BOOK REVIEW: Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey

written by David Steffen Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties is a 2017 graphic novel for kids, the third in the Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey (creator of Captain Underpants), the series has been reviewed here. The title character Dog Man is a half-dog half-policeman who fights crime with the strengths and weaknesses … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey

BOOK REVIEW: Dog Man Unleashed by Dav Pilkey

written by David Steffen Dog Man Unleashed is a 2016 graphic novel for kids, the sequel to the popular Dog Man graphic novel, previously reviewed here. In this novel, Dog Man (half dog half policeman) is facing off against both old villains (like Petey the Cat) and new: a telekinetic fish, another Petey made out … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Dog Man Unleashed by Dav Pilkey

BOOK REVIEW: Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

written by David Steffen Dog Man is a 2016 graphic novel for children written and drawn by Dav Pilkey, the creator of the Captain Underpants books. Just as, in the Captain Underpants books the Captain Underpants comics were invented by in-book characters George and Harold, Dog Man is their newest creation. The story begins with … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

DP FICTION #51B: “Dogwood Stories” by Nicole Givens Kurtz

“Late bloomers have the prettiest blooms,” Sadie’s momma said, after she tapped her on the head with the comb. “So, stop squirmin’.”

“It’s too tight.” Sadie winced, sucking in air to offset the pain. Her scalp burned like someone had set fire to it. She put her hands in her lap and tried to weather the storm, her hands rubbing each other to soothe the pain.

“Tenderheaded. That’s all.” Her momma pinched off a section of hair, and began another braid. 

Sadie stifled a groan and squeezed her eyes tight. Once her momma finished the braid, she rubbed a finger full of grease along the parts, oiling her scalp and providing a balm to her irritated skin. The braids still hurt; the hair pulled taut and confined in the creative style.

With her hands sweating, Sadie gritted her teeth and stopped complaining. Not cause her momma’s braiding had stopped hurting. It did, but she wanted to look nice for the Dogwood Arts Festival. It happened once a year in Knoxville and she loved the early spring weather. Fresh grass, the flowers’ sweet smells and the pollen, giving everything a yellow hue. 

Other places had festivals honoring dogwoods, cotton, and barbeque. Heck even bacon. Here in East Tennessee, beneath the Great Smoky Mountains’ rolling hills and purple mountains, the dogwood reigned. 

DP FICTION #47B: “The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

Thomas Fitzpatrick McAllister’s life was the very essence of boring and uneventful, to the extent that even his goldfish, who up until recently had always been a veritable fountain of excitement, had taken up the hobby of listening to dial tones while staring listlessly at the wall. It wasn’t even a particularly interesting wall, though it must be noted that it was painted a rather vibrant shade of ecru, and was quite possibly the most vibrant shade of anything in the entire apartment. Though Tom never entertained guests, whenever a plumber or handyman happened to complement the ecru wall, Tom was quick to point out that it had been that color when he moved in, and that the previous residents had probably been wild, uninhibited hippies who had bought the paint in the middle of a psychedelic trip. 

Though his life had consisted of undressed salads, unscented deodorant, and a vast variety of other un-things for as long as he could remember (which was nearly everything since his traumatic fourth birthday, when some well-meaning but ill-informed aunt had attempted to give him a box of crayons), his comfortably dull, quiet life would soon be violently thrust into a world of excitement. And not a moment too soon, or this might have been an incredibly uninteresting story. 

DP FICTION #41B: “Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

It had been just over a year since the second coming of Jesus and, like most atheists, I couldn’t say it had been a particularly good year for me.

Sure, the Lord’s first bit of business had included clearing up some of the more vague parts of the Bible, including some mistranslations and things his father had, in his words, “gotten wrong.” That put an end to a lot of bigotry.  The lack of world hunger and the new commandments about littering were incredible, of course, more positive change than I’d hoped to see in my lifetime.

But it’s just… having proof that my entire belief system (or lack thereof) was absolutely backwards, and having every holier-than-thou relative constantly sending passive-aggressive emails filled with selfies of them and His Holiness…

My fellow non-believers converted, and one even became a priest. I think I’m one of the few who refused to do so.

DP FICTION #39A: “The Efficacy of Tyromancy Over Reflective Scrying Methods in Prediction of Upcoming Misfortunes of Divination Colleagues, A Study by Cresivar Ibraxson, Associate Magus, Wintervale University” by Amanda Helms

MAGUS’S NOTE

My colleagues will note that in writing this paper I have not attempted to divide the research from myself, as can be noted here with my use of “I” and “my.” Unlike some individuals whom I will not name, I have never attempted to pass blame; I take full responsibility whenever it is deserved. Therefore, and because the use of the third person and passive speech loses the vibrancy and verve the subject of tyromancy deserves, I have elected to forgo the more pedantic and tedious tone such works more frequently employ.

CONSPECTUS

This report discusses whether tyromancy, divination using cheese, might be more effective and accurate in its predictions than the more popular methods of scrying through reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or bodies of water. Specifically, the report considers whether tyromancy is more effective at divining colleagues’ misfortunes. While the literature on tyromancy must be greatly expanded, this study’s results indicate that indeed, cheese might tell us more than the average crystal ball, mirror, or pool of water.

DP FICTION #11: “The Osteomancer’s Husband” by Henry Szabranski

He warned his wife the villagers would come. With their pitchforks, their fire. Their hateful ignorance.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “We have to leave. They saw beneath my mask.”

She did not listen. This was their home. Their little cottage by the burbling mountain stream. Their hard-won resting place after years of rootless travel, where they kept their lovingly tended garden with its fragrant roses and flowering vines, where she eschewed her strange abilities and practiced only mortal skill. An ideal place for a family, though they knew they could never have children now.

When he began to protest her lack of urgency she forced him into stillness and silence. She had that power.

DP FICTION #64B: “The Automatic Ballerina” by Michael Milne

The dancer spins, one limb upraised, precision-bevelled pointe toe poised against the place where a human knee would be. Cassia works leg-like appendages below its central chassis, tossing a frilly grey tutu out in a jellyfish whorl. It has a choice now: it could approximate anthropomorphic performance, occasionally wobbling, rotating its abdominal segment in concert … Continue reading DP FICTION #64B: “The Automatic Ballerina” by Michael Milne

MOVIE REVIEW: Onward

written by David Steffen Onward is a March 2020 CG-animated fantasy action/comedy film from Disney/Pixar. It had a brief theatrical release, but its lower ticket shows were attributed to shelter-in-place orders from COVID-19, and as a result it was published on digital streaming services much earlier than usual (we watched it on Disney+). Ian (Tom … Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Onward