Engaged in inadvisable wordsmitheries and other creative acts. http://sarahlofgren.com
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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

A tale of glitter and woe.

The sparkly pink death had long spread throughout the county, coating inhabitants with spangles and suffering. No pestilence had ever been so fatal or so dazzling. First came the sequined pox marks, the velvet top hats, the throats coated in stars. Then pink cloaks sprouted from the shoulders of the victims, followed by an insatiable urge to belt out “Rose’s Turn” or “Anything Goes” in a key high enough to pierce eardrums. This last symptom ensured those visited by the pink death would be locked far from the company of others. …

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Photo by Stefano Alemani on Unsplash

I don’t know why we scheduled it that way, but we did.

Results came in through the morning, while we woke up and got ready to go. By noon the deal was done. We walked around Bagan zombie-eyed and I stared at the other tourists we passed, wondering if they were Americans. It was lonely carrying that stress around in a country so far from my own. We climbed temples and rode motor bikes, but a filter had been placed over our experience, bleeding strangeness into each shot. I didn’t sleep much. People back home told me I cared too much. If caring can be switched off, it seems dangerous to try.

A few days later we were in Hong Kong. …

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graphic by author

Halloween 2020 doesn’t have to be a total bust.

If you’re the sort of person who lives for Halloween, then you’re likely feeling let down at the prospect of a dusty, quiet Halloween this year. Maybe you haven’t even put out pumpkins or tried casting a shrinking spell on your neighbors. Cheer up! While you could spend the 31st eating candy corn and crying, why don’t you grab the ghost by the goiter and embrace the lonely vibes? There are plenty of spicy, socially distanced activities you can do to make Halloween 2020 the scariest ever!

Summon a (mask wearing) demon

If you’re in possession of quiet time and a self destructive streak, then maybe a demon could be in possession of you. It’s worth a try! There’s Zar-edelz, who will take up residence in your belly button and make groaning noises every time you change the channel. Brickrash causes his human hosts to burp spiders, which is always amusing. Tim is an especially scary demon. He’s trying to bring about the end of the world via pointless bureaucracy and when he possesses you, he prevents you from saying anything other than: “That’s the wrong form. You need to fill out A45B and bring it to Reports on the third floor.” …

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art by author

Nextdoor posts from the End Times.

Beatrice Shmirken
Hi everyone!
I’m new to Gnawville (moved in on Wednesday!) and am excited to meet you all! I was told the recycling gets picked up on Thursdays, but no one has picked up my recycling. The environment is very important to me! Climate change affects everyone, but especially us, because it seems very hot in this neighborhood.
May 21st

Stan Filnish • May 28th
Welcome to the neighborhood, Bea
🙂 1 Thanks

Andy Grainersand
Is anyone else seeing this?
WTF, am I right, my friends?
June 2nd

Stan Filnish • June 2nd
Seeing What?
🙂 5 Thanks

Andy Grainersand • June 2nd
The big ass fire that’s coming down right now, dude! Look out your window! WTF!
🙂 10…

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Graphic by author

A movie review? Kinda?

Hello everyone! Today I’m sitting in my apartment, listening to the sound of the rain as it bashes itself into the sidewalk and thinking about Weathering With You. If you’re not into Japanese animation, it’s possible you haven’t heard about this little film that slipped in and out of American theaters right before the pandemic shattered our lives, hogging the stage like an attention-starved diva no one ever wanted. I haven’t thought about Weathering With You in a while, but today there’s thunder and hail and rain all mixing together outside my window, so I’m remembering.

Weathering About You is about as far as you can get from the kind of movies Disney has been putting out lately. I’m really talking about The Lion King. I didn’t like The Lion King. I sat watching a pride of lions blankly sing old hits at each other and couldn’t help but feel I was watching Disney’s thesis statement on the superiority of CGI. “We’re more modern, more advanced and more impressive!” the lions cooed with empty eyes. “Look how we’ve evolved!” …

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Art by author

bah rum da rum da

An article about penguin mummies is trending and, rather than read it, I’ve decided to imagine what sort of behaviors a penguin mummy might engage in. It’s not the kind of imagining John Lennon recommends, but that guy was dyslexic and probably meant to write about penguin mummies instead of peace and love. (Also, a penguin mummy would be an excellent Halloween costume for those willing to take their lives into their hands for a little 2020 trick or treat action.)

It’s not just John Lennon who is confused. If I’m being completely honest, the old content-creating machine (my noggin) hasn’t been excessively on point. I mixed up the words “toaster” and “refrigerator”, which I’m trying to dismiss as election anxiety and not the encroaching shadow of dementia. Perhaps this is another stage in the pandemic, the stage in which we all start leaving our socks in the printer and forgetting why we walked into various rooms. …

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Graphic by author

Don’t be an unemployed codfish!

Finding a job is harder than ever. Currently there are millions of unemployed people wandering all over the United States and roughly 3.5 available jobs. A normal job seeker might despair, but you aren’t a normal job seeker, are you? Why, no! You’re practically perfect in every way and instead of wallowing in a sewer filled with your own tears, you’re prepared to pound the pavement in your polished boots and become indispensable to some lucky employer.

We should all consider looking to the ultimate job-getter, Mary Poppins, for clues as to how we can wind up happily employed without all the muss and fuss. …

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Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

Chasing ghosts through the corridors of your brain.

Sometimes a song finds its way into your head and gets nice and snuggly, sleeping for months at a time, then waking to assert its territory at moments both opportune and unfortunate. Sometimes the song is a jingle from a cereal commercial you heard when you were six and sometimes it’s a modern masterpiece (but probably not).

Most of the time you know where the song came from and who wrote it. You can complain when it emerges and the people in your life will nod their heads in recognition. But there are other times when you don’t know any identifying characteristics and that is one of the most frustrating experiences a 21st century person can endure, outside of being put on hold by their insurance company for three hours, or, conversely, not having an insurance company to put them on hold for three hours. …

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Illustrations by author

Now that we’re drilling Alaska, they can finally earn their keeps.

The Interior Secretary has finally given the green light to companies eager to suck the oil out of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For years that oil has just been sitting there, unextracted, like a greasy tease. Granola crunchers and Prius drivers wearing hemp pants have made a lot of noise about how, “this will forever compromise and endanger the animals who call this area home.” But they wear deodorant made out of bog juice, so no one should listen to them (or stand near them).

Arctic creatures have had a free ride for far too long, living “off-the-grid” and refusing to participate in the glories of capitalism like other, happier animals, such as carriage horses and milk cows. Once drilling reaches the refuge, there are going to be all kinds of exciting job opportunities for enterprising wildlife. I’ll bet, when they put their paws, hooves and claws to it, there’s no limit to the revenue they can generate. …

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Graphic by author

Can a humble fruit save your summer?

My summer has been flush with fruit. I’ve piled blueberries on my waffles, smashed bananas into the blender, ordered my milk tea with mango bits, and eaten peaches with just about everything. The other day I took a walk by the freeway and there were blackberries sprouting everywhere, free fruit just begging to be devoured. Of course I acquiesced. Who could say no to a blackberry? A fart bubble of a human being, that’s who.

But I haven’t eaten a single bite of pineapple all summer long. Not chopped, not pureed, not even baked into a cake. I don’t know how I let it happen, but the tangy sweetness of pineapple hasn’t crossed my tongue once. …

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