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Blog fiction

my brother won’t hook me up with prescription drugs

It all began, as so many drug odysseys do, with an article in the New Yorker. College kids and white collar deadline freaks are turning to prescription drugs like Provigil and Adderall to boost their concentration in 12-hour bursts. Provigil does not explicitly state on the packaging that it is a good drug to take when you’ve been partying for the last three days but still need to finish your essay on The Tale of Genji. As it turns out, though, Provigil works just fine for that purpose.

These drugs are not illegal, which means they are perfectly safe for everyone, all the time. I should be writing this blog on Adderall right now. If I was on Adderall, this post would have been completed four hours ago and by now I’d be compulsively dusting all the bookshelves in my apartment. That’s the kind of fantasy life I would be living, if only I had access to a perfectly legal drug with absolutely no long-term side effects (that we know of).

My brother works in the health care industry. That word there – industry – connotes commercial production and sale of goods. You’d think my brother would be thrilled to provide his services to one of the closest people in his life. You’d think that, but you would be wrong. You see, he has ignored my pleading requests for prescription drugs that would improve my hectic, fast-paced lifestyle.

I am not a drug addict. This is the face of a hardcore drug user:wire_07 wire_06
This is a guy who just wants a little Provigil to improve his writing output:josh-with-falling-rock-book-3-2As you can see, there is a huge difference. The Provigil guy doesn’t have weird scars all over his face or heroin track marks up and down his arms. The Provigil guy lives in a clean (but not obsessively so) apartment, not an abandoned shack in Baltimore. The Provigil guy would totally not get addicted to Provigil even though it has been proven to have strong addictive properties. That’s the kind of stand-up guy the Provigil guy is.

Since my brother works at a hospital, it would be easy for him to grab me a handful of these pills. I assume there are storage closets filled with bins of every pill imaginable, kind of like the bulk foods section in Whole Foods. All he’d have to do is dip into the Provigil or Adderall bin and ship a box my way. It isn’t like anyone keeps a count of how many pills there are in the whole hospital. No one would miss them.

I would appreciate anyone reading this blog to mention this small favor to my brother. It isn’t like I’m asking for a kilo of cocaine. I don’t think they even keep that drug in the storage closet. What I’m asking for requires almost zero effort for him and almost infinite reward for me.

Oh, and if you could ask him to grab a couple unused syringes as well, I have a buddy who’s into heroin. He could use a few new needles.

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Blog friday robot

Friday Robots: They Belong in a Museum! Edition

Finally saw Up. I was afraid, after the magnificence that is WALL-E, Pixar wouldn’t have it in them to make one more masterpiece. Happily, I was wrong.

Up is, in my mind, the final chapter in the life of Indiana Jones. They even brought Short Round back, except this time they made him a three-dimensional character who wasn’t annoying. The only thing that was out of character, if we’re talking about Indy, was the wanton destruction of priceless skeletons of extinct or endangered animals. They belong in a museum!

In homage of Up, here are this week’s Friday Robots:friday-robots-6-26-9

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Blog history

bring back the bustle

   tissot400x20Women were undeniably hot in the 1870’s. How do I know this? There are pictures to prove it.crose1marb450victorian-bustle-dresses-form-wwwvintageconnectionnet
The bustle combines two of my favorite things in fashion: putting women in cages and exaggerating a their proportions into something so bizarre it looks more like a cartoon than a human body.dress

I say, bring back the bustle. Not as a novelty or a wedding gown, but an everyday wardrobe choice.

This is a win-win. Men: can you imagine your wife in a better outfit? Her waist tied to a slim 7 or 8 inches, her backside highlighted by a metal contraption that may or may not be related to an umbrella. Women: are you tired of those strange dudes leering at you while you’re out doing your business, living your life? You can hide weapons inside your bustle. I’m not talking about that sissy mace you hide in your purse. I’m talking bear traps, nun chucks, jars of antimatter that will create world-devouring black holes.

Let’s take one of the best ideas from the Victorian era and make it vital again. Bring back the bustle!

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Blog comic reviews

the better transformers

incredible_change_bots_cover_gif_lg  It’s worth noting that every movie Michael Bay has directed really sucks. Big time. You can’t even call what he does “directing.” He cuts each shot down its smallest possible essence, then cuts it again. Someday there will be a huge explosion from a Hollywood editing studio; Michael Bay will have just split an atom while editing his next film. What I’m saying is, I’m not a fan.

When it was announced Michael Bay was to direct a live-action adaptation of one of my favorite childhood cartoons, my reaction was: meh. The Transformers are basically the best idea anyone has ever had. Robots turn into cars and things and fight each other. A cartoon was the best possible format for such an idea. Plus you had the toys, so you could play along with the episodes. Plus I’m not six anymore.

