Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I first think of an elegant problem-solving algorithm and the result comes immediately.

I'm not one to compare races or ethnicities. Neither, I'm sure, are the Germans. It's just not in their blood. But you know, if they were to do so, it seems like they'd at least have math abilities, an attention to detail, and a desire for perfection on their side. You know what I mean? Hmmm. Interesting, that's all.


It's the day before Thanksgiving and I'm guessing that things will be relatively quiet here in Mastodon headquarters. Tomorrow morning I'll be heading east to the flat expanse of Middle America, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Well, actually, that's a lie. I could certainly be more excited about it, but lets not get into relativism, mmmkay?

I just read this article and I have to say, if this is what it takes to be a professional and groundbreaking geneticist in Britain, then reports of the decline of the American education system have been greatly exaggerated.

The article states that "British scientists said on Wednesday that genetic factors influence female infidelity and the number of sexual partners women have." Right. One of the scientists justifies this position by "adding that environment and upbringing also play a part in explaining the variation in infidelity between women." No shit? Then comes the money quote: "The scientists suspect that many genes could be associated with sexual behavior. They believe genes on chromosomes 3, 7 and 20 could be involved."

Hey, dumbshit. Let Dr. Mastodon rap at ya for a second. Sit back, kick up your feet, and let the knowledge wash over you. Let it seep into your pores and let it tickle your toes. Let it, most importantly, ride.

Now, before I break this piece off academic-style, let me just state that I have not (yet) received an "advanced degree" in any scholastic field, let alone one in the hard sciences. However - and this next fact is one that is fortunate for both me and the future of our species - I do possess a brilliant mind and an amazing capacity for comprehension. And yes, I do know a thing or two about the theory of evolution. In fact, I even studied the subject rigorously for a semester in college. If that's not enough cred for you haters, then perhaps you'd be interested in knowing that my roommate is currently receiving his Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from a barely-accredited state university, and I have beaten him, a number of times, at both Scrabble and tennis. In other words, I feel like I have more than enough solid footing to stand upon.

First of all, it is just common knowledge that the theory of evolution rests upon the notion that an individual of a species (comprised of a confluence of genes) has two purposes in life - surviving until and through the period which it can procreate, and then procreating (as successfully as possible) like the dickens within that window. Anyone who has spent any considerable amount of time around me has seen that second tenet in action*. Therefore, on purely legal grounds, one could argue that all of our genes are acting, in concert, to get as much whoopee as possible. The claim that "genetic factors influence female infidelity" is both so obvious and so misleading, I had to stop masturbating and read it a second time to make sure it wasn't an overly simplistic fact masquerading as a breakthrough scientific study. These doctors might as well have stated, "genetic factors influence males to lie about their income and talents to bed drunken girls in bars", though I doubt they would have received their handsome National Science Grant or whatever they have over there in Britain.

And then to try to pin it on three chromosones is preposterous. All genes are acting with all other genes always. To select three and claim that they are the culprits in getting married women to want to smooch my pole is not just a stretch, it's faulty and awful science.

I should know, people. I'm the American Mastodon.

*get it - action?

Two horny British geneticists recently received funding to study infidelitous women, and, looking at their smug grins, fucking know they got away with one - big time.

Monday, November 22, 2004


The good men of France, Christo and Jean-Claude, have decided to give me a wonderful Birthday gift. Construction of The Gates starts next month, and will last from February 12th until the 27th. As the artists themselves put it:

The 7500 Gates, 16 feet (4.87 meters) high with a width varying from 5' 6" to 18 feet (1,67 m to 5,48 meters) will follow the edges of the walkways and will be perpendicular to the selected 23 miles of footpaths in Central Park. Free hanging saffron colored fabric panels suspended from the horizontal top part of the gates will come down to approximately 7 feet ( 2,13 meters) above the ground.

Like James Turrel's Roden Crater, I find this kind of shit to be really, really super. Super fucking duper.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Price Of Gas

Editor, Times-Union:

This morning I was listening to WRSW's CNN news at 7 a.m. and heard the barrel price of gas has dropped to around $43 a barrel. Our gas prices are still up in the $1.95 range, where Fort Wayne and South Bend are both in the low $1.80s. Once again we are being gouged.

Just wanted to vent.

