Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Toni, Daryl & Me

January 26, 2012: I'm sick, so it's not going to be easy making you laugh. But my ongoing codependent sense of emotional obligation to you -- my loyal Blah-ugh! readers -- impels me to force myself to get some crap up on this stupid site, on the outside chance that you -- the loyal idiot -- will garner some feeling solace from the inane ramblings of this defective raconteur. (Did I mention SPACE CASE yet? Well, I will ... and soon ...)

So, failing to generate my usual helping of trying wit and vaguely insightful kah-kah, I thought it a good time to wax sentimental and share some of those dear and delightful childish memories -- in particular, those relating to two of my all-time favorites entertainers -- The Captain & Tennille!

Yes, I had a great love of that wonderful duet, which broke open the '70s with their Neil Sedaka standard "Love Will Keep Us Together." I owned their first three albums -- I still have them, in fact, with their second -- "Song of Joy" -- my personal favorite. (The tropical melancholia of "Lonely Nights" is still a favorite feeling felt, and their version of Smokey Robinson's "Shop Around" is grand and catchy.)

I remember reading all about the Captain & Tennille, and I can still recall some key details of their lives -- for instance, they supposedly married for convenience's sake, owing to the great amount of time they spent together on the road. (Now, that always confused ME, and hopefully now it'll confuse you, too!) The Captain -- whose real name is Daryl Dragon -- surely one of the best nonfictional names ever -- wore sunglasses for a congenital eye condition. (And I always knew that fact after having read it, but I'm STILL not clear exactly what that means; I know he had big, dark, rather spooky eyes, and looked kind of like a fruit bat when he wasn't wearing his sunglasses.)

(Point of fact, or so I'd heard: Dragon -- apparently a somewhat gifted and busy studio keyboardist in his day -- is credited with that awesome organ solo in the Beach Boys' standard "Surfin' USA.")

I joined the Captain & Tennille Fan Club around that time as well, (although I think membership was merely the result of a lengthy lugubrious letter I wrote them). I remember how exciting it was to receive the light blue tri-folded newsletter with their funky pop-art logo in the corner, telling all about their latest happenings, etc.

I remember they were on the cover of a new magazine called "People" -- him in that awesome captain's hat (sans glasses, if I remember correctly) and gorgeous, tall Toni, with her straight-bang, honey-colored '70s hair and those enormous white corn-fed teeth -- the quintessence of beauty in 1976. (I may still even have my copy somewhere.)

And then, imagine my breathtaking thrill when I learned they were starting their own variety show! I think it was on ABC, and I remember the intense anticipation I experienced waiting for that premiere ... And I watched each episode with joy and relish until it was unceremoniously yanked from the air after one season or so. I can still vividly recall some of the songs they played "live," including numbers with Toni's two southern sisters. ("My Boyfriend's Back" stands out, along with the animated -- rather Muppet-ated -- "video" for the immortal "Muskrat Love."

As you might imagine -- assuming you're imagining any of this -- I wanted nothing more than to have my own captain's hat. At that time, for me, that was the absolute pinnacle of cool, and I craved to have my shakey, pre-teen identity completed with my very own seaman's chapeau. (Sadly, I was always too embarrassed to ask for one from my parents, and so never realized that dream. Perhaps I'll amend that one day soon, if I can figure out where they're still sold, and whether my awful receding hairline and flash-frozen grey color have enough cool left to support such a grand hat.)

Of course, I harbored still more intense feelings and frustrating dreams dependent on the possibilities of Toni finally coming to her senses and acknowledging that marrying Dragon was a mistake. A much younger man, she'd have to know, would make a much better catch, and I was all too eager and ready to take over the helm of that ship.

Yes, I loved the Captain & Tennille (and always will, despite how disturbingly old they look on their current web site). Things never worked out between Toni and me, of course, but the three of us remain permanently linked -- forever young -- in the grotesque yet gossamer halls of my deranged memory ...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nothing New to Spew Under the Sun

January 22, 2012: Short of reminding you that my new e-novel Space Case remains on sale for an unlimited time -- (that story about the alien who finds himself entangled in a dysfunctional relationship with a busybody) -- I don't really have anything new to tell you ... Which is why it's so important I get this entry up and running For Your Information (or, FYI, for those of you in a rush) ...

