Saturday, December 18, 2010

# THE 1962 PENNY


On Thursday, I found a 1962 penny on the sidewalk next to the courthouse.

Marilyn Monroe died in August of 1962. That was the year Ringo Starr got a great gig as a drummer. That was the year Wilt Chamberlain scored a hundred points in a single game. That was the year the United States banned all exports and imports with Cuba. That was the year John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev managed to solve the Cuban Missile Crisis without blowing up the world.

How many pockets has that penny been in, do you think? Was it ever in a coffee can, or an ashtray, or a wine bottle on some hippie's shag carpeted floor? How many cash registers has it rested in, with those little black plastic trays with the curved bottoms so the cashiers can easily scoop out the coins? Cashiers with painted nails, chewed nails, painted chewed nails, and unadorned well-clipped nails. How many people handled this penny, with short fingers, long fingers, hangnail fingers, fingers with warts, fingers orange from Cheetos, and fingers that picked noses? Fingers that wiped asses and made potato salad and typed on typewriters. Fingers that had been stuck into bowling balls and gloves and cookie dough. Fingers covered in chicken grease and fingers covered in movie popcorn butter. Fingers that punched TV remotes and pulled triggers and wrote letters. Fingers lost to diabetes or frostbite.

This 1962 penny was probably in at least one penny-ante poker game and maybe flipped for "heads or tails". It was stacked up with other pennies on a desk, in stacks of ten, or rolled across a kitchen floor.

This penny has changed hands many times, has been in penny rolls at the bank, in kitchen junk drawers, in gumball machines, and in mechanical grocery store ponies. Was it ever washed in a washing machine? Was it ever thrown into a wishing well or a fountain? Did any of those wishes, for money or a miracle cure or a job or a boyfriend or girlfriend or for the beatings to stop, or for the yelling to stop, or for him to just call, or for him to just stop calling, or the war to stop or the bills to somehow get paid or anything else ever come true?

Did this 1962 penny ever rest between couch cushions? Did it ever roll under a soda machine? Was it ever on the floorboard of a car, under the floor mat, to be almost vacuumed up at the car wash by one of those vacuum cleaners that cost a quarter to use?

Did a pregnant girl ever hand it to her boyfriend and say, "penny for your thoughts," just as he was thinking that in three weeks he would be shipped out to Vietnam? Did he lie and say, "finals" or "my mom" or "that juggler on Ed Sullivan last night," or anything except the fact that he was afraid he was going to die? Did that penny shine in the sun that day? Is that guy still around somewhere? Is he a one-armed old man with a scraggly gray beard wearing a hat that says "VETERAN", thinking about that long-lost twenty-year-old girl with the long tanned legs and impish smile and straight black hair parted in the middle?

I picked up that penny while a cop gave someone a parking ticket down the block. Had this penny ever been used in a parking meter? Was there ever a time when parking meters took pennies?

It was very cold when I picked up this penny. The frozen ghosts of lines of salt sat crystallized on the sub zero concrete like the tracks of icy snakes. Great plumes of vapor breathed out of the cop in his black hat with ear flaps, and the red faced banker in his long black coat who should have worn a hat, and the couple in their Goodwill-ready "nice" clothes holding manila envelopes, hurrying up the courthouse steps to file papers or argue or appear or report or appeal or pay fines or marry or divorce or whatever poor people do in courthouses on Thursday mornings in December.

Was this 1962 penny ever in one of those "leave a penny, take a penny" dishes you see at cash registers? How many times, if it could hear, would it have heard the phrase, "have a nice day"?

Did kids ever put it on a railroad track on a warm summer night so it would be squashed flat by an approaching train, which was still off in the distance? Did their hearts beat a little faster when they heard the train's sad whistle? Did this 1962 penny vibrate off the smooth track at just the last second, dropping safely down on the white rocks while the train passed over clackity-clack, endless boxcars covered with graffiti messages from all over America? After the train passed, did the kids listen to the train fade away, and then notice the street lights were on, so Tom had to sprint home or his mom would be "really mad", and after that, did Jane's good-looking mother call her in? Did the third kid, left alone, put the pennies, squashed and whole, into his pocket and walk home very slowly? Did the cicadas and frogs sing and whine, and did the June bugs swarm the streetlights, and did the stars twinkle overhead while he got a strange feeling about the future, and long summer nights, and things unknown, and the wide world and everything in it? And when he got home, were the folks on the couch watching Perry Mason, or Mannix, or Hawaii Five-O, or Johnny Carson in the darkened living room? Did his mother ask him what he was up to, and did he say, "nothing", and when he got to his room, did he hear his sister playing records across the hall, an Elvis record, or the Beatles or the Partridge Family, or Queen, or Van Halen or something, and did he empty his pockets out onto his nightstand, and did the penny, my penny, the 1962 penny I found Thursday morning, roll off the nightstand and roll under his bed and stay there for a week or so before his mother found it and used it to help pay for a box of laundry detergent and a TV Guide?

All of that was long ago, but now I have the penny. It's right there on my desk next to my laptop.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

generic blog post!

