Well — every month except this one!!!!
      To be honest, I’ve been struggling for days with exactly what Josh’s next move will be as we work together toward the climax and conclusion of his tale.  That said, rather than delay the March/April issue until June, I’ve decided at last to offer something a little different yet very closely related.  The following story shares the background on a character Josh will eventually meet — one sympathetic to his loss for reasons that will soon become apparent.  And, in the tradition of driving readers “insane” by printing in serial form, here is merely the first part!                                                 




     “Looks like this is the big day, Pete!”  The mailman called from his truck on an unseasonably balmy March Saturday.  Pete looked up from his weekend ritual polishing of a gleaming black Firebird and laughed.  As he sauntered over to the truck and retrieved the official-looking envelope marked ”Harvard University” he responded, ”It could be the worst day of my life...if they rejected me.”

     ”Valedictorian of our high school class, probably the best grades of any college student in New York State, and a singer in the church choir to boot -- not likely.”

     Pete answered absently as he ripped open the envelope.

     ”Come on, Joe.  The choir thing’s just for my mom.  You know how she is about all that church stuff.”

     He let out a shriek and read the opening lines aloud.

     “Dear Mr. Andrews:  Congratulations on your acceptance into Harvard Law School.”

     Joe grinned. ”See, I told you this was your big day.”

     Still shaking his head in awe and admiration, he shifted the truck into gear.

     ”Well, I’ve gotta go, Pete.  Mrs. Johnson’ll have a fit if she can’t make it to the bank with her Social Security check before noon.  I’ll see you around.   Congratulations, Harvard Man.”

     Pete laughed. ”Thanks, Joe.  I’ll see you around.”


     Pete eased his Firebird into the driveway and up to a neat bungalow, beeping the horn.  A tall slim girl with long blond hair and sincere blue eyes emerged from the house tugging on a pale yellow sweater and flashed him a somewhat breathless smile.  Pete stepped out of the driver's side and greeted her with a quick kiss.

     "You're early, Pete.  The movie's not 'til 3:30."

     "I know.  I thought we could go someplace and talk first.  I've got a surprise."

     Laurel's eyes lit up with anticipation.  "Oh?  What kind of surprise?"

     "You'll see."

     Laurel gave a little pout and watched Pete quizzically as they both got in and the Firebird rolled out into the street. Pete ignored her dad Larry's frown of disapproval through the front window and squealed the tires loudly on takeoff.  Larry watched them disappear from sight, then dropped the curtain and disappeared as well.


     Pete seated himself on the hood of the car beside Laurel and looked out across the lake shimmering in the afternoon sunshine.  Laurel watched expectantly as he reached into a jacket pocket.  Her face fell ever so slightly when he pulled out an official-looking envelope, but she covered with a quick smile.  Pete handed her the envelope and smiled back.

     "What's this?" Laurel asked.  "Harvard?  Oh, Pete."

     "Can you believe it?  I'm in!  Goodbye Hicktown U.  I'm moving up to the real world."

     "What's wrong with our school?  I'm just happy to be getting my nursing certificate in May.  Who cares where it comes from?"

     "Well, that's different.  I mean, it's a good school for a two-year degree like yours.  And even for my undergraduate work.  But when I go out to swim with the big fish, it'll be a lot easier to keep up when they see that Harvard diploma in my wake.  And maybe when I come back here to visit, your dad won't look down on me anymore."

     "My dad doesn't look down on you." 

     Laurel fell silent for a moment, although Pete got the impression that she had something more to say.  He waited.  At last she spoke, her voice quiet and he thought, somehow oddly sad.

     "What do you mean 'when you come back to visit'? Do you mean to visit your folks or...uh..."

     Her voice trailed off and he looked at her as if seeing her for the first time.

     "Yes.  And to visit you, of course."



     "Nothing.  I just...I guess I always thought with you and me graduating at the same time...I mean, we've been going together since junior high.  I always thought that when you left for graduate school, we'd be leaving together."

     It was clear this thought had never crossed Pete's mind.  He knew it and now Laurel knew it, too.  He felt bad as he realized he was hurting her, but this was his future. 

     "But, Laurel, you've been doing all your clinical work at County Hospital.  I thought you were going to stay on there when you graduated like all the nursing students here do."

     "They don't have hospitals in Boston?"

