Orwellian Amazon INSANITY!

Rack and ruin, smiting and wrath, horror upon horror to the goblins, micro-gremlins and scatterbrained millennial “thinkers” that currently operate Amazon.com, a company which I now truly believe to be a devious tentacular weapon of the Illuminati (or whatever trendy cabal so many crazy-ass conspiracy theorists are barking about incessantly these days.)

Get THIS shit:

I have been an Amazon customer since its inception in the late 1990s, and a Prime Member since Prime began priming everyone’s proverbial pump. Across two states and–gee, let’s see–SIX FUCKING HOMES (I buy and flip property for kicks) I have used the same, super-secret beloved password for my Amazon account for over TEN YEARS. Never had to change it. Never had to alter a digit.

I recently sold my latest home and inhabited another in my beloved California woodlands, away from the hustling, bustling, mouth-breathing mediocrity of human civilization.

Settled and recovered from the typical stress of a major “relocation event,” I sat down yesterday with my iPad to undertake a bit of leisurely online shopping via that monolithic monstrosity named after the snaking, insidious South American river where people like me are routinely eaten by crocodiles or shot by bandits. I entered my email address and then my cherished password.

WE’RE SORRY. BUT WE DETECT THAT YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO ACCESS THIS ACCOUNT FROM A NEW LOCATION OR A NEW DEVICE. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PROCEED FURTHER, YOU MUST VERIFY IT’S YOU BY PHONE OR VIA EMAIL CODE. CLICK BELOW IF YOU WISH AMAZON TO SEND YOU A NEW VERIFICATION CODE FOR THIS DEVICE OR LOCATION. (I paraphrase, but pretty goddamned accurately.)

WTF? New location, sure, but hardly a new device.

Eager to get on with things, I clicked the “verify by email” option. I’n not going to go fetch my phone. Who wants to mess with texts from another, separate goddamned contraption or brook possible entanglements featuring befuddled “help center” employees in Mumbai? Not I, baby. Not I.

After a genuine pain-in-the-ass side-trip, toggling to access my Microsoft account to retrieve THE CODE, I toggle back and enter the friggin’ set of random numbers on my Amazon page and am able to shop accordingly.

I roll my eyes, but figure THE CODE was needed for the purposes of devoted, super, Super-DUPER overprotection and “Safe Space Satisfaction” concerns that some rail-thin 25 year-old from Silicon Valley with an incongruous lumberjack beard and nerd glasses (her name is “Cynthia”) convinced “the team” to implement in order to make things extra ironclad for Amazon’s longtime customers.

Today, I wanted to return something via Amazon. Always been such an easy and convenient benefit, the returning-process, especially with Prime membership. I go to my Amazon page and am prompted to enter my password, as usual. My intimate, well-remembered password, so dear to one’s existential wellbeing.

THE PASSWORD IS INCORRECT.

Okay, maybe I typed it incorrectly, which never happens because I’ve been typing the damned thing for over a decade of constant commerce, but you never know. I’m human. I’m flawed.

I enter it again, more carefully.

THE PASSWORD IS INCORRECT.

And again.

THE PASSWORD IS INCORRECT.

Then it dawns on me. Those bastards.

The meaningless “verification code” they demanded I use from the previous day has now become my new password!

By now, I’m steaming hot and drooling venom like an atrax robustus spider in attack stance.

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Off I toggle to my Microsoft account to dig up that idiot clutch of code-numbers, find them, then enter them at Amazon as my password. Presto. They work.

I’m so ticked off that my longtime password is no longer apparently valid, that I want to kick someone, but no one’s around except the cat and she’s just too damned lovable to kick. Damn her eternally.

I return my item and arrive at the stage on Amazon wherein one can print a return label or email a label. Neither of the options works when I click.

Okay. Maybe my iPad is acting up a bit. Apple’s products have been declining in quality and increasing in convoluted inanity, these past several years.

I decided I’d just go get my Macbook Air, access Amazon, and print the mofo label using that machine.

WE’RE SORRY. BUT WE DETECT THAT YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO ACCESS THIS ACCOUNT FROM A NEW LOCATION OR A NEW DEVICE. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PROCEED FURTHER, YOU MUST VERIFY IT’S YOU BY PHONE OR VIA EMAIL CODE. CLICK BELOW IF YOU WISH AMAZON TO SEND YOU A NEW VERIFICATION CODE FOR THIS DEVICE OR LOCATION.

