Revisiting the Work: Confessions from the Comments Section

Original Book Synopsis:

Internet comments sections are the Roman coliseums of the Information Age, filled with noisy spectators desperate to be heard and slobbering to be satisfied. They may try to blend-in with the crowd by employing fake usernames, but we all know what kind of people they REALLY are, once they start to trumpet their relentless opinions! 

Without regard for others, folks like the All-Caps Idiocy Maximizer, The Yelp Whelp, The Drunken Ranter, and The Puppy Suckler feed like a ravenous zombie-horde upon the putrefying scraps of our bloated pop culture. Clamoring for attention, characters like Rhonda the Reasonable, The Garden-Variety Idiot, The Big Word Hurler, and The Special Snowflake fuel the great, ongoing war between The Smarts and The Stupids. True identities may remain hidden, but in the jungle of internet comments sections, people reveal far more than they think about their secret lives … and why civilization is heading for a spectacular crack-up. 

In ‘Confessions from the Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop Culture Zombies,’ humorist Jonathan Kieran shines an uproarious and irreverent light upon 33 different “types” of internet commenter, exploring issues like religious hypocrisy, narcissism, and celebrity obsession while probing the hilarious depths to which human behavior will plunge when people think they are anonymous online. Read it and laugh or read it and weep … especially if you happen to recognize yourself.

MANHATTAN BOOK REVIEW of Confessions from the Comments Section

Obi-Wan Kenobi once said you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than the Mos Eisley spaceport. Then again, I doubt Obi-Wan spent much time in the comments section of any website, news article, or YouTube video.Confessions from the Comments Section is Jonathan Kieran’s valiant effort to catalogue the seemingly endless parade of trolls, nuisances, know-it-alls, martyrs, and maniacs that contribute to the fetid cesspool known as the average Internet comments section. From racism and self-righteousness to idiocy and borderline illiteracy, he covers all the bases, doing his damnedest to bring into sharp relief just what makes each of these subcategories as distinct as they are irritating. And although there were fewer chuckles than I’d hoped for, Kieran makes many worthwhile points about the self-delusion behind many of these archetypes.While most of the included comic strips and illustrations didn’t do much for me, the Adventures of God were a delight, lampooning the idea of the omnipotent, but disinterested, lord of all creation.Whether you call it a scathing takedown of humanity’s most vocal and ignorant or simply the first stirrings of Internet anthropology, Confessions from the Comments Section is well-executed and rarely off-base.

—Glenn Dallas, MANHATTAN BOOK REVIEW

LOOKING BACK TODAY:

What else can be said about this tempestuous excursion into the exploding world of internet comments sections before the phenomenon of “woke” really grabbed the nation by a stranglehold it has yet to loosen? The whole endeavor is not quite a rant; it’s a calibrated and take-no-prisoners look at different types of personalities that might be discerned beneath the anonymity of any online comments cesspit. It’s definitely funny, though today’s humorless Victorian prudes of the “over-enlightened” persuasion might not think so seven years later, as culture swirls at last toward the Goodbye Forever Chute of the Existential Toilet. I rather think the whole thing was prescient, in its way, and my discernment instincts were in full swing … my Satirical Phaser set to VAPORIZE. Eh, it got some great reviews and sold pretty well. I can live with that.

BUY THE BOOK HERE or order it from Barnes & Noble

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#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #ConfessionsFromtheCommentsSection #Satire #CulturalObservation #PopCulture #CommentsSections #SacredCows #Wokery #Parody #InternetAnthropology

Lovably Bad Kids’ TV On-The-Cheap: Mr. Dressup

TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: MR. DRESSUP (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 1967-1996)

A single adult man who keeps a biologically unrelated little boy living in a tree in his backyard? Welcome to kids' TV from the CBC!

GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: Ernie Coombs (Canada’s answer to Mr. Rogers … only a lot more caffeinated and likely to bounce off the cardboard walls)

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Nothing touches the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for producing tatty but creative kids’ shows that were built to last and rife with mangy-looking puppets suffering from Borderline Personality Disorders! As a bumpkin-child in the woods of upstate New York, I couldn’t wait to fill my impressionable mind with that one-of-a-kind brand of folksy Canadian Crazy that the CBC pumped into our living rooms on a daily basis via programming like The Friendly Giant and the legendary Mr. Dressup.

Mr. Dressup was probably the “King” of cheesy children’s TV, at least for youngsters in our region who depended upon the seemingly limitless pipeline of entertainment thrift utilized by producers just across the border — producers who had to stage a show with nothing but four or five Ping-Pong balls, construction paper, two asbestos oven-mits and maybe a ukulele. The brain-trusts in Toronto knew how to BRING IT! I only wish today’s bloated and shiftless TV execs could do in an hour with their $9 million budgets what Mr. Dressup’s team obviously did in 10 minutes for a few bucks and a six-pack of Carling-O’Keefe.

Mr. Dressup ran daily from 1967-1996, amassing over 4,000 episodes packed with wanton childishness. That was the whole point! Like most children’s TV programs since the days of Caesar and Cleopatra, the setting and context of the actual characters on Mr. Dressup lacked verisimilitude. Wait. Scratch that. The set-up made absolutely no freakin’ sense whatsoever. First of all, you had a loner-type adult person with no fashion-sense and no apparent prospects for marriage (Mr. Dressup) living in a tiny house crammed with semi-magical knick knacks and strange outfits that were kept in something called a “Tickle Trunk” while, out in the back yard, a child biologically unrelated to the adult lived in a tree.

Uh huh.

