Monday, August 31, 2009

Whatever Title I Put On This Will Be Inadequate, So To Hell With It

Did you read THE GAFFY AWARD (Not Safe For Work, etc.)?

If Yes, did you also read Eeka And Suldog, Sitting In A Tree...?

And how about Blushed?

If all of those are in your past, God bless you. You are to be congratulated for completing that trilogy of dildo-centric posts. I applaud your perseverance, at the very least, and am amazed that you have returned for more.

If you have read none of those, then what follows will make not even the tiniest bit of sense to you. I suggest you bone up - so to speak - by reading them, but be aware that they are full to the brim with vile filth (which is, of course, the best kind) and may contain photos that will get you fired (much as this post may following all of this superfluous jibber-jabber.)

Okay. That's enough warning. Here are the photos taken at THE GAFFY AWARDS DINNER.

Oh, one note. There appear to be oncoming headlights in a number of these shots. Actually, that's just the weird lighting in the place. We weren't actually in any danger of being run over.

*****************************************************************

Here are some more of the lovely nametags constructed by eeka.



Here I am, about to bring THE GAFFY out into the open. You can't see my thoughts, but here is what I was thinking: "I am about to pull a bright red dildo out of this box. There are whole tables of unsuspecting dinner patrons all around us, some of them with children. Is there any way I can do this gracefully?"

The answer, of course, was "No".



MY WIFE, by far the smartest one in this bunch of reprobates, did not trust any of us to leave her out of the photos. She did not want her face seen in such lurid company. Therefore, she brought her own pixilation.



The lovely Elodia, wife of Bruce Coltin (right), listens intently to whatever bullshit I was spouting at the moment.



Adam Gaffin, of Universal Hub, tries desperately to suck his drink down as quickly as possible in order to become oblivious to his surroundings. Meanwhile, EEKA'S SPOUSE enjoys a nacho.



And here we see me holding (as gingerly as possible) THE GAFFY. Notice the lovely pedestal which eeka fashioned for it. Also notice that I am trying to hold it in such a way as to keep it out of sight of the youngsters who were eating at the tables both behind me and to my left.



Here I am presenting THE GAFFY to eeka, as deserving a recipient as there is ever likely to be.



As eeka thanks the little people (EEKA'S SPOUSE wondered why The Roloffs deserved thanks) I eye the award in a manner that would suggest... well, I don't rightly know what it would suggest, other than the fact that I'm a big dope.



eeka continues her acceptance speech, I continue looking like a dope, and a member of the dinner party directly behind us asks her companion if it's too late to go eat somewhere else.



Okay, if I had any sense of self-respect whatsoever, I'd leave this photo out. I'm all about bringing the funny, though, and if I have to look like an imbecile to deliver the goods, so be it. One good thing about this photo: If they ever decide to do a live action version of Wallace & Gromit, I'll be a shoo-in if I send this photo to the casting director.



Here eeka proudly displays her rather large award. Since there is no sound, you can't hear our waiter banging dishes in the background in an effort to get us to leave as quickly as possible.



Elodia and I look on in extremely wide-eyed amazement at something. I have no idea what it was. It must have been something you don't see every day.



Ah, yes. A big dildo on a dinner table. That must have been it.



Our waiter clears the table as quickly as is humanly possible. Remember how earlier I said that you couldn't see my thoughts? Consider yourself very lucky to not see his.



And th-th-th-that's all, folks!

THE GAFFY will reside in eeka's care for now, waiting to be awarded to whomever she deems a worthy recipient. I'd like to take this opportunity to say "No tag backs!"

Soon, with... aw, heck, any promises I make are likely to end up being hollow. Let's just say "See you soon!"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blushed



That's what I did last night - repeatedly.

You may recall THE GAFFY (NOT SAFE FOR WORK!) Well, it was officially awarded last night, as per Wednesday's announcement concerning the ceremony. And my face turned every conceivable shade of red because I am the undisputed King Of Blushing.

Understand this, if you don't already: I am not a prude. I am, however, still my parent's child. I was raised to have the normal sense of decorum that a Catholic boy born in the 1950's would be expected to have. While I've done my damnedest to rid myself of it, the plopping of an almost-fluorescent pink jelly-filled dildo onto my table in the middle of a fully-populated restaurant will still tend to make the blood rush to my face. Odd, that.

MY WIFE was there, of course, as well as Eeka The Lesbian and EEKA'S SPOUSE.

