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Sunday, December 25, 2011



Meanwhile, in a basement in Wisconsin...

Okay, I need to know which one's supposed to represent the Virgin Mary...

Saturday, December 24, 2011



I'm currently at my mom's house for Christmas and I can't help but get a bit nostalgic for the days of my misspent youth whenever I stay in what used to be my room during those coming-of-age years. So without further ado, here's look at the converted garage that served as my room during my high school years, breaks from college, and the year and a half in which I attempted to eke out a freelance art living before moving out for good in early 1990 and making my home in New York City. The place was the site of several significant life events, but it is virtually unrecognizable now.

Where that lamp and bed are is where my desk/bookcase used to be. The walls used to be festooned with movie posters, comics in mylar bags, and several vintage PLAYBOY centerfolds some of the early-'80's most zaftig Playmates. All I have to say about that last element is Karen Price, Miss January 1981. Yowza!!!

The medieval torture implement that passes itself off as a foldout couch. Quite far removed from the extremely comfortable frameless double-mattresses I slept on in here three decades ago. When I come home for visits, the morning after the first night I sleep on this fucking thing invariably results in an agonized lower spine.

All that remains of what was once a massive media library that I maintained from August of 1980 through when I moved out for good in early 1990. The bookcase/desk has been in my possession since 1973 and was great for storing comics and books. (The chair that came with it fell apart some twenty years back.)

The lowest point of the double door on the high wall is about eight or nine feet up from the floor, high enough to thwart my mother's snooping during my coming-of-age years. I'm not certain but I think there's still a suitcase up there that contains a couple of homemade bongs and water pipes. If it's still up there, that suitcase has not seen the light of day since the infamous "Weedfest" of the Summer of 1989.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Last night I went to the John Waters Christmas show at B.B. Kings, and it was fucking hilarious. (I hope it was videotaped for home video posterity.) My friend Lexi and her sister, Ginna, took me and we had VIP seats that included a meet and greet with the Master, so during the show's Q&A section I got to tell him a couple of good ones about some memorable experiences with watching his movies. After the show, at the meet and greet, I was first on line and Waters actually recognized me from the several times I've seen him at NYC signings.

Anyway, it's always a good thing when you can give your favorite living director and major influence on your worldview a Christmas present. He collects books on all manner of horrible things, so I gave him my copy of They Lived on Human Flesh, the exploitative bus station bookshop ripoff of Alive — the infamous true story of the Uruguayan football team that crash-landed in the Andes and survived by resorting to cannibalism — and he was delighted to get it because he didn't have it. He was especially pleased that it has pictures!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Those of you who read my story from a week ago, the one about me being the victim of a so-called "sociological experiment," will be interested to know that the blog FUCKED IN PARK SLOPE posted a piece on that event's filming — the all-day process, not my specific moment — and it answers a number of questions as well as shedding some light onto just how shabby the production treated some of the neighborhood's locals. And remember how they paid me $300 for my mental/emotional anguish? According to the FUCKED IN PARK SLOPE article's feedback section, one of the victim's in this thing was only paid $50, while the article mentions some of the scammed receiving nothing and not even being told that they were being fucked with. And there's more, particularly the final outcome of all the misery inflicted upon the unsuspecting public, so go here to read it all for yourself.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Today marks the seventieth anniversary of the release if THE WOLF MAN, perhaps the seminal werewolf film and the movie from which most of the general public's knowledge of lupine lycanthropes is garnered. One of the very best of Universal's classic cycle of horror films from the 1930's and 1940's, this tale of one innocent man's horrifying curse still has considerable tragic power despite its age and the changing styles and tastes in filmmaking. If you've never seen it, you owe it to your film education to check it out immediately. Here's the trailer:

Friday, December 09, 2011


Holy fuckballs, what a story I have for you…

As regular readers of this blog are aware, I have been unemployed for going on two years, and my unemployment benefits ran out on the day before Thanksgiving. Since then I’ve hustled and brooded and been a nervous, despairing wreck, wondering about what fate has in store for me, especially when considering my very limited financial resources. In short: I’m forty-six, jobless, living in New York City (specifically in Brooklyn’s Park Slope), and nothing is happening in terms of a bright light on the job horizon.

