Thursday, July 31, 2014


"Politics is the art of controlling your environment." Hunter S. Thompson said that, and he's very right. No one wants to think about that, though. To most people, it's about family values, who should be able to fuck whom and uterus regulation. Well, it's the same thing, but no one will ever, ever, EVER say it.

Politics is nothing more than a dick-sucking fest. Sometimes, you've got to get some cock in your mouth, but you're a winner if you get to put your cock in someone else's mouth more often. That's all it is. A contest to determine who can suck the least amount of dick while getting one's own dick sucked the most.

Which brings me to Pat Quinn. Oh, Pat Quinn. It's very possible that you'll be the first Illinois governor in a while to leave office without wearing handcuffs. However . . . maybe, just maybe, you should be led away in such a fashion. I know you inherited a shitty situation, but let's face it. If you had the know-how, you would have fixed it by now. Instead, it's gotten insanely worse, year after year.

Dear fellow Illinois citizens: I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but our home is turning into a state-wide version of Detroit. We have no money, and the crime-rate is skyrocketing. We're so fucked, it's ridiculous.

I'm not a very political guy, but I am a humanist. I think my home state is a shit-pit of garbage and shame. This morning, I saw a political ad for Quinn because he is, indeed, up for reelection. In it, he has the gall to portray himself as a man of the people, fighting the system that he clearly is a part of. You've had five years to sort this out, Pat old chum. You're not up to the task.

I don't know who is, of course. But if someone doesn't come along soon, we're going to need Robocop. Peter Weller or Joel Kinnaman, I'll take either one. Maybe not Richard Eden, though.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I was in my freshman year of high school when I learned about the concept of the "senior prank." I heard some good stories, but my favorite was the one about how someone took three pigs and spray-painted a number on each one: 1, 2 and 4. Then, this sadistic motherfucker set these pigs loose on school grounds. The authorities found all three pigs, but they went batshit crazy trying to find #3, which didn't exist.

Hold that thought. I want to tell you about something else first.

Writers are all arrogant fucks. I include myself in that category. None of us would ever publicly say it, because we are also incredibly fragile people. It's very zen, in a way. We all think the world of ourselves when we're doing the things we do, but when we open ourselves up to criticism, we become these shy creatures. Hell, we start degrading our own work before someone else has a chance to.

I'm guilty of this, too. It pains me to say it, but it's true. We all think we're geniuses, but very few of us really are geniuses. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that 80% of us are trend-followers instead of trend-setters.

In my own false-modesty, I was about to say that I don't know where I fit into that equation. But . . . well, one of the things I pride myself on when it comes to GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS is off-the-cuff honesty. So, confession time: I really don't know where I fit when it comes to that percentage. I know I strive for that other 20%. If I think I'm goldbricking it, or if I'm telling savage lies, I try to back away from that work, like I recently did with my Vietnam slasher novel. But I don't really know for sure if I'm making it into that august category.

When I first started this thing, I fully intended to reveal the identity of the third genius I met through StrangeHouse Books. But then . . . an imp took me over, as an imp sometimes does. About 75% of my life, I think I'm a Trickster God. (There's that arrogance again.)

For one, if I named the person in question, I would have a dozen others angry at me for not saying their name. But that's not nearly as interesting as my other reason: because most SHB writers reading this will think I'm talking about them, even if I'm not. If I were among them, I'd be thinking it, too.

You see, it's a lot like that senior prank I mentioned earlier, except it seems to be the opposite. The third SHB genius really does exist, you see. But I think it's funnier to keep my mouth shut on who it is.

Fair warning: if you ask me in person who this third genius is, I'll say it's you. So . . . if you flaunt it later, you might run into someone else who says, well, you get the idea.

K.M. Tepe and Jesse Wheeler will know. But for everyone else? I'm OK with keeping them guessing . . .

Yes, I know I'm a fucker. Sorry. But these days, I have to get my laughs where I can find them. Rest assured, though, that there is a third. This person is a genius in a different way from Tepe and Wheeler, but this person is a genius nonetheless.

I can't help it. The feeling I get in my head and heart is the same kind of euphoric feeling I got from when I heard about the pigs.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Last night, I named K.M. Tepe as one of the three geniuses I met through my involvement with StrangeHouse. I kicked around the idea of doing a quick piece on the other two, and this morning, I decided to take the plunge. As you can gather from the title, the second is Jesse Wheeler.

THE FARROWING is great. I loved it. However, it is not a work of genius. It's a great homage to books by Laymon and Lee, and while homage can be amazing, it can never be genius. No, Wheeler wrote TWO things that made me keenly aware of his mad, lunatic genius: "Lips" in STRANGE SEX and the amazing collection of novellas, DINNER AT THE VOMITROPOLIS. Holy shit, he is a mad bastard. Don't take my word for it. Click on the links and buy these books for yourself. If you're anything like me, you'll fall in love with the guy's work. DatV got to me. It's one of the sickest, most grotesque things I've ever read. It's a life-changer.

And if you have time, look up some videos with him in it. There are a few on YouTube from cons over the years. Also, listen to SHB's old podcast, READING TO MONSTERS. I forgot which episode he was on, but Kevin Strange has great, crazy stories about the guy. Wheeler is a genuine madman.

There's one thing that baffles me, though. Where the hell did he go? One day, he releases THE FARROWING, and then the next, he's fallen off the face of the earth. He's not on Facebook anymore. What gives? I'm almost tempted to print up missing posters of him.

I worry about the guy. He's crazy, and crazy things happen to crazy people. Wherever he is, I hope he's all right. I also hope he's writing more repulsive, offensive stories, wherever in the world he may be.

Stay tuned tomorrow night for the third SHB genius.


Some of you may be aware that I'm an editor at StrangeHouse Books right now. That's kind of new, public-wise, but I've been doing this for longer than expected at SHB. Waaaaay longer than expected.

Sean Ferrari, who is the main editor at SHB, knows that I'm a hard-ass. I never vote for anything 100%. If I liked a piece, I will normally say, "I vote maybe, leaning toward yes." Just ask Sean, and he'll tell you, I'm not fucking around.

There is only one thing I've ever said 100% "yes" to, and sadly, I was in the hospital at the time. I was reading the book, but in the exact middle, my pancreas failed me, and I had to be hospitalized for a week. While I was in there, I missed out on the decision. When I got out and finished the novel, (and I should mention it helped me recover, since it was the first thing I read after I got out of the hospital, despite the fact that I was reading something by Brian Keene at the time, since he--and Joe R. Lansdale--can get me through anything) I told Sean that I would 100% agree with publishing this one book. The decision had already been made, so my vote was moot, but ask him, and he'll say yes, he received confirmation from me after the fact.

(He asked me for clarification for himself, and advice for K.M. Tepe, so at the time. I said I was happy with the book as it is. The only thing I said contrary toward acceptance was that she made stylistic decisions that I never would, but I was OK with that. Unsurprisingly, Tepe's book was published quickly after that. And you should all read it immediately.)

I've been an editor with SHB for a while now, but the other two I've given my blessing to came with heavy conditions. One I know was eventually rejected. The other is still in limbo. But the only one I've given 100%-yes to? I'm glad to say that the author in question has had her book published by SHB.

I'm so glad SLAUGHTERTOWN CIRCUS by K.M. Tepe is doing so well. Even better than my own book, according to tonight's vidcast. She deserves it. I wish I could say I had something to do with that success, but I didn't get my vote into SHB in time. Fuck you, pancreas. She is one of the three geniuses I've met thanks to my association with SHB. I hope to meet more in the future.

