Thursday, October 19, 2017


He has reflected his inner child on screen for decades. With his head held proudly in dark clouds, Tim Burton has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Disneyland. His Jack Skellington character possesses the park's Haunted Mansion, and the director of Alice in Wonderland is currently working on the live-action version of Dumbo to be released in 2019.
          Among his 38 directorial credits, eight include Johnny Depp in the lead, and sixteen with music by Danny Elfman. Elfman, whom Burton had appreciated as the brains behind the pop band Oingo Boingo, has said that after he wrote the music for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) his career went "from zero to ninety."
          That film was Burton's big breakthrough, and features moments of stop-motion animation, which was associated at that time with holiday TV specials. 
          Burton's primary work melds classic characters and set designs (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,    Metropolis) with stories related to younger-skewing pop culture favorites from the 1960s and '70s (Batman, Planet of the Apes , Dark Shadows). Generally composed of equal parts Gothic atmosphere, romance, and laughs, Tim Burton's films have the controlled look of a German set. Indeed, just as Fritz Lang built a fake forest for Siegfried, Burton built one for Sleepy Hollow (1999).
          As Burton's version of Ichabod Crane, Johnny Depp takes on the sensitive, sallow-faced archetype which predominates the director's work. As Edward Scissorhands in 1990, Depp set the high-bar with a tousle-haired Goth look evoking Conrad Veidt's Somnambulist and somehow always reflecting Burton. 
          It is his undying obsession with all things Halloween that undoubtedly defines Burton in the public mind. Depp stars in most of the best: Sweeney Todd, Dark Shadows, and primarily Sleepy Hollow--which, while dark enough for events to revolve around a series of decapitations, still manages to refer to the Disney cartoon version of Washington Irving's tale.
          Burton's other masterpiece, 1988's Beetlejuice, boasts Michael Keaton as "the ghost with the most." (Both films feature a sudden stop-motion animation creepy moment as first seen in Pee-Wee.) Fans of the quirky cult classic will be knocked dead to hear that Burton's Beetlejuice sequel, again starring Keaton, is in the works.

Stewart Kirby writes for

Thursday, October 12, 2017


I cast unaccountable shadows. Not all the time so noticeably. But sometimes, si, muy noticeable. I'll be sitting in a chair in a room and see my silhouette with what looks unmistakably like the lance mysteriously given to me. Many times I spin around seeking the source of the effect. Always nothing there. The actual lance is on my bedroom floor until I get around to setting up a couple of mounts on the wall...



Sunday, October 8, 2017


          An excellent replication.
          It's not better than the original, but it's a close second.
          Ryan Gosling stars as K, a so-called "Blade Runner" agent on a mission to assassinate which leads him to the star of the 35 year-old film, Harrison Ford.
          Since its release, the movie based on a story by sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", has virtually defined the look of the dystopian future. Director Ridley Scott's vision of a dark, bleak, soulless corporate world run into the ground and populated by artificial life on the run magnificently reflected PKD's writing with one notable exception: PKD's heroes never look like Hollywood leading-man material. He died shortly after the film's release, so he never saw Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall or Tom Cruise in Minority Report, to exemplify the repeated discrepancy.
          True enough, technology has advanced so that most of the effects in the new addition to the franchise look  even better, under a microscope. But it cannot hope to outstrip the reason for its being; the film always refers in some way to the 1982 landmark film, yet without the benefit of being written by the legendary master.
          It's a long movie, generally slow, and always interesting to watch.
          As always skirting around the edge of the story in order to preserve the experience for the reader, suffice to say 2049 concerns themes of self-discovery and the nature of what it means to be alive in an increasingly automated world.
          Film fans will find similarities with indirect source material including Metropolis and Bride of Frankenstein.
          The 1982 original boasted not only a visionary aesthetic, but also one of the greatest soundtracks ever, plus an unforgettable bad guy as played by Rutger Hauer. This movie captures the look and sound of the original almost perfectly, and features a terrific performance by Gosling in particular.
          And of course Harrison Ford.
          Well worth a trip to the theater.

Starring Ryan Gosling,
Harrison Ford,
Robin Wright,
Ana De Armas,
Jared Leto,
Sylvia Hoeks,
Dave Bautista,
Mackenzie Davis,
Edward James Olmos
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Based on characters created by Philip K. Dick
Runtime 163 minutes
Rated R

Stewart Kirby writes for

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Where ancient aliens, a Hippie Grail Myth, and animatronic Bigfeet collide.

One book with 3 stories:

DRIFTING ROOM After an alien abduction accidentally lands Sam Hain in a parallel universe version of his redwood county home, his only hope of getting back is finding the pale little almond-eyed being with the bulbous head who accidentally landed with him and fled into the forest, while, unknown to Sam, it’s his own blood coming into contact with the biosphere that’s causing the bugs to grow so big. CODY AND HEIDI When aging genius Wolfgang Fischer wounds his foot, the entire redwood land suffers blight. Crops don’t grow right, people act dehumanized, and corporatization ensues as Southern Humbaba County comes under attack by the National Armed Resistance to Growers in this Hippie Grail myth. REDWOODLAND Joe Longhair’s stories give the inspiration for Redwoodland, the world’s largest amusement park and forest preserve of the future. When he finally takes two tickets, Joe finds juicy romance where visitors pass by train through real redwoods, and danger beyond his wildest dreams among the talking burls, automated Bigfeet, and animatronic Hippies.