Kirstin Mullins


Word on the street today is that Billy Graham - that abominable 'preacher' set to perverting His Holy Word - is commencing with a four-day revival set inside Los Angeles' famed "Rose Bowl". Hoo boy! Wouldn't I love to be there, witnessing all those ladies dressed up like peacocks and all those men with their spiffy bowler hats and pocketwatches shouting to the rafters how great their love is for that old carpenter with a penchant for loving the pauper. Show me a pauper in that bunch and I'll show you my moon-rock!

If you haven't guessed, there are few things in this world I despise more than a counterfeit proselytizer. You all know that Jeremiah once wrote, "Listen not to the words of your prophets, who fill you with emptiness; Visions of their own fancy they speak, not from the mouth of the LORD", and personally, I've never had much reason to doubt him.

Now, those of you who know me well know that I was once friendly with a man by the name of Billy Sumday - not to be confused with that Interloper and mouthpiece of the devil, Billy Sunday, a man so wrapped up in the recitations of his own fanciful words he could've passed gas after a meal of corned beef hash, looked you in the eye and told you it smelled like a lavender bath. Reverend Sumday, on the other hand, may be the only man I ever met who, when he spoke, you were sure that you were hearing the words of a true believer of Jesus and man of God. This man, like me, also had a few thoughts on these "revivals" and once delivered a sermon to a group of 4,000 believers in Topeka Kansas after the great Dust Bowl Calamity of the 1930's. Re-printed below, by permission of his estate, is a summarized transcript of that now historic sermon.

A sermon by Rev. Billy Sumday

Somebody asks me, "What is a revival?" I'll tell you: it is a purely philosophical, common-sense result of the wise use of divinely appointed means, just the same as water will put out a fire; the same as food will appease your hunger; just the same as a good woman loosens the desire of her man; it is a philosophical common-sense use of divinely appointed means to accomplish that end. Did I already say that? A revival is just as much horse sense as that.

A revival is not material; it does not depend upon material means. It is a false idea that there is something peculiar in it, that it cannot be judged by ordinary rules, causes and effects. That is nonsense. Above your head there is an electric light made in a laboratory in Lima, Ohio; that is effect. What is the cause? Why, the dynamo, you knuckleheads. Religion can be judged on the same basis of cause and effect. If you do a thing, results always come. The results come to the farmer. He plants his seed and tends to his rows. Then the crops come. Am I getting through, yet?

Religion needs a baptism of horse sense. That is just plain as day. God Almighty never intended that the devil should triumph over the Church. He never intended that the saloons should walk rough-shod over Christianity. And if you think that anybody is going to frighten me, you don't know me yet. I got an ID card from the local credit union if you don't believe me.

When may a revival be expected? I'll tell you when - when you see the people around you backsliding into sin and feeling free to endorse debauchery. And if that's the yardstick we're using, then now seems like as good a time as any. See, there are certain times when people don't seem to mind the sins of other people. They don't seem to mind while boys and girls walk the streets of their city and know more of evil than gray-haired men. Sinners, you are asleep.

Don't the Lord have a hard time? Own up, now.

I have only two minutes more before the sheriff comes in here and throws me in county lockup for a few reckless indiscretions I perpetrated last evening, and then I am through. Here's something you and I both need to work on - bad temper. Abuse your wife and abuse your children; abuse your husband; turn your old gatling-gun tongue loose. Funny thing happened in Grand Forks last week: lady came to me and said, "Mr. Sumday, I know I have a bad temper, but I am over with it in a minute."

Guess what, dunderhead? So is the shotgun, but it blows everything to pieces. I think I've said more than enough to let you know how I feel about these things.

August 14th, 1932, Topeka, KAN

Thursday, November 18, 2004


And now I am in a bit of pain.


I have decided to please you with another Letter to the Editor.

Veterans Day

Editor, Times-Union:

"Veterans Day" really ticks me off. Now before you get angry let me explain. The honoring of our veterans is the least we can do as citizens who owe our lives and freedom to these brave men and women who have served and are serving our nation. However the "Federal Holiday" of "Veterans Day" honors the great men and women who work for the federal government and financial institutions with a paid day off while veterans, like myself and my wife, go to work that day as usual without so much as a thank you. Then to add insult to injury my tax dollars go to pay these people to have a day off. I sure hope they spend it "honoring vets." How about a holiday where the veterans get the day off or perhaps move it to a Saturday.