On Friday afternoon I received one of the freelance checks I’d been expecting and in no time at all most of it was spent on my rent and the bills that have been gathering moss, so, with weary heart, I went to the local supermarkets to pick up the fixings for a sandwich that would approximate the outstanding sausage and peppers delight I’d experienced just one day previous. (There’s no companionship or sex going on in my life at the moment thanks to there being no merry and horny female present, comic books have lately been mostly an enormous disappointment, there have been no movies that pique my interest, so I’ve occasionally been taking meager comfort in food.) I first stopped at the Key Food on 5th Avenue, the one just a stone’s throw from Flatbush Avenue, and snagged some of their excellent sweet Italian sausages, after which I walked up the street to the Associated market located around the corner from my humble abode to pick up the rest of what I needed.

Upon wandering the store’s aisles, zombie-like, I got on line at the checkout counter and found myself directly behind some random guy and a woman who was annoyingly holding up the proceedings by trying to explain to the cashier that two of the four items she’d brought up were not the right ones on the sales circular, so she wanted to replace them. She explained this to the cashier in the most convoluted and time-consuming manner humanly possible, and myself and the guy in front of me were both about ready to pull our hair out as this decidedly one-sided exchange dragged on. “Great,” I thought to myself, “not only am I about to spend most of the last of my pitiful funds, I have to wait behind this walking annoyance while doing so.” Presently, one of the store’s employees came over to me and steered me off of the non-moving line and had me stand at the far checkout aisle, right behind two mothers with strollers who were unloading enough food onto the counter to feed all of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. That line was clearly not going to move either, so the staffer apologized for taking me off of my first position and promptly steered me back to where I was in the first place, and in the maybe twenty seconds that elapsed between my shifts in lines, three more people had gotten on line in front of me. So there I was, stuck with a choice of two lines, neither of which was making any kind of progress.

While stuck on line behind the lady who wanted to exchange her items that were not on the sales circular, my eyes began to glaze over and my mind focused on just how my life had suffered a slow and depressing reversal of fortune from the time when I first hit NYC as a wide-eyed college grad who’d landed a job at Marvel Comics — a dream job to one of my geekish ilk — through my being let go from that job thanks to the company’s Chapter 11 woes, on to my time at DC/Vertigo and the mishegoss endured there, followed by two years of unemployment before working at the barbecue joint and dealing with that place’s attendant issues, finally arriving at the dead end of my largely worthless job at the design ‘ho house and my subsequent unemployment in the wake of what was at the time its latest wave of brutal layoffs. I pondered how it could possibly be nearly two years — TWO YEARS — since that layoff and how my life had just lurched along as a shabby going-through-the-motions existence, and the more I considered all of that, the more morose and fed up with life I became.

Suddenly my death march down the dark corridor of memory was interrupted by a frantic-looking guy bearing a bottle of seltzer, and he looked at me with an expression of earnest need plastered across his face. He sheepishly said, “I’m sorry to be ‘that guy’ but can I please go ahead of you? I just have this one item…” After enduring the long lines and annoyance, I was irritated by his request, but I remembered the lessons learned as a wee lad at my mother’s side during many excursions to the market, and she always let people in this guy’s situation go ahead of her, simply because it was the polite and kind thing to do. A simple act of courtesy and kindness in this miserable world keeps us all civilized and all that, right? So I let the guy go ahead of me, for which he offered profuse thanks.

Then, as his one item was rung up, an alarm went off, a loud popping noise was heard (like a champagne cork) and the air around us was filled with balloons. Just as abruptly, the manager’s office door burst open and out flew a video cameraman, a crew member wielding a mike on a short boom, and a guy bearing one of those enormous simulated checks as seen in sweepstakes ads on TV and in magazines. Then a large, glad-handing guy breezed over and directly addressed the seltzer guy with, “Congratulations, sir! You are this store’s one-millionth customer…and you have just won FIFTY-THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!”