On the Mr. Dressup show, the treehouse-dwelling child was a freckled puppet named “Casey”. Casey looked like an unfinished Lady Elaine Fairchilde marionette stolen from the Mr. Rogers set, fitted with a blond page-boy wig and wrapped in a tea-cozy. A parade of disheveled, disoriented and equally unrelated puppet-people streamed constantly through the door of the little house to visit the adult loner and the boy he kept in the backyard tree. This highly unusual and improbable “family unit” was unexplained and therefore taken for granted by the viewing public at the time. We called it “the magic of children’s television.”

Today they call it “a particularly disturbing episode of Law and Order:SVU.”

But that’s how kids’ programming rolled in the days before unseen parents allowed their irritating real-life children to play in the park unsupervised with an obese purple dinosaur on Zoloft that taught them to chant endless verses of black magic composed by Lucifer, Lord of Hell.

In terms of plot, the Mr. Dressup show was rather formulaic and predictable, which was an attribute beneficial to a developing child’s mind, I believe. That whole dynamic has certainly changed. Mr. Dressup, ever-exuberant in his bow-tie and suspenders, would greet his friends in TV Land and prepare them for a morning of storytelling that always involved the retrieval of some indicative costume from the Tickle Trunk. The costume was usually made out of colored gauze, tinfoil and discarded candy wrappers, but we didn’t care, as kids. Sometimes, to our horror, the Tickle Trunk wouldn’t even open, forcing Mr. Dressup to actually “coochie-coo” the damn thing until it coughed-up the goods. That trunk was a coy little tramp.

Once Mr. Dressup donned the Kleenex cape or the fake beard made out of cotton yanked from a thousand Q-tips, he would tell some brief fairy tale that sent us all off to Imagination Town in our pea brains. After that it was time to head out into the backyard for a visit with Casey in the treehouse. The best part about Casey was actually his constant companion, Finnegan the Dog, who looked like an unlaundered sailor’s sock after a nine-month tour of duty. Finnegan the Dog was great because he was entirely mute. Couldn’t bark a note. Couldn’t growl. Couldn’t talk. He was the only silent creature of Irish extraction I ever saw. Mr. Dressup or Casey would talk to Finnegan or ask his opinion about something and the puppeteer would merely make Finnegan’s “mouth” move silently and he would whisper the answer in Casey’s ear. Casey would then translate/interpret Finnegan’s response. He was the original Dog-Whisperer, that Casey.

The entire, belovedly creepy Mr. Dressup crew -- l. to r. the clearly "out of it" and obviously overmedicated Aunt Bird, Alligator, Mr. Dressup, Casey, and Finnegan the Dog

An assortment of guests would soon follow. An alligator-puppet cleverly named “Alligator” might drop by to yammer-on about God-Knows-What and at least once a week you could count on a visit from Aunt Bird, who was the show’s requisite “dazed and confused” elderly puppet. Poor Aunt Bird never made much sense, always looked like she had possibly been mauled in an alley by Finnegan the Dog’s more aggressive canine relations, and she was a definite candidate for Lady Rogaine or whatever it is they recommend for women with unsightly bald patches. Sometimes in tow with Aunt Bird was her niece, Miss Biz, a bug-eyed specimen who was as neurotic and disconnected as Elaine Stritch. Miss Biz, with only about a dozen strands of pink, wispy boa-feathers protruding from her lumpy head as “hair” clearly inherited the Female-Pattern Baldness gene from her dizzy aunt. I always figured there must’ve been an ostrich or maybe a vulture in that follicle-challenged bird-family’s woodpile. Anyhow, after all of this pointless but riveting Goodness, Casey and Finnegan would go to sleep in the treehouse, Aunt Bird and Miss Biz would fly off to whatever sorry, hair-lined nest they called home and Mr. Dressup would conclude the show with a consultation of the Wise Old Owl, which was a framed picture of an owl that would magically come to life and open its cardboard eyes, roll them, say: “Who, who, to-wit, to-woo …” and then offer some word of encouragement to insecure children all over the world … or at least within a 150-mile radius of Toronto, Ontario.

It’s amazing how such low-budget yet creative and lovingly crafted productions had the power to mesmerize children, once upon a time. These characters became as familiar to us as friends when we were young and life was a bit simpler. It all went down not that long ago — as noted, the Mr. Dressup show racked-up 29 years of whimsical entertainment and over 4000 little episodes before the Tickle Trunk demanded a cut of the syndication profits or went on the fritz and refused to reveal its secrets for the unappreciative ADHD demographic of the burgeoning Cyber Age. That’s okay. When the asteroid hits and the Zombie Apocalypse is unleashed upon what precious little is left of civilization, we’ll all be forced to live in treehouses with pets rendered mute by radiation poisoning. I figure I’ll be one of the few who’s ready.

Thank you, Mr. Dressup.

DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “Three little birdies, happy and gay. Three little birdies fly away.” (Classic chart-topping Mr. Dressup lyrics)

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Ernie Coombs, who played Mr. Dressup for almost 30 years on the CBC, went on to become a popular figure on the college lecture circuit, especially for generations of students who had “grown up” with the beloved children’s program. Ernie Coombs passed away in 2001. RIP, Mr. D. As for the OTHERS …

Casey from the Treehouse

Perhaps scarred by a youth spent living in the backyard tree of an unrelated adult male, Casey found the transition to adulthood somewhat difficult. Between government checks and visits to his parole officer, he still finds time to audition for local children's theater and enjoys macaroni art. He lives in Winnipeg.

The discombobulated “Aunt Bird”

WARNING GRAPHIC: This is a photo from the Ottawa Police Department's homicide unit, taken Thanksgiving Day 1996. It is the last known photograph of Aunt Bird. Her surviving family members refused to speak to Pop HazMat about the murder, which appears to have been related to the infamous "Savory Stuffer's" string of serial killings that terrorized Canada in the late 1990s.

