Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jon Rappoport's "Is the NSA the Real President of the United States?"

What follows is an extremely relevant excerpt from Jon Rappoport's 2-16-17 post entitled "Is the NSA the Real President of the United States?":

"We think about total surveillance as being directed at private citizens, but the capability has unlimited payoffs when it targets financial markets and the people who have intimate knowledge of them.

"'Total security awareness' programs of surveillance are ideal spying ops in the financial arena, designed to suck up millions of bits of inside information, then utilizing them to make investments and suck up billions (trillions?) of dollars.

"It gives new meaning to 'the rich get richer.'

"Taking the overall scheme to another level, consider this: those same heavy hitters who have unfettered access to financial information can also choose, at opportune moments, to expose certain scandals and crimes (not their own, of course).

"In this way, they can, at their whim, cripple governments, banks, and corporations. They can cripple investment houses, insurance companies, and hedge funds. Or, alternatively, they can merely blackmail these organizations.

"We think we know how scandals are exposed by the press, but actually we don't. Tips are given to people who give them to other people. Usually, the first clue that starts the ball rolling comes from a source who remains in the shadows.

"What we are talking about here is the creation and managing of realities on all sides, including the choice of when and where and how to provide a glimpse of a crime or scandal."

To read Rappoport's entire post, click HERE.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Little Humans and Giant Gods" in THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #70

The latest issue of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR (No. 70, Winter 2017) was just released yesterday and includes my lengthy article entitled "Little Humans & Giant Gods:  The Extraterrestrial Tiki Art of Jack Kirby," which examines the little-known connections between Jack Kirby's Tiki-themed short stories and the work of ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl, author of the nonfiction bestsellers, KON-TIKI (1948) and AKU-AKU (1957). 

This same issue also includes a thought-provoking article entitled "Spider-man:  The Case for Kirby" by the late Stan Taylor, who argues that the primary creator of Spider-man was neither Stan Lee nor Steve Ditko, but Kirby.  You can purchase a copy of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #70 right HERE or at a well-stocked comic book store near you.

A brief but important correction:  Due to an unfortunate error on the part of the magazine's editor, a crucial sentence was left out of "Little Humans & Giant Gods."  When you read the article, please know that the following sentence should have appeared at the top of p. 21:  "Kirby’s independence when it came to the creation of his comic book stories is explicated by Kirby biographer Mark Evanier, author of the 2008 book, Kirby:  King of Comics, in his introduction to the 2011 archival book, The Jack Kirby Omnibus Volume One."  

Do keep in mind that the first three paragraphs on p. 21 were written by Mark Evanier, not Yours Truly.  Due to the absence of the above sentence, and the fact that the paragraphs aren't formatted any differently than the rest of the article, one might conclude that I'm attempting to appropriate Evanier's words without proper attribution.  So please perform the above editing in your brain when you reach p. 21....

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Steve Erickson Reads SHADOWBAHN at Skylight Books

If you live anywhere near Southern California, I highly recommend making a trek to Skylight Books in Los Angeles on the evening of February 16th to see Steve Erickson reading from his latest book, SHADOWBAHN, perhaps his strangest novel to date (and coming from someone who's read every single one of Erickson's fabulist novels from 1985's DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS onward, that's saying quite a lot).  The plot is almost impossible to encapsulate, but here we go:  Two decades after their sudden destruction, the twin towers of the World Trade Center mysteriously reappear in the middle of the South Dakota Badlands and at once become a tourist attraction for the curious (rather like the poor dead titan in J.G. Ballard's classic short story, "The Drowned Giant," which can be found in Ballard's 1964 collection, TERMINAL BEACH).  This situation is made even more peculiar by the fact that the 93rd floor of the South Tower is occupied by Elvis Presley's dead twin, Jesse.  Jesse's suicidal leap from the rooftop of the South Tower kicks off an Alice-in-Wonderland tumble into a Womackian alternate universe where Elvis never existed, The Beatles languished in obscurity, and a wheelchair-bound JFK was shot by Valerie Solanas at Andy Warhol's Factory in New York on June 3rd, 1968.  Yes, indeed... if you want your brain pulled in multiple directions at once, look no further than SHADOWBAHN. 

Skylight Books is located at 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027.  Erickson's reading begins at 7:30 PM.  For more information, click HERE.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dan Spiegle, R.I.P. (1920-2017)

Master comic book artist Dan Spiegle passed away on January 28, 2017 at the age of 96.  Spiegle, in collaboration with writer Mark Evanier, produced 26 issues of CROSSFIRE, a vastly underrated comic book series that ran from 1984 to 1987.  The initial idea of the series revolved around the exploits of a thief-for-hire, known to his clients only as "Crossfire," a specialist in committing acts of industrial espionage within the cutthroat community of 1980s Hollywood.  Through a convoluted set of circumstances, the original Crossfire dies and his mantle is taken up by a kindhearted bail-bondsman named Jay Endicott who cleverly exploits Crossfire's dangerous reputation in Los Angeles to fight for justice in the streets of Los Angeles.  As Evanier once wrote on his website, News From ME, Endicott "finds the dual identity handy in righting matters that go unsolved by the police or unpunished by the courts. As darn near everyone figured out, there was a certain level of autobiography to the comic, as I'm a big believer that neither of those institutions (the police, the courts) do what they do in an efficient, justice-for-all manner...."  

