Sunday, December 27, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

I bet Christopher Lambert could escape from your god.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas, everyone! For those who don't know the story, today is the day that Santa Claus gave a baby to a young peasant woman named Mary, whose husband Joseph - through no fault of his own - was sterile. Or, if not sterile, just really tired in the evenings. Santa and Mary met secretly late at night in a barn near a crowded inn, but somehow three lunatics still managed to find them. After sneaking up on the understandably upset and embarrassed Mary, they gave the baby completely inappropriate gifts. Thus began a tradition of giving largely unwanted items to people on this special day. Only one of the three presents was even appreciated by Mary; that, of course, being the gold. And that is why today the only gift most people are excited to receive is money. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

Great! Thanks, God. Well, the toilet is backed up again, and the laundry needs to be done, at least three or four loads. While you get started on that, I'll put together a list of other problems and concerns. I have many. You certainly have your work cut out for you. I don't want to be in your way, so I think I'll go meet some friends for drinks and possibly catch a movie. Thanks again!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Not Quite Tall Enough Man

     I’ve decided to finally become taller. I’m going to get one of those neck extensions that are all the rage in certain sections of New York and Paris. When I was growing up, everyone in my family promised I’d be tall. I was to be perhaps taller than my grandfather, who was well over six feet. I accepted this, and though I never admitted it aloud, I was excited at the prospect of being taller than everyone around me (except, perhaps, my grandfather). But something happened, and my growth was halted when I was just five feet ten inches tall. I was betrayed.
     I do directly attribute my problems with the police and school officials in my teen years and early twenties to this false promise of height. The world had let me down, and I didn’t trust it or respect it. And I lashed out. Sure, it might seem foolish to you now, but I was full of anger and disappointment.
     Now, after two broken marriages, a little jail time, a series of uninspired jobs, and a severe beating by an irate colleague, it’s time for the world to make good on its promise. I will be tall. Thanks to a slightly unorthodox doctor, who pioneered this new corrective surgery, I will be what I was intended to be. A giant among men. For now, to make up for those lost years, I intend not to add just a few inches, but a full foot. I will be nearly seven feet tall, and I will crush those around me. I will stomp on their faces and kick their ribs. Because finally everything will be as it should be.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

(Note: I wrote this story this morning, when I had no interest yet in getting out of bed. There was paper next to me, as there always is, and so I scribbled this down. I then put it aside, as I wanted to read the other story I’d written last night – “Esperanza’s Trick” – which in the morning still seemed to me to be as good as it was last night. But now a few hours have passed, and I like this one enough to post it here. That’s all for now.)

Esperanza’s Trick

     Esperanza was a one-legged whore who specialized in card tricks. She had no real beauty to speak of, but she also had no boundaries, having given up years ago after the rape and murder of her favorite dog, Fizzy. The only thing she enjoyed, besides her card tricks, was memorizing the obituary page every morning and then performing it as a monologue at Tammy’s bar every evening right before she started her shift. Put her in the right mood, she said. Tammy didn’t mind that it frightened off some customers, because the two had been roommates once upon a time, and besides, she believed it drew others to the bar, and everyone wanted a drink after witnessing the performance.
     Esperanza’s territory wasn’t wide, due to trouble she had getting about, so she wasn’t hard to find. I had twenty dollars in my pocket, more than enough for what I had in mind, including a beer at Tammy’s. She took me to her little room, and in the candlelight I saw the wrinkles dance upon her face, like they might get up and settle elsewhere at any moment. There was no smile left to her, even though I caught her at the beginning of the night, before despair and fatigue flattened her. I admit I was disappointed, but she hadn’t yet performed her card trick, and that, after all, was what I was paying her for. She offered to warm up by sucking my cock, but I assured her that wasn’t necessary. Sex no longer appealed to me. In fact, it – like many other things these days – frightened me.
     Esperanza had a special deck of cards, which I didn’t question. She somehow used her one foot to shuffle the cards, and that alone was worth the money I was giving her. She was certainly aware of her charms, so few were they that they were easy to keep track of, but she didn’t milk them. There were others waiting out there, I’m sure she surmised, and she already had my money. She was naked, except for a sheet of thin purple gauze loosely wrapped around her torso. I wanted to ask her if her regulars found that sexy, but I couldn’t imagine she had regulars. Once you’d tasted what she had to offer, surely you could get on with your life, as I planned to. Well, what was left of it, anyway.
     The trick she performed was one I’d seen done before. In fact, it was one I’d done myself a few times in my youth, though without any style. The trick itself wasn’t important. It was the way she did it, choosing the cards with the toes of that one foot. And even though it was done without any excitement, I felt there was still some joy to it for her, some accomplishment, like she was pulling one over on whatever forces led her to this existence, that though she should be beaten, she was somehow in control of some tiny element of magic, something those forces themselves could never master. It was that element which provided the only shred of hope I could gather, what perhaps led her in her choice of professional names. At the climax of the trick, her wrinkles seemed – just for a moment – to smile, even though her mouth did not. And then, just as suddenly, it was over, and I was quickly ushered back out onto the street, toward my car, toward my home in that brighter, lovelier section of town, where no one has hope because no one any longer needs it.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

I didn't understand this one at all, so I went into the church and asked the priest. He told me that this week, and this week only, giants and midgets are allowed inside. Giants have to pay double, but midgets are half off.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Someone remarked how payphones have almost completely disappeared. But all phones are payphones.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tall Girl

     Marlene is a tall girl. Quite tall. Her friends all started calling her a tree. She told them she didn’t appreciate the nickname, and they just stared at her in disbelief. Finally one of them, Nathan, spoke up. He said, “But you are a tree, Marlene.” The others nodded their heads in agreement. Marlene didn’t believe them, not even when the birds began building a nest on her shoulder. For how could she possibly be a tree? All her life she’d been doing human activities. Sure, she’d get depressed in the winter months, and remain largely inactive. But wasn’t that the case for a lot of people? Certainly it was.
     And she would have told the birds they were mistaken, but she found their presence soothing, and she felt a need to take care of them, to shelter them as best she could. Of course, this meant she had to postpone her trip to Baltimore, which certainly would have proved her non-tree status. Trees don’t travel to Baltimore. But as long as the birds would remain, so would she. They meant more to her than proving her identity. Marlene could remain very still when she wanted to. She did so now, even when a dog cruelly relieved himself on her shoes. That’s how determined she was to care for those birds. She wasn’t sure how long the birds would be there – she was no ornithologist – and so she didn’t know when she’d get to Baltimore. But, she surmised, Baltimore would still be there after the birds had gone. And then, once and for all, she’d show everyone just what kind of tree she was.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

Photo From Work

Here is a shot of the sunset at Disney Studios in Burbank.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

Well, to answer your first question, yes, I will do my best. As for the second, of course not, you very silly sign. No one lives forever, comfortably or not. What a stupid, stupid thing to ask.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Laziest Person On The Planet

I'm not sure what the deal is with these things, and I try not to poke fun at people too much. But whenever I see someone using one, I can't help but think, "You are beyond fucking lazy." And my impulse is to push the person off of it. So far, I've restrained myself, but I make no promises for the future.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Quantum Mechanics

My cousin Joe is a quantum mechanic. If you've got a problem with your quantum, he's the guy you want to see. And this week he's running a special on probability amplitudes.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Something To Think About

If we can stop production of cigarettes, chewing gum and dogs, the sidewalks will be beautiful.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Joy Of Knitting

