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All Content Written By Mil Scott Unless Otherwise Noted

© Mil Scott                                                                                                                             www.artistinsane.com

Welcome To The July
Issue of Mil Mania!

       Volume 3, Issue 6 July 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...is a song instead.  And, since that’s a mighty small piece of work to consider, I’ve chosen two separate songs (by different artists) to fill this section.


The first is...


The Last to Know by Del
Amitri —
Quite honestly
I simply don’t know
enough about this group’s
other work to “endorse”,
if you will, their entire
catalog by making them a
“Featured Artist”.  However, I was thinking recently about how much I appreciated their hit song, “The Last to Know” and with that pondering began the idea of sharing that appreciation here.  And when, in an almost eerie sense of timing, it came over the sound system while shopping at Home Depot just a few days ago, I pretty much forgot what I was in the store for as I stopped mid-aisle to listen anew.  Again, I was reminded of what a great piece of literature it represents in its ability to wholly engage one’s sympathies in the direction of the singer...then turn them completely with the surprise twist of truth that explains the singer’s sorrow.  
     If you’re not familiar with the song, you can hear a sample at
this page on Amazon.com and/or read the lyrics here.




And the second…


The Origin of Love by
John Cameron Mitchell
The soundtrack album
on which this track ap-
pears was given to me by
a friend, and although the
overall work didn’t prove
my cup of tea, yet I remain ever grateful to her for introducing me to this song.  Based on a speech by Greek playwright Aristophanes in the
Symposium, it offers the explanation for all mankind’s search for one’s “other half” and shares its tale via music that crashes and whispers and takes one on a theatrical and deeply moving journey.  Truly, I count this a master work of hopeless romanticism and an endlessly beautiful metaphor, no matter how closely any listener’s actual beliefs regarding “kindred spirits” may or may not align with its philosophy.  It’s downright embarrassing how many times I hit repeat on the CD player in the weeks after discovering this now longtime favorite...and I dare you to check it out and resist doing the same.

     That said, lest the song is “Greek to” you , you can hear a sample at Amazon.com and/or read the lyrics by clicking here.  However, I encourage you to seek out the piece in its entirety to enjoy the full effect of this very complete experience.




Third Eye Blind has just kicked off a full summer tour schedule of shows throughout July and August.  Check 3eb.com, The Village Churchyard or SJ.com for more info.

Brian Fitzpatrick played two shows in mid-July — and to borrow a phrase from one of my high school history teachers I am “chagrined and mortified” to have missed them.  As I’m sure I could make up an excuse that would sound far more plausible than the truth, I’ll just share here that half of the reason was one of my pet rat’s need for surgery two days prior...which meant essentially peering into her small temporary home pretty much 24/7 to be sure she didn’t scratch or bite at her incision area.  In any case, there’s another Fitzpatrick performance scheduled for August 11 so here’s hoping the stars align to allow me to attend that one!  (If you want to go, too, just visit Brian’s page at myspace.com for more info.)

     In the meantime, I’ve heard little other news on the Fitzpatrick front...here’s hoping for more SOON!


Michael McDermott
  As regular readers already know, this year’s birthday/CD release celebration is now underway.  In accordance with that,  I’ve recently created a myspace page to help spread the word about it.  Just go to www.myspace.com/celebration3 to check it out — and if you’re a myspace member, add this event page as a “Friend”!  More importantly, though, just pick a lyric from the new album…




…and buy Michael a birthday/congrats card.  Send both to the address available at www.artistinsane.com/birthday2007.htm and I’ll put them together into a collective finished product I truly believe will prove quite worthy of “Noise”.
     In other McDermott news, Michael at last returns to the East Coast for a string of dates at NYC’s Living Room in August — which I hope to attend (dates and times are available at
www.myspace.com/michaelmcdermott).  Watch the next issue (or two) for links
to reviews, photos and more.

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  Everyone is welcome and ALL readers are appreciated!!!  

   P.S.  You can also read all back issues by visiting the sign-up page and clicking on the appropriate month’s link.