If you're not familiar with this book and author, go here. SC will blow your mind. I hate books about clowns, but Tepe got to me, despite my preconceptions.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Before I continue with this one, I want to make it perfectly clear: I used to work in a library. In fact, I worked at one for almost 10 years. I know a lot of things about how libraries are run, but there's one thing I just don't get.

The three-day grace period.

Why three days? I tried to look it up, but no one ever talks about the library grace period. It's always about credit card payments and storage and other shit.

The only thing I can think of is this: Jesus was dead for three days. Could I possibly be right? What if Jesus had been dead longer?

What if . . . what if he didn't get to return his overdue scrolls when he came back? He was too busy with St. Peter over the whole denying-me-three-times thing. Ascension is a very time-consuming thing.

I hope he does come back soon. I'd be cool with a 2,000-year grace period.

What?! Having to pay overdue fines sucks. *sigh* All right, I'm going to bed. Goodnight, fuckers.

You still with me? Do you want to know what working at a library was REALLY like? DM me your address on Facebook or Twitter or email me at, and I'll send you the first two issues of TABARD INN for free. Inside, you'll find my old Tales from the Library column. You will never look at the library the same way.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


If you had told me when I was in junior high that one day, I'd have so many friends to thank for wishing me a happy birthday, I wouldn't have known whether to laugh or to cry. The correct answer is probably to cry, because if you'll excuse the moment of emotion, I really am overwhelmed by you all. Thank you very much for the birthday wishes. You've all impacted my life more than I can ever say.

I can't say it enough: thank you, one and all.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Some of you may have noticed the article I posted earlier today about the poor motherfucker who went into the hospital for a circumcision and wound up getting his dick chopped off. That right there is horrifying in and of itself. Yet . . . there's something even more scarier. It is generally considered socially acceptable to chop bits of your sons' dicks off. WHY ON GOD'S COCKSUCKING GREEN MOTHERFUCKING EARTH WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Holy fucking Jesus. In what world does that make sense? It doesn't. Period. Why would you want to cut your son's foreskin off? For shits and gigs? Or because some asshole in ancient times wrote something about the importance of mutilating your children? Chopped up cocks is next to godliness, you know.

I'll be straight with you. I'm cut. I'm not one of those weirdos who want to have a foreskin attached to me to make me complete. I kinda' like the way it looks, and I don't have to go through so much trouble to clean it. But I'm only OK with this because, well, I don't remember what it was like to be uncut. If I hadn't been circumcised as a baby, there is no fucking way I'd get it done as an older man. NO FUCKING WAY.

There is no real reason for this procedure to be done. Not from a religious perspective, not from a hygienic perspective. Not from any perspective.


And while you're at it, STOP WITH THE VAGINAL MUTILATION! WHY CAN'T WE JUST LEAVE OUR SEXUAL ORGANS ALONE?!?!?!?!?! If you want to make changes to it when you're an adult, then fine. But don't do it to children. For fuck's sake. Do I have to explain everything to you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It always makes me happy when I see Vertigo doing one of their preview books. These days, they're for free, although in the past they've charged, and I've willingly paid. Once upon a time, Vertigo was my favorite comics company, since they put out the best books I'd ever read (PREACHER, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, 100 BULLETS, hell, you know me and what I like). (And yes, I know that TRANSMET started as a Helix book. Quit nitpicking.) I'm more of an Avatar Press kind of guy now. (Big surprise, considering they've worked with Vertigo greats like Ennis, Ellis, Delano, etc.)

This new preview is nice, in that it reminds everyone what Vertigo is doing right now with great books like AMERICAN VAMPIRE, FBP and so on, but it's also giving us a peek of what's to come. Sad to say, their new fare doesn't look very interesting to me. BODIES has some great creative-types attached to it, but the story doesn't look very appealing. I love Peter Milligan's work, but THE NAMES looks like heavy-handed crap. THE KITCHEN could be interesting. It's a hard-crime look at the 'Seventies in Hell's Kitchen, but told from the female perspective. What they sample, though, doesn't look that great. I'll probably give it a shot.

The one that looks most promising is SUICIDERS. I'm a fan of Lee Bermejo's artwork, but this will be the first time I'll get a taste of his writing skills. I love the cover, and the sample is just over the top awesome. Of the new batch, I look forward to this one the most. I'm glad to see it's a monthly, although I have no idea how Bermejo will get that much work done. Have you seen his art? It's insanely intricate. Writing and illustrating this book should put him through the ringer, but I love what I'm seeing so far.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I've found myself in a position in which I'll be visiting someone at the DuPage County Jail. Just to make sure I got all the details, I checked out their website and was surprised by the things I couldn't bring on my visit. Not bringing weapons? I got that. I'm in no mood to bring a cake with a file hidden in it, either. Hell, I even get not bringing cellphones. But some of the other things leave me wondering.

For example, you can't bring books. This baffles the shit out of me. I can't bring the gift of a book to someone who is going to have a lot of reading time on her hands? That's silly. It's not like I wouldn't leave it up for inspection first. Or are they afraid someone would use the book as a weapon? (Although I'm trying to figure out if it's good press or bad press to have someone beat another person to death with a copy of TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. Hey, it'll get my name out there . . .)

I can't bring food, either? Chow behind bars can't be that great. Maybe she'd like to find out what a Taco Bell Quesarito tastes like, since they didn't exist before she went Inside. (And who wouldn't want one of these wonderful things?) If you're afraid I've hidden a razor blade or drugs in a Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, then by all means, check it out before I bring it in. For Pete's sake . . .

Sorry ladies, you can't bring your purses. You'll have to leave them in your car . . . in a parking garage . . . where there's a courthouse nearby where a lot of people are on trial, probably for things like stealing purses from cars.

I wonder if they'd take a wheelchair away from someone paralyzed from the neck down. You don't know what you might be able to hide in a wheelchair, after all. Or what if you have any prosthetic limbs? Would they want you to remove them? You might have a gun hidden in your fake arm, right?

Why not just tell us to leave our clothes in our cars? Save everyone the hassle. I'll bet I could figure out a way to get a zip gun in by smuggling pieces of it under my skin. Why let prisoners have visitors at all, then?

*sigh* Why do I get worked up like this before going to bed?

Monday, July 21, 2014


On my way home from work, I saw a van with those stupid stick figures on the back window. You know the kind. They're supposed to symbolize who is in their family.

Except this one had a spot missing where the father should be.

That's got to be awkward. What does one do in such situations? You can't just leave it, but when you remove one, it's very conspicuous. Not only that, but I have to wonder what happened with Dad. Did he cheat on his wife and that's why he's been removed? Or did he die? What would you do if your kid died, and you had to do something with the stick figure of him or her on the back of your van?

However . . . well, there is one other possibility. Next to the stick figures was the Spider-Man emblem. Is it possible that Dad is Spider-Man?


Before we begin, I have a confession to make: I haven’t read anything by David Mitchell. I hear a lot of good things about his work from people I respect. I have CLOUD ATLAS on my reading list, but I don’t know when I’m going to get to it. But what I just said is almost not true anymore, at least not as of July 15, 2014, because Mitchell is doing something rather interesting on his Twitter feed: he’s tweeting a short story, 140 characters at a time.