     "Well, yeah, I'm sure they do, but...I mean..."

     "I know what you mean, Pete."


     Pete pulled into the driveway with a sideways glance at Laurel.  She'd held his hand without enthusiasm all through the movie and had barely spoken at dinner afterwards.  Now she sat white and silent beside him and he wished for some way to narrow the distance that had grown between them during the past few hours.  He had never meant to hurt her.  Even though he'd never expected they'd be together forever, he'd never thought his plans for the future would drive them this far apart.  He'd never thought she might have seen their relationship as so much more.  He'd never thought -- well...he'd never thought.

     "Looks like your parents are out."

     "Yeah.  They went to a party at my aunt's house.  They won't be back 'til late."

     "I could come in for a while.  We could watch TV or whatever..." adding with a devilish smile, "preferably whatever."

     "Not tonight, Pete.  I'm kind of tired, actually."

     Laurel had never been so dismissive of him before.  Pete knew that in wanting to go to grad school alone, he'd wanted to break away somehow, but somehow he hadn't envisioned it happening like this. 

     "I'll call you tomorrow.  Maybe we can do...something..."

     "Goodnight, Pete."

     He caught her and gave her a kiss she didn't return before she slipped out of the car and was gone.  Pete sat in the driveway staring after her for a moment before looking over at where she'd sat so close beside him, and yet so far away, and noticed she'd forgotten her sweater.  He started to get out and go to the door to give it to her, but thought better of it; he could bring it by tomorrow as an excuse to see her if she brushed him off again.

     He dropped the sweater back onto the passenger seat and swung the Firebird out into the road, flicking on the wipers as a light rain began to fall.  He still felt oddly shaken by her mood and thought back to her face when he'd pulled the Harvard envelope from his pocket, realizing suddenly that something like disappointment had flickered there.  True, he'd taken her to "their" spot, the place they'd gone to be alone for years, the place she'd first made love to him on the night of junior prom.  Had she been expecting something else from him today...a ring, perhaps?  No. Surely not.  That had just never been part of the plan.  She had to know he'd get out of this place and go on with his life someday.  Maybe she was just tired.  Things would be better tomorrow.  They'd talk about it some more and she'd realize this was best for both of them.  He looked over again at the pale yellow sweater.  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow.


     Pete woke to a loud noise outside his slightly opened window.  At first he thought it was thunder from the storms that had been moving through since he'd dropped Laurel off hours before, but when he heard his father's voice in the hall below he realized dimly that there was someone at the door.

     "Where is that punk?" the visitor railed, and he thought still half-asleep that it sounded like Laurel's dad.  In the middle of the night?  That didn't make sense.  Maybe he was dreaming, he thought, and drifted off once more.

     "You killed her, you bastard!" 

     Pete threw up his arms in defense as a blow just missed his ear, and looked up to see a livid, half-drunk face staring down on him, his parents trying desperately to hold the attacker back.  Pete scrambled out of bed, suddenly very much awake.

     "What...what... Mr. Thompson...," Pete stammered.

     "Larry, please calm down and tell us what's going on,"

Pete's mother entreated in a worried but soothing tone.

      Struggling momentarily for control, Larry faced her to explain. 

     "Laurel...she cut her wrists...we were at my sister's...Her mother found -- ...and this note."

     Pete tried to read the torn sheet of notebook paper through shaking fingers.

     "No one can face the future while clinging to the past.  But I thought my past and future would be the same.  Maybe they are.  That's why I can't face either now..."

     Pete felt like his chest was about to explode and his legs would no longer support him.  He sank to the edge of the bed.

     "No...no... she's not... she couldn't..."

     "She's dead!"  Larry's anger returned in a violent rush.  "And it's your fault!  I knew you never really cared about her.  You've never cared about anybody but yourself!"

     Suddenly Larry was on top of Pete again, pummeling him repeatedly through tears of grief and drunken rage.  Pete heard his father yelling, "Larry, stop!" as he scrambled from under the blows and fled the room, scooping up his clothes off the hamper and dressing on the run as he hurried down the stairs and out the front door. 

     He fished the keys from a back pocket and made a beeline through the pouring rain for the shelter of the Firebird.  His head still spinning, his heart pounding in his throat, he turned the key and the engine roared to life.  He peeled out of the driveway and sped off into the night.

