Dunwich in the Time of Mud

Spring has arrived with its endless supply of muck and slop and just in time with it the town has gone topsy turvy.  Revolution has broken out.  The Old Guard and the Young Turks are having a set to and I’m caught in the middle.  I’ll be working more and making a little extra money but being of an extremely lazy nature I’d prefer the opposite.  But there are some interesting aspects to this turn of events.  New England town democracy in action is a bizarre force to observe.  The fact that the Old Guard is putting up a fight is almost unheard of in this neck of the woods.  I’ll have a ringside seat for the proceedings so it may make an interesting story when all is said and done but I expect that much angst and hard feelings will spill over into everyday life.

But at the same time, it will also cut into my blogging time, in fact it already has.  And on top of that I’ve mended my ways and now have begun applying myself to my fiction writing.  I cranked out four thousand words over the last three days and that has also cut into my posting.  But that’s all to the good.  The story is expanding and becoming more interesting.  I’ve definitely decided to nuke my hero’s base at some point.  I mean what’s a science fiction story without an atom bomb somewhere?  No one calls them atomic bombs anymore.  It’s nuke this and nuke that.  Thermo-nuclear.  Who came up with that name?  Thermo- implies heat.  Are there any cold nuclear explosions?  I guess if they ever figure out an actual cold fusion process, we could talk about it but anyway I think I’m going to nuke my base.

I’ve had to write some personal scenes into the book.  The hero gets to see his family for the first time in a long while and there are grandkids and his son’s widow and that was tricky.  I think I did alright which surprised me.  I’m not a very touchy feely kinda guy but I could see that leaving out his relationship with his family felt fake.  So, there you go, human interest.  What’s next, an Oprah interview for our hero?  I’ve even added an AI character.  That’s actually kind of fun.  It’s funny once you get going these things kind of write themselves in.  Anyway, the story is percolating along.

But all this stuff really just enhances the blogging.  You can’t just write about national stories all the time.  It’s just too much of the same thing.  We’ve got to be in the story too, or what’s the point?  I could just listen to Tucker Carlson or some other talking head.  That’s why I like when some of the guest contributors have something to add.  I like to get some other angles on things and I’m sure that’s the same with everybody else.

I think the whole Trump indictment story is both a ridiculous joke and at the same time an important object lesson.  It’s important that everyone on our side realize that this is not our country anymore and it doesn’t work by the rules we were told apply.  The people in charge change the rules as needed.  They don’t play fair and they play as rough as needed.  And if the January 6th prisoners aren’t enough to convince you of that just wait till Donald Trump gets his treatment.

So anyway, busy, busy, busy but still keeping my nose to the grindstone.  Wow, that sounds painful!

Thoughts After a Hectic Week

Just a busy, busy week.  Last Thursday we had a town political event that kept me tied down for a couple of days.  Then this week we had three days of a “winter storm” which was half snow and half rain and had to be shoveled by hand which, honestly, is kind of fun but eats up a lot of time.  And today I had to pay the piper or rather let my accountant do my taxes which turned out rather well.  A few thousand dollars will come back to me from state and federal governments and the peasants will rejoice (huzzah!).

But it’s kind of kept me from being on top of events and also significantly interfered with both fiction writing and blogging (booo!).  But I hope we’re now past most of the problems.  The forecasts I’ve seen for the remainder of March and the beginning of April seem more spring-like than wintery and I don’t foresee any major disruptions to my very carefully planned laziness by the forces of entropy.  But who knows.  C’est la guerre.

But enough complaining.  All of this is a long-winded way of saying, “I’m back.”

And I guess a thing that’s worth discussing is the depths to which Blue-State politics infects even Republican party policy with woke madness.  I heard from an official that a plurality of Republican officials voted to empower a committee to select candidates for public office on the basis of race and sexual orientation.  Supposedly the fact that only a small number of voters were present saved the party from having to accept the results of this vote but think of that.  If even the Republicans are now choosing representation by the diversity, equity and inclusion nonsense then what chance is there to have our side of things heard at all?

What the official told me is that the Republicans from the larger towns and cities feel compelled to toe the line coming from people who are obviously not even Republicans.  But with such supermajorities among the voting population, they’ve been emboldened to send ringers in to infiltrate the Republican party and essentially take it over.

