I read an article on theories regarding pet ownership recently that asserted, “In many ways, what’s on the other end of the leash is a mirror for who we are.”   As one would expect the bulk of the article dealt with the oft observed phenomenon of how dogs do very often look (and/or act) like “their people”...which I must confess I’ve long marveled at (and derived great amusement from) myself.  Delving a bit deeper, however, it also explored the psychological explanations for choices that might seem to defy this stereotype, noting that as in human-to-human relationships, pets often complement their non-canine counterparts — citing the example of an introvert who chooses a lovable Golden Retriever to create social interactions he or she wouldn’t find courage to engage in independently.  And, of course, it pointed out the inexplicable extremes of such “mis-matches” as the “Bulldog” perception of Winston Churchill being shattered by the reality he in fact owned a Miniature Poodle.  Go figure.
     What was most interesting to me, however, was the given assumption that human choice  — albeit possibly subconscious — is the primary force through which human-pet pairings occur.  And, although it touched on the outside possibility of cats proving the sole exception, the many theorists interviewed had covered all their bases with regard to “exotic” pets as well… “If you have a ferret you may be telling the world, ‘I’m a non-conformist’ [,etc.]...anyway, that’s the message others perceive and you intentionally — or at least subconsciously — want to communicate it.”  Okay, experts.  Whatever you say.
    Not really.  Actually, I snickered most at the dismissal of the psychologist who “dismisses the game” of matching pets to their owners (which another psychologist had insisted he could do with dead-on accuracy)...especially since the example used to illustrate how accurate such stereotypes prove was the assertion a sweet little old lady wouldn’t be the owner of 20 snakes.  Not a fan of snakes myself, I sincerely hope that’s true.  However, having previously asserted in the Temporary Insanity column I’ve been told I look like I “sit on the couch and eat bon bons” all day, I can tell you from firsthand experience that when unsuspecting house guests see me approaching with a rat on my shoulder (and another or two up my sleeve or in my hair), they might as easily be looking at
Green Card’s prim Mrs. Bird with Boa Constrictors.  And, as for ferrets seeming non-conformist, heck, when you own rats you quickly learn how close the perception between ferret and Chihuahua really is.  Rats by contrast are, well, rats.  Believe me, they stand alone...as does, most often, the human “parent” holding them.  No matter how beautiful to their mom, it truly seems there simply are no uglier “babies”.
     But, what’s the point, you’re asking.  Simple.  As an “artist insane” I may well be rather unconventional.  But I nonetheless never set out for a pet shop in search of the perfect creature to convey that to the world.  Rather, Andre and I were going about our business one day, already happily in the possession of a pretty wide variety of “normal” non-human companions.  Through the course of that day we merely stopped to mail a letter.  The choice of rat ownership was never for a moment a consideration — and from the first moment it became a reality, was, well, out of our hands.  Or rather,
in our hands, given Molly made the choice to land there.  But, the point is it was her choice, not mine.  And, oh am I eternally grateful that she made it!
     The question, of course, is “did Molly know me better than I know myself?”  Or, at least, better than I knew me at the time.  Given how utterly I’ve fallen for the amazing species to which she introduced me (and ostensibly was a part...I’m still not convinced she wasn’t merely a small rather unusual-looking human!), I know now I
would have chosen rats from the time I was first able to crawl into a pet store or animal shelter to find one.  After all, who wouldn’t want a friend that loving, loyal, courageous, smart, trusting, educational (not to mention low-maintenance...and more) — and how many of those have you found even in people-form?
     But that raises another question… “Does what’s on the end of
my leash really mirror who I am.”  I’ll leave it to those who know me as friends themselves to answer that.  All I can say is I’ve met some pretty wonderful examples to “follow” over the past couple of years.  And, goodness knows, I’m working on it.




     M  i  l    M  a  n  i  a


        The Official Newsletter of WWW.ARTISTINSANE.COM



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!!!