     "No no no no no..."  His mind repeated the word like shots being fired over and over in his brain.  This couldn't be happening.  Laurel couldn't be dead.  He couldn't have killed her.

     He glanced over and caught sight of the yellow sweater.  Tomorrow he'd planned to return it.  Tomorrow they were going to talk things over and everything would be all right somehow.  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow would never come.  The future.  The past.  They were one.  They were over.

     He stared out over the Firebird's hood and into the blackness of the deserted road, unable to see more than 15 yards ahead through the rain incessantly rolling down the windshield and the tears incessantly rolling down his cheeks.  He rounded a bend, the tires skidding perilously on the wet pavement as he barely touched the brakes, and glanced over at the sweater again, then at the massive trees speeding past him along the side of the road.  Tears and rain still mingling in his eyes, he sped up ever so slightly.

     "You can't face the future while clinging to the past."  The words from the suicide note still echoed through his head.  Laurel was his past.  She'd wanted him to be her future.  Between them, they'd killed both.  Well, not quite.  Not yet.

     But he could fix that.

     Pete watched the tach rise as he punched the gas once more.  He reached over and grabbed the sweater, burying his face in its fragrant softness for a moment before again focusing blindly on the road.  Suddenly he jammed the wheel to the right and closed his eyes, waiting -- hoping -- for the night and his life to fade from varying shades of gray into a merciful solid black...


     The rain was still beating a tinny refrain on the Firebird’s roof when Pete opened his eyes.  Momentarily confused, he quickly patted down his body and the car seat beside him, trying to decide if either or both could really still be intact.

     Before he had fully arrived at a conclusion, a bolt of lightning flashed a ghostly light across the scene and made everything only too painfully clear.  He had left the road just past a grove of trees and come to rest in the tall grass of an unplowed field.  Wonderful.

     How could anyone get accepted into Harvard and so completely screw up suicide?  He let out a string of frustrated expletives and quickly pounded both palms against the steering wheel. Surely all his teacher had been right in declaring him “gifted”.

     Still muttering to himself about his God-awful good fortune, Pete stepped out and immediately sunk in mud almost halfway to his knees.  Leaning against the car for leverage, he pulled out his boots, creating a loud sucking sound, then made his laborious way around the vehicle.  The barest tops of the tires peeped back at him teasingly above the muck. No chance of driving back home tonight.  Not that he wanted to go home, anyway.

     But, obviously, he had to go somewhere.  He’d run out of the house without even a jacket, and now began to shiver violently as the rain continued to pelt him like icy shards of steel.  He made a quick check of the car for something more to wear, but turned up only Laurel’s sweater, an object which at the moment provided very little warmth.

     Deciding against climbing back in and waiting for daylight, at last Pete instead slogged his way back to the road and started walking.  Joe’s place was only about a mile away.  He could spend the rest of the night there and decide how to deal with everything else tomorrow.

     Unfortunately, tomorrow would be coming after all.

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All Content Written By Mil Scott Unless Otherwise Noted

© Mil Scott                                                                                                                             www.artistinsane.com

Welcome To The March/April ‘08
Issue of Mil Mania!!!

 Volume 4, Issue 3, March/April 2008


Music Mayhem    

Ravings of a Mad Woman

This column corresponds with the Mad Ra-vings On section of www.artistinsane.com, 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.


