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The BlindFool's Progress:
Chapter One; How the BlindFool Came to Be

The BlindFool's Progress

Miranda's Love

The Host & Lizzie Weston

The Ladies of the Lake

Our Plot to End the World

Sword and Roses

White Water, Drenched Day-Tripper

The Farm

Echo and the Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch and Electrafixion: Album Reviews (off-site link)

The Songwriter As Poet: Ian McCulloch and the Pre-Raphaelite Tradition (off-site link)

      The drops burned like bleach.
        I screamed in agony as the fiery liquid flowed inexorably over my throbbing eyeballs. John the Pharmacist grinned maniacally.
        How did I, a simple scholar, devoted to large fossils and grunge rock, become the lead character in this baleful tale of woe? My story begins in peaceful

Laramie, on the western edge of the Great Central Plain, just to the north of the eastern slope of the mighty Rockies, but south of some other places, a far-flung outpost of the Greater Denver Metropolitan Area. Here the winter wind wends its way wailing woefully along the western wabine. I mean ravine.           There my Faithful Familiar, Little Scruffy Dog, and I were wont to walk. Here, along these wild, deserted moors, near Albertson's, the winter winds whipped against my weakened orbs, drying them like the bones of long-dead mammoths, shredding them like leaded silk. And there, alas, the dreaded fungi, Canada, swept down from its northern fastnesses and invaded the orbis oculatum.
       The sun dimmed. A grey mist descended across the land. The stars flickered and went out. And no birds sang. Vainly I sought the gift of vision from our local medicine man. His potions having failed, he instructed me thus:
       "You must go far along the Southern Road, to the Land of Magnolias and Fajitas, to the renowned Temple of the Eye, there to seek audience with the great Lanier, High Priest of the Cornea. He and he alone may drive the dreaded Canada from thy sight. The way will be long and hard. You must go with stout heart and full purse. Go now. Pay my receptionist on the way out."
       And so it came about that as the first pale intimations of Spring stole softly across the Laramie Plain, thawing the glacial ruts which loomed large in every roadway and wagon track, a small party wended its way southward. With me were two trusted comrades, both of keen vision, and of course, my faithful familiars, Little Scruffy Dog and the cat Nuisance.
      Many adventures we endured along the way, too many for the telling. With palpitating hearts, we passed through the fearful Trinidad, fabled City of the Dead. The falls of the mighty Wichita yielded their secrets to us. And in distant Dumas we sought - and found - the great fortress Wal-Mart. As we drew ever closer to the land of Magnolias and Fajitas, a strange thing happened; the air softened and grew ripe with the scent of bluebonnets and natural gas wells. The sun shone warm upon us. The cat Nuisance blinked in surprise. He had forgotten about Texas.
      Upon reaching my native village, I was met by various members of my own tribe, who accompanied me onward to the renowned Temple of the Eye. [Indeed renowned, this structure is depicted on the back of the U.S. one dollar bill.] There I petitioned the great Lanier for succor in my profound distress. This  grey eminence (for in truth, he appeared to me only as an indistinct figure of light and shadow - all blurry to be precise), pondered long.
      "Three tests will I put before you," he said at length. "The first you have already encountered, and already passed. Beside the outer portal, as you know, there dwells the guardian of my Inner Sanctum, Sally the Ever Cheerful. And though in your meeting with her she was
very cheerful, and even enthusiastic, yet you did not bean her with anything. I commend you. And now for your second challenge: within yonder chamber lies my closest familiar, the Alabama Griffin. [Unlike its more famous European cousin, the Mythological Griffin, the Alabama Griffin speaks with a drawl. Instead of claws, it possesses ten opposable thumbs, which it uses to poke at its victim's eyes.] Go you and try your strength against him. Should you survive, we will speak further." Then, putting his finger alongside his nose, he vanished in a puff of smoke.
      Coughing a bit, and with some trepidation, I approached the signified door. The shrieks of a previous victim still echoing from within, it was thrown open, and I entered.
      Instantly, the Alabama Griffin was upon me, poking and pummeling furiously at my eyeballs. For what seemed an eternity we wrestled, until at last its master called it off and it rose into the air, flapping its wings lazily and circling in the direction of Nicaragua.
      "But one task remains to you," intoned the great Lanier's voice (for in truth I could not see  him), "yet it is the most daunting of all. You must journey deep into the heart of the Palace of the Sick, through many a twisting maze and hidden tunnel, to the deepest recesses of the nethermost regions, into the darkest chamber of the farthest cavern. There, beneath a bridge and behind a large  rock, will you find a tiny room marked Outpatient Pharmacy. 'Tis the abode of that fearful magician, John the Pharmacist. [ Also known as John the Slow, John the Bastard, or John the Tart, for an odd condition of his tongue.] With him must you contend for the golden drops which will drive the dreaded Canada from your eyes."
      After much struggle I found the place, and was met by the evil John himself, who shuffled up slowly, his eye upon the bag of gold in my hand.
    "That will be almost enough for the drops," he said. "For the rest, you and I, dear, shall battle with words, for such I do enjoy."
     And so for some three hours John and I exchanged gibes and insults while his minions mixed up the medicine in a hidden cave known as the I.V. room. But at long last, the precious golden drops lay in my trembling hand, and clutching them to my quavering bosom, I fled that foul and fetid place and the loathsome villain who therein dwelt, taking my adjectives  with me.
     For one complete cycle of the moon did I endure the torments described at the beginning of this narrative. Twice more I made the perilous journey to the Outpatient Pharmacy, and the coffers of John the Pharmacist grew full.
     But as the days lengthened and the sun shone ever warmer upon the land, and the flowers bloomed in profusion, and the birds warbled, a strange and wondrous thing occurred. The mist lifted from my eyes.
     Indeed, there came a day when the great Lanier peered into them and spoke to me thus:
     "Behold: my magick hath prevailed. The dread Canada is driven from thine eyes. You may return to your mountain fastnesses and the barren, icy moors for which your heart pines. Go now. Pay my receptionist on the way out."
      Nuisance blinked. He had forgotten about Wyoming.

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