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I was now forced to secure TWO different jumbled-up hogshit numerical CODE passwords for the separate devices in my ownership. AND THE SAME APPLIES TO MY iPHONE. That’s three new passwords I have to remember and access for a trio of convenient creations that are supposed to make my life-experience easier, speedier, and more devil-may-care.

Now, I want to throw all of these dastardly Hell-whizbangs out the window and live in a cave, eating acorns, pulling deer ticks out of my ass-crack, and wearing mud for clothes, like the local Indian tribes did around here 300 years ago.

But I may not survive long enough to enjoy such a simple existence.

Any minute now, I expect an Amazon Drone to buzz its way up to my remote woodland aerie, cut a 6 x 6 hole in the wall with a searing blue laser-beam, throw me down on the bed and perform a full colonoscopy and brain scan, only to fly away without so much as a kiss or a cuddle.

But there will be a note left on the bedside table. You can bet on that. It’ll read:

I’M SORRY TO LEAVE SO SUDDENLY, BUT IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXPERIENCE THIS THOROUGH EXAMINATION AND SOUL-GUTTING INTRUSION ONCE AGAIN, PLEASE GO TO YOUR AMAZON PAGE ON ANY DEVICE AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO OBTAIN A VERIFICATION CODE. WE NEED TO KNOW IT’S YOU.

Keep Shopping,

Jeff Bezos

 

 

 

Flashback Friday

Another impending move, another house sold … the semi-peripatetic life has suited me for creative, financial, and spiritual reasons since the days of my youth. I am happy to report that the present days (and what “youth” remains) are still being spent in the pursuit of adventure and whatever alluring-but-elusive glimpses of magic may be attained amid this mortal coil. Speaking of the Sweet Bird of Youth, however, I fished-out these photos from yesteryear during the recent packing process. The first pic was taken in Biarritz, France, September 2002, as I was reclining on a couch in the hotel room, windows wide open to the rhythm of Atlantic waves caressing the shoreline at sunset. The sounds of cooks and servers getting ready for evening customers could be heard in the restaurant just below the room and in others along la croisette, but it was hardly disturbing. People don’t rush madly to accomplish anything in Biarritz, in September or otherwise. Their furtive preparations had instead the effect of a lullaby, as might be discerned from the expression on my face. And, no, this was not a selfie. Selfies didn’t exist in 2002. Whatever the case, we’ll call this one “The Alchemy of Biarritz and Kava Kava”.

(By the way, dinner that night was stupendous: duck confit and langoustines.)

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AS FOR THIS NEXT photo, all definitions and explanations escape me, at least insofar as aesthetics are concerned.  I only know that the shot was taken during the same  European expedition in September 2002, but in the heart of Paris. Apparently I was feeling “priestly” that day, though I can assure you it is merely a trick of the light and a Nehru-collared black button-down of which I was fond at the time. I suppose the crucifix was a bit much, but I was fond of that, too. I wonder whatever became of it? Hell’s bells, we’ll just call this “Father J Crossing the Seine” and leave things at that.

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Keep moving, y’all.

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic 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. His work has also 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 titles and perhaps spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race.

Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new masterpiece of epic dimensions. Drop-in once in awhile for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile, because he doesn’t get paid to blog endlessly for free.

 

Jonny’s Retro-Cinema Hall of LAME: Goo-Luvin’ Giants … with their own village!

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JONNY’S RETRO-CINEMA HALL OF LAME presents TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS (1965)

GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: Director Bert Gordon with “Stars” Beau Bridges, Tommy Kirk, Joy Harmon, Johnny Crawford, Ron Howard, Robert Random, Toni Basil, Vicki London, and other Assorted Aces of Awfulness

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Based more loosely than a herd of rabid, wailing cows attempting to dance the Virginia Reel upon H.G. Wells’s novel, Food of the Gods, this colossal 1960s drive-in stinker tells the story of several wayward teenagers who gobble a mysterious (and ominously named) substance called “Goo”, transform into 30-ft. tall, adenoidal, acne-scarred versions of themselves, and proceed to wreak sweaty, giant-teenybopper havoc upon a God-fearing California town (it was still the mid-1960s, hence the combination of God-fearing + California). The film’s primary theme, aside from an attempt to illustrate the dynamic of teens getting the ultimate chance to rebel against “evil adults” is basically …  well … humongous tits. Humongous tits and the notion that humongous tits can be made exponentially larger simply with the addition of a goo-like substance. Clearly, Village of the Giants was ahead-of-its-time — practically oracular.

DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “I was big enough before!” (Joy Harmon as “Merrie,” after she notices her new, unwieldy wrecking ball-sized ta-tas)

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: This film is considered a front-runner on many reputable “Worst Film in History” lists, but one cannot argue with the caliber of certain cast-members who would go on to genuine greatness. Beau Bridges and Ron Howard (the latter of whom guest-stars straight out of his Opie-era days as the pint-sized Goo-inventing “Genius”) are the obvious big names hopefully scarred forever by shame because of Village of the Giants. Even so, once she was reduced to normal buxom dimensions, Joy Harmon went on to littler and better things, and many people still remember the kooky Toni Basil from her “Oh Mickey, What a Pity” chart-topping days. The movie has a special resonance for me because I actually got to know one of its hot-mama “giants” — the lovely Vicki London, who played Georgette. Last I saw her, Vicki had a humorous attitude about her Bad Film Immortality. It probably helped that she went on to become one of California’s most successful realtors, as well as a motivational speaker, jewelry designer, and “transitional therapist.” She lives (under her real name) in the SF Bay Area and cooks a decent lamb chop. That’s all I got.

LAMENTABLE LEGACY: This magnificently awful film was supposedly spoofed by the legendary denizens of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but no one seems to have reissued the original episode. That is lamentable. Infinitely so.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Beau Bridges was last seen (at least by me) in drag in a hilarious episode of The Closer. Ron Howard dog-paddles in a pool filled with Hollywood glitter and freshly minted $100 bills. We know about Vicki’s lamb chops. Toni Basil is hopefully getting at least a $100 a year in Mickey residuals. Who knows? Who cares?

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: From the opening “mud-dance” super-classic scene to guest-musicians “The Beau Brummels,” you MUST behold the BADNESS to respect it and believe it.

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic 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. His work has also 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 titles and perhaps spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race.
Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new masterpiece of epic dimensions. Drop-in once in awhile for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile, because he doesn’t get paid to blog endlessly for free. That would make him a Wattpadder or a Smashworder, not a writer.

Checking-Out to Check-In

It has been awhile since I’ve blogged anything newsy on the official site (including Zanzibar strips) and there are reasons for that which I would like to take a few moments to explain.

First, I have been steeped for the past six months in the preliminary planning and initial creation-phases of my next, as-yet-untitled book, slated for release in 2019 by Brightbourne. It’s going to be a massive piece of work—lavishly illustrated and certainly the most ambitious project I will ever tackle in my lifetime, and the creative energy required to “pull off” such a feat is all-consuming, as well as a trifle terrifying, albeit in a good way. Drawing all the existential components together to essentially braid the synthesis of focus, desire, and discipline needed to accomplish such work makes everything else pale in comparison, by necessity.

Second (and no less crucial than my first point), I am repelled utterly by the tsunami-sized wave of pointless, trivial, hackneyed, and infantile “writing” that has swept across our popular culture at every level. The majority of people simply have no business venturing beyond the composition of a grocery-list when it comes to literary efforts, much less adhering to even the most basic standards of publication. I will gladly wear the mantle of “elitist” when it comes to this issue, and shall stand firm for the genuine writer’s dedication to superior craftsmanship, a trade that can claim roots in long years of steady discipline and talent well-nurtured.

Trust me: a master carpenter is not going to tell you that your uneven, uninhabitable birdhouse is a work of fine craftsmanship that merits an equal place alongside his (or her) professional creations. Not everyone deserves a trophy.

At all events, in a dead market flooded chiefly with thousands of puerile soft-porn “novels” written (and self-published!) by bored, illiterate housewives, or thrillers cobbled together with the creative equivalent of wallpaper-glue by old men who watch too much television, American Literature is, without question, at its nadir.

Then again, so is the culture of which the above-mentioned sort of dreck is merely a pestilential symptom.

That cannot be helped—the pendulum will have to swing in the opposite direction, and swing hard, before all of this detritus is brushed into the oblivion from whence it came, and where it belongs.

The same goes for blogging and for regularly posting opinions and ditherings and blatherings in a cyberspace already deafened by the roaring and lowing and chattering of the masses.

I don’t know why seasoned, professional writers even bother to do it, especially if they’re not getting paid. Look what incessant blogging has done to Neil Gaiman’s output. My G-d.

Another point: Nothing is ever really free, but if something is given away recklessly for “free,” I guarantee you that, 99.99% of the time, it is not worth even the most cursory glance.

