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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dave Called In Sick Today (a FedEx melodrama)


     Char was standing at the open door of Dickie’s truck while he cleaned his dash talking about the fact that Dave had called in sick today when Kelly walked by. Excitedly, Char said to Kelly, “Dave called in sick today.”
    “Dave called in sick today? Dave never calls in sick? Are you sure?” Kelly asked.
    “Yes , I’m sure, Char said. “I was doing address insertions when Marcia took the call. Dave called in sick. He has the flu and won’t be in today.”
    “You know,” Dickie said, “if Dave called in, he’s hurtin’ pretty bad.”
    At the time clock where people waited to swipe in at 0640, the erase board indicated that Banick would be doing Dave’s route. Rudi asked if Dave was off today.
    Russ was handing out equipment on the other side of the counter said, “No, Dave isn’t off. He called in sick today.”
    Big Wayne said, “He’s been coughing and sneezing all week.”
    “Calling in before the New Year holiday means Dave won’t get sick pay,” Karen said dispiritedly. “That’s not right, Dave never calls in.”
    “Standing in line, Lil Wayne turned to Donna and said, “Great, I know they’re going to bone me with Dave’s Marilla stops. It always happens when you try to get out early. This place sucks.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Random Prompt #300...


    Though I’m not much of a daily blog reader I’ve always thought the best ones have a quick hit quality — a left, a right followed by a lean tight uppercut and then out. I’ve never been able to accomplish this in my own writing. Growing up in a small three bedroom, one bathroom house with nine siblings’ attention was granted when say, you broke a window, skipped out on your night to help with the dishes or when you gluttonously finished off the rare box of crack like Captain Crunch that made it into the house. The scorn, along with the damage Captain Crunch did to the roof of your mouth was intense and so worth it. But nobody was ever looking for me to share an opinion or to verbalize my feelings on a topic. Same is true now with my three college age children still at home who know absolutely everything and meet every query with an ironic eye roll. They don’t want to hear it. And, like a dormant flower shutdown and stilted by the cold of winter waiting for the nourishing warmth of the sun and spring rains to reveal its beauty and voice my past attempts at blogging have featured a loquaciousness akin to a rambling Bertrand Russell lecture on the history of Western Philosophy with a few obscure Todd Rundgren references mixed in along the way. Lacking quick hit jabs and crosses, this has made my blogging more or less useless.
     But, that is about to change. This Christmas, in addition to a nose and ear hair trimmer, a must for every self-respectable middle age man, my oldest daughter got me this book: 300 Writing Prompts. From the title, you might expect such a book to be the usual subjective bullet pointed discourse on how to get your writing going, but it isn’t that. Instead, the book contains three hundred topic sentences that you respond to within the confines of a single page like a journal entry. With the discipline and economy of a MMA fighter I am going to beat the shit out of these prompts within the confines of the space allotted. And, while I’ll live up to the space requirement, I can’t promise to eliminate all references to Todd Rundgren, cause, ya know...TODD is GODD.
    In descending order, Random Prompt #300...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

South Park Artisan Market...


Thanks to everyone who stopped to talk or buy a book at the South Park Artisan Market on November 19. I'll be there again on December 10 for a repeat performance and this time I will have credit card reader.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Buffalo Mudd...


Back in the early 2000's I published a monthly website called Buffalo Mudd that ripped off the satrical style of The Onion. Describing the site I would tell people it's  The Onion of Buffalo. Well, over this past summer I got one of those fancy streaming music services and today was the day I boxed up and exiled some five hundred cd's to the basement, including a couple hundred disks I burned myself. Going through them I came across a CDR titled "Buffalo Mudd Backup." As far as I remembered Buffalo Mudd  was only backed up with floppy disks. Yes, floppy disks, that's how long ago it was. And, as you might imagine, as excited as I was to see the disk I thought there was no way these files, which were more than a decade old would interface with my Blogger program. But after a little cutting and pasting I've managed to recreate a reasonable facsimile of the original, epistemological...Molly story. She was a little older and she was Molly O'Malley instead of Molly Shea, The piece in itself is really kind of stupid, but it's a charming make you smile kind of stupid. Or at least it was for me. I hope it is for you too.

Original Molly:

What's A Party Chick To Do?



