Thursday, December 28, 2017

Spend New Year's Transcending Reality!

The raw, unedited version of my TRANSCENDING REALITIES television interview, produced by Ivolve TV, has been posted on YouTube.  Watch as a quartet of cutting-edge cryptoscatologists (consisting of Melinda Leslie, Miesha Johnston, Lorien Fenton, and Skye) grill Yours Truly about such transgressive subject matter as Homeland Security Fuckery amped to the nth degree, covert invisibility technology, faked alien abductions, out-of-control government surveillance, roving amorphous energy-beings, Operation Mind Control, and my strange-but-true journalistic memoir CHAMELEO.  Feel free to revel in chaos this New Year's and TRANSCEND REALITY!!!

Note:  I make my appearance at around 29:50....

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New York Times: "Warrantless Surveillance Can Continue Even if Law Expires, Officials Say"

From Charlie Savage's 12-6-17 New York Times article entitled "Warrantless Surveillance Can Continue Even if Law Expires, Officials Say":

"The Trump administration has decided that the National Security Agency and the F.B.I. can lawfully keep operating their warrantless surveillance program even if Congress fails to extend the law authorizing it before an expiration date of New Year’s Eve, according to American officials.

"National security officials have implored Congress for the past year and a half to extend the legal basis for the program, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, before it lapses at the end of the month. They portrayed such a bill as the 'top legislative priority' for keeping the country safe.

"But with Congress focused on passing a major tax cut and divided over what changes, if any, to make to the surveillance program, lawmakers may miss that deadline. Hedging against that risk, executive branch lawyers have now concluded that the government could lawfully continue to spy under the program through late April without new legislation.

"Intelligence officials nonetheless remain intent on getting lawmakers to pass a durable extension of Section 702 by the end of the month — warning that even a stopgap short-term extension of several months, as some lawmakers have proposed, would risk throwing the program into a crisis in the spring.

"'We fully expect Congress to reauthorize this critical statute by the end of the year,' said Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 'Not doing so would be unthinkable in light of the considerable value Section 702 provides in protecting the nation.'

"The expiring law grew out of the Bush administration’s once-secret Stellarwind warrantless surveillance program after the Sept. 11 attacks. After it came to light, Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to legalize a form of the program.

"Under Section 702, the N.S.A. and the F.B.I. may collect from domestic companies like AT&T and Google the phone calls, emails, texts and other electronic messages of foreigners abroad without a warrant — even when they talk with Americans. The program has expanded to a broad array of foreign intelligence purposes, not just counterterrorism.

"If Congress fails to reauthorize the law this month, Mr. Hale acknowledged that the government believes it can keep the program going for months. Its reasoning centers on a legal complexity in how the program works: Under the law, about once a year, the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court sets rules for the program and authorizes it to operate for 12 months.

"The court last issued a one-year certification on April 26. That matters because a little-noticed section of the FISA Amendments Act says that orders issued under Section 702 'shall continue in effect until the date of the expiration.'

"Mr. Hale said the provision, which is recorded in federal statute books as a 'transition procedures' note accompanying the main text of the law, makes it 'very clear' that 'any existing order will continue in effect for a short time even if Congress doesn’t act to reauthorize the law in a timely fashion.'

"Given that conclusion, the government is making no plans to immediately turn off the program on New Year’s Day, no matter what happens in Congress, according to a United States official familiar with the Section 702 program who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic."

To read the entire article, click HERE.

'Directional Acoustic Phenomena' in Cuba Attacks

From The Guardian's 12-6-17 article entitled "Brain Abnormalities Found in Victims of US Embassy Attack in Cuba":

"Doctors treating the victims of mysterious, invisible attacks on the US embassy in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the damage to their hearing, vision, balance and memory.

"The most specific finding to date about physical damage from the attacks shows that whatever it was that harmed the Americans, it led to perceptible changes in their brains. It is one of several factors fuelling growing scepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved.

"Medical testing has revealed the embassy workers developed changes to the white matter tracts that let different parts of the brain communicate, several US officials said, describing a growing consensus held by university and government physicians researching the attacks. White matter acts like information highways between brain cells.

"Loud, mysterious sounds followed by hearing loss and ear-ringing had led investigators to suspect 'sonic attacks'. But officials are now avoiding that term. The sounds may have been the byproduct of something else that caused damage, said three US officials briefed on the investigation.