The Tickle Trunk

Of all the Mr. Dressup cast-members, the Tickle Trunk appears to have fared the best in private life. Tickle Trunk (pictured on the left) is now owned by Lance and Bartholomew,  a fabulous Greenwich Village couple who specialize in restoring worn-out receptacles of all shapes and sizes. "We needed a place to keep our collection of damask napkins and, well, we certainly love to tickle," said Lance. "It was really a no-brainer."

Of all the Mr. Dressup cast-members, the Tickle Trunk appears to have fared the best in private life. Tickle Trunk (pictured on the left) is now owned by Lance and Bartholomew, a fabulous Greenwich Village couple who specialize in restoring worn-out receptacles of all shapes and sizes. “We needed a place to keep our collection of damask napkins and, well, we certainly love to tickle,” said Lance. “It was really a no-brainer.”

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Jonathan Kieran’s epic new book, WISTWOOD, was released in Spring 2020. Kieran is also the author of the Rowan Blaize series of classically appointed contemporary fantasy books (Brightbourne 2012), as well as the critically acclaimed (Midwestern Book Review, Manhattan Book Review) Confessions From The Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop-Culture Zombies. In addition, Jonathan creates and draws the irreverent Zanzibar Circus cartoon and comic strip. His work has been featured on The Daily Dot.com and in a plethora of other ‘zines, papers, and alt-weeklies. Click on the book covers above and to the right if you want to learn more about Jonathan’s current and upcoming titles or purchase them at Amazon.com., Barnes & Noble.com or other excellent outlets.

New Profile Goes “Live” at Shepherd

A few weeks ago I noted that I had been invited by the team at SHEPHERD.COM to create a list of favorite books related in some way to my own work. Shepherd is an exciting new site that draws upon authors’ personal biographies and influences to create interrelated lists of every conceivable literary genre, making it both easy and interesting for avid book-lovers to zero-in upon works suited ideally to their own personal tastes … with countless other intriguing rabbit-holes to explore, as well. I thought it was a sterling concept and gladly added my contribution, which is now “live” on the Shepherd.com website. Click the link HERE to have a peek and discover a treasure trove of hidden gems by all kinds of authors, with the delightful bonuses of personalized panache and genuinely thoughtful recommendations. Helmed by an impressive team of professionals with deep devotion to books, Shepherd is already a literary force and source to be reckoned-with—this will become ever more apparent as they grow by leaps and bounds. Enjoy!

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#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #JonathanKieranWriter #RowanBlaize #Shepherd #ShepherdDotCom #ShepherdBookLists #ShepherdBookSite #NewBookSources #BookIdeas #BookLovers #FindingNewBooks #SpreadTheWord #AuthorProfiles #GreatBookSites #Wistwood #ConfessionsFromTheCommentsSection #DjinRummy #AuthorProfiles

In the name of all that is sacred …

… would the teeming, festering ranks of both the apparently overeducated elite and the slightly more excusable hoi polloi STOP using the term “empathy” like so many obsessive, automated Monkey-See-Monkey-Do androids when, in fact, the contents and contexts of their verbal execrations clearly indicate that they should employ the term “sympathy” instead?

To feel “empathy” for another human being means that you—yourself!—have experienced and endured the same exact circumstance and situation as the person for whom you are claiming to ooze great steaming cauldron-clouds of empathy.

For example, if your best friend is hospitalized after suffering a debilitating car accident, you can only claim to feel genuine empathy for that friend if you, too, have suffered in a debilitating car accident. If you have not been the victim of a debilitating car accident yourself, then you can only offer sympathy for your friend—you have not personally experienced an automobile crash, but possessed of reasonably functioning synapses, you can, at best, imagine the harrowing nature of such a scenario and therefore sympathize.

For a more general example, if a particular community or group of people has been traumatized to its very core by the horror of a mass-shooting, bubble-brained politicians calling for “all Americans to show empathy for” such unfortunate individuals is incorrect in a blatant way and utterly macabre by unintentional implication.

To wit, demanding “empathy” from all people on behalf of massacre-victims presupposes that all aforementioned empathizers have been (or must become) massacre-victims, as well. How nice.

If a lady suffers a natal miscarriage, a man cannot ever “empathize” with her 🙄; nor can another woman who has not suffered a miscarriage herself. Sympathy, however, can be rendered by all with due discretion.

Compassion. Understanding. Sympathy. These are perfectly sturdy, tried-and-true words most appropriate to combat the rampant plague of hive-minded logorrhea afflicting the general populace, the media, our rancid leadership, and even the decrepit halls of academe, compelling them to chant the word “empathy” over and over and over again like sorcerers murmuring in the fetid dark, or transcendental boobs squatting in Bliss-circles at some fucking spirit-spa.

Indeed, buzzwords and neologisms have played a crucial role from ancient times in the proper building and formation of a language, but even the most ingeniously contrived and well-engineered neologisms have never been allowed immediate, easy access into any enduring lexicon; these sorts of terms have been subjected to scrutiny and often hundreds of years of natural cultural remaindering to prove that they not only have withstood the test of time, but that they did not spring from common vulgarities unworthy of a calibrated linguistic system, that they have added to the wonder of language as determined by stringent and accepted parameters. It’s like math, chickens. Rules are in place for life-and-death reasons. For instance, the innocent and well-intentioned use of improper or non-canonical dialect terms and casual ghetto phrases while negotiating peace treaties have gotten many a speaker’s head sliced off on the spot throughout history. If Genghis Khan or Attila or Alexander were still around, they’d confirm this. With swords.

The rubric and bedrock of the beautiful English language was built painstakingly over tempestuous ages by linguists and scientific, lexicographic geniuses into a glorious, colossal testament to human cultural precision, wisdom, and uncompromising achievement. That shining standard now stands upon the edge of a knife—stray but a little [more] and it will fail, to the ruin of all. But hope remains, while the company is true. And majestic and marvelous our English language remains, for the moment. Love and uphold science? Then love English. It’s a science, too.