Today I'm just at the house working on my novel. I might play some World of Warcraft later. This morning I helped someone out with a virus that was not a virus. Our kitchen is being remodeled. It is going to snow this weekend. I'm drinking a beer. I advertised my two novels on Facebook. I'm listening to "General Midi" station on Pandora.com.

My big toe on my right foot keeps going numb and white in the cold. I have a doctor's appointment for it. I might watch that outdoor hockey game at the "big house" (Michigan vs. Michigan State). I'm from Kansas so I don't watch hockey, but I might make an exception for this one because it is supposed to be the biggest crowd for a hockey game, ever.

Business has been slow, but it seems to be picking up again.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Bonanza!

I know that penny riding horse at the grocery store is playing the theme from Bonanza. The kid riding the mechanical horse does not. I am old.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Flowchart: The Evolution of the Geek - DesignTAXI.com

This is cool:

Flowchart: The Evolution of the Geek - DesignTAXI.com

would-be grammer nerd.

I don't normally take part in grammar nerdishness, but this is too good to pass up:

Yesterday, on NPR, I was in the car driving with my daughter, listening to a story about "Don't Ask Don't Tell", and the story ended like this:
In one of his recent tweets today, Choi said he missed three verbal and five math questions on the skills test. He passed. But his future and the future of thousands of would-be gay service members remains unclear.
Now, I instantly said, "wait a minute, don't they mean, 'gay would-be service members?' "

The phrase "would-be gay service members" indicated that there are service members who are currently straight who are hoping to be gay. I'm sure that's not what they meant.

Instead they should have said, "gay would-be service members."

Anywhoo, the text of the program is here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130704683 the backward wordage is in the last paragraph.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

generic blog post!

It was really hot today. I removed a virus at nine, and then I hooked up some DSL at 5:30. I had the rest of the day off. I wrote a little. I sat in the hammock. I picked up Alex's saxophone at the music store (it needed repairs; a pad came off). I took Savannah to the store to get eggs and jalapeno peppers. We had to turn on the air conditioner. It is thundering outside. My neighbor gave me an old PC to format.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

generic blog post!

Let's see: I've been watching the US Open tennis this week. Watched Djokovic defeat Roger Federer yesterday. Watched Michigan / Notre Dame. That was an awesome game. Denard Robinson is fantastic. I've been on a diet, (which means I'm eating mostly salad and have sworn off beer) and I've lost twelve pounds or something like that. I'm riding 15 miles a day on the stationary bike, and I bought a couple dumbbells and I've got a chin-up bar. I thought I could do 10 pull ups, but at the barbershop it was explained to me that chin-ups and pull-ups are not the same thing, so now I can only do 4 pull-ups. But that's not so bad, because when I started on Aug. 12th, I could only do one chin-up.

I'm working on my second best selling novel.

Monday, August 09, 2010

reading reading...

I'm reading Brave New World on my iPod. I'm reading Stephen King's short story collection, Night Shift, and I'm listening to an audio-book, The Earth Abides (George R. Stewart, 1949), a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel.

I gave up on War and Peace. I just don't have what it takes to slog through that bastard.

Friday, July 16, 2010

at the mall

I am at the mall. My daughters and their friend Emily have gone to wander around, and I am deposited among the other old people in one of the comfortable chairs near the entrance to the Food Court.

It is Friday around noon. Kids are in strollers pushed by fathers in sandals and mothers in flip-flops; toddlers sipping from white Styrofoam cups; mall workers eating large mustard-dipped pretzels.

Old man with faded tattoos, a crew cut, skinny legs and baggy shorts passes.

The men's summer uniform, which I am also wearing, is Khaki Shorts with Leg Pockets. There are two types of men's Khaki Shorts with Leg Pockets: those that end above the knee, and those that end below the knee. Footwear is tennis shoes or sandals. There is one guy wearing Crocs.


Here is a teenage boy in faded camouflage shorts (below knee) with Boba Fett print white tee.

A group of four guys with blue jeans and phone holsters walk by; very old man with cane and Elephantitis (?) discolored (purple) skin over wrist with skin sloughing off; girl in blue shirt texting into green phone; giant guy with blue striped shirt, new Khaki Shorts (no Leg Pockets) who looks like he has to poop, followed by two miniature versions of himself go waddling by into the JCPenny.

Why do fat men insist on tucking in their shirts?

Girl exits Food Court crying, shades of Lindsay Lohan: white top, fnck-me black pumps with ankle straps, black Capri pants, oversized white sunglasses up on head, running mascara, freckles, brunette ponytail; girl's softball team with purple practice jerseys walk by in group of ten; skinny white kid with sideways white baseball cap (no logo) Hollister white tee, plaid shorts, walking with his rotund (all in black) mother. They shuffle out the door; Old man, bright orange Polynesian shirt, high white socks, sandals, Khaki shorts, liver spots, wife.

