Saturday, December 31, 2016


Here is something I've never said to ANYONE before. It's not because it's a deep, dark secret. It's just because I've never really thought about it before. But it's true.

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow things. I mean, living things. My mom got me my first garden, and I royally fucked it up. There was supposed to be corn, tomato and something else. I don't remember. Guess what: I fucked it up. Maybe it was pumpkin. MAYBE.

Fast forward to when I was growing up with my grandparents. When I had an actual backyard instead of a few pots in the kitchen. I tried to grow shit again to no avail. Never mind that I hate veggies, fruits, etc. I wanted to grow something. To give something life.

And I failed at every turn.

Before I was ten I had a dozen gardens, and they all failed. I followed instructions to the T. Maybe I just didn't have enough love in my heart for this shit to grow. I don't know. But it never did.

Before I became a teenager I gave up. I never tried to grow anything ever again. I couldn't even make a Chia pet grow. Nothing botanical would grow under my brown thumb.

When I got my job as a conference operator, the person who got me my job gave me a fish as a cube decoration. Except my fish died in two weeks. So she gave me a plant, and I figured this thing would be dead in no time.

Surprise! It survived my 10 years as a conference operator/tech support dude. It only started dying when I lost that job. Then: I got my current job as a repair guy at a telecom company, and now it's thriving. I don't know how that happened. Maybe it's just because I was told a spider plant is nearly impossible to kill.

I certainly didn't grow it.

The last thing I tried to grow was a Venus fly trap. I was told that you could be a grade A fuck up, and you could still grow this fucking thing. Well, I guess not. This thing didn't even sprout.

The people who owned my place before me knew how to grow flowers so well that every year they bloom without prompting, and they've been doing that for decades. Hell, sometimes the atavistic nature of the land will grow a corn stalk without knowing any better.

But once. JUST ONCE. I'd like to grow something on my own.

This is the final GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS of the year. Tomorrow I will post my favorite GF of the year. Happy New Year's, everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Here's another dream for you. Some of you may remember that a few years back I suffered from an abscess in a very uncomfortable place: an inch away from my scrotum. Some might even recall that I wrote a story about it for MONDO BIZARRO, in which one of the characters has an abscess that leads to a fantasy world with monsters fighting each other.

I had a dream last night in which the abscess recurred. That's a horrible sensation. I remember very vividly the process of healing from that thing, and it was not good. It involved being perforated several times by a surgeon, a lot of squeezing and a gauze strip that hung out of my wound, draining all the poison out of me. Something I had to clean myself three times a day.

But in my dream I didn't have to worry too much about the abscess itself. No, it decided to evacuate itself by other means. And yes, the warring monsters from the other side needed to come through me in my dream. Instead of charging through the surgical slit in the fold of my thigh, they came out two other ways.

In my dream I woke up to a horrible grinding sensation in my asshole. I rushed to the ER, and they told me that the monsters were trying to emerge from my butt, but their wooden weapons kept getting shattered, sending grievous splinters into my anus, making it look like a playground of old. Meaning, it was lined with wood chips. I screamed as the doctors took care to extract every piece they could, covered with bloody shit, sometimes with horrible strands of goo connecting them to my butt.

But wait! There's more! As soon as the monsters knew they couldn't get through my abscess or asshole, they found another way out. I howled with pain as I watched my dick contort, spinning and whirring like Jim Carey in THE MASK. The head of my dick exploded as they tried to come through. They couldn't because their wooden weapons snapped against my dickhole. Now I had a glans made of apple sauce with grim crimson streaks through it like veins.

It was one of the most harrowing nightmares I've had in a while.

I don't usually use these Goodnight, Fuckers to sell something, but if you want to feel like your asshole has been shredded and salted, followed by the sensation of your dickhead exploding and being threaded through with splinters . . . well. Buy MONDO BIZARRO.

In the meantime I'm going to cry thinking about my nightmare pain.

One more Goodnight, Fuckers of the year. Tomorrow. On New Year's Eve I'll post my favorite of the year, and then I'll be going on sabbatical.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Last night I had a dream about something that could never have happened, but it felt so real. I was supposed to take photos for a family wedding. I'm not sure which side of my family because members from both sides were there, which is highly unlikely to happen. My dad was there, and so was my step-father. Never mind that neither of them are no longer with us. Even if they were still alive, there is no way they would have attended a social gathering like this together.

I got the weird impression that my step-father was marrying someone new, even though he died before my mom did. Soon that impression became, well, I guess as close to reality as you can get in a dream.

I was running around, trying to get shots of everyone having a good time. There was this one guy who kept prancing about with a stapler, slapping it down on people multiple times. He got me once, and it sucked. It probably sucked worse for him, since he'd stapled both of his eyes shut and was doing this at random. Blind. Still, he was laughing. It must have been fun for him.

And then it happened. I saw that we had a celebrity in our midst. None other than Michael Rooker was partying with us, absolutely hammered out of his mind. He looked exactly like this, but he smiled a lot more:

Then came the big moment. My step-father was to kiss his new bride. I got in there as close as possible to capture the moment, and just as I snapped the picture Michael Rooker got in front of them. Not purposefully. It was an accident. The moment passed, and my step-father glared up at him. Only then did Rooker realize what he'd done.

"I'm sorry, man. I didn't see you there. Let me back up so you can have your moment."

My step-father grimaced. "Fuck you, Michael Rooker."

Rooker got a laugh out of that. When he realized how hopeless the situation was, he threw back both arms in a look-what-we-have-here motion. Grinning, he said, "Hey, man. At least you got to meet Michael Rooker."

Everyone cheered, and my step-father closed his eyes, willing the world to disappear. Rooker tapped him jovially on the chest a few times, laughing, but my step-father wouldn't respond. I've never seen him look more defeated in my entire life.

And then I woke up.

Monday, December 26, 2016


No offense to any of the other local comic book shops, but my go-to place is Unicorn in Villa Park. I've been going there for ages, back when I was a kid getting G.I. Joe and Transformers books and then again when I discovered Evil Ernie, Preacher and Hitman. I thought I knew the place pretty well, but every once in a while I get a surprise out of the place.

