Dept. of Visionaries

When I become president (at least of a fiction novel), I will create and set up a new department: the Department of Visionaries.

So, I was watching the Democratic Convention tonite when I came up with this: how soon until the politiks hire the writers of sci-fi? Ron Reagan talks about becoming diagnosed with Parkinsons, getting some cells taken out of your arm, and then getting a cure. “The future of science,” he declared.

I don’t remember what it was that Theresa Heinz said that got me into a futuristic mood–perhaps it was her mastery of 5 languages, perhaps it was her life on another continent before being transplanted here, or maybe it was her early recollections of the birth of the civil rights movement in Africa and the subsequent jailing of Nelson Mandela (whom Dick “Go Fuck Yourself” Cheney voted against releasing from prison, which is indefensible, and one of the many questions I would like to see him asked by Edwards or anybody coming up).

But when watching Heinz and her langorous, sexily-exotic lilt, I suddenly imagined her talking about bridges of light . . . or somesuch.

Maybe it was all their talk of the future–I was craving the images to back that up, and who better to do that than our present day visionaries–also known as sci-fi writers?

So I imagined a Department of Visionaries, but immediately knew there would have to be some ground rules set up: number one, these visions will be based on imagination and science.

For it wasn’t the snakecharmer that invented air conditioning. And it wasn’t the anti-medicine sect that created the plane. And it wasn’t the bare-breasted-statue-covering-up-cult that gave us the Enlightenment.

When is it going to be politically feasible to get up in front of the American people and say that you don’t base your cosmology on ancient myths? I was thinking I would run for office if only to be the first politician who didn’t end every speech with “God Bless America.” If there is a God–which I doubt–why would he (he?) only Bless America? (As many others have rightfully pointed out?) “Our God has blessed us to drive SUVs and eat at Cow-Corpse King so starve and walk ya third world unblessed chumps!”

But back to the Department . . . who would be the architect? Perhaps the designer of this?:

Who would head it? Him?:

Who would populate it? Him?:


And her?:

[for we need the poets, too!]

In the Department of Visionaries, everyone knows that religion is a metaphor–thus not based solely on fact. In the Department of Visionaries, there is only one race: the human race, and the betterment of everyone is widely understood to be beneficial for us all.


Unify, coalesce and organize.

Inspire, create and enjoy.

Friends, Americans, Earthlings . . .

I’m Dr. Menlo, and I approve of this message.

Eris Bless You . . .

And Eris Bless Everyone!

It’s I*A*M, Baby!

Me–Dr. Menlo–am participating in NaNoWriMo this year. To kick myself in the ass you see. Am an old fuck now, getting on in dog years. Need to write more, even if it’s crap. Well, this is all a fast draft, of course. A first draft. Written fast. In a month. A novel. Never written before. I’ve written about International Art Machine before, but never this, as an adventure novel. Half baked. Schmoozing in the adventure section. Art is the artifice, but also the trojan horse. Or something like that . . . we’ll see.

It’s I*A*M , Baby!

This is my marathon. P. Menlo.

(Pagan Moss is also participating, having recently closed up PSS, but her link isn’t ready yet.)

US Announces New Ally: Harvey

March 13, 2003 – THE WHITE HOUSE – Today Colin Powell announced a powerful new US ally in the war on Iraq: Harvey. “He’s big, he’s mean, and he’s invisible.” Colin Powell told reporters. “This kind of ally can do significant damage over there.”

Colin Powell then told the reporters that they could ask Harvey questions, but since Powell was the only one who could hear Harvey, he would have to translate Harvey’s responses.

Helen Thomas raised her hand and was immediately escorted to the hallway (“for her own protection”). Colin Powell, after consulting his list, called on Jerry Braun from the AP. Jerry asked, “Harvey, which do you prefer, french fries or freedom fries?”

The room laughs. Colin laughs, too, then nods as he listens to Harvey’s response before saying, “Freedom fries, of course. With lots of ketchup.”

The White House press corp laughs harder. Some wipe tears from their eyes.

Colin looks at the list again and then calls on Mary Watanabe from the Duluth Herald. “Harvey, as we all know, Saddam Hussein is hoarding enough weapons of mass destruction to turn our beautiful big earth into nothing but a radioactive desert for millenia to come. So, even though you are aided by the heroic beyond-all-ability-to-describe US military, aren’t you at all concerned for your safety?”

Colin bows his head slightly while he listens, this time his brow furrowing. “Yes, great question. Well, I love this country, enough to die for it. And I love the innocent civilians of Iraq, as well. That’s why I’m willing to die to liberate them as well from the murderous dictator known as Saddam Hussein. So, there you go.”

Colin raises his head and calls on another reporter from his list.

Joe Coleman from CNN asks: “Harvey, since you’re invisible, will you be sent on a mission which can best utilize this ability? Namely, the assassination of Saddam Hussein? And I have a followup question.”

Colin listens for a minute and then responds, “I can’t talk at all about my missions right now, Joe. Let’s just say that whatever I do, I do it for freedom, I do it for America, and I do it for God.” Colin pauses and then asks for the followup question.

