September 1, 2010

Air Conditioning, dislocated // David LeGault

I write this while sitting underneath a small, window air conditioner, one that barely cools the space around me, not to mention the entire room. Outside, the temperature clocks in at 91 degrees with humidity somewhere between 70 and 80 percent, the heat index somewhere in the triple digits, completely obscene.

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August 24, 2010

Macondos // J. Lee Morsell

I'm visiting my hometown in rural northern California, and as I write this I'm sitting on an ocean bluff in fog so thick I can't see the water. I am told that this particular bluff is home to the southernmost individual Sitka spruce on the west coast, but the tree is allegedly nestled in a hidden rocky crevice and I haven't located it yet. The fog doesn't help, of course.

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July 23, 2010

Mean Girls // Liana Liu

Up until six months ago, I had never read anything by Muriel Spark. I had heard of her, of course, and thought I knew a couple of things about her. For example, I knew she was from Australia (wrong). And I knew she was a historical romance novelist (wrong, wrong). Where did I get these ideas from? I cannot remember. Probably from guessing. I am an inveterate guesser which might be why I get lost ALL THE TIME. But that is beside the point. Let us talk about Muriel Spark!

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July 15, 2010

Is the government getting ready to give us all space stations? // Landrew Kentmore

Here's a story: a guy is looking for a place to sit down and hang out. There are a bunch of empty chairs all over the place, but they're not peaceful enough because there are loud people sitting in other chairs nearby.

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July 14, 2010

Space Baby, Is the Future Getting Closer? // J. Lee Morsell

(Space Baby hasn't learned to talk.)
1984: Oceania, Every Thought 'Tis for Thee
George Orwell's 1949 novel envisioned a distant dystopian future (or a veiled present?) in 1984 (1948?) when the only permissible pleasure is "a boot stamping on a human face," and the government promotes Newspeak, a new version of English devoid of words to express freedom and rebellion.

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July 8, 2010

Health and Technology: Ears // Landrew Kentmore

A long time ago, movies didn't have noise and music sounded weird and crackly because it out came out of giant horn-shaped things on top of record players. This might have been cool for actors who were born without tongues or people whose parents played trumpets so that horn-shaped things remind them of their childhood, but for everyone else, it was pretty lame.

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July 2, 2010

Being Awesome // Liana Liu

Down the street from where I live, there's this man that hands out fliers. Actually, there is a lot of fliering all around the neighborhood as this is a high-foot-traffic area (annoying! I hate people!), but this guy deserves special notice.

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July 1, 2010

Technology for Driving: Radar Detectors // Landrew Kentmore

I learned something new last weekend: if you drive really fast and then start to tap the breaks and the gas to make your car jump like it's got hydraulics, that's dangerous enough to get pulled over by a police officer.

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June 30, 2010

Puppies, dislocated // David LeGault

Here's a picture of my new puppy. Isn't she cute? Her name is Mackinac, as in Mackinac Bridge or Mackinac Island or Mackinac City, as in Michigan, as in a transitional point between upper and lower peninsulas.

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June 25, 2010

Psychotherapy: Hot or Not? // Jana Misk

Dear readers, as you can see, I've been putting off the promised column about why therapy is awesome. To be honest, as soon as I assured you I would deliver, I was overwhelmed with paralyzing self-doubt. Why should people see therapists? I've been convincing friends and lovers for years that they should seek a therapist's help--and not in that mean way that people sometimes do on sitcoms.

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June 24, 2010

Cats and Computers // Landrew Kentmore

Nature stuff and technology stuff are opposites of each other because nature stuff just happens while technology is put together using screws. But this doesn't mean that there are no similarities between them.

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June 18, 2010

How Cold Technology Was Invented (maybe) // Landrew Kentmore

There's an old saying that says, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." It doesn't make a lot of sense, even if you put "people" after the second "tough."

