Latest from The Smoking Gun

The Texas sheriff who investigated Vice President Dick
Cheney’s shooting of his quail hunting buddy finally got
around today to releasing witness statements about the
accident. And while there seems little doubt about how
Cheney mistakenly plugged poor Harry Whittington,
there still seems to be some disagreement over whether
alcohol was consumed by the hunting party. Details at:

Claiming that web surfers are pleasuring themselves to
her mug shot, a Florida woman (through her lawyer, of
course) is threatening to sue us if we don’t immediately
remove the image from our site. Comely Casey Hicks
contends that our publication of the image has, among
other things, held her up to ridicule. Apparently that
felony collar for selling 49 Ecstasy tablets to an
undercover cop wasn’t nearly as mortifying. Story at:

In our nine years, few documents have scored as high on
the Bizarreometer than the “Contract of Wifely
Expectations” that kooky Iowan Travis Frey sought to have
his spouse sign. Take a look for yourself:

It’s now officially a trend. We’ve found another arrestee
who has tattooed America’s favorite two-word profanity
on his face:

New prize contest has started, so just tell us what name
the government snitch used for heroin and you might
win some fine loot, including DVDs of “The Aristocrats”
and director Werner Herzog’s “Grizzly Man.” And you’ll
also take home our mug shot playing cards and
Valerie Flame hot sauce. So enter here:

Ramblings of a Madman and Other Tales: Video Games Made Me Do It

I MURDERED someone this week. I stealthily stalked them until no one was in sight to see this act, or hear the screams. From behind, I made my rage-filled attack. Surprisingly to me, they fought back instead of freezing in fear. But in a matter of seconds, they succumbed to their dreaded fate, and passed quickly. I stood over their limp body reflecting quickly on what transpired. There was no sign of blood from where I stood, and I wasn’t going to take much more time to marvel over what I have done. I quickly left the scene, and anticipated the next person to cross into view. Would I pleasantly smile and wish them a good day, or show no friendly sign whatsoever? Will that same desire fill me, and they’d be the next victim? If so, would I change my modus operandi (M.O.) and use the lightning bolt spell this time?

For as long as we could carry on a conversation, there has been those that have had an answer for everything, no matter how much thought, education, or lack there of went into their opinion. This is no different in finding answers to why we as a society have violence toward one another. Though, some people tend to forget that violence in any society of living beings (lions, tigers, bears, et cetera) takes place daily. I usually give these people the benefit of ignorance, since we, as a higher being of intelligence, should be able to solve and control our violent acts. However, this hasn’t been the case since Cain killed Able.

For the most part, people really haven’t taken the time to understand and research the mind of violent people, instead, they point the figure of blame toward what they don’t understand or not too sure of. In the last half decade, that finger of blame has been pointed at the media of entertainment, more particular for violence committed by teenagers and young adults. From movies, such as The Matrix, being blamed for the cause of the school shootings, to car hijackings and street shootings being blamed on video games, like the Grand Theft Auto series, the blame has been shared by many in the entertainment industry. I could sit here all day and dispute these recent claims in our society, asking you what movies, music, or video game Adolph Hitler watched, listened to, or played, and the same question for other recognizable and documented murders, criminals, and terrorist throughout the world’s history. But I’m not; I want to focus on the claims of video games getting the blame of violence within our society’s youth and young adults.

Now, I can’t dispute that violent crimes are up in the youth today. I was talking to my father, Randy Morris, about violence amongst the youth in his generation a few years ago. Growing up for the most part in the 50’s and 60’s, his generation they never worried about one of their classmates carrying a gun into the classroom and taking aim. However, this is not to say guns were never brought onto school property. Some of the young males, of proper age, had rifles or shotguns in the back of their trucks and cars because of morning hunting trips, or planned trips after school. Though, they never experienced a school shooting because of this, and they never had video games to play like kids today. The only fear at this time resulted from practicing what to do incase of a missile attack from Cuba, or having their name called over the school’s speaker because they’ve been drafted for Vietnam.

So is it true that today’s youth is more violent because of video games, since generations like my father’s didn’t have those? Point-blank, if video games have anything to do with it, it’s microscopic compared to the real truth. Take a moment, look back at all that’s changed form my father’s generation, to my generation, and the current generation of today’s youth. In today’s world, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the roles and actions between the parents and children are changing. We frown upon physical discipline when it comes to our children. Parents are growing more and more concerned if their children view them as a best friend, or buddy, than an actual parent. Parents are growing more concerned about disappointing their kids, than their kids disappointing them. Having the best interest of your kids in mind, and strictly guiding them toward it is viewed as selfish on the parent’s part now. And what happens when all of these collective short-comings pile up, and the kids find that certain control over their parents? You start seeing Little Johnny’s parents writing their congressman, senator, or rallying with others for the government, and different agencies, to raise their kids for them. The decline of innocence can be blamed on the parents themselves.

For over 20 years, I’ve been playing video games, and not once has any game I’ve played influenced me to hold up stores, steal cars, mug someone, commit rape, or take a life. Guess what, the same goes for, in an estimate, 98% of people that play video games. So, where does the belief of the few simple-minded people come from that say video games are the decline of our society as it relates to violence? Quite simple, in their self-indulged world, they refuse to believe they may be to blame through their parenting skills, or lack there of. And lets not stop at lack of parenting, people are scared to death to take off those love-blinded glasses, and actually see tale-tale signs of problems within their kids throughout their lives.

Why can’t we just accept anymore that violent crimes are committed by someone that’s not right in the head? Even if it’s just in a blink of an eye, that the person loses their sanity during those acts. That’s not giving the people an excuse for the crimes, since most of them know right from wrong. The kids from Columbine knew what they were doing, they knew right from wrong, but there was something lacking in their decision making to say “No, this won’t solve a thing.” They lacked the self-discipline to make the right choice, the choice that not only would have saved lives, including their own, but one that could have been made before their dreadful plans were even made. That discipline starts and is formed in the home.

So, is it video games that is cause this increase in violence of our youth, or is it the ones wanting to censor them, the parents themselves? I’m not sitting around thinking I have all the answers to why people commit violent crimes, I do believe it relates to both, nature and nurture. I also believe that we can see improvement by actually parenting our kids, being more involved in their lives, and remembering that sometimes loving them is not enough in determining who they’ll be, what they’ll do, and what decisions they’ll make for themselves. Video games are not an excuse, neither are movies, music, and the news. Make the decision as a parent, do you want your individual kid playing these games, watching these movies, listening to this music, if not, take it away, don’t lobby, love, teach, and pay attention. If they’re showing signs of disturbance, seek advice, get help from professionals, don’t campaign, don’t ignore it, don’t procrastinate … be a parent! Now I must go and try that lightning bolt spell on someone.

CGDC in the Offing

Here’s a release from the organizers of the Christian Game Developer’s Conference:

Again the dates for CGDC06 are May 17-19. Please bear with us as plans get
solidified. If you have a question, please contact one of these:
Clint =>
Eric =>

Please reply NOW if you are going to:
Announce a new game title at CGDC06
Announce the formation of a new game studio at CGDC06
Announce anything of interest (hey, my title has sold x units)

This will get folded into a press release, so reply ASAP.

We humbly ask your prayers for the conference, that it be God’s conference
getting each attendee closer to our Savior.

The Goreletter: Avian Phlegm

The Goreletter 3.05: Avian Phlegm

Arnzen’s Weird Newsletter


+++ Vol. 3.05, Nov 27, 2005 +++
Blather. Wince. Repeat.

What Bird Flu is Not

+ The Bird Flu is not the past tense of “The bird flies.”
+ Avian Influenza is not to be confused with Evian Influenza.
+ People who contract Bird Flu will not necessarily grow wings and fly to heaven.
+ Big Bird Flu is not communicable to humans who aren’t wearing the dorky costume.
+ Bird Flu rhymes with Absurd Goo, but it’s not entirely that either.
+ You cannot transmit Avian Influenza by “flipping the bird” at someone, unless you are doing so literally with an infected canary.
+ You will not know why the caged Bird Flu sings. Wheezes, maybe.
+ The Bird did not Flu the Croup.
+ Bird Flu is no longer what you call the feathered carcass you discover clogging up your chimney.
+ Chicken Pox is not Bird Flu; it’s much itchier.
+ Do not attempt to cure Bird Flu with Chicken Soup, or you’re doomed.
+ God’s punishment for cockfighting is not bird flu, but an impoverished social life.
+ Cat Scratch Fever is not guaranteed to prevent Bird Flu.
+ Bird Flu is not a terrorist attack on the South during the winter.
+ Bird Flu is not congenitally transmitted during infant delivery by stork.
+ No one in America died this November from Bird Flu. The recent mass decapitation of turkeys seems to have saved us. For now.

