thinglets: Chlorophyll Blood and Madness

(written stream-of-consciousness between 12:45 and 1:00am on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011)

The sound of rain hit the metal awning
And danced back up in asymmetric reflection
Like Mickey Hart sounds at the Fillmore.

Hunched over the QWERTY
Pondering the blank slate of onyx.

A bash and a crash
And a slam and a bam
And a train in vain
As crazy stock exchange ramped up distrust in the membership
And the club tore assunder to the sound of rolling thunder
And a spike drove through the brain.

Wherefore the minds of sickening songs
Where hollow-eyed drunkards lay plastered 'gainst walls
And humble old beggars sit staunch over pavement altars?
The prayers of the slammed, slammed once more
They faltered and cried a mournful tune that echoed off the stoops
And ricocheted in the alleys behind the granite cascades.

There is a semblance to this madness.
A cause to this effect.
A liberal dose of sprinkled circumstance
Where shred and the shredded meet and blades of grass cry
Plaintiff upended to shrivel in chlorophyll blood and madness.
Nature's Sisyphus of summer only to grow each week
Then ripped asunder and left naked and shivering
Under night rains and lightning flash.

There is a storm coming.

There is a storm that, if people really listened, they could hear from a worlds away.

Like the rattle and hum of some celestial train track
And the forboding single light descending on an entrenched position
We stand, gaze transfixed.
Human caught in headlight of a reckoning that is beyond our comprehension
And yet we fear with unnatural precision.

One day the locomotive bearing down upon us with become
So loud as to render us deaf.
So loud as to make words ineffectual.
So loud as to shake our minds from thought.

So bright as to blind out sight.
So bright as to burn the corneas from our skull.
So bright as to make us translucent.

And with all of this, what we fear most is the light going out.

thinglets: Open Letter to Television Writers

photo courtesy


(10 minutes earlier)


Dear Television Writers,

I know that as a television writer you must be under immense pressure to try and appease network execs driven by advertising dollars while struggling to maintain the last vestiges of your artistic integrity.

It must be tough.

After all, you've got centuries of writers who've created enduring narratives behind you. I mean, shit, how the hell are you supposed to compete with Greek Mythology, The Bible, and Shakespeare by packaging a message into a 22 minute sitcom or 42 minute procedural?

I don't envy you. I can't say I couldn't do better because I've never tried, but I don't really want to either. It must hard to devote weeks to a script only to have ripped apart by a show creator, director, and pre-pubescent cast member who changes your painstakingly-crafted dialogue because they can't say "verisimilitude" without spitting on the rest of the cast.

I understand that in the over-reaching story arcs of many of the series you work on, there are only a limited amount of plot devices you can explore without becoming hackneyed and derivative. I also understand that the magic of editing allows you to play with timelines like so many styrofoam peanuts that accompanied the oversized box that my one DVD order from a popular online retailer was packed in.

I will even cop to understanding that by starting your action drama with a big car chase and explosion will retain viewers in the first two minutes. I further "get" the financial constraints on most producers as they try to milk every last dollar for stunts, sets and pyro. It really only makes sense that if you're going to write a big action scene that requires a large budget chunk, you might as well get the most out of your money.

So hey! Why not use it twice?

Because it's tired, stale, and a cop out for weak writers.

Take back control of the narrative. If your dialogue cannot sustain interest for the two minute teaser before the opening titles, quit now and forever hold your piece of remaining dignity in the world of indie film and a flailing grasp at Sundance.

Be bold, be creative, be daring and for fuck sake, STOP IT WITH THE FLASHBACKS ALREADY!

A before B, except after Z... really?



Anthony Marco

lovehate: Nick Carter - Killmaster

If you are a regular reader of lovehatethings, the blog, or the lovehate podcasts, you know that eclectic nostalgia is often the order of the day. Sometime in the late 80s I got hooked on a series of pulp espionage books called the Killmaster series, all written under the pseudonym of Nick Carter who was also the main character and, thus, also the Killmaster. Nick Carter (not the Backstreet Boy) actually evolved from a serial detective character starting in the late 19th century.

