Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Excerpt from 'Core Values.'

by Louis B. Shalako


All Rights Reserved

Schwartzie sat on the end of the bed to dress, feeling the warmth and moisture of the shower evaporating. This brought a delicious little shiver. First it was the panties, all frilly and white, with lace around the legs and waistband.

Next, the stockings, then the garter belt, both in black lace, and then; standing, the uplift bra with the top halves cutaway to reveal the state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line, cutting edge implants. Perfumed and powdered, moisturized and defoliated, Schwartzie’s golden skin, maintained by periodic visits to the tanning salon, glowed with a lustrous self-indulgence. Her body was a high-maintenance, high performance machine.

You could cut glass with those nipples.

Then it was the black leather skirt, and the tube top, and the little vest with cowhide-style colours in brown, black and white. Once things warmed up, whether it was Les or any other male; it could be removed when tactical requirements dictated, to expose the lovely shoulder blades, the smooth, creamy shoulders, the cleavage where the skirt revealed the top of a pink rose tattooed on her right cheek, just below the dimples caused by slender hips, pert buttocks and proper stretching exercises.

Vests were useful, to remove at the proper time, or better yet to unbutton it and make him stretch and peek.

It would reveal nipples straining and pushing at the thin, sheer printed fabric of the skimpy little top.

Schwartzie looked forward to seeing the look on Les’s face, not that it would do him much good.

Schwartzie was going to tease the hell out of old Les. That much revenge would seem to be in order. It seemed due after the last few months of his persistent, lecherous, drooling advances.

Then it was the cowboy boots. And the hat, a cute little white Stetson, with a black leather band. The only trouble with the hat was that it ruled out the flower in the hair over the ear. But if Les was looking for trouble, Schwartzie intended to make him sweat, make him pay. Tease the living shit out of him, and then slap him in the face. If necessary. Just not ready for a relationship…yet. And definitely not with Les.

Schwartzie tried not to think of how stupid it was. How stupid it was, to allow Les Purvis to bully, con, browbeat, and finally persuade; that a night out wouldn’t hurt once in a while; that they were just good friends and he understood that. But Les was up to no good. That much was obvious. And country-western dancing! Yeesh! Schwartzie was so bored, with this town; its small, peasant-minded folk, how bitter that word seemed on the tongue; even though the words were quickly bitten back. She was bored of life itself.

The thought of asking for another transfer occupied her mind, but it would have to wait for at least another six months or it would seem ‘ungrateful.’

“Two and a half years in this place,” moaned Schwartzie. “It’s so hard to believe!”

The full-length pair of mirrors on the hall sliding closet doors revealed that the little mink still looked good, the coat as well as Schwartzie, ‘Yours truly,’ as the saying went.

Schwartzie kept a journal. What, oh what, would pen inscribe in there tonight? What scurrilous observations? What delectable tid-bits of manners, of talk. What personal secrets would be revealed? His life story?

Oh, God.

Would Les pick his nose and talk about football? Drink himself into a stupor? Was Schwartzie no more than a designated driver? It was difficult to believe that Les would honestly try to transform himself into a different person, or that he would be able to achieve his full adult maturity overnight.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sea of Tranquility...

Illustration by Louis. Acrylic on cardboard. Approx. 10x12 inches.

by Louis B. Shalako


All Rights Reserved

Editor's Note: This experimental story asks the reader to eavesdrop on only one side of a conversation. In military intelligence-gathering, 'chatter' is extremely useful in evaluating the enemy's numbers, training, preparedness, and state of mind.
................................ ......................................................

…serenity is mine, sergeant. That’s right out of Sun Tzu.

It sure is a Sea of Tranquility out there tonight. I’ll do poetry if I want to, sergeant. Let’s see you carry one of these things out there and launch it. Otherwise go punch yourself in the head. According to the sensors, nothing has moved in five hours. They have to be there.

I’ve been alone out here just a little too long, sergeant. You’ll just have to bear with it. My feet are frozen. They don’t hurt or anything. Put that on the report, too. It gets us all in the end, sergeant. My hands still work, and that’s all you need to worry about.