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June 14, 2010

Ape Escapes, Figurative and Literal // J. Lee Morsell

a. All that is solid melts into air
New Scientist reports that Santa Monica-based Image Metrics has realistically animated a human face. Linda Geddes explains,

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June 11, 2010

Summer Lovin' // Liana Liu

Have you read The End of Vandalism by Tom Drury? If you have, isn't it wonderful? If you haven't, you really should read it. I've been pushing this book onto my friends, my students, and even my teachers, for such a long time now that it only makes sense that I push it upon the general public.

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June 10, 2010

Exercise Technology: Stair Steppers // Landrew Kentmore

If you watch movies, then you know that the best way to get into really good shape is to run up a bunch of stairs, preferably in front of a historic-looking building with inspiring music playing. The biggest problem is some people don't live near historical buildings with a million stairs. Some people live in single-story houses, so they have no access to stairs, unless they ask to use their neighbors' stairs (which is embarrassing).

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June 5, 2010

What to do in a place with bad cell phone reception // Landrew Kentmore

Cell phone reception and wedding receptions are similar because they both involve talking to people. If you go to the wrong place for your wedding reception, it could be really bad, like a place where there are lots of bees or a tropical island where a violent, wedding-hating tribe lives.

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June 2, 2010

Barbecues, dislocated // David LeGault

In the spirit of Memorial Day, one of those holidays whose true meaning is entirely lost on the three-day weekend and the unofficial start of summer, my wife and I bought and assembled a grill last weekend. The grill, on sale at a hardware store, probably had the worst set of instructions I've ever encountered: it took over three hours, a second trip to the hardware store for spare parts, and several stripped screws to get it all together.

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May 28, 2010

Reading Slutty People. Slutty Reading People? What? // Liana Liu

Dearest friends, I'm shaking things up around here and putting the interviews on pause because... I want to! After all, it's summer vacation. Do you want me to stay inside transcribing when I could be staying inside and eating ice cream? Oh, delicious ice cream. Cookies and cream. Mint chocolate chip. Neopolitan. Yes, yes.

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May 27, 2010

Drinkable Technology: Artificial Sweetener // Landrew Kentmore

If you eat too much sugar, you might get really fat. This is because sugar originally came from plants, and plants don't care if you're skinny or not--they just care about soaking up water and hanging out in the sun.

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May 20, 2010

Music and Technology: Computers or band members? // Landrew Kentmore

Getting computers involved in group activities is not always a good idea. For example, playing soccer against a team of computers is dangerous for both the computers and the people.

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May 16, 2010

Why Shouldn't You Date A Writer? // Liana Liu

This is Part II of Questions Answered by Drunk People at the dislocate Launch Party. For more information, read this. Also, hello summer! In my opinion, this summer is going to be the summer of the romper. I know that I am two (three?) years behind trend on this one, but the idea of wearing a one-piece shorts-suit takes some time to get used to. Fortunately, I am now used to the idea and ready to romp!

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May 14, 2010

Delivery, dislocated // David LeGault

Well, as of tomorrow I'm officially unemployed. After applying for countless writing grants, a number of summer teaching jobs, as well as a series of on-campus jobs, I've come up without a job, without many future prospects.

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May 13, 2010

Choosing the right laptop bag // Landrew Kentmore

Let's say you want to buy some bread. Luckily for you, there are two bread salesmen on your street. One keeps his bread in a bread delivery truck, and the other keeps his bread in a bomb shelter. Who are you going to buy bread from? Probably the guy with the bread truck because the bomb shelter bread could be from before World War II.

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May 11, 2010

Iron Man 2: Worth Leaving the House For // Jana Misk

Though I tend not to see movies on opening weekend (to avoid crowds), I was feeling uncharacteristically adventurous on Saturday (probably because school ended on Friday) and convinced my boyfriend to see Iron Man 2 with me. I hadn't even known it was out until that afternoon when I saw someone tweet about it.

