July 1st. Rabbit, rabbit.
“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” The Doctor said that. But lately I’m starting to think there was something sarcastic about that. It’s very They Live, isn’t it? It’s a command, a compulsion to participate in the system. I always figured Thompson would be way more interested in cutting in line and jumping the turnstile than waiting patiently for his turn.
Danny Glover (no relation) made his single greatest contribution to world culture in Lethal Weapon (Chapter one and following): “I’m too old for this shit.”
It was funny at the time. But it’s getting increasingly true. Not for me, of course. I intend on being 26 forever. But our country is getting older, and we aren’t remotely prepared for it.
I’m sure it sounded like a good idea at the time, from FDR all the way to Tricky Dick. You’ve got people what are too old to work. Sure, give them some cash. Make them comfortable. If you made it to 65 in 1930, you were either a coward or a sorcerer—either way, rarer than an unopened beer at a frat house. But now the old timers just holding on to life, sucking out the marrow, which would be fine, except all of us 26-year-olds are looking at those bones and getting pretty hungry.
I’m not saying we should do it like the Aborigines, or any of the other halfway-mythological tribes that cast out their old and infirm when they can no longer contribute to the well-being of the group. I’m just saying that no one expected this level of longevity, and we don’t have an infrastructure in place to deal with it. Social Security is going to start running dry in 18 years, guys—anybody who thinks it’ll be around by the time we’re old enough to start sucking on that tit is crazier than a sober kid at a frat house.
And it’s not just federal funds. How much more is getting spent on healthcare and insurance compared to 20 years ago? Staying alive costs money. It costs about $250,000 to raise a kid from birth to 18, and that’s not including college tuition (which is its own scam). Gotta figure keeping grandpa up and active is in the same ballpark, plus or minus a few grand if you don’t feed him too often. Who’s got that kind of money?
Maybe getting eaten by wolves in the Outback is preferable to wasting away in a nursing home that smells like piss and formaldehyde.
Unnecessarily harsh. I don’t hate old people—some of my best friends are old. I don’t fear growing up, even though I want to put it off as long as possible, but I look at getting old with extraordinary distaste. What’s the point, these days? It used to be, if you were old enough to hate modern music, you were expected to have great wisdom. Now, nobody wants to hear what you think. Not that anybody wants to hear what I think. Maybe nobody wants to hear each other. But that’s a different problem.
We hear about aging gracefully. Balls to that. I want to age violently.
Happy Independence Day!
We understand so little about ourselves. We are shaped, before our awareness, by forces beyond our understanding, and we are ever thus. A flash of color glimpsed before memory can permanently alter our mindscape. And we would never know! We know only that we are what we are, and can do nothing more than offer haphazard, clumsy guesses as to the reason why. Freud was a cocaine fiend and quite possibly a madman, but he was on to something. We are built on systems that function below our conscious perception, humming servers and great engines operating belowdecks, silent and unnoticed.
Until something goes wrong, of course, but that’s normal. We never recognize the 99 successful trials, only the one miscalibration. We never notice the 99 properly tightened gaskets, only the one that cracks. I suppose that’s just as well. A success rate of 99 out of a 100 is great for a test that’s performed, say, 300 times. Not so great for a highly complex, specialized bit of meatware running millions of calculations a day.
Those little blips add up considerably over time. And if they happen deep enough, our damage control protocols won’t catch the mistake. An error in the code can be compounded, a mistake that causes another mistake, and then another, a cascade of failures that eventually overwhelm our equilibrium and lead to an anxiety, or a phobia, or a fetish.
Imbalance. Volatile. Out of Balance. Equilibrium disturbed. We are all vibrating off center, some of us barely, many of us severely. Subject to the opposing poles of Entropy and Pressure, exerting still more force, pulling us first one way, then the other.
Life is an endless effort to self-correct, to maintain balance in the presence of constant complexities, both within and without. We are subject to feedback loops, overcompensating and wobbling, lurching through the streets like circus freaks let loose in a sleepy New England village, pressing our faces against windows, scratching deep furrows into doors, screeching at cowering townsfolk huddling in terror at the barbershop.
It’s an ugly image, but I don’t think it’s unfair. We’re all freaks to somebody else, and if we aren’t, well then.
Gooble gobble, gooble gobble.
One of us, one of us.
My brother, who works for the military industrial complex, told me a story, possibly apocryphal, about an item manager who made a mistake in a serial number and ended up sending nuclear weapon parts to Taiwan instead of batteries they ordered. It’s a funny story, and I think of it often. It comforts me, because it reminds me that no matter how badly I screw up at my job, at least none of my mistakes lead to nuclear proliferation.
I wonder if that poor guy is following the story coming out of Rio in the lead up to this year’s Olympics. As bad a mistake as he made, at least he isn’t facing the possibility of unleashing a global pandemic.
There’s messing up, there’s fucking up, and then there’s whatever series of graceless catastrophes is happening down there.
Mosquito-borne plagues. Body parts washing up on the shores. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the water. Comically widespread corruption. Economic crises. Crumbling infrastructure. Police crackdowns.
It’s like somebody asked me to rank my biggest fears about the next twenty years and then shoved them all into one South American nation. How can this much go so wrong? And how does it keep getting worse?
No matter how much you accomplish, there’s nobody so great that their legacy wouldn’t be served by an early death. Look at everyone in the 27 Club. Imagine a world where they survived. Are you picturing their decades of hit-making, years and years of continued relevance and innovation? Or are you seeing an aging Kurt Cobain, his hair close-cropped and going gray, guest-judging American Idol? Imagine a Jimi Hendrix whose discography is comprised of another twenty years of albums that seem to get worse. Picture Heath Ledger getting busted for a sex scandal.
We can’t imagine the things we love wilting. How fondly would we remember Firefly if it had managed to make it into an unremarkable third, fourth, fifth season? How much goodwill does The X-Files have after its gradual descent, or The Simpsons, or Family Guy? Could it possibly be that the toxic gremlins spitting venom over the new Ghostbusters are onto something?
Preposterous, of course. But even a blind misogynist finds a testicle every now and then.
We all live too long. Bernie Sanders knows this, or he has to. I’m not even talking about his age–he’s 74 now, and I kind of hope he gets another seventy years or so. I would love to live in a world where Bernie Sanders, the Obdurate Centenarian, lurches up and down the Beltway, hurling invectives at lobbyists and demanding free college educations.