I did watch Transformers, and I was even more let-down than I expected. If the premise of Transformers is: robots transform into cars and things and fight, then the premise of the movie could be summed up as: Shia LeBeouf wants to buy a car to woo an anorexic chick, the car happens to be a robot and then at the very end some robots fight. And of course since this is a Michael Bay joint you can’t watch the robots fight because he cuts away from them too much. Apparently it is too much to ask to SEE these fantastic robots fighting.

Fear not, dear readers. There is another Transformers story out there, and it is good.changebots_06
Comic artist Jeffrey Brown drew Incredible Change-Bots. Part homage, part parody, all robot, Incredible Change-Bots is everything the live-action Transformers movie is not. Not only do robots fight THE ENTIRE WAY THROUGH, you can gaze at each lovingly-rendered panel for as long as you want.changebots_04
Not only is the story more action packed than the “official” movie, it is hilarious. Incredible Change-Bots was written by a guy who gets Transformers. Unlike Michael Bay, who treats the Transformers like his personal litter box, Jeffrey Brown raises them up to heroic levels. This book contains all the reasons I love the Transformers.

So instead of giving your money to the sissified slap-fest that is Transformers 2, walk down to your local comics shop (or Powells online) and behold the glory that is Incredible Change-Bots.

Incredible Change!

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Blog history

Obama ’36

malia-obama-2036Thanks for voting America! This blog, along with approximately 69,492,376 Americans, buoyed Barack Obama onto the throne of democracy. Are we done? Heck no. We need to begin to plan for that sad day when President Barack will no longer be constitutionally able to serve as Commander-in-Chief. We must turn our thoughts to the future. Not the near future, but a date more distant: the year 2036.

Malia Obama, whose interests include soccer, dance and drama, will be 35 in time for the Presidential Election of 2036. What we need in 2036 is someone who will lead us toward an even better future.

The years 2008-2016 were very good for this country. Then there was the historic election of 2016, in which elder statesman Jimmy Carter was finally allowed to serve his second term of office. After four years President Carter stepped into a time machine and sent himself 30,000 years into the past, where he helped nomadic tribes in what is now the Middle East prevent the warfare that would mark that region for all of human history.

In 2020-2028 Chelsea Clinton became the first woman President, making our country the first to manufacture and export hover cars. As the daughter of a former President, she would be compared to another child of a former President who was also President himself. She was thankfully superior in all respects. It is said birds alighted upon her shoulders and sang their sweet melodies as she prepared to sign the historic worldwide energy treaty that would, in essence, eliminate all pollutants from the air, sea, and land.

2028-2036 would provide an interesting twist to Presidential politics, as the first non-American-born citizen became Commander-in-Chief.
Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A name begging to be in large, bold type. With an impressive resume including Terminator 2, Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall, Twins, Junior, Predator, Conan the Barbarian, Pumping Iron, and Jingle All the Way, the Prezenegger brought a new brand of justice to the executive branch of government. He may have played by his own rules, but you can’t deny his effectiveness. When an evil alien brain sent an army of oversize spiders to control the planet, the Prezenegger was there with a hand-held nuclear bomb. He tossed it at just the right moment to blow that alien brain right back to hell. And when the Supreme Court was about to criminalize all methods of birth control, the Prezenegger blew them up too. Take that, John Roberts! You evil bastard.

President Arnold paved the way for a different kind of President. By the time 2036 rolled around, the country was ready for peace again.

Malia Obama was born on July 4, an apt date of birth for Commander-in-Chief. Although some would question her relative inexperience, she would soon prove all the naysayers to be nothing more than whiny little nobodies.

It’s true, her allergy to animal dander, which almost resulted in her and her sister to be dogless back in 2009, was a worry for foreign policy wonks. What if she were to meet a camel in Cairo and sneeze all over it? Or a cow in Dehli? These worries were soon put to rest after a successful visit to the Middle East and Europe in Spring 2037.

Furthermore, her training in soccer, dance and drama proved exactly what was needed for domestic affairs of the day. It may not have seemed obvious in the hazy days of 2009, but in 2036 soccer, dance and drama were just what is needed for Leader of the Free World.

This blog is a proud supporter of Obama in 2036.

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Blog

josh does goya

goya-print  Francisco Goya was a mighty fine illustrator (among his many artistic talents). This image, from the series of prints called Los Caprichos, was so bizarre I felt it was my duty to try my own version.

