please don’t eat us, we think we might love you

    OK, the dog came yesterday and we kind of fell in love with her. She’s a good dog. Or, at least she’s been a good dog most of the time. There are a few things we’re still working on though.

    Monica, as we’d suspected, and hoped, not only brought Princess Peace of Pumpkin Pie (4P) with her to visit us yesterday, but she also brought all of her food and toys, hoping that we’d agree to adopt her. We took her for a few walks with Monica, showed her around the house, got to know her a bit, and ultimately said “Yes” to the idea of being dog owners again. We’d told ourselves that the right dog would eventually come around if we stayed open to the idea and it looks as though she has.

    There have only been two incidents thus far that would give us any cause for possible concern. The first involved Eartha, our oldest, and most territorial cat. When they first saw each other I still had 4P on her leash so we were able to avoid an incident. There was just a little barking and hissing as they looked each other over. Later in the evening, once the leash was gone, we weren’t so lucky. 4P lunged, Eartha lashed out with her claws. And a little line of blood sprang up across the top of 4P’s nose as Eartha high-tailed it into the bathroom. 4P, right behind her, caught up and clamped Eartha’s back between her jaws, where she writhed around, hissing and spitting. Linette was screaming, Monica was going for the leash and Eartha was, I believe, excreting something god-awful. It was the kind of smell that would indicate a pool of puss, guts and maggots somewhere, but we couldn’t find a thing. There was blood on 4P and there was saliva all over Eartha. We eventually got them separated.

    They haven’t seen each other since. We made the downstairs for dogs and the upstairs for cats. We moved their litter box and their food up from the basement. We put a fence at the bottom of the staircase between the cat floor and the dog floor. We gave each of the cats an individual counseling session. They were, and I think still are, a bit terrified. Both of them, while we were trying to calm them down, would not take their eyes off the door. They were full well expecting the big, new monster to come leaping in at them.

    I feel for the cats. Foxie, the elderly dog we’d inherited some time ago was enough for them to deal with. When Foxie came, Nona, our timid, little cat, headed to the basement. She rarely came out over the course of the next six months. And that was because of an elderly dog that had no interest whatsoever in her. Foxie was interested in eating, sleeping, sniffing and being petted. She’d put the rest of the dog stuff behind her years ago.

    When Foxie died, it was like in theWizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the East was killed by Dorothy’s house. The cats, like the Munchkins, went wild with happiness. They’ve been high ever since. That is, until now. Now they don’t know what to fucking think. It’s like they’ve descended into a lower circle of hell.

    It’s like on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where every season they have to face “the worst villain the world has ever seen.” Just when you thought that it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it gets one hundred times worse. So, the cats got rid of the arthritic, cancerous old dog and found it replaced by a creature that’s young, strong, curious and, worst of all, part Pit Bull.

    The second thing happened last night. As we didn’t have a crate for her (we’re told that’s the best way to house-train them), we put her in the bathroom for the night. I’m not sure how it happened, but some time over the course of the night she made her way up to the sink and turned on the water full-blast. When I got up to take her out and saw this, I didn’t know what to think. I was impressed at the fact that she could somehow use the sink… without even having thumbs… but I was also mad about the lake that had formed as a result of the overflow and the damage which I’m sure had been done to the floor. (If she can turn a faucet, can’t she probably hold and fire a gun?)

    As I stood there and thought about what the appropriate response would be, I saw her head start to peak out from behind the shower curtain. She’d apparently retreated to the tub to sleep, annoyed by the Niagara Falls-like mist that was cloaking the rest of the room.

    nemo was his namo
    We couldn’t keep Princess Peace of Pumpkin Pie as a name. We knew that. We also knew, however, that anything we picked would have to work not only with the dog, but with Monica, Linette and myself. We consulted our dog books and found that names should preferably be two syllables and end with strong vowel sounds. “Foxie” fit the bill. As did “Penny,” “Ivy,” “Quincy,” “Nico,” and “Nemo.” Those are just a few of the hundreds we rattled off over the course of the night. As we were weren’t making much progress, I thought that maybe I could get on-line here and set up a contest at mm.com. Unfortunately, as Linette’s computer is still fucked up (Chris couldn’t fix it because it seems as though the line is down), I couldn’t download and post a photo, so that’s not going to work. (Maybe if Linette and I ever have a kid, we can let you all vote on his or her name.)

