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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Abraham, a respectable guy

Though Abraham died over 40 years ago now, the repercussions of his death are still felt in myriad and subtle ways. It may be (and has been) argued that Thursday City has never recovered. At the very least it has never been the same. But what really is ever the same?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Season’s greetings

It’s almost time. The winter solstice is coming. The death and rebirth of the sun! What a glorious thing, it may be the beginning of winter, but the days only get longer from here.

For us at least, while we celebrate the inevitable coming of spring let us not forget that for those in the southern hemisphere this is actually the summer solstice. They have steadily declining days to look forward to until they come to their winter in July.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Requiem for Peach Muddy

Peach Muddy (b. October 13, 1936-d. December 7, 2007) was one of the most revered actors, not just of his generation but of all time, in Thursday City. His portrayal of Consuelo in Gabriel Contortia-Majorca’s “Tome cada pequeño pedazo de mi corazón” (Take every little piece of my heart) is still so legendary as to evoke hushed silence amongst the literati and the Masses alike. Though his public life and his private philosophies were the source of much controversy in his day, his stage life was never questioned and has ultimately vindicated and redeemed his historical persona. One of Peach’s many famously controversial quotes was “Give me a pound of cocaine, a lighter, a spoon, 3 beefy women, and a 600 pound hog and I will give you the best 3 hours of your life.” There is still argument to this day about whether this was some kind of veiled cultural critique, or a sophisticated allegory, or just an honest comment on his predilections. Regardless of what the final meaning of Peach’s life and philosophies amounts to we will always remember him with love and affection—for on the stage he showed us what we were, what we are, and what we could be in ways that no other could match. We will miss you Peach Muddy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Latin based language has poetry and romance. Greek has philosophy and epic. What does Germanic have? Guts and gloom. Nothing beats us Germanic based languages for guts and gloom. Viscera is a nice word and all, but does it say insides like guts. Does it? Ennui is a wonderful word that captures an epidemic psychosis perfectly well, but nothing hits the immediacy of the feeling like boredom. Ahh... boredom the land of the bore; what a horribly boring place to be. Zeus sounds really powerful and gloomy, but God, God sounds ALL powerful and gloomy. Lucifer sounds like a smooth and silky villain, but Grendel sounds like he will rip you limb from limb and grind your guts with his grimy grill. And what says doom better than doom? It just sounds so final, so inevitable. Other languages have poetry, and philosophy, and romance, and love, but by my hands you shall meet your doom!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Whisper its true name: the Documentary

As you may, or may not, remember I had a show at the Anton Art Center (Michigan) in October. Alison, at the center, put enormous amounts of energy into making it a great show and if you weren’t there (as I wasn’t) you really missed something special, don’t you know. But for all of you losers that missed out there is this new-fangled modern invention called photographic reproduction. I won’t go into the details, but it involves exposing a light sensitive material to prescribed amounts of light for prescribed amounts of time. It’s pretty amazing. If you have never heard of it you should look into it. Anyway, through this modern invention we have managed to capture moments in time for posterity. How does this relate to you? Why, it allows you (and me) to see the way the show looked without actually having to have been there! Truly amazing.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Old News II

Another bit of old news that many of you may not know about. Last year I had some work in an Austrian magazine named Rosebud. The theme of the issue was “ideals.” I created an 8 page series of Loguments (monuments made of logos—I have that word copyrighted). The Loguments read “An ideal must comprehend its opposite or collapse.”