But the movement he created–not the feeling he tapped into, you understand, not the apocalyptic impulse that Der Fuhrer has also captured, that’s another conversation–the political organization and the specific message, it’s lasted too long. It started out as something glorious. Righteous. He was a burning brand in the fog, and for a little while, it looked like he could cut the whole country loose of the nets and snares that had us trapped.
But look at him now. Consigned into irrelevance, overshadowed by Der Fuhrer’s madness and Slick Hilly’s inability to even approach the truth. He waited too long to offer his endorsement, or condemnation. His supporters seem weaker every day. And what started out as something like pure, cream-colored light, is something spoiled and bitter, like hot vinegar poured into milk.
Imagine a world where Sanders hadn’t backed himself into a rhetorical corner, a world where he hadn’t mentioned “qualifications,” a world where he offered a formal withdrawal the day after California. You can still take your people to Philidelphia, Bernie. Or you could have, if you still had your dignity.
Now you’re an old, angry, sad man. You carried something vitally important, and beautiful, but it’s gone now, and nobody else has bothered to pick it up. I endorse with my whole heart the refusal to go quietly into that good night, but there’s no reason to be a dick about it.
It’s so hot outside. And still. No movement, no wind, no breeze. Just me, the roaches in the grass, and a stupid dog that refuses to eat his dry food. I’ve no patience for anyone who lets themselves starve through their own stubbornness—there are none so blind as those who will not see.
He’s licking his bowl now, the little bastard. Too late. I’ve already dumped the food into the trash. You didn’t show any indication that you wanted it fifteen minutes ago. Don’t tell me you’re hungry now.
It’s hot, heavy, and sluggish outside, but inside it’s cool. Pleasant. You can almost forget that we’ve got a country wracked with scandals and corruption and deceit on every level, or that as a global community we’re pitching ass-first into overpopulation, plague, famine, and all the other evils anthropomorphic climate change will usher in.
Thomas Malthus is a tricky man to invoke for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the uncomfortable fact that if you’ve gotten to the point in a conversation that you’re bringing him up, you’ve basically put yourself in the position of taking a soft ‘yes’ to the proposition of population control. Malthus didn’t have the numbers right, of course, but I find myself thinking about him more and more. Food production might have outpaced population growth, but is it sustainable? Is anything we’re doing? Here I am, clacking plastic keys into a laptop computer that’s sucking power from Somewhere Else. The lights are on. The Idiot Box is on.
We never think the rules apply to us. Sometimes they don’t. But if you aren’t Slick Hilly, the odds aren’t in your favor.
The Good Doctor once wrote about a (potentially) hypothetical friend who wanted to buy a Remington XP-100 to “shoot at cops from a distance.” That’s a paraphrase—whatever psychological failures that have led to me cleaning toilets for a living also resulted in my copy of The Great Shark Hunt being on a bookshelf, and not on my person at all times. Selah.
But I have to wonder (as I often do), what the Good Doctor would say about the Dallas PD using a robotic assassin to blow up a sniper. I don’t condone robot assassins, as a rule (the obvious exceptions being the hot ones from Dark Matter, or IG-88), but I feel like they are useful in narrow situations, one of which is blowing up a sniper who’s taking potshots at cops.
It’s a bad scene all around—this is coming right after Sterling and Castile. No violence in Loozeeanna or Minnesota, not that’s been reported, but any time there’s gunfire in the Free States of Texas, I get nervous, as I assume most True Americans do.
All Lives Matter, obviously. Black Lives, Blue Lives, All of it. It’s that unspoken “too” that trips people up.
When some nutjob declares open season on cops, I get a little skittish. Surely that’s not unusual. Then it circles back around to the whole “robot assassin” thing, and I get a little more skittish, and then I have a couple of beers and some Southern Comfort, and then I retreat into fitful sleep and prophetic dreams.
“Bad scene” doesn’t really cover it, I guess. 300 million people, and a couple of shit whisperers with access to firearms can shut everybody down. That’s on top of all the other problems, of course. Maybe this is a BLM thing, which is a militarization-of-police thing, which is a fractured-race-relations-in-America thing, which is a lack-of-manufacturing-jobs-has-destabilized-black-communities thing. AIDS, crack (Bernie Goetz!)—maybe the CIA didn’t invent them, but the damage has been done all the same.
So many problems with race, with economics, with power dynamics. Tied in to so many different things. School-to-prison pipeline—don’t know if that’s the biggest issue. No way to know. There’s no one thing, of course. It’s all tangled up, like a clump of hair in a shower drain. It’s matted, slick with skin oils, thick with clumps of dirt and all the nameless things that we wash into the pipes. It’s the kind of hair clump that’s stuck to the drain cover, so it won’t come off when you try to pull it up, and you have to really work at it, or bust out the Drano. Caustic chemicals pouring into the water supply. That’s the only way to clean out drains.
Unfortunately, it has a pretty terrible track record for solving social problems. It’s not something I recommend, and not just for the ethical reasons. I mean, chemical weapons have a ton of logistical problems. How the hell do you round up all the fiends and pieces of scrotal fungus for maximum exposure? I don’t think there are a lot of parks that’ll rent to someone angling for mass exterminations.
