The Charlatan’s Boy Release Day! Feechie Film Festival Finalists!

It’s finally here: release day for The Charlatan’s Boy. How does one celebrate a book release? At, we celebrate with a film festival. A gratifying seventeen entries came in, each a different take on the same question: ‘Do you believe in feechies?’ These seventeen shorts (all but a few come in at less than a minute) will serve as a great warmup for The Charlatan’s Boy which (Lord willing) you can now find wherever fine books are sold.
Click here to view the Feechie Film Festival in its entirety.

Feechie of the Week: Chito the Crocodile Whisperer

Florida is crawling with people who will let you watch them rassle an alligator if you buy a ticket. Those people have their reward in full. They need not aspire to the title of Feechie of the Week.
Chito is different. Chito, a Costa Rican fisherman, seems genuinely to love his crocodile Pocho. When he found Pocho, the poor croc was injured. Chito nursed him back to health, feeding him chickens and giving him medicine. (That’s the part I wonder about: how exactly does one administer medicine to a crocodile?) And then, as you might expect, he started training his crocodile to do tricks. Not for money, but to entertain his friends.

Which is to say, Chito’s career as a performer began with perhaps the greatest of all feechie utterances: “Hey, yall–watch this!” Later, his friends suggested that he start charging tourists to watch him and Pocho do their tricks. And why shouldn’t he? Good on him is what I say.

‘This is a very dangerous routine,” says Chito.  “But Pocho is my friend and we have a good relationship.” A relationship, he says. With a crocodile. I’m telling you, the man is a feechie.

Here’s a little movie about Chito and Pocho. The best moment is at about 30 seconds, when Chito wears his crocodile for a hat.

Thanks to faithful readers Marie and Joe for nominating Chito for this honor.

On Canine Baptism

Dog Saint

Dog Saint

In a recent blog post I made an off-hand mention of the fact that my friend Mark baptized his dog. A number of people have asked me about that episode, so perhaps I should elaborate. We were in third grade, and the topic was how many people we had in our families.
“Seven,” Mark said.

“Not seven,” somebody corrected. “You have six people in your family. Three boys plus one girl plus two parents.”

“Plus the dog,” Mark said.

“You can’t count the dog.”

“Sure I can,” Mark said. “I baptized him.”

Mark was the only openly Presbyterian person I knew at the time. I understood that Presbyterians were different from Baptists, but I had never known exactly how. Mark seemed pretty much like the rest of us. But now things were starting to come into focus: Presbyterians baptized their dogs.

I was a little resentful. I had tried to get baptized my own self but failed the initial interview. (Preacher: “Can you tell me in your own words why you want to be baptized?” Me: “Because all my friends are getting baptized.” End of interview.) To learn that even Mark’s dog had beaten me to the punch was just too much.

Years later I was relieved to learn that Mark’s position on canine baptism was idiosyncratic and in no way representative of the Reformed tradition.

More Movies

Singer-songwriter Eric Peters had an alarming experience in the feechiely-named Atchafalaya Spillway in Louisiana and lived to tell the tale:

And S.D. Smith, one of Southern West Virginia’s greatest living humorists, had his own less-than-pleasant interaction with feechies.

Audience Participation Friday: Lights, Camera, Action

The Feechie Film Festival is afoot. Yesterday I posted a couple of movies from Russ Ramsey and Pete Peterson. But I’m still waiting for yours, dear reader. The idea is straightforward enough: take 30 seconds to tell about your own experience with feechiefolk. Nothing elaborate: just sit at your webcam and tell a story. (Though if you want to be elaborate, that’s fine too.) Upload your movie to the Jonathan Rogers page on Facebook, or upload it to Youtube and share the link.
I’ll soon put up a Feechie Film Festival page on this blog so we can have all the movies in one place. Meanwhile, here are the latest:

This one is Randall Goodgame (by the way, if you don’t know his Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies CD of children’s music, you should. The songs are hilarious and insightful and give young listeners the respect of not talking down to them.)

Randall is in the studio this week with Andrew Osenga making the Slugs and Bugs Christmas CD. As you will see from the clip below, Andy and Randy are coming from two opposite perspectives when it comes to feechies. I hope this hasn’t caused a lot of friction in their working relationship.

And Osenga isn’t even British!

