Monthly Archives: December 2015

Theologically speaking, Christmas is a celebration of the Doctrine of the Incarnation. See that “carn-” in there? It’s the same root as in “carnivore.” Meat. Today is about meat.

Jesus had a placenta, a big, red, dripping hunk of placenta. He had meconium, the dark, extremely sticky (though thankfully odorless) feces that results from ingested amniotic fluid in the womb. He grew. He ate. He got sick. He walked. When Christians say “the body of our Lord Jesus Christ” in Communion, we’re talking about mucous, blood, spit, semen, piss and shit.

God, in the person of Jesus Christ, has joined us here in the dirt. He has come to eat his own dog food and walk among us. God is meat. This is the core of the Christian revelation. Glory be to God.

Have a meaty, bloody Christmas. May it ooze and spew. And, as the hippies used to say, may the Baby Jesus shut your mouth and open your mind.

I am happy to announce the publication of the Winter issue of The Sockdolager!, including my story “Ars Longa, Amor Brevis.”

And if you’re seeing this blog for the first time via the link from that story: Howdy! Read about the time when I was Death!

PS: The Sockdolager! is a magnificent publication, and you can help support their work here.


This isn’t particularly Christmasy, but hey, the weather’s more Halloweeny anyway…

One of the most frightening incidents of my childhood occurred on a trip to a nursing home. I was about 11 years old at the time.  Our Sunday School maintained regular ties with the home, and on this occasion we were all being trotted over there to show the residents our Halloween costumes.

That year I had chosen to cut two holes in a sheet and be a ghost. This reason for this odd, defiantly unfashionable costume was that I had a deep affection for Peanuts, not to mention a compulsive anachrophilia. My peers informed me at great length that it sucked, but I took that as a badge of pride.

When we arrived at the home, we were separated into groups of four or five and escorted from room to room by nursing aides. I could barely see out my eyes holes, and nodded into the vague direction of the old folks. After a few minutes, we were hustled out to another room. I stumbled along at the end of the line, trying to catch up. Looking around for my group, I saw an tiny, hunched old woman sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of the corridor, alone.

And she saw me. And screamed.

I froze. She was quite obviously screaming at me, because of me. A moment later, I found myself propelled down the corridor towards her by a nursing aide, who was simultaneously removing my sheet. “See, it’s not real!” the aide said, but the old woman was having none of it. “Don’t take me, don’t take me!” she yelled. Terrified, I could say nothing.

Looking back, I try to find a cause for my terror. Was it because I thought she might attack me? Nonsense, this was a feeble old woman. Was it because I was afraid I had done something wrong and might get in trouble? No, not this time.

It was because She thought I was Death. She thought I was literally the Grim Reaper. You could tell from her shouts and the way she tried to hide, huddling in her wheelchair. She thought I was there to carry off her beyond the Great Wall.

And I could see why. In a moment of vivid empathy, I could imagine myself an elderly woman, trapped in my dotage, alone and forgotten in a nursing home corridor and seeing this doom coming at me. A ghost, coming to make her a ghost, an idle metaphor suddenly horribly real.

For her I was Death.

It was scary, being Death.







If you every see anyone saying “The Council of Nicaea created the Bible/edited the Bible/censored the Bible,” know right there and then that the person in question does not know what they’re talking about. The Council of Nicaea formulated the Nicene Creed and considered a number of other issues. At no point was the canon of scripture considered.

The actual assembly of the canon of the New Testament was a long and distributed process, to the extent that it is not actually possible to point to any one event and say “This is the creation.”

This ECC was a ‘serious’ one, in that it did not revolve around surreal agglomerations of pop culture references. But that doesn’t mean it was particularly dark & gritty. I was looking to invoke how Christmas feels to a child, in its joys and in its difficulties.  ———————————————————–
The weekly spelling quiz was canceled for the Christmas party. That, more than the party itself, made Chris’ day.  The party wasn’t much.   Mrs Morris brought in cupcakes, white frosting over chocolate with green crystals on top.  Every kid in the class got one and ate it at their desk, arranged in a ring around the tiny Christmas tree in front of the blackboard.  Joey Smith scooped all the frosting off his with his tongue and let it hang there, showing it to everyone, until Mrs Morris made him stop. Read More

Introduction: In the fall of 1996, I began grad school, studying for a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science. At the same time, I found myself immersed in conspiracy theory, back in the days before the subject had been thrashed to death. This ECC erupted almost spontaneously from that reading.


(DISCLAIMER: Much of this story is tasteless. All of it is strange. However, despite the fact that several of the characters are real live people, it is 100% unadulterated fiction. PLEASE DON’T SUE ME OR ORDER MY ASSASSINATION! Thank you.)

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In college, I had few funds. So few that I couldn’t even afford Christmas cards. Yet the age supplied: at that time, in the early 1990s, there arose this miraculous invention called ’email.’ I took advantage of this technology to send “electric Christmas cards,” emails that conveyed Christmas greetings. Some might accuse me of severe cheapness, but it was all I could do.

A few years later, I was out of college and in grad school, and still didn’t have any money. So I kept up my custom of holiday emails, but decided to add something: humor. Or at least, what I hoped was humor. Christmas-themed humor. I wrote a funny little story, and attached this to the emails, to balance out the outstanding disposability of my missives. Folks reacted positively, and I persisted in this custom.

Almost twenty years now, I’ve been doing this, every year finding some new facet of Christmas pop culture to explore. Sometimes I’ve actually written serious short stories, with varying results. Folks have told me they look forward to receiving them as part of their experience of the season. I hope somebody enjoys them. In any case, I intend to persist in the habit. In addition to posting the new ECCs as they come along, I shall be slowly uploading the accumulated collection to this blog, starting with the following post.