    So, after hours of debate, we settled on “Freeda.” Freeda is the name of the last film we saw with Monica, who found the dog, and it seemed appropriate as the artist Frida Kahlo, on whom the film was based, once lived in Detroit. So, there it is. Our new dog is named Freeda.

    So, instead of working on other projects today, I am spending quality time bonding with the dog. We just went on our second walk of the day and right now, she’s curled up at my feet on the little piece of carpet that Foxie used to sleep on.

    I hope to have photos up soon.

    are you my mark maynard?
    I heard back from the woman who was wondering if I was her long lost brother. Here’s her note. If you are, by some chance, the Mark Maynard that she is looking for, send me a note and I’ll give you her email address.

    ok well he would have known me as aisling wharton. i havent seen him since i was 2 and i am now 14 , a few years ago i believe he used to live in milton keynes and he has a sister called helen and his dads name is john. and he will be in his early 30′s. thats all i really no i used to have a picture but cant find it. thanxs for helping love aisling

    I’m not sure what she means by, “he used to live in milton keynes,” but if you have any information, please send me a note.

    what color lincoln navigator would jesus drive?
    Dave Miller wrote in with a link to the following story. It appears in the December 20 edition of Washington Monthly.

    Here are a few clips from the article, in case you’re interested in gathering ammunition for SUV-bashing.

    Have you ever wondered why sport utility vehicle drivers seem like such assholes? Surely it’s no coincidence that Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tours Washington in one of the biggest SUVs on the market, the Cadillac Escalade, or that Jesse Ventura loves the Lincoln Navigator.

    Well, according to New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher’s new book, “High and Mighty,” the connection between the two isn’t a coincidence. Unlike any other vehicle before it, the SUV is the car of choice for the nation’s most self-centered people; and the bigger the SUV, the more of a jerk its driver is likely to be.

    According to market research conducted by the country’s leading automakers, Bradsher reports, SUV buyers tend to be “insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others.”

    I don’t think that’s always the case, but it’s probably true more often than not.

    The occupant death rate in SUVs is 6 percent higher than it is for cars — 8 percent higher in the largest SUVs. The main reason is that SUVs carry a high risk of rollover; 62 percent of SUV deaths in 2000 occurred in rollover accidents. SUVs don’t handle well, so drivers can’t respond quickly when the car hits a stretch of uneven pavement or “trips” by scraping a guardrail. Even a small bump in the road is enough to flip an SUV traveling at high speed. On top of that, SUV roofs are not reinforced to protect the occupants against rollover; nor does the government require them to be.

    I used to have an SUV and I was reluctant to give it up because I’d believed that it was safer. I still thought that when I traded it in. I’m glad now to see that it’s not the case.

    While failing to protect their occupants, SUVs have also made the roads more dangerous for others. The “kill rate,” as Bradsher calls it, for SUVs is simply jaw-dropping. For every one life saved by driving an SUV, five others will be taken. Government researchers have found that a behemoth like the four-ton Chevy Tahoe kills 122 people for every 1 million models on the road; by comparison, the Honda Accord only kills 21. Injuries in SUV-related accidents are likewise more severe.

    Part of the reason for the high kill rate is that cars offer very little protection against an SUV hitting them from the side — not because of the weight, but because of the design. When a car is hit from the side by another car, the victim is 6.6 times as likely to die as the aggressor. But if the aggressor is an SUV, the car driver’s relative chance of dying rises to 30 to 1, because the hood of an SUV is so high off the ground. Rather than hitting the reinforced doors of a car with its bumper, an SUV will slam into more vulnerable areas and strike a car driver in the head or chest, where injuries are more life-threatening.