"Nick Carter first appeared in a dime novel entitled The Old Detective's Pupil; or, The Mysterious Crime of Madison Square on September 18, 1886. This novel was written by John R. Coryell from a story by Ormond G. Smith, the son of one of the founders of Street & Smith. In 1915, Nick Carter Weekly became Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine. In the 1930s, due to the success of The Shadow and Doc Savage, Street & Smith revised Nick Carter as a hero pulp that ran from 1933 to 1936. Novels featuring Carter continued to appear through the 1950s, by which time there was also a popular radio show, Nick Carter, Master Detective, which aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System network from 1943 to 1955."

I, however, was not a fan of Nick Carter the Detective. Instead, I became a fan of Nick Carter, secret agent N3 of AXE (not the body spray, but an underground US government agency). Reborn through the explosion of Fleming's Bond books and films in the 60s, the 261 Killmaster novels ran from Run Spy Run in 1964 to Dragon Slay in 1990. With most plots inspired by Cold War paranoia, Carter took on the Soviets, the Chinese, and any other maniacal mastermind who was a threat to the United States. The stories always involved plenty of violence, mostly perpetrated by Carter himself, using his three main weapons: "Wilhelmina, is a stripped down German Luger. The knife, Hugo, is a pearl handled stiletto. The blade retracts into the handle, and the whole thing is worn on a special sheath on the wrist, designed to release the knife into the user's hand with a simple muscle contraction. The third member of the triad, Pierre, the poison gas bomb, is a small egg shaped device, normally carried as a "third testicle" at his scrotum. Activated with a simple twist, it would, within seconds, kill anybody, or anything, that breathed its odorless and colourless gas." Oh yeah! Good times! Testicular gas bomb!

Oh, and by the way, there was also plenty of gratuitous sex with foreign and friendly agents alike, that was all characterized by writing better suited for Penthouse Forum than a fine piece of literature like Killmaster.

I happened upon a few of the books by accident in used book stores because, as the cover price was so cheap due to quality and age, and used book stores often based prices on a small percentage of the cover price for pulp fiction, I could buy scads of them each month for only a few dollars. They were a hell of a lot cheaper than comic books once The Dark Knight blew the lid off that era and everything went "arty". Almost as soon as I'd given up ever finding more of them in my local bookstores, eBay came on the scene, and I could buy boxes of 50 titles for $20. That's some low-budget entertainment! Considering it only takes a few hours to get through a Killmaster offering, I found myself bringing them on planes and for short hotel stays. I could get through an entire novel with time to spare during a flight to Vegas.

I'm certainly not claiming that the Killmaster series should be placed in Eliot's Canon, but there is something to be said for the guilty pleasure read. It's why, as much as might like to snicker and look down on adults who read Harry Potter or Twilight novels, I do have to pull back and admit some perspective is necessary. The Reader Response theory approach to writing was never so evident with a revisiting of retro pulp novels. Why should I like them? Why do I like them? What do I bring to the reading experience that allows me to generate meaning from the hackneyed plotlines and one-dimensional characters? I suppose once cheap, available, action-spy-sex romp is put to the side and all you're left with is the text - who could pass up a testicular gas bomb named Pierre? Wait a sec! Pee... Air... Oh Killmaster, you slay me.

thinglets: 10 Great Ben Folds Lyrics (after he folded Five)

"The old bastard left his ties and his suit
A brown box, mothballs and bowling shoes
and his opinion so you'd never have to choose" - Bastard

"Fred sits alone at his desk in the dark
There's an awkward young shadow that waits in the hall
He's cleared all his things and he's put them in boxes
Things that remind him: 'Life has been good'" - Fred Jones (Part Two)

"By the time the buzz was wearing off
we were standing out on the sidewalk
with our tattoos that looked like rings
in the hot Nevada sun" - You to Thank

"So now she's gone and broke my heart goddamn her
Turns out she's been fucking this drum programmer
She likes his style, she likes his rock start glamour
Well she's an infant! he can damn well have her!" - Hiro's Song

"Down the tracks
beautiful McMansions on a hill
that overlook a highway
with riverboat casinos and you still
have yet to see a soul" - Jesusland

"The daily dramas she made from nothing
So nothing ever made them right
She liked to push me and talk me back down
Until I believed I was the crazy one, 
and in a way I guess I was..." - Landed