The idea appeals to me directly as a writer. I’m constantly trying to think of new ways to tell tales. Some of my experiments succeed (see “Unkillable” in MORPHEUS TALES and “Amber” in TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE for these), but most fail (take a look in my drawer for these, if you can get past me first). Putting a story out through Twitter is a very fascinating idea, so you can imagine I looked it up right away to see what it was like.

First of all, I like Mitchell’s style. From what I’ve seen so far, I like what he’s doing. Yet . . . maybe it’s a bit soon for me to talk about this story, since it’s not finished yet, but so far I don’t think it’s living up to its potential. Right now, I think it’s coming off as a gimmick, nothing more.

What the story needs is a reason to be told through Twitter. I lucked out: I came to it a bit late in the game, so I was able to read a good chunk of it back to back. For those reading it as each tweet comes out? I don’t think it would be a very good reading experience. It reminds me a bit of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s SCATTERLANDS experiment. They were telling a comic book story by posting one panel every day. Again, a wonderful idea, but flawed.

Mitchell’s story suffers from the same problem that SCATTERLANDS does: it is unnecessarily divided in the way that it is. Perhaps I would get more of a kick out of it if Twitter was actually involved in the plot. Or if the protagonist lived in a world where people could only speak in 140-character increments. Or something. I know those are lame examples (which is why I haven’t gotten a lot of attention with a Twitter story of my own), but you get the idea.

Have you ever watched a TV version of a movie? The ones edited for time and content? Something’s always off about them. That’s because the network has to edit them down so they fit into perfect 13 minute increments. Or 15. Or whatever. Because of that, it fucks with the flow of the movie. It’s kind of like listening to a song when the bass player is out of phase with everyone else.

You can’t take, say, a novel and cut it up into 20-page increments and just post it like that. Mitchell’s story just seems like it was cut into those 140-character pieces just because that’s what Twitter demands. He’s the bass player, and he’s out of phase with the reader.

Not only that, but based on the delivery system, it makes things really hard for a reader. Say it’s been a while since you could check back with the story. All of a sudden, you find that you have to go back and read the previous entries because something might have slipped your mind. Or you start to wonder if you missed something. That feeling that you’re Donny in THE BIG LEBOWSKI starts to set in.

I had that problem with SCATTERLANDS constantly. It’s hard to get a cohesive idea of story, and when that happens, it’s easy for a reader to feel alienated from what’s going on. Sometimes, it feels like having a conversation with someone who doesn’t recognize and understand social cues.

I never want to make it hard for my readers. That’s not to say I don’t write complex things with action between the lines and implications that might need deductive thinking. That’s all good, and I enjoy that. What I mean is, I don’t want my readers to have the impression that they’re reading something.

I’m not stupid, and neither are my readers. Every reader EVER knows with 100% certainty that they’re reading something someone made up. But for me, the cardinal sin is letting the readers feel that truth. I want them to be so lost in my words that they forget they’re reading a book.

This isn’t working for Mitchell’s story. Based on the delivery system, it might be impossible. I don’t want to believe it is, though. There’s got to be someone out there who can make this medium work as a way of believably telling fiction. The idea is just too good to let go.

I end most of these things asking you all if you think I’m full of shit. Despite getting a significant number of Everyone’s Got One readers, no one ever does this. I can’t be right all the time . . . can I? Let me know in the comments below.


Many of you who have known me for a while are aware of this: PREACHER is my favorite comic book of all time, but I got more fun out of HITMAN. What you might not know is this: my favorite Western TV show is GUNSMOKE, but I got more fun out of MAVERICK.

Let me shift for a moment. Not a lot of people know this, but MAVERICK creator Roy Huggins, who also co-created THE ROCKFORD FILES, was fond of saying that James Rockford is a direct descendant of Bret Maverick, and it totally makes sense. Sometimes, I wish Rockford would tell Angel (or any of his other friends/acquaintances) about things his grand(-grand)-pappy might have said.

All of that said, I'm almost certain that everyone who knows me now has no idea how much influence James Garner has had on my life. Maverick and Rockford are huge ingredients in my personality. I don't even know where to begin with this.

Let's start with cowardice. I can't tell you how many people I've casually admitted my cowardice to. Bret Maverick (and Brother Bart) did this on a routine basis. Here's the thing, though: none of the Mavericks were cowards, and neither am I. It's just that we hate violence.

Hold on a minute! You all know, through my fiction, that I depict a lot of horrible, psychotic violent scenes in my fiction. I'm sorry, but that's the way of the world. Personally, I abhor violence, just like the Mavericks. I am a pussy-hair away from being a pacifist. But the problem is this: violence exists, whether I abhor it or not. Like the Mavericks, I will resort to it . . . but only if I have to. Unfortunately for them, it's happened a lot. For me, I haven't struck anyone out of rage for more than twenty years. I still feel guilty about that last incident, because I heard that guy hasn't been the same since. It makes me sick to my stomach. But I had to do it, or someone I loved would be hurt even worse.

I'm also kind of mercenary when it comes to money. Maybe I learned that one from my father, because he's much the same way. Regardless, I have done quite a few things that went against my nature for monetary gain, just like the Mavericks and Rockford.

Like Maverick, I have siblings. Bret only had Bart (and there were cousins, but never mind that). In all actuality, my brothers and I have more in common with the Earps. Most of us look the same. Take a look at the Earps and try to point out Wyatt. Try to point out Virgil. Try to point out Morgan. Try to separate me from Dan or Alex or even Bob. (Frankie and Rachael look different from us, mostly because they had different parents. I love them both, but I've only seen them in person a few times, and on each time, they gave me the impression that they could handle anything that came their way. My father and Ann--my stepmother--really did a good job of raising them. My own mother and Bill--my stepfather--were fucked in the head. I loved Mom, but she was never ready to raise kids.) Here's the thing: if any of my brothers got into a fix, I'd let them figure it out for themselves. How many times did Bret abandon Bart to figure his own shit out? Even if Bret caused the aforementioned shit? At the same time, if it was really ugly, something beyond the respective siblings' abilities, Bret would step in and help. Just like me with my brothers. Whenever something happened with them, I'd feel an initial rage, but I knew that they could handle it themselves. If there was something (and there never was) that they couldn't handle, I'd handle it for them.

Rockford shared a lot of these qualities with his ancestors. I'm sure you don't need further explanation from me. You get the picture.

A lot of my friends say that they don't like westerns. It's all the same shit, and for the most part, they're right. For the wrong reasons, because they're blinded by the stereotypes, but still. For them, I recommend MAVERICK. The Mavericks were so unconventional for their time it was ridiculous. It was a western show where the leads were self-professed cowards who used their minds to thwart their enemies instead of quick-draws. They didn't even drink booze. Ask a common person what they think of when they think of westerns, and in the top five is whiskey.

I don't have any enemies today, but the ones I used to have? I never threatened violence. I always outsmarted them. That's the greatest lesson anyone can learn from the Mavericks. If you want to kick someone's ass, don't do it. Just fuck 'em over with your mental or social skills. That will work 100% of the time. No kidding. I've exercised this a lot of times AND IT WORKS.

A lot of my friends say they hate crime shows. It's all the same shit, and for the most part, they're right. For the wrong reasons, because they're blinded by the stereotypes, but still. For them, I recommend THE ROCKFORD FILES. Rockford, like his ancestors, was very unconventional. Given the choice between fighting crime and relaxing while eating tacos? He'd always choose the latter, even though the former would get him some money to survive. The guy lived in a trailer on the beach, for fuck's sake. For the most part, he had to come to a decision between hanging out with women he wanted to fuck or hanging out with his father, expertly played by Noah Beery, Jr. That's how most of his days went. (For those who didn't watch the show: he always chose his father.)