Everything I shall have to say about the world, the cosmos, and its workings shall henceforth be found strictly within my books, and one shall have to pay for them. It’s a publisher’s job to entice potential audiences to do just that, at their cost, not mine.

Other than that, I’ll provide general-info updates when necessary and perhaps the occasional cartoon when fancy strikes.

Amid all of this, the greatest irony remains: the conglomeration of social media crap has got to be maintained to some degree by anyone in the publishing industry. These Official Facebooks, Twitters, .coms, and Instagrams should ideally be business cards for the serious writer, no more no less.

And no one should ever get excited about a business card.

Rather, get excited about the work that “card” represents. And if you’re a serious, seasoned writer, thank your lucky stars that literacy-levels are still high in Europe.

Ta, for now.

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic 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. His work has also 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 titles and perhaps spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race.
Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new masterpiece of epic dimensions. Drop-in once in awhile for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile, because he doesn’t get paid to blog endlessly for free. That would make him a Wattpadder or a Smashworder, not a writer.

Post-Christmas Narcissistic Food Porn

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Yes, I am hereby and at last engaging in that ”time-honored” FB tradition of displaying one’s private FOOD PREPARATIONS for the awestruck wonderment of those inhabiting cyberspace. Because we ALL KNOW how crucial it is that untold others see exactly what we are about to put into our mouths and proceed to masticate, thus launching the arduous and biologically complex process of human digestion.

Whull, at least my Foodie Narcissism comes with a recipe that you, too, can perhaps implement in your own future efforts to flood the internet with visual information about items your teeth are eager to gnaw while your tongue makes a series of accompanying, helpful movments and saliva-drenched gyrations.

Behold (above) the centerpiece of my Christmas Day Lunch, or Lupper. Or brunch. Or Bupper.

8 Lamb Loin Chops, Marinated Overnight.

You’ll need: 8 Lamb loin chops (no kidding)

Salt them with a reasonable amount of kosher or sea salt. (Not too much!)

For your marinade: mince 8 or 9 cloves of garlic; chop finely one fresh “branch” of rosemary—about 2 heaping tablespoons worth, when chopped; chop finely one cluster of green onions, the kind you buy in any supermarket; using about a one-inch wide slice of lemon peel, create some lemon zest, chopped in a fine julienne style; add about a quarter cup of chopped purple onion; slop a few passes of good extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and then combine all the ingredients of the above-described marinade into a skillet or big baking dish.

Rub all eight of the lamb loin chops in the mess, coating both sides LIBERALLY. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

When ready the next day, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, but cook the lamb chops on high heat atop the stove FIRST, about 2 minutes each side. You want to give them a nice, quick sear.

Next, transfer the lamb chops into a DIFFERENT baking dish or oven-safe skillet, and place them in the preheated oven. Cook ‘em for about 10 minutes, or 15 if you like your lamb well done 😩.

Meanwhile, reserve the “drippings” from your stovetop sear (including all the marinated bits). Strain the liquid, etc. through a mesh strainer into a saucepan. Add about a cup of chopped mushrooms (morels or brown button mushrooms are great—don’t use toadstools or hallucinogenic varieties.)

Cook the strained liquid and mushrooms on med-high heat in the saucepan. Add a bit of vegetable stock if you feel you don’t have enough broth. As the mushrooms give off their goodness and the liquid begins to reduce, add a small handful or flour or cornstarch to create a roux. Stir like mad with a bamboo whisk or wooden spoon to turn the roux, keeping it smooth and silky.

When your lamb loin chops are finished in the oven, serve them up and top them with sprigs of rosemary and your lamb roux/gravy. Voila!

I served this on Christmas Day with mashed potatoes (save some gravy for them taters!), brussels sprouts, homemade dungeness crab cakes, and an earthy pinot noir. No one keeled over. At least not from the food.

Trust me, it’s Ten Commandment-breaking good. Just like I hope your Christmas and New Year shall be. (Staying on the straight & narrow, of course.)

Happy Happy Times, Friends … Another Year Beckons. Whatever shall we do with it?

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic 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. His work has also 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 titles and perhaps spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race.
Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new masterpiece of epic dimensions. Drop-in once in awhile for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile, because he doesn’t get paid to blog endlessly and believes that any “writer” who gives-away a lot of stuff for free is a Wattpadder or a Smashworder, not a writer.

He-Man & She-Ra: Proudly Fostering Body Dysmorphia since 1983! by Jonathan Kieran

POP HAZMAT RETRO HALL OF FAME presents Wonderfully Warped Children’s Television!by JONATHAN KIERAN

TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: He-Man (1983-1985) and She-Ra (1985-1986)

GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, Battle Cat, Teela and all the elves working Mattel’s Everlasting Assembly-line of Dysfunctional Dreams.

