Zanzibar Circus 2.18.19

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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. He is also the creator of the comic strip Zanzibar Circus. Jonathan’s work has also been featured on The Daily Dot.com and in a plethora of other ‘zines, newspapers, 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.

Look for a major surprise in Summer 2019. Jonathan is also currently writing and illustrating an epic new work slated for international release in 2021 (Brightbourne). Drop-in at leisure for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile—he doesn’t get paid to blog.

Grab The Good Moments and Never Let ‘Em Go, Fellow Homo Sapiens

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Perch no longer upon painful pins and needles, Ye friends, readers, and oh-so-ardent admirers strewn across the whirling globe. Verily I say unto thee, an “update” has been born amid the creaking, ramshackle windmills of my brain.
That being said, don’t get too excited, as this update is unlikely to rock your world or even rustle a few leaves upon the Autumnal Tree of Your Abiding Devotion.
Like most of you, I am preparing for the HOLIDAY SEASON (though, “bracing myself for it” might be a more apt description.)
I realize that I am not alone in regarding this particular time of year with a healthy dose of ambivalence, a soupçon of nostalgia, and equal parts schadenfreude and trepidation.
Don’t get me wrong.
You’d have to search field and fountain, moor and mountain, following all sorts of yonder stars to find a guy more existentially thankful, just for the basics. I do not exaggerate.
It’s a gift simply to be alive on this orb. A blessing. A marvel. A stroke of cosmic good fortune … whatever you wish to call it.
For example, I so appreciate the “little things” that I experience a physical, emotional, and spiritual reaction just to put on my running shoes and go for a jog through the woodlands adjacent to my seaside domicile. No ear buds. No distracting music required.
Just the sound of my breath, the rhythm of my footfalls, and all kinds of forest noises on either side: birds fluttering in the briars; ground squirrels scampering for cover; maybe a rattlesnake slithering away across dry leaves. I’m sure I’ve even ”heard” more than one mountain lion or bobcat watching me from the shadows of a rocky hillside.
Thankful.
There’s a large pond sequestered amid the expanse of gnarled oaks, just off the main trail where I run and (believe it or not in typically arid California) it’s always full and glimmering beneath sunshine or cloudy skies.
I’m grateful to be able to stand for a few minutes and contemplate the ducks and other waterfowl. Watch the reeds swaying in the breeze at the outskirts of the marshy idyll. I always end-up feeling glad that, somehow, some way, the universe—in its billions of years of outwardly explosive projectile vomiting—found a way to eventually arrive at … me.
And You.
And billions of others who have lived and struggled and laughed and died on this infinitessimally impossible planet.
Amazing, when you ponder it a bit.
My existence, like that of anyone, will be but one-zillionth of a blip in cosmic terms of Time, but it doesn’t feel that way when we’re genuinely grounded in the Moment, does it?
And what we know about Time and Space and their deeper secrets of operation is hardly comprehensive. I don’t care what Stephen Hawking or Einstein say.
I don’t know about you, but if the right contemplative mood strikes, in the ideal environment, in one quiet moment—be it lakeside or staring at the ceiling come dawn—all sense of Time’s omnipotence (and its limitations) begins to vanish, and in its place I can feel as if I’ve been alive forever.
Or that I’ll never be in a position wherein I won’t feel alive and part of the great, galaxy-gripping Mystery … whatever that Mystery turns out to be.
Yeah, yeah: the other aspects of everyday life are not felt so primevally; nor are they drenched in the fairy-dust of nobility.
I’m even-tempered, but not always on the inside. Some days I can roll out of bed and just sink my teeth gladly into a big old slice of Cynical Pie, relishing every mouthful of the crunchy, broken lightbulbs that constitute the main ingredient of said Pie.
Sure, I still get impatient with myself and with others, but I’ve lightened-up quite a bit in that regard.
Time heals, but only if you work with it, rather than against it. A lot of things that used to gnaw at my sense of pride now roll off the shoulders routinely.
Shut-out the harrowing mayhem of the world and bolt the doors of your soul.
Have a glass of wine.
Have a creme-filled doughnut.
Laugh with some friends.
To hell with excessive anxiety and worry; these add not a useful moment to this mortal coil—neither in the Big Picture nor in the smaller corners of our increasingly modulated lives.
Thankful? Hell yes.
To be certain, the world—or at least the behavior of the human race in general, these days—disturbs the breath right out of my body, at intervals.
The rampant disconnection from fundamental reality.
The garden-variety indifference and violence.
The staggering atrocities.
The ill-advised substitution of digitial communication and friendship for fulsome interaction and discourse.
The dangerous acceleration of ideological divisiveness.
The Caligula-level decadence that has managed to enter the mainstream of Western culture.
The rabid monkey-circus that is Washington, D.C. politics.
Yeah, these things are all worrisome to me. Maybe to You, too.
But a thankful soul can overcome them all, just by shutting them out at the opportune Moment(s).
Thankful. What a concept.
We have our loved ones. We’ve got the little material odds and ends that we cherish, for whatever reason, but to which we are not unduly attached.
Remain in beloved circles, with your own magical talismans, Gracious Reader, throughout this holiday season and beyond. Pause to enjoy the moments that occur within the Moment.
The moments that really do last forever because they happened within Forever.
From my Christmas tree to whatever sacred artifact or structure you contrive to mark the innate excellence of winter in the West, I wish you thankfulness … and the best New Year you never thought you’d remain sane enough to see.
xx
Jonathan
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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 fuckin’ writer.