[Instead of sending in an article this morning, Mr. O’Connell submitted a 37-minute-long audio file, which consists entirely of a low moaning. Our experts are confident that the voice is Mr. O’Connell’s, whose whereabouts are currently unknown (in violation of an arrangement with the FBI, Interpol, and the SEC, both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Southeastern Conference of the NCAA). All attempts to contact Mr. O’Connell, or his Spiritual Advisor, the Rt. Rev. Jack Roller, have failed. As per the contingency plan located in a safe at Mr. O’Connell’s compound, we present the following table of rimfire handgun and rifle cartridges. –The Editors]
|.17 Mach 2||CCI||V-Max||17 gr.||2,010 fps||152 ft-lb|
|.17 HMR||CCI||TNT-HP||17 gr.||2,550 fps||245 ft-lb|
|.17 HMR||CCI||FMJ||20 gr.||2,375 fps||250 ft-lb|
|5mm Remington Magnum||Centurion||JHP||30 gr.||2,300 fps||352 ft-lb|
|.204 Ruger||Hornady||V-Max||32 gr.||4,225 fps||1,268 ft-lb|
|.204 Ruger||Hornady||V-Max||40 gr.||3,900 fps||1,351 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||Aguila||Lead HP||30 gr.||1,750 fps||204 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||Federal||Copper Plated||31 gr.||1,430 fps||141 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||CCI||Stinger HP||32 gr.||1,640 fps||191 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||Remington||Yellow Jacket HP||33 gr.||1,500 fps||165 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||Federal||Copper Plated||36 gr.||1,260 fps||127 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||Winchester||Super Sp HP||37 gr.||1,330 fps||145 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||Aguila||Sub Sonic||38 gr.||1,025 fps||89 ft-lb|
|.22 LR||CCI||Gold Dot HP||40 gr.||1,435 fps||183 ft-lb|
|.22 WMR||CCI/Speer||V-Max||30 gr.||2,200 fps||322 ft-lb|
|.22 WMR||Remington||Accutip||33 gr.||1,400 fps||14 fps|
|.22 WMR||Winchester||JHP||34 gr.||2,120 fps||339 fps|
|.22 WMR||CCI||FMJ||40 gr.||1,875 fps||312 fps|
[Our network of informants has failed to uncover any information about the location of Mr. O’Connell or Rev. Roller. Staff intern Steve discovered a hidden room at Mr. O’Connell’s compound, concealed behind a false wall, but a series of brutal and frankly ingenious booby traps have delayed our investigation into this development. The contingency plans Mr. O’Connell left behind offer article substitutes for the next calendar year. For today’s date, Mr. O’Connell had merely written the word’s “Robert Service”. With nothing else to go on, we present “Grin,” from Robert Service’s Songs of the Yukon. Donations for Steve’s funeral will be collected throughout the day. –The Editors]
If you’re up against a bruiser and you’re getting knocked about—
If you’re feeling pretty groggy, and you’re licked beyond a doubt—
Don’t let him see you’re funking, let him know with every clout,
Though your face is battered to a pulp, your blooming heart is stout;
Just stand upon your pins until the beggar knocks you out—
This life’s a bally battle, and the same advice holds true
If you’re up against it badly, then it’s only one on you,
If the future’s black as thunder, don’t let people see you’re blue;
Just cultivate a cast-iron smile of joy the whole day through;
If they call you “Little Sunshine,” wish that they’d no troubles, too—
Rise up in the morning with the will that, smooth or rough,
Sink to sleep at midnight, and although you’re feeling tough,
There’s nothing gained by whining, and you’re not that kind of stuff;
You’re a fighter from away back, and you won’t take a rebuff;
Your trouble is that you don’t know when you have had enough—
Don’t give in.
If Fate should down you, just get up and take another cuff;
You may bank on it that there is no philosophy like bluff,
[[Undated—found in Mr. O’Connell’s notes. Printed 7.13.16. –The Editors]]
America’s interstate system is arterial, black veins tracing across the country like a junkie’s track marks. The scale of it is enormous—no one thinks about it, a $400 billion (in today’s money) project that took 35 years. Huge. Coast-to-coast connections, wrapping the country up with asphalt strings. A marvel of engineering, unquestionably; a wonder of the world. Eisenhower’s legacy, his stamp on the world that will last long after most of us have turned into mulch.
In the old days, people knew that pathways were significant. Routes had power because journeys were all-important, in all cultures: rites of passage, quests, pilgrimages. So building roads was the same as seeking truth, and much more audacious, slicing a path through the earth, as pure an exercise of will and as much a monument to human achievement as any pyramid or temple. A man who builds a road has shaped the nature of the journey forever, or at least until the weeds take it back.
Psychic energy collects in roads like scents in a riverbed. Through a traveler’s feet, through their tires, a little bit of them rubs off along the way. Big roads have energy, spiritual accretions accumulated over decades, centuries, and in the right light, you can almost see it. A nation’s soul is in its highways.
Did Ike know this? Did he build the interstate system to collect the American Spirit? Was the Pershing Map a grimoire that outlined a ritual that could capture the peak of post-war euphoria, trap it just at the moment of its release? Viewed from space, would it have been a sigil that could ward off the Russians and the Red Chinese? If I-70 and I-95 had ever been completed, would we all have been Raptured away to a better place, our souls deserting the dusty ground in a flash of light?
Or did it start earlier, when Roosevelt dispatched the WPA men to every corner of the nation? Armies with hammers, paintbrushes, typewriters, cameras. Rebuilding after the Depression? Or trying to find something, the beating heart of this country, hidden in a box in a basement in Selina? The Spirit of this country made flesh, something Roosevelt could consume to gain its power, blood and gore dripping down as chin as he stood, rejuvenated, in the Oval Office, howling at the moon.
Or was it even before that, when Lewis and Clark dragged themselves from Illinois to the Pacific, commissioned by Jefferson to claim the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase? In their adventures, did they ever find places where the world was a little bit more thin, where Something Else leaked into reality? A glimpse, through a sun-scorched sky, of new stars, new worlds. When they stood among the hills and Ponderosas, did they feel it in their blood, pulsing through their veins like heathen drums?
This is all nonsense, of course. Gibberish. Only a lunatic would believe it. But just because Eisenhower wasn’t a geomancer trying to control the fate of the world through patterns hidden in the highway doesn’t mean the men and women we put in power aren’t involved in schemes beyond our understanding. In other words, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they really aren’t out to get you. Of course, just because they’re really out to get you doesn’t mean you aren’t paranoid, either.
[[Undated—found in Mr. O’Connell’s notes. Printed 7.14.16. –The Editors]]
As a general policy, I do not write about my own afflictions. Exceptions abound to this, as to every rule. I have a particularly American view of emotional problems: deal with them privately, denying them in public. Never share any details, lest others think you weak and attempt to steal your wives and oxen.
I have no wives, nor any oxen, but I do possess a certain disdain for those who would discuss their depressions, anxieties, and compulsions. Everyone hurts, I say. You don’t hurt more than anyone else, and enduring your daily pain doesn’t make you special, it makes you a participant in the same game we’re all playing.
With that said, I would like to write about my depression.
I can think of no condition more insidious, more crafty, more cunning. If Odysseus is the man of many ways, then depression is the disease of many pains. When it creeps up on me, I feel almost entirely disconnected from my own body, at a great remove from the rest of the world, as though the electrical signals between my brain and limbs have been interrupted. When I can come up with a reason to move, I can’t communicate the desire to my feet and hands.