    That pisses me off. I don’t care if the death rate is higher for their occupants. That’s their business as far as I’m concerned. I do, however, care if it’s true that other people are more likely to die if they are in an accident with an SUV. There’s no way that a responsible government should allow that to happen.

    It’s much different a case than it was with convertibles. There, the vehicle was only unsafe for its drivers and passengers (see Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed). Convertibles were not necessarily any more dangerous otherwise.

    If you would like to read the entire article, just click here.

    OK, I need to go pet Freeda for a few hours now and try to teach her how to “sit.”

    Posted in Other | Leave a comment

    yes, he rocks, but he also destroys

    This is Jad Fair, the man that ruined Scrabble for me.

    deadkids.com

    OK, I’ve decided to change the name of this site to www.deadkids.com. As of tomorrow, I will be doing away with the Blog and instead posting a different photo of a dead kid here every day.

    That was a joke, and this kid wasn’t really even dead. He’s an actor. This shot was taken from an old safety video starring Gary Coleman. I’m sorry if I made anyone cry.

    ok, who pushed me into the pool?

    Posted in Other | Leave a comment

      he’s not heavy, he’s my mark maynard

      Thank you for all of your kind holiday notes.

      And, no, I am not dead.

      I’ve just been taking a few days off from the world of the Blog and spending time instead with real, flesh-covered, three-dimensional people. It was nice to interact with real folks for a change (even if they were for the most part my family members), but I think I’m almost ready now to submerse myself again in the world of internet reality, where ugly, middle-aged men pretend they’re hot young women and sad people search for strange and wonderful things like “nude polaroids of Stanley Tucci” and “Olsen twins feet and sock fetish.”

      I am hiding in my office as I type this entry, with the doors shut and the curtains drawn. I am doing this because Linette has a flat tire and she has called the auto club to come and change the tire for her. I was set to do it, but she convinced me not to by reminding me that we pay for AAA and never use it. “And,” she said, “you can be inside in your pajamas, writing, while he’s out in the snow, jacking up the car and getting dirty.” That made sense to me, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m embarrassed as hell by the fact that another man is going to be walking into my yard with his tools and changing my wife’s tire. Somewhere, dozens of Maynard men are spinning in their graves.

      I don’t want to get too far off-track here, but I want to tell you something about why I’m in this tire situation. Linette ran over a long screw a few weeks ago. She found that out when she went into Sears with her flat tire and asked for them to look at it. They found the screw and patched the tire. There was no charge as the tire was still covered by warrantee. Well, about two days after the tire was patched, we noticed that it was going flat again. That meant another trip to Sears, where they patched the tire for free again. This is now the third time that the tire has gone flat and I’m preparing for a fight at Sears. (If I can’t prove my manhood by changing a tire, I can damn well prove it by yelling and screaming and pounding my fists on the desk of the Sears Auto Center.)

      I’m of the opinion that they’ve had two chances to patch it and now we’re entitled to get a new tire. Or, at least, they should pay for part of it. Isn’t that what warrantees are for? I don’t like the idea of Linette driving into Detroit and getting a flat on the side of the highway at night just so that Sears can save a few bucks. I know that this isn’t interest to any of you, but there it is. This is what’s keeping me from working on my little media empire today.

      So, we’re back home after spending a few days visiting friends and family in Kentucky.

      As I don’t have much time (Linette and I have to leave for Sears once the tire is changed so that we can be back here by 4:00 to meet our friends and what could be our new dog), this may not make much sense. I wanted to mention a few things though, before they skipped my mind completely.

      One of the e-mails awaiting me upon my return home was this one:

      hi are you mark maynard??? my lost brother who i havent seen since i was 2 was called mark maynard are you him??? sorry if your not

      I haven’t checked in a while, but a lot of people come to this site by searching for “mark maynard.” I suspect that very few of them find the Mark Maynard that they’re looking for when they come to my site. Some of those searches are made by other Mark Maynards just wondering what on the web might be written about them, or what other Mark Maynards are up to. Most of these MM-searches, however, are probably done by credit agencies, abandoned children, and/or people who want retribution of some kind.