The Food Court is called "Café in The Woods". This is Woodland Mall. Food Court stores within sight are as follows: Wetzel's Pretzels, AJ's All American Bites, Great Steak and Potato Company, Subway, Suki Hana. I'm pretty sure there is an A&W down there, but I'm not sure. I assume there is a Sbarro down there, since they are in every mall.

Old woman tanning-booth victim, loose black/brown print shirt, black pants, loping walk, orange-ish hair; bald guy, grey hair over ears, lime-green shirt, whistling and swinging car keys in left hand, same plaid shorts as sideways-hat kid; two guys talking sports in chairs next to mine. One guy holds empty Gatorade bottle. Tiny amount of red liquid in very bottom of bottle; Denim jeans crew returns. Each denim-jean guy has a nametag clipped to a front belt loop; black guy who looks like Don Cheadle in jeans and grey tee; pigeon toed girl in flip-flops, white shorts, pink top, long pale legs, pink cell phone accompanied by shorter red-haired girl sidekick; girl with silver earrings, burgundy shirt, blue Nike shorts, two bags in left hand, right arm swings in long arc as she goes into JCPenny; toddler wanders into LensCrafters, mother in pursuit; business woman, black stretch pants, white shirt, water bottle held in napkin which is wrapped around bottle, junk in trunk; shriveled disabled lady in super-fast motorized cart.

Softball team returns with coach. The two guys sitting next to me are also coaches. Third coach talks to seated coaches. The team jerseys say "Grandville". Area volume level increases sharply. Team stands in group near entrance to "Café in The Woods" Food Court. All the softball girls wear flip-flops and socks.

Fat guy in "Just Do It" grey tee, seventies porn-star mustache, flip-flops, grey hair cut short, wife, two daughters in tow.

Overheard: "I be in the dressing room if you don't see me."

Emaciated girl with owl-eyed mascara and blue short shorts with seedy boyfriend who wears white wife-beater tee; janitor in red shirt with yellow mop-bucket/trash-can/dustpan/broom cart does a drive-by of area; guy in yellow "Caterpillar" tee cracks a Red Bull he has just purchased from Wetzel's Pretzels.

Young guy in "Microsoft" outfit: Blue button-down shirt, burgundy tie, khaki (Dockers) pants, business comfy shoes, dark belt, conservative hair; guy in green "STAFF" shirt, Dr. Strange chin-only goatee, red lanyard with ID, Khaki Shorts (Below Knee, sans Leg Pockets), brown sandals.

I have only seen two people talking on cell phones.

Live-action Butthead (from Beavis and Butthead). Kid's head was actually same shape as the cartoon Butthead; girl with short Mod twiggy-era 60's hairstyle (brunette), white top, hot-pink shorts, texts while walking then puts phone in purse, chomping on gum.

Girl talking on cell phone sitting on rail behind my seat. Too much background noise to eavesdrop!

Guy in Taekwondo outfit; Hollister grey tee; Old Asian guy with metal crutch, fresh surgery scar on right ankle, flip-flops, Khaki Shorts (Leg Pockets, Above Knee), white bandage right leg, Hollister tee; strawberry-blonde girl, freckles, red and white striped baby-doll dress, pale skin, cleavage, holding hands with boyfriend (possible teen pregnancy risk).

Nearby stores are as follows: JCPenny, ICING by Clair's, Motherhood Maternity, American Eagle Outfitters, Buckle, Yankee Candle, LensCrafters.

Aging hippy with engineer's boots, jeans, avocado-green tee, graying beard, Stephen King hair, picking at right elbow, hairy arms, black digital watch; serious blond in little black dress, button-down long sweater, black flip-flops, headphones, black purse. A mall gazebo worker getting a pretzel; baby somewhere in Café in The Woods Food Court is howling happily; tall guy, red beard neatly trimmed, sunglasses on crew cut, cream colored work shirt thin enough to see sleeve of undershirt, dark business pants, Sears bag; emaciated mascara girl and boyfriend are back! she got an iced coffee from Starbucks; white shirt, crew cut, business pants, beeper(?!), bag from apple store; girl with bad posture, giant boobs, white wife-beater shirt, splotchy legs, blue skirt; tanned warthog woman marches past, scowl, dainty wicker pink and tan purse; lots of attractive tanned women with powerful thighs; ancient man, white button-down shirt, pocket protector eyeglass case(with pocket clip!), florid face, burgundy ball cap, long tan pants, cup of coffee, shuffling feet, white socks, brown sandals;

Mystery toddler in Café in The Woods Food Court still howling happily at full volume.

Wallet-chain(!); old man, tiny purple "Hallmark" bag with little handle;

Daughters have returned. I'm out!

brains!

Superhuman: the Incredible Savant Brain.

Infographic by Smarter.org

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

War and Peace

I've finally jumped in with both feet; I'm reading War and Peace. On Chapter 3. Anna Pavlovna's soiree is in full swing.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I guess some things never change:

"...he saw not the exhilarating culture and unsurpassable art, but the commercial corruption and the political chaos; he saw insatiable merchants and bankers absorbing the vital resources of the nation, incompetent politicians and clever orators misleading a busy populace into disastrous plots and wars, factions cleaving classes and classes congealing into castes: this, said Philip, was not a nation but only a welter of individuals—geniuses and slaves..."

