This early drawing of Popeye and Bluto shows remarkably little skill. I failed to capture many essential characteristics of the characters. I even left off Bluto’s beard. I think that’s Bluto. It’s undated; I can only hope that I drew it when I was five, not fifteen. I still like Popeye. Maybe I should try again.
October 5th, 2015 · 4 Comments
September 28th, 2015 · 1 Comment
September 21st, 2015 · 2 Comments
Although Poe’s poem “The Raven” is a nice piece of work, it is rather insistent with its rhymes. Therefore, I’ve removed them for your reading pleasure. I’ve fixed the whole poem, but I’ll post only the first two stanzas.
THE RAVEN UNRHYMED
Once upon a midnight gloomy, while I pondered, weak and sleepy,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten myth —
While I nodded, nearly dozing, suddenly there came a knocking,
As of some one gently beating, at the entrance to my room.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “at the entrance to my room —
Only this and nothing else.”
Ah, distinctly I recall that it was in the bleak October;
And each separate dying cinder wrought its ghost upon the ground.
Eagerly I wished for Monday; — vainly I had sought to pilfer
From my books surcease of sadness — sadness for the lost Louise—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Louise —
Nameless here eternally.
September 14th, 2015 · No Comments
Here’s the first page of a talk on Charles Fort and his influence, which I gave at the Morbid Anatomy Museum on September 10, 2015. I tried to cover as much fortean history as possible in 45 minutes.
September 1st, 2015 · No Comments
The Blaireau Affair is now available from Black Scat Books!
Alphonse Allais’s only novel, first published in 1899, has never been out of print in France, and has inspired four movies. It’s summer in the provinces, and Blaireau, the local poacher, is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. There are futile political squabbles, a memorably obtuse constable, a couple of charming but ridiculous love stories, too much bad champagne, and innocence is rewarded in the end. It’s the most extended fiction by Allais, the seminal absurdist who inspired Jarry, Duchamp, the Pataphysical College, and Oulipo. Doug Skinner has translated and annotated this delicious tale for its first appearance in English; it’s available from Black Scat Books in a handsome edition designed by Norman Conquest.
“An Alphonse Allais universe this little tender disordered universe of an intense and unalloyed logic” — Jacques Prévert
August 25th, 2015 · 3 Comments
Although Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is an excellent work in its way, it doesn’t rhyme. I’ve remedied that with the following verses. I post here only the first and last sections.
I sing myself, and as I celebrate,
I’ll just assume that you reciprocate;
For all my atoms also are in you,
So I’ll assume you think the way I do.
I loaf, and as I sit here on my ass,
I lean and look at spears of summer grass.
My tongue, and every atom of my blood,
Are generated from this air and mud.
For I was born here, and my parents too,
And theirs as well, and all the motley crew.
I’m now in perfect health, I’m thirty-seven,
And I won’t stop until I get to heaven.
I don’t find creeds or schools to be much fun,
They’re not forgotten, but their time is done.
I blurt out good and evil with each move:
I’m nature at its best; I’m in the groove.
The spotted hawk swoops downward through the haze,
And scolds me for my gab and lazy ways.
Well, you can’t translate me, I’m too aloof:
I sound my savage yawp upon the roof.
The last scud of the day holds something back,
It flings my likeness out with all the pack,
As true as any in the shadowed murk,
And coaxes me to finish off my work.
I fly like air, I shake my snowy locks,
I turn to foam, and spatter on the rocks.
I leave myself for dirt and grass to use,
So if you want to find me, check your shoes.
Though you don’t understand the stuff I say,
I plan to keep you healthy anyway,
And filter all your blood and make it nice.
So in the years to come, take my advice:
If you don’t find me, just look somewhere new,
And maybe I’ll be waiting there for you.
August 19th, 2015 · No Comments
Here’s another excerpt from The Doug Skinner Dossier. Since it’s puzzled a couple of readers, I’ll point out that both the letters and words are complete alphabets, just not in alphabetical order.
F is a vapor
Z is an elk
U is a paper
S is a whelk
I is a chukka
W is a trail
L is a yucca
D is a quail
Y is a label
N is a mace
E is a gable
H is an ace
B is a xebec
P is a jib
M is a rebec
T is a nib
K is a zipper
A is an ut
Q is a dipper
G is a flute
X is a hobo
O is a kerf
C is an oboe
V is a serf
J is a bridle
R is an idol
August 4th, 2015 · 2 Comments
This little alphabet can be found in The Doug Skinner Dossier: Nouns are paired with adjectives, from “Ale is Bitter” to “Youth is Zealous.”
July 27th, 2015 · No Comments
Here’s another excerpt from The Doug Skinner Dossier (see last post). It’s the first bit of “Trevor’s New Job.”
TREVOR’S NEW JOB
“I didn’t think I’d need a job in the afterlife,” said Trevor.
Mr. Wallingford smirked at him from across his desk. “Didn’t you need a job in life?” he asked.
“Well, yes,” said Trevor, “but I thought I’d be a spirit here.”
“Spirit is just attenuated matter,” explained Mr. Wallingford, “and everything is as solid to us here as it is to the living. And just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you get free food and rent.” He thumped his desk for emphasis. It sounded solid to Trevor.
Mr. Wallingford picked up a sheet of paper.
“You,” he said, “will be put to work acting in people’s dreams.”
“What?” said Trevor. “Don’t people just dream?”
“Of course not. Dreams are professionally produced, and broadcast into sleeping brains.”
“What’s the point of that?”
“The point of all broadcasting: advertising. The sleeper may not remember his dreams, but his unconscious remembers the product.”
“Don’t I get to choose my job?” asked Trevor.
“Free will ended with your last heartbeat,” Mr. Wallingford curtly informed him. “Things are less anarchic on this side.”…
July 8th, 2015 · No Comments
The Doug Skinner Dossier is now available from Black Scat Books! This blessed compendium features articles, short stories, verses, columns, literary essays, alphabets, metrical translations, monologues, talks, cartoons, rounds, lipogrammatic smut, a puppet show, a ventriloquism routine, and a one-act play. 248 pages of pure, unadulterated Skinner. Holy cow!