Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Silvia Makes History

Says of ISS, 'This Place is Filty.'

Cape Canaveral - When she lifted off in the space shuttle Endeavor on Sunday, Silvia Flores made history as the first cleaning lady in space, ending years of domination of space flight by former test pilots, technicians, and scientists.

In an interview aboard the ISS, Ms. Flores (jus’ call me, ‘Silvia’) said she was ‘thrilled’ to escape earth for a while. “It was hard to leave Mrs. Demont after being with her for so many years, but I couldn’t let this chance pass by me,” she said. “But she said if I return, I can always have my old job back.”

Silvia went to work immediately upon passing through the air lock. “It smells funny in here,” she said, upon entry into the ISS. "This place is filty."

“They stay up here for many years with teams coming and going from all over the world,” she said, “and they’ve never had a good, thorough cleaning, up to the standards set by me and Mrs. Demont.”

She met with few problems, although communication with some of the ISS scientists proved challenging.

“That Japanese guy, I can’t understand a thing he say,” she said. “And the Polish man don’t speak, except to himself. Mostly, I just try to stay out of their way.”

Asked what was the most challenging aspect of her experience, Silvia said, “There are a lot of buttons and switches and things up here. Worse than a car. They told me to be extra careful not to accidentally press any of the buttons during my work.”

Fellow astronaut Andrei ‘Tizz’ Tyzrchnsky, said Silvia is like a ‘mad woman’ around the ISS. “She’s all over the place with her Lysol,” he said. “She’s got this place…how you say…clean as the whistle.”

Crew Considers 'Suiting Her Up'

Early Wednesday, Silvia learned she may have the opportunity to space walk, another first.

“We’re thinking about ‘suiting her up’, said American team member Kerry Samuels, who speaks seven languages fluently and a ‘smattering’ of street lingo, trash talk, and Bubble language. “There’s a lot of debris floating around up here, near, be near, bo near, banana bana bo near…space junk…and she wants at it. We’re thinking of letting her have a go at it.”

After eleven years in operation, including one raucous fraternity reunion, the ISS has had a reputation for ‘smelling like a locker room’, and being a ‘party place’ where rules on earth don’t apply.

“It’s an ‘anything goes’ situation up here when they turn the cameras off,” said Silvia. "Everything is gravity-free."

So far, her stay has been mostly routine cleaning work, adjusting to the several sunrise and sunsets each day, and avoiding the billionaire tourist, who she says ‘keeps following me around’, giving her ‘the creeps'. “He needs something to do,” she said. "I ask him how much his ticket was, and he tell me, 'Two hundred fifty million dollars.'

"I told him I fly for free. We both got the same T-shirt."

Reflecting on her experience so far, Silvia said, “It’s not anything like being in Mexico or Arizona,” she said. “You don’t have the regular sunrise, and of course, you don’t have the gangs, the drugs, the guns, or the street violence. Some things, you miss.”

After a two-week stay, Silvia will return to earth with the billionaire and two team members aboard a Russian shuttle craft. “I hope for two things now,” she said. “First, I want to take that walk before I leave, and then I hope I get a window seat on the way back, and I hope I don’t have to sit next to whatshisname.”

“Also,” added Silvia, “the world looks different from up here. And the moon, too. To me, it seems closer to me, like I can almost reach out and touch it if my hand was long enough.

"And some of these people up here need to go home," she said. They have been here too long. They need to get back home and maybe change their socks.”

Asked by ISS officials if she could suggest any changes, Silvia said, "Oh yes. They could always use more space, and a self-cleaning toilet. And I would put up some things. Some signs, and some stuff on the walls."

"You thought I was going to say 'velvet tiger', didn't you? Or Mother Mary figurine in a window?"



Friday, March 27, 2009

Thurmond Tells His Side

Thurmond Tells His Side

BRANSTON, MO – (ed. note: Mr. Eldon Thurmond, held without bail and facing multiple criminal charges in the wake of a satellite impact here when investigators and personnel involved in the cat round up were injured by coming in contact with his high-voltage fence. He wrote to the paper):

Dear Editor: I am writing to you from (a) Branston city jail cell. I facing longer imprisonment if all the charges being brought against me sticks. For forty years, I was a upstanding member of our community, working being a electrician for General Dynamo with spotless work record and hardly no sick days.

I raised two kids, Donna who was homecoming queen runner-up in ’96, and Donnie, who is in Iraq, and been married to the same woman for a long time.

Last week, something very strange event happened that change my life. A satellite returned to earth and fell into my neighbor’s back yard, hitting her cat, a grey Persian that went by the name of Sniffles. I call it the HAND of God, the satellite.

You could not forget the look on that cat’s face was unforgettable when it looked up at me just before being struck, like a sixth sense or something. But what happen afterwords was a situation also beyond my control, too.

Your reporters arrived, along with other media and the local police, and State and federal authorities, followed by the military, NASA the NSA, the federal nerds, the university nerds, and the nerds from Bell labs who built the thing.

With all those people showing up all over the place, smart as they are, some of them were rocket scientists, and some of them were naturally going to transgress into my yard and trip over my fence.

They’ve even got me calling it a fence. It wasn’t a fence, like you’d think, fence. All it was was four strands of wire low enough for a cat not to get under, high enough not to jump over, and close enough together for him not to take a chance.

Then the cat round up began, which turned out one bizarre event, let me tell you, especially after it got dark. That’s when most of the injuries occurred and they shut down the power for the whole block when they couldn’t override my system.

I'm sorry all those people's food went bad. But here again, I wasn't the person who chose to shut down the power. If they had asked me first, I could have told them the power plant was at my place, in my basment.

Even after public utiltities shut down the power, my fence was still active, still hot, baby. For a sixteen-block square, from Mulberry to the highway and over to Lincoln Avenue, my house was the only one with lights on. Hey, I'm a electrician.

They tell me several dozen cats got fried, died, cardiac arrest probably, and thirty or so individual humans were incapacitated by severe electrical shock. I'm truly sorry about that.

I’ve been shocked many times over the years, so I can tell you, 50,000 volts will knock you on your backside. Nothing to laugh at. About the same as a taser. That amount of juice could curl your toes and make your circuitry go haywire and end you up with some kind of nervous tic.

All those people will eventually be okay, with therapy. The cats, the cats had it coming.

I would like to despell the accusations and charges leveraged against me, fueled partly by your own publication participation. I did not act in a malicious manner against any one person, nor make aggression against any person or cat, with my person.

What did I do is simply a man defend my own turf. Any harmful effect was direct in line result against the cat or person’s own negligence.

They say my negative reinforcement device had no warning, but yes it did it had a little red light that came on.

That’s what’s not’s malicious about it see? The cats would see the little red light and know to stay back, eventually, same as Pavlov's dogs. Don't have to shock them but once. One encounter is all it takes. What I wanted to know was can they pass it on? Mice do.

Then I could shut down my system and just run the little red light, thus, saving me and the city money and reducing our overall global carbon footprint and consumption.

I watched the whole sanario unfold, from the satellite striking on the cat, until they took me away. I was no more than a passive observer, and should not be held responsible for the actions of others.

My lawyer says they have to prove intent, and hell no, I didn't intend for all those people to get sizzled. I wasn't even thinking about NASA when I installed it. Cats neither, intent-wise. For the cats, it was just a scare tactic. I didn’t intend for that satellite to come zipping down, either. I’m telling you, it’s the Hand of God.

In closing, first you had the Hand of God. Next, all those people arrive on their own free will, and then someone decided on the cat round up, not me. People stumbling around in the dark and encountering a hot fence, again, Hand of God. I don’t see how you people can hold me accountable for Hand of God things.

Oh. Could you please tell your idiot city editor the damn cat's name was 'Sniffles', with an 'S', not 'Sniffle'.


Mr. Eldon T. Thurmond
509 Mulberry St.
Branston, MO

email: elektrokatkiller150@gmail.com


Everything Come Back

Everything Come Back

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Some of you are writing back. 'Everything come back', as they say here, and now some writing come back. I enjoy it when you do, informing me of your lives.

Now, some of this stuff that appears herein may not appeal to you, but I know some of you are laughing, having been tickled. You know, when a story about school bus farts in Florida gets national attention, then somebody out there has a sense of humor.

And, gee, even Bob Hope could slay 'em on every line. I like to weave a funny tale, with some kind of gut buster in their somewhere, not necessarily at the end, or write something that will have you thinking, coffee cup at your lips, eyes on the screen, 'Man, ain't that the fucking truth!' It's difficult to write humor that is funny to your friends, your kids and their friends, and your grandchildren.

Some of it is not so funny. Mrs. Hensley may be recognizable to some of you.

We are so fortunate to live in a land of free speech, free press, and free thought.

Hey, I forgot where I am. I mean, you can live in America, the U.S., and have those things. Here, and next door too, Myanmar, is a different story.

I had a Myanmar girl wait on me last night at Issan Jane's, a place run by a German guy and his Thai wife. I wondered if she got the order right; mixed vegetables with steamed rice, and one of those whole rotisserie chickens for the dogs.

She brought me garlic pepper chicken with steamed rice.

ok then. just trying to keep in touch.


Branston Cat Round Up Winds Up With Hospitalization For Several

Thurmond Held in Custody


BRANSTON, MO - Three dozen people remain hospitalized in intensive care following contact with a high voltage fence during a cat round up here.

Despite claiming his high-voltage fence was employed only as a scare tactic, Mr. Eldon Thurmond was held without bail pending further psycological evaluation.

“Scare tactic, my ass. He had 50,000 volts running through that thing,” said Deputy County Sheriff, Thomas Pierson. “Several of the personnel involved in the satellite investigation and cat round up received substantial burns and electrical shocking from the fencing, and requested hospitalization.”

“Do you mean, ‘required hospitalization’? a reporter suggested.

“Well, that, too,” said Pierson, “but they specifically asked, ‘Can you take me to the hospital?’”

Mr. Thurmond faces several criminal charges.

Meanwhile, at the Pleasant View Nursing Home, a Branston Daily Dispatch reporter conducted an interview with Mrs. Esther Hensley, former owner of 117 cats, one of which was struck and buried by a re-entering inoperable U.S. spy satellite.

