Class Action Slackers

thumb-fliptopnewsDATELINE — Washington DC.
In breaking news, a class action lawsuit has been filed in federal court on behalf of every slacker ever fired from a job for doing nothing. According to the suit, all the wronged parties are now claiming to be Zen Buddhist, and action of any sort goes against their religion.

Congress Passes Flat Earth Initiative

fliptopthumbCongress has put aside its bickering and volatility for a rare moment. Our nations lawmakers came together on a bipartisan bill known as the Flat Earth Initiative. While forty-two percent of legislators are willing to admit the Earth is not flat, almost all agree that it should be. Most of the problems on our planet would be easier dealt with if we were all on the same level. Peace and harmony could be ours if we had a flat land where everyone could look one another in the eye.

The bill sailed through congress, receiving near unanimous support and a multi-trillion dollar budget. But no one is quite sure how to go about flattening the Earth. Most imagine it will be much like applying a giant decal or window tint. There will be a lot of water involved and some sort of enormous squeegee machine to work out the kinks and the air bubbles.

Congress also passed a resolution declaring gravity to be junk science. They have ordered all staircases, escalators and elevators removed from federal buildings. The lawmakers claim these only promote a vertical dependence. They help to entangle us with godless scientific pondering.

Elevator shaft fatalities have been reported. But so far, their frequency remains within the legally acceptable allowance for annual elevator deaths.

Word of the Nerd: Radio Free Albemuth – June 27th

RFA-fromthemindI have a new article this morning on The Word Of The Nerd Online. Radio Free Albemuth, the lastest Philip K. Dick film adaptation, is set to hit theaters June 27th. Discovery Films has released a new extended trailer which gives a pretty decent glimpse at the movie. I’m really looking forward to this one. It could be the one that finally gets PKD right.

The film’s writer, producer and director, John Alan Simon, was kind enough to sit down and chat with me. We talk about the film, his approach to writing, and all points in between. It was a great conversation and only bolstered my excitement for the film. Look for the interview soon. It will be coming to The Word Of The Nerd Online as we get a little closer to go time.…27-new-trailer/



The Law of More

The Elimination of Middlemen

The Elimination of Middlemen

Moore’s law, put simply, states that computing power will double every eighteen months. This was predicted back in 1965 at the dawn of modern computing and has so far held true. What used to be a precious and costly commodity is now being produced at an exponentially faster rate. Some find this humorous, in a sardonic way. To others it is overwhelming.

The Commodore 64 when it was introduced boasted sixty-four kilobytes of RAM, all within that ‘little’ box. There is the famous quote from one of the pioneers in the industry where he can’t ever foresee anyone needing more than 64k. Only a decade earlier such an extravagant amount of memory would require an entire building. Nowadays memory is so cheap you can easily afford to store a well-stocked bookstore on the phone in your pocket.

It’s amazing how far we have come. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai it took two tablets to hold ten short paragraphs. Nowadays even the most basic tablet or ereader can store dozens, even hundreds, of books in their entirety.

Tree of Life, Foot in Mouth, Hot Dog in the Snow

Tree of Life, Foot in Mouth, Hot Dog in the Snow

NOTICE: Ragnarok, Viking Apocalypse

Today is Ragnarok, the Viking version of ‘end of the world’ mythology. Experts are expecting things to progress in a smooth, orderly fashion. I think we have all learned much from the recent Mayan apocalypse, The Rapture, The oft-forgotten zombie apocalypse and of course Y2K.

As events commence later this afternoon when the sun is being eaten by an enormous cosmic wolf, all Vikings and people with substantial Nordic heritage should form a single file line, and kindly await notice before exiting.

Screaming and panicking will only be permitted in predetermined screaming and panicking zones, please consult your local apocalyptic protocols for the nearest location.

Parents of young children should make sure their own spirit has been safely released from the mortal coil before assisting their young ones with metaphysical disembodiment.

We know Ragnarok is not your only choice for end of the world ideologies, so we doubly appreciate your choice to end the world with us, and we hope to make the experience as enjoyable for everyone as is possible. We hope you will fill out a short customer satisfaction survey which you will receive once you make it to the other side.





I turn to look for available seating and see that most of the people waiting in line are chanting in the odd cafelalia; some with tongues jutting from their mouths, some looking heavenward with eyes rolled into their heads. The entire shop is filled with a dull cacophony of nonsense. A few scattered patrons seem to roam around the perimeter of the tables in a trance.