So what does that tell you about the trajectory of Blue State politics?  Well, think of it now as an echo chamber inside of an echo chamber.  These northeastern states will soon be vying with California for being beholden to state worker unions but without California’s Silicon Valley tax base.  It’s already the case that the teacher’s union dictates the state budget process and because of this the pension liabilities estimated for the retiring baby boomers will very shortly make a balanced budget impossible.

If there were a responsible administration, they would be looking at this coming tidal wave and calculating how to restructure this debt and also rein in the pay and benefit packages to something that would be sustainable.  But the current administration wouldn’t dare do this.  So, we’ll be going over Niagara Falls without the barrel.

Now the smart thing to do is get out of Dodge.  But unfortunately, I’m tied down by family necessity so I’ll be getting a ring side view of the whole sickening spectacle and probably will be rendered penniless and homeless into the bargain.  But such is life.

And it will probably give me endless stories of death and destruction with which to amuse my readers.  Huzzah again!

But the whole reason for this cautionary tale is that creeping socialism is a disease for which there is no cure.  Amputation of the gangrenous appendage is the only treatment.  With that in mind the healthy Red States should think long and hard how they can inoculate themselves from the kind of citizens who inhabit these Blue States.  Government employee unions must be kept from exerting power over the legislation by whatever means are necessary and things like welfare must be minimized to avoid the situation you see where homelessness and drug addiction begins to dominate in the large cities.  And they should do this as a group , coordinating their efforts and sharing information.

Well, that’s enough for now.  How’s that for some gloom and doom for a Thursday.

Tax Day!

One for you nineteen for me!

So that dreaded day has arrived.  Today I gather up my forms and receipts and other documents and bring them to the accountant and get whatever news there is to hear.  Will I owe money?  Of course.  Will the government make my life worse?  Of course.

But it’s a ritual.  There’s a purifying aspect to the whole thing.  I stopped doing it myself when the IRS first began plaguing me.  That time it turned out they owed me money but it took a real accountant to figure that out and I didn’t want to leave myself open to the mercy (!) of the federal government.

I’ll be back later and hopefully I’ll be in a mood to write.  One for you, nineteen for me.

Dunwich in Crisis or at a Crossroads or Something or Other that Starts With a C


The partisan divide that has attended the upcoming Witch Burning Referendum has ripped away the illusion of civility and civic spirit here in Dunwich.  The latest flashpoint has been a state commission’s report that witch burning as currently practiced, falls afoul of Arkham’s stringent state greenhouse gas emissions standards.  The review has declared that from now on witches will have to be burned using solar power.

An opinion solicited by the First Selectman from the leading solar energy researcher at Miskatonic University, Professor Nehemiah Scrimshaw was obtained by this newspaper and a few of his conclusions were:

  • There are only 0.00035 seconds of usable sunlight in Dunwich per month.
  • In order to fully oxidize an average sized witch in that window of time, a magnifying glass with a diameter of 10,000 miles would be needed and this device would weigh in at 6.9 X 1023 tons and would require an enormous nuclear power plant to power the servo motors to maintain the focusing function correctly.
  • The professor also estimated that it would require forty or fifty years to obtain the needed licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and until the licensing was in effect no witch burnings would be permitted at all.

Parenthetically, the professor remarked that since the mass of the magnifying device would be approximately a hundred times the mass of the Earth the actual means by which the device would be manufactured and tethered to Dunwich was unachievable using current human science and engineering.  But he did say it posed an interesting thought experiment for his current graduate students.

We tried to reach First Selectman Cthulhu for comment but the reporter we sent has gone missing.  Our eye in the sky OCF traffic copter was able to spot the First Selectman as he bee-lined for the state capital in Arkham.  Based on the debris field in his wake it is estimated that not much will remain of the state house or most of the downtown area of Arkham.  But it seems this will put to rest the question of state environmental permitting and also state government in general for that matter.

It is worth noting that the anti-witch burning party has within the hour disbanded its headquarters, erased its Facebook and Twitter pages and from what we can tell left town heading south at a good clip.  And in fact, there was a goodly caravan of pro-witch citizens joining them.  The Town Clerk’s office has described the results of the referendum (which was supposed to occur tomorrow) as completed, audited and certified to have been unanimous to extend witch burning to 24/7/365.  And the other selectmen have hurriedly and unanimously passed an appropriation for fifty tons of the first Selectman’s favorite bath salts.

