The Leap to Limbo (tentative title)   

                  Chapter 17 Part 4 “Chicken Counting” (cont’d.)



     Afternoon found Josh once more on the couch with Sultan stretched out on the carpet in what could seem yet another bit of uncomfortable déjà vu.  Today, however, this was in no way representative of uncertainty or inaction.  Rather, it was the result of weariness after spending all morning on back and forth phone calls with the band’s lawyer as they hashed out a plan of attack against the record label.  And, of course, there had been an echoing round of these between him and Tommy to keep the latter in the loop via play by play.  Actually, it was Tommy he’d spoken with first, assuring him this record deal was indeed something he considered worth fighting for, and apologizing for not taking at least a fair share of the reins sooner.  Tommy had proved surprisingly receptive to all of this, even offering to call the lawyer and continue shouldering a good portion of whatever negotiations might ensue.  But Josh wouldn’t hear of it.  Clearly he’d been sitting on his laurels long enough.  If he was really the band’s “leader”, maybe it was time he actually took the lead — or rather tried leading them down some path other than the winding road to chaos they’d been traveling for too long.

     Unfortunately, in attempting to take things systematically and allow “justice” to work for him, Josh now found himself in a hurry-up-and-wait scenario — a particular irony given how much time he’d spent with his foot on the brakes since Julie’s death.  Truly, it seemed he was forever a step behind or otherwise out of time.  As a result, once again he found himself living in the aftermath of a not-so-blissful oblivion that time was running out. 

     Left with nothing productive to do on the business end Josh picked up his guitar and started slowly, absently strumming in a kind of unspoken mantra.  Before long the aimless chord progressions began coalescing into a melody.  Josh started humming along almost without realizing, his eyes closed, the endless whirring inside him temporarily stilled by the inexplicable connection between his fingertips and his soul.  They could take away his recording contract.  But they couldn’t take away the joy and pain and questions and answers and all-around better-than-any-psychiatrist therapy sessions that were these moments of rebirth.  The Bible says, “In the beginning God created.”  Josh had often pondered if that might mean God had a special affection for artists….those one could argue were made most fully “in his image”.  Given the trial by fire he’d been through in recent months, though, he could only believe if that were the case God must surely be a masochist.  Then again, reading Bible history did seem to prove that very point. 

     But no.  The scriptures ultimately taught that God is love.  And, that “those he loves he disciplines as a father the son he delights in.”  Well, undoubtedly Josh was learning several tough lessons in that.  God must love him in a very special way indeed.

     Preferring not to dwell on that rather dark compliment, Josh willed his wandering thoughts into submission and concentrated on channeling whatever verbal message the chorus he’d been repeating might be intended to convey.  Allowing words to simply flow, he thought out loud, still lost in a grim form of gratitude for this outlet of self-expression.  At last he arrived at the following musical conclusion:


I  thank God for the music when it seems my only friend.

I shut out the whole world and sing the madness to an end.

I rock and roll my way into a blissful fantasy,

And deep inside the riffs and chords I find my sanity.


     He didn’t have any verses yet, so this short bit of progress might  go through a number of changes before finding a home within a finished song.  For now, though, it was itself complete.  And, he knew that in the days ahead it would very likely become his inspiration — a reminder of what was really worth fighting for in all of this:  the
            music itself, and the healing power of its creation.  


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All Content Written By Mil Scott Unless Otherwise Noted

© Mil Scott                                                                                                                   

Welcome To The February ‘08
Issue of Mil Mania!!!

   Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2008


Music Mayhem    

Ravings of a Mad Woman


This column corresponds with the Mad Ra-vings On section of, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.