I live across the street in Elmhurst from the Prairie Path. It used to be a railroad (which, from what I understand, my grandfather worked on when he was a kid), but all that remains is a gravel path and a few abandoned train stations. One of them is the old Elmhurst station which is by the water fountain on York. It's boarded up, but it's still an attraction, especially on warm summer nights when the kids are dipping their hands in the fountain and young lovers cast their penny wishes into the gushing waters. The cobwebs shine in the eaves, highlighted by the ever-changing colors from the fountain, ancient life lurking in the forgotten corners of a monument from the not-so-distant past.

Keep moving west and you'll reach the Villa Park station, which is a bit more of an attraction. They turned it into a museum, and it's actually pretty cool to look around inside. I once went in with a friend, and we saw a bunch of old York High yearbooks from the 'Seventies. I found my dad in one of them, and in the very same book she found her uncle. Small world.

There is a parking lot there, and across from it is an attorney's office. I believe that it used to be the site of a general store in the pioneer days of Villa Park. It's now owned by the brother of my comics guy, who has his shop next door.

I was in there a couple of weekends ago, and much to my delight there was a fellow customer in there--a first time customer, no less--looking for the greatest Punisher stories of all time. Naturally my guy led him to the Garth Ennis MAX series, which contains the most adult, violent, vicious, hardstories in the Punisher's history. And then my guy, who knows my taste very well, asked me for my opinion to bolster this customer's confidence, and I delivered in spades. Good luck getting me to shut up about a comics series I love once I get started.

And then the conversation took an odd turn. My guy, and I don't know how comfortable he'd be having his name mentioned here, so I'll keep calling him "my guy," then confided to us that he'd bought his first comic book in this very establishment. I was shocked because I thought he was the first and only owner of Unicorn. Well, he is. Was this place a comic book shop before? Because that seemed highly unlikely. There wasn't a direct market when he was a kid.

And then came his magical answer, one that people my age and younger will never get to experience in our lives. Maybe you're familiar with smoke shops. They didn't just sell tobacco products. They sold everything, even books and such. And every single one of them had at least one comic book rack where you could meet the superheroes of old for the first time, and maybe some of the pulp stars that came before them like Doc Savage, the Shadow, etc.

My guy pointed to the corner by the door, where now he has a row of Marvel comics, and said that there was a spinner rack over there, and that's where he picked up the book. Both me and the customer looked reverently into that corner, trying to imagine a time gone by. Trying to imagine my guy as a kid buying the very thing that would send him down the path to his life's passion.

Time comes around. The shop that you buy your first passion could very well become your shop someday, where you will sell the next generation's first passion. The circle of time continues.

There are no more smoke shops. While time moves on, the past is never far behind. All it takes is a photograph. A film. A memory. It comes back alive if only for a moment in the imagination.

This time will never come again, but it is never too far behind that you can't remember it and possibly pass it on.

Sunday, December 25, 2016


When I was a kid, and I mean a teeny-tiny kid, my family was fairly well off. Upper middle class in the early 'Eighties. I'd place us somewhere in the upper lower class now. I have a roof over my head, but it's slowly falling apart (every time it rains, I get nervous because my ceiling has a bunch of soft spots which I have covered with duct tape). My electrical system is breaking down. I can't afford to repair the broken garage door. I can't even fix the plumbing. But back then times were different. Back then we could actually have those awesome Christmas parties like you see only in movies these days. We would not have looked out of place at Kevin McCallister's house.

One of our traditions was for my grandfather to break out the projector and play films of Christmases past, when it was just him, Grandma, my mom and my aunt. Some of these 8 mm films were shot in Arizona, where they all lived for a while, but quite a few were shot around Chicago and then in Elmhurst, at the home we inhabited at the time. It was a grand place. Two stories, an attic, a basement and a backyard big enough to play baseball in. It was weird seeing my mom as a kid and teenager. Parents never grew up. They were born fully grown, and they had full dominion over their kids. The very idea that my grandfather wanted to keep track of these memories was kind of odd, too. He only ever kept track of Christmas. Never any other moments. That was left up to Grandma and a Kodiak camera. Or sometimes a Polaroid. Back then she smoked Golden Lights. She had a leather pouch for her cigarettes and her lighter. She hasn't smoked in decades, which makes this fact even crazier.

Christmas belonged to Gramps, though. He relished recording every moment with his video camera. This tradition continued with my arrival on the scene, as well as my cousin's birth. When Gramps showed those on this roll-down screen, it always fascinated us. That's footage of us when we didn't even know who we were! There was a kind of magic to that.

After that, Gramps, wearing his rainbow colored shirt that said, over and over, WORLD'S GREATEST GRANDPA, would screen a few other short films. We had PUSS-N-BOOTS and a couple of Three Stooges shorts. It was great. I remember laughing at each reel as if it was the first time I'd ever seen it.

About a decade or so ago, I was scrounging around in the basement when I uncovered not just the old reels of film, but also the projector. The screen was nowhere to be found, unfortunately, but we had a white wall and plenty of space to watch. First the ones of my mom and aunt in their childhood, whether under the hot Arizona sun or in the frosty wasteland of Chicago. Then out to the suburbs. To them growing up. To me and my cousin as children. Building snowmen. Unwrapping presents. It was a window in time.

And then the projector melted down the film, rendering the machine unusable. It was nice to get that one last look into a past that will be forgotten when I'm no longer here. When my cousin is no longer here.

I spent Christmas today with the few remaining. My cousin lives off in Colorado now, so it was Gramps, Grandma, my aunt and another cousin. No one recorded anything. But I remember talking with my grandfather, and I have a sneaking suspicion this is his last Christmas. He can't walk anymore. He's confined to the living room, where he spends his time watching TV and doing not much else. He no longer shaves or cuts his hair. And he's been like that so long that he no longer knows the layout of his own home. He's forgotten quite a lot. He still knows my name, but he's uncertain about a lot of other stuff.

Maybe someday I can figure out a way to clean out that burnt film, maybe replace the bulb, if they make 'em anymore. Maybe just put the old reels on DVD, or something. In my youth I was convinced that I was going to die at the age of 40. That's an article for another day. I've recently decided that I hope I can squeeze out at least another decade. Maybe two. But no more than that. Getting old sucks. I've seen it first hand. My grandfather will be 90 in a few weeks. I don't ever want to reach that age.