He-Man and She-Ra ... Padding the bank accounts of psychologists specializing in Body Dysmorphic Disorders since the 1980s!

He-Man and She-Ra … Padding the bank accounts of psychologists specializing in Body Dysmorphic Disorders since the 1980s!

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: If you were a trendy child growing-up in the 1980s and early 1990s, there’s little chance you escaped the pop-culture gravitational pull of He-Man and She-Ra, who were basically two sword & sorcery action-figures with their own animated Saturday morning infomercials thinly disguised as kids’ TV shows. He-Man came first as you were spooning Cap’n Crunchies into your spellbound face and dripping sugar-saturated milk all over your jammies and onto Mother’s new JC Penney area-rug. But you could hardly look away when He-Man sauntered across the screen in all of his garish, stilted-animation glory. He-Man was essentially a warrior-type dragged from any garden-variety epic fantasy novel, stripped of every piece of clothing a warrior would need, except for a colorful jock-strap and boots, pumped with a regimen of steroids that’d make Lance Armstrong look like a dilettante and armed (of course) with a magic sword.

Or maybe the magic sword was the talisman of She-Ra, He-Man’s twin sister, who got her own spin-off show/infomercial so the little girls and the gays would have something to razzle their dazzle while masticating Cocoa Puffs and Pop Tarts from 9AM til Noon on weekends. She-Ra was as overblown as He-Man, for these were the days when slightly doughy or out-of-shape heroes (like TV’s Batman and Robin or the skinflint “Shaggy” from Scooby-Doo) just couldn’t cut the cartoon mustard any more, so kids were being presented with progressively exaggerated images of the human body and schooled in the importance of having Big-Gulp secondary sex characteristics when the time came to transform into one’s crime-fighting alter ego. Thus, She-Ra was stacked like a particularly earnest Hooters waitress working the Halloween shift in a costume she spent maybe ten minutes putting together out of a tablecloth and some ornamental napkin holders from the Pic-N-Save. Her boobs were honeydew-perfect and seemingly attached to her chin, which looked like the surgically sculpted masterpiece of some sought-after Beverly Hills body butcher. Those Power Ta-Tas did not flinch an inch when She-Ra was conquering the forces of evil! In fact, it was probably her chi-chis that poked Skeletor’s eyes out … though the series never addressed that likelihood, to my knowledge.

Skeletor ... Blinded by the Mighty Meemies of She-Ra or just a rip-off of Ghost Rider in Dungeons & Dragons drag?

Skeletor … Blinded by the Mighty Meemies of She-Ra or just a rip-off of Ghost Rider in Dungeons & Dragons drag?

She-Ra’s gargantuan hairdo was a thing of splendor in and of itself — daunting enough to make all 43 of the weaves and assorted clip-on wigs atop Beyoncé’s head writhe like Medusa-snakes in anger and envy. He-Man actually had even bigger and more ridiculous breasts than She-Ra. His torso looked like an airbrushed Smithfield ham balanced atop the legs of a Clydesdale draught-horse, with a baby watermelon stuffed in his red bikini.

For about fifteen minutes during the ’80s, we all loved these shows and couldn’t get enough of the ADHD-inducing drama, much less of the action figure tie-ins and “accessories sold separately.” Then we grew up, as well-adjusted children ought to do, and we moved on — thoroughly prepared for a culture of pervasive internet porn, rampant body dysmorphic disorders, obsessive workout regimens, bodacious breast augmentations, fake hair, fake names, fake intelligence, fake values, indiscriminate displays of physical violence and a vast gallery of narcissistic smartphone “selfies” taken in front of bathroom mirrors by the millions. It’s a lot easier to work for a set of ripped abs or buy a smokin’ hot rack than to fight the Forces of Darkness, these days. Fighting evil with magic swords? Nah, we didn’t bring that part of the show into the new millennium. We just brought the hotness and the Evil.

Thank you, Filmation!

DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: Here’s 10 indispensable He-Man quotes steeped in the kind of wisdom that explains exactly why your kids turned out the way they did.

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: The classic He-Man Intro. Note how the “pre-transformed” Adam (Prince of Eternia) appears to be voiced by a 59-year-old Presbyterian radio-announcer from Topanga with a deviated septum.

