Newter This! Part One: 
The Schoolmaster's Muster
... uh ... Master Plan!

Bath Party Solution No. 1? How about a "Fix the World's Problems" emergency noise installed in every classroom? It would work this way, because Newt, as a fucking bazillionaire historian, and world's most overpaid high school teacher, is too busy to possibly criticize members of his own congressional do-nothing fuck voting blockhead brigade to possibly write it down ... anyway ... I now reveal it to you ... sparing everyone the, you know ... secret handshakes and all ... Have our kids, between classes, listen for the "Fix the World Problems Emergency Noise," and when it goes off, all of the little school children in the world, going well into the future, would have to, you know, instead of going to class or skip out of class to smoke crack to kill the pain or, eat at McDonald's across the street, because, you know ... we can't afford real school cafeterias anymore, because we cut back on education ... have all of the kids fix the world's problems for five minutes ... and then, go back to class  after the "Fix the World's Problems Emergency Noise" ceases  ... Because members of my GOP and Democratic administrations, as well as this new Tea Party junta ... can't take time to do it. 
We are all too busy creating the world's problems!


I know where horror movies, stories, the very gothic genre come from.
It came to me at 3 a.m., and it made me think of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as blinded John Milton, pounding his walking stick on the wooden floor, shaking silly due to the deprivation of his rapid-eye-movement sleep, muttering, “I’m waiting for the muse to visit.” 
Then, say Poe, opens a drawer. There’s this scratchy, pulling sound of wood-against-wood, and he grimaces, trying avoid waking this, hmmm … not sure how successful he actually was of actually obtaining such things … a raven-haired beauty sleeping on the floor. Then he pulls out a manuscript, half-finished, of poems and stories, and paper falls out. A rustling sound, loud as a Texas cattle truck going by at this hour, falls and plops a swish on the dusty floor. She rustles a bit. But, Poe’s heart racing now, nervous, because it’s not his home, it’s hers, such as it is, because she, a lady of the evening, earns more money than a poet. He doesn’t want to get thrown out. So, like a burglar, he relents. Sighs. Takes a deep breath. He decides to go out the door, into the night air a bit, to smoke some whatever passed for crack back then, to jar the brain and buy him just a little more time before the dawn comes. Maybe he can save his own life by coming up with a perfectly terrifying line to reflect his Jaggered sensibilities about God, the Devil and raven-haired women and their ever-bleating hearts. He opens the door, like a spy. It goes cree-ee-ee-ee-eek. Loud as Lord Baltimore, him once a big chief, who never said, far as I know, “May they be sorry they did not kill me yesterday” to the rising sun, if such a person existed. If Lord Baltimore ever made a noise, I hope it sounded like a Liberty Bell from hell! Anyway, Poe’s heart jumps: “Shit, shit, shit … busted.” He turns, and sure enough, there she is, the Raven. “That’s it, that’s it! Get out! Get out!” she screams, totally awake now, furious. And then she shouts, as his quill is thrown at him, the ink flying out of the bottle, splattering him, “Nevermore! Nevermore!”
     That’s where horror comes from. Not from ghosts? Fuck. They are in our heads as we creep around, trying to keep our writer-asses safe, trying to stay beneath a roof and in a warm room, and perhaps, trying to remain maybe just maybe, loved by and in the good graces of the Raven.
     But now, ah, now … Mr.  Poesy is finally ready. He clears out fast. Finds another lady of the mourning, another place to lay, from the coins he made from having his happy crapped on all too many ways before. He writes his new poem, about a Raven crying “Nevermore,“ his heart cracked-silly broken open, and the process begins all over again in dark and sad, impoverished Satanic-milled mid-19th century, red-bricked, Baltimore, or, in old blind lonely ol’ London, in Milton‘s case. Yes, the muse had come to visit. Personal demons, be loved.
     Glad we cleared that up. Boo!

Occupy Photo Radar Land
Special historical note about this Sen. Barry Goldwater statue in Paradise Valley,  Arizona,  where they pioneered photo radar for traffic calming. However, it used to be that if people at the traffic court pay window testified they weren't driving when they went to town hall to pay the fine, they could get away with it, and not have to pay. But a protest of speeders going over the limit in those "V for Vendetta," Guy Fawkes evil clown faced smiley expressions: Priceless. I have no idea how they'd sort that out at the ticket window.

Yesterday, it seemed like money is some kind of gravitational virus working in a disorderly fashion
for living things. Today, it seems like order imposed creates chaos, money is necessary, feeling better all of the time, and gravity is no longer the only law of the universe right now, that there is such a thing as dark matter, and the red shift is on, with the universe expanding at an ever-quickening rate all of the time. For me, this says two things. The first is, were all as more porous, spread too thin, in fact, and there is a danger of being completely pulled apart, at some point ... and the sun must be getting pretty bitchy about the extremes, as well. The second is, what can I do about it? Nothing, that is what. Drawing a complete zero, a less-than, even, on the whole thing ... and third, humor is everything, and the fourth thing is I forget what, ooops.

"Okay, let me get this straight. Am I supposed to arrest someone with an Arizona voter-approved medical marijuana card, or, am I supposed to write people up for being in bad shape on lithium ... or that third other drug they have prescribed for depression since Nixon sprayed all of the Yucatan with peroquat, or was that President Jose Cuervo, high on tequila sold on the off-ramp in New Hampshire?
I forget ... oops!