At press time it was noted that on his return from the state capital the First Selectman detoured to pass through the campus of Miskatonic University and it is now believed that Professor Scrimshaw has retired from active teaching and also, sadly, from breathing.  But he’ll always be remembered for his remarkable lack of a sense of self preservation.

08MAR2023 – Dunwich Complainer – Retail Democracy


This week Dunwich will celebrate old style New England democracy at its most authentic.  We’re going to have a referendum.  Back in 1653 the Town Elders codified a law that banned witch burning on every day but Monday.  The intent was that this would provide the maximum time before Sunday for the smell to dissipate.  The puritans were deeply religious folk and they feared to offend the Lord by allowing burnt witch funk to permeate their worship.

Fast forward three hundred some odd years later and Dunwich is a much less pious place.  And witch burning is big business.  Having an inhabitant declared a witch and burned at the stake is the town’s most lucrative revenue stream.  You see, the statute declares that the possessions, real and personal, of the convicted witch are forfeited to the town and can then be sold at auction.  Of course, the successful accuser of the witch stands to gain a 10% commission from the proceeds of the sale, tax free.  So, the trials are stacked up like planes circling Arkham airport.

And that’s the problem.  Whereas the trials are getting banged out day in and day out, the burnings are way, way behind.  The municipal witch pit can only accommodate fifteen burnings a week.  So, there are currently twelve hundred witches cooling their heels waiting for stake time.  Now the witches aren’t complaining.  They’re willing to wait forever to be honest.  But the town budget is a mess.  First Selectman Cthulhu has already spent all the money that the backlog represents on aromatic bath salts.  He’s a big proponent of the long languid soak in a tub.  Although in his case the tub is reworked municipal reservoir.  But suffice it to say that requires an awful lot of bath salts.  And now the bath salt merchandisers refuse to float him any more credit until he squares his accounts.

Well, he’s finally lost his patience and has threatened to eat everyone in town alphabetically unless a referendum repeals the “Monday only” part of the witch burning law right away.  And so, we’re set to vote this week.  We’ve set up the “no electioneering” line 75 feet from the polling area as state law requires but being hundreds of feet tall Cthulhu has threatened to toe the line but lean his head through the gymnasium skylight to watch over the voting and eat anyone who votes no on the petition.  Last we heard; the poll workers say there’s nothing in the handbook to forbid this activity.  This seems a little suspect to me but I know the First Selectman is a fairly persuasive character when up close and personal.

The Dunwich electorate is a feisty group.  Several of our oldest and most religious citizens have openly declared that they will vote no.  To ensure that nothing tragic befalls us the Town Clerk has decided to call in Dominion to provide the ballot reading machines, and in that way, fortify democracy or at least prevent us all from being eaten alphabetically.

Well, I’m a little sad to see the old ways discarded one by one.  It will certainly change the character of the town to have acrid black witch smoke wafting around town twenty-four seven.  It’s been proposed to replace the witch burning pit with a modern natural gas fired witch kiln with a two-hundred-and-fifty-foot stack to send the smoke down wind to Arkham.  With that kind of automation, the danger will be that we may completely depopulate the town in a couple of months.

And I guess that’s the way of progress.  But I’ll miss the days when a man could bring his family to the witch burning pit and get good seats from which to hiss at the old crones and maybe even chuck a rock or two at them.

Well, we have to be realistic and live in the present.

06MAR2023 – OCF Update – Dunwich’s Annual Zombie Roundup



This week will be extremely busy here in Dunwich.  It’s time for the annual zombie roundup.  We herd the zombies into the common and cut them in half at the waist.  This makes them much slower but grosser looking. And it provides a sort of spring barbecue for First Selectman Cthulhu.  He calls it drumstick week.

But it’s a tricky operation and will keep me busy for the whole week.  I’ll do my best to provide content but there are bound to be gaps.  We’ll see if there are any big things going on in the world.  But I’ll be busy enough even if it’s a boring week for the rest of the world.

Well gotta make the drumsticks.