"I don't know why they call it 'Pleasant View.' The view isn't pleasant, at all. We're looking at a Home Depot warehouse wall to the west, a used auto parts salvage yard to the east, and a crack house right across the street.

"What did you say your name was?

"But they've got a lovely bird bath out back. A person can't have a cat here. They won't allow it. You need a permit, they said. I asked where a person gets a permit, and they told me there is no such thing.

"Mr. Hensley has been dead for some time, now. It was such a strange day. He was out setting his bird traps when he was crushed by those Mormons in their hot air balloon.

"My kids don't ever...what did you say your name was?

"Sand bags. Mr. Hensley was killed by sandbags, the ballast, they called it. The weight of the thing. Of course, the balloon itself was filled with just air. Mr. Hensley was such a frail man to begin with.

"We sit out on the porch of nights and watch the police cruisers and all those young people a comin' and a goin' out of the crack house. That and bingo. Of course, the bingo is in the basement.

"Haven't you ever fed a stray?

"They should tell them over at that crack house that they administer strong narcotic drugs over here, too.

"I didn't steal anybody's cats. Whoever showed up got fed. I just kept them in the house for company. My kids don't ever, they all live out of state, you see, so they don't...since the burial of Mr. Hensley.

"Mrs. Fairchild and myself were sitting out on the porch one night after lights out, and a carload of them pulled up, asking for Frankie. We told them Frankie probably lives across the street. Mrs. Fairchild yelled at them as they were leaving, 'Does it LOOK LIKE Frankie lives here?'

"I miss my house, and poor Sniffles. And...what is your...who are you?

"There was nothing anybody could do. He was such a frail man. I was at the sink and those Mormons hollering, 'Watch out! Watch out!' caught my attention. I thought, 'My Heavens! It's a hot air balloon!' Of course, Mr. Hensley wasn't expecting anything coming down out of the sky.

"I yelled out through the window, 'Mr. Hensley! Watch out!' and he looked up at me, and then the gosh darmed thing hit him. I think right at the last split-second, he felt it coming, something like a sixth sense. Of course, there was nothing he could do. It was too late.

"They have separate washroom facilities here for the staff, but they don't always wash their hands...I know they don't. They have a sign that says staff must wash their hands every time, but they don't. They stopped me from going in there, talking to me like a child, telling me I must use the resident facilities, pointing at the 'staff only' sign on the door. I can read, but sometimes the resident facilities aren't kept up.

"Oh...and yes...where?...oh yes...sometimes I have difficulty remem...it comes and goes. Of course, you'd need a prescription. Or at least, under the supervision of a nurse, or an RN or something.

"Mr. Hensley, God rest his soul, was a frail man. The only thing he kept going was his taxidermy. He caught several thousand birds. The largest he ever caught was a couple of bald eagles. The men took them from my house.

"These people here only smile when there are visitors, and they handled Mrs. Mumphrie pretty roughly after she began using all those swear words. Mr. Hensley said if they ever handled him like that, he'd kick their...shhhhhhh...asses.

"Of course, they don't have nurses at the crack house.

"Mr. Hensley has been dead since...I don't know how many years...he was killed by a hot air balloon run by the Mormons.

"And wasn't that just a lovely gown she wore to the reception? Sarah Davis' daughter, I can't remember her name. She married that nice young man, the water works fella.

"Could you get us a cup of tea?

"Mrs. Mumphrie says that's another darned...except she didn't say, 'darned'...she said...shhhhhhh...oh my...I can't bring myself to say it...she has such a filthy mouth...meth lab two doors down from the crack house. She says that's why all those people a comin' and a goin' all have such bad fucking teeth. And when th...


"What did I just say? What? I can't tell you what I just said. I don't know what I just said. You have to grab it the first time. I can tell you what I wore for my fifth birthday party, but I can't tell you what I just said.

"And that nice man at NASA, Mr. McCallister, sent me flowers and money, I won't say how much, but it was substantial, and a nice note about Sniffles. He said he raised it in an office pool or something after hearing about Sniffles.

"Yes, well that electronical fence was a problem area for Mr. Thurmond and myself. We used to have at it regularlarly. He just never was a cat lover. He killed over twenty of my best cats. I hope they give him the chair.

"What happened to that other nice reporter, the one who asked so many questions about Sniffles?

"Oh? Oh, my!"



Thursday, March 26, 2009



“Norad, this is NatSatReconOp.”

“NatSatReconOp, this is Norad, go head.”

“Ident, please, Norad.”

“Roger, NatSat. This is Felix.”

“Hey, dude. This is Cowboy.”

“What’s up, man?"

“Yeah, we have re-entry package Spybird GY China 18 on the plate.”

“Roger, Cowboy. GY China 18 up next. Status……”

"Roger. Status...inoperable."

"Copy inoperable. What happened?"

"I dunno. Can't reposition. Glitch in propulsion. Wouldn't fire."


“Roger, Norad. K Track. GY China 18, Longitude re-entry 15.14, Latitude 32.76. Weight…one seven tons. Altitude...one two one miles. Speed…fourteen thousand. One seven Degrees.

“Roger, NatSat. Copy K Track GY China 18 re-entry longitude fifteen point one four, latitude thirty-two point seven six; seventeen tons, altitude one two one, speed fourteen k, coming in at one seven degrees. Should burn up on re-entry.”

“Roger. Should. That's steep.”

"Coordinates probable impact.”

“Coordinates ……………….hold………..,”

“Roger, NatSat. Coordinates North, 93.15.45 West.”

“Roger. Looks like somewhere in Missouri.”

“Yeah. Shit.”


“Should fry on re-entry.”


“Big package, though.”


“Wanna take a bet?”

“Sure. Go sideways.” (secure side channel)

>“Roger, sideways. Hold.............up. You up?


"Twenty it hits.”



“Wanna bet location?”

“Double down on re-entry?”


“Okay. Jefferson City.”

“Okay. St. Louis.”

"Wanna go a hundred to one on a living object?"

"No way, dude."

“You see where LR SS 177 hit a fucking cow in Wisconsin?”

“Yeah, saw the op dailies. What are chances of that happening?”

“Million in one.”

“No shit.”

“McCallister went twenty-to-one on it hitting a living object. Cleaned up. Took sixteen hundred dollars from us.”

“Whoa! What are the chances of that happening?”

Got four hundred on the re-entry, and another twelve for the cow. Unbelievable.”

“Lucky shit.”

“Yeah. Pays to be a nerd. That’s the second time he’s done that in the last six months.”

“Okay. I’m tracking this bird. Tell McCallister he's psycho, not psychic. I’ll give you a shout later. Ten, right? Double down on site.”

“Roger, ten, Cowboy. Double down on site. Go back.”

“Roger, Felix.......Back.”

“Copy affirmative, NatSat. Out.”

"Copy affirmative, Norad. Out."



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Something Like A Sixth Sense


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Yeah, it would be like a feeling, an intuition, a glint, a glimmer of the immediate future, stretching from the reaches of your subconscious, inner amygdala, ancestral memory, hookin’ in out of the blue, or maybe your dream body, your soul, your Guardian Angel saying,


just before you stepped backwards off that pier, got hit by the bus, got slammed by the brick, got jumped by those thugs, got shot, got blind-sided, got caught with a pool cue, got hit by the hoist.

Such instances, where you see it coming, but you're too late, you're always too late, will usually result in injury, intense scare, intensive care, or near-death experience, all those chemicals dumping into your brain, your body electrified. You’ll live to tell about it.

In the case of the cat, it was death. And you wonder if it is true in other animals, besides just us. It must be. Why else would that cat suddenly look up, over at Mr. Thurmond, a complete blank look on its face, a mere fraction of a second before being slammed by a seven-ton satellite?

But then, you can’t ask a corpse, ‘Did you experience a déjà vu’ just before you were struck?’ Much less, a cat’s corpse.

So, I guess it’s something only the living can discuss. Ever happen to you?

No, I’m not talking about a hunch. That’s something you see coming beforehand, a long way off, like a train coming down the tracks. You can’t see it yet, but it’s coming. You know it’s coming. You can’t see it yet, because it hasn’t yet arrived, or maybe you’re blind, or insensitive, or careless, or indiscreet, or being deceived, or uninformed, or misguided, or prepared, or was clueless, or had it coming, or knew it was coming but didn’t want to see it.

A hunch is like a feeling at the racetrack. You can bet on it, but sometimes you lose.

So, it’s not a hunch. You can act on a hunch. This is more like a flash…no, it’s darker than that. It comes in a flash. This is more like a ball. A little fuzzy dot. Originating in your toenails. Bigger than a dot. Smaller than a marble. Showing up……..on…the upper…right…rear…inside of your eyeballs.

Then, BOOM!

Wake up in the hospital.

Maybe a friend’s house, coming out of a deep fog, asking, “Where…wha…what the…what happen?”

Maybe you’re laying in the street, people standing over you, people kneeling over you, maybe your dream body above everything, looking down, ambulance arrives, “Hey! Tell that guy with the sheet to pack it up. I ain’t dead yet!”

“Let these guys work on me a minute, okay?”

Now that’s the person you can ask.

Whaddaya mean, ‘Ask them what?’ Ask them if they had a premonition.

That’s different than a crystal ball, too. Different ballpark. Clairvoyant, seer, sensitive, witch, Hindu holy man, Christian televangelist, prophet…whole different ballpark. No, this is instantaneous premonition. Immediate preliminary perception. Outside in, inside out.

Is it something in the brain? Some would reduce all sensory experience to brain chemistry, pin-pointing which bundles of nerves are firing in which lobe in which area of function, and that’s cool, but what does that tell us?

They’ll tell you God is in your head.

But that still doesn’t explain why, if it’s all in your head, why you’d experience an awareness of something immediate, but hasn’t happened yet, outside of yourself, in the physical world, the real, 3D World. How do you explain that with brain chemicals?


Now, some of you are probably saying, “It’s your sixth sense, Vic. ESP,” right?

No, it’s not.

Well, yeah. Sort of.

Sort of.

Well, yeah. It is, but sixth sense and ESP work long-range, don’t they? No, this is instantaneous…already told you, split-second apprehension, immediately before the event. The hit before the hit.