(Eeka prefers that her name be spelled without capitalization, thusly: eeka. I will conform to that from now on, but in conjunction with "The Lesbian" it seemed somehow lacking. Of course, she is much more than just "The Lesbian", but there's something about that name, taken as a whole, that just tickles me. Her, too, apparently, as she put that on her name tag.

Well, I see now that I shouldn't have started this as a parenthetical, but I'm too lazy to go back and edit it. Anyway, there were name tags, provided by eeka. Each one showed me...

Oh, hell. Why bother with a description when I can show you an actual example of the real thing?


eeka made them for everyone. They all had the same photo. eeka's tag read "eeka the lesbian"; her spouse's tag said "EEKA'S SPOUSE"; MY WIFE's tag said "HIS WIFE" [so as not to be confused with anyone else's spouse]; and so on.

Fame is not always what it's cracked up to be.)

Aside from the previously-mentioned attendees, others who showed up were Adam Gaffin, the most gracious host over at the superb Boston-centric site, Universal Hub; and Bruce Coltin, of Coltin1948. Accompanying Bruce was his lovely wife, Elodia, a clinical psychologist (who no doubt came along so that she could later write a paper about this odd gathering.) All of these people were swell company, witty, nowhere near as embarrassed as I was, and altogether fun to be with.

We had drinks, dinner, all of the usual stuff that goes with an evening out, and then the award was dragged out onto the table for presentation to eeka. From the moment of its appearance, until the time when we left, I was never less than pink-faced, rising to bright red on far more than one occasion.

eeka had fashioned a marvelous... well, she gave the award a platform to stand upon. The recognizable portion of the shaft protruded in an extremely upright manner from a square base of her own invention, upon which was the inscription "The Go And FFuck Yourself Award".

(If I get photos from eeka, I will post some. Or, more likely, I'll direct you to her place when she posts about this. Needless to say, this would be greatly enhanced by photos.)

Oh, heck, I'll tell you what. I'll wait for the photos and then finish this on Monday. I apologize for whetting your appetite and then providing you with crumbs, but words alone won't do this scene justice.

Relatively soon, with more blushing stuff.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eeka & Suldog, Sitting In A Tree...























P-O-S-T-I-N-G
First came The Smoot, then came The Gaffy
NOT SAFE FOR WORK! (unless for work you pull your taffy...)


You all remember Eeka The Lesbian, right? If not, read THIS (BUT NOT IF YOU'RE AT WORK!)

Well, I think Eeka and I may be in love. We've certainly exchanged enough e-mails, and mentioned each other often enough on our blogs, to give that impression to some. Of course, if we want to make this relationship work, either she has to go straight or I have to get a sex change.

(Or maybe I have to become a Democrat. If that's the case, which way to the chop shop?)

Be that as it may - and it isn't, so get those dirty pictures out of your heads, you sick bastards - we'll be hooking up on Thursday evening. This will be happening in order to make the awarding of THE GAFFY (Again - NOT SAFE FOR WORK!) official. We'll have a few drinks together and, after she's sufficiently well-lubed, I'll be giving it to her.

(Well, actually, I already gave it to her via the fine auspices of the United States Postal Service about a week ago - little did the mailman know! - and she'll be giving it back to me before I give it back to her, and so on.)

It promises to be a stimulating evening full of good crack. Why don't you join us for a stiff one? We'd love to see you come!

(If you do decide to show up, and you make a rude comment, maybe we'll both slip it to you, instead. Meanwhile, MY WIFE and EEKA'S SPOUSE will no doubt amuse themselves in some way while we're busy giving it to each other. If it slips out of our hands and rolls under the table, all bets are off.)

(I'm still not really sure about this get-together. I think maybe Eeka is setting me up for a fall. She'll probably have a whole battalion of butchies waiting to jump me when I get there, ready to administer some sort of politically correct beatdown; perhaps forcing me to read the collected works of Monique Wittig.)

Anyway, if you'd like to watch (you do like to watch, don't you?) then penetrate Christopher's in Porter Square on Thursday evening. The joint purports to have good food and drink, and it's easily accessible via pubic transportation.

This is the probable agenda:

7:00 - Everybody arrives and consumes mass quantities of alcohol.

7:30 - I make some sort of slurred and overly-pompous speech, after which I slide a vibrating jelly-filled dildo into Eeka's hands.

7:35 - As good Christian mothers and fathers try to shoo their children out the exit, with the moms shielding their kid's eyes from the sight of Eeka triumphantly waving the jelly-filled vibrating dildo over her head, the management of Christopher's calls the cops.

