Sam Jasper

Coco Robicheaux passed away Friday evening. Much has been written about the man, his music, his artistry, his character and his seemingly mythical background. Much more will be written. Many of us spent yesterday between tears and laughter, blaring his music through our homes to let him know we’re here thinking about him. I double checked my files to be sure that I hadn’t lost the 40 minute live set I recorded on my phone at Mimi’s a couple months ago. I regretted never having given him the eagle feather I had told him I’d bring when I saw him next. I remembered that the ancients believed there is a four day window between the time the soul leaves the body and its transition to the higher realms. I’ll have to light a candle for him today so he sees it along the way.

John Hicks

I hate to begin with Facebook, but I must, I must.

I’m only a casual Facebook user, which, I imagine, is sort of like being a casual crack cocaine user. (In a hundred years, people won’t even know what crack is. They’ll be foraging for radioactive mushrooms or jacked into some kind of technological future-dope a la the novels of Philip K. Dick or William Gibson. Either way, good luck with that, people of the future. I hope you still have baseball and Buddy Holly songs, but you probably won’t. It’s possible there will be a huge shift in human consciousness and people will stop abusing their brains, bodies and fellow beings, but I doubt it. This concludes a gloomy parenthetical aside for a gloomy November day.)

My Facebook fever is low-grade, but a fever nonetheless. In my defense, I would like to point out I live on a mountain in the middle of nowhere, and social networking via the interwebs comprises about 95% of my social life.

Mark Folse


As the youngest he is given the night watch. The sheep huddle together in the cool Judah night and leave him free to study the dark clockwork of the stars. Then wolves howl in the distance, and he is forced to walk guard, wondering what he would do with this simple staff of wood against determined yellow fangs, greedy for sheep. A gentle youth who would catch a scorpion in a palm leaf and turn it loose outside rather than crush it with a stone, he wonders if he has the strength to confront an angry pack howling for blood, if he is really meant to be a shepherd.  As he walks guard the stars turn relentless in the heavens, unconcerned with his doubts.

I was an impressionable kid. For instance, I was very moved by the “let’s put on a show!” ethos of “The Little Rascals” (aka “Our Gang”) shorts – which were broadcast every afternoon on Chicago UHF TV. Thanks to Spanky, Alfalfa, and company, I was forever trying to put on a show in my own backyard, always unsuccessfully, due to the fact that there were not enough fellow rascals in my neighborhood to stage a full-blown vaudeville extravaganza, or even to serve as a suitable audience, notwithstanding the tireless efforts of my long-suffering (and sole) sidekick, Jeffie.

I can’t remember if it was “Our Gang” or some other bane of Newton Minow that provoked me to try to start up my own neighborhood “newspaper.” Like my attempts at theater, my paper never got off the ground, even though I had found a really kick-ass place in the woods for a secret hideout, er, editorial headquarters.

Failures are learning experiences, and should be appreciated, as such.

I stayed interested in the newspaper business. After a semester of gonzo sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll-soaked fun as the news editor of my community college weekly (the day we learned we were being evicted from our little hash-smoke-redolent trailer on the edge of campus, and were to be moved into a glass-walled fishbowl in the midst of the lair of our nemesis, the faculty director of the student government – dude was Dean Wormer with a cheesy mustache and smarmy grin – the editorial board got together, got wasted, and trashed the bejesus out of our beloved offices and spray painted obscene cartoons all over the hammer-and-boot-pocked wood-esque-paneled walls – good times) I transferred to one of my home state’s top-four “directional” universities and immediately joined the staff of the student newspaper.

I think I lasted two days. Maybe three. Details are unusually fuzzy in my memory, but something about my first assignment pissed me off, and I said some things to a couple of editors that made me unwelcome in their very stuffy and Omega-Theta-Pi-House-like home. Which was actually a house. A house full of very dull people.

Francis Illington

The microblogging platform known as Tumblr (why in the Internet Age have we shed all reasonableness when it comes to spelling is a mystery to this writer) is a perennial fave among those who like to while away the hours looking at pictures of kittens or babies or ponies or rainbows or attractive OWS coeds. For the more ambitious, there are tumblrs ranging from “Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things” to “Michael Buble Being Stalked by a Raptor” to “Unhappy Hipsters.”

Sam Jasper

Fringe Fest is this week, which you no doubt know unless your head has been under a rock. As usual, I scoured the list of shows, then culled them, then arranged them by time and location. It’s a difficult process given so many interesting offerings. Several pieces really stood out and one I was determined not to miss started off last night at NOCCA with Never Fight a Shark in Water.

To say it was moving is to understate things. To say it was strong is still weak. What I saw was nothing short of the personification of sheer will, faith and optimism walking around in front of me in the person of Greg Bright.

To give you some background, in 1975 Greg Bright, then 20 years old, and Earl Truvia, 17, went to bed one night in the Calliope Projects. Later that night with the requisite banging on the door and shouted threats to open up, Greg was arrested for the murder of a 15 year old boy. After a Kafka-esque trial including an incompetent court appointed attorney, withheld evidence, testimony against him by a paid schizophrenic heroin addict testifying under a false name due to her own criminal record he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Did I mention that he and his co-defendent, Earl Truvia, didn’t even know each other?

John Hicks

Will some of you stop pretending you’ve never seen pornography on the internet, which connects us all, amen? (I’m contractually obligated to add the phrase “which connects us all, amen” whenever I use the word “internet.” Whether or not the word “internet” should be capitalized is a matter for another day. Today, it is not capitalized. Deal with it.)

I hate neither porn nor the World Wide Waterslide.

I am not a ninny. I am not a mooncalf.

I’m a modern person, not some fuddy-duddy!

Someone hacked Facebook this week and yadda yadda yadda porn.

Here’s a tip: You don’t have to look at the bad, bad porn. You can close that window and go to the site with all the bible verses.