But I keep thinking back to the time of those 8 mm reels, and I miss it. That was before I had any brothers, meaning that was before my mom met the creature who--eh, forget it. I've gone on about that before. Suffice it to say, the John Bruni in those films was someone who had yet to get the shit kicked out of him by the world, and everyone around him was young and alive and full of hope.

To quote a great series of books, "O, Discordia!"

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Not too long ago I went to the Country House with a dear friend of mine. In case you don't know me very well, the Country House in Clarendon Hills is home to the greatest cheeseburger known to humanity. If you love cheeseburgers, then you need to go there immediately. I don't care if you're currently in Siberia. Make the pilgrimage. You'll love it.

At the end of our meal I went to the bathroom, mostly because I eat like a slob and needed to clean my fingers off. I happened to look up into the mirror, and I was kind of surprised by the face I saw. The lights in the bathroom are very bright, so I could see every wrinkle and gray hair on my head. I looked fucking old. That's the first time I noticed that. I've made comments about gray hair in my beard this year, but this is the first time I saw that I was no longer 19 years old.

There is one annoying gray hair near the top of my head. It pisses me off because every time I see it I think I've got something stuck in my hair. But the others? I don't mind them so much. From what I can tell, aside from that one irritating hair, I'm going to go gray like old-time Nick Fury. That suits me fine.

I'm OK with getting old, but not too old. That's a topic for another day. Maybe for my 40th birthday I'll write a piece on that. Which, by the way, isn't too far off. In 2017 I will be 39.

Only a handful of people I know will recognize that as familiar. I'll probably get deeper into it someday. But for now . . . goodnight, fuckers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


A horrible thought occurred to me. What if we get to midnight at the end of New Year's Eve, and Keith Richards survives? And we're all like:

And then on January 1, 2017, he dies in the grimmest, most horrifying way. And 2017 is standing over the corpse with his weapons, grinning. Happy because he's the coldest motherfucker in history. "Sorry guys. I just wanted to set the tone. You're all fucked now."

Welcome to the end times. Sweet dreams, fuckers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Just to warn you, spoilers will be flying all over this mutha. If you haven't seen the movie yet, do NOT continue to read.

If you're one of those assholes who is complaining about the CGI resurrection of Grand Moff Tarkin, you can go fuck yourself. We just got ourselves a new Peter Cushing movie, and he's been dead for ages. The tech isn't 100%, but it's really fucking good. You can barely tell the difference. Remember when Tales from the Crypt brought Bogie back for that one episode? We've come a long way, and I think we're finally ready to bring back other big screen greats. MORE JOHN WAYNE MOVIES, PLEASE!

And the young CGI Leia? More of that, please. MORE CLINT EASTWOOD AS A YOUNG MAN MOVIES, PLEASE!

Aside from that, I had a bit of difficulty getting into this movie, but when it clicked, it really fucking clicked. For a while I was kind of cruising on it being the Star Wars Guardians of the Galaxy (minus the classic rock), and then something happened that made me realize something horrible. When K-2SO got killed, I suddenly realized that the stakes were a lot higher for our ragtag team of rebels. In the back of my mind I realized that, holy shit. No one is making it out of this story alive. This is about sacrifice for the greater good. There was a part of my brain that said no, they don't have the balls to do this. Disney can't possibly let this happen. There needs to be a sequel for marketing purposes. You can't sell variant toys for characters who were in one movie and then died horribly.

And then other characters started dying. And then there was the end of the battle. Jyn and Cassian kneeling on the beach, desperately clutching each other as their fiery doom came closer and closer and . . . and killed them. That was a powerful moment. The heroes all fucking die. Granted, the hero of this story doesn't go crazy with grief and kill a bunch of children and get chopped to pieces by his father figure and left to burn to death in lava, but still. That's a pretty fucking dark ending.

But the answer is hope. I don't have a lot of that. I'm a cynical piece of shit. If I didn't know that Rogue One's efforts actually made a difference, I probably would have expressed my doubts.

Don't forget about Mads Mikkelsen, whose Galen had one of the most heroic moments in the movie. He's the guy who ratted out the Death Star to the rebels, but the Empire decides that it's one of the engineers because Galen is too good of an actor. They send a goon squad to assassinate the scientists behind the Death Star . . . and Galen jumps in front of them all to save them. He's the one they want. He could have kept his mouth shut, and a half-dozen dudes would have been gunned down, but he would have still been alive. And he sacrificed himself only to watch them all get murdered anyway. That's pretty fucking scary.

Best of all, I highly suspect that this movie exists solely to shut pedantic fanboys the fuck up. One of the big things that Star Wars superfans like to rant about is how easy it was to blow up the Death Star. This movie explains that away in a wonderful way. Hey guys. The Death Star was supposed to be bombed out of existence. If the Empire wants to go home again, it's going to have to do so with a shovel. Galen built the Death Star under duress. Hence the Death Star-explody-hack. Now stop fuckin' complaining.

So yeah. I loved the movie. I saw someone joking about making ROGUE TWO starring the many Bothans who died to get the Death Star plans. There is a watch-it-all-burn part of me that kind of wants to see that. But no. We got what we needed out of ROGUE ONE. Now I look forward to seeing episode eight, which will hopefully have nothing to do with a Death Star or anything Death Star-ish. I've had my fill. Let's move on. Say what you will about the prequels; at least they didn't have Death Stars . . .

PS: It was good to finally see Darth Vader's crib. Very Sauron of him.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Recently I've been thinking a lot about my own mortality. I'm only 38, and those of us who are not yet 40 think we're invincible. We're not. I decided to finally make up my literary estate, and I wrote down all of my passwords and PIN codes, etc. for whoever has to tie my life together after my death. I needed witnesses I trusted, so I went down to Romeoville today to get those signatures.

On my way down I heard, on my XM radio, Tool's "Aenema," which I have not heard for a long time. It's primarily aimed at LA dipshits, dependent on Bill Hicks's idea of Arizona Bay. I think it can be applied to all of America, though. Hear me out.