From The Story of Philosophy (1926) discussing the opinion of Philip II (382 – 336 BC), King of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

new eyeglasses

Today I picked up my new eyeglasses. New eyeglasses+sunny summer day+ walking back from optical place = awesome. I got bifocals, because I am olden. It is nice to see up close AND far away.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

movie review: Stutter Island (2010)

Stutter Island 2010 * * * * * Great thriller. Effects were special, story was tight, and the setting was fantastic ~ June 19, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

the first draft...

"The first draft of anything is shit" -- Ernest Hemingway

Friday, May 07, 2010

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden Great artwork here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Android Down now available in retail store

Android Down, my newest best-selling fast-paced SCIFI adventure novel, is now available in Grand Rapids at Book Exchange and More, 4485 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI. These are signed copies, so if you are within a hundred miles of Grand Rapids, MI, get there soon, as supplies are limited. (But I could order more, whatever). The store's website is thus: www.iambemore.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dystopian Writing Fun! (just fiction practice!)

To maintain order, every citizen's head shall be clean shaven. Every citizen shall carry identification in the left front pocket of the authorized uniform. All shirts shall be tucked in. Those not meeting State Body Standards (SBS) shall be enrolled in mandatory calisthenics. Unauthorized groups of more than five people are prohibited. Order must be maintained, all other considerations are subordinate to the prime objective. Your liberties will be curtailed for your Security. Compliance and Obedience are paramount. WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Rich people should not have to follow rules like the rest of us. They are better than we are, and should be able to do whatever they want. It is obvious that God loves them more then the rest of us. They are rich because they are smarter than us. We should simply consume their products and vote for one of the two choices they allow to run for office. The invisible hand of the market is the one true law. They should be represented without being taxed. We should be taxed without being represented. That is the natural law. All hail the ruling elite!

media blitz!

This weekend I'm covering the town with flyers to promote my book. Selling 1 million books is harder than it sounds. Looks like I have a book signing the end of June. More bla-bla about this blockbuster event later.

russian Ray Bradbury vid from eighties

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

reading two books, both pretty good.

I'm reading two books, one of them is by local author Vic Foerster. His book Naked in The Stream is a collection of stories from Isle Royale, an island on Lake Superior. This book has smooth pacing and interesting stories, and a great deal of information about moose, loons, and the hazards and joys of camping on "one of the least visited Wilderness National Parks the lower forty-eight states". Each chapter is a self-contained story, but taken together paints a vivid picture of the island. Vic is from Grand Rapids, so everyone should respect the "forty mile rule" and purchase this great book by a local author.

The other book I'm reading is The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and so far it has kept my attention. It is a fantasy fiction tale, and so far it is sliding gracefully into the meat of the story. Weighing in at 661 pages, it should keep me reading for awhile.

I'm still waiting for Android Down to finally settle in the Amazon.com search. I approved the "proof" on the 13th of this month, and doing a search on amazon's website still only shows the Kindle version, but clicking "see all 80 items" (wtf??) leads to the paperback order page. Apparently they are still processing the book, but once you find the page, you can order it. :) I jumped the gun talking about this title because I should have waited for the book to be fully processed.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Android Down!

My First Science Fiction Epic is available on the Kindle. Paperback edition is coming soon.

Amazon.com: Android Down eBook: Dan Manning: Kindle Store

Monday, March 22, 2010

dream journal

I can't remember what I was dreaming, but this morning I woke up with this: "And this of course is the map of Argentina." That's all I remember.

Friday, March 05, 2010

quote

Enjoy your work: it leads to groceries and rent money. -- dan manning

Thursday, February 25, 2010

office call at the mental hospital

I had a service-call at a mental facility, one of those privatized ones that are springing up all over the place. Their server was down and I had to replace a hard-drive and load the software right there on the premises, where they registered new patients.

They wheeled this guy in on a gurney, and to my horror, left him there, strapped down, right next to where I was working. "He's harmless" they told me. They just had to get his room ready.

There was a tube in his arm, maybe he was sedated. His left eye was cataract marble white. Grey beard stubble, and yellow buck teeth. For a crazy guy, his face was very serene. His voice was very weak, but over the hum of the server's fan, I could hear him speak. And this is what he said, as well as I can remember:

"Can I explain the hidden meaning in my heart, or make up something impressive if nothing is there? If I find nothing there, what then? Is there nothing there, or do I just fail to see it? What if there is nothing inside? What if there is nothing profound to be found? If I am simply a consumer, a bank account, getting and spending, filling the tank and burning it up, eating and sleeping and shitting and fucking—if that is all I am, then what? If I have nothing to say, if I am as pointless as I suspect, then what? There is nothing there except the remnants of syndicated network television, commercial jingles, pop music, and high school angst.

"Have the things I've seen and read and thought combined to form any worthwhile ideas? Are there any original ideas in my head? Am I an individual, of just one of billions, billions past and billions future, billions present, a monkey chasing bananas for no reason?