You can order the book here:

And here are some images:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Giving thanks

The last two weeks have been psychologically and technologically disturbing here in Thursday City. A city wide computer problem caused a series of collapses, which destroyed many vaulted files. This series of computer problems triggered a series of psychological disturbances which shook Thursday City to the core. But I am back in the saddle (as it were) and excited about the future again. Yes, the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. To catch you up on news: “the Moth or the Flame” is nearly ready to be sent to the printers. It will hopefully be available in mid-winter. “Severed Limbs” is coming along swimmingly. I should have images soon of the show in Michigan, from October. They will be posted as soon as I have received them. Le Gooch still has extra toes and is yet to show any hint of embarrassment about this fact. I have advanced another year in living chronology. Mayor Trumbull is still in his grave, and the interim Mayor Wilson should be replaced after the upcoming elections. The legal struggles involving the city of Thursday City and Kreme King’s illegal dumping of mass amounts of petro-chemical waste into Thursday River are still mired in seemingly interminable legal gridlock. The sun came up and went down again today. And all seems to be otherwise enduring in the world. Thanks for that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Willy B weighs in on the notion of Fate

I have been frustrated with technological problems of late, but in these troubled times I often turn to Willy B for heartening wisdom.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ries, Mr. Okkelnootje, and the Holy Scarab

A year or two ago I was commissioned to draw a story for an Italian motorcycle company named Aprilia. They were releasing a new scooter called the Scarabeo. Well, I basically just used it as an opportunity to tell a Ries and Mr. Okkelnootje story. Ries lives in Old Town in Thursday City and Mr. Okkelnootje may or may not be imaginary. I drew the story and they took it with no edits! Ha! I got ‘em.

I am going to post the story in its entirety, because, though they paid me, I never saw the book (those bastards), and this story may never see print in America.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

BIG NEWS!: Re-membered

After I posted the news about not winning the Xeric grant the positive response was overwhelming (if a few people saying “too bad” can be considered overwhelming). Well one of the respondees offered to help fund the printing of the book. She is the president of Southern Belle Communications, Angela Finney. As you all know the Finney’s are a long established and well respected family here in Thursday City. Angela’s support could not be more appreciated. So it looks like Southern Belle Communications will be the co-publisher of “the Moth or the Flame.” It should be available in the Winter of 2008. Hurray!

I am now working on another long(ish) comic book titled “Severed Limbs.” (For those of you that love self-referentiality you will see it mentioned in “the Moth or the Flame,” once that is printed and available.) It follows a day in the rough and tumble life of Friedrich Blitzkrieg (if you will recall he was introduced to the blog a while back), you can call him Fred. This is the opening page of the upcoming book (look for it around 2009ish). (Apparently this post could have been sub-titled “parentheticals abound.”)

Friday, November 2, 2007

The sleep of reason

According to Goya the sleep of reason produces monsters. I would like to suggest that waking reason often produces monsters as well. Perhaps the more encompassing and pithy axiom would be: People produce monsters.

I have a feeling Jonathon Bean would agree with me. I have encountered him while reason slept and while reason woke, and in both cases he seemed to be surrounded by monsters. Perhaps he is just an unfortunate soul that the gods have chosen for a black cloud to follow. Though he bears the mark of the villain, in actuality he merely had a tricycle accident as a youth, which left a deep gash across his left jowl. Jonathon is a perfectly agreeable fellow really, mostly. He simply has some demons, outer and inner.

Here Jonathon Bean’s bean hovers between realms, tormented by monsters real and imaginary.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Battling the pirates

Pirates are not extinct. Although we like to imagine that swashbucklers on the high seas are a glamorous thing of the past in actuality they are more dangerous than ever.

According to the international study “the Practical Guide to Piratical Practices Worldwide,” conducted by the World Foundation for the Study and Termination of Malicious Marauding, 1 in 2,357 tourists are captured by pirates and sold into slavery, 12,038 cargo ships are hijacked, and over $373,000,000.00 worth of cargo is stolen and subsequently sold on the black market every year.

In light of this newly published study we are offering a wonderfully functional and stylish solution to a select crowd. You know who you are. The old saying applies: “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

Ladies and gentleman, behold! The ultimate in self-protective gunboatery. The USS Shirley:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Speaking of cats, look what the cat dragged in

If one were to travel northeast from Thursday City into the surrounding Valley of Keene, across the river, deep into the heart of the Back Woods one would eventually arrive at the Dark Prefecture. A magical place filled with wonder and made all the more intriguing by the decades of accumulated folk tales surrounding the area. One would most certainly get there eventually; if one were so inclined. Once there one may or may not encounter Le Gooch the prince of the Dark Prefecture.

