Monday, April 30, 2012


Yes, my infamous story, The Frankenstein Penis, will soon be back in print. Here's the cover of the anthology:

The look of the art, and the subtitle "Affairs with the Undead" makes it look somewhere between erotica and romance -- which is good marketing.

It's also fitting for the story. I consider The Frankenstein Penis to be romance. It has the classic boy-meets-girl plot, and even has a happy ending.

Friday, April 27, 2012


In the latest Chicanonautica over at La Bloga, I review the writings of Renaissance Chicano, Jesús Salvador Treviño.

Here are some examples of the videos he's doing for

I actually saw the documentary América Tropical when it was first broadcast. And yes, it did influence Cortez on Jupiter:

New Mexico chile is a powerful mood-altering substance that is still legal in the United States of America:

Here's to all you vatos out there:


And this version of the ever-popular La Bamba has new words that bring it into the 21st century:

Friday, April 20, 2012


What hath 2012 wrought? Suddenly, Dick Clark is dead. People are hooking it up to the Pseudo-Mayan Apocalypse thing. Don't worry, New Year's Eve got along fine after Guy Lombardo died, it'll get along without Dick.

For me, this is bringing back bizarre memories of the century past. You see, I once saw Dick Clark in what passed for flesh back around 1972. Yes, I was a teenage American Bandstand dancing zombie.

These days people think that's cool. They're actually impressed. I've been tempted to put “former American Bandstand dancer” on my résumé.

But that was back when I was desperately trying not to be a “typical” teenager, or rather, the pre-packaged demographic consumer identity that the corporations were perfecting. Give them a few years of soft drugs, loud music, and programmed rebellion, and they'll burn out, stagger to the mall and spend as instructed. American Bandstand wasn't anything that this guy with Jimi Hendrix/Abbie Hoffman hair who drew surrealist cartoons for his high school newspaper wanted any part of.

As for Dick Clark, he was already known as America's Oldest Teenager. Something out of a creaky past that I was trying to escape from.

The reason I ended up on the show was because a friend of my sister Carol was a proper teenage consumer. She dreamed of being on television, and getting close to the electronic gods. She got tickets.

I was drafted for one reason. I was the only guy at Edgewood High School who was taller than my sister's friend. She barely talked to me throughout the entire ordeal. Wanna talk about dehumanization?

I protested, but my sister and mom ganged up on me. My dad could only say, “This will be more fuel for your story mill.”

So I was dressed up and dragged to Hollywood.

Seeing Dick closeup was disturbing. His unnatural youth was obviously the result of lots of makeup, and dependent on the cameras running. When the red lights came on, he would pop up, smile, and perform like the iconic rocking TV host. When the cameras were off, it was like somebody pulled his plug -- he collapsed like a tired old man, needed to sit down and didn't say much until the cameras came on again.

I'm still not sure if he wasn't some kind of robot.

My East L.A/West Covina upbringing did not prepare me for the marathon dance/show taping. We were ordered around for hours, told to dance and look happy.

At one point I saw a couple being told that they could not dance together. She was black and he was white. The director explained that they got angry letters from the South. This was the Seventies. I guessed the Sixties were really over, like folks kept saying.

Everything was okay as long as blacks danced with blacks and whites danced with whites.

The funny thing is, with my hair and skin color, I was constantly being mistaken for black. I was dancing with a blonde. I guess my pretty Hispanic face saved the day.

Racism. I'm never gonna understand it.

I also had some close encounters with musicians who came to lip sync their songs.

Pat Boone was one. He was there with his daughter Debbie, launching her career. They wore matching outfits that included white see-thru bell-bottoms, and black bikini panties. Yes, I saw Pat Boone's panties. That was something I wasn't emotionally prepared for.

When Joe Tex synced his “I Gotcha,” he wore a red leather suit. I felt as trapped as the girl in the song by a society that wanted to give me mountains of crap in exchange for my soul.

The most frightening part of this was what happened afterward, when the shows were aired.

All the kids at Edgewood recognized me. They were excited about that smiling, dancing zombie. The only problem was, that guy wasn't me – he was an artificial construction that looked like me.

After that, I refused to dance for a long time.

Now I diddle around with this blog, and on Facebook and Twitter. I am aware that there is another Artificial Ernesto out there, only I designed him. He dances the way I make him dance.