Cutting a Swath Through Life – Part 1

I’m stalling.  There’s about three inches of dripping wet snow on my driveway and probably another couple of inches of the same that will be falling until tonight.  I should be out there right now shoveling it.  Not snow blowing.  It won’t work on it.  The machine is leaving the bottom inch and that will turn into an ice layer if I try it.  So, shoveling it must be.  But doing it twice is just too much for my lazy nature.  So, I’m stalling.

I was gonna exercise but I convinced myself shoveling was more than enough of that.  I read all the news.  Oh, my aching head.  Blather and more blather.  I’m so tired of it all.  I’m even more tired of the talkers on our side.  And I’m most tired of listening to me!

So, I listened to some music.  Some country, some opera, some old folk music.  All kinds of stuff.  That cheered me up.  That was good stuff.  It got me out of my funk.

There’s just been too much bad news lately.  Local stuff.  Like that girl beaten up on the school bus and those elementary school kids in Ohio who were brutalized by the black kids forcing them to pledge allegiance to BLM.  Nightmarish stuff.  And that synched up with Scott Adams’ statements about anti-white hate.

So, I was going to write a cautionary piece about schools and homeschooling and Florida’s new laws protecting school kids from CRT and LGBTQ grooming and all that crap but I’m too tired of listening to myself drone on.  By now parents should be figuring out their options and doing something about it.

Today I want to talk about living.  We get one life.  These buggers are trying to take that away from us.  Well, instead live it to the hilt.  Cut a swath through this world.  Leave your mark.  Leave a trail of people who remember you and when they think of you, they smile.  Think back on the people you’ve come in contact with in your life.  Which ones are vivid and alive in your memory?  They were the people who put something of themselves into their day-to-day interactions.  Even if you were something as stultifyingly boring as a telemarketer selling children’s books if you put some of your personality into the pitch and some honesty about what you were doing you could turn this dehumanizing rote sales chore into a human interaction that both parties might look back on fondly.

I know this to be the case.  Back in the good old days when I was between careers and schools I once had three different jobs going.  On the day shift I was sorting stock certificates at a Wall Street brokerage house.  On the night shift I was a telemarketer selling anything we were asked to sell; kids’ books, tv commercial gadgets, whatever.  And on the third shift I was a proofreader at a law firm in the World Trade Center.  To say that I was in a twilight existence would be putting it mildly.  Depending on which day of the week it was I might be having my main meal at 6pm or 1am or 9 am.  It was pretty insane.  Luckily, I eventually got a full-time gig at a brokerage house.

But when I was doing the telemarketing, I was in a big boiler room operation and you could hear the salesmen all around you saying the same lines you had on your own script.  And it was fascinating to hear the differences between the pitchmen.  And what you could tell was that the people who approached it as a human interaction in which their actual personality was present had better success.  And they seemed happier when we had our break time in the cafeteria.  Now there were exceptions.  There was this one guy who was a veritable machine.  He never took no for an answer.  His hard sell was frightening.  I had it from one of the quality guys that “the machine” had been involved in a complaint where the script said, “We think (fill in the blank) is eight years old.  Is that right?” and the mother answered, “Bobby died last year.”  And the script handled such an eventuality with the answer, “I’m very sorry for your loss.  I’m sorry to have disturbed you.”  “The machine’s” answer was, “Tell me ma’am, do you have any other children that might be interested in these books?”

Now “the machine” was a great salesman but I think the auto dialer that he was connected to probably had more soul than he did.  But on the other side of my cube was a middle-aged woman who didn’t use the hard sell and probably only got through 40% of the numbers “the machine” got through but her sell rate was much higher and she smiled and talked like a human being during the meal break.  Now which of those two people can I remember as having an actual face and voice.  “The machine” is just a droning noise and all I can remember of his appearance is that he shuffled along staring at the floor.

The sales lady was an old woman (to the kid I was) but with a pleasant voice and smiling face and someone willing to help the newbies with advice on doing their jobs and navigating the system at that office.  She was a human being with a personality and took the time to make her surroundings better for the people around her.  And so almost forty years later she still lives in my memory as a living being.  “The machine” is just a cartoon character and a cautionary tale.