Depression doesn’t mean you feel sad. It means you feel Nothing. Anxiety is a regular counterpart, and that brings Fear, of course (the Loathing, I think, is a natural by-product of industrial society), but it’s the Nothing that makes me lie prone on the floor, staring at the ceiling, the Nothing that sends me to bed at 2100 because I just want the day to end so I don’t have to sit around. The Nothing—the End, as Mr. Mojo Risin’ would say—says “I just can’t” to every question.
The Nothing is what makes me stay inside on a Saturday night, and the Nothing is what makes me disgusted with myself because I’m staying inside on a Saturday night. The Nothing crouches on my shoulders and weighs me down at the knees, stooping my spine and dragging me to the ground. It is an ugly, misshapen gray thing, a grostesquerie twisted by a monstrous evolutionary tmesis that shoved a slowly-beating clump of grease and hair into a mound of wet lard, animated by something older than Spite. Ambulatory Entropy.
Entropy, of course, is one of the Two Fundamental Forces of the Universe (Scientists, all of whom are charlatans and tricksters, are trying to tell you there are Four; this is an attempt to charge you double. This is why I am more trustworthy than Science), the other being Pressure. Pressure is most closely correlated to anxiety, but the Universe isn’t spiraling into Pressure. Entropy tugs on all of us.
It was tugging on Doctor Thompson on that cold day in February. Hemingway knew it very well, I think; I believe that’s what he was writing about when he said:
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
[[Undated—found in Mr. O’Connell’s notes. Printed 7.15.16. –The Editors]]
Reasons we should reinstate the draft:
Reason the First: Wars are not as easy, politically, if Congressfolk know that their constituents are going to send their sons and daughters (as of 2016!) into combat.
Reason the First, Corollary: Currently, the use of private military contractors for all portions of the armed services (including food preparation, logistics, transportation, etc), makes conflict both more profitable and easier to “sell” politically.
Reason the Second: In an All-Volunteer military, the divide between citizen and soldier (much like the current tension between communities and police departments) because stark, and the needs of the military become increasingly separate from the needs of civilians (see: Noam and Chalmers).
Reasons we should not reinstate the draft:
Reason the First: Any kind of lottery system allows the rich and influential to find some way to avoid service. This leads to the poor, the unemployed, and minorities being selected at far greater rates, hollowing out communities and voting bases. As a result, the status quo is maintained. “Time and again,” writes David Rogers, “working-class, high-school graduates were sucked into the fighting, while the wealthy and more educated found a way to stay out.”
This, fun fact, is the biggest reason I start to itch when people talk about charter schools. A great idea? Yes. But like a global infertility program, it only works if it’s truly random. Chance is the ultimate arbiter.
[[Undated—found in Mr. O’Connell’s notes. Printed 7.16.16. –The Editors]]
|AR Build Specs|
|Model||DPMS™ Recon RFA3-REC|
|Barrel||16” Midlength HBAR Bead-Blasted 416 Stainless Steel|
|Upper Receiver||Forged 7075 T6 A3 Flattop|
|Lower Receiver||Forged 7075 T6|
|Stock||Magpul™ MOE® Carbine Stock Com-Spec|
|Fire Control||Standard AR-15|
|Handguard||AT3™ Tactical 14.5” Free-Float Quad Rail|
|Gas Block||AT3™ Micro Steel|
|Grip||Magpul™ MOE® Grip w/ Magpul™ AFG®|
|Sling||Magpul™ MS4® Dual QD Sling GEN2 w/ ASAP® QD|
|Optics||SPARC™ AR 2 MOA Red Dot w/ Vortex™ VMX-3T Magnifier|
|Iron Sights||Magpul™ MBUS® Pro Offset Sights|
|Accessories||Magpul™ B.A.D. Lever®; Magpul™ P-Mags® w/ Magpul™ Ranger Plates®|
[[Undated—found in Mr. O’Connell’s notes. Printed 7.17.16. –The Editors]]
“Cell Therapy,” by Cameron Gipp, Willie Knighton, Jr., Robert Barnett
When the scene unfolds
Young girls thirteen years old
Expose themselves to any Tom, Dick, and Hank
Got mo’ stretch marks than these hoes
Hollin they got rank
See Sega ain’t in this new world order
Them experimenting in Atlanta, Georgia
United Nations, overseas
They trained assassins to do search and seize
Ain’t knocking or asking
Them coming for niggas like me
Po’ white trash, like they
Tricks like her back in slavery
Concentration camps lace with gas pipes lines
Inferno’s outdoors like they had back
When Adolf Hitler was living in 1945
Listen to me now, believe me
Later on in the future look it up
Where they say it? Ain’t no more Constitution
In the event of a race war
Places like Operation Heartbreak Hotel
Moments tear until air tight vents seal off despair
Them say expect no mercy
Fool you should be my least worries got to deal with
Where my W-2’s, 10-99’s
Unmarked black helicopters swoop down
And try to put missiles in mines
Who’s that peeking in my window, POW nobody now
Me and my family moved in our apartment complex
A gate with the serial code was put up next
They claim that this community is so drug free
But it don’t look that way to me cause I can see
The young bloods hanging out at the store 24/7
Junkies looking got a hit of the blow it’s powerful
Oh you know what else they tryin’ to do
Make a curfew especially for me and you the traces of the New World Order
Time is getting shorter if we don’t get prepared
People it’s gon’ be a slaughter
My mind won’t allow me to not be curious
My folk don’t understand so they don’t take it serious
But every now and then, I wonder
If the gate was put up to keep crime out or to keep our ass in
Who’s that peeking in my window, POW nobody now
Listen up little niggas I’m talking to you
About what yo’ little ass need to be going through
I fall a victim too and I know I shouldn’t smoke so much
But I do with the crew everybody on the average ’bout 4 or 5
I’m lucky to be alive at sunrise now I realize the cost
After I lost my best friend Bean I recognize as a King
Who am I to tell you to stop smokin’
Now you’re open to disease and colds
And ain’t sixteen years old, this shit has got to stop
Let’s take a walk through detox
I want outta this hold I’m in a cell under attack
Lock up folks they in the hood, got an eye on every move
I make open your face to info you ain’t know
Cause it’s kept low how the new world plan
Reeks the planet without the black man
So what’s your angle, try to separate me from the blood
Is disrespect like coming in my home and not
Wiping your feet on the rug
The Citron Absolut has got me bucking no hang with no phony
Look out for the man with the mask and the white pony
On my back are bills staying off my toes always on my heels
Insane, plain, soldiers coming in the dark by plane
To enforce the new system by reign
Tag my skin with your computer chip
Run your hand over the scanner to buy you dish now
No more fishing for your fish
Kiss the days of the old days past ways gone
Mind blown, conception, protection
My name on your selections but I caught you coming POW!