"In a haze these days
I pull up to the stop light
I can feel that something's not right
I can feel that someone's blasting me with hate
And bass
Sendin' dirty vibes my way
'Cause my great great great great Grandad
Made someones' great great great great Grandaddies slaves
It wasn't my idea
It wasn't my idea
Never was my idea" - Rockin' the Suburbs

"Good morning, son
In twenty years from now
Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
And I can tell you 'bout today
And how I picked you up and everything changed
It was pain
Sunny days and rain
I knew you'd feel the same things" - Still Fighting It

"Sara spelled without an 'h' was getting bored
On a Peavey amp in 1984
While Zak without a 'c' tried out some new guitars
Playing Sara-with-no-h's favourite song" - Zak and Sara

Like you've got nothing to prove
No matter what you might do
There's always someone out there cooler than you" - Always Someone Cooler Than You

thinglets: Ten Film Plots That Should Not Have Been Greenlit

Below are ten short plot summaries for films that have, shockingly, ALL been made. I have not put the name of the film at the beginning of each entry in case you'd like to play a "Name the Film" game. There is a link contained in each entry that points to the IMDB page for the film. Prepare to be dumbstruck.

  1. "A Texas Ranger is assigned to protect the only witnesses to the murder of a key figure in the prosecution of a drug kingpin -- a group of University of Texas cheerleaders. He must now go undercover as an assistant cheerleading coach and move in with the young women."
  2. "A deservedly struggling young comedian, lands a menial job on a cruise ship as the Miss-Universe contest is being held on-board. The Big Man On Deck for this voyage is the ship's comedian and all-around ladies' man. As an assorted array of thugs, Panamanian mercenaries and terrorists try to storm the ship, the young comedian hopes for one big chance to prove himself and enter the exciting world of cruise ship comedy."
  3. "After separating from his wife, a former agent quit the spy business and became a restaurateur. The government has asked him to come back and save the world again. The evil antagonist has hypnotized animals into doing her bidding, and plans to use them to take over the world! It's up to the agent to save the world, as only he can battle her Vegetarians and man-eating rabbits!"
  4. "When "street smart" rapper applies for a membership to an all-white Country Club, the establishment's proprietors are hardly ready to oblige him. Unwilling to accept that the club views him as unfit for membership, he purchases land that contains the 17th green - willing only to exchange the hole for a membership. This sets the stage for an outrageous assault on the country club and its membership committee as he and his fun-loving, streetwise crew disrupt the goings-on at the club with their irreverent attitudes and a back-and-forth prankfest."
  5. "A father's psychic abilities are put to the test when his two daughters are trapped inside of a corn maze haunted by the spirits of two young girls who disappeared a year earlier."
  6. "A professor introduces Paul to the practical-joking Kathy. Paul and Kathy seem to hit it off rather well but, during a meteor storm, a meteorite fragment strikes Paul, burying itself deep in his skull, which has the unpleasant side-effect of causing Paul to mutate into a giant reptilian monster at night and go on murderous rampages."
  7. "On the night of a big fashion show, world-famous French designer is poisoned. The same night, his murderers are trying to kill a member of the popular rap group. As the designer dies on the street, a midget witch tries to do something to save him. The next day, as the body of the designer is buried, his soul wakes up to find himself in the rapper's body. Both souls are trapped inside the rapper's body, and every time he suffers a blow, they switch personalities. A tough black rapper becomes a fruity fashion designer and then back again."
  8. "After the death of his brother, a street dancer goes to attend university. But his efforts to get an education and woo the girl he likes are sidelined when he joins in his fraternity's effort to win a step dancing competition."
  9. "Jack is a struggling baseball pitcher who has great natural talent but keeps choking under pressure. Traded to a class A minor league team, he is appalled to discover his third baseman -- and roommate on the road -- is a chimpanzee. While the chimp can actually hold his own on the diamond, Jack feels there's something a bit undignified about having to look after a monkey, and it doesn't help that the chimp has poor hygiene and a chronic case of flatulence."
  10. "An unemployed cartoonist moves back in with his parents and younger brother. When his parents demand he leave, he begins to spread rumors that his father is sexually abusing his brother."

lovehatethings 2008: my first eBook

Want an idea of how much I wrote for lovehatethings over the second half of 2008? I've published my own eBook, which took little additional work other than layout. No supplication to publishers, no caring about money. Enjoy. It's FREE, and it's under Creative Commons license, so you may share and add value to your heart's content.

