Bad news, good news

September 18th, 2015

I’ll give you the bad news first: there won’t be a longer version of the film Dolphin Lover in the immediate future.  The producers’ deal with a sponsor and distributor fell through.  They had planned to add more footage by interviewing people who might be able to comment on my experience with Dolly the dolphin from a variety of viewpoints: a marine mammalogist, a psychiatrist specializing in zoophilia, an animal rights activist and members of my family, among others.  It was to be released on the Internet.  Sadly, this will not happen.  The film remains in play at several film festivals and the producers assure me it will be released as a short in the near future.

The good news is, there may soon be a Russian-language version of Wet Goddess.  Some time ago, I was contacted by a fan in the Russian town of Nikel who told me, with some trepidation, that he had translated my novel into Russian and printed out a couple of copies so his friends and family could read it.  From what he tells me, he did a lot of research on my very idiomatic use of the English language.  I was enormously flattered that anyone would go so far, and I recognized that his labor of love might have commercial possibilities, so I gave him the go-ahead to try and publish it.   He has found a print-on-demand publisher who will print and distribute the book for us.  I have always felt that Wet Goddess would have to gain some traction overseas before a domestic publisher would pick it up; perhaps this is that opportunity.  More details to follow!

UPDATE: Wet Goddess is being read by a major Russian language publisher.  We should know something in about a month.  Stay tuned!

On the perversity of dogs

August 11th, 2015

Two street dogs mating. Seattle, 1984.

I spent literally all day trying to get two dogs to fuck, without success.   You would think this would be an easy thing to accomplish.  A female dog in heat is a sex machine, and any male dog who catches a whiff of her erogenous odor is turned into a horn dog.  If you watch a lot of dog porn on YouTube, as I do, you know that nothing can stop them: not differences of breed, size or temperament.  They will copulate through a chain link fence, if necessary.  Anything to get that penis stuck in that vagina!

So why have I spent hours recently driving to and from the not-so-nearby town of Barstow on what seems like a fool’s errand?  To help out Nancy, a friend who used to be a girlfriend (it didn’t work out).

Nancy, bless her, breeds Yorkshire terriers, or “Yorkies” to their fans.  Now I myself am no fan of small dogs.  I don’t like their yapping, high-pitched barks, and I think that breeding a dog that can fit comfortably in your average shoebox is a terrible thing to do to a wolf.  Furthermore, even though my second wife was also a dog breeder (of shi-tzus), I don’t approve of dog breeding when the humane shelters in this country are overflowing with unwanted companion animals.

I make an exception for Nancy in my mind because she is a retired senior living on her Social Security check.  She’s a farm girl raised in New England, been breeding dogs most of her adult life and I don’t think she’s about to stop now.

So on Sunday, we drove to Barstow, which is east of Tampa, so Nancy could mate her little bitch Sophia with a stud named Wilby.  Since Sophia is a virgin, and somewhat larger than Wilby, this involved  Nancy holding Sophia as still as possible while Wilby’s owner, a nice woman named Theresa, held Wilby up high enough to penetrate his prospective mate.  It was, shall we say, a heavily assisted mating.

But the little male dog, for all his vigorous thrusting, couldn’t penetrate, and Theresa said Sophia wasn’t quite ready yet.  She wriggled like a worm in Wilby’s embrace, making her vulva a moving target.  Nancy reluctantly decided to leave Sophia there, hoping that, if they didn’t copulate in the meantime, they might when we came back to pick the bitch up today.

But today Wilby, who had at least tried to mount Sophia on Sunday, couldn’t even seem to get that interested.  Turns out Theresa had let him expend his energies on Sophia earlier in the morning, before we arrived.  But being by herself, she couldn’t fulfill all the roles necessary for the engagement of his engorgement.  So the little fella got burned out with no result.

Nancy says she’s going back on Thursday for another try.  I won’t be able to help her with the driving this time, so I wish her luck.  It all leaves me wondering, just what does it take to get two dogs to fuck?


August 9th, 2015

Dr. Albert Duvall, the man who molested me and hundreds of other children with their parents’ consent.

Whereas it took me years of fumbling to write Wet Goddess, I managed to write Orgone Box in six short months.  It was like one long scream for me, but the creative process drove me onward and through it.

