Thursday, October 27, 2011


Over at La Bolga, I've got a Chicanonautica for Día de los Muertos going. Here at Mondo Ernesto, I've got some extras that work Halloween/Muertos interface:

From Argentina, we have some kick-but exorcists that will make everyone forget about Linda Blair:

In other news, Puerto Rico is not immune to zombie infestation:

Meanwhile, at the Hollywood Cemetery:

And let's finish up with a Nahuatl blessing:

Sunday, October 23, 2011


From just looking at this blog, you might get the idea that I've been spending most of my time wallowing in strange and obscure entertainment – not that that wouldn't be a bad life. Unfortunately, I'm more of a workboy than a playboy these days. Besides checking in, sorting, and shelving stuff (not just books) for the Phoenix Public Library at more than one location, the writer biz keep growing new heads and grotesque new appendages just when I think I've thwacked it into submission.

November 1st is hurtling at us, Marty Halpern's Alien Contact anthology is coming out. I already have my contributor's copy where I can see my name listed among a whole lot of famous writers. Soon I'll be poking through the smoldering bookselling wasteland, hoping to see it for sale. I'll also be hyping it – though these days the word “pimp” is the more popular term.

I had hoped to have Cortez on Jupiter available as an ebook by now, but it's still in the final stages of all-important proofreading – something I've learned is extremely important in self-publishing. And there're all those wonder technical details I've been learning about. Talk about new life and new civilizations!

I'm also trying to get another ebook done, Obsidian Harvest, the Aztec dinosaur detective novella I collaborated on with Rick Cook. When Rick and I get to brainstorming, it can get wild. I'm not only coming up with a cover, but illustrations, and I'm having these visions of an animated book trailer that may take me into some truly dangerous territory.

Meanwhile, other writers are getting interesting and usual ebooks out. Cat Eldridge of The Green Man Review informed me about Neil Gaiman's Snow Glass Apples and Murder Mysteries. And others are popping up all the time. It shames me into getting back to work.

Then there's the ebookization Smoking Mirror Blues and High Aztech that folks are screaming for.

And, yes, I am still writing. I've got this poststeamppunk Pancho Villa - Nikola Tesla - airship -deathray thing that I keep getting distracted from. When I get back to it I've found that vision has changed, which has caused the story to go off in another direction. I end up chasing it through the apocalyptic landscape of our times.

Y'know, it's kinda fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The latest Chicanonautica over at La Bloga tells of how my search for an Aztec detective led me to the works of Mexican painter Jesús Helguera, whose classical images are known from being seen on calendars, posters, cars, and sidewalks.

Mexican art often finds a home in other places than the galleries and museums of the fine art world. Chicano art thrives in these populist venues. These products of popular culture often say more about us than is ever shown in them alta classe places.

I know that these horror movie posters say something to me, and probably reveal a lot about me:

My visions of – and life in – the Wild West look more like these than Hollywood's efforts:

There's something about the hand-painted signs of the world's barrios:

Lowriders with airbrushes often get inspired:

And even a tuba can be transformed by paint:

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I was looking over the stats for Mondo Ernesto, wondering why I was getting a lot of visits from Russia, the Netherlands, and the Ukraine lately, when my screen went black. Suddenly, flashing block letters scrolled by:


Before I could reach over to turn my computer off, a cornball starfield appeared. Flaming letters in familiar handwriting spelled:

Hi Ernest, this is Victor Theremin. I've been having a wild time in the Ukraine, the Netherlands, and Russia. Wish you were here.

Then my computer restarted itself. A blinding light flashed outside my window. My eardrums popped. I did another restart, just in case.

Monday, October 3, 2011


It was another peculiar image that sent me on a decades-long quest: Houdini fighting with a robot. It was a clunky robot, but then it was from a silent movie. It was more than man-sized, but there also was a small, doll-sized version. Sometimes it carried a candelabra.

I first saw it on Jay Ward's experiment in pre-postmodernism, Fractured Flickers. What was this movie? I longed to see it. Someday.

Later I read about it in some Houdini biographies. It was The Master Mystery, a silent serial. There was even a novelization.

Houdini plays a Justice Department agent investigating a corporation that buys patents to keep the inventions off the market in order to extort big payoffs from established businesses who would have to compete with the new technology. A top executive's brain has been “transplanted” into an “automaton” – the robot who went by the name of Candlestick Parker in Fractured Flickers!

The automaton gives orders to a gang of thugs who keep putting Houdini into complicated death traps that he can escape from rather than simply shooting or stabbing him. Not very smart – but then they are following the orders of a corporate executive.

There's also a mind-paralyzing drug that the automaton used that candelabra to deploy, a heroine and a villainess who both fall in love with Houdini, a fake fortune teller, Fu Manchu/Yellow Peril Asians, a hypnosis machine, and an idol with heat ray eyes.

Sections are damaged and/or missing, entire chapters are synopsized, and it ends with the cliff-hanger of the penultimate chapter, making it look like the evil corporation triumphs -- just why is the world still hanging onto fossil fuels?

But it's still pretty damn entertaining.

I think this is because the complete story isn't the point. The appeal of serials isn't linear. They are slices of melodrama rather than life. The plot isn't as important as the delirious effect of the stream of mayhem that keeps titillating the audience before it has to go back to life in a fracturing world.