Moreover, if our own words have been misused, misconstrued, twisted, and mangled by others—and of course this has happened to everyone—then, lo and behold! I do believe we can show some goddamned EMPATHY for English. Imagine that.

#OhTheIrony

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#Rants #JonathanKieran #JustSayin #WakeUpAndSmellTheGroupthink #Empathy #Sympathy #Grammar #LegionsOfIdiots #WeAreWellAndTrulyFucked #JonathanKieranAuthor #StupidBuzzwords #Grammar #CorporateSpeak #AmericanDrivel

Revisiting the Work: Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy

Official Book Teaser:

Twenty years have passed since Rowan Blaize faced his greatest magical foe, but the ancient warlock is still on-the-run with his mortal foundling, Miranda. What better place to lay low than the charming seaside town of St. Augustine, Florida? The Ancient City, however, is already home to voyeuristic ghosts, cocktail-loving vampires, werewolf comedians, and three highly eccentric witches! 

Rowan’s monster-mash celebration is all set for Halloween night, but when a cursed ring crosses paths with a beauty pageant brat, a catastrophe is unleashed upon the partying Ancient City … and possibly the world. Can the witches stop bickering long enough to combine their powers and avert disaster, or will Rowan’s worst fears about an enemy from the past be realized?

Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy is a novel that blends enchantment, satire, suspense, and horror in a delectable cauldron’s-brew-of-a-tale. Fabulous new characters are introduced, elaborate back-stories reveal much about Rowan’s extraordinary past, and tantalizing questions are posed about his future.

Sample Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Funny—Hypnotic Witches and Warlocks Come to Life

I enjoyed this book tremendously. It is about a Warlock and Witches and all sorts of interesting and unique magical characters – with character! The author pokes fun at everyday Witch and Warlock life which rings true in mortal life as well. There is a crazy and nasty Genie that comes out of entrapment in a Ruby Ring and wreaks havoc, but I won’t tell you any more or I could spoil the ending. Overall, the writing is amazing, the book is funny, it took me away from the challenges of everyday life and I love that the author lives near Big Sur, California – a wonderful place for magic! ~Jette

Current Author Reflection:

I wanted to break away from the epic verse and lofty, mystical tone of the initial book about my sorcerer, Rowan Blaize, and get down to a nitty-gritty novelization that allowed me to run the entire gamut of fantasy characterizations in everyday, contemporary language … without losing a shred of the supernatural ambience and fantastical quality. I wanted the book to be raw, full of juicy backstories, rambunctious, and wickedly satirical in places, giving me the opportunity to poke fun at some of our “mortal” culture’s most ridiculous excesses, mainly as a narrative juxtaposition to the necessarily over-the-top portrayals of the many magical denizens inhabiting this novel. The presence of three bickering witches is a nod to Shakespearean motifs, but themes like the absurdity of “little girl beauty pageants” (especially in Southern USA culture) and huckster religious traditions balance-out the overall sense of mayhem and madness, keeping a kind of outrageous, hilarious tempo beating throughout the heart of the book. Perhaps more than anything, I wanted to establish the importance of a specific location as playing a role as a character in the story, all by itself. I used to live in St. Augustine, Florida, and it was an easy choice to employ as a backdrop. St. Augustine is centuries old, grandiose, still slightly ghostly, witchy, and full of its own peculiar Southern enchantment, and loaded with pizzazz. I made the right choice and the result is a sultry, sensuous, snarky tale about what happens when sleepy oceanside tourist towns meet apocalyptic magical forces head-on.

Click on the author’s panel above to the RIGHT to order the book and join the rip-roaring adventure.

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Let Shepherd Do What a Shepherd Must Do

Have a gander at this new and growing site dedicated specifically to guiding avid readers toward books ideally suited to their tastes. The concept of SHEPHERD is intriguing and appears rife with possibilities for those enamored of the written word, whatever the genre.

I have contributed my own list to the up-and-coming Shepherd.com colloquium and will ring a bell or employ some other suitably clamorous device when my profile is published therein. Meanwhile, click the underscored links just above to have a gander at the impressive scope of authors and books already featured by the dedicated team at WWW.SHEPHERD.COM.

As for news concerning my own publishing timetable, work continues apace on several rather exciting and elaborate projects slated for release in the (hopefully near) future. Stay tuned, if you are so inclined. “Things” are taking shape, indeed.

#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #JonathanKieranWriter #BooksOnline #LiteraryWebsites #ShepherdDotCom #ShepherdForBooks #BookAggregators #BookRecommendations #RowanBlaize #Authors #AlternativesForReaders #AuthorNews #Publishing #UpcomingWork #Shepherd

Revisiting the Work: Rowan Blaize

Official Teaser Summary: Ravaged by the fury of a terrifying storm, an ancient sorcerer falls from the sky and crashes into a farm upon the English countryside. Powerless but determined, the wily Rowan Blaize must make his way to London and seek the help of his eccentric Aunt Ariadne, unaware that supernatural perils lurk around every corner. Even more daunting is the ultimate war he must wage against a vengeful goddess in order to reclaim his enchanted heritage. Told in the epic narrative tradition of classics like Hiawatha and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, Rowan Blaize is a one-of-a-kind fantasy tale to be cherished for the ages. Lavish illustrations enhance a magical story that traverses a breathtaking journey through mystical worlds and encounters with a host of unforgettable characters. A sumptuous feast of enchantment to be savored by readers of all descriptions, Rowan Blaize is the cornerstone work and the “key” that opens the door to the entire series of novels in the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles.

Sample Review:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Outstanding!