     She met Thomas at her grandfather's funeral. He made her laugh by leaning over the coffin and nibbling on her grandfather's ear. It was the only thing that lifted her spirits that horrible day, and since then she couldn't get him out of her mind. He'd told her his name, but hadn't asked for her phone number, nor offered his, and she wasn't sure if she'd ever see him again. She briefly entertained thoughts of staging her grandmother's death, to bring them into contact again, but that became unnecessary when she ran into him outside an abortion clinic at the outskirts of town. She was just browsing, and he was there dropping off a friend.
     "Lilly," he said.
     "Thomas," she replied.
     And thus began their strange and delightful courtship in earnest. A few months later Thomas and Lilly would return to the abortion clinic, where he would drop her off before leaving town with an anesthesiologist. But until then, things were heavenly, and Thomas made Lilly laugh every day, sometimes by returning to his ear-nibbling routine with her grandfather's corpse.
     And then later, when his seed was being removed from her body, she thought about taking up crochet and wondered if there was a free class at the local library.
     There wasn't.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

Driving to my cousin's house for Thanksgiving dinner, I doubted I was going the right way. So I folded my hands and prayed, and crashed my car into a tree. Anyway, it turns out I had been going the right way. My cousin was nice enough to drop off some leftovers to my hospital room.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Boobs Malone And Her Chamber Of Horrors

Boobs Malone is one of the most feared and delightfully cruel criminal minds active in the Boston area today. She has a taste for the bizarre, which keeps her victims and potential victims alert and worried, but which keeps her minions entertained.

Michael, her latest victim, suddenly found himself dipped in chocolate and suspended from the ceiling by metal chains connected to a series of clamps attached to his body, leaving him dangling just a few inches above the floor. Boobs Malone then began whipping him, first with rope, then with a thin strip of rubber, and finally with a strand of barbed wire. The blood and chocolate collected beneath him, and Boobs Malone called in her favorite dogs and dwarves to lap it up while she stood above Michael and urinated on him, stinging his wounds and further entertaining her minions and exciting the dwarves, who caught some of the spray themselves.

Having temporarily exhausted herself, Boobs Malone exited the chamber to take a nap, leaving Michael in his suspended state. Just when he thought he couldn't take any more, he was rescued by none other than Mistress Boobilicious, surprising Michael, who had come to believe the persistent rumors that Boobs Malone and Mistress Boobilicious were actually the same person. Now he dedicates himself to his rescuer's pleasure.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ursula's Night

Each New Year’s Eve, Ursula wrote a new draft of her suicide note, promising herself this would be the year. Though now, after thirty-one drafts, it had become more habit than true intention, and she even admitted to herself while writing it that it would likely be old age or other natural causes which would eventually take her, not her own hand. At this point, it was simply a way of taking stock, seeing what she had, and what she would give up. No one, so far as she knew, had seen any of the drafts, no one was aware of this yearly ritual.
     The notes had first been kept in a shoebox, but after fourteen or fifteen years, when she’d begun to suspect that she wouldn’t in fact do herself in, she transferred the notes to a three-ring binder. And part of the ritual now included re-reading old notes. That is what she was doing, a glass of pinot noir in her hand, when the knock came on her apartment door. She glanced at the clock, as if the late hour were the only odd thing about this knocking. It was nearly midnight, only thirty-three minutes left in the year. What could be so important that it couldn’t wait until morning? But as she headed from her bedroom to the door, another question occurred to her, and she wondered why this wasn’t the first thing to jump to mind: Who could it possibly be? Her apartment complex was small, only six units. And she knew that the occupants of the other five were all away. They were college students, and all of them had family and friends elsewhere, people with whom they wanted to share the holidays, or at least people with whom they were expected to share the holidays. Ursula sometimes felt terribly old around them, but at other times felt younger herself, when one or another would take her into his or her confidence about some issue, even though these almost invariably were trifles, inconsequential items of fleeting focus. Ursula always gave them careful consideration, and answered honestly and fully. It seemed they appreciated that, being taken seriously. And Ursula enjoyed it too. Wasn’t that why she hadn’t moved out of this apartment? The other apartments changed occupants yearly, while she remained. Well, that wasn’t the only reason she hadn’t moved, she admitted to herself. Where would she go? It wasn’t that she had a solid reason to stay, but that she lacked a reason to leave. There was no one desiring her company, her presence elsewhere.
     And that once again led her to wonder just who it was that was at her door. She paused at the lock, waiting to see if the knock would come again. Perhaps the person would leave, go and seek help somewhere else. Was that it? Was it someone requiring help? If so, Ursula couldn’t ignore him or her. The knock came again, but softer this time, which startled Ursula, for it seemed to indicate that the person knew she was just at the other side of the door now, and not in the bedroom. She could no longer pretend she hadn’t heard. That option was no longer open to her, though she hadn’t truly considered employing it anyway. Had she?
     Ursula looked through the peep hole, but the porch light was out again, and she couldn’t make out any features. Why was that light such trouble? She had changed it herself only the previous week, purchasing a step ladder from a hardware store to reach it. Or had it been longer? Time had ceased to have a strong hold on her, particularly now when the students were away. The place was so quiet, not just her building, but the entire neighborhood. It felt empty, devoid of movement. And the days were so dark this time of year, it was like death entered the atmosphere and made a home in the very air she breathed. It would be so easy to slip to the other side, like taking a small step sideways. Or forward, she thought. Or perhaps like not taking a step at all.
     The knocking came again, even softer this time, barely audible at all, in fact. If she hadn’t been standing just at the door, she would not have heard it. She placed her palm against the door, as if to connect with that other side, as if to know it without making a choice, the choice to open the door, to accept whatever lay beyond. For she knew now it was no person requiring help who knocked at her door. But could it be someone offering it? She then tapped on the door softly herself, accepting the connection, letting them know she was there and that she was prepared. She had been preparing herself now for thirty-one years, since her sixteenth birthday. The record of her death, kept tidy in a binder, was the record of her life. She put her lips against the door, and closed her eyes.
     It was nineteen days before her body was discovered. Her apartment door was slightly ajar, but the students didn’t pay that any particular notice when they returned from their vacations, busy as they were with their own lives, their own plans, and their rapidly approaching futures. It was the maintenance man who was replacing the dead bulb on her porch, at the request of the landlord, who had driven by the dark building one night and worried about his quiet and lonely tenant. Seeing the door was open, the maintenance man called in, hoping to toss the old bulb into the tenant’s trash before moving on to work in another building. Later he’d swear to those to whom he told the story – and they were several – that he heard Ursula respond, that she said, “Come in.” And so he did. When he first told the story, he also included the part where he heard Ursula say, “I’m in the bedroom,” but he later dropped that, as people seemed to take it in the wrong spirit, finding humor and even snickering. But there was no humor in what he found when he did enter her bedroom. It wasn’t even the corpse, already in the process of decay, that bothered him the most. It was that binder, open to the final page, a strange sort of love letter to death. And the page’s final line, clearly written in another hand, which read, “I accept.” That was the part he told no one, not even his wife, as he held her tightly to his chest as they fell asleep every night for months afterwards, unwilling to let her roll over onto her side, as was her inclination. Eventually he’d release her, and she’d roll over, and things would return to normal.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

Religious People Are Peculiar

Which is more frightening?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Photo From Work

Today we were in San Pedro, where I saw three seals. Okay, I suppose it could have been the same seal three times, but no matter, it was cool either way. I also watched some kind of duck chase fish around for a while. So, yeah, it was a good day.

