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.


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.


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.


And again.


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.


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.



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:


Keep Shopping,

Jeff Bezos




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.

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.

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 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.

If This Doesn’t Wither Your Spoon, I Don’t Know *What* Will: Me, Barbra Streisand, Expensive Resorts and DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? by Jonathan Kieran

Oh, little Miss Girly-Girl went and she DID it.

"You gonna be on the national news, honey."

“You gonna be on the national news, honey.”

Look. We all have messy moments in our lives. It’s not a linear Pathway to Perfection, this whole “being human” thing. We get drunk. We make mistakes.

Heck, we make plenty of mistakes without the excuse of being drunk. Think about your last five or six Big Mistakes. Were you sober?

I didn’t think so.

Anyhow, Reese Witherspoon, an actress for whom I had maybe ten minutes of affinity a decade ago, unzipped the Immortally Moonwashed Dazzle-Face of Politically Superior Hollywood and revealed the underlying Narcissistic Maggot-Skull of Filthy Dirty Entitlement … in all of its splendor!

I feel for the woman. I do. It must be difficult to be a multi-millionairess competing for Fame and Trashed-Out Headlines with accomplished, award-winning thespian-types like Kim Kardashian. Witherspoon, however, appears to be cracking under the pressure.

There is only one occasion wherein a human being ought to whip out the “Don’t You Know Who I AM?” strategy, and that occasion is when you are about to be executed by a point-blank shot to the back of the head … and you freakin’ don’t have anything else to try.

That’s maybe when you trot-out a line like that.

You could also say something like: “If you spare me I’ll give birth to a unicorn right now. I’ll give birth to a unicorn with your name embossed in emerald-essence on its haunches! I swear I will.”

Yeah. When the Magical Unicorn Birth-Promise fails to impress your killer, that’s when you toss out the “Don’t you who I AM?” trick.

It’s not going to work, but, you know, you’re about to be murdered, so you’ll give it a go.

Witherspoon was not on her knees about to be executed by some serial killer, but she was drunk off her a$$ and being driven by a Significant Other who was allegedly drunk off his ass, and in the midst of it all, Ms. Illegally Blonde (oh, couldn’t resist) didn’t stop to ponder whether or not her drunk-a$$ self ought to have gotten into a vehicle with her drunk-a$$ hubby and whether their drunk-a$$es might’ve possibly swerved and killed somebody else’s mother, or father, or brother, or sister, or child. No.

“Don’t you know who I AM?”

But wait a sec, friends … Reese was “filming in the area.” Hold on. That changes everything!

When you are a STAR and you are FILMING IN THE AREA, all police officers within a 75-mile radius are alerted to your Exquisite Presence and they have been given specific instructions NOT to interfere with your drunk-a$$ driving. Wow. I mean, that’s just standard procedure when you’re FILMING IN THE AREA. These Witherspooning cops need to be demoted and forced to walk a beat in the crackiest part of Crack Town because they haven’t been checking their memos!

“Don’t you know who I am?”

“I’m filming in the area.”

Now, I know what many of you are possibly thinking.

“Oh, Jonathan Kieran! You can’t be merciless to people who say such things when they’re under the influence! This sort of thing is an aberration! People from Hollywood don’t really act like that! They’re very humble and they are always looking for ways to give their riches away to the little people!”

No, honey, they aren’t.

In fact, I’m going to tell you a story that dovetails with this whole DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? meme. And it is the truthiest truth I could ever truth-out, without giving birth to an actual unicorn.

Many years ago I worked as the “Assistant Director” at a rather posh Northern California resort that shall remain nameless. I loved the job. I loved my boss (the “Director”) and I loved the “team” and all of that crap. Yeah, I did. I was in the service industry and it was as upscale as it gets. Our establishment was frequented by “celebrities,” and when I use the term “celebrities” I am referring to people who actually earned and maybe deserved a toasty old crust of their fame. This very minute, I could tell you a couple of things about Barbra Streisand that would … well, only reaffirm what you already suspect about Barbra Streisand.

But that’s another blog.