Le Gooch is a divine creature, a deviant perversion of divinity perhaps, but divine nonetheless. We do not know whether he protects or terrorizes his territory, possibly both, but regardless he is there. There is no documented evidence of his existence in this realm, but trust me he is there. It is rumored that he has been responsible for devouring men, sacrificing women, and (inexplicably) de-limbing philosophers and heroes. Believe what you will.

Below is a rendering by our resident sketch-artist:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Seriousity killed the cat?

A rebuke I generally level at myself, first and foremost.

But seriously, what is so wonderful about being serious? Unless you are seriously filled with wonder.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The puppet ghoul (on a rhetorical string)

The fuller and more profound my comprehension of divine/transcendental principles such as soul, spirit, character, fate, and infinity becomes the more iridescent, manifold, wondrous, magnificent my cosmos becomes. The more magnificent my understanding of the ineffable and infinite mysteries becomes the more concrete and whole my cosmos becomes. What used to be an every day feeling for me I now recognize as being intolerably depressing. What used to be intolerably dark and depressing I now comprehend as ultimately sobering and revitalizing. I now understand pain and anguish in a way that has become invaluable. I now realize the grey numbness that used to pervade the “everyday” was a vicious noxious disease of nihilism and apathy spreading through my mind, body, and soul like a plague, and eating away at my infinity—gnawing through my metaphysical umbilical connection to the divine. This disease wasn’t killing me, no, death would be a welcome release from its clutches. Nihilism is a disease that is turning the human race into the walking undead. The zombification of an entire species is taking place, literally we are (have been) devolving ourselves into another species altogether. A soulless, spiritless, valueless mass of ghouls. And just like ghouls we serve whatever master happens to be enchanting us at the moment.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Prelude to Asterion

This is a page from my sketchbook. It is a rambling rumination on the origins and implications of the Greek myth of the Minotaur. At this point I have to make recourse to Chief O’Doole from “Miller’s Crossing”: “Jesus, Tom! I was just speculating about a hypothesis; I know I don’t know nothing.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Woe is me!

Thursday City was shaken to the core today (Thursday of course) as we received word “the Moth or the Flame” was not deemed worthy of receiving a Xeric grant. For you 8 people who have been eagerly awaiting its imminent arrival you are going to have to wait a lot longer. As stated below (far below now), I am determined to get this book printed. But until I can find a way to do it I have no idea when it might be done. Unless someone has a cool $6-7,000 sitting around in need of a publishing project.


The Boggy Swamp of Swampy Bogginess

The sun goes down. The lightning strikes. But the task remains. Navigating the dreaded Boggy Swamp of Swampy Bogginess requires all the strength, courage, vitality, and vigilance one can muster. And even at peak condition one still needs luck and eudaimonia (good graces) to make it through alive. And even then the reward is death. But we would rather die having lived than live half-dead.

The murky landscape is constantly shifting. A boon one moment becomes an albatross the next. A solid foundation dissolves into a bottomless pit. A beautiful woman is deadly, and a poisonous snake is a friend. One must be light on one’s toes. Dancing like Baryshnikov across pitfall and booby trap with ease, grace, and elegance. Don’t forget to bask in the horrifyingly beautiful surroundings, just don’t succumb to their whispered words of seduction, i.e. destruction.