When I first heard Trump won the presidential election this year, the only thing I could think of was this: HOLY SHIT, I WAS WRONG. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SINCE '88 THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED. In other words, I was not concerned with the consequences. I was just angry that I was wrong. And then I saw more election results, and that was pretty fucking scary. Trump got the executive branch. And the motherfucker also got the legislative branch. He's a pussy hair away from getting the judicial branch. I wasn't concerned with him being president because of the system of checks and balances. Now that he's almost got all branches, THERE IS NO SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES. That is UNAMERICAN. If this is what Trump is happy with, then he wants to DESTROY AMERICA. I hate the Electoral College, but the only reason it exists is to prevent a charismatic psychopath from winning the presidency.

Whoops! It sure fucked up this time. Trump is the EXACT person the Electoral College exists to prevent from ruling this country.

I'm reading a book by Upton Sinclair called A WORLD TO WIN. You might know him better for THE JUNGLE. This one, though, is about an American spy in WWII before Pearl Harbor who travels the world and collects intel on people like Hess and Hitler for FDR. While reading the book--which was written by a socialist American who witnessed the war--I was surprised by how many Nazis there were in America who supported Hitler.

Fast forward to now. These Nazis are all too real. They're not afraid to conceal themselves. I guess that's good, so we know who they are, but at the same time I see human garbage attacking people who aren't white. People who are in the LGBT community. People who believe in a god who isn't Christian, or, like me, no god at all. And Trump isn't telling these people to stop. If he had ANY interest in freedom, he would have dressed these cocksuckers down publicly. He hasn't, though. He's basking in the glory of people doing shit in his name. He's jerking off into his own mouth because there isn't a single person who can stop him. He loves the taste of his own cum. He can't get enough of it. Because of that, the rest of us must kneel before Zod, er, Trump.

That was when I knew that there was no hope with this new presidency. Hearing these stories turned up my rage level to an intensity I have not felt since I was a child being abused by my stepfather. I'm more or less a pacifist, but I have a white hot rage against those who would threaten the lives of people who are not white, not male and are not Christians. I hate it when people are denied their rights. Prepare yourselves, my fellow Americans. We're headed for a fascist regime. Fifty years from now everyone else will be talking about how scary 2017 America was for people who weren't white, male and rich.

But listening to "Aenema" made me think a little. Maybe we had this coming. Maybe we need this. As Americans, we've all been walking, talking pieces of human shit for a long time. This is a wake up call. We wrought this among ourselves. Maybe, just maybe, this will help us think about the world a lot more.

I am almost a nihilist. Nothing we do matters because in the future our sun will eat up our orbit and destroy our planet. If we haven't found a way off Earth by then, we will be nothing. The only thing that holds me back is that we have each other. We have the present. We should treat each other with respect because this is all we have. Why create problems? Let's just make this a great place to survive until the inevitable specter of death takes us all? Be kind to each other. Why shit in someone else's cereal bowl? This is a shitty life. Let's try to make it as pleasant as possible.

But we're all shit. Humanity is a cesspool, and Trump's election has proven it to a T.

Maynard James Keenan was talking about LA culture. The specifics of that song don't apply here, though. The general feeling, however, does.

Fuck. This sucks. But . . . well . . . this election proves one thing to me. It sucks, but, well.

Maybe Tool is right. "The only way to fix it is to flush it all away." Burn this society to the ground and start with something new. Fuck the right wing fuckheads. Fuck the left wing fuckfaces. Fuck everyone. Let's do something new. Something different. Something based on love instead of hate or fear. LET'S DESTROY AMERICA AND BUILD SOMETHING NEW.

I wish that wasn't true. I'm feeling pretty down about it. I would love to hear other--REASONABLE--solutions, but I think that total destruction is the only thing that will work. Let me know what you think."

[PS: I think you all secretly agree with this opinion; otherwise, there would be no interest in THE WALKING DEAD. Please: prove me wrong. That's all I want. Hope is much better than destruction.]

Sunday, November 20, 2016


It's been a while since I posted what I have in stock of my own books in case you want to buy directly from me. I'll even do the 3 for $25 deal that we usually do at conventions and book festivals. Otherwise they're $10 each. (Or, if you're just buying DoF, $7.) If you live close enough to me that I can hand deliver it, cool. If not, shipping charges will apply. If you see something you like, let me know.








Thursday, November 17, 2016


My Goodreads review:

I've forgotten how to obsess over something. When I was younger I went all in on a lot of stuff. If I found myself attracted to something, I had to find out everything there was to know about it. Like when I discovered books by Joe R. Lansdale. Or when I found the music of Nick Cave. Or when I saw my first film by David Lynch. I don't do that anymore. I don't know why that is. Have I reached a point where I just don't care enough to obsess over something?

The Secret History of Twin Peaks brought it all back to me. I figured it was going to be just another ho-hum media tie-in for the new season in 2017. Just something to reintroduce you to beloved characters and maybe let you know what some of them have been up to in the last 25 years. But no, this book is vastly different from what I expected.

From page one, I knew I was hooked. It opened up a whole new way of looking at the series. It goes all the way back to when Lewis and Clark first discovered Twin Peaks, and it gets into some serious esoteric American history. Some of it was just so crazy that I had to look it up. There was no way that there was documentation of this in real life.

Surprise! Nearly everything in this book has been documented, regardless of truth or falsity, in real life. Real life conspiracies that I've never even heard of, and I go deep with conspiracies. Author Mark Frost has merely bent them to suit his purposes.

My favorite of the bunch is Jack Parsons, though. I've never even heard of the guy before, and it turns out that he was one of the most important innovators of the 20th century. It also turns out that he was a real life version of a Lovecraft character. He genuinely thought he could summon entities if he put his mind to it. Take the occult side away from him, and he's Howard Stark. He even looked like the Dominic Cooper portrayal of the character.

Another thing that surprised me was how incredibly important minor characters on the show are to the secret history, in particular the aged mayor and his brother, Doug Milford. Without Milford this book would fall apart. We also get to learn a lot more about Big Ed and his love life and his military service, and we get a peek at Dr. Jacoby's studies before he came back to Twin Peaks. I love the cover blurbs he gets from Jerry Garcia and Timothy Leary. And the entry on Josie is pretty crazy. We all knew she was a swindler, but it goes deeper than we ever suspected. I was surprised to find that Hawk doesn't like his nickname and considers it to be racist. It turns out his first name is Tommy, so . . .