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.  


Music and Lyrics     At the time of this film's theatrical release I saw Hugh Grant interviewed on a late-night talk show, during the course of which he said it was the favorite film he's made to date.  And, I recall wondering then whether this sounded convincing because he pretty much holds a trademark on charming -- and disarming -- sincerity, or if he might just be...sincere.  
    Having now seen the film -- and absolutely loved it -- I think perhaps the latter is the case.  For, while the role itself might not represent all that great a stretch from the romantic not-quite-heroes he's played on umpteen prior occasions, the extra demands of it -- specifically performing a significant portion of the film's soundtrack (and the added dimension this aspect of the film lends his character) -- may well have provided a different perspective, and perhaps even surprised him with how full can be the reward of such a challenge.
     Of course, part of my own appreciation for the film is derived from how utterly I relate to the musical portions of the work...for example, the first attempt by Drew Barrymore's Sophie to sing into a microphone, knowing the result is being recorded for posterity.  Having experienced this -- complete with her fit of nerves ("my throat's closing up...it's like anaphylactic...") when recording "
How We Become" I very much related to her character...and to Grant's at a later point when passion for a subject and a not-to-be-missed deadline combine to force creative juices to start flowing.   I also related to Sophie in her need to deal very directly with what she saw as an injustice...and the fear this approach can inspire in one who tries to solve problems in a more "diplomatic" (i.e. circuitous...cowardly?) manner.  You may have to see the film for those statements to make sense, but once you do I expect you'll find great enjoyment in watching the events they reference as they unfold.
     For those unfamiliar with the film, however, I should back up here to explain that it revolves around Alex Fletcher (Grant), a former 80's pop superstar attempting to eke out a living by playing his old hits at theme parks, county fairs and that particularly illustrious music venue, Knott's Berry Farm....uh,
I think "knott".
     It might be argued that Alex's major problem is the simple fact he's lazy.  Rather than move on and make the effort to carve a new place for himself in both life and the music world, he seems determined to trade on his old success... until it becomes clear the pool of former stars is ever growing, meaning his own well of appeal is rapidly running dry.  It's therefore desperation that forces him to accept the challenge of creating a new song for a current pop superstar - a blond tween queen heavily into Buddhism...or more accurately who's learned the appearance of embracing karma makes her cool...and who could really use a huge hit to keep her career hot.  
     The problem is Alex has never written lyrics.  And, the early experiments with a pro who's been hired to help him in this endeavor quickly prove collaboration isn't necessarily the easy way out, either.  Enter Sophie, a friend of his plant waterer, who has taken over her task for a couple of days.  As a side note, it should be added I can't help feeling sorry for the never seen or later discussed real plant waterer, who very likely has no business left once Sophie not only completely bungles the job, but also goes AWOL after Alex overhears her mumbled attempt to correct the even greater bungling of the hired lyric writer.  Be that as it may, she spends the next 72 hours or so as his semi-willing hostage, and I must confess that when this period ended I was puzzled at first.  Not only did it seem the film was winding down awfully fast, but it had also to this point presented a working relationship that was friendly and engaging, but which certainly gave no indication one was watching a "romantic" comedy.
   Little did I know, of course, that this is actually where the film begins...or that by the time it ends it's more than satisfied its billing -- and (in my opinion, anyway) the audience as well.
   I'll leave it to you who haven't seen it to be surprised by all that follows.  What I will add, however, is that the video which opens the film -- a wonderfully cheesy 80's-type concoction entitled, "Pop Goes My Heart"...and which reappears in equally satisfying form as a "pop-up video" at the end -- is alone worth the price of the rental...as is the performance of another song Hugh Grant performs in between.  There are also many smartly witty one-liners and excellent performances by Brad Garrett and Kristen Johnson....not to mention those by both Grant and Barrymore.  
     As Sophie explains, music is like the first spark of attraction, while lyrics are the means of becoming more deeply acquainted.  And, indeed, this is a film that lives up to its title by providing both instant appeal and lasting appreciation.  Check it out for yourself and see if it's not a cinematic love song you want to keep singing -- and seeing -- again and again. 