Related Link:
The Daily Show: Rob Corddry’s HealthScare
(note: this loads a streaming Windows Media Format movie)


“Trapped in a Well” is a cruel way to experience the existential horror of starvation. What a lovely idea. Thankfully, it ends quickly.

[The game is really just a joke by the new humorists at But I think it’s actually quite profound.]

GORELETS: Unpleasant Poems

Air Sac O’Lantern

the illumination of the lung
will bloom in blotches of bronchial
rot curdling a purple and black
kaleidoscope of cancer
that might even pop and wheeze
and make a funny face with its holes
as the candle flame voraciously
decays, eating through,
eating air


Xmas Gifts for Creepy Kids

A Sweater

Is It True that Obesity Can Cause A Liver Pain?

Gift Soap

A Dolly

A Ball

A Game


The Outsider Looking In

Outsiders, edited by Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpatrick (Roc Books, 2005), is one of the best anthologies of short fiction to come out of the genre in some time. In fact, I would go so far as to call it pioneering, because it redraws the boundaries of the horror genre in a very successful way, in addition to being packed with excellent scary stories. It doesn’t call itself a horror anthology (instead, it is billed as “22 All New Stories from the Edge”), but if it were published in 1989, it certainly would broadcast its status as one. Virtually all the contributors (Bentley Little, Poppy Z. Brite, and Jack Ketchum, to name just three of the twenty-two) have been called “horror” writers or are still considered such by the public, so I find this book foremost an interesting commentary on the status of the horror genre. Essentially, horror authors have become “outsiders” to — and alienated by — mainstream publishing, which these days tends to eschew horror (not as a genre, per s
e, but as a marketing label or categorical “index”). Look at how the introduction dances around categories in poetic and fashionable terms, carving an identity in relation to dark fantasy: “Come with us and explore strange new worlds through stories that investigate the darkest of fantasies: a New Weird bathed in classic Gothic eeriness and touched by metaphors of human darkness.” These are perfectly legitimate terms for describing this “type” of fiction, but one can’t help but notice how unsettled it all is about the terminology. Just look at all the synonyms that Holder and Kilpatrick masterfully employ: strange, dark fantasy, New Weird, Gothic, eerie, dark. There’s almost an obvert attempt to disavow the term “horror” in all of this. But no matter how you slice it, it’s scary.

I’m not suggesting that this book is only so much traditional horror fiction repackaged to placate perceived trends in the market. It’s actually very contemporary and boundary-blurring. But there is a way in which the horror genre is the unnameable creature lurking beneath it all. Not outside, but in. And I like that. It’s subversive. I think it’s kind of neat that this book is virtually a horror compilation camouflaged as a collection of “edge” fiction. The best horror often subversively lurks in the clean and carpeted bookstores of America, waiting to surprise its reader when he or she cracks open the covers and the jack springs from its box. It’s when what’s outside one’s expectations crashes in that the horror erupts.

And maybe horror fiction ought to have been called “outsider” fiction all along, anyway: stories that explore unreality and the secret truths one can discover only by rejecting the mainstream realities that are handed to us, whether through the occult means of the supernatural story or the psychosis of the serial killer. Of course, “fantasy” is itself an alternate reality, so “dark fantasy” would be just as good a term. But fifty years ago, Colin Wilson wrote one of the defining books on such “existentialist” issues in fiction, called The Outsider, which deepens a reading of the Holder and Kilpatrick collection. The Outsider, Wilson argues, is a type of thinker akin to the doomed hero in H.G. Wells’ story, “The Country of the Blind”: he is the one man able to see the truth. As Wilson puts it: “To the objection that he is unhealthy and neurotic, [the Outsider] replies: ‘In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.’ His case, in fact, is that he is the one man who k
nows he is sick in a civilization that doesn’t know it is sick…even further…it is human nature that is sick, and the Outsider is the man who faces this unpleasant fact…a negative position which the Outsider declares to be the essence of the world as he sees it.” The revelation of this truth is the moment of horror. And this, I think, is what Robert Bloch meant when he proclaimed that “horror is the removal of masks.” Good dark fiction unmasks conventional reality to show another layer lurking beneath the surface, one often initially perceived as “sick” or “diseased.”

What was great about horror in its heyday was that it could take this status of “outsiderness” for granted, and cut a layer deeper. I’m not so sure that today’s fiction can go there, because the reader’s unreality, in some ways, has become so conventionalized under the onus of the unrealities of today’s media culture. The unreal is as close to us as our TV sets and computer monitors. And perhaps that’s what makes this collection so interesting to me. I suggested earlier that Outsiders could just have well have been published twenty years ago and that it’s exploring themes that are at least fifty — if not a hundred — years old. I’m tempted to say that horror fiction always points back to the old and the universal realities lurking under the surface of the new. But that isn’t quite fair because there is certainly a twenty-first century sense of alienation that is being explored here.

Take David J. Schow’s excellent contribution, “Expanding Your Capabilities Using Frame/Shift Mode” — a story about a DVD pirate who discovers a particularly bizarre effect on the “Frame/Shift” button on his remote control. The button allows him to manipulate objects on screen so that he can, for example, peel off layers of the actors clothing with it. It explores the assumption we have that “you just have to know the code; which buttons to push” in order to control our universe. And, if you know your Schow, you know that he will explore the fetishism of media technology by “pushing the buttons” all the way to the extreme. Inevitably, the character with his remote is not only voyeuristically getting off on undressing actresses on the screen, but also removing their skin. Literally, Schow is “removing the mask” of not only the screen image but also our relation to such things; and the protagonist of this story not only excessively gets off on watching, say, skeletons having se
x, he explores home movies and considers starting a variation on the porn business…until things take a surprising turn. This is a horror story in the traditional sense. About a lonely outsider. And yet it is also about today’s fantasies, today’s social relations, today’s media technology fetishism. It reminded me of Nicholson Baker’s novel, The Fermata, in its representation of a “control fantasy.” And it’s one of my favorites in the collection.

Also excellent is Steve Rasnic Tem’s opening story, “The Company You Keep” (which is as surrealist in its method as a painting by Magritte) about a “nowhere man” so lonely, he somehow finds himself surrounded by a pack of others who are exactly like him, all of them making the same exact gestures and expressions. This “legion” of mirror-image figures becomes almost a herd, and soon we uncover Tem’s wry comment on our culture: that we are all so utterly alone, and yet ironically bonded by our alienation. In that, we find community as “outsiders.” But Tem takes a horrifying turn when he reveals that this alienation can coldly lead to our self-destruction. It’s one of Tem’s best stories ever, and a perfect “opener” to this book — which raises the issue regarding the human condition today in a stunning manner. It’s quite a brilliant allegory.

And there’s much more. While a few of the stories in Outsiders don’t quite match the caliber of Tem’s brilliance or the level of Schow’s darkness, the book as a whole is definitely a work of excellence and an example of the best horror fiction being written today, even if it doesn’t call itself such. The stories by Kathe Koja, Michael Marano, Bentley Little, Brian Hodge, Elizabeth Engstrom, Eliabeth Massie and Joe Lansdale are all outstanding because they are intelligent and sophisticated — and offering up comments on what it means to be alienated in today’s unreal wold. This collection is worthy of acclaim.

Also worth acclaim: half of the contributors to Outsiders are women and the book is edited by two women. That’s remarkable, I think. And perhaps even a retroactively ironic statement on what the “insiders” of the horror trade may have neglected and marginalized in the heyday of the genre at their own peril: inclusiveness.

Outsiders is a $14.95 trade paperback available from Roc Books. A must read. (So is H.G. Wells’ story, which you can find in a book that would make a good compliment to this one, Fantastic Tales: Visionary and Everyday, edited by Italo Calvino).,,0_0451460448,00.html


+ Depict an allergy gone haywire.
+ Pen the monologue of a nostalgic vampire.
+ Script a dialogue between the Devil and his publicist.