Without further ado, click here for lovehatethings 2008

Sure, some of the stuff may be a bit dated, but I just thought about doing this last week.

Thanks to the Posterous community and lovehatethings followers for helping to inspire my ramblings.

lovehate: Rediscovering Ezra Pound

To some, Ezra Pound was a crazy mofo. To others, he was a crazy mofo genius.

His ability to paint images with words is often hit and miss for me, but generally the hits are illuminating and the misses are because he's written 100 cantos in cunieform.

How many writers can claim such a biological paragraph as framework for their writings:

"After the war, Pound was brought back to the United States to face charges of treason. The charges covered only his activities during the time when the Kingdom of Italy was officially at war with the United States, i.e., the time before the Allies captured Rome and Mussolini fled to the North. Pound was not prosecuted for his activities on behalf of Mussolini's Saló Republic, evidently because the Republic's existence was never formally recognized by the United States. He was found incompetent to face trial by a special federal jury and sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he remained for 12 years from 1946 to 1958. His insanity plea is still a matter of controversy, since in retrospect his activities and his writings during the war years do appear to be those of a sane person." - via

With this brief context in mind, (and I encourage you explore his writings and life more) I provide some of my favorite thoughts of Pound.

"And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there... Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will."

"Genius... is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one."

"I have never known anyone worth a damn who wasn't irascible."

"I have always thought the suicide should bump off at least one swine before taking off for parts unknown."

"The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods. Those artists, so called, whose work does not show this strife, are uninteresting."

"The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people."

"Religion, oh, just another of those numerous failures resulting from an attempt to popularize art."

"Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance... poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music."

"The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy."


The Encounter

All the while they were talking the new morality
Her eyes explored me.
And when I rose to go
Her fingers were like the tissue
Of a Japanese paper napkin.


O generation of the thoroughly smug
      and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picnicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
      and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
      and do not even own clothing. 


"The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity."


thinglets: 10 Minute Stream of Consciousness Trip to the Cucumber Club

Sometimes stream of consciousness is the order of the day tripper from the heights of sanity to the bend around the Credence Clearwater Revival churchgoing folk never thought well of the young buck from Arkansas but soon found with a little bit of grooming he could become the astronaut we always thought he could be.

Signs pointed west, but signs will often do that when black is orange and orange is grape and there aren’t enough hostess potato chip bags in the world that could be simultaneously crinkled to quash the din of the baby crying in the booth across the restaurant.

Maybe if there was a time and a place the place could be venus and the time could be swiss and we’d chat gaily of the wandering secret agent who lost her memory amidst the culmination of a black box mission set down by the powers that be for the defence of the people by the people for the people made of people – soylent green.

So I ask you young psychotic blithering tattletale of the night – are you up to the call of the man in the pink suspenders and crying behind curtain number two the 86 year-old Monty Hall fan who sits in Beckett-like fashion waiting for a deal to be made and an appearance to be imminent and an autograph book to be signed somewhere between Bob Eubanks and Chuck Woollery.

I remember the days of wine and hosers when men were men and women were lite brite illusions on the battlefield of playtime when the vast ocean of meandering opened up its arms and said “Give it to me straight Doctor. I can take it,” without a second glance or thought or premonition about the forces at work or the elements at play.

Surely there must be semblance. Surely there must be coercion. Surely there must be a recipe that includes semi-sweet chocolate chips, because the semi-sweet chocolate chip lobby has been doing their work and putting out their 365 day tear-off calendars for the world to see and without their efforts the civilization would have faltered long ago and without their efforts the typhoons would have raged eternal and without their efforts the ghost of TS Eliot would have risen in April and decried the he was a pair of ragged claws on some beach-like region.

Oh sure, you may weep for the downtrodden with your tears made of copper and your heart made of glass and your Debbie Harry affections with consummate incredulity. You may weep for the death of the bison and the culmination of the cataclysm of the crisis of the caucus of the collapse of the cacophony of the Cucumber Club.

Oh Moose.

Oh Beaver.

Why have you forsaken us?

cucumber club