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All Content Written By Mil Scott Unless Otherwise Noted

© Mil Scott                                                                                                                             www.artistinsane.com

Welcome To The May
Issue of Mil Mania!

       Volume 3, Issue 4, May 2007


Music Mayhem    

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 three 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:


Lou Gramm — Although
this artist is best known as
the lead singer of For-
eigner, my associations
with him in that regard are
tangential at most...by
which I mean merely that
what I know of Foreigner’s
body of work is not the reason I’m featuring him here.  There is one Foreigner song, however (a then brand new composition from their 1992
The Very Best and Beyond CD) entitled “Prisoner of Love” which remains among my all-time favorite rock anthems of hopeless romance by any band in history. 
     Even so, the greatest reason I came to appreciate Lou Gramm the individual was the 1989 solo album,
Long Hard Look.  Ironically, most people only know this work via the radio single “Just Between You and Me”, which I must confess I find one of its less memorable tracks.  My own great love for it lies in the listenability of the work as a whole, the wonderfully insistent “True Blue Love” — and above all, the rocking song that leads off the whole journey, “Angel With a Dirty Face.”  Skillfully constructed and irresistibly delivered, one can’t help sharing Gramm’s passion and angst as he rails against a lover “Like a landslide, all the power going down/She took the ground out from under my feet” who ultimately winds up “Crying, crying over me/She still can’t get it through her beautiful head/That pretty smile may fool somebody else/I’ll tell you, baby, all I see is red.”   And no matter how much you love “Midnight Blue” (I do as well), as you listen to him sing this song I dare you not to find the “red” of this “heartbreak warning” your own brand new favorite color.

     To learn more about his past, and present — including tour dates with his current band (featuring his brothers Richard and Ben) go to http://www.lougramm.com.




Third Eye Blind has wrapped up their spring tour (their next dates are scheduled for July according to the latest info I’ve encountered.).  Beyond that, I have heard next to nothing regarding updates on the new album’s eventual release or other significant news.  As always, check out The Village Churchyard or Jen’s StephanJenkins.com for more info.

Brian Fitzpatrick continues to keep busy with both his own work and participation in the work of others.  He recently added several new tour dates for the weeks ahead and just days ago released the finished video he directed for Michael McDermott’s song, “Mess of Things”.  You can now view this for yourself at either youtube..com  or via myspace video hosting.  
     What’s more, if the positive reactions it’s received are any indication, his graphic design duties and musical endeavors will soon need to compete for time with offers to branch out in this new area.  Fantastic job, Brian!!! 
     On a sad note, The Underpass, longtime musical home to Brian and countless other musicians has closed its doors for good.  You can read a tribute to its legacy

Michael McDermott has kept a relatively low profile recently despite the positive buzz surrounding the above-mentioned video — AND, the “soft” release of his new album, Noise From Words.  For those unfamiliar with the soft-release concept, this merely means it’s now available via internet download (Click the banner below for more information or to purchase it yourself.)

     The actual release of hard copies of the disc is scheduled for August 28th. 
     In other news, Michael recently shared the stage with Shawn Mullins for a Chicago music appearance and announced involvement in a very interesting television documentary introducing a theater program for the homeless (tentatively airing in the fall).  You can learn more about the latter of these at
     Most significantly (to those of us on the East Coast, anyway), he’s AT LAST scheduled show dates in NYC, returning to
The Living Room for a three night mini-residency in August. 
     Lastly, speaking of August, Michael will be celebrating a birthday during that month...which means, of course, the 6th Annual McDermott Birthday Project will be kicking off soon...provided, that is, I can come up with an idea for it even
sooner!  Check back next month for
more information (I hope!!!)



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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.



Love The Hard Way    I should probably begin by mentioning I felt greatly puzzled when this film I saw at least two years ago first popped into my head today.  Although it left a strongly positive impression at the time, and I now realize I should have long since covered it herein, it seemed an odd bit of mind wandering as I struggled to come up with a logical and interesting ending for the “Writing From the Asylum” column’s latest chapter.  Upon a very short bit of reflection, however, I realized that certain themes I was exploring for that endeavor at the point I concluded working on it late last night closely parallel one possible interpretation of the circumstances in this film, albeit one the conflicting commentary pieces I’ve read on it never address: it’s possible for love to see its object for who he or she really is — but, to get ahead of itself in that this object simply isn’t there yet. 