This photo was taken soon after I arrived at base camp just before dawn. I took a few photos during the sunset as well, but I don't like those quite as much. As for the seal, he wouldn't let me photograph him. He poked his head out of the water not ten feet from me and said hello. But when I pulled out my camera, he said "No photos" and went back under the water.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Desirable Break From Reason

All of David’s friends at one time or another became completely unhinged. And so, understandably, David assumed all men at one time or another went completely unhinged, and waited, perhaps impatiently, for his own time. Lately there had been plenty of opportunities, as his job had become much more stressful after a change in the company’s corporate structure and a resulting series of layoffs. And yet David held onto his sanity with a tenacity that surprised him. He was hoping to schedule his breakdown so that it would come at the end of a long weekend, to extend his period of rest.

Certainly it would come soon. The madness had no one else left to touch. David thought of it like a cold that all his friends had caught, and so it was only a matter of time before it got him too. He was looking forward to it. He felt there was a whole side of life that he was not yet privy to, that his friends all shared some knowledge, and perhaps looked down on him as an outsider because of his lack of that knowledge. He felt excluded, and this made him all the more eager to go a little batty.

Was he imagining it, or at gatherings did they share furtive glances and slight nods of the head, conversing in some unspoken language that David was not the least bit fluent in? There were times when he nearly shouted out for them to stop, but more than wanting them to stop, he wanted to start himself. If he could only fake a little madness, perhaps they’d include him, glance at him, teach him this language. Maybe he should tell them on Monday that he had a crazy weekend, that he was committed for overnight observation. Would they check up on his story? He couldn’t imagine they’d actually call the hospital, but he could see – and feared – that they would simply look at him and know the truth, see the lack of madness in his eyes, notice his normal skin tone and texture, his regular posture, and just know that he was not at all like them. And while now they tolerated this difference in him, if he faked lunacy, they might – no, probably would – come to despise him, to no longer trust him, to no longer think of him as a friend. And where would that leave him? David couldn’t bear to think of it. No, faking it was out of the question. He couldn’t put on the guise of madness. He must simply go mad.

David began paying more attention to everyone around him, hoping they’d leave little hints as to what unhinged them, little clues on the path to madness and clarity, to understanding. He listened to their private conversations at work, in the break room, on the subway, outside their homes, and kept copious notes of everything that sounded like a clue, that is, anything he didn’t understand. And he began keeping records of facial expressions, along with those barely noticeable nods and glances. He drew their faces, though admittedly with a lack of artistic training, and he put these drawings on the walls of his home, creating a series for each friend, and studying them, knowing they held the key to his finding lunacy. He used some of his own blood to add color to the cheeks, certain this would help bring him closer to the answers. And after weeks, patterns began to emerge. It seemed that illumination was imminent, that everything would be revealed, that madness would finally come.

One day at work, when he was making perhaps his finest sketch yet, one that far surpassed his meager skills, a joy overcame him, for he knew he was close. He could feel it. But suddenly, as he was adding the blood, and before it all could come together, he was summoned by the head of human resources. This was unusual but not unheard of, and David was not alarmed heading into the office. But when he got in, he found the head of human resources was not alone. There were two armed security officers. David was told he was being let go, released.

No, not now. I’m so close. So close. He yelled, pleaded, cried, even tried to claw at their faces to make them understand that this was the wrong time. They must let him stay. He had to remain here, with his friends, at least until their secret was made known to him. But it was to no avail. They would not listen to reason. And David knew then he was forever tethered to his undesirable sanity. He would never learn how to go mad.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Looking For That Special Someone

I am once again in the market for a girlfriend. The last one didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped. It's a shame, because I really liked her and thought she would have lasted longer. So I've decided to be very clear about the type of girl I want, and if you think you fit these requirements, please send me a message.
  • She should have a sense of humor
  • I prefer a natural blonde
  • Her hair should be just past her shoulders
  • She should be between the ages of 25 and 32
  • She must be between five feet and five four 
  • She must be comfortable in extremely high heels
  • Her breasts should be medium to large 
  • She needs to be free of allergies
  • She shouldn’t suffer from asthma or any venereal diseases
  • She has to be able to hold her breath for at least forty-seven seconds
  • She can’t get queasy at the sight of blood
  • She can’t be afraid of alligators, spiders or heights
  • She shouldn’t be all that close to her family
  • She can’t have roommates
  • Her favorite color should be red
  • Her fingernails should be a bright red, but her toenails should be unpainted
  • She cannot belong to any religion or cult
  • Her name cannot begin with the letter J or a vowel
  • She cannot work in the food industry, but should know how to cook
  • Her birthday should be in February or September
  • It would be nice if she could run, but not faster than I do
  • I prefer someone who was abused as a child, but who believes she’s gotten over it
  • She should have no physical scars
  • She should know when to use adverbs
  • She should always refer to me as Charles, not Charlie and certainly not Chuck
  • She should plan on being cremated rather than buried
Thanks, girls. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Charles M. Mortimer, Jr.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Becky's Teeth

In Becky's house, the Tooth Fairy provided teeth rather than collected them. If you put a quarter under your pillow, she'd take it and leave a tooth in its place. It was the Tooth Demon who took teeth, always very late at night when even the fairies were asleep, and usually when Becky was quite unprepared. The Tooth Demon sometimes didn't wait for a tooth to become dislodged or even loose before collecting it. His appetite for children's teeth was insatiable. Every night Becky put off going to bed as long as possible. But her parents tired of her antics and complaints, and demanded that she retire. Even then, she'd remain awake as long as she could, then would fall asleep lying face-down, hoping the position of her mouth against the pillow would make it too difficult for the Tooth Demon to get at her teeth, and he'd move on to another house in search of easier prey. Or perhaps on to her younger brother's room. But the Tooth Demon had yet to extract any of his teeth. It was only a matter of time, Becky would tell him. Stop scaring your brother, her mother would scold.

When lying face-down proved not a strong enough deterrent, and Becky lost two more teeth, she devised a new strategy. She took several wire coat hangers from the closet and wrapped them tightly, vertically around her head, effectively wiring her jaw shut. This seemed to work, and for several days Becky was able to hold onto her few remaining teeth. But each morning she'd wake with lines in her cheeks where the wire pressed against her skin, and those lines wouldn't go away in time for school. Though she worried these lines marred her appearance, she accepted them as the price for keeping her teeth.

One night, approximately a week after she'd begun wiring her jaw shut, she awoke with a violent start, to find the Tooth Demon seated atop her young body, trying to open her mouth. Becky wanted to scream, but of course was unable to, what with her mouth wired closed. It was just before dawn, and Becky's parents would be awake soon and would check on her. Becky could see just the first hint of light through her bedroom window. But the Tooth Demon saw it too, and in frustration and haste he decided on a different, more extreme tactic.

A few minutes later, Becky's mother came into the room to wake her for school, only to discover Becky's headless corpse on the bed. She quickly gathered her daughter in her arms, in the process knocking the pillow to the floor and revealing three shiny quarters.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

One Thing About Tina

Tina spent a small portion of her short life inside a plastic bag. The last portion of it, actually.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

Rev. Richard Poole might very well have said this, but I'm almost certain that Yoda said it first.

(Maybe I wouldn't have stopped going to church if my priest had taken his sermons from the Gospel of Jedi.)

