Archive for October, 2020

The third volume of my serio-comic epic novel The Ghost and the Hemispheres is now available as an e-book on Amazon.com. This was the last part of what was originally supposed to be one giant book. I noticed when I was still talking to agents that the size of the work put them off, so I have chopped the novel into what I hope are three more palatable bites.

The book is about the family of Octavio Albedo, a coffee baron who builds his empire in the early 20th century in northern Nicaragua. Octavio’s success helps build the town of Ascension, which over the years sees civil war, hurricanes and upheaval. The town is also beset by metaphysical problems: Its denizens start to think that they are living half in a dream, half in reality. Some are possessed by demons. Others see themselves caught in the conspiracy of capitalism.

In Volume 3, we follow four of Octavio’s great-grandchildren after they’ve fanned out into the world. One is a blood-thirsty, murderous Contra whose downfall comes when he finds his own capacity for goodness. Another grandchild is an inmate in a Honduran prison who’s got a secret formula for an amazing and possibly valuable street narcotic tattooed on his back. He becomes a highly prized target of several gangs. Next is a child prodigy painter in Miami who finds that the demons chasing her family have somehow inspired an awe-inspiring artistic talent in her.

Despite leaving their war-torn country, the various Albedos still find themselves plagued by various feelings of unreality, post-traumatic stress disorder and thirst for revenge—but an even deeper hunger for understanding of their world and what their madness really means.

Lest that all sound too austere, I should remind the reader that the novel is absurdist and funny. Here is the description on the Amazon site:

“A mountain town in Central America lives half in reality and half in dream. In Volume 3, the great-great grandchildren of Octavio Albedo fan out across the hemisphere trying to put their lives back together after a decade of war, but find that as spiritual creatures, their flesh is something best inhabited only part time.”

You can check out Volume 1 of The Ghost and the Hemispheres here.

You can check out Volume 2 here.

Again, the cover painting and design is by my friend Corey Brian Sanders.

Read Full Post »

Coming soon to Amazon … the last novel in my three-volume work, The Ghost and the Hemispheres.

(Cover design and painting by Corey Brian Sanders.)

Read Full Post »

Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence faced off against Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City, Utah. The debate was shrouded in anxiety over what doctors considered high risk of Covid-19 transmission, and plexiglass dividers were set up between the candidates.

What were some of the highlights?

–*When asked why the U.S. death rate from Covid-19 is higher, Vice President Mike Pence said it was far worse to imagine the deaths that could have happened in the past under the Barack Obama administration. Unfortunately, this joke has no punchline. The stupidity and ignominy speak for themselves.

–*Covid-19 is on top of people’s minds tonight. Also, it might be on on top of Mike Pence’s clothes.

–*The plexiglass dividers allow us to wipe the communist China comments off with Windex and bleach.

–*Mike Pence dodges the question and starts talking about taxes when somebody says, “Mr. Vice President, I might be having a heart attack right now. My God, can you call an ambulance!”

–*Mike Pence grants you the serenity to accept the climate change that Mike Pence will not change.

–*Pence asks Kamala Harris whether her team will stack the Supreme Court and dilute the court system’s current crop of unqualified, ideological conservative lackeys.

–*Kamala Harris has spent her career honing her skills cross-examining people who are desperately lying to keep themselves out of terrible trouble for high crimes and mischief. So, yeah … that …

–*When asked about the debate, four out of five viewers said, “Jesus, would you stop using the phrase ‘thread the needle’! Give it a rest!”

–*Pence promises to close the gender gap his ticket faces by pressing ahead with the Trump administration’s plan to grab more women by the crotch.

–*We now cut away for commercial break … Yikes! … suicide hotline ad. Not a good time. We don’t want to give anybody any ideas.

–*Pence stands solidly behind those members of American law enforcement not currently investigating multiple members of his administration.

–*Kamala Harris stands up for the future of racial justice (and probably ought not talk about her role as a prosecutor in racial justice past).

–*America is easily distracted by a fly that spent several minutes on Mike Pence’s hair. That would be frivolous of them, but if you’ve been looking at or listening to Mike Pence for any length of time, I’d say the frivolity boat has already sailed.

–*”Vote for the Fly” would be a funny hashtag, right? Sure, go back and tell your 2016 self how well “Vote for the Fly” worked out.

–*Covid-19 is no laughing matter. Remember to ask your sexual partners if they’ve had any contact with Mike Pence.

Read Full Post »

A cruel loss for music. RIP Eddie Van Halen. Though no one likes to admit it, stunt guitarists are a dime a dozen. A lot of them can play fast. A lot of them can play different styles. Given all his flash, you might be forgiven for not noticing that Van Halen was, like all great musicians, imaginative, innovative, witty, melodic and even—wait for it!—tasteful. He knew how to use noise and silence, distortion and clarity. He understood the dynamics of a song and knew that the mood and color were ultimately more important than the showboating. And in that way he was able to create his own aesthetic universe and expand upon it. It’s obnoxious to just call it metal (full disclosure, heavy metal is not my favorite genre). One of my favorite Van Halen songs, probably more for the attitude than anything else, was “Finish What Ya Started.” Why? Because it starts life as something that could be mistaken for k.d. lang song, gets VH fans tarted up for the hot signature Eddie solo, and then … bang! He wreathes them in country guitar licks. It was as if he were saying “Think I can’t play roots music? Watch me play roots music, assholes!” I always found the song hysterically funny. We’re sorry you’ve left us Eddie, but eternally grateful for what you’ve left behind.

Read Full Post »

My Son Channels Hans Hofmann

Painting by XD Rasmussen

Read Full Post »