Percy Hemlock negotiates the Boggy Swamp of Swampy Bogginess atop Gingerboy the Nimble Lion-ape, while scratching his cohort Wesley Junecheeks on the noggin.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


It was a translucent purple night. It was as if dawn were in collusion with midnight to create a deep darkness that one could still see through. It must have been around 3 am. I was watching Fellini’s “Satyricon.” Imagine my surprise when one of my sculpture pieces appeared on the screen. It was Balthazar. The revelers at Trimalchio’s banquet were heading down the side of the mountain to enact a mock death ceremony for Trimalchio himself. And suddenly! there he was. Balthazar was standing monumentally above the partygoers/mourners. And later in the movie I spotted another. This time it was Johnnie Sphinxter in the field where Encolpius accompanied the Poet to die. Was this all my imagination? Had I seen this all before and just forgotten? I did watch the first half of “Satyricon” ten years ago, and for some reason never finished. Could I have retained those images and then remade them as part of my own system of archetypes and symbols? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was really late and the slippery limen between over-focused consciousness and mythic unconscious was dissolving? I rubbed my eyes. Everything blurred.

When I woke up the next day I watched the film on my computer. It was no dream. I saw it again. So I took some screen-shots, and here they are. Balthazar and Johnnie Sphinxter as seen in Fellini’s “Satyricon”:

Friday, October 5, 2007


Just when you thought it was getting to be all too much to bear, Quintavius prances out of the mystical field of rainbow flowers and showers you in warm, delicious, dark-chocolate centaur milk!


The secret of “the Secret”

“It would not be best for man to get what he wants”—Heraclitus

In a culture completely and radically unfit to decide what it wants one of the worst things imaginable would be for it to get what it wants. It wants riches at the expense of Soul. It wants riches at the expense of Spirit. It wants riches at the expense of Earth. It wants riches at the expense of Life.

It doesn’t want truth, it wants aggrandizement.
It doesn’t want justice, it wants vengeance.
It doesn’t want love, it wants obedience.
It doesn’t want fidelity, it wants loyalty.
It doesn’t want change, it wants reform.
It doesn’t want growth, it wants progress.
It doesn’t want new, it wants novel.
It doesn’t want substance, it wants flavor.
It doesn’t want perfection, it wants happiness.
It doesn’t want best, it wants most.
It doesn’t want life, it wants not to die.
It doesn’t want mystery, it wants secrets.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Heaven’s Barber Shop

The sky;
the sky is actually the floor of Heaven’s Barber Shop.
The clouds;
clouds are the freshly cut hair of the gods strewn across the divine barber’s floor.
The pole;
a tornado is the barber pole, therefore the Midwest is the entrance to Heaven’s Barber Shop.
lightning is the sparks that fly when the divine barber clips the electrified hair of the gods.
The wind;
the wind is the divine barber’s broom sweeping up the clouds.
And planes;
planes are lice; even our gods are lousy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lord of the Dance

I wasn’t even aware of it then, but it was Cinco de Mayo. I was on the F train—Manhattan bound. My father and Angie were in town, and I was on the way to meet them in mid-town. It was a crisp day, a few cotton candy clouds hung in the sky, big silver and white flying cars crisscrossed between the clouds, reminiscent of science fiction novels, and the train was close to a capacity crowd. The doors opened with a chime at York Street, and on walked a 3-man Mariachi band. There were no violins, no trumpets, and no silver studded suits. Maybe they weren’t Mariachis after all. But there seemed to be a faint whistle in the background when they entered, and it suddenly felt like the Wild West; our subway car had been transformed into a saloon. The band began to play.

They played quite well. Suddenly, a voice in the back of the car shouted: “BAILAR!! Bailar, bailar!” I turned to see the source of the encouraging words. I couldn’t remember what bailar meant at first, my Spanish is more than rusty, more like non-existent. But somehow I felt convinced we were being invited to dance. The man was a striking figure. He possessed one of the most distinctive faces you can imagine. He seemed to come straight from the world of Fellini. He wore a kind of military coat, which was not too large, but was much too long, baggy, but fitting, pants, a flowered shirt, cheap shiny Sunday shoes, a wide brimmed hat, and coke bottle glasses. And he was dancing. Apparently the band had a hype-man á la Flavor Flav. They played us into Manhattan and exited at Delancey Street.