      As for this woman, I don’t think that I’m the Mark Maynard she’s been searching for. I told her, however, that if she could send me more information that I’d run some kind of story here, just in case her Mark Maynard stops by. Or, in case he’s one of the other Mark Maynards that already drops in. (I’ve received notes from two Mark Maynards since this site went live about four months ago.)

      The last time I checked the internet and searched for other Mark Maynards, I found that one of us successfully fertilizes corn fields in the Midwest (he’s won an award for it). Another one of us plays drums for a band in a college town. Another is a minister. Another teaches business at Oral Roberts University. If I ever get motivated, I plan to send them all some kind of questionnaire, or ask them each for a short essay on what it means to be a Mark Maynard in today’s world, or what it means to share a name with me.

      when a skinner calls
      Here’s part of another letter that was waiting for me. This one is from Doug Skinner.

      Mark — I hope your holiday went well; I have a sad picture of you sitting in your underwear, eating eggnog out of your can, with Lindsey Hammond’s shrill laughter ringing in your ears.

      He said some other stuff too, once he was done teasing me. He told me that he’d given a copy of the most recent issue of Crimewave USA to his friend, the illustrious John Keel (who was just recently portrayed by Richard Gere in the film The Mothman Prophecies) and that he didn’t know what to make of it… I find it a little odd that Keel can somehow wrap his mind around the existence of a giant, flying bug-man, but that the idea of our magazine, Crimewave, gives him trouble.

      For what it’s worth, I was drinking a big cup of eggnog and rum when reading Doug’s e-mail, but I was drinking it from a large, glass measuring cup, not a can, and I was fully clothed. As for Lindsay Hammond, I have decided to move on and face the new year without the specter of her looming behind me, questioning and critiquing my every move. From this day forward, I have told myself, I will not allow her to control me.

      daughter in law saves lives/carpet
      I was my parents’ basement yesterday when my mom yelled down for me to come up and see something. When I got upstairs, I saw my dad on his hands and knees in front of the fireplace, smacking the palm of one hand down fiercely on a brown section of the otherwise white carpeting. When I asked what the hell was going on, they told me that an ember from the fireplace must have jumped over the screen and set the rug, and the carpet beneath it, on fire. He and my mom also told me that it was Linette, who, from the other room, smelled the burning and alerted them so that they could put it out. If it were anyone but Linette, I’d suspect that they set the fire to get into the good graces of my parents, but Linette would never do such a thing. She’s already my parents’ favorite child. What’s more, I know that she’s got a nose like an f’ing bloodhound. She’s always sniffing at me and asking the last time I’d cleaned my shirt. I usually find this to be annoying, but this time, it turned out to be a good thing and my family’s house, and perhaps even our lives, were spared. It’s like a little Christmas miracle.

      death, depression and scrabble
      Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas this year. Maybe that’s because it was so close to Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because it’s been warmer than usual. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working harder at my job. Whatever it was, it just didn’t feel like Christmas. It didn’t help that this was the first Christmas since my uncle, Thom, died. It was sad and strange.

      I don’t know if it was because Thom was gone, or because I’d recently changed my strategy (after playing a few games with Jad Fair earlier in the fall), but I won every game of Scrabble that I played over Christmas.

      As for the new strategy, it’s really obvious though and I can’t believe it hadn’t dawned on me earlier. Basically, it’s this. Scrabble is a game that’s not just about making big, long words that you can be proud of. It’s about taking advantage of the bonus squares and racking up points. Jad plays like he’s at war and playing with him made me realize that Scrabble wasn’t about fun. I guess in a way he kind of ruined it for me. Now I’m a competitive bastard. I’m even thinking about investing in a book of words for Scrabble. (Jad kicked my ass last time because he knew every two and three letter word that was acceptable.)