So that’s the point.  A human being is an enormously powerful creature.  But in order to bring that power to bear you have to find a way to leverage your talents and use them for good.  That’s the trick.  You have to find a way to bring your humanity to bear.  And it seems like the world is making that harder and harder.  But that’s what you have to do.  Look at your environment and figure out how you can make the biggest impact for good.  You don’t have to be a politician or a super genius or even an authority figure.  Just find something useful and do it right.  And treat people like they deserved to be treated.  Some of them will turn out to be awful.  But give everyone the benefit of the doubt to start with.  Later on, you can bring out the brass knuckles.  That’s my thought.

Well, that’s enough stalling.  Out with the shovel.  Oh, my aching back.

Another Snippet from My Book

I’ve been trying to speed up my writing but there’s always something distracting me.  but I thought it would be fun to post a little part of a scene.

“After the meeting, Director Sparks called Chastain and told him to meet him at Sparks’ temporary office in the Pentagon.  When Chastain arrived Sparks briefed him.  “We can’t play around anymore.  I’ve been given unlimited resources to catch this man.  I want you to act as the lead.  There will be three separate teams.  One will investigate the physical evidence at the Hoover building site to figure out what the hell we’re up against.  The second team will pursue the cyber trail of whoever released the video.  That leak must be plugged.  But most important, the third team will find Boghadair.  You will have first priority on all the surveillance infrastructure, public and private.  You can write a blank check for whatever you need but I want that man in custody within the week.  If not, your head is on the block.  And that’s not a joke.  If Boghadair isn’t in shackles in a week from today you’re done.”  Chastain bit back some bitter words and said, “Okay, I’ll need a command center with a room where I can crash; bed, shower, kitchen.  Tell me the cost center numbers I can charge to and give me the contact information for my three team leads.  I’ll find Boghadair for you or you can have my job.  But I wonder what else I’ll find.  Apparently, this thing is a lot bigger than one man.”

Sparks handed him a briefcase.  “All the documents are on a drive.  There’s a folder with all the contact information and the codes you need to access the databases and the systems you’ll need.  I also want a list of government officials that Boghadair might target and conjecture on the order of attack.  I want that list by tomorrow morning.”  Chastain nodded his head.  Sparks growled, “That’s all.”  And Chastain left the office and walked out of the building.  As he was leaving the building he thought, “You’re at the top of that list you fool.”

As Director Sparks left his temporary office that night that very idea occurred to him.  He was headed home to a gated community in one of the most expensive suburbs of Washington.  And he was scared.  He decided to travel back to his home by a different route.  Taking this circuitous route and seeing no cars following him he slowly calmed down and by the time he was within a mile of his home he felt foolish about his fears.  When he was caught at a red light that usually never changed on him he was a little confused.  Then he noticed that the video display on his dashboard shifted from the typical menu view to a video feed.  He could see a man in the driver’s seat of a car.  After a second or two he realized he was looking at an image of himself.  He was for a second stunned and by the time he comprehended his peril the bullet was already entering the side of his head.  When his foot slipped off the brake his car rolled into the intersection and was struck by traffic going through the intersection.  The local police were on the scene rather quickly and alerted the FBI based on the car’s license plate number.  Late that night the report reached George Chastain and his first thought was, “I guess I should let the Attorney General know he’s next on the list.””

Gee, it’s fun killing bad guys.  It just feels right.  Well, on to the Attorney General.

February in Dunwich Came in Like a Lamb and Is Going Out Like a Shoggoth

April Snowstorm

We got about six inches of wet snow last night and we’ll probably get another coupla-three-inches over the course of the day today. So, for the first time this winter I took the snow blower out and ran it around the upper driveway.  It was repaired before the winter and the foot of the housing was adjusted higher.  So now it leaves about a half inch of snow on the ground.  With dry snow this isn’t an issue but the wet stuff we got last night can gum up the works and you end up with snow compacting into slushy ice and the blower riding on top of the ice and before you know it there’s a four-inch frozen layer that you have to remove by shovel.

But honestly, I think it was enjoyable to go out and do some work.  All of this will be gone in less than a week.  All I’ve got to do is make sure I can get the cars in and out of the driveway and the rest of it will melt more or less on its own.  So I spent a couple of hours today with about half the time being shovel work on very heavy wet snow.  And I’m feeling energized because of it.