James Garner played regular guys, not superheros like Matt Dillon or whoever the fuck is in charge of LAW AND ORDER. That's why I identify with his characters over anyone else in Hollywood. Watch his episodes of MAVERICK. When he deals with dumb fucks or idiots of any variety, watch him. You'll know exactly how I would respond to the same dumb fucks and idiots. I recently watched an episode of MAVERICK with him in it that I hadn't seen before, and I literally--AND I MEAN LITERALLY--finished his sentences.

Wow. This went on for too long. Didn't mean that. I just meant to say that I'm sad Garner is gone. Did you know that Efrem Zimbalist Jr. died a couple of months ago? Neither did I, until today. I don't know why a big deal wasn't made about Zimbalist's death, because he was--once upon a time--an incredible actor. More importantly, he was one of the biggest villains/friends of Bret Maverick. He played Dandy Jim Buckley, who worked with the Mavericks several times but who always had his own motives. Sometimes, Dandy Jim won. Which is ridiculous for a Western back then. How could the good guy lose? Well, sometimes the Mavericks came up short, despite the well of knowledge Pappy left for them.

I like to think that James Garner found Jack Kelly in the afterlife, and that they're working together to bilk the devil for all he's worth. And I desperately hope the devil is really Zimbalist. Come on, he's got the perfect voice for it.

*sigh* All right. I'll go to bed. Goodnight, fuckers.

Are they gone? Good. This one is only for James Garner: rest in peace. You were great, and for the most part, you were underrated. Time will tell for you. If there's a motherfucker out there who disagrees, they're wrong. If they don't want to look into Bret Maverick or Jim Rockford, there is always SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF and SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER. Those will change their mind.

Seriously, though. Thank you, James Garner. Without you, I wouldn't be the man I am today.

To those of you who have read this far, here's a bonus. My TV Western hero was James Arness as Matt Dillon on GUNSMOKE. He died not too long ago, and here's my tearful goodbye to him.

You might also wonder why I led this piece with a picture of POKER ACCORDING TO MAVERICK. If you want to know the truth, I'm a really good poker player because of this book. At one point I decided to become a professional poker player, but I was too afraid of the slapdash lifestyle, so after winning about $3,000 at it, I chickened out. I mention this because I feel I would be lying if I didn't. But I saved it for last (and put it so far down in the piece) that I didn't think anyone would see it. Therefore, if I got involved in a poker game, no one would know about this . . . unless they paid attention to this. And who the fuck is actually still reading this? To those of you who have gotten this far, goodnight. Not fuckers. Goodnight, friends.

You're still here? I'm glad. Thank you for reading this far. Here is the real emotion of what has happened. I'm crying my eyes out right now. Maverick and Rockford were heroes to me, and I can't stop the flood from my eyes. It is a bold reminder of my own mortality.

Goodbye, James Garner.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


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Or something like that.

Seriously, I could never in a million years describe what happened tonight. I'm suddenly reminded of my youth, when any number of crazy things could happen--and then actually did.

This old man's got to rest his bones. I'm going to be 36 next week, and I have all sorts of medical problems. I should probably stop doing all the ridiculous shit I'm doing . . . but . . . well . . . when Charles Bukowski was a younger man, he was told by a doctor that he must stop drinking or he'd die. It depressed him so much he went directly from the doctor's office to a bar, because he needed a drink.

The dude lived for DECADES after that, drinking heavily the whole time. He didn't even die from his habits. Leukemia got him.

But still. I bet you fuckers thought I wouldn't post anything before passing out. Hell, I'm with you. I should have passed out hours ago. I'm not supposed to drink this much. I've had a half-pint of Jameson, a half-pint of Wild Turkey 101, five shots of Bulleit, a Gonzo Imperial (thanks, Katrina!), and maybe--MAYBE--four shots of Fleischmann's (but that was in the afternoon, when I was getting ready for the night).

My doctor is going to murder me. He's going to take one look at me and kill me with his eye lasers. FUCK.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


It's easy to talk shit about Sylvester Stallone because he's generally considered an action star. Sure enough, I'm not too big on action stars, but I side with Stallone more than others because . . . well . . . it's easy to forget one thing.

He's one of us. (This is assuming I'm speaking to mostly writers, because from what I can tell, those are the people who are reading these things, for the most part.) He's primarily a writer and secondly an actor. The dude's smart. I don't agree with a lot of what he says or does, but I get where he's coming from and why. Remember, he got his big break from WRITING a movie called ROCKY. He just happened to star in it, too.

I impulse-bought COBRA in a 7-Eleven tonight, as some of you might know. I don't do a lot of that kind of shopping, but tonight I couldn't help myself. Of all the classic Stallone movies, this was my favorite. Surprise! He wrote the screenplay. Just like he did for FIRST BLOOD (based on the awesome novel by David Morrell).

Check out his IMDB page, and you'll be surprised by how many of his movies he actually wrote (or adapted from a novel). The dude knows what he's doing. He might not write the greatest movies, but he writes a lot of fun shit.

COBRA is top of the line fun shit. I don't regret my purchase in the slightest. Which reminds me, I still haven't seen the 2nd and 3rd EXPENDABLES movies. I need to get on that, since he also wrote those.

Friday, July 18, 2014

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS recap 7-18-14

My new nightly blog has been doing pretty well so far. I'm getting a decent readership. For those of you who don't stay up as late as I do, here's this week's recap:

6. Nights of Yore. In which I reminisce about the adventures I used to get into while walking in Elmhurst after midnight.

7. My Taste in Music. In which I sing the praises of Weird Al, one of the only musicians I listened to when I was a kid whom I like better now.

8. One Week and Going Strong. In which I take a look back over the first week of Goodnight, Fuckers.

9. I Feel Like a Fraud Sometimes. In which I take myself to task for being a lazy writer a week after I was sick.

10. Cross. In which I fantasize about buying a Cross fountain pen.

11. Crossed. In which I lament some of the lazy writing in non-Ennis, non-Lapham, non-Spurrier CROSSED writers.

12. Fuck Fast Food. In which I shout at myself for not being able to quit my lifelong fast food addiction.


Oh, how I wish I could agree with the title of this one. I've recently discovered that I'm really bad at quitting fast food. I managed to beat my addiction to caffeine, but fast food? Nope. I've been trying for weeks to defeat this one, but I just can't seem to do it.

A part of me blames Taco Bell for introducing the Quesarito, which is perfect if you order it without sour cream but add extra cheese (both shredded and nacho). That same part of me also blames Wendy's for bringing back the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, which is fucking amazing. And of course there are always the traditional stand-bys, like McDonald's (anything goes there) and White Castle (home of the Flesh of the Chicken Snake).

The fucked up thing? Most times, when I'm eating these things, I don't really give a fuck about them. I'm eating them because I love the idea of them, and that's so fucking crazy, not even I can reconcile it with the person I want to be. It's like jerking off even though you can't get a rod. You need to blow your load, but you can't get hard. That makes things difficult. You'll succeed, but it won't be as awesome as you think it will be. The orgasm will happen, but it will feel dull and weak, which isn't worth your time.