     You’ll have to read the aforementioned chapter to see how that statement applies to Joshua Gray.  But in explaining its application to this film I should back up a bit to let you know the plot involves a small-time crook named Jack (played to perfection by Adrien Brody) and a pure-hearted, head-of-the-class Columbia student named Claire (a complex, courage-requiring role fearlessly acted by Charlotte Ayanna). 

     Jack is a con-man...both personally and professionally, and so obvious in this identity one would surely think Claire could see him coming.  And, in a sense, she does.  However, Jack also hides a sensitive side, an alter-ego, if you will, who collects first editions of classic books and is engaged in a private struggle to become a writer himself.  It might be argued this is the person the innocent, play-by-the-rules Claire falls for.  And, indeed, we as an audience start out pulling for this side of him as well.  Yet as aspects of “the other Jack” become more and more evident, manifesting themselves in increasingly hurtful abuses against Claire, the more the “good Jack” fades into the background.  Yet the more determined to love the “bad Jack” she inexplicably becomes.  At the same time, she counters his rejection of her with a rejection of herself — or rather, a rejection of her prior reality and the systems by which she had proceeded through life thus far.  And, while it’s a given the darker life path Jack has chosen exacts a toll on its servants, Claire’s attempts to move within his world prove that the destruction of mind and soul proceeds in some more swiftly and completely than others...and in Claire’s case, at a rate that leaves all sides of Jack wholly staggered and appalled.
     Before he can emerge from his clueless limbo with regard to their relationship, however, fate intervenes by toppling their respective houses of cards in one fell swoop.  And, it’s only via the healing benefits of time and distance that Jack gradually comes to understand the salvation wrought by Claire’s determined love — and to respect and regret the high price of this achievement. 
     While it may seem that description gives away the ending, I assure you there is much to discover for yourself from watching this film...and it remains for you to interpret how accurate my theme summary is with regard to its outcome.  I should warn you, however, that it’s a difficult film in many ways, unflinching in its portrayal of the sun going down on a strong and beautiful life, and as painful to the helpless viewer as it is to the at times emotionally paralyzed protagonists.  A particular scene involving a bit of apartment cleaning remains vivid in its pathos even as I write this so long after seeing it, as does the challenge the work overall presents as a complex study of two fully realized characters.  We all know better than to judge a book by its cover...but in the case of this particular film the title truly says it all.





                                    If you missed the announcement in
December 2006 issue, as per the prece-
                          dent set by
Dear Abby which syndicated
MOLLY           column retained that title when passing to its
                          originator’s daughter , so this column will 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 already met 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 both now and in the months to come. 


That said, on to this month’s question...