To buy your copy of
Stewart Kirby's
click the link

Saturday, October 7, 2017


ALL THE WAY DOWN the mountain the smile on his face never once faded until he saw the Bear, one of those Big Bears they had with the eyes that blazed red and could run faster than the real thing, able even to split open and release the driver.

He hated to have to take the truck out of low gear right here, right in front of them, tired as he was after a long day of thinning trees, plus putting up metal siding on the cabin, but there was nothing he could do about it. All he could do was slow down and pull over for a few moments to change out.

Sure enough, that Big Bear's eyes went from low-grade dim to bright blazing red as it waddled on over, just the biggest, fattest, ugliest-looking bear you could ever imagine coming right over to the window and demanding identification.

The sun, beginning to set, cast a spectacular orange glow through the ragged black tree-line.

"How's it going, officer?" he asked, trying his best to respect the badge while he retrieved his paperwork from the glove compartment.

"Sir, turn off your engine," came the voice from within the huge lifelike bear head sniffing at the window.

"Yes, sir," he replied. Oh, he knew they'd hassle him on sight, he just knew it. Finally getting free of this very sort of thing was exactly why he'd been so happy all day till now. Murphy's Law. He turned off the engine.

"Sir, are you presently carrying any firearms or other weapons?"

Holy Moly. Ever since those rotten traitors pulled up stakes and headed out for anti-gravity cities and luxury accommodations on the moon and Mars, the Indians, descendants of the natives, they just couldn't let bygones be bygones.

The mechanical Bear emitted both heat and scent. The deep dank scent of Indian casino basement. Those fearsome facilities constructed underground housed many of the local super-rich who left the whole show and copped out.

"Okay, all right, I do have a .44 on the back seat."

Big Bear's hard snarl shifted the hat on his head like the sail of a skiff in a storm. Suddenly the Bear put both of its gigantic front paws on the top of the truck and started rocking the vehicle from side-to-side, roaring horrifically the while. Inside, the man hung on to the wheel, maintaining an upright position with all his might until the Bear stopped and reared up to its full height, red eyes blazing in the dusk light.

Whereupon the Big Bear opened, and from the perfect hidden seam stepped forth the law enforcement officer, a bona fide agent of Cahokia restored, glorious in full metal feather, great big laser bow drawn...




Meet yNsaynZy.

He's a superhero.

His power: Insanity.

Once a prominent scientist, Dashiell Kesey helped Big Pharmaceutical--until he saw the terrible potential of a harmful new drug. He tried to stop the insidious plan to control and enslave the vast majority of humanity, but was caught in a blast at the lab that changed him...did not kill him, but made him stronger. Made him...yNsaynZy.

Behold his kingly raiment!

Some say he is the god Dionysus in human form. Others say he is a man who became a god.

Both true? Probably.

But one thing is certain:

He is the greatest military leader to walk the face of the earth.

He's yNsaynZy!

They called Galileo crazy, too.

The artist is always crazy, the visionary always crazy, the prophet always mad. In a world where people are pumped day in and day out with pills, pills, pills, pumped with deadly drugs pushed by TV, the crazy man has no TV and pops no pills at all. His is the strength of the madman, and he quotes from Hamlet and Nietzsche, Captain Ahab and James Joyce,  Vincent Van Gogh and Edgar A. Poe, before delivering justice unto wrongdoers.

I think I'm really onto something here.


By golly, somebody keeps leaving me things in my truck. I swear to god, it's bizarre. This morning's Mystery Gift:

A sword.

First a flag. Why? Then a lance. Why? Now a sword. So why not keep them? All carefully placed. Well, not the flag so much. That seems separate. The lance and the sword were placed very specifically in a particular way though, and unlike the flag they both look and feel old. Authentic.

It's a cool old sword. Leather scabbard with either an N on it or a Z, depending how you look, or maybe both. Horse head hilt. Blade even looks like it has ancient blood rusted on it. I love working on my new story while I wear my sword hanging from my belt. Which is a perfectly legal thing for me to do here in Oregon should I so choose to travel out and about with my sword...


Sunday, October 1, 2017


          A non-comprehensive list of worthy suggestions for your perusal. Mythic marriages of life and death, go-to Gothic flicks to aid the cinematic senses in this autumnal season. In random order:

          1. Bride of Frankenstein (1934) - James Whale's classic version of Mary Shelley's novel, starring Boris Karloff as the iconic Creature. Differs significantly, but always delivers classic Halloween atmosphere.
          2. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - Eye-candy in a big way. Francis Ford Coppola's version of Bram Stoker's novel (the ultimate Gothic novel) does differ--they almost always do, and understandably so--but still demands its annual due.
          3. Nosferatu (1979) - A version yet further in keeping with the Dubliner's novel, directed by the greatest living filmmaker, Werner Herzog, and starring the inimitable Klaus Kinski as the repulsive Lord of Vampires.
          4. Halloween (1979) - From the same notable year, John Carpenter's immortal indie classic about an extremely resilient guy who escapes an insane asylum one Halloween, wearing a messed-up William Shatner mask, silently intent on killing his sister.
          5. Creepshow (1982) - One could just as easily substitute Hitchcock's Psycho, or The Silence of the Lambs, or The Omen, or Young Frankenstein, but this list honors Stephen King and George Romero's classic pulpy homage to EC Comics of the 1950s.
          6. The Shining (1980) - Stephen King doesn't like the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece reputedly because of Jack Nicholson's performance, but what does he know? It's the fantastic film of a dad possessed by evil hotel spirits over an ancient Indian burial site trying to kill his son.
          7. The Haunting (1963) - Robert Wise's version of the Shirley Jackson novel about another haunted house, this time beautifully suggested, very tastefully done and featuring Julie Harris.
          8. Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Mia Farrow stars in Roman Polanski's remarkably faithful adaptation of the novel by Ira Levin about the birth of the Devil's child.
          9. The Ninth Gate (1999) - Speak of the Devil, this amazing slice of Gothicism, also directed by Polanski, features Johnny Depp as a book detective looking for a book written by Lucifer.
         10. Sleepy Hollow (1999) - Capping off the century, Tim Burton's own eye-candy, starring Depp as the eccentric Ichabod Crane, a constable sent to investigate murders in a backwoods community. Differs markedly from Washington Irving's classic story, yet still merit attention.
         11. The Wolf Man (2010) - Featuring Benecio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins in this terrific update of the 1940s version starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
         12. The Fly (1986) - Another great Gothic re-make, this time of a 1950s B-movie about a fly and a guy who get together. Stars Jeff Goldblum as the underrated classic Brundlefly.
         13. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) - Long before the Fly, there was Hyde. Ultimate split-personality story about a good doctor (excellently played by Fredric March) who scientifically extracts his own repressed dark side in Victorian England with horrific results.

