As neither a parent nor a little kid, I always feel as if I’m being a little unfair passing judgment on They Might Be Giants’ children’s albums. “How should I know if this is good or not? It’s not made for me! A seven-year-old could have an entirely different perspective than I do!” But as a TMBG superfan, I can’t just let new work by them go by unnoticed, whether I’m in the target audience or not. Continue reading
Y’all probably know by now that when I’m not running Kittysneezes, I’m an associate editor over at Unicorn Booty (UnicornBooty.com if you’re nasty), too — which probably explains why my articles over there also post here.
But that only includes stories that I write — which means KS fans who don’t have Unicorn Booty in their RSS feed (seriously, add UB to your RSS!) miss out on some really great pieces.
One of those pieces is this one, by UB editor-in-chief (and good friend), Daniel Villareal: Why A 79-Year-Old Progressive Methodist Minister Burned Himself Alive. It’s the heartbreaking story of Rev. Charles Moore, a Methodist minister who had long advocated for progressive causes — fighting racism and homophobia, helping the poor, and generally being an amazing human being.
But when he retired, he fell into a depression as he no longer had an outlet for his advocacy… so he decided to have one final, shocking act of activism.
Daniel worked very hard on this story, and it shows — interviews with people who knew Moore, lots of background on Moore’s life and death, and, well, just really good journalism.
I cannot recommend this story enough — and that goes even if I didn’t work for Unicorn Booty! Seriously, it’s amazing; I did nothing on this story, and yet I’m proud just to be published by the same people who put that out.
So yes: READ IT.
When I started Esther Mathison’s book The Device I could not put it down. I eagerly read her second book and was honored when she asked me to edit her third book The 3.14 Device. Her steampunk time travel books are a fun read. Her main character, the borderline agoraphobic Gloria is a fresh break from the stereotypical time travelers.
Esther’s books are as thought provoking as they are fun. She tackles subjects such as ethics and personal morality and how they relate to technology. Her books would be a good fit for a book club, or even a school classroom that encouraged deep discussion.
Edward Ka-Spel’s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle. Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy! Continue reading
“Which of my many poor decisions brought me here?” she thought to herself. Was it owning a body that exceeded its warranty? She’d had a good run. Thirty years is a long time to keep yourself alive if you really have no skill at it. She’d been awfully careless with her allergies. Every decision to eat or touch or breathe had to be in delicate balance with the outside world. It became so exhausting after a while. She did the things she shouldn’t, just to prove she still could. Continue reading
A day with her mother in Brenham, nestled in the rolling central hills. Spring, bluebonnets scattered thickly in all the fields and along the side of the state highways. Never felt more Texan than when her heart swelled at the sight of them. The Blue Bell creamery, the tour of the ice cream being made and packaged and then sweet little scoops. Then the nunnery where they bred miniature horses, a newborn foal quietly nuzzling his mother in a stall. Antique stores with armadillos on the walls and diners and the outline of Texas everywhere. She would be leaving soon. Continue reading
He knew she would always be there, knowing he would always be there, waiting.
They had never met. He knew she was a world away from him. She came to him in his dreams, her voice lingering but quickly fading in those hazy moments upon waking. It was like a record listened to backwards to reveal secret messages, but just as he felt he was beginning to comprehend it it was gone, leaving him cold and alone in his studio apartment. Continue reading
The wide-bladed, dully green St. Augustine grass was smooth and comparatively cool against the soles of her feet, a welcome respite from the sun-baked asphalt. She was wandering the neighborhood today, with no particular destination in mind, and had just crossed over from the sidewalks of her block to the field that made up most of the community park around the corner. The playground was deserted. There were unavoidably large outcroppings of clover here, the interspersed white flowers tickling her, but she was careful not to step on the dandelions. She didn’t want to crush any future wishes. Continue reading
Rita carefully folded her periwinkle sundress and placed it in the bottom drawer of her walnut dresser. She picked up the empty basket and returned it to the laundry room. She used to enjoy the ritual of exchanging her summer clothes for the sweaters and turtlenecks she used to fight the chill of autumn, but this time it, like seemingly everything lately, was making her a little sad.
It was only five o’clock, but already the day felt as if it had gone on far too long. Rita considered going to bed, but knew if she did her mother would nag her about the importance of keeping a regular sleep schedule. So instead she walked to the backyard and sat on the slab of concrete that tried unsuccessfully to pass as a porch. Continue reading
This Saturday, June 27th, 2015, was the memorial for Dale Comer. This is the text of the speech I gave.
At the memorial, the Dale Comer Scholarship was announced, providing at least $500 a year for Broadcast Engineering students at Bates Technical College in Tacoma. If you would like to make a donation, send a check with “Dale Comer Scholarship” on the memo line to:
KBTC Public Television
2320 S. 19th St
Tacoma, WA 98405
When Dale passed away, I was devastated. He was my best friend. The last time I talked to him on the phone, it sounded like he was actually on the upswing, so when I found out he was fading fast, it hit extra hard.
I was lucky enough to visit him before he passed, and even though he couldn’t really talk, he was still there, he could still communicate. And… even as he lay dying, HE comforted ME when I broke down crying. That’s kind of Dale in a nutshell. Continue reading