I need to get down to 235 lbs. for the next time I see my doctor, which is in August. Right now, I'm back up to 245. This is unacceptable. I need to tell fast food to go fuck itself, but that's the hardest thing for me to do, even harder than quitting caffeine (which was really fucking bad). I'm a fat ass who ate McDonald's for six years straight when I was in junior high and high school. I beat it when I graduated, since I managed to go an entire summer without that garbage (and I managed to lose 50 lbs. at the time). Why can't I do that again?

Fuck. Tomorrow, I'm going to try the AM Crunchwrap at Taco Bell. I'm probably going to fall in love with it. I suck at this.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


No, this is not a repeat. Last night's GF was called "Cross," not "Crossed." This time, I'm talking about the Avatar Press series created by Garth Ennis. It's an amazing, depraved book, and I'm glad it keeps getting more and more fucked up. Except . . .

I think I'm getting tired of it. I love the concept, and there are a few writers that I really enjoy on the series. However, I think that more and more, this series is about outdoing whoever wrote the previous arc instead of actually telling a great story. I appreciate people trying to up the ante on fucked up things, but there has to be something more to that going on.

Garth Ennis is obviously my favorite CROSSED writer. David Lapham and Si Spurrier are tied for a close second. The others? Eh, it's hard to separate them. Sometimes they tell great stories, and others, they're just trying to play the gross-out game. I love gross-out games, but like I said, there has to be something more to it. You can't just do it for its own sake.

The new guy is doing it for its own sake. He's showing Crossed children eating their younger siblings and begging regular human beings to fuck them. I'm not against depictions of that, although I would never, personally, do that. I think it's too easy to fuck with a reader by resorting to violence with kids, so I avoid it unless I have a very good reason. I am, however, against it for its own sake.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not on a moral crusade. I'm not telling you to boycott the book. That's silly. I just think that CROSSED shouldn't be doing this kind of thing. I'd much rather prefer stories where actual characters are suffering through real plots, that's all. You can be as fucked up as you want, just so long as there's something actually going on. If I wanted fucked up shit happening just 'cause, and women characters who exist only to show their tits, I'll read something else. Porn, in the case of the latter. Porn is really good at that. The former? I don't tend to think about it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Some of you know that I'm reading the new Cross book by Andrew Vachss. Sad to say, that's not the topic of tonight's Goodnight, Fuckers. The Cross in the title of this one actually refers to the brand of pens.

You see, over the weekend, I found myself in an office supply store, mostly because I needed to pick up paper and a pen refill. Ordinarily, when I'm done with a pen, I just toss it. However, the pen in question is special. I worked for almost 10 years at the Elmhurst Public Library (the library from my old forgotten column, Tales from the Library--I'm pretty sure they can't sue me now), and my reward for hitting the five year mark was a pen. It doesn't sound very majestic, but it's actually a wonderful Cross pen, one of the best I've ever owned. Whenever I have something important and official to sign, I use the EPL pen. It's old fashioned, in that you can buy refills for it, which is what I was doing over the weekend.

However, while I was in the store, matching up the old filler with a series of new ones, I saw something that intrigued me. Did you know that some major retailers are still selling fountain pens? I'm not talking about regular stationary stores, like the one I used to go to in downtown Elmhurst when I was a kid--is that even still there? I'm talking about the Offices: Depot and Max. I can't imagine they make much money off of such sales, but just after I found the proper refill for my EPL pen, I saw it there, complete with a booklet on how to use a fountain pen.

For $50+, I could have bought it. Fuck knows I wanted to. The temptation almost overwhelmed me, because who the hell writes with a fountain pen anymore? They're so impractical, it's ridiculous. But the very idea sounds cool.

I should probably mention at this point that for about a semester in college--back in about 1998 or 1999--I spent an inordinate amount of time taking notes in class with a quill pen. It's a stupidly pretentious thing to do, and I couldn't admit that to myself until just a few years ago. Yeah, I know, it was a cry for attention. A friend of mine called me out for that reason specifically, but again, I couldn't admit that back then, not even to myself. But he was right.

However, even though it took me that long to realize how stupid I was, I still stopped using the quill long before I could face my own stupidity. Why? Well . . . using quill pens are stupid. I understand that there are a few purists out there who use them for specific things, and that's fine, but quills are incredibly inefficient. Every few seconds, you have to stop so you can refill the pen. That's not good in a high pressure situation. It's not good for taking notes, either. Keep in mind, I went to college in a day when the internet was in its infancy. We didn't have iPads to help us out.

Fountain pens might not be as bad as quills, but they're still pretty inefficient. Why the fuck would I be tempted to buy something that pricey for something that a cheap Bic would do ten times better? Because . . . fuck. I'm still crying for attention. Why else would I do a nightly blog like this?

Even though I know I would get much more value out of a common, ten-cent ballpoint pen, I still can't help but lust after that Cross fountain pen. Maybe it's more than that cry for attention. Maybe it's a desire to do something different from the rest of my peers. I suspect I know a couple of people who might use a quill pen for calligraphy purposes, and that's fine. But no one else does and for good reason. The same for fountain pens.

Still. Every day that has passed since the weekend, I have felt the urge to go back and get that fountain pen.


Last night's post made me think a bit about how much writing I've been doing lately. Sadly, I don't think I'm up to par. I'm getting there, but I have a ways to go. About a month or two ago, I got a bad cold, and I can't write when I'm sick so I slacked off. Just as I was getting back into it, the flu came along and crippled me for a week. I barely left my bed in all that time. It still killed me for a second week, during which I got out of bed but did zero writing.

The week after that? Very little writing got done. I was lucky to get 100 words out a night. I fell into an awful depression where I tried to tell myself I didn't give a fuck anymore. Instead of trying to write, I'd read. Or watch TV. Or anything else but write.

It took me a while to get myself out of that funk. I had to remind myself that this writing thing is finally working out, and I'd be a fucking moron if I gave up now. Not only is my new book, POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS, coming out next month, but I also have another book coming out from Barbarian next year (it's a romance crime novel, if you can get your head around THAT) and a double book I'm doing with Spanking Pulp (it doesn't have a release date yet) will probably get out there soon. Not only that, but there are at least five anthologies coming out with stories by me in them. ALL OF THESE ARE PAYING GIGS. Some more paying than others, obviously, but it's SOMETHING.

That lit the fire under my ass again. Proud to say I've been hitting my 2,000-word minimum every night for two weeks (except Sundays). Sometimes, I even get more. Tonight? 2.5K.

I hate feeling like a fraud, but sometimes I deserve it because I am. I dared to call myself a writer when I was barely writing anything. That bothered me a great deal, and I'm glad to say I've put that garbage behind me.

Monday, July 14, 2014


To be honest, when I started doing this Goodnight, Fuckers thing, I didn't expect much of a response. I figured I might get five of you who were up late enough to read these posts. I've been doing this for a week, and a shocking amount of you have been reading them. I appreciate you all. Thank you for reading. I guess this means I'll have to be more self-conscious when I write them . . . or fuck that. I've gone a good portion of my life without giving a fuck what people thought of me. Why should I start now?

In all reality, this has been a very good thing for me. There are some days when I don't get my 2,000-word writing target. I rarely fall too short--maybe by a couple hundred words--and this always seems to fill that gap. Or maybe I do make my goal and even more. This is the icing on that particular cake.

It pains me to admit it, but there are nights when I don't get ANY writing done . . . and this blog is the balm in Gilead that helps me sleep at night.