Friday, November 13, 2015


My sperm count is low. I'm down to three. I am going to use them wisely, surprise the neighbors on their way to work.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

I ended up going with a different cleaning service, after reading complaints that some of the maids employed by the lord are actually thieves, prostitutes and general malcontents.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

Wait - God has a dom? I guess that explains why I can never have a relationship with God. Because sexually we're both submissive.

The whole hanging-on-the-cross thing is starting to make sense now. What doesn't make sense is the bottom line on the sign.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Religious People Are Peculiar

Geez, how disorganized is this court? I'd hate to be a defendant. Hey, who's the defense attorney? You? Me?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rachel’s Clothes

I scrub the floor with her old clothes, my tired hands trembling as I drop a dirty shirt or sweater into the trash, one more piece gone. And my life moving forever into the future, though much faster than I’m working. When my time comes, I’ll still have half her wardrobe and a filthy house. But it’s the best I can do. The best I’m willing to do, Susan says. She might be right, but she always knew Rachel better than she knew me, and was first bothered when she recognized one of Rachel’s favorite jerseys next to a pail of water on the kitchen floor, like I was some madman using Rachel’s skin in some nefarious manner, like using an angel’s wings to do the mundane, if not profane. As if that could hurt Rachel, when we know nothing can hurt her now. Though perhaps we don’t even know that, not really, not for sure. There are demons enough in certain places, places I may have to give up avoiding.

Susan says I’m not ready. I never argue with Susan, not out loud anyway. There are some people who are just always right, to the point when we ignore them when they’re not wrong. I still find it awkward and miraculous that when Rachel left, Susan stayed. I long thought of them as a package deal, and expected them to make their exits together. Not to die, of course, but to disappear in a puff of smoke, to be shuttled off to the place where they both truly belong, a place I believe in only very infrequently. But here she is, Susan, with Rachel gone. Not in a puff of smoke, but in a twisted sculpture of metal and glass, and she never a fan of modern art. I wanted to put that car, what was left of it, on the lawn in front of some government building – perhaps a school or courthouse – with a panel attached to it with some clever titled I haven’t yet settled upon. Susan says I need to let go of my anger, but it isn’t anger I feel, not exactly. And she’s not one to talk there. I’ve seen her hurling stones at God and beating her own car with her fists. In those moments I am unusually calm, and I think she loved Rachel better than I did, and it’s then that I feel anger. At myself, mostly. But also, and perhaps more specifically, at everyone else. 

But that wrecked automobile should have been used for something. Rachel hated things to go to waste, but maybe she hated modern sculpture even more. “Just make a jungle gym instead, so at least children will get enjoyment from it,” she’d say. I didn’t like the sculptures either, but sometimes I would take up a contrary position if only to get in a word or two. No, that’s not it. I took up a contrary position not so I could speak, but so that Rachel would continue speaking, to give her more fuel. I always loved her voice, the passion there, even when about something trivial, something she knew to be trivial, and there’d be this twinkle in the sound, like even in her most serious moments there would be a clue to the humor if only you paid attention. I lived to hear that. At least, that’s the way I look at it now. Susan might tell you something different, might say I often didn’t listen at all. She might say I wasn’t even there to listen, that there were times when Rachel went to her if only to be sure she was heard. Or maybe not. I’d like to remember myself as better than I was, if only because that might mean I’m now better than I am. And I’d like to think that at least some of the time I actually deserved Rachel. When I was there, when I wasn’t off with those who spoke without passion, without a twinkle, without humor. With those who might not have spoken at all. I’d like also to say I’ve forgotten those others. But that’s not the case, and banging my head against the cabinets and walls doesn’t dislodge those memories from my brain, or even make their presence more bearable. At least, not yet. Rachel should reign supreme in my thoughts, in my memories, in my imagination, the others disappearing, or at least fading back a bit. Susan would say… No, I say that that should have been the case when she was here, and sometimes it was. But only sometimes.

I don’t ever want to get this house clean, but I will keep at it. And Susan may stick around to remind me of things I shouldn’t forget as well as some things I should. And after a time we’ll be gone too, soon but perhaps not soon enough.

(Copyright 2015 by Michael Doherty)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cheryl’s Bedroom

When Cheryl finished putting up the wallpaper in the bedroom, she decided to end her life. It wasn’t just the wallpaper, and she’d be sure to indicate that in her note, though the wallpaper had definitely been a mistake. The wallpaper was the last in a long string of personal disappointments, setbacks and minor disasters, each making life a little less pleasant, nibbling away at her will to live until there was more missing than remaining. There hadn't been any major crises, and this wallpaper had seemed a harmless enough pattern in the store, when viewed in such a small section. But now that it surrounded her, staring at her from every wall, she could see it for the monster it truly was. It changed the bedroom completely, devouring and eliminating any feeling of peace which might have still existed there, and replaced it with angst and horror.

Cheryl stopped herself, waited until her breathing became more stable. She couldn’t let this wallpaper be the focus of her entire suicide note. And she wanted to keep her message brief enough that it would all fit on one side of a sheet of paper, so that her husband wouldn’t have to turn the page over. She knew he wouldn’t. If he saw it was more than a page, he’d skim it or just read the first and last lines. He was like that. He'd lose focus, he'd become impatient, and his mind would wander. Perhaps to sports. Who knows? When was the last time he’d read a book? She couldn’t recall. Maybe in college. Maybe not even then. Back then, he spoke like he read a lot. He’d fooled her, she saw now. He was no intellectual. He never had been. He was perhaps only slightly better than a moron.

No, don’t be mean, she told herself. She crossed a sentence from her note, then put a second line through it. She refrained from putting a third line through it, understanding that if her husband really wanted to, he could figure out what was written there. She guessed he wouldn’t bother, but liked giving him the option. And maybe she would end the note with “Love, Cheryl.” Would he believe that? Certainly he would.

Cheryl put the pen down and stared back at the wallpaper, at her final mistake, almost daring it to do further harm. And though it ridiculed her and insulted her and teased her, it didn't do more than that. But Cheryl had had it with insults, and decided she didn't want this wallpaper to be the last thing she saw. She'd have to kill herself in another room. The next best place would be the kitchen, which perhaps would not make the same dramatic statement as would her death in the bedroom, and might even have a humorous tone. But so be it. She took the largest, most serious knife from the drawer next to the kitchen sink. But as she contemplated various places of her body to insert it, she caught her reflection in the window, and something in her face still seemed to hold some promise, like that of a future she once imagined. And yes, perhaps it was fleeting, perhaps it was illusory, but it was enough. She returned to the bedroom with the large, serious knife, and began stabbing at the wallpaper, tearing at it, harming it, until it was in tatters, hanging off the walls in pieces. She then flipped the suicide note over and wrote simply: “I am leaving. Cheryl.” The longer message was still on the other side, but Cheryl was certain that her husband wouldn’t look at it. Well, fairly certain.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Photos From Work

Yesterday I was working in Hollywood, near the corner of Sunset and Vine. Here was the view from our base camp during the sunset. See, sometimes even Hollywood can be beautiful.