Because Evanier grew up in Los Angeles, and has had considerable experience writing for various Hollywood television studios over the years, the entire series carried with it an atmosphere of authenticity that's almost impossible to fake.  Evanier's deft juxtaposition of character-oriented storytelling with tried and true action-adventure motifs made for a unique comic book... and yet none of this would have worked without the pen of Dan Spiegle, whose artistry lent Crossfire's gritty--and yet somehow still hopeful--world a level of realism that positioned the series firmly in the tradition of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe detective novels and the cinematic shadow-realm of 1940s film noir.  

Evanier has recently written several posts about his late friend and collaborator, one of which one of which can be found HERE.

Rest in peace, Dan Spiegle.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Tenth Anniversary Issue of THE MAILER REVIEW Is Now Available!

The Tenth Anniversary Issue of The Mailer Review (Vol. 10 No. 1 Fall 2016) is now available for purchase.  The latest issue includes my short story, "Destroy All Monsters" (5,900 words).  Though it can be read as a standalone story, "Destroy All Monsters" is also an excerpt from my forthcoming novel, Until the Last Dog Dies, which will be released by Night Shade/Skyhorse in November of 2017.  

This issue of The Mailer Review includes "The Collision," the first story written by Norman Mailer when he was only ten years old.  In his introduction to this story, biographer and archivist J. Michael Lennon (author of Norman Mailer:  A Double Life) mentions the following fascinating tidbit about another work of fiction written by Mailer at around that same time:  "Working in his second-floor bedroom at 555 Crown Street during the winter of 1933-34, Mailer wrote his most important juvenile work, 'The Martian Invasion,' a 35,000-word science fiction novel which had one root in the Buck Rogers radio show, and a second in the Princess of Mars book by Edgar Rice Burroughs."  The Martian Invasion by Norman Mailer?!?  Throw in a painted pulp cover by Ed Valigursky and the mind truly boggles.  (Some eccentric publisher should definitely release this early work in a lavish hardcover edition, with end pages illustrated by Mark Schultz of Xenozoic Tales fame.)

If you wish to purchase a copy of The Mailer Review Tenth Anniversary Issue, just click HERE.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Great Amurrican Land Grab

A few days ago a colleague sent me an email in which he wrote, "The keyword for 2017 is distraction."  Indeed.  A perfect example follows.

Here are excerpts from Heather Hansman's 1-19-17 Guardian article entitled "Congress Moves to Give Away National Lands, Discounting Billions in Revenue":

"In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.
"At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development [...].
"Essentially, the revised budget rules deny that federal land has any value at all, allowing the new Congress to sidestep requirements that a bill giving away a piece of federal land does not decrease federal revenue or contribute to the federal debt.
"Republican eagerness to cede federal land to local governments for possible sale, mining or development is already moving states to act. Western states, where most federal land is concentrated, are already introducing legislation that pave the way for land transfers [...].
"The Congressional devaluation of national property is the most far-reaching legislative change in a recent push to transfer federal lands to the states. Because of the Republican majority in Congress, bills proposing land transfers could now swiftly diminish Forest Service and BLM lands across the country.
"'We didn’t see it coming. I think it was sneaky and underhanded. It exemplifies an effort to not play by the rules,' said Alan Rowsome, senior director of government relations at The Wilderness Society. 'This is the worst Congress for public lands ever.'
"Rowsome said he’s not exactly sure how the rule will be used, but he thinks the first places to come under attack might include areas adjacent to the majestic Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Those areas hold uranium and copper, respectively.
"Rowsome said he’s worried that sensitive tracts of public land, like the oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, could soon be up for sale. Some 60% percent of Alaska is made up of national land, and the state’s representatives have tried to pass laws claiming parts of it for state use as recently as 2015. 'It’s an amazing ecosystem and worthy of protection, and it’s very likely that House Republican majority will open that up for drilling,' Rowsome said."
To read the entirety of Hansman's article, click HERE.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mike Wallace Interviews Major Donald Keyhoe

In 1958 Mike Wallace interviewed Major Donald Keyhoe, author of The Flying Saucers Are Real and other bestselling nonfiction books, on an ABC television show imaginatively entitled The Mike Wallace Interview.  Wallace's main imperative during this interview appears to be to jeer skeptically at Keyhoe while doing his best to hawk cancer-inducing Parliament cigarettes to his loyal audience.  (Remember:  "IF PARLIAMENT'S YOUR SMOKE, YOU'RE SMOKING THE BEST!")  You can see the entire interview below:

And on a related note... Jack Womack's latest book, Flying Saucers Are Real!, the title of which is an homage to Keyhoe's most famous book, is still available from Womack's publisher, Anthology Editions (you can find my August 26, 2016 review of Womack's Flying Saucers Are Real! right HERE).  You can also read Womack's recent Omni Magazine article, "When Saucers First Flew," right HERE.