You could DIE waiting for the junk food and prescription drug commercials to end during the final half of network news shows on ABC NBC and CBS TV. Look at how BAD the news is at the beginning of those half hour broadcasts and the opening segment is long, in order to hook you. But then they lighten up at the end with humor and anecdote (or viral video), and do cheerful ads about how expensive drugs are helping alleviate the symptoms of diabetes, dementia, and a thousand other horrors caused by eating FoodPorn. Cheerful beautiful ads describe Mass Effects like projectile vomiting, hives, rectal itch, stroke, and death. Makes meme want to ___. (Fill in the blank.)​ ----Hunter S. Thompson


Lawrence Shames, on MONEY TALKS: “In an age when even the most far-fetched plot lines are daily topped by actual events, the best a fiction writer can do is to create believable characters, turn them loose to speak and act in accordance with the truth of who they are, and trust that the reader will care enough to accept the story on its own terms. Was Money Talks prophetic? Hell, no. Can it help us understand how the world works and what kind of person is in charge? I like to think it can. As for my fictional narrator, David Collins, I’m happy to say he’s socked away his royalties and gone back to writing quiet little novels that have nothing to do with politics.” (Note: David Collins is a pseudonym.) 
Earth Science
JESSE McKINNELL grew up in Massachusetts but has lived peacefully in Maine for many years. On July 4, 2015, he had a dream about a dentist with a passion for writing sitcoms. Somehow, DEAD CATS and Other Reflections on Parenthood was the result. It is his first novel.     

Jonathan Lowe) In 2020, who in the world would you most like to become POTUS, and why? 

Jesse McKinnell) Oh man, I’ll settle for anyone reasonable. I can’t wait for the day when my phone isn’t blaring constant updates at me about whatever vaguely racist, misspelled tweets were unleashed on the world at 2 in the morning. I think I may have reached outrage saturation. I’m really quite concerned about the toll that humanity is taking on the environment, so I hope the next President will understand that there are a number of steps the government needs to take in order to reverse the path that we have set ourselves on. But as to an actual name that’s tough. I think it’s probably time we gave a woman a try, men don’t seem to be especially good at the job. But not Oprah. I’ve become so disillusioned and cynical about people in positions of power that it’s hard for me to pine for someone.

Q) Kittens are cute, but become sociopaths. Some babies do too. What is your thought on the fact that most pets in American eat healthier than kids?  

A) My dog does not eat healthier than my kid. First my dog eats poop: her own, squirrels, other dogs, whatever. And second even the grain free, organic feed I buy her costs $10 and lasts over a month. There’s no way something so cheap can be very good for her. I just want to be clear on that in case you were trying to impugn my parenting skills. I have never let my kid eat poop. She got into the dog food once, but whatever. I was raised on complete garbage as a kid – Oreos, Hot Pockets. Side note: have you ever had a cheeseburger Hot Pocket, the ketchup and mustard was inside, oh man. So under appreciated! Lipton Noodle Packs, Frozen Pizza, etc. Now that I’m in charge, my family eats mostly vegetarian, mostly organic, mostly bought from our local co-op (yeah, I’m that guy). I’ve seen a shift in consciousness with friends in my generation where they are much more aware of what they put on their plates and their kids’ plates. Places like McDonalds are a testament to some of the socio-economic issues we have in this country that drive people to the lowest cost option, but I do feel like there is a greater emphasis on good food now than when I was a kid. It just needs to be prioritized and made accessible to everybody.

Q) Couple of the cool quotes by Kurt Cobain were “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not,” and “the duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” What about him is so compelling to you?

A) Cobain is fascinating to me for a number of reasons. I still remember where I was when I found out he had died. I was in a school cafeteria, and a whole section of the room just deflated. It wasn’t just boys. I think there are certain celebrities in our culture who people decide embody their belief system and they wear their fandom of that person as a character trait of themselves.  It can be shorthand for filling out a personality. When one of these cultural touchstones kills himself, people are set adrift for a time. I’m certainly as guilty of this as anyone. I’m a grown man who still wears band t-shirts, as some sort of subconscious advance to people I meet about who I am and what they should expect from me if they choose to engage me in conversation. I’m not sure how much the angst that Cobain represented has festered. I wish it had festered but I fear that it has either metastasized into an angry tumor or been placated by the endless distractions that bombard us every day. I don’t know. The older I get the more confused I become by people. 

Dead Cats
Interview with author of 
Occupational Hazards HERE.