Blog fiction

Planet X is Coming

Astronomers continue to search for Planet X, that hypothetical planet hidden in the darkness of space somewhere beyond the orbit of Neptune and Pluto. There is no doubt in my mind that Planet X exists; astronomers just haven’t seen it yet. There are just too many places for a massive planet to hide.

What remains a mystery, and continues to fire the imagination of our greatest thinkers, is what kind of a planet Planet X really is. Could it be a gas giant like Jupiter or Saturn? Storms raging endlessly in the twilight world? Or is it made of rock and ice like Pluto and Mars?

In either case, Planet X is surely a giant. Readings from Pioneer 10 and 11 as they raced out of our solar system indicate that they passed by an object large enough to disturb their trajectories. Planet X’s gravity could have that effect on the satellites as they cruised by. Early readings of Neptune indicated small discrepancies in its orbit, perhaps caused by a massive object nearby.

In my mind, there is only one logical conclusion: Planet X is neither made of rock or of gas. Planet X is, in fact, an intelligent creature. Biding his time in the furthest reaches of the solar system, Planet X, known by his own kind as Morduulon the Repulsive, orbits the sun waiting for the right moment to reveal himself.morduulon-solar-system-in-danger Morduulon the Repulsive is part of a race known as the Planet Devourers. They find a solar system, lurk in the shadows and slowly eat each and every planet, saving the delicious sun for last. Morduulon has been eating planets in our system for hundreds of millions of years. There used to be an impressive 23 planets in our system until Morduulon snacked his way through 14 of them.

Pluto is on his menu right now: before being the dwarf planet, Pluto was a huge chunk of rock roughly the size of 200 Earths. With two swift bites, Morduulon diminished Pluto to its current size. All that remains is a crumb for Morduulon to toss into his gaping maw before he moves on to Neptune.

Among Planet Devourers, Morduulon the Repulsive is one of the worst. He came by his nickname honestly. Instead of eating a planet in one bite, as is the custom, he’ll draw his meal out over centuries. Should that planet be inhabited, Morduulon will watch with blood red eyes as the miniature occupants scurry and scamper over each other in fear. He will sit back and laugh at the devastation he has wrought. And his laugh…none have heard such horrors as the laugh of Morduulon the Repulsive. One thousand deaths at sea compare favorably to one guffaw of Morduulon’s.morduulon-solar-system

We must begin planning now if we’re to beat Morduulon. Sure, some people will say Morduulon is Neptune’s problem, so let Neptune deal with him. Not so! Once Neptune is a bit of indigestion in Morduulon’s stomach, Uranus is not long for this universe. Then Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars are the only barriers between us and the cavity-infested mouth of Morduulon. Let me tell you, those planets are no match for Morduulon.

Before we know it, our lovely moon will suddenly disappear. Then we’ll smell the rancid breath that will permeate Earth until we are nothing but half-chewed morsels in the foulest intestinal tract the universe has ever known.

Morduulon the Repulsive may respond to nuclear weapons. He may respond by laughing or by acting as if they are tickling him. He will not respond in terror and run away like a wee baby Comet Devourer. No, if we are to beat Morduulon we must find a hero to fly a spacecraft directly into his digestive system. From there, our hero must find Morduulon’s one weakness – and trust me, he only has one – and destroy the Planet Devourer.morduulon-eats-a-planet
It will not be an easy task. Our hero will not return alive. Our hero must make peace with the fact that, when he destroys Morduulon, he too will be blown into a million tiny pieces that will float in the outer reaches of our solar system for all eternity. Our hero must do this selfless act for the rest of us, with no hope of seeing the parades we’ll hold in his honor and the ballparks we’ll name after him. Our hero must be truly heroic.

Heed my words, dear readers. One among us must face this unspeakable evil for the good of all humanity. Our very survival is at stake. Planet X is coming.morduulon-the-repulsive

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Blog friday robot

Friday Robots Still Going Strong

Friday Robots have bled into Sunday this week. A lone robot is still roaming Falling Rock, requesting food items from Carver.robot-and-carver

This can only result in tears.

Blog friday robot

Friday Robots for Sale

You can celebrate Friday everyday with special Friday Robot Gear!
That’s right, for an unlimited time only, you can buy Friday Robots-emblazoned shirts, caps, buttons, and magnets.
There are new designs up now:friday-robots-carter-mondale2 friday-robots-carter-mondale

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Friday Robots

Full disclosure: the second robot for today is my riff on the inside of the Fleet Foxes’ CD cover. The first robot is all me, as far as I know. Sometimes my subconscious ambushes me.friday-robots-3-20-9 friday-robots-3-20-9-2

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autobiography Blog


Falling Rock National Blog gets over 4,000 letters annually, with questions ranging from the absurd to the very, very personal. Though I don’t have the time to answer all letters publicly, I do occasionally dip into the Falling Rock mailbag to answer a reader question.