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May 10, 2010

Getting Good at Godding // J. Lee Morsell

I came across a terrifying GQ article from February, "Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health," by Christopher Ketchum. Much of the information Ketchum provides has been available for years, and yet has failed to take hold in the United States:

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May 7, 2010

Why Should You Date a Writer? // Liana Liu

First of all, it's supposed to snow tonight. I don't understand.
Second, Thursday night dislocate threw a party to celebrate the release of issue #6 of our print journal, and a rollicking good time was had by all. Except, probably, those people playing boggle while the rest of use were dropping "it" like "it" was hot.

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May 6, 2010

Practical Uses for Force Fields // Landrew Kentmore

If you hear someone say "force fields," he can only be talking about two things: 1) aggressive farmers who get impatient with their crops; or 2) the invisible walls that block missiles and lasers in sci-fi movies.

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May 5, 2010

Home Ownership, dislocated // David LeGault

The past several weeks have been somewhat overwhelming. Between applications for summer funding (which, when they didn't pan out, turned into crappy retail/restaurant applications) and the end-of-semester chaos, I've had little downtime.

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May 4, 2010

How to Choose a Therapist // Jana Misk

Did I tell you about how I had to fire my therapist a few weeks ago? Yeah. It sucked. Let me tell you a few things about therapists: #1: They're not supposed to stand you up for appointments. #2: You have to put them in their place. Like dogs.

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May 3, 2010

Cigarette Goggles // J. Lee Morsell

1. Have you seen Lady Gaga's cigarette goggles in her "Telephone" video? Two weeks ago I wrote about eyes with crosses over them; I now prefer burning cigarettes for my apocalyptic lens.

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April 30, 2010

Pain and Shame and Handicrafts // Liana Liu

From my interviews I have learned the following: people like hot people, and people reading books in coffee shops are constantly being approached by wannabe lovers. So today I asked myself why I have never been approached by a wannabe lover while reading in a coffee shop.

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April 29, 2010

New Uses for Lame Stuff that Technology has Replaced // Landrew Kentmore

Before companies made cars and trucks that could drive in the snow, people in places like Alaska and Canada used huskies and sleds to get around. When four-wheel drive was invented, it didn't hurt the sled or husky markets because sleds can still be used to go off sweet jumps and huskies are great pets for people who are really into wolves but not brave enough to trap a real one.

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April 28, 2010

Bathroom Wall Graffiti, dislocated // David LeGault

I've been thinking a lot about Latrinalia, the study of graffiti etched onto bathroom walls. The term was coined in 1966 by folklorist Allen Dundes because he felt the term shithouse poetry didn't encompass the content that isn't in verse or poetic form.

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April 27, 2010

Indoor Fitness: Awesome // Jana Misk

Now that the weather seems to be consistently warm, I'm becoming increasingly concerned about my thighs. It's time to shed some "winter weight," as they say. But what kind of exercise is best suited to the recluse? And would it be horrible to call it "reclucise?" (Yes, clearly yes.)

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April 26, 2010

James Cameron As Champion; Angels Are the New Vampires // J. Lee Morsell

In my March 29 column, "The Real Avatar in Peru," I mentioned that Hunt Oil is prospecting to drill in the Amazon, and that indigenous protesters recently faced gunfire from police.

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April 23, 2010

Bubble Butt: The Musical about Airplanes // Liana Liu

When I was little I was only allowed to watch movie-musicals, the result being that I really like movie-musicals. Parents and would-be parents take note: it's pretty easy to brainwash your children! In any case, I've seen a lot of musicals, including The King and I. In fact, I can sing several of the songs from The King and I.

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April 22, 2010

Educational Technology: Online College // Landrew Kentmore

There is a lot of knowledge on the Internet. From reporters giving you the news to moms sharing secret teeth-whitening tricks, there are millions of people online ready to help you learn!

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April 21, 2010

The Artist Book, dislocated // David LeGault

I've spent the better part of the past week putting together a ten-page book. It's only a book in the traditional sense: it has two covers, a basic binding, a few pages.