Dear Keela,
     Last week, I quietly settled in at work with a newspaper but quickly became very animated when I caught sight of an article with the word "Monkees'" in the midst of its headline.  When I was a kid in the 70s the highlight of every afternoon was that fabulous half-hour episode of Monkees madness in reruns.  Depending on whose mom shooed us where, I'd plant myself in front of our 19" black & white TV set, or my
best friend's TV in her basement playroom three houses away, and would eagerly await the end of the show for the song!  Yes.  I admit.  I did find Davy Jones "dreamy" (just like Marsha Brady did), and the
storylines did engage me (though, watching the episodes now I realize how much zoomed right over my head at that young age!), but it was the song in the show that mattered most to me.  The newspaper article
was a short feature on Monkee Peter Tork, his current musical endeavors and the Monkees' possibility of future Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction.  The article wrapped up with Peter Tork saying, "People listen to dance music like taking aspirin:  to shut down the pain. But the blues puts you back together:  like penicillin."  Then Mr. Tork concluded, “...if I can bring a microscopic bit of that feeling, my career's in good shape.”  I wanted to cheer out loud at this, but decided I'd better not startle my cubical neighbor.  I'd been seriously questioning my music fandom lately and was wondering if I'd ever stop — or, more so, am I supposed to stop being a fan.  You know, maybe act and live as my mother did at the age I am now.  She surely wasn't tracking music news, keeping a constant ear to the radio and slipping out to a concert on a Tuesday night — or any night for that matter.  I felt even more vindicated in my belief that being a music fan is a good thing while at a marvelous concert the other night by two of our generation's most talented singer/songwriters, Michael McDermott and Shawn Mullins.  I think you might be familiar with their work?  In assessing the audience members who were clearly there for the music, I surmised that
being a music fan is indeed a good thing.  The connection I made with complete strangers — a 20-somethinger to a fella headed into retirement — in conversation about both artists as well as the connection we as an audience made together and to the artists themselves certainly spoke volumes.  Now thinking about what I'm saying here to you, Keela, I'm beginning to second-guess myself yet again.  Don't you think someone who is not as connected to songs might find such a thought absurd?  Do I need to grow up?  Am I acting my age?  Oh, the prospect of a lifestyle lacking this cadence seems dreadful!

                                                                 No More Monkeeing Around?


Dear No More,

     Hmm...where to begin.  First, I have to say the only “Monkee” I know is one of my daughters, whose named “Monkey” because she has a habit of crawling upside down across the wire-mesh ceiling of our aquarium.  As for what you’re talking about, though, I don’t think I need to be familiar with the animals you’re referring to specifically because it seems to me your questions aren’t really about them — or even the music they or the hu-mens you mentioned have made.  The point is that music is a thing you’re really passion-fruit about.  Uh, wait — that’s not it….I know it’s a word close to that….and it has something to do with eating… passion-fruit...passion-food — passion-ate!  That’s it!  You’re passion-ate about music. 

     Now that’s something I can’t say I understand firsthand necessarily.  I like music just fine (Mom loves it), maybe in the same way my daughter Monkey likes crawling across the ceiling of our house.  But, it’s not my favorite thing in the world — because, of course, you already know that my favorite thing (like all the rats I know) is food!!!  (Of course, hanging out with our mom and dad on the couch... or on the bed... or in mom’s shirt….or in her hair...comes pretty close.  Just kidding!  They’re even better!!!  But food is definitely a passion-fruit — I mean, passion-ate topic for me!)

     Anyway, when you talk about whether your mom at her age would have done what you do at yours, maybe it has nothing whatsoever to do with growing up.  I was in the truck a few days ago when Mom and Dad were picking up plants for a landscaping job.  The hu-man at the plant store was a friend of Dad’s from another plant store we used to visit where this hu-man used to work.  As they were loading stuff into the truck, he was telling Dad all about this club he’s in whose members hide things that can be tracked by some electronic device called a UPS — no no…that’s the label on the boxes that bring us new treats from the online pet store…GPS! That’s what it’s called.  I have no idea what that is, except that this hu-man talked very excitedly about how he and his friends tracked one of these hidden items (they’re not even remotely related to food, if you can imagine) to a spot in the middle of a river or some such big body of water.  And, he was the one who figured out that the only way to actually retrieve it was to string a rope between trees on either bank and shimmy out on it to pick the object off this rock or whatever in the center.  Oh my!  I went into an “Elvis” (which you’re familiar with if you read last month’s column) just thinking about it!  And, honestly, I could tell that although Dad wanted to sound interested in kindness to his friend, he was very close to stretching out a paw and his tongue in a great big yawn.  It just isn’t something he was passion-fruit about at all.  But this hu-man friend of his, wow, you’d have thought there was cake or sweet potatoes — or whipped cream — waiting out over that river.  Talk about “absurd”!