Would that count as ESP? Sixth sense?

It seems like it's different.



Fla Student Suspended for Passing Gas on Bus


LAKELAND, Fla. -- An eighth-grader was suspended from riding the school bus for three days after being accused of passing gas. The bus driver wrote on a misbehavior form that a 15-year-old teen passing gas on the bus Monday to make the other children laugh, creating a stench so bad that it was difficult to breathe. The bus driver handed the teen the suspension form the next day.

Polk County school officials said there is no rule against flatulence, but there are rules against causing a disturbance on the bus.

“Disturbance is putting it lightly,” said driver Juanita Esperanza. “I couldn’t breathe. It smelled like a dead dog’s ass.”

The stench was so bad that when Esperanza opened the doors at a railroad crossing, all of the students fled the bus, causing a delay in the bus route.

The teen said she wasn't the one passing gas. “First who smelt it, dealt it,” she said. “It wasn’t me.”

All the other kids on the bus laughed and pointed, saying, “Yes it was. Yes it was.”

"She squeezed it out," taunted one boy. "I saw her do it."

Whether she did it or not, she might have gotten off easy. A 13-year-old student at a Stuart school was arrested in November after authorities said she broke wind in class.

Some adults are taking the farting around seriously. "I don't think it's one bit funny," said parent Janice Hornitz. "I was kept waiting for fifteen minutes, and I've got things to do other than wait for a bus to air out from farts. She should be expelled. It's the same as bringing a weapon to school."

"Let's be realistic here," said Police Chief Glen Watkins. "You can't turn a kid over to juvenile authorities for farting on a bus. My God."

(this story has been modified from its original format)---

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Missouri Man Testifies in Multiple Homocide Case

Missouri Man Provides Testimony

BRANSTON, Mo – Excerpts of transcripts of police report testimony provided by Eldon Thurmond, facing criminal charges for the electrocution deaths of a dozen or more cats, and creating an endangerment to the public with an unmarked high voltage fence:

“…no thanks, I don’t smoke…Well, sure, they kept the mice down. Mice weren’t the problem. A hundred and thirty cats was the problem, not mice…Huh? Well, she had a hundred and thirty over there at one time…It wasn’t a fence. Don’t twist my words. It was a barrier. It was an electrified negative reinforcement discouragement device. I’m an electrician…Sure (chuckles). Had to be. Low voltage wouldn’t have done the job…I call it negative reinforcement, you call it punishment. What's the difference?* I’m not a psychologist. Call it anything you like…Yes…yes…I know. I’m sorry about that, but you see, all those other people wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for the cats...Well, yeah, sure, the satellite…that’s God’s hand...Yes. I’m aware of the charges against me…Oh. I am trying to cooperate...No. I’m not trying to be funny. Don’t I get to talk to a lawyer, or something?”


*Punishment is punishment, like, lethal injection, or a 50,000 volt electrical shock.
Negative reinforcement is the withholding or withdrawal of a positive reinforcer or reward, like m&ms, or ice cream, if the appropriate behavior (eating your vegetables) is not exhibited.
So, technically, Mr. Thurmond is incorrect. It's punishment for crossing the line.


No Idea

No Idea



What’s up, man?

Pretty good. How about you?

Not much. Just hanging out. Checking out some tunes. You?

Yeah. Cool.


No shit? I told you she was hot. Going ok?


Well, as Carl says, 'It's okay until it's not.'


No. I haven't. Not in a long time.

Yeah, I heard from him. Sent me a blog notice.

You got one, too?

Yeah. About twice a week. I've never seen anyone produce so much shit.


You read that shit?

Ha. Yeah. Me, too. About half the time. Who’s got time for that nonsense, anyway? Not everybody’s on vacation. Some of us have jobs...families…a life.



Yeah. Like, who gives a shit about that?



Yeah, he could get a clue. All this shit going on in the world, and he’s writing five stories…five imaginary stories about Sniffles the cat. Goes on and on.

Sniffles the cat…the cat that got hit by the satellite.

Oh. Anyway, this cat gets hit by a de-orbiting spy satellite…I don’t know where he comes up with this shit.

Yeah, probably.

Yeah, probably. Thai stick.

No doubt.

No doubt.

Yeah. I don’t know. Probably the last minute. Tree day. Show up with a towel.


Yeah, okay.

You too, man.

Yeah, okay. I’ll catch up with you later.


note: (For your information, I'm not on vacation. I work every day).


Missouri Man Faces Cruelty Charges After Sniffle Strike

Arraignment Today / Reporter Also Charged

BRANSTON, MO - In the wake of a surprising string of events surrounding the re-entry of an American spy satellite, a Missouri man, Mr. Eldon Thurmond, has been charged with animal cruelty by local officials.

Thurmond, a neighbor of Mrs. Esther Hensley, whose cat Sniffles was struck and buried by the 7-ton satellite while scratching in a sandbox, faces multiple criminal charges after authorities found he had been maintaining a highly charged electronic fence around his property to ward off Mrs. Hensley's 117 cats.

“'Scare tactic,' my ass. He had 50,000 volts running through that thing,” said Deputy County Sheriff, Thomas Pierson. “Several of the personnel involved in the satellite investigation and cat round up received substantial burns and electrical shocking from the fencing, and requested hospitalization.”

“Do you mean, ‘required hospitalization’? a reporter suggested.

“Well, that, too,” said Pierson, “but they specifically asked, ‘Can you take me to the hospital?’”

Lawyers for Mr. Thurmond claim their client has every right to defend his property, while city attorneys seek to enforce a local ordinance stating homeowners cannot possess a public hazard, or harbor anything that constitutes a danger to the public. The Thurmonds were removed from their home and placed in custody.

Mr. Thurmond was incensed at his arrest, claiming, “If you were the one stepping in cat shit every time you turned around, you’d do something, too. I’m an electrician. It’s the only thing I could come up with.”

“Let’s use some common sense here,” said Mayor James Hardly. “First a cat gets hit from space, out of the blue, then Mrs. Hensley gets evicted, then we had that cat chase fiasco with all those people going to the hospital that made us the laughingstock of Missouri, and now this. I say it’s (this story has) gone too far.”

In a related development, police responded to a call from the town’s newspaper, the Branston Dispatch, after a reporter covering the story attacked her editor with a large meat cleaver. The reporter, whose name is being withheld, was subdued by law enforcement officers and taken into custody.

The editor, Preston Sargent, was treated for cuts to his forearms and face, and released.



Get This Thing Turned Around

Brovic Floats Toxic Asset Plan

KHUK KHAK, Thailand – In an effort to ease the nation’s financial woes, Brother Vic (Brovic) has submitted a bailout plan for US after being requested by Obama administration officials to ‘come up with something, fast.’

“They asked me to help ‘get this thing turned around’, said BV, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “I only want to be associated with this plan if it succeeds,” he said, “otherwise, leave my name out of it.”

Hailed as ‘brilliant’ within the BV inner advisory circle, the TATSTATDEPS (‘Toxic
Asset To Space Station Then Deep Space’) plan could serve as an alternative, or adjunct measure to current efforts to address the world’s financial crisis.

The plan envisions two phases, what he calls, ‘Dump & Recovery’; the initial dump stage of the plan would require loading all current toxic assets aboard the next scheduled shuttle flights and transporting them to the ISS International Space Station. From there, an international team of astronauts would then dispense the toxins into deep space.

“That would be the second step of the ‘dump’ phase,” he said, “getting rid of it. Until then, for the first phase, it could be temporarily stored in the Badlands National Park, located on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.”

That idea met with strong resistance from Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) tribal leaders. Spokesperson Donetta Hard Face Today said, “We don’t need no more toxins dumped in our environment, inna? First it was a bombing range, then a uranium dump, and now this half-baked idea. Our kids play out there,” she said. “And we don’t want no more glow-in-the-dark kids.”

Dismissing those fears, Brovic said, “They need to see the big picture. It’s only going to be temporary. Pine Ridge is best positioned to deal with this kind of thing. Of all people, The People have a long history of a nation in distress, and recovery, so that will be the second phase.”

In an emergency meeting of tribal council, Wakpamni district representative and tribal elder Emma Holier Than Thou asked, ‘What is this half-baked nonsense? Who is this guy? Is he getting paid for this?’

OST Tribal Council member, Wilber Dont Sleep At Night, said, “I know it calls for another sacrifice by our people, and there are under the table cuts in it for some of us. But we have to think of our children, for seven generations. How can we ever explain this to them?” he asked. “I can’t even make sense of it, and I’m alive, now.”

“If adopted, this plan should serve a secondary benefit in helping our nation see how grim it can get,” said BV. “People think things are grim. We live like this ALL the time.”

Although he admitted to not understanding derivatives, BV pointed out, “Who does?”

Brovic had prior advisory experience in Vietnam and the Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion. Both countries have since had communist rule. He was also involved in the Iranian hostage rescue plan during the Carter administration, which he concedes ‘some people’ see as an utter fiasco.

In defense of his checkered history, he said, “For the record, I’m not the only one to preside over what you so cavalierly call a fiasco. Look at just a few big fish we wish would just go away, Oliver North, Albert Gonzales, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney, just to name a few,” he said. “Toss in Bashir, Robert Mugabe, and Kim Jong II. Put ‘em on the first flight. You can’t call a duck a chicken when everybody else says it’s a chicken, but you can try.”

“That don’t make no sense,” said a small Indian kid, standing nearby.

If accepted by the administration, the plan will still require passage by both houses of a widely divided congress, and expected stiff opposition in the U.S. Senate. By then, analysts say the plan ‘will mostly likely not remotely resemble’ the proposal in its current form.

“Even if it takes multiple launches, it won’t cost the tax payer but a fraction of what they’ve got in the hopper now,” said BV, adding, “It’s not the first time I’ve been asked to serve my country, nor the first time they’ve asked me to help get this thing turned around.”



Monday, March 23, 2009

Haven't The Time

Haven’t The Time

Khuk Khak, Thailand – For story ideas, I usually pull material out of my head, relying on life experience, input from the net and several print copy magazines.