                                   If you missed the announcement in the 
December 2006 issue, as per the precedent  
                          set by
Dear Abby which syndicated column
MOLLY     retained that title when passing to its origin- 
                         ator’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,

     I'm a regular reader of your column, and I have to say that I love your  approach to contemplative issues — kind of breaking away from the matter to bring in like situations that can tie it up.  Oh, and I see that relating food to weighty topics works well for you, too!  So, I'm thinking about something now that I'm curious to have your take on.  There's this guy named Bono, singer/songwriter of U2, which is the greatest rock and roll band that has ever graced our planet.  There's a beauty of a song that's tucked away near the end of U2's most recent disc,
How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, that's titled "Yahweh."  The song intrigues me in that it may be in part a prayer in disguise — art is open to interpretation, yes?  Realizing that he's straying from Yahweh's Will, Bono makes requests in simple ways through symbolism to make him (or the character of the song) a better person:  to make the noisy shoes he's wearing while on a dead end street fit.  To be open to what he should hold close by teaching him "what to carry," refusing to feel anger by not making a fist.  Asking to receive love even when he can readily lash out in contempt — to touch his lips of criticism with a kiss.  And to be set free from the dreaded EGO by teaching his soul, "strand-ed in some skin and bones," to sing.  So, even though he is making these requests in earnest there's a lingering element of lack of faith that comes in with a reoccurring lyric of "waiting for the dawn."  And then he adds the big question, "Why the dark before the dawn?"  Keela, I too have often wondered why it is darkest before the dawn.  More literally, I'm an EARLY riser and I know that it IS indeed darkest before the dawn.  But I am also witness to the songbird unwavering in his mission to greet the dawn.  I once came across an expression (Zen, possibly?) that said, "Faith is the sound of the songbird before the dawn."  He is certain that it's coming.  I'm trying to find a correlation with these elements:  darkness, the dawn, our soul and song.  I know there is one here.  Can you help me figure it out, please?                                                                          

                                         A Songbird In Training           


Dear Songbird To Be,


     I’ve had to scamper off for several snacks while trying to come up with an answer to your very thought-provoking — and hunger-inspiring — question.  But I think I could gnaw through everything in the ratfrigerator quicker than I could get past the skin on this question.  So, I’ve decided I just have to start chewing on a couple of ideas and see where they take me. 
     First,  I’ve heard of this Bono hu-man because I remember sitting on Mom’s shoulder one day when she was reading an e-mail from one of my favorite aunts.  I could see that this aunt was in the midst of a —  biog... rat...phy on him and she had found most interesting the line, “A rock star is someone with a hole in his heart the size of his ego.”   And, of course, I couldn’t help noticing how close those words
he-art and ego were appearing yet again.  So, when you mentioned ego specifically in your question, this quote sprang to mind.  But, since I still wasn’t quite sure how these things fit together, I asked Mom to help me do a little research on the internet about this “Yahweh” song.  And, guess what I found out?  The last line says, “take this heart and make it break”.  See, there it is again...it all comes back to he-art in the end! 
     The other thing I kept having trouble sorting out as it might pertain to hu-men and hu-women is that the hour
physically darkest every day isn’t looked at the same way by we rats.  You see, for us — or rather my wild outdoor counterparts, it’s the dawn that signifies the start of danger and fear...when potential predators can see us, when most hu-people’s activity goes on, etc.  So, we long for the night — when we actually feel safest — and hang onto that last bit of beautiful blackness before the sun comes up as our strongest memory of hope throughout each day. 
     But, you mentioned, “faith” as the thing  it seems this Mr. Bono is searching for...and he himself mentions the need for “Yahweh” to break his he-art as the first step in achieving this.  Only, I think Mr. Bono really wants a crack in the head — oh dear, I don’t think that came out right…  What I mean is it seems to be the he-ad (ego) he realizes he needs broken.  He needs to squash (ooohh….I do
love squash —  oh, sorry, there I go creeping away from the topic again!) the selfish aspects of his own will to make room for Yahweh’s...and to hear the “singing” of Yahweh’s “still, small voice” in the darkness before dawn to find his way to the better person he wants to be — and the faith that will help his he-art lead him there.
     But to wrap this whole thing up, I just have to add that given last month’s column about “into wishin” came around to the subject of faith in general and Molly’s in particular, I have a little story to share that applies to both issues.   Although my family and I know we’re safe in our aquarium 24/7, there’s still some instinct that won’t let us go to sleep until after the sun comes up...so we can see for sure there aren’t any predators about or anything to be afraid of.  Once it’s fully daylight, we all stop snacking and playing and such and finally go to sleep.  But, Molly never did that.  Instead, every night as that darkest point approached she would make her way to the food bowl for a late meal.  And, then — when it was pitch-black out, mind you — she’d tuck in for the deepest sleep you can imagine.  As a ratling I marveled at that and just didn’t know what to make of it.  But now, every night around that time, I think about her peaceful silence, and hope for a faith that lets the songbird in my own soul one day sing so loud.



