Money For Nothing

Not really money for nothing, but it’s time to re-order The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company. We sold out the original press run, and now we must decide to order more or just move on. As most writers and small publishers know, there just isn’t a lot of profit in small press runs. After printing costs, shipping, postage, and a dozen other small expenses one never thinks of until they arise, you’re just not making any money, so either you decide to do it because you like what you’re doing, or move on to something else.

I designed the second printing on In design, got a quote from the printer, who offered a generous 10% discount, then started debating whether or not I wanted to a second printing at all. I love the book and it turned out beautifully, but I can’t say anyone is beating down our door to get it. 

I received several emails from Chinese publishers promising they could do the project for half as much, but I shudder to think what type of human rights and environmental violations they have to commit to make it so cheap, so I’ll stick with my printer right here in Ohio. I’m just not chomping at the bit to give them any more money right now as much as I’d like to have another printing.

It would be so nice to not have to do all of this while trying to live a life simultaneously. 

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Commercials, And Why I Need Them

Jenny likes to fast forward through the commercials when we watch television. And it drives me batty. I grew up with commercials. Commercials are like the circadian rhythm. I can’t comprehend how anyone watches television without the buffer zone of the commercials. Commercials allow you to get a snack, to collect your thoughts, to, umm, relieve yourself. How can anyone watch television without commercials?


You have meddled with the primal forces of nature. And by primal forces I mean my kidneys. My kidneys need commercials. My kidneys grew up watching commercials. Who is the sadist who invented the technology that allows her to fast forward through commercials on programs that aren’t recorded? I don’t know what kind of planet we’re living on these days, but I long for the good old days of broadcast television. I started my career as a television watcher as a designated channel changer. This was in the days before remote control. Or at least the days before my family had remote control. Who needed it, they had me. Forty years later you can’t sit on a couch with someone who doesn’t get fidgety three seconds into a commercial about antacids. I need to know about antacids. And upcoming truck and tractor pulls, and whatever it was they were selling in that mysterious blue bottle. I understand a great many of you will tune in to a sporting event you can’t stand tomorrow just to watch the commercials, then talk about them as if you were discussing classic cinema, only to return to your commercial zapping ways on  Monday. Not me. I love commercials.

Please give me back my commercials.


Oh, what a relief it is.

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The Midway Theatre: When The Roof Fell In

Last March the roof of the historic Midway Theatre collapsed. I live a block away from the Midway and I pass by it nearly every day so I was deeply saddened a building this beautiful was allowed to fall into such a shameful state of disrepair by a ruthless property speculator. It’s typical in downtown Rockford for people to buy historic structures then allow them to rot away waiting for money from the tax payers to fix them up. The city gave the deadbeat owner several months to make repairs, but this week it was revealed the repairs have yet to be done. So they gave them an extension 


This is a photo of the Midway taken by a very good photographer friend of mine Ryan Davis. Also pictured are the gloves I left at the Goodwill store earlier this week. You can see what a beautiful place it is. What a crime for it to become another victim of a city with a moribund sense of conscience. My full Zombie Logic blog on the Midway.

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Artichokes, Asparagus, and Anchovies. Please.

Why do kids seem to hate asparagus? Looking at it and even smelling it you might think they have a point. It is bitter and funky tasting. So why are we so keen on making kids eat things they don’t want? I read an article once from a respected and highly credentialed scientist stating it really didn’t matter very much what kids ate as long as they we eating something. That seems contrary to everything we ever learned from day one, but a lot of what we know now is quite different than what we knew was true even twenty-five years ago. Anyway, the first thing Jenny and I ever worked on was this panel for a book we still have to finish. It’s all about food aversion. Not the entire book, just this panel. It stars Ella. 


Artichokes, asparagus, and anchovies.




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Shingetsu and Japanese Prog Rock

I grew up around strange uncles who listened to all kinds of music. They were proud of their record collections. I heard everything. Except prog rock. For some reason I never heard prog rock. So, one weekend a few months ago I decided to do a quick survey of prog rock on You Tube, and one thing I discovered is every country had its own national prog rock band in the 1970’s. Shingetsu was Japan’s. I was already in the mind to write a set of linked haiku so I wrote this poem, which Jenny thankfully lended this illustration based on seeing a Chinese drum company perform in Houston.


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One To Beam Up, Scotty

I always loved the original Star Trek series as a kid. And most of the movies and TNG. There’s a new Star Trek movie in the works. I’m not an appreciator of JJ Abrams’ work so I doubt I’ll ever see it, but here’s a Star Trek poem from my book Submerged Structure.

One To Beam Up, Scotty

The expendable crew members
Were eaten by
And Spock has decided to
Join a Hippie commune
On the surface.

One to beam up, Scotty.


It’s a virtual certainty that I am saying this poem is highly illogical

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Poems At the End of the World

It’s the longest night of the year. When you have Major depressive Disorder and it’s the Winter Solstice and additionally the end of the age according to the Mayan calendar, nights like these are especially interesting. I’ve decided to combat the darkness and the damp blanket of depression by making a corned beef and eating it all. But something fascinating happened. When I saw the flood of comments about the Mayan Apocalypse I spontaneously remembered I had written a book of poems titled Poems At the End of the World in 1992. At first I though it was just a trick of memory, but I looked it up, and I had indeed written a book in 1992 titled Poems At the End of the World. It exists. 

However, it did not exist among my personal possessions. I’ve moved many times in my adult life, sometimes hastily, and more than a few times I’ve lost everything I had, including whatever books I had, even my own.

But looking in a trunk my grandparents had given me thirty years ago I found this mildewed copy of Poems At the End of the World…


Poems At the End of the World by Thomas L. Vaultonburg

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