I am in love with the structure of this book. It is a genuine mystery, and we're trying to figure the whole thing out. The dossier is composed by two people, and one of them is the Archivist. We all know it must be a character from the TV show, but we have to figure out who. All the evidence is there, you just have to put the pieces together. He eventually reveals himself, and I'm super excited that I was correct in my guess.

The best part is that we're reading the dossier with the agent assigned to investigate it. The mysterious TP is an interesting filter to read through. For the most part he (or is it she?) is all business, but there are moments when TP gets a little personal. TP is a skeptic, but (s)he gets unsettled with a lot of the information in the dossier. I tried figuring out who TP is, but I was disappointed when TP's identity was revealed on the very last page. It's a character we haven't met before. Maybe we'll get to see him/her in season 3.

I have to wonder how much of this was in Frost's mind from the start. Did he and Lynch plan for this from the very beginning? If so, they play a very good long game. I hope some of this makes its way onto season 3.

What I didn't put into the review:

I didn't mention this in my GR review because I don't post spoilers there. Consider this your warning that beyond this point there will be a ton of spoilers.

I've always admired Maj. Briggs. He's strictly a military man, but there is a sensitive side to him that makes this character truly blossom. My first guess as to the Archivist was Dale Cooper, but it quickly became obvious that he had no hand in this. I suspected Harold for a little bit. He's the kind of guy who would put this together, but it didn't ring true to me. Remember: he was skeptical about Bob's existence. By the time the Archivist started adding documents that should be locked up under the highest level of security, I knew it had to be Briggs. There was no one else on the show that could have had access to this material. I was very glad when Briggs confessed to being the Archivist.

I'm also glad to have two of my questions from the "series finale" answered: Did Audrey, Pete and Andrew die in the bank explosion? Two of the three did. Audrey survived. Also, did Ben Horne die when he hit his head on the fireplace? No, he did not. It wasn't directly addressed, but given that these two events happen at roughly the same time, and Ben is in Audrey's hospital room after, it stands to reason he was only injured.

I have a few questions, though. The biggest question probably won't be answered until the new season, and it might not even be answered then. I wonder: how does the Black Lodge fit in with the aliens? Nixon says there are six different species of aliens. It is mentioned earlier in the book that there are two in particular who are warring with each other. Could one of these be behind the Black Lodge while the other is behind the White Lodge? If so, why does the Black Lodge manifest itself in the form of Bob & Co.?

Another big question, something that I'm almost certain will be answered by the new season, regards Jack Parsons's jade ring. Doug Milford meets with him twice, and both times he describes Parsons's habit of fiddling around with it. I'm 95% certain that this is the same ring that Chester finds in FIRE WALK WITH ME. How the hell did it get from Parsons to Teresa Banks? There is only one person who possibly knows the both of them: Doug Milford. The Archivist and TP seem to suspect that Milford was actually behind Parsons's death. If so, did he take the ring? If I'm right about this, why did he give it to Teresa? It's revealed late in the book that Milford was quite the cocksman, and he liked them young. Is it possible that he had a relationship with her? What was his purpose in giving her the ring? Was it just a gift? Or did he have nefarious intentions?

That ring fascinates me, especially now that I know that it belonged to Parsons. It also helps shed some light, little as it seems, on why Chester disappeared when he touched the ring. It could be a portal to the Black Lodge. Is it possible that Phillip Jeffries has used the ring--or a similar ring--to travel through time from the Black Lodge in FIRE WALK WITH ME? I looked at every scene Bowie was in, looking for that ring, and I sadly didn't find it. (It's worth noting that Bowie was supposed to return as Phillip Jeffries, but he sadly passed away before filming his scenes.)

So many new questions. It's a delicious mystery. I need the new season immediately. Can we put a rush on this, Lynch and Frost?

[EDIT: There was one thing I left out that disappointed me, considering Frost's otherwise spot-on attention to detail. Some of the documents early in the book are handwritten letters and journal entries from Lewis, Clark and Thomas Jefferson. I looked up actual samples of their handwriting, and it doesn't match. That's the ONLY thing this book got wrong.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Dear God, what the fuck am I doing? Have I finally lost my mind? I think I have. Join me as I bizarrely become, this late in my life, a writer of fanfiction. But not any old fanfiction. No sir. I'm writing a special brand.

There was this guy I used to know. He was an utter dirtbag, but he fascinated me. I tried everything in my power to destroy his will to live, but I failed each and every time. He didn't even notice. He didn't even notice it when I created a fake Facebook page for him, one that actually got my own profile shut down, and I had to prove I was me to get it reopened. Or the time I . . . fuck it. I'm just embarrassing myself. Suffice it to say, this asshole is a piece of shit (who, I hasten to mention, has been--rightly, I believe--accused of rape), and he deserved everything I ever flung at him.

The one thing I did that was really amusing for me was writing, for a group of friends, these stories about him getting involved in pop culture worlds. For example, in the first one this guy, who I have cunningly named Cris Zim to protect the guilty, reluctantly teams up with Angel Investigations in order to save the world. In another he joins Project Stargate. In yet another he travels back in time for the greatest western crossover in the history of the world, joining together the forces of GUNSMOKE, RAWHIDE, MAVERICK, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE and HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL. Along the way there are references to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, ZARDOZ, BILL AND TED, TERMINATOR, TREMORS and more.

It is my hope that you will join me in this madness that I've called The Zimventures. I posted the first handful of chapters at once because Angel and friends aren't mentioned until later in the story, and I didn't want to be accused of not fulfilling my promise to Angel fanfic readers to involve their hero. I don't know how often I will post new chapters, but I'll post about it on Facebook and Twitter, so if you follow me in either of those places, you'll be among the first to know.

The real life Zim will probably never find out about this, but I don't care. It's a lot of fun. Plus, waaaaaay later in the series, I explain what happened to Gil Favor and Chester Goode. So if you're a fan of westerns and ever wondered what happened to those characters (outside of Eric Fleming's death and Dennis Weaver's decision to move on, of course), then I am here to help.