But never mind all of that. This column holds a special place in my heart because it is the most honest writing I have done. My Everyone's Got One columns are 100% honest, but to be fair, I take time to construct them. I mean everything I say, but I write them and I edit them, and sometimes that takes a while. Sometimes I sit on a column for a couple of weeks. Sometimes, a whole month.

Goodnight, Fuckers is written on the fly. I pour my brain out onto the keyboard, and I post it without a second thought, even if I'm drunk. The last two were done under the influence of alcohol. I don't know if that helps my case or not. I'll leave that up to you. But these eight columns are probably the closest I've ever come to gonzo journalism. I know it's not the same. If it was, I'd be reporting these things as they happened. However, in my case I have these emotional and intellectual moments, and I report them right away as I feel them. And that is pretty close to the definition.

I hope to have more of these moments for you, since you obviously like them. I haven't missed a night yet, despite drinking, so I'm pretty sure I'll be back tomorrow night with another Goodnight, Fuckers. Until then, don't do anything I wouldn't. (That doesn't leave much, I know, so have some fun, you crazy fuckers.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014


When I was a kid, I loved a lot of music. Now that I'm an adult, I love a lot of music. The difference between the two situations? A lot. Very few artists from my youth survive today as music I listen to now. Let's face it, one can't listen to the same ol' shit over and over again.

Who survives now? You might be surprised. At the top of the list is Weird Al Yankovic. You may be shocked, but I enjoy his music now even more than I did when I was a kid in the 'Eighties. Of all the shit I listened to back then, he's the only guy I still listen to now who has gotten even better. As much as I like "Nature Trail to Hell," I love "Party in the CIA" even more.

I'm so glad he's got a new album coming out soon. I have already pre-ordered MANDATORY FUN, and if you are anything like me, you should have done the same. It'll be hard to be better than my favorite album, POODLE HAT, but I think he can do it. ALPOCALYPSE was really fucking good. I can't wait to see the new songs he has in store for us.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I went out for my walk tonight, and it was longer and later than usual. However, it can't hold a candle to the walks I used to take in the nights of yore. I remember about fifteen years ago, I used to go out for a walk every night, and it was never before midnight. I hate my town when it's earlier. People are walking their dogs. Their house lights are bright. Their TV's are too loud. But after midnight? Things are quiet. It's just me and the crickets. And the occasional bat.

Back in the old days, I didn't have a job that required me to be there early in the morning. I miss that, because interesting things happen when you walk in Elmhurst at one in the morning. When I made it to Spring Road in the old days, there was a fairly good chance that a drunken woman would stumble out of Doc Ryan's and show me her tits. Just 'cause.

But that's an extreme case, and it happened rarely. No, I mostly liked my old walks because I didn't have to see anyone. I could just wander alone with my thoughts. Strangers wouldn't try to start up inane conversations with me. I could just work out my problems with no interruption.

But those days are gone. When I go out for my walks at the mundane hour of nine pm, I have no choice but to run into people walking their dogs. The script is always the same. I say hi, just to be friendly, and their dog tries to attack me. The owner apologizes and goes on his or her way. And that's the end. At the very least, such exchanges are brief. I'm into that whole brevity thing, man. At least when it comes to ordinary bullshit.

When I go for my walks, I just want to be alone. I have a million thoughts racing in my head, and going out for a walk is a rare opportunity to organize them and beat them into submission. But! But, on occasion, human contact can be interesting. I remember one instance, when I was in college and walking at two in the morning, a stranger walked up to me and offered me ten bucks to deliver flowers to his girlfriend, with whom he was on the outs. Of course I did it. I nearly had my nuts bitten off by his beloved's attack dog, but she didn't call the cops on me. Plus, I made ten bucks for five minutes of work. Not bad for a guy who made six dollars an hour back then at a part time job.

I miss the adventure of my late night walks. I miss the solitude. I miss the blankness of Elmhurst at such a late hour. However, that's not to say that things still aren't interesting. Tonight, as I closed in on my block after walking two and a half miles, I saw a herd of cops canvassing the neighborhood. They drove their cars with the headlights off, and they stopped the dog walkers and asked them questions. I don't know what happened--I'd heard fireworks earlier, so I guessed they were on the lookout for the perpetrator--but I'm surprised they didn't stop me for questioning. Maybe they recognized me from the time I worked at the public works garage. I don't know.

But hey. It was kind of interesting, for a nine pm walk, when the sky was barely dark, and the stars were just starting to shine.

Friday, July 11, 2014


In case you don't stay up late enough, I'd like to mention that I've been doing a nightly blog the very instant before I go to bed. So here's a recap of the week for the early birds (who probably did not get this particular worm).

1. WRITING AND CUMMING: In which I discuss doing both at the same time.

2. WHAT WOULD BRUCE WILLIS DO? In which I fantasize about fighting terrorists at the office.

3. SAVING THE WORLD: Why I watch TYRANT, and why I leave the world the fuck alone.

4. THE MONSTER IN THE SEWERS: My childhood memories of the the monster in the sewers of Elmhurst.

5. I AM AN UTTER BASTARD: Proof that my friends shouldn't trust me to regulate their booze intake.

Stay tuned every night. I usually post around midnight. Haven't missed a night yet. Also, you should check out the blogs that inspired me to do this: Warren Ellis and Brian Keene.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Those who know me now would find it hard to believe, but once upon a time, I didn't believe in drinking and doing drugs. I had no problem with others doing those things, as I've always believed in the freedom to get fucked up, but back when I was a teenager, I decided that I didn't want to pollute my body. This is hilarious, considering it's coming from a dummy who ate a McDonald's dinner every night for six straight years. No shit, I never missed a night. But other than fast food, I didn't put any other harmful things in my body. I didn't even take aspirin when I had a headache.

However, I DID encourage my friends to get as fucked up as humanly possible. I remember senior year of high school. I was sitting in a friend's bedroom--I won't mention who, because I don't know if he'd be cool with me saying so--with Robert Tannahill, my artist on THE COCAINE! BROS. and my hetero-lifemate. (I mention him because I'm certain he wouldn't give a fuck.) They were broke and couldn't afford to buy anything that would get them nice and fucked up, so they decided to huff some Glade. That sounded incredibly dangerous to me, but far be it for me to stop a man from being inebriated.

I did what any responsible friend would do: I got them into a Glade-huffing contest. Who could suck down air freshener for the longest? As you can imagine, this couldn't be determined in one round. I sat watching them do this for at least a half an hour, and I couldn't believe their capacity for this. I kept time, because back then, I was a pretentious fuck who carried a pocket watch on a chain. To the best of my memory, my nameless friend won, but at a huge price. He was fucked the fuck up. He was so far gone, he couldn't function. So Rob, who has done harder things than huffing Glade and was thus still capable of fairly clear thought, mercilessly mocked him.

This brings to mind another memory: later, Rob and our friend lived together briefly. Our friend left his liquor out, and Rob (at the tender age of 19) decided he was going to get drunk on Cuervo. He put me in charge of pouring shots. I'm pretty sure he came close to finishing off that bottle. In those days, I didn't have a car, so I had to depend on the kindness of strangers (and sometimes my grandparents) to drive me around. (Hey, I was only 18. I worked at the local library earning minimum wage at the time, which was $4.75 an hour.) It was so late, I had to walk home. That's OK. It was only two miles.