Stewart Kirby writes for

Thursday, September 28, 2017


DO REMEMBER OF COURSE I am not responsible for these words. I didn't write them. A wolf did. The one that was at my door for so long.

She yells my name.

"What are you doing? What are you DOING? GET OUT OF THERE!"

I am kneeling over the body of my little boy. He died after she brought him back from the vet. My daughter kneels next to me, and together we feel the loss. Having heard her enter the house upstairs, I called her down to the basement to share the bad news. Now that she stands in the doorway, she cannot help but see. Nothing can be more obvious. Anyone in the world can see my daughter and I feel pain. He is in one of those plastic cat carriers with little metal bars for a door and a handle on the top. I have removed the screws that hold the top half of the carrier to the base, so that his furry black body, still and lifeless, lies exposed. I pet him with one hand sadly while she stands in the doorway screaming at me. "He's dead," I say, not looking up. Imperiously, she orders me to move. For the sake of my daughter and my little boy, I comply. We switch places. She kneels by the body, and does what I had been doing. Standing in the doorway now, I watch while she pets his lifeless form. It is the same cat carrier he was in when I brought him back from the animal shelter six years prior. The words she senselessly screamed Still hand in the air.

What are you doing?

Get out of there!

Shifting to an oddly incongruous considerate tone, she asks my daughter if she would like to pet him. Quietly crying, my daughter says no. When she looks up and puts the question to me, I say, "That's what I was doing when you screamed at me to leave."

I wonder what she would think if she saw that scene in a movie, perhaps with the genders reversed. I wonder what she would think of herself if anyone else was her. And in the meantime I have no sofa, no lamp, or money for re-sealable baggies. If I can afford an onion, one half gets wrapped in the plastic bag from the store, and at the second-hand shop I see a lot of things I used to own. The lid to my old CD player won't stay down, so I have to keep something on top at all times, and much of what little I own is torn and frayed. All this the result of my writing books. She couldn't handle the thunder coming my way. She abandoned me one summer on family vacation, carting away my kid, whom I'd raised and taught to read by age three, all because of books. I got nothing out of the divorce.

Workwise, my attempt to syndicate my movie reviews into multiple newspapers naturally leading to a conversation with the editor of the one now nearest me resulted in some dour galley slave's release with the assurance unto me subsequent to official interview that there was more in my future at the paper than merely movie reviews. And a couple days later I found out by email he quit. Accompanied with the news was a job offer...


Wednesday, September 27, 2017



THE LOYAL READER WILL doubtless recall sometime back I found a US Marines flag someone left in my pickup. Now today I find myself the recipient of a gift nearer to my heart: A lance. An actual lance. I have no idea who left it for me, but I'm keeping it.

With my trusty tape measure I find it is eleven feet long. The width of the wood varies, but it weighs only a few pounds. The only way I could get it into my apartment was through the window. I propped it against the sill, went back inside, and pulled it right on through.

Now I have a lance. I have no idea why.

My cell phone is dead and my charger doesn't work, so I can't take pictures yet. I don't know, maybe it's an olde-time selfie-stick. Sure looks like a lance, though.

It is. Don't worry. Joust you wait and see.


Sunday, September 24, 2017


          It began as a response to isolationism.
          During WWI, Germany could import no films. This resulted in an influx of highly original material expressing thoughts and emotions through strikingly stylized cinematic elements: Dark, angular worlds reflecting a purely subjective eye.
          Stories featuring themes of madness, betrayal, and mind control flowered in an environment of artistic freedom throughout the 1920s. In particular, the work of Robert Wiene, F.W. Murnau, and Fritz Lang influenced contemporary filmmakers and continue to do so nearly a century later.
          Witness the geometrically absurd angles of the first horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1921). The distorted scenery and optical effects (including painted shadows) are routinely reflected in the films of Tim Burton. Three of the biggest heavyweights in film--Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Stanley Kubrick--owe much of their aesthetic and many of their techniques to German Expressionism.
          Expressionism is a form of Gothicism, which itself arose largely as a need to process the events of the French Revolution.
          To compare James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with its predecessor, Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) is to see homage, to put it kindly, at its fullest extent. Indeed, horror films and film noir result directly from German Expressionism.
          Bluntly stated, these directors were simply way ahead of Hollywood.
          From The Maltese Falcon and The Third Man to Apocalypse Now and Blade Runner, the influence of Expressionism, with its emphasis on the exaggerated and the surreal, cannot be overstated. To look at Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands is to see Conrad Veidt as the Somnambulist in Caligari.
          Just as Franz Kafka emphatically did not write The Metamorphosis in hopes of appealing to a readership looking for stories where people turn into big bugs, the Expressionists produced unprecedented films of emotional depth, often eerily prescient of events to come, which work precisely because realism is done away with entirely.
          Eventually, Germany did import films, and this highpoint in cinema took an inevitable nosedive. But like fine wine, Expressionism only gets better with age.

