Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

by J.S. Holland

Happy 4th of July!

In no particular order and off the top of my head, these are some of the things I'm working on for the future, goals for the next few years:

First and foremost, more books. Lots of them. Over the last year, the requests I've received for e-books has increased exponentially. I've not been a fan of e-books myself, but there's no denying that this is the way things are headed. And though I lament the death of paper, if people tell me they want e-books, I listen. I'm talking to several different publishers right now, assessing my options, trying to decide if I want to go through them or if there's any reason not to just start my own e-publishing imprint and cut out the middlemen. I continue to welcome your opinions on the subject of e-books and e-readers.

There are a lot of writing projects cluttering up my desk these days - a couple of crime-detective-noir novels I've been working on, plus projects devoted to specific local subjects like Springheel Jack, The Pope Lick Monster, and Kentucky artists. Theoretically Weird Cemeteries for Sterling is still a go, but it seems to be held up in Development Hell for reasons known only to my editors and publisher. My cemeteries book will see the light of day, however, in the next two years one way or another.

I'm still very excited about working for KyForward, a news website focusing on the Bluegrass area (Lexington and surrounding counties) with a consciously positive, upward-toned sense of civil discourse. Which, as you must know, is all too rare on the internet these days. If you'd like to support such a venture, potential advertisers, please contact them and inquire about ad rates! We're also kicking around the idea of doing video content, including an interview show hosted by yours truly.

And I still love Kentucky Monthly magazine! You can find my column, Commonwealth Curiosities in each issue. If you don't see it at your local newstand or bookstore, bug 'em till they stock it! (Having said that, though, it's a hugely popular magazine and getting more popular all the time; I don't think I've ever seen a reputable store that didn't carry it.)

I'm still a painter first and foremost, although hyping my primitive neo-expressionist outsider-folk-art flavored canvases has taken a back seat in the last couple years to everything else. I aim to rectify that in the weeks and months ahead, with a renewed drive to get these paintings in the hands of as many people as possible, by any means necessary. Do you want a JSH original in your home or office? Talk to me. It's so doable. I offer interest-free payment plans for every budget. (And my Happy & Froggie painting that was featured in the film When Happy Met Froggie is still available, although its price has gone up since the movie was released.)

Something else I've been slowly putting together over the years is material for an Unusual Kentucky museum - something that would be not only a legitimate educational and historical museum, but also take a truly "Weird Kentucky" spin on the whole thing, showing cultural artifacts of the Commonwealth that might be a little - okay, a lot - fringier than what you might see at the Frazier. There have been some nibbles of interest in the concept from parties in both Louisville and Lexington, but I'm holding out until I get a guaranteed deal that gives me control over the place if it's going to be using my name. There are some recent rumblings that give me hope this thing will actually happen, and sooner than later. Keep your fingers crossed with me; it's gonna be a lot of fun.

Those are the primary projects on my front burners, but there's plenty more still bubbling under. My interest in Kentucky's horse industry is going to manifest in some way sooner or later, we'll see. A couple more goals I have: I intend to operate a Steampunk-themed bar and a hillbilly/exotica miniature golf course (the crazy over-the-top kind with giant statues and weird gimmicks like you see down in Pigeon Forge) before I die. All in time. Wait and see. (And when that retro bar does come to life, my bartending blog Transmissions from Agent J will be pressed back into service.)

There's still more. A lot more. This'll do for now though. Stay tuned to JSH News for the latest updates on my dreams and schemes! And remember, I can always be reached, by anyone on the planet, at You can also text me on Twitter or just pick up the phone and call me at 502.649.3378. Find me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

That Was Then, This Is Now

"You loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might win.

You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline.

How many nights I prayed for this, to let my work begin.

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin."

================- - Leonard Cohen.

Tomorrow, July 4th, will be my last post on any of my blogs, for some time to come. I'm increasingly busy with a lot of exciting real-world projects that demand my full attention, and I just don't have as much time to devote to the internet.

That may sound odd, since my internet presence has always been rather over-the-top. But the fact is, this is not the same Internet I originally signed on for. I won't bore you with the details and you'll find I've belabored the point suitably elsewhere, but suffice it to say I'm bored with the internet and I don't like the direction it's going - and by extension, the direction it's taking most of us.