‘THE WORLD OF ROWAN BLAIZE’ CHARACTER PROFILES: “Aunt Ariadne” by Jonathan Kieran

A rather arrogant goddess wants to skin the face off the most down-on-his-luck warlock you could possibly imagine. YOU can save him for only $0.99. Click HERE.

~The World of Rowan Blaize: Character Profiles~

The realm of ancient sorcerer Rowan Blaize is one in which otherwise hidden worlds collide with (or dwell alongside) our own mortal sphere. Rowan’s existence is played-out across landscapes and dreamscapes that encompass “worlds within worlds,” providing the observant traveler ample opportunity to encounter creatures of dazzling magical qualities. Some of these beings are friendly, others are belligerent, and still others have a hard time deciding among the various options. From one universe to the next, certain things never change. Enjoy meeting the main characters of Rowan’s adventurous story in the profiles below and remember: wherever the world and whomever the wayfarer … only enchantment is immortal.

Character Name: Ariadne

*IMDb Dream-Portrayal By :

In a million universes I could not think of a better actor to play "Auntie Ariadne" than the great Kathy Bates. This photo of Kathy playing the Queen of Hearts exhibits some of the traits I would envision Aunt Ariadne to possess ... in spades.

In a million universes I could not think of a better actor to play “Auntie Ariadne” than the great Kathy Bates. This photo of Kathy playing the Queen of Hearts exhibits some of the traits I would envision Aunt Ariadne to possess … in spades.

Nature/Occupation: Sorceress and demigoddess. Aunt of Rowan Blaize. Sister of Rowan’s Mother. Original mistress of Bror.

Age: Probably around 7,000 years (though she isn’t likely to admit to more than five millennia. No way.)

Background: In the realm of Rowan’s adventures, Ariadne was a powerful sorceress on the European continent (not to mention other parts of the world) and was outgoing enough to be worshipped as a goddess by mortals at certain junctures of ancient history. Gregarious and enamored of her own fame, she was a keen patron of the arts and was indeed a “collector” of those who practiced the arts, depending upon her unpredictable romantic whims. It is known that she spent a fair amount of time in the company of Circe, terrorizing and toying with shipwrecked sailors in the Aegean. Perhaps due to a long-frenetic lifestyle, she is a witch who seems to “show her age” just a bit more than others. Therefore, “Auntie Ariadne” lives a much more sedate existence these days in her posh, ghost-infested Holland Park mansion, smoking Bloodworm Weed, drinking ambrosia and admiring the examples of “sculpture” she has amassed over the ages. She is a sorceress who keeps her “affairs” in order … from one crowded room to another. Poor Bror, we presume, was left to do the dusting.