Instigation is a WEEKLY department in Hellnotes newsletter…who also now publishes a new online magazine based on selected prompts called Wee Small Hours! (Note that the “Sickolodeon” at — where compilations of Instigation are normally available to purchase — is temporarily down).

Wee Small Hours:


I’m happy to announce that Jim Minton Design Studio is coordinating “Exquisite Corpse” — a compilation of short-short films based on my poetry and flash fiction. International contributors lined up for the project so far include the directors and animators Jim Minton (USA), Jeff Pomeroy (USA), and Lucas Tripodi (Chile) — other talents from Italy and Israel may also contribute. The film is in the early stages of production, but the project looks very exciting. To see a sample production sketch for Minton’s adaptation of my poem, “The Scab” (this poem first appeared in my book, Freakcidents), visit the Goreletter weblog.
Jim Minton Design:
Production Sketch from “The Scab”:
Lucas Tripodi’s hilarious commercial for La Tabla Skateboarding here: (Streaming Quick Time Movie)

One of the reasons you haven’t received a Goreletter for awhile is that I’ve been traveling and working on events related to the release of my latest novel, Play Dead. I was the “Author of the Month” at the Barnes and Noble in the Monroeville Mall (yes, the setting of the original Dawn of the Dead…and it hasn’t changed much since!) and also participated in several signings and seminars locally. [You can read related coverage from the local media below]. I also attended World Fantasy Convention in Madison, WI, where I caught up with many good friends. At the con, I sat on a 10am Saturday morning panel discussion about zombies with authors Mark Morris, James S. Dorr, and Michael Shea. At that hour, we were all back from the dead and the audience was surprisingly eager to pick our brains.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “Horror Writer Goes Dark For His Stories” by Rege Behe
Laurel Mountain Post, “Seton Hill Professor Scares Up Some Laughs” by Drew Williams
Order or Review Play Dead at

There will be a session entitled “Michael Arnzen: New Directions in Horror” at the 27th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts , Ft. Lauderdale, FL, March 15-19, 2006. I’ll be responding to the papers presented by Lawrence C. Connelly (“Change Thy Shape: Michael A. Arnzen and the Metamorphosis of Horror”) and David Sandner (“Meat Shots, Gorelets, Severed Hands and the Uncanny in your Inbox: Michael Arnzen’s New Directions in Horror”). For a sense of what this will be like, here’s an excerpt from the abstract Dr. Sandner shared with me: “Arnzen’s innovations have implications at once for the future evolution of horror as a genre seeking to survive cyclical implosions of popularity in traditional markets and as a harbinger of the kind of horror conjured up by our technophilic age. Arnzen’s horror cuts at the body with short, sharp sentences, fragments of narrative, his words dismembering, reconfiguring, returning us to our forgotten flesh but rendering them stran
ge to us with a sudden violence, a spurt of text, a cracked narrative, a shock at the ending ‘meat shot,’ the fatal blow all the more terrible because undercut by a fatalistic and devious humor.”
For more information on the conference, visit:

One of the highlights at World Fantasy Convention was getting to play with the custom deck of playing cards that will be included with the special sculpture-bound limited edition (a.k.a. “Grim Grimoire”) of Play Dead. I’ve signed the cards that are being placed into each book. The artwork by Dave Liscomb is simply amazing and waaayyyy over-the-top; this is truly a unique and twisted collection of art. Some of the images are lifted right out of the novel; others use artistic license in apropos ways (and the jokers are hilarious). Everyone who saw these at World Fantasy Con said they wanted one; the publisher is currently investigating the possibility of offering them separately for sale to those who are interested. In the mean time, the sculptures are coming along and you’ll need to keep your eyes on Raw Dog Screaming Press for updates.


Flying Creature Feature

For your next movie night, rent:
The Birds (1963)
Q (1982)
El Ataque de los pájaros (a.k.a. “Beaks”) (1987)


It actually pays to scroll this far down.

I bought a lot of my own books to sell at my various signings last month…but I went overboard and still have copies left over. Want to help me clear some shelf space and maybe even get a bargain in the process? Here’s a price list of some specials I can offer you (all prices include media mail postage paid; all books will be signed). This offer is good only while supplies last, so please write me at to make sure I still have copies in stock, before remitting payment. I prefer cash via PayPal or, alternatively, a gift certificate to any online shop.

Price List:
[Poetry book titles available: Freakcidents, Rigormarole, and Gorelets.]

100 Jolts: $11
100 Jolts + One Poetry Book: $17
Play Dead: $20
Three Poetry Books: $20
Play Dead + One Poetry Book: $26
Play Dead + 100 Jolts: $30
Play Dead + 100 Jolts + Three Poetry Books: $50

Buy one horror poetry book, get one free! This is a great way to pick up a copy of my books, Rigormarole or Freakcidents or Writhing in Darkness. There’s also still time to get $10 off Ray Bradbury’s book, A Chapbook for Burnt-Out Priests, Rabbis and Ministers when you use coupon code “BURNTLESSTEN” in the online check-out form. Coupon good until 12/31/05.
Poetry Offer:
Bradbury Offer:

Order a copy of Rigormarole: Zombie Poems direct from the publisher and get a free four-issue subscription to Poe Little Thing: The Digest of Horrific Poetry. Just $9.95+s/h! Rigormarole is a signed/numbered chapbook, limited to 250 copies; the book, which was just released this September, is also illustrated by a writer/filmmaker who I admire very much, John Skipp.

GET FICTIONWISE — the web’s best sci-fi and horror e-book seller — maintains a special 15% off page for Goreletter subscribers, which is updated weekly. This week features e-book treasures by well-established speculative fiction writers like George R.R. Martin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Robert E. Howard — and emerging dark fantasy authors like Donna Taylor Burgess and Janrae Frank. [There’s even a rebate offer on “Beat the Flu — How to Stay Healthy through the Coming Bird Flu Pandemic” by A A Avlicino! ] Please search for economical Arnzen titles while you’re there, like 100 Jolts or the hard to find Stoker finalist, Paratabloids!

Writers: Don’t forget that you can get a free 2-month “Taste of HELLNOTES” subscription by participating in their new monthly “Wee Small Hours” publication. What better way to instigate yourself into some twisted storytelling?

All material in The Goreletter is © 2005 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents as a whole, without alterations or excisions. Direct links to articles in the archives or the weblog are permitted and encouraged. For reprint permissions of individual pieces, please contact

Winner of the 2003 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Alternative Forms from the Horror Writers Association:

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With apologies to latitude 53,41667, longitude 27,91667.

Help spread the strange. Forward this issue to your weirdest friend!



“Never attempt to murder a man who is committing suicide.”
— Woodrow T. Wilson (died 1924)


Blogger’s Rights

You would think that the government would be zealously supporting the free speech rights of bloggers. You would be wrong. Politicians fear and loathe bloggers since they are not pets like the way that so many reporters are. As a result, bloggers are under increasing attack and there are proposals being floated around that would severely curtail the right to blog, especially about politics.

Fortunately, the Electronic Frontier Foundation fully supports bloggers’ rights. Here is what EFF has to say about the subject:

EFF Needs Your Support in the Fight for Bloggers’ Rights!
EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit group of passionate people—lawyers, technologists, volunteers, and visionaries — who depend on your support to continue successfully defending your digital rights. Litigation is particularly expensive; because two-thirds of our budget comes from individual donors, every contribution is critical to helping EFF fight —and win—more cases.

You Have the Right to Blog Anonymously. EFF has fought for your right to speak anonymously on the Internet, establishing legal protections in several states and federal jurisdictions, and developing technologies to help you protect you identity. With your support, EFF can continue to defend this right, conducting impact litigation to establish strict standards to unmask an anonymous critic in more jurisdictions.

You Have the Right to Keep Sources Confidential. In Apple v. Does, EFF is fighting to establish the reporter’s privilege for online journalists before the California courts. With your support, EFF can defend news bloggers from subpoenas seeking the identity of confidential sources in more jurisdictions.

You Have the Right to Make Fair Use of Intellectual Property. In OPG v. Diebold, Diebold, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, had sent out copyright cease-and-desist letters to ISPs after internal documents indicating flaws in their systems were published on the Internet. EFF established the publication was a fair use. With your support, EFF can help fight to protect bloggers from frivolous or abusive threats and lawsuits.