Occupy Congress First, Stupid!
"My mom was a victim of the economic crash created by banksters and other financial big-wigs playing their rich people's games. I passionately believe she'd still be alive if her job hadn't been eliminated. I passionately believe my mother would still be alive if, three days later, she hadn't been evicted by her realtor landlady who was undergoing her own house foreclosure so that she (suffering landlady) could live there instead. Those who pushed the economy into free fall killed my mom as surely as if they'd put a gun to her head. Oh yeah, this time it's personal."
~ Jaimie Ondrea Dunn
The best thing I heard all week from a talking head on one of the cable TV news shows was this: "The problem isn't scarcity. The world is abundant. The problem is distribution."

And Now for a Few Notes on Occupying One Percent
of Time Magazine, Where It's Currently Hip to Be a Contrarian Economeiser

     There have been many times rock’n’roll has saved my life … but … this has been inhibited by certain destructive activities, including: Whenever I have read any issue of Time Magazine during the past year. For example, there is the examination of the strange false rhetoric of columnist Joe Klein. For example, during the fall peak of the Occupy Wall Street movement, he apparently was inconvenienced by its truth, as well as its rhetoric and lack of singular clarity. Now, my problem is, while listening to the Jayhawks’ album, “Smile,” I now choose to respond to something Klein has written. This event, two days after I watched the DVD, “All the King’s Men,” which was based on a great book loosely based on the Louisiana man-of-the-people politician, Huey Long, who, before he was assassinated, spoke up for the “hicks” all of his life, corrupt as he was, doing great things for “the people,” in other words, the 99 percenters, against the big powers of his day, including Standard Oil, as well as their political lackeys.
     Well, I’d have to say, “Mr. Klein, Mr. Chairman in Pandemonium, is no Robert Penn Warren. I saw Robert Penn Warren speak once, and Mr. Klein, Mr. distinguished Chairman in Pandemonium of, ya‘ know, Hell, couldn’t carry his sharp as a spear pen, keeping it warm for him as Mr. Warren, or a million other fine writers, personally went to the limestone walls themselves to pee against their own personal places of power!”
     Mr. Klein appears to be a mere contrarian at court. A front-runner. The type of guy who, having already failed to notice the zeitgeist for Time, decides instead to write something apparently supporting the one-percent, pissing off, thus, the 99 percent, in order to get more hate mail and therefore, keep his job.
     Anyway, world-weary as I’m feeling right now, I can’t “Smile” about Mr. Klein’s wisdom (a generous use of that word right now), or, his “wit.” He’s really not very funny. Tries to be. For example, in his Oct. 31, 2011 one-page piece, which takes up a little over one percent of the 94-page issue of Time, the headline, which I doubt he came up with, is “An Implausible Populist: Obama hopes to join forces with the protesters, but his record tells another story,” … which, finds fault in some book about Obama’s economic policy because it failed to “check the proper spelling of legendary banker Walter Wristen’s name.”
     I mean, only a fuck face from hell, a one-percenter insider himself, would ever think any banker, other than maybe the Monopoly Money Guy or, and this is still a stretch, someone named Rothschild, or Morgan, another good example, is well-known by enough of the 99 percent of us to ever be known as a, quoth, “legend.”
     When I’m wearing my rock critic hat, I cringe whenever I see the word, “legendary.” Because it’s about as useful of a word, once you analyze the term as “behave,” as in what are parent’s actually saying when they tell a child to “behave,” Peeing against a big white limestone wall of power is a kind of behavior. Publicity people promoting their hot new bands use the word, “legendary.”


     This just in: It is November 5, 2011, Guy Fawkes Day, and there is snow on the plateau. First snow of the coming winter and it’s a tad early, I’d say. Just as the “freak storm” that hit the North American Northeast about eleven days ago, maybe twelve, was described as being a tad early. Personally, I find the term, “freak,” a bit insulting to both extreme storms and “freaks.” Someone (not me) should write a strongly worded letter. Someone in a position of far more significance and readership and therefore power, such as Joe Klein, who should be writing about climate change instead of inside-baseball shit, for his one-percent use of the page he is given each week for Time Magazine. But Joe Klein is only in-touch with the Washington D.C. insider. Yes, everyone on the Earth thinks they are an economist. It’s hip to be so cardinal square. But there seems to be more important matter at hand, right now, than dollars and cents. The time and money people, nonetheless, are trying to keep, even on a sweet sad Saturday, their grip on “winning the future,” as Obama put it in a recent address about the economy and jobs and gross national product and all, earlier this fall.
     “Future”? What future? Without addressing climate change immediately, Mr. Pandemonium Chairman, what kind of future do you have in mind? Both sides are right, hence, your confusion, about the economy, which is clearly beyond the mortal consideration of any one mind.
Get over it. Get over it … so we can move on …