The letter I chose today asks about my corkboard:
What do you post on the corkboard that hangs to the left of your drawing table?

First of all, dear reader, thank you for noticing the corkboard, featured prominently on the Friday Robots video currently setting all of Youtube abuzz.

I don’t think I could list everything on my corkboard, but here is a good sampling of what currently hangs beside my head as I draw each and every episode of my Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip:

-postcard of Nixon shaking hands with Elvis

-picture of John Lennon wearing a costume from How I Won The War

-ad for a figurine of a kid with sunglasses and a skateboard that is inscribed “On Board With the Lord”

-Drinky the Crow from Tony Millionaire’s Maakies

-headline: “Maybe…We Should Feel Ashamed”

-headline: “Ex-Congressman Found Religion While Doing Time in Prison”

-photo of David Bowie and Mick Jagger in the ’70s. Jagger appears to be wearing a bathrobe.

-drawing (not mine) of Denzel Washington as Malcolm X

-single panel from Mutts where Mooch the cat is dressed in a top hat and coat saying “Kitty Couture”

-single panel from Mutts where one of the squirrels addresses the reader: “I blame society.”


-skeleton of a moa

-single panel from a Jack Kirby comic where masked hero addresses the reader: “Nobody leave this magazine…a CRIME has been committed.”

-drawing of Norah Jones at the piano

-Dear Abby letter wherein a lady complains that her boyfriend continually wets the bed. Abby advises the lady to get the man to the doctor, and if he won’t go, to dump him.

-a few race numbers: Hood to Coast, Bolder Boulder, Butte to Butte, Pearl Street Mile

-a postcard of the endangered Red Squirrel

-picture of Ken Kesey holding a Popsicle while Neil Cassady drives the bus

-drawing from The New Yorker of Obama in baseball jersey #44

Though this isn’t an exhaustive list, I hope it gives you an insight into my frame of mind as I draw Welcome to Falling Rock National Park.

Who knows what letter I’ll rescue from the bins next time! Keep your pencils sharpened and your wits about you and your letter might be next.

Falling Rock

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park

Blog reviews

beatles reissues

on+a+streetWhy is it we don’t have decent sounding CDs of the greatest band of all time? The Beatles, whose music is unarguably better than Wolfgang Mozart’s on his best day, have been heard for the last 30 years on tinny, crappy CDs rushed to market in the late 1980’s.

I’ll spare you the whole story, which has been recounted at length on other parts of the internet. Suffice to say The Beatles CDs sound way worse than those of their contemporaries. It galls me that The Monkees, began as a cheap cash-in on The Beatles’ early style, have remixed, remastered CDs that sound as good as the day a boatload of studio musicians piled into some recording booth in the 1960’s.

There are a few recent releases that offer fans a taste of what The Beatles actually sounded like: the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, comprised of songs from the film Yellow Submarine (itself no longer in print), the horribly titled Let it Be…Naked, and Love, the soundtrack to a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show. These three releases sound really good: full, loud. Listening to Love made me realize how much “Revolution” rocks. On “I Am the Walrus,” I heard the band playing together, something that gets lost on the murky-sounding Magical Mystery Tour CD. I would never trade the Love album in for any reason, but at the same time I’m angry that I had to wait for Cirque du Soleil to put on a show to hear The Beatles remastered.

The Apple website shows us how companies still don’t get the internet. The 40th anniversary of the White Album came and went with no remaster, but we can buy a $500 White Album pen. Imagine that! A white pen! People should be getting fired over this. I imagine the Apple corporate headquarters is a rundown farm, with a sickly horse wheezing in the stable, two cows too old to give milk, chickens wandering listlessly in the driveway, and a constantly quarreling farmer and his wife.

In whose interest is it to not release commodities for sale? When you eliminate the logical reasons, all you’re left with is laziness, incompetence, or insanity. All three must be at work in Apple.

I can’t imagine either Paul or Ringo cares very much at this point. They’re pretty well set financially, and if they ever want to hear the recordings they can just pop into Abbey Road studio to hear the original tapes. But it is in their interests to push for better sounding CDs – this is, after all, their legacy. As long as we are stuck with facsimiles of facsimiles, thin carbon copies of the real recording, the world’s impression of The Beatles is less awe and more “eh.”

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