Who’s that peeking in my window, POW nobody now
[[Our agents are still investigating Mr. O’Connell’s whereabouts. Yesterday, they found the following handwritten memo wedged between Mr. O’Connell’s desk and the back wall. It appears to be a proposed expense report for a week-long writer’s retreat, but there is no date, and the editorial board was unable to locate any evidence that such a retreat actually took place. –The Editors]]
-Five (5) pounds Tanzanian Peaberry coffee, whole bean, organic, Fair Trade;
-One (1) Mahlkonig EK43 Coffee Grinder;
-One (1) coffee mug, ceramic, 8 oz;
-One (1) Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker;
-Thirty (30) tablets of high-quality amphetamines, 50 mg/tablet;
-One (1) oz marijuana, organic, Fair Trade;
-One (1) pack rolling papers, organic;
-Six (6) disposable Bic lighters;
-One (1) jar peanut butter, 16 oz, creamy;
-One (1) jar Nutella, 8 oz;
-Two (2) packages Oreos;
-Two (2) quarts ice cream, Vanilla;
-One (1) bottle Wild Turkey, 1.75 liters;
-One (1) bottle Whisper Creek cream liqueur, .75 liters;
-One (1) bottle Southern Comfort, .75 liters;
-Twenty-four (24) cans Coca-Cola;
-Twelve (12) bottles Yuengling;
-Six (6) cans Bush’s baked beans, 15 oz;
-One (1) Remington 870 shotgun;
-One (1) Ruger 77/17 rifle;
-One (1) Taurus Model 65 revolver;
-One (1) TCM Rock Standard FS;
-One hundred (100) shells, 12-gauge, 000;
-Fifty (50) “Dragon’s Breath” shells, 12-gauge
-One hundred (100) rounds, .17 HMR, 20 gr;
-One hundred (100) rounds, .38 SPC, 110 gr;
-One hundred (100) rounds, .22 TCM, 40 gr;
-One (1) Bible, New Revised Standard Version;
-One (1) Boy Scouts of America Handbook, 1965 edition;
-One (1) notebook, 200 pages, college-ruled;
-Ten (10) Bic Sharpie permanent markers, black;
-One hundred (100) balloons, various colors
[The following appears to be a letter written to the Editor-In-Chief of the previous regime, although for unknown reasons, it was never mailed. It is unclear to what incidents Mr. O’Connell is referring in his letter, although our historians are poring through Mr. O’Connell’s records for clues. –The Editors]
Listen here, you swine. I’m just about through with you and the rest of your jackbooted Gestapo dictating the content of my articles. If I say you’re going to get 500 words on the latest crazes in Laotian midget pornography, then by all the gods over and under the earth you are going to PUBLISH 500 words on the latest crazes in Laotian midget pornography, and you are going to THANK me for it.
Cazart! Do you have any idea who you’re dealing with? I was embedded with the CIA in Indochina while you were shitting your drawers, you uncultured, feeble-minded deviant. I was sleeping inside hollowed-out yak carcasses while you were still figuring out what to do with your dick, you limp-wristed sycophant. I possess powers you couldn’t even comprehend, let alone defend against. This is your only warning.
I have been persecuted by jackals worse than you since I slithered out of my mother, you iniquitous beast! Do you think you can marshal slings and arrows enough to pierce MY skin? I am ever made of tougher stuff than you could ever understand. Sticks, stones, and words will never hurt me, you garbage fire. I am invincible, do you understand?
Never mind all that for now, Fang. I’m on the trail of something big. Tell Myrtice down in Accounts that I’ll need $10,000 in unmarked bills for expenses. I’ll also need a copy of Crowley’s Book of Lies, a CZ 75 B 9mm pistol with taped aluminum grips, a 15 pound trigger and fiber front sights, 200 rounds of JHP rounds, and a Buzz Rickson M1A flight jacket. Get it done, you snarling, ghastly little weasel, or you’ll be reading the story of the century on Huffington Post.
Yrs in Fear & Loathing,
Rooster Q. O’Connell
[This morning, new intern Thurston was shot with a homemade crossbow after he opened a door to a disused supply closet. Mr. O’Connell was inside, and appeared to have been there for some time, as evidenced by the number of discarded blister packs of trucker speed and crushed cans of iced espresso. He was curled up in a small nest made of clothes seemingly raided the office’s Lost & Found bin and was surrounded by pages of notebook paper, every one of them covered in jagged handwriting.
When questioned about his activities, Mr. O’Connell shrugged enigmatically and waggled his eyebrows expressively, after which he lapsed into a sullen silence. He occasionally mumbled something about “psychic flotsam” and “toxic spirits.” After half an hour and a glass of Southern Comfort, his mood seemed to improve. He apologized for Thurston’s injury, claiming it was an “honest mistake” and one he would “make sure it’ll only happen, like, three more times, tops. Maybe four. But five is the hard limit.”
We here at the Editorial Board would like to offer Mr. O’Connell an enthusiastic welcome back to his position as Contributor-In-Chief to Dispatches from the Mojo Wire. His newest article is printed below. Donations for Thurston’s medical expenses will be collected throughout the day. –The Editors]
I don’t want to, but I feel that I must offer some kind of apology for my extended absence. I was in deep cover as a Russian Orthodox priest, attempting to infiltrate a cabal of drug smugglers and human traffickers. I have returned to this position as I came into the world—angry, hungry, and covered in someone else’s blood.
There is a lot of blood on our hands, these days. And there are a lot more hands.
I didn’t offer any commentary on the glorious, spiraling catastrophe that was the Republican National Convention. What could I say that wasn’t already said? There’s no new point to make about the lack of organization in Teflon Don’s campaign, only new examples. I’m keeping an eye on the kids, though. We need to get ready for presidents named Don, Eric, and Ivanka, in that order. The King is dead, long live…somebody, I suppose.
