Thursday, August 11, 2011

Experts Determine That Singer-Songwriter Bob Dylan is "Just Some Guy" - A DAILY FLYLEAF SPECIAL REPORT

Experts Determine That Singer-Songwriter Bob Dylan is "Just Some Guy"

A DAILY FLYLEAF SPECIAL REPORT

by Jeremy Kellerman

Originally published in

"The Daily Flyleaf"

August 6th, 2011

"KETTERING, OHIO -

            Today during a press conference, an international team of scholars, scientists, philosophers and music critics have announced that they have determined that "legendary" singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is, in fact, human, the result of a study that has taken over three decades to complete.

            "Few singers, songwriters and musicians, or in fact artists of any field or medium, have had the impact same impact as Bob Dylan." said lead geneticist and Harvard University professor Frank Edmonds. "Dylan's music captured the interest of the youth during the turbulent 1960s and has somehow remained relevant to nearly all subsequent generations and to people from nearly every walk of life. Though his career has experienced some downturns, the overall consistency of his success is remarkable, to say the least."

            Explaining the particular reason for the study, simply dubbed the "Dylan Human Question Project," Edmonds went on to say that "...unlike other, similar artists, Bob Dylan has acquired a mythical quality that from the earliest days of his career has caused his fans and followers to view him in an elevated, even supernatural light. Many have referred to him as a prophet, a mystic, and other such lofty titles. We felt, decades ago, that it was worthwhile to determine the truth of these claims and to discover just what value one might find in Bob Dylan's life and work."

            What these scholars found, said Edmonds, is surprisingly underwhelming.

            "From what we can tell, Bob Dylan is just some guy. Essentially, he is no different than you or me. Genetically speaking, Dylan is absolutely just a typical human with a basic genetic structure like that found in all people." Dr. Edmonds went on to explain that thanks to testing on multiple tissue, urine and stool samples collected over the years, the research team had concluded that in an overall biological sense, there is simply nothing different about Bob Dylan.

            However, a biological evaluation of Dylan isn't the only type of study the team has focused on. Brown University professor Martin Hilliard headed a special task force as part of the study to examine the neurological makeup of Bob Dylan, and Hilliard's group worked closely with those led by doctors Annie Dodson of Ohio University and Michael Thomas, who led teams formed to study the mystical/spiritual power of Dylan's lyrics and their literal meanings (as close to this as could be determined) respectively.

            "We studied Mr. Dylan's brain during several daily processes. Firstly, of course, we studied it during songwriting, and also while performing, and listening to music, and his neurological functions during these activities proved not at all dissimilar from those of other singers and songwriters, or even of any other type of artist at work. In an effort to be thorough we also tested it during other activities, such as during meals, talking on the telephone with friends and while sleeping, and absolutely none of these produced any results outside of those usually found in normal, human subjects. It was," Hilliard added, "kind of a letdown."

             Dr. Thomas, chair of the English Department at Royco University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has scrutinized Dylan's lyrical content since his career began in the early 1960s.

            "I began taking serious notice around the time that the album Bringing It All Back Home was released. At the time I saw the album's title as a clever metaphor about the Vietnam War, though in retrospect I saw nearly everything as a clever metaphor for the Vietnam War back then. In all fairness, nearly everything was. As the years passed I saw his lyrical focus shift a number of times, and I wrote a number of well-received essays and delivered a number of highly successful lectures on the various literary allusions and other such techniques employed in Dylan's creative process."

            However, Dr. Thomas's enthusiasm for Dylan's work suffered some strain over time.

            "Don't get me wrong, I still think his stuff sounds cool as all Hell. The thing is, though, after all the work I've done, figuring out the various ways he has borrowed from sources as varied as Confederate poets, obscure Japanese crime novels, and traditional American blues music, I can't honestly tell you with any sense of authority what the f--- any of this stuff actually means. I mean, really, what the f--- are you supposed to do with it?