Sunday, November 13, 2016



I'll be selling and signing books Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 9-1pm at the South Park HS Artisan Market. Lots of local vendors selling unique crafts, jewelry, home decor and much more. Stop by... https://www.facebook.com/events/741205032694013/

Monday, November 7, 2016

McDougal Chapter 2

Chapter2
    I almost made it the whole five days without the old man finding out about my suspension. School didn’t have his pay by the minute flip phone number and we didn’t have a home phone, but because of a downpour, he got sent home from a roofing job and found me there instead of at school. This was Wednesday, the last day of my suspension. By that part of the week he was pretty much broke so he was only able to stay at the bar for a few beers and wasn’t soused yet. He did have a plan though, with a fresh twelve pack of Keystone Lights that he loaded in the fridge, because, ya know, besides getting shit faced, he was worried about his figure.
    Initially he was mad about how I was scamming him, getting up in the morning and then pretending to go to school. But his anger momentarily faded, and believe me him not angry for even a moment is a victory, when I told him how I smacked that fucking moron gorilla McManus upside his head with my English book and how I accidently punched Mr. Pierson in the chin. Besides not being mad for a moment an even rarer thing occurred, he may have actually been proud of me, not only because I stood up for myself, but because I got a shot in at a teacher. But that quickly faded when I made the mistake of telling him how McManus’s friends got a hold of me and locked me up. This prompted him to want to show me how to escape such a situation, but it was fucking stupid since there was no way to recreate it with just one guy. Nevertheless, he had me lock him up with my arms under his and my chest up against his back. Going through a recent growth spurt not only was I pushing six feet, I was also getting kind of strong and he wasn’t really able to break free of my hold. Sensing he was getting pissed I loosened my grip and was immediately greeted by an elbow to the stomach.
    All cocky he said, “That’s how ya fucking do it. Got it?”
    I was really mad and clenching my teeth said, “Yeah, got it!”
    He looked at me for a long moment, maybe considering the need for further fucking parenting. Maybe a headlock or a kick in the balls would be the right pedagogic fucking strategy or maybe his tiny white fucking trash brain was on overload trying to decide whether I really ‘got it’ or was being a smart ass. Life was tough when the prism through which you saw the world was limited to your angry resentments and a twelve pack of Keystone Lights.
    

Book Signing: Talty's Tavern 10/29/16

Thanks to everyone who came to the book signing...










Thursday, October 27, 2016



Just a reminder...BOOK SIGNING: THIS SATURDAY OCTOBER 29, 2016... TALTY'S TAVERN 2056 SOUTH PARK (corner of SHEFFIELD) SO.BUFFALO, NY. 3-7pm...you can buy a book from me, bring a book or just come and hang out with us. Should be fun.
Written In The Stars: The Book Of Molly

Monday, October 17, 2016

McDougal


Chapter 1
      McDougal had a blood disease or some pituitary dysfunction bullshit that made him a little sissy runt. He wasn’t the kind of sissy runt fuck that would cower and not fight when the bigger kids kicked him around, he just had that pituitary shit that made him little and weak. One spring day in the 9th grade when I was making my way through the transition hallway from the old building to the new building of South Park High School this red-headed moron gorilla 10th grader, Talty McManus kicked McDougal into me and the little shit got tangled in my legs causing both of us to fall and my books spilled all over the floor. Now, I didn’t really give a shit about that little runt fuck McDougal, people could kick him all they wanted as far as I was concerned, but as I lay there all twisted up with him, like always I got really mad, especially at the sound of that fucking moron gorilla McManus and his friends laughing while I was on the hallway floor with McDougal.
    Once untangled, I scooped up my heavy Literature Today book, jumped to my feet and with both hands cracked McManus right upside his giant red moron head causing him to stumble back into the hallway wall. His friends grabbed me and locked me up and when McManus regained his equilibrium, he proceeded to bash the shit out of me until the shop teacher, Mr. Pierson came and broke it up, Still really mad and not giving a shit about consequences, the second I was released I threw a punch at McManus, which just grazed his jaw and eventually landed on the chin of a very angry Mr. Pierson. What did I care? Five days off... maybe I’d punch ten more of these fucking morons and slide right into summer vacation.
    The four of us, the flame headed gorilla McManus, his two friends and myself were sent to the detention room. It was determined that McDougal was the victim in all of this and was sent along to class. Mr. Franklin the imposing security guard babysat us as we theoretically waited for our parents to pick us up. Over the next hour or so McManus’ friends were escorted out leaving just the two of us there separated by Mr. Franklin. I settled in with a Nick Hornby book I was reading knowing my dad, if they could even contact him, would tell school officials to fuck off, I was their problem from 0745-0245.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Slow Train...

   


     I always thought Bob Dylan’s Christian period in the late 70’s, early 80’s was a bit of a ruse. Forever maximizing the mystery trend while being the permanent proprietor of the next cool thing I assumed the calculus went something like: Guthrie folk...protest song… electric…dropped out…Wailing Wall when John, Paul, George and Ringo went Eastern… a couple of suspect albums to reduce the heat…the greatest break-up record of all time…all that heat again…next thing?...hmm…Christian?  No, they wouldn’t or maybe…hmmm? Hence, the birth of Slow Train Coming.  
To me it seemed pretty unlikely that a guy as smart as Dylan and as Jewish and forty years old could fall for Jesus. There had to be an angle…right? But, tooling around the other day in my work truck in the brilliant crisp sixty-degree sun, Gotta Serve Somebody found its way into the rotation on my iPod and I fell right in line with its modest proselytizing funk. I didn’t pull over at The Church of St. Casmir’s to make a devotional, but the song did make me feel vast and expansive and reminded me there are things in this life bigger than the wants and needs of my ego; things that might not benefit me personally, but still require my attention and service. I also felt a little silly questioning Dylan’s sincerity, considering how the song drew me in and hooked me—what did it matter if he was sincere?