P.S. My thanks and congrats to veterans who are now federal employees. Enjoy your day. You deserve it.

Justin Embry


"Grab the wheel!" 70-year-old Kenneth McAllister recalled shouting to his wife, Mary, and another woman.

The women held the steering wheel until McAllister could slide into the driver's seat. He struggled to keep the bus in its lane and hit the brake. It stopped just before the highest part of the bridge.

Last night, over beer and potato skins, a friend and I engaged in a lively, spirited discussion covering many topics. At one point, I expressed my reverance of old people. Frankly, I stated, it's my opinion that the geriatric among us get a bad rap. Sure, there's a lot of things that aren't "cool" about old people. They smell funny. They have poor control of their bladders. They think they're wonderful drivers. They're crotchety.

Hey pal - if you want live in that "half-empty" sort of world, be my guest.

No, those people have it wrong. Old people Kick Ass. They do this in all manner of ways. They do it by using racist terms in inappropriate situations. They do it by passing gas whenever the need arises. They do it by dressing themselves improperly and acting like they can't hear you when you try to tell them that their dress is inside out and their pantyhose on their left leg is bunched up around the ankle. They do it by sitting in their recliner wearing no shirt for days on end, eating snack-snized Snickers bars and watching the 700-club.

And now, they do it by saving a careening bus from sliding off the edge of a cliff.

Old: the greatest age.


In which I post actual Letters to the Editor of my hometown newspaper.

Pop Musical Blasphemy

Editor, Times-Union:

I recently read in the Times-Union that some Los Angeles theatrical group is presenting a "pop musical" version of "The Ten Commandments." Just how blasphemous can one get? In many ways, in recent years the world of entertainment has sunken pretty low, but this latest theatrical venture is one of the lowest, most irreverent acts that I can think of. All rules pertaining to morality and right conduct are based on what "The Ten Commandments" stand for, and, as far as this individual is concerned, desecrating God's principles with a "pop musical" is the pits.

("Vengeance is mine," sayeth the Lord.) Oh yes, I'm certain that some will compare my beliefs to those of an old-fashioned, "hell fire and brimstone" preacher; that may be, but the truth is still the truth, and right is right and wrong is wrong. One just simply cannot blaspheme against the word of God without expecting some kind of retribution. (I didn't create that fact. God did.) In closing, I wish to make the following declaration: Many times in my life, I have said to myself, "If one can't have a 'Higher Power' to look to and revere, what is there left?"

Don Kaiser


Have it your way, pricks. Also, let this post be forever proof of my utter lack of convictions and typically instant regret.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Last night, dear readers, I found myself to be in the fortunate position of sharing the company of a good friend whose name I shall not mention on this page, but who, I may dare to say, is a famous writer for a successful television show in that land of bacchanal and debauchery: Hollywood, USA. This man - my friend - plucks the grapes of victory and achievement from their bunches on the vine and tastes their succulence with lecherous aplomb. Here is a man who does not find need to grasp, hands outstretched and face pale, at success or fame; indeed, one cannot grasp at that which is embodied in one's soul. Have I mentioned that this friend is a famous and quite brilliant television writer, writing for a show of great drama and civil awareness?

As we sat in a local drinking establishment near the Pacific Ocean, this friend and I engaged ourselves in a conversation regarding the greatest sports movies ever made. I hope you find it to be no surprise that both he and I adamantly defended the film "Hoosiers" as the greatest of the bunch (choice quote: "Look, mister, there's... two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with.")

Both my esteemed friend and I were born and raised in Indiana - land of Indians - and delighted in expressing to each other the joy in having such an accomplished film bear our names - for yes, we are still Hoosiers. Our excitement in retelling certain scenes from the film, and our shared reverance at the accomplishment of the filmmaking soon subsided, as we labored to identify the next films on our list.

Would you believe me if I told you that this friend, a man I hold in such high regard, one whose profession is the writing and crafting of stories for the cinema, would dare to admit that his second favorite sports film of all time is "Any Given Sunday"? Certainly, I'm sure, for Cameron Diaz's intricately nuanced performance as something or other, or Al Pacino's spittle-heavy shout and schlock fest. But, to each his own. My point is not to judge, but rather to relate.

One football film we could both agree on was, I'm sure you could guess, "Rudy". As my friend so eloquently put it, "Here was a film that should not have been made, but it was made and it was great." I've said it before, and I will say it again: can we all please admit that earnestness is long overdue for a return to the arts? Rudy is the logical first building block to this new Renaissance. Please inform me of others, as you see fit.