Teflon Don’s speech was appropriately apocalyptic. I approved of the tone, if not the rhetoric. The next candidate who can find a way to reconcile economic populism, non-interventionism, and social liberalism without being a blubbering fascist will be the next President of the United States.
And there are 9 people dead in Munich.
I try to tell myself how small that is, in a world of billions. How many thousands die every day, in worse conditions? But this seems worse, like Nice did. And Orlando. And San Bernardino. And Newton. And all the others, all the sickening others. It seems worse, because this is happening to People Like Us. The PLUs, we’ll call them.
PLUs don’t get gunned down in the street. PLUs watch wars over our Twitter feeds, and offer our Thoughts and Prayers at the carnage and misfortune that’s befallen Those Other Guys (TOGs, of course). We’ve been brought close enough to one another that a man in Oslo can feel the hot breath of a man in Bismarck, and the news of tragedy spreads so fast.
We were not meant to know how sick this world is. As long as we could believe that PLUs and TOGs were separate, we could engage in all the little meaninglesses that made our lives resemble something orderly.
When PLUs die like TOGs, we have to acknowledge that maybe there’s nothing different between us after all. And that’s scary for a couple of reasons, not the least of which being that maybe all that we have—this wealth, unimaginable to our grandparents—is not ours by right. If there’s no difference between PLUs and TOGs, then all this—including the lives that we have decided Matter—isn’t Ours. And we might lose it any minute.
I used to have a red notebook in my office. I kept it under a shrunken head named Clyde, who only ever spoke in riddles. On the occasion of certain lunar events corresponding to feast days on the Sumerian calendar, I could open that notebook to a random page and find a passage written in a tongue no man alive knew. I showed the notebook to a philologist friend of mine (and only a linguist would make his discipline so fun to say!) and, to date, no doctor has deemed him fit be released from restraints.
I never knew what those passages meant, or even what they implied. I considered it a curiosity, one of my many Treasures, and on certain sultry Georgia nights, I would pour twelve-year-old whiskey in a rocks glass and thumb through the pages. It would calm me, the lack of comprehension allowing me to simply bask in the rough beauty of the shape of the words, much like listening to Bob Dylan.
I glanced at the notebook earlier today, more out of nostalgia than anything else.
It was blank.
All of the passages erased, as if they were never there.
I do not know what to make of this. But I doubt it is a good sign. No one clears their books if they expect a long and happy retirement.
To write. To write. To write to write to write. To write, trite. Try it. Too right.
Self-satisfied. Smug. I give it a C.
Self-satisfaction seems to be in these days. Everyone thinks they’re right. Especially if they run a country.
No. No, I don’t want to talk about Erdogan, so stop asking. Yes, something has to be said about that guy, and ideally, it should be said at 2100 feet per second, but that kind of message tends to have an unacceptable amount of finality. It’s all too depressing. I’d much rather spend a few hundred words trying to invent a gender-neutral singular pronoun.
I don’t like “xe,” for the same reasons I don’t like “zhe.” Sounds too close to “she,” which I feel defeats the purpose. What about “qe” (pronounced “kwee”)? Qe, qis, qim…that last one might be a problem. Dammit Joss, everyone had almost forgotten about that!
Ge? Ge, gis, gim. I’ll try it for a while, see how often it comes up.
I feel the weight of all of this, this world we’re in, and lexigraphical games aren’t going to do anything to distract me from it. I started this project as a way to look at myself with a sardonic eye, and it was only natural to try and address the world in the same way. But this is no time for humor. Jokes are good for the living, but the dead are a poor audience.
The problem with drinking at 7 in the morning is that it’s harder to grab on to the general feeling of pissed-off-edness that makes so many of these articles work. Selah, I suppose; that’s the trade-off. I, for one, am not going to say anything to impugn the character of this cup of shade-grown coffee filled with off-brand Irish cream liqueur. Nothing like starting a Sunday with a little bit of a buzz.
I wonder why no one else has thought of that?
The world continues to spiral closer to the Global Economic Supercollapse, even if it’s looking more likely every day that it will be less “Economic” and more “Totalitarian.” The current international climate suggests that we are not alone—Trump here, Farage in the UK, Le Pen in France, to say nothing of Erdogan—there’s a lot of anger in the world, and a lot of people prepared to ride that into a position of power. I’m not saying anything new, or even particularly intelligent. The facts are inescapable, like gravity. Fear, anger, hate, suffering, etc. It’s a line so effective you have to wonder if Lucas actually came up with it.
Not to disparage Mr. Lucas, of course. I think he made mistakes, but at least he had a Singular Vision. Just like Snyder. Say what you want about the cinematic cancer that was Batman v. Superman, but it had a cohesive feel. It’s just a shame that it felt like getting punched in the kidneys by a 7-foot-tall ogre made out of anthrax.
It is a preoccupation of mine, to try and gauge the mood of the country based on its popular culture. Again, nothing unique, but you don’t make a movie like Batman v. Superman: Despair of Joy if you aren’t riding a particular national consciousness. The fact that it got made suggests a lot of unfriendly facts; the fact it was so rejected suggests something as well, but I’m not in the mood to be optimistic right now.
Optimism is out, I say. It certainly was during the RNC, where the vision of the future was dim and apocalyptic. Snyder would have enjoyed it, I think. Not enough slow motion, though.
Pessimism isn’t in, though, I shouldn’t think. At least, you aren’t allowed to be overt about it. You can’t just come right out and say that the world is cornholed; look at the backlash at Teflon Don’s speech. You have to imply it. At the very least, you have to couch it in possibility. “Sure, things are bad. Are they going to get better? No, of course not! We’re all doomed…America’s the Greatest Country in the world, good night!” You have to observe the Protocol.
I don’t think America is the Greatest Country in the world. Because by any metric—literacy, life-expectancy, healthcare spending, education, unemployment—we’re not at the top of any sort of list. Not that I’m saying that there’s another Great Country out there; just that it isn’t us.
But it could be. It’ll take a lot of very smart people working very hard. More importantly, it’ll take a lot of vile people staying out of the way.
In other words, not likely.
“I hate Mondays.” –James A. Garfield, 1831-1881
I don’t mind them all that much. Got to start the week sometime, I suppose.