—Sue, Amazon VINE VOICE

Rowan Blaize: Book One of the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles by Jonathan Kieran is enchanting indeed. This is the first book I read that is written in epic verse and I loved it. I like poetry but just so much of it and I was afraid at first that I wouldn’t like this book because all I can picture is the hard time I had with Shakespeare in school. Because of this I passed by the book a few times but it did sound interesting since I do like the ‘magical and mystical’ so figured I would give it a try. Once I read the first page, I never put the book down until I was finished. It went from intriguing to captivating that quick.

It is a story with humans, warlocks, witches, faeries, dryads and many other mystical/folklore creatures as characters. These creatures are all struggling to survive in a world where humans are taking over. To be honest with you I couldn’t help but think how sad it is in parts….mainly because it is true. No, I don’t mean that there are all these mystical creatures living among the trees (Or are there?) but there are deer and other wildlife that live in the woods long before humans came and cut them all down. If they could talk, I bet their story would be much the same as what King Narzell told to Rowan Blaize..

There is greed, lies and struggles as well as friendship, kindness and loyalty throughout the story. Speaking of what is throughout the story, much to my delight there are awesome illustrations that only add to the pleasure of this story. The poetry was not hard to understand as you can tell from the partial quote above. The flow and rhythm are excellent and the ending made me smile. I have nothing negative to say about this book at all. I am giving it five stars (because that is as high as they go) and I recommend it everyone.

MY CURRENT REFLECTION: Writing Rowan Blaize was a life-affirming, challenging delight. Classically appointed fantasy tales have intrigued me since I was a child, especially due to their power to express in mystical terms the realities of Good versus Evil and All Things In Between. I don’t think there was ever any doubt that I would get around to writing fairy tales of my own. The idea had long been in the back of my mind, simply as a labor of love. I was excited to embark upon the journey, particularly when I believed that a sense of the “classical” might be leavened with contemporary charm to create something sumptuous and uniquely atmospheric.

Admittedly, the plan to tell the story of my plucky-but-solemn immortal, Rowan, entirely through the medium of epic verse was ambitious, to say the least. There exists no flourishing literary marketplace for poetic tales, epic or otherwise. With this book, however, I wanted to “up” the Enchantment Factor and craft a work that might possess something genuinely wistful and lyrically magical, something of a potentially enduring quality, wherein Old-meets-New in terms of both narrative content and stylistic execution. Besides all of that, I always write according to my direct inspiration, and this is exactly how Rowan and his many adventures first “showed up” to introduce themselves in my mind and spirit—in the form of a soul-song, if you will. I can still hear the first lines as they entered my thought, out of the blue, as a musical whisper.

The other and obviously immense challenge presented by composing Rowan Blaize revolved around my decision to embellish the entire work myself with about 25 elaborate pen-and-ink illustrations. In addition to writing, I have been a professional illustrator, graphic artist, and designer for many years, so this project allowed me to flex two rather different creative muscles simultaneously. The original drawings—all committed to 8 & 1/2 x 11-inch Bristol and then reduced for the book—are crucial to the unveiling of the story and add that extra note of mystery and ambience. But I will admit that the illustrations were, by far, the more painstaking aspect of that particular endeavor. I incorporate a great amount of pointillistic effects in my large-scale illustrative works and that takes an inordinate amount of concentration, patience, time, and instinct, over and above the conceptual bedrock alone. That said, it was a brilliant life-experience to bring it all together and see Rowan Blaize not only finished but published and enjoyed. Thanks are certainly due to the little consortium/editorial panel that believed in the book and published it. And special kudos belong to Penny Sansevieri and her superb marketing team at AME, as well.

The effort will always occupy a special place in the heart, for me, and I’m pleased that the work was well-received and enjoyed (often unexpectedly so!) by people of all backgrounds, and especially in Europe, where appreciation for fairy tales and lyrical writing is still very much alive and well.

To order a paperback or digital copy of Rowan Blaize from Amazon, just click HERE.

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#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #JonathanKieranWriter #RowanBlaize #EpicFantasy #EpicVerse #LyricalWriting #BrightbourneMedia #AuthorMarketingExperts #AME #IllustratedBooks #ClassicalFantasyBooks #GraphicIllustration #AuthorRetrospective #Sorcerers #Witches #Warlocks #SupernaturalThemes #Magic #MagicalTales #ModernFairyTales

Sans Aucun Doute, Le Chateau—C’est Parfait

All hail the labyrinthine wonder that is online access. Though the internets seem to swirl ever-nearer the Abysmal Vortex in terms of their usefulness to the general upkeep of the human intellect, that’s entirely the fault of the humans. Wonders of all sorts may still be encountered by the intrepid wanderer, and the information highway certainly lives up to its name in every sense when it comes to helpful material for bona fide globe-trotters.

I stumbled upon the following article about the Chateau Clair de Lune in Biarritz, France, and can attest personally to the excellence of this enchanting little hideaway. Biarritz, with its sultry mix of oceanside allure and incongruous cosmopolitan quaintness, springs like a curious gazelle out of the mystical thickets of the Pyrenees. The city and its environs have dazzled travelers for ages and have always added razzle to the dazzle of my own visits. Biarritz remains one of my favorite places on earth and the Chateau Clair de Lune is a major plucker of the heartstrings amid that ongoing love affair.

As you will see from the link, the house itself is a fairly unassuming old country estate compared to its far more grand and famous peers in l’Univers des Chateaux Francaises, but what Clair de Lune may lack in sheer magnitude it more than makes up for in charm. Everything the article reports about this beguiling destination is true according to my own experience.

Even the apparent presence of a ghost on the grounds cannot detract from the establishment’s overall excellence—it’s the only time in my entire life when I flat-out saw something utterly inexplicable, hair-raising, and for such a sustained stretch that I had enough time to actually blink and rub my eyes to make certain I was seeing what I was seeing. (I was.) And no spirits of the alcoholic sort were remotely involved in the encounter, I assure.