God’s Writing Group

EscribanoGod’s writing group met on Sundays. He planned his whole week around it.

One day he was in the coffee-shop early, muttering, scribbling a few words with his quill, and then invariably scratching them out.

Randy and Mandy came in, and were standing in line to order coffee. Randy noticed God first, he gave a little tug at Mandy’s elbow, and gestured for her to look. They both stood silently, watching God fret and fume with the page in front of him. They both smiled a little to see him so agitated.

“Does he have fun?” Mandy whispered at Randy, “I mean, he does know a hobby is supposed to be an enjoyable activity doesn’t he?”

Randy shook his head, shrugged, “I admire his dedication, and sometimes envy his intensity, but I don’t even take my job as seriously as he takes writing.”

Mandy chuckled. They both ordered their drinks and joined God at the table.

“How’s the story coming, God?” Randy asked, smiling a little too wide to be mistaken as sincere. “Looks like you’re still having a little trouble there.”

God grumbled and waved an obligatory greeting, consumed by the words before him.

“It’s a rough spot, you’ll get through it,” Mandy tried to placate him. “It will make a good book, I think you have a winner. You were very excited about it, and that first week of writing was incredible, almost miraculous.”

“Yeah…” God let the word out as a long sigh. He put his quill into the barrel, rubbed a fist at his tired eyes. He looked at his friends finally, and attempted a smile.

“Some of those characters you’ve introduced…” Randy didn’t finish his thought. He let the fragmented idea linger, let the silence convey what he hesitated to say.

“They’ve taken on lives of their own,” God said, “I can’t get them to behave, and to stay within the story I have planned.”

Mandy hit God on the shoulder, softly, “You see? God knows what I mean! Sometimes the characters do surprise us! No matter how much you outline, when you get into the writing you can be surprised by who your characters really turn out to be, and the places they’ll go when they should be moving the plot forward!”

Randy clicked his tongue, rolled his eyes. “This again. You are the writer, you made the characters, anything they do is a product of your imagination, and to believe otherwise, to talk about them like they are sentient beings, it is delusional, and possibly hints at a serious mental imbalance.”

“So you are never surprised by any of your characters, or any of your stories?” Mandy kept her gaze on Randy, awaiting his reply, but also removing her laptop from its case and opening it on the table.

“No, I have been surprised,” Randy replied, still smiling wide. “But I recognize that the surprises are a product of my own mind, I don’t pretend that my characters are acting on their own.”

“You are so literal,” Mandy moved styrofoam cups and a glass of water away from her computer. The screen lit up and a phrase of warm piano let her know the laptop was now awake. “You are one to talk about God taking things too seriously.”

God was still immersed in his work, writing three words, and then crossing out four. But at mention of his name he looked up, and glanced between Randy and Mandy.

“I know it comes from me,” Mandy continued, “It’s just a bit of fun, really. The ideas come from our subconscious, we are not actively making these choices, so it seems like the characters are doing it. Plus, it sounds vain if I say ‘Look what I thought up!’ rather than ‘Look what my characters did!’” Mandy laughed as she finished her last thought, and involuntarily kicked at a table leg, jerking the surface and knocking over a glass of water.

She threw the few available napkins on the puddle spilling out, and got up quickly to find something better to clean up the mess.

God looked at Randy for a few tense moments before he spoke, “I really don’t control what my characters do anymore. I let them go. I think you read the garden scene where I gave them all freewill.”

Randy regarded his friend, curious and somber, his wry smile was now replaced a relief map of worry lines on his forehead and a slight squinting of his eyes. “You do know that’s not true, don’t you? There is no ‘Free will.’ You do know that is only a plot device, don’t you? You do know you are doing all of this, it’s from your mind. You are the writer of this story.”

God said nothing, but stared back at Randy. There was something new in his eyes, but Randy couldn’t place it. It unnerved him, but he couldn’t say why, or what it was.

God glanced at the overturned glass still laying on the table and the slow pool of water on the table and soaking into the napkins.

“Maybe you’re right, Randy,“ he finally replied, quiet and calm and steady. He took up his quill once more and hunched over the page, returning to his work, “Maybe you are right. Here comes the flood.”