      See, this, and getting tires, are the kinds of thing that are occupying my time now… not writing, not paining, not working of the new MPT record. I feel like shit.

      system fall down go boom
      I had a friend come over and try to help me set up our home network so that I could access our DSL from my computer. (Now it only works on Linette’s.) In the process, he somehow either fried our line or fried our modem. Since then, I’ve found two more modems and neither of them seem to work either. Basically, this means that even if I wanted to work on this site, I couldn’t do it. The past week, we’ve only been able to connect by way of dial-in and it’s been dropping us every five minutes. It sucks and I’m pissed off. I was hoping to spend this long holiday working on the site, getting PayPal installed, setting up a few Ebay auctions tied to this site, etc. Instead, I’m drinking and watching the DVDs I got for Christmas. (More on my great Christmas presents later on.)

      I don’t know if he’ll be able to help, but another friend of ours is coming over this afternoon to take a look at the system and see if he can figure out what’s up. If he can get it up and running, my plan is to keep the coffee brewing and take care of some of this stuff before heading back to work at the end of the week.

      x box fear
      Last night it occurred to me that having an X-Box in our living room would be like keeping a loaded crack pipe on our coffee table.

      david cross synchronicity
      Since the new issue of Crimewave came out, we’ve been getting lots of feedback concerning our interview with comedian David Cross and the full-page ad for his record that ran on the back cover. We’ve gotten a surprising number of, “I was listening to his CD in the car when I drove to the post office and found the new issue of CW waiting for me in my mailbox” kind of notes. It’s eerie in a way, and I get the feeling that it’s just starting. It happens every time we publish, but this time it feels somehow more concentrated.

      getting drunk with other old heterosexual couples
      We had people over last night. Six couples. Two from Chicago. One from Seattle. Three from Michigan.

      Two of the women were pregnant.

      The plan was to sit around the house and drink a few beers and then to head out to the bar. We ended up staying in and went through a few cases of beer. It was actually a really good time, but I’m paying the price for it this morning. It feels like John Bonham’s bass drum has been shoved up against the back of my right eye.

      There were all kinds of great conversations, but, as is often the case, I can’t remember any of the details now… Someone was at a party with Elmore Leonard. From what I could understand, he was doing research on socialites in Michigan. Someone else found a copy of a 1903 Lady’s Home Journal hidden inside the walls of his historic Chicago home, along with a dozen empty whiskey bottles. (Which conjures up images of either a very sad man, or a very sad woman.) Someone else had been on TV recently for flipping a tractor-trailer that he had been driving to Toledo. He stopped traffic for hours. Someone else told us about his little brother, who, although prone to act out in senseless acts of violence, had recently taken up knitting caps and selling them at a local coffee shop. (Which made us ask if it wasn’t more likely that he’d beaten up the kid who had knitted the caps.)

      Anyway, it was great to see everyone and to just sit around for a half dozen hours talking about pop culture, home repair, child birth, the cults into which other friends were being sucked (a strange and frightening trend), alternative energy, U.S. foreign policy, and all the rest of it. It was a great time.

      princess peace of pumpkin pie
      We may end up getting a dog today. We’ve let our friends know that we’re looking and we just got a call from one of them, our friend Monica in Detroit, that she’s got a stray that might be right for us. Monica has describer her as a young Pit Bull — Labrador mix. Her theory is that local kids bred her to sell on the street corner as they often do, but that she got away. She walked her around the neighborhood a few times and asked around a bit and no one claimed her, so she took her to the vet, had her cleaned up, vaccinated and fixed. Now she’s trying to place her. Monica is supposed to bring her by this afternoon.

      I’d never really pictured myself as the owner of a Pit Bull. It seems too ferocious for my tastes. I don’t consider myself a Poodle man either though. I always thought I’d have something in between, like Foxie, the Collie – Chow mix that we had up until she passed away a few months ago. But, I’m going to keep an open mind. If we do decide to adopt her though, I’ve got to change the name that Monica’s given her. I know that if I went out in my neighborhood and yelled for “Princess Peace of Pumpkin Pie” that I’d get my big ass kicked all the way from here to the place up the street where people sell their blood plasma for money.