Shopgirl — I read that Steve Martin described this film (based on his novella of the same name) as “Jane Austen for the 21st Century”.  And, while it undoubtedly has sufficient merits of its own to make comparisons a bit unfair, still this particular characterization does seem apt.  As though indeed patterned after an Austen work this love triangle whose centerpiece is a lonely Saks Fifth Ave. glove counter salesgirl sets up a certain inevitability early on.  And, in order to reach that outcome a series of missteps and significant growth on the part of the protagonists ensues (especially one unsophisticated, yet endearingly unassuming potential lover).  The thing that separates it, however, is a darker subtlety of tone that lingers to provoke thought and provide continued challenge long after the bittersweet ending has been neatly tied up in a concise cinematic bow.
     What’s more, part of that challenge does in fact arise out of the differences between dating “norms” in the early 1800’s and the modern day.  Whereas the relationship that forms between our twenty-something heroine Mirabelle and the wealthy and much older (not quite villain) Ray would have been far more easy to define under the former’s strict societal rules (his gift of a clothing accessory would surely have sent off warning bells when “only candy and flowers, dearie” was the mantra of the day), here the circumstances alone don’t spell out — at least to everyone involved — quite what it all means.  By the same token, today’s more relaxed “rules” — or lack thereof — allow more meaning, and even the hint of other possibilities, to seep into what would once have been very black-and-white — and wholly forbidden — territory... even to the party who initiated this “transaction” with dispassionate calculation.
     That said, the thing that prevents a full-fledged love to form is neither the circumstances under which the romance between Ray and Mirabelle begins or any difficulties one might easily envision as the result of chronological and economic differences.  Rather, it’s the need for the instinctively proper yet purposefully instinct-resistant Ray to maintain a protective coat of distance which keeps them apart.  Ironically, while this trait keeps Mirabelle ever “beneath” him,  the “compen-sations” he provides her do in fact serve to build her up.  As a result, when she’s at last ready to embrace the relationship inevitability the film has been working toward all along, she’s able to do so from a vantage point of all-around strength… even though the bond would never have formed (
neither bond, in fact) were it not for an initial state — or at least moment — of “weakness” . 
     If all of that sounds complicated, it is — and yet it isn’t.  Just as Jane Austen’s works often amount to much ado about nothing, so it could be argued this tale of a girl seeking life and love boils down to nothing more than trusting one’s instincts, and relying on a cool head while following one’s heart.  Still, the twists, turns and pitfalls — not to mention heartaches — that lie along the path make for an often confusing, sometimes torturous journey… one that provides enough food for thought to both satisfy and keep chewing on for a long time to come.  Maybe it is possible to have one’s cake and eat it, too — in appreciating films.  If ever there were an advertisement to not try this in relationships, however,  this film is it.
     Unless, of course, you’d like to end up eating humble pie for one — off fine china and sterling flatware...which the film also shows can teach a few lessons of its own. 
    Beyond question
Shopgirl is a full-course movie meal.  And, if you want my advice…savor it.

Click Here to view a clip.



                                     If you missed the announcement in  
December 2006 issue, as per the   
                              precedent set by
Dear Abby which syn-
                              dicated column
retained that title when
passing to its originator’s daughter , so                  
MOLLY            this column continues to retain the name of its origin-
                             ator now that
Molly has passed on.  The “madvice” currently offered herein, therefore, is that of Keela, one of the “noisy neighbors” Molly spoke of frequently — and who you may have met previously via the photo collection taken during her pregnancy and in the weeks after her fifteen babies were born.  Needless to say, with that kind of experience, Keela, like Molly, knows a bit about life as learned by her adventures as a rodent single mom.  Also like Molly, she has a strong mind of her own with much rat wisdom to share.  I hope you’ll enjoy her commentary. 


E-mail your “Molly Madvises” questions to mil@ and I’ll pass them on to Keela.  Thanks!