"But there is something. There is something in my stupid brain, this brain that has not existed before in the entire existence of the universe, this brain that will never exist again once I've shuffled the coil, this brain unique to all other brains, memories of every person I've ever met, every meal I've ever had, ever conversation, everything I've ever done, my idiosyncrasies, my thoughts, my opinions, which, through an incredible coincidence, are the only thoughts in this entire world that make perfect sense. There is some kernel of truth, not cynical, not witty or shocking, but something new and unheard of locked inside my noggin. What combination of thoughts will unlock the next thought?"

"Why are you here?" I asked. "What did you do?"

"I am a breaker of rules! I cannot accept pre-formed answers, handed down generation after generation. Capitalism has been around for thousands of years, but why do we rely on a system that was developed by primitive people? What system will come after this? Will chaos intervene, or will new thinking overcome bad habits of getting and spending, inclusion and rejection, the artificial need created on a planet that has room for all? When will artificial lines be erased? When will we see the humanity in those different from us? When will reason trump fear? When will courage trump ignorance?

"The present day requires present day ideas. Old men in expensive suits are relics. Greedy men are evil. The old ways of doing things are complete bullshit. Tradition is bullshit. Religion is bullshit. The two-party system is a lie. Capitalism is a lie. Jesus Christ is a lie. The United States is a lie. Nationalism is a lie. The public school system is a lie. The dollar is a lie. The President, Congress and Supreme Court are all lies.

I asked, "But what is true? What is truth?"

"The idea of 'truth' is a lie. Just because the word 'truth' exists in the English language does not mean that there exists a thing that corresponds to that word. The word 'dragon' exists, but that myth is not real. The same goes for the myth 'truth'. The same goes for the myth 'justice'.

"The monkeys in charge of the lesser monkeys don't care about 'truth' or 'justice'. All they care about are the bananas."

Then two orderlies came in, told him to shut up, and wheeled him into the hospital.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

RANT 20100220

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DISOBEYING YOUR GOVERNMENT

When in the course of human events is it okay to take violent action against the government? NEVER! Our Declaration of Independence is an excuse for violence against a repressive government, but that was a long time ago. Since then, humans have advanced and have learned to treat one another with fairness and decency. Right? Will violent rebellion ever be needed in the future? No, of course not. That will never, ever happen again. Corruption and Abuse of Power has been eliminated. Tyranny is a thing of the past. Rejoice! All government, business and religious organizations are completely legitimate and they always look out for our best interests! America is Utopia! There will never be another repressive government in the modern era. Couldn't happen.

If the government wants to take x-ray pictures of everybody, is it reason enough for violent protest? No, it is for our safety. Does the government have a right to give grandma a full cavity search if she wants to fly in an airplane? Of course. The cameras next to the stoplights are for our safety. The government reads our emails for our safety. The government listens to our phone conversations for our safety. Security. Security. Shut up and do what you are told. There are privacy procedures in place. Trust us. Of course the machine is safe. This is for our safety. Keep moving please.

If the Fatherland wages illegal wars for the gain of government and corporate cronies, is violent rebellion justified? Of course not. If the government tortures in our name is it right then to rebel? No.

When our prisons are privatized, and people are imprisoned for profit, is it okay to speak up or do anything about it? NO! It is for our safety.

Is it ever bad enough to use violent action against the government? Of course not. No matter what laws are passed, no matter what the government decides is for our best interest, there is no excuse for rebellion or violence against our benevolent government. Citizens are like children who must be taken care of like children. Americans should not be rebellious. NO! The government is just trying to keep us safe. We should be willing to sacrifice all Liberty for the sake of Security. Then we deserve both. We should be willing to do anything we are asked for security. Security at all costs. Security. Security. Security. Safety.

What if our Founding Fathers acted rebellious? How uncivilized. Being rebellious is un-American. As we all know, the Founding Fathers, who were perfect in every way, did not rebel against England, but obeyed all of the King's laws to the letter, as we should obey the government, no matter what the government does.

No, unfair tax laws, cronyism, fascism, nepotism, a de facto caste system, corporate theft of our taxes, overseas slave labor, laws that favor outsourcing and overseas tax shelters, a media/news machine riddled with corporate/government shills is no excuse for fighting back. You will obey. Obedience is paramount.

WE HAVE OUR FREEDOM BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR CAPITALISM

Every type of capitalism is good. Capitalism is a game, and if you win, it is because of your capabilities and industrious nature. If you fail, it is because you are an unintelligent slacker. The playing field is completely level and fair. No one gets a head start. Everyone is born with the same exact amount of money and opportunities. All families are equally well-connected.

NO PUBLIC FUNDED HEALTH CARE FOR YOU!