You see, I'm acutely aware right now of how little any of us have to say that's of any worth. (YOU didn't make me realize this, of course, so don't feel paranoid; it was everyone else!) It suddenly strikes me as absolutely remarkable how, in this unfettered age of communication, where every possible opportunity to express ideas is literally budding from our virtual fingertips, there exists an astounding void of fodder worth formulating, let alone consuming.

The reason is simple -- There never was that much worth consuming to begin with! I finally realized that, here in the so-called Twenty-First Century (and we all know perfectly well it's really the Twenty-Second Century, even though I can't prove that because I sat on my calculator) we're more convinced than ever that there is a "wealth" of new and ever-newer info, facts, data, stories, ideas, opinions, observations and recollections that simply must be recorded, repeated, related and recounted ... But there isn't!

Like most things that fool us, it's an illusion of relativity. Hundreds of years ago -- pick a number, for it's relative anyway -- most everyone's time was taken up in a simple life of actions, spared long spells of trivia consumption and art for the sake of personal distraction. There was much more "living" going on, meaning people by-and-large had the opportunity to stay centered on whatever it was they were really doing -- to be "present" -- and objective intellectual experiences -- reading a book, watching a play, or hearing some gossip, for instance -- were confined to limited moments of novel recreation, which kept it all in its' meaningless place.

People can blame the creation of "leisure time" for the change, wherein more chances to watch, read and relate without participation came about, but I think it's more about the ongoing belief -- for we continue to suffer from it more and more -- that there is an ever-growing amount of things, ideas, etc., that need to be examined, that there are new ideas and new creations coming about vital to our heads ... But of course there aren't! That's the myth, the mistake ...

Modern people grow continually more worried that they'll miss something. New shows, trends, television, Youtube videos, articles, etc., are created and speeding by with such flustering bluster (or is it blustering fluster?), it's a wonder any of us get up and go to work at all. (I, actually, don't, but I'm using that figuratively.) Sadly, we're continually picking through the sparse, dry bones of a kind of cultural/social/intellectual roadkill, like unsatisfied crows, vainly hoping there'll be some stuff worth consuming. And I don't even think any of us are even hungry for anything, really, but driven by some vague fear that we're going to miss the boat if we stop or slow down.

Of course, there are -- always will be -- items, songs, stories, shows, sentences, scenarios -- worth our time -- ones which lend value to our state of being and provide us with an authentic nurturing. (This Blah-ugh! unfortunately isn't one of them, but that's not the point.) The difference is, somehow today in the Twenty-Third century, our ability to discern that value has been perhaps irreparably thwarted by a society replete with people who think they're artists, writers, poets -- idea people with anything new to say -- and there is little left to say that hasn't been said, and still fewer ways to say it with any interesting panache ... and yet everyone keeps shouting and writing and singing out ... Where do we stop? Where do we go? The question becomes, Do I need to know it, hear it, see it, read it ... and remark on it? Why shouldn't I just reread my Bradbury, Dickens and Kerouac, and rewatch my Lucy, Honeymooners, and Muppets?!

Not that they (we) are not entitled to keep shouting it out from the loudspeaker (or Internet) -- my god, if anyone was ever in favor of large bodies of our pliable citizenry shouting loudly and incoherently, it would have to be me! It's just that I don't want anyone thinking there's any pressing need to listen to any of us, any of it (excepting, of course, Space Case, which is available at Amazon and B&N) ... It's all just trivial poo-poo, and the presidents will keep coming and going, and the economy will ebb and flow, and actors will do good and bad, and styles will change and repeat, and confessions will be written and rereleased with different names, and songs will be sung and stung, and the same chords will be used over and over ...

But don't waste your time worrying about hearing them, seeing them, analyzing them, experiencing them ... It's all been done before, and odds are there really isn't much to be added to your mind, reality and emotional well-being ...

And that's why I felt it was so vital to get this Blah-ugh! entry up and active -- so you'd know enough not to bother reading the next one I write ...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Praising Kevin Spacey ... and E.J. (Whoever HE is!)

January 15, 2012: I'd always loved Kevin Spacey -- that is, I was scared of him and thought that, perhaps if I became a fan, he'd leave me alone. But that all changed after seeing him do his Al Pacino impersonation at an event several years back -- (one of those astutely meaningless praise parties, in which an entertainer is hailed as a hero for his contributions to civilization, which in Pacino's case included birthing children after 60.) That's when Spacey won my heart.