     But who am I to judge?  He seemed like a really nice hu-man and Dad’s known him for years.  As a matter of fact, he went to college at first to become a peterinarian so he likes animals, which is a good thing.  He’s just got different passion-fruits than you and me. 
     Hmm...that reminds me.  All this thinking about hard questions again has made me hungry.  I think I’ll go see if Monkey and the others left me a little oatmeal from breakfast.  

     Thanks again for writing.  And, as Molly always said, be sure to “keep those letters coming!”                          



P.S. Speaking of oatmeal, check out this web page mom put together of Noonan and Flannery at breakfast time.


P.P.S.  This just in!!!  My aunt Francesca called yesterday to let me know about a new movie coming out next month called...oh, I’ll never get this word right (!)… “Rat-a-two-ee” — that can’t be it, but I know it sounded like that.  And, my grandma was talking about it, too.  Anyway, it’s starring a rat!!!!  AND, this rat wants to be a chef.  I told you all the rats I know are passion-fruit about food.  Apparently, so is this one I don’t.   But I just can’t wait to meet him!  If you can’t wait, either, go to this website for a sneak preview and pictures and stuff (he’s kind of funny looking, actually, but so far I like him just fine, even so!)


                       Molly Madvises 

         (now by Molly’s neighbor Keela)








Comments from Mil Mania readers
             on the March/April issue...

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

   “Newsletter looks awesome, as per usual.”


   “Noticed Walter Scott (Buzz) name in Mil Mania.  Looked up his column online and saw his picture.  Don't think I've seen him in 40 years!”                                                 J.S.

   “...definitely think [Michael McDermott’s] American In Me could be controversial so I don't think that should be the 1st single (or any single for that matter).”                    A.R.

   “Noah is darling!!!!!!!!!!!! Good to know there is a Rat Fan Club! Maybe I'll join someday! Kisses to the little ones!”   

   “I was able to view the video from your myspace page. Very cute! It was a hoot watching him fish that ice cube out. I thought Noah might topple over. :)”                     S.H.                               

   “Have to say that I just love Noah's bio.  That picture is really precious, too.  How could he not be rat of the month!”
(And, on Molly Madvises)
   “How absolutely wonderful with such a beautiful conclusion!  Oh, that Keela has done it yet again!  I just love it.”





Text Box:  

Text Box: Good to hear from you- yeah - it's been ages!

Text Box:  

Text Box: got to one show...back in ???don't even remember? in DeKalb a few months ago anyway- boy - time is flying..It's May already!

Text Box:  

Text Box: Kisses to the little ones!

Text Box: Kat





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


(Also posted recently to the blog on my page at myspace.com)

Look out, world.  Mil’s armed – and digital.


     I recently bought my first ever digital camera…most likely a bit of yawn-inspiring information, I realize.  However, I feel it worth discussing here as the early fruits of that purchase can now be seen via the short video added to the “about me” section of my profile.  You see, I had staunchly refused surrender of my long-time “real film” picture-taking friend for ages.  And, although that could be interpreted as resistance to change, a refusal to embrace what has become “the norm” of society today, or just plain laziness/not wanting to bother mastering the technology, in truth none of these applies.  Instead, it all goes back to a conversation I had with one of my husband’s sisters, who was at the time constructing a scrapbook for my brother-in-law (her twin) to present to him on their birthday.

     She noted having run across a news story observing how digital photography is likely to impact the way historians characterize our current era.  For, once upon a time photographic “errors” were a squirm-inspiring fact of life we all had to live with – you know, the portraits featuring one eye closed, both eyes closed, or group shots wherein your open mouth and wrinkled-up-nose, mid-sneeze expression prompted strangers to ask kindly if you might be the “special child” in the family.  And, while these were hardly the pics you’d pull out to share with friends, they seldom seemed to make their way to the garbage can as intended (or maybe they just never stayed there given the endless mileage they afforded various relatives as blackmail).  In any case, the pre-digital life offered an accurate and (sometimes far too) well-rounded “picture” of humankind.