      I have to go now and introduce myself to the folks at Sears.

      Posted in Other | 1 Comment

      People close to the Pentagon’s research program said Dr. Poindexter was acutely aware of the power and the invasiveness of his experimental surveillance system. In private conversations this summer, according to several Department of Defense contractors, he raised the possibility that the control of the Total Information Awareness system should be placed under the jurisdiction of an independent, nongovernmental organization like the Red Cross because of the potential for abuse.

      Hello. If I don’t write again before tomorrow, I hope you all have a very nice Christmas, or whatever consumption-oriented holiday it is that you celebrate… My friend Dave just told me that 1 in 200 Americans work for Wallmart… Now go out and consume.

      I’m in a bad mood today, and Joe Strummer from the Clash is dead…

      The New York Times yesterday ran another story on Total Information Awareness and how close it actually is to being a reality. Here are a few clips. The title of the article was “Many Tools of Big Brother Are Up and Running.”

      In the Pentagon research effort to detect terrorism by electronically monitoring the civilian population, the most remarkable detail may be this: Most of the pieces of the system are already in place.

      Because of the inroads the Internet and other digital network technologies have made into everyday life over the last decade, it is increasingly possible to amass Big Brother-like surveillance powers through Little Brother means. The basic components include everyday digital technologies like e-mail, online shopping and travel booking, A.T.M. systems, cellphone networks, electronic toll-collection systems and credit-card payment terminals. In essence, the Pentagon’s main job would be to spin strands of software technology that would weave these sources of data into a vast electronic dragnet.

      And here’s another quote.

      If you’d like to read the entire story, click here.

      There’s lots of stuff I want to say, but I can’t focus. I’m taping copies of our “Adventures of Pete and Pete” tapes for our friend Cristina, so the TV is on, and linette’s listening to NPR in the kitchen, where she’s cooking up holiday treats. I can’t focus through all the competing sounds and smells.

      Posted in Other | Leave a comment

      stupid man’s friends receive trash for holidays

      I’m cleaning my office today.

      And trying to get rid of lots of junk.

      If you receive an envelope from me next week, I’d think twice before opening it. It will, no doubt, be somehow connected to this dejunkification process.

      I should also let you know this.

      If something I want to get rid of has any value whatsoever, I plan to put it on Ebay.

      So, if you get something from me, it will, therefore by definition, be of no value.

      It will, of course, have deep, significant meaning, but it will otherwise be worthless.

      operation whitney lover: one man’s moronic quest to have all of his coworkers and family members believe that he loves whitney houston, even though nothing could be further from the truth
      I forget how this started. I’m sure that in the beginning I thought it was funny. Now, since the run-in with Lindsey J Hammond, I’m questioning everything though. My confidence is shot.

      I haven’t done a damned thing with regard to this project for well over a week now. I should have gone out and bought a CD this weekend, before going off to see my family in Kentucky, but I couldn’t find the energy. I’m afraid that I might be missing a great opportunity. I know that relatives will want to go out and see my new Honda Civic Hybrid (it runs on gas and electric battery power and gets up to 50 miles to the gallon), and it would be perfect if I had a Whitney Houston CD playing when the car started. I’m a loser.

      I never thought that I’d consider myself a loser for not rushing out to buy the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard.”

      Who could have guessed that it would have come to this?

      mccain on energy
      A short interview with Senator John McCain ran in the New York Times magazine today. I found part of it interesting. Here’s the section I liked.

      NYT: There’s a lot of concern that a war in Iraq will bring higher oil prices and cripple the economy. Why do you think that weaning ourselves off Middle Eastern oil and developing alternative energy sources has not become more of a pressing national security issue?

      JM: It’s an issue of leadership. I think the American people need to be informed by our president that if we are really ever going to have the degree of independence that we should have, it requires a reduction of our dependence on imported oil. That means certain sacrifices must be made by the American people.