"Physicians, FBI investigators and US intelligence agencies have spent months trying to piece together the puzzle in Havana, where the US says 24 government officials and spouses fell ill, starting last year in homes and later in some hotels. The US refers to 'specific attacks' but says it does not know who is behind them. A few Canadian embassy staffers also got sick.

"Doctors still do not know how victims ended up with the white matter changes, or how exactly those changes might relate to their symptoms. US officials would not say whether the changes were found in all 24 patients.

"Acoustic waves have never been shown to alter the brain’s white matter tracts, said Elisa Konofagou, a biomedical engineering professor at Columbia University who is not involved in the government’s investigation.

"'I would be very surprised,' Konofagou said, adding that ultrasound in the brain is used frequently in modern medicine. 'We never see white matter tract problems.'

"Cuba has denied involvement, and calls the Trump administration’s claims that US workers were attacked 'deliberate lies'. The new medical details may help the US counter Havana’s complaint that Washington has not presented any evidence.

"The case has plunged the US medical community into uncharted territory. Physicians are treating the symptoms like a never-before-seen illness. After extensive testing and trial therapies, they are developing the first protocols to screen cases and identify the best treatments – even as the FBI investigation struggles to identify a culprit, method and motive.

"The AP first reported in August that US workers had said they heard sounds that were audible in parts of rooms but inaudible just a few feet away – unlike normal sound, which disperses in all directions. Doctors have now come up with a term for such incidents: 'directional acoustic phenomena'."

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Trump's Private Spies

From Matthew Cole and Jeremy Scahill's 12-4-17 The Intercept article entitled "Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter 'Deep State' Enemies":

"The Trump administration is considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals. The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering 'deep state' enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency.

"The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda.

"'Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,' said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. 'It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,' this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. 'The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.'

"North, who appears frequently on Trump’s favorite TV network, Fox News, was enlisted to help sell the effort to the administration. He was the 'ideological leader' brought in to lend credibility, said the former senior intelligence official.

"Some of the individuals involved with the proposals secretly met with major Trump donors asking them to help finance operations before any official contracts were signed."

To continue reading the article, click HERE.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

From Justin Davenport's 12-15-17 Evening Standard article entitled "Man Bursts Into Flame and Dies in Front of Horrified Onlookers While Walking Down London Street":

"Police today appealed for witnesses after a man died after catching fire as he walked down a street in north London.

"Passers-by saw John Nolan, 70, ablaze in a street in Haringey in the middle of the day and attempted to put out the flames before calling police and fire crews.

"The former construction worker, who was originally from County Mayo in Ireland, was taken to a specialist hospital but died later.

"Today detectives said his death was being treated as unexplained. There were no accelerants found on his body and specialist fire investigators could find no obvious reason for Mr Nolan to catch alight."

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

H.P. Lovecraft's "The Festival"

Submitted for your Yuletide entertainment is the following classic Christmas tale by none other H.P. Lovecraft (this story was written in 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of WEIRD TALES):

The Festival
by H. P. Lovecraft

“Efficiunt Daemones, ut quae non sunt, sic tamen
quasi sint, conspicienda hominibus exhibeant.”

I was far from home, and the spell of the eastern sea was upon me. In the twilight I heard it pounding on the rocks, and I knew it lay just over the hill where the twisting willows writhed against the clearing sky and the first stars of evening. And because my fathers had called me to the old town beyond, I pushed on through the shallow, new-fallen snow along the road that soared lonely up to where Aldebaran twinkled among the trees; on toward the very ancient town I had never seen but often dreamed of.
     It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It was the Yuletide, and I had come at last to the ancient sea town where my people had dwelt and kept festival in the elder time when festival was forbidden; where also they had commanded their sons to keep festival once every century, that the memory of primal secrets might not be forgotten. Mine were an old people, and were old even when this land was settled three hundred years before. And they were strange, because they had come as dark furtive folk from opiate southern gardens of orchids, and spoken another tongue before they learnt the tongue of the blue-eyed fishers. And now they were scattered, and shared only the rituals of mysteries that none living could understand. I was the only one who came back that night to the old fishing town as legend bade, for only the poor and the lonely remember.