7:40 - We're all taken downtown and booked for lewd and lascivious behavior.


We should be able to raise bail by 9:00 and get home in time to see the end of the Sox game. Now that's my idea of an excellent night out!

(If, at any point, Eeka and I get drunk enough to start slipping each other the tongue, I'll post some photos. If Eeka and any of her lesbian friends get drunk enough to start slipping each other the tongue, I'll be selling some photos. If I find MY WIFE in any of the photos, I'll be charging double and filing for divorce.)

TIME: 7pm, Thursday, August 27th

PLACE: Christopher's, Porter Square, Cambridge

Seriously, if you'd like to get together for dinner and a couple of drinks with Eeka, MY WIFE, EEKA'S SPOUSE, or me, we'd love to have you there. I promise it will be the most tasteful public display you've ever seen involving a jelly-filled vibrating dildo. Just look for the table with three lovely ladies heartily laughing at the blushing bald-headed Irish guy.

(If you think you'll attend, please drop me a line. That way, we can arrange for enough table to fit us all. E-Mail to Suldog@aol.com)

Soon, with more better stuff.


Monday, August 24, 2009

The Things I Loved And Miss





This is something I wrote while under the influence of drugs.

One night, following one of my not-infrequent dental procedures, I was gulping down Percocets while drinking several mugs of coffee. The combination of opiate and caffeine lent itself to a hazy sort of insomnia, somewhat pleasant and especially productive in bringing to the forefront of my mind a raft of nostalgic memories. What follows is my scribbling from that evening.

(It actually WAS scribbling. I usually type anything of considerable length, sitting at our ancient computer sans internet hookup, but I filled four pages of a loose-leaf notebook with this stuff, tightly spaced, while sitting up in bed drinking more coffee, popping more pills, and chain smoking. Considering the circumstances, it was reasonably legible.)

I truly doubt that any one of you will share all of these memories with me. And, no denigration of your mental faculties intended, but I rather doubt you’ll even be able to understand all of them, so don’t sweat it if one line or another is as incomprehensible to you as Sanskrit. Just go on to the next one and the one after that. I’d have the same trouble comprehending your four pages of scribbles. I’m fairly certain, however, that you’ll find at least a few things with which you’ll be able to identify. If I jog a few memories of your own, I’d love it if you’d share them in the comments section.

One final note: These are, as the title says, things. They have little to do with people, at least directly. They are the objects, and the experiences with those objects, which I miss. Had I been in the state of mind mentioned, sitting up and thinking about the people whom I miss, I’d still be scribbling. Memories of things, while inductive to a sort of benign melancholia, reach a point where one has to say ‘enough is enough’ and then you let it go. Memories of actual persons who loved you, but are no longer around, don’t allow such facile closure at 3am.

**************************************************************

The big old Admiral TV.

(Jackie Gleason on Saturday night, Ed Sullivan on Sunday night, The Three Stooges many mornings, and getting channel 10 or 12 from Providence when there was a good show on one of those and not being carried on one of the Boston stations. When we got a converter box, and hooked it up to get UHF for the first time, it was damn near magical.)

World Series games played during the day.

The fan-forced heat coming on, while I lay on the rug reading by the vent.

The knick-knack shelves and their odd contents.

The Welbilt stove & refrigerator.

(The spelling was weird, but damned if they weren't well built. From my childhood, until I left that house at age 37, they worked beautifully and had never had a single repair.)


(I got the photo from here.)

Milkmen, Cushman’s bakery delivery, "Any old rags?", Doctors who came to you, and Pete the ice cream man.

Simple comic books.




















Sunday funnies that were actually funny, and not misplaced editorial cartoons.

Sports that knew their season.

Advertisements that weren’t embarrassing.

The pure joy of the last day of school.

The Sports Huddle. God bless you Eddie, Mark, and Jim!

The little trolley, especially on a hot summer Sunday when no other traffic was making noise and you could hear it coming from two stops away. And the days when the trolley had real leather seats, lusciously padded, and you could open the windows for the breeze.


Sundays that were Sundays.

Here’s one for us bald guys: Going to the barber and getting a real full haircut, not a 5-minute trim.

Catholic mass when my faith was that of a child.

Doubleheaders.

The elevated from Forest Hills to Dover, and then again from North Station to Everett.


The smell of Starlite Cleaners on River Street.

(I still get a vision of childhood anytime I pass by a dry cleaner and get a whiff.)



Ice-cold Coca-Cola in a green bottle.