That said, on to this month’s question…


Dear Keela,

     Love, love, love. love!  Come February every year there's no escaping the sentiments and (materialistic) measures of love-hearts and flowers and chocolates.  Or is there? Valentine's Day seems to stir an awful lot of cynicism, too.  On Valentine's Eve I had to stop at the grocery store.  I noticed that the handsome young bagger helping the cashier in my line had a smile and kind greetings to all of us in line.  He was adorable, a Cupid's Accomplice of sorts, I surmised.  His warmth was infectious.  Well, to most of us.  Then came the young lady ahead of me.  The Arctic rampage of this winter grabbed her heart and froze it into a stone-cold lump even more icy than Dr. Seuss' Grinch's had been.  He gave her a sweet smile and asked if she was ready for tomorrow.  "Tomorrow?"  she asked dumbfounded.  "Yes," Cupid's Accomplice said, gesturing to the heart shaped balloons hovering above and the bin of heart shaped boxes of chocolates.  "Do I have the days mixed up?" he asked with equal confusion. "Oh, yeah.  As ready as I'll ever be," she grimaced, and in one sweep stuffed her hand into her glove, scooped up her bag and whisked herself away.  Cupid's Accomplice pursed a sympathetic grin then held my gaze for a moment.  He offered me a compliment that I graciously accepted.  He nodded in appreciation that I did not attempt to foil his mission as the Grinch-gal had.  Off I went, wondering about the Grinch-gal —why she felt so Grinchy? While frolicking around looking for his targets, did Cupid hit her by mistake?  Was she enduring a mismatched love connection?  Does Cupid miss, have off days?  Keela, I suppose love does hurt — I mean Cupid shoots arrows!  What do you know about the little imp and his arrows and aim?


                                                       Contemplating Crime With Cupid


Dear Contemplating,


     First, I have to say it’s an interesting co-incidence that last year’s February column raised a point that called to mind Mom’s “Writings From The Asylum” novel’s  Prologue — and that’s the first reference that sprang to mind upon reading your letter today.  In fact, you asked the very same questions the character is pondering in the following excerpt about an unrequited love:


     Does Cupid aim at one person who moves unexpectedly and someone else gets hit? Maybe someone who already got hit so hard once that this arrow has no effect?  And if that’s the case, is it over for that person on whose behalf Cupid was aiming?  Is there no second chance for them? Has their "one" moved beyond Cupid’s aim, or is his only arrow for them used up so they’re just destined from that moment to be alone?  How does that work?”