It wasn’t so bad before Stan got it. We could put our helmets together and shout ourselves hoarse and talk about home and family, laugh ourselves silly at some sick joke.

I don’t know sergeant.

We ran out of water a day, two days ago.

Didn’t you hear?

Something got him in his suit…it left a little hole. There could only have been one of them, or I’d have bought it too. Somehow it sealed its entry-point. The suit’s still holding air. I’m using his tanks now, and he doesn’t have any water either.

Yes, I looked. If I don’t check in, what’s the point of sending spare tanks? Don’t risk it just yet. Keep ‘em on standby. Cooper? She’s a good girl. But not just yet. Thanks for the thought though.

For some reason Stan had the switch for the interior light on. The suit switch is jammed, I can’t turn it off…he’s in there dead as a doorknob. It’s like he’s frozen in there and he’s like still screaming at me…be that as it may, sergeant. And I can’t turn off the damned interior light. I think they put them in there so the medics could give first-aid, or whatever….have a look in the manual for me sarge, will you?

Yes, sergeant. Screw you too, sergeant.

We have two or three of them left. Yes, they’re all primed and ready to go…


No, sergeant. It’s just me. Sorry about that. Won’t happen again.

I’ll just go out there and do that then.

Thank you. If I’m not back online in ten or so, ah, could you please let my folks know that I love them, stuff like that, eh? Okay? I’ve downloaded all Stan’s stuff onto a chip too. I took out the stuff his mom wouldn’t want to see.

It’s all here in the OP; sergeant, if you boys can maybe get back here sometime.

No, I broke off with her when I got inducted. It seemed like the decent thing to do.

Thanks for asking.

No hard feelings, sarge, and that’s real, okay? It don’t mean nothing. You know that, Bill. We all know that.

The boys on the other side of that crater wall will know it pretty soon, too. And now I guess I'll just go out there and show ‘em how it’s done…


Good luck to you too, sergeant.

Other than that, sure hope the rest of the company is having a nice day. Don’t wait lunch on me. It is awful quiet out there, sarge; but not for too much longer.

In about, ah; three and a half minutes, you should feel a series of small concussions through the ground. That’ll be me. If I don’t check in pretty soon after that, send Herbert.

The son of a bitch still owes me fifty bucks.

Yes, sergeant. I have good cover most of the way. It really is a sea of tranquility out there tonight. The Earth will rise in a few minutes and then visibility will get a whole lot better around here. They’ll stop and think about it. With a little luck I can be back inside by then.

Thank you, sergeant. I’d better go now.

Victor-Charlie-Tango Four-Oh-Three, out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Have You Seen This Animal?

Authorities are asking for the public's help in locating this creature, reported missing in the central city area. Described as 'a mini-drag,' the animal is a year old and answers to the name, 'Pookie.'

Approximately two and a half metres long and weighing an estimated fifty to sixty kilos, authorities are advising the public not to approach the animal, but to call it in to Animal Control at 555-1212. The public is advised to keep 'anything less than a couple of pit-bulls' indoors, 'and that includes children, the elderly, and small adults' as well; according to Constable Latrina Rath.

The owner is anxious to recover the animal before its wings begin to bud, and is said to be offering a substantial reward.

Friday, June 11, 2010

When Cars Behave Like Teenagers. Greenhouses versus Solar Farms.

The big new solar farm as seen from Blackwell Side Road, Sarnia, Ontario.

by Louis B. Shalako


All Rights Reserved

It all began innocently enough...

Sometimes when I’m bored, I bring up my Google page and click on the upper left-hand corner where it says, ‘maps.’ I got hooked on it after seeing the shipwrecks off of Canatara Beach.
One day I was hovering above the Earth a hundred kilometres up. That’s when I discovered the mysterious lines at Nazca in Peru aren’t actually visible from space. So that blows that theory all to hell.
I was looking down at Point Pelee, around Wheatley, and Rondeau; and I noticed something funny. They build huge greenhouses down there, all metal tubes and heavy plastic. They show up from a certain altitude. They’re absolutely huge, covering hundreds of hectares. This struck me for two reasons. One, a few years ago, I worked in Blenheim, and so I got to see one under construction over a number of days, weeks and months. Secondly, I drove past the solar farm they’re developing in the southeast corner of Sarnia, Ontario. That’s at the intersection of Churchill Line and Blackwell Side Road, east of Highway 40.
That place is pretty sprawling, and they’re not making any new farmland these days.