But that’s the Pyrenees Mountains for you. Deliciously uncanny. Maybe I’ll write more fully about this ghost (or whatever it was) at a later time, but not here, not for free. Perhaps in a book of travel essays when my days of sojourning approach a more palpable denouement.

Until then have a gander at Le Chateau Clair de Lune:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/biarritz/hotels/le-chateau-du-clair-de-lune-hotel/

#Travel #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #France #Pyrenees #Biarritz #Chateau #ChateauClairDeLune #InternationalTravel #Destinations #TravelWriting #LuxuryAccommodation

Will “Teacup Yorkie” Replace the Beloved “Cleveland Steamer”?

Experts are dumping all sorts of prognostications into the mix and stirring quite a pot of confusion about this gripping question. Seasoned linguists from elite academic backgrounds currently find themselves in a pinch regarding the matter. Journalists of repute from every daily paper are rushing to seek the best answers that might drop under cultural pressure from the man, woman, and xzdyizobitwyk on the street:

VANDERBILT POOPER: “I was here in Times Square, just hosing-off my pumps and trying to get a random splash of moisture up into my gussets, when I met Fussbudgita, who was on her way to the grocery store to buy Klonopin. Realizing the timeliness of this wounding cultural battle between teacups and steamers, I literally flitted out of my ‘private mode’ and went FULL NEWSDOG, baby, asking this spicy Mama for her personal take on the enigma. I had some photos in my MxnSatchel, so that helped. I would have filmed our discussion on my new iPhone Probe-ANAL (Anti-Nascent Adumbrated Lariat) but Fussbudgita, who insisted I call her by her nickname, ‘Fudgie,’ didn’t want to appear on video due to potential knowledge of her grocery store’s supply of narcotics and the fact that she was about to unleash a world-changing movement that was not yet ready for mainstream publicity.

Nevertheless, the transcript of our brief exchange can be viewed below:

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Hi! You look glorious! What’s your name, sweetie?”

FUDGIE: “My name is Fussbudgita, but most folks call me ‘Fudgie.’ Who the hell are you and why’d you leap outta that fountain in a skirt with no shirt and them giant silver titty-clamps?”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Oh, these li’l accessories? They’re irrelevant, silly! I’m a well-respected journalist enjoying my day off!”

FUDGIE: “I don’t believe you.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Ohmigod, what? That I’m a journalist or that it’s my day off?”

FUDGIE: “That you’re well-respected.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Oh. Okay, I lied about that part, but what I want today is your opinion about this dreadful tug-of-war assailing our culture concerning the term ‘Teacup Yorkie’ potentially replacing ‘Cleveland Steamer’ in our beloved American lexicon!”

FUDGIE: “Yeah, that’s a tough one for all of us. Normally, I’d take a hard pass on this question, but it brings to mind another term that my own dear Mama used often and fondly about the very same phenomenon, and now I’m fit to be tied trying to remember what that term was.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Ohmigod! What term was it?”

FUDGIE: “I don’t know, otherwise I would’na said I’m fit to be tied trying to remember, you buttermilk pixie. And don’t you dare try to film me with that phone you just snatched from your ninnywhistle, cabron.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Fine, Ms. Fudgie. Have it your way. Instead of the phone—which really is special, once you rinse it—I’ve got these photographs in my SassySatchel. Photos from the famous trial currently underway … the trial that’s caused all this worrisome brouhaha about Teacup Yorkies and Cleveland Steamers, and which term will be most politically correct to use going forward! The future of a nation hangs on this conundrum, like hair shorn from a destitute Mumbai virgin weaved onto the head of a multi-suckling welfare mother in Lansing! Can I show you some photos?”

FUDGIE: “Well, I’ll look at most anything for twenty seconds. What have you got?”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Gah! Have a look at this, though I daresay it won’t help you remember your Mama’s beloved term for the Teacup Yorkie!”

FUDGIE: “Wrong, bitch. This brings Mama’s words flooding RIGHT into my brain.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Ohmigod?!? What’s the term?”

FUDGIE: “Dirty Sanchez.”

____________________________________

#BringOnTheAsteroid #AmericaTheBeautiful #TeacupYorkie #ClevelandSteamer #TheWestHasFallen #Priorities #AllOverButTheShouting #FiftyYearsAtTheOutside #NoWonderTheyHateUs #DisForDepravity #ReadGibbon #MonkeyPox #Goodnight

Who Could Have Possibly Foreseen an Ashley Judd Essay at this Juncture?

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/ashley-judd-pens-essay-1st-mothers-day-without-naomi-judd-165807838.html

Mark my words: at Naomi Judd’s open-casket globally broadcast funeral there will be 12 Geese-a-laying, a minor cartel hit, medieval mummers identifying as Post-Structuralist origami artists, dill pickles, Norwegian sailors debating how to best bake a capybara, half a tennis ball, three county-approved tickle fights, the widow of a legless flamenco legend, a mysterious postcard, the extra box of wigs from that storage unit Uncle Cactus rented, and Fentanyl.

Also, there shall be navigating, delving, encountering, processing, rebirthing of prior analogues, entering, draining of unexpected reservoirs, primal grunting, immediate accessorizing of certainties, and rectification. Heaps of that last one.

#RSVP

#satiricalriffin

For Fans of Divine Smiting …

Yes, this is for real. An EXACT REPLICA of Noah’s Ark—just the way Almighty Big Daddy God commanded it to be built, according to that timeless work of scientific exactitude and geometric infallibility known as THE BIBLE.