However, depending on the time of day and my state of mind, sometimes I’m thinking, ‘I haven’t got time for this shit right now.’ And it occurred to me that could be precisely what you think when you see another blogpost message from me in your inbox.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's All Your Fault

It’s All Your Fault

Khuk Khak, Thailand – I’ve been trying to make sense of this financial mess the whole wide world is in, except who? Canada and Turkey and a handful of other ok countries, looking up and asking, ‘What’s the problem?’

(In a poker game, they’d be standing pat while everyone else was either folding or taking cards, just paying attention).

People in the ok countries still have a job, a house, and a bank on solid footing. Tokyo, England, everywhere else, another story. I’ve concluded it’s your fault, you poor working stiff sucker.

Yes. You. If you had kept that job, you could have made the payments, easy. You WERE making the payments. But see, losing the job spawned a whole interconnected web of things into action, and now the whole business has boomeranged back around to kick you in the ass.

Lost the job, lost the payment, lost the house, lost the wife, lost the kids, lost the car and the cat, lost your self-esteem, lost your razor, toothpaste and shampoo, next you’re sleeping under a bridge with all your belongings in a shopping cart. Cardboard sign declares your state and pleads your case. Don’t say it don’t happen. How close did you come?

One night under the bridge with a few other desperados - sun came up the next morning, knocking the frost off the cardboard, and I was thinking, “I can do better than THIS shit!”

Guy at the Main Street bank said, ‘What?’

Guy at Lehman Brothers said, ‘What?’

People over at Fannie May, Freddie Mac said, ‘What?’

Royal Bank of Scotland, “Whaddaya saying, Lad?”

I’m tellin’ ye I’ve lost my job, Patty. All I’ve got is all these notes, and all these toxic assets.*

Whole house a cards come a tumblin’ down, wouldn’tchaknowit, right when your dreams were reaching maturity. All that stuff in your shopping cart.

And you were thinking all that stuff must be worth something, same thing the Chinese are thinking…I mean, how could all that cash you put into somewhere, and just all of a sudden, pftttttttt? Gone.

Manny used to say when things get too complex, that’s the time to back off and let somebody else do the thinking.

It’s hard to pinpoint who to be mad at, with the bubble house, the lazy credit, the AIGEEs, the Americans, the Wall street, the Fed, the bankers, Mr. Made Off, that Other Guy, the toxic ass, the bailout, the hedge fund, those other guys, the plan, the one-armed man, the Chinese, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, the second gunman on the grassy knoll, or all that shit in your shopping cart.

You could go out back and get mad at…at…at your lawn. You know, rrrrealllly let it out. Give it hell. Get even!

It’s all your fault.

You say all this shit happened before you lost your job? You didn’t lose your job? Well, holy smokes, that makes it even more complex.

It's still all your fault.

Ok, it’s gone. I’m over the shock, disbelief, acceptance, and grief. Now I just want to know, if it’s going to take trillions to get everything back on track, then where did all that money go?

The guy was looking around, in his desk, under his desk, all over, then he tells the other guy, “I don’t know. It was just here. It was here yesterday. It was just here a minute ago. Now it’s gone.”


*you know what ‘asset’ stands for, don’t you?


Saturday, March 21, 2009

From The Isthmus of Kra

From The Isthmus of Kra


I hope you're doing well, and managing through the winter.


--- On Fri, 2/27/09wrote:

Subject: Re:
To: "victor glover"
Date: Friday, February 27, 200
9, 6:16 PM

I'm doing quite well, thanks. I decided not to turn on my heat this winter. Even with a pretty harsh (not SD harsh mind you) the apartment has stayed rather warm. How are you doing?

Sent from my iPhone

From: victor glover
Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2009 1:43:01 PM
Subject: Re:
On Feb 27, 2009, at 11:45 AM, victor glover wrote:

Not turning on the heat this winter? Me, either. Where to you live??? I'm doing pretty well. Sent you stuff from Luang Prabang and Vientiane, a half a book's worth. Now back in south of Thailand, trying to decide whether to buy a bike for these last three months here.

Swimming often. Yoga, too. Thanks for asking. How about you?


Subject: Re:
To: "victor glover"
Date: Saturday, February 28, 2009, 6:46 PM
Hi Vic,

Do you even have heat to turn on in the winter there? It has been getting cold here. We’ve had lots of snow…more scheduled for tomorrow morning (just flurries), but then Monday morning looks like 10 inches. Last winter was really mild…I should have had it off all winter last year. But I’m rather a weennie when it comes to cold, so I had it on. The apartment, however, is wonderfully insulated and I have neighbors on four sides who tend to keep the heat up…like my Dad did. The lowest the temperature has dropped inside is 66°…it’s been down to 0° outside.

Your book is coming along. Sweet, touching, and sometimes raw…good stuff. Nice surprises too. Do you think your former publisher will publish this as well? Was the picture you found in the temple really close enough to be you? Or was this a bit of day dreaming?

I have been really busy lately, so I don’t get to read every installment. Sometimes I will read two or three at a time.

Sometimes I really miss swimming. I don’t like to swim in a pool though, so I shy away from doing that. The beaches around here are shallow and cold, so I don’t go in there either. Maybe I’m just getting old. I’ve been getting back to the yoga more lately…after I realized the flexibility was going. It sucks getting old. Also 20-30 minute walks a couple of times a week. Probably doing nothing but assuaging my conscience.

Sent from my iPhone



(this was the 'lost' piece, that got blipped over into the drafts folder when the machine blipped off. Yes, some of it is repetitive, but as you can see, much of the second draft content and creativity was lost to memory blip and frustration. However, this is what I meant to say, if I would have meant to say it.).

I swam one kilometer today in the Andaman Sea, just off the Isthmus of Kra.


Ever notice how people with a life never write back during the weekends? It's when they return to work on Monday that you hear back from them. Uhhh...I'm not saying you don't have a life. Maybe it's just me with all this time on my hands.

There is no home heating here, but for the sun and the jungle. No hot water heaters, either. A shower at 2 p.m. is so hot you can't stand it. Shower four or five times a day, easy. Once in the morning, again at 11 a.m., again at 2 p.m., again before dinner, and once more at bedtime. Otherwise you feel sticky.

Come out of the shower, shake a bit, and drip dry. Put your clothes right on wet body, or stand naked in front of the fan for that air conditioned feeling.

That's what it's like here on the Isthmus of Kra. And I just LOVE saying that. I'm going to use it as much as possible, whenever fitting.

You said; 'Your book is coming along. Sweet, touching, and sometimes raw…good stuff. Nice surprises too.'

Could you elaborate on this, please? Not much, but I'd like to know if I'm connecting with the reader where I should be. What surprised you? Thanks for your interest, and furthermore, since you're the fourth smartest person I know, maybe third, I value your perspective.

Ok. Third.

Swimming, smiling, yoga sporadically, really really trying to dissolve motorbike knots. UNnnnbelievable. Tension storage, or terminus, in the shoulders. Five Thai massages, and one of them sort of had the idea. For the others, just a routine customer, a story idea.

Who are the first two? You wouldn’t know them. Well, there’s three. You’re the fourth, the fourth smartest. It's a toss-up for third, because this person does some pretty stupid stuff from time to time.

Yes, the picture in the temple was indeed me. Without a doubt. Shocking. Arresting, time bending, mind bending...like, 60 years ago I was imprinted to visit a remote, jungle-covered and abandoned temple in northern Laos to see the illustration on that column, and make sense of the four relief images.

And we wondered when we were kids why grandma and grandpa always had their heat turned all the way up to 'stuffy'. I don't like cold, either. That's why a decade ago I sought to make a winter home here. I feel blessed, although sometimes feel terribly lonely, and desirous of American friends and their company. The kids, too, of course.

Writing a book was never an objective for Keeping Heart, nor the writing I produce now. Sure, the material is there, the volume. Finding a...like Manny said, you've got to have the right promotion. I never intended publication, but rather, communication. The publisher found me, thus eliminating a major step for first time, unknown authors.

I think if I think about it, and desire it, it will fall into my lap, just like anything else.

But yeah, I'd like to see a second book, another check, and maybe a major motion picture. I seeee...a sailboat.

I'm glad you're walking. Could you relate to the 'Walking' essays from Vientiane and Luang Praba



Friday, March 20, 2009

All Those Things We Wanted

All Those Things We Wanted

We wanted it all.

We wanted tv with more than three stations, color, and public access and no snow in the picture. Big screen. We wanted racial equality and peace in Vietnam, a lunar lander, and to see what acid tasted like.

We wanted to know what lingo a porpoise talks, the answer to the 64,000 Dollar Question, the lyrics to ‘Louie Louie’, what a quark is, the backside of the moon, and how long it takes a sunspot to register in bacteria in a laboratory petri dish.*

We wanted super size, better gas mileage and a better game than Pong.

We wanted to get rid of pesticides, public smoking, old stereotypes, old thinking, old cars, all those wires behind our electronic equipment, loads of old possessions in June garage sales, and some of those things we thought we wanted earlier, but didn’t want, after all.

Along the way, we shed bell-bottoms, false beliefs, phony friends, a few pounds, long hair, masks, karmic debt, relationships, and our third skin. Some made new relationships, new masks, new debt, new skin.

Don’t we know who we USED to be?

We became. We were always becoming, a work-in-progress. We became teachers. We came gluttonous, we became free, we became unruly, we became abrasive, we became criminal, we became the guy down the street’s notion of who we might have been, we became larger than a dream.

We became respectable. We became someBODY. We became that which we feared, resented, longed for, resigned to, ran from, saw in others.

We wanted that handheld device that delivered what it promised but compromised our creative thinking. Who, What box did we need to think outside of? We wanted every thing that got us here.

How did you get here?

‘You mean, here, to your house…or here, to this point in time…or here, like, earth?’

*you might be thinking, ‘Eight minutes’, right?...the time for light to travel the 93 million miles from our sun to here, us. No. Instantaneously.


Addictive Personality

Addictive Personality

Guy told me I had an ‘addictive personality’.

"The reason you always tossing shit into your mouth, is because you've got an addictive personality," he said.

“Addictive personality? What’s that? Like, ‘charisma’?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “That’s ‘magnetic personality'. You got addictive personality, the kind where you lean toward all kinds of addictions. What can you not live without?” he asked. "What do you just gotta have?"