     Anyhow, on the face of it, the use of the word “legendary” is short-hand for “I have absolutely no new information or light to share about this person I am now mentioning, if only because I am writing on deadline from an ivory tower right now and, well, I have a lunch appointment I have to get to downtown. And with all of these bad-smelling protesters outside, I am going to be late … and anyway, I have never misspelled a name before in my life and all … and anyway, if I did during my tenure at Time Is Money Magazine, there are about a zillion copy editors and proofers and control ‘freak’ editors to pluck it out …”
     Have I ever heard of any “legends” about “legendary banker” Walter Wristen? No, I have not. Never even heard of him. Not surprising, that. Am I an economist of any sort? Nope. Nope. Nope. Saying anything, quite honestly, prior to this year, about bankers, is a pretty new terrain. But I have seen Mr. Klein on various talking head broadcasts, ivory towering, and, well, I have never given him much thought. As a head talker, that is. Hardly, you know: Legendary. Not even colorful. A pretty drab man. Just another, as Ryan Adams might sing … another “political scientist” who lives, as that fine song goes, “on the edge of town.”
     More interesting, and more “legendary” is the Geico.com insurance Gecko featured on another page, also taking up a little more than one percent of the Oct. 31, 2011 of Time, on the page opposite of Klein’s column. “Geckonomics,” the advert states. “A case study,” the ad quips, “… in Saving People Money on More than Just Car Insurance.”
      And time, one hopes … dreams, in fact. Gotta make good time, right?
      And as the Jayhawks are getting the loud on, I realize: Hey, the Gecko is funnier than Joe Klein! If I’d just looked at the advertisement and spent less time and money on Time, reading Joe Klein’s work today, it would have saved me a tremendous amount of time in my life that I will never get back.
     Because (boy, this is really starting to feel like “werk” now) Klein also has had something rhetorically useless to say about some arcane appointment, about some Washington D.C. insider sort named to something called the National Economic Council. Look, angels, I’m no Klein or Robert Penn Warren or even a funny Brit Gecko, but I do know a few things about journalism and how, on the national level, it has failed us all. Or, at least 99 percent of us. Klein has been kissing up to power with his pretty pen. It’s what pays for his, well, high position in life as false scribe of phony, not-very-funny rhetoric. For example, about this Obama appointment for this thing called the National Economic Council, it dismisses the “atmospheric intelligence” of this guy, Lawrence Summers (Klein’s legendary, Okay, Okay, Orwellian phrasing here). Then, Klein writes, the appointment has the “emotional intelligence of a gnat.”
     For me, this is an insult to all gnats. The National Council All About Gnats should be disgusted with being compared to a man who, apparently, this Summers’ guy is, “prohibited the government from regulating financial derivatives.”
     Yeah, that sounds pretty stupid, I guess. Whatever derivatives are. We are all supposed to know because, clearly they are all part of that zombie-technology machine that has actually now, count them all, emptied people from their houses, their jobs, their homes, torn up families, caused suicides, long lines at the food banks, shootings at Wal Marts, assassinations at strip malls, started some wars, choked off others … but sure has fed a lot of bitchy talking heads to yell at each other on the different network shows currently still not discussing more important things all day, all night, such as, the current weirdness of the “atmosphere.”
     My question is this … Who the fuck is speaking up for the gnat right now? Joe Klein? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. These days gnats are like girls gone wild. He’s not even speaking out against the magical television salamander Geico man who is a spokes lizard for car insurance we are all forced to buy; in many cases even if we don’t even own or drive a car!
     Try to get flood insurance!
     That, as Fleetwood Mac might sing, “Is not that funny, is it?”


Previously Unreleased Material That Has Not Been Written, Much Less Published:

The Pedestrian Peace Piece, aka, Public Transportation in Small Town USA, Aye!


Climate change and the subsequent social disorders it creates, is the No. 1 story, and No. 1 security threat in America this week, the next, the next, and then, the next ... and it doesn't look like those facts are going to change soon, politicos ...


Time to bring the boys and girls back home? ... Well, according to the Huffington Post ... "Military Spending Waste: Up To $60B In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning" ... seems to me the storm-wrecked nation could use a little nation rebuilding back home ...


Currently working on: "An Apology for Walking: A Pedestrian's Galaxy Guide to Provincial Tactics in Avoiding to Get Hit By Weaponized Bus Drivers and Other Weapons of Mass Public Transportation." ... But before I post it up for free I'm going to put it up for auction on eBay to see if I get any fee-based interest there ..


Sure, it's looking like snow here in Arizona, but yeah, I'll wear my blue Columbia rain gear out to breakfast this a.m., as a symbol of mutual support for my brother and sister journos out there on the East Coast, fluttering in the breeze and waving their arms in the wind to entertain us. Sure, I'll do that.
Now featuring "reality lit" and poetry by author, poet and Bards of Mythville singer/songwriter Douglas McDaniel ... http://mythville.blogspot.com/


Down the Road
from Crawfordsville

Somewhere at the end of the road
Down where the railroad used to go
In her trailer she slept with a frown
Trying to stare her demons down
The statue of libertines came around
The wolf had already walked the town
I wrote poetry without much sound
Except for a laugh
from all of the dumbing down

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the broken motor man turned to stone
like Apache copters a'rotoring on
and wagons circling from raging clowns
they argued the point
till the town burned down

Though they paid the rent
for ten dollars a week
the world was shred
by wolves among sheep
as smokes he borrowed
he burned to keep from weeping
and anhydrous ammonia
came up from the deep
and she worshiped her stars
when lacking sleep
while pine needles fell
in symmetries at her feet
before the dogs all howled
in the morning light
down the road from Crawfordsville

They all got a book out
about self-proclaiming,
about water-board wording
and daylight savings,
burning bushes, barns,
the hay needle's laughter
about the unicorn dying
while the Republican Party's
secret headquarters
has gone to rust
down the road
in Crawfordsville

Yeah, down the road
from that tiny Ta'Iowa town
a pig farmer named Lester
is happier than hell
He's driving by
with a sleeping hawkeye
his parallax view
can tell no more lies
and the good book sold now
to the controverted
stands in the way
of truth's memory
of the local sounds
in Crawfordsville
Cardinal square in sharp-cut corners
the coroner croons with each hard winter
turning summer waters cancer cluster bitter

