Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Horror and bizarro author John Bruni is running for President of the United States of America in 2016. He has no money to put into this. He has very little reach to make this happen. He’s got no plan to save this country. He’s got no experience in politics. However, he’s a pretty funny guy. Charisma goes a long way, right? And he’s a published author. That’s got to count for something. Plus he’s promised not to lie during the course of his campaign. He’s been brutally honest about his life on Twitter @tusitalabruni for a long time. Why vote for candidates who lie every time their mouths are open? And since he knows how the government works, he promises to make no campaign promises because the president doesn’t make laws. Congress does. Mr. Bruni is available for interviews, which will probably be phoners, since he has a job. Please contact him at for inquiries.

By the way, his running mate is Danger_Slater, another fellow horror and bizarro writer. He can be found here.

Friday, April 17, 2015


You read that right. No joke. I'm really running for President in the next election.

This morning, as I ate breakfast, I watched the news and saw a story about the usual bunch of assholes gathering for some kind of thing called Politics and Pie, or some such shit. In that moment, however, I realized something: for the first time in my life, I can be one of those assholes.

There are three requirements to run for US president: you have to be born in the US, you have to have lived in the US for the last 14 years and you have to be a minimum of 35 years old.

I was born in Elmhurst, IL, which is firmly placed in the heartland of the US. Not only have I lived here for the last 14 years, I've lived here for the last 36 years. Which means, by the way, that I am 36 years old.

I can run for president, so I will, but not for the reasons you'd expect. I did a little research into what you need to do in order to run for president. One part sounds easy. The other? That's a bit more difficult.

The easy part: fill out this form. That is, if you plan on spending money for your campaign. Which, if you really want to win, you should probably do. I won't be doing this because I won't be spending any money. That's right, my campaign is going to cost me zero dollars. Any contributions sent to me will be returned posthaste.

Since I'm not going to spend money, I'm certainly not going to do the harder part: getting on the ballot. If you run for president and want to win, you will need to get 50 petitions together in order to get enough signatures to make it onto each state's ballot. (Unless you know a few secretaries of state. Some states allow their secretary of state to put you on the ballot without the petition.) You need something like 1% of the population to sign each petition. While I have the organization to do that, I know I wouldn't succeed at it. That's crazy talk, and it's a lot of legwork for something that's just not going to happen.

However . . . some states have write-ins on their ballot. If you feel that I would make a kick ass president, feel free to put my name on that line.

But chances are, I'm not going to win. Hell, I'm not even registered to vote, so not even I will be voting for me. Why am I running for president if I'm not going to win? I hear you ask. The better question to ask is, "Why run if you don't even want to win?"

Because I don't want to win. I have zero plans on how to make this a better country. Ask me how I'm going to reform our tax system. No. Seriously. Ask. Or how's about my plan to turn back inflation and return value to the American dollar? Am I coming for your guns? Am I going to legalize PCP?

I don't fucking know. I don't care, either. I'm really running for president because I have a new book to promote, and I can't think of a better way than to see if I can get on TV as a presidential candidate. Perhaps I can convince the American people that the secret to saving the nation is within the pages of POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS. Speaking of which, I'm looking for a running mate who also has a new book out to promote. Any suggestions? Volunteers?

And I can hear you Negative Nellies. "YOU CAN'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT! YOU'RE NOT MARRIED, YOU'RE AN ATHEIST, YOU'RE A DRUNK, YOU HAVE A PICTURE OF YOUR PENIS ON YOUR WEBSITE AND THERE'S A LONG HISTORY OF YOU DOING QUESTIONABLE THINGS." Well, those things only matter if I want to win. And even if I wanted to win, I wouldn't deny these things. I'm pretty proud of most of these things. There will be no lies from me. No cover ups. Nothing but the truth. Which means I'd make a lousy politician, I guess.