(pause for you to process this)

Yes, you read that right. The guy I had let cut the line in front of me with one measly item had just won FIFTY FUCKING GRAND, all because of my act of simple courtesy.

As the celebratory atmosphere began to spread and the sweepstakes officials shook the winner’s hand, the enormity of what happened poked me in the frontal lobe like a solid redwood truncheon. The understandably surprised winner reacted with “Awesome!!!” and welcomed the camera crew and sundry others with open arms.

The other shoppers who’d been on line behind me, some of whom were recognizable neighborhood locals and neighbors from the building next door to mine, at first stood there just as gobsmacked as I was, but they recovered more swiftly than I and began shouting statements along the lines of, “Oh, HELL no! That guy (indicating me) let the dude with the soda go in front of him, so he’s the real winner! This isn’t right!!!” As it all sank in, I said aloud, “This is a joke, right? Seriously, this has to be a joke…please tell me this is a joke…” My words were utterly ignored as the prize people began to usher the winner away for a photo op but before they could full get away, I centered myself and, with no yelling or cursing, announced to the camera in my most stentorian and serious voice, “People, here you see a prime example of exactly why being polite and considerate of others is pointless. I let this guy go ahead of me with his one item and now he’s fifty thousand dollars richer. I’m unemployed and struggling and I get zero. That it. I’m out!”

That only served to fan the flames of the onlookers’ outrage and they began hurling verbal abuse at the store’s manager, while I, feeling a galaxy-wide sense of complete and utter defeat, just waited for my groceries to be rung up. The cashier, who’s served me for years, saw how crushed I was and, looking like she was about to be physically ill, asked me “Are you okay?” to which I responded with “No, I’m most definitely not okay. I just want to take my groceries and go home…” That was certainly true. If I didn’t leave right then, I would have likely smashed my head repeatedly against the nearest wall in an expression of cosmic frustration. More shoppers came over and offered to tell the manager that the seltzer guy only won because I let him cut in front of me, but I had said my piece and was resigned to the simple fact that I had once again lost in the game of life and that again I’d unwittingly been drafted as a source of amusement for whatever cruel gods there may be.

Then a woman walked over and stated she’d witnessed what had happened and that she would try and have words with the manager and try to make things right, but again I stated my desperate desire to simply leave this death camp of my own personal existential mockery. She let that thought hang for a moment and then stated that I’d just been part of a taped “social experiment” and that her crew would pay for my groceries and hand me three-hundred dollars cash up front, so would I please step over here to sign some release forms?

Double-stunned, I followed her to the secluded aisle in back of the manager’s office and watched through what seemed to be someone else’s perception as she reached into her coat and produced a manila envelope positively bursting with crisp fifties. She counted out the aforementioned three hundred bucks and handed it to me, after which she asked me a number of questions as I filled out a release form and gave her my full contact information. “Well, we certainly didn’t expect the reaction we got of you,” she stated. “Were you angry as it was all happening?” I looked her square in the face and told her, “Lady, every word I said back there was true. I am unemployed, so when a guy I’d let go in front of me wins fifty G’s, you bet your sweet ass I was angry! I wanted to leave before I tore his fucking head off!!!” She laughed at that and then had me pose for two head shots, holding a piece of paper with my name written on it in strong-smelling marker and standing directly in front of the stacked maxi-pad display. She also made it clear that they needed all of my contact info in case they decided to use my footage for their show, in which case I will be paid at a professional actor’s rate. As we parted, she asked me not to talk to anyone local about all of this since they planned to spring the setup on other unsuspecting shoppers over what remained of the day. (I stuck to not posting about it until the market’s closing time, after which I felt it was kosher. Plus, I very much doubt they’d pull the same move in the same place the following day, so there you go.)

As I gathered my groceries, the staff of the market all came over and laughed as they apologized for setting up one of their regular customers, but I had free groceries and three-hundred bucks in hand, so I was far from mad any more. Then the seltzer guy came over, hugged me, and wished me the best, also stating that he hoped they used my footage because of the unexpected nature of my response. (I’m betting they expected the big, leather-clad black guy to flip out and act the fool in a stereotypical display of the kind of ghetto histrionics that appall/delight viewers, but what they got was obviously something they did not expect at all.) When I walked out, I ran into the film crew and they laughed their asses off as they high-fived me.

