July 2008


As part of our continuing coverage of God’s bid for president, God in 2008, we bring you the following: In a bold policy speech, God scoffed at McCain surrogate Senator Isakson of Georgia who, in a call for offshore drilling, claimed that America’s like a “starving man sitting on a ham sandwich.” God proclaimed, “America’s more like a morbidly obese diabetic competitive eater who’s certain there’s a Twinkie buried somewhere in the cushions of his over-stuffed couch along with his missing remote controls. Who’s starving when they consume 25% of the world’s oil? Drilling offshore is like running down to the 7-11 to buy a carton of Marlboros when you’ve resolved to quit smoking. But who am I to deny my beloved creatures, made in my image?”

God proposed to do what no other human candidate can do: Not drill for oil but create it! “If oil’s what you want, if elected I’ll make so much oil, you can have a third tap in your house—hot water, cold water, and gasoline. Burn it all! Burn some more! Forget solar! Forget wind! Never give conservation a thought! (Not that you do anyway).”

There was only one provision of his plan that met with a chilly reception: “But don’t come asking me for more atmosphere, oceans, forests. Don’t ask me to bring back the extinct species or melted glaciers. Who needs them, right? You got places to go, things to do! Just remember: It’s the Pottery Barn planet—you break it; you own it. So fire up those leaf blowers while there are still trees! Get an RV and tow an SUV and a couple of ATV’s and Jet Ski behind it! Enjoy life while it lasts! Real hope for your future, not for some whiny brats who aren’t even born yet!”

We limped through Murakami today. This class, more than classes past, consistently had trouble getting the work done, and several hadn’t finished. Many liked Kafka on the Shore, though some liked it strictly for the Nakata narrative. I need to find a shorter Murakami, I suspect. Voted off the syllabus in a lopsided vote was the wonderful Magic for Beginners. The sort of narrative play Kelly Link is so good at annoyed some of these guys no end, and several felt that two short story collections was one too many, and Jeff Ford was a more user-friendly weird. The favorite, of course, was Anansi Boys, though once again Perfect Circle had its share of fans. Many like the pairing of Sixth Sense and Perfect Circle. My copy of the novel is falling apart, however. Maybe Small Beer Press should send me a freebie. As for Anansi Boys, I’m probably ready for a different Gaiman. Or maybe it’s time for all new courses. I’m open to suggestions.

Having viewed the last film, the class took a critical look at the film line-up, and none was voted off the syllabus. Sixth Sense perhaps came the closest because so many had seen it before, but they agreed it was worth re-watching and was a perfect fit with the novel Perfect Circle. Pan’s Labyrinth, the newcomer to the course, was very well-received. After reading their papers on films of their own choosing in which the bleakness of the class films comes up often, I’ll likely make one change to the syllabus and include at least one comedy. The current lineup is just too depressing. I’m thinking Harvey or Groundhog Day might brighten things up between the grim and the dark. We start Kafka on the Shore today, and I’ve heard early grumblings. We’ll see how it goes.

I just had another story accepted at Realms of Fantasy. I don’t know what issue yet. I’m quite delighted. It’s such a handsome magazine. The story, “Healing Benjamin,” concerns an extraordinarily long-lived cat. It begins, “I got the healing touch when I was 16 years old kneeling over my dying cat Benjamin in my bedroom.”

After some early casualties, there are a dozen students in the class, though at least one blinks in and out of view like the words in Jeffrey Ford’s “The Weight of Words.” A most congenial group. We meet in a ginormous classroom with seating for a hundred. It’s like an AA group meeting in the corner of a church basement. The fluorescents could brown toast. The AV equipment is state-of-the-art and temperamental as hell. All part of the adventure. Today, the power was out completely in the building for a scheduled electrical overhaul. Nobody told me. Fortunately the film, Donnie Darko, is one most have seen before. The ending of that film is one of my all-time favorite endings. I was sad to hear there’s a sequel coming out that Richard Kelly has nothing to do with, called S Darko, about Samantha, the younger sister some years later. The same actress, of Sparkle Motion fame, reprises her role. She couldn’t say no? Some sequels just shouldn’t be made. Take Terminator 3, for example.