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April 20, 2010

The Joys of Connectivity // Jana Misk

Over the past few months I agonized over whether to buy an iPhone, iPod Touch or an single-function e-reader device like the Kindle. As I bemoaned my indecision, my boyfriend merely shook his head.

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April 19, 2010

Apocalyptic Visions of April 2010 // J. Lee Morsell

In the class I teach, we were discussing John D'Agata's essay on Henry Darger, the man who lived alone. When Darger died, his landlady found his wall papered in the faces of little girls, clipped from newspapers and magazines, all their eyes X-ed out with shiny graphite.

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April 16, 2010

Coincidentally, Cookies! // Liana Liu

Who doesn't love a nice coincidence now and then? I have enjoyed several Minnesota coincidences. However, I recognize that hearing about other people's coincidences is just as boring as hearing about other people's dreams.

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April 15, 2010

More satellite stuff, please! // Landrew Kentmore

A while ago, most awesome stuff came through wires. Telephones had weird curly wires. TVs had a fat ugly wire that came out of the wall. Even radios had big metal wires that you would pull out and plug into the air (this wire called an antenna).

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April 14, 2010

AWP, dislocated // David LeGault

So I'm still recovering from the recent AWP Conference in Denver. It was a great opportunity to hear a lot of interesting talks on writing and shmooze with famous writers. Better yet, a few of the writers appearing in the upcoming issue of dislocate stopped by to say hello.

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April 13, 2010

Another AWP Survival Story // Jana Misk

Last week shortly after finishing my column, I discovered I'd unwittingly acquired a roommate. What started as the shadowy darts of paranoia in my peripheral vision became, over the course of a quiet afternoon, unmistakable glimpses of a furry creature streaking across my living room floor as I recoiled into a nook of my couch.

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April 12, 2010

AWP: A particularly satisfying circle of Hell

Then the airplane took off and my girlfriend pulled Sky Mall from the seat pocket. I was writing a review of a book I disliked, a review I wanted to finish, so I was irritated when she interrupted me to suggest that I order a stainless-steel wallet, "resistant to corrosive materials such as salts, acids," on page 28 of the 148-page glossy catalogue.

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April 9, 2010

Minnesota Twincest // Liana Liu

I like a good trivia night. I am lousy at answering the questions but good at coming up with team names, obviously. "Minnesota Twincest" is probably my best effort.

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April 8, 2010

Exercise Technology: Treadmills // Landrew Kentmore

If you ask a bunch of people on the street what piece of technology is the opposite of an air conditioner, most will say a heater. (Some people might get weirded out, which is fair because you are a stranger on the street asking about air conditioners for no real reason.)

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April 7, 2010

Road Trips, dislocated // David LeGault

This morning, I was woken up to the sound of a vibrating phone, a message telling me "I'm downstairs, I'll see you in a minute." This week, I'm supposed to be heading to the AWP Conference in Denver, a 15-hour drive from the Twin Cities, and my ride has just shown up a day early.

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April 6, 2010

When Alone Gets Ugly // Jana Misk

Anyone who says introversion is unhealthy can suck it. But while reclusiveness and depression are not the same thing, sometimes they co-occur, and it can be difficult to tell them apart.

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April 5, 2010

Tuvalu's Coming Flood // J. Lee Morsell

Last week I wrote about the Maldives, the lowest-lying nation on earth, likely to be swallowed by climate-change-caused rising seas before the end of the century. The similarly fated Tuvalu is the second-lowest-lying nation: islands that are vulnerable slivers where the entire population lives below two meters elevation.

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April 2, 2010

No-Strings Doing It (Mom, Don't Read This) // Liana Liu

Dear friends, it's spring; it's really, finally spring! My students have shed their coats to reveal crop tops and short-shorts; I have exchanged my heavy sweater for a medium one. Everything is beautiful and love is in the air, and when I say "love" I mean "no-strings doing it."