I can't believe I'm posting this lunacy. Now I know how J. Robert Oppenheimer felt. Strap in, folks. This is either the stupidest thing I've ever done, or it's amazing. Let's find out together. Click here to begin the craziness.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Death of #VoteBruniDanger2016

Whoo-boy. What an election. It was fun promoting books by running for president. For all of your John Bruni needs, go here. For all of your Danger_Slater needs, go here. Danger was a hell of a sport. I said a lot of crazy things in the name of this campaign, and he rolled with it all. Buy his books.

I guess that puts to rest the least popular hashtag in Twitter's history, #VoteBruniDanger2016. It was so unpopular that no matter how many times I typed it on my phone, it NEVER remembered it. It remembered the time that I fucked up and typed #VoteBr. It remembered that better than it remembered my own phone number. But I could never use auto-fill to get the actual hashtag up. I had to type it out each and every fucking time.

Ah well. Forget it. The election is over. Four years of chaos are upon us.

I just had a horrible thought. Checks and balances are supposed to keep anyone from achieving ultimate power in America. The Republicans have the executive branch. They're the majority of the legislative branch. The only thing standing between President Trump and Emperor Trump is the judicial branch. It's not looking good for the future of the Supreme Court. Check this out.

Yep, the Supreme Court is crumbling. If key members die--and it's very possible, considering how old they are--then Trump gets to appoint replacements. We all know he's not going to put anyone in there who disagrees with him. If that happens, then we no longer have checks and balances. That's kind of scary.

But there's nothing we can do about it (short of a bloody revolution). We're stuck with it, folks. I'm picking up my fiddle, and I'm gonna have me some fun while Rome burns. Embrace the madness. The Deathbird is coming. Get your kicks in while you can. It's time to get familiar with cannibalism.

Seriously, though. You assholes should have voted for me.


Wow. I can't believe what just happened tonight. There's a part of me that thinks that something is going to happen, and it's going to be revealed that there was some fuckery going on with the election. Probably not. If there was, we won't hear about it for years.

Whoo-boy. That's some rigged election we had there, Trump.

Sorry. I couldn't help that little jab.

It takes a lot to surprise me, folks. This surprises the fuck out of me. Maybe I got too confident in my ability to foresee the political future of America. I was born in 1978. The first election I was aware of was 1988. That was Bush I vs. Dukakis. I figured Dukakis would win because my grandfather wanted him to win (because he was Greek, just like my grandfather). In the gambling world, that's called "betting your heart." I lost, naturally.

Ever since then I have never EVER EVER been wrong about a presidential election . . . until today. I was certain Clinton would win. Surprise! I was so certain that I now have to rewrite a story in which I assumed Trump was going to lose.

I can't grasp it. President Trump. It's been a joke for so long, but I can't believe that he's going to take office in January. I wasn't thinking, I guess. I'd forgotten the wild card. The wild card that is 2016. It's been a shit year. I should have expected the worst.

I fucking loathed both Trump and Clinton. Fuck 'em both. They're scumbags of the slimiest order. They're both lower than whale shit. But, well, I figured Clinton would have been preferable. She's crooked at the least, a murderer at most. But she knows how to do the job. Government is so full of bullshit, as George Carlin once suggested, that if we removed it, the system would fall apart. She's the right scumbag to run this nation. Who knows? Maybe she even learned a few things from her husband. Remember when he ran this country? WE DIDN'T HAVE A DEFICIT. That's right, we lived debt free. We owned our own country. That's pretty remarkable. Maybe she would have gotten us out of our current mess.

No, I didn't vote for her. I didn't vote for anybody, not even myself. But! I live in Illinois, and the last time Illinois went to the Republicans was '88. (The grim specter.) Once again, IL went to the Democrats. My vote would not have mattered, just as I expected.

Then again, a lot happened tonight that I *didn't* expect.

I've seen a lot of my friends fall to pieces over this decision. Understandably so.

Ah fuck. I don't even know where I'm going with this. It's been so long since I've been wrong about an election, I'm in shock.

I'd say that Trump is racist, sexist, transphobic, etc. But I don't think he is. He just blurts shit out without thought. He's just a dick sucker. He'll say anything to get his way. Somehow he sensed that he'd get elected if he appealed to America's primitive underbelly, the one that thinks African Americans should be shipped back to Africa. Those who are surprised to learn that Native Americans are still around (didn't we kill them all?). The ones who think if you were born a certain sex and exhibit a need to be otherwise, you're subhuman. When you think about it, it's kind of shocking that Trump was able to say anything with that giant cock in his mouth.

Enough negativity. We're stuck with this situation. Let's try to look on the bright side. There is one. We still have hope. Maybe, just maybe, his garbage personality will result in something positive. I know, it's a long shot, but still.

A lot of my friends are in a bad place tonight. I'm sorry. I think we're all fucked, too. But there's a small part of me that thinks maybe something good will come of this. Maybe. I don't know. Neither do you. Or anyone. Not even Trump knows. He's too busy wrapping his lips around the rancid cocks of the lowest common denominator of the American people to think about the future.

I leave you with these final words. It's the best I can do right now. I hope those of you who feel miserable find some kind of comfort in them. I wish I could lay claim to these words, but all the credit goes to J.R.R. Tolkien:

Gandalf: "He hates and loves the Ring, as he hates and loves himself. He will never be rid of his need for it."

Frodo: "It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance!"

Gandalf: "Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. And some that died deserved life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many."

Goodnight, you poor bastards. Goodnight, and good luck.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


[You know how I'm running for US president this year? Let's go back in time for a moment, back to the year 2000. I was fresh out of college, so I wasn't quite over the age of 35 yet, like I say in the following story. We were gearing up for Bush vs. Gore, still enjoying the debt-free Clinton years. While drinking heavily with Rob Tannahill, my co-creator on The Cocaine! Bros., we wondered what it would be like for us to run for the highest office in the nation. I decided to write the following story. I'm posting it here without editing. I only corrected a couple of typos, so you can all see how far I've come as a writer. Sit back and enjoy the awkwardness. And no, this is not my current election plan. Rob is in jail right now, so he's not likely to help. I do have Danger_Slater as my running mate, so . . .]

By John Bruni

It all started rather innocently. Rob and I sat on the couch, drinking Jim Beam and watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for the millionth time. We knew the movie back and forth, but that didn’t lessen our enjoyment. Still, we were bored as we usually were in those days.

