Silent Symphony

The Symphony is performing “Concerto For Dogs” tonight.
It is entirely out of the human audio spectrum.
Violins, trombones, and other instruments tuned like dog whistles.
Nobody knows what the composer’s name is.
He was born as Almo Burt, but he had it changed a few years back to something outside of the audio spectrum, too.
Typical weirdo artist, right?
He steps through the curtain, bows, and announces: “Now put on your blindfolds. The performance is about to begin.”
The audience agrees, the lights are turned off, and the Symphony sneaks out for a drink at the pub next door.

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka is dead.
Good riddance, I say.
But that’s not enough.
I don’t just want to piss on his grave.
I want to dig up his coffin,
Pry open his mouth,
And piss into his throat.
And I don’t just want to dance on his grave.
I want to start a kickstarter campaign,
To hire the Rockettes
And dress them up like rabbis
Beautiful, long-legged rabbis
And they’ll dance a whole chorus line on his grave.
Amiri Baraka was buried in New Jersey.
Land of chemical plants and Superfund sites.
A fitting place: a toxic creature in poisoned earth.


Miyuki paints masterpieces.
She’s an art restorer. She touches up and fixes damaged paintings
She’s the best art restorer in the world, fixing everything: vandalism, neglect, smoke damage.
But it brings her no joy.
She wants to paint her own works. Instead of little bits of Renoir or Matisse, she wants to see a Miyuki in the gallery. A Miyuki exhibition.
Years of restoring others wore her down, and then… snap.
She painted over a Picasso, and…
It was beautiful. Magnificent. Her masterpiece.
And sent to another restorer to remove.
Someone stole a Rembrandt?
It’s Miyuki.
She needs more canvases.

The Creation Of Kenny

I challenged art students to paint the ceiling of the college’s fieldhouse.
“Carefully, please!”
They replicated Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel, but substituted famous basketball players for the Biblical figures.
In the center was The Creation Of Adam, where Charles Barkley reached to touch the finger of Kenny Smith.
“Instead of a brain-like cloud, he’s perched on a giant meatloaf,” said the lead artist.
We laughed. Until a drip came down from the ceiling.
“It’s coming out of Kenny’s eye,” I said. “He’s… crying?”
Some of them called it a miracle.
I called it an expensive leak to repair.

A Bunch Of Babies

Our country’s compulsory military service begins at birth.
The infantry is literally made up of infants.
And the air force’s recruits spend their days fed by spoon while drill sergeants shout HERE COMES THE AIRPLANE INTO THE HANGAR! ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!
Oh, and the navy spends its time in the wading pool on the lawn, splashing around and squealing.
Sure, they have issues marching and holding rifles and maintaining advanced radar-jamming equipment, and then there’s the discipline issues with “the terrible twos,” but all in all, they’re a good bunch.
Oh, and our large arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons. Those help too.

A Whiff Of Accomplishment

James made the best-smelling paintings.
No, not selling. Smelling.
He’d go to the beach and paint abstract waves and moonlit skies with tempera and plaster.
The mixture would capture the scent of the sand and the salty air, and if you closed your eyes and breathed in deep, you’d feel that spring Corpus Christi day.
His dream was to open his own restaurant, his paintings on the wall.
And he did. The opening was last month.
He made it.
And died last night of a heart attack.
A whiff, a touch of accomplishment, and your dreams is all you get.

Born into the theater

I was born into the theater.
Literally. My mother, the famous actress, scored a year-long run in Oklahoma! via that infamous casting couch.
Nine months in, she still refused to give up the spotlight to her understudy.
The costume girl eventually went insane.
During the matinee, her water broke in Act 2, but she didn’t miss a line.
She concealed contractions with howls of laughter and screams of joy.
The curtain fell, I was born, and she was holding me to her breast through four curtain calls.
If you think that’s bad, that bastard director added it to the script!


On the one hand, I’m fascinated by the beautiful things that talented Etch-a-Sketch artists create.
On the other hand, it’s just a fucking toy.
Okay, so not everybody can spend three hours twiddling those knobs to make the Mona Lisa or Mount Rushmore, but all it takes is one shake, and it’s back to a blank slate.
That’s when I saw the breaking news:
Video from the scene revealed that the memorial at Mount Rushmore had shattered and collapsed.
I sighed and shrugged.
At least the Mona Lisa was done with oils and canvas, right?

Lemons and Tomatoes

The optimist takes the lemons that life hands him to make lemonade.
But when the artist has tomatoes thrown at him for his art, there are so many more options.
There’s a rich tomato bisque on the back burner there.
Smell that. It’s good, yes?
I made a bottle of ketchup the other day that’s thicker and richer than any store-brand ketchup you can buy.
What else is there on my stove? Oh, that’s a spaghetti sauce.
Here. Taste it. Try it.
A little more salt?
Let me take some out of this wound they tried to rub it in.


For decades, a stranger in a long coat, scarf and hat would leave three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at the grave of Edgar Allen Poe on the writer’s birthday.
But recently, the stranger has failed to show up, and people are starting to worry.
Has the stranger gone forever?
What happened to them?
I’m sad about the loss of another of life’s romantic mysteries.
There’s no more Bermuda Triangle.
Or Bigfoot.
Or Loch Ness Monster.
No miracles, no monsters.
All of the things we knew not to be true but still believed in are fading away.