Anyway, I guess I'd better start writing my press release and start sending out requests to be interviewed. Maybe I can run on a platform of raising awareness of writers. Tell the people that we don't make as much as Stephen King. Maybe I can get a bill going requiring publishers to pay authors 20-cents per word for short fiction. We currently make the same (if not less) than the pulp writers of the 'Thirties, and considering inflation, that makes no sense. Got any more ideas for my platform? Let me know. I'll leave you with my campaign slogan:


(I want to add on BUY POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS, but I think it ruins the flow. Maybe I can put that in parentheses at the bottom in small letters, so it looks like more of an afterthought.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015


When I was a kid, I liked to check the same things out from the library so I could enjoy things over and over again. The items I checked out the most? Dr. Demento cassettes. Each one was dedicated to a decade, starting with the 'Fifties and going through the 'Eighties. Great stuff. I found a lot of gems in there.

One of my favorite discoveries, however, was Tom Lehrer. I'd already heard "The Masochism Tango," but I didn't know anything beyond it being a funny song. I didn't know the songwriter or performer or anything like that. And then I found it on one of those cassettes. More delightfully, however, I found "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" on another. Now that I knew Tom Lehrer's name, on a whim I looked him up and found TOM LEHRER REVISITED, which the library luckily had.

And so my life changed.

I can't tell you how wonderful it was to discover this treasure trove of comedic songs about brutal murder, dope peddling, the end of the world and many other topics. Plagiarizing mathematicians, boys pimping out their sisters (for a good percentage of her price, naturally), southerners who haven't seen a good lynching in years, these are the savages that prowl through Lehrer's lyrics, and they're all funny as fuck.

After hearing his music, it's hard to imagine that his true love is mathematics. He attended Harvard at the age of 15, and he worked at Los Alamos during the Cold War. He taught at MIT. Up until recently, he was teaching math in California. This is an incredibly smart dude, and you could see he poured a lot of that into his viciously funny songs.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've been posting some of my favorite songs of his throughout the day (it's his 87th birthday). Classically trained on piano since the age of seven, he has released songs that sound innocuous enough . . . just so long as you're not listening to the lyrics. Once you tune in to the words, you'd be surprised to find him, say, taking on the Catholic church in a ragtime song. Or maybe you wouldn't have expected to hear the story of a crazy woman who murders her whole family hiding in an Irish ballad. Or the guy, who cut off his lover's hand after murdering her, living in what sounds like a classical romantic tune.

He's also really good at writing songs that are incredibly hard to sing along with, like "New Math." Another song, "The Elements," is a recital of all the elements on the Periodic Table performed in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan. Even so, the songs are catchy as all hell.

He once talked about his humor in these terms (paraphrased, as I don't have the article in front of me): first you throw the baby in the air, and you catch it. And the baby laughs. Then you throw the baby in the air, and you don't catch it. Then YOU laugh. This is very true, and it explains my sense of humor pretty well, too. He was also fond of saying, "If after hearing my songs just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while."

Apparently, he stays pretty current. When 2 Chainz sampled "The Old Dope Peddler" in a song, Lehrer wrote to him, stating: "As sole copyright owner of [the song], I grant you motherfuckers permission to do this." And even though he's retired from music, there is a rumor that he's tinkering with a song about late-term abortion called "Bye-Bye Baby."

I can go on forever about my love of his work, but I think I've gone on enough. If you want to learn more, check this out. And then go out and buy all of his albums. The live ones are best, since he adds commentary in the introduction to each song. Also, on REVISITED, he introduces himself in a most unusual manner. I love the bit about translating THE WIZARD OF OZ to Latin, and his bit on doing impressions of diseases. If you're a sick and classy fuck like me, you will love Tom Lehrer.

Monday, April 6, 2015


To commemorate the return of MAD MEN (and the return of me drinking Manhattans), I thought I'd post my grandfather's recipe, which I posted a while ago in GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS and before that, on my MySpace blog.