Winter is rearing its ugly head for sure.  Eight or nine inches of wet show is nothing to scorn but knowing that it won’t be lying around for three months is a big deal.  It’s three weeks to celestial spring.  Sure, we can have three feet of snow on April Fool’s Day.  It’s already been proven.  But winter has run out of time to break our backs or our spirits.

Right now, I’m looking out the balcony door at the snow sifting down through the still winter air.  It’s kind of beautiful.  I can hear the red winged black birds squawking around Camera Girl’s bird feeders.  This week hundreds of them have appeared and swarmed the area.  Maybe it’s their mating season or something.  But all the noise tells me something about the imminence of Spring.  The daffodils that appeared last week are buried in the wet snow.  But they’ve got some kind of anti-freeze in their cells that will keep them from dying.  The mallards have been wading around the pond and their ducklings will be sure to appear soon.

Around Dunwich there’s all kinds of excitement.  The budget is a shambles and we have no money.  The peasants have broken out the torches and pitchforks.  They’ll be marching to First Selectman Cthulhu’s lair soon just in time to be his first Black Sabbath feast.  In my new role as his “Least Lackey” I will be in charge of manning the barbecue sauce pumping station.  It will be my responsibility to hose down the marchers so that His Honor can swallow them quickly and enjoyably.  I hope he notes that I’ve selected the roasted garlic and lemon-flavored sauce this season.  It adds just the right touch of piquance to the flavor of what the First Selectman likes to call “Dunwich sushi.”  Oh, he’s so droll.  Who says Great Old Ones have no sense of humor?  Well, gotta go.  The snow, it calls me.

photog Opines on Valentine’s Day

Every happily married man has to have an opinion on Valentine’s Day.  And being in that category (most of the time!) my opinion is well known to Camera Girl.  Being a very wise woman, she pretends that Valentine’s Day is of no concern to her.  But that is a façade.  The point is for me to show her that I have a way of making Valentine’s Day a useful ritual within our domain.  In this way she doesn’t have to seem to be dependent on this odd gift receiving dynamic while I can demonstrate my romantic aptitude and at the same time rightly honor her importance in the whole male/female dynamic.

Wow.  That was weird.

Anyway, I’ve long ago given her all the jewelry she needs or even wants.  I usually check to see if she wants any perfume but she’s pretty well stocked there too.  So, this year I said I’d take her out to eat.  And at first, I thought we had a plan.  But at the last minute she changed it.  We were supposed to have the grandkids over for a luncheon of delicatessen food.  But someone got sick so we postponed it.  But apparently Camera Girl was in the mood for pastrami, which, as everyone knows, is the most sensual of the salted cured meats.

So, her idea for Valentine’s Day was pastrami sandwiches at home.  She is a thrifty woman.  And I should be more grateful for that than I am.  So today she served up pastrami on Italian bread with melted Swiss cheese and tons of brown mustard.  There was egg potato salad and dill pickles on the side and a giant mug of very good, hot coffee.  Afterward there was a big slice of apple pie with three big scoops of premium vanilla ice cream.  Now that is what I call a Valentine’s Day celebration.

It reminded me of that scene in the Maltese Falcon where Sam Spade serves corned beef on French bread and coffee with brandy to Brigid O’Shaughnessy as they warily circle each other in their dance of murder and passion.  And after all Camera Girl is a femme fatale.  Her allure has side-tracked me from my intended career as a classical philologist by, as far as I can reckon somewhere on the order of forty five years, give or take.  And there has been many a night that I suspected she was contemplating smothering me in my sleep.  I have no incontrovertible evidence for this.  But for someone who knows her moods all the signs were there.  But I digress.

So, the key to a successful Valentine’s Day gift or celebration is buy-in from the woman.  There has to be an effort by the man to imbue the ritual with some special significance for the pair.  And to do that requires good will on both sides and for an established relationship the desire to break the monotony of a settled routine with something different and in some way exciting.

And exciting doesn’t have to be the Hope Diamond or a trip to Bora Bora.  The excitement is breaking the routine.  It’s talking about different things.  It’s putting a little more of your personality into your presentation than you normally do.  And, of course, it doesn’t hurt if you drag her off to bed to consummate the proceedings properly.  But, just like Sam Spade, remember that she may be hiding a revolver under her side of the bed so sleep with one eye open.  Especially if she has two or three aliases.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day