            Take It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) for instance. The opening verse goes like this:

            "Darkness at the break of noon
            Shadows even the silver spoon
            The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
            Eclipses both the sun and moon
            To understand you know too soon
            There is no sense in trying"

            That sounds cool as F---. SERIOUSLY. But what the f--- does it f---ing mean?! Like, if I went home tonight, and found out my neighbor's house was burning down with the whole family inside but I only had time to save one of them, how the f--- is this song going to help me? Okay, so maybe it isn't a personal morals and ethics kind of song, maybe it's more political, sure. So say I'm the President of the United States and I'm on the brink of a third world war. What then?
            Gee whiz, better pop on the old It's Alright Ma, and that'll clear everything up, right? The only statement in that line that remotely resembles any kind of advice or prescriptive statement is "There is no sense in trying," and not only is that bleak as f--- but he doesn't even try and support it. All that's there is a bunch of bullsh-- imagery about darkness at noon and some kid's balloon. What the f---, seriously?!"

            A visibly exasperated Dr. Thomas went on:

            "And take Highwater (for Charley Patton) from Love and Theft in 2001. This one he wrote close to forty years after It's Alright, Ma but it's still the same thing: f---ing cool song but you can't make sense out of it for sh--. I'm no pig without a wig, I hope you treat me kind. Really? REALLY?! The only album of his that actually has any sort of definite, discernible meaning is Christmas In the Heart, and that's just a Christmas covers album without any original songs!"

            Catching his breath before excusing himself, Dr. Thomas concluded that:

            "It's just f---ing disappointing. You know, he's supposed to be a prophet, his music is supposed to bring about world peace, he's supposed to be this mystical, incredible force, but when you get right down to it, he's just some guy who writes really f---ing cool-sounding songs that don't mean anything in particular at all. They're great for when your girlfriend breaks up with you or you're mad at the government or your cat just died, but objectively, they just don't have any real significance whatsoever. 
            Just think about it. The answer is blowing in the wind. What the f--- is that supposed to mean?! I could write something as profound as that. Why not The meaning is resting on the clouds or The truth is sailing down the stream? Sorry, but f--- this. I love his music but f---, trying to figure it out is just a big f---ing waste of f---ing time!"

            Dr. Thomas's colleague, Dr. Dodson, has attempted to search for potential meanings in Dylan's lyrics relating to various kind of spiritual truths.
           
            "Certainly just as much has been said by various scholars over the years in regards to the spiritual, religious and philosophical content of Dylan's work as has been said about any other possible connection. My team attempted to cross-reference and evaluate each song, working with Dr. Thomas's  group, to see if any pattern presented itself. Nothing has. We've even taken his biographical details into account to see if his attributes align with any type of known gods or similar deities.

            Strangely, the only valid argument for Dylan's identification with a known spiritual entity is the Anti-Christ. Look on the back of his CDs. The address listed in the fine print is 666 Fifth Avenue. No, seriously, look at the back of this one." Dr. Dodson then produced a copy of Dylan's 1981 album Shot of Love and indicated the address. "It's not only that, but Dylan is friends with the Grateful Dead, and they sing Friend of the Devil. That's pretty hard evidence. Still, there are too many discrepancies and not enough indicators aside from these things to prove that he is anything other than a man with a real flair for songwriting.  That 666 Fifth Avenue thing is pretty weird, though."

            The news of Dylan's official status as a human being and not any sort of official spokesperson for a generation, spiritual or political leader or prophet was released just after his August 5th, 2011 concert here in Kettering, OH. Fans have only just begun to issue reactions. From the infamous Dylan "Red" boards, run by a Texas pastor who claims himself a fan of Dylan's Christian albums, fans had the following comments:

            "typiccal" : Bob Dylan is definitely God, but so is everybody else. The spirit of a thousand-year old Atlantian warrior, channeled through a middle-aged housewife, told me this.

            "Mr. Stinx" : Bob Dylan is not God, but he's definitely Protestant. I must go jump in a lake now.

            "bloomin' insane" : Bob Dylan is definitely a hippie.

            "Spartacus" : Bob Dylan is definitely gay.

            "Eggbert" : "Under the Red Sky" is definitely a WAY better album than "Highway 61 Revisited."

            "DefinitelyThatGuy" : This is all definitely ridiculous.

