Author Archives: Arik Bjorn

The Parable of the COVID

  After a day spent teaching the noodlehead masses all manner of science and technology, from chemotherapy to pneumatics to security analytics, the rabbi finally rested his derriere on a bench near a pond. (Due to coronavirus, the rabbi first sprayed the bench mightily with Lysol.)   The paparazzi had yet to discover the rabbi’s location—thus, the great teacher miraculously had a rare moment to himself. A family of geese, with five little goslings, approached the tired teacher. He tossed the young fowl some scraps of bread, which he had conjured that morning with a Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA Virtuoso Plus Home Breadmaker.   Exhausted from his day of scientific and engineering prophesying, there by the lily pads, the teacher waited for his disciples to bring unto him an ice coffee with a shot of caramel. Once his supplication was brought unto him—which he did sterilize with a Clorox wipe—he did slake his caffeinated thirst.   Finally, the rabbi’s whereabouts was revealed via social media, and crowds did quickly press in upon the master. The gander honked in a low, guttural manner, and the Goose Family Seven retreated to a grassy…

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“Trump-onomics,” a mini-play

Larry: Hey, neighbor, from six feet away, I can see—I mean smell—you’ve got some mighty fine rotisserie chicken there.   Kendra: Yeah, and a Glock on my hip. So don’t try anything funny, Larry.   Larry: No, no, no, Kendra, you’ve got me all wrong. (reaches into bag) But as you can see, I’m the proud owner of not one, but two cans of Lysol.   Kendra: Holy shit. Two cans?   Larry: And there’s more where that came from.   Kendra: Is there now? (thinking) Well, I’ve got some chickpeas and some uncooked bacon. I suppose we could go without the chicken tonight. (aside) Even though I risked contagion just to get it.   Larry: Oh, I wasn’t necessarily in the trading mood.   Kendra: (reaches slowly for her Glock) Like I said, neighbor…   Larry: But then again, I think I could part ways with one of these cans for some tender juicy bok-bok.   Kendra: One can? (thinks about her family) Well…   Larry: Wait now. (reaches into bag again) I also have this roll of duct tape. Plus a box of Viper Blue Nitrile Gloves.   Kendra: Well, I’ll…

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The Bjorn Effect: Stupid Don’t Know Stupid

Tonight’s “Fireside Chat with Arik” might have something to do with a major Evangelical college reopening its academic pearly gates for students and microbes alike. (Some might call it the Covid Crusade.)   It might have something to do with Trump’s approval rating reaching an all-time high. And, yes, that was Sophia, the goddess of wisdom, passing out at the bar.   It might even have something to do with the federal stimulus package containing that “Middle Finger to the Poor and Seniors” subsection. (Yes, seniors like my elderly, chronically ill mother will be the benefactor solely of the thoughts and prayers of asshole politicians.)   But, first, the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Let me paraphrase the American Psychological Association’s PsycNET abstract on the original study:   There’s a reason your Uncle Bart can’t shut up at Thanksgiving Dinner, even though every opinion he’s ever spouted from his green bean casserole-stuffed mouth defies any kind of factual basis. And there’s a reason your MAGA hat-wearing neighbors are all playing Fat-Fold Twister while meat sizzles on the grill.   In short: They’re…

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“Litten’s Passion”: A Screenplay Teaser

. Litten’s Passion is the forgotten true story of the First Victim of the Holocaust.   Hans Litten was a saintly German attorney who worked tirelessly for the poor and was opposed to the rise of fascism in Europe. In 1931, Litten interrogated Hitler in court, and embarrassed the future Führer before the entire German nation. After the burning of the Reichstag in 1933, one of Hitler’s first acts of power was to arrest Litten and several dozen other “political trophies.” These were the original concentration camp prisoners.   For the next five years, Litten was mercilessly tortured and told he would be the last prisoner ever released from a camp. Meanwhile, his mother, Irmgard Litten, and prominent British pacifist, Lord Allen of Hurtwood, led an underground, “Schindler-esque” struggle to free Hans Litten. Lord Allen met with Hitler several times, and urged members of the Nazi Inner Circle to release Litten. Irmgard bravely defied many Nazi officials and pulled many strings to stay in constant contact with her son.   Hans Litten was murdered at Dachau in February 1938. Soon thereafter, Lord Allen rescued Irmgard from…