And just for the hell of it, here is a shot from today, this one in Chatsworth.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Slightly Familiar Couple

     The man looked familiar, but Joanne couldn’t quite place his face. He was staring at her expectantly, and she considered faking, “It’s nice to see you.” But then at once it hit her: This man was her husband, they’d been married for thirty-two years. He was smiling. That’s what threw her off, she decided. When did he begin smiling? It wasn’t like him. Maybe he was up to something. Or perhaps he’d banged his head. Should I check for bumps, for blood?
     “Jo,” he said.
     “Yes,” she said.
     “Happy birthday, Sweetheart,” he said.
     Oh. That. Had he bought me a gift? Had I opened it already? I wasn’t paying attention, Jo realized. Lately she didn’t pay as much attention as she used to – not to her husband, and sometimes not to herself either. But he kept smiling, and Joanne felt she had to say something in order to get him to stop. Otherwise, this could simply go on indefinitely.
     “Thank you, Sweetheart,” she said. This didn’t work. His smile only got bigger. He must be in pain, Jo surmised, using muscles in his face that have long lain dormant.
     Joanne thought about leaving the room, escaping, but for the moment couldn’t remember what other rooms stood nearby. What were the choices? Maybe there were none. Perhaps they had just this one room. Nonsense, what home has just a kitchen?
     “You are so beautiful, Jo,” the man said, surprising her again, and making her wonder if perhaps this wasn’t her husband after all. He certainly spoke in a manner very different from that of her husband. But no, this has to be her husband. And something is wrong. He must be injured. Perhaps he’s dying. That must be it. And didn’t she see him taking a pill earlier? Medicine momentarily postponing the inevitable?
     “How long do you have?” she heard herself ask.
     “All night,” the man said. And his smile somehow grew even wider.
     Well, just one night, and then this would be over, and she could get back to whatever it was she’d been doing thirty-two years ago, before she’d gotten into this mess.
      But now this man, her husband, stood up before her and held out his hand. She could see no other option but to place her hand in his, and suddenly she was on her feet too, and he was leading her out of this room, out of the kitchen, and, as she’d guessed, there were other rooms. And the room to which he took her was the bedroom. All at once she recalled what she’d been doing thirty-two years ago, because she found herself doing it again, and this man was not yet her husband. He was her boyfriend, her lover. He was the man who took her in his arms and made the world melt away, and he did that for her now. Everything around her disappeared and she saw clearly what was really important, for it was all that remained.
     “I love you, Jo,” he now said.
     “I love you, Raymond.”
     It was a truth she knew she could hold onto, at least for a little while.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Stan Diffle’s New Home

Stan Diffle climbed down from his perch atop the Johnson home at the insistence of Officer Paul Maddock, enforcer of certain laws and an imaginary friend to his wife Laura Maddock on the weekends. Mr. Diffle had been up there for nine days when Mrs. Johnson, author of three children and one book on the unsustainable habits of toddlers, first noticed him. She’d been out in her front yard, throwing telephone books at birds, when the bright yellow of Diffle’s umbrella caught her eye. Mistaking him for a bird, she aimed a telephone book at him, but came several feet short of hitting him.

Stan Diffle had, of course, noticed Mrs. Johnson earlier. Two weeks earlier, actually, and she was the reason he’d chosen that particular roof to perch upon. He’d spotted her at the local library, where she’d been checking out a copy (the library’s only copy) of her own book. He had just stepped out of the bathroom, and actually that had been his sole reason for stopping in. Stan was on a walking tour of the nation, looking for a new home after his previous residence had been torn down to make way for a giant pet store, and discovered libraries a nice source of restrooms. One look at Mrs. Johnson told him he’d found what he’d been looking for. For in that moment when he emerged from the bathroom, Mrs. Johnson was bent over, putting the book into her cloth bag, giving him a phenomenal view of her hat, which attracted him greatly.

Mrs. Johnson, when she finally realized Stan Diffle was not a bird, did not find anything attractive about him. As a bird, she found him a nuisance. As a man, she thought him ridiculous bordering on absurd, and Mrs. Johnson was no longer a woman who cared for the absurd. She’d given that up only the week before during an argument with a solicitor on the phone. She soon saw that no phone book was going to remove Stan Diffle from the roof, and not wanting to raise her voice, as she’d give up shouting at the same time she gave up absurdity, she called the authorities, whom she knew to be quite fond of shouting.

Within days of getting the call, Officer Paul Maddock arrived at the scene, bull horn in hand. Stan Diffle was at first reluctant to comply with Officer Maddock's request to come down from the roof, having become very comfortable there, and having grown more attracted to Mrs. Johnson’s hat. Stan was not a tall man, and was certain he’d be unable to see the full glory of her hat from a position on the ground, unless of course she bent down again to put something in her bag.

But the moment Stan reached the ground, the birds took advantage of the distraction to attack Mrs. Johnson, hurling back those dozens of phone books. Officer Maddock couldn’t swear whether it was the shock of the attack or the weight of the books that killed her, but he was fairly certain that she was dead. And Stan Diffle was able to get a much better look at the hat, for when she was knocked down, it landed at his feet.

On second thought, he decided, it wasn’t such a nice hat after all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Mistress Boobilicious is the object of my preposition.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Alien Stimulation

When the aliens come, and it sounds like they're on their way, it will be to meet Mistress Boobilicious. They are well aware of her charms, having picked them up on satellite imagery, and are eager to greet her in person. Earth governments need not worry about things turning hostile, for Mistress Boobilicious has the power to ensnare, control and enslave, regardless of the species or gender, or the intentions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ella Pantoon

Ella Pantoon is one of Earth’s lesser known satellites. She circles the globe more slowly, since she travels at a distance of only nine feet from the Earth’s surface, and so is often banging into trees, houses, telephone poles, circus tents, giraffes, football stadiums. Very few astronomers care to study her, and these days even her husband and children pay her little attention, having discovered collectible card games.

But Ella stays on course, largely undeterred, undismayed, and underfed. Basketball players used to toss her sandwiches, but have since moved onto other, more high-profile, causes, and Ella must subsist on apples, bird eggs, squirrels and other things she can grab from trees as she passes by. Ella never complains, although, if asked, she’ll admit to not being all that fond of travel.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mistress Boobilicious On The Go

Mistress Boobilicious has a suitcase full of special toys and instruments that she keeps with her at all times. So she's prepared for whenever the mood should strike her, be it at a bus stop or in a restaurant bathroom or in a changing room at a clothing store. So keep an eye out for this magnificent beauty. And if she's wearing her furry hat, get ready, because she means business.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mathematics, Reality And Several Tiny Stones In My Shoe

In earlier sessions I revealed that I am, in fact, a small piece of driftwood. Today I explore the effect this has had on tribal warfare and prime numbers. Turning to the chart now, I see that it's crooked, but that can be fixed by a small team of fuzzy technicians just after nap time.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

All-Nighter Downtown

You know it’s going to be a fun day at work when the street for crew parking and basecamp is blocked by police at both ends because of an escaped convict, and there are no detours or instructions. After being turned around at one end, and then managing to find the opposite end, only to be blocked there as well, I stopped in the middle of the intersection, hoping to get a police officer’s attention. I made eye contact with the nearest one, but he was on the phone with his wife or mother or something (I could hear his half of the conversation, and it was not that difficult to tell it was nothing official). After several moments it was another officer who came over to me. I explained where I needed to go, and he told me to cut through an alley, which is what I did. Then, before I’d even parked, some background began asking me questions, about where to go and so on, a full hour before their call time. I was like, for the next hour you can go wherever you like. A significant portion of the background, as it turned out, spoke no English. That certainly helped things. In situations like that, you just have to laugh and make the conscious decision to be amused by everything. Besides, this was to be an all-nighter, so I had to pace myself, you understand. I couldn't get all that upset right at the beginning.