Because Capitalism is always good, and Socialism is always bad, if they want to deny medicine to the sick for extra profit, So Be It! Capitalism is good! Socialism is bad. (Except the Military, that is Good Socialism. And the highway system, fire department and police department. That socialism is okay. These examples of PURE SOCIALISM help people and keep people safe. Medicine does not help people nor does it keep them safe. That logic is obvious. Medicine for the poor? An OUTRAGE!) It is the Will of God! This is a Christian Nation, based on Christianity! The last thing we want to do is be charitable. Christian Charity? Ridiculous! You can't afford health care because you don't work hard enough! God doesn't like you. You should pray harder! Ha! Be happy the rich have such good healthcare. Put on that smock and get back to your second job! (If you wanted healthcare, you should have planned ahead and plopped out of a rich lady's vagina instead of the one you plopped out of. Should have planned ahead!)

Only Congress (and their families), the Senate (and their families), Federal Workers (and their families), the Military (and their families) should get socialized medicine, paid for by taxpayers. Taxpayers should not get the same treatment. No. Taxpayers are not important enough. They just provide the tax money for socialized medicine for government workers. Get back to work.

WE DON'T NEED A BUNCH OF SMART-ALECKS RUNNING AROUND CAUSING TROUBLE. STUPID PEOPLE ARE EASY TO PACIFY AND EASY TO EXPLOIT.

When our schools are under-funded and they churn out illiterates who are unable to think critically, who are unable to study history, unable to read and understand a legal contract, unable to understand compound interest, who are unable to be anything except obedient workers, easily pacified with cheap beer, television and sports, could that be on purpose? Of course not. There is no way public schools are purposely kept from teaching children to their potential. What could be the threat of an educated populous that pays attention to their representatives and holds them responsible? A population of informed citizens that understand foreign and domestic policy? What's the worse that could happen?

And anyway, everyone has the same exact opportunity to send their children to private schools, where the elite are trained to lead the unwashed masses and keep them from harming themselves. All Americans have the opportunity to go to Yale or Harvard, where they can develop connections to the very rich and connected. We all have that opportunity, right? Everyone gets the same chances.

IN CONCLUSION: JUST SHUT UP AND PAY YOUR TAXES AND BUY THINGS!

You are not citizens. You are Taxpayers. You are Consumers. Do those things. Consume and pay taxes. That is all that is asked. Do not think critically. Do not examine your government's actions. It is for our safety. Security for the Homeland is paramount. All other considerations are unimportant. Liberty must make way for Security.

No, Americans should just bend over and take what is given them. Since the words "land of the free and home of the brave" are in that song they sing before sports events, it must be obvious to even a public-school educated person that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. It's right there in the song, so it has to be true. Don't ask questions. Cooperate. Stay behind that line, take off your shoes, face the vehicle, hands behind your head. Fill out this form and keep your god-damn mouth shut. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

FRAGMENT 20100218

She didn't suggest he keep a dream journal; she suggested he keep a fart journal. He thought this odd, coming from a school councilor. When he found out she had been fired for suggesting this to all the kids who came into her office, he had to find out why.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

#32 A LETTER MARKED "URGENT"

You marked your letter "Urgent,"
I have to disagree.
How urgent could a letter
That's marked "bulk-rate" really be?

#31 POEM 20100217

Humans came down from the trees
To worship gods upon their knees
And fashion swords and spread disease
And ferment beer and Gouda cheese.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MY BARKING DOG

Whenever my dog barks, we get all agitated and get her inside right away because we don't want her bothering the neighbors. This is strange because our neighbors don't actually complain about the dog barking. Our one next-door neighbor did a couple of years ago, via email, but it wasn't a nasty email and since then they've gotten a dog themselves and are completely at ease about things, so there really is no trouble with the neighbors. The neighbor on the other side has three dogs and they make a racket sometimes but we don't get bent out of shape about them at all.

So I'm not sure why we get all agitated about the dog barking, but I'm the worst one of all about it. I curse the dog and swear that today will be the day I finally murder the dog, and I tell the dog that later on, if I remember, I will kill the dog with great brutality, but I never do; she is so cute I couldn't hurt a hair on her head.

There is a grade school behind our house and people walk back there sometimes and the dog completely loses her shit about it. She's part cocker-spaniel and part beagle. The beagle part of her apparently makes her louder than she should be. She raises quite a racket and we're so paranoid about disturbing the neighbors for no reason at all.

I can't wait for that dog to pass on naturally so I don't have to get off my fat ass anymore and let her in. Or let her out. Or let her in after she's out. Or let her out when she's in. Where the hell is she going anyway? Doesn’t she realize I'm watching TV / looking at Internets / reading / writing / playing video games?

Winter is worse because when she's out there barking, and refuses to come in when called, I have to haul my ass out there, sometimes barefoot, to get her back in. This is super-annoying. I swore before we got her we would never get a dog, but that was when the girls were in kindergarten or whatnot, and you can't tell kids that age you won't get them a dog because dogs are a pain in the ass.

But I love that dog. Every day I swear to her I will murder her, but she's just so cute. She's my little baby. God-damn friggin' dog.

MY STANCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is real. Climate change is good.

Let me explain. Humans are the only animals on earth that cause pollution.