Made me think. Air. Water. Food. Place to stay. People to talk to. Art. Told him that.

No, he said. He said he was talking about cigarettes, and coffee, and booze, and women, and drugs, and coffee, and red meat, and coke and Pepsi, and Coffee, and tv, and computers, and video games, and certain wines, and things like that, and as he named them off, I was thinking, tick-tock, tick-tock, ‘yeaaaaaaah…’

“Do you mean,” I asked, “like, the first time I ever tried fry bread, I looked up and asked, ‘You can get me more of this, can’t you?’”

“Yes,” he said. “That’s what I’m talking about.”



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Holy Shit, Fritz


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Am I the only one who has questions about this Fritzl guy in Austria who kept his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered her seven children, and kept everything a secret until….?

Ok. You’ve heard about it, right? A story so bizarre, it caught the world’s attention. The Associated Press story provided one sentence explaining Fritzl’s wife Rosemarie thinking three of the children ‘brought upstairs’ had ‘apparently believed they had been abandoned.’

The kids are now all grown, the daughter, the principle witness for the prosecution, is 42.

The story was riveting, but geeez, they left some major gaps.

Do you have any questions about this story, or do you care what sick twisted shit happens in Austria? I don’t either, but I’ve got a couple of questions.

1. What was going on with Mrs. Fritzl that she was clueless for 24 years? Did she ever ask, ‘Josef, why…?

2. Who was doing all the cooking, for instance? And where was all that food going?

I’m going to cut it off at four questions. Oh, but there’d be a lot of questions. Somebody’s already on the book, and the movie, no doubt. No. Wait. I’ve got another one. Who did the deliveries?


My God.

I mean, the wife has GOT TO BE an accomplice, or completely 100% daft, too.
Whole family is locked away, again. None of ‘em are on the loose.


Multi-tasking At The Wheel

Multi-Tasking At The Wheel

KHUK KHAK, Thailand – You might be thinking this is probably some story about being run off the road on your motorbike, into the jungle, by some half-alert, semi-conscious Thai driver, cruising leisurely along ten mph under the speed limit, attuned only to his cell phone conversation, never looking into the rear-view mirror, drifting, drifting, drifting over into the bike lane as a passing attempt is made, and off you go into the jungle.

You may know of some early returns on multi-tasking research. If you’re doing more than one thing at a time, your capacity to produce top performance efficiency in each of those efforts is diminished. In other words, half-assed.

Does that mean you can’t read a magazine and have a smoke while on the toilet? I don’t know for sure. Can a person intake, digest, and eliminate all at the same time? It’s different than peyote, and also unlike feverish illness or drug-induced state when you puke and eliminate at the same time.

‘Had it comin’ out both ends,’ we would tell someone close, indicating the severity of our discomfort and approach to death. Sure, that’s multi-tasking, technically speaking. It’s your body’s way of…multi-tasking, while you’re doing something else.

And all the time you’ve got to keep that heart going and monitor things like blood sugar level and potassium and brain chemistry and respiration and blood pressure and that mosquito on the back of your upper arm and the cars backed up on the exit ramp and your speed and the radio, glance at the mirror and take note of whatever else is bouncing around in your head.

Now, that’s multi-tasking. We do it all the time, and yet, people talk about it like it was something special; “IIIIIIIIIIIII can do many things at once…half-assed.”

It’s a skill, like coming home and running into the house, tossing the keys on the couch, unloading whatever it was in your hands, answering the call, going to the fridge, let the cat out, shower, change, grab your gear, head out the door, take a few steps, turn around, go back for your water, leave the house, go back in and hunt for the keys.

Ever do anything remotely like that?

Ever go from the car, back to the house, three times?

Study said you start forgetting shit at 27. From there on, it’s downhill, even if you’re doing the mental gymnastics.

Yeah, you peak out at 27, study said.


Well, I can do ONE thing at a time, half-assed, really good. So, there.


Big Fight In Newsroom

Big Fight In Newsroom

BENTON, MO - Oh shit, you guys should’ve been here. BIGGGG fucking fight in the newsroom. Between a reporter and the copy editor. You could hear them way outside. Everything came to a standstill.

The editor ran two stories with two inaccurate leads, technically. The reporter stuck to her guns, the one who covered that satellite coming down and striking the cat, screaming at the editor, “HIS FUCKING NAME WAS SNIFFLES!”

The editor, who always has the final say, no matter what, ran the first story as, ‘Sniffle Memorial on Monday’ 9.03.09, with the obituaries, which irritated the hell out of the repor…can I say her name?...Marianne, who thought it should have run as local news.

Then, on 14.03.09 he ran a follow-up story as, ‘Hensley Home Closed Following Sniffle Hit’, which REALLY pissed her off, because she wasn’t completed settled from the first time, and she let everyone know.

“First you chop the hell out of my Sniffles hit story, ran it as an obituary, and now this misleading title, twice.”

“Did you just say Sniffle shit?” asked the editor.

She was spouting about journalistic integrity, and the editor, can I say his name?...the editor, crusty old cynical bastard that he is, said it didn’t sound right. “Read it both ways,” he said. “With the ‘S’, and without it. I’ve been doing headlines a long time, Sweetheart, and I’m telling you what works and what doesn’t.”


Glover responded with, “And I’m Sergeant Fucking Preston, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Fucking Police. Take a hike, Sniffles.”

Awwww shit, why’d he say that? I mean, he could have said practically anything else, but they’d been working together long enough for him to know just how to get under her skin. She didn’t even know who Sergeant Preston was.

Well, one thing led to another, and before you knew, the authorities were called in. Yeah. No shit. They had to break it up. Someone downstairs dialed up 911 and said a murder was about to take place. Six cops showed up. They had the call on tape. All the calls are on tape.

No. Nothing changed. Vic sent her back out to talk to Mrs. Hensley…she’s in a nursing home now…and down to the animal shelter to investigate the killing of those 117 cats. Lethal injection. They used to just bash their heads in, saying it saved time, until people got wind of it. Animal rights people are in a hysteria about not trying to find them homes. Off’d ‘em right after they caught ‘em.

They cremate. Then the remains go to the community garden. People over there said they’d take all the ashes for their tomato plants.



Monday, March 16, 2009

Your Inner Voice


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Like, just the other day, this lizard that stays out here, not the Gecko, the Gecko’s that little shit. No, not an Iguana…that other one. This one’s about the size of a freight train locomotive, relatively speaking. Ask Blanco. Blanco knows. Blanco saw him. Took a picture of him, saying, ‘Take a look at the SIZE of this thing.’

Japanese made a bunch of movies with ‘em. A Kimodo dragon.

Stays up under the eaves and behind the door. First time I saw him, I thought, ‘Awwwwwwwwww, shit. I’ve got THIS THING livin’ close by?’ But he’s cool, lives off smaller things, not humans, and he sounds off every night, sometimes two three times.

He’s got to hit that, ‘Geck-o’ sound at least nine times for it to be good luck, otherwise, eight or less, keep a heads up for that big black scorpion that’s going to be crawling along your bathroom floor tomorrow morning.

That’s different from your inner voice. This was more like a warning from the outside, that lizard. An omen. An omen about the scorpion.

Your inner voice is where if you don’t listen to it, you mess up. It’s inevitable.

Mine comes across as a voice inside my head, like a ticker tape, always running, and occasionally punching out a message, chunga chunga chunga chunga chunga, wham wham wham, like last year when I was digging in that compost pile, and this voice come across, saying, ‘You better be careful digging around in there, Nigga.’

Now, that has to be granddad’s voice, who’d be talking to me like that. It’s not my voice, nor God’s or anybody else’s that I recognize. Growing up, it was like a second name, a nickname. Sisters had the same nickname at home.*

And sure enough, one more coconut shell scoop and there’s a fucking snake. Working his way deeper into the pile. Someone said, “It’s a cobra!” and we proceeded to uncover it and hack it to death. Me and those two Thai guys, and Stan. And wouldn’t ya know it, there’s a nest.

Little tiny-ass baby cobra, looks like a worm, no, it’s the same color momma, same style as momma, turning, frowning, coiling, little shit trying to make a strike before we hacked it to death, too. Never seen anything like it.

Anyway, whew!

That was an instance where JUST before I dug into the pile with the coconut, that inner voice popped up. Let me think of another one.

Easy. The ‘Nam. On the way out to the helicopter for an urgent, hot mission, I didn’t have a feeling, it came through as a thought, a voice, a voice that said, “You gonna get hit on this mission, Nigga.”

I told the crew chief, “I’m gonna get hit on this mission.”

He said, “You’re crazy. Get in.”

That’s inner voice. That’s different than the ‘Sub-Mind’ the old folks used to talk about, as in, “I ain’t got him on my sub-mind.”

Sub-mind is different than inner voice.

Heyyyyyy. That lizard sounded off just now. No shit. Just now. Thirteen times. I like the way he winds it up with a chuckle. I cannot find him. He won’t show.

Inner voice, inner voice. Back to the topic.

You know, that would happen in the classroom, too…go off on a fucking tangent, and loop way the hell back around and overshoot the runway, depend on the students to remind me where was I, where were we?

This inner voice business can happen anywhere, any time. Like in a bar, when you look over and see…trouble. With a capital ‘T’. That’s what it is. That’s what it always is. Man, Woman, Biker, don’t matter. You’re right to listen to that inner voice that says, ‘Pay your tab. Go home.’

But what the hell, after three, four, five drinks, heyyyyyy, she can’t be THAT much of a problem.

Later, you’ll be saying, “I shoulda listened to my inner voice.”

You talk about a ‘chance encounter’ that turns out to be a house, two kids, and a ten-year marriage, maybe in a trailer court and out to the track on weekends. No telling where that road might go. ‘Tell me, John Deal. How did you two meet?’

“Zinnabar, wudnit, Honey?”

“Whatzat, John Deal?”

“Guy here wunza know where we met.”


Maybe a prison stretch.

Well, that’s that inner voice talking to you, Shit-For-Brains, and you TOTALLY ignored it.

It’s like when your parents, your grandparents, the troop leader, the coach, the teacher, your sister, the principal, the cop, the lawyer, the judge, the probation officer, the supervisor, were all trying to tell you something, and you knew more than they did.