And ever since the recent announcement by NASA of a confirmed Space-Time Vortex around the Earth, that's pretty much been my indicator that we've reached the point where this blog is no longer necessary and I'm starting to feel, as Tom Lehrer once said, "like a resident of Pompeii being asked to provide witty commentary on lava." You either already know what to do with the pieces I've presented here or you don't. If the implications of the things that have come to pass in the last two years haven't turned your normal everyday life upside down since you learned them, then you didn't really learn them.

When you start really grasping these concepts with the same part of your brain that you think about your day-to-day life stuff - and not just quickly filing it away in the "gosh, how bout that, aint that somethin" part of your brain - you might start caring a lot less about the little things on this rock that so many people waste their entire brief existences obsessing about (sports, politics, scrapbooking).

Click here to read more about which blogs are going and which blogs are staying. (Different blogs have different versions of this same post.)

Tomorrow, on the fourth of July, we'll get into the good news - all the fun things that I'm working on that'll be better than blogging, and things that I want you, dear reader, to feel free to get involved in! As Jack Lord used to say, "Be here! Aloha!"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Reason Why

Just two months short of two years ago, on September 1, 2009, I instituted this blog as a side outlet for that special body of subjects near and dear to my heart that strayed too far afield of my other online venues. It's all one interconnected body of work to me, of course, but it's just the way of things that my friends who love Kentucky weirdness, old-school theatre, and gentlemanly pursuits may not have as much of a frame of reference for my observations on pirates, aviation, astronomy, and Victoriana. Not to mention my little mini-tributes to those very few elements of modern pop culture that I find illuminating from my peculiar sense of perspective.

Terms like "Steampunk" and "Dieselpunk" have never been big enough to hold me (and certainly not "Cyberpunk".) I'm looking at a much bigger picture than those narrow-scope enthusiasts, but they're handy terms to use to help explain to someone why I am so interested in a worldview that mixes elements of the past and the future, of science and science fiction. Then fold in the sheer determination of Steampunk types to grab speculative fiction/fantasy and drag it kicking and screaming into reality, right here, right now. Speculative living, if you will. I have a lot of respect for that.

Then again, much of my adult life has been shaped by instructions given to me by an "imaginary friend" when I was a toddler, and by past-life memories accidentally triggered in 1982 while watching one of the goofiest 1980s music videos ever made, so you may not want to cherish my advice too closely. Or maybe you will.

Nevertheless, my research is about to go into its next major phase. Stay tuned for an important announcement here tomorrow.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Frequency

One month ago I issued a memo about my refusal to co-exist in the same space with CFL bulbs, and now comes some information that would seem to indicate I'm righter than ever in so doing:

It's bad enough that a broken CFL bulb in your home will result in a toxic hazmat situation costing a fortune to have cleaned up professionally, but now some people are implementing a plan to invisibly transmit data through household lights. How is such a thing possible? It's simple, actually - so simple I'm surprised this wasn't done long ago - specially modified ceiling lights are now transmitting data to computers on desks below by flickering faster than the eye can see. By reducing these flickers to a binary code that literally moves at the speed at light, you soon will never know what secret coded information is whizzing through the air all around you, whenever and wherever there are electric lights nearby.

Similarly, broadband-quality communications can be sent literally through the electrical charge that flows through your home's wiring and through your neighborhood's power lines. So, between computer hackers commandeering data from your home remotely in any number of ways, your own home's wiring and the very beams of light shining from your lamp could be additional means to aid spying on you and me.

Do we really know whether the invisible flickering of this light-traveling data will affect human brains adversely? We already know that more and more people are reporting sensitivity to the subliminal strobing that occurs barely-perceptibly on all computer and TV monitors. And now, according to Patent #6506148, "Nervous System Manipulation by Electromagnetic Fields from Monitors", you don't even have to be looking at the TV screen to be affected by them - they can be made to radiate any kind of field that is needed to have a desired affect on anyone standing nearby.

All this rapid advance in technology comes at a time when the U.S. Government is about to initiate a foolhardy experiment in altering the traditional frequency of North America's power grid. At the very least, according to MSNBC, it will screw up appliances and devices in households nationwide:

"A lot of people are going to have things break and they're not going to know why," said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government.

Do all these seemingly disassociated fragments add up to anything greater than the sum of their parts? I think you know the answer to that already.