Gramps taught me how to make a real Manhattan. Mixologists get it wrong all the time. If there's ice in your Manhattan, the guy who made it fucked up. A long time ago, I posted Gramps's recipe on MySpace, but since that's no more, I'll post it here for posterity: Take two shots of whiskey (it can be rye, but it's better if it's regular whiskey) and one shot of sweet vermouth. Stir it together over ice. DO NOT SHAKE. Then, pour it into a martini glass, but make sure none of the ice gets in there. Put a cherry into the glass (I skip that part, because I'm an asshole and I hate fruits and veggies), and you're done. Gramps told me that he knew a guy back in the 'Fifties who would drink about 10 of these things and then drive home to his family. Do that math: three shots (two of which are whiskey) times ten. I asked my grandfather if this guy died young, and he didn't. His heart gave out about twenty years ago, which placed the guy in his seventies.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Have you ever read this book? I consider it the best book on reading ever written. It even includes L'Amour's reading list in the back. I learned a lot from this one, but one of the most fascinating things he slipped into my mind was the concept of the Little Blue Book. During the Great Depression, a publisher with the noble cause of putting literature into the hands of people who couldn't ordinarily afford it started creating incredibly cheap, pocket-sized books and pricing them at a very affordable ten cents. I love that concept. I wish I had some of them in my personal collection, but I doubt many of them are extant today.

As I'm sure you're aware, I've been reading THE FIFTH HEART by Dan Simmons (OK, I get it, I'll shut up after this . . . maybe). I've learned a lot from this book, too. One of the outstanding things I learned is of the existence of yellow-back books. I fell in love with this concept immediately. These things were created as competition to the penny dreadfuls, and I'm almost certain the creators of Little Blue Books were inspired by them. After penny dreadfuls, this is the next step in the evolution of what would eventually be known as the pulps (and what would later inspire the fabulously popular concept of comic books).

I have some good classic comic books in my collection. I also have a lot of great pulp magazines. But I don't have Little Blue Books or any yellow-back books. I wish I could change that.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Wow. I've been mentioning the fuck out of THE FIFTH HEART by Dan Simmons lately, and while it's a good book (not great), it's been a learning experience. I'm probably going to do a HEY FUCKERS piece on it tomorrow. But the thing that concerns me right now is something else. If you've known me for a while, you're already aware of it. However, if you're new (and I see a lot of new faces around here lately), you have no idea.

A few years ago, I was plagued with a mystery illness, and a year and a month ago, I suffered from organ failure that nearly killed me. In the case of the former, I learned that I had a digestive system that ran a quarter of the speed of everyone else's. In the latter, my pancreas stopped working and nearly killed me.

Because of these two things, I've spent a lot of time in the ER. In addition to that, I've been hospitalized several times. While both issues are unrelated, they have very similar symptoms: constipation, constant pain and constant puking. While being treated for the pain, I was given Vicodin, and I discovered that I'm immune to the recommended dose. I have to triple up on it for it to have any effect on me. Similarly, morphine doesn't even touch the pain I've suffered through. Dilaudid, on the other hand . . .

Dilaudid is very close to heroin. There's heroin, then there's Oxy's, and then there is Dilaudid. I cannot tell you how much I love Dilaudid. When I'm shot up with it . . . wow. As soon as I'm injected, I feel the soothing cloud fill up my heart and lungs, almost burning. It moves on to my head, and then I'm in utter bliss. It's a wonderful feeling. One of the best feelings I've ever had.

Which is why I know I would be an utter junkie if given the opportunity. The first time I learned of Dilaudid's pleasures was a learning experience. I've known junkies in my time, and I never understood them until that moment. Dilaudid took my pain away. It made me feel wonderful. It helped me sleep when I couldn't sleep otherwise. It's my absolute favorite substance ever.

After a while, I healed. The pain went away. But . . . well . . . I fell in love with Dilaudid. I felt compelled to lie about my pain to get my next injection. As soon as I realized what I was doing, I stopped myself. I did not ask for the next injection. Instead, I continued on the healing path until I was back to normal. But all too often, I regretted not asking for one more injection.

Until the next time. And the next time. And the next. Until my organ failure from last year. It still surprises me to realize that since my last injection, I've been fantasizing about my pancreas failing again, just so I can get more Dilaudid. How fucked up is that?

Before I continue, I should note that I've never had heroin. I've had methadone, but it was a complete accident. I was with a woman who was a recovering junkie (at the time). She took her methadone tablets and dissolved them in orange juice. After a long night of passion, I lost track of whose drink belonged to whom, and I accidentally drank her orange juice instead of mine. I found myself on the fast track to hell. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I'm told that I missed the good part because after I drank the OJ, I went to sleep. When I woke up, I went through the worst sensation of my life, and I hope to never experience it again.