Subsequently, I came to see his versatility -- and great humor -- in several different films. Who would have thought that this dangerous little man who seemed so demented in "Seven," would turn out to be a veritable cheer-pot of good giggles and positive tidings, or so I now like to think. Ultimately, it probably doesn't matter how evil he may really be in his heart, because I'm simply delighted to count him among my many loyal Blah-ugh! fans. (And YOU TOO, assuming you're reading this, and not just PRETENDING to read it so you'll be popular.) A great man, I tell you, is this Mr. Spacey, and his patronage is an affirmation of his good taste, if not his balanced temperament. Kudos, Mr. Spacey -- Kevin -- Kev ... K.S. ... Kissyface! ... Kudos, I say ...

And E.J. What else can we say about you? Nothing. You've had more than your share of attention, so stop pestering me and let Kevin have HIS moment in the sun ...

On another note, I'm beginning to suspect not everyone is being honest with me about their purchasing of SPACE CASE (my new humorous literary sci-fi ebook, available at Amazon and B&N). My numbers aren't reflecting the alleged enthusiasm of the horde, which once again thinks it can pull the wool over my eyes, like it did with that Kennedy assassination business. One woman told me her dog damaged her Kindle during some unnatural act, prohibiting her purchase. Another man claimed Jesus himself actually forbid him from buying SPACE CASE once he learned it was $2.99, which he said was a satanic price, given there were two typos. (If you find them, BTW, I'll send you an autographed picture of me and Kevin Spacey (although he's actually drawn in with a Sharpie marker).)

This, in turn, leads to a question I'm being asked quite a bit at this point -- namely, Who do I see playing Wendy and Rex in the movie version? I'd be lying if I said I hadn't given this a great deal of thought (for I'm prone to both success and self-pleasure fantasies). Still, I haven't settled on any one actor for each role, and I like the idea of keeping my options open. (Like Pacino.) I do know this, however -- if Kevin wants the part of Wendy OR Rex, it's his without auditioning. And if he'd prefer I change the title to SPACEY CASE, so be it.

Pacino, on the other hand, can have the part of the Visnodian chamber leader for the asking, and I'm hoping E.J. will consider a cameo as the 80-year-old incontinent mute gardener.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jarret's Top 40

January 11, 2012: Before anything else, let me note that a magazine called Fray finally put their Issue #3 online, including the link to one of my essays -- -- for those of you who love my work, me, or just real-life stories about dead people and the examination of their innards, check it out … (And Yes, Space Case is still for sale … But for how long? Perhaps you’d better act fast! …)

Now to today’s Blah-ugh! …

A recent discussion plan with a friend of mine—at least I think he’s a friend; who really knows nowadays!—involved doing a list of our top 20 favorite songs. I’d been working hard at it, but then I thought, if I’m going to write all my reasoning out and share my innermost musical thoughts, why just share it with him? (After all, what’s he done for me lately?)

So here it is! My top 40! (Did I say it was 20? Yes. Yes, it was, but as I hashed and rehashed this eclectic selection of stuff I love, I couldn’t help but tag on the next 20 in line, for your information, and mine, and yours, too. (Did I mention you?) I should probably acknowledge the writers in many of these cases, but I’m too lazy and I’m sure most of you don’t care anyway, so let’s just pretend the singers themselves wrote most of them …

#40 “Maggie May” (Rod Stewart): Vintage Rod, and a lovely distinct arrangement. (I don’t care what those rumors were!)

#39 “Make Your Own Kind of Music” (Mama Cass Elliott): Beautiful, magical words, and the awesome voice of one of history great fatso’s.

#38 “Tell Mama” (Janis Joplin): I’m not sure what you call this—blues, speed jazz, or just rock—but it’s an amazing experience to listen to it. Janis just goes, with a beat that demands response. She is Mama!

#37 “Sleigh Ride” (various versions, but esp. The Ronettes): It just makes you wish you had a horse, or at least knew somebody with a horse who you knew wouldn’t be home one weekend when it snowed.

#36 “Hello Trouble” (Buck Owens): So many great Buck songs, but this epitomizes his innocent, carefree character and that beautiful Bakersfield beat. (Remember Hee-Haw BTW? What a shitty show!)

#35 “I’ll Come Running Back to You” (Sam Cooke): And as many Sam Cooke songs as I love, this one hypnotizes me across the board. Dig the smooth snare drum, and classic Inkspot-esque backing vocals. (Love those Inkspots!)