            At the Kettering, Ohio, concert, fan reaction was mixed. A Daily Flyleaf correspondent in attendance, Leo K., had this to say:

            "Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat and Girl of the North Country were amazing. Things Have Changed was absolutely top-notch as well, but after that I couldn't focus because the guys in front of me decided that they would be THE ONLY ONES in our entire section to STAND UP. I'm sick of concerts. 60 bucks to see some idiot's back. I hope that guy is reading this and feeling ashamed of himself. Oh, also, The Carolina Chocolate Drops were AWESOME."

            This mix of fan reactions is nothing new to Dylan. During his 1966 European tour, when he "went electric," a fan infamously called out "Judas!" The man later revealed in a televised interview that he actually mistook Dylan for the current persona of the Biblical Judas Iscariot, who he presumed to have become immortal. It was assumed during that time that folk music was imbued with the Power of Christ. Later, fans thought they saw heavenly visions of Dylan during the airing of a Victoria's Secret ad. It was later explained that the "angels" that surrounded him were simply models wearing fake wings.

            Noted Dylan trash collector A. W. Jeberman and obsessed Dylan scholar Rhistopher Cricks, upon hearing the news of Dylan's humanity, have since locked themselves in Cricks's office at Cambridge University and are refusing to leave. Sounds from inside, plus the large amount of ponchos and umbrellas they were seen hauling with them, indicate to authorities that they are either engaging in sexual activity and/or preparing for very rainy weather.

            Despite Bob Dylan's lack of godhood, the research team did manage to determine that Dylan's son, former Wallflowers front man Jakob Dylan, is in fact the Babylonian god Marduk, Lord of Cities. So far, neither the public nor the media has taken much of an interest in this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Bear is Swelling

"The Bear is Swelling"

For her fifth birthday on the 23rd of June, Susie was given a teddy bear by her mother and father. She named the bear Mr. Hugs. Susie developed a habit of falling asleep with the bear wrapped in her arms. The bear became a source of comfort to the child.

Frequently the bear, "Mr. Hugs," would be left at random throughout the house as the family members went about their daily business. The bear gazed upon their activities with dull, lifeless, thoughtless eyes.

Yet, somehow, as the days passed, something began to change. For reasons unknown, and though it is unclear upon which exact date, the beginnings of sensory impressions formed, eventually leading to the existence of some primitive form of consciousness. The bear, though lacking any ability to interpret what he saw, was able to watch the family, hear them, smell them, and feel them for the first time. From approximately July 1st to July 15th, the bear existed within a state of pure experience and observation, not unlike a human infant trapped within an inanimate form.

Some short time later, the bear began to form memories of what he saw, and after that, gradually, began to learn from and develop opinions about his memories, observations and experiences. Sometime near the end of July, for the first time the bear began to desire experimentation and as a first act of will, the bear moved on his own. First one paw, then the other. Under cover of night, the bear taught himself to walk. This took only a brief period of three days.

As August wore on, the bear began to explore the house on his own every night, just after Susie fell asleep. At first he only explored Susie's room. He tried on her dresses and discovered that, somehow, he would swell in size in order to perfectly fit her garments. After Susie's room lost the sense of novelty it first had for him, the bear began exploring other rooms. In Susie's older brother's room, the bear found a different style of clothing to wear, and his size ballooned to match that of the teenager. In Susie's parents room, the bear took on the size and attire of first a full grown woman and then a full grown man. The bear liked the flow of Susie's mother's dresses, and of having breasts, but he preferred the larger, masculine frame he gained from wearing Susie's father's suits.

The bear, in time, learned to enjoy television (with the volume down low enough so as not to wake the family) and to prepare food as he saw the family do during the daytime. Having no mouth, the bear could not eat the food, so he usually wrapped it in tinfoil (mimicking the practice of Susie's mother) and hid it in the back of the refrigerator.  The family members would assume these leftovers to be the work of each other and no one ever questioned anyone else about where they had come from. Most of them went untouched and spoiled. A few of them, peanut butter and jelly, were left on Susie's night stand. She ate them for breakfast. They were her favorites. No questions were asked; she assumed them to have been put there by her mother.

By mid-August the bear had thoroughly explored the house and desired more. On August 18th, the bear stole a suit from Susie's father and quietly left the house, undetected. Standing with Susie's father's imposing frame, the bear quickly and quietly traveled down various side streets and alleys before finding the city's downtown area. On a massive main street the bear discovered countless casinos, restaurants and clubs. Curious, he entered one named "Luscious."