     Now, I haven’t met Cupid personally, I have to say, so I can’t explain for sure how these things work from his perspective.  From what I do know of such matters, however, one really needs to try and keep from scampering  away from the big picture.  In other words, as has been discussed before in this column — all the way back to when Molly was “madvice” giving — the greatest way to shoot oneself with one’s own poison darts is to see the world as if each of us is the center of the universe.  Maybe Cupid isn’t perfect.  Maybe he does miss or have an arrow go astray from time to time.  But, that doesn’t mean one’s life has to be over  — or that one has the right to become a “Grinch”.
     You see, one thing I do know a little bit about is going through life without a romantic partner.  My husband and I were separated by the cruel realities of life in a pet shop when I was only a few weeks old...too young, in fact, to have even had a husband in the first place, really.  But, I’m very grateful I did as I wouldn’t have my wonderful babies — who aren’t babies anymore, of course, but full-grown, unique adult rats whom I adore.  In any case, the point I’m trying to make is that I’ve lived as a single mom ever since I was brought home.  But that doesn’t mean I’ve lived without love.  Immediately upon arriving — even when I was so scared I was still screaming “E” and “Let me GO!” I was comforted by the care and companionship of my two sisters.  And, once I realized my adoptive mom and dad would never dream of hurting me, I began a new and fulfilling life — a life I soon learned was filled with love.
     Sure, I could have become bitter and wished for the early days of my life in the pet shop with my husband.  And, I bet I would have turned into a “Grinch-gal” not unlike the one you talked about in your letter.  Instead, though, I chose to be grateful for all the good things (not to mention
good food!) in my life and to do my very best to express my appreciation to Mom and Dad  — well, at least once I calmed down and stopped screaming! 
     The thing is, too many people think Valentine’s Day is only about romance. But it’s not.  It’s about
love.  And, if we look at it that way, we who Cupid apparently messed up on (in that we don’t have lifelong romantic partners) might realize like Pip in Charles Dickens Great Expectations, “perhaps the inaptitude had never been in him...but had been in me.”  Because maybe Cupid didn’t get it wrong after all.  Maybe he just has a better view of the big picture than the rest of us.  And, maybe the lifelong love he hits us with flows to and from our family or friends or even a series of very kind strangers we encounter along life’s way.  The key is to focus on the love we give and just have a little faith about what that yields in return.  Apparently the “Grinch-gal” from your letter didn’t think that would work for her.  Or maybe she tried it once and because it didn’t seem to work out at the time thought it could never work at all.  And maybe, as you spec-u-rat-ed, the arrow she knew she’d been hit with did sting — a lot.  Still, that pain might have been made a whole lot worse because she pulled the scary object out...long before it had released the soothing balm of real love in some form she’d never imagined. But that’s where the big picture comes in again.  Sure, we go through rough patches in life — like my first hours upon leaving my first “home”.  Thankfully, for most of us, though, life goes on.  And, we learn from these experiences.  Or maybe in the case of your “Grinch-gal” — we don’t.  The one thing I know is that we can if only we will. 
     I can’t tell you for sure, of course, if that’s what happened to the “Grinch-gal” or if things would have worked out exactly as she’d hoped if she’d kept trying, and kept giving — and kept really and truly
     But, one thing I can tell you.  It’s worked very well for me!
     And, based on your willingness to respond so positively to “Cupid’s Accomplice”, I’d say it continues to work out just fine for you as well.
     Happy Valentine’s Day — all month, and all year.
                                                                     With love,

P.S.  As usual of late I have a few extra thoughts and bits of news to share.  First, in light of my sister Maggie’s passing last month, and the fact I’m well into senior-citizenship myself, I was contemplating using this issue to announce my retirement.  However, when I encouraged the reader in last month’s column to send me samples of any great food items she experimented with in the future, I apparently inspired another to do just that.   Just before Valentine’s Day I received a package from an anonymous reader  — though hu-person, rat or other type of creature I’m not really sure... he or she didn’t offer as much as a single clue!  Anyway, along with a note saying how much my column was appreciated, the sender included a lovely (though very small!) liquid-filled heart-shaped candy.  And, I must say, though  unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before, it was delicious.  As there was a return address on the package I sent a thank-you immediately (addressed to “Thoughtful Reader” since I didn’t have a name)  And, I received yet another note (though, alas, no more candy!) in reply.  It seems this reader had been in attendance at the Groundhog Day celebration earlier this month with Punxsutawney Phil.  And, though it was never clear whether he or she somehow obtained a bit of the actual potion or a recipe for his/her own or what exactly I may never know.  BUT, this reader informed me that the liquid center of the candy I’d eaten was a life-extending concoction such as that which has kept the aforementioned famous shadow-watcher alive for nearly 120 years!  If indeed what I consumed proves as effective, it seems I’ll be able to keep madvising for a long while to come. 
     Thank you, “Thoughtful Reader” — and thank you all my indeed thoughtful readers for making me feel so “loved”. 

                Molly Madvises 

    (now by Molly’s neighbor Keela)








Comments from Mil Mania readers
             on the January issue...

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

     “Mil – ‘til this day I don’t know how you can be so prolific with your writing. (Well, it’s a good thing you have the outlet  – otherwise your head might explode from the pressure of all of those constant [number] puzzles).  Especially your annual Christmas poem – just a curiosity, do you write your poetry around a “framework” – or are you free-forming the concept and working your way out of your own word traps? Now you have the pressure of everyone’s yearly expectations after so many seasons – I mean, now we expect a mini Christmas epic...