What many people outside California do not realize is that the most powerful players in the whole LA game are not the “face” people, not these “stars.” No. The biggest hitters are producers or a myriad of other executive investors/bankrollers who operate behind the proverbial scenes. Well, they operate behind the “scenes” in point of fact. But those people take vacations, too.

One evening, a slightly neurotic, slightly grumpy uncomfortable-looking man in his mid-thirties approached me and my boss because he could not get his headset to jive with the TV feed as he was working-out on the treadmill. We’ll call him “JOHNNY”. Well, anybody who came to our establishment was automatically paying over a thousand bucks a night just to sleep there, not counting the extras, and we were in the business of SERVING PEOPLE, so we did front-flips, black-flips, side-flips, and did everything except pull a flock of ducks straight out of our a$$es to try and get this gentleman’s headset to work. It didn’t work. Maintenance was called. Engineers were consulted. We didn’t know what was amiss, but we tried. The gentleman was not exactly rude … he was just persistent. Fixated, if you will. He was annoyed that this little portion of his workout experience was not going exactly the way he wished, and he couldn’t recalibrate. No Plan B. “My headset won’t work. I guess I’ll just walk on the treadmill and force myself to listen to the big-screen DIRECTLY.”

By the way, there was no one else in our “Fitness Center” at the time … he had the treadmill, big screen TV, water cooler, and big blue rubber workout ball entirely to himself.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out: The guy had every right to obsess about his headset — at over $1000 a night, you want stuff to work at your fancy-a$$ resort. I respect that. The point is, we did everything except call an ambulance and summon the Jaws of Life to get this gentleman’s itty-bitty headset to work, and it just didn’t. It didn’t. He came in to our office again, not rudely, and harped on it for the sixth time. It was the very end of the day, my boss, at the time, was being wooed away from his fab job by an even more exclusive company (if that’s even possible), and we were mapping-out the following day’s schedule. My boss just flatly told “Johnny”:

“Look, sir. We’ve tried everything. We apologize for the inconvenience, but it’s 7PM and we’re out of options when it comes to your headset. Nothing we can do. Sorry.”

Johnny sort of wiggled a finger in his ear and looked at the floor and said, “Well, thanks. Okay.” And he left. Then my boss left, saying, “Hey man, wrap things up tonight for me, okay?”


Five minutes after my boss left, in walks this blonde. Leggy, attractive, sharp … but not at all “star” attractive, by any stretch. She was on the warpath. And I am going to share with you the WORD-FOR-WORD that “went down”. I ain’t makin’ it up. I ain’t embellishing or exaggerating. WORD-FOR-WORD, because I’ll never forget it.

ME (sitting at my desk): “Good evening!”

SHE: “I want to know who was rude to Johnny. Was it you?”

ME: “Miss … um … excuse me?”

SHE: “Johnny told me that somebody in this office was rude to him and I want to know who it is. Now. I want to know who told him that they wouldn’t fix his headset.”

ME: “Er … well, Miss … Johnny spoke with ______, our director, and I can assure you we tried everything we could, but it’s late in the evening and we won’t have the resources until tomorrow. I’m sorry if Johhny felt [my boss] was treating him rudely. We would never intend such a thing.”

SHE: “Listen to me, buddy. Do you know who we are? We are Hollywood people. We are BIG Hollywood people. One bad word from us can make or break this entire place. Do you know that?”

ME: “Uh … puh-puh-puh-puh- buh …”

SHE: “Do you know how it works in LA? I’m sure you don’t. We tell people where to go and where not to go. Do you understand this?”

ME: “Miss, if there has been a misunderstanding I apologize profusely.”

SHE: “You damned well better.”

ME: “Absolutely. Please understand that [my boss] is a professional who always has the interests of our guests in mind. Let me solve this for you as best I can right now, this very moment. I am going to earmark complimentary [such and such] for the rest of this week. If you would be so kind as to wait with [Johnny] in your room, I will have some solution within ten minutes. Personally.”

SHE: “You’d better. We’ll be waiting.”

SLAM! went the door as she stormed out.

I called reservations and got their names, which we had not known previously. “Johnny’s” name didn’t ring the slightest bell with me.