      NYT: Is the president calling on Americans to sacrifice enough?

      JM: If I had advice for the president, I would ask a lot more of the people who are ready to give. I would demand as my top priority legislation increasing national service programs. Also, recognize that climate change is real and start developing concrete policies to address it. The Glacier National Park with no more glaciers. Remarkable.

      I know that very few of you care about this topic, but it’s my web page, and I think the President of the United States has to stand up to the energy companies, the buddies of Dick Cheney, and throw his full support behind alternative energy efforts. He needs to call for better fuel efficiency. He needs to champion mass transit. He needs to fund the hell out of research.

      As I’ve mentioned here before, he has to establish a network of alternative energy researchers along the lines of what was done in the 1940′s to support our nuclear efforts. We need a renewable energy Manhattan Project. If I were Bush, I’d put politics aside and I’d ask Gore to take the reigns. While he probably couldn’t really lead the researchers themselves (like Francis Collins has done with the Human Genome Project), he might be able to wrangle the political forces to see it launched and funded. What’s more, I think that Gore would enjoy it more than the presidency. It might very well be what he was meant to be doing.

      This should be as high a priority as war with Iraq. It is absolutely essential not only to our immediate security, but to the future of mankind.

      Now, let’s get to the reason you’re really here — to debate the merits of songs about breast feeding!

      naming an ugly baby
      I have an idea for the title of my band’s next record. I’m thinking that we should call it “Unproductive Cough.” That, in many ways, describes our last session. We kept hacking and hacking and hacking, and not much came up. It’s like we could all feel something in our chest, but we couldn’t get it out.

      Another alternative is “Ramschackle but Heartfelt.” That’s how budding music journalist Emerson Dameroon described our work when we met him for drinks in Athens, Georgia, after the session was done.

      I’ve been listening to the rough mixes over the course of the past few days and I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on what should and what shouldn’t go on the record (the way our band works, we vote on which songs should be included each year, but we also each have veto power, should we feel compelled to use it). There’s just one song that I’m puzzling over. I like it a lot, but the content, I’m afraid, might be interpreted in a way other than it was intended. The song is called “Breast Milk” and we wrote it, as we do all of our songs, off-the-cuff as we were standing around the studio. (We don’t write anything before going into the studio.) One of us mentioned breast feeding, when talking about his wife and new daughter. It was innocent enough.

      I began to think about my friend Dawn and a discussion we had had a few weeks earlier on the difficulty some people have when it comes to breast feeding. It was in that discussion that I learned there were people known as “latching coaches” or “lactation consultants.” They teach new mothers and babies how to hook up to one another correctly. Apparently, it’s not as easy as you would think… Anyway, we’ve now got this song about latching coaches and breast feeding and I’m afraid that it’ll sound like we’re just being stupid and goofy, when that wasn’t the case at all… So, that’s the one I’m struggling with. We’ll see what the band decides.

      the big list
      I’ve got a lot to do over the course of the next dozen or so days. Here’s a brief list.

      Work on the non-Blog content sections of MarkMaynard.com – Sketch out the CrimewaveUSA.com website and begin the design – Work on writing and shooting the first test scenes for my as yet untitled television show (part talk show, part self-help, part sitcom… all done with puppets) – Get Paypal and Amazon accounts set up and start using them on MarkMaynard.com – Finish the “Our Vacation in Italy” web pages that we’ve been promising people forever – Sketch out the plot line for “Mutiny at Bedtime,” the children’s book I’ve been working out in my head – Further agonize about my top secret Ypsilanti clothing line – Get the new Monkey Power Trio record ready for pressing – Draw the cover art for the new Monkey Power Trio record and get it ready for the printer – Continue to send out the new issue of Crimewave – Start selling ads, collecting submissions and writing for issue #15 of Crimewave – Begin auctioning artwork and other stuff on Ebay — Find some way to pay for all of this stuff

      Goodnight, my invisible friends of the internet.

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