Later, an old lady collecting cans and bottles (who may or may not have been an extra - I don't even know), took a half-filled can of grape soda and poured the contents into one of the coolers, even as I stood there, frantically motioning for her not to. This was as the cameras were rolling, so I couldn't very well yell at her to cut that shit out. Not that she would have understood anyway. Besides being apparently unable to speak English, she was clearly mad. And then, as I motioned for her to come toward me away from the cameras, she said something in gibberish and walked directly into frame. It must be difficult for her. Or maybe not. Maybe her world is so simple and tiny that everything is easy. I don't know. I was glad the cooler she poured the drink into was the one full of diet sodas, because at that moment I needed a Mountain Dew.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Playtime For Mistress Boobilicious, Part 2

Mistress Boobilicious opens her magic suitcase of goodies, removing each object carefully, lovingly, almost reverently, as the slaves chained to the walls look on hungrily. Their demise is her true gift to them, and they are well aware of it, some having traveled great distances to be devoured by her sweet rage. She’s collected the objects from various regions over the years, slowly gathering the right instruments, those which will cause the most amount of pain for her subjects, and the most amount of pleasure for her. Some she designed and built herself, and the presentation of these objects signals the end of playtime for most of her slaves.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Playtime For Mistress Boobilicious

Mistress Boobilicious’ dungeon is the only one that has people sneaking in rather than attempting to escape. Generous as she is, Mistress Boobilicious welcomes all comers, immediately stripping them, chaining them to the wall, gagging them and putting clamps on their nipples and genitals. Then they are often forgotten for large stretches of time, sometimes months. But Mistress Boobilicious, upon returning, sees that the dead are disposed of so the smell won’t bother the survivors. And that’s when the real fun begins. The wait is worth it for those still alive.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Sometimes at work when my brain realizes I won’t be using it, it crawls out of my skull and slips into this little car it had built and travels around town. It’s fine. I usually don’t miss it. But today during its travels my brain ran over a small family, injuring three of the tiny people and angering the fourth. Authorities suspect it may have been drinking, but I believe it was being reckless just for the sake of being reckless, finding some stimulation in the the high speeds on the suburban streets before returning to work to help me keep other crew members quiet in the back yard of someone's home. Who could blame the bugger for getting a few kicks? But I suppose I should keep a closer eye on it, and try to find ways of keeping it stimulated that don't involve harming pedestrians. We'll see...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pop-Ups: A Brief Love Story

The two things I least enjoy doing as a production assistant are getting breakfast orders and setting up (or taking down) pop-up tents. I’m not alone in that, of course. Matt and I had a long conversation about it on the set of Major Crimes, immediately after which he and I were asked to break down all the tents at catering, along with several tables and chairs, and it was like a hundred degrees out. It’s become a running joke on a couple of the sets where I work, as every day, it seems, pop-ups are needed and it lands on me to get them.

So what I’ve done is embrace the beast. This morning soon after arriving at work, I asked, “Can I take some pop-up tents to set?” For a moment, it seemed this tactic had worked some unforeseen magic, and my query was greeted with mild laughter, and no mention of pop-ups was made again. For an hour. Then I was told a pop-up would be delivered to set and I was to set it up when it did. I waited for it for a time, but it did not arrive, and soon I became busy keeping cars and pedestrians from leaving a doughnut shop parking lot, and thought nothing of the pop-up.

When we got back to the stages, I learned that indeed it had been sent, only it never arrived. I checked the sound trailer, where it normally lives with its twin, but it was not there. So I was placed in charge of discovering its whereabouts, a task to which I admit a certain lack of enthusiasm. Rumor had it that it was still in the van, so I sent word to transpo about it and left it in their capable hands.

By the way, Matt recently took a staff position on a new show, and told me pop-ups are a thing of his past. But every once in a while, when the mood is right, I send him a message, soliciting his help in putting up a tent or two. He always ignores me.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Sun, That Bastard

The object of the game for me is to remain in the shade as much as possible whenever we’re on location. Today it was Chatsworth, deep in the valley, where the sun rules supreme and unchallenged, abides by no boundaries, knows no restrictions, sneaking into all corners and nooks, beating at us from all angles. Even when we think we’re safe from the light, the heat comes at us from all sides. I find it difficult to understand people in the heat, and perhaps even more difficult to make them understand me. My thoughts become incomprehensible and jumbled even to me, as portions of my brain shut down in some sort of sad and futile protest. The sun is not my friend, and proves this by damaging my light skin whenever we’re near each other. Of course without it, we’d all die – there’s that. It’s like a rich uncle who pays your rent but then stops by to beat you every morning. Today the sun followed me into the men’s room and had its way with me, leaving its mark on all my exposed skin, claiming me as its bitch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mistress Boobilicious Raids Again

Mistress Boobilicious turns criminals and angels into desperate, eager beasts, agape, hands out, bent over to her will, anticipating their own destruction. And with her potent rubber rod she reduces all within a two-mile radius to speechless, servile creatures, removing all the human qualities she has no use for, covering them in furs, putting them on all fours, owning them, using them, discarding them, and moving on. Men wait in trepidation and excitement for her arrival, and then despair at her departure. She’ll own the world, and she knows it.

Monday, September 7, 2015


The Red Sox have had an awful year, so football season starts earlier for me than usual. I tend to miss the first several Patriots games because I don't start watching football until baseball is done. This year, however, the Red Sox were finished before the All Star break (though, even now, I think, hey, they're not mathematically out of it yet).

So bring on the Pats! I am so glad Tom Brady is going to be able to play. And, by the way, please stop talking about "Deflategate." Actually, you can go ahead and talk about it, but please stop using the term "Deflategate." I really hate how everything becomes Something-gate. Look, Watergate was the name of the hotel and complex where the break-in occurred. It wasn't some controversy involving water. If it had happened at the Hilton, would you be calling this football issue Deflateton? It's fucking retarded, so just stop it.

Thank you.

Go Pats!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mistress Boobilicious Takes To The Skies

The air parade dedicated to Mistress Boobilicious was a great success. And in fact, the show's finale kept at least one man from jumping to his death. Samuel Larson stood on the ledge of his office building, one short step from his own demise, when those giant balloons passed by and put a smile on the would-be suicide's face. Now he has decided to return to his former interest, that being sculpture, and pledges to create a series of works based on her amazing body. Mistress Boobilicious has that effect on folks, and inspires that kind of dedication.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Homeless In The Heat

There's a homeless man camped out on the steps in front of my apartment, in just his pants and socks. It's over a hundred degrees outside, so I offered him a bottle of water. He turned me down, then asked for some shrimp fried rice. So please support your local comedians.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Smart" Phone Problems Possibly Solved

What better way to start my day than going to a phone store? I checked in by giving my phone number to the guy at the door, which weirded me out a bit. He told me three people were in front of me, and to take a look around or to take a seat. I chose a seat. Being in a phone store is a bit like torture for me. In addition to being surrounded by things that make no sense to me, there is the horrible music to contend with, plus a back-lit billboard-like advertisement covering an entire wall. It's so bright that even if you are facing away from it, you can still see it, still sense it there, demanding your attention, your submission.

Others are seated, waiting, silent, patient or perhaps having given up. This is their life now. Slowly the past is sucked out of existence, memory and hope replaced with ringtones and bad pop music. Where did we come from? How do we get back? There is no way back. This is it.