At Second Avenue another band from south of the border clambered onto the train. This time it just seemed normal. All the patrons in the subway saloon had been desensitized to surrealism by now. The band, without much ado, began to play. A few seconds into the music we again heard from the back of the car: “BAILAR!! Bailar, bailar!” Could it be that the Mexican folk scene was taking a page from the world of hip-hop and all including a hype-man now? I turned, and to my surprise it was the same man. And he was, once again, dancing with glee. And he was, once again, vigorously encouraging his fellow travelers to do the same. After all who among us can truly resist the spirited melodies of Mexican folk music?

Again he shouts: “BAILAR!! Bailar, bailar!” He snaps his fingers and stomps his feet. The band plays. He shouts again: “BAILAR!! Bailar, bailar!” He is not a paid hype-man. He is simply a man who loves the dance. And we are all merely potential dance partners in his ring of fire.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Buying Time

I have been working on a piece, for the last week or two, that has completely consumed me for the last few days. I have got to get it done. But I thought, in the meantime, I would post some older images to keep the hounds of hell at bay. What, you didn’t know that once you start a blog the hounds of hell are unleashed upon you and the only way to keep them sated is with regular blog postings?

These guys are named Cielo and Douglas. This is an example of what I might do if I were in Mexico City at a lecture about architecture solely in Spanish, which I don’t speak, with no translation, and having an hour, or so, to kill while being washed in the pleasant sounds of intellectual Español.

And this is Kwame and Sylvester, the characters that Jordan the Bearded Yachtsman has been screaming for.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Uncle Tim’s, no holds barred, Timed Death Match Challenge!

When I lived in Italy some friends of mine (Matt, Morgan, and Arden) and I began a series of excruciating creative challenges. While working on a project we would institute severe time limitations on ourselves and create something as finished as possible within that time frame. For instance, while working on a project for Alessi we churned out a series of grueling 2-minute illustrations (these were compiled in the end and our boss, Omar the Crowbar, and the clients loved them). This is the kind of thing that working in a high-tech concrete underground bunker, in the middle of a vineyard, in northern Italy will inspire in a group of young men. Since then the challenge has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and flourished in the often hostile environment of the New World. For instance, my classes and I start almost every session with a set of timed exercises to get our creative juices flowing.

Here are the basic rules:
1. The exercise has to be timed (these days I generally go with 15 minutes)
2. Determine a medium/format for the final piece (Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, a drawing, a collage, etc.)
3. The exercise starts with a word or two (this can be a theme, a name, or nonsense connections like: cock-a-doodle pie)
4. Begin
5. End

The character below was birthed in this process. This was a challenge between me and Jordan the Bearded Yachtsman. We each gave the other a name and had to create a character in 15 minutes. The name Jordan the Bearded Yachtsman proffered was: Chauncey.

(Obviously I didn’t finish this entire piece in 15 minutes. I finished Chauncey (and his tortoise Phillip), and then went back and finished the rest later.)

This is the challenger.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Science and sanity. Oh, the humanity!

It has oft been claimed that one sign of insanity is repeating the same action over and over while expecting a different result. This may well be true, but it’s opposite does not follow. That is, it is not necessarily a sign of sanity to repeat the same action over and over while expecting the same result. That is not sanity it is science. But life/nature is constantly displaying for us a wondrous sense of irony that confounds all expectations. The sun comes up everyday (indeed the sun coming up defines the day), but weather patterns are vastly more unpredictable than we would like to believe. We wake up everyday, but our mood upon waking is oft unpredictable. We walk through life taking our breath for granted, but never knowing when our last breath may come. However, science would have us believe otherwise, wittingly or not. One deeply buried a priori at the heart of science is the concept ceteris paribus, or all things being equal. For the sake of scientific experimentation certain impossible-to-account-for factors must be disqualified in order to trust the results of the experiment, thus ceteris paribus. Any scientist, upon questioning, will readily acknowledge this. But this necessary scientific premise has been, for the most part, buried in our scientific civilization. For centuries now we have conducted a more and more ambitious scientization of culture. But after centuries of this ordinarizing process what if something vital has been lost? In science ceteris paribus may be acceptable and, in fact, often necessary to conduct research, but in life nothing is ever “all equal.”