You have the Right to Allow Readers’ Comments Without Fear. In Barrett v. Rosenthal, EFF is working to establish that Section 230, a strong federal immunity for online publishers, applies to bloggers. With your support, EFF can continue to protect bloggers from liability for comments left by third parties.

You Have the Right to Protect Your Server from Government Seizure. In In re Subpoena to Rackspace. EFF successfully fought to unveil a secret government subpoena that had resulted in more than 20 Independent Media Center (Indymedia) news websites and other Internet services being taken offline. With your support, EFF can hold the government accountable for investigations that cut off protected speech.

You Have the Right to Freely Blog about Elections. EFF has advocated for the sensible application of Federal Election Commission rules to blogs that comment on political campaigns. With your support, EFF can continue to protect political blogs from onerous campaign regulations.

You Have the Right to Blog about Your Workplace. EFF has educated bloggers on their rights to blog about their workplace and developed technologies to help anonymous whistle bloggers. With your support, EFF can help shape the law to protect workplace bloggers from unfair retaliation.

You Have the Right to Access as Media. EFF has educated bloggers on their right to access public information, attend public events with the same rights as mainstream media, and how to blog from public events. With your support, EFF can fight for bloggers’ right to access as media.

Know Your Rights and Prepare to Defend Them. EFF has created the Legal Guide for Bloggers to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger and a guide on How to Blog Safely. With your support, EFF can expand and update these guides.

The Goreletter: Imaginary Trivia

The Goreletter 3.04: Imaginary Trivia

Arnzen’s Weird Newsletter


+++ Vol. 3.04, Sept 27, 2005 +++
Blather. Wince. Repeat.

Imaginary Trivia

A boy was born with six breasts in 1962. Only two of them survived.

If one searches long enough in Salem, Massachusets, one can find fine urns filled with the ashes of witches burned at the stake. The splintery burnt timbers once found inside these urns — called “witchpicks” — are nearly impossible to discover, however, for at the turn of the century they were all the rage among voodoo cultists, who would stick the splinters into makeshift rag dolls hoping for bonus damage.

The first slide observed by the inventor of the microscope was smeared with his own nasal discharge. An enigmatic notation in the margin of his lab report reads: “God is cold.”

Weeks before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, another plane beside the Enola Gay carried the atomic bomb to Asian shores — but this early flight was lost in the Bermuda Triangle. Neither the B-29 bomber nor its payload have ever been discovered. One military legend suggests that they were actually sent on a supernatural mission to destroy whatever force was behind the triangle itself. Another has it that the plane was swept up into a hurricane that still swirls untracked in the Atlantic, waiting to strike American shores.

It’s a little known fact that in 1883, the first iron gynecological instrument was used to torture a man.

“Fido’s Follicle Folly” — the first hangover remedy available in a dog-shaped medicine bottle — was patented in 1812 by Georges Catostrand. This popular medicine contained one knife tip of plaque scraped from the tooth of a feral canine suspended a pint of grain alcohol.

On the eve of his execution in 1974, Gary Bronson Davis gleefully requested “Human Head Cheese and Whore Haggis” for his last meal. It was granted.

The first flyswatter was actually a cat, swung by its tail to smash a pesky housefly.

Secret Vatican scrolls reveal that the first human baby was named neither Cain nor Able, but Cainable. He was actually a conjoined twin, before one side ate the other during a violent argument (hence the term, “cannibal”).

Few realize that the invention of the handkerchief predates men’s underwear.

After his beheading at the climax of the French revolution, Louis Bastarte’s dismembered head is rumored to have delivered the phrase, “Sacre Bleu! I can still feel my legs!” hours after they carried it away in a bloody basket toward its burial site. Some French claim to have been kicked by the phantom legs, which they believe stick out from the head’s grave site. A woman in 1911 also claimed to have been impregnated by “The Kicking Bastarte.” Her baby, of course, was invisible to the naked eye. She was diagnosed with hysteria, and continued to breast feed “Little Louis” at the asylum. Psychologists could never explain the cause of her spontaneous lactation.

Enormous marbles were swallowed by ancient Romans in order to cleanse the bowel. Games involving the stones soon followed. Today we call it Bocce.


Want a book signed? Want to attend a fiction reading or take a horror writing workshop? I’ll be at several events throughout October and I invite you to drop by. I always enjoy meeting subscribers at these things.

October 7th, 7pm
Barnes & Noble | Monroeville Mall, Monroeville, PA
Play Dead Book Signing

October 8th, 7pm
DV8 Espresso Bar & Gallery | 208 South Pennsylvania Ave, Greensburg, PA
Poetry/Short-Short Reading featuring Gorelets, 100 Jolts, and Rigormarole

October 22nd
Ligonier Valley Writers | Scottdale, PA
Horror and Fantasy Writing Workshop

October 27th, 7pm
Barnes & Noble | Monroeville Mall, Monroeville, PA
Guest Visit with Short Story Book Group

October 29th, 7pm
Barnes & Noble | Greensburg, PA
Reading and Play Dead Book Signing

November 3rd-6th
World Fantasy Convention 2005 | Madison, WI

Keep your eyes on the Goreletter weblog for updates:


“Exmortis” is an excellent haunted house game, reminiscent of the “Silent Hill” series of twisted “crawlers.” You click your way around a creepy abandoned house, picking up clues (and weapons) as you try to solve the mystery of where you are, why there’s a head in the microwave, and why there’s blood all over the furniture. Try to solve the symbol puzzle before you die in a horrible fashion.

Sure, you’ll spot a lot of familiar horror images and feel like you’ve been here before. But there’s something about the way this game is put together that makes it really creepy. Combining nice art and a moody score, Exmortis is effectively chilling, even if it tests your patience as you try to figure out what to do next (a link to a helpful “walkthrough” is included below for the frustrated).

Play Exmortis: (warning: the game is a 5 mb file that downloads when you load the page)
Brought to you by Ben Leffler Web Design:
Need help? The Exmortis walkthrough can assist, as a last resort:

[Requires Macromedia Flash, which is probably already plugged into your web browser. If not, go to: ]


It’s twisted memoir time!

+ Dramatize your own funeral (and/or wake) from the viewpoint of the person in attendance most likely to be bored by it all.
+ Look deep inside and mull over your greatest fear. Now write about what you think caused you to be so scared of this silly little thing. Consider everything out there that’s even scarier.
+ Write about being tortured in hell for your own greatest sin. Go on. You deserve it.

Instigation is a WEEKLY department in Hellnotes newsletter…who also now publishes a new online magazine based on selected prompts called Wee Small Hours! You can also buy huge collections of Instigation for chump change at gorelets’ very own site, The Sickolodeon.

Wee Small Hours:
The Sickolodeon:

GORELETS: Unpleasant Poems

Figure With Meat

“one has to remember as a painter
that there is great beauty in the color of meat.” — Francis Bacon

these heavy wings
of hand carved carcass
flutter with the ghost throes
of rusty meathook panic
pulling me out of my chair
with all the audacity
of a drunken butcher
lifting me high
as a crucifixion post
and my dinner fork
clatters on the table

[ Inspiration: ]


My novel, Play Dead — hot of the press — has been getting a great response from readers and reviewers alike. An excellent write-up has just appeared in Ransom Notes, the Barnes and Noble newsletter for mystery readers: “If Play Dead were a poker hand, it would undoubtedly be a royal flush.” Booklist (the journal of the American Library Association) is highly recommending it: “Established contemporary horror author Arnzen serves up a chilling brew of gritty dialogue and hard-boiled, James-Ellroy-style action that, by means of unexpected plot twists, never fails to keep readers alert and guessing.” Kind readers are also already posting great comments on sites like (where you can get the book at a good price) and the discussion board. Play Dead is an experimental horror novel, so I’m very excited that readers and reviewers alike are enjoying it! If you’ve already read it, please consider posting a comment someplace to help spread the word or feel fre
e to e-mail me your thoughts. It’s the only way I can tell if the experiment is a success. So far, it seems to be!

The special “Grim Grimoire” edition of Play Dead has not yet been priced, but word has it that production of these hand-sculptured books is coming along swiftly.