The resurrected ark is found in Kentucky. It’s over 500ft long and 85ft wide and at least as tall as one of the higher Cherubim with a Flaming Death-Sword brandished aloft. FULL DISCLOSURE: Admittedly, there are no Biblical statistics regarding the exact physical dimensions of Cherubim with Flaming Death-Swords brandished aloft. Big Daddy God wanted to keep that a secret. Like toothpaste, for instance: a man-made—not God-made—invention which is transparently “of the devil” since Big Daddy God deliberately chose not to include toothpaste in the Bible. I mean, any fool can follow this sacred logic. BUT Big Daddy God wants everyone to know about Noah and the Ark—especially Baptists with money-to-burn and kids to feed, indoctrinate, and lodge in local hotels off the turnpike. #EveryShekelMatters

And don’t you dare call this a “tourist attraction”—even though packages, dining and hotel suggestions are amply provided—because this here is a state-o-the-artifice Spiritual Enrichment attraction. There’s powerful learnin’ to be encountered in this place. BOOK LEARNIN’!—from the only buk, buk, buk, buk-kuk on Earth that truly matters.

That’s right: The BIBLE, bitches!

And just have yourself a closer look at that happy family in the above website photo of Ark Encounter. They are practically floating out of that Ginormous Doomsday Bible-Boat on the fumes o’ glory, enraptured (which, FYI, is but a partial rapture before the REAL Rapture), elated by the truths and wonders they explored not long after hoovering every last crumb of Mitzi’s Old Fashioned Manna in the snack bar beneath the behemoth. By the Land o’ Goshen, it looks like Mother ate herself an entire Baked HAM-Son-of-Noah special (only $39.99 on Two-by-Two Tuesdays!). Yep, she’s carrying the leftovers in her Thoroughly Redeemed ‘n’ Recyclable plastic Ark Accessories & Purchases bag; later on, back at the hotel, the kids’ll scavenge that meat like ravens on Armageddon’s battlefield, all while Papa’s gittin’ him another kind of rump roast in the ensuite, heh heh heh. Just like LORDY GOD likes it and watches it and demands it:

Be fruitful and multiply! [The more to smite the merrier!]*

I don’t know about y’all, but that Ark-mesmerized family is so vividly showcased that I can hear their conversation as they depart the hulking tabernacle, that veritable Lusitania of Leviticus or whatever the hell Bible-Book tells all about the Noah Truth. (Oh, come on, we ALL know it’s delineated in Genesis. You think I don’t know my Bible? You THINK I don’t KNOW my Bible? Youthinkidontknowmyfuckinbible?!?!? Relax, bitches. I’m just messin’. But not only do I know my Bible, I know exactly what these four believers are saying as they bask in the Afterglory:

DAD: “Kids, wasn’t that the most magnificent and utterly unimpeachable encounter you have ever had with our God Jehoova? I mean, you couldn’t have gotten any closer to Heaven unless the Devil himself was on your ass and chasin’ you right up Jacob’s Ladder—which, I understand from that perky-bosomed ticket girl, is going to be built in 2023 right next to the Ark itself! Phase II of the Encounter: Stairway to Salvation! We’ll have to come back for sure.”

MOM: “Praised by Chee-zuss. Personally, I’d like to see ’em rebuild the Tower of Babel.”

SON: “Shut up, Mom. Your privilege is showing, again.”

MOM: “Sorry, Son. I know I am not to offer opinions forthright due to the wantonness of my womanly curse.”

SON: “Anyhow, Dad—I know it’s written down in the Bible by God’s own hand and all that, but do you really think that one crusty old farmer and his kids were able to build a boat that big out of gopher wood and tend to all the species of the entire world?”

DAD: “No doubt at all, son. You have to remember: they had magical instructions given to them directly by God and, best of all, they had Lot, but also lots and lots and lots of subservient wives and concubines to do the heavy lifting and globally sustainable poop-scooping and such. I sure wish God hadn’t revoked the right to multiple concubines somewhere along the way. So useful in a pinch.”

MOM: “I wish God still allowed concubines, too. I’m tired.”

DAUGHTER: “But Daddy, how did all the millions of different animal species of the world know when to pair-up and march, two-by-two, from all the regions of the earth to get on the actual boat? The logistics are staggering!”

DAD: “God told ’em to get their sorry asses on the run if they wanted to live, that’s how.”

DAUGHTER: “But how did all the individual species decide which male and female specimens among them had the honor of being the only ones to survive the Destruction? Wouldn’t animals have fought over something like that? Seems they would’ve, what with the teeth and feral drive to survive. That sort of thing.”

SON: “Didn’t you listen to the Ark Encounter tour guide, Sis? Our God Jehoova implanted a sacred Chip of Foreboding into the brains of all the chosen members of the various species beforehand. Then, when He decided it was the perfect time to smite, he activated the chip implants and they all just knew right away!”

DAD: “That’s right, Son, and well said. Our Jehoova God had everything in place before the time came to whack the world.”

MOM: “Praise Chee-zuss.”

DAUGHTER: “I don’t remember reading anything about implanted Chips of Foreboding in the Bible.”

DAD: “Don’t question God or your brother, girl. Remember that you are here only by virtue of the Borrowed Rib, accursed for all ages by the ease with which the snake that God put in the Garden seduced your frail and hungry spirit. You, like your mother, are no more than a metaphysical adjunct filled with an innate need to screw-up God’s royal plans at every possible turn due to the harrowing catastrophe of your female condition. This is why men were created first. Oh, boy!”

DAUGHTER: “Okayyyyyy. So you’re saying that God even implanted Sacred Chips of Foreboding into the minuscule neuron-clusters of thousands of butterflies and spider species? I mean, butterflies and spiders couldn’t survive a rain-smiting, right?”

DAD: “Yes, yes. Butterflies and spiders and insects were implanted too. They were all on the Ark. Noah and the rest of those poor bastards must’ve wanted to swat their hands through the air like crazy, but they couldn’t. God’s command forbade bug-smooshing. By the way, honey, stop peering too deeply into the mystery! That’s another sad devil-inclination of your wraith-bedazzled sex. Always with the goddamned chatter.”