You were the guy in the huddle who always knew what play we should run, last seconds clicking off the clock, and the quarterback looked over at you and said, “SHUTTHEFUCKUP!”

I’m not talking to you, the reader, follow? I’m talking about the dumbfuck in the trailer court who did the prison stretch, the guy who never once listened to his inner voice.

‘Hey guys. Let’s drink a couple quarts of whiskey and go get some tattoos!’

Inner voice was in the ‘off’ mode. Inoperable. Will be back on line…soon. Our tech team is working on it.

You know what I’m saying about inner voice, right? Everybody has got one. Some call it a conscience, but that’s not it. A conscience is what you get AFTER you’ve done some shit. A shrink might call it a superego, but that misses the boat, too. Don’t it?

No. Your inner voice is more like your grandpa. More like you saying, “Hey, watch this!” and your inner voice is saying, “Ah ah ah. IwouldntdothatifIwasyou.’


*most often we heard the less personalized, ‘You Niggas,’ appertaining to the siblings as a collective. Then one day at Hannah Park, while on the…uh…what the fuck do you call it?...dangerous as hell for a kid…carnival merry go round big iron piece of clanging shit that hung on chains around a big cast iron pipe…somebody tell me...it had thick wooden seats and you could sit on it or stand on it…what the fuck did they call that thing?...it could swing back and knock your teeth out, give you a concussion.

You had to run up on the shit and jump onboard when it swung forward against the pole, and the big kids would pump it and get it going and slam it around, and you could mash the helllll out of your fingers if you didn’t listen to your inner voice that said, ‘Wait. Wait until the big kids get off it.’

Anyway, my sisters and I were riding…they had alllllll kinds of dangerous shit in that park, come to think of it. I got my left ear severed over there and ran home in a bloody scream, that alerted all the neighbors, chased by my screaming sisters, and got it stitched back on. That was Harold Hensley on the swingset.

Inner voice said, ‘HEY! WATCH OUT!’ a micro-second before I got hit.

Where the…

We were on the…not a maypole…that was ANOTHER dangerous iron piece of shit.

My sisters and I were riding this…playground TOY…and there were four or five REALLY BLACK kids from somewhere, summer park, maybe our cousins, can’t remember, but they was calling each other ‘Nigga’ in front of WHITE PEOPLE!

We ran home and told our parents. They explained the reason those kids used ‘Nigga’ outside the home, was because they was niggas.

I never quite understood fully at the time, and the social complexity surrounding the term didn’t become clearly evident until much later.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hensley Home Closed Following Sniffle Hit


Benton, MO - Authorities here closed the home of Mrs. Esther Hensley after investigating the recent satellite strike of one of her cats, Sniffles. Investigators at the scene, upon entry into the Hensley home, discovered 117 cats the widow had been keeping as pets.

"It was bizarre, only thing I can say," said chief detective Richard Troutman. "She had cat skin lampshades, cat skin couch covers, cat skin whattayacallem...beer holders..you name it."

Mrs. Hensley, who was living alone since her husband's death three years ago in the widely publicized 'Mormon Hot Air Balloon Mishap' while tending his birdfeeder, was taken for local in-treatment psychiatric evaluation and arrangementsplaced in assisted-living conditions by complex out-of-state relatives.

As she was being taken away, Mrs. Hensley said, "But I don't want to leave here. This is my home. They wouldn't go away, so I fed them, the same as the reporters."

Ever since Bell Labs Spybird GY China 118 crashed into the Hensley back yard, striking and burying Sniffles, the Hensley residence has been in continual upheaval.

The scene was the focus of local police, firemen, and reporters, then government and NASA officials, then national media, scientists, and academics, then finally, local social services agency representatives.

A neighbor, Mrs. Eldon Thurman, said, "There's been a commotion over there before. First the balloon thing, and now this. Eldon was out fixing the electronic fence and saw it hit. Cat never had a chance, he said."

A scientist involved in the project, who spoke upon the condition of anonymity, said the satellite 'should have mostly burned up upon re-entry, and should never have come close to striking this hemisphere, or this unfortunate cat.'

Officials at the Office of Space Reconnaissance said, 'We cannot comment on the sensitive mission of Spybird GY China 118 or the incident, except to say it marked the occurrence of a re-entry package.'

Mrs. Hensley's cats were secured by several personnel and volunteers of the local animal shelter after ten hours of chase the county had never before witnessed, where the cats were later euthanized for their own welfare.

Officials cordoned off the Hensley and adjacent homes during the removal of the 7-ton satellite. When lifted from the hole with the flattened Sniffles atop the payload, NASA officals asked, "How did that cat survive re-entry?"


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Man Up

Man Up

Khuk Khak, Thailand – Well, if you did the shit, then MAN UP to the shit. That’s what the guy said, and I’ve thought it myself on occasion.

It occurred to me as I was out there in the garden, unearthing some enormous slug larvae, bigger than your thumb, destined to become one of those huge beautiful Thai butterflies had it not been for my intervention in their gestation, deep down in the year-old compost pile, being right where they needed to be, semi-dry, moldy, humid, doing what they do.

‘I just fucked them up,’ I thought, watching them squirm in the sunlight.

I could give you some particulars. Already have. ‘Genuine Fuck Up’. That’s what they used to say. Many times in employment situations, I heard statements beginning with, ‘ How in…the…HELL does somebody…?’

I’d be cringing, looking down at the floor, feeling small, sweating, heart racing, slope-shouldered, stooped. I had it coming. You know I did.

Like the tow truck stint and that lady’s transmission. And the bridge incident with the telescoping micro-wave antenna on the mobile unit. And the circus fire back in the ‘60s. And that ATM thing just here a few months back. That’s small potatoes, man, small potatoes. Ha.

Ok, give you an example; I don’t know if you heard about the O-rings. Yeah, THOSE O-rings. You might have read about it, or seen it on the news. They ended up calling the thing ‘The Shuttle Disaster’ on the local news, like it was some kind of biiiiig deal.

External fuel tank, they said. Well? What’s that prove?

And then there was that piece of Styrofoam, and two strikes and you’re out, with those guys.

The Styrofoam. Yeah. That piece that came off during launch and knocked off the tiles. Burned up on re-entry.

Suuure. There were a LOT of questions. Me, too. Like, ‘How in the hell does a piece of Styrofoam…? Are we talking the same thing here? Styrofoam, right? The shit around a tv set when it comes from the plant. Same shit. Ok, how does this shit knock off a tile? You tell me. A lot of finger-pointing going on.

And, what about the glue those guys was using on the tiles, huh? I saw some shit on tv that’s 100%, can pull a locomotive. Why don’t they get some of that?...instead of some kind of bullshit glue at $15,000 a tube that can’t stand a Styrofoam hit. C’mon, now.

As you can see, and that’s just two questions, it wasn’t just ONE person’s fault. But what the hell, you take your licks in life, move on, as they say, and go on to the next job.

Well, I didn’t mean to go off like that, but, you know, there’s always two sides to every story, and sometimes more.

But I can man up. I accept the responsibility for the shit that was my responsibility…mr. O-ring man.

The Chicago gas pipe explosion. That was a good one.

Too long a story, but I can man up to it. I wasn’t the guy on the backhoe, but I was supposed to be telling him where to dig.

And then there was that thing in Vietnam, where uh…do you want to hear this?

Ok. Tet of ’68. Big deal for the embassy there. I failed to pass along an important memo, long story short. Forest Gump kind of a thing.

What do I mean? What I mean is, you know, fate. Stuff goes into one pile, other stuff goes into another pile…the shit that can wait.

Like email replies an’ shit. Some of the shit can wait a day, two, three, maybe a couple weeks, and most certainly until tomorrow morning.

“THIS SHIT CAN’T WAIT!” they kept screaming, like the whole fucking communist offensive was my fucking fault.

But I can man up to the shit. Huh? No. I wasn’t working for the embassy, but I was working for the government…for the country. I was there to help ‘em get that thing turned around. It’s kind of a sore spot because of all the accusations over the years.

And then there w…huh? Working for the government? Yes. I was in the army.

Yeah. After that they made me a heliclopter medic and sent me up north.

Copter. That’s what I said. ‘Helicopter’. That’ what I said.

Anyway, you told me to go on. But I didn’t want to take this story to Vietnam.

Then there was that time, a short stint, with bridge inspection and the ferry…man, I tell you what, I’ve been blamed for a lot of shit. I can man up to that shit. It was my fault, ok? It was my…fucking…fault.

Ok? Ok? They already reamed my ass for it. Can we move on?

There was stuff that went under the radar that later, when it surfaced, like Daschle just lately, caused immediate termination. It wasn’t falsified evidence, because at the time, it wasn’t evidence. So how could it be falsified? Besides that, it was never submitted. So, there. Big fucking legal headache.

There’s all kind of shit, my friend. Alllllll kind of shit. I was the guy ‘behind’, but more accurately, ‘before’ a lot of shit came down, that you only hear about on ‘the Rest of the Story.’

You know something? This shit was all coincidental when you look back on it, like, shit happened at a critical point where if you’d done one thing and not something else, it wouldn’t have happened. Zigged when you should have zagged. Know what I mean?

Went to sleep instead of watching the monitors, signed off instead of really inspecting the shit, went to 7/11 instead of monitoring the valves, tossed it into this stack instead of that one. Simple shit. Simple every day shit.

Give you one more example, then I’m gonna cut this shit off. Member the time when that sub went down and they never discovered the cause, nukes on board? And that oil rig fire? Make that two.

You know, like ancestral memories, one leads me to another.

They wanted me to do time for that shit, not just another ass-reaming. Cost the company billions. Major setbacks. After asking me if I knew what I was, the guy spelled out, ‘Genuine Fuck Up’, that time, in a Texas accent, which makes it stand out.



Up For Promotion


Khuk Khak, Thailand – Are you up for a promotion? How can you say anything but ‘Yes, and, No’?

Manny used to talk a lot about promotion. “To go anywhere, you’ve got to have the right promotion,” he used to say. You gotta have the right kind of promotion, and you’ve gotta have the right kind of discipline.

You need a good manager, a good trainer, and good promotion. You can be good, but without promotion, nobody knows your name. You won’t get any venues.