Play Dead:
Order at

The anthology — In Delirium — which includes my previously unpublished story about a mad dentist who creates his own toothy monster called “Mr. Mouth” — just went up for sale at Delirium Books and rumor has it that it’s already almost sold out! It’s a cool limited edition, due to mail this Christmas, and aside from being full of extreme horror tales, the collection is unified by one principle: the stories were all free gifts donated to the publisher, Shane Ryan Staley, by people he’s published in the past…simply as a gift for being one of the best publishers of horror around. The quality of Delirium hardcovers is among the best in the business. And with a line-up that includes hot writers Brian Keene, Kurt Newton, Mark McLaughlin, Tom Piccirilli, Weston Ochse and more, I can see why this rare collectible is almost sold out already. Get it while you still can at Delirium Books.

Delirium Books:

Edgar Allan Poe once began an intriguingly weird short story called “The Lighthouse” but never finished it. Now today’s science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors have taken the fragment and “collaborated” with Poe in a very unique anthology called Poe’s Lighthouse, edited by Chris Conlon, forthcoming soon from Cemetery Dance Books. My personal collaboration with Poe, “The Dead Lantern,” will appear alongside other writers like Gary Braunbeck, Elizabeth Engstrom, Tim Lebbon, Rudy Rucker, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Nick Mamatas, and more. And, of course, Poe!

I’m honored to have worked with the master’s material…and in the tradition of his “Pit and the Pendulum” or “Cask of Amontillado,” I took things in a very sadistic direction. This is going to be one helluva book! It’s limited to only 1000 copies, but you can get your pre-order in now to make sure you don’t miss the lighthouse, and end up adrift in the dark, dark sea.

Order Poe’s Lighthouse:
Cemetery Dance:
The original fragment:

The 72nd issue of Dream and Nightmares poetry magazine just arrived in my mailbox. I’m not only a contributor to this issue, but a lifetime subscriber to the magazine, and they’ve been around a lifetime! Well, 20 years, anyway. Their next issue will be a very special 20th anniversary issue, so now is a great time to subscribe. If you love science fiction, fantasy, or horror poetry, this is THE magazine to read. The longevity of D&N speaks volumes. Plus editor David Kopaska-Merkel has some of the highest editorial standards in the business and always selects the most intelligent, sophisticated pieces. (I’m not just saying that because I’ve appeared there — I’m saying it because he’s extremely selective and has rejected me many times!) Learn more about Dreams and Nightmares at:

UK scholar Gina Wisker has put together a great overview of the horror genre for Continuum Books recently, called Horror Fiction: An Introduction. I was impressed by the range of topics covered by this book (…and surprised to find myself listed between King and Hitchcock in the chapter called “The Best and Best Known” in the genre, along with a discussion of my book, 100 Jolts). Wisker does a great job covering the primary elements and nuances of the genre, so if you’re looking for some good scholarship on horror, this is a great place to start. Find it at:


Board Games for the Demented

World’s Goriest Board Game

Googly Chess by Bob Crouch

Totally Gross Board Game

Gross Out Games for Christian Youth Camp


Strange Itineraries by Tim Powers lives up to its title: it’s a trip.

Tim Powers is a powerhouse fantasy novelist. He’s probably known best for his historical fantasy, and books like The Anubis Gates and Declare have won him a huge following. I think my favorite is Last Call, a book about the inspiration behind playing cards come to life, which was one of the handful of card-related stories I read as I was working on my novel, Play Dead. It taught me more about writing than it did about cards, per se. An accomplished writer of what you might call “fabulism,” Tim Powers talent is bringing the mythic and the marvelous to life while at the same time retaining a strict psychological realism, dramatizing the way characters think and feel in deeply penetrating ways, regardless of whether they’re magicians or monsters or men. The world in a Tim Powers book is marvelously unique, yet at the same time his settings are very concrete and keenly detailed and the people are undeniably just like you and me. But being “psychologically” realistic does not make
Tim Powers a “realist” by any means — indeed, his mission seems to be to bend reality, and Strange Itineraries succeeds at unhinging it at every stop along the way as he takes us on a tour of some exceptionally weird landscapes and frightfully uncanny mental vistas.

Strange Itineraries collects nine fantastic tales by Powers, culled from anthologies (like the mega-horror book, 999), collectible chapbooks, and familiar serials like The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Asimov’s SF Magazine. It’s a great sampling of Powers’ talent (as well as that of James P. Blaylock, his collaborator on one third of the stories included here — almost enough to make me think he deserves to share the book’s byline). The stories range from peculiar fantasy to disturbing (but subtle) psychological horror and twisted alternate reality. Powers is not a horror writer in the strictest sense, but he can be very dark and mind-bending (and often, funny), but what really floors me is his sheer imagination. He takes risks and always pulls it off.

In his introduction, Paul di Filippo refers to this collection as a book of “haunted” stories. This is an excellent way to think of Strange Itineraries — though it is not so much a collection of “ghost stories” as it is a tour of diverse settings where things are not as they seem. In the title piece, “Itinerary,” a character steps into a short circuit in space and time and Powers effectively loops the plot structure of this story in a way that really gets you at the end. (You’ll also learn why this book has a porcelain duck on its cover, of all things). One of the darkest tales in the collection, “Through and Through,” visits a priest with a ghost in his confessional, a specter who looks him “through and through” with surprising results. “Pat Moore” is the doppelganger story to end all doppelganger stories, where the title character encounters more Pat Moores than even Pat Moore can imagine. In “The Better Boy” — perhaps the best “magical garden” tale I’ve ever read — Powe
rs shows what happens when a man’s “inventor’s pants” go missing and throw off his plans for the tomatoes…and so much more. The closing story, “Night Moves,” invokes the specter of death in a mind-bending and sophisticated way, rife with irony. I really can’t describe these stories without either relying on gross overgeneralizations or spoiling things by giving everything away. So I’ll just stop now and say that if you’re looking for an escape, climb aboard Strange Itineraries and prepare to launch on a very bizarre tour hosted by one of the most brilliant imaginations of our day.

Strange Itineraries is available in trade paperback for $15.95 (US) from Tachyon Publications.

(And congratulations to Tachyon who is celebrating their tenth anniversary in publishing!)


Dead Like Me

For your next movie night, rent:
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Love and Death (1975)
Meet Joe Black (1998)


Be among the first Goreletter subscribers to post a customer review — pro or con — of my new book, Play Dead, at,, or another online bookstore and win a free surprise gift. To win, you must alert me if/when your review appears and send me your mailing address so I can ship your prize in the mail. (Note: this contest does not apply to readers who received an Advanced Review Copy from the publisher). Get your orders in now; the race is on!


I received many excellent entries for the Goreletter’s “Mess Up My Fridge” contest last month. Now my refrigerator is truly damned. So many strange entries came in that I couldn’t just pick one winner…but FOUR, which all tied for first place. For prizes, everyone received a free Arnzen poetry book — and anyone who entered was e-mailed a free Bitpasss for access to The Sickolodeon, just for playing!

Below are the winning entries. Didn’t win? Eager for more? The “review race” contest for Play Dead is still on! Be among the first subscribers to post a “customer review” of my new novel on,,, or some other online bookseller, and you could win a free signed book or magazine (no matter what you say about Play Dead)!


Soft belly babies
Two hearts strong rhythm — stiff hooks
Both splitting wetly

— Stephen M. Wilson

blind casket petfood
mouse balloons and memory
cat embalmed in milk

— Cameron Pierce

Squalid brain balloons,
Memory writhing inside,
Gleam with mad wonder.

— Tanya Twombly

Embalmed skin costume
Naked writhing locked inside
Wet with casket worms

— HorrorWench


Cat paws out the heart
Of the dead mouse as it spurts
And it tastes like milk.

— Barbara Bates

Dead memory worm
writhing inside wet brain chunks
with unstoppable rhythm.

— Kathy B.

The contest is over, but you can always post fridge magnet poetry on “The Damned Fridge” at


It actually pays to scroll this far down.

The Right House on the Left is a comedy-horror chapbook featuring hilarious haunted house fiction from three of the funniest writers around: Mark McLaughlin, Steve Vernon, and L.L. Soares. For the month of October only, Goreletter subscribers can get 20% off this outrageous book by ordering directly from Novello Publishers. That’s just $4.00 each (and that includes postage)! Make your check or money order payable to “Maria Barracato” and send directly to: Novello Publishers / Gorelets Offer, Box 060382, Staten Island, NY 10306. Limit two copies per customer. US orders only. [Make sure you write “Gorelets offer” on the envelope or in the memo field on your check.] Learn more at:

My favorite bookstore,, is back with a great coupon for you. Get $10 off Ray Bradbury’s book, A Chapbook for Burnt-Out Priests, Rabbis and Ministers when you use coupon code “BURNTLESSTEN” in the online check-out form. Coupon good until 12/31/05. Order at:

This great bargain is extended for Goreletter subscribers only. Buy any book directly from the publisher’s online catalog at Raw Dog Screaming Press and receive a FREE COPY of the disturbing “docudrama,” 15 Serial Killers by Harold Jaffe! You must enter the discount code “FREE15” in the comments field when you check out using PayPal.

