Tuesday, July 28, 2015


After the Despot ordered the defenestration of his political rival, he retired to his bedchambers clad in deniability sleepwear—earplugs and blindfold—as he planned to claim “I heard nothing, I saw nothing” should the meek judiciary ever issue subpoenas. A noisy night of sawing, chopping, and chipping ensued, but the Despot slept like a sack of spuds. When the leader awoke, he wished to experience the symphonic triumph of the mid-morning sunlight, so threw the curtains apart, but imagine his Munch-scream face when he discovered that the woods—the entire woods—had vanished, a column of trucks grunting forward in low gear, each vehicle bearing a pyramid of thick trunks. On television, the Despot’s political rival cemented the disgrace, the deforestation, by branding the Despot an enemy of the root, branch, wood, creature, creation, universe, God.

“Despot here,” the leader hollered into the telephone. Yes, sir, said his deputy. “What the hell has happened?” Happened, sir? “What the hell have you done?” As you decreed, sir. “As I decreed?” Yes, sir. The Despot thought painfully, as if a centipede were gnawing his thought balloon. “What have I decreed?” he asked. The act has been carried out, said his deputy. And with considerable efficiency, I might add. “I ordered a defenestration.” Yes, sir. “You have effected a deforestation, instead.” Sir? “The forest,” said the Despot, “is missing.” Yes, sir. We defenestrated the forest, as you decreed. Sir, added the deputy, your political rival telephoned us this morning. He has challenged you to epee. “Epee?” Yes, sir. “You mean, sword?” It’s a foil, sir, it’s an epee. “Impossible. I have no foil!” Well, sir, we could purchase one using EpeePal.

The Despot received embassies from noon until 1:00, after which he received audiences from 1:00 until 2:00, whereupon he received embassies from 2:00 until 3:00, inasmuch as he received lobbies. Representatives from the prophylactics industry spoke to the Despot about cornering the market for equine rubbers, to prevent the conception of unwanted foals. They would produce, on a trial-basis, a condom billed as Trojan Horse. A group representing the nation’s seiners and trawlers encouraged the Despot to seize the fish: carp diem, they implored. The leader bade his fool approach. Yo, I’m so impoverished, quipped the fool, I ain’t got no despot to piss in. Trumpets signaled the embassies, audiences, and lobbies to toss many banknotes into a circulating hat. The Despot had listened to these visitors; they must subsidize his scrutiny; they must “pay attention.”

That evening, the Despot sat with his soothsayer in the conservatory, each man sipping a tincture. “It’s quite simple,” said the Despot. “They heave my adversary out the window.” Yes, sir, agreed the soothsayer. “They don’t demolish an entire wooded region.” Yes, sir, agreed the soothsayer. “Defenestration. Deforestation. Not the same!” The soothsayer hovered his palms over the leader’s head, as if it were a crystal ball. I see your political rival practicing epee with corked tip, he hummed. “You do?” Yes, sir, the soothsayer hummed: quirky his thrust shall be. Just then, the fool appeared over the Despot’s opposite shoulder. “How now?” said the Despot. He who places confidence in the soothsayer’s racket, said the fool, shall become, himself, a seer-sucker. Dig? Nesting birds brawled in livid riffs on the slopes of roof. There were, after all, no more treetops. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015


If A = B and B = C then A = C, according to Gertrude Stein;

Stein labored as a modernist mathematician, singlehandedly endowing the Transitive Property of Woody Perennials by famously contending, “Rose is a rose is a rose”;

This relationship is not lost upon forward political observers, who apply it to G.O.P. = G.O.P. = G.O.P.;

The formula continues to apply despite the frequent attempts by said Grand Old Party to gerrymander our fair sward of concrete strip mall, i.e., deli, bagel, and karate America;  

O, it gerrymanders, he gerrymanders, they gerrymander, y’all gerrymander, she it;

Similarly, if we let A = George H.W. and B = W and C = Jeb, then we get A = W = Jeb, ergo, Bush is a Bush is a Bush;

“Duh = Duh = Duh”, [overheard], therefore Duh = Duh;

“You can all me Al” [overheard] + “Al dente” [overheard] + “Dante’s Inferno” [overheard] = “You can call me Al Dante’s Inferno” (Duh);

Meanwhile, an indifferent, villainous, remotely-sympathetic character in a novel by Albert Camus practices some calisthenics while awaiting his execution in a North African prison;

He completes a Someursault, he completes several Someursaults, but this is not the point, no;

The Stranger calls to mind several inconsistencies faced by Meursault in the legal system;

Namely, one ought to receive a trial by a jury of one’s pears, not to mention other shrub species and pomaceous fruits;

If you’ve really screwed up, like the protagonist in the Camus novel, then you ought to face a Trial by Journey, but however it goes:  

Don’t stop believin’ / Hold on to that feelin’ / Streetlight people. . . . 


The City
The Storm

Dan Gutstein

Running Time:
47 seconds

Shot on Location:
Apt. 504

Advance Praise:
"Interesting how I am bested -- only -- by another bolt." ----Usain Bolt

"We fail to see the irony." ----Bolt Bus

"The true tempest, alack, Jack." ----Estate of William Shakespeare

Other Films You Might Enjoy:


Pictured above: Emily Cohen stars as a southern spoon in “Interview with Spoons”, one of the scenes from “Interviews With…”, a 45 minute DC Fringe Festival comedy-of-interviews also starring (from left to right) Rajan Kapoor, Beth Krause, and Patrick Slevin. Emily and I co-wrote several of the pieces that appear in “Interviews With…” and we have both kept interviewing people over the past couple years. The show will make you laugh repeatedly while the Rogue Collective accompanies the play with live music. For complete information, click HERE.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


By borrowing some marketing fuzz from the Eisenhower campaign— “I Like IKEA”—the Swedish furniture giant sets out to become the first foreign corporation to hold the U.S. presidency. Yet IKEA’s Hoover-esque platform—“A couch in every living room beside a kitchen with a meatball in every pot”—may seem rather tortuous for most swing voters to recite.

“Tortuous,” says the celebrity, newly liberated from prison. “They told us that story in the joint—‘The Tortuous and the Hare.’” You got two sides, these days—Pro and Conundrum—whereas a string of riddles can often feel like a conundrum-roll.

Do soccer moms pursue affairs with NASCAR dads or do NASCAR moms pursue affairs with soccer dads? (Where’s the mistress, you ask? Why, she’s in the greenhouse, misting.)

Meantime, art historians scramble to re-calibrate their assessment of the post-impressionist genius, Vincent van Gogh, upon the discovery of an oil painting, “The Sari Night”, which depicts the nocturnal clothing of women in South Asia. To accommodate the ramifications of this development, an Internet domain registration site, Vincent van GoDaddy, will process UR URL.

“Ramifications”, says the celebrity, newly liberated from prison. “Yeah, we had those in the joint—when two guys butted heads, we called it ramifications.”

The French, as we know, ceased to administer the Upper Volta some time ago, but did they abandon this African region as a result of an uprising, a Revolta? On occasion, I suffer an intense disgust above the belt, what I call an Upper Revolta. I noticed my first Upper Revolta after watching Welcome Back Kotter, and I have my theories, kind citizens, that John Travolta caused my Revolta.

If writing with “ink” led to The Inquisition it would follow that the wielding of an accessory—we mean “prop”—has led our society to The Proposition. The same way an abundance of “def” has led to The Definition and an abundance of “app” has led to The Apparition. Hey, the shadows find love, too. When two phantoms mate, their climax results in a phantasm.