Or you can be not so good, average, but really out there, insofar as promotion goes. Household name. Everybody knows you. Everybody knows you’re a loser. There are a lot of half-assed, no-talent, no-skill, no-idea wannabes across a broad variety of professions where a person can make it entirely on promotion. Remember the Monkeys?

Can sing, can’t dance, can’t play their instrument, can’t legislate, can’t calculate, can’t account, can’t do squat, but they ran away with the awards, the T shirt sales, and your retirement account.

A person could always promote themselves, rather than turn it over to a pro. Like Ali, who was a pro, however, both in the ring, and at self-promotion. Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson tried it in the pulpit and political arena, but were heavier on style than substance, and some contemporary radio personalities have cashed in on tooting their own horn behind some kind of divisive, hateful, bottom-of-the trough bombast, charading as insightful political analysis.*

But you can’t say they haven’t been successful at promotion.

That’s from the Do-It-Yourself Home Self-promotion Kit which wouldn’t work for most any aspiring egomaniac, who would, along with you and me, be best advised to turn it over to a professional.

That is if you actually want the promotion, a public recognition beyond the ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ T-shirt,** or something as mundane as bragging around the barbeque about the potency of your rose garden.

Most of us could relish the spotlight of a rock star, at least for a little while, maybe longer, or wave foolishly in the background of a post-game television interview, sating an inexplicable desire to have ourselves ‘out there’ for public consumption, akin to Joe the Plumber, your public persona, or something like that.

Few would shun the spotlight or camera. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…(Your Name Here)…Person Of The Year!”, except when the press boomerangs or you’ve committed some sort of heinous deed, and you ask, ‘Why’d they have to run my picture with that shit…on the front page?’

And your friends say, ‘ Hey, Bro. I saw you on the news the other night when they were transferring you. You have to wear those leg chains in the courtroom?’

No. We don’t want that kind of promotion. That kind of exposure is what we in the business call, ‘bad press.’ You see what happened to whatzisname, the Ginger Bread Man, Genger-Bradmon. He needed an agent, a promoter, and an attorney who wasn’t asleep.

When is gets that bad, then you’ve got to hire another pro to handle damage control, so that’s why it’s good to have a press agent, a political advisor, and work from official written statements, a script, rather than spit out some kind of off-the-cuff shit that can swamp your canoe.

For instance, look at the number of public figures who should have let a pro handle their public statements instead of talking to reporters on their doorsteps in a jogging suit. Big mistake. Bad promotion. A good rule of thumb is not to talk to reporters or cameras that show up on your doorstep. Have somebody say, ‘An official statement will be issued through his attorney.’

Even if they’re there to catch your reaction to the Nobel Prize committee’s decision, or give you that check from Microsoft. Fuck ‘em. Slip it under the door. Tell them to fuck off. Tell ‘em to make a fucking appointment. Same same the king. Same same the Pope. Promote your OWN damn self interest. Just got to use the right words.

And like any words, once they’re out, they’re out, and you can’t take them back unless you have to eat them, so it’s best to not just toss ‘em around any old kind of way.

Ever think, ‘Geeeez, I wish I hadn’t said that shit.’?

Especially, to a woman, or maybe your former boss.

It’s forgivable. It’s like lying under torture, oath, or a stack of bibles. If the information is given under duress, it’s reputable value is diminished, and likely inadmissible. In other words, they shouldn’t hold your words against you.

“But you sa…”

“Never mind what I said.”

Yeah, and for instance, I’ve said many things in writing, right here in fact, that I would be shamed to read aloud before my friends the Dalai Lama, Jesus, the critical academic circle, a group of donors, and many of you. It isn’t street or locker room talk or just G.I. Joe talk between George and Vic. It’s just…isn’t that the way they talk in congress?*** Isn’t that the way they talk in the movies? I seen movies. I seen movies where they talk like that.


*what was it, cowboys and Indians through the 50s and 60s, Dr. Marcus Welby and hospital shows throughout the 70s, then cops and more cops through the 80s, 90s, up until now, live-cam cops, and now we’ve got political bullshit my-opinion-is-right scream-fests round the clock? How wonderful. Does it get any better than what it is right now?

** reminds me. I’m getting a bunch of t-shirts made up that say, ‘I’m Friends With Vic Glover On Facebook’, with my picture. Should sell a ton.

***do you think the language of those British motorcycle guys is rubbing the fuck off on me, Mate?


Monday, March 09, 2009

If I Coulda Woulda Shoulda


Khuk Khak, Thailand - Now see, in an instance like that, the title is the idea. Then somehow write a story that...sort of...weaves its way into making sense of the title.

If I had listened to Manny, I coulda...

I coulda been a speechwrit...I AM a speechwriter.* I coulda been a

traveling salesman.

All that material on shit falling from the sky? Some of you responded. Maybe it was too much, but some of the story, much of the story, in fact, was true. In-depth reporting. I just wanted to give Rick Larsen the exposure he so desperately needed, and for you to hear him refer to a spy satellite as a 'spook bird'.

Been trying to keep this writing thing going full-time, along with the stand-up act, English lessons, and landscaping, and just last week, the first two patients in two years requiring the assistance of the emergency roadside medical outpatient service.

They got clipped by a truck, two guys on a motorbike, one guy kissed the pavement, the other got banged up. All those people standing around, nobody had a bottle of water, a towel, or a t-shirt.

Back's not broken, neck's not broken, first thing, get 'em to the side of the road, right? No. First thing, stop the fucking traffic. Move 'em, stop the bleeding. Now, some of you may say, don't move 'em, and yesssss, generally, yeah, don't move 'em...go get a stretcher board. But in this case, it was a spontaneous on-the-spot call.

Anyway, those guys, dazed and bleeding, seemed appreciative of the care, while a crowd of about fifty JUST STOOD THERE.

Now, think for a minute, if that was you laying there in the road, which would you prefer; looking up at a cluster of people watching you bleed to death? Orrrrrr, having someone rush up with the apparent intention of coming to your aid, kneel down and compassionately tell you you're bleeding to death?

BIGGGGG difference, right?

Yeah, well anyway, I got asked to serve in the capacity of a priest, not by those two guys, but someone else, and I thought, 'What?', and this person wanted advice and to make a confession, and since they asked, I said, 'You want me to do whaat?'

So, there's another first-in-life experiences, asked to be a priest. Cool, huh?

So when I return to S. Dakota, or people ask, which of course, I will be itching for them to do, I can tell them I was a priest. About three maybe four minutes, five tops, I was a priest.

Job interview, resume'; 'I worked as a priest once.'

I can tell Father Paul this summer! Oh Christ, that will SURELY bait the old man. I can take off with that, bullshit and be vague, and just tease the hell out of him. I can see his eyes, now, behind those thick, hazy lenses.

Father Paul is one of our oldest dancers, hunka brother to Beatrice Weasel Bear, our matriarch, to keep it short.

Well ok. Hunka (Hoon-kah) is taking a person ceremonially and publicly as your relative, to keep it short.

I coulda been a priest, but I got in with the 'bad crowd' and didn't listen to Manny.

Ok, so let's talk about you for awhile. You do that life timeline? Don't lie. Not yet? Ok. It's worthwhile, at least for me it was, and I did it only after suggesting it to you. It's interesting to look at when you lay it out, the peaks and valleys, the significant people in your life. Go head, Diane. Do it.

I see many of you have loads of friends on Facebook. That's cool. What I noticed after connecting with people I haven't heard from for a long time, is there is a reason you haven't heard from them.

Things kind of drift back to...what would you call it?...homeostasis.

'Well...drop by if you're ever in the area.'

Apart from all that, just writing to try to strike a chord or nerve or funnybone with you, or connect with you on some kind of topic to get you to respond or let me know you're out there on the other end of what otherwise is a one-way conversation. Sometimes I'm talking to the walls, sometimes I'm talking to you.


*I wrote Uncle Joe's speech. And I helped bro Tom with some bold talking points...and no, it wasn't a disaster. I don't know what you heard. It was a convincing argument, a convincing case. The PEOPLE just weren't ready for it yet, a timing thing. I don't know what you heard. It didn't make us look bad. I thought it was good.

But when he finished, all them Indians were just sitting there, looking HARD, evaluative, like, 'Did I just hear what I just heard?'

ps - Oh, yes. Sorry about your names in the 'to:' field, as opposed to bcc, as some of you may prefer. What can I say? Slipped.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sniffle Memorial on Monday


Branston, MO - Memorial services will be held on Monday, March 9 for Sniffles, cat of seventeen years of Mrs. Esther Hensley. A reception will follow at the Hensley home.

Sniffles, a grey Persian, was recently struck and buried by a very large shiny object falling from the sky, according to 911 transcripts and sheriff's reports. Officials from NASA who commented on the condition of anonymity said the incident was a 'regrettable' instance of 'a package reaching a terminal state of orbital decay.'

Friends are asked to bring cat food in lieu of flowers.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Alarm Raised Over Shit Falling From Space


WASHINGTON - Rick Larsen, President of Shit Falling From Space Survivors, is launching a global effort aimed at creating public awareness of the dangers of shit falling from space, and pressure governments around the world to create early-warning systems to avoid being struck by shit falling from space.

“People always think this is the kind of thing that always happens to somebody else,” said Larsen. "That's what I thought. I mean, who's walking around thinking they need to watch out for something falling out of the sky?"

Larsen spoke at a recent press conference coinciding with the re-entry of a very large disabled U.S. spy satellite. "I'm not going to sugar-coat it. With more and more shit raining down, the liklihood of hits increases, and more and more people are going to get hit with shit falling from space,” he said.

Larsen’s home near Phoenix, AZ, was demolished by a communications satellite, QR1707, when it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in 2002. Scientists predicted the satellite would burn up, and any possible debris would splash into the remote Pacific. From data collected in 1997 by Goddard Space Flight Center, there are approximately 170,000 known satellites in earth orbit for various defense, commercial, and scientific purposes.

The QR1707 strike, otherwise known as the Larsen Strike, received widespread publicity, for the event was recorded on U Tube by Larsen's wife, who was online and broadcasting from her kitchen table when the satellite destroyed the home.