P.S.  Click here to read my review of Ratatouille!!! (that’s www.art-istinsane.com/keela’s_reviews.htm) if you need the whole ratdress.

                       Molly Madvises 

         (now by Molly’s neighbor Keela)








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

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

    “Just read your wonderful newsletter… 'lifted my spirits'… I hope to re-read it again later.  I am very honored to be your featured artist!  Thanks for the 'plug'!”

     “Intuition is "into-wishin" hmm?  What a brilliant observation that Keela made.  She is totally on the mark.  We get what we think about, whether we want it or not.  Hope she's thinking about something tasty.

      [Also,] reading Dave's memories of your dad was quite a comfort for me.  I too lost a parent far too early in life, hers and mine.  Dave's stream-of-conscious thoughts made me start thinking my own about my mom.  So many of the wise and clever, funny and cute, sincere and dear qualities that made her so special to everyone who knew her.  Her challenges and struggles?  Yeah, but not for this moment.  My thanks to you and Dave for spurring on  my own tearful but heart-full recollection. 

      “LOVED your father's day tribute to your dad.  Incredibly touching.  Great...to ask someone who worked for him to reflect on your dad.” 

     “I love this.  It’s so well done.”

                                       With my driver’s license up for renewal this
                                 month, I’ve been reminded of the article featured in
                                 this column
last July about my fear of flying.  In the
                                 interest of fitting the story into the allotted space, however, I cut out the second part of that tale, which appropriately deals with the very subject of a trip…uh well,
several trips, in fact, to the DMV.   That said, I’ve decided to share the additional portion here.