I used watercolor for the backgrounds, micron pen for the figures.josh-does-goya2

josh-does-goya1

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Blog friday robot

Friday Robots

Today’s Robots are dedicated to a very brave cat who had to visit the Kitty ER Wednesday night. The robot carrying the cat is based on a strange-looking litter box that you can really buy. I don’t know a single cat who would want to use this litter box, but it at least makes for a good robot, proving that nothing in this world is completely useless.friday-robots-6-19-09

Detail:friday-robots-6-19-09-2

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autobiography Blog

more information on Biff Elliot, film star

In an ongoing effort to bring you the most comprehensive information about film star Biff Elliot, I present to you these photos. Not only do they chronicle a long career in acting, but they offer us a glimpse into the life of the man behind so many roles.

Not only was Biff the very first Mike Hammer, but he was featured in such excellent TV shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Star Trek, and Planet of the Apes (as an orangutan).

The next three pictures were taken to promote the Harry Essex-directed I, the Jury.

I, the Jury was a detective story, a true film noir. However, the filmmakers believed it would be even more popular in 3D. Here we have Biff posing (in 3D!) for a group of onlookers.
Years later, Biff was devoured by a rock monster in the Star Trek episode Devil in the Dark. Before being eaten, he graciously agreed to sign this limited edition trading card.
Biff can now be found spending time with his lovely wife Connie. The following picture could easily grant Biff entry into the exclusive Moustache Hall of Fame:
The age-old question remains: could Mike Hammer beat Batman in a fistfight? The world may never know.
Many thanks to Connie for supplying these pictures. The internet is all the richer for them.

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autobiography Blog

sunblock

This is the color of my skin:white
Sunblock is a necessity for me. Not just during the summer, but every day for the rest of my life.

Since I use sunblock so often, I’ve become something of an expert on its varieties. There are so many kinds of sunblock you really have to try them all before you find one (or two) that are right for you. These are what I use now, one for my face and neck and one for arms and legs.sunblocks

The one on the left is something new I’m trying. I used to use Neutrogena, but when I grew out my beard it never seemed to rub in. I always had sunblock in my beard. Annoying. This one seems to be working out all right. It rubs in well and the SPF 70 keeps me good for about 20 minutes instead of the usual 4. The only drawback is lack of sweatproofing. What I need is something that won’t rub off during a run. The search will go on.

The one on the right is an old standby. I discovered this in Tucson, still the only place I’ve found where you can buy this in stores. The gigantic bottle you see here was purchased online. The dinosaur on the label means it’s especially good. Even though it clocks in at a paltry SPF 44, it is water- and sweatproof and virtually indestructible. They claim it was tested on surfers in Hawaii, and I believe them. Put this on in the morning and it will be with you all day. That’s what I call hardcore sunblock. The makers of this sunblock also make sun lotion for people undergoing chemotherapy, so they know a thing or two about skin types and sunblock and how the two work together to ward off the evil sun.

I’m not exactly anti-sun. You have to give it credit for creating the proper set-up for the beginning of life on this planet. Why, then, would the thing that brought forth life also be the thing that destroys it? Why can’t I step outside without worrying about bursting into flame? These are questions for someone smarter than me. In the meantime, enjoy your summer and don’t mess with anything under SPF 30.

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Blog

our gentle neighbor to the north

Washington state is a great place to go if you get tired of Oregon’s oppressive natural beauty and lack of sales tax. In Washington, you get to pump your own gas. For all those people who freak out when they have to remain in their vehicles during the refueling process, Washington allows you to get outside, inhale the toxic fumes of the gas station, stretch your weary legs, and handle the dirty, oily pump yourself.

Washington is exactly like Oregon, except a little worse in every way.mount saint helens

Mount St. Helens, unlike our own peaceful Mount Hood, blew its top two decades ago, covering the region in black ash. The last time a volcano blew in Oregon it created pristine Crater Lake. So far, there is no lake in St. Helens, but I hear you can see the devils dancing if you peer deep inside this still-active volcano.

Seattle, the biggest city in Washington, is like Portland, only dirtier. Kurt Cobain killed himself in Seattle and Jimi Hendrix is buried there, so you know this is a good place to be if you are a rock star with a death wish.

While Portland has a minor league baseball team with a good record (the Beavers), Seattle has a full-blown major league club with a so-so record (the Mariners). The Mariners do have Ken Griffey, Jr. playing for them again. I’ll concede that point to Washington: they have Ken Griffey, Jr. and Oregon doesn’t.

While Seattle has the undoubtedly cool monorail, it only travels a fraction of the distance of Portland’s own light rail system, the MAX. Plus Portland now has a gondola, which you can ride from the river to the hospital. If we can only convince Portland to remove one of the MAX’s tracks, we’d have both monorail AND gondola.

Washington is like Oregon’s kid brother. Not quite as able, a little slow on the uptake, always running behind, whining about “not being included.” It doesn’t bother us Oregonians; we see it as a nice amusement. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Thanks, Washington, for tagging along. We pat your little head.