“They don’t publicize the hits,” said Larsen. “They always say the shit is going to burn up on re-entry. Who ever heard of Mackelry’s house in Australia getting smacked by Skylab, or that village in the Bass Islands in French Polynesia, or that lady in China who got hit with a whole 72-ton Pakistani piece of shit from space?”

“This shit is de-orbiting all the fucking time, man,” said Larsen. “What do they say?...’What goes up must come down’? Ever wonder who’s keeping track of all that shit? asked Larsen with a disturbing cackle. "There's the shit we know is there, and there's the shit we don't know is there, and then there's the shit WE KNOW we don't know, is there."

“Do you know where Mir hit, the soviet space observatory, remember? asked Larsen. Western Sahara. You'd think with all that sand, they could hit a million dunes, but space shit shrapnel took out a half a Taureg caravan. They talk about a 'debris field footprint'. Now, how real is that? asked Larsen.”

SFFSS, whose membership has grown to the thousands, is comprised of people who have lost family members, pets, or homes by being at the impact point of falling shit from space. Everything from people, cats, dogs, and farm animals have been victims of shit falling from space.

Recently, a cow on a dairy farm in Wisconsin was struck and buried by an intact communications satellite the size of a Volkswagon bus. In Missouri, Esther Hensley's cat, sniffles, was struck by a 7-ton stainless steel fuel tank.

“They can’t say, ‘HEY, LOOKOUT!’, or anything,” said Larsen. “Because they can’t say yet, like tornadoes, it’s still a developing science, predicting the impact point of a piece of shit falling from space. They have a big pin map at NASA with on-going games of chance revolving around all this shit falling from space.”

There are many variables involved in impact prediction, including the weight and mass of the machine, it’s velocity, the angle of re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, and the Earth’s rotation, a nerd’s mathematical delight. Scientists track satellites descent from orbit, but precisely where on Earth they impact cannot be determined. Some theologians also toss God into the equation, saying He has His hand in it.

The Chinese recently destroyed one of their disabled spy satellites with a long-range missile, proving that it can be done, but causing more problems than it solved by creating a debris field in space, flying at 17,000 mph. The incident also created an immediate uproar in the international space community.

“Why does it take four officials from the same agency, in this case, the National Reconnaissance Office, to tell you the mission of this one that is coming down, L-21, is classified?” asked Larsen.

“That name, ‘Recon Office,’ tells you it’s a spook bird, right?" said Larsen. "Everybody who knows anything speaks only on the condition of anonymity. They won't tell you how big it is. Go ahead. Try to find out what is going on up there.”

Larsen is convinced that it is only a matter of time before a major space-related incident occurs on Earth. The re-entry of L-21 is the second space mishap in two weeks. Recently a U.S. satellite collided with a disabled Russian satellite, and fragments of a satellite launched by India returned to Earth in the form of a metal shower on inhabitants of San Cristobal in the Solomon Islands.

Scientists, who readily acknowledge the hazardous materials onboard some spacecraft, insist the probability is very small for such an event today, but declined to comment on the future, except to say, 'Shit from space happens.'

NASA officials downplayed the concern, saying, "I wouldn't listen to the ax-grinding fear-mongers. There's a lot of water out there, a LOT of water out there, and yes, we've recorded a relative handful of hits out of thousands of re-entries, but the likelihood of corruption of immediate impact environment and a few bonks on the head would be something to be expected in the course of the history of the program."

"As for the people who get hit," continued the official, "I look at it as God's way of getting their attention."



Friday, March 06, 2009

Shit Falling From Space Survivors Hold D.C. Rally


(elements of this story have been manipulated and/or fabricated)

U.S. downplays threat from falling satellite
Spacecraft would likely break up, but it will be monitored, officials say

U.S. loses control of spy satelliteJan. 28: A U.S. intelligence agency loses control of a spy satellite after it loses power. NBC's Tom Costello has the details.
Today show

WASHINGTON - A disabled U.S. spy satellite is likely to break into smaller pieces when it falls to Earth within days, U.S. government officials said Monday.

Most debris that survives the intense heat of re-entry would likely fall into the oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet, White House National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. But he said the U.S. government was monitoring the satellite’s descent from orbit and examining different options to “mitigate any damage.”

"What the hell does that mean?" asked SFFSS President Rick Larsen at a recent rally in Washington. "Why are they trying to sugar-coat it and keep the public in the dark regarding the dangers of a worst-case scenario?"

The U.S. military could potentially use a missile to destroy the satellite in space, but one senior U.S. defense official told Reuters that was unlikely for several reasons, including concern about creating space debris, as China did when it shot down one of its satellites last year.

“Given that 75 percent of the Earth is covered in water and much of the land is uninhabited, the likely percentage of this satellite or any debris falling into a populated area is about one in four,” Johndroe said. "And since that represents 25%, and since we are three-fourths water, that's how we came by that figure."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said "more than 17,000 human-made objects have re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the past 50 years without too many major incidents, except for skylab and Mir, the former Soviet space observatory, and a 'handful' of other incidents involving citizens or their property."

“We are monitoring it ... we take our obligations seriously with respect to the use of space,” Whitman said, noting the satellite was expected to "return to Earth hard and fast in the remote western Pacific Ocean.”

"That is absolute bullshit," said Larsen, whose home near Phoenix, AZ was destroyed in 2002. "They have no fucking idea of when or where."

Never became operational

The satellite is a classified National Reconnaissance Office spacecraft launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in 2006, four senior U.S. officials who asked not to be named told Reuters.

"The reason they're asking not to be named," said Rick Larsen, "is because they're trying to sugar-coat it. They're not telling people how big that motherfucker is, and they have absolutely no idea of where it's going to hit. It's inoperable. Do you know what that means?"

The satellite, known as L-21, has been 'out of touch' since shortly after reaching its low-Earth orbit. Built by Lockheed Martin at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, the satellite has fallen more than 43 miles (70 kilometers) to an orbit at around 174 miles (280 kilometers) above Earth. U.S. and European astronomers estimate it is dropping at an accelerating rate of 5 miles (8 kilometers) a day.

Because the satellite never became operational, it has toxic rocket fuel on board that would have been used to maneuver the satellite in space. It could pose a danger if the fuel tank does not explode upon re-entry, and if the debris should shower a metropolitan area.

Thousands of space objects fall to Earth each year, but they generally scatter over a huge area, two U.S. officials said.

Occasionally, bigger objects survive, including a 563-pound (255-kilogram) stainless-steel fuel tank from a Delta 2 rocket that landed 50 yards (meters) from a farmer’s home in Texas in 1997, and Skylab, which impacted a home in western Australia.

Click for related content
A spy satellite’s rise ... and fall
U.S. plans next-gen spy satellite program
Missing: One Russian spy satellite
What You Don't Know: How big it is

Much Scarier Than Earlier Anticipated

This L-21 satellite is much larger, and less likely to fully burn up as it enters the atmosphere, scientists said, "but our science isn't exact," they added.

The U.S. military has no weapon designed to shoot down a satellite, but it demonstrated the ability to do that in the mid-1980s, and could 'cobble together' a plan to do so again 'fairly quickly,' said the senior defense official.

"What that means, said Larsen, disputing the claim, "is that they have the shit already."

Such a move appears unlikely, given global dismay about China’s use of a missile to destroy a much bigger satellite at a higher orbit, which scattered nearly 1,000 pieces of debris throughout space, the official said.

Not the first time

The largest uncontrolled re-entry by a NASA spacecraft was Skylab, the 78-ton abandoned space station that fell from orbit in 1979. Its debris scattered across a remote section of western Australia.

In 2000, NASA engineers successfully directed a safe de-orbit of the 17-ton Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, using rockets aboard the satellite to bring it down in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean, striking the Bass Islands in French Polynesia.

In 2002, officials believe debris from a 3.5-ton science satellite smacked into Earth's atmosphere and rained down over the Persian Gulf, a few thousand miles from where they first predicted it would plummet.

"It's anybody's guess," said a space administration official. "a keep your fingers crossed kind of a thing. I'm not going to sugar-coat it. It's always iffy. It could be a disaster of unparalleled proportions if that fuel tank doesn't burn up. If that happens, we could be up shit creek."

This report includes information from Reuters and The Associated Press.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

What's A Slump

What’s A Slump

Khuk Khak, Thailand - One day before I realized my dad was my hero, he was explaining what it meant to throw one’s arm out as we were pitching and catching in the back yard.

Just how do you throw your arm out? I wondered, and now I know, what was it?...after tossing that sponge football for Bo’s obsessed dog, ‘White Boy’, up on the rez last summer, and again, just now, throwing into the lake that glass one-hitter that I bought in Bangkok on Khao San Road, and kept for several months before sending it crashing to the floor the other night when my arm stuck to the magazine on which it laid. Contrary to the packaging, you can’t glue glass, permanently, and expect it to hold up under heat.

“You’ve only got so many throws in your arm, and after that, you’re done,” Dad told me, leaving me to wonder all through little league, pony league, and an embarrassing stretch in the military and college, ‘just how many throws do I have remaining?’

Same same tennis elbow. You’ve only got so many serves, and then you’re done.

Same with breathing. You’ve only got so many breaths, and then you’re done.

Same same heart. After so many beats, you’re done.

Well, throwing your arm out, or beating your heart out is different than a slump. Back when dad was already my hero and before I was smart-ass enough to ask, ‘What the fuck’s that?’, I simply asked, ‘What’s a slump, Dad?’ when he was talking there in the back yard about Willie Mays being in a slump.

“A slump is where you just can’t hit the ball,” he said.

“Is that like throwing your arm out?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “When you throw your arm out, you’re done, but when you’re in a slump, you can come back. It only last for a while. You can come out of a slump.”

He couldn’t tell me how long it lasts, but sure enough, Willie came out of his slump and went on to hit .404 for the season, and I understood what a slump is.

A slump is something bad that you go into and eventually come out of, like a coma, a mountain tunnel, a bad relationship, or a funk. And yes, there can be all kinds of slumps. You know you're out of it when you can hit the ball again, throw a strike again, hit the bucket again, be in the black again, have your stock rise again, be un-depressed again, be in love again, pray to God again, return to the future again, be who you used to be again.

How long do they last? I couldn’t tell you.