Stewart Kirby writes for

You've read the movie read the books.

You haven't lived till you've died.
Purchase your copy of

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Well howdy there.

Check this out: I've written over a thousand published articles in multiple periodicals. My work has appeared in This Week News and Review, The North Coast Journal, The Trader, The Independent, and more. I've taught Creative Writing and I've had a radio show reading one of my own books as well as the works of others. My clean, muscular prose engages readers around the world, and I have never missed a deadline. Decades of experience gird these journalistic loins. Whether my topic is self-assigned or appointed, I will write the most interesting article in the paper. It's what I do. And by the way, I also created my own literary genre, Redwoodpunk.

Scroll on down, peruse away, and see for yourself.

For the FULL HUMBABA CYCLE STORY LIST, click the link:

To read my article SURFING WITH SHARKS, click the link:

Sunday, September 17, 2017


          A hit, a very palpable hit.
          Twenty-seven years after the made-for-TV movie, It returns. And how wonderful, because in Stephen King's novel, the terrifying entity returns to the town of Derry, Maine, to feed on fear and human bodies every twenty-seven years.
          The star, Bill Skarsgard, who plays Pennywise the Dancing Clown, is also twenty-seven.
          One gets the impression that Stephen King films never live up to the novels. Not so. Many great films come from his work. The differences between print and film are such that many efforts do fall short, but just look at the list of classics: Carrie, The Shining, Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Misery.
          And now It.
          This film focuses on a group of thirteen year-olds plagued by bullies, their parents, and an evil clown in the late-1980s. The story begins with the loss of little Georgie (Scott). A year later, his big brother Bill is still obsessed with trying to find Georgie. But we know it was a clown down in a gutter that got him.
          The clown tries to get other kids, too. Like Freddy Kruger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pennywise has godlike powers of evil and can basically do anything. So perhaps in some sense It is not totally realistic or adequately explained, but with so many great evil clown moments, who cares?
          Since 1990 technology has finally advanced to the point where we can see this story as King intended. During the course of the film, admirers of the writer's work cannot help but turn frequently to one another with upraised thumbs. The way the clown rises from the murky waters of a flooded basement, flivvering angrily toward its prey--the way the clown appears from behind a collection of blood-red balloons, perhaps with the sound of a broken music box winding down--the way the clown's long sharp teeth sink into a child's flesh--these are the sorts of cinematic moments which can only be described as sublime, as true fans of King's work will attest.
          The filmmakers wisely do what King does in his book: Marble the great Pennywise stuff with the good other things--the real-life laughs and horrors the kids go through hanging onto each other for support. Featuring entertaining dialogue among the kids similar to Stand By Me, It posits that the true horrors are often found at home with freakishly monstrous parents. In real life, young brothers aren't so syrupy with their displays of love, thankfully enough, and it is doubtful that a sexually abused teen would be as comfortable and well-adjusted as the one depicted in this film, but we can overlook such weak points easily enough because so much of It flat out delivers.
          Well worth a trip to the big screen.

Starring Jaeden Lieberher,
Jeremy Ray Taylor,
Sophia Lillis,
Finn Wolfhard,
Chosen Jacobs,
Jack Dylan Grazer,
Wyatt Oleff,
Bill Skarsgard,
Nicholas Hamilton,
Jake Sim,
Logan Thompson,
Owen Teagre,
Jackson Robert Scott
Directed by Andy Muschietti
Written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga,
Gary Dauberman
Based on the novel by Stephen King
\Runtime 135 minutes
Rated R

Stewart Kirby writes for

Like evil clowns, do we?
Check this one out:

If there's one thing clowns hate,
it's a stinkin' coulrophobe.

To read the short story CAPTAIN HIDE, click the link:

But wait, there are still more evil clowns.

This one's getting started:

To check out AXKLOWN, the world's first serial killer superhero, click the link.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


My friend Weston Simonis is a singer-songwriter who plays guitar, percussion, and has had a few bands. He's been active in music his whole life.

Check out The Weston Simonis Show on KEOL 91.7 FM Thursdays 6 - 9 pm.

I've been wanting a band called The Man for a long time. And now I have it.

I got my Father's Day cake! Happy Father's Day!

That one works better if you've seen CREEPSHOW.

Anyway, we done recorded us a real whizzbanger, "My Black Bride". Looking forward to recording more songs as soon as we can.