My question is pretty simple.

Is it more efficient to burn farmland to make electricity, or is it more efficient to turn that exact same solar energy, i.e. solar-heating hours, into food? This would save transportation emissions, wouldn’t it? And those greenhouses create jobs over the long term and everything, right? It’s not just a quick flash in the pan for local construction workers. Although I admit they get that too from the greenhouses. No one is actually against jobs these days, although there may be other considerations from time to time. Species-survival might be one. Politicians need to get out into the real world once in a while.
It actually makes more sense for individual homeowners to have solar panels on the roof. Point of consumption is point of production. Infrastructure is cellular, and hard to knock out all at once--it's terror- proof in some degree.
No one ever listens to me...fools! Fools! But that way no rich people would get richer. That’ll never happen. It would be, ‘politically unpopular.’ For the people to control the means of production is sacrilegious to capitalists and Canadian politicians, and the mainstream corporate media.
Governments would rather subsidize big, sexy projects that get lots of media attention; but really don’t amount to much in the long run. Because we don’t have enough farmland, for all of our power consumption needs. Some people object to wind turbines, but at least you can still grow crops on the land below them.
They say Toyota has a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car coming along soon. They’re working out a few bugs. The cars have a bad habit of waiting until the owner goes to sleep and then taking off and gallivanting all over town, kind of like horny teenagers.
For some reason wind power is less attractive. People object to the noise! One lady objected to the Ontario Municipal Board regarding 'noise from transformers.' This one was about the solar farm! She lost the case.
Perhaps one system is simply more efficient than another, or something. We may get 300 wind turbines in Lambton County, but we are definitely getting two more solar farms. The contracts are all signed, sealed and delivered according to credible sources.
Also, locally two closed former landfill sites have been tapped for methane-into-power projects. These also required large investments of capital and 'a stable price.'
In order to get these projects off the ground, certain cooperation was required. The Ontario authorities, 'Big Hydro,' recently privatized, had to sign an agreement to buy the juice at something on the order of forty-three cents per kilowatt/hour. This is way more than consumers are willing to pay. They will never see it expressed in those terms on their hydro bill. It will be a 'blended' pricing structure. So there is a subsidy. It's not a 'free market economy.' The same holds true whether you are building a solar farm, or taking methane from an old landfill site.
So the big question is when will some forward-looking individuals get together and invest in local food production? I'm referring to 'truck gardening,' using solar energy, greenhouses, and some kind of government cooperation.
In my opinion, this would create permanent jobs of the so-called 'green' type, although the liklihood is the employees would still have to drive to work...and most of those people would like to own a house. The older homes, in the lower price ranges, really aren't that energy efficient.
Some of them have no insulation in the walls whatsoever, and are running fifty or eighty year-old furnaces. Some of them still have old-fashioned aluminum sash, single pane window systems, and bad doors as well. What is needed is an overall, coordinated strategy, which is just what we aren't going to get from the government of Stephen Harper. That's because he's so hung up on selling tar sands oil to the U.S. Yet ultimately, that will leave as much of an environmental impact as the big BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The only real difference, in the Gulf states, millions of people make a living from the sea. In Canada's north, only a few tens of thousands of politically-naive people make any kind of a living from the land.
The environmental impact is a well-kept secret. In Canada, the big oil companies, the federal and provincial governments, and the big media concerns cooperate quite a bit. They seem to think Canadians should be treated like mushrooms, 'kept in the dark and fed nothing but crap.'
So I guess the last thing I need to worry about is what sort of trouble my new car may be getting into. Anyway, you get what you pay for. Right?
Welcome to the twenty-first century.