     To begin, having never flown in our entire married existence, neither I nor my husband had ever had any occasion to look into the procedures for doing so. As a result, we asked our friend for all the particulars we'd need to know…should we happen to….(gulp)
fly…to Atlanta, say, precisely 11 days after this conversation was taking place. He gave us the dimensions of the luggage we could carry on, went through the procedure for plane-side baggage checking, etc. And, just before hanging up he added, "and, of course, you'll need to present a government-issued photo ID to both pick up your tickets and board the plane."
     Ay, there's the rub.
     Should your brows furrow in confusion upon reading that line, allow me to conclude that you reside in a state where all drivers' licenses have long been of the photo variety.  In NJ, however , it’s only a very recent development (well after 9/11, I might add) that drivers no longer have the option of renewing licenses either at a DMV office every three years (which was previously required only if you wanted the photo-inclusive model) or by regular mail if you preferred not to show off a mug-shot quality likeness every time you open your wallet. Up to the point this whole flying business arose, my husband and I had always opted for the latter.
     As we suddenly found ourselves "in need", if you will (though given the circumstances, still most certainly not "in want") of the photo variety, we naively trotted off to the nearest DMV on Thursday afternoon (the Thursday that is, just prior to our scheduled Monday evening flight) to trade in our non-photo licenses for ones sporting our cheery, smiling faces.  Ah, ah, ah…not so fast.
     Even before we could reach for the door to the DMV office, a sign in the window glared the warning: "No photo license will be issued solely on the basis of a non-photo license". Hmm, okay.  Problem #1.  Uncertain how we should proceed, we entered the office's vestibule to be greeted by a poster offering clarification.  "Acceptable documents for obtaining photo licenses":  "Certified copy of a birth certificate", "Civil Marriage Certificate", "Civil Divorce Certificate"…(hmm, isn't that one an oxymoron? I love that word….oxymoron -- and what's more I imagine having married one often describes a woman's reason for obtaining a "Civil Divorce Certificate".  But I digress.), "Citizenship papers", etc., etc. etc.
     Without going into another story altogether to explain this separate frustration, let it suffice to say that both our birth certificates and our marriage certificate had been inadvertently misplaced years ago, meaning we would have to somehow obtain one or more of these forms of documentation anew.  Okay, but precisely how does one
do that?
     Well, we started by using my cell phone (an object I swear is linked to only bad omens in and of itself – a sentiment explained further in an essay likewise previously appearing in this column) to call our state's Bureau of Vital Statistics.  Unable to speak with a live human regardless how many of the options we selected via voice mail, we at last gathered that we could either make the drive to Trenton (which would take as long as the flight to Atlanta followed by a wait in line as long as the stay we'd planned once we got there) or we could place an order utilizing the Express Mail option and receive any or all of these documents (for separate fees, of course) in a matter of about 10 days.  Hmm, I know I distinctly heard the term Express Mail on the recording.  I just didn't understand at first that the state still used the "pony" variety. Maybe we wouldn't be flying to Georgia after all.  Aww,
     Still, somehow the thought of calling our friend to announce that we wouldn't be coming just didn't sit well with my conscience, and the wheels of my brain started winding up toward overdrive.  Before long they crashed to a halt at the realization we were standing not more than four miles from the municipal offices of the township in which we'd been married.  Surely they, having issued the original certificate, would be able to provide us with a certified copy, right?  Back to the cell phone to call and test my theory.  And, as expected, their response was essentially, "Duh."
     As per the appointment we'd arranged, at 1 o'clock the next afternoon, we headed off to pick up our marriage certificate.  My husband ran in and, after showing his (non-photo) driver's license as proof of identity, emerged with a smile of victory and this all-important shiny new document.  And, of course, from there, we proceeded, document in hand, back to the DMV.  We walked up to the information counter and presented our story, the fact we needed to trade in our non-photo licenses for photo ones, etc. and handed the clerk our marriage certificate as proof of identity.  And, wouldn't you know that's when we ran into problem #2.
     While the poster in the lobby clearly stated we'd need
one of the following (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.) the man at the information counter heaved a great sigh and said, "I've been trying to tell them for almost a year that they've gotta update that poster. You can't get a photo license based on only a marriage certificate." (Hmm..how about a marriage certificate and a non-photo license?  No, huh?  Actually, it was beginning to seem one had to present both the number and type of proper documents in an exact combination rare enough to win the lottery.)  "Men need just the birth certificate and women need the birth certificate and the marriage certificate.  I didn't make the rules."
     Clearly the person who did never planned on having to follow them.
     Anyway, by this time it's 4PM on Friday, the DMV closes at 4:30, not to open again 'til Mon. at 8:30 -- on which day we're scheduled to fly.  The wheels are whirring at Concorde speed this time. "You know," I said at last, "I was born 10 min. from here."
     You guessed it.  Back to the cell phone.
     We got the number for the municipal offices of the town where I was born, and quickly called the clerk to find out if a certified copy of my birth certificate could be obtained this way.  Again, the answer was essentially, "Duh."
