All posts by Michael Paul Gonzalez

Save the Big Easy!

Our website ( is now active. My wife has two wonderful photos from our recent trip to New Orleans, and we’re selling prints for charity:

We watched helplessly as New Orleans flooded and its people were stranded. Although we only visited the city once in 2003, we were impressed by the architecture, history, food, music, and above all, by the warmth of the people of New Orleans. Since it was founded in 1718, the city has survived hurricanes, fires, and disease. The story of the city’s resilience is told in its architecture.

To help all victims of Hurricane Katrina, we are selling 8 1/2 X 11 prints of two photos and donating all profits to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Each print costs $25 plus $5 priority USPS shipping and handling. We can only ship to addresses in the continental U.S. Secure payment can be made online with credit cards using PayPal. Please contact us with any questions.

There are many wonderful charities out there helping with relief efforts. Please give where you can.

The Aftermath…

Watching the news becomes more and more difficult as the extent of Hurricane Katrina’s damage becomes clear. It’s been a week now, and it looks like the response is finally where it should have been on day one. There will be plenty of time for finger pointing afterwards, but suffice it to say, Congress dropped the ball big time on this. All of the 9/11 readiness drills, all of the alerts, the government telling us we’re ready to react in the face of a cataclysmic event… well, now we can see how ready we were. Most chilling of all is this article from December 2001 edition of the Houston Chronicle, which proves a lot of people knew about this and were told to prepare not months, but YEARS in advance. If you don’t have time to read to whole article, consider this quote

“…earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country.The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city’s less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston.Economically, the toll would be shattering.Southern Louisiana produces one-third of the country’s seafood, one-fifth of its oil and one-quarter of its natural gas. The city’s tourism, lifeblood of the French Quarter, would cease to exist. The Big Easy might never recover.And, given New Orleans’ precarious perch, some academics wonder if it should be rebuilt at all.”

The New Orleans we knew will never exist again. It will be rebuilt, gentrified, maybe better than before, but the soul will not be the same. And the media has all but ignored the smaller cities and towns like Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, which have been wiped from the map. This has affected millions of people. If you can give money, please give money. My wife and I are developing a website ( where we will sell prints from our 2003 trip to New Orleans, with all proceeds going to charity. It should be up and running by Monday night. You don’t have to help through us, but before you log off to go enjoy your meal, or your sofa, or do your laundry, or pay your bills, remember how lucky you are to have those things

If this is true, we’ll all be dead soon…

I love mathematically impossible teaser headlines. It’s an equation gone horribly wrong, a nightmare unleashed upon the world that only Stephen Hawking could stop. You see, according to MSN, the world’s oldest person has died. But if they died, then someone else is the world’s oldest person, which means that they’re dead too! And so on… and so on! But I suppose it would have been better if the headline was ‘World’s Oldest Person expected to die today…” And you know, this whole post was a lot funnier when I started writing it than it seems now.
Anyway, I did a screen capture.

See how silly MSN is? Not funny when contrasted to hurricane devastation, I know.

Pity poor Sam…

There is no creature in the world that exemplifies love, loyalty, and devotion like a dog. Steadfast, always there with their cute wagging tails, their soft, wet noses, who wouldn’t want to cuddle up with a dog if given the chance?

And then, there’s Sam. Sam is a 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese Crested. Sam is reigning champion of San Francisco’s ugly dog contest. Judges recoiled in horror when Sam was placed on the judging table. People refuse to look at him. And quite frankly, he’s ugly. That’s why he keeps winning the contest.

But I think he’s beautiful. Why? Look at each component separately. There’s the hair. Three tufts of it over an otherwise bald body. Cute, in a newborn/mutant kind of way. There’s the overbite. There’s the milky eyes (Sam is blind). But most of all, Sam was his owner’s only companion while she recovered from radioactive cancer therapy. Sam’s love for her is unconditional, as is her love for him. Numerous ailments will probably mean that Sam won’t make it through the year. But he made a difference in someone’s life. Knowing this…

…is THIS a face you could still call ugly?