The gray hats at Wikileaks have proven what has been common knowledge for months, namely that the DNC really, really wanted to elect Slick Hilly and not Uncle Bernie. Really, we didn’t need 20,000 secret emails to be released to know that. The question now is how is Bernie gonna act? He speaks today—the keynote! Sandwiched right there between Cory and Michelle. I didn’t think it was too likely he’d take the opportunity to unleash a little bit of the old Righteous Fury, but that was before agent provocateurs hacked his Hated Opposition.
Do I think it’s likely that Sanders will pull a Cruz? No, surely not. He recognizes the danger Der Fuhrer poses, and how tenuous Slick Hilly’s position is. On the other hand, he’s still got a lot of the old magic with a lot of his supporters. If he rolls over, he’ll lose credibility with them. Of course, they were never voting for her anyway.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
A hundred-odd days until the 8th. Plenty of time to lay in a supply of 66-grain .223 ammo and heirloom seeds. Plenty of time to figure out if mumbling about politics is anything more than just an exercise in puffed-up self-importance. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter all that much.
[O’Connell turned in this article late. On the back were scrawled handwritten notes, reactions from Senator Sanders’ address to the Democratic National Convention. –The Editors]
The Big Blue Party in Philadelphia is certainly more positive than the Mistake by the Lake, but there’s clearly a lot of unrest. Cory Booker’s address was stirring, of course. Felt a tear in the corner of my eye. Might get the text of it tattooed on my back. Everybody has a lot of nice things to say about Slick Hilly. But there’s really only one question on my mind: What’s Uncle Bernie gonna say?
Right now, it’s a lot of thanks. And there’re a lot of broke hearts and wet eyes in Philly.
How the hell did an irascible Jewish septuagenarian get 13 million people to vote for him? And how did he do it by indicting a system designed to suppress that kind of assault? He slipped through the early-warning system, just like Teflon Don did. There are protocols in place to make sure nobody who speaks the truth can get in front of a camera.
He was too beautiful to last, and we all knew it. He was Righteous; thus, he had to go.
He was one of God’s own prototypes—a high-powered mutant of some kind who was never even considered for mass production. He was too weird to live and too rare to die.
Fornication: generally consensual sexual intercourse between two people who are not married to each other.
Formication: the medical term for a sensation that exactly resembles that of small insects crawling on (or under) the skin.
Delusional parisitosis: a delusional disorder in which individuals incorrectly believe they are infested with parasites, insects, or bugs, whereas in reality no such infestation is present. Individuals with delusional parasitosis usually report tactile hallucinations known as formication, a sensation resembling insects crawling on or under the skin.
Cynicism is the refuge of cowards. So spake Cory.
That might be true. But I think cowards live longer. And they’re usually the only ones who recognize that the sensation that exactly resembles that of small insects crawling on (or under) the skin might actually be small insects crawling on (or under) the skin. Rarely pretty to contemplate, but you have to check and make sure every once in a while.
This is a creepy-crawly time, and not just because of Zika. A lot of dark things are skittering out of the shadows, from the fringe onto convention stages, spindly bugs with shiny black shells, hairy legs, grasping mandibles…egg sacs in our ears at night. There’ve always been poison peddlers, but we do not often give them such an audience.
I don’t know if this is an election for cowardice, but it’s certainly one for Fear. There’s a distinction there, of course; cowardice is an action, Fear is a state. You can be afraid and do the right thing; a coward has submitted to his fear. They die twice, it is said.
That might not be too bad; after all, practice makes perfect.
Fear has always been a part of politics, especially American politics. Fear of the Nazis, the commies, the hippies, the blacks, the Latinos, the Muslims. Always the Other. The TOGs. Teflon Don’s been doing this since ’08, even if nobody’s talking about it anymore. You don’t suggest that POTUS is a TOG if you aren’t trying to turn somebody against somebody else.
Bugs in our country’s skin. The itching will drive her crazy. Crazier than she is already, I mean. Professional medicine men (all of whom are peddlers of spurious tonics, save dentists, who provide a vital service) say that scratching will only make it worse, but they’re assuming the bugs aren’t real.
Sometimes, a little blood under your fingernails isn’t the worst thing that can happen.
The Asses are hitting Der Fuhrer with everything they have; they’re turning his words against him, which you’d think would be a pretty heavy load. This is a man who’s denigrated women, Latinos, blacks, the disabled, and POWs; he’s expressed admiration for Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin; he’s advocated mass deportations, torture, and extrajudicial killings (although he’s in good presidential company on that last one); he’s failed to demonstrate not even the barest rudiments of understanding of issues ranging from foreign affairs to healthcare reform, and indeed, even seems to revel in his ignorance.
Any one of those should sink him. If he was a normal man, and not a used condom full of hot dog water, he would. That’s not a fair comparison; condoms actually provide a useful service.
But this is Teflon Don. His starry-eyed, slack-jawed followers love him as he gets more and more outrageous. I think it’s because of Slick Hilly, a demonstrably damaged, toxic candidate. No matter what Trump does, he can pivot to attacking her, and it will work.
The fundamental difference between Clinton and Trump is that Trump revels in the muck, the slime, the cosmic effluvium and industrial runoff of 21st century celebrity worship. He’s at home among the filth and piss and shit, and he loves it. Craves it. Clinton has spent her entire career elbow deep in that same sick cauldron, but for different reasons; that’s just how politics works. The difference is, she’s desperate to make it look like she’s clean.
That’s why they won’t beat Trump by turning his words against him. Hillary has done everything she can to make herself look capable and clean; that just means that the mud will stick to her. If you’re slinging mud, the dude who’s already covered in it is going to win against the one who’s scared of getting gis clothes dirty.
You can’t shame or embarrass a man like Trump. He has no shame. And at this point, we should understand that his thralls don’t care what he says, because they hate Hillary so much more.
They say nobody ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American people. I would caution Hillary not to underestimate their hate.
The conventions are over. It feels like years since the news has reported on anything else. Now that they’re not all in one place, it’s back to the real work of actually tracking these people down. Not sure why we’d want to, but that’s the news cycle.
The news cycle: Russians! The Bear stirs, allegedly responsible for the hack of the DNC. Mother has shared her fears about another famous Russian, Baba Vanga, a blind seer who allegedly predicted 9/11. Vanga claimed that the 44th President would be an African-American and our last president.
I am dubious in the strongest terms, of course. Not merely because my spiritual advisor the Rt. Rev. Jack Roller has informed me that only the Almighty knows the future, but because there’s no paper trail. If this lady predicted 9/11 in 1989, why can’t I find any evidence of it ever being written down?