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

A breathing sigh of repugnance

Postcards from the End of the World
7th fit: Bad Circus Night/ section ii.
‘a breathing sigh of repugnance’

374112_10150475755354595_182892415_n“It is a dark summer evening looking much like a winter evening on acconda all the snow,” Never bending logic bespooled from Freon’s gaping maw as he conveys his distinct memoirs of the bad circus evening.

In the mind of Freon, the night is filled with dreams of lonely melons, but he is embarrassed of oedipediacal implications, and instead makes up a wild exaggerated stinky.

The inquisitors of the waffle headed pope on a rope dessed up like rats and began to cover him with Fat Elvis stamps. His faces were covered with their thick moorish saliva, frying his flesh like a big, wet cow being shoved into an electrical outlet.

“Meester Freon!” they shouted. “Tell us what we want to know!”

Freon spun the thin spools of his memory, but it had run out again. ‘Damn,’ he thinks, ‘I wish I could remember to refill that damn thing.’

“Meester Freon!” one of the inquisitor rats steps forward, whipping him with the six whips he holds in his six arms, obviously the buddhist of the group.

“Stop whipping me!” shouts Freon, “I’d tell you what you want to know, but I can’t remember. Do you have any skull filler paste?”

“Why Yes! Of course!” an especially cheery and handsome rat steps out from the crows, holding a large blue plastic bottle. “We always keep a large supply of Krompelfesterheeganman’s concentrated skull filler. For all those times you need to remember, and better than a brain enema.”

There is a whisperous tremor amongst the inquisitor rats.
“What the shit man! It’s a stinkin’ commercial!”

The rats all walk off mumbling things about lawyers and unions, leaving everybody disappointed because it was just about to get to the good part.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Goat Wisdom

The man came upon a clearing; it was the same as he had dreamed. He wiped a few droplets of sweat from his forehead. Trees stood around the perimeter stretched high and leaning in, a mezzanine of green opening up to the sky.

It took him a moment to see the goat; this he had not expected. He approached the center of the clearing. The goat looked on, aware of the man, but uninterested.The two stood before one another. The man furrowed his brow a few times, squinting at the goat. His mouth opened and closed; a laugh and a scream fought for passage in his throat. Neither could get by.

The goat stared back preoccupied by a slow, circular chewing motion. A few silent minutes were allowed to pass before the man finally spoke.

“Greetings, wise goat, as I must assume you to be, I have been led by a dream to wander the forest and come upon this clearing to find ultimate wisdom.”

The goat stared back with no indication of understanding or even hearing the words; it continued its slow chewing motion.

“I have left my home and my family, my friends and society,” the man let his voice become bolder, “I have come seeking knowledge; truths about this life and its meaning; and questions about what must come after.”

The goat stared back; continued to chew.

“I ask and I beg if you have these answers,” a frustration crept into his words, gaining volume, “Please give me a sign, a gesture, a clue! Wise goat, if you are, I must know where we come from before we are born, and where do we go when we die?”

The goat stared back and continued to chew.

The man’s eye twitched with exhaustion. He felt his cheeks growing flush, and anger swept through him. “I ask you these things, and the reply is silence. I beg, and you simply look on,” the man now was nearly shouting, “I’m afraid my dream has led me astray, for you are but a lowly goat and know nothing of meaning, of life’s wisdom, or certainly what comes after.”

The goat stared back; its face was now still.

Wholly fed up with the man, the goat ate him.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Featured at Eat, Sleep, Write:

Horselover Fat rides again…

pkdSaturday, 29 November 2003
Topic: from the soapbox

So, I was in a car accident last Sunday. I remember it was just starting to snow, that kinda half-snow, half-rain that makes the roads such a joy to drive on. Besides that and the fact that I was probably going too fast in the first place, I came to a red light and hit my brakes. Nothing, The car kept moving ahead, and hydroplaned right into the car in front of me. The fact that I saw it coming and stiffened up in anticipation, instead of letting by body go slack, that probably made it worse, but that’s another story for another time…

I can’t work or drive for now, doctors orders. I have bumps and bruises all over, and a bandage over my eye. Apparently I hit my head on the steering wheel. It took twelve stitches to close me up, and they told me I am lucky I didn’t lose my right eye.

