2015-03-17 10.35.04

A middle-aged blond in a black hoodie, navy blue leggings, and scuffed black running shoes sits reading USA Today through her wire-framed glasses, her Coach bag secure on her lap. Her earrings are inch-wide silvery filigree hearts. She smiles at something she reads, a genuine and open expression on her face. The smile fades as she turns the page.

A young woman, Crumb-esque in design, stands at the pole reading her Kindle. Her thick thighs end in black leather ankle boots lined in blood red; her knee-length dress is black lace. She doesn’t smile, though whether from an innately sour nature or a particularly intense choice of reading matter, I cannot tell.

A fresh-faced young businessman boards in Friendship Heights. The leather brief bag in his hand is new, unblemished — he’s not had it for long. A bright blue golf umbrella is slung across his back by a strap, like a young ronin’s katana in a Kurosawa film. He stares blankly at his reflection in the train’s window for the duration of his ride.

At Brentwood a thirtyish black man boards, clad in a fluorescent green t-shirt and vest, with oddly heraldic day-glo orange bands on the cuffs and shoulders. A dirt-smeared cap of the same green cotton covers his hair. He stares at the phone in his left hand, his right holding a plastic grocery sack containing a carton of apple juice and a package of Huggies.

There is something strangely melancholy yet calming about nighttime train platforms. Stripped of the usual anxious crowds rushing about, there’s a quiet sense of emptiness, a caesura between destinations, caught between home and office, the burden of decision lifted away, a brief respite from care.

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by Marc Kevin Hall on November 5, 2014

in Blogging

lestersIn the wake of yesterday’s midterm elections, I’ve been asked by a couple of friends what I believe in. Given that I don’t think they are looking for my version of Crash Davis’s speech in Bull Durhamwhich I’ve posted elsewhere, anyway — I’m guessing the interest is in my political opinions. Be careful what you ask for, my friends.

I believe that…

  • …lies are not facts, no matter how often they are repeated.
  • …the worth of a human being is not measured in dollars and cents, nor does a bank balance indicate intelligence or wisdom.
  • …giving more money to the wealthy in the hope that they will create more jobs is as sound an economic practice as taking out a bank loan to buy lottery tickets.
  • …women should be in complete control of their bodies, and any laws limiting that control should be drafted, endorsed, and passed by women alone.
  • …every American has a right to free health care and a viable income; America’s failure to provide this is the primary reason for our loss of stature in the world.
  • …the American Civil War was about slavery, period. Rebel states? You lost; get the fuck over it and build a real future.
  • …it is none of your god damned business what kind or how many people someone chooses to love.
  • …evolution should be taught in schools, and that creationism and intelligent design are not equally valid “theories.”
  • …climate change is real, human action is a primary factor, and we’re fucked if we don’t stop listening to liars pretend there’s an actual debate on the topic.
  • …the media is not obligated to seriously present an opposing view when that view is clearly bullshit, but that it IS obligated to point out bullshit whenever it’s presented as facts, no matter the source.
  • …America has returned to its founding principle: only rich white male landowners get a voice in government, except for the occasional rich woman or non-white citizen, as long as they keep quiet.
  • …corporations should not reap the benefits of citizenship until they are subject to the risks and limitations of citizenship.
  • …excusing evil, inhumane actions by invoking the magic word “capitalism” is a sign of a corrupt, likely irredeemable soul.
  • …there should be a Constitutional amendment striking all references in legal code to “marriage” and replacing it with “legal union.” Keep religion out of the law.
  • …America has changed from a well-intentioned, naive nation to one which is reveres its own stupidity.
  • …we have become a nation of short-sighted, greedy, self-absorbed assholes who worship the wealthy as gods.

I don’t believe that it’s too late to change course, to reverse the damage done to our national character, but…

I do believe we’re running out of time.

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Frankenstein's MeatballsI am not about to go to this much trouble, but…

We have the technology to join different cuts of meat together, so why do we always make it look like, well, meat? Imagine a buffet of extravagantly assembled origami meatcraft: exciting carnivorous designs concealing mysterious and unexpected stuffings; beautifully engineered steak architecture supporting provocative pork sculptures; Gaga-esque wardrobes of stitched salami and tailored chorizo. Surely the possibilities would be endless?

To learn how to bring these meatballs to life to your table, check out Instructables.


Lit-Fic and Horror

3 October 2014

LitReactor list of ten literary horror works.

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1 October 2014

Can you identify the horror or suspense films featuring these quotes?

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Braindump 1

8 September 2014

Brainfeed entries for Sept 1-7, 2014

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Disordered sleep

26 August 2014

I’ve had damned little luck with my sleep, lately. The CPAP machine, in spite of several adjustments, doesn’t appear to be helping much. The specialist I’m seeing — who looks remarkably like Stanley Tucci, even disconcertingly so — says that my incidence of apnea is reduced somewhat, but not as much as he’d like. Ambien […]

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18 August 2014

On Sunday I learned that my old friend Nancy Sutter passed away. The last time we met was in November of 2006, when I was in San Francisco for a conference. It’d been years since we’d seen each other, but when we met in the hotel lobby, it was as if no time had passed at all. […]

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19 July 2014

Every night when I’m putting on my CPAP mask I think of Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth in Blue Velvet. This rather defeats the mask’s purpose of helping me sleep. [NB*: GPOY is shorthand for “gratuitous picture of yourself.” It’s Tumblr-speak.] *NB is an abbreviation for the Latin† nota bene, or “note well.” †People who insert […]

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Cultural crabs

16 July 2014

I’ve lived in Maryland for almost three years, and never had crab boil. (In fact, I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called, but let’s pretend.) Last night at a corporate dinner we were served a couple of bushels of steamed crabs and given wooden hammers — carefully branded with the Hyatt logo — and told to […]

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