Inside the bear was exposed to the gyrations of many strippers, dancing upon poles. One of the strippers proceeded to give him a lap dance. She commented upon what she thought was the "interesting costume" he was "wearing," unaware that it indeed constituted his entire physical body. When the dance was finished and he did not pay, she became irate, criticized him for what she understood to be his sexual fetish for anthropomorphic animal costumes, and requested a bouncer to throw him out. The bouncer was unsettled by how light the bear was, as well as his lack of speech or screams as he was tossed roughly out the door. Several passersby snapped pictures.

Confused, quizzical and vaguely  frightened, the bear returned home, replaced Susie's father's suit, and, shrinking down to his original size, returned to his original position on Susie's bed.

The following night he repeated his actions. This time, he was approached by a woman who revealed herself to be a prostitute. She took the overwhelmed and confused bear to a hotel room with whom she had a previous arrangement and attempted to pleasure him sexually. She unzipped his pants and realized that she did not know how to access his genitals through what she, too, perceived to be a "costume." Frustrated, she tore open the fabric of his crotch. When nothing but fluff was revealed inside, she screamed and fled the building. The bear escaped to his home once more.

The following morning, Susie found the damage to her bear. Crying, she brought it to her mother, who repaired it. Her mother held his arms and caused him to appear as if he was dancing around happily. This made Susie laugh.

Yet again the bear repeated his actions, this time finding a different prostitute. However, on this occasion, he brought with him a pocketknife he found in the pocket of Susie's father's trousers. As this prostitute began to unbutton his pants, the bear motioned for her to sit back. When she did so, he grabbed the pocketknife and flicked it open with incredible swiftness and proceeded to slice into the woman's leg.

Unable to feel pain, the bear was simply mimicking what he had experienced the night before, as a way of experimenting. To him, it was a simple test of actions and reactions. His expectations were confused when the woman, bleeding profusely and with a limp, ran quickly from the room. The woman who cut him had run away first the last time; why, he wondered, was he not the one to run away first this time? At any rate, he once again returned home.

On the 21st of August, the bear returned to the main street, but several men were waiting to apprehend him. His antics had become the subject of fear and paranoia in the area and he was suspected of being a potential serial killer. The bear was grabbed by one man and a part of his arm was ripped off. The man screamed and retreated when he realized that no human arm was revealed inside the would-be bear costume. Before any further experimentation could be achieved, the bear, frightened, returned home.

The night of the 22nd of August the bear did not wear any clothes nor leave the house. During the day Susie had again been upset by the damage to the bear, and her mother chided her for damaging it. Nonetheless, Susie's mother repaired the arm in quick order.

As the night passed the bear considered many things. It briefly stole away to the family book shelf where it attempted to read "The World As Will and Representation" by Arthur Schopenhauer, but could not do so. Unable to learn anything further, it considered revealing itself to the family, as it felt a sense of trust for them. It spent the day unmoving as it weighed the options.

One the night of August 24th little Susie awoke as she was shaken awake by a foreign hand. She opened her eyes to see not her father, but a figure her father's size and wearing his business suit. The figure was her bear.

Susie became horrified and ran to her parents. At first they did not believe her claims, but soon the bear followed them into their bedroom. Susie's father grabbed a golf club and beat the bear to the ground. The blows hit the soft flesh of the bear's fabric-and-fluff body, confusing Susie's father. On the floor, the bear was motionless. Suddenly, the body began to heave, expanding and shrinking to an extreme degree, and the spine of the bear pierced the suit and the fabric-skin, and the back of the bear's body ripped open.

From out of the body came a flood of fluffy stuffing and red, human blood. Out of this emerged a naked, middle-aged man with a balding head of blond hair and a blond mustache. The man stood, uneasily, and looked at the family, with an uncomprehending expression. He continued to heave, as if he had difficulty breathing. The family looked on, silent and terrified. Susie cried.

Just as suddenly as the man had come into existence, he collapsed onto the floor and shrank into a shriveled fetus.