Significant Traits: Ariadne has a stupendous memory, like most immortal beings of her milieu, and is one of the savviest enchantresses of all time. There are few spells the now somewhat portly matron has failed to master, including the means to transform back into the stunning physical appearance she enjoyed in her prime. For all her power, however, Auntie Ariadne is perhaps not the most personally trustworthy witch … which is apparently “a thing” with many of history’s exceptionally talented sorceresses.

Unique Powers/Abilities: Ariadne is particularly adept at summoning and dominating any kind of demon imaginable (along with a few that aren’t imaginable) and was untouchable when it came to transmogrification involving stonework.

Classic Quote: “This is nothing when compared to some of my old tricks. Ugh. That demon’s brains are sizzling on the hearthside bricks!”

Featured In: Book One. Ariadne’s abandoned London mansion features significantly in Book Two. (Rowan Blaize and Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy)

*If I am ever fortunate enough to see Rowan’s adventures adapted for film or for the stage, this is the actor (or creature) I can most readily visualize playing the character in a given profile.

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize …

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.

Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

POP HAZMAT RETRO HOF: LOVABLY BAD FOOD FROM CHILDHOOD (Skittles)

HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF FAME (LOVABLY BAD FOOD FROM CHILDHOOD) by JONATHAN KIERAN

A rather arrogant goddess wants to skin the face off the most adorable warlock you could ever imagine. YOU can save him for only $0.99. Click HERE.

Preparing Your Children for a Lifetime of Colorful Pharmaceuticals Since 1982

Preparing Your Children for a Lifetime of Colorful Pharmaceuticals Since 1982

TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: SKITTLES

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Taste the rainbow of flavors? I think not. More like: “Taste the upcoming abject collapse of your entire culture and civilization in little brightly colored pieces of artificial garish plastic sweetness made out of stuff that some chemist stole from his wife while she was cleaning the kitchen sink.” Call it whatever you want, but we craved Skittles and begged for Skittles as children. At least I emanate from a generation where Skittles were the kids’ “drug of choice.” Who knows — it might’ve been a better decision to go with bath salts. And what a name for a candy! I was confused by this marketing nonsense as a child and often asked Mother to “get me a bag of scabies” when she went to the store. “Mom … you know those unclean neighbor children you told me never to play with? Well, one of them came into the yard today and I think she gave me the skittles.”

Only now can I see the advertising genius that went into naming a brand of candy as if it were a yellow bag of sexy disease-pills.

DEFINITIVE QUALITY: Drawing upon my vast knowledge as a connoisseur of tooth-rotting psychedelic Youngster Treats, I can say that Skittles struck all of us as distilled, quickie “pill versions” of the previously popular and much-more-difficult-to-chew Starburst candies. The arrival of Skittles heralded an innovation that sent tremendous shock-waves throughout the Under Twelve Community. Skittles certainly prepared children for the upcoming age of easily prescribed mood-altering pharmaceuticals. Indeed, Skittles were the chewy amphetamines of kids who thought they came from families too good and decent to ever even think of taking drugs. But I’ll tell you something: On a full pack of Skittles I could work my poor mother’s last nerve until she seriously pondered killing me, herself, all the people on our block and/or throwing her glamorous life away and running off with the mailman. And the mailman was a toad-faced dwarf with knock knees and a disfiguring case of acne in his thirties. That, my friends, is the power of the Skittle. What do Skittles taste like? Joyful unicorn farts. That’s what they taste like. Don’t ask me how I know what unicorn farts taste like. Just trust.

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: Skittles became more than just another mother-maddening home-wrecking brand of garbage that kids could gnaw upon until their gums bled. Skittles became a Twitter phenomenon. That’s a candy with some damn ambition, and I like my childhood horror-candies to have ambition. I tell you what.