Down the road from Crawfordsville
"climate is dead" for the motorhead,
fertilizer falls from the fire-up sky,
we need not ask for the season of why

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the maharishi's prayer is for a limo
in need of more corn-fed gasoline
and up the road: the Wal Mart roadkill
is churned up dust from that shuttered
restaurant full of crap for the ghostly haunt

Down the road from Crawfordsville
that old shack is burning still
with bushels full of Monsanto seed corn
breaking your teeth on porky porn
as the Synergy trucker waves goodbye
but even with buckets full of energy
we want heroes, well here are three
with eleven cups of free coffee, cigs,
some sanity for satiety, a kind kinda
Fire Safety Week society
for squeaking toys and dogs
to run free

Down the road from Crawfordsville
there's good folks out there, out there still,
while the eye in the sky is scorching 'em dry
they don't even ask the reason why
since loose lips sink ships, Holy Reagan cow!
The washing machine's roll is terror, Wow!

But the tenderloin's pound is a tender drum
of country folk who ain't ho hum
Can you hear them tommy tum tums
of the super farmer's food taught, like magic,
by a hand-held Fibonacci sequence tool

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the Big Box trucker armies
broke 'em up bad,
so forget those things
you learned in school
about how Frodo kept the ring
and the Golden Rule,
about how mega Hertz
made German tanks,
cause techno Teotihucuan
gives good thanks
at the dinner table, to the cops,
to your loan at your banks

Just let it roll by, let it fire its blanks,
'cause down the road from Crawfordsville
you can still greet the sun in sacrificial light
and the morning moon will come a day too soon,
so swim with the shore you supper fools ...

Down the road from Crawfordsville
worms from the air get carved up, cool,
the super farmer's just awe right
'cause disinformation is far outta sight
and William Shatner just plain lied

to those poor folks in Riverside
and east to west the buffalo returns
to beat the dust from the Bible belt's urn

Down the road from Crawfordsville
a bard's lament is the ever-giving quest,
despite the wormwood, yer guns, yer tongue,
you'll give great thanks when mourning is done,
when her sacrificial second sight is Mary singing
about storms to come, about enough blood to drown
the terrorists of shock, awe, the dumbing down,
just can't avoid the daily bank scam man
who hits the train station burned to the ground
and the bump in the road will kill you if found

Meanwhile the ranch gets saved up the road
from Crawfordsville, where sileage choppers
look like haircut machines by day, E.T. by night,
like giant Sandworms harvesting spice,
and the golf course tanned Dan
is a thousand miles away, tinkering
with puppets to sway, like bobcats
shot and killed and made into hats,
the collection plate is eternal
as the frightly nightly news
the heroes go on despite these views
when asked how she feels she sighs and says,
"Peaceful," she says, "and peaceful is nice."

~ Ames, Iowa
Note: The first private meeting of what would become the Republican Party came when Whig Party defectors met privately in Crawfordsville in February, 1854. The meeting was to lay the groundwork for the creation of a new political party. The first public meeting was held in Ripon, Wisconsin one month later.

M'Shi Ha M'Shi 

Shi Melek Shamayiim

Each day is a birth, an adventure, followed by the personal apocalypse, leading to revelation ... then we sleep, in dream, a kind of pyrotechnical death ... then we are reborn ... hopefully learning from yesterday ... doing it all over again ... each day ... Each Day


To be higher,
than my own mind,
up the stairs, in a tree,
singing sweet electricity


M'Shi Ha M'Shi Shi Melek Shamayiim


Currently a mayor of maybe 100 monkees, which was the plan all along ...


Have you noticed that most of those things we call terror or security or surveillance are essentially zombified zero-tech fear-brained zoo animals intended, successfully so, to scare only you, are only automated devices signifying nothing ... or is it just me?

M'Shi Ha M'Shi Shi Melek Shamayiim


 They found him beneath the stairs staring at your feet, but seeing your head,

all back-masked and Beatlesque

Ordering in, ordering out:
They found him naked,
running mildly about

They found him lighter,
mightier, than the devout,
in Las Vegan, New Mexico

They found him in Las Vegas,
too, too, too, turning off the TV,
staring back at you.

They found him on a tape recorder,
after having recorded,
a mad chant to an enchantress

They found him, laying on his back
on a mattress, having failed to pay,
with coin, to breathe Fox News air

They found him everywhere:
In journals, on bathroom walls,
on the covers of novels unsold

They found him brilliant, lit,
deviated and sane: They found him
listening to Jefferson Airplane

They found him scraping ice
off some shorecraft
in British Columbia

They found him with forty eight
states of being on forty eight
motel room keys, thumbing dumb

They found him at the Ritz Carlton
chewing Wrigley's authentic
chewing gum on the run

They found him totalled
in a Thunderbird car
he called "Blue Desire"

They found him riding
the next red micro-wave wave
raiding irradiated green wire

They found him giving back,
the gift that keeps on giving ...
They found him. They found him.

They found him, finding you,
spitting blood on a white napkin,
they found him, finding you.

These governments and their sociopathic corporate supervisors cannot possibly be  telling us everything they know, or, perhaps even more importantly, don't know, about the radioactive plume as it falls into the Pacific Ocean and gets carried into the breezes, and in the sea currents, west, toward North America ...