To read the rest of Lovecraft's tale, click HERE.
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Saturday, December 23, 2017

William S. Burroughs: THE JUNKY'S CHRISTMAS

HO HO HO, Cryptoscatology fans!  Spend this cheery Yuletide season watching William S. Burroughs in Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel's 1993 short film THE JUNKY'S CHRISTMAS (adapted from Burroughs' story of the same name, which can be found in his 1989 collection INTERZONE)....

Thursday, December 21, 2017

No Jokes, Please: The Weird, Crooked Road to UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES

Rachel Pollack, the World Fantasy Award winning author of such sui generis novels as Unquenchable Fire and Temporary Agency, kickstarted my novel Until the Last Dog Dies without realizing it.  When I was attending the Clarion Writers Workshop during the summer of 1996, during the final week of the workshop, Rachel gave the students a unique assignment:  to dream up an idea that was unimaginable.  My fellow student, Justina Robson, came up with the following:  “Imagine a universe without the concept of God.”  This intrigued me, as the implications of the concept were so vast that they seemed to defy any attempt at fictionalization. 

A few days later, while waiting in an unusually long line at the Seattle airport during that pre-9/11 era, I glanced up and saw something I’d never noticed before:  a glowing, rectangular sign that read “NO JOKES, PLEASE.”

Of course, the purpose of the sign was to discourage people from making casual comments about having thermonuclear warheads tucked away inside their luggage.  Haunted by Rachel’s mind-bending assignment, however, I chose to interpret the sign in a completely different way.  The characters, the locale, and the basic plot of a most peculiar tale began to percolate in my brain at that moment.  The first few bricks in the weird, crooked road to Until the Last Dog Dies had just begun to be laid down.

When I eventually began writing the story that became Until the Last Dog Dies, I asked myself, “How would the world look if people began losing their innate sense of humor, slowly, over a period of months or even years due to a virus that affects only the humor centers of the brain?”  My initial assumption was that this would require complex world-building skills on my part.  Two seconds later, the obvious, dreadful answer came hurtling back at me:  “It would look exactly like the world in which you’re living now.”  No world building skills required.  Just open your eyes and look.  What evolved from this process was a contemporary novel built on what at first appeared to be a completely science fictional concept.  The result:  a science fiction novel for people who don’t like science fiction.

Almost all my short stories and novellas were written within a relatively short amount of time.  The road that led to Until the Last Dog Dies, however, branched off into several byways, almost all of them dead ends.  At one point this novel was over six hundred pages long and told from the point of view of various comedians.  I knew, instinctively, that something was way off with this approach. 

Sometimes you have to back away from something to get a more complete view of it, so that’s what I had to do with Until the Last Dog Dies.  I put the manuscript away for a while, refused to even think about it.  But I discovered that I had to return to the idea when I realized that the world around me was growing more and more like the “slant” world of Until the Last Dog Dies.  Eventually, I realized what should have been obvious from the beginning:  I was overcomplicating an idea that’s main asset was its utter simplicity.  It became clear—in a dramatic flash of heavenly illumination—that the entire story had to be told from the point of view of Elliot Greeley, who was always destined to be the main protagonist.  For you writers out there who find yourselves stalled on a project, and you’re not quite certain why, just know that the answer to your problem will often reveal itself to you when you stop thinking about it. 

This novel ends with the Presidential election of 2016, despite the fact that I finished writing it during the summer of 2015.  By the spring of 2016 the novel had been sold to Night Shade/Skyhorse, so it was very peculiar to watch some of the stranger aspects of this story come to life in the real world while this book was heading towards publication.  In fact, if I may say so myself (and I will), I don’t think there’s a more relevant novel than Until the Last Dog Dies in bookstores at the moment, though I wish this was not the case.  If you had not noticed, the trend these days—from both the left and rights ends of the political spectrum—seems to be an extreme push toward UTTER AND COMPLETE SERIOUSNESS.  At one time the court jester—the standup comedian—was the one person on the planet who could get away with skewering an entire culture without being burned at the stake.  Now even the most successful comedians are on Imagination Lockdown, as they need to spend more time worrying about social media shit storms that doing what they do best:  telling the truth (as Emily Dickinson once famously wrote) by telling it “slant.”  Ernest Hemingway once said that you know you’re living in a banana republic if the buses don’t run on time, but you can buy a lottery ticket on every corner.  I would amend that statement by saying that you know you’re living in a banana republic when even the comedians are too terrified to be offensive.  As Charles Fort, one of my main influences, once wrote, “I do not know how to find out anything new without being offensive.” 