This was not the case recently when I re-formatted the book for publication as an e-book through Smashwords.  The process of re-formatting some 300+ pages of text was mindless and boring, which left me plenty of time to dwell on the contents of the book, which was the horrific things that happened to me as a child.

It wasn’t like I grew up in East Africa or something, I don’t mean it like that.  I enjoyed lots of privilege as a kid: white privilege, middle-class privilege, suburban privilege.  From the outside, everything looked wonderful.

But Reich’s “orgone therapy,” as administered by that twisted sadist Dr. Albert Duvall, was a terrifying ordeal that my parents kept sending me back to on a weekly basis.  Aside from the sexual abuse, which was definitely NOT what Reich had in mind, Duvall had a license from my parents to painfully poke, prod or squeeze any muscle on my body that he thought betrayed “armoring,” or a chronic muscular tension that indicated a corresponding neurosis.

I was stark naked, only five years old at the time these memories start, literally protoplasmic putty in the hands of a man who was as sarcastic as he was cruel.  When I complained, even when I revealed the sexual abuse, my parents didn’t listen.  They were “true believers.”

And now, the memories and the rage won’t let go of me.  The lie beneath the surface like a crocodile, waiting for any weakness in my emotional condition to rear up and snag me.  I wish I had as an adult gone and killed Duvall, he richly deserved it, not only for what he did to me but to hundreds of other children entrusted to his care.

I thought maybe writing something about this process and these feelings would be a good thing, but I’ve dwelt there long enough for now.  I just wish I could make the tortuous memories go away forever, but the time for “moving forward” with my life is over.  I think my most productive years, the years when I needed the human interaction skills that Duvall’s abuse largely destroyed, are over.

Now I am in the time of survival.

A new dolphin book

August 5th, 2015


Susan Casey, author of “The Devil’s Teeth,” speaking on NPR’s program Fresh Air about her latest book, “Voices In The Ocean,” about the world and lives of dolphins: book link.

Inhumane slaughter in the Faroes

July 26th, 2015

A letter to the Danish Embassy, Washington, D.C.:

It is shocking to see the violent and brutal “grind,” the annual pilot whale slaughter in the Faroe Islands.  A beach is not a slaughterhouse, and whales are not cattle.  No cowman ever deliberately terrorized his cows to bring them to market – quite the opposite, in fact – but this terrifying “drive hunt” is standard operating procedure.  Never mind that the whales, as all the most recent scientific research has shown, are self-aware, intelligent, curious creatures like ourselves.  Unlike cows, their meat is also tainted with mercury and synthetic chemicals which make it unfit to eat.

The uncivilized atmosphere of this gore-fest is best expressed by words of one grind participant: “I hate the taste of whale meat, but I love to kill.”

What is even more shocking is to see the full might of Denmark’s naval power thrown behind the whale-killers when a few members of Sea Shepherd, armed only with cameras, protest the hunt.  To see the Danish warships “Triton” and “Knut Rasmussen” called in to “protect” the whale murderers has convinced me to write this letter.  Rest assured that until this barbaric and utterly unnecessary practice is forever ended, I will never visit Denmark or buy Danish products, and I will do everything in my power to convince others to boycott you.

The European Union, to which Denmark belongs, has banned whaling, so you are in violation of international law.  No country which supports indiscriminate drive hunts of marine mammals can consider itself a civilized realm.

“Dolphin Lover” wins in LA!

June 18th, 2015

Dolphin-Lover-This-Man-PosterI am flabbergasted to receive the news that Dolphin Lover took the prize for Best Short Documentary at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival!  Producer Joey Daoud said “The jurors were fascinated with your story.”  They must have been, but the dramatic way that Daoud and director Kareem Tabsch chose to present it adds immeasurably to its appeal.  I think it will be difficult for Hollywood to ignore this film, and with it, my story and the situation of dolphins in general.  What exactly the fallout from this will be remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.  This is much, much bigger than picking up an honorable mention at Slamdance (although that was a well-earned and well-deserved honor!).  It would be nice to have some representation, even a publisher.  Would that be too much to ask?

The end of “Wet Goddess”?