The idea that humans are "special" and the planet exists for their use is false. The planet has no special purpose, and while it is at the moment hospitable for mammalian life, it does not have to stay this way. Scientists estimate that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Humans have been around for only 200 thousand years.

Humans have noticed recently that by shitting in their own nest, they are at risk. They are not developed enough to change their behavior, and I say that this is a positive thing.

Why do humans care about this particular planet? There are many, many other planets out there. Humans have devised tools to help them peer into the heavens, and they know there must be millions of other planets out there in space. What makes Earth so special?

Oh yes, they LIVE there. Kind of selfish isn't it? Why don't they care about other planets as much as they care about their own? Self preservation. But let us say that they actually care about the planet. What would be the best way to save the planet?

Get rid of the problem. What is the problem? Humans, the only species that pollutes the planet.

What then, is the solution? Get rid of the humans. How could this be accomplished? War? That solution is unattractive because the winners would remain, and they in turn would breed and the whole thing would start over. Intentional spread of a deadly virus? Again this would not work, because self-preservation would cause those in power to exclude themselves from the purge.

The solution has already presented itself naturally. Pollution is the solution! What better way to rid the planet of what ails it (humans) than by causing the planet to become inhospitable to human life?

In conclusion: If you care about the planet, pollute as much as possible. Only through pollution can the planet shake off these pesky humans and start the healing process. Take long showers. Leave the lights on. Paper AND plastic. Drive everywhere. Buy whatever, and know that through consumption, you are saving the planet.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

#30 WE ARE TRAFFIC

We follow too close, we drive too slow.
We wait too long before we go.
We honk our horns at the slightest delay.
We do our best to ruin your day.

We have to get to work on time.
We're way too young or past our prime.
We chat and text and change CDs.
We hog the road and do as we please.

We travel with our blinker on.
We gawk when something has gone wrong.
We merge without the slightest care.
We didn't even see you there.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

# ON HUMAN CLONING

CELEBRITY CLONING

In the 1998 movie "The Parent Trap", Lindsay Lohan played twins, Hallie and Annie Parker, who conspire to get their divorced parents back together, or something. The plot really doesn't matter. It was a typical Disney movie, a remake of a 1961 film of the same name. Moviegoers assumed that camera special effects were used to show Lohan in two places at once on screen.

What the public did not know at the time was that Lohan was cloned to produce the movie. Celebrity cloning is commonplace, and there exists a standard Hollywood policy that, for ethical reasons, clones used in movies (as stunt doubles and for plotlines involving twins) are destroyed once production is complete. Lately clones have also been used in the post-production publicity blitzes that often take place after filming, where stars appear on several talk shows, becoming ubiquitous on the late-night and talk-show circuit in the weeks and days during the run up to the film's release.

There have been several cases where celebrity clones have managed to take the place of the original celebrities, assuming the lives of the actors they were created to replicate. When "Parent Trap" finished filming in the fall of 1997, movie producers and Clone Wranglers (CW on most film credits) mistakenly destroyed the original Lohan instead of her clone. This is just one example of cloning mistakes and missteps involving the cloning of actors, politicians, and professional athletes.

Cloning technology, while advanced enough to produce exact duplicates of celebrities and politicians, is not perfect. A clone's capacity for judgment, self preservation and shame deteriorates over time. This explains the bizarre and often self-destructive behavior of celebrities such as Lohan, Tom Cruise (cloned during the filming of Top Gun for a stunt double), Anne Heche, Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods (cloned to make time for endless commercials and golf) and Elvis Presley. Presley was the first celebrity to be cloned, for the purposes of filming movies simultaneously at the height of his popularity. It was his clone that served the brief stint in the US Army (1958-1960). Presley's clone was never destroyed, and it is rumored that his clone is buried at Graceland, and the original Elvis lived as a recluse in Florida until 2001.

There is also wide speculation that all celebrities involved in Scientology are clones who have disposed of their original selves and formed their own religion. In 1992, the Los Angeles district attorney David Segal attempted to open an investigation into these allegations, but the effort was halted after a suspicious automobile accident ended his life.

HUMAN CLONING FOR AVERAGE AMERICANS

Awareness about human cloning and its drawbacks may help people of all parts of society make informed decisions as human cloning becomes more affordable and commonplace. Monsanto and General Electric are said to be in works developing a consumer home-cloning kit. Are you ready to take on the responsibility of caring for and feeding your own doppelganger? Are you prepared to take the appropriate precautions to avoid being replaced by your clone, which will develop ambition and cunning comparable to your own? Are you willing to put up with the embarrassment your clone might cause as its judgment deteriorates and you get blamed for its increasingly erratic behavior?

If you have already been cloned, think for a minute. If you were a clone of yourself, where would you be most likely to bury your own body if you decided to kill your original self and hide the body? Now go to that spot and look around. If you find a grave already dug there, your clone may already be planning murder.

Cloning will be a part of the American experience in the near future. Start preparing today. Will you keep it in the spare bedroom or on a cot in the laundry room? Will it make passes at your spouse or significant other? Will it try to take your job? These are questions we should all be thinking about as human cloning is no longer science fiction, but science fact.