      “I don’t know how you do it Mil.”

I've been struggling off and on now for a while with ‘being a fan.’  Seems I want to cancel out by saying I'm too old for being a fan of the things I am.  Then January's issue totally canceled my idea to cancel.  It proves that fandom creates so much excitement in life.  Last week I was at an event where former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was the featured speaker.  That man has such enthusiasm for life and has to be the world's greatest football fan.  'Da Coach' charged me with carrying on in my fandom. So, my next pursuit may just be to start the Noah Fan Club.  Even though he didn't take first place in the [Dec.] rat photo contest, he's #1 with me.”

Text Box:          As always, feel free to drop 
                by my “space” at


                        Newsletter Spotlight                    








“What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have   
   not yet been discovered.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
  And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
                                           William Shakespeare

I have loved to the point of madness;
  That which is called madness,
  That which to me,
  Is the only sensible way to love.”

                                                     F. Sagan

As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall. While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here continues to document events taking place in the weeks after the funeral…(you can catch up on prior chapters by viewing back issues on the Mil Mania Sign-up page).

Thanks for reading this issue of Mil Mania!  And, remember, this is a work in progress, subject to many and varied changes — all adding up to a new and improved I hope!  Please drop me a line to let me know what you think, including any and all suggestions.  Thank you!!!


Tied Up In Tech Nots


     An essay once appeared in this column lamenting the evils of (seldom working, apparently demon-possessed) cell phones.  My DSL — guaranteed to work even while the same phone line is in use — frequently cuts out while using the other phone line in our house. Today I’ve just spent (or rather misspent) an entire afternoon (and then some) attempting to resolve an issue with my website that’s been ongoing for more than four months  — only to again arrive back at square one.  And, on Friday I spent at least half an hour on the phone with a technician who might help me work out a malfunction on my brand new, right-out-of-the-box printer — which concluded with the promise another technician would come in person to fix what couldn’t be cleared up over the phone.  All of this considered, at last I beg the question:  is it me???

     The really bizarre part of this is I have very little problem grasping the directions (I always read thoroughly) for setting up my tech devices.  I always research all available info on product support pages before bothering the company or anyone else lest the problems I’m encountering be a minor, unconsidered oversight.  Still, it seems I forever end up the one user in untold thousands with a factory defect or other tech malfunction...not to mention spending umpteen hours sitting on “hold”.

     I remember seeing a female comedian once whose entire stand-up routine came back to “No, Monica….just YOU.”  In light of all the I’m-the-only-one-to-ever-encounter-such-a-problem problems I encounter, I think of her frequently — not to mention ponder changing my name.

     For example, my web host is Yahoo!  — an appropriately named outfit since I’ve become convinced it’s run by a bunch of Yahoos.  Be that as it may, my brother-in-law also has his website hosted with Yahoo! — and has for even longer than the 7 years I’ve been with them myself.  Of course, he has never encountered the least problem.  I call them on the phone in October to discuss my (I hope at that point minor) difficulty — and not only can they not work it out on the spot, but they express complete bafflement and note they’ve never heard of such a thing before.  They acknowledge I’ve done all the right things and know what I’m talking about, mind you — it’s just a new problem no one in the history of Yahoo! Web Hosting has seen.  Needless to say this prompts a bit of bafflement all my own. many clients must they have served over the past decade or however long they’ve been offering such services?  Thousands?  Tens of thousands?  Maybe even hundreds of thousands?  And yet, it’s my issue that comes down to... “No Monica...just YOU.” 

     Yeah, it’s long been established I like to think I’m different from the “normal” people of the world.  I must admit, however, I’ve never really wanted my “different-ness” to be taken quite this far.

