Sunday, January 24, 2021

Senator Kreek On the Election


You know, you journalists really gotta get your minds out of the rain barrel ... gutter, I mean. What kind of thing is that to be askin' a public figure, especially at this hour of the morning? Seriously, I ... what? Oh, Eee-lection? I see. Okay, let's start over.

To answer your question properly and with due consideration of the facts, I have to start by asking you for a preliminary clarification, that is, what election?

Really? Dang. How'd I do? I was? Good. I can use the money. Now, with that cleared up, let me say that I'm in favor of it, generally. Provides work for a lot of our otherwise under-employed public servants. And that electoral college thing. You know, when it's not electoral college football season, some of those folks don't have a lot to keep their hands busy. Or their feet. But then, every four or five years, the elections come up and, bang, they're back in business again. It's the American way, keepin' those boys and girls busy and out of trouble.

But it occurs to me that unless my memory is worse than it usually is, and that's kind of difficult to visualize, I was probably not the only one on the ballot. How'd all that other stuff work out?

The Democrats took Georgia? Where? I thought that was all settled in 1864? The forces of right and justice and all took Atlanta, but they couldn't take it with 'em, so they rendered it pyrotechnically untenable. What about my beloved home state? Anybody burn its capital? No? Well, that's good. Gladstone needs a break after all they've been through.

It isn't? Did they move it out to the suburbs, out by Kipling? You're kiddin' me! All the way down to Lansing? But you gotta drive US 2 all the way past Epoufette, across that silly bridge they got there - unless you want to take the shortcut through the pipeline - and then the whole damn way down 127, clear past Mount Pleasant, dang near to Jackson. But don't go that far. Make sure you get off on Saginaw Street and take Howard south, otherwise you'll miss Dagwood's, and there ain't another decent burger between there and Ohio.

But I suppose I should ask, much as, to be frank, I'd rather not know, who's the head of state, now? Who? Oh that guy with the dogs. Well, that's probably good. I like dogs. And that other fella, the losing party, what's become of him? Is he gonna do any penance? Or time, for that matter? I suppose the wheels of justice have to grind him up fine, first, before we know. I never paid much attention to him. He wasn't really our type. We're pretty dang particular what sort we associate with, up there in the bear-infested polity where I hail from. And it's a long way to hail from, I can tell you. Sometimes you have to go up on the roof and hail from there, just to make yourself heard. I know I do.

Anyway, it's nice to have that over with. Now the nation can get back to ... whatever it was it was doing. Mowing the national lawn or whiting the sepulchers and plastering over the gaps in our national attention span, you might say, although I doubt you would. Not clear why I said it, to be honest. But best wishes to all, and may your year be a full 360 plus-or-minus days. Or degrees, whatever.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Senator Kreek's 2020 Holiday Message

Well, hello. According to these briefing papers here, I'm supposed to say it's nice to see all of you. Not clear why, but I'm supposed to say it, whether or not I am. Saying it. Or even thinking it, to be candid, but they always warn me about that, so I won't be. Probably. 

Every now and then, my assistants put me in a car and take me somewhere so I can see a bunch of people, standin' around, looking like they don't know why they're there. And that makes two of us. Or more. And then they expect me to say something. About it all. Whatever it happens to be, that particular day. And this situation here has the earmarks of one of those events. Me, not knowing why I'm here, talking to a bunch of people who don't know why they're there. And that's what makes democracy great.

Now I understand, it says here, that this year's been difficult. That we've seen more than our share of things. And experienced some unpleasant experiences. Many of us, whoever we might be, have had a lot of experience with experiences. Good or bad, whichever one. And our experience is what molds our ... molds. Our funguses, too, probably. I knew a feller from up around the Tacoosh River who had his molds experienced, and that worked out all right, but they fumbled the fungus functions, and he never was the same. 

You know where the Tacoosh is. It's right up there east of Trombly, and Trombly's as unincorporated a community as they come, so you can see the significance. But in comparison to the trials and tribulations and arrests of this here year, Trombly isn't even an adjective. Out there in the real world, where men are men and bears are whatever it is bears are, you just can't stand up in front of a lot of people in suits talkin' about bears when the house is on fire. Or the Senate, either, for that matter. This whole crisis we're facing, whatever it is, is positively existential in its nature, and nature ain't doing all that well, either. So as my advisors told me to say during one of the recent elections, our best bet is to existinguish whatever comes across our path. 