People should A) Follow their own advice; B) Remember the counseling they have already received, and C) A and B
Yes, during the hay ride, Prince Albert in a Can did notice that, in fact, there were going to be some obvious socio-economic-political differences between he and his Iowan hay ride mates ... but when that girl started to roll in the river of piss on the sidewalk in that little town, in front of that burned out old bar, he really began to see: "This was never going to work ..."
All dysturbia is willing to do for the dangerously mentally ill is to hand the sick an organ grinder, a corner to lay in someplace, sometimes, or ... offer essays on the hows and whys the SMI went mad and killed all of those poor people, and so on ... Meanwhile, Mr. Mitch McConnell roams the land, going boom boom in giant, reptile footsteps carefully covered by FOX NEWS NATION! ... And Sarah Palin
Now what? Really? More need for real education, the end of still more superstition, false propheteering, a more inclusive idea that we, as a planetary network of global citizens are in this together, stupid ... that's what! A new revelation is at hand is ... "what" ... all religions are One ... really is time to think how hot this singed ball of life is, that's "what" ... Motherf***er.
The wolf is having a nightmare now. See what we all did!

M'Shi Ha M'Shi Shi Melek Shamayiim



Image by the late Fritz Scholder


A Conspiracy of Ducks

The entanglements of the Spider Woman
led me here to tell you of too many things,
but hear me now and keep all a secret:
Only half of what Soutenang spoke
of yesterday is Wormwood true:
Tomorrow it will all be a lie.

The company we keep must shift
from year to year, day to day, hour by hour ...
Shush, my sweet, silence! Everything and nothing
we say can ever be heard or listened to, or, known.
This is the shady place, dark and in smoke
where the paranoids go pop to meet on the street
of the most disowned, dark and unfavored muses.

Networked societies throughout history and herstory,
powered in the puppeteer's mechanized iron arms
are frightening to the uninitiated anxiety angels
of change ... Trust me. And trust me alone!
I like it on top that way ...

Damn you! We've been discovered!
Who talked! Who!

If not for my dragon visage they would not run.
I did not kill the three headless women they speak
of in the shadows of the dying afternoons ...
Now I need a new cave to breathe my fire from!
Fore they will chase me down and kill the truth ...
I weep for them. They do not know what they do.


These crystalline stones in the center of the Earth
contain values within values leading to absolute nowhere.
These mountains will tell you nothing, my final secret,
without the keys forged in the four corners of my mind
and if I squint my leaden cold eyes tight enough,
the Sarcosuchus of my dreams held in the sarcophagus
will once again share a dream with the Eddie Allen Poe
ravens tweeking in the deep dark wounds of our dreams ...

These ravens speak just as we do, just as all of the birds
of the world understand in accordance to our mutual
misunderstanding, just as I keep my watch stuck on eleven
to remind me how real the hour is, the day is, near or far:
Your heartbeat will tell me the rest and the black helicopter
is just a fairy tale, a whiff of helicopter blade, echoing
in your circuitous canyons and endless energy fields
of mere rumors repeated, for sales purposes, only to be
maximized in the marketplaces for my profit,
and my profit alone.


I saw three ghosts
through the window
and they were posing
as three nude females
as if it were part
of the same damn plan.

I saw them again
in the fanatic swirl
of teenage faces,
happy and light
and forbidden.

Finally, they appeared
as blue topped, short-cropped,
senior citizens who could give
a damn about your generation,
who were around long enough
to catch the last sweet scent
of the wild white roses, caught,
tight in the controlled gardens,
imprisoned, elect, in enlightenment
and mutual decay.


Despite fundamental needs of fear
and the aquamarine teardrop
of your sad eyes,
when my MIB sunglasses
fell into my tortilla soup
my personal cosmic rodeo clown
was kicked out of the bucket
by the Bull, and the cartoon cowboy,
listening to Jefferson Airplane,
fell down the hill with laughter,
because, see, the movies
don't show you their eyes
behind cool black shades
to keep you believing
in the narcolepsy of suspense
about inhuman Blackhawk riders
who quite literally actually really
need to feed and fight and feel and pee
like children, too.

And that Spider? It shudders
to our mutual Sarcosuchus,
running to underground homes
to atomize quick harvests of love,
just as the secret government agent,
quietly, soulfully, somewhere in some
movie theater near you is weeping,
sentimental, quite literally sorry
as he or she watches the slow motion
action of the sequence about the birth
of baby ducks in the spring.

(Editor's note: In the ongoing effort to prevent American voters from sinking into the poppy-filled fields of forgetting, here's another excerpt from my book about the end of the 20th century, and the beginning of the 21st century,  " 23 Roads to Mythville. " This chapter,  "Denial of Access,  " could have also been called,  "I Should Have Known My Days Were Numbered When I Tried to Pitch That Story About Echelon Dot Calm. "")

The date is Dec. 13, 2000, and the Internet landscape is teetering on the brink of the big die-off. But McDaniel and his co-workers seem secure, successful, self-satisfied, most certainly self-congratulatory, on top of the e-publishing world. Or so they believe. Even as the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding the result of the presidential election for them all, ruling on that very day that all uncounted dimpled chads are null and void, they are so self-assured they barely even conceive of the dissonant vibrations emanating from the very core of the earth.

Gathered in a large enough quantity in a hotel meeting room, they, the full-time, well-paid employees of Access Internet Magazine, create a convincing air of self-confidence, of go-go e-business wiles, high on the Net-savvy narcotic of the zeitgeist vibe. Sure, some of them worried about rough times ahead. At least McDaniel did. Yet, even considering his natural pessimism, it would have been hard to imagine how quickly things could change.