LAMENTABLE LEGACY: I consider Skittles to be Kiddie Klonopin with training wheels.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Still preparing your children for a lifetime circus of pharmaceutical razzle-dazzle.

SPRUCE IT UP WITH A COCKTAIL!: Before Cosmopolitans became synonymous with clueless bourgeois housewives amped-up for a Fondue Date-Night that their husbands would rather spend in full cardiac arrest, I always thought a Skittle Cosmo would have been a major hit across all demographics (Well, maybe not with Mormons). Just think of the colors. The COLORS.

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize …

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.

Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Pop HazMat RANT: We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming. Hell yeah. With some John Lennon Thrown-In.

Mr. Kieran is in a Funk Today ... and Ginger Ale Isn't Gonna "Cut It."

Mr. Kieran is in a Funk Today … and Ginger Ale Isn’t Gonna “Cut It.”

POP HAZMAT IRREGULARITY

A rather arrogant goddess wants to skin the face off the most adorable warlock you could ever imagine. YOU can save him for only $0.99. Click HERE.

AT ISSUE: Margaret Thatcher’s DEATH

REASON FOR RANT: Filthy disgusting inhumanity that — wait for it — is all-too-human.

RANT: I’m tired of it. I’m shaking because I am so freaking tired of it. You know, I can handle apocalyptic shit: that has been part of Western and Eastern “civilization” since the first monkeys came down from the trees and learned to scribble crap-that-happened-to-them on a palm leaf. I get it.

What disgusts me is this utterly irrational and needless divisiveness amongst humans who ought to know better.

You know what: label me in the marketplace, label me in the public sphere, label me as you see fit when I’m working a job or bringing something to the community of human beings who are purposefully bringing their sh&t out in order to have it judged and labeled and packaged and pondered and what-not.

I am fine with that. That’s the world, kids, and that’s the way the world does indeed go ’round without humans butchering each other at a whim, without anarchy.

Fine.

Do NOT, however, judge my soul. Do not label OUR souls.

I am not a liberal. I am not a conservative. I am not a freaking centrist, either. Take a good look at the middle finger I hold up to intolerant people. I am ME. I have views about life and about the world that could indeed fall under all of those aforementioned categories/labels, like MOST people. But I shun the labeled garbage. I am shunning it hard, babes. The “mob-mentality divisiveness” of our society is strangling the world far more effectively than our poor environmental choices could ever HOPE to strangle it.

Honey, Mother nature can cough-up a massive volcanic eruption and send us into a Dark Age, toute de suite, rendering all of our little labels and niches and complaints moot. An asteroid could sneak through while some astrophysicist is texting/sexting his or her significant other. That’s fine. That’s the world. That happens. I like the idea of freedom and the idea that what spins on the globe comes ’round on the globe. It’s natural. It’s not “bad” and it’s not “good” –speaking intrinsically– but that is the way it IS, baby.

But there is so much garbage that we can prevent simply by being REAL.

I have friends who describe themselves (till the cows come home) as “LIBERAL” and friends who describe themselves (till the roosters crow at dawn) as “CONSERVATIVE” and you know what? They all drive me nuts, but I love them, and I do not judge their integrity. If they puke loads of nonsense out of their pie-holes (which both liberals and conservatives can do with equal ease) I say: “Well, thank you for sharing that. I think it’s a load of nonsense you just puked out of your pie-hole, but I heard you, I processed your words, I filed them away, and I respect your passion. Now, let’s go get a margarita and flirt harmlessly with the bartender for a few minutes.”

Yeah.

Babes, we need to make actual human brain-efforts at finding common ground while remaining passionate about our different opinions. That’s another thing.

People who think they’re bright often yammer-on to me that extremists are “bad.”

SCREW THEM!

I am here to tell you (as unqualified as I am and as utterly qualified as I am) that EXTREME points of view are not “BAAADDDDDDDD.” Notice that I said “points of view” — this is where we get into the notion of passion.