But there I was, reading THE FIFTH HEART, and Sherlock Holmes goes through the process of shooting up heroin. The way Simmons explained it? I'll be damned if it wasn't the same as what I felt when the nurses shot me up with Dilaudid. I'm certain that Simmons went through something similar in his own life, his description was that good. It brought back an instant craving. I almost convinced myself that I felt that cloud building up in my torso.

I wanted to go back to the ER, to tell them that I was in pain, just to get a shot of Dilaudid. My insurance would cover it. Easy-peasy. But . . . for $10, I could get a bag of dope in the city. I could probably do it on my own, but if I couldn't, I know people who could help me out. I even know people who could shoot me up, so I wouldn't have to figure out how to do it myself.

It would be so easy that it scared me. I'm very sensible, and I know that such thoughts would eventually lead to my destruction. I knew enough to stop myself. Don't worry. I'm not actually going to seek the shit out. But at the same time, it's shocking how much I crave it.

I recently went through dental surgery, and I have a full bottle of Vicodin. When I convinced myself not to try for the other shit, I realized that if I tripled up on the recommended dose of Vicodin, I could feel something similar. But no, I didn't do that, either.

I think that's proof that I'm not a junkie. The argument could be made that I am, if only because I feel that craving, but I think I've got myself under control, at least in that area. Fast food and caffeine, on the other hand? I still can't see myself living without that shit. I've got to work on that. But opiates? No. I don't think I have a problem. Although . . . I COULD have a problem in the future. I've just got to be wary.

I've been known to say that I'd rather deal with an addiction later than pain now. That's still true. But I've seen junkies, and I'd rather not be like that. It's frightening. The woman I mentioned earlier? I remember waking up in the same bed as her, and it would be shaking like a cheap motel vibrating mattress because she hadn't had her fix.

I don't want to be like that. But I know I could be like that. So . . . maybe I should stay away from ER's . . .

Thursday, April 2, 2015


On Tuesday I watched the new episode of SIRENS, in which the father of one of the main characters ends up in a coma. The son wrestles with the possibility of his father's death, all the while wondering if his father can hear him. (It should be noted that this is a comedy. While there is some seriousness, the situation is ultimately played for laughs.)

Be careful what you say around coma patients. The character advised his father to go to the light, and when the old man wakes up, he gives his son shit for telling him that. It comes as a surprise to the guy that his father had heard him, but it didn't come as a surprise to me.

When I was in high school, my mother got into a horrible car accident. She was at a bar, and the guy she was with was giving her a ride home. Along the way, they rear-ended a UPS truck, which turned his car into an accordion. Mom never wore her seat belt the way she should; she always put the top belt behind her. As a result of this, she was damaged pretty badly. Her injuries were so unique that the doctors wanted to write a medical paper about her. She required a lot of surgery to fix her, and most of that time, about a year and a half, she was in a coma.

My family and I all wondered if she knew what we were saying in all of that time. When she woke up, she confirmed it for us: she was aware of us the whole time. She knew we were there, and she knew what we'd said. Could you imagine being aware of everything around you while you're in a coma for more than a year? To top it all off, the doctors had to keep her torso open. They had to keep getting inside of her for reconstruction of her organs, and to close her up each time would have been crazy. So they left her open and stuffed with something they called packing.

She told me that at one point, she thought I was playing a practical joke on her. She thought I'd dressed up as a doctor and was fiddling around with her guts inside of her. She tried telling me the joke wasn't funny and tried to get me to stop, but she couldn't communicate. Then, the doctor took his mask off, and she saw it wasn't me, which was a great relief, even though she was still aware that someone had been putting his hands inside her torso.

She eventually made a full recovery, but it always haunted me that she could stand being a prisoner in her own body for that length of time. I couldn't stand something like that. That's why I'm a firm believer in pulling the plug on me if I'm in a coma. Wait maybe two weeks, and if I'm not back by then, pull the plug and be done with it. I don't want to be bored out of my fucking mind for more than two weeks.

And if any of you fuckers tells me to go to the light . . . ugh. (Unless it's a POLTERGEIST reference, which I'll find funny the first time. Anymore after that, and I'll be plotting your death.)