---------------------------------------------------------

The family buried the body that night and no one spoke of it again. No questions were ever asked; authorities never traced the incidents in the city to the home of Susie's family. Susie later became a successful optometrist. She married once but following the news that she was unable to have children, her husband requested a divorce. In the spot where the fetus and the remains of the bear were buried, a small tulip grew and existed for many years (despite the climate not being conducive to such a flower) until the lot was used to build a strip mall. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Priests Bake Cookies for Astronauts for Some Reason"


"Priests Bake Cookies for Astronauts for Some Reason"

originally printed in

"The Daily Flyleaf"

August 7th, 2011

            "YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN - Today in downtown Ypsilanti, priests from around the country gathered at Our Lady of the Sacred Conception Church in order to bake cookies for visiting NASA astronauts.

            The astronauts were in the area in order to attend a lecture being given by renowned theoretical physicist David Angle as he revealed several potential new applications of his work to the field of space travel. The astronauts included such luminaries as Michael Hargrove, Gregory Benton,  Clint Frasier and Martin Trappe.

            During the lecture, the priests gathered at Our Lady of the Sacred Conception's rectory to bake a variety of types of cookies for the visiting adventurers. Father Richard Byrne, who calls Our Lady of the Sacred Conception his home parish, was flabbergasted.

            "This wasn't a planned thing. I had invited a couple of friends, also priests, to join me in watching the Michigan versus Ohio State game the other day, and then when we realized that we had the date wrong and there wasn't a game due to the off-season, Father Larry Kildare just suggested we bake some cookies. Father Daniel Fitzpatrick said, 'Hey, you know, I bet those astronauts would really like these.' and we all just sort of agreed with him. I'm not even sure why he thought of it, or why we thought it was such a great idea."

            The cleric was particularly confused by the eventual size of the event.

            "We had a small disagreement over what to make. I said chocolate chip, Father Larry said peanut butter, and Father Dan said oatmeal. We each called friends for advice, to sort of take a poll to see what most people liked best, you see. Somehow that snowballed and we had all these friends, all fellow priests, stopping by to join us. Before long we had priests showing up from other states, some as far away as Delaware and Montana, and some of these priests didn't know any of us or the people we invited. We can't figure out how it happened or why they showed up."

            One such priest, Father John Herriot of Charleston, West Virginia, unconnected to the original group, had this to say:

            "I was just preparing for Mass when all of a sudden I feel this incredible urge to travel to Michigan and bake cookies for these astronauts. It's bizarre. I've never even been a fan of astronauts or space travel or any such thing. I've never even baked cookies before in my life. I have no idea what compelled me to do it."

            Hundreds of other priests expressed similar sentiments, and no one seemed sure exactly how or why the entire situation arose. If anyone was more confused than the priests, it was the astronauts. Astronaut and avid golfer Michael Hargrove had this to say:

            "We were stepping out of the lecture hall when all of a sudden we see what seemed like several hundred Catholic priests just lined up around several blocks, all of them with these huge trays of cookies. At first we thought it was a joke but then it just kind of went on and on, with this huge, awkward silence. The priests seemed embarrassed, like they hadn't really thought it through, and didn't know what to say, and we were feeling odd about it too. Nobody wanted to offend anybody else. I'm not Catholic so I wasn't really familiar with their ways; for a while I thought it was like this typical thing they do, but my Catholic friends are just as stumped as me. We couldn't figure it out. I'm still really confused."

            Indeed, many of those who participated in the unexpected, unplanned baking event remain baffled as to the ultimate significance behind it. Some have attributed the unplanned gathering to the influence of the Holy Spirit, while others have taken it as a sign of the End Times, occurring after the recent discovery of beached whales of a previously unknown species washing up all along the east coast, the sudden appearance of what seems to be Leonardo da Vinci's self portrait on the surface of Ganymede, and the bankruptcy of Borders bookstores.

            Naturally, far more cookies were produced than the astronauts could consume. While some took extras home for their children, many were left behind. The Catholic Church determined that as many as possible would be given to charity, and the unused remainder would be prepared for a very special Mass to be broadcast from the Vatican via the internet."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Satan Dies of Diphtheria in 1954" - A Personal Tribute from Jeremy Kellerman to Mr. Chriddof, aka Chris Lyons

"Satan, Lord of Hell, Dies of Diphtheria"

Originally published in

"The Daily Flyleaf"

Ann Arbor, MI

July 14th, 1954

"LONDON, ENGLAND - Satan, the Lord of Hell and bringer of Eternal Damnation, has died, say sources close to the fallen angel.

