de Neuvillette’s confession

Short story


I honestly can’t fully believe this is true, given all that I know about Geoff Gunderman from being his friends and hearing his music all of these years, but he said it on his deathbed, so maybe. Continue reading de Neuvillette’s confession


Luann’s big brother gets married

Luann - lu161204comb_ts.tif

The Green Bay paper printed Luann for a while and then sadly purged it, and I discovered a short time later. I think I’ve been following it online for more than 15 years; it was one of my earliest realizations that this interweb thing could be something. This is a big week for the strip.

Here is an interview with creator Greg Evans and his co-writer daughter Karen.

The WKRP turkey drop: Great radio

The WKRP Thanksgiving turkey drop is remembered around this time of year as one of the great moments in TV comedy history. But it’s not, exactly.

Hapless station manager Arthur Carlson comes up with what he thinks is a terrific promotion that will get people talking about his little radio station, WKRP in Cincinnati. He hires a helicopter and drops live turkeys into a crowd of people gathered in a mall parking lot for the mysterious promotion.

Because no turkeys were actually harmed during the filming of this episode, the action all happens off-camera.

Unsuspecting news reporter Les Nessman does a live broadcast from the scene in a stint that deliberately recalls the famous live broadcast of the Hindenberg disaster, describing in emotional detail the hideous sight as turkeys plummet to the ground “falling like wet cement.” Les’ horror is reflected with stupefied inevitability in the faces of the radio station staff listening in the studio as they realize their boss, Mr. Carlson, has messed up again.

In his dumb, well-meaning way, and with words etched in TV history, the Big Guy stumbles back into the station, disheveled and covered with turkey feathers, and declares, “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

It’s a hilarious moment, but it’s not just great television. Remember the part where all the action happens off-camera?

In a very real sense, the great WKRP turkey drop is an example of the power of RADIO. Remember, no turkeys were actually harmed. All of the carnage is depicted via the news guy’s horrified voice (and, OK, I’ll grant you, by the staff’s reactions in the studio) – but the actual scene occurs between your ears. The action is built through the magical connection of words and sounds and your imagination, and no special visual effects in the world can match the power of your mind when it’s tickled.

Words and imagination can do that. That’s why I’m excited to announce one of my new projects: The Myke Phoenix Podcast.

A key part of the reboot of my superhero adventure series will be dramatic readings of the revised stories – you will be able to subscribe for free and listen, and/or buy the book or ebook and read along with me.

Details to come; watch this space.

When I tap my inner Bradbury


I am not coy and make no apologies about the influence of Ray Bradbury on my writing. Obviously I am no Bradbury, but he is the kind of writer I aspire to be. His phrases sing, his joy and enthusiasm are infectious, and at his best he transports me to another place.

When I tap my inner Bradbury, I fly across fields – tramp through ravines and deep woods – jump on rickety old summer porches that creak underfoot but are somehow rock solid – I launch into space feeling the pressure of G-forces, or I watch with hands clenched tight to chain link as the rocket sparkles into the night with a roar – I land on a distant shore and plant the flag of Tomorrowland – I hear the whisper of the long dead (or recently dead) just beyond my range of hearing – I jam with words as my notes and the pen as my musical instrument, a symphony of syllables, a ballad old as life – a butterfly’s wings beat down a lighthouse thousands of miles and millions of years away.

Do I still know who you are today, after I go back in time and comb my hair the other way on a certain day? Does yesterday happen if I change the day before?

Turn around, turn around, turn around and it’s 60 years later, and who would ever guess this is what would have become of that child? Flash and it’s 50 years later, and the stories I was reading on paper are up on the big screen. Boom and it’s 40 years later, and the arrogant young man finally understands why he was alone for so long.

Thirty years gone and the colleagues have been scattered but still love those times and each other. Twenty years ago I was in this same place, not knowing how much better it would become after a few wrong steps. Ten years ago I knew I would do what I was doing forever, never guessing exactly when forever would arrive.

And now, here and now, sitting in a place called Crossroads, I stare into the blue sky and look around at the trees, and hear the traffic of cars and trucks not far away on their way to myriad destinations, and I feel a spark of fear over what may come next – but it turns into a grin.

Life – it’s life that comes next. Where there’s life there’s hope, Samwise Gamgee once said – a statement that has resonated and buoyed me through the years.

To be a witness


Look – see what I have found – see what I have seen and heard – isn’t it amazing? Isn’t it wonderful?

Understand its uniqueness – enjoy it for what it is – Taste a sample of what I have seen and heard so that you can share the wonder and perhaps, someday, seek it out, but at least know that this existed, this happened, and has value.

This is why I write, perhaps – to share what I have witnessed – to be a witness in this ever swarming, ever quiet, ever lonesome, ever loud parade of life I pass through.

Embrace a better future


“Do something good, someone may imitate it.” — Ray Bradbury

End of the world, doom of the planet? Fah.

Hordes of invaders, crisis to our way of life? Meh.

Enough with the purveyors of “There’s bad news tonight.”

Someone died? was killed? A universe ended, yes, but let us pause to reflect and see the infinite universes left behind to learn and grow and build.

A child born today will create the next inspiration to millions that will lead innumerable people to consider setting down weapons to embrace a better future.

Take up tools, preserve the wild but tame the beast –

The sun sets every night, then rises in the east –

There are two wolves – which shall we feed?

The one that blinds and devours, or one that sows the seed –

Only two?

Thousands – millions – of minds have released their thoughts, set their thoughts and creations free for the universe to absorb on paper – film – digitation – shouting love to the heart of the universe, which does not care, specifically, about them.

We need to create, having been built in God’s image – but we have two ears and one mouth, and so we are equipped to hear, to listen, to reason and conjure.

We solve puzzles, we play games, while we work. And here is a puzzle:

In the face of hatred and doom and inevitable death, how do we forge a bright future of promise and love and everlasting life? These mortal vessels cannot live forever, but the words – the love – those live on and on. The power of an idea … oh, my.

A roomful of life


Buried in bookcases are vast collections of words assembled to charm, to excite, to soothe, to inspire – words arranged in explosive patterns, gentle patterns, magical and mysterious patterns. Wordsmiths through the ages have agonized and raced and sauntered along wooded paths with their words, tapping the imaginations of their readers to create an image …

(What the –?) And just now, as I scrawl these words with pen into a journal, do I recognize that the words image and imagination have the same root. Imagination: The process of generating/creating an image. Of course it is.

Pull down a book off the shelf and open it and, deciphering the words, plant an image in your brain – or, more precisely, transplant an image from the writer’s brain to yours – or, most precisely, create an image in your mind that mingles your memories with the writer’s to generate an entirely new experience unique to you.

That’s a reason why we have different favorite authors: While Bradbury resonates with my experiences, perhaps Faulkner or Dickinson strikes your fancy in a more pleasurable way – for that is the joy of reading, having your fancy struck in a most pleasant fashion.

Do I wish to travel to strange and fantastic places? Here are Oz and the plains of Mars. Commune with a fellow traveler or challenge my point of view? Here are the political commentators and philosophers of the moment or years gone by. Know what it was like to stand in battle at Little Round Top? Here is a description and/or a dramatization – You may never “know” that moment, but you can immerse yourself in an echo.