It wasn’t until I returned to my apartment that I remembered seeing notices up around the Associated yesterday, notices warning people not to park in front of the place because there was to be a film shoot there the following day. I didn’t pay much attention to them yesterday because the neighborhood is constantly the site of independent film shoots, Hollywood shoots, and frequent episodes of LAW & ORDER: SVU, and as a result of all of that I never give such notices a second thought, so I was the perfect mark for the show’s purposes.

Still quite stunned, I called a few friends and related this story, much to their amazement, and my old friend Jim Browski clued me in to the fact that the show in question is most probably something called WHAT WOULD YOU DO?, a reality show that places unsuspecting citizens in trying situations and lets the camera roll to see how they handle whatever predicament they find themselves in. I don’t have cable, so I’d never heard of the show, but I assure you I’ll let you all know if they decide to air this lunacy.

Friday, December 02, 2011


The mountain man — or would that be "mountin' man?" — who became the bane of Ned Beatty's existence.

The mere mention of Bill McKinney's all-too-memorable performance in DELIVERANCE (1972) is enough to instantly send mens' butt-cheeks a-clenching, so I'll just leave it at that...

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Yes, dear Vaulties, it's that time of year again and another Christmas CD has been concocted to counteract the annual force-feeding of treacly yuletide ditties that send me into a murderous state of apoplexy. The lineup hasn't changed much over the past couple of Christmas seasons, largely due to me not having found any new entries that really got me going, but many of the old perennials deservedly remain. In case you want to track all this stuff down online and download them for yourself, here are this year's selections:

Santa Says... -Spine Punch
Christmas Is A-Comin'- The Shitbirds
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town-John Spence
Frosty The Dope Man-Knock Out
We Wish You a Hump At Christmas-Ron and the Rude Boys (a very filthy bunch of Brits)
Lick My Balls-Dirty Christmas Project A Drunk And Horribly Inappropriate Christmas
Merry F'n Christmas-Denis Leary
Feliz Navidad-Christmas With Beer
Don't Mess With My Tequila-Backstreet Girls
My Mother Gave Me A Gun For Christmas (Waltz Version)-Pork Dukes
Jack Shit- John Valby
A Wee Little Christmas Ditty-Drunken Stupor (this is the one about drunk driving)
A Christmas Warning-El Privates (in which women are considerately advised to expect getting raped this holiday season...?!!?)
Can I Please Crawl Down To Your Chimney?-Kenne Highland & His Vatican Sex Kittens
Homo Christmas-Pansy Division (exactly what it sounds like and catchy as hell)
Tiny Tim's Revenge-Knock Out Christmas
Christmas is a Pain in the Arse-The Accelerators
Deck The Halls-The Kickin' Kazoos (an incredibly annoying all-kazoo rendition)
Fuck You Santa Claus (Eat Shit Santa Claus)-Filthy Elvis
You Ain't Gettin' S*** For Christmas -Red Peters
We Wish You A Merry Christmas-Aaron Tucker (as Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Christmas When You're Dead -Ralph Sinatra (sung from the POV of Frank Sinatra's corpse)
I'll Be Stoned For Christmas-John Valby (perhaps the most honest Christmas song ever recorded)
Daddy Drank Our Christmas Money-TVTV$ (yes, the dollar sign is supposed to be there)
A Merry Jingle-The Greedies
Merry Fucking Christmas-Mr. Garrison
Meth Lab Christmas-Acoustic Front
Anal Beads-Dirty Christmas Project (the gayest version of "Jingle Bells" imaginable)
Christmas With Bazooka Joe-The Fleshtones (this one gets extra points for originality/incongruity)
The Most Wonderful Time in your Rear-Dirty Christmas Project
Feck Off You Drunken Gentleman -Ron and the Rude Boys
Stomping Through A Pillaged Wonderland-Vykyng
Death to the World-Mike Puccio (from the album "Zombie Christmas")
Fuck Christmas-Eric Idle
Donny the Retard-Larry The Cable Guy