Then I googled him.

HOLY. S.H.&.T.

Huge. H.U.G.E. ~HUGE~

But I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a line-up, as they say.

I’ll say another thing — his little dollbaby coming down with the whole “Do you know who we are? We are Hollywood people. BIG Hollywood people.”

(and she said it just like that, in my face, shaking a finger. “Hollywood people” followed by the clarifying “BIG Hollywood people.”)

I hope this never happens to any of you, firstly, because I can tell you in all honesty that, no matter how self-assured you may be, as a person, when someone comes at you with mouth-stink like that, you feel like a complete ZERO.

It was so humiliating. I … I … still look back on that experience and am amazed — mainly because I felt like a subhuman for a minute or two, and that’s exactly how she wanted me to feel.

I think it was fortunate for me, at the time, to see how legitimately powerful these people were, on paper (or on Google) and then launch damage control.

Yeah, Johnny was big enough to have gotten my boss, a seasoned professional and a fine man, fired with a word.

I didn’t like it one bit, but I had to make some stuff happen. We had an on-site florist and she was about to leave for the day, and I begged (no, I TOLD HER) to whip-up the best arrangement she could configure, FAST, and I threw-together a virtual grocery cart full of freebies and brought all of this goodness up to their room … within the ten minutes.

I did everything but bow. I was a pro. I handled it as gracefully as I knew how, even though this woman had just utterly sought to humiliate me. I smoothed it over, but I’ll tell you yet another thing: I obviously have never forgotten that experience.

They were at our establishment for a week and it was “kid gloves” handling all the way. They loved the obsequiousness and I frankly felt it had to be done. My company (at the time) could well have been on the line.

My boss nearly pooped a kitten the next day when he came in and learned who they were, and remembered that, yes, he had been a little terse with “Johnny”. I guess that was the most crucial thing: after being stomped-on by someone else’s self-imagined superiority and feeling like a sub-human, it was good that I had to sort of troubleshoot the matter and be motivated to help my boss dodge a bullet that would have been totally undeserved, but which would have probably hit him smack between the eyes.

It was not a good week. For me. How was it for Johnny and his Hollywood BIG Hollywood gal? Why, they loved their stay because I made sure everyone knew to kiss their a$$es with extra lip-action, for the sake of making a living. That’s what you think about.

Making a living. In my case, it was not only my job, but the jobs and livelihoods of the people who worked for me/with me.

You need to frankly make a living in this world and, sad to say, but some people who feel themselves so superior, can indeed make or break you. And they can walk all over you. It might be grand and noble to say, “I will not stand for this kind of treatment! I quit!”

Honey, that only happens in the movies … and the movies are being made by the people who are saying: “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”

Anyhow, I have only shared this experience with the people who were obviously there at the time and I have never written about it, until now. I won’t name the guy and his Lady. You would immediately recognize the name, but not likely put a face to that name … just as we didn’t.

I’m not famous and do not want fame. I’m just another author trying to find a home for my stories, trying to find a place for the characters I create. I can sleep at night with that plan.

The “sobering” thing is that these little instances wherein the mask of “fame” comes off of someone, you truly do see how selfish and deluded we can be, as a species, based upon how we perceive ourselves. It’s all so freakin’ fleeting, as it is.

I suppose I wouldn’t have expected Reese Witherspoon, specifically, to haul off and take a dump over her entire reputation the way she did. I guess I might have expected some, um … skeevier type to pull a stunt like that. But then I would be thinking outside my own experience! Hello?

Hollywood people. BIG Hollywood people.

Witherspoon may have a hard time living it down, if anyone has an attention span that renders her boozy life-burp relevant for more than five minutes, but the point of my post ought to be obvious.

It’s galling when one of these cultural deities says something so damnable and they’re drunk.

I am here to tell you that people will walk right up to your face and say ‘DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” and they will be stone cold sober.

It’s beyond humiliating, but I think I may have to give Johnny a call and see if he can help me out, now that I’m book-writin’ and stuff.

Yeah, right.


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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Book One
Book Two
Book Three
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