I was at the church office the other day, and Heather, who works there, pulled me aside. She knew I was something of a feechie expert, and she wanted to go on record:

So what’s missing from the Feechie Film Festival? Just you, dear reader. It’s Audience Participation Friday. Won’t you consider making a contribution?

Facebook and the Feechie Film Festival

So we’re less than two weeks away from the October 5 release of The Charlatan’s Boy. I’m in rabid self-promotion mode. To that end, I have set up an author page on Facebook, as distinct from my regular Facebook page. If you don’t mind, please go to that page and click the ‘Like’ button. (Here’s the link). And if you want to suggest the page to your friends (there’s a link right under the profile picture of the book cover) or ‘Share’ it (bottom left), well, that would be fine too. ‘Liking’ my page is an easy way to broaden the reach of my marketing efforts.
One thing you will see on my author page is the following movie, which one might call a book trailer (though I won’t, since that term annoys me).

The biggest thing happening on my Facebook page in the near future is the Feechie Film Festival. The idea is to take a short movie of yourself (or someone you love) telling why you do or don’t believe in feechiefolk, and upload (or link) it to my facebook page. I should be able to provide a few more details in the near future, but in the meanwhile, pull out your digicam. By way of inspiration, here are my friends Russ and Pete articulating their respective positions on the feechiefolk question.

Here’s Russ:

And here’s Pete:

As anyone who knows Pete and Russ can attest, neither of them is more clever than you, dear reader. So I look forward to seeing what you contribute to the Feechie Film Festival.

Feechie of the Week: Alexander Alcantare, One-Armed Animal Lover



Alexander Alcantare is an animal lover. I daresay he loves animals too much. While trying to rescue some baby birds a few years back, he got tangled up with an electric fence and got so badly burned that his arm had to be amputated.

He could have used that other arm last week when his altruistic instincts again overpowered his common sense. He noticed that a seven-foot alligator in a Florida canal had an arrowhead stuck in its head. Wanting to help, he waded into the canal to catch said alligator and get it some medical attention. The alligator, being an alligator, attacked. It gave a nasty bite to Mr. Alcantare’s good arm.

“I couldn’t really handle him too good,” Mr Alcantare said. “The guy I asked to help me, he got scared and let go of the rope and since I couldn’t secure his mouth, he got me.”

You or I would have quit at that point and left the alligator to his own devices. That’s why neither you nor I are feechie of the week. Mr. Alcantare somehow got the alligator onto his bicycle and pedaled it home. I’d like for you to pause, dear reader, and picture this moment: a one-armed man bleeding profusely from that one arm, a thrashing seven-foot alligator, a bicycle. I’m having some trouble with the logistics myself, but I invite you to use your imagination.

I suspect the alligator would have preferred to have been left alone. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission euthanized it; after all, it had bitten a man. To Mr. Alcantare’s surprise, the game wardens didn’t look favorably on his heroic efforts.

“Somehow, I ended up with a citation,” he said. “And I got to get a permit for my raccoon.”

Here’s video from the local news..

View more news videos at:

Audience Participation Friday: Disillusionment

When I was little, a local grocery store had a horse-racing game that was tied in with some televised horse races. They gave you a game card at the check-out, and on it were the names and numbers of horses. On Tuesday evening you’d sit down with your game card and watch the horse races, and if the horse on your card won, you could take your card back to the grocery store to get a prize of some sort. When my dad explained that the races were pre-recorded (so that’s why it’s broad daylight at the race track and dark here!), I was heart-broken. They knew who would win before they printed the cards?! It’s my earliest memory of feeling that I’d been set up.
The topic for this Audience Participation Friday is disillusionment. When was a time when you realized that things were not as they seemed?

In Which I Am Mistaken for a Masher

We have a friend named Presh–short for Precious, I assume. Last week my son and I were rolling through the grocery store parking lot looking for a place to land when I saw Presh walking toward us, a few steps away. I stopped and rolled down my window to speak. She didn’t recognize our car or us; as she came even with the car, I said, “Hello, Presh.”
She gave me a quick, hard squint, then looked straight ahead and kept striding toward the grocery store as if she had neither seen nor heard me. Except that she clutched her purse tighter and quickened her step.

Far be it from me to criticize Presh in so public a forum as But that was no way to treat a friend.

I turned to my son and gave him one of those significant looks that says, Where does she get off, big-timing me like that?

“That wasn’t Presh,” he said.Read More

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