So many start-ups, as in new magazines, whole living cycles, forests of ink and paper, so many all come and gone. McDaniel had done them all: multi-million dollar projects, national monthlies, regional rags covering sports and art, grass roots enviro’ ops out in the desert, entertainment weeklies, all gone. Killed by everything from the Gulf War to a Major League Baseball strike. And now, the looming dot-com bust. All due to the inherent liabilities of having too much investment capital to burn. Due to wannabe publishers who always believe they are capturing the so-called crest of the wave. Until, that is, the wave, the demo, crashes on the shore.

The next wave is on the way. But it’s too late. Ink on paper just can’t adapt in the stormy seas of the new century.

They are at the annual sales meeting for Access Media Inc., just before the lavish Christmas Party on the far end of a Boston suburb. It's December 13, 2000. Publisher Mike Veitch stands in front of the magazine’s blown up cover featuring then president Bill Clinton: who could likely barely work his e-mail. At least that's what the cover shot of the stumped and befuddled president seems to depict. As if he is looking into one of the impenetrable miracles of our time. Like he fit the demo of newbie readers to "America’s Guide to the Internet."

It's December 13, 2000, and if anyone had turned on any talk-radio station, they would have heard a war of words over Clinton and Gore, Bush and his Supremes, a howling that hadn't been heard since, well ... hadn't ever been heard.

But Access staffers, mostly those on the advertising side, had come from all over the country after a remarkable year of growth and, apparently, breakthroughs in publishing. It was a day to be catered and plump. You might have wondered, with so much growth in circulation so fast, from 4 million to 10 million weekly within a little over a year, if they had a bigger audience than the president on any single day of the week. Whole suburbs of newsreaders, gadget fanatics or, more likely, grandmas wanting to know how to receive photos by e-mail of their grandchildren, practical professionals wanting to know the latest investment site, moms looking for cooking sites and so on … a demographic that was nothing less than a cookie-cutter composite of the whole country: But the emanations of the earth, well, that was somebody else's business.

Access was riding the crest of the Internet wave, but it was trying to hit an impossible moving target. The first weekly publication of its time, it attempted to cover the entire mélange of the fab electricities in the air as they crossed over into the mainstream. But it was like chasing a lightning bolt with a dinosaur.

Even as Veitch was self-congratulating the rotunda roomful of attentive ears, maybe 150 people, for publishing Access on a weekly basis as the third largest weekly in the United States, a circulation of nearly 10 million, all distributed as an insert through newspapers across the country: something was wrong. Even as the hotel was notable, from the outside, for huge radio tower landmarks, much older than the Web, that served as testament to the long history of Route 128’s silicon valley of telecommunications wizards, mass marketers, open sourcerers, dot-com rebels and computer-related trade ’zines out the ying yang: something did not compute.

So powerful and amazing is Access, Veitch tells the group, one Access expose had uncovered some invasive America Online malfunction, which was then fixed by the safe-surfing company because it had been first criticized by one of the columnists.

"The simple and direct way we have helped people in their lives," Veitch says, "is what journalism is about."

McDaniel, inspired by Veitch's soliloquy, could barely contain his excitement. He thought of the 100 monkeys, and there they were, right in that room. The vibrations of the earth seemed to be churning in him, and he couldn't be silent anymore. When Veitch asked if there were any questions, McDaniel took his turn to speak in a rambling soliloquy of his own. The first part of what he said, he doesn't recall now, but he always knew how it was going to end.

"The real question isn't how we are going to turn all of this paper into gold," he told the group. "The real question is: How do we turn this gold into soul?"

This was followed by a long, slow, deep, most surely stunned, silence.

When the group broke up, no one spoke to McDaniel. In fact, they didn't even look at him.

Maybe a week later, in the red brick office park that was somewhat secluded on the Charles River in Needham, Veitch would call McDaniel into his office. It wasn't for an executive-to-employee lashing, exactly, more like a "come-to-Jesus." Veitch boasted about how Access was conceived of, as a business plan, on a single sheet of paper, a metaphor for the integration of all media.

"Access is the first fully integrated mass medium of the post-Internet era," he says.

McDaniel responded with 50 ideas of his own, none of which would fit on a single piece of paper, then dutifully returned to his cube: the human search engine.

Being an editorial staffer at Access was like being the subject of some unprecedented behavior experiment. They were, basically, paid to surf. Paid to be led through the bottomless eddies and channels of the World Wide Web. Visitors to the office, especially journalists from other newsrooms, often commented about how creepy the whole thing felt. Newsrooms, after all, are usually boisterous places. Considering how tightly Access staffers were packed in after growing from 24 or so to nearly 100 employees in less than a year, it was if nothing else an intimate situation. By this time, Access Media was an atypical cube farm of too many employees cramped into a honeycombed beehive. Basically, what you could get with a $27 million venture capital investment, spent over a year and a half or so. Yet, even with so much electrified density, even with so much juice, it could be quiet as a library.

Employees were more likely to interact from the computer, often by Yahoo’s instant messenger service, often without speaking to anyone, in person, all day. Human search engines paid to be hooked into machines and surf the Web. Like something out of "The Matrix." But it wasn’t as if there weren’t plenty of people in their lives. They weren’t disconnected from humanity. In fact, McDaniel may have never come in contact with so many people in his life. It seemed to work, until, for McDaniel, more than 100 e-mail messages were received one day, many of them from struggling dot-coms in need of publicity for their shopping sites, especially before the Christmas push. Or from other editors, wondering why he hadn’t gotten back to them. McDaniel tried to respond back to them with missives about his doubt and fears about what was really happening in the Noosphere.