     By 4:20 we were standing in the municipal office while the clerk dusted off this thick volume of original certificates from my birth year (on my birthday, ironically) and began typing a copy.  In the midst of it she noticed the date and said, "Hey, happy birthday!" as she applied the seal and glanced over my (non-photo) driver's license for verification of the birthdate and proof of my identity.  "Thanks," I said, with a huge and sincere smile.  After all, in providing another of the "winning numbers" in this DMV photo-license jackpot, I truly felt she'd given me a pretty cool present.
     Of course, by the time I'd reached the exit I remembered what the prize was.  End of celebration.
     Obviously, by this time it was too late to return to the DMV, but we decided to stop by my husband's parents to pick up their copy of his birth certificate nonetheless.  It looked more and more like we might be flying to GA after all.  Oh, goody.
     Needless to say, Monday found us once more facing the DMV employee at the information counter.  By now it felt like we'd known the guy forever.  Hey, we had seen him more frequently in the past week than most of our friends and family members in the past year.  He looked over our documentation gravely, as though still not sure himself the planets would actually align in a way that might allow it all to be accepted at the next window.  At last he presented us with a numbered card (again conjuring images of mugshots on the news and that card you always see them holding like a director's "Take 1" slate) and instructed us to wait.  We pondered whether we had time to run next door and buy him cookies.
     Something like two days later -- okay, it was really only about 10 min., a woman called us up to begin the photo licensing process.  She, too, gravely examined and re-sequenced our documents before writing some illegible notation on a small form, handed them and our convict number back to us and likewise instructed us to wait.  We did so, holding our breath, still waiting to be banished like one who’d improperly placed an order with
Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi”.  In other words, by now we'd learned to never let down your guard at the DMV.
     Be that as it may, soon after that another woman called us to the next window and asked us for a check.  She processed the payment, took the pictures and promptly handed us brand new, shiny photo drivers' licenses.  We stared at them in silence for a moment…I mean, there had to be a catch.  But it didn't seem that way.  The woman moved on to the next victim -- I mean, the next customer, and we hi-tailed it out of there before she or anyone else could change their minds.
     Unfortunately, of course, that's not quite the end of the story.  For, having obtained the means of obtaining the tickets for and actually boarding the plane, we found ourselves faced with -- short of death, anyway -- no way out of doing so.  Ironically, the problem was I felt sure death would be the result; it was merely the order of events that would be reversed.
     That matter aside, the point here is the DMV (and by extension the air travel system that trusts them as the primary issuer of documents that allow one to board a plane) are far crazier than I am.  Because, assuming you followed the logic -- yes, I again return to that cold, hard, rational part of me that continues to (despite my now
very well-established -- indeed irrefutable -- insanity) rear its (well, not always so) ugly head, you'll recall that although we were denied photo licenses based solely on the presentation of non-photo ones, the very means used to obtain all of the documentation that eventually prompted the DMV to issue our cheery, mug-shot quality government certified photo identification was in fact, the very non-photo licenses that could under no circumstances be used as the only means of obtaining photo ones.  Yes, that is a run-on sentence…representative of the run-around we endured to obtain photo licenses -- which, it turns out can not merely be obtained solely on the basis of non-photo ones, but which arguably, in this instance, could only be obtained on the basis of non-photo ones (as a non-photo one was required to obtain both the birth and marriage certificates required to obtain the photo one).
     And, again, I'm forced to ask…is it really me who's crazy?
     Anyway, back to last year’s flying article, and the bit near the end where I asserted “that if someone who knows me well were asked what is the greatest (at least, apparent) paradox in my character, he would probably say that of faith versus common sense. For, in truth, the bulk of my ‘insanity’… is really a simple matter of believing that more is possible than most people realize, that it's intangibles of beauty and greatness that add up to true success, that good is stronger than evil, that ultimately justice will prevail, etc. That's faith.”
     To conclude then, what this whole tale boils down to is that we boarded the plane on faith.  Faith on the part of the airline that the DMV had properly done its job.  Faith that the DMV's system is truly the most secure system possible.  Faith that we were indeed the "normal" American citizens we claimed to be -- that our identical deer-in-the-headlights expressions of fear really did spring from the thought of flying at all, not thoughts of hijacking the plane or committing some other crime.  Faith.
     What’s more, you already know that faith proved justified since we and all the other passengers with whom we traveled indeed safely made it to Atlanta and back again.  And, indeed I remain encouraged that the rest of the world (even the airlines and DMV) may be a little more "insane" than they care to admit.  However, I still feel compelled to remind you that one definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting different results. And, the next time – should there ever be a next time – I’m faced with a need to fly, I guarantee I’ll be every bit as certain death is imminent as I was the first.  Yeah, the rest of the world may have turned out to be a wee bit crazy.  But where flying is concerned, I’ll still bet few match me for being downright certifiable.


