If Ezra Pound was correct when he said that the poet is “the antennae of the race,” then poets—artists of all sorts, including standup comedians—have to do everything they can to resist this trend toward UTTER AND COMPLETE SERIOUSNESS that attempts to overwhelm the imagination of an entire society with fundamentalist restrictions forged in the hollows minds of creatively-challenged automatons. 

Or as W.C. Fields once said:  “I never met a blind man who wasn’t a son of a bitch.” 

The ultimate cure for the humor virus is A) resisting the order of the day and, of course, B) buying a copy of Until the Last Dog Dies.  Feel free to laugh your ass off… yes, even if the humor feels somewhat “inappropriate” at times.  The truth, you see, is that nothing’s inappropriate in the ethereal realms of the human imagination. 

Oh, and those of you who find yourselves reading the novel with a leaden expression plastered on your roadmap of a mug… well, you may want your family doctor to test you for telltale signs of that pesky humor virus.  As you will soon learn when reading Until the Last Dog Dies, those unfortunates infected with the humor virus are often the last to realize it.  Beware.


Now let’s end on one of my favorite quotes, profound enough to be a religious mantra:

“Because you know what they say about honey bears/When you shave off all their baby hair/You've got a hairy minded pink bare bear.”

--Lou Reed, “Andy’s Chest,” 1972

To buy a copy of Until the Last Dog Dies, click HERE

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Paul Di Filippo, author of such high-octane Gonzo extravaganzas as THE STEAMPUNK TRILOGY, RIBOFUNK, and FRACTAL PAISLEYS, offers the following stellar review of my new novel, UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES:

"Somewhere up on a cloud–or somewhere down in the abyss–the ghost of Lenny Bruce is leering approvingly upon Robert Guffey’s Until the Last Dog Dies, after which the savage shade will nod off with a spike in his arm. Guffey’s book is a rarity these days, the essence of satirical, no-holds-barred SF, hilariously mean-spirited and meaningfully disdainful. It’s a book that might have issued in an earlier era from the pens of William Tenn, Robert Sheckley, or Ron Goulart. At the same time, it’s a black tragedy with a tiny feather of hope wafting in its passage. You will laugh continuously while reading it, while simultaneously looking over your shoulder to see if the Thought Police are monitoring your reactions to this heretical screed."

To read the rest of Di Filippo's review, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

San Francisco's Crime-fighting Robots

From Melia Robinson's 12-12-17 Business Insider article entitled "Robots Are Being Used To Deter Homeless People From Setting Up Camp In San Francisco":

"In San Francisco, autonomous crime-fighting robots that are used to patrol parking lots, sports arenas, and tech company campuses are now being deployed to keep away homeless people.

"The San Francisco Business Times reported last week that the San Francisco SPCA, an animal advocacy and pet adoption group, put a security robot to work outside its facilities in the gentrifying Mission neighborhood. The robot's presence is meant to deter homeless people from setting up camps along the sidewalks.

"Last week, the City of San Francisco ordered the SF SPCA to keep its robot off the streets or be fined up to $1,000 per day for operating on sidewalks without a permit, according to the Business Times.

"Krista Maloney, media relations manager for the SF SPCA, told Business Insider that staff wasn't able to safely use the sidewalks at times because of the encampments. Maloney added that since the SPCA started guarding its facilities with the robot — known as K9 — a month ago, the homeless encampments have dwindled and there have been fewer car break-ins."

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Make This An UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES Christmas!

Please feel free to annoy your most humorless friends this Christmas by giving them a copy of my new book, UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES, a darkly satirical novel about a young stand-up comedian who must adapt as best he can to an apocalyptic virus that destroys only the humor centers of the brain.  Watch your friends' eyes being propelled from their soon-to-be hollow sockets as that pesky humor virus explodes their medulla oblongata from the inside out!  O, what joy!  O, what gaiety!  O, what cheeky Christmas cheer!  (We here at thank you in advance for your Yuletide patronage and assure you that we take no legal responsibility for any unavoidable fatalities that may result from purely inadvertent humor-overdoses induced by reading UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES too enthusiastically and without the proper medical supervision.)  MAHALO, my Constant Readers, MAHALO!!!