#34 “Fixing A Hole” (Beatles): Ah, Paul, you are a genius after all. It took me way too long to realize it. And I could have put “Live and Let Die” here, or “Hey Jude,” but I often find myself unable to stop singing this impulsive tune.

#33 “Neal & Jack & Me” (King Crimson): A beautiful homage to Kerouac and Cassidy, but even better as just an exciting piece of music by a band of truly brilliant musicians.

#32 “She Said, She Said” (Beatles): A lesser-known gem that will always mean the world to me—ironically, probably much more than it ever meant to the Beatles!

#31 “Heroes & Villains” (Beach Boys): Through this song I came to appreciate the genius of Brian Wilson and the brilliance of the Beach Boys’ music.

#30 “Best of Both Worlds” (Lulu): This song takes my breath away … but part of that may just be that I’m a neurotic.

#29 “Wasn’t Born to Follow” (The Byrds): Regular Blah-ugh! readers will recall my love of this tune, and the previously written explanation thereof. (See past Blah-ugh! … and buy Space Case at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.)

#28 “Norwegian Wood” (Beatles): The first chord, first two notes, and John’s voice are beyond description … If you’ve never appreciated the Beatles—I’m talking to you, you fool! —this would have to change your mind!

#27 “Find A River” (R.E.M.): And if you never liked R.E.M. because you suspected Michael Stipe was gay (and it turns out you were right), this song might change your outlook (about R.E.M., but not necessarily the homosexual).

#26 “Mr. Tambourine Man” (both Dylan’s and The Byrds’): So many reasons …

#25 “Surf’s Up” (Beach Boys): This had long been the song I wanted played at my funeral, assuming we could get the rights. Some of the vocal moments just captivate me, and Van Dyke Parks’ offbeat lyrics are a thing after my heart.

#24 “True Grit” (Glen Campbell): I adore Glen Campbell’s voice, as do I love the arrangements he profited by from Al DeLory. This song—short and sweet—has it all.

#23 “I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time” (The Andrew Sisters): I must have served another life in the 1940s, where I walked safe and innocent springtime streets and heard music like this on the radio … I love the Andrew Sisters!

#22 “Shayla” (Blondie): Close to “Union City Blue,” and the “Eat to the Beat” album, this song just blows me away with an ability to create/capture a moment—some unexplainable feeling I know so well, linked with some memories that may not even be mine and yet are so familiar and important … which is what a great song—a work of art—should do. Chris Stein is an unsung hero.

#21 “Help!” (Beatles): If you’ve never watched the first four minutes of the film “Help!” you really have to, for the classic black-and-white cut of the Beatles doing this makes the song even that much better …

#20—“O Holy Night” (Celine Dion version): The sounds this woman makes singing this song could almost turn me from a mild sinner into a veritable saint. She holds the powerful notes at the end so long, I lose touch that it’s a human voice and not some instrument being played. This is what Christmas should be about—awesome sincere sentimental music (and scented candles and fires and eggnog … ) not all this mumbo-jumbo about Jesus!

#19—“Girl Don’t Tell Me” (Beach Boys): God, I love this song. It’s so simple and somehow feels absolutely “male” to me. Carl Wilson’s voice is just so special in this—that grand California accent, and the casual, sad resolve of these particular vocals—his voice starting so low in the first lines—almost disappearing … My god, the first 5 seconds of this song—the first line—is as special to me as anything ever recorded! Add to this the chorus-affected chords of the lead guitar in the second bridge (which I think were actually played by Glen Campbell in the studio), and the raining, panting drive of the acoustic rhythm guitar throughout … And bells, of all things, toning intermittently … Thank heaven for the Beach Boys and the Wilson brothers.

#18—“Won’t You Try Saturday Afternoon” (Jefferson Airplane): O to be in Frisco … This song takes me right back to those righteous sunlit afternoons in Golden Gate Park circa ’66, and I wasn’t even there! But this is like a rare photograph or historic document, despite the natural spontaneous sloppiness – my God, Paul Kantner even indicates this was practically an outtake in the middle of the song when he says, “Keep going.” I’m so glad they did!

#17—“Peace Frog / Blue Sunday” (The Doors): I had to put in something from my 3rd favorite group of all time. This tune is masterful from the get-go—guitar, bass organ, drums … And those lovely lyrics, coupled with everything else, invoke the holy magic of Jim Morrison and his L.A. On the L.P. (Morrison Hotel) the song drops into “Blue Sunday,” and that’s a magnificent holy sedative to the manic buzz of the former.