Saving Grace — I should probably preface this review with the pertinent bit of info that I’m a huge fan of late night TV host Craig Ferguson.  I think he’s a gifted physical comedian, with a wonderfully sharp wit and a just plain silly streak that works for me simply because it seems to reflect such a genuine joy for life.  Of course, his Scottish accent doesn’t hurt, either.  In any case, I think he’s hilarious — not to mention warm and engaging when wholly serious.  In fact, it was a moment of such “sobriety” more than a year ago that really cemented my appreciation of his lighter side.  A recovering alcoholic, he dedicated an entire monologue to a decision not to mock celebrities/potentially vulnerable characters in the news by explaining the desperate (and to some perhaps “mock-worthy”) character he himself once was.  A moving story of his lowest point — and ultimate triumph, I dare you to watch this clip and not fall for this very real, and yes, very flawed human being.  (Here’s the full web address lest the abbreviated link doesn’t work for you:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bbaRyDLMvA)
     That lengthy intro concluded, I must further explain that Craig Ferguson not only co-stars in the film
Saving Grace, but he co-wrote it as well...a fact I wasn’t aware of myself when I first ran across it on an obscure TV channel and recorded it for later viewing.   In retrospect I realize this should have been obvious — given the story deals with the zany premise of a proper English matron named Grace (Brenda Blethyn) who resorts to growing marijuana in her Orchid house to save the family estate...with a little help from her slightly wayward gardener, Matthew (you guessed it...Ferguson).  Compared by critics to Waking Ned Devine, indeed this enjoyable romp shares elements of that film’s humor and heart, yet stands alone on the strength of its very own wit, charm and engaging characters.  Of particular note is a sub-plot involving two of Grace’s friends — who mistake the unusual plants they discover while Grace is out one day for an exquisite form of tea. (One of these, incidentally, is played by the always excellent Phyllida Law...real-life mom to the like-talented Emma Thompson  And, though I was previously unfamiliar with the other actress she too is an absolute delight. ).  A second involves Matthew and his wife, who is (understandably) less than pleased with his participation in the whole “joint venture”.
     Of course, this is primarily a comedy, so it’s pretty much accepted going in that not only will all end well, but do so in the most unlikely of ways.  Nonetheless, it’s often been said that the journey is at least half the fun of getting there, and the witty touches accompanying viewers on this journey more than fulfill that adage.  What’s more, I doubt you’ll ever hear the song “Spirit in the Sky” again without recalling this fun-filled romp.  And, indeed, from my perspective it’s a romp well
worth remembering.



                                   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
MOLLY        passing to its originator’s daughter , so                  
this column continues to retain the name of its originator 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@ artistinsane.com and I’ll pass them on to Keela.  Thanks!


That said, on to this month’s question…


Dear Keela,
     "It's not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory," said W. Edwards Deming.  He was a statistician regarded as a hero to Japan for moving its business world forward after World War II.  He was all about economic empowerment and made it happen there.  I heard this quote in the opening remarks at a business meeting recently.  I jotted it down to ponder how it relates to my life, not so as how to create  revenue generating product and grand new dynamics in the workplace.  Survival mandatory?  Yeah, I would say so!  I thought about some of the self-defeating habits I subscribed to years back, how I lost them picked up another here and there and then, too, realized that my "survival" in the context of the habit was indeed in question.  While I may not have realized it then, as I pondered all this I saw that had I not moved on, changed, I may just be in a way-deep, dark hole lovingly clutching the shovel that got me there.  Keela, why is it that resisting change is so much a part of hu-man nature?  That said, it is also so much the opposite when it comes to food.  A friend's 12-year-old son informed me how he learned that hu-man taste buds innately change on average of every 6 months.  That explained my love loss for Red Berries Special K and newfound infatuation with Multigrain Cheerios.  Multigrain only — and that testifies (to me having a touch of OCD!) that General Mills learned the importance of change in its cereal line, seeing that they now make 72 variations of the original O.  Well, maybe not that many. Would you say that fear is figured into the equation of not wanting to change?  But considering the lack luster state of stagnation and its dead weight suffocating and pinning you down, why would anyone fear change?”
                                                             A Serious (and Cereal) Survivor