    Still, as I said, it just keeps happening.  The printer, for example.  In conjunction with my “insane” artistic endeavors I churn out a fair bit of color for which to date I’ve used a photo printer (which, come to think of it, actually worked for me, by some strange miracle).  Unfortunately, color printing via that method is prohibitively expensive if one makes a habit of it.  Conveniently, a great variety of color laser printers have become more and more affordable in recent years.  Thinking one of these might be a great asset to my artistic arsenal I did a host of comparison shopping (both at “real” stores and online) — not to mention consulted my aforementioned tech-whiz brother-in-law.  At last I’d gathered enough info to know I’d found a real bargain on a machine a model up from the one I’d decided to purchase — for almost exactly the same price.  What could possibly go wrong?
     Well, I don’t know that anything’s “technically” gone wrong since, as previously noted, the company is going to great lengths to honor its warranty (which I very much appreciate).  Still, what are the odds that the printer should arrive brand new in a sealed, undamaged carton, all parts should be carefully unwrapped, all directions followed to the letter — and yet upon printing that first page the heart-sinking result of a little more color than I’d expected (i.e. a bar-code-like band of it down one whole side of the page — the result of yes, a factory defect) should be the result?  I mean, really — what are the odds?  I guess it all depends on who you talk to — which brings me back once more to…“No, Monica...just YOU.”

     The thing is, Thursday the cable company is coming to install a new three-in-one bargain package that combines phone, TV and internet.  Now, I understand there’s an on-site technician coming to set all of this up and make sure everything’s in order before he leaves.  The problem is, of course, he does have to leave eventually.  And, you can only imagine the scenarios I’m already envisioning and the knots into which my stomach is already tightening when I consider just how many things must be able to go wrong with three times the number of devices that invariably set off an unwanted chain of cries for technical assistance.  Worst of all, in this case, one of them involves my e-mail and another the phone...which is to say, when the inevitable tech monsters are unleashed, I won’t even have any means whereby to call for help.  (That said, if you see me walking around with a string and two paper cups — don’t ask.)  Maybe I should just call Thursday night when the technician’s gone I might actually be done sitting on “hold”. 

     The greatest irony, of course, is that it’s technological developments that are credited in so many instances with making our lives easier.  So, why is it a far too large number of the frustrations in my life are caused by these “conveniences”?  Maybe I should start buying lottery tickets. Perhaps being one-in-a-million would give me an edge on winning one.  Of course, I suspect if I actually tried that the machine would jam — for the first time ever.  “No, Monica...just YOU.”  Heck, these things probably don’t even happen to her. 
everyone... just ME.”





                                       As predicted, February has
                                 proved a month of myriad hap-
                                 penings, much madness and a
                                 dash of mayhem.  And yet it’s
                                 proved a month filled with out-
                                 comes most
                                 such as a Super Bowl win by
                                 a team many had surely
                                 counted out before they even
                                 hit the field.  And, in light of all the scandals that taint sports in the 21st Century, it was a pleasure to witness true underdogs give their best and come out victorious.  I read once that “artists and athletes” on occasion “touch the face of God”.  Surely the Giants must have felt touched in return on this occasion.

     February also marks a visit by Cupid, as noted throughout this issue — a circumstance celebrated in the “Spotlight” box at right, and contemplated in the “Molly Madvises” column below.  It’s even influenced this issue’s “In a Nutshell” offerings.  And, of course, it’s hoped it proved a day of joy — and yes, love — for you.

     If not, however, and you feel a need to explore reasons for this, you might want to join a now-forming group in “Psycho Therapy”.  Actually, that’s the title of a new column being added to Mil Mania starting in March...provided, of course, I receive sufficient input from readers to get it “up and running”.  Check out the preview/explanation included herein for more details.

     Also included herein is a slight departure from the usual presentation of “Music Mayhem”, as this month I’ve shared a few thoughts on a “featured topic” in lieu of an artist or album.  The “Temporary Insanity” column also deals with a “maddening” issue...although one that perhaps brings me back to my own need for “Psycho Therapy”!