     Since the dawn of “new and improved” technological advances that include internal memory, SD cards and various other forms of (at least potentially) temporary storage, however, photographical faux pas such as those noted above have become increasingly rare…and it’s argued may at last fade into “history”.  No longer must those “candid” moments freezing our horror in perpetuity fall into the hands of practical jokester Uncle Paul or vindictive Cousin Verna.  No, indeed.  For, finally, each of us holds in our own hands the most powerful weapon against embarrassment ever created:  the delete button.  Finally, we can shape the “image” of ourselves we want history to record.  If we so choose, we can present ourselves as the most perfectly coiffed, perfectly behaved, never mid-photo-sneezing angels to have ever walked the earth.

     But, that brings me back to the point of the discussion with my sister-in-law.  As it turns out, in sorting through photos for the aforementioned scrapbook, she ran across several of the less than perfect shots illustrating just how “special” each of us are.  For example, she recalled how one day Mom and Dad had tried to get a really good portrait of the whole family.  She was standing by my husband, who had his arm around her.  And, at just the moment the shutter was depressed, he stuck his tongue into her ear.  Needless to say, focused as they were on getting a “nice” picture, Mom and Dad were less than pleased.  But, as she came to this photo so many years later, she was right back in the day when it was taken, laughing maybe even harder than she did then…at the image of a brother doing what it is brothers do best – and basking in the warmth of a memory brought into the future through the strong familial bond that they still share.

     That very issue of fleeting moments, however, proved the impetus that ultimately won over my objections to going digital.  Because, as much as I loved picking up newly developed photos, with the deadline of a newsletter, keeping my website up-to-date, etc., the temptation for instant pictorial gratification eventually led me to open the door of possibility far enough to let in just the tiniest leak of light.  That said, I should direct you to the outcome of an essay in the Temporary Insanity column of the Nov. ’06 issue of Mil Mania.  Of course, whether or not you’ve read that you I’m sure you can guess that I began by “just looking” on ebay and other internet shopping sources…and that (within a very short time) ended up running across a bargain on the “perfect” starter unit via Amazon.com that was too good to refuse.

     And so, here I am already putting up the first effort in what’s likely to be a frighteningly long series of increasingly complicated videos capturing my unsuspecting pets – and, of course, photos of at times surely unsuspecting friends and relatives.  What’s more, having all of this technology at the command an insane artist means historians who run across my images one day are likely to think my little corner of society arguably the most “crazy”, puzzling or just downright odd group to have lived during this era.  Because, I warn you, until I’ve saved ALL images – yes, that means the good, the bad…and the TRULY embarrassing…i.e. out-of-focus, thumb-in-front-of-the-lens, blurry, upside-down-shots of a rat’s tail, etc. – to at least two hard drives, there’s one trigger I don’t even consider pressing (de-pressing though my subjects may one day find that!).  You guessed it: the delete button.

     Here’s to insanity.  Here’s to reality.  Here’s to a lot of fun pics and videos popping up in the days ahead.  Enjoy!



Temporary Insanity








"A blank page is God's way of showing you how hard it is to be God."

"A writer ought to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable."
Mark Twain