Now I know this may not be a popular point of view, but, personally, I'm not all that averse to humanity bein' destroyed. Ugly bunch, most of 'em. But why does it have to be some damn thing so small you can't see it comin' after you? My idea of a real pandemic would be bears. They're big and furry, and they got legitimate grievances. Or koalas. I think I could still hold up my end of the fight against a koala, even at my age. Bears, maybe not. You have to reason with 'em. You know, like you do with that Johnson fella, over in the Disintegrated Kingdom. Or the Russian guy. What's his name? Sounds like that stuff the Canadians eat? Putain, or something like that. You gotta sit down with 'em and smoke a couple of peace reefers, compare tattoos, see if you can reach a common understanding. Or an uncommon one. More likely the latter, especially after a couple of them artisanal Abzerbajohnny Molotov cocktails. 

Now, I have come, thankfully, to the end of my prepared remarks, and so you'll forgive me if I go on and make a few unprepared ones while my revolted .... that is, devoted staff of luminaries work out exactly where the door is and where they left the car. It's never been entirely clear to me why that word, luminaries, is pronounced the way it is here in the nation's capital. In the district I serve, we pronounce it with an "n" as the third character, especially when we're referring to the fine public servants who serve the other public servants servin' here in the nation's central nervous center. If you happen to see anything that would shed a light on any of that, please let me know. 

And now, in the absence of any further insight into issues of that nature or any other nature, really, I believe it's time we took our leave of this fine fabrication of pre-fabricated material, forming the very fabric of this here facility and hit the beltway. But remember, when in doubt, don't hesitate to hesitate about demanding clear and precise answers from your electric officials. You'll be less disappointed.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Dog Island from Joseph McConnell is Available

McConnell's new book is available on Amazon.

Dog Island is set twenty years in the future, in what was (yes, "was") the state of Michigan. Even in the new Peninsular Republic, there's crime and treason. That's probably the least surprising aspect of this new reality.

Here's just a sample of the action:

They put him in the back of Margie’s truck, and E let her inform him of his legal position. “Sir,” the Private told him, “You are arrested on a class one offense, possessing a firearm, and on a class three offense, deliberately dangerous behavior. You’ll be confined at Nineteenth Battalion Security Branch headquarters until the Judicial Department considers …”

“Considers my case. I know how it goes. Well let me tell you something, sweetie. Both of you.” He paused for a long breath. “Politics is nonsense. Profit is just stealin’. Religion is pure bullshit. What matters … ” another pause “… is whether people can just organize themselves. To survive.” 

I’ll be damned. A closet anarchist. “All right, Margie,” E said, “I’ll follow you back to Landing and show you how to enter the arrest data. Then you can take him over to Company and they’ll ship him off to Battalion.” She looked Kriter in the eye. “Remember, sir. At the same time England stopped burning witches, it started hanging people who forged banknotes.”

“What? Who said that?”


“Mark who?”


“Mark Carl. Huh. Never heard of him.”

Margie drove off. E started her truck. When she looked up, a large black dog was watching from beside the trailer.

Click the "Dog Island" banner above to see more.

Monday, December 9, 2019

From the Upcoming New Book by Joseph McConnell

“Three more years, baby,” his wife said as he got in the truck.

“Don’t let those guys out of your sight,” he answered. “They don’t know one end of a beer truck from the other.”

“I won’t. Three more years!”

He backed the truck out onto the street and headed for the bridge. “Three more years,” he thought.

Out of the neighborhood, he turned onto Queen Street. It was like a drive through the Detroit suburbs had been, back, oh, even in the nineties. But the pavement was in good shape. Things seemed reasonably affluent. There were trees. That was the main difference. Where the foliage was cleared away, you could see the river, and that would have been a feature of at least Detroit’s northern neighbors.

As he came into the city, proper, the look and feel became older, but not in the way cities of his experience had aged. The buildings were elderly, two story, and brick, but they were still in use, not standing empty. Coming out the other side of downtown, things opened up, and the road became slightly more highway-like. Then it was just a quick right-left and past Canadian Customs. He went out onto the bridge, over the river, over the locks, and down into the Republic’s border check.

At the window, he showed his SB credentials, got a salute from the National Service private, and carried on. In keeping with his personal ritual for these trips, he started singing “Back in the USSR”.