     Lastly, I couldn’t possibly conclude without adding a reminder that February also ushers in the Chinese New Year — and what could be more welcome for an “insane” rodent lover than the “Year of the Rat”???    That said, read on if you dare!  And, of course — enjoy!














Text Box: Member of…


Rat Fan Club


      to the
New York Giants      




And, thank you for providing inspiration — and proof — to anyone and everyone who ever doubted ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!  Truly there’s no substitute for belief coupled with determination (and hard work!).                     


                         CONGRATS GIANTS!!!


                                      Temporary Insanity








Text Box: Happy Chinese New Year 
    The Year of the Rat!!!

(kicking off 2/7/08)
A very good year!!!!

(Click here or here for more info on this auspicious holiday)

A slightly reluctant Cupid (a.k.a. Noah)

        (who loves the holiday — just not his sweater!)







 wishes you
                                                       a  very…






Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

As noted in the December 2005 edition of Mil Mania, I continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.

com. However, I now also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured
instead a featured topic: 


In a recent member newsletter,
Dan Reed, music director for
Philadelphia public radio station WXPN, posed a question.  To paraphrase, he asked if those who purchase the bulk of their music via download are enjoying the same full artistic experience as those who obtain this through “real” music sources — i.e. in hard copy form.  At the same time, he offered no judgment himself on the matter, but solicited thoughts from readers.  Because this is an issue I’ve mentioned previously as one I feel strongly about — both as it pertains to legal and illegal forms — I quickly replied.   And, as this may be an issue of interest to many who read this column, (particularly since I managed to work the favorite artists included here every month into my correspondence!) I’ve decided to share my comments with you as well...


Dear Dan,

     Upon reading your question in the latest XPN Member Newsletter I just had to send you a response.  The matter of music downloading and the direction in which its proliferation is taking the music industry has been a source of concern (and quite frankly disappointment) to me for some time, and it's very good to learn other longtime music lovers are likewise pondering these issues. 

     I'm a writer myself; my mother is an oil painter.  I have many friends who are artists in various forms -- musicians, graphic designers, book illustrators, a sculptor, etc.  I don't know if it's the appreciation for "total packages" of art that's come from being steeped in such lifelong acquaintance with it -- or just something in me that inherently feels it's somehow wrong to have the contributions of gifted individuals presented in what might be called such "fast food" formats as digital downloading. 

     Ever since my teens, I have savored the experience of buying a new album -- in hard copy version.  I love the anticipation that builds as one fights with the always unruly CD packaging...certain that the Fort-Knox-quality shrinkwrap holds the promise of so much fun or beauty or joy -- or even somehow beautiful pain -- within.  I love studying the cover art --- front, back, on the disc itself -- admiring the many forms of creativity...or just trying to figure out what each is intended to say.  I love paging through the books of lyrics and/or credits, eagerly devouring the bits of information that help us get to know the works' creators better, and which often reveal links to other artists, reinforcing the knowledge we all have much in common -- and that it is indeed "a small world after all".  And, of course, I love -- at last -- getting to the music itself.

     Frankly, I think the music industry has done a great disservice to society by making official releases so readily available in downloaded form.  I'm sure the financial impetus of impulse buying/instant gratification is a hard temptation to pass up -- and given the dropping profits we've all read about in the industry, perhaps something seen as essential to economic survival.  However, I don't think real art has ever been born of economic considerations -- rather, it comes from a need to communicate with someone, express pieces of oneself unable to be shared more directly, etc.  And, I think, too often it's economic considerations being suddenly injected into these efforts that ruins things for everyone -- including, I believe, the artists themselves.

     As a result, despite the fact my inbox is inundated with ads from I-Tunes, etc. I very seldom download the music I listen to.  One of my all-time favorite artists (Michael McDermott) released a long-awaited album in 2007, which was made available in its entirety electronically months before it could be purchased in tangible form.  Though I'll admit it proved a herculean test of my patience(!) I nonetheless waited for the hard copy presale.  And, when I at last held the disc in my hand, complete with the fantastic cover artwork by award-winning designer Brian Fitzpatrick, I knew I'd made the right decision.