Check out Weston's award-winning album, MOMENTS OF INTOXICATION at
Click the link to hear the song

Sunday, September 10, 2017


          Based on the 1990s animated series, and the 2001-2002 live-action TV show, this excellent re-boot available on Amazon Prime.
          Imagine a sort of opposite Don Quixote, where the windmills really are giants, and Don Quixote tries to enlist a nebbish, Woody Allen-looking office worker in his quest to battle crime as a superhero.
          Similar to the 1981-1983 TV show "The Greatest American Hero", the Tick gives office worker Arthur (Newman) a mysterious super-suit which he has a hard time managing and which has seemingly ever-unfolding powers, including flight.
          Arthur's sister Dot (Curry) worries about him. The Tick, who isn't all quite there mentally, but is cheerfully benign, mistakenly calls her Spot.
          Meanwhile, trying to retrieve the suit (which allows the wearer to look like a superhero who should be called the Moth, or, Moth Boy) are the members of the nefarious Pyramid Gang, ostensibly lead by one Ramses IV (Cerveris), who in turn takes his orders from the Terror (Haley).
          The Terror runs the city.
          Further meanwhile, a masked "robo-ninja" called Overkill (Speiser) is also trying to get the suit and take down the Terror and the Pyramid Gang. But the Tick disapproves of Overkill's methods, because Overkill stabs people to death and tends to be a bit too murder-y.
          And we must not forget Ms. Lint (Martinez), an enforcer for the Terror, whose superpower over electricity also has the unintended side-effect of perpetually attracting dust and lint.
          Original Tick creator Ben Edlund contributes to the writing. However, writers and directors of episodes vary.
          "Unhand that precious balloon of hope!" Serafinowicz's stentorian delivery, arising from a heady mixture of supreme confidence and blissful ignorance, defines the character and provides the highlights for every episode. (Serafinowicz is also one of the show's producers.) Destiny, according to the Tick's unwavering certainty, handed Arthur the super-suit. The Tick was merely the messenger. Unfortunately, he "can't remember anything beyond a few days ago."
          Initially Arthur doubts his sanity and wants nothing to do with the big blue bug of justice. But again, the Tick's certainty wavers not a jot. When Arthur fears that he's hallucinating, the Tick cheerily assures his hapless new chum, "You just went sane in an insane world!"
          Featuring weaponized syphilis, the show is also co-produced by the star of the first live-action series, Patrick Warburton, who first found fame as Elaine's mechanic boyfriend on "Seinfeld".
          Well worth a watch.

Starring Peter Serafinowicz,
Griffin Newman,
Valerie Curry,
Scott Speiser,
Yara Martinez,
Michael Cerveris,
Jackie Earle Haley
Created by Ben Edlund
Runtime 29 minutes
Rated TV-14

Stewart Kirby writes for


The old man laughed as the wound gushed blood...

My short story homage to Looney Tunes features a Mel Blanc-like character who happens to be an incredibly psychotic sadist.


Thursday, September 7, 2017


Her hair falls where it likes, and she is actively gorgeous. Succulent lips, plump as ripe berries, pull me by the tie with gravitational certainty. The breasts of this goddess strain the thin material of her low-cut top, bright white fabric starkly contrasted against the richness of her warm brown skin. A natural beauty, the smiles that play across her face set my heart alight.

I hold my darling in my hand, as she indeed holds me, like Aladdin with a magic lamp. The distance is great, and nothing at all. She lines her lamp with art. I encounter pieces dreamily as she takes me on the secret tour.

Periodically unable to contain myself, I remind her again of her staggering beauty. She leans back, smiles, and tousles her hair. "Oh, thank you, Daddy!" Condition compounded, I melt into the floor.

Mon amour sends me photos. Perhaps you have heard loud howling sounds like a wolf recently wherever you live? Yes, that was me. I see the pictures and I become excited. Because she is so beautiful. And I love her so much.

Uniquely compassionate, and passionate, devoid of adversarial intent, this amazing lady embodies femininity to me. The way she dresses, the way she moves, so genuine and unaffected. Everything I have to say about my love sounds like someone else's song. Because it is true.

Now at last I understand a feeling I have never known. I don't mean that in a vengeful way against the world or anyone in particular. I am sincere. I have never felt like this before.

Three years we've seen each other online, regularly liking each other's posts. For a long time, I thought she was from Germany. I got really into Germany for awhile.

To me it seems like she lives in a storybook world. Belgium has amazing architecture. Such a pretty place. And she is an artist. Such a pretty artist. Sweeter than Kentucky pie.

Literally we talk morning, noon, and night. Every day now for months. Gipsy Kings play for us, just us, every day. Thank you, Gipsy Kings. Your tremulous strings and earnest voices complement our texts, skypes, and psychic romps through the green rolling hills of laughing lovers.

In my heart she is my wife.

And now I am ready. Ready to set the flat of the blade to the flank and leave the town in cinders.

Don't know exactly what that means, but I'm feelin' the need.

Sunday, September 3, 2017


          In 1932, riding the wave of success he enjoyed the previous year with his smash hit Dracula, director Tod Browning was given free reign for his next project. Expand this latitude further considering the Hays Code limiting film would not be in effect for two more years.
          Yet the product which resulted from such promise so disgusted audiences, Freaks quickly ruined Tod Browning's career.
          In this story featuring a circus community, diminutive Hans (Earles) loves Cleopatra (Baclanova), the beautiful trapeze artist. She in turn loves the circus strong man, Hercules (Victor). At first she finds little Hans' big interest in her amusing, but when she learns of his inheritance, she decides to actually marry him with the plan of killing him to inherit the fortune herself.
          When Hans' sideshow freak friends learn of Cleopatra and Hercules' plan, they take matters in hand...or with whatever they've got.
          Some of the performers lack limbs altogether. (And yet can still roll a cigarette!) Others shock viewers more deeply. Schlitze, for example.
          Born micro-cephalic, standing 4' 2", his family sold him at age 9 to a traveling sideshow. When the camera shows such clearly challenged individuals, and audiences see that, this time, Lon Chaney is dead, and the special effects are real, audiences respond viscerally.
          The film was reviled. Pulled from release, banned.
          No one saw it for what it was:
          A powerful Great Depression statement concerning the defeat of the scheming minority privileged by the abused and hideous masses.
          From Browning's perspective, the reception of his film was the real horror. He had left a well-to-do family at 16 to travel with the circus. He had become inured long prior to sights others find unforgivably offensive. As a filmmaker he drew on what he knew. He was, as Stephen King says, "playing for keepsies."
          Browning finished out the bulk of the decade with only four more films, two of which wherein he went uncredited. The good one, Mark of the Vampire, stars Lionel Barrymore and features Bela Lugosi in a cameo.
          Harold Russell, not a professional actor, yet missing both hands, won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). In that case, conventional wisdom said that impact would have been lost to cast an actor merely acting.
          In the case of Freaks, an innovative director embraced verisimilitude, yet lost conventional access to film for simply doing his job too well.