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April 1, 2010

Old Technology From History: Steam // Landrew Kentmore

Water is different than gas. For example, you wouldn't drink a bottle of gas when you're thirsty. Also, you don't sweat gas when it gets really hot outside.

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March 31, 2010

Marathon, dislocated // David LeGault

I write this mythology after just finishing a ten-mile run around two park lakes in Minneapolis. I'm in the midst of training for a marathon--what will be my sixth--but that doesn't make it any easier: both my feet are blistered to the point of absurdity; my calves are tight as piano wire; salt from dried sweat is caked around my eyes.

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March 30, 2010

A Timid Traveler's Life // Jana Misk

The weather here has been warming up with the arrival of spring, a phenomenon that often plagues me with internal conflict. The desire to go outside grows steadily as each sunny day slips past my living room windows--and so, too, does the feeling of obligation.

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March 29, 2010

Dreampolitik and the End of the Hundred Thousand Islands // J. Lee Morsell

Recently, while contemplating a glass of red wine and the cork from its bottle, I remembered that there was a time when my primary association with corks was not wine but rather messages, thrown to sea by castaways praying to be rescued from tropical desert islands.

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March 26, 2010

Making Friends, Making Friends Feel Weird // Liana Liu

Guess what! I am an annoying, interrupting, sloppy drunk. Who knew? Well, I suspected it. But until now there was never any hard evidence--unless you call accusations made by friends/bartenders "hard evidence."

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March 25, 2010

Health And Technology: The Hands // Landrew Kentmore

Pro-bowlers and people who work on computers have one thing in common: they can both hurt their hands at their jobs.

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March 23, 2010

Psycho, dislocated // David LeGault

It's probably the nonfiction writer in me that keeps me looking backward, finding more excitement, more value, in works that have been critically examined, pulled apart and sucked of their meaning.

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March 22, 2010

Online Dating: Stay in Your Pajamas // Jana Misk

While all dating can seem terrifying to reclusive types, even the most solitary of us need a little love.

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March 19, 2010

Ordering food over the Internet: FAQs // Landrew Kentmore

When you think about it, the Internet is the new mall. Just like the mall, you can buy stuff and meet weird people.

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March 17, 2010

Richard Castle, dislocated // David LeGault

I've always been interested in fictional books, meaning works of literature that don't actually exist.

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March 16, 2010

Socializing for Beginners: Trivia Night // Jana Misk

If you're lucky enough to have found a few friends who tolerate your regular extended absences from their social lives, you might be able to inspire tears of joy by suggesting that the lot of you attend a weekly Trivia Night at your local bar.

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March 15, 2010

The Real Avatar in Peru // J. Lee Morsell

Shortly after interviewing the artist Adriane Colburn, I saw Avatar, one of seven apocalyptic movies playing in Minneapolis at the time.

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March 12, 2010

Is a touch-screen phone right for you? // Landrew Kentmore

When you poke stuff with your finger, it usually reacts. If you poke a dog, it will look at you. If you poke a mound of dirt, it will turn into a mound of dirt with a finger-shaped hole poked in it.

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March 10, 2010

Texting, dislocated // David LeGault

text messaging--image by Alton/wikimediaI have a love/hate relationship with the text message. It's an interesting technology: it can contact several people at once, can leave reminders/dates/direction, can anticipate the word I'm most likely to write.

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March 9, 2010

The New Scientist // Jana Misk

It's no revelation that introverts don't get much love in our society. Rainier Marie Rilke, dead now 84 years, arguably remains the modern recluse's best advocate (tied perhaps with Carl Jung).

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March 8, 2010

A Prescription by Dr. Spaceman // J. Lee Morsell

Welcome to my new column, where each week I will review the Apocalypse. Or perhaps I should say, more accurately, premonitions of apocalypse, such as occur through disasters, anticipated disasters, and fantasies of disaster.

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