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What Follows Thus, Derives from Hither

I culled through two decades of published clips with a number of publications, and the four entries that precede this wee-post seemed the best to pop the cork on my blog.   These four articles really define my development as a writer from “there” to “here.”  I’m proud to showcase them, flawed as they are.  We are all human and in various states of…

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Where in the World is Brunel Athis?

Ft. Dimanche, Haiti. Twenty years ago, at the age of 16, I found myself roaming the tiny republic of Haiti by myself.   I was the product of an ultraconservative upbringing and had already made several “evangelism trips” to one of the world’s poorest nations.  Haitians needed “saving” by the bucket-load, I was convinced—despite the fact that the Haitian people are the most spiritually faithful people you could ever visit, no matter the unthinkably deplorable comments recently made by Pat Robertson in the wake of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake.   I had secured enough funds (by selling my baseball card collection) to get myself to Haiti and back during the break between my junior and senior years of high school.  If I experienced any miracles that summer, it was probably convincing my parents that I had enough contacts in Haiti to be considered safe.   I hopped a plane to Miami and from there to Port-au-Prince, where I met up with a Haitian friend more than willing to serve as my Sancho Panzo evangelism translator.  From there we took the nation by storm, roaming countryside villages and conducting evening evangelism tent…

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Vonnegut Lives! (a short story, of sorts)

  (“Vonnegut Lives!” is one of the stories in the author’s debut work of fiction, Birds of a Feather: Short Stories & Miscellany, available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon, Goodreads and Smashwords.)       Kurt Vonnegut stood in front of a large opal-plated gate.  ‘I must be getting old,’ he thought, ‘how did I end up here?’  He tapped the last cigarette from a pack of Pall Malls and searched his Brooks Brothers jacket for a pack of matches.   A gruff voice startled the great humorist, “Need a light?”   Kurt Vonnegut turned and noticed a barrel-chested man wearing a gossamer robe.  The robe was cinched by a belt with a key-shaped buckle.  The stranger had a thick beard and a balding head bordered by a curly, natural tonsure.  He held out a box of matches.   Kurt Vonnegut took the box of matches, lit his fag, then noticed a halo hovering above the stranger’s head.  “So this is the great clam bake in the sky.”   The stranger smiled, “I’m St. Peter, keeper of keys.”   “A pleasure,” Kurt Vonnegut replied.  “I’m Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., humanist and…

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‘+’ or ‘-’ and sometimes ‘+/-’

Only twelve humans have ever touched the surface of another galactic sphere. One of them, Astronaut Charlie Duke, once gave a homily to my high school chapel. While one might have expected Duke to deliver a cliché “you can reach for the skies” exhortation to my pimple-faced coevals, he instead shared a fascinating disquisition on experience.   It was really neat. (This cheap modifier will make sense later.)   Mr. Duke surely did not intend to deliver an existentialism lecture that would straighten Jean-Paul Sartre’s eyeballs, but that’s about what happened. Duke attempted to convey the breathtaking phenomenon of standing on the lunar landscape and beholding our own Little Blue Planet floating in the celestial foreground.   He explained that after he set the record for a lunar surface stay—more than 70 hours—he returned to Earth. And found himself really bored.   Duke was mired in a thick, intergalactic-postpartum funk. After all, once one has driven a dune buggy on the moon’s rough Cayley Plains, what else is there to do? (Other than bed Eva Longoria.)   There was actually a positive end to Mr. Duke’s…

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Wild Things

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Ancient Egypt & U.S. Corporate Personhood

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