Showing posts from October, 2005

How To Survive a Horror Movie

I have learned my survival skills from horror movies, the residents of the Stephen King Bulletin Board and my own father, Dr. Ralph Donald, who once wrote a tongue-in-cheek article applying the laws of Darwin to horror flicks: i.e., the stupidest die before they can reproduce. Therefore, I bring to you the 2006 edition of THE RULES: What You Can Do to Save Yourself and/or The World. First off, JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, ANYWAY? If your name isn't one of the first two in the credits, you WILL die. If you have the biggest boobs, you WILL die. If you're stupid enough to investigate that strange noise, you're deserving of a particularly gruesome death. If you are the one playing hard to get and don't bump uglies, you will probably be safe. Chances are, either the hitchhiker or the driver is criminally INSANE. If you're the sane one, get out of the car. Even if it's moving. If you are the CEO of a corporation that has polluted the water/soil/air of

Venerating Our Symbols

I love the Onion. Parody news is barely distinguishable from real news these days, and the Onion skewers everyone with equal fervor. After all, when CNN runs stories about a cat with two tongues and the internet is abuzz because Camilla wore one of the Queen's tiaras... You get the drift. I personally believe the White House should have much more important things to do than bug the Onion about using the presidential seal. I mean, we've got an unwinnable Vietnam - er, Iraq, a hopelessly unqualified Supreme Court nominee, plummeting approval polls, ghastly gas prices while oil companies post double-digit profit margins, those pesky grand jury investigations of the Vice President's office and half the Republican leadership posing for mug shots. By the way, there's terrorists on their way to kill YOU, and remember Osama bin Laden? The guy who blew up 2,000 Americans? Of course not. Nobody else does. There's also First Amendment issues. I do not believe our symbols s

Leggo My Ego!

The following is an essay written for the Writers' Circle, a group to which I have belonged since 2001. It was my turn to inspire them. Poor souls. Note: the group is based on, a writers' community online. LEGGO MY EGO! I'm sitting in front of my laptop. It mocks me with its cool white iMac grace. It's ready to receive my brilliance and disseminate it to the universe. Meh. Instead, I turn to iChat and dial up my dear friend Frank Fradella. Frank is the author of VALLEY OF SHADOWS, SWAN SONG, DEAD THINGS and other terrific tomes. He's the publisher of New Babel Books and CyberAge Adventures Magazine and has his fingers in all sorts of interesting pies. He's been slugged by Harlan Ellison, man. That's a quasi-elite club. ME: It's my turn to write an inspiring essay on writing for the Writers Circle, and I'm empty. I already used my Mozart speech on them the last time. FRANK: Talk about the importance of ego. ME: Mine or theirs? F

Supernatural, episode 1:2

SUPERNATURAL episode 1:2 Previously on Supernatural, the whole series happened. Da Boyz had a mom and a dad, only something killed Mom in a burst of flame and Dad went on a decades-long crusade to find out what, only now Dad’s disappeared. Also, the younger brother’s girlfriend died in a burst of flame Just Like Mom. The younger brother looks like Ashton Kutchner, so that’s what I’m calling him. The older one is played by the actor who played Tackling Dummy (a less-than-bright assistant football coach) on SMALLVILLE last year. We are now in Lake Manitoc, Wisconsin. I happen to know this episode is being aired out of order, so we’ll give the WB an honorary Fox Award for stupidity and pretend that the itinerary for the Brothers Grimm makes sense. Oh, come on. It was that or call them Sculder and Mully. We’re in some Wisconsin house, and either my VCR has taped this really badly or it is super-nasty-dark. Considering this is a cheerful, well-lit kitchen and I know how dark this show

Veronica Mars 2:1

VERONICA MARS, Episode 2:1 Previously, everything happened. Veronica is hostess at a coffee shop. Okay, why does a coffee shop need a hostess? I mean, she’s showing the nubile teens to nearby couches. I’ve never seen such a thing. Veronica Voiceover is telling us she’s been working on having a normal life. Uh huh. That’s gonna happen. A yutz comes up to tell her he failed the drug test and he’s off sports, but he’s been clean 10 months. Veronica says she’s retired from the snooping business. Yutz snips at her that she’s back with the ‘09ers. She glares, and he slinks off. A slinky brunette tells Veronica her father is on TV. He’s written a book about Lily’s murder with a New York Times reporter. Brunette says, “Your dad’s hot,” and Veronica gives her an Oedipal stink-eye. Flashback to the big night. Veronica opens the door, and says her line: “I was hoping it would be you.” But Logan (I knew it) is standing facing away from her, and he’s in shadow. Her face changes when he turns

Our Town

Wednesday was Our Town's homecoming parade, and my son and I were there, along with half the town. His former principal waved happily to my boy - calling him by name, for heaven's sake. Is it a good thing that the principal can remember his name? My son was jumping up and down with excitement when the marching band's drum corps came by. The superintendent waved to me - he knows me pretty well, I've harrassed him often enough on the job. And how can you not love a public high school with an Anime Club? It's always in October that I am reminded of how lucky we are to live here. It starts with the homecoming parade, and the folks setting up their camp chairs along Main Street to cheer on the teams that seem younger every year. ("They're not getting younger, I'm afraid. Something else is happening there," said The Tenor at church this morning, with an evil wink. "Shush. I'm in denial," I replied.) It's not so much that any of us ca

Commander in Chief, Episode 1:2

It's a brand new season, folks. Time for the recaps! Not quite TWoP-worthy, but my personal thoughts while watching the best (and some of the worst) TV has to offer. COMMANDER IN CHIEF 1:2 I was running a little late, so I missed half the eulogy for the late Prez. It was given by Speaker Bastard, so I’m not crying. He skates right up to dissing Mac, which is what I’m calling President Mackenzie Allen. I reiterate my wish that The Bastard wasn’t quite so obviously a black hat, but since he’s a SMART black hat, he’s an entertaining black hat, and therefore he can stay. He’s not quite up to Lionel the Magnificent Bastard of SMALLVILLE, but then this show also lacks the HoYay. And Kryptonite. Limo. The First Fam talks about which Veep to appoint, and the First Gentleman tells the kids they have to keep family business private now. I know he’s the First Gentleman because the subtitles told me, and that’s going to get real old, real fast. The subtitles, not his amusing title as First


Okay, folks, let's suppose that an anthology of my short stories could possibly be coming out soon. Like, next year. What should said anthology be called? The short stories were all written in 2000-2003, and share a Twilight-Zone type of fatalistic tragedy. None have truly happy endings; most have fairly tragic ones. If you've come to my readings at cons, you've heard the lead story, SISYPHUS. What? The contest part? Here's the catch: You have to be a member of my YahooGroup. It's easy and free: go to and sign up. I won't be offended if you go for the digest or special-notice format - we're a fairly low-mail group, but I understand how spammed you folks can get. Suggest a title on the Yahoogroup. Of the top five (decided by me), I will run a poll. The winner will receive a free comb-bound copy of A MORE PERFECT UNION, or may elect to wait and receive a free copy of the anthology when it is published. I can'