     In summation I think it might be argued the music industry is creating its own self-destructing monster by so heavily pushing music downloading over more conventional purchasing methods.  Obviously, the teen audience that's become accustomed to getting only the stripped down versions of albums -- or even merely settling for 99 cent bits and pieces of them -- is being steeped in ignorance with regard to art as a "big picture".  And, of course, it limits the market for the talents who create cover art, etc.  As civilizations evolve, it's always been my understanding they're supposed to become more in tune with life's aesthetic and cultural aspects, as opposed to mere survival occupations.  Oddly, it seems, the music industry is going in the opposite direction. 

     On the bright side, though, there are still a few of us out here bucking that trend -- such as independent public radio stations with music directors concerned enough to be raising such tough questions.

     Thanks for that....and for allowing one listener to share her thoughts.


                                                         Mil Scott


Brian Fitzpatrick
played a fantastic set at Maxwell’s on 1/30 (as anticipated in last month’s issue).  Also, on this night he introduced a slightly new band configuration called the “Band of Brothers” — all of whom sounded great, bringing a new dimension to the energetic set.  In addition, I’ve been privileged with a sneak listen to his new album, and once more been honored as his chosen writer for its “one-sheet” press release (as well as a new Fitzpatrick bio).  Stay tuned for more on that in the months ahead.
     In the meantime, you can check out a review page of Brian’s 12-8-07 show at Chaplin’s in Lake Hopatcong, NJ by
clicking here.  And, of course, a page on Maxwell’s will be coming soon as well. 

Michael McDermott concluded his East Coast tour earlier this month, and as mentioned in the last issue I was able to experience an unprecedented 4 shows (in 3 states) in 7 days...and quite adventurous days — or rather late nights — they were.  The first of these has been recapped here.  And, of course, check the New Madness page of for reviews of the rest to be published as time permits.
     As Michael is taking most of February off  from performing there’s little else to report at the moment.  However, be sure to visit his
myspace page for upcoming installments of Monday Morning Madness and any additional news.









Text Box:     NEW!!!

             Watch this column next month for a new bit of madness!


     I suppose it’s a strange irony that someone as socially inept as I’ve long (alas, honestly) professed should also be someone frequently approached over the years as a confidante, of sorts, by those going through difficult life circumstances.  Even more ironically, often these situations have dealt with “social” matters such as relationships in addition to more private personal struggles.  To tell you the truth, I’ve even been dubbed “Dr. Mil” on occasion by more than one of these (okay, clearly very mentally ill) “patients”. 

     Be that as it may,  as the result of this “experience”, my husband has been bugging me since nearly the first issue of Mil Mania to start a section offering my thoughts, insights, etc. on readers’ real-life issues.  The “Molly Madvises” column was in fact begun as my first answer to this challenge.  However, as that provides the particularly unique perspective of someone with whom I share a bit in common yet who also has her own “voice”, I’ve decided to lend my own voice to some “advice” that may well itself prove “madness”. 

     That said, I’m hereby opening the floor to any and all input, comments and suggestions for topics to be covered.  Even the format is still undecided so feel free to send letters containing questions, just short questions themselves and/or statements presenting a condition or circumstance you’d like to see expounded upon. 

     But remember, you are (as in all aspects of this publication) dealing with an “artist insane”.  Thus, this column’s heading is an accurate description of what you can expect:  “therapy” from one well aware that she is “psycho”!

     Nonetheless, let’s join forces to make this a beneficial “clinic” for all involved.  After all, I’ve often borrowed the phrase, “Normal people worry me.”  So, show me just how “crazy” you really are — and in so doing, may we all feel right at home!

     Oh yeah, one more thing…


 Disclaimer:  I am not a “real” psychiatrist… nor do I play one on TV.