#16—“Gentle On My Mind” (John Hartford): This is a quintessential “standard,” and though John’s no singer, his will always be the best version. What a feeling this song has—that country movement; while the Bakersfield sound might make you feel like you’re riding on a train, this is like speeding along in a car down a country road.

#15—“That’s the Way” (Led Zeppelin): Man, this song just wrenches my heart about with its sad, bluesy lyrics and tired, almost struggling, rhythm guitar. Again, a song that not only evokes moods and memories for me, but somehow implants them, like that company in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Total Recall.” This demonstrates why Zeppelin was so much more than just a hard rock band, and how authentic they were compared to the thousand faux bands that tried to follow them.

#14—“See Emily Play” (Pink Floyd): O so wonderful, so off and so different. This feels like—captures—the kind of hallucinogenic experiences I used to have in my younger and more dilapidated days. I can’t even analyze it all. I’m just grateful it exists, and that Syd Barrett managed to get some incredible things together before he dissipated. Wow!

#13—“God Only Knows” (Beach Boys): Everyone who knows this song is probably wondering why it isn’t higher still. I believe I’ve written about it in this Blah-ugh! before in detail, highlighting the end round, the clip-clop & sleigh bell percussion, the French horn … Oh, I could go on. I think Brian said it best when I saw him in concert years ago, and he said in that half-retarded voice of his, “God wrote this song!”

#12—“Midnight Rider” (Allman Brothers): Again, regular Blah-ugh! readers (meaning you, E.J.) will know my feelings here … And as I’ve already gone on for thousands of words (too few of which have referenced buying my new ebook Space Case), I’ll let you go back and figure it out for yourself … The way E.J. had to!

#11—“Lodi” (Creedence Clearwater Revival, a.k.a. John Fogerty): The many hours of joy CCR has given me can’t even begin to be reported here, but this song easily tops them all. The melancholy lyrics—and, Boy, do I love my melancholy music! (if you haven’t noticed up til now)—and John’s sweet, sad country gospel voice … And when the whole key goes up a step for the last verse, it’s just perfect. John also manages to put his Gretsch guitar through the exactly right pedal and amp to make that unique magical CCR sound. As my friend Kristine Newman once said about this song, “It just says it all.”

#10—“Moonlight Serenade” (Glenn Miller): I’ve always adored Big Band music, but this one just takes me out among the stars. I pity anyone who can’t listen to a song like this and just be melted by the clarinets and muted brass. What a ridiculously evocative sound, and just the sweetest moving tune … Beyond that, I have some lovely associations with this song—a retro-band playing it by request for my baby son on the Fairfield village green one summer evening … Just the purest magic! …

#9—“Sitting Still” (R.E.M.): I have to put this here, for all that R.E.M. means to me, especially this very early ditty, which captures their awesome jangly brand of country rock. One of the most all-encompassing musical association experiences I’ve ever had was my friend Tom H. and I driving south some spring in the late 80s (including a night in Athens, Georgia), and listening to the “Murmur” and “Reckoning” albums over and over again on cassette tape (having never even heard R.E.M. before this trip) and simply forming a mysterious, deep connection between those songs and the south itself.

#8—“To Sir, With Love” (Lulu): I want to say that if you’ve heard it, you have to already get it (but I’m not sure I can entirely trust you!) … It’s all Lulu, of course, but she did several versions in 1967, and they get better and better. The movie versions are the ultimate, and I have one from the soundtrack that includes all three verses and opens with the timpani & rimshots, which is penultimate. Of course, the single version offers those incredible violins, which seem to somehow operate at another gut-wrenching tempo, yet still keep it together … And above all, I can’t separate this from the movie, which is among my top 10 favorite films.

#7—“Going To California” (Led Zeppelin): Containing my second all-time favorite song lyric—“Trying to find a woman who’s never, never, never been born”—this tribute to Joni Mitchell is amazing. (In fact, it’s so amazing I won’t try to tell you … in part because you never believe anything I say anyway!) Again, what a grand group!

#6—“Strawberry Fields” (The Beatles): The opening mellotron is, for me, really the best bit of instrumental music EVER RECORDED. And the mysterious world they created—a bit removed from Pink Floyd, but no less important, inviting and magical … Just too wonderful for words … And ironically, I really don’t like the classic ending with the return, with the train sound; I think they should have ended it, and we wouldn’t have had all that silliness about the “I buried Paul” line … (and I don’t care how often they’ve denied it—He f***ing said it and meant it!)