Inspired by the love triangle in Wuthering Heights

Awake My Love

In sleep, he calls me out – evoking memories
That will never be; swept away unbidden
on a current
Of emotion, and apathy – stronger than
the ocean’s tide
Found only on the sea of love.
Reality is left behind – to be continued…
The present is a blur of clarity – in a place
That cannot be, but is; in a time that is not time at all,
And yet, is eternity…
The time and place are love – deeper than ourselves,
Where and when will and desire cease,
And the reality of the world left behind
Is revealed as falsehood.
A destiny sealed by love – against which we have fought
And not won – yet we have not lost…
We face the false reality we have chosen;
We face the true reality we have denied,
But not destroyed – lest this destroy us.
Denial is useless, dreams are vain;
Only love is real – only love will remain.

                                            Here we are again —
                                    and yes, once again an
                                    issue is being sent out
                                    just a tiny bit after the
                                    month bearing its name
                                    has come to a close. 
                                    And, of course, part of    
                                    the reason for that is
                                    the fact it’s so chock-
                                    full of eclectic pieces —
                                    including a “Molly
Madvises” question that’s challenged Keela mightily, and the recounting of an experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles that presented challenges all its own (and one I suspect many readers will relate to.) 
     What’s more, since I didn’t get the promised review of
Music and Lyrics posted to my website in nearly the timely fashion I’d intended, I decided to include it under this month’s “Ravings of a Mad Woman”.  If you were, in fact, patient enough to keep checking back and have already read this piece on artistinsane.com I apologize for the redundancy.  However, since Keela has this month ventured into film reviewing for the first time herself, you can still check out a very interesting perspective on a wonderfully artful and entertaining theatrical experience:  Ratatouille.  You’ll find the link for this at the conclusion of her column.
     And, of course, there’s the usual “Music Mayhem”, another “Writings From the Asylum” novel installment, comments from readers on last month’s issue, etc. 
     I expect you’re all in the midst of a summer as hectic as mine — one that on the East Coast anyway, is literally heating up!  Here’s hoping you find a bit of time to slow down for an enjoyable read — and that you indeed find all that’s featured here enjoyable.

     Thanks again, and already I look forward to making your August a bit more “manic”!



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 15  “Release”, cont’d.



     Monday night found Josh seated onstage at a club in Portland, Oregon, his hair strategically tousled and sticking out of a baseball cap to hide the large dark bruise and swelling on his forehead.  Gamely determined to complete the current mini-tour of gigs as scheduled, but still room-spinning dizzy whenever he stood for more than a few seconds he was grateful these early-week shows had been booked as more intimate, acoustic-driven affairs than the rocking band shows a Friday or Saturday night crowd would demand.  Midway through the first, it seemed to be going surprisingly well.  In fact, so far the audience had proved refreshingly receptive.