My personal second favorite sports film is the indomitable "Field of Dreams". This is just another example, set forth in "Hoosiers", "Rudy", and another film that shows up slightly later on my list, "Breaking Away", that the rules that govern good sports films state that a significant part of a film's story must involve a difficult father/son relationship. Sometimes it is a son trying to prove his worth to his father (read: Rudy, Breaking Away), and sometimes the logic is inverted and it is the father trying to prove his worth to his son (read: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams). Either way, it has long been my contention that men will cry with little abandon at the sight of a reunited or reconciled father and son relationship, but will hardly bat an eyelash at a movie like "Sleepless in Seattle". Sorry ladies, but our clan is the tribe of men.

There are other films that were mentioned - Bull Durham, My Giant*, Raging Bull, Bad News Bears. You know what film wasn't mentioned? "Bend it Like Beckham". I'm assuming that this film wasn't brought up in our discussion because neither of us saw it, nor will we ever. The title makes it sound like a gay porn film, and it's about girl athletes in Britain. Who watched this film? You should all be shot.

In closing, I leave with you the chorus of the best state song that was ever written:

Back home again in Indiana
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight still shining bright
Through the sycamores for me.
The new-mown hay sends all its fragrance
From the fields I used to roam,
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home.

*Note: not actually discussed

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


As many of you know, I try not to get too political on this blog. I know why the millions of visitors come here - for the humor, for the pathos, for the tears, and for the love. And I do it all for them. Without the fans, I wouldn't be here.

But sometimes it's necessary to break a proverbial piece off and throw it down pundit-style, all up in y'alls.

Here's the sitch: during the Presidential campaign, both candidates passionately and resolutely repudiated the notion of a national draft. My bemused expression whenever I heard George Bush slap the podium, smirk, and state emphatically (though still bewilderingly, as if he could not understand why anyone would even suggest the possibility of a draft) that he would not implement a draft - yeah, sure, fucking right. My bemused expression whenever I heard John Kerry state that the best way to avoid a draft would be to elect him - yeah, right, fuck you. Cause let's face it, Bush et al has fucked up shit real good, and the election of John Kerry wasn't going to make our problems disappear. We made our bed, and boy howdy how we're not going to enjoy sleeping in it (see: falling dollar). The House's effort to try to pass legislation forbidding a draft was not only an effort to pander for votes, it was stupid and dangerous. Because, see, when we start that second and then that third war, we're going to need a fucking draft. Dumbasses.

Don't like the straight talk? Well then you can move to Chile and cry for the rest of your life. It's really an either/or at this point.

Now, news is coming out of North Korea that the love of Kim Jong Il's life, the "spiritual mother" of the People's Republic, has died, sending Kim Jong Il into a long seclusion. Since his sojourn out of the public eye, the military has begun removing images of the Dear Leader from buildings in the capital, Pyongyang.

Hmmm. Military coup in country with numerous nuclear warheads? Awesome. Quagmire in Iraq (elections aren't going to help a thing, you dumb pricks), with no end in sight? Tits. Iran playing footsie with Europe over its nuclear enrichment program, right after signing the biggest oil deal in history with China, thus ensuring its endless protection at the UN? Fuckin' A.

Our national situation has nothing to do with partisan politics anymore. It has to do with the fact that I and my friends are going to be drafted to go to war in some country with weird mountain ranges, lots of trains, yaks, and funny-tasting teas. Hope you're ready - I've already got my digital camera, iPod, and photoblog domain name. Bring it on.

Oh, and anyone who wants to join my Mandarin study group is more than welcome. Every Tuesday and Thursday night - Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Ocean Ave.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Kobayashi is, without a doubt, the greatest eater ever to live upon planet Earth.

Ah, if only our young friend were the "greatest eater ever" of things quite opposite of hot dogs, then I'd be impressed.

Quite impressed indeed.


I did it all for the nookie
The wha?
The nookie
The wha?

So you can take that cookie
And stick it up your, yeah!!
Stick it up your, yeah!!
Stick it up your, yeah!!

End transmission.



Winter storms have caused severe road blockage through most parts of Mastodon Pass. Rocks falling. Cattle fleeing. Fencerow anthropomorphized; walking.