My number was suddenly called. It was like I had won the lottery. I was so pleased, so excited, being admitted to some exclusive club. Actually, he called my name, not my number. It might have been funnier if he'd called out my phone number. Julio, the employee, was really helpful. It took him several minutes to see what was causing me to be unable to hear folks who call me. Finally he determined it was because I had turned off the phone sounds. I explained that I just didn't want the phone to beep or ring or make any other noises. But of course I'd want to be able to hear someone once I'd answered the phone. I can't imagine why someone would want that shut off. Why is that even an option? When would you want to make a call and not hear the other person? Okay, actually I can think of a couple of times when that would have been advantageous.

He then helped me set up a voice mail account, and got rid of a few things that the phone was doing on its own. When I missed a call yesterday, the phone sent out two text messages saying, "I'm in class." I wasn't in class (though, interestingly, the set was at a high school, so I was close to being in class). He deleted that message as an option. He said I must have sent that message by mistake. I assured him I did no such thing, that I hadn't even discovered the page with those pre-set messages. The phone had done it on its own, which I admit scares me. He told me it would no longer do that. We'll see.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bloody So-Called "Smart" Phone Refuses To Cooperate

Well, it was my first full day with my new phone, and I discovered that one thing it won't do is actually receive calls. Central Casting called me like five times (thanks, guys, for trying so hard to reach me). And each time I would answer, but hear nothing. Later in the day a friend tried to get the phone to work, but couldn't. She did test the phone, however, by calling me, and it turns out she could hear me while I still couldn't hear her. So my apologies to the good folks at Central Casting who heard this from me: "Hello? Hello? I can't hear anything. This fucking thing doesn't work. Can you get this to work? I'm ready to catapult it against a brick wall. Can I just fucking throw this thing away? I hate it. I fucking hate it. I want my old phone back." And if you left me a voice mail, I have no idea how to get it. And even if I could get it, I probably wouldn't be able to hear it. So again, my apologies.

Technology doesn't like me. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have problems with technology that no one else seems to have. Take this laptop computer, for example. My friends all thought I was exaggerating my problems with it, until they tried to use it. Within moments, they were swearing at it more than I do. Or take my car. It has such an odd problem that my mechanic tells me it's actually impossible. Honda also told me that the problem I described is impossible. Well, I told them, it's happened three times. So impossible it certainly is not. (That reminds me, shouldn't the Mission: Impossible movies be called Mission: Improbable? After all, as far as I know, the people are actually able to complete the missions. It would be great if the movies ended each time in total failure, with Tom Cruise turning to the camera and saying, "Well, it was an impossible mission.")

Well, my new job starts on Wednesday. So I have tomorrow to get this fucking phone in line. I'm heading back to the Verizon store tomorrow. Really excited about that. My friend told me that when I go in, to tell the folks there to talk to me as if I'm seventy years old. And that's what I will do. In the meantime, I'm shutting the fucker off again.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Smart Phone Raped My Dog And Devoured My Friends

Up until today, I've have had only one of those little flip phones. It didn't get online. It didn't record video. It didn't alert me to anything except to phone calls and text messages. And even those were rare, as I didn't bother to give most of my friends my cell number. And that worked really well for me.

But lately I've been expected to be able to receive group texts and so on for work. And so today I caved and purchased what they are calling a "Smart Phone." A lot of people have told me I will love it. We'll see about that. At the store, I told the guy I wanted something small, something simple. And I told him I didn't want it to make any noise. And I didn't want it to alert me when I have an email. I just want it to do what my old phone did, but to do it better. And I want it to be able to get online. That's all.

But suddenly it has sucked information from my Hotmail account, which I did not tell it to do. And when I tried to add contact information, it started making noises. Also, it - at no urging from me - suddenly updated itself for like ten minutes, and in the middle of that starting beeping. It's an unruly little fucker, and it seems to have taken its being called a Smart Phone to heart. Yes, it has developed an attitude. I tried reasoning with it, but it responded by flashing a blue light at me repeatedly. So I've shut the fucker off. Let it sulk for a bit. My plan is to break its will, and then begin implementing some changes.

Does anyone know how to do this? I need an experienced sadist. Together we can put the leashes on the little bastard and get it in line.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sony Refuses To Correct The Problem, Or Even Respond

I purchased a Sony Blu-ray player which did not include a necessary component. I've contacted Sony about this, but they have not yet resolved the issue. Sony is apparently ignoring my message, which of course makes it unlikely that I would purchase something from that company again. It's also a matter of trust. I am unlikely to purchase Sony products again because I'll be wondering what necessary element will be missing. It's not just that the necessary item was missing, but that there was no warning on the box indicating that I would have to purchase something else. When batteries aren't included, but are needed, it says so on the box. So why wouldn't Sony warn me about the HDMI cable not being included? It's deception. They want you to think the player costs twenty dollars less than it actually does.

Here is the email that I sent to Matthew Parnell, Public Relations for Sony on July 3, 2015, before I heard back from the company via Facebook:

Dear Matthew Parnell,
    Recently I purchased a Sony Blu-ray player (BDP-S1500) at Target. Today I went to hook it to my television. Step 1 in the instruction sheet says, "Connect the player to your TV with a High Speed HDMI Cable." But none was included in the box. Figuring that was a mistake, and that I needed to return my player for one with the cable, I called Target. The electronics guy there told me that the cable isn't included. But how can that be? The cable is not an accessory, but a vital component of the player. And on the box, there is no indication that such a vital element isn't included. There is, however, this message on the box: "Wired Ethernet Cable for Streaming Services. Cable not included." So if you're alerting customers that this cord isn't included, why aren't you alerting them that an even more important element is missing? My Sony DVD player came with all necessary cords. Why not the Blu-ray player? When I purchased the player, I assumed I would have everything necessary. So I am quite upset about this. What I request is that from now on you include the cable in the box, or if this impossible for some reason, that you post some sort of warning on the box. Also, I would like to be reimbursed for my purchase of the cable, since I should not have had to purchase it, and was given no warning that I would need to. I bought the least expensive one I could find. It was $14.79, plus $1.33 tax, for a total of $16.12. I will attach photos of my receipts for the player and the cable, and also photos of the player box, including the detail I mentioned about the "Ethernet Cable for Streaming Services." Please send the reimbursement to me at this address:

Michael Doherty

Thank you for seeing to this promptly. I appreciate it.
Michael Doherty

I have not yet received a response, and nearly a month has passed. I've also not received a message to my last message to Sony on Facebook.

Sony contacted me within two hours of this post going up, and the issue now seems to be resolved. I am hoping that in the future the company will either include the necessary component, or will alert the customers about what is not included. It seems likely to me that the second will happen.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sony Blu-ray Player Fails To Include Necessary Cable

I'm still completely baffled and annoyed by the fact that the Sony Blu-ray player that I purchased failed to include a necessary component, that being the cable that connects the player to the television. The player is completely useless without that cord. It's not just the fact that the player didn't include this cord, but that there was no warning on the box letting me know it wasn't included (though there was a warning about another cord not being included). So the price of the player was deceptive, for I had to spend more money to make the thing function. To me, that would be like buying a car, then finding out that it didn't include the key to the ignition. It's dishonest, and I expect Sony to reimburse me for the cost of the cord.

Here is a bit of my conversation with Sony (via Facebook):

Sony: Thank you for the reply, what is the model number of this Sony product so i could check if this accessory is included?-Jen (7-3-15, 3:55 p.m.)