Rob was the one who came up with the idea. I’d just downed my seventh shot and was settling back, enjoying my buzz. He said, “You know what we should do?”

About a thousand witty comments came to mind, but my mouth was less intelligent than my mind. Things just got lost in the translation. I fumbled some line about male hookers. I stuttered. It made no sense.

“No,” Rob said. “We should run for president.”

I laughed. “Yeah. Great idea.”

“I’m serious.” And he really did sound serious.

“How the hell are we going to pull that off?”

“Are we or are we not above the age of thirty-five?”

“We are.”

“Are we not citizens of America, having lived here for at least fourteen years and being born here?”

“We are.”

“Then we’re eligible.”

“We don’t have the kind of money it takes to campaign.”

“I got that figured out already. You sign up for the Democratic ticket, and I’ll go Republican. They’ll give us the money.”

“Wait, we’ll be running against each other?”

“Yeah! It’ll be fun! Think of all the debates we could have!”

“That would be pretty funny.”

“We could act like we’re getting really pissed off at each other, and we could stage a fist fight.”

“We’ll need to stock up on blood capsules.”

“That’s the spirit!”

“What happens if one of us actually wins?” I asked.

“Then the winner will make the loser his vice-president. Imagine the media backlash! That alone is worth the price of the ticket. And let us not forget the games we could play with the American people once we have the power to back them up.”

“Yeah. Remember the time Reagan joked about how we were going to bomb the Russians when he thought the mic was off?”

“Except we’d know the mic’s on. Imagine the havoc.”

I laughed as he took a shot of Beam. “Yeah, we could run for president. Or we could just go get a burger somewhere.”

“I’m serious. Look, the DNC’s in town in a month. We’ll get you nominated. I’ll make sure of it. Then you can return the favor for me at the RNC.”

“What if I want to be the Republican candidate?”

“No way. I got dibs on that.”

“Come on. It’s not as much fun, pretending to be a Democrat.”

“Sure it will be. Think of the fun we could have when it comes to the mudslinging part. We could set up some pictures of you soliciting prostitutes. You can get pictures of me with a goat. Then I’ll get pictures of you with a harem of dogs, and you can get one of me jerking off with a hamster.”

“Then, when you present pictures of me with a hollowed out pineapple and conjoined sextuplets, I’ll actually throw mud at you.”

“You’re a natural at this.” He grinned. “Of course in the face of such irrefutable evidence as undoctored photographs we must deny everything to the last drop.”

“Of course.”

“Do you have any love children?” Rob asked.

“Love children?”

“As in, children you had as the result of a secret affair?”

“I know what a love child is. And no, you know I don’t.”

“Then we’ll make some up. We’ll also need wives.”

“How are we going to get them?” I asked.

“Well, I’ll just get a girlfriend. We’ll have to buy a woman for you.”

“We can hardly afford a prostitute’s hourly rates,” I said, passing on his feeble attempt at humor. “Buying a wife could be a mite impractical.”

“Well, if we go to the ghetto we could get you a crack whore for a nickel.”

“Yeah, but she’ll always be asking for crack.”

“True.” He sighed. “Are mail order brides still a thing?”

“Sounds a bit like slavery. Probably not.”

“We’ll look into it, anyway.”

We lapsed into silence long enough to finish off the Beam. As Rob took down the last shot, he laughed. “I can’t wait for the convention. We’re going to kick so much ass.”

“Wait a minute. You’re not really serious about this, are you?”

“How many times do I have to say it? Yes, I’m serious.”

“Then we’d better figure out our policies.”

“Easy. We’ll run as extremists. Since I’m going to be Republican, I’ll pound the Bible and yap about prayer in school. I’ll protect big business interests and gun lobbyists. I’ll try to enact a law that will deport black people back to Africa.”

“You’re not really going to say that.”

“Yes, I am. I’m trying to be Republican, remember?”


“We’re playing a joke on America, get it? It’s just a joke. I’m not really going to make being black in America illegal.”

“A lot of rednecks are going to take you seriously.”

“That’s the point.”

“Okay, then how am I going to run?”

“Simple. You go against everything I say, except you also rail for women’s rights while sexually harassing them at the same time.”


“But don’t worry. In the end we’ll be the same because we’ll be solicited by big business. We’ll be representing their interests.”

I laughed. “Sounds accurate.”

“Don’t forget to talk about the children a lot. That’s very important.”


We watched the rest of the movie in silence. When the video was rewinding Rob said, “I’m hungry. Let’s get a taco.”

Ever appreciative of a Reservoir Dogs reference, I laughed, and we went to Taco Bell for food. And Mom, if you’re reading this, we hired a cab. Honest.


They wouldn’t let us in at the DNC. Regardless, there were way too many cops, and the place was filled beyond limit. Dejected, we shuffled off to a nearby park where we sat on a bench. Rob lit up a cigarette.

“So much for that idea,” I said.

“Yeah. Too bad. We could’ve had a lot of fun. I guess we’ll have to go independent.”

“You still want to run for president?”

“Hell yeah. Of course we’ll now have to run together, and our campaign will be serious, but once we get to the White House the real fun’ll—”

“How are we going to run without money?” I asked.

“Campaign donations from the simple folk, John. Our slogan: ‘Let’s Return America to a Simpler Time.’ It’ll be very grassroots with a lot of morals. People love that kind of nonsense.”

“You’re insane.”

He ignored me. “We’ll need gimmicks. Do you know where we can buy a midget? Like the one in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

“Buy a midget?”

“Are you kidding? Everyone loves midgets. There’s, like, a midget renaissance going on.”

Buy a midget?”

“Or maybe we should go the Bulworth route. We’ll get the wigger vote.”

“Oh, come on.”

“I understand monkeys are quite the fashion, so we’ll need a few of those, too.”


“Wipe that confused yet awed sheen from your face, chum. We’re politicians now.”


So we ran for president. Actually, Rob ran for president. I ran as his vice-president. There’s not much to say here, nothing humorous. We poured on the simpler time stuff pretty heavily, and people bought it hook, line, and sinker. I felt like a strange new breed of televangelist for taking their donations, but it went to a good cause: to satisfy our idle hands.