One of the only things that keeps me going in life is the passion that humans exhibit for … whatever they’re passionate about. I may not agree with the subject or object of anyone’s given “passion” but you will damn not ever catch me disagreeing with a person’s right to express a passionate point of view. In fact, if I am drawn to anything in this mortal coil, it is to those who are brave (or even stupid) enough to bark bark bark their passionate point of view. Typically, as I am certain anyone reading this knows, passionate points of view have to be thrown-out pretty bravely, no matter where you’re coming from. You don’t just sneak them ’round the edges. You don’t slide passionate opinions timidly across a grungy coffee-table. You DECLARE.

I like people who declare — even if I disagree with their declaration, be it “conservative” or “liberal” or “SUCK ON THIS LABEL”.

THAT is being human, that is “being graced” with our world and making it better. Holy Hell, I do not want to pontificate, but I am so OVER THE BULLSH&T that I cannot refrain.

LISTEN to people with an opinion far removed from your own. No, really … LISTEN. Screw the dogmatic crap that says: “Judge not” — that’s appallingly naïve. There are levels and hierarchies of judgment. Do not categorically “judge” or denounce the humanity of another person based upon their opinion. Challenge that opinion, if you disagree! Engage that person who, frankly, you think is perhaps merely misguided or, at worst, nuts! But do not categorically reject them!

UNITY is a big “answer,” friends. We have lost our perspective, in that little freaking category. It’s disturbing.

I have a good friend who is a generation (or so) older than am I, and a self-classified hippy-freak, and I love her like my own soul. If she needed something I would not even think twice about getting the plane tickets and doing whatever I could to fix ANYTHING. That’s how much this woman means to me.

I disagree with her on a few issues and agree wholeheartedly with her on others, but one of the differences between us is that she accepts and enjoys labeling herself for purposes of communal identification, even though we both know that it is just … a label. A social tool. I would trust this woman with my life.

I have friends who boisterously label themselves as “conservatives” and I agree with maybe a few of their ideas and disagree with a lot more.

But we don’t engage in “hate-by-classification.” I have been fortunate enough to choose some friends who appreciate reason and considered thought — people of all levels of education. Overeducated, undereducated, hardly educated, etc. Doesn’t freakin’ matter.

The most fun (or one of the most fun things) that is to be had in the world is to have a great debate with someone who ascribes to a viewpoint considerably different than your own … and then sit and have a glass of wine with them and ask them how their kids are doing, how many people are really pi$$ing them off at the workplace, what was the funniest thing that happened to them this week, etc.

I don’t CARE if someone has an EXTREME opinion in this world! Damn it, LISTEN to somebody’s extreme opinion and say that you respect it, even if you absolutely don’t agree with it! If you sense that that person has no redeeming qualities whatsoever (very occasionally, this does occur) then get away, but otherwise … SAVOR THE CHANCE TO BE YOURSELF AND STILL BE A VOICE OF REASON.

Not a good day, here, for me. Issues of disunity and useless bitterness in the world are weighing heavily. I’m no fool and certainly give every new person I meet a glance up one side and down the other, but I never, ever, ever, EVER reject or categorically disparage a fellow human being based upon their opinions, thoughts, or personality. The people who are whining about Margaret Thatcher’s politics on the day of her death are abso-FREAKIN’-lutely entitled to their opinions, but here is where the act of “judgment” comes in handy, good friends.

Judge ourselves, first. Should I say “this” at this time? Or “that”?

No matter what happens, our society turns on a few basic standards. In full celebration of the Joy of Philosophical/Political/Existential/Theological Disagreement, I say … “Come together, right now, over me.”

I apologize for the rant. If you were sitting next to me, right now, you would probably empathize with the state that occasioned my passionate opinion. You may or may not agree with my opinion … but we’d go out for brunch after and have one heck of a time at the Running Iron.

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.

Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

POP HAZMAT HOF (ONE-HIT WONDER EDITION) “How Bizarre” by OMC

Wanna know the rest? Hey, buy the rights.

