Tag Archives: JRD Skinner

Now I’m as bad as you are.

10 Feb

February 10, 2011

Some time back, 2009 maybe, I signed up for a Twitter account. Until yesterday that was the end of the story. I never used it. Twitter was becoming big so I decided to get an account. (See how behind the times I am? Twitter blew up in 2008 and I first noticed that it was “becoming big” a year later.)  Oh, not so that I could start using it and sending random useless posts like the rest of the world (that’s what this blog is for) but so I could lock in my name in case I ever want to use it in the future. This way no one else could use my name and post ridiculous and stupid things on the internet. (Again, that’s what this blog is for.)

Oh, I don’t mean to imply that twitter is a waste of time. I mean to explicitly state that Twitter is a waste of time. There are some exceptions. For example, Jim, the excellent Radio Master at Relic Radio uses it to inform his followers when a new show is posted, and in between he may tweet some news about a cool movie on TV or something else interesting or funny. JRD Skinner, whom you should all follow, is the CEO of Skinner FM and like Jim he uses it to keep people abreast of his projects, the latest Flash Pulp, FlashCast, and general Flash news and other hijinks.

The other 99.9% of you tweet crap like “OMG I so totally love Justin Bieber!’ or “eating dinner now.”

Longtime readers of my blog may have noticed a couple of things.

1- Justin Bieber has replaced David Schwimmer and Paris Hilton as my whipping boy. Schwimmer has become irrelevant and Hilton is too easy. Yes, that’s a pun. But never fear, I still have room for some random Tom Cruise/Scientology bashing.

2- I am comfortably using terms like “tweet” and “twitter” without making fun of them. “But Mr. Blog,” you whine, “you used to make fun of that stupid babble all the time.” To that I say, shut up.

But I digress. I believe I was talking about Scientology.
NO, no, I was talking about Twitter. I’ll leave it to Tom Cruise to talk about Scientology. He needs the practice with big words. (See? See point 1 above.)

Anyway, the future is now because I logged onto my Twitter account for the first time in a year or so just to see if it was still active. Sadly, it was.

So what did I see?
Somehow I have ten followers. Now bear this in mind- I never posted a single tweet, never searched for anyone, never went beyond the creation of an account. I can give two of my followers a pass. They are people I once knew who must have put their address books into Twitter and found any contacts who had an account. (Does it work that way? I hope so, it suits the story.) The other eight needed a bit of research. By “research” I mean “I looked at their profiles.”

I assumed that they were spammers who trolled Twitter and just followed everybody. A couple of them seem to be but most of them are just regular, albeit nearly empty,  profiles. Here are the eight. I’ve changed their names to protect the innocent. (Ever see Ed Wood? Remember when Criswell said “Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent.” I get the punishing the guilty part, but what exactly are we rewarding the innocent for? Not getting involved? And how does he propose to reward them anyway? Gift cards?)

Here they are, with statistics.

1 Tweet     921 Following     2 Followers.

1 Tweet      841 Following     6 Followers

1 Tweet      813 Following    16 Followers

1 Tweet     713 Following     8 Followers

1 Tweet     881 Following     18 Followers

1 Tweet     620 Following     11 Followers

1 Tweet     708 Following     25 Followers

2 Tweets    1,414 Following   43 Followers

Let’s total this out, shall we?
9 Tweets    6,911 Following   129 Followers

All following me with my zero tweets. That’s a big network of nothing.

Frankly, following me is like owning a pet rock. I require no attention and give back nothing. You can forget about me for months or years and be sure that nothing has changed. I’m sure the two people I used to know who are following me forgot long ago that they are following me. Never tweeting a single thing will have that effect.

Anyway, I didn’t title this post “Now I’m as bad as you are” because I think it is snappy and an attention getter. (Is it? I hope it is.) I named it because odds are you are on Twitter and post regular updates. (Seriously, I hope you do. The world can’t wait to hear when you arrive at the office or how much you love the CW.) Well, I can’t say I will ever post regular updates but I now have posted a tweet. Yep, my one and only tweet. So what was it? A plug for this site. Yep, And I even put up a profile picture. And while I was there I started following the aforementioned Jim and JRD.

So log on to your Twitter account, find BMJ2K, follow me, and forget me. You’ll probably never hear from me (you’ll be just like people I actually know!) but maybe once a year I’ll send a tweet. So far, 2009- no tweets. 2010- no tweets. 2011- one tweet. Make a game out of it, take bets- “When will BMJ2K tweet again? I take June 24th!” “Fifty bucks on February 5th, 2012.” “Next leap year, whenever that is, February 29th. I’m all in.”

Or you can be like everyone else and follow Justin Bieber, who today tweeted “still buggin out.” What a poet.

A Little Bit of Skinner (4)

28 Nov

November 29, 2010

Our November series of A Little Bit of Skinner wraps with another story chosen by the author himself. Remember, if you’ve only read these stories, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet, as all of the Flash Pulp tales are available as audio downloads in iTunes. Check ’em out for yourself. Click on the links below and see what everyone else has been talking about. Don’t be left out! I WILL tease you.

Flash PulpWelcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Seventy-One.

Tonight, we present Sgt. Smith and The Last Stop, Part 1 of 1


(RSS / iTunes);

This week’s episodes are brought to you by the ranting of Captain Pigheart.

Thrill to the dangerous incompetence of his crew; swoon at his romance with anything that will have him; cackle gleefully at the results of both.

Buy the tales, as told by the Captain himself at CD Baby.