Rob, hammered as much as he was, had to walk me home. So we walked down the train tracks to Spring Road, where we intended to take the Prairie Path back to my place. However, he was so fucked up he started puking. Every few steps, we would have to stop so he could vomit on the sidewalk, or in an alley, or even in potted plants maintained by the Elmhurst Park District. Before long, I had to hold him up as we walked. I remember some drunken college kids coming out of Doc Ryan's calling us "faggots," and Rob tried to get away from me so he could kick their asses. Finally, I couldn't support his boozy frame anymore, so we sat on the bench by the gazebo where Spring intersects with the Prairie Path. He spent the next hour puking, and then he got up, leaving his wallet, cigarettes and lighter on the bench. I gathered his things and followed him. In the end, I wound up walking HIM home before turning back and going to my own place by myself.

The next day, he was soooooo fucking hungover. He called me to give me shit, and at that moment, he revealed to me that the reason he put me in charge of pouring shots was because he thought I'd be compassionate enough to cut him off if he got too drunk.

Whoops. You live and you learn.

But I'm such an utter bastard that in response, I laughed. To this day, if I'm walking down Spring Road with someone who knows Rob, I will play a game with them. It's called Guess Where Rob Puked. Here's the thing: you can't lose. He puked EVERYWHERE.

I'd say sorry, but . . . well, I'm still an utter bastard.


When I was in first grade, I had a friend. This was highly unusual, and our friendship only lasted a year. This is because this kid wanted to be cool. He was a bit of an outsider, rough at the edges, but he wanted to fit in. I was an albatross around his neck, and it took him that long to figure out that he was never going to be cool if he kept being my friend. That's all right, I guess. By third grade, he'd moved to some other city, and I never saw him again.

Tonight I went out for my semi-nightly walk, and my route took me past my old elementary school, which is why I suddenly started thinking of this kid. One of the most interesting things he ever did was tell me a story. (Telling me a story goes a long way with me. Always has, always will.) One day during recess, while all the other kids were fucking around on the swings and the monkey bars--back when the only thing to break a three-foot-tall kid's drop from a ten-foot height was a thin lining of wood chips--him and I were hanging out by the chain link fence that prevented most kids from playing on the train tracks that ran behind the school. Here, he told me that beneath our very feet, a monster lived. It looked a lot like the popular depiction of the devil, and it liked to kidnap kids and bring them down into the sewers, where it would stick them on a spit--and I mean putting the spit up through their assholes until it comes out their mouths--and roast them before eating them.

Keep in mind, I was six years old at the time. When I was six, it was 1984. IT wasn't published for another two years, so I had no way of preparing myself for something like this.

But I still didn't buy it. I gave him points for creativity, but I didn't fall for it, no matter how sincerely he came off. He then told me that if you listen at the sewer lid, sometimes you can hear the monster laughing. Being of a scientific mind even back then, I stooped down to the sewer and listened, expecting my friend to jump on me or scream or something to scare the shit out of me. But he didn't do any of those things. He listened to the sewer just as earnestly as I did.

We heard nothing.

I wonder a few things. First, whatever happened to this kid? I think he really believed that story he told me. He was a tough bastard, but except for this one instance of imagination, he wasn't very bright. To give you an idea, he's the only person I've ever known who was bitten by a garter snake. SEVERAL TIMES. Do you know how stupid you have to be to be bitten by a garter snake even once? Still, I wonder what he's made of himself.

Secondly, and more importantly, I have to wonder if he made the story up himself or had it told to him by someone else. If it's the latter, that means it's some kind of local urban legend, even if I only heard it once. If it's an urban legend, do the kids at Jefferson Elementary still tell that particular tale? I wonder.

Not enough to actually ask a kid, of course. But still, I wonder.

[BONUS: Some of you may be wondering if tonight, on my semi-nightly walk, while I was thinking of this incident, did I hunt down that sewer lid and take a listen? Of course I did. I strained my ears, trying to hear a laugh, or a crackling fire, or even the squeak of the spit as the monster turned a kid over the flames. All I heard was the distant babble of rainwater making its way to the quarry.]

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


If you're a decent human being, you want to save the world. We all have our plans on how we would do it. What we would outlaw. What we would decriminalize. Things like that. I've been watching TYRANT, and I enjoy it thoroughly. I couldn't recommend it, because I don't know a lot of people who would like it. I didn't have high hopes from watching the previews, but I was sick when the series premiere aired, and I had nothing to do. So I watched it, and I fell in love with it. Why? Because it satisfies one of my major interests: saving the world. Like I said, we all have solutions to what we perceive to be the world's problems. Unlike most who actually try to put their plans in motion, my hubris (big as it may be) isn't quite large enough. The show features an Arab from an important family who escapes his tradition to live in America. He goes back home for a family wedding, but when his father--the local dictator--dies, he decides to stick around because he thinks he can help make the region a better place. That's very noble, but it depends on a lot of things. What works in America wouldn't work in other places and vice versa. What would I do if I were in charge of the US? I have a lot of ideas, and I think some of them are realistic. Most aren't. If you'll remember from last night, I sometimes think up fantasies to get to sleep whenever I'm not drinking. This is another one of them. I want to solve the world's problems, but what if my perspective is wrong? What if I make things worse? The people who instated the Prohibition of the Great Depression thought they were making things better, but instead they created organized crime. Whoops. Who wants to make things worse? No one. But who knows enough to think things through? What sounds like a good idea could turn out to be absolute shit, and that's why I don't run for office. That's what sets me apart from other idealists. So many people are hell-bent on changing the world to suit their own views that it's scary. For example, I'm an atheist. I think that's a completely reasonable viewpoint, but there are a lot of people--maybe even the majority--who think I'm a danger to society. I don't think I am. I'm pretty sure a lot of people would back me up on that. But sometimes, I'm paralyzed by my own fear that I could be wrong. It makes me bullheaded. I try to be a reasonable person, but I doubt myself a great deal. I doubt others a lot, too.

Hence my life philosophy: just so long as you don't hurt anyone else, you should be able to believe whatever you want. As soon as you hinder another's freedom (and that includes freedom from being hurt by someone else), you can go fuck yourself.


When I'm not drinking, I'm an insomniac. This means that I'm usually up until about two in the morning, even if I go to bed at midnight. The only thing that helps me finally give in to the sandman is when I make up stories in my head. Not as a professional writer, mind you. I'm talking about fantasies. One of the big ones is the simple what-if question, and the one I keep going back to is this: what if terrorists took over my workplace? How would I respond? Sometimes, I imagine myself in the role of John McClane, dealing all sorts of psychotically violent deaths to scumbags, and others I feel like a reasonable liaison between the bad guys and the hostages, always trying to negotiate for freedom, or at least more comfort in a very uncomfortable position. But I'm sure you can guess that for the most part, the big question on my mind is, "What would Bruce Willis do?" I can't explain why I always come back to this fantasy, but it goes back a loooooong time. When I was in junior high, I wrote a story in which a group of terrorists take over a school (which closely resembles mine), and a group of kids (led by someone who reminds me a great deal of myself) is the only hope to beat the bad guys. I came up with all kinds of crazy shit, like traps we set up using things we found in the chemistry lab. Bombs we created using the gas ovens in the home economics room. And compass points make for excellent stabbing weapons.

I'd blame it all on the Sean Astin film, TOY SOLDIERS, but I'd already acquired this fantasy by the time I first saw it. It only served to reinforce what I already had in my head. Still haven't started drinking Scope to get fucked up, though, so it's not a complete loss . . .