According to Daniel Kingston, publicist and manager for Satan's much-anticipated tour of Europe, the Dark One contracted diphtheria while having a swim in Belgium's famous Lake Ponché. After initially complaining of a headache, Satan appeared fine until he collapsed while having dinner with the Mayor of Brussels and other local dignitaries, says Kingston. He was rushed to London for treatment but died just after his plane landed.

Satan began his long career under the name of Lucifer, serving as an angel of the Lord in Heaven. However, the ambitious young go-getter soon struck out on his own, transforming the once lifeless caverns of Sheol into Hell, a fiery pit of unending suffering for the souls of the damned.

Satan's rise to prominence was not without controversy. Many have accused him of bringing about "Original Sin" and the Fall of Mankind, citing the Biblical account of the temptation of Adam and Eve as evidence of Satan's guilt. Satan, however, always maintained that the serpent referred to in Genesis was simply "some random, talking snake . . . who just felt like being an a**hole that day." Further, Satan claimed that he simply took advantage of the situation for his own ends, an action that fully complied with Satan's well-known philosophy.

Political and religious figures the world over have spoken out on the death of the controversial spiritual leader.

Pope Benedict, giving a statement in-between the games of the annual clerical competition The Catholic 500 currently being held in Barcelona, condemned Satan's actions and reputation, saying that the Evil One had "set a very bad precedent for both humans and angels, and [he] certainly put a lot of undue stress on both God and the Church. We'd have been much better off if he'd never existed."

"I have never met Satan nor have I been aware of his influence on anything or anyone in particular. We're actually very different people, please don't make this mistake again." said Asian spiritual guru Buddha.

Minister Rat Pobertson, founder of the "1700s Club" Puritan television channel,  also spoke of Satan's demise on his morning newscast:

"We're all very sorry to hear this. He was our most beloved scapegoat, and a real sport. I don't think we'll ever see another one like him." Becoming emotional, a teary-eyed Pobertson added "He left us, just like that . . . without even saying goodbye, woosh, he's gone, hauled his gay a** down to Mexico..." A hotline was later set up to counsel those bereaved by the news or confused by Pobertson's statements.

Local Michigan pastor Reverend Arnold Fuzz said, in a brief phone conversation, that he hoped that Satan's death would bring about a new era of peace and that it would also discourage littering, which he said was a particular problem in his neighborhood.

Satan's original employer and later adversary, God, has remained silent since the passing of the former angel. Rumors have circulated that, without Satan to act as antagonist, God may decide to abandon the universe.  

The denizens of Hell, too, were predictably upset by the death of their leader. Speaking exclusively to The Daily Flyleaf, noted demon Belial had this to say:

"He was like a brother to me. If he was a woman, I'd a ****'d him. In fact, I did **** him a few times, and, gosh darn it, he was a real gentleman about it, putting up with me like that. I'm not sure what we'll do next. It won't seem like home without him. We're all coping in different ways. I'm about to have a ménage-a-tois with Genghis Khan and Hitler. You're welcome to join."

Beelzebub, rumored to be a possible successor to Satan, also spoke out:

"He was a dear friend. If I am chosen to replace him, I can only hope to do one-fourth of the job he did. My only regret is that I couldn't have been the one to kill him."

Public memorial services are expected to be announced within two days, and a private service for personal friends and family will be held this evening.

Two minor demons currently residing in Michigan, speaking on condition of anonymity, had this to say:

Demon "A" : "The big guy really held things together. Who knows what will happen next? I only hope that his death serves to remind people that nobody lives forever and you have to live every day to the fullest."

Demon "F" : "I do this in honor of the Dark One."

Demon F then proceeded to transform his own head into that of a stag and caused the interviewer to fall in love is his assistant. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.

NOTE: This version of the article corrects the earlier edition which mis-identified Buddha as Satan's archenemy, Jesus Christ.

For more on this story, please visit these links and watch the following videos:











Dedicated to Mr. Chriddof / Mr. Christopher Lyons

Thank you so much for everything.

Think well, live well, and be well, Mr. Sir.

- Jeremy Kellerman