GET FICTIONWISE — the web’s best sci-fi and horror e-book seller — maintains a special 15% off page for Goreletter subscribers, which is updated weekly. This week features e-book treasures by writers like E.L. Doctorow and Spaulding Gray — and emerging talents like Darren Speegle, A.P. Fuchs, and Vera Nezarian. Do a search for economical Arnzen titles while you’re there, like 100 Jolts or the hard to find Stoker finalist, Paratabloids!

Dark Discoveries magazine is offering an exclusive discount to all Goreletter subscribers. Save 25% on subscriptions or single copies. That’s 4 issues for $14.99 or single issues for $4.50 instead of $5.99 (shipping is free!). You can pay thru paypal (to: ) or see the publisher’s website for details on where to send a snail mail payment. Use code GOREDISC in your order to claim the coupon.


Writers: Don’t forget that you can get a free 2-month “Taste of HELLNOTES” subscription by participating in their new monthly “Wee Small Hours” publication. What better way to instigate yourself into some twisted storytelling?

All material in The Goreletter is © 2005 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents as a whole, without alterations or excisions. Direct links to articles in the archives or the weblog are permitted and encouraged. For reprint permissions of individual pieces, please contact

Winner of the 2003 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Alternative Forms from the Horror Writers Association:

Subscribe, unsubscribe, or read back issues:

Read The Goreletter online as a draft-in-progress, post comments, and get extras:

Our surrealist product endorsement:

With apologies to latitude 53,41667, longitude 27,91667.

Help spread the strange. Forward this issue to your weirdest friend!


The True Value of Interior Decor

“The consumer’s side of the coffin lid is never ostentatious.”
— Stanislaw J. Lec (died 1966)


Chicago Storm Update

From the kind folks with the Chicago Storm:

A Month From Home

It’s never too early to talk about the next home game, even if that gameis a month away! When the Storm finishes this four game road trip, we’regoing green! The Storm dons green jersey’s on Sunday, March 19th in theannual St. Patrick’s Day Green Jersey auction. After the game, you can gogreen too! During the first half fans bid on their favorite players’jersey, with the proceeds going to the Kids-4-Soccer foundation.Kids-4-Soccer benefits underprivileged children in the Chicagoland area,giving kids the opportunity to attend soccer camps and providing them withtickets to professional soccer games. Donate to a great cause and go homewith a game worn Storm jersey! For more information about the March 19thgame or the Kids-4-Soccer foundation call (312)226-GOAL!

Did we mention that the Storm will be traveling twice this week? That’sright, the Storm are on the road this Friday at 6:35 pm taking on theBaltimore Blast. Then they’re off to Milwaukee Sunday at 1:05 pm to takeon the Wave. To listen to either game go to the opposing team’s websiteand click on the webcast buttons on their schedule page.

Semir Mesanovic came to Chicago from Milwaukee via trade and he hasn’tlooked back since. Semir notched eight goals, two assists and a blocksince coming from the Wave and now he’s notched his first Chicago radiointerview. Mesanovic is on the “Morning Break” Thursday, February 16th at10:15 am. Semir discusses the trade and his role with the Storm as well asthe upcoming games this weekend, including one versus his old team. Tolisten to the interview, tune in to 1240 AM in Chicago and the NorthernSuburbs or on 1470 AM in Chicago Heights and feel free to call in at(773)792-1240.

Want to know where you’re favorite player is when he’s not on the turf?They’re usually out in the community and this week is no different.
Saturday, February 18th , Semir Mesanovic – West Cook YMCA in Oak Parkhosting a kid’s clinic.
February 22nd at 3:30 pm, Awadalla Morad and Jeff Richey – Union ParkField House in Chicago hosting a Greater Chicago Food Depository KidsCafé.
Wednesday, February 22nd, Danny Waltman, Matthew Stewart and Matt Johnson – Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital’s “All Star” Birthday Bash. The eventis in honor of Comer’s year of service and to raise money for thehospital.
For information on any of these events call Nichole at (312)226-GOAL x111.

Is your child looking to hone his/her skills? Check out the Nike OpenField Nights.Nike Open Field Nights are held every Wednesday, Thursday andFriday through March. Wednesday at INTRASPORTS – Located at 37 W 950 MasonRoad in Elgin from 6PM-8PM
Thursday at SPORTSZONE – Located at 1945 Cornell Avenue in Melrose Parkfrom 5PM-7PM
Friday at WINDY CITY FIELDHOUSE – Located at 2367 W. Logan Boulevard inChicago from 6PM-8PM
Meet the Storm’s own Jorge Valle! Everyone is welcome, so come out,sharpen your skills, try on the latest Nike indoor shoes, and most of all,HAVE SOME FUN! For information CALL 866-3V3-NIKE. You can also find Jorgeon Azteca TV! Valle will be a guest on Azteca TV this Saturday at 10 am onchannel 13 locally and on Direct TV and on 599 on Comcast.

The Chicago Storm’s next home game is Sunday, March 19th against the St.Louis Steamers at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago at 4 pm. Great tickets arestill available!!! Chicago’s professional indoor soccer team plays itshome games at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago and Storm offices are located at411 South Sangamon, Suite B in Chicago. For additional information on allaspects of Chicago Storm soccer including season tickets, group outingsand birthday parties Academy call (312) 226-GOAL (4625) or log on to

Chicago Storm soccer … It’s NOT Just Another Kick in theGrass™!

Copyright © 2004 Chicago Storm, Allrights reserved.
Visit us online at

Latest Blackhawks News

Here is the latest Chicago Blackhawks news culled from the last 2 E-Newsletters:


The Blackhawks and the NHL are on Olympic Break until March 1 when
the Hawks host the Nashville Predators at the United Center (7:30
pm). The Vancouver Canucks arrive in town on Friday, March 3 and the
Hawks skate with the Dallas Stars on Sunday, March 5. The first
10,000 fans to the Stars game on the 5th receive United
Rentals/Blackhawk Thundersticks
Tickets are still available for all three home games. Tickets
NBC Olympic Ice Hockey Schedule


In the latest edition of the Blackhawks Official Podcast
(, Tuomo
Ruutu discusses Tony Salmelainen, director of hockey operations Stan
Bowman answers your questions, and hear an interview with 2005 2nd
round draft pick Michael Blunden. HawkCast will be off this week.
Hear the next episode on Friday, Feb. 24.
Got a burning question? Submit it to Hawks Insider
and listen to HawkCast #36 next week to see if it gets answered.


The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have assigned defensemen
James Wisniewski and Danny Richmond to Norfolk. Wisniewski was
recalled on January 31 and appeared in six games recording two points
(0-2-2) and six penalty minutes. Richmond was recalled from the
Admirals on January 26 and appeared in seven games with the
Blackhawks recording no points and 11 penalty minutes. Press Release


Get the latest Blackhawks Desktop Wallpaper featuring rookie
defenseman Brent Seabrook! Seabrook Wallpaper
( Check back soon
for the next Blackhawk wallpaper featuring interim captain Martin


The Blackhawks Friday claimed goalie Craig Anderson
( off
waivers Friday from St. Louis. Anderson had been claimed by Boston
from the Hawks on Jan. 19 and was later picked up by the Blues. Corey
Crawford, who made his first NHL start in Thursday at St. Louis, was
reassigned to Norfolk.