Considering the extent of its weekly circulation, maybe 20 million people in affluent suburbs across the nation who may have been actually looking at it at the same time, and the high-priced talent (USA Today online staffers, mainly) who were brought on to head up a new Web-page undertaking, one might have hoped that it could have accomplished more than the mere tweaking of your home computer’s keypad control. Considering all of the computerized wizardry of the place, it could have accomplished pretty much anything it wanted. For McDaniel, it was as if Access were a kind of revolutionary force bringing the liberating Web to the masses. That was the best of what he could hope for.

He kept thinking: How do we turn all of this gold into soul?

But forces much, much larger than a mere circulation of 10 million were at work, almost invisibly. The big die-off first sniffed out by Fuckedcompany.com was becoming apparent. First, Access Internet Magazine scaled back its online operations, laying off 21 employees shortly after the beginning of the year, mostly those who worked for accessmagazine.com, about 25 percent of Access Media’s payroll.

Veitch would eventually be pastured into a role as an adviser to the company and board member. John Jay, president of Access Internet Magazine, and Larry Sanders, president of accessmagazine.com, left the company.

Sanders came from USA Today online wars to start up the Access Web site’s expansion during the Internet gold rush heyday. They were predatory times. So he tried a sticky hit style, the "roach motel" approach, attempting to "drive them" like cattle. That was common nomenclature in Access executive culture: This whole idea that people, somehow lacking any choice in the matter, could be "driven" into its Web of multimedia ventures. For bizarre reasons, the site never drove huge numbers, and for a long time ended up with fewer hits than most alternative zines, especially considering the self-marketing possibilities of sending out 10 million flyers ... that is, the magazine itself, with the Web site’s URLs at the top of each page and the banner. For whatever reason, readers felt little need to get the same thing at the Web site, too.

By the end of 2000, the company had been working on plans for a national online advertising network and new e-mail products, but scaled back as the Internet tide changed. A new investment from General Atlantic reportedly served as a blood transfusion of less than $1 million. Access had previously raised money in August 2000, when investors contributed $17 million. Employees were always told $27 million, but who knows how quickly $10 million bucks can go up in smoke. Other venture investors in Access Media included Sequoia Capital, One Liberty Ventures, and Labrador Ventures. Individual investors included former Time Warner co-CEO N.J. Nicholas Jr. and E-Trade founder Bill Porter.

The cost of newsprint (about a half-million dollars per edition) and the decline of the Web as an item worthy of mass media interest, especially in terms of potential advertising dollars, were also to blame.

It could have been, and very often was, a media project that exemplified the realm of possibility for its time. Access could be just about that, access to the new world of megamedia, to the glittering electric palace of wisdom (at least as far as the Internet could provide). But the focus group directives thought otherwise. Such events, with so-called readers paid and given a sandwich to say "yeah, sure, I read the magazine," revealed an apparent need for the editors to dumb-it-all down. The average reader, apparently, could barely grasp a slice of what was going on out on the Web. The focus group directive became a tiny little hole indeed, a limitation for depicting what was really out there on the Web. If you are less outrageous than the FOX Network when dealing with Web topics, well, you get the picture …

But in December of 2000, even as Florida presidential election embroglio roiled on, and angry e-mail bounced around in incredible viral swirls of angst, McDaniel and the editors of Access Internet Magazine were debating whether or not to veto listing the URL for a short, but relatively dated, "South Park" film depicting a rumble between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ, an animated fight between animated good and animated evil. And while the real Internet buzzed with conspiracies, overworlds, underworlds and terabytes of skin, it was decided the short film was just too riske’ for the supposed audience of Webizens they were trying to reach.

McDaniel argued (and argued): The Web is far, far weirder. And the geeks and wizards are moving into the mainstream.

As it turned out, nobody really got the shot in the arm they were looking for. Access included. But maybe in some small way, the Noosphere moved just a little further along. In a little more than six months after the beginning of the new year, Access suspended publication. The last posting on its Web site read: "Access Magazine has suspended publication, due to the continuing uncertainty in the economy." Apparently the business of producing a for-print mag announcing the dawn of a new media era is just a little too much like being a Trojan horse. McDaniel guessed once readers figured the Internet out, "they just don’t need ink on paper anymore."

A few days after Dec. 13, 2000, a mere six months before the magazine's demise, such statements increasingly began to rankle McDaniel's bosses. The whole "gold into soul" episode was no doubt still on their minds. His gloomy pronouncements about the imminent demise of shopping sites that were about to be touted in the Christmas shopping issue; how the whole shebang would be up by the end of the first quarter of 2001; how the ever expanding network of geeks would be the only ones worth writing for when it was over; it all led them to write him up on the "Vision" thing.

One day he came to the office, muttering something about how he'd seen a solar storm over the Merrimack River Valley. " I saw a lake of fire in the sky," he said. He rambled about how Verizon rhymed with Urizen. How the nation could be divided right down the middle between the techno-haves, who lived in the cities on the coasts, and the more conservative have-nots, the landlocked crowd, and how the presidential election had split the electorate the exact same way. Liberalism on the Internet, he said, was spreading like a virus, but the forces of Urizen were working, even as they doddled on the latest new doodles, to take it back. He railed about how the Hopis were going online, and this signalled the end, for sure.

All true, but scattered, a victim of too much information. Like the Web itself, his mind became a human search engine's cache of non-linear connections.