The answer, of course, is yes. He won a prize for it after all. And no, there has been no photoshopping, no make-up, no special effects. Pity poor, misunderstood, lovable Sam.

Now this is interesting…

It’s never too early to start the buzz on something like this… This would make for an interesting presidency, as the Man would be able to intimidate any opponent or foe… plus, he’s a great dancer. yes, I think the whole thing is serious as far as I can tell, so without further ado, I give you… CHRISTOPHER WALKEN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2008!
Yes. THAT Christopher Walken.
I love this country.

UPDATE (9/08/05): Alas, it appears to be a publicity stunt for one of Walken’s new movies. It’s a shame. he should run just for the debates: Bush vs. Walken. You could sell that on Pay Per View.

Too bad these will all go to some snobby rich person as a novelty gift…

That’s just my hurt feelings talking ’cause I know I won’t win this auction. I picked this up on Neil Gaiman’s blog and HAD to pass it along, as it is the coolest auction I’ve seen in a while (until the next Virgin Mary Cheese Sandwich, that is).

“Have you ever wanted to be in a Stephen King book? (You must be female in order to die, though.)
Stephen King
What he’s offering:”One (and only one) character name in a novel called CELL, which is now in work and which will appear in either 2006 or 2007. Buyer should be aware that CELL is a violent piece of work, which comes complete with zombies set in motion by bad cell phone signals that destroy the human brain. Like cheap whiskey, it’s very nasty and extremely satisfying. Character can be male or female, but a buyer who wants to die must in this case be female. In any case, I’ll require physical description of auction winner, including any nickname (can be made up, I don’t give a rip).” When you can bid:September 8-18

Lemony Snicket
What he’s offering:”An utterance by Sunny Baudelaire in Book the Thirteenth. Pronunciation and/or spelling may be slightly ‘mutilated.’ An example of this is in The Grim Grotto when Sunny utters ‘Bushcheney.’ Target publication date is Fall 2006.” When you can bid:September 8-18
Jonathan Lethem
What he’s offering:”I need the name of a Columbia University professor for a comic book I’m writing for Marvel. It can be your name or the name of a friend — but if it’s a friend, I need to hear from them with their permission.”When you can bid:September 8-18

Neil Gaiman:
promise to put your name onto a gravestone in my next children’s novel, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK.
The schedule (and the complete list of authors) is as follows:
September 1-10: Michael Chabon, Amy Tan, Peter Straub, Andrew Sean Greer, Karen Joy Fowler
September 8-18: Stephen King, Lemony Snicket, Dorothy Allison, Jonathan Lethem, Ayelet Waldman
September 15-25: John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Neil Gaiman, Dave Eggers, Rick Moody, ZZ Packer

And all the information is up at It’s a perfect birthday present, graduation present, retirement present, way to impress a boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, child. And it’s for an extremely good cause. Spread the word. “

Wow. Bet this bidding gets out of hand fast. And instead of us poor schlubs who scrimp to get the latest hardcovers, you know these are all going to Muffy’s husband, or the trust fund babies, or the yuppettes who know their friends would just hoot to see their name in a book by Amy Tan.
GAARRR! I need discretionary income!

T-Minus… about 7 days (give or take)

I’m putting the finishing touches on the website now. I happened upon an interesting note in Writer’s Digest. Apparently, when you publish something on your blog or website, it counts as a publication. It doesn’t mean that you can brag about being published. It means potential trouble. When a publishing company buys your work, they purchase first rights to publication, which, if you’ve got the piece on your blog, has already had its first publication. So you’ve shot yourself in the foot. So that means no excerpts on the new But there will be synopses, and perhaps some character sketches or something interesting. Give me time to think about it. And really, won’t it be more fun to read my excerpts someday on
I think so too.