June 12th, 2015

It is June, and book sales aren’t just slow, they’ve stopped entirely.  Last June, I managed to sell 21 copies of Wet Goddess; this month so far, zilch.  It’s discouraging and I’m wondering why.  According to my own official count, WG has sold just over 1,200 copies worldwide.  (I don’t have exact figures because I didn’t track the number of books I gave out to family and friends or sent out as promotional and review copies, but it was around 30.)

Sales traditionally slow in the summer, I don’t know why.  You’d think people would want something romantic to read on vacation.  Sales were slow last summer, too; after June I sold 13 copies in July and only 5 in August.  Sales picked up slowly after that, rising to a frenetic 43 copies in February and 25 in March, shortly after Dolphin Lover premiered.  Explanation: I was doing a lot of radio interviews.

So what does it take to sell my book?  Is the market for a human-dolphin love story saturated?  I really don’t know.  I will of course hang on to the inventory I have on hand, 15 copies.  But unless demand increases, I don’t see myself doing another printing.

Could “Wet Goddess” be an animated movie?

May 27th, 2015


Dolphin Lover, Kareem Tabsch and Joey Daoud’s short documentary film about my love affair with Dolly the dolphin, will be showing at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15.  I have high hopes (perhaps unjustifiably so) that somebody in Hollywood will pick up on the story, option the film rights to it and drop a cool lump of money in my lap.

I would use the dough to replace this rotting trailer and its dilapidated work shed.  And drill a new well while I was at it, the water here is barely better than sewage.  I really, really need to do all that, but as a self-published writer living primarily on my Social Security check, I clearly lack the means.  Hell, I’m finding it hard to replace my truck, which has 235,000 miles on it.

So I have these fantasies about being “discovered” by Hollywood, which could actually lead, in an ass-backward fashion, to a book deal.  Stranger things have happened.  Not that I care for the fame, I am actually a rather withdrawn, reserved kind of guy who hates drawing attention to himself, and obviously I wouldn’t be doing all this if it wasn’t for the message about the dolphins.

If somebody takes out an option on a work like a book or a screenplay, it usually means they have the intention of making it into a movie.  So if somebody wanted to option Wet Goddess, what kind of movie would they make from it?  Well, I happen to have some rather strong ideas about that, ideas that would make or break any film deal.

First, no real, live dolphins should be used in the making of the film.  Why?  Because I’m against the idea of keeping dolphins in captivity in the first place, secondly against exploiting them for entertainment, thirdly bothered by the stress they would be subjected to doing multiple takes for a movie, and finally I would be jealous of any lead actor playing the character Zachary Zimmerman who got to spend more time with a dolphin playing Ruby than I did.

There is the very real danger that a live dolphin would become emotionally bonded to a human actor under those intimate circumstances, much as Dolly did to me, and that could prove to be a psychological hazard when the filming ended and the two had to part.  The dolphin might become depressed and suicidal, like Dolly did, and I don’t want the responsibility for another dolphin death on my hands.

For all these reasons, I would be opposed to filming the movie with real, live dolphins.  The alternative is to do the dolphins with a combination of life-size animatronic models and computer generated imagery (CGI).  Ah, but real water effects are notoriously difficult to pull off in CGI.  I just have the feeling a live-action version of Wet Goddess done with CGI dolphins would be insanely complex to pull off, although that doesn’t mean somebody isn’t stupid enough to try.

However, I would suggest an alternate solution, based in part on the fact that at least two segments of the movie — where the stoned Zack is “astral tripping” with Ruby in her underwater world — would have to be animated to adequately express what is being described in the novel.  The first sequence involves the sensation of swimming in open water at high speed.  The second and longer sequence, described in chapter 19, “Outside the Fence,” involves a gathering of several hundred bottlenose dolphins engaged in intense sexual play.  Obviously it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get the necessary live-action film of such a congregation of dolphins.  I do not know if bottlenose dolphins even form such large mating groups as the one I describe, I was simply reporting on what I experienced without trying to subject it to what psychic Ingo Swann calls “analytical overlay.”

Since those sections of the movie would have to be computer animated, why not just animate the whole damn thing?  Make Wet Goddess: The Movie the 21st Century equivalent of Ralph Bakshi’s Fritz the Cat, an R- or even X-rated animated feature film where everything — the tacky amusement park, New College, all of Zack’s stoned fantasies — is animated.  (Although let me make it clear I don’t want to get shafted the way poor artist R. Crumb, creator of the original Fritz comic, says he got screwed by Bakshi.)