Wanna know the rest? Hey, buy the rights.

HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF FAME: ONE HIT WONDER EDITION by JONATHAN KIERAN

(A warlock with troll-skin boots? Yeah. Amazon. Click to SET HIM FREE for $0.99)

zina front

TODAY’S HONOREE: “How Bizarre” by OMC

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: The brainchild of New Zealand pop-funk group OMC (Otara Millionaire’s Club), this song could not be escaped by anyone alive and near a radio in the USA in 1997. That’s not a bad thing: the irresistible groove, intriguing lyrical turns, and unique vocal style of lead singer Pauly Fuemana made this a hit to savor, particularly on a summer day when you, too, might find yourself “cruising down the freeway in the hot, hot sun.” Overall, the song seemed to celebrate unbridled freedom and companionship, while the lyrics evoked a warped expedition through Fellini’s brain on LSD. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” this was not.

DEFINITIVE LYRIC: Pele yells, “We’re outta here.” Zina says, “Right on.” We’re making moves and starting grooves before they knew we were gone. Jumped into the Chevy and headed for big lights. Wanna know the rest? Hey, buy the rights… How bizarre, how bizarre.

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: The song soared to the No. 4 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay list in 1997, but was not eligible for inclusion on the Hot 100 list because the track was not released as a single in the USA. Despite its “airplay only” success in America, the tune did score similar chart positions and monster sales in other nations around the globe. It was voted the 34th Best New Zealand Song of All Time by some group of discriminating dweebs that apparently debates the greatness of songs emanating from that part of the world. OMC was also declared the 71st Greatest One-Hit Wonder of All Time by no less an authority than Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. Righteous.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Alas and alack … OMC never had a chance to realize the full potential of their considerable talent as a band capable of bringing the hit-glitter to worldwide tune charts. Pauly Fuemana, who suffered from a debilitating neurological condition, died in 2010 at the far too tender age of 41. How bizarre. How bizarre. RIP, Pauly.

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: Go on, get in the car. Front seat. Sweet Zina will move over and make room.

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize.

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.

Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

HAZMAT HOF presents CLASSIC KIDS’ TV ON-THE-CHEAP! The Friendly Giant

Seriously ... Blame Canada for this Fabulous Mess

Seriously … Blame Canada for this Fabulous Mess

HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF FAME: CLASSIC KIDS’ TV ON-THE-CHEAP!

TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: The Friendly Giant brought to you by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) 1958-1985

GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: Producer Daniel McArthy, Robert Homme (The Friendly Giant), Rodney Coneybeare (Puppeteer)

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: You Tube, of course, is great for any kind of retro “disAstral projection” because any kid’s show ever featured for even a minute on the most obscure airwave imaginable is preserved on You Tube, so long as any given show’s creators had two googly eyed sock-puppets to rub together. It is with inestimable veneration that I present today’s Featured Object of Childhood Wonder and Idolatry:The Friendly Giant.

Yeah, yeah, I know — even back then the name had a sort of “Whatever you do, don’t take candy from a friendly giant” vibe, and in this case, the vibe might have some validity. Like Paulus the Woodgnome, The Friendly Giant program was another piece of high-tech brilliance smuggled across the Canadian border via malformed TV transmission towers and warped antennae. With titular Big Guy, Robert Homme (French for “Bob MAN“) in the title role, the series endured (in all of its cardboard and papier-mache splendor) for over thirty years!

The premise? Well, each 13-minute show opened with a camera panning across a miniature “town” that made the model of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood look like an aerial shot of Bel Air, by comparison. During the opening credits, an insistent and somewhat creepy adult voice chanted a bit about the goings-on in “Little Town” and then –POW!– suddenly you saw a massive boot stuck in the frame. This was followed by the drill-sergeant admonition for children to “Look up. Look WAAAYYYYY up!” as the camera traveled slowly, luxuriously up Bob Homme’s leg, across his somewhat paunchy midsection and smack into his taciturn Giant Face.