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age – three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, we present a letter, as written by the hand of Sgt. Smith, telling of one strange evening, and a stranger encounter.

Flash Pulp 071 – Sgt. Smith and The Last Stop, Part 1 of 1

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May


It was 1944, and there was a war on, but, as you know, I was forced to abstain from the service of my country, as I was short my tongue. Still, there are things a man can do to help his nation, and I was willing to do them. I probably wouldn’t have been so eager if I’d known your Ma at the time, but in those days the life of a mute wasn’t always the easiest, and, being 16, I was slightly stupid with my need to make a place in the world.

That’s how I found myself riding the rails. The age of the hobo was coming to an end, some would say it already had, I guess, but you could still find old timers hopping trains and coasting from sea to sea, if you looked hard enough at the shadows.

I was supposed to be watching the cargo cars for Japanese saboteurs, of which there never were any as far as I can tell, but every now and again I’d stumble across some gray whiskered fellow in patchwork pants, usually with a bottle under his arm.

The night I met Yancy and Poke was a cold one – I’d spent some of it chatting away in the caboose, keeping close to the heater, but I was young and hardy, and my duties weighed heavy even if I’d done the rounds a hundred times previous without turning up so much as a kimono or plate of sushi.

Yancy and Poke weren’t Nipponese, obviously, I doubt they’d ever had a home address beyond America-in-general.

They’d crammed themselves between a double stack of crates, and when I first came across them, I thought they were doing something mighty inappropriate.

“Hey – what’a’you doin’ in there?” I thought, pinning them with the flashlight the railroad had handed me. It was years later that I realized just how lucky I was that no one pitched me from the train during those dark hours.

Poke was lying across Yancy’s lap, and, over the rattle of the tracks, I could hear one of them crying and one of them dying in slow rasps.

Yancy probably couldn’t make out my face over the glare of the light; with the look on his own, I figure he must have thought he’d been caught up by a hardliner railroad dick.

“Mister, mister, please, my friend, he ain’t gonna make it much longer, just let us ride.”

Well; I had a whistle, and I had my flashlight, but those were about the only options the company had given me. I couldn’t speak to tell him I’d give him a pass, and blowing the whistle would have brought Old Mike up from the caboose with his clobbering stick at the ready.

I pulled out my notepad and scratched a quick message, but Yancy only looked at the paper in despair – you don’t find yourself having to hop freight because of a great education.

I didn’t have much else to offer them, but I felt bad – Poke was obviously in rough shape, his face was a mess of bruise and hard life, and I didn’t want to just flip off the light and leave them to the dark.

I dug out the last thing I had in my pockets: a Kit Kat chocolate bar I’d been saving as supper. I snapped off two of the ridges and handed them to Yancy.

The next few hours were a life’s worth of learning. I mimed my silent disposition to Yancy, who introduced himself and his companion, and he had no problem accepting it. To fill the time, he started talking, and I’d long finished my half of the meager meal before I realized the hour.

He told me of his travels with Poke; about the cities they’d seen built and fall apart, the moonshine they’d drunk together, even about the small town cop who’d beaten Poke to an inch of his life, ending their journeys.

Maybe it was the kindness I’d shown him that made him tell me, maybe it was the fact that he himself was not long behind Poke for the Lord’s judgement – either way, he let slip where they were headed, and that he needed to watch out for the great gnarled Douglas-fir with only the eastern portion of its limbs that would soon be after the down-slope of McClucthie’s hill.

It’s hard to say how, but before I knew it, the three of us were at the open door, and, as the engine began to grind around the sloping grade that marked the bottom of the incline; as we spotted that huge and awful tree; the three of us jumped.

I don’t know how Yancy had planned on carrying Poke along the path through the underbrush, if it hadn’t been for my flashlight and youthful exuberance I’m not sure either of us could have managed it. As it was, after an hour of pushing aside the thick green, we came across a hillock in a clearing, on top of which sat a low fire with a lone man huddled close.

I hadn’t fully believed what the hobo had been telling me back in the rail-car, but seeing that beacon set my body trembling. The patchwork man tending the flame didn’t bother to look up as we passed, and Yancy wasn’t willing to stop after getting so close.

There wasn’t a free place to rest my light that didn’t touch on bleached white bones or rotting flesh. I hadn’t smelled anything on the approach; Yancy had told me the wind always blows westward over what he called the hobo graveyard.

Some of the dead had signs on their chest; names or dates or scratched final messages; some had died sitting; some had taken the time to lay themselves down with arms crossed.

After a while of strolling through that open air sepulcher, I flipped off my light.

Some things are best left little seen.

I didn’t know where we were going, but Yancy led on. After a time he sat himself down, then motioned for me to rest Poke – who’d been limping along on my shoulder, muttering deliriously about his mother – beside him.

Yancy shook my hand, and I turned to leave them to it, trying hard to focus on the firelight as I picked my way back. I grabbed a ladder onto the next train to slow for the grade, and, once I got to the yard, I spun a tale to Old Mike that I’d fallen overboard after a lurch.

I’ve never seen a newspaper report mentioning the hoard of bones and bodies, and I’ve often wondered whatever happened to that self-made cemetery. Did the last man pick up a shovel and lay them all under?

At Eighty-Two I’m unlikely to sneak onto an iron horse to find out, and I’ve a terrible feeling I’d just find a subdivision with no history anyhow. Still, sometimes, when the wind blows to the west, I find myself wondering, and my legs longing to ramble.


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