MOM: “Yea, glory! So hath my Lord ‘n’ huzzbund spoken … so mayeth it be. Ith.”

SON: “You know, Dad, just before we came to worship at the Ark, one of my teachers said that the whole Jewish story of Noah was actually based on a much, much more ancient Babylonian story of a dude named Gilgamesh, and that the Israelites pretty much copied the details.”

DAD: “Babylonia … Gilga … WHUTT?!? Son, I will take this child on my shoulders and swing her like a club at your head until it fractures and brain-matter slops onto the hot Kentucky asphalt like so much discarded oatmeal. Don’t you ever mention these blasphemies again.”

MOM: “Oh, deliver us, Chee-zuss.”

SON: “Okay, okay. I was just curious. But have you ever wondered, Dad, why Jehoova God had to smite everyone to begin with?”

DAD: “It isn’t rocket science, son! The Bible tells it plain as plain and anyone with an ounce of logic can easily discern the reason. God looked down upon the earth one day, probably after a nap in the Garden, you know? And He saw that 99% of human brings were desperate, conniving, starving, dirty, diseased, frightened, reckless, faulty, and mistake-prone creatures. Then, like any higher being who sees that His creation is imperfect due to His own flawed blueprints and apparent ineptitude, God—who is male, after all—grew frustrated and had to throw a tantrum. Whereupon He obliterated all that He had made in a fit of spectacular pique. You remember that deck I tried to build in the back yard last year?

SON: “Oh, yeah! That wraparound deck was a hot mess. You really screwed it up from the first plank, but you kept on building and building until it was ‘finished.’ It hurt just to look at that hodgepodge. Then, when Mom—of course—fell through it at the unveiling, you spent days and days tearing the whole thing down with an axe, stomping on the hacked wood, screaming and wailing, drinking whiskey, then pouring whiskey over the pile of rubble and setting it all on fire. You stayed up all night to watch it burn … you watched it burn until you laughed.

DAD: “There you have it, Son. Jehoova God does the same thing when he is faced with his own fuck-ups. Only, when God decides to burn his faulty creations, he burns them for eternity, not just a day or two. And believe me, He laughs as they fry. Whoah, yeah.”

MOM: “That sounds fair. He is God, after all.”

DAD: “That’s the smartest thing you’ve said all day, woman.”

MOTHER: “Praised be Chee-zuss.”

DAD: “Amen. Now, let’s all head back to the hotel. I could use a bath. I stink from spending too much time near the rhino enclosure. Those things sure can shit up a storm, especially when they get their stubby little tails swinging.”

SON: “Funny that God saved the rhinos on the ark only to see them hovering near extinction these days, right Dad?”

DAD: “The Lord works in mysterious ways, Son. And remember: there’s all kinds of smiting He can do. ALL KINDS.”

SON: “Amen! Hey Dad: now that we’ve seen this living re-creation of the greatest seafaring vessel ever known to recorded human history, built from the very mind of God Almighty Himself and lifted from the pages of His own international bestseller, can we vacation next year in California? I really want to go see Universal’s Jurassic Park tour—yet another educational re-creation!”

DAD: “Hell no, we won’t go there, son.”

SON: “Awww, why not?”

DAD: “Because dinosaurs are a goddamned myth, you idiot.”

* This addendum to the famed ”be fruitful and multiply” command is generally considered apocryphal and is preserved only in a few rare codices of late ancient rabbinical literature. It is included here in brackets because several current and respected bodies of academic study believe it was (A) An original portion of the Genesis verse in question, and (B) It sounds like something Jehoova would actually say.

__________________________________________________

#ArkEncounter #Satire #Fundamentalism #IKnowWhyTheAtheistsSnicker #Noah #BibleTruth #FamilyVacations #Manna #Paradoxes #GetMeOffTheFrigginPlanet #OnwardChristianSoldiers #BrainImplants #ChipImplants #SundaySchool #KentuckyArk #TouristTraps #TowerOfBabel #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranWriter #Blogging #Parody #ButNotMuchParody #JonathanKieranAuthor #AGoodRogering #ReligiousInanity #YesInanityNotInsanity #ReligiousInsanity

A Great White Pas de Deux

Behold La Danse Macabre

Great White sharks possess such a chilling sort of nobility as they glide through the oceans—the larger ones appearing almost cumbersome, like stately jet planes or submarines, cruising forward unstoppable, resplendent with hefty elegance and a linear foreboding wrought by some distinct impression of glacial inevitability.

At times they appear to be quite aloof in their own environments … yet simultaneously aware, ever-aware. These phantoms pass as ominous, silent nightmares through the vast mind of the slumbering sea, haunting the submerged outskirts of sight and sensation, where all ghosts and unspoken terrors are most apt to be found.

But when they fix upon prey, these massive animals can move explosively into the real and lethal realm of frantic existence, whipping and bursting through the water at surprising angles, employing lightning-fast shifts in direction and thrust until. They. BITE 🦈

The luckless seal in the video above was performing some extraordinary acrobatic evasive maneuvers, and one might think that the smaller, sleeker animal would prove too energetic and elusive for the big fish, especially since the preferred element of surprise/ambush on the part of the shark was removed from the equation. But, no deal. Amazingly, the adult great white matched with ease the seal’s quicksilver agility. GAME OVER.

That’s what countless millions of years of refined hunting techniques and innate instincts bring to the table. The shark’s dinner table, that is.

#GreatWhiteSharks #SharkChat #PoetryWithTeeth #Predation #OceansAlive #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranWriter #NatureInAction #Sharks #SharkAttacks #CircleOfLifeAndDeath #Jaws