Proceed to Farmers Market for some top-notch prose and odd literary pastiche.

Especially the latest post.


On behalf of all the virile, convincingly cocksure, irrepressibly rakish, improbably charming, and absolutely, wrenchingly lecherous young men of America, let me just say that this news is both disappointing and an embarrasment.

We can do better, guys - we can do much better.

Friday, November 12, 2004


MIAMI -- A 6-year-old boy was subdued with a Taser while wielding a piece of glass and threatening to hurt himself in the principal's office, officials said Thursday.

The boy, who was not identified, was shocked by police with 50,000 volts of electric current on Oct. 20 at Kelsey Pharr Elementary School.

Some of you out there in the blogosphere - I shall call you pussies - may read the article referred to above and claim that the actions of the injured child did not warrant a discharge of streams of high voltage.


Let me tell you something.

During my illustrious six-year tenure at Lincoln Elementary (K-5), I got in serious trouble twice: once after pulling a kid into a pool of mud afer a particularly rainy day, and once after being involved in a large fight against the school "Poopstains" - a term forever reserved by 10 year olds to describe Mexicans - after a boy named Miguel pulled a switchblade on my friend Ryan. After both of these incidents, I was called into the principal's office and, bleary-eyed and remorseful, sat as he reassured me that he would pursue no disciplinary action. Unfortunately, he then informed me that my father had been notified of the various crimes committed. To this day, I remember distinctly the words, "I spoke with your father, and he requested that I allow him to discipline you himself."

Oh, how I had wished that Mr. Whaley was more corporally-minded, how I wished he had the smallest sliver of sadism in his soul. How I wished he had the gumption to do the just thing and take swift action, and how I prayed that he would slap my ass with his timber - so great was my fear of "Big Leroy" and his cricket bat of pain.

Needless to say, those days were unpleasant, and those nights all the more painful as The L-Train tanned my hide with switches, tire chains, and bungee chords. But the results don't lie, people - nay, the proof truly is in the pudding - and the next time the Poopstains tried provoking us with their illegal shivs, I did the brave and appropriate thing. I ran away. This not only insured the safety of my vital organs, it guaranteed protection of my small, supple rump. I had learned my lesson.

To wit - Physical Discipline: 1, Stern Talking To: 0.

To this day, I can't wait to have children so that I may "reprimand" them for childish and churlish behavior. To see the processees of learned behavior, to feel the satisfaction of living in a world - however falsely realized or imagined - governed by certain rules and following certain paths. For I know in my heart that when it comes to raising kids (a subject that I thankfully do not yet know a lot about), the establishment of clear and open communication are immeasurably important in the development of trust and confidence between parents and kids. Personally, I don't know of a better way to get your point across than swinging a 4-foot flattened wooden plank against the bare skin of a young child's backside.

In other words, I have a feeling that the kid in Florida with the attitude problem and a desire to injure himself will think twice before waving around a broken shard of glass and slicing open his own leg. He'll remember that coversation with those 50,000 volts, he'll remember the burnt nerves and bruised patches of skin, and he'll cut that monkey business out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


The American Mastodon wishes to be honest with you. He wishes, above all, to reveal himself to you and let you know how much he loves you, and cherishes you. He feels that he can no longer connect with you - on the desired emotional level - while still acting out the charade, this fanciful masquerade, that has become the cornerstone of his on-line life. The Mastodon has chosen, therefore, to stop referring to himself in the third person.

There are two reasons why the American Mastodon is doing this.

First, it is at times difficult for him to muster the energy to write a quick, pointed, hilarious, or sexy post knowing that he must, in the process, rearrange the cascading epiphanies into the voice of an extinct North American mega-mammal. Sometimes the Don just wants to rant a little.

Second, the good ole Bull Moose has successfully wrestled the mantle of "world's most articulate Great Plains-grazer speaking in the third person" from the 'Don. And he does so with great panache.

I have no choice but to forge a new path. And upon this path I dare now tread, I speak clearly, directly, honestly to you. I. Speak to you. I.

I, the American Mastodon.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Much has been made of the recent election. The American Mastodon has seen them come and has seen them go, and he knows the march towards justice and peace will continue always.

They may try to take away your civil liberties. They may deny you the right to marry. They may draft you and send you to war. They may take away your right to choose.

But trust the AM when he says they can never - not ever - take away the will to love.