Joe: “If you’re back by Easter could you come over to my house for my little daughter’s Easter party? Perhaps we could paint your fur so that you could be seen–you’d make so many kids very happy.”

Colin listens then, “I’d love to, Joe. Right after the Hero’s Welcome Parade. The only thing I look forward to more than seeing newly liberated Iraqis jumping up and down in the street for joy because now they are free to develop their own democracy–after envying ours for so many years–is coming home to a Hero’s Welcome here in America. Especially the parade in New York city to welcome us back with love, cheers and thousands of patriotic streamers!”

Colin then calls on Mimi Applegate from USA TODAY. Mimi: “Harvey, I don’t have a question but a comment: WE LOVE YOU HARVEY!!!” The room cheers. [Coincidentally, this became the headline on the next day’s issue of USA TODAY.] Russell Mokhiber raises his hand to ask a question and is immediately escorted out into the hallway (“for his own protection”).

Colin thanks everyone for coming and relays to them Harvey’s last words: “God Bless you, and God Bless America!” before closing the press conference by leading the White House press corp in a rousing recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Many wipe tears from their eyes. The end.

1. The Inkman Cometh

So it was early when I went to work. Left my brick building, turned right and started to walk. They grew on my sides like wings in matching suits.

“Ya got a minute?”

“I hope so,” I said. “Otherwise I’ve got less than 60 seconds to live.”

“We hope it don’t come to that,” the other said, with the toothpick hanging out of his mouth.

“I think I’ll call you Toothpick,” I say, to Toothpick.

He takes the toothpick out of his mouth and stabs it at me. “Now who you callin’ what, you little commie faggot?”

Chuck: “Now, Herb, there’s no need to get aggro this early in the morning, is there?”

Toothpick: “Maybe I like to get aggro, Chuck. Maybe it makes me feeeeel good. Oh hey but wait, a minute, I can’t just do anything that feels good, unless I’m a commie anarcho-faggot like our little friend over here.”

Me: “What is this, some kind of bureaucratic shake-down? You guys running the Mutt and Jeff routine because I didn’t pay my pet’s license? It’s was a fuckin’ chia-pet, ok? Last I checked you don’t need no fuckin’ pet license for no fuckin’ chia-pet, alright?”

They give me the look.

Toothpick: “So, where you going now, Mister Chia-pet?”

“Since when does the pet license dept. have the right to interrogate pet owners on their present destination if suddenly found on sidewalks? What the fuck do you guys want?”

“We want the commie pinko bastard who’s been running that commie pink website to stop.” says Chuck.

“Stop now.” sez Toothpick.

“Stop as if his health and overall future welfare depended on it.” says Chuck.

“Which, in fact, it does.” says Toothpick.

“You know what?” I offered. “I’d recommend old Humphrey Bogart movies to better your patter. As it is, you couldn’t threaten a blind mouse with a hearing aide.”

Toothpick to Chuck: “Maybe he wants a down payment on his earnings?”

“Maybe we oughta get the tellers,” Chuck nodded.

“This is broad daylight.” I said. Indeed, all around us people were walking to work. “If you’d wanted to hurt me you’d have jillions of ways not to do it in broad daylight during residential morning rush hour. This wasn’t your intent. So you stocked up on the scary words, which I have registered, duly. Operation complete. Now here is the latest word from headquarters: ‘Initiate Operation See-Ya-Later.’”

Toothpick to Chuck: “He talks to us like we’re spiders,”

“Like little flecks on the wall,” Chuck nods. “But this boy needs to change his underpants, whether he knows it or not.”

“And so we jet,” Toothpick says, turning back in unison with Chuck, who cannot help but add, “for now.”

I continued to work.

I once said “I cannot make myself run across a field, but I can release the lion that will chase me across it.”

Thus, this: my skeleton laid bare; I will rush to finish it. The site of the ugliness below will finally spur me to action.

Perhaps I will do things I have never done before to thank you for still coming around–I do appreciate it, you know.

Did I ever tell you I dated Colin Powell’s daughter? Well, not dated really–we went to a dance once around 7th or 8th grade. She was in my acting class. Her Dad was rumoured to be a “big general” at the local base–Ft. Meyers, VA. After the dance, I walked with her out to the pay phone where she called her Dad and he arrived a short time later in a little car to pick her up.

I almost went to Ft. Benning once myself, before I was ever interested in or understood politics. They told me that with my 8 years of Tae Kwon Do, 6 months of boxing and 2 years as a DC bike messenger, I wouldn’t have any problem becoming a Ranger. I thought of it as a short-term get-in-shape program to give me some more sides if my Letterman gig didn’t come thru. The nite before I was supposed to leave for Georgia, I told the Sarge I had changed my mind and they drove around the neighborhood looking for me while I sat safe in a park. The next day I got a DriveAway truck and drove from VA to California in 3 days–the last parts of which were influenced by the hallucinatory effects of sleep-deprivation–yielding far more powerful visions than psychotropics ever did.

“Sunday I Got to Seattle,” which was the name of my notebook at the time. I was working for the biggest American Seafood company in a week.

I think of this when . . .

But now, I try to be more easternly.