I was going to go with a heavy metal musical theme for Valentine’s Day, like I did for Christmas. Alas, all attempts on my part to unearth a fist-pumpingly kickass metal cover of anything that could be considered a love song in any conventional sense have thus far proven fruitless. Unless Queensrÿche is your idea of kickass. They were in their own way; they had that metal-tinged Pink Floyd vibe going on. But a level of kickassitude more in the ballpark of Rammstein is closer to what I had in mind. No one’s ever thought to give one of Céline Dion’s signature numbers the Neue Deutsche Härte treatment, from the looks of it. So while we’re waiting for German to become the new language of love (“Wie liebe ich dich? Lass mich die Wege zählen…”), here’s a guy playing a bagpipe made out of a (hopefully used) condom.
Hey, it’s a new decade. Thank the Dagda. The Weenie Teenies (which I personally think is a catchier and more befitting name than the Two Thousand and Tens, so I’m just going to go with that) will probably go down in history as the worst decade humanity has seen since the 1940s. So I’m glad that’s all over with. Sure, it was a decade that saw vinyl LPs come back from the dead. That was the shit! But then there was a shitload of other shit that was as shitty as all shit. Hopefully this new decade will bring more shit that’s cool, like the aforementioned second coming of the long-playing record. May these Twenties be twenty percent as roaring as the last ones, so they don’t end as badly.
If this reminds you of someone, you’re officially not going crazy.
In this spirit of dispensing with the old and embracing the new, I’ve decided to prune a couple of characters out of SILVER BROWN entirely. There was a scene in one of the early drafts where my main character wakes up in the offices of one of the most powerful cyberwarlocks in Sector India. There, the witch Florys MacNab is approached by this warlock’s man Friday – an eight-year-old boy known only as The Kid.
The Kid grew from an intellectual seed that was planted in my brain by an Ojibwe elder from an ancient land we now call Minnesota, by way of a book he wrote I once burrowed from the library. He would tell me of a forgotten yesteryear well before there was any such thing as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, when the Ojibwe did not bestow names upon their children at birth. In those days, it was an ingrained part of the culture and tradition that a name be thought of as something one had to earn. Many kids didn’t earn those names until they were eight or nine years old. Some not even until puberty, or later. But finally doing something to earn a name was one of the most important rites of passage in a child’s life.
A few of the customs observed by the Society of Wheel Turners in SILVER BROWN invoke this bygone Ojibwe tradition to a certain extent. In the early drafts, young Wheel Turners in training were literally nameless. Hence, the reason why The Kid was just The Kid, and nothing else. I eventually had to dispense with The Kid entirely, because his sole function in the story was to reveal exhibition that had already been revealed. But the tradition he embodied lives on, albeit in a modified form. In the current draft, children born into the Society receive a totem from their council of directors when they pass a strenuous series of cybermagickal aptitude tests. The warlock of Sector India I mentioned earlier is known solely by his totem. His legal name is the one registered with SAAZMOL, which is why he doesn’t use it. He is instead addressed by his contemporaries as Lord Pukerabbit. There’s a whole explanation of the hidden meaning behind that appellation, but I won’t get into that here and now.
There was another character I had to get rid of when he ultimately proved superfluous. A utility program called Dunsmure the Bird, inspired by watching too many videos on YouTube like this:
I initially threw Dunsmure the Bird in the story to serve as a sidekick for Elmýr Garfield. In later drafts, Elmýr Garfield would gain the ability to shapeshift, his new powers reducing Dunsmure the Bird to a Jar Jar Binks – an unnecessary character that could easily be removed from the story without the story suffering any, and in fact should be removed. The bird’s jarjarbinksiness wasn’t the only reason I got rid of him, though. There’s already a character in the story who’s a talking ferret; I figured throwing in a talking bird on top of that would be laying it on a tad too thick.
Expanding on my last post about Christmas music, here are a small handful of tunes I think should be added to the regular rotation of Yuletide standards if they should happen to enter the public domain sometime before humanity becomes extinct. First, I give you a joyous and festive number celebrating the reason for the season. Which is axial tilt, of course.
This next song lyrically gives an interesting take on the traditional story of the Nativity. The notion that gods and angels are in fact extraterrestrials will no longer be considered fringe ideology after the next Enlightenment happens, I’m pretty sure of it.
Finally, a tune that will enter the public domain sooner than the others, because all these guys have since left us. At least the guys that made any significant contributions to the band’s songwriting output (Marky’s still around, but he was just the drummer). This rightfully should be a Yuletide standard on even par with anything Bing Crosby did. What’s not to love about the Ramones?