Starring Harry Earles,
Daisy Earles,
Wallace Ford,
Leila Hyams,
Olga Baclanova,
Henry Victor,
Josephine Joseph,
Directed by Tod Browning
Written by Tod Robbins,
Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon
Runtime 64 minutes

Stewart Kirby writes for

Check out this short story!

Sunday, August 27, 2017


          Loads of action and laughs galore make this buddy movie a hit.
          Ryan Reynolds plays a bodyguard--formerly triple-A rated, actually--protecting Samuel L. Jackson as a hitman whose testimony in international court could convict a foreign leader (excellently played by Gary Oldman).
          Fans of the stars will not be surprised to find that neither breaks casting type. Jackson and Reynolds both excel at action and humor, so the casting is dead-on.
          Vaguely in the spirit of 48 Hours, which pairs Nick Nolte with Eddie Murphy, The Hitman's Bodyguard benefits from "chemistry" between the leads and a fast pace required by a time constraint: Reynolds must escort Jackson to The Netherlands within 24 hours. Meanwhile, the foreign leader has hitmen of his own trying to eliminate Jackson.
          Further meanwhile, each of the stars is in love with a woman, and they tend to talk about their relationships during car chases and gunfights.
          Much of Reynolds' character has a Deadpool-ishness, to be certain. For those out of the loop, Reynolds also plays an offbeat Marvel superhero with a biting satirical wit. His dead-pan delivery works so well as that character, carrying on the tradition here satisfies our appetite for more.
          But Deadpool without Spandex, Hitman's Bodyguard ain't.
          Want to hear Salma Hayek rip loose a torrent of profanity almost every time she speaks? This is the movie for that. As Jackson's wrongly incarcerated girlfriend, Hayek cusses up a proverbial storm. We're not sure if she has Turret's Syndrome, but we can tell that she's violent and good-looking, so her we like just fine.
          Lots of European car chases, beautiful countryside, and explosions. Plus a triple-A rated soundtrack, even featuring one of Chuck Berry's many best songs.
          The irony--or hypocrisy, depending on how you look at it--is that we're supposed to despise the Gary Oldman character for his cold-bloodedness and applaud the concept of Due Process of law...while at the same time enjoying watching person after person get shot to death.
          But these are mere triflings in the unmasked face of abundant chuckles.

Stewart Kirby writes for

Monday, August 21, 2017


Between the cannibal, the aliens, and the long-distance romance, this gold miner has his hands full.



Being of sound mind and such, I, John William Calder, son of James Zechariah and Rose Elizabeth Calder, do solemnly write these here accounts from my own life, some of which are sure to be real rip-snorters, and all of which being true as anything.

I figure on writing this here autobiography of me since I already got the implements handy from having to keep records mining for gold. I am now the sole proprietor of the Buckwourth mining camp a good ways up Little Miss River and right on the edge of Indian territory. Regarding gold mining, or mining of any sort, it is true that I know next to nothing on the subject, having never had occasion to undertake the occupation prior to my mother's brother kicking the bucket and me thereby falling into it. But seeing how life as a clerk fits poorly on my disposition, plus taking into account Uncle Luke's certainty of the mother lode about to show, that I am plum willing to give the venture a go, and reckon I can say the same for this here autobiography writing that I am fixing on doing.

In San Francisco I met a man who told me he had been to Sutter's Mill early in '48 and found a fortune in four hours. The biggest chunks filled his fists! Buckwourth being northwest of the Sierra Nevadas, I am nowhere near Coloma, yet cannot say I would too much mind if I was, because at the train station I also met a woman who said she was bound for that very destination, and except for Miss Felicity she was about the loveliest and most enchanting creature to ever trod soil. 

I have cooked up a mess of beans, and they are very good. What with flour, coffee, salt, tea, tobacco and a deal of venison I picked up at the trading post for one of my three fifteen dollar beaver traps, I am feeling fairly well-provisioned. My nearest neighbor is a devoutly religious man by all accounts--most of those coming from the trading post--a trapper and a miner whose piety is reputed to be matched only by his delight on practicing cannibalism. And he's done that at least twice. But the last white man he killed and ate was fifteen years ago, and even though he is older and slower, he has passed up plenty of chances in favor of savages picked up at the post. So with my .40-caliber rifle courtesy of the Hawken brothers of St. Louis, I am not too concerned.


My Dearest Miss Felicity,

I have fixed my mind on writing my own autobiography, and would certainly be a good bit into it were it not for the hardships of daily life. Amenities-wise, the outhouse appears in distressed circumstances. After gnawing off a deal of venison this morning by way of breakfast, I have come to learn through hard tribulation to never trust a man trading venison again.