Dear Serious,
     As usual a reader has come up with a fascinating multigrained — oops, sorry, got those Cheerios you mentioned in my head and scurried away from the topic for a minute — what I mean is, again a reader has come up with a fascinating multi-rat-et.
no...multi-facet-ed question.   You see, there are just so many ways to view this one — and each offers a smorgasbord of thoughts to chew on.  That said, let’s try and consider a few of these in single-serving-size portions and see if we can’t end up at a conclusion that proves a just dessert for very life rat-plicable query. 
     To kind of start backwards, your questions about whether fear figures into not wanting to change seem the easiest to me.  Given you know by now all about my long ago screaming of “E!” and LET ME GO!”  it surely won’t surprise you that my answer is a resounding “YES!”  Fear is a mighty powerful — and mighty paralyzing — force.  And, there’s no doubt it keeps lots of people — and rats — wanting to cling to even unpleasant situations rather than scoot off into ones that might prove even worse.   After all, when Mom and Dad brought me home from the pet shop I had no way to know they were bringing me home to my sisters and a whole new family.  They could have just as easily been bringing me home as dinner for a snake!  That said, the fear part of things can be bad — or at least unnecessary as it was in my case.  But, it can also be not so bad if it serves as a caution against merely scampering through life always looking for greener grass, as the saying goes.
     By the same token, I think it’s impossible for any intelligent being NOT to change in various ways — including surrender of misconceptions and, yes, overcoming certain fears, as one learns more about them.  I’ve listened to bits and pieces of political debates and such while sitting on Mom’s lap with the TV on, and I always think it’s the silliest thing in the world how the different candidates go back and forth arguing over how somebody said they felt one way on an issue years and years ago, and now that they feel differently they’re automatically unfit for whatever the position in hu-man society they want to occupy.   Good grief!  I don’t know much about hu-people’s government, of course, but I can’t imagine anybody smart enough to choose their own leader wanting to be led by someone too dumb or stubborn to learn from life’s experiences and adjust viewpoints accordingly.    It seems to me that would be to live out the definition of insanity as Mom’s mentioned it before:  performing the same behavior while expecting different results.  And, who would want to be led by a truly (not merely artistically) crazy person.  Not me!
     All of that said, I think it’s pretty clear I believe survival, even if not “mandatory” is very highly desirable — and that change is indeed necessary to stay alive in this sometimes confusing and hard to maneuver world.  And, when it comes to finding new foods to eat, you know I’m with you on thinking it a good thing cereal companies change and (more importantly!)
expand their product lines.  Mmmm...oh boy do I love cereal!!!
     But, to get back to the original quote, I think it’s most significant to note the hu-man you talked about was a whiz in economics...what I mean is, he was talking about money, not something really important...like cereal!  Okay, I’m kidding about the cereal — not how much my family and I really do love it, but I’m just using it here to make the point that money isn’t even close to one of the most important things in life.  And, even though rats don’t make or use money, I do understand it’s important for “survival” among hu-people...and even for us rats who belong to them to keep being fed every day (which is
really, really important, as you well know!!!).  The thing is, just as I’ve learned from watching those political debates with Mom I talked about earlier, there are people who will say or do whatever it takes to get what they want —  no matter how untrue their words, no matter how little they intend to follow through on their promises, etc.  And, while that’s obviously nonsense and no way to live as (surely you and) I see it, they want what they want so bad, and are so focused on themselves that to them all these untruths and false promises are “mandatory” for their “survival”.  But that kind of survival isn’t really survival at all — and is no way to live.  And, that applies to anyone chasing fame or power or money or any other totally about themselves pursuit. 
     Ultimately, then, Mr. Deming was no dummy.  Now I can’t speak for his intent, to be sure,  and agreeing with him here doesn’t necessarily mean I would agree with him straight across the smorgasboard.  But, I do think he’s “right on the money” by saying “survival is not mandatory” if in deed that survival means giving up everything you believe in, ever were or ought to be just to get it.  And, besides, anyone willing to do all that hasn’t really survived at the end of their road anyway...I mean, how much of who they were put on Earth to be is really left at that point, anyway?
     Well, I hope that answers your questions.  I’m off to ask Mom if she’ll help me pick out one of those 72 varieties of cereal you talked about.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of too many things more “Cheeri” than some tasty (maybe cinnamon-flavored. or yogurt-covered)  “O’s”!!!
     Keep those letters coming!

P.S.  Since the last issue of Mil Mania, both my mom and I have become contributing writers to the wonderfully creative It’s a Rat’s World magazine.  My review of The Revenge of Randal Reese Rat appeared in March (along with a picture and profile of me!), and a letter I wrote David Letterman recently (about his constant stream of negative rat commentary, which he seems to actually think funny) is being published in the May edition.  As for Mom’s work, she was asked to write an article on The Year of the Rat for April (you can read the whole issue for a limited time by clicking here.   By the way, Mom also wrote the poem on p.4 which, sadly, commemorates the passing of the editor’s own dear rat friend.)  And, she has another article set to come out in June.  Of course, both of us will be submitting more work in the future, so be sure to keep and eye out for that.