What is missing in the scientific approach to life and culture is the cultivation of humanity’s glorious divine gift of evaluation. That is the ability to not simply read, but interpret. When King Belshazzar and his partying cohorts saw the writing on the wall, they could read it perfectly well, what they could NOT do was interpret its value. They knew the definitions of the words, but what was their meaning? These words were common terms of technical measurement (they were the names for different monetary units), i.e. scientific, but in order to comprehend their true meaning the prophetic powers of Daniel were necessary. Missing in the scientific equation of life are the natural and intuitive interpretive powers of humanity. And the more wholly scientized we become the more starved and entropic those evaluative energies and dynamics become. Our interpretive powers are only fed and augmented by disciplined and consistent practice. Prophets have always been the men and women who exercised their genius for evaluation more actively than their contemporaries. Science unquestionably has its place and its value, but when you need to interpret the writing on the wall don’t turn to a scientist. Hopefully when that day comes, you will have either found a good prophet, or have been diligently practicing your own prophetic ABCs and 123s.

The sun comes up every day, but every day is not the same.

An aphorism

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Whisper its true name

Most ancient cultures grasped intrinsically and imperatively the awful power of language. To utter the true name of a divine being, or even a natural one, meant invoking powers and forces that may very well be beyond one's control. This recognition of the immanent value of words necessitated that one either be a virtuosic master of the subtleties of language, knowledgeable of the sacred incantations, or be a wily poetic artificer, able to tip toe around the subject, or be quiet. We have since learned very well some narrow aspects of the power that language has. The power to exploit, manipulate, intoxicate, and corrode. No culture in history has made language such a well honed precision weapon of mass destruction/deception as ours. If only we had a little of that primitive gnosis that understood you may be able to control a bear by invoking its true name, but you may also wake it from its slumber and be eaten for it. A little awe inspired piety could serve us very well. Maybe we should heed the wise words of Elmer J. Fudd: “Be very very quiet. I'm hunting rabbit.”

“Whisper its true name” is the title of an upcoming exhibition of my work at the Anton Art Center ( in Mount Clemens, Michigan (yes, it was named after the catfish). The show will be up 16Oct07-30Oct07, and there will be an opening reception on 26Oct07. Hopefully someone will be able to make it and tell me how it looks. Below is the poster I just finished for the show, as well as a couple of images that will be displayed.

Ezekiel, the righteous fist of the divine, does battle with Melchior, the gnostic beast of nimble and acerbic wit, on the peak of Mt. Banal

Theodosius contemplates destruction as Frederick whispers sweet redemptive nothings in his ear

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mom, I’m in the MoMA!

I discovered this weekend that my work is in the permanent collection at the MoMA! Thanks to the Agnes Gund Purchase Fund. No, seriously. You don't believe me? Okay, so they didn’t purchase my work specifically, but they have a display in the 2nd floor Design section of every single issue of Emigre magazine. I have work in 3 issues. Ergo I am in the MoMA collection. Me and the hundreds of other contributors to the 69 issue run of Emigre over 21 years.

The first one, which was given a prominent position in the display, is issue 62. My magnanimous friend Elliott Earls gave me the honor of working very closely with him on a DVD entitled Catfish which was issued as the 62nd installment of Emigre. The other two were essays I wrote for issue 65 and issue 69 (the last one).