"Friendly" near the Little Town giraffe-dung processing plant.

“Friendly” near the Little Town giraffe-dung processing plant.

Next came a clumsy, herky-jerky lowering of the drawbridge at the giant’s “castle”, which was something I could have built in an hour during crafts’ class in kindergarten. As the drawbridge –obviously rife with structural deficiencies– came down to reveal the words “The Friendly Giant” henscratched in magic marker on two discolored cardboard gates, someone on a recorder played a rather spotty version of Early One Morning.

The rest, my friends, is the stuff of legend. Bob Homme’s mammoth hand arranges itty-bitty pieces of furniture (“Just for you!”) around an itty-bitty fireplace in his huge castle, testifying to the fact that this giant was indeed friendly to little people, or had at least employed a “Little People Friendly” interior decorator when he first decided to build his castle out of an old Sears refrigerator box. Hijinks ensued. There was a bipolar rooster named “Rusty” who lived in a bag hung on a peg near the giant’s window. Rusty sounded like Julia Child on a possibly lethal dose of barbiturates. Rusty the Rooster was presumably a giant, as well, because in terms of scale Rusty could’ve easily wiped-out the little town at the foot of the giant’s domain with one flap of his checkerboard-tablecloth wing. No one on the show ever explained why Rusty was kept in a gunny sack. I like to think that the Friendly Giant was only being friendly to Rusty until the time came to chop his head off, pluck him, stuff him, truss him, and give him a slow roast as soon as the series was cancelled. Why else would anyone keep a truculent farm animal in a bag indoors for so long?

Rusty the Klonopin Rooster

Rusty the Klonopin Rooster

The folks at PETA would’ve been all over Rusty’s oppression, had they been eyeing Canada in the ’70s, when I was about two and addicted to the exploits of the giant. Also keeping the giant company was Jerome the Giraffe, a creature who sounded like he had a three-pack-a-day habit (Camels?) and who was clearly suffering from borderline Personality Disorder. Jerome would poke his head into the window, agitating the giant (and Rusty in his bag) at every opportunity. By my calculations, which were calculated through comparison with the approximated scale of Little Town, Jerome the Giraffe would’ve been about 600 or 700 feet tall! This led me to believe that the primary industry among the folks of Little Town involved the removal and/or processing of giraffe-dung. Judging from the ramshackle appearance of Little Town, this was not a particularly lucrative enterprise. They should have moved their Little Town nearer to a coal mine, but that’s only my opinion.

Otherwise, The Friendly Giant featured heaps of inane chat, endlessly fascinating props culled from Rusty’s bag (a doorknob, a pencil, a spool of thread, an old thumbtack, a rancid piece of popcorn), lots of impromptu blowing on flutes and glimpses into a Magic Lantern that constituted the only reason I ever watched the show in the first place. Magical props were the hook, line & sinker for this kid, on this show … on any show, frankly. The giant’s boot and his surly commands did nothing for me. Nothing.

DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “I’ll go in the back way so I can lower the drawbridge and open the gates for you.”

LAMENTABLE LEGACY: It’s a riot of sheer pap, to look at it now, but it remains hilarious to know (as an adult) that I was apparently undeveloped enough to need this sort of stuff as a toddler. I adored this program. In hindsight, I guess it goes without saying that the dangerous grown-ups who crafted the production must’ve all headed straight for the bottle after wrapping every shoot, no doubt storming some smoky out-of-the-way Toronto pub and plotting ways to inject double entendres and pervy inside-jokes into next week’s show (example: “What else do you use your mouth for, Rusty?). Yeah, I envision a lot of drunkenness on that set. I could be wrong. Very wrong. It’s only a theory. And it was only a kids’ show.

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: Have a look at an entire actual episode of the The Friendly Giant on YouTube. See for yourself what glories preceded the much later advent of mutant vampire robot zombie-children with digital super powers. Have a look. I dare you. (And beware of rooster-poop and giraffe-droppings.)

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize …

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.

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