Sunday, July 6, 2014


When it comes to physically growing up, I've always been ahead of the curve. I can't remember a time when I couldn't get an erection, and I clearly recall having orgasms at a very young age. I'm talking third grade, or thereabouts. Nothing came out, obviously, but the sensation is identical to the one I get now. One of my earliest writing memories, however, is when I was eight years old. It was late at night, so I was not supposed to be awake. I was in the living room, using my mother's piano bench as a writing table, and I was scribbling away at an Osco tablet of paper by night light. The story? It was a mystery, one of my Hardy Boys rip-offs that I called the Detective Boys. I even remember the scene, clear as day: the Detective Boys were beating the shit out of the school bully. Nothing sexual at all. I had an erection while writing it, which was a common thing at the time, but this is the one and only time I've ever had an orgasm while writing. I didn't even touch my dick. It just happened. Much later in life, I talked with a friend (who will remain nameless) whose passion was playing guitar. One day, he confessed to me that he'd made himself cum while making music. He didn't even touch himself, it just happened. I didn't have the balls to confess my own incident, but of late, it has made me wonder if this doesn't happen more often than one thinks. I know a lot of creative types, across all artistic forms, and I have to ask: has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had an unbidden orgasm while working at your art of choice?

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I’ve been a fan of Irvine Welsh’s work for a while. My favorite of his books was GLUE . . . until I found FILTH. This book didn’t just blow my mind, it raped it and left it full of its vile cum. To those of you who have read this book, you’ll know what I mean when I was disappointed to learn that it was going to be turned into a movie. It’s next to impossible to adapt the book. A good portion of it is narrated by the protagonist’s tapeworm, for fuck’s sake. I was even more disappointed when I learned that James McAvoy was going to be Bruce Robertson. I like McAvoy, but I didn’t think he could pull something like this off.

But you know . . . the idea of FILTH being a movie somewhere out there kind of appealed to me. The more I thought about it, the more I had to see it. I had to see if they could even come close to the book. Because the main character is an absolute cunt. Maybe “cunt” is too kind a word for him.

Not surprisingly, there was no big screen release in the US. It’s purely a Scottish movie. With a protagonist like Bruce? It would not have done well here. But I’m very thankful that Irvine Welsh took it to the big screen at the Music Box in Chicago on June 20, 2014. You bet your ass I was there.


I was completely wrong about McAvoy. He put in the performance of his life. No one else could have done it.

To those who don’t know, Bruce Robertson is a cop who has a hard-on for a promotion in his department. There are rivals for the position, and he does his absolute best to torpedo them. He sets them up for disaster after disaster, and he manipulates them against one another, all in his attempt to move up in his career.

And why does he want to be a cop? A “friend,” Bladesy, asks him this very question. He answers “police oppression.” “You wanted to stamp it out from the inside?” his friend asks. “No, I wanted to be a part of it.”

Oh yes, and Bruce is making harassing phone calls to Bladesy’s wife, just so he can pretend to investigate it, all in the name of successfully having phone sex with her by tricking her into playing along with the perpetrator.

There is no level of depravity Bruce won’t fall to. He’s also fucking the wife of one of his rivals on the force, and he pretends to be the shoulder to cry on when the guy says he thinks the ol’ bird is cheating on him. Not to mention the underage girl he finds with an older boy. She’s the daughter of an important man, and he promises not to tell her father . . . if she sucks his dick.

Bruce fills his body with booze and drugs, and he exercises his every sexual whim, including masturbating at work. He hates everyone and sabotages them all. Look up “misanthrope” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of him.

Except . . . he’s not all that bad. If he were, FILTH would be unwatchable. No one wants to watch some asshole shit all over everyone for an hour and a half. Like any fascinating, complex characters, he has reasons for being the way he is. In one pivotal scene, he tells a rival that he was once a good man. She tells him she’d heard that. And then, of course, he has to completely alienate her to drive away any moment of slight kindness.

There is the incident involving his brother in his youth. And then there is his family. Oh, his poor family. Those who read the book know what I’m getting at.

McAvoy understands the character down to his core. He becomes Bruce Robertson, not just the lunatic bastard, but also the broken man, the man who believes he is such utter filth that he needs to make sure the rest of the world understands this and never gives him a break. It’s very easy to think of the end of Robert Browning’s poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” when thinking of Bruce: “the last of me, a living frame/for one more picture!”

FILTH is a funny movie. Incredibly funny, even in moments where some people would be shocked. For example, earlier in the movie, a kid with a balloon gives Bruce the finger for no reason. So Bruce takes the balloon from the kid’s hand and lets it float away in the wind. Then, to cement the incident, he gives the kid the finger with both hands. No one would ever condone such behavior, but it’s fucking funny.

Another example: Bruce sets up a dick measuring contest at the workplace holiday party. All the guys go to the copier, scan it, and put it up on the board. The ladies then have to match the dick to the dude. When it’s Bruce’s turn, he hits the ENLARGE button over and over again, just so he can trick the office slut into letting him fuck her, which she does. She begs for his monster cock, and when he puts it in, there is a massively disappointed look on her face. Again, it’s a horrifying scene . . . yet incredibly funny.

But FILTH is also an incredibly sad movie. Bruce is deeply damaged, and he can’t help but take it out on the world. Bladesy, who confesses to Bruce that Bruce is his best friend, gets it the worst. They go on vacation together, and Bruce torments him the whole time. He drugs his drinks and sets him loose on the town, but when Bladesy’s trip turns bad, Bruce abandons him to save his own trip from going bad. In another scene, Bladesy gives him a Christmas gift of top-shelf Scotch. Bruce pretends that he’s going to share it; he pours himself a glass, and then in Bladesy’s glass, he pours some of the cheap shit he keeps around. In yet another scene, unprovoked, Bruce steals Bladesy’s glasses and breaks them before throwing them into the river.

It’s hard to empathize with Bruce. But somehow this movie pulls it off. By the end, you will feel very bad for Bruce. While he is indeed a misanthrope, he is also a walking tragedy. He is an unbalanced man, and he knows it. And he knows he can never be cured.

Those who have read the book will probably wonder how well director and co-screenwriter (with Welsh) Jon S. Baird handled certain integral parts of the book. In regards to the twist: Baird did wonderfully. He came up with an interesting cinematic way of taking care of it.

The tapeworm? Honestly, I liked the tapeworm in the book better. Baird went in another direction, but I respect what he did. I wouldn’t have been satisfied with anything anyone tried, but this was the best anyone could have done. The movie is sometimes interrupted by scenes with Bruce visiting a mad psychiatrist played by Jim Broadbent. There are paintings of tapeworms on his office walls, in case you didn’t figure out that he was supposed to represent the tapeworm. Broadbent goes over the top with his performance. One look in his eyes, and you’ll be convinced you’re in the presence of a psychotic.

The ending? It’s basically the same. The last line of the film makes it slightly different, but I don’t have a problem with it.

I can’t recommend this movie enough. I think it’s edged its way into my top ten favorites. When it comes out on DVD, I’ll be among the first to buy it. For those who can’t wait, you can rent it on Amazon for $6.99. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t advise anyone to pay that much for something you’re not going to own, but in this case, I would say it’s worth the money.

If you’re really lucky, though, the Music Box will have another screening. Don’t count on it, though.