Monday, February 08, 2010

reading fail: wuthering heights

Wuthering Heights (Barnes & Noble Classics) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Reading FAIL!

Again, I attempted to read a book that might appeal to women more than it would to men. Just like in Pride and Prejudice, this is just a series of scenes where characters visit each other and talk about their feelings. No lasers. No evisceration, no robots, spaceships, murders, action, supernatural tomfoolery, absurdity, irony, political theory, dystopian angst, hot chicks or laser battles.

I'm sure this is a fantastic novel, but for me, it is just boring. I might be a too immature for such highfalutin fare.

I'm proud to say I got halfway through it before it became a chore.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
meh. I know there's supposed to be a bunch of symbolic hoo-haw in this book, but it was really about a guy who turns into a bug. The treatment he receives by his family, his boss (who comes to the house to figure out why he isn't at work) and the boarders is a realistic portrayal of how people treat other people who are different or deficient in some way. Society will not accept you if you turn into a bug, or if you do something that does not conform with the status quo. Anywhoo, this story was okay. There's a bunch of critical essays in this volume, but I didn't read them because the critics started talking about Jesus and stuff.

But as a pure story, it was very well done. Worth a read since it is so incredibly short, yet the perfect length.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

writing supplies

At Walgreen's, bought an "Ultimate" 3 subject notebook (Item #92093, Northbrook, IL 60062, Made In Vietnam). The propaganda is as follows:
  • Durable Poly cover protects pages
  • Poly pockets to keep papers organized
  • Heavyweight 9.5 in. x 6.5 in. sheets
  • Perforated pages for easy removal
I also purchased two Pilot G2 10 gel pens. The propaganda is as follows:

  • America's #1 selling Gel Pen*
  • BOLD POINT
  • Rolling Ball
  • Retractable
  • Refillable
  • Rubber Grip
I plan on writing stuff with these new things.

I also got some AA batteries.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace



READING FAIL! I can't read this book. The paragraphs are too long. The words are too difficult. Maybe I'm just stoopid, but I'm just not up to reading this book. I don't care about tennis players who do drugs. Yes, I understand that DFW is a friggin' genius, but this is too much heavy lifting for me.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Aoife's Kiss Magazine, December, 2009

Be sure to get a copy of Aoife's Kiss Magazine, December 2009. I have a story published in that issue, and my name is on the cover! Woot!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Tales of the Talisman Volume 5, Issue 3

Make sure to pick up Tales of the Talisman Volume 5, Issue 3 found here: http://www.talesofthetalisman.com/, I have a story there, and I'm on the cover! Woot. My name is on the cover anyway.

siddhartha

Siddhartha Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Om!

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

running

3 miles @ 31:16. 16 degrees (f)

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Day

What is it about New Year's Day that fills me with an irrational feeling of hope? What do I think has changed between Thursday (2009) and Friday (2010)? What is so special about this day, this first day of the year?

If I didn't know what day it was, it would look exactly like any other winter day, except today is a rare day of sun in the middle of a Michigan Winter. The sun lights up the sparkling snow, lined with the blue shadows of bare trees. The sky is blue.

There is no traffic. Many of us are sleeping off our boozy celebrations. It is ten-thirty in the morning. Coffee is delicious. The dog snoozes on the couch. The cat peers out the patio slider. An airplane growls overhead and then all is quiet once again. The family is asleep upstairs.

Why does this day hold so much promise? What simple hopes do I have? To pay down a couple of bills, to run more often, to read and write more often. To shut up more often.

Somewhere in the past, someone figured out that the year is 365 days long, or thereabouts. That figure might be fixed by the earth's orbit of the sun, but the day on which we mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next is arbitrary. Why did they choose to start the calendar year in the dead of winter? To give us hope when Mother Nature is at her worse?

Spring follows winter, and it is good that it does, because the promise of spring's sunny days, melting snow, bare feet on warm pavement, rain, thunderstorms, shoots, buds and new grass can give one hope. It can give us comfort in the knowledge that spring follows winter, and that can be enough.

Someone decided that January would be a great time to start counting another batch of days. While each Sunday heralds the start of a new week, Sundays don't fill us with the hope that New Year's Day brings. We get a new month every thirty days or so but I for one do not get inspired by another round of bills, work and television.

But an entire New Year! Four seasons! We get spring rains and thunderstorms, long summer evenings with insect choruses, fall's falling leaves, new crayons for kids, football, and Thanksgiving, and finally, winter with Christmas and eventually, New Years Eve.

Again we start another year. Dick Clark forever! Dick Clark the Keeper of Time, Dick Clark the eternal emcee! Dick Clark, Dick Clark, Dick Clark forever!

About Me

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I am the author of 8 books: Android Down, Firewood for Cannibals, Brain Giblets, The Cubicles of Madness, Booze and News, Get Your Zen On, Zen Happens, and most recently, Robot Stories. I live and write in Michigan. My website is at danmanning.com

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