So I decided I would take this time to catch up on some reading, and to get some writing done. I found an old battered copy of “Valis” by Philip K. Dick, who is, and anyone who knows me knows this, my literary hero. A mentor of sorts, a lot of my writing, not just stylistically but idealistically, has been inspired by him. I have read everything I could get my hands on written by Dick, back even before a lot of it was put back into print.

“Valis” deals with a lot of metaphysical themes, a lot of which are based on ideas that were only unearthed recently in the caves of Qumran and in the manuscripts found at Nag Hammadi. These ‘lost’ religious articles, suddenly appearing after sleeping in the desert for two thousand years, have always intrigued me.

One thing about having all this time off work, is I have way too much time to think. Not just about the life of a mad genius sci-fi philosopher who died poor and unrecognized, and would not garner any real fame or respect until twenty years past his death. Not about the strange coincidence that I have been interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls since I first heard of them, and just happen to pick up this book where my favorite author of all times is talking at length about them. And what exactly does that mean, what does that imply if anything? That these two fascinations of mine would merge here together as I lay bed-ridden and broken. Coincidence? Synchronicity? Fate? Quantum Holistics?

Or is it merely that my mind being as it is, is attracted to the writing of Phil Dick, and as such is also attracted to the long buried manuscripts of an ancient secret society. Not necessarily an eerie similarity, but a matter of “well, naturally I like his writing, because he is interested in the same, weird, whacked out things that I am”.

When my mind isn’t playing this metaphysical game of chicken and the egg, it is trying to weigh me down, drag me into depression, based on the accident and the consequences there-of.

I nearly lost my eye, half my head is covered in bandage, the area just below my eyebrow has been repaired with stitches, it is black and ugly like a caterpillar resting on my eyelid. “Right Peri-orbital Laceration” is what they call it. My face is no longer symmetrical. The right side of my face is swollen, puffy and a sickly bruised yellow in color. Half of my head is sore and in almost constant pain, the other half is still numb- completely without feeling, like Novocaine has been shot into my skull. The pain or the numbness, I’m not sure which is scarier.

My shoulders are sore to move, my knees are wounded and scraped. I have random bumps and cuts about my body. My sides hurt when I laugh or bend the wrong way- ribs or internal organs or just superficial bruises? Its a lot to think about when you have nothing but time to sit and think. No wonder I’ve been trying to occupy my mind with such heavy subjects as the Gnostic Gospels.

Never mind the fact that my car is gone. And I don’t know when they will let me drive again anyway. Transportation, work, money- they are all trivial things in the light of health- but they are issues which weigh on me late at night when sleep will not come.

Why did this have to happen? Why now? Just when things were beginning to fall into place. A job I could bare to go to everyday, a nice little routine I was falling into where I would be content. There were some things to look forward to, a book I was planning on publishing once the funds were there. A girl I wanted to fall in love with once the time was right.

And then suddenly, in literally an instant, it was all turned upside down. Everything seems to be up in the air at this time. One step forward then two staggering steps back. And the work it will take to get back to where I was has just seemed so overwhelming. I can do it I know, but in my darker moments I wonder if I should bother, whats the point?

And once the darkness of depression splinters into my brain, it clouds over all else and turns it to black. All hope, all dreams, black. And the lingering question of “Why?”

So last night I was searching around the Internet for information of the Nag Hammadi texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Gnostic Gospels. I found a few good sites and read as much as I could before the weary gloom would creep its way into my thoughts.

I tried a different search then, on Philip K Dick. I have read most of his work, but don’t know that much about him; only what they put at the end of the books in the About the Author Section, and from the seemingly form-lettered publicity profile: Born in Chicago, lived in California, wrote 110 short stories and 36 novels, ate dog food in the grips of poverty, was addicted to amphetamines to keep his prolific writing pace, was married and divorced 5 times and died of heart failure in 1982. I was hoping some web site out there could help me glean a little closer into the actual man behind these words.

I found one site, where they had clips of Dick actually speaking. Actually speaking. In the fifteen years I have been reading his work, I had never heard his voice before. I listened to the first clip; an hour long tape Dick had recorded as a synopses for a novel he was working on, he recorded it on tape rather than type it because of a broken arm at the time.

His voice came through my stereo, a kind voice but obviously roughened by cigarettes and booze, and that slur that only comes from years off drug abuse, the “acid accent” I call it- and the fact that his words would sometimes meld together as he spoke a mile a minute trying to keep pace with his racing mind.