The Blackhawks will be without captain Adrian Aucoin for the
remainder of the season, coach Trent Yawney announced Wednesday.
Aucoin will have surgery this week to repair a dislocated shoulder
suffered at home Jan. 29 vs. Calgary … Assistant Martin Lapointe
will assume Aucoin’s role as captain with Jim Vandermeer and Mark
Bell rotating the other ‘A’. Aucoin Video

Interesting Stuff From The Smoking Gun

Another year and yet another E-Newsletter from the folks at The Smoking Gun. Some choice excerpts are as follows:

Returning to the scene of the grind, Florida cops
last week conducted undercover operations leading
to the arrest of 25 more dancers at Tampa-area
gentlemen’s clubs. Seems that some of the female
talent was rubbing their clientele the wrong way.
For mug shots of the arrestees–92 percent of whom
are tattooed–go here:

Yes, we’re only five weeks into the new year, but
if 2006 sees a dumber criminal than Michael Garibay,
well, we’d be floored. Details here:

Since several of you apparently are interested in the
latest legal developments in the Carolina Panthers
cheerleader case, we recently filed an open records
request for the prosecution’s case file. And then we
posted some previously unseen police reports about
the tussle in that Florida bathroom. You know, if
you’re into that stuff:

By any measure, Jose Luis Gomez has a remarkably
expressive face. Perhaps it has something to do with
the vulgar saying tattooed over his eyes. Yeah,
that’s probably it:

“Don’t you know who I am?” If a police report quotes
a celebrity wheeling out that old saw, well, we’re
publishing it. This time, a Grammy-award winning
singer (and former Mariah Carey flame) is the guilty
party. Story at:

Jeff Foust Reviews Infinite Worlds Book

Jeff Foust of the Space Review website has written a humdinger of a review of the recently published book Infinite Worlds : An Illustrated Voyage to Planets beyond Our Sun by Ray Villard and Lynnette R. Cook. Here’s a pair of choice paragraphs from the review:

Infinite Worlds is not just about the nearly 200 extrasolar planets that have been discovered to date. Rather, writer Ray Villard and artist Lynette Cook start at the beginning—literally—with the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies, stars, and solar systems, specifically our own. Then, nearly halfway into the book, they turn their attention to planets outside our solar system and how they were discovered, as well as speculation on the types of planets that might exist (such as planets floating free in interstellar space, having been ejected from the solar systems of their birth via gravitational interactions with stars and other planets.) The book then turns towards the prospects for life, intelligent and otherwise, on those worlds, and how we might look for it with telescopes or, someday, interstellar probes.

And the conclusion:

One criticism of such illustrations of extrasolar planets is that they give the viewer the impression that we know far more about these worlds than is actually the case. Spectra and lightcurves of Sunlike stars allow astronomers to know the first-order characteristics of extrasolar planets—orbit and mass—but offer no insights into whether these planets have rings or moons, as often depicted in such illustrations. That’s a valid criticism, and scientists and artists alike are careful to note that these illustrations show what such worlds might look like, not their actual appearance, although such disclaimers may be lost on the general public. (Of course, many of the actual images of planets and galaxies taken by telescopes and spacecraft have been heavily manipulated to enhance their appearance.) Given that it will most likely be several decades before the first low-resolution images of Earthlike extrasolar planets will be taken, illustrations like those featured in Infinite Worlds offers at least a preview of what might be in store for future generations of astronomers.

Space Review on Missile Defense

The news of Iran’s nuclear developments gravely affect U.S. national security and also threatens the possiblity of a future nuclear war in the Middle East between Islamic fundamentalists and Israel. The Space Review website has a new article on the subject by Taylor Dinerman on this timely subject. Some excerpts are as follows:

It is likely that before the US launches a campaign of air strikes against Iran’s nuclear capacity it will have to reinforce its missile defense forces throughout the region. This means that the Patriot PAC 3 units that performed pretty well against Saddam’s short-range missiles during the 2003 war will have to be redeployed to face a more challenging set of targets. They will be joined by Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers that now have a few SM-2 and SM-3 missiles with some useful defensive capability.

These will have to be integrated with allied defense systems, including the Israeli Arrow/Patriot combination, Turkey, and any Arab states that agree—openly or otherwise—to support the US effort. Depending on the way the campaign is planned and which regional bases are made available, the US and its allies might find they need to defend nations in Eastern Europe or Central Asia. In the past the US Central Command and European commands have managed to work well together on missile defense issues, but this time the problems will be more complex and difficult than ever before. All aspects of such a campaign will test the Pentagon’s new network-centric systems to the limit.

The Bush Administration has screwed things up concerning Missile defense as Dinerman points out:

Former Clinton Administration official Philip Coyle’s critique of MDA’s testing procedures, in an interview in the January 23rd edition of Space News, is interesting. It reminds us of the eternal truth of the late French president Pompidou’s wisdom when he said, “One should never put one’s enemy’s programs into effect. They will not thank you for doing so, since they are actually interested in power.” The GMD system was designed during the Clinton Administration to handle the single most difficult part of the missile defense problem: midcourse interception. The Bush Administration went ahead with this project instead of going with a space-based boost phase system that would have been easier to deploy and to test. To begin with, elaborate test ranges spanning a quarter of the Earth’s circumference would not be necessary.

Chicago Storm Watch Feb. 8th, 2006

From the folks with the Chicago Storm:

Three Radio Interviews and Two Games in Only OneWeek

Chicago (Wednesday, February 8, 2006) – The Storm have been battling itout with Philadelphia all year long for the coveted 4th and final spot inthe MISL playoffs and Sunday that battle continues. The Chicago Storm willtake on the Philadelphia Kixx at 4 pm at the UIC Pavilion. Before the gamethe Storm are hosting two inner city All-Star games. At 11:30 girls HighSchool seniors from 11 different public league schools will show off theirskills and at 12:30 a public league boy’s All-Star team will take on aCatholic league All-Star team. See the future of Chicagoland soccer todayand a great Storm game all for the price of a regular ticket. For ticketinformation call (312) 226-GOAL (4625).

The Storm does have a game Thursday, February 9th against the CaliforniaCougars. Unfortunately there will be no radio, television or webcast ofthe game. For information on the game check out tofind out what happened.

In an effort to constantly be a presence in our community, the Storm’sArgentinean defenseman Gasto Pernia will be at the Darien Sportsplexsigning Autographs. This Saturday during the Darien Dynamo soccertournament Gaston will be signing autographs and answering questions. TheDarien Sportsplex is located at 451 Plainfield Road in Darien. Forinformation on times call Nick Zahos at (312)226-4625×106.

Ever wondered about the inner workings of the Chicago Storm? Had anyquestions that you thought only the companies C.O.O. could answer? Here’syour chance to ask them! Brian Loftin, the Storm’s Chief Operating Officerwill be on “the Morning Break” Chicago’s new sports talk show. Thursday,February 9th from at 10:15 in the morning tune in to 1240 AM in Chicagoand the northern suburbs and 1470 AM in the Chicago Heights area. Feelfree to call in as well at (773) 792-1240.

If you haven’t heard enough from the Chicago Storm offices, listen to theScott Allen Show Friday, February 10th at 9:30 in the morning. The Storm’sDirector of PR and Media Relations will be on with “Uncle Scott” talkingabout…well, who knows what. Tune your radio to 1530 AM and feel free tocall in with your questions at (708) 493-1530!

If you’re looking to hear from a player, finally we’ll get one on theradio this week! The Storm’s Matthew Stewart is taking on the guys atZ-Force Media Saturday morning, February 11th at 9:10 in the morning.Stewart will be talking about the Cougars game and the upcomingPhiladelphia game! Listen in to the interview on 1530 AM on your radiodial!

If you live in the western suburbs and have Comcast cable, check outchannel 19 at 9:30 pm every Tuesday throughout the month of February. TheScott Allen Show will feature ten minutes of some of the greatest Stormgoals of the season and have some great information about upcoming games.

Chicago Storm’s next home game is Sunday February 12th against thePhiladelphia Kixx at 4 pm. Chicago’s professional indoor soccer team playsits home games at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago and Storm offices are locatedat 1945 Cornell Ave., in Melrose Park. For additional information on allaspects of Chicago Storm soccer including season tickets, group outingsand birthday parties call (312) 226-GOAL (4625).

Copyright © 2004 Chicago Storm, All rights reserved.