This might free up the story in several ways.  It would save having to find a real animal abusement park to stand in for the tacky Florida Funland of the novel.  There would be no problems with resentful, uncooperative dolphins who, for some inscrutable reason, don’t want to do 35 takes of the same scene.  It would allow for some great interpretations of the story, which as published is almost self-satirizing in a way.

So that would be my advice to any prospective film producer who wants to option Wet Goddess: we basically do this as a large scale CGI cartoon, on the level of something Disney or Dreamworks Animation would do, or we don’t do it at all.  I don’t think I’m being too demanding and fussy there, do you?

Obituary for a good dog

May 19th, 2015


Died: Pixel, beloved canine companion of author Malcolm J. Brenner, from natural causes due to old age, in the early hours of May 18, 2015.  Born in early August, 2001, Pixel was thus some 13 years and 9 months old when she passed away, making her about 100 years old in human terms.

Brenner obtained Pixel from a stranger who was giving away puppies from the back of an old white Ford pickup truck in the parking lot of the Walmart store in Grants, N.M.  No money changed hands.  “Pixel was the only dog in the litter whose tail hadn’t been docked, which made her more attractive to me,” Brenner said.  “That, and she also happened to be female.”

The stranger claimed Pixel’s father was a Rottweiler and her mother a German shepherd, “but he lied,” Brenner said.  “Pixel’s dense, luxurious fur marked her almost certainly as a shepherd-collie mix.”

Pixel displayed an early interest in canine psychology.  “When I brought her a companion dog, it had been the runt of the litter and was frightened and aggressive,” Brenner said.  “It snapped at Pixel and wanted to bite her, but she ran up and down the room, going right by it so fast the smaller dog couldn’t connect.  In 15 minutes, Pixel had that little dog playing with her, and I named her Pugsley.  They were firm friends for life.”

Ah hell, I can’t maintain this obituary format any longer.  What can I say about a dog who was also my lover?  Who is now buried in a hole in the back yard?  Pixel, I loved you and I wish things could have been better for you.  I wish Pugsley had lived longer to remain your companion into your old age, I think you would have enjoyed it more.  I gave you the best life I could within my means, Pixel, I sure hope you enjoyed it.

What I liked about Pixel was that she had an independent mind.  Perhaps this is just another way of saying I didn’t train her well enough, but I actually liked the fact that she didn’t always do my bidding, even though it was frustrating at times.

I hated the times I had to leave her to travel, especially the three weeks I spent out in San Francisco over Christmas 2013.  I know it was hard on her.  I thank my friend Cay Small for all the dog sitting services she has provided over the years.

Last night we went for a walk in the early evening, like we did every night.  She was slow and doddering, but that was normal for a dog her age.  After I went to bed she began to pace around nervously.  I woke up around 2 a.m. to find her agitated and restless, and I stayed up with her as she wandered here and there.  I began to suspect she was looking for a place to die.  She lay down in a corner of the trailer, and I went back to bed around 4 a.m.  When I woke up at 6:30 she was gone and had been for some time.

I spent two hours this morning digging her grave in my back yard, close to where I buried Pugsley a few years ago.  Pixel, please know that you were loved and cherished, and you will always remain in my memory my first dog.

SeaWorld’s sick, sick “love”

May 12th, 2015



(Photo: A killer whale at the Vancouver Public Aquarium, circa 1972. ©Malcolm J. Brenner)

Have you ever known a couple that fought about everything?  I used to know a couple like that.  Every day was a string of arguments, from dawn ’til dusk, voices raised in shouting.  They could never agree about the simplest thing, and being around them when they were together was like having sandpaper rubbed on your body.

The cure for this problem seemed obvious.  We, their friends, would say “Why do you two stick together?  You should go your separate ways.”  Their response was always, “But we LOVE each other!”  Followed by more shouting.

What kind of love not only causes pain and anguish, but refuses to acknowledge the damage that pain and anguish is doing?  I’ll tell you what kind of love: sick, psychotic love.  My two friends loved each other the way SeaWorld loves its killer whales.