                                                While it’s technic-
                                        ally still spring, we all
                                        know May is the month
                                        in which we unofficially
                                        welcome summer.  And, a
                                        busy transition period
                                        it’s been!  So busy, in
                                        fact, that I already have a
                                        good bit of new “mania”
                                        — including a potential
                                       film review from a very good Ed Burns written/directed piece I just saw over last weekend — to begin filling the June issue. 
     As for what this one includes, however, the “Temporary Insanity” column features an essay some of you may have already read on my blog at myspace.com.  With that in mind, I’m herein debuting some additional musings to comprise more “Pet Peeves and Paranoia” that I hope you'll find both fun and thought-provoking.  As a bridge between the two I should warn you I’ve been at it again in terms of experimenting with my digital camera’s video capabilities...the latest result of which is linked at the bottom of the “Mother’s Day” presentation comprising this month’s “Newsletter Spotlight”.  Lest you don’t want to wait to check all of that out, however, you can see just the video
here.  And, yes, I’m well aware it speaks for itself as further proof of my artistic insanity!     
     Be that as it may, this month’s issue also features a new twist in the ongoing tale of Joshua Gray, the unexpected direction of which prompted recollection of the movie selected for this month’s “Mad Raving” — a film made in 2001 but not released until 2003, to capitalize at that time on its star Adrien Brody’s Oscar success.  Although I’m yet to see the film for which he garnered that award, I find it sad this “lesser” but surely no less insightful and worthwhile film might have gone unwatched by movie buffs without such high profile notice of a different work...in fact, I didn’t find it myself until mid-2005.  In any case, you’ll have to read the review to learn more about
Love the Hard Way.    
     Of course, there’s also lots of music news, the usual offering of unusual “madvice” from Keela, and much more that’s mad and manic to explore.  As always, hope you  enjoy — and thanks for reading!

              Newsletter Spotlight       

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).

  The Leap to Limbo (tentative title),     Chapter 14 Part 2
“Demons, Drink and Dreams of Deliverance”  (cont’d.)   



     Josh closed his eyes tightly as the nearly scalding water flowed down onto his upturned face, losing himself in the always comforting sensation of such clear and certain tactile stimulation — in other words, the one type of feeling that remained strong and sure, and which, as a result, offered the great relief of hope.

     It was for this temporary vacation of sorts that he had insisted his compadres go to breakfast alone this morning, and was at last enjoying an intoxicating break from confusion and a more literal form of drunkenness...well, from the latter of those at least.  Trying to decipher details of last night’s dream provided a confusion all its own.  And being in a hotel again for the first time — albeit a far cry from the posh San Francisco one wherein he’d lived the waking nightmare that had haunted every hour since — only served to further blur the lines between dreams, reality and ghosts.  Standing naked beneath this mini man-made waterfall Josh experienced an acutely heightened awareness of human vulnerability, but also an inexplicable glimpse of what might be possible if some form of real cleansing could ever be achieved.  And, as he pondered the various shades of Gray he’d known thus far, his memories, wishes, fears and tragedies converged until the woman he had spoken with last night seemed every bit as real as Julie, and he contemplated with renewed amazement and dismay how much more elusive the once real Julie continued to become.  Maybe there was some connection between the two.  Maybe both — at least as they applied to his reality — were just aspects of himself...his past, his future….the stumbling blocks within his own heart and head that kept him from seeing Julie as she was, from doing whatever it was he needed to do to help her more, to open up to someone himself in order to move beyond the secrets of their relationship — and making some kind of peace with which might stop him from the behaviors he felt a need to keep secret in the present.

      “Secrets”...the woman in his dream said she’d heard that song’s debut on their first meeting.  But he distinctly remembered having played “Prismatic” that night — or rather, something of that title, most of the lyrics and melody to which had become yet one more vague, specter-like image.  It was the nagging impression the song had been good that made the memory so vivid...good enough to perhaps indeed make it worth debuting live...if he could only remember more than a few bars while not asleep.  Actually, he wished he’d been asleep the night “Secrets” first “surfaced” instead, given the events that followed at the diner...and beyond.

     But again, these were moot points.  It was very unlikely the woman had ever been to a show.  He’d almost surely never really seen her and she probably didn't exist...heck, as he’d just lamented, the first show hadn’t even really taken place.  Why shouldn’t the circumstances of the two dreams be confused?  If they were just manifestations of his psyche, maybe each merely gave him some perspective he needed at the time. And as he knew only too well, perspectives and facts were both subject to change — all too abruptly.  Of course, he couldn’t imagine what need the sheer terror inspired by the first dream’s fall into oblivion could serve...but then, who knew it wasn’t just another self-willed shock out of creeping apathy, very much like the hot shower he was currently “enjoying”. 