#5—“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” (The Beach Boys, a.k.a. Brian Wilson): This song is especially special to me because I do want it played at my funeral (sometime waaaay in the future). I so completely identify with the lyrics, and while it’s got a portion of self-pity and, perhaps, over-self-importance, I don’t care—it’s one of those amazing works of art that makes me feel understood. The three-part vocal blending as the chorus comes to a close is ingenious, as is the rest of it. Once again Brian is masterful …

#4—“Nowhere Man” (The Beatles): Harmony-a-gogo, led by John’s (heck, they’re ALL John, triple-tracked) nasal magic. In fact, this whole song is completely worth its weight just to hear him sing the word “command” at the end of the first bridge. Also, Paul’s bass is utterly amazing—actually two separate recorded bass lines, I now believe—really moving the rhythm, while simultaneously keeping it rooted. (My god, listen to me! Am I a frustrated music critic or what?!) The chord changes are also wonderful, especially the F#m to the Am … and how about falling off the cliff of the first bridge into that soaring solo … Ah, The Beatles!

#3—“Dreary Days & Nights” (performed by Lulu, written by the great Don Black): The U.K. melancholia of this song simply wrenches my soul. (Yes, my soul again, as if you weren’t sick of hearing about it!) This song typifies everything my imagination has ever mustered about ‘60s London, coupled with my personal wintertime visions of England. The minor key, simple guitar-heavy instrumentation (especially the opening oft-repeated line … and of course the hard strength of Lulu’s raspy voice… O, what a voice! This one just takes me to another world. I can rarely hear this song once without repeating it three or four times.

#2—“Ticket to Ride” (The Beatles): At the end of the day, all combined, this is the best Beatles’ tune there is. The haunting guitar riff, the heavenly echo and steady and yet somehow dragging tempo, Ringo’s effortless drumming, replete with subtle rimshots and flawless rolls, John’s amazing ever-somber, ever-nasal circa-’65 voice … But above it all, that McCartney enthusiasm of Paul’s almost-shouted harmonies just give me chills. This is the one! … And follow how, after the bridge, first the lead guitar solos, then the rhythm guitar follows, then the tambourine accelerates it before the drum roll … Finally, there is NOTHING like John’s heady, throwaway “aw” before the last chorus … Merely brilliant!

#1—“D.C.B.A.-25” (by Paul Kantner & Jefferson Airplane): Wow! Two of my three favorite song lines in this one tune, which for me creates the whole picture of 60s San Francisco, and all the amazing, wonderful feelings and fantasies I’ve ever projected onto it. “Too many days I’ve left unstoned,” is just a great, identifiable line, and nothing can ever beat my all-time favorite, “I can but dance behind your smile.” Again, the echoing tone of this song just draws me into a breath-taking expanse of mental pictures. The lead guitar is great, particularly for the effect used, and the solid drumming is highlighted by the most lovely splash cymbal I’ve ever heard. Grace Slick & Paul Kantner mix that perfect, careless out-of-sync J.A. harmony, the bass bubbles and even the tambourine brings it a step above the rest … And in the end, it’s such a startlingly simple song!

Well, there y’go! And if you’ve read this far, you’ll want to read SPACE CASE, available at … Oh, you get it!

Goodnight E.J. and Nancy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bewarey of the Elderly

January 7, 2012: For starters, you'll be happy to know that SPACE CASE is selling like hotcakes. Last week someone bought another copy and doubled my sales. Since then, things have been going up ... UP! ... So don't miss YOUR chance to get a virtual copy of SPACE CASE ... You'll laugh yourself gaseous!

By the way, it may interest you to know that my novel's original title included the article "THE." It was at the beginning, before SPACE. I was going to keep it there, but I decided it would go better in the body of the story itself -- page 64, in fact. Writing is like that -- making difficult choices and daring to be different!

But that's not what I wanted to talk about today. I was thinking about this little old lady I saw at Balducci's market a few weeks back. It was late morning and a surly staff member was just bringing out the pricey hot food -- pan after pan, laying it atop that mysterious steaming bed of shallow hot water adjacent to the salad bar. (It's a good hot food bar, actually, even though I get diarrhea every time I eat there.)