Once I adjusted my brain to hear his odd way of speaking, I lay in bed and felt like he was there in the room, telling this idea he had for his next book directly to me, in confidence. Bouncing the idea off me in private discourse.
The next clip was an hour long interview. By interview it meant that the host of the radio show would ask a simple question, and Dick would veer off on several tangents and cover as many and as few topics as he cared to before he would allow another question.

Somewhere in the middle of a rant, Philip K Dick somehow came upon the subject of God, this didn’t phase me all that much. It was obvious that the Great Beyond was a matter of deep thought for him and for me as well. I sat an listened as his low-flying form of conversation strafed over many religious, spiritual and metaphysical hot-points. Touching for a second, a moment of lucid, profound thought swirling out of a tornado of jumbled words and thoughts, and moving on quickly to the next target.

He got on the subject of Gods Will and his Ways. The mysterious ways in which he works. How he makes things come to be.

Sometimes, he was saying, (I am paraphrasing here) God has to take measures to bring people to their destiny. People get stuck in routines and will stay in those routines unless physically removed. So God will take action to put people where they need to be, to meet people they need to meet. And he will do this by the simplest means possible.

Such means as, say, a car accident. ( My brain nearly jumped out of my head at hearing this.) Sometimes the easiest way for God to put you where you need to be is in such a tragedy. You wonder, why did this happen to me? It messed up all my plans. Only in retrospect do you realize, if I hadn’t been in that car crash, I would never have met so-and-so. That car crash was the best thing that ever happened to me, and such and such. Fate comes, he closed the topic, like a firecracker being dropped down the back of your pants by invisible hands. You are walking along minding your own business, and then BANG!!!

Well, hearing this, the talk of a fateful car accident, coming from a twenty-five year old tape of an interview with my literary mentor, it shook some things up in my head. Maybe the lack of real sleep, the pain medication and the long hours of solitary thought contributed to the significance it had taken. But it seemed to bring about some answers in me, and at the same time it also asked a whole new round of questions. Neither can be fully explained here.

The answers deal with fate and with life in general and the random curves it seems to throw at us sometimes. The questions tend to wonder about the same, and about the seemingly innocent paths we choose which invariably lead us to where we were bound to wind up anyway, and the harder we think we are fighting against our destiny, the more we are only hastening it; about random decisions and utterly meaningless moments that only make sense when we look back upon them; about time and space and synchronicity, and how a genius mad man returned twenty years after his death to tell me that all would be okay.

Souveniers of the Second Coming

treeoflifeYou are smoking bidis so that anyone who happens to glance your way and see the blue smoke dribbling out from your mouth will know you are ‘unique’.

They will ask you to come and sit with them and tell them your stories of late night 7-11 adventures, drinking malt liquor and pelting the empty bottles at cop cars.

Smoking an endless procession of the hand-wrapped-and-tied in case any one important drives by, anyone but the usual rotation of life’s extras that inhabit this corner of this dimension of this dance diagram in this reflection on the surface.

bidiYou are dreaming of the bright-eyed piper stalking the beach wearing only a teddy, the breasts stuffed tight with his merchandise.

He is looking for you.

Sand stuck to the red polyester curves and his pink-neon sun-burnt legs, cancerous resins peel away from his flesh to stone the sand creatures.

He is arranging dandelions on your lawn into I-Ching hexagrams. He is sending you messages in the letters and numbers on the license plates of the cars that line your street.

You listen to his voice late at night on the jazz station, under the music he is muttering knowledge into your head. “You know how God got rich? Real estate, man, look at all the property dedicated to his name. Church hierarchy is the worlds longest running pyramid scheme, even more so than the Egyptians.”

tribeIn the late afternoon you find yourself awake and sober again, having to restart your buzz. You light up your first smoke, breathe in with a sigh, and out with a yawn, gazing at the string holding the brown leaf of paper together, studying the intricacies of the tiny knot, your pink thread mandala.

You are simply killing time, waiting for the day when you will meet the second coming in the subway tunnel, playing guitar for spare change. He will explain, in order to make as big an impact as last time, he will need a steady rotation on MTV.

You will bum a bidi from him and wait for your love to come and steal you away. He the man in the red teddy with the green smokey aura, he is the woman for you.

Don’t be fooled by the bristle of his beard.