television production companies.

Meanwhile…. in the aftermath of the late, not-so-great 20th century… “Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy.”

“How quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only 10 seconds ago”.


The Code of the West vs the Code of the Left

“A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.” — John Wayne

Once upon a time, there was “The Code of the West.” That was long ago, far away and in another country. In the US today “The Code of the Left” seems to prevail in a large swath of the population. I’ve compared the two here.

WEST * Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also known as “the rattlesnake code”: always warn before you strike. However, if a man was being stalked, this could be ignored.

LEFT * Always smear a blameless or dangerous political enemy. Lying and innuendo are approved and rewarded. Be the rattlesnake. Unless the man is stalking the same office you are. In that case smear early and smear often. Lie big and lie long.

* Don’t inquire into a person’s past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.

* There are no “people,” only “social policies.” Don’t inquire into a social policy’s past or that policy’s likely consequences for the future. Take the measure of a policy by how closely it maps to the Socialist Utopia that has already killed and crippled hundreds of millions of people. Dream big nightmares.

* Never steal another man’s horse. A horse thief pays with his life.

* Always look to steal another man’s money with a “tax.” Always ask your fellow citizen to reach for his wallet. All tax thieves are rewarded with a fat government pension and fatter health plan. [continue reading…]



The Email Poem. Spammers Unknown.


A world of made
is not a world of born --- pity poor flesh and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical
ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if --- listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go

E. E. Cummings


Noted In Passing: My 50 Cal Exploded

“Just put a thumb in it.” <–[Catchphrase explained in video]


Elements of Grammar Walk Into a Bar

• An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.

• A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

• A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

• An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

• Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

• A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

• Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything. [continue reading…]




It was found in the fog that shivered
The slivers of glass in the windows.
It was seen in the sheen of the moon
On the unworn wood of the floor.
It spoke with the slow, patient clutching of light
And tapped out the unknown codes of the flesh,
The indistinct worm of the years and the shapes
Of desire, possession, and fate.
It was mute.

It was stitched in the spaces
Of the wind’s alphabet.
It was clothed in cool hands
Gloved in wet weather.
It appeared on the paths
That admitted no passage.
Its ratchety rhythms
Were all made of matchsticks.
It waited.

Its slashings were tattooed
On drapes of dank velvet.
Its gibbering laughter inserted itself
Between doorway and jamb and continued to carve.
Its snickering plumbing
Rotted the dinner.
They had left, they had left.
Indeed, they had left.
Of that, all their objects could clearly attest.


FULL TEXT of September 1, 1939: [continue reading…]


Presented for your edification our “Thuglish**™” speaking guide to “American Prison Bullies. Watch out for the quiet guy.”

O O O O that Shakespeherian rag—
It’s so elegant
So intelligent
The Waste Land

Gotta love this con’s smooth palaver. He knows how –rude Milton that he may be — to do as Whitman urged,

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

Think what you may this sage of the Big House has one big barbaric yawp.

“Thuglish**™” : An argot of the North American underclasses both criminal and cultural. It was spoken and heard throughout both rural and urban North America in the 2020s. Ubiquitous north of the Mexican border, “Thuglish**™” is the required second language of members of various militarized Mexican drug cartels. “Thuglish**™” is also the default second choice in Mexican voice mail: “To get it on in “Thuglish**™” check out 2 bro”