     But, given the shock of that ending — or something far too close to an end — the woman appearing earlier in the dream had long since been forgotten.  So, why had she showed up in his dreams a second time, anyway?  What purpose did she serve?  What feeling or need did she awaken?  She was kind, yet not placating.  She only seemed to see him in his most unraveled moments, yet she herself remained composed...as though she knew the “together” Josh hidden inside and was merely hanging in during these bad times knowing good ones would return.  But she had never known him in those...had she?  Or was the question, in fact, had he? 

     Left to his own devices Josh might have continued pondering these questions until his fingers and toes had reached that fully shriveled state usually attained by a long walk in a rainstorm without waterproof shoes were he not brought back to reality by the knowledge his bandmates would surely be returning soon. And, he had a festival to host this afternoon, in preparation for which he still needed to shave and dress.  Invigorated by the pulsating action of the massaging shower head that served as the hotel’s one claim to “luxury”, Josh briefly flirted with impersonating the guy in that old commercial who stepped out of the shower boldly singing, “I  FEEL CLEAN”.  Resisting the temptation he instead pushed back the curtain and reached for a towel from the rack over the toilet.  It wasn’t much of a stretch given the whole bathroom seemed barely larger than a standard home refrigerator.  Of course, that meant when his foot slipped on the wet floor there were a host of obstacles off which to ricochet but no safe place to land.  Reaching out instinctively for something, anything to stop his fall, his hand caught only the edge of the sink on which he’d laid his shaving kit, including the straight razor he always swore beat the latest disposables for providing the closest shaves.  At first unaware he’d even made contact with this potentially deadly object, he had but the briefest moment to feel sickened by the sight of blood before he heard the sound of his forehead hitting the hard porcelain of the toilet.  A rueful thought on the bit of unpleasant deja vu involving a razor in that aforementioned San Francisco hotel flitted through his head, then another on traveling all the way to Seattle only to miss the reason he’d come.  Within another second reason itself was forgotten, as was the festival, the band, and the dreams and nightmares he’d been pondering  before a whirling vortex of darkness enveloped him and settled in to become no longer the self-prescribed oblivion he once sought, but his now most unwanted — and inescapable — reality.


     A key card could be heard sliding in and out of the door slot, followed by the metallic click of a releasing lock.  Tommy’s voice started to call out, “Yo, Josh you, ready…” before he glanced into the bathroom and his tone turned to ragged shock, “Oh, Je—s.. .NOOO!!”




Text Box: From The Rat 
                  Fan Club:
The Rat of the Week (and then some... 4/25-5/21!)
Noah lives with Mildred Scott in New Jersey.  Mildred writes, 
     “Noah is a nearly three-month-old silver Dumbo with absolutely no idea he’s the smallest of four cagemates in a seventy-five gallon aquarium.   He enjoys mommy-back-riding (i.e. climbing to sit on my shoulder or in my hair as I work at the computer), wrestling (i.e. mercilessly and tirelessly attacking his adoptive brothers), taking long leisurely naps in his bed of aspen shavings…and, of course, eating!   In fact, he’s so fond of treats he spent the better part of his first evening at home sorting out the marshmallow pieces from a bowl of Lucky Charms and hopping away with each one to savor it in the privacy of an empty box.  Thankfully, he’s also a very good boy about eating more nutritious fare, including lab blocks, dry dog food, and (our rat community’s collective favorite) mashed sweet potatoes.
     “Among the most self-possessed individuals we’ve met of any size, Noah never spent a moment as a stranger, immediately proving eager to befriend both us and all our (many!) prior rat adoptees.  What’s more, his confidence is so well-intended and egoless even his big ‘brothers’ seem unwilling to deflate him.  I don’t believe there’s been a wrestling match yet they haven’t let him think he’s won!  As a fellow rat owner once told me, ‘Even when you don’t breed rats, they multiply.’  And if you don’t already own rats, surely meeting a creature of such small stature and enormous spirit would quickly change that.
      “Oh, by the way, did I mention Noah’s a ham when it comes to taking pictures…then again, do I need to?!?!?”




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