SeaWorld says it “loves” its killer whales and treats them well.  One could have heard such protestations from a slaveholder in the Antebellum South: “I love my slaves and I treat them well!  Mine are the best-treated slaves around!”  The problem then, of course, was not the way the slaveholder treated his slaves, for better or for worse, the problem was the institution of slavery itself.  And of course, a slaveholder must be blind to the moral pestilence that slavery creates.  Men like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington anguished over the issue; they could not maintain their lifestyle without slavery, yet they knew it was an injustice.  Great as they were, they kicked the can down the road, leaving it to Abraham Lincoln’s generation to fight America’s bloodiest war to end that evil institution, such as it has.

Of course, SeaWorld is not an individual.  SeaWorld is a corporation with a bottom line which is money, and any statements to the contrary must be taken with a pound of salt.  But what does it say about the individuals, like senior corporate affairs officer Jill Kermes?  “We love these animals, and do everything in our power to assure they’re happy and healthy,” Kermes recently said in a press release.

Everything, of course, except set them free.

The example of my friends, the argumentative couple, isn’t exactly what SeaWorld is all about.  After all, the whales aren’t arguing; they just want to go home.  The deep and profound pathology of SeaWorld’s “love” for whales is actually closer to that of Ariel Castro, the psychopath who kidnapped three women in Cleveland, Ohio, kept them for 10 years and had a child by one of them, Amanda Berry.  When he was finally captured, after the women escaped, here’s what Castro said for himself, according to Wikipedia:

Before his sentencing, Castro addressed the court in a rambling address for twenty minutes, in which he said he was “a good person” and “not a monster”, but that he was addicted to sex and pornography, and had “practiced the art of masturbation” from a young age. He claimed that he had never beaten or tortured the women, and insisted that “most” of the sex he had with them “was consensual.” He shifted between an apologetic tone and blaming the FBI for failing to catch him, as well as his victims themselves, insisting to the court that when he had sex with them he discovered they were not virgins. He would alternatively shift back into apologetic comments, saying: “I hope they can find in their hearts to forgive me because we had a lot of harmony going on in that home.”

“We had a lot of harmony going on in that home” is the delusion of a psychopath who either cannot feel for his victims or has managed to suppress his feelings.  In Castro’s eyes he is not a monster and the sex was “consensual” because the women were not virgins and did not physically resist.  Make no mistake, the people who run SeaWorld and their poor deluded minions, the trainers, feel exactly the same way.   They even force the female whales to produce babies for them, exactly as Castro did.

What does watching a whale jump around at SeaWorld teach you about killer whales in the wild?  Zip.  What does it do for whales in the wild?  It actually has a negative impact, because it increases the demand for whales in captivity, which means more wild whales are going to be rounded up and caught in horrible drive hunts.  The Southern Resident orca population of Washington State, which was most heavily fished in the 1960’s and ’70’s for captive whales, has yet to recover from those captures, several of which resulted in the deaths of the whales.

I wonder what it will take for SeaWorld to realize the error of its ways.  Human death?  No.  Trainers, let’s face it, are expendable.  Not even the horrific death of Dawn Brancheau, torn to pieces in 2010 by Tilikum, SeaWorld’s prize breeding bull, was enough; SeaWorld tried to blame Brancheau herself, claiming that her ponytail (which was fine in SeaWorld’s trainer regulations) had floated into the whale’s mouth, and that he “playfully” pulled her into the water before breaking her back, scalping and dismembering her.

We’re not just talking about some personal peculiarities here; we’re talking about an institution which is built on lies, and now finds out it must lie about lying to the public, as SeaWorld is doing in its latest series of promotions.  Five class-action lawsuits have been filed by various people who feel SeaWorld deceived them about its treatment of the whales.

With millions of dollars at stake, of course SeaWorld is going to defend itself.  It has lowered itself to the point of personal slander to do so, as in the case of John Hargrove, former chief killer whale trainer and author of the tell-all book Beneath The Surface.  What will it take, I wonder, to open their corporate eyes to the tragedy and the horror they are committing?

I wish I could throw some SeaWorld officers, like the CEO, into the pool with Tilikum.  Then let’s see how long their commitment to keeping killer whales in captivity would last.