                  Molly Madvises 
     (now by Molly’s neighbor Keela)








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

  Writings From The Asylum

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


                        Newsletter Spotlight                    








“If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” 

                                                        Zig Ziglar



“No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.”
Robert Frost


"A work of art is a confession."
                                                  Albert Camus

     As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, every month this column presents the latest chapter in the “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall — prior chapters of which you can catch up on 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 publication...so I hope!  Please drop me a line to let me know what you think, including any and all suggestions.  Thank you!!!

                                        If ever there were appli-
                                 cation for the adage, “Bet-
                                 ter late than never,” surely
                                 this has to be it!  As I noted
                                 when embarking on
Mil Mania
                                 in 2005 I’m grateful for the
                                 deadline this publication
                                 imposes on me for regular
                                 sharing of my work — and
                                 creating lots more of it!  With that in mind, I feel it’s worth revisiting March (and April) in May if that’s what it takes to keep this literary mission on track.  So, here at last is a new — though also slightly “dated” — issue filled with madness. 
     There are a few differences this time around, however — you’ll notice the “Psycho Therapy” column proposed in Feb. has now come to fruition with its first entry.  And, of course, more letters from readers — yes, that means you! — are encouraged and anticipated to keep this “psychosis” going.  Also, there’s no “Temporary Insanity” column, at least technically speaking, as this month’s fiction piece has spilled over to occupy the entirety of its space.  However, this serves as kind of “Temporary Insanity” all its own as it provides a brief diversion from the Joshua Gray saga to present instead that of a character Josh will meet one day (via the screenplay that picks up his story four years down the road)...though introduces this new character during a much earlier time in his own life.  Fear not, however — Josh will return!  I merely felt it a better option to share this alternate tale (which will likewise be presented over the span of a few issues) than to make readers wait for Josh to reveal to me the final chapters of his...and yes, as a writer I do often feel every bit as surprised by the directions my characters take as if another entity had created them.  That said, lately, Josh has indeed been seeming to take his good old time.   So, as soon as he progresses, I’ll pass this on to you, and a few issues ahead, we’ll together conclude his journey.

     To conclude this journey I’ll only add that a May newsletter is still planned to follow — “may”be even in May!  What a crazy idea, huh?!                               













Text Box: Member of…


Rat Fan Club







      E   A   S   T   E   R




Text Box: From The Rat 
                  Fan Club:
The Rat of the Week 
         (as of 5/6/08)

     Ruth lives with Mildred Scott in Washington, NJ.  Mil writes, “The only female in her litter to exhibit Dumbo characteristics, Ruth is now almost 1 year-old – and has a personality even bigger than her ears!  As a baby, she was the first to begin challenging her sisters to wrestling matches – after which she, of course, went off in search of tasty treats.  As an adult, she’s grown into a “she-rat” who appears (to my admittedly untrained eye, at least) so physically perfect I always call her my little “show rat”.  Unphased by the beauty of her lovely form and slick coat, she enjoys lounging with her cagemates and (even more) visits to the couch with her “people”.  In fact she lets me know this by nipping gently at my fingers to get my attention and beg to join me whenever I walk by her home.  And, of course, she continues to particularly enjoy treats – including cream-filled oatmeal cookie sandwiches, and ice cream whenever possible.
      “Since being introduced to the wonders of the species via Molly and her boys, I’ve been blessed with many amazing rat ambassadors.  Surely none more winning, however, than Ruth, whose shining spirit invariably inspires smiles – which I suspect you’ll discover for yourself with one look at the photos below.”



















           St. Patrick’s




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 artist:  there isn’t one!  With the addition of the Psycho Therapy column (which has been enthusiastically encouraged) and a somewhat over-length Writings From the Asylum entry this month, there’s no room left for this “feature”!  Depending on space allotments in future issues, however, it will very likely return.  I’ll keep you posted.


Brian Fitzpatrick
has announced May 20th as the release date of his latest album, Worse for Wear.  Also, a track from this was featured recently on WDHA radio (and could be heard all over the country via the station’s online stream).  A great preview of a great album!  In addition, Brian has added a string of shows throughout April and May — including a CD release show in NYC.  Go to his myspace page for more info — AND a brand new video!!!