When we started to get national notice, the big businesses started making hefty donations. Naturally we cashed them but denied doing so in public. It was because of this money that we were able to pop full into the limelight, where we proved to be stronger than the Republicans and Democrats thought we were. Neither of their candidates wanted to take Rob’s offer of a debate (he desperately wanted to face off against the incumbent president). The majority of electoral votes went to us. The “simpler time” card really worked.


It all started falling apart with Rob’s inaugural speech. After giving his thanks to the nation, he said, “First and foremost, I’m going to see what I can do about eliminating the separation between church and state.”

Many started shouting angrily, but there were also a few cheers.

“From here on out,” he continued, “those who don’t believe in the one true Christian God will be executed without trial.”

More yelling came from the crowd, and I heard someone shout something about the Bill of Rights.

“Thanks for reminding me,” Rob said. “The Bill of Rights, considering how it was written more than two centuries ago, is now archaic and outdated. So we’ll be getting rid of that, too.”

If not for the police, already dressed in riot gear, I’m sure the audience would have charged the stage.

“We will also begin shipping black people back to Africa, as per the wishes of real Americans. Any black people wishing to stay may do so, but only as slaves.”

At that point the violence got to be too much, so the Secret Service hustled Rob off stage. While Rob was completely joking about all of that stuff, it’s worth noting that quite a few people cheered him on when he started talking about African Americans being shipped away. I guess we’re not all that far from the nineteenth century.

The next morning Rob resigned from office. This is a transcript of his farewell speech:

“Good morning, my fellow Americans. It is with tremendous grief that I must announce my resignation and ask for your forgiveness. Yesterday I played a most horrendous joke on the people of this great nation, and many took it seriously. I admit it was tasteless and wrong, and I apologize.

“This afternoon Vice-President John Bruni will be sworn in as your new leader. John has been kind enough to offer the office of the vice-presidency to me. I have graciously accepted it.

“Once again, I am perennially sorry for my flippant actions. Goodbye, and God bless America.”


I’m sure a lot of people would have been happy if not for my inaugural speech. After thanking everybody and pardoning Rob publicly, I presented my audience with my new idea.

“In the past half-year I’ve traveled all over this great country of ours. The most popular remark I heard was that, and I quote, ‘What this country needs is a good war,’ end-quote. To satisfy these people—and it is my job to make the people of America happy—I have decided to start a war. My aides have written out the names of every country in the world, and we’ve put them all in this top hat.” I showed them the hat. “Whichever name I pull out, we’ll bomb it.”

A murmur went through the crowd, and most people looked absolutely horrified as I reached into the hat. I plucked out a piece of paper and unfolded it. “And our new national arch enemy is . . . Alabama? Okay, who’s the joker?”

Some chuckles came from the audience, but most were still taking this seriously.

I threw the paper away and tried again. “This time, no fooling.” I unfolded the next piece of paper. “I think you’ll all like this one. Looks like we’re going back to Vietnam!”

The crowd went wild, not with joy, but with anger. I could tell Rob was trying desperately not to laugh when I did this.

“I knew you’d be up for it. Those bastards’ll never see us coming. It’s time to finish the job and set history straight. Bombing starts in twenty-four hours. Thank you, and God bless America.”

The resulting riot was quelled three hours later by the cops. The worries of the other nations, however, would go on for much longer. All night the White House phones rang off the hooks with calls from kings, presidents, and other heads of state from all over the world. China threatened to side with Vietnam, as did a number of other countries.

I tendered my resignation the next morning. This is the transcript:

“My fellow Americans, I am dreadfully sorry for the events of last night. To those who don’t believe I was joking, I present to you the fact that I, as president of the United States, could not force what I was talking about last night. That’s Congress’s job. The system of checks and balances prevents such injustices.

“It was a horrible joke, and I apologize profusely.

“Vice-President Robert Tannahill will be sworn in again at noon as your leader. He has been kind enough to ask me to stay on as his vice-president. I have accepted his offer.

“Again, I apologize. Thank you, and God bless America.”


I think by the time Rob was finished with his second inaugural address, people were starting to realize we were joking.

“I’d first like to apologize for John’s tasteless joke,” he said. “Now to new business. Instead of shipping black people back to Africa, we’ll be shipping all the white people back to Europe.”

There were some laughs, but the majority—now realizing what a joke we were—were not angry but disgusted.

“Oh come on,” Rob said. “I thought you’d be with me on this one. I can’t win with you fuckers, can I?”

Need I present a transcription of his resignation speech?


Very few people showed up for my second inaugural speech. That was too bad, considering how serious the speech was. I didn’t say one controversial thing. We’d decided to revert to our “return to a simpler America” deal.

Then I went on a world tour at the taxpayers’ expense. Honestly I was disappointed. The architecture is great in other countries, but you can’t find a decent cheeseburger outside the States.

By the time I’d returned our next scandal was well underway. Newspapers all over the country published pictures of me at an orgy, goat and all. The headlines proclaimed me a sex maniac with strange fetishes. Is this man a good role model for our children?

Naturally I resigned, bringing Rob back into the presidency. He played this inauguration straight, but not many people were there to notice.

The nation was sick and tired of us. They said we were making a mockery of America and sullying the good office of the US president. As if we were the first to be guilty of that.

They started shouting for impeachment. At this point we had to wonder, “What would Dick Nixon do?”

So we both resigned. I guess that wasn’t too bad. The joke was starting to get old, anyway.

Instead of writing our own farewell speech, we used Nixon’s. For a bit of fun we added at the end, “This is our last press conference. You won’t have us to kick around anymore.”

And that is the tale of the strangest presidency in the history of America.


A year later Rob and I sat on the couch, drinking Jim Beam, and watching Bloodsucking Freaks. Our shenanigans had long since been forgotten, and we no longer qualified as celebrities (despite the fact that Comedy Central bought the movie rights and aired the wretched product starring Adam Sandler as Rob and David Spade as me; no one watched it). We found ourselves bored once again with nothing better to do than drink and watch cult classics.

Suddenly Rob said, “You know what we should do?”

“Run for US president again?”

“No. We should start a religion.”

I laughed.

“What, you think I’m kidding?”