From Dog Island, by Joseph McConnell

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Senator Kreek's Holiday Message

Good afternoon. Michigan Senator Elijah Kreek won re-election this year by a margin of thirty – thirty votes, that is, not percent – when his opponent was embroiled in mutual lawsuits between himself and a deer he hit. Both parties accused the other of being intoxicated, and ... oh, I see Senator Kreek is here to give his annual holiday message to the voters of Michigan and points north.

Well, my goodness, but there are a lot of you here today! Usually when I see this many people, they’re all sittin’ at tables, and not paying much attention to ... what? This isn’t the Senate lunch room? Then why am I here?

Deliverin’ a message? The State Department does that. Or the army. Or Amazon. But all right, if they’re busy, I can pick up the slack, I suppose. Where’s this message supposed to go, if I’m deliverin’ it?

Folks, things are a bit confused, I find. These kids who follow me around and give me little hints and suggestions and things have apparently visited the Senate lunch room, themselves, already. They’re a bit confused. Or else I am. One or the other. Seems about fifty-fifty, most days. But the gist of it is, I’m supposed to deliver a message. To you, I guess. And if it’s one of my messages, who-all receives it isn’t usually that important.  So brace yourselves.

As my old father used to say to me on occasions like this, apples and oranges, say the bells of Alpena. He used to say that. Sometimes over and over, for hours. No one paid any attention to him. But it did give me a kind of appreciation for apt conjunctions. In our family, we used ‘em like soap. More often, frankly. But they had to be apt. There’s nothing worse than an inapt conjunction. Some days, I can’t abide even a half-apt one. But, as I was sayin’ ... hold on.

More inspirational? Son, I don’t know how I can be any more inspirational. I’m always inspiring. But the thing is, you got to remember to outspire, too. You always gotta be doin’ that or you’ll keel right over. Happened to me just the other day.

Inspiring and outspiring. There’s a nice, apt conjunction right there. Very apt. Reminds me of a fella I knew up in Neebish. Used to be a hog farmer, but then he gave it up and became an otorhinolaryngologist. Wrote an autobiography. Called it Days of Swine and Noses. There’s another one.

Ma’m? You, down there in front? Do you know what I’m talkin’ about? No? Anybody? Too bad. I was hopin’ somebody could set me straight on that. You know, this isn’t easy, standin’ here and making it up as I go along. It’s an acquired talent, and it isn’t cheap to acquire, I assure you. That guy who pretends to be President ... you know, the one with the hair? He had to go to school nights to pick up the knack, and he still hasn’t grasped its finer points. Or its lesser ones, either. And in politics, grasping a lesser point can get you in a lot of trouble, both in the media and in Medea. That’s that story about some relative of Jason and the Aptronauts. Hell of a band, I have to say. They pay me to say it.

Get to the point? The finer one or the lesser one? Reminds me of another piece of folklore, though. Two boys from Iron Mountain try to walk into a pub, but the door is a good three foot higher than it was the night before. “Dammit,” says Jim, “They’re always raisin’ the bar.”

I like that story. Heard it from an old woman in my constituency. How she got in my constituency, I’ll never know. That’s an old Karl Marx joke. You remember him, he was so cranky, they called him “Groucho”. Anyway, I’m gettin’ the finger-across-the-throat signal from one of the boys, there, and that means it’s time to head for the Senate Lunchroom for a wee deoch an Doris. She was a waitress I used to know. She really put the ish in Inspeming. I remember ...

Oh, right. Happy Saint Preservus’ Day, folks. Too bad I’m not representin’ Livingston County. I could say “See you in Hell.”

Copyright 2019 J. F. McLuggage

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Coming Soon - Dog Island - A New Novel by Joseph McConnell

In the first quarter of 2020, ProcArch Press will release a new novel by Joseph McConnell. Dog Island will take you two decades into the future.  Twenty years out, how united will the United States really be?

Check back for dates and clues.

Friday, October 11, 2019


Say "stone fruit" and some people
Will reply "peaches and plums".
Not what I mean.

I mean Sancerre. sans oak,
S'il vous plait, and no malo,

Some evenings, it seems to me
The single honest thing

In Europe or the western world.
A thing that is exactly what it
Ought to be.

And nothing more nor less.

Copyright 2019 by Joseph McConnell