I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx


by Kristen Bialik
Aug. 25, 2015
A man named Ted Geisel, with middle name Seuss
through writing was called a new-age Mother Goose.
He studied at Dartmouth, gave comic relief
to Dartmouthians reading the editor chief
from the Jack-O-Lantern zine, but he was forced to give in
when he and the boys were caught drinking gin.
He would’ve, could’ve gotten the P, H, and D
But he dropped out of Oxford, forgot the degree
and focused on drawing by wife Helen’s decree.
His father directed beer brews and park zoos,
and sent Ted big horns and big shells he would use
to sculpt and assemble part X to part T
and create grinning beasts for his menagerie.
What with Andulovian Gracklers and a Two Horned Drouberhannis
He had the most unorthodox, taxidermed pets on the planet!
He reached fame through his ad for insecticides:
“Quick, Henry, the Flit!”
was the “Got Milk?” of its day.
Did you recognize it?
When World War II came his cartoons boldly berated
All the thumb-twiddlers and hair-splitters who wished to stay isolated.
He made war training films, such as Private Snafu,
with Frank Capra, the Army, and Warner Bros. too.
Now I didn’t know that about Seuss, did you?
Seuss kicked the drab Dicks and well-behaved Janes,
gave children mischief and characters, disdain.
With a fascist turtle and present-stealing recluse,
there’d be no more heavy-handed moral abuse.
There’d be only Sneetches and Thidwick the Moose!
The world could be sillier than Slick, Silly Sammy.
Reading was fun! And literacy, happy!
Every kid behind a rain-flecked window pane
has a Cat in a Hat in the back of the brain,
and at the back of that brain is the Cat in the Hat
Whispering whispers, “Topple this. Topple that.”
And who hasn’t feasted on Whoville roast beasted?
Or asked for seconds of green eggs and ham?
The green eggs are better. I can taste it! I can!
Lessons yearned to be learned when Seuss was the teacher
because foremost and first were the stories, the creatures.
The world just might find peaceful renown
if all people read about the Zooks and the Yooks,
with their butter-sides up and butter-sides down.
The droopy Seuss world, without a single straight line
is so vivid, so Seussian in ideal and design.
But we fail when calling Ted Geisel to mind.
In our memory the man is a rhythm, a rhyme.
But for an artist, a dreamer, what better way
to go on life living than through the words people say?
So when your Grox is a boxing or you spot an orange-wearing Zook,
Think of Ted Geisel, and pick up a book.
And forgive the off-rhythm of this poor counterfeit.
I’m bufoozling and flamfloozaling but just mean to say,
that when Seuss sketched the world, he forever changed it
with such enormous enormity, in his own Geisel way.

Kristen Bialik is a writer, teacher and graduate student of Journalism and Mass Communication. In her spare time, she's a baker of pies and maker of stories.

by Casey Dewey
Aug. 23, 2015
It was around 1957 when Dr. Humphrey Osmond coined the term “psychedelic”. Osmond was researching the effects of LSD and the onset stages of schizophrenia, and it was he who dosed author Aldous Huxley for the first time, which in turn led to Huxley’s tome about stumbling around Hollywood trippin’ balls and groovin’ on paintings, The Doors of Perception. When Osmond proposed the term, he said it meant “mind manifesting” and went on to call it “clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by other associations.” I don’t think Osmond, with his synapses firing and his turned-on mind buzzing with delusions of blissful utopias, could have envisioned just how far out Madison Ave would go to sell the world a stick of deodorant...
Casey Dewey resides in Tucson, Arizona. He's a film writer for the Tucson Weekly and host of "Deep Red Radio" , a radio show dedicated to film soundtracks on 91.3 KXCI FM. He enjoys tacos, cervezas and garlic in everything. He wakes up every morning to a fresh pot of black coffee and at least two hours of Dragnet on TV.

by Brian Correia
Aug. 23, 2015

Ah, the corporate training video. That warmed over, half-assed stab at killing two birds with one sad, mediocre stone. If you’ve ever worked a small job for a big company, chances are that you’ve been subjected to at least one. As a former high school grocery clerk, I’ve been holed up in the break room with a crusty VCR on several occasions, my eyes clamped open A Clockwork Orange style, obvious puns and visual gags beating me into submission as I supposedly learned the finer points and newest techniques of customer service.

That being said, I have a hunch that there are quite a few training videos (known in certain circles as “industrials”) out there that are worth watching. Not for training purposes, of course, but for the sake of pure entertainment. Without an earnest, smug manager holding a gun to your head, industrial videos are an easier take. Like their brethren the infomercial, these videos have a certain corny, public-accessy charm that satisfies cravings for low fidelity, bad jokes, and violence...

Brian Correia is a budding computer scientist and aspiring writer from Boston, Massachusetts who couldn't decide which hip-hop lyric to put in his byline. The top three, in no particular order, were as follows: “cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce,” “spiced out Calvin Coolidge loungin' with six duelers,” and “I got techniques drippin' out my buttcheeks.” He is on Twitter (@brianmcorreia) and Tumblr (brianmcorreia.tumblr.com) like the rest of the kids.

by Jeff LaPrade
Aug. 22, 2015
Peter Greenaway has been making films since the mid 1960’s, is known for his subversive use of the image, and finds the boundaries of film through fifty years experience and experimentation. Network Awesome has two Greenaway shorts for us, “Intervals” and “Water Wrackets”. Both a few decades old, they give us a tiny glimpse into the creative mind. If we take a look at the average hollywood narrative, Greenaway goes for a production that is everything orthodox modern film is not. Formally trained as a painter ,“I was much more influenced by the aesthetics of painting than by direct associations with filmmaking products.”** The fundamentals of his original art medium, painting, shine through in his film making. This fact has not stopped him from embracing technology as a medium for art as he continues incorporate new layered multimedia formats...
Jeff LaPrade was born in Dirty Jersey but spent most of childhood in a suburb of Oakland.  Sticking to the skate parks, he developed a love for the underground and DIY culture.  Diversely motivated, he spends his focus designing cloths, producing photo shoots and writing about whatever comes to mind.  Despite his love for writing, Jeff earned his B/S in Physics from San Francisco State University in 2011.  Since then he has worked as a Solar Engineer,  Nuclear Weapons Detector Engineer, a vegetarian cook, has self published a book, and is a regular contributor to realizeculture.com and Swoop Magazine.  Now he resides in Venice Beach, soaking in the rays, writing until his fingers bleed and tutoring local children in the off time.

by Robert Ham
Aug. 21, 2015

My musical interests are perverse enough that when I heard about the existence of a grand opera surrounding the 1972 diplomatic visit by then-President Richard Nixon to the People's Republic of China, I was immediately intrigued.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the music writers of the world when John Adams' work finally premiered at the Houston Opera in 1987. I would hope that a similarly perverse curiosity piqued their interest, fascinated by how the people behind the project—theater director Peter Sellars, composer John Adams, and librettist Alice Goodman—would pull it off.

Sellars was already known in the theater and opera community for his challenging stagings of famous works. During the '80s, he had overseen productions of Mozart operas that were removed from their original settings and placed in contemporary society. Don Giovanni was transplanted to Spanish Harlem, with costumes straight out of a '70s Blaxploitation film, and the most famous aria in it being performed while the singer simulated shooting heroin...

Robert Ham is a writer based in Portland, OR where he's a regular contributor to Willamette Week and The Oregonian. You can also read his work in Alternative Press and self-titled magazine. He likes black-capped chickadees and Chinese noodles.