On January 1, the Frankenstein that Access created was let go. Sent, once again, falling into the Void. In a pathetic act of vengeance, he went home, closed the door, turned on the computer, and posted the following message to everyone he'd ever met on the World Wide Web:

"Predicting the future is only an act of hubris, and it’s a symptom of spending too much time on the Web to believe you are better at it than, say, throwing darts on the big target of possibilities. Techno-savvy prognostication is standard practice for the highly sought out members of think tanks and leading edge members of the digerati fringe. As one attains greater tools and more power and believes something other than simply being human is happening to him, as he deigns himself to have a greater awareness and insight into things, it’s nonetheless an act of folly. Still, we try.

"It’s no accident that the spirit of Prometheus, that Greek deity who gave fire and the alphabet to human beings, who then went on to speak and build things, much to the consternation of Zeus, is now recognized among many techno-wizards and members of digerati to be a technology god who is sometimes referred to as 'one who sees far.' The hubris is derived from the resulting megalomania inspired by tools that provide a supposedly superhuman reach across the networked world. Which is what made Zeus angry and perhaps a little jealous, incensed enough, at least, to bound Prometheus to the rocks on the shore: His real concern that humans, believing themselves to be Gods, just might foul up the whole hierarchical system of nature. But Prometheus refused to bow to this higher power just as many of us refuse to recognize that, despite the heady intoxication of so much technology converging on our desktops at lightning speed, we are all still pinned to one big rock in space.

"In 2001, the architecture of the Web will continue to evolve by the very same seemingly random patterns, the ebb and flow of living things and forces that dictate events on big rock in space. By known economic and social patterns that repeat throughout history. By natural currents that are all quite mysterious to even the most profound and comprehensive thinkers about what’s going to happen next in cyberspace, which is as equally pinned to the real world as Prometheus. In fact, many of these mighty ones are falling, or about to fall, even as I write this, because they believed they had the secret key to the Emerald City, convincing a lot of others to come along.

"In the upcoming year, many of the most notable pioneers of e-commerce will lose their grip and slip into the abyss. Only to replaced by the vultures and transformers of their best ideas, usually by corporate nation-states that had long recognized the strength of being tethered to material things. In short: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. If you don’t believe it, look at the revenge of the brick and mortar stores as they restore order at the online shopping mall. It has always been that way. Why should the Web be any different?

"In 2001, the Web will seem more human, but only because humans will seem more robotic, that is, they’ll morph into cyborg citizen-servants to the emerging order of the electronic beehive. Space will continue to fuse ubiquitous cyberspace to the collective mind of the earthbound. Reality and unreality will become harder to discern. Especially for those who don’t have a proper grounding in the physical and metaphysical laws at work on both ends of the spectrum. Many might believe, for example, that Martin Sheen really is a good president. Others, seeing this trend, will take advantage by creating all kinds of multimedia assurances that, if propagated to enough people, will enable them to achieve any cynical end they might desire.

"The next-generation Web will seem more virtual, and the real world will be more often referred to as 'just like the Internet.' But by the end of the year, closed networks and intranets will be more prevalent. From that point on, the World Wide Web will become fractured, disordered, and many will complain. Hyped all year already by those it might serve, for calling for security and privacy, the Web will become less a tool for communication, more often a function for those who command, those who control. Most will comply and register for the Mark. Greed and self-interest will rule a society dictated by this fact: Bar code is law. Technological man will, after all, have no choice if he wants to feed from the mutual marketplace of e-commerce.

"This loss of a sense of an online community, this descending into electro-tribes, set into motion whenever a comprehensive hegemony dissolves, will be reinforced by gated communities created out of the desire to re-establish bonds with our fellow man. The digital divide will widen. The technocrats will only get stronger. As resources become more and more scarce, and global warming moves closer to its inevitable redline say, 50 years from today, those who dictate the architectures of technological space will find themselves to be increasingly able to drive people like cattle to the diminishing safety zones of survivability.

"Conflict will arise out of the resistance to this, but the system will only fracture more as a result of this literal cyberwar between the competing hierarchical layers of technocrats, corporate interests, governments and its cyborg servant class trying to just keep up and survive. It will be too bad. We could have all got along. We could have put the automobile to pasture. Finally, a large number of enlightened ones who are scrambling, even now, to discover practical ways to unplug from this insanity we like to call 'civilization,' will find a way to connect in a mutually effective, quite spiritual way. The wisdom of this passion for self-sufficiency will only become apparent when the lights go out, when dwindling resources for fuel and then, cheap electricity fails to feed the system, which collapses from the weight of too many voices, too many demands, too much desire for more civilization, more production, for its own sake. The neo-Luddites, though quite techno-savvy, will be the meek who inherit the eventual earth. After all, small is big, slow is fast, spirit is all that remains, and ever shall be, on terrain both cyber or dirt real.

"Of course, since I’m only a mere human casting you this Web of apocalyptic imagery with a gnostic’s mysterious writing machine, quite the opposite is equally likely to happen. What do you think I am, the Wizard of Oz?"

His message to the New Year complete, he then crumpled into a ball. When he awoke, he found himself unable to lift himself out of bed. Information overload was a real disease, he'd decided, then and there. Within days, his entire life blown apart, he bought a train ticket to take him far out West, careening down a slice of rail line into the Void as waves of invisible solar storms pounded the earth, casting untold vibrations into the very core of the wired century. He jumped on the train, leaving pretty much everything behind but his laptop; leaving everything, turning it all in, lugging his machine and still wondering: "How do I turn this gold into soul." 


An excerpt from "23 Roads to Mythville," a "reality lit" novel by Douglas McDaniel