Michael McDermott
just wrapped up a European tour, where his album Noise From Words was released on March 17 — with two bonus tracks (one of which is “Antique Store”, which I still can’t believe didn’t make the U.S. release as well).    And, he’ll be visiting the East Coast once again in May with shows in PA, NJ and NYC.  See you there!
     In the meantime, I apologize for not yet publishing pages on his (and Brian Fitzpatrick’s) January appearances here and will get to the first of these very soon — I promise!  Watch the New Madness page of artist-insane.com for these additions in the near future.
     As always, you can visit Michael’s
myspace page for more details — plus some new music, including my favorite of three songs recently debuted, a catchy Prince-tinged track entitled, “She’s Gonna Kill
Me”.   Enjoy!


    Psycho  Therapy








Text Box:   NEW!!!

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


Dear Dr. Mil,
     The Zen proverb “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” flashed in my mind.  What if the student chooses to ignore the teacher he did summon and stays out on the playground for an eternal recess?
                      Present with Pencils Sharpened


Dear Present,

     I think this is not only an excellent question, but also one that relates strongly to the issues raised in this month’s “Molly Madvises” column — because here, too, the matters at hand seem to be survival and change.  What’s more, depending on one’s interpretation of the moniker you’ve chosen as a signature, it would seem change might well be “mandatory” for “survival” to be achieved — unless, of course, you’re sitting very still with those dangerous sharp tips.  Whether intentional or a Freudian slip, this name also underscores the need to approach change at a careful and steady pace rather than rushing headlong in a new direction — which may or may not prove more beneficial than the misguided one that prompted silent summoning of help. 
     The main point here is the dilemma between dissatisfaction with one’s current state yet hesitation in moving away from it — reasons for which hesitation can be many and varied.  Indeed, as Keela’s already noted, fear can be one force involved.   Given your choice of words in presenting the question, though, I can’t help wondering if other factors don’t play more strongly into what you’re describing — in part because you present it as a conscious choice to embrace leisure.  Now, I realize your intent may not be literal; again, though, it raises a very important point, which is a frequent human tendency toward laziness and/or a desire to “take the easy way out.”  The irony to that, of course, is that a continual giving in to this tendency results in a sense that life is “happening to” one — or that one is being dragged down a particular dark road instead of striding along a brighter one under one’s own power.   And, of course, that leads to an even greater, at times perhaps overwhelming, realization that life is hard...an assertion stated, incidentally, by psychiatrist M. Scott Peck in his book
The Road Less Travelled (a volume I read with mixed feelings, I might add, so want to clarify I’m not overtly “selling” the whole of Mr. Peck’s philosophies here).  Of course, he was pointing that out as an inherent condition, which it arguably is; by the same token our actions — or inactions — can undoubtedly make life a great deal harder.  Still, by no means do I put this forth as a declaration of doom — as neither did Mr. Peck, who went on to say, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
     In other words, it’s in such moments that the needed teacher you speak of appears.  Whether we choose to attend his class and learn the lessons it offers or continue running around the playground with sharpened pencils — at our peril — is a choice each one of us must make in our own time.  It can only be hoped each student recognizes this class as mandatory and applies his sharpened mind in time for its instruction to help him or her to, indeed, effect survival. 

                                                “Dr. Mil”



     “Just read through your Mil Mania, and wanted to say I loved the letter you wrote to Dan Reed at XPN.  My thoughts exactly.  I didn't want [Michael McDermott’s] music ‘til it came out in hard copy, either.”                                                                  

     “What a love-laden February newsletter.  And if I may address Keela directly on her theory that living and loving are essential, and that regret regarding romance really produces nothing more than heartache — why, yes!  Live, love, and then love some more.  Yes, Keela.  I too am doing just fine.  Love back 2 U”  

(regarding the Tied Up in Tech Nots article)
“...my computer finally got looked at yesterday after I called the manager.  Errr.  Have to order a part that is going to cost me over $500!!!!  The Apple tech offered that I buy a new machine.  I said, Are you kidding me??  He said that he's never seen this problem before himself.” 
(Note of thanks to learn I’m not the only one to experience these “never seen it before” tech woes!  In fact, since writing the article I’ve been reassured on this point by a great number of readers.  Good news for my (in)sanity..but not so good for any of us heavily reliant on technology .    Are you listening, tech companies?!?!?!)

Text Box: Text Box:

In A Nutshell


Welcome to March — in May!!!

Text Box:                    April 4th  


Rat Fan Club

     H A P P Y

    to be continued...