Saturday, July 06, 2002


In a recent movie, there are precogs who are able to determine that a crime is about be committed...
I've not seen the movie but have read articles about it.

Curiously, I had an idea--elaborated in a mystery novel I wrote, The Mass Comm Murders that
was similar in nature. It developed out of a collaboration with a professor of criminality at the University
of California in Berkeley. I had written an article on jokes Italian-Americans tell about themselves
that was in the SF Chronicle...he wrote to me and we decided to apply for a grant to see whether the
sense of humor of criminals was different from that of non-criminals. We didn't get the grant.

But that gave me an idea. What if I were to do research and discover that the sense of humor of
criminals was different from that of non-criminals. Then I could develop a comedy & criminality
instrument (as social scientists would put it) and we could test people...if, for example, we found
adolescents with a criminality sense of humor, we could put then in jail BEFORE they actually committed
their crimes, thus saving good citizens from the sense of violation that comes from being robbed...and not
let them out until their sense of humor reflected non-criminality. At this point, we would have little
fear of recidivism.

This "modest proposal" is part of a speech I have a French postmodernist professor give at a
conference. I thought it was a good joke...

Friday, July 05, 2002


Here are some comic poems I wrote, made out of the names of people.

But Immanuel

Dame Mae
Was Witty
But John Greanleaf
Was Whittier

Clare Booth
Was Luce
But Martin
Was Luther.

Was Gay
But Gerard Hopkins

So much for that nonsense.


Here are some comic poems I wrote using the names of people.

Dame Mae/Was Witty/But John Greanleaf/Was Whitter

Clare Booth/Was Luce/ But Martin/ Was Luther

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Speaking Truth to Power!

It's one thing to speak truth to power, but what's it like speaking truth to nobody?
That is the question I, and all authors, wonder about. To see whether anyone
is listening, I've installed (I think) a counter...Over the years I've published a number
of books and until I started putting my e-mail in them, I hardly ever heard from
anyone who had read my books. Maybe nobody wrote because nobody read them?
Now, thanks to technology, I'll know whether anyone is out there. And if there not,
it really doesn't matter.

In 1963 I wrote an article for "The Minnesota Daily" titled "The Evangelical Hamburger." I argued
that the dynamics of McDonald's resembled those of evangelical churches and discussed the
symbolism: the yellow arches, the sign with the number of hamburgers sold, etc. I speculated
that McDonald's would spread all through the world and said it represented what I called
"hambourgeoisement," a false notion that people had that because they were eating meat they
were middle class.

What I didn't realize at the time was that McDonald's would also have a terrible social and economic cost,
for as people ate more and more hamburgers and French Fries, they would become more and more obese
and this would lead, in turn, to other medical problems like heart disease and diabetes. When I had my
first McDonald's hamburger, it was a slight affair and cost something like twelve cents. Things have changed
a great deal since then.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

I just found out about blogs and this is my first attempt to do one...I have to find out how to put illustrations
in my blog...since I am an artist and cartoonist as well as a writer. To tell you the truth, I don't know what
I'm doing or whether this entry will end up in my blog...but with a little help from my friends, this site should
start looking a lot better.