I hope that, now and then, I make some of the zombies out there dance to a different tune.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Zap! Suddenly, it's springtime in the Metro Phoenix Area. The temperature is rising. Ultraviolet radiation is making everything glow with brighter colors. My wife's garden is dazzling, making Xochiquetzal proud.

And, oh yes, Easter and LepreCon happened on the same weekend. I did my best to follow the weird rituals going on around the world as well as attend the con. As usual, I leapt from world to world. There were mind-altering side-effects.

The trend of fewer fans – and fewer of them who seem to be readers -- continued. No audience showed up for my first two panels. It was common for panel participants to outnumber the crowd.

This meant that I got to talk and hang out with Guest of Honor Joe Haldeman and his wife Gay, and lot of the other writers, which was good, fun, and informative. There were self-published – or should I say “indie” – authors, and people from small presses, in the dealer room. When it came to publishing, the phrase “brave new world” kept coming up – at least it's not “nineteen eighty-four” or “Fahrenheit 451.”

I did my autograph session in the company of Jennifer Roberson. Collectors – they're still around – had me autograph copies of 18th annual Year's Best Science Fiction (with Obsidan Harvest, my collaboration with Rick Cook), and Alien Contact. I even managed to sell copy of Smoking Mirror Blues.

Nobody bought any of the copies of 2020 Visions that Rick Novy brought. If you don't have it, you really should. You don't want to miss the rollicking Victor Theremin adventure, Radiation is Groovy, Kill the Pigs. There's also stories by Emily Devenport, Jack Mangan, David Lee Summers, and more writers than you can shake a wad of radioactive marijuana at.

When I commuted home, I went online to cherez le weird. There were lots of bloody penitentes, but nothing as outrageous as the flaying and wearing the skin of a sacrifice to Xipe Totec, but it comes close at times. There's something delightful to me about a crown-of-thorns vendor, or costumed spectators getting out their cell phones to take pictures of Jesus carrying the Cross. In Australia the Roman armor is replaced with modern police gear. And more reenactments, by light-skinned, English-speaking people are taking place in the United States of America!

The real-nails crucifixions in the Philippines still have the power to shock. I'm amazed that no one seems to notice that those crucified don't bleed. Why isn't medical science studying this?

When I went back to the convention, all the weird Easter stuff started giving me ideas for my science fiction – maybe for marketing's sake, I should call it dystopian – bullfighting novel: a glorious, bizarre string of visions that I had to scribble down. It's coming alive, growing my brain. I'm going to have to start writing it now. There's no choice.

Yeah, it's the sort of thing that nobody in the big-time publishing world would touch with ten-foot pole, but they're doomed. They don't matter anymore. Writers no longer have to listen to them. The world will be better for it. Readers rejoice.

I guess you say I was inspired. It might not have happened if I wasn't talking to writers and thinking about writing.

Besides, at one point, as I was taking a stroll around the block, a young woman in a restaurant patio called out, “Excuse me, sir, is there a con going on around here?”

And a guy who described himself as a “documentary freak” asked me about my / Barrio Dog Productions T-shirt.

So as I left the purple Easter Bunny giving people high-fives in front of the Mill Avenue post office to go home to videos of burning Judases and Resurrection Sunday bullfights, with a monster of creativity in my head.

I guess that's what conventions are for.

Friday, April 13, 2012


This time in Chicanonatuica over at La Bloga we get to know El Solitario, Jinete Sin Fronteras, a Mexican comic book hero whose blood-spattered quest for justice has a mystical aura.

This video features a lot of El Solitario covers and the Beatles song Let It Be played with spaghetti western style pan pipes:

He's even the subject of a corrido:

And, as a special extra, a brief history of Mexican comics, and interviews with the staff of Sensacional de Diseño Mexicano:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It's Semana Santa, and instead of relaxing, finding news and video of my favorite bizarre rituals, I'm running around doing stuff and getting ready for LepreCon this weekend. Meanwhile, here is some stuff I've caught:

Looks like the city of Lorca has a damn spectacular procession with Romans, horses, chariots, and devils:

The Cora, Or Na'ayarij have an interesting variation on the theme that's more pre-Columbian than Judeo-Christian.

Let's not forget Xipe Totec, the god, or the band:

Folks have been making sacrifices to Santa Muerte:

And Míl Mascaras has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame:

I'll try to find time to see if there's any interesting penitente or crucifixion action . . .