It being spring, the river is bracing and brisk. I have tried my hand at panning. You cannot believe how cold a man's hands get holding a pan in the shallows. Yet this biting cold was made less bitter by the image of your divine visage there to sustain me. Looking at the water I'd see your face floating there. Or if with a crick in my neck from being all hunkered over I looked up, why there you'd be again. I confess I felt a most marked and shameful embarrassment in wondering exactly how much of my hardships of the morning the hovering image of you had seen, but your vision sweetly reminded me in the most angelic manner that I was still working off the ill-effects of the tainted meat.

The bulk of the day went toward repairing the sluice, which I have done as best I can. When I have made my fortune and come calling on you proper, I will share with you this letter along with my autobiography so that you can come to understand the warm ardor with which I regard you as I remain now and forevermore your devoted admirer,

John William Calder


A week has slipped along since I last wrote. Though the days pass filled with toil, still I do not lament. I shall persevere in my endeavor to secure my fortune or perish in the attempt. I find the load of my drudgery lightened when recalling amusing incidents which I yet intend to pen. The plain fact is, however, at end of the day, I find both body and mind so beset with fatigue as to preclude all possibility of any sort of further pursuit.

I have discovered an additional neighbor, by all appearances a deformed albino native child. The wretch watched me from over yonder rise while I worked in the river this afternoon. The feeling I was being stared at suddenly washed upon me. On my word, I have never in my life seen a waif half as white as this poor malformed native entirely destitute of clothing.


My Dearest Miss Felicity,

I have been cooking up a mess of beans this evening and thinking on that fateful day I first seen your beatific visage. A man gets powerful lonesome with hardly no companionship to speak of other than a family of otters upriver that sometimes chase each other down here and splash around a bit.

On two occasions now I have seen a malformed waif, the slenderest child with the whitest skin and hugest head you ever saw. The wastrel wears not a stitch of clothing, and likewise has no hair. As on the first occasion, I did not achieve a satisfactory view of the elusive creature, but rather glimpsed it when retreating from me in the denseness of a thicket. I am pretty near certain I have a fix on where within the thicket the creature most often resides. If it appears any closer to camp, I am prepared to rout it out.

The evening sky, profusely bedecked with a myriad of stars, shines in great magnificence, but next to thoughts of you it stands hardly even better than the rear end of a green apple mule.

Your ardent admirer,

John William Calder


Today my nearest neighbor, a disagreeable man and thoroughly wretched in most respects, stopped by for a visit. "Name's Red Meat Bob," he said while I was fixing the slough. "Reckon you prolly heard I et white folks back when."

"Yep," I says.

"Well, I'm plum done with that. Been done these seven and a half years. Whaddaya call this operation?"

"This here's the Buckwourth mining camp, mister."

“You play cards?”

“Ain’t no hand at poker,” I says.

“They say the beginners have the best luck.”

Regarding Red Meat Bob, beyond all doubt he has shown himself to be of less than any use where work is to be done, but verbosity has its benefits. The old coot jabbers away rain or shine. Upon occasion, I confess, I have found myself not entirely averse to the sounds of social company. Half the time, what comes out of the pious old sinner's hairy head sounds almost like a kind of singing. Often he says to pardon his French, but then he goes ahead and says it all again louder.

Upon my word I was like to knock Red Meat Bob sideways into the river just this very afternoon, on account he refused to shut up, except for he scampered off easy enough with me up on the sluice. I will tell the world I was plum angry.

Come suppertime he shuffles round closer.

"Them beans smell good," he says. Couple crickets chirp by way of reply. "Coffee smells good too," he adds.

By way of reply with my Hawken at my side I told Red Meat Bob he could go to hell...

NOTE: Several new pages of the story are ready to go, and more will be written by Thursday to appear here.


Sunday, August 20, 2017


          "Also Sprach Zarathustra".
          Stanley Kubrick used Richard Strauss's music in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Elvis Presley used it as his own concert introduction theme. But before it was Strauss's music, Thus Spoke Zarathustra was Friedrich Nietzsche's book.
          He's the German philosopher in the 1880s depicted with the giant mustache who says, "What does not kill me makes me stronger."
          Misrepresented in death by his sister, who altered a book he had abandoned and gave it to Hitler as an all-purpose excuse for evil in a moral vacuum, for decades the misplaced idolatry of the Nazis for Nietzsche ruined his posthumous reputation, but in the 1950s scholarship revealed the error and his thought has been widely used ever since by disparate groups and individuals for varied ends.
          In the excellent 2016 BBC documentary "Genius of the Modern World--Friedrich Nietzsche", engaging host historian Bettany Hughes cogently distills Nietzsche's often notoriously elusive ideas. And she visits scholars with their own observations.
          For example, one scholar responds to the question of who is a Nietzschean Ubermensch or Overman, "An Overman is one who is no longer reliant on external goals." It is someone "who is able to commit to goals that you set yourself."
          The documentary travels to the areas in Europe where he lived, showcasing the panoramic views of Sils Maria, Switzerland, the forests, rivers, and snow-capped mountains that inspired a philosophy of celebrating this life here and now and finding joy in overcoming obstacles and thereby reaching new heights.
          Born in Rocken, Germany, in 1844, the philosopher who said, "I'm not a man, I'm dynamite!" began life as the son of a Lutheran minister in a household that, according to Hughes, "lived and breathed Christianity." It has been said of Nietzsche that he did not speak until he was four. It was at that age that his father died, an early event which shook young Nietzsche's faith.
          In his early twenties he decided not to follow in his father's footsteps, but instead became a professor of Philology (Linguistics today) at Basel, Switzerland, the youngest professor in the university's history.
          At this time he met Richard Wagner. Wagner was thrilled to have the young philosopher as a fan whose academic stature lent the composer additional weight. But after the opening of the new theater in Wagner's honor at Bayreuth and the production of his opera, The Ring, Nietzsche was deeply disappointed.
          Itching to spread his wings, Nietzsche cited ill health (accurately enough) and resigned from the university, crisscrossing Europe and spending "the rest of his adult life in a state of nomadic solitude."
          But he had, as Hughes observes, "his mind for company."
          Part of a highly informative 3-part series focusing on great thinkers of the late-19th century whose ideas resonate today.
          Freely available  online.