     Next I did what I almost never do anymore; I clicked out of shuffle mode and listened to the rest of the album. It was a lovely, inspiring forty-minutes that filled me with the spirit of Christ for the remainder of the afternoon in spite of the fact that I am a lapsed Catholic and don’t identify as a Christian anymore. I still have a deep and abiding love for Jesus, but the man-made institutions that assert authority over Christ—not for me.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

McDougal...

McDougal had a blood disease or some pituitary dysfunction bullshit that made him a little sissy runt. He wasn’t the kind of sissy runt fuck that would cower and not fight back when the bigger kids kicked him around, he just had that pituitary shit that made him weak. One spring day in the 8th grade when I was making my way through the transition hallway from the old building to the new building of PS #29 this red-headed moron gorilla, Talty McManus kicked McDougal into me. The little shit got  tangled in my legs causing both of us to fall and my books spilled all over the floor. Now, I didn’t really give a shit about that little runt fuck McDougal, people could kick him all they wanted as far as I was concerned, but as I lay there in the transition hallway all twisted up with him, like always I got really mad, especially at the sound of that fucking moron gorilla McManus and his friends laughing while I was on the floor with McDougal.
    Once untangled, I scooped up my heavy Literature Today book, jumped to my feet and with  both hands cracked McManus right upside his giant red moron head causing him to stumble back into the hallway wall. His friends grabbed me and locked me up and when McManus regained his equilibrium, he proceeded to bash the shit out of me, with a barrage of lefts and rights to my body and head until the shop teacher, Mr. Pierson came and broke it up, Still really mad and not giving a shit about consequences, the second I was released I threw a punch at McManus, which just grazed his jaw and eventually landed on the chin of a very angry Mr.Pierson. What did I care? Five days off, maybe I’d punch ten more of these fucking morons and slide right into summer vacation.
    The four of us, the flame headed gorilla McManus, his two friends and myself were sent to the detention room. It was determined that McDougal was the victim in all of this and was sent along to class. Mr. Franklin the imposing security guard babysat us as we theoretically waited for our parents to pick us up. Over the next hour or so McManus’ friends were escorted out leaving just the two of us there seperated by Mr. Franklin. I settled in with a Nick Hornby book I was reading knowing my dad, if they could even contact him, would  tell school officials to fuck off, I was their problem from 0745-0245.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Response To T Bone's Americana Address: Part1

   A couple of thoughts on T Bone Burnett's well considered keynote address at Americana Fest from this past weekend. Burnett the winner of a Grammy and an Oscar, as well as having a mile long list of production credits that range from John Mellencamp to Diana Krall. Burnett, to say the least, is a serious artist and his address makes the case for the sanctified role of artists in shaping and pushing societal innovation now and throughout history. He cites for example a man landing on the moon in a Jules Vern novel a hundred years before it actually happened. However, he feels today’s artist is in jeopardy due to the shifting technological landscape which has so upended the  music industry's business model, directly affecting his bottom line. On the encroachment of technology, he recommends a book: The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul, and goes on to say:


John Wilkinson, the translator, in his 1964 introduction, describes the book this way- “The Technological Society is a description of the way in which an autonomous technology is in the process of taking over the traditional values of every society without exception, subverting and surpassing those values to produce at last a monolithic world culture in which all technological difference and variety is mere appearance.” This is the core of the dead serious challenge we face.

I really disagree with this, especially the part where he says there’s going to be one monolithic world culture with differences only in appearance, which is something akin to the right wing’s never ending fear mongering about Washington taking orders from the UN. I think as Americans, with all our adventurism and the push back we have received for it, especially over these last years in the Middle East, we should understand there isn’t much appetite for a monolithic one world culture. People want to remain autonomous and keep their unique values and heritage, as evidenced by the never ending strife in Iraq, which forced Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to live together under one centralized government after WW1. That is not to say the world remains separate and insular with the internet and global economy. We also have a common interest in working together to solve issues of climate, extreme poverty, displacement of people and a litany of other issues. Central to solving these problems are technological innovation in the production of energy as well as improvements in communication, medicine and food production. No doubt technology can have vast unintended consequences like suburban sprawl, but if managed properly we can use it to solve problems without jeopardizing our individuality.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How To Be A Hack Writer Like Me...

Since this is going to be blog about writing, to get us going I thought I'd put up a couple/ three essays in written and video form about my process that will inspire you to be a hack author, just like me...Take notes there will be a quiz.

Getting Going

The Hack Writer's Routine: A Video Essay In Two Parts

It's Okay, Scratch That Itch...