The future is a tricky business. Even Nate Argentum can be wrong from time to time, and he’s a wizard.
I’m embarrassed to admit it took me this long, but I just discovered a quatuviarate of novel cartridges: The .32 NAA, .25 NAA, .22 TCM, and .400 Cor-Bon. All four of these proprietary handgun rounds are bottleneck cartridges (similar to the redoubtable .357 SIG), and have succeeded in capturing my imagination. The .32 NAA (designed, like the .25 NAA, in partnership with North American Arms and Corbon) is a .380 ACP case necked down to hold a .32 bullet. The .25 NAA is a .32 ACP case necked to a .25 bullet. The .22 TCM (developed in partnership with Fred Craig and Rock Island Armory) shortens a 5.56x45mm NATO case to 26mm. Finally, the .400 Cor-Bon is a .45 ACP necked down to a .40 bullet. Ballistic performance of all four rounds is documented below:
|Name||Bullet Type||Bullet Weight||Muzzle Velocity||Muzzle Energy|
|.22 TCM||JHP||40 gr.||1875 ft/s||312 ft/lbs|
|.22 TCM 9R||JHP||39 gr.||2000 ft/s||312 ft/lbs|
|.25 NAA||XTP||35 gr.||1200 ft/s||121 ft/lbs|
|.32 NAA||JHP||60 gr.||1222 ft/s||199 ft/lbs|
|.32 NAA||FMJ||71 gr.||1000 ft/s||158 ft/lbs|
|.400 Cor-Bon||JHP||135 gr.||1400 ft/s||588 ft/lbs|
All of these are, of course, mere curiosities, with the price and relative lack of availability precluding their use as EDC rounds. But it is always fun to discover new things, especially if it involves controlled explosives.
Expletive infixation: process by which an expletive or profanity is inserted into a word, usually for intensification. It is similar to tmesis, but not all instances are covered by the usual definition of tmesis because the words are not necessarily compounds.
It’s always useful to have another linguistic technique in your toolbox. I imagine this will come in handy when Der Fuhrer makes his next outrageous claim. I have entertained the notion that I could keep a running tally of his absurdities and iniquities, but I only have so much time in the day.
More Band-Aids on my fingers, which is usually a good indication that something is stressing me. It is peculiar that we so rarely know ourselves, that we need external signals that we’re in distress. All the signs point to internal tension of some significance; not merely the Band-Aids, but the recent fascination with determining which M1911 models accept drop-in 9x19mm barrels. This is clear redirection, shifting my attention from something troubling to something…well, let’s not go so far to say “unimportant,” but certainly easier to manage. The struggle now is to figure out what’s truly bothering me, but that is obviously not appropriate for a highly stylized pseudo-journal like this. Serious psychological self-evaluation has no place here.
This is the point where I would, under normal circumstances, insert a table of ballistic performances of various firearm cartridges. But I’ll not go back to that well, not for a few more days. Instead, I’ll conclude with a frantic letter I recently received from my spiritual advisor, the Rt. Rev. Jack Roller:
My Dear Theophilus,
The world, the way it is now. You ever wondered why things are the way they are? Have you ever sat down and realized that we’re living in a repressive, self-perpetuating system? Brown v. Board of Education is flat gone now—minorities are going to broke public schools, and they get beat down with so much testing that the graduation rate’s gone into the toilet. That means they’re prepared for one of two things: manual labor or prison, both of which mean they’re going to be taken out of the high-earning job market. That, in turn, means they don’t have any money to affect political change. Meanwhile, white kids go to charter programs, go into college, and go work for Wall Street, where they have the incentive and the ability to keep things the way they are.
Politics is a joke. All the division between the parties is a diversion. We’re dividing and conquering ourselves, and while we stay at each other’s throats, we don’t realize that the big lobbies are throwing millions of dollars to people on both sides of the aisle. That’s where the real bipartisanship is in American politics. Democrats, Republicans, they take cash from the same people.
We’re so tranquilized right now. All that garbage we’re pumping into ourselves, and it’s all garbage. Facebook, Twitter, Zoloft, the Kardashians, the Oscars, all of it takes our energy and our anger and diverts it into harmless avenues so when something huge comes along, we’re too worn out to do anything about it. We found out our own government is spying on us. We found out that the administration in Flint was knowingly poisoning their own people. How many times this year has some whackjob with a gun gone on a shooting spree? And what have we done, collectively, as a nation? We all sort of agreed that there was nothing we can do about it.
Your privacy is a myth, a convenient illusion that keeps you complacent. You’ve been so distracted by everything else that’s going on that you haven’t noticed that you’re not really a person any more. People have the right to free speech, to be heard, to stand up for themselves. You don’t have those rights. The corporations do. You know the really sick thing about Citizens United? We thought we were doing the right thing! Can you imagine?
You need to wake up! This world only works while you keep sleepwalking. They know that as long as we aren’t willing to risk anything, they’re safe. You have to be ready to go out into the streets and start setting shit on fire.
Yr. Brother In Christ,
Reverend Jack Roller, Esq.
The Reverend is known to most law enforcement agencies as a drug fiend and sexual deviant, but he is in contact with the Lord. I would give his words due consideration, at least the same consideration due to all the half-mad prophets and truthsayers in this world.
 “Most of my friends are into strange things I don’t totally understand—and with a few shameful exceptions I wish them all well. Who am I, after all, to tell some friend he shouldn’t…buy a single-shot Remington Fireball so he can go out and shoot cops from a safe distance?” –“Strange Rumblings In Aztlan,” Great Shark Hunt, p127
 At muzzle.
 At muzzle.
 Discontinued between 1973-2008.
 We have found no evidence that this is true. –The Editors
 Clyde currently sits on the Editorial Board, where he has been instrumental in expanding our digital publishing initiatives. –The Editors
 “The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat,” Hunter S. Thompson; Great Shark Hunt, p515
 Mr. O’Connell took the unusual step of hand-delivering this article, after which he spent nearly half an hour explaining to the Editorial Board that he felt the second-greatest weakness in the English language was the inability to distinguish between “brand new” and “already existent but newly discovered.” He then laid out a case for “novel” as the word most appropriate for the second category, and refused to leave our office until we agreed to include this footnote.
 The .22 TCM 9R is a slightly shortened version of the .22 TCM, designed for use in Glock-style magazines.