In the summer of nineteen-ninety-nine, George Lucas brought to us an epic misfire-of-a-prequel to his beloved Star Wars trilogy.

This misfire occurred at the end of my eighteenth year, in the middle of my second summer in industrial reforestation in British Columbia, Canada. My tree-planting camp and I were at the time working out of the northern city of Prince George, and on our first day off after the premiere, we arrived at the theater an hour before showtime to ensure we’d get our tickets.

The film had been out a few days by then, and reports of Jar-Jar and generalized stupidity were beginning to bounce around the still-fledgling internets. But we had been out in the deep woods, so it was with nothing but enthusiasm that I and perhaps twenty of my cohorts found our way to the outside of the theater. There was a short line already (yes, an hour before showtime), so we got our tickets and took our place.

A couple of our number had showed up a little bit inebriated, and one fellow in particular had been tipping back with some enthusiasm. We’ll call him Charles.

Charles was distinctive at the time for his half-bleached head of hair: half white, half dark-brown. So he was noticeable and he was noisy, and he made full use of that by attempting to get the fast-growing line on board for the movie.

"Let’s hear it for fifty-five minutes to Star Wars!" he shouted, and our whole crew cheered in reply.

"Let’s hear it for fifty minutes to Star Wars!" he shouted, and most of the rest of the patrons joined in.

Time passed…

josh barkey: why watching STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE in the theater was a highlight of my life
And now, a tender moment in motherhood…

And now, a tender moment in motherhood…


Cartoonbombing Troqman


All time-crunching aside, I couldn’t stop myself from sharing with you this fantastic bit of information that showed up in my junk email this morning from something called the Illuminati Project, with the subject line, “2016 - Obama’s New World Order.”

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This subject matter is one of the biggest controversies of recent times. Was the choosing of Barack Obama as president of the United States, a monumental historic occasion, or a camouflaged attempt, to turn the United States over to the control of a one world government led by specific royal houses of Europe? Did you know that since coming to power, Barack Obama has signed into existence some of the most extensive and controversial bills and initiatives in American history including 1. Giving medical research the ability to conduct experiments which involvement the development of human/animal chimera’s 2. Plans to set up a global internet content approval regulator 3. Plans to allows United Nation law to supersede congress An intense insider report and 1 hour video documentary on Obama’s New World Order and its connection with the royal houses of Europe.

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Me, I’m a massive fan of this sort of comic writing, and delighted that the grammatically-challenged of the world are still finding ways to amuse themselves. It’s great that people can enjoy this stuff without ever taking it seriously, or using it to spread fear throughout the masses and oh-dear-Lordy, we’re-DOOMED.

josh barkey: one world awesome

street art blog here!


street art blog here!

In the winter of 2007, I practically starred in the final episode of the hit TV show “Smallville.” That’s practically almost a complete lie, since I was only an extra, but I’m using it as a segue, since that episode was called “Phantom” and I’m on here today to write about Phantom Power.

Now, I’m assuming that you’re not one of those morally bankrupt people who laughs at depression-era folk for walking around turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms. Heck, you probably do a bit of that yourself, and maybe you even (gasp) leave the lights off from time to time and let the natural light of day come in through the windows. But it’s possible that you’re unaware of something called Phantom Power, which is the energy used by appliances when they’re turned off, but still plugged into a power source…

josh barkey
I wrote a story called “A Man You Can Count On,” and I put into it all my tears and my frustration. I put into it how I felt about the veneer of politeness shellacked over every last bit of southern American culture, and how when it comes down to it, we’re all a bunch of rabbit-killing monsters. I put into it my frustration over years of working in a private school where most of the parents seemed more concerned that their children appear well-behaved than that they actually were healthy and well. Where they were willing to DRUG their own children rather than let them struggle and fail under the pressures of a difficult college preparatory school. josh barkey: IMMORTAL ORIGINS: “A Man You Can Count On”
This past Sunday from three to five, my woman-friend and I sat with Wendell Berry and his wife Tanya, drinking cold water and talking about everything from indie films to biblical scholarship. It is inherently ironic for me to write about this on a computer, given that my introduction to Wendell Berry (and the piece of writing that inspired me to go on a Wendell-Berry-reading-rampage) was his essay “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer.” But as Mr. Berry once told me in a letter, we all live with a series of compromises we did not choose. So I will use this computer and this electricity to tell you the story of how I came to meet Wendell Berry, perhaps our nation’s greatest creative voice in the conservation movement. josh barkey: Kentucky, Part Two: An Afternoon with Wendell Berry
Oh internet, you vile seductress. josh barkey: Kentucky, Part One: Old Friends

Robin Williams has been found dead of an apparent suicide.

So many times in my life, Robin Williams has made me happy. Now I am sad, but I will not lay that at his feet. Instead I will be sad on his behalf, attempting to feel some of the sorrow he could not feel, himself. I will be sad on his behalf as I have been sad for many of our great comics and artists who have struggled with depression, and have succumbed to the temptation to do something - anything - to make the pain stop.

Depression is not sadness.

josh barkey: Robin Williams and Me