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CDT Files Complaints Against Major Adware Distributor

From the fine folks at the Center For Democracy and Technology:

Policy Post 12.2, January 27, 2006

A Briefing On Public Policy Issues Affecting Civil Liberties Online
from The Center For Democracy and Technology

(1) CDT Files Complaints Against Major Adware Distributor
(2) Other Anti-Spyware Efforts Move Forward
(3) Anti-Spyware Coalition to Hold First-Ever Public Meeting

(1) CDT Files Complaints Against Major Adware Distributor

CDT has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to put an end to the
illegal and deceptive practices of 180solutions Inc., one of the
world’s largest developers of Internet advertising software. Earlier
this month, CDT filed a pair of detailed complaints: one cataloging
180solutions unethical practices over the past several years, and
another targeting 180solutions relationship with CJB.NET, one of its

In the first complaint CDT outlines a pattern whereby 180Solutions,
through its web of affiliate relationships, deliberately and repeatedly
attempted to dupe Internet users into downloading intrusive advertising
software. The complaint illustrates how 180solutions continued this
pattern of practice even after being warned by technology experts,
privacy advocates and its own auditors that its practices were
unethical, and in several cases, illegal.

CDT believes that those practices have caused harm to millions of
Internet users and have damaged the trust that many ordinary citizens
have in the Internet. Although CDT had initially hoped to resolve those
concerns by engaging in dialogue with the company, 180solutions has
done little to address the flawed business practices that have
triggered a string of abuses. In its complaints, CDT called on the FTC
to use all the tools at its disposal to halt the bad practices and seek
financial redress for consumers harmed by 180solutions and its

Based in Bellevue, Wash., 180solutions sells advertising and
distributes advertising software on its own Web sites and through a
far-flung network of affiliates. Once installed, the software tracks
users’ online movements and displays advertisements based on the sites
they visit.

CDT has been investigating 180solutions and its affiliates for more
than two years. During that time, CDT alerted the company about several
of its affiliates that were deceptively installing 180solutions
software. 180solutions was initially cooperative, halting certain
practices, and even going so far as to file lawsuits against some
affiliates. However, throughout that period, CDT received a nearly
continuous stream of new complaints about 180solutions and its

After more than two years of investigation and discussion, CDT
concluded that 180solutions’ underlying business model is fundamentally
flawed, and that until it is changed, consumers will continue to become
unwitting victims of its deceptive software installations.

In addition to the broad “pattern of practice” complaint, CDT also
joined with the Technology Law & Public Policy Clinic at the University
of Washington School of Law to file a separate complaint targeting
180solutions’ ongoing relationship with a specific affiliate, CJB.NET.

– 180solutions pattern of practice complaint: (15-MB PDF)

– CJB.NET Complaint: [pdf]

(2) Other Anti-Spyware Efforts Move Forward

Elsewhere in the anti-spyware arena, the Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC),
earlier this month released its finalized “risk-modeling” document,
which describes the objective criteria that anti-spyware companies use
to determine whether programs should be flagged as “spyware.”

The document, which goes into considerable technical detail about the
specific behaviors that make certain technologies risky, will help
users better understand the functioning of the products that protect
their computers, as well as offering anti-spyware companies guidelines
for their own proprietary rating processes.

CDT coordinates the efforts of the coalition, members of which include
academics, public interest groups and many of the world’s foremost
anti-spyware companies. The ASC was formed with the aim of improving
the technological response to spyware. It draws on the combined
expertise of its members to help consumers better defend their
computers against unwanted technologies; improve communication about
what constitutes spyware and how anti-spyware companies combat it; and
offer proposals for strengthening anti-spyware technology globally.

Before issuing the risk-modeling document, the ASC in 2005 published a
consensus definition of spyware, drawing on the expertise of its own
extensive membership and input from the public. That language gave
stakeholders in the anti-spyware arena a common language to address the
problem and established the foundation for future coalition efforts.

Just as the spyware definition laid the groundwork for the
risk-modeling document, the risk-modeling document sets the stage for
the eventual development of industry-wide “best practices.”

January also marked the launch of a new anti-spyware organization, Created by Harvard University’s Berkman Center and the
Oxford Internet Institute, will “spotlight the
companies that make millions of dollars by tricking Internet users to
download malicious spyware, adware and malware programs they don’t
want.” compliments the growing phalanx of groups joined in the
effort to stamp out unwanted software. Google, Lenovo, and Sun
Microsystems are sponsoring the project and Consumer Reports WebWatch
is serving as an unpaid special advisor.

In a related development TRUSTe, the online privacy certification
organization, announced that it would launch a “Trusted Download
Program” to provide advertisers and others with information on
certified downloadable advertising and tracking applications. The
program sponsors include AOL, CNet, Computer Associates,
Verizon, Yahoo!

– ASC Risk modeling description:

– ASC Spyware Definitions:


– TRUSTe Trusted Download Program:

(3) Anti-Spyware Coalition to Hold First-Ever Public Meeting

The ASC also this month finalized the agenda its first-ever public

An assemblage of leading spyware experts from the public and private
sector are set to convene in Washington February 9 for the meeting:
“Defining the Problem, Creating Solutions.” Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras will keynote the packed one-day
event, which includes federal regulators, top state technology and law
enforcement officials as well as representatives from public interest
groups and the nation’s largest Internet companies.

Since its inception last year, the ASC has relied heavily on public
input to refine and improve its work. Both of the major documents the
coalition has released thus far were thrown open for public comment
before being finalized. In both cases, concerned stakeholders helped
the ASC to make important refinements.

The workshop will not only allow anti-spyware experts to discuss the
latest developments in the ongoing fight, it will also provide
coalition members a valuable opportunity to hear directly from the
public about their principal concerns surrounding spyware.

The one-day event will feature panels focused on anti-spyware
technology, cross-border issues, industry self-regulation and possible
legislative responses, and other topics.

In addition to Majoras, Federal Trade Commissioner Jonathan Leibowitz
and Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Mossberg will offer keynotes.

The ASC will hold a second public meeting in Ottawa on May 16.

– Final Workshop Agenda:

– Online Registration Form:

Detailed information about online civil liberties issues may be
found at

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Policy Post 12.2 Copyright 2006 Center for Democracy and Technology

More Blackhawks Bad News

Here’s even more bad news for the Chicago Blackhawks:

Visit our site at

In this issue:
1. Aucoin To Have Shoulder Surgery


The Blackhawks will be without captain Adrian Aucoin for the
remainder of the season, coach Trent Yawney announced Wednesday.
Aucoin will have surgery Monday to repair a dislocated shoulder
suffered at home Sunday vs. Calgary … Assistant Martin Lapointe
will assume Aucoin’s role as captain with Jim Vandermeer and Mark
Bell rotating the other ‘A’ … Goaltender Corey Crawford, a 2nd
round pick in 2003, will make his first NHL start Thursday at St.

Check this afternoon for more Blackhawks
coverage, including video with Aucoin and Lapointe.

Alleged “Republican” Shows His Ignorance

This just has to be one of the worst blogs around. Coach’s Musings is self-described as:

The wild and varied ramblings of a fifty something former wrestling coach and history teacher. Now a counselor to the oppressed and co-habitant of a nice home with 2 dogs, 2 cats, one vegan teen and one pre-teen going on 21, a beautiful but harried spouse and a few thousand books…

Sounds potentially intelligent does it not? Only problem is that when he gets at posting, he shows his true stupidity. For instance in his latest post discussing intransigent left-wing ideologues in the Democrat Party, he says the following about the Republican Party of which he claims to be a member:

Of course, equal time and fairness compel me to admit that Republicans do the same thing. Ever heard of Harriett Myers? Too moderate for the right wing crowd. Ever noticed how President Bush started the Presidency trying for better relations with Mexico, but that the Republican right wing has fought any pro Latino immigrant legislation tooth and nail?

We Republicans will pay for all this. When the Democrats do start getting it right on national elections we’ll miss all our moderates and Hispanic voters who will be voting for moderate Democrats like Tim Kaine or Barack Obama. Oh, well, just remember that you heard it here …

First of all her name was Harriet Miers and she was rejected for the U.S. Supreme Court because she was manifestly unqualified and had showed herself as being little more than a blindly loyal Bush White House staffer. The Supreme Court is not supposed to be a rubber stamp for whoever is in the White House.

As for illegal immigration, just ask any Hispanic with full U.S. citizenship and you will likely find that they are very much for halting illegal immigration and opposed to letting any more illegals in. Illegal immigrants unfairly compete with lower skilled American citizens for jobs.

Finally, Barack Obama and Tim Kaine are both party line hacks. If these guys are “moderates” then so is Teddy Kennedy.

Fitting that this nonsense was written by a “former wrestling coach” which is an indirect way of saying that he is a dumb jock………………