I know you are all so proud. Here are some images:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vocal cords

While writing the Saranay Motel post I looked up vocal cords on Wikipedia and thought this information to be quite amusing given the context of the search. I also discovered that, properly, vocal cords are folds, not cords: “The vocal folds discussed above are sometimes called ‘true vocal folds’ to distinguish them from the false vocal folds. These are a pair of thick folds of mucous membrane that sit just above, and protect, the more delicate true folds. They have minimal role in normal phonation, but are often used in screaming and the DEATH GRUNT singing style.” (Emphasis mine)

My false vocal folds are killing me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

the Saranay Motel

I have been working on a film entitled “the Saranay Motel” with my magnanimous friend Elliott Earls since June 2006. We have had several weeks of incredibly intense and incredibly rewarding (emotionally, spiritually, creatively, and intellectually) production. As we have worked the project has become more and more ambitious. In the process I have managed to become three different characters, one of which happens to be the lead singer for a death metal band named Horst Shicklegrüber & the Barbecue Army. The character's name is Les Griffin.

As a cautionary tale of how karma truly works I would like to suggest to you that if you can never imagine yourself being the lead singer of a death metal band then DO NOT create a character for a movie in which you are a lead singer for a death metal band. Because you may quickly find yourself writing and singing lyrics (wreaking havoc on your vocal cords) for a skull splittingly offensive death metal band! For example, now the alter ego I never knew I had, Les Griffin, is embroiled in an apparently never ending process of writing and singing lyrics (wreaking havoc on my vocal cords) for a skull splittingly offensive death metal band. Do you often imagine yourself drenched in theatrical blood, standing behind a lime green curtain, at a renowned Detroit music venue, until the cue for you to leap out, grab a megaphone and scream death metal lyrics at a stunned audience of hundreds? Well I never imagined myself in that scenario either, but there I was, dancing and screaming up a storm. Then tossing the megaphone and bolting through the audience. I had a bag full of crusty fake blood drenched clothes to carry with me on the plane back to Red Hook, and it only got crustier as I put off dealing with it for a month or two.

What does karma have to do with all of this? Well, contrary to our typical, superficial, feel-good, new-age notions of karma as a kind of wishing well full of good or bad vibes that may come your way due to some karmic coins you may or may not have tossed into said well, karma is actually much simpler and much more fatalistically and profoundly binding than that. The origin of the word is from the Sanskrit karman which can be translated as something like action, or effect, or fate. To contemporary Western ears the concepts of action and fate as being somehow synonymous may seem quite a stretch, but the Ancients had a different view of fate than we do. Fate wasn’t some inflexible, rigorous, and absolute form of predetermination, but a flexible, vigorous, and relative form of correlative action. Fate was something that cannot be avoided or escaped, but not something that was pre-scripted. Rather the course our fate takes is dependent on many correlative interactions. The only action and/or fate we can come closest to controlling is our own (I say closest because always there are forces at work upon us that we are not fully in control of). Our actions, our deeds, are our fate, ARE our karma. As Heraclitus said: “Ethos anthropo daimon.” That is: the character (ethos) of man (anthropo) is his fate/divine purpose (daimon). The way we act is the way we are. Not act as in “pretend,” but act as in SET IN MOTION, or cause. All action sets correlative actions and reactions into motion. Our DOING is our BEING. This profound apprehension of the fundamental connection between action and fate is something the Ancients grasped all too well. It is the basis of tragedy. And it is the knowledge that necessitates Promethean foresight.

The moral to the story? If you don’t want to be a death metal singer don’t act like one. You might end up looking like this:

You can watch the moving images here:

Thursday, September 6, 2007

the Moth or the Flame

In July I finished a story that I have been working on since Fall 2005. The title of the story is “the Moth or the Flame.” These photo images are from a set of prototypes I made in order to solicit publisher attention. I also sent in an application for the Xeric Grant ( for comic book self-publishers. Hopefully I will know something within the next few months.

Regardless of the response (or lack thereof) from publishers and foundations I am determined to get this printed. It is unquestionably the best, most complete, and most ambitious work I have ever done. And it is the first thing I have done that I feel is truly deserving of an actual audience larger than friends and family members. That is not to say that none of the other work was deserving of a larger audience, just that I never felt it to be thus.