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic 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. His work has also 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 titles and perhaps spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race.
Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new masterpiece of epic dimensions. Drop-in once in awhile for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile, because he doesn’t get paid to blog endlessly and believes that any “writer” who gives-away a lot of stuff for free is a Wattpadder or a Smashworder.

 

Reading And Writing While Intoxicated (by LIFE, thank you very much)

I suppose some people might be interested in what (if anything) a writer likes to read while he or she is in the process of creating a new, long-form literary work of his or her own.

Do I binge on vintage comic books culled from secretive forays to collectibles stores, flea-markets, and online eBay auctions?

Do I crack open a box of bon-bons and dive, without a pang of guilt, into the adventures of distressed damsels desirous of rescue by Harlequin heroes?

Do I gather my powers of pomposity and insist upon reading Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov in the original Russian?

No, no, and no, to all of the above scenarios. (At least, not yet.)

Reading for pleasure when one is actually in the midst of writing a book tends to be a delicate proposition, as I discovered many moons ago.

You don’t necessarily want to “hear” anyone else’s writerly voice in your brain, not while it is of the utmost importance to summon your own voice for the work at hand. I know some writers who avoid casual reading like the plague when they are working, and I can understand the self-prohibition.

In my experience, however, hours of spilling my talent and hammering my wordsmithery onto a blank page leave me in need of some practical diversion.

Running five or six miles is always a go-to for me during a major creative burst. I did just that a few hours ago and thought about my new book and its characters the whole time. These were healthy, energy-replenishing thoughts, however. As opposed to the ones that can leave a guy drained while composing behind a desk.

Whilst running six miles in a forest setting, the mind may indeed cycle and recycle ideas about plot problems and possibilities, but the brain is also busy looking for potholes in the path, wondering if that low, stealthy-sounding crunch behind a thicket could be a mountain lion, or (at my age) just keeping the heart-rate nice and steady. Keeping the breath in rhythm with the footfalls.

It’s great, and I’m thankful for the oxygen, the general hush of creation, and the abundance of sights and gentle sounds that constitute healthful sensory encounters.

But when it’s bedtime, I want to read stuff. And I damned well don’t want to read anything I have written that day. (That’s for tomorrow’s perusal … the next jump-off point, if you will.)

I am at present writing a rather massive new work of fiction, and I am also illustrating said work. Lavishly so.

This, I need the distraction of other works, at least when the sun goes down. Though television has its place, the generally fetid state of contemporary entertainment is far too kinetic, incoherent, and disconnected to afford even a guilty pleasure, at least for me.

Thus, I prowl You Tube for solid old favorites (King Of The Hill is currently floating my boat) and I try to read books that feature literary voices and themes radically different from my own.

To wit, I am currently devouring a couple of classics in the pantheon of world literature, each of which is, in turn, quite different from the other.

A cherished friend and benefactress from Germany recently sent me an English translation of Der Shimmelreiter (or, according to its titular English approximation: The Dykemaster) by Theodor Storm. The little novel has become an instant favorite, weaving a tale about the hardy peoples who dwelled ever at the edge of maritime peril along the lowlands and uplands near Germany’s legendary dykes. The book is casting an undeniable spell, and for that magic I am most grateful.

My other selection is Metamorphoses by Ovid, the ancient Roman poet. This is a hardcover English translation of Ovid’s mythical, satirical classic that I picked-up on-the-cheap ten years ago at a Borders book-store. (Remember when those existed, fellow old-timer?)

How do I know I bought it ten years ago? Because the receipt was still in the book. At all events, Borders used to publish their own, affordable, library-quality editions of oft-forgotten classics. Apparently, I loaded-up on some Kafka and a heaping helping of Camus on that long-ago day of giddy shelf-hopping. They’re all still here, waiting patiently in my library to be reread, dusted, or shown the least bit of affection.

We’ll see how fate treats them, when it comes to tempting a busy writer in need of a bit of nightly amusement.

With another dear friend having sent me tempting new non-fiction books about Vermont hermits and dysfunctional families, I don’t think Kafka stands a chance right now.

Literature. It’s a helluva lot better than whiskey. Even if the latter has been responsible for so very much of the former.

See you around …

Jonathan

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic contemporary fantasy books, as well as the critically acclaimed (Midwestern Book Review) Confessions From The Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop-Culture Zombies. His work has also been featured on The Daily Dot.com and in a plethora of other ‘zines. Click on the book covers to the right if you want to learn more about Jonathan’s titles or spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race. Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new novel. Drop-in once in awhile for updates; he promises to provide them … once in awhile.