Me: It's BDP-S1500. I was told the cable is not included. But it's not an accessory. It's a necessary element. It needs to be included. - Michael (7-3-15, 7:24 p.m.)

Sony: Hi Michael , We do understand that this really upsets you and upon checking the model, hdmi cable is not supplied with this unit. If you need assistance purchasing hdmi cable. Our Sony Store customer service team should be able to assist you further with that. You can contact them either by phone (877) 865-7669 or email Thanks! - Jerome" (7-3-15, 7:47 p.m.)

Me: I don't need assistance purchasing it. I purchased one. My point is it should be included, and I want to be reimbursed for this extra unforeseen cost. Anything that is absolutely necessary for something to function should be included. Or, at the very least, the box should have a warning label: "Hey, this machine won't work unless you spend another $15-$30 on a cable."  (7-3-15, 7:49 p.m.)

Sony has not yet responded to that last message.

I'll post further updates on this blog. In the meantime, I suggest to anyone who has purchased a Blu-ray player that didn't include a necessary component that you should write to Sony and demand to be similarly reimbursed. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Wonderful World of Blu-ray

I finally purchased a Blu-ray player. I didn't want one, mind you, but I did want to watch the Decline Of Western Civilization box set, and the only way I could get a copy to review was if I had a Blu-ray player. They were on sale at Target for $70 (normally $90), and that seemed reasonable. But when I went to hook it up to the television, which is Step 1 in the instructions, I found that the cord was missing. I called Target and explained that the cord which should connect the player to the television was missing.
"Oh yeah, those aren't included," I was told.
"What do you mean? There is no indication on the box that the cord isn't included. It says 'Wired Ethernet Cable for streaming services not included,' but says nothing about the other cord. And the player is useless without it. I mean, it's not an accessory. It's a vital component of the player."
"Yeah, but they're not included."
So I went to Target to purchase something that should have been in the box in the first place. I took along the Blu-ray player instruction sheet, because I didn't want to get home and find that I needed a few other things in order to play these discs. Especially as Step 2 in the directions was something about connecting to my AV amplifier, which is another thing I don't have (or understand).
The woman at Target was quite helpful. Until I asked about this Step 2. I showed her the instructions and asked if I needed to purchase an AV amplifier.
"No, that's just if you don't have an HDMI cable," she said.
"But in the diagram it seems to require two HDMI cables."
"So what you're saying is that if I don't have an HDMI cable, which I don't, I can just plug the Blu-ray player into the AV amplifier, which I also don't have, using two of those cords which I don't have even one of."
So I purchased one HDMI cable. There were a variety to choose from, of various qualities (maybe) and of various lengths (definitely). I bought the cheapest, shortest cable (3 feet, $15). So now my $70 Blu-ray player is actually an $85 Blu-ray player (and with tax is approximately a $100 Blu-ray player). So I spent $100 to get a free copy of The Decline Of Western Civilization. Hmm.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, everyone! For those of you who don't know the story, today is the day that Jesus Christ crawled out of the grave and disguised himself as a giant chocolate-peddling bunny to elude capture by the zombie-hunters. Forced to suddenly give away his wares in order to create a diversion for his escape, Jesus inadvertently began a holiday tradition. And even now, decades later, people expect free chocolate on this day. Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Again, Please Type The Full Words

Earlier I called a journalist out for writing “auds” instead of “audiences” and “distrib” instead of “distributor.” This is completely unacceptable, and any professional writer who shortens words like that should be smacked repeatedly. So, I have to mention that I’ve seen this again. And again. And again.

In the special edition of Variety on actors published in December, 2014, a headline reads, “Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ Wows Auds at Its Premiere” (p. 9). And in the special “Ultimate Awards Nomination Guide” of Variety (and I’m guessing that this will actually not be the ultimate awards nomination guide; after all, why wouldn’t they published one next year?) there is another incredibly obnoxious shortening of a word. Regarding the film The Theory Of Everything, we get this: “The superb perfs by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones imbue ‘Theory’ with several dimensions” (p. 56). These writers deserve severe beatings. Perfs? Why this aversion to writing the actual words? Is the word performances so distasteful to them? Do they believe it’s just too long a word for their readers to handle? Well, no, because the word performance is printed in full later in that very same short piece. So they’re not even consistent. Perhaps they just don’t like the word in its plural form, for the writers use “perfs” again in a short piece on the film Whiplash: “sure, it’s secondary to the powerful perfs” (p. 58), but write out “performance” (“an exhausting, physical performance”).

The December 10, 2014 issue of Deadline includes some obnoxious shortening of words as well. A piece on screenplay nominations includes these lines: “That said, I certainly wouldn’t be shocked to see Dan Gilroy grab a nom for his intriguingly creepy Nightcrawler. The film reps his directorial debut, but here is where is name is likely to show up” (p. 31). Particularly irritating is “reps” instead of “represents.” “Nom” (instead of “nomination”) is used again a little later: “but who finally could grab a nom for their very funny Big Eyes” (p. 31). And “nom” is used in the piece titled “Excessive Forces”: “could be looking at first Oscar nom” and “A Golden Globe nom” (p. 33).

The December 5, 2014 issue of The Hollywood Reporter has a short piece on the Scientology documentary, Going Clear (p. 18), but uses “doc” and “docs” several times, including in its headline: “HBO Going Clear: Scientology Doc From Oscar Winner.” (I can’t wait to see this documentary, by the way.)

In the December 12, 2014 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, Gregg Kilday writes “nom” instead of “nomination” and “doc” instead of “documentary” in the line, “Conventional wisdom says foreign films, animation and documentaries are DOA when it comes to Oscar’s biggest nom, but the controversial Edward Snowdon doc – and its all-star pedigree – could stand out in a very muddied field” (p. 42). In the same piece, Kilday writes “toons” and “docs” in this line: “Although the Academy never would admit it, foreign flicks, toons and docs are left sitting at the kids’ table.” Kilday again writes “doc” instead of “documentary” in the following paragraph, and “docs” a few paragraphs after that, and again a few paragraphs after that, and uses “doc” a couple more times as well. Kilday writes “nom” instead of “nomination” four more times. Ouch. Clearly, this is a writer that should be fired and then beaten. Of course, the editor is also to blame for not putting a stop to this.

The December 19, 2014 issue of The Hollywood Reporter uses “noms” instead of “nominations” in the piece titled “Best Picture: It’s The Battle Of The Sexes.” Here are a couple of examples: “While Tracks has received more noms from the early-announcing indie groups” (p. 89) and “But, perhaps tellingly, while several could result in acting noms” (p. 89). And then in a piece on documentaries, writer Gregg Kilday insists on shortening the word to “doc.” Ugh. Even the title is “15 Docs That Must Be Seen.” Here are a few other examples from the piece: “Interviewed in the doc” (p. 91), “one of this doc’s producers” (p. 91), “Oscar-nominated for his doc short” (p. 91), and “this doc travels to the boomtown oil fields” (p. 91).

The December 26, 2014 issue of The Hollywood Reporter again uses “nom” instead of “nomination” in lines like “Among them, they have 11 noms for best and supporting actress” (p. 62) and “If she secures an Oscar nom, it will be her fifth” (p. 62) and “for which she already has picked up a Globes nom” (p. 62) and “with five previous Academy noms, including her recent best actress nom for American Hustle” (p. 62) and “who could well earn her first Oscar nom for playing Michael Keaton’s daughter in Birdman” (p. 62). And, as you probably noticed, that’s just one page. Enough already! Stop, stop, stop.