By the way, if you've already read the book, I urge you to take just a few moments to post a review on Amazon.  You'd be amazed how much this helps raise the profile of a new novel.  Cheers, my friends!

"Until the Last Dog Dies is not only a novel unique to this [political] moment, but one that is to stand-up comedy what Catch-22 was to war.  It's one of the great books of the year."--Adam-Troy Castro, SCI FI Magazine

“Taps into the cultural zeitgeist . . . A nihilistic satire that takes the idea that death is easy and comedy is hard to a whole new level.”—Kirkus Reviews 

“Guffey’s debut takes full advantage of an absurd, unexpected premise, delivering one of the strangest dystopian novels in a year filled with them.”―B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“Guffey’s sardonic, cleverly written comedic debut relies heavily on absurd synchronicity, bold characterization, and heavy irony to make its points about the apocalyptic nature of American humorlessness.”—Publishers Weekly 

“A playful amalgam of Andy Kaufman and Philip K. Dick by way of Shaun of the Dead.” —Damien Lincoln Ober, author of Doctor Benjamin Franklin's Dream America 

“This satirical tale explores the role of comedy in maintaining a healthy democracy. . . . A clever concept.”—Kirkus Reviews

Sunday, December 17, 2017

UFOs and the Pentagon

From Helene Cooper, Leslie Kean, and Ralph Blumenthal's 12-17-17 New York Times article entitled "2 Navy Airmen and an Object That 'Accelerated Like Nothing I've Even Seen'":

The following recounts an incident in 2004 that advocates of research into U.F.O.s have said is the kind of event worthy of more investigation, and that was studied by a Pentagon program that investigated U.F.O.s. Experts caution that earthly explanations often exist for such incidents, and that not knowing the explanation does not mean that the event has interstellar origins.
Cmdr. David Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight were on a routine training mission 100 miles out into the Pacific when the radio in each of their F/A-18F Super Hornets crackled: An operations officer aboard the U.S.S. Princeton, a Navy cruiser, wanted to know if they were carrying weapons.
“Two CATM-9s,” Commander Fravor replied, referring to dummy missiles that could not be fired. He had not been expecting any hostile exchanges off the coast of San Diego that November afternoon in 2004.
Commander Fravor, in a recent interview with The New York Times, recalled what happened next. Some of it is captured in a video made public by officials with a Pentagon program that investigated U.F.O.s.
“Well, we’ve got a real-world vector for you,” the radio operator said, according to Commander Fravor. For two weeks, the operator said, the Princeton had been tracking mysterious aircraft. The objects appeared suddenly at 80,000 feet, and then hurtled toward the sea, eventually stopping at 20,000 feet and hovering. Then they either dropped out of radar range or shot straight back up.
The radio operator instructed Commander Fravor and Commander Slaight, who has given a similar account, to investigate.
The two fighter planes headed toward the objects. The Princeton alerted them as they closed in, but when they arrived at “merge plot” with the object — naval aviation parlance for being so close that the Princeton could not tell which were the objects and which were the fighter jets — neither Commander Fravor nor Commander Slaight could see anything at first. There was nothing on their radars, either.
Then, Commander Fravor looked down to the sea. It was calm that day, but the waves were breaking over something that was just below the surface. Whatever it was, it was big enough to cause the sea to churn....
To read the rest of the article, click HERE.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program

From Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal, and Leslie Kean's 12-16-17 New York Times article entitled "Glowing Auras and 'Black Money':  The Pentagon's Mysterious U.F.O. Program":

WASHINGTON — In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find.
Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.
For years, the program investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, according to Defense Department officials, interviews with program participants and records obtained by The New York Times. It was run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, deep within the building’s maze.
The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program, which it says it shut down in 2012. But its backers say that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say, officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other Defense Department duties.
The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space.
On CBS’s “60 Minutes” in May, Mr. Bigelow said he was “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and that U.F.O.s have visited Earth.
Working with Mr. Bigelow’s Las Vegas-based company, the program produced documents that describe sightings of aircraft that seemed to move at very high velocities with no visible signs of propulsion, or that hovered with no apparent means of lift.
To read the entire article, click HERE.