(Note: The odds of us getting a new car anytime soon, seem very, very slim. -ed.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

You Know I'm Not Really a Cat, Right?

How does a frog tell the difference between a fly and the myriads of other flying, moving, drifting, floating objects in its world?

Perception is a process by which sensory stimulation is organized and translated, and stored into ‘usable experience.’

How does the mind or the brain translate stationary flashing lights on a screen into moving pictures, a kind of temporary ‘reality?’

How does an artist see colours? There are approximately one-point-four million hues visible to the naked human eye. How or why does the artist see them, and how is he or she able to mix pigments and put them into a painting? If you made a hundred artists all paint a picture of ‘an apple and nothing else,’ all the pictures would be different. You as an observer would see different things—different skills, different styles, different techniques, different lighting, different compositions.

You would find some are ‘better’ than others. You might be able to pick a favourite.

All of the raw, unorganized data that enters the brain is subconciously and instantaneously ‘corrected’ into ‘percepts.’

This is thinking at the level of the forebrain, a subconscious, animal level. It is instinctive more than learned. In tests, newborn babies backed away from visual cliff-images, yet they clearly had no experience of cliffs, or even of falling.

What this means, is that a car on a highway is immediately recognized as a full-sized car, no matter how near or how far away, no matter the ‘apparent size’ of the object. It is rare to mistake it for a model car, or a cartoon.

For centuries, gravity was taken for granted, it was 'the Law of God.' People assumed the world was flat, even when you can see its curvature from any big hill.

People felt the wind on their faces and never gave it a thought...because they couldn't see it. They simply could not see it, and therefore it did not exist. The notion that air was a substance was a breakthrough in thinking.

Previously it could not exist in their world.

A musical theme can be followed—otherwise it is just noise—no matter how many times the composer has changed the key, or the timing, or the volume, or what selection of instruments is playing what section or bar of music.

For a person to underperceptualize would be to experience the world as chaos. To overperceptualize is just as bad. This means ‘to organize sensory stimuli to the extent that stimuli not fitting into that organization are shut off.’ This would be to experience ‘reality,’ or the world in a depressive or hallucinatory state. It is to shut out reality, or to deny its meaning.

Perhaps one part of the brain is lying to another part, or more likely misinterpreting data from sensory stimuli. Perhaps this may cause autism or mental illnesses of various sorts.

Classical theory states that once an object has been perceived as an identifiable entity, it tends to be seen as a stable object having permanent characteristics. This so called ‘constancy’ is, according to Ludwig von Helmholtz; ‘The measure of a person’s ability to continually synthesize past experience and current sensory cues.’

In many ways perception is reality. To suffer from flawed perceptions would be to perceive a flawed reality.

There is no objectivity in art. Art is purely subjective. To produce art by polling results is to miss the point.

Once the numbers were in, artists would inevitably begin trying to anticipate the demand…which leads to stagnation in pursuit of an ever-narrowing ‘ideal.’

As an artist, to imitate another is the kiss of death.

This is vital, so read closely:

‘Only when one is experiencing an illusion, or when one is misreading visual cues, such as when cars and houses appear like toys from the altitude of an airplane, does one become aware of such sensations, and gain some insight into the role of the organization of percepts.’ –'The Encyclopedia'

Much testing has been done in experimental research using the testing of subjects with illusory material, in an attempt to separate individual percepts from the process as a whole.

Now, the reader obviously knows I'm not a cat. But how do you know?

How do we know what we know? What do we mean, when we say we know?

This is more than a Monty Python sketch revisited. It is our opinion that philosophical conjecture is the highest vocation.

Whereas all that has been written since the dawn of time, on the subject of metaphysics, has been a total waste.

It is our job to question the very nature of reality itself.

At Shalako Publishing we like to challenge all of our assumptions.

All of them, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spaceships 024 .jpeg

At some point in the future, 'aerial combat will extend from the surface of the planet, up until the point of the jump to light speed and beyond...' -The Evil Dr. Smith's Lecture Series.