Stewart Kirby writes for

And I also write short stories, short novels, and a couple of screenplays.

Check out my Nietzsche screenplay by clicking the link to OVERMAN below:

Can't get enough Nietzsche action?
Check out my story MOTHERS WITHOUT MASTERS, wherein we learn that Nietzsche never died at all, but actually went on to form the world's foremost fighting team...

Thursday, August 17, 2017


In addition to writing short stories, novellas, and short novels, and sharing them sometimes in part and sometimes fully here, plus a great many other activities, I also love one Gorgeous Goddess, and am so excited about her, I have to share this:


My black bride
Like Tina Turner
My black bride
Real head turner
My black bride
Fill me with desire
My black bride
Make me feel higher
My black bride
She give me love
My black bride
Come from above

My black bride
I love your style
My black bride
You make me smile
My black bride
You have my life
My black bride
You are my wife
My black bride
You make me strong
My black bride
This is your song

And there is also this:



Sunday, August 13, 2017


          It's not a "lost" documentary. Nor was it banned. Nor is it even a documentary.
          "Alien Encounters From New Tomorrowland" aired briefly in 1995, then got promptly shelved.
          Written and directed by Andrew Thomas, "Alien Encounters" features narration by Robert Urich taking a decidedly unprofessional approach for a documentary by treating the subject as established fact.
          Plucked from obscurity, Thomas followed directives and presented Disney with the product as requested. Strangely, the Disneyland ride ostensibly promoted received scant attention.
          After being randomly aired in a few cities in only five states, Disney pulled it. Strange way to conduct a marketing campaign.
          Especially considering that then-CEO of Disney Michael Eisner surprised Thomas by getting his own camera crew to film him introducing "Alien Encounters". Apparently Eisner thought the show was important. So why did it get pulled?
          In the late-1950s, promoting Tomorrowland, Walt Disney had Wernher von Braun appear in three space-related films. Von Braun, a former member of the Nazi SS, invented the V-2 rocket. But he died in 1977, so in 1995 Disney went with likable, trustworthy Robert Urich.
          It does seem a tad askew for Urich to state as fact through Disney that beings vastly more technologically sophisticated than ourselves regularly visit, and the government lies about it in order to stay in power. Particularly when the material was written by someone with no prior knowledge of the subject.
          By contrast, UFOs: Past, Present, and Future (1974) does the job right. Based on the book by Robert Emenegger, the documentary attempts to uncover proof of the existence of aliens. Presented by Rod Serling, and narrated by Burgess Meredith and Jose Ferrer, the film was re-released a few years later due to the popularity of the subject with films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
          It wasn't a "publicity stunt". If the director had pretended to be abducted by aliens in order to draw attention to the Disney ride before the show aired, then that would be a publicity stunt.
          And the 40-minute film has nothing in common with Orson Welles' radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Orson Welles altered the book by H.G. Wells significantly, and started the Halloween broadcast with a disclaimer that many listeners failed to catch.
          "Alien Encounters" is nothing like that. It's not particularly well done, but it does feature information found in more reliable sources. And it remains a mystery.
          Freely available online.

Stewart Kirby writes for

Monday, August 7, 2017


          Charlize Theron ignites the screen in this stylish action flick.
          Lorraine Broughton, the MI6 agent she plays, relays to higher-ups details regarding events five days prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
          Some movies work extensively on accurate details bringing to life a certain time period on screen. The Ice Storm, for example, or American Hustle.
          Atomic Blonde isn't one of those.
          The soundtrack alone will probably make Theron, who is also one of the film's producers, a tidy fortune.
          But the main event in Atomic Blonde is Theron herself, beating the crap out of guys convincingly.
          Of course, lots of movies from way back try to do it. Some succeed admirably. Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 is convincing. So is the woman who plays Trinity in The Matrix. Charlize Theron is all that and a bag of chips.
          She gets about as bruised-up or better than Christian Bale's Dark Knight. And you can see she's pretty dang sturdy. The fights are so well-choreographed, and she's so good at it, we get to clearly see the action. The filmmakers needed to not rely on special effects or edits.
          And the payoff: On the heels of Wonder Woman--and in high heels--Theron proves that a woman can have a good butt and kick butt good.
          Additionally, she's a lesbian. Plus there's another lesbian, too. And they're both just two really good-looking lesbians together. So, that's exciting.
          Meanwhile, there's James McAvoy as the annoying guy, and John Goodman as the sturdy backup actor.
          Nicely shot.
          Great use of music.
          Lots of memorable bits.
          Because of certain obvious (and less obvious) similarities with James Bond, it would be interesting to see Lorraine Broughton crossover with 007.
          Tangentially, this calls to mind an entire franchise of heavily retro Bond flicks.
          Until then, this.

Starring Charlize Theron,
James McAvoy,
Eddie Marsan,
John Goodman,
Toby Jones
Directed by David Leitch
Based on the graphic novel series "The Coldest City"
written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Sam Hart
Runtime 115 minutes
Rated R

Stewart Kirby writes for