     In true band-brother spirit (and despite his obvious doubts), Tommy had bolstered his version of events to the hospital psychologists, insisting Josh hadn’t exhibited any signs of unhealthy mental activity of late, and had been hugely enthusiastic to play the festival.  Between the two of them they’d apparently come off as utterly convincing.  The psychologists basically yawned going through the required motions, and with the promise to those treating the physical side of his “incident” that he’d stay in bed for the next several days, he was a free man.  Wryly he wondered if the choice to pursue music was a mistake.  It seemed he and Tommy could’ve hit it big as con men.  Goodness knows, they’d sold enough lies over the weekend to scam the most discerning billionaire.
     He had lived up to their word until this evening, however, staying behind in the hotel upon his release from the hospital yesterday, and allowing Chris to handle all front-man duties for the band throughout the festival.  By all reports it seemed to have gone well, and Chris, in fact, remained surprisingly cheerful despite the fact singing with both Josh’s band and his own had surely been quite taxing — particularly from a vocal standpoint.   By the same token,
not singing had proved far more so for Josh over the past couple of days, and being a player in both scenarios had probably proved most taxing of all for Tommy.   Though Josh should have long since learned by now to expect the unexpected, still he was most surprised at how Tommy seemed rejuvenated in the wake of all this madness.  It was almost as if being forced to act as a unit so recently had actually bonded them as one again.  Or maybe the realization Josh himself wasn’t as ready to throw in the towel on their collective futures as both of them had thought of late had made the difference.  Whatever the case, the renewal of synchronization they’d discovered — onstage and off — was yet one more thing for which Josh was deeply thankful.  And, he hoped fervently it represented far more than a temporary truce.

     Josh flopped down beside Chris on a couch backstage at the conclusion of the set.  Chris’s band would go on next, with an intermission of 15 minutes or so between.  

     “Sounds like a decent crowd,” Chris remarked. 
     “Yeah,” they seemed really into it, too.  You should have it pretty easy out there.  Good thing, after this weekend, huh?”

     Chris shrugged.  “It wasn’t that bad.”

     Josh grew serious, hesitating for a moment.  “Listen, Tommy told me that your taking over for me — acting as host — disqualified your band from the grand prize...the record contract.  I’m really sorry about that.  I —”

     “Hey, man, don’t sweat it.  It’s cool.  Really.  Besides, the execs said they’d be in touch about some kind of compensation.   They’re supposed to call me in a day or two.”

     “Well, I suppose they’ll refund your entry fee, at least.  But, they really should do more.”

     “Yeah, I’m not really sure what they have in mind yet,” Chris responded casually. “But, right now, we’ve just got to get through this week of shows. “

     “Tell me about it.  I think I’ll be fine to hold up my end from here on  out, anyway.   One down —”
     “Hey, Chris,” the sound tech interrupted, “We need you out front for a minute.  Just got to check a couple things.”

     “Be right there,” Chris called back.  Rising, he turned to Josh again. “Looks like it’s my turn.  You going straight back to the hotel?” 
     “Yeah, I think I’ll call it a night.  I think the other guys are gonna hang, though.  Somebody’s gotta load out the gear after the last band and all…”

     “I guess I’ll see you in the morning, then.”

     “Yeah,” Josh said again, then added a little self-consciously, “Thanks  for everything….not just the festival….that stuff you said when we got to Seattle the other night — well, whenever it was.  Feels like a hundred years ago. Anyway, you were right, and I didn’t get the chance to say that before.  Thanks for looking out for me...for caring.  You’re a really good friend , Chris.  I probably ought to tell you that more often.”

     A myriad of emotions Josh couldn’t quite decipher flitted across Chris’s face before he blushed slightly and turned away.  Finally, he shot back in a husky tone.
     “Geez, Josh, you really hit your head pretty hard, I guess.   You’d better hurry to the hotel.  You definitely need some rest.”

     “Get out of here, you jerk.”  Josh retorted with a grin.

     “That’s more like it,” Chris laughed, then followed up.  “The van’s leaving at 6AM.  You better have a your sentimental girlie a— ready to go.”

     “Ah, you’ll wait if you have to.  I know how much you love me.”

     “You wish,” Chris threw back, leaving Josh still smiling as he patted down his pockets for the room key, and upon finding it stood up to leave.


Text Box:   More of my little furry friends have been tapped for Rat of the Week honors at The Rat Fan Club!  Actually, make that little but not really furry as these guys are the variety of pet rat very accurately called “hairless”.  

Check back soon at www.ratfanclub.org/ratweek.html  to meet Nabakov (above) and his brother Nikolai!
Text Box:           As always, feel free to drop 
                  by my “space” at


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!!!

Temporary Insanity