Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All the Porn that's Fit to Print 

Hello, I need a publisher’s contact information. For a magazine.

No problem. What is the name of the magazine?

It’s a…uh…an adult magazine. Is that O.K.?

“Go ahead,” I replied using the weary, flat affect of one who’s heard it all, a tone I’ve been really cultivating lately.

Mandate. One word, I think.

I turned to Ulrich’s, the venerable, authoritative reference source of bibliographic and publisher information for periodicals. I wasn’t sure if Ulrich’s indexed smut, but I was quite curious to find out, since I really wasn’t eager to see what a Google search would turn up.

“I found two, one published by the United Church of Canada and the other by Mandate Publications LTD. I have a hunch it’s the latter.”

I had to say that I like the authoritative quality of that title, and the humorous pun for which that genre of magazine is often known. I saw that Ulrich’s categorized Mandate under the subject heading “Men’s Interest.” I wondered what other publications had that subject heading. The journals ranged from fashion and lifestyle, like Vogue Homme and Cigar Aficiando, to erotica to the hardcore, to the deviant - some really sick shit. Oh, I had my fun browsing the list of titles the rest of the afternoon.

Skin Mag titles:

The Straightforward: Big Butt, Boobs, Mega Boobs, Big & Black

The colloquial: Juggs – I like how the double g’s give the visual of two pendulous knockers

Fetish: Dominantly Yours, Foot Worship, Women in Power

Decade specific: 40 and Over! Once you mature out of that, there’s 50 and Over!

Act specific: Pussy Grazer, which I think sounds lackadaisical, for the dilettante, not the true enthusiast. If I were the publisher I would definitely choose a title that conveyed something more forceful, like Carpet Ripper.

Illegal: Family Heat - just as the name implies - gross

Bizarre: Girls and Corpses – nymphos posed next to moldering corpses. Necrophilia with a sense of humor. Fangoria meets Oui. Marriage of Thanatos and Eros.
Disturbingly Self Explanatory: Zoo. The only other language edition that exists is in, of all things, Afrikaanse. What the hell goes on in the veldt?

Uncomfortable porn memory:

A former neighbor of mine was a strange loner who lived in a house with his shut in mother. He dressed just like his idol, latter day Elvis, complete with side burns, white jumpsuit, and large, gold metal sunglasses. One time we met on the sidewalk and I stopped to say hello. My dog Sid was a rambunctious puppy then and wrapped his leash around his ankles. It startled my neighbor and caused him to drop his grocery bag. Around 10 hardcore skin mags skidded out onto the sidewalk. We both looked down, our eyes locking with the dead eyed come hither stares of the cover girls. Boy, that was awkward. I apologized, extricated Sid and left.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The President of the Animal Kingdom 

"I didn't RTFA, so I'm just guessing gangs of wild goats ate the homeless. Once goats get the taste for human flesh, they'll never go back to tin cans again. This is problematic."

Goats destroy homeless habitat. I hope these goats famously indiscriminate digestive systems can handle all of the hypodermic needles.

Billy, Spoon and I pass by an overgrown hillside on our morning walk each day. The other morning the hill was covered with goats. The dogs were dumbstruck and stood frozen, staring in disbelief. We stood and watched the goats for awhile as they placidly and efficiently denuded the hillside. It was mesmerizing. The goats finished up the hillside in a few days but now every time we walk past the hill they smell the air and look for them.

I adore goats. I worked at the stables at my beloved summer camp all through college and graduate school. Every summer horses would arrive from several different stables from around the state and it would be 3 days of hell while they sorted out their pecking order. Once the hierarchy was established, the situation in the paddock was much more tranquil, although there were always a few who bore such enmity and bad blood for each other that we had to keep separated from each other permanently. This was especially crucial on trail rides or in the riding ring, when the horses wouldn’t let the fact that there were campers riding on them stop them from settling scores. One time when I was a camper on a trail ride I got my foot viciously kicked by my horse’s bitter enemy while it was trying to aim at my horse’s flank. A horse’s naturally sharp hooves are reinforced by steel shoes and I had to hobble around on crutches for a week. To prevent this sort of camper collateral damage we respected the horse’s enmity and were very careful about how the horses lined up.

This summer we quickly tired of tending to all of the bite marks and kick wounds. We mentioned the problem to the man who delivered the feed and he recommended that we get a goat to pacify the horses. He claimed that there was something about the distraction of having a goat around that would really cut down on the quarrelling. I was dubious, but I thought it would be fun to have a goat around, so we obtained one from a neighboring farmer and released it into the paddock. Sure enough, the next morning I saw the horses all gathered around it in a circle, watching it like it was the big game on television. The fighting ceased.

The goat was friendly and delightful. She soon began to put on airs, though, and decided she was too good to associate with the horses. She moved herself on up from the paddock to the tack room, which had a big ceiling fan and was where the humans hung out in between classes. She preferred the choicest spot directly under the fan, and if any of us where occupying it she would lower her head and butt us away before comfortably settling down. She began to accompany us on trail rides, trotting next to the lead horse, her head held high haughtily high. She was quite a personality.

Brian Fellows and the devil goat.

Monday, October 15, 2007


A woman called on Saturday and wanted to know if she could bring her cat to the library.

"Is this a" clearing my throat "service animal?"

"Nah. It's just that my cat gets lonely if I leave it at home for too long."

"I'm sorry, only service animals are permitted in the building."


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Daemon Dog 

One of the most delightful and wondrous literary creations of late are the daemons in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. In the somewhat parallel world where the books take place, humans have a visible animal spirit called a daemon accompanying them at all times. The daemons speak and serve as both conscience and beloved companion. Children’s daemons shape shift until puberty, then their form becomes fixed, usually in some animal reflective of the person’s station and temperament. A typical daemon for a soldier would be a large guard dog, for example, and for a university don, an owl or a raven. If a person is separated from his or her daemon the resulting physical and mental agony is so great he or she usually dies.

The other day a tall man I recognized as a habitué of drag queen row came in to check out some books. Even though he was not in drag and was in complete nondescript civilian mode I see him all the time on my daily bike commute to the library preening on the streets like a peacock so I knew exactly who he was. As 6’5 African American man who dresses in clothes that would put the cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to shame, he tends to stand out. I was sure it was him because he had his tiny pet Chihuahua in tow. The dog danced about and circled his owner’s feet the whole time, somehow anticipating all of his owner’s moves. It was miraculous the way it would avoiding getting crushed by the man’s swiftly moving feet. Philip Pullman couldn’t have imagined a more fitting daemon for the man.

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