Anyway, this old biddy, like me, stood there checking out the newly arriving viddles, waiting to see, perhaps, if it might be worth investing her Social Security in a hot meal. It had all the makings of a happy moment, really, when suddenly I saw this seemingly normal, civilized old pecker start pinching the roasted chicken with her bare hand!

I couldn't believe my eyes! This old bitch was actually grabbing her bare, grubby fingers right into a fresh tray of public food, digging her dirty, ancient nails right into the folds of that fresh fowl's crisp, coated skin, plucking at a steaming piece of rosemary-stinking chicken ... and then not even eating it, but just moving it to the side, like she'd just come out to see if there still might be a pulse -- to see if it was still worth trying to reanimate that poor beaten bird.

Needless to say, I knew I couldn't let it pass, if only in symbolic deferrence to my Blah-ugh! readers. (You expect me to do something, after all, don't you. You'd be disappointed if I didn't. It's become like my civic duty -- like that time I vandalized that religious leader's pickup truck in order to prove my point about spirituality. It's become my re-spon-si-bil-i-ty!)

But it's hard to know exactly how to handle the elderly, given their frailty and vaguely mysterious odors. I decided it wasn't a good time to take any extreme actions, so I merely shook my finger (and quite violently) at her. She was startled, which made me feel a bit better, but I also thought to add a sizable acidic frown and very contemptuous head shake and glare, even wagging my finger at her with additional vigor.

So, you see, my attention isn't strictly consumed with the marketing of my new e-novel. (SPACE CASE, which is available from Amazon AND Barnes & Noble online for a reasonable $2.99.) I also consider it my ugly duty to keep suspicious tabs on the never-ending despicable actions of the elderly.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 ... Who Woulda Thunk It?!

January 2, 2012: A friend of mine recently commented -- and I'm paraphrasing, of course -- that "It's never been January 2nd, 2012, before." Yet I'm not convinced that's entirely true. I'm reminded of an old Peanuts cartoon, wherein Lucy becomes convinced they've stuck her and her community with a recycled year. The question arises of what authorities they can report it to ...

Which reminds me, SPACE CASE is now available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble for e-book consumption, so please get yours today, or I'LL report YOU to the authorities for grotesque negligence! (And I can't resist excerpting a lovely email I received today from one of my fans, and I didn't even tell her to write this: "Okay, I have decided that what I like best about your writing is that it is always surprising and unexpected. Never predictable. I keep starting to read portions of Space Case to my husband because I am laughing so hard, and then I have to stop myself because I don't want to spoil the surprise for him. Too much fun to read!!!!") Yes, see, there ARE people out there willing to risk $2.99 on my talents, and they're not all in mental institutions ... at least not yet!

But I was talking 2012 -- a fine year in process. And I don't know why people are worrying about the doom-filled prophecies of the stupid Mayan calendar, mainly because if the Mayans knew anything about anything, they wouldn't have destroyed their civilization with human sacrifice and spicy foods. And if that's not enough to convince you, make note of the fact that 20 minus 12 is 8, which is my favorite number, as well as being divisible by 2, which is of course even and a multiple of 8. I mean, the positive coincidences just go on and on ...

But despite my good hopes for 2012, I'm still struggling to catch up on all the closure requirements for LAST year, including trying to catch up on all my Christmas music. In fact, I'm feeling somewhat guilty right this moment, listening to my "Country Christmas" CD, trying to consume it because I feel I HAVE TO, like leftovers I can't let the garbage have. And in a way, it makes me feel like a pervert, gaining tawdry, guilt-ridden pleasures from sounds that have been made unwholesome by the passage of time. On top of everything, this is even the first holiday in about 15 when I HAVEN'T bought NEW Xmas music to add to my ever-lengthening shackles of seasonal joy, and I feel guilty about THAT (and, of course, not even watching Mr. Magoo this year! ...) Oh, I needed another week of December to get it all done ...

(By the way, following up on my last entry, what does it mean when they sing, "Joy to the world. The Lord is come!" That just doesn't sound right ... Am I hearing it wrong? All the versions seem the same ...)

Anyway, the point is, I will not make this Blah-ugh! a weak excuse to keep advertising my new novel SPACE CASE ... provided you buy it and let me get on to other more important matters here, such as tasteless references to Jesus and the Lord and everyone else in the religious community. As I've often stressed with you people, you have to do YOUR part too, if I can be freed up to do mine ...

Happy New Year!