So many candlepin bowling alleys where I sweated and had fun - Lucky Strike in Dorchester, Sammy White’s in Brighton, Kenmore Bowladrome, Wollaston Bowladrome, The Superbowl in Quincy, The Symphony Hall 55, others in Weymouth, Milton, Braintree, whose names escape me now.

Saturday morning television when it was nothing but cartoons.

For that matter, I miss test patterns, sign-ons, sign-offs, morning and evening prayers, the national anthem, and even farm & market reports.

Huge bowls of Quake.


Insight, The Living Word, Lamp Unto My Feet, Davey & Goliath, and similar Sunday morning television offerings.

Saturday matinees at The Oriental (and a "businessman’s special" at The Cathay Village afterward.)

The towers at Baker’s Chocolate.


Being absolutely mesmerized and delighted in the toy aisles of department stores.

The library in Lower Mills – odd little rooms, great children’s section, friendly and helpful librarians.

When the Neponset River Bridge was made of wood, leaning against the railing and just watching the river go by.

Snow at night and going to bed hoping for no school in the morning.

Listening to the "no school" announcements on the radio and hearing "Boston – no school, all schools."

Sitting in the subway at Park Street Under, smoking, people watching, and letting the trains go by.


Friday afternoon educational movies in the third-floor auditorium of the Gilbert Stuart.

(Getting to the third floor was a bit scary for me, being afraid of heights as I was. There was a huge window to pass by on the landing between the second and third floors. If I was unlucky enough to be on that side of the stairs in our double-file march up, I would shut my eyes and hold my breath as we passed it. Looking back, this probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do to increase my chances of not falling through it. But, once we reached the auditorium, it was all good. The films themselves were usually interesting, and, if was something boring, then Stephen Murphy and I would exchange jokes and giggle in the dark.)

Getting a slice of the hideous pizza sold at Park Street station.

(This was on the way home from Boston Latin. Since I hated going to that school, the pizza was the highlight of my school day. How times have changed over such a short span! Pizza was not ubiquitously available then as it is now, so having a chance to get a slice of horrible pizza – and this was easily the worst pizza in the entire city – was still a rush and well worth the quarter spent. Oh, was that pizza bad! You’d sometimes take the first bite and burn the roof of your mouth, concurrently burning your chin when the entire slab of cheese would slide off the hard dough and slap onto your chin. Then, to save your face and palate, you had to spit out the cheese onto the passenger platform. This left you with a piece of doughy cardboard slathered with cheap tomato sauce. Since it cost you a quarter, you still ate it. Hell, if nobody else had been around I would have retrieved the cheese from the floor of the subway. A quarter was a big deal to me then.)

In Concert, Friday nights at 11:30 on ABC.


(The best televised rock music show of my youth. Others preferred The Midnight Special, on NBC – which actually aired at 1am on the east coast –, but In Concert had more metal acts. Also, In Concert was filmed at varying locales, giving it the feel of a true concert experience, whereas Midnight Special had the groups come in and play on a soundstage, introduced by the barely-tolerable Wolfman Jack. There was the syndicated Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, but the performances on that show were often lip-synched, something I despised.)

Powerline

(This was a religious radio program, airing at 11pm on Sunday as I recall. They played some excellent current metal songs interspersed with a bit of evangelism. Odd, but somehow comforting, listening.)

Exploring my parent’s bedroom closet, as well as the downstairs coat closet.

(There was something entirely comforting about those two spaces in our house. They were enclosed, warm, dark, and full of interesting things. I used to like to sit in them sometimes and just forget about the outside world. One of the major problems with growing up is that you can’t fit inside closets and under tables. Or, even if you can, people look at you oddly when they see you coming out from one of them.)

**************************************************************

I suppose that’s enough pointless nostalgia for one sitting. I’ve got another three pages worth of this stuff in my notebook, but it will wait.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Questions

Today, I will be getting all philosophical on your ass.

(I'm fairly certain Plato never introduced one of his discourses in such a manner, but that's only because neither Aristotle or Socrates had as nice an ass as you do.)

(That last parenthetical was addressed only to those of you with nice asses, of course. If you have a crummy ass, my apologies and sincere condolences.)

The following are serious questions. If some of them appear flippant, that's just your prejudices coming into play. Or my ignorance. Either way, I truly want answers to these questions. If you've got some, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave them in the comments (no matter what sort of ass you've got.) If I learn something, we can all be astonished.

************************************************************************

We know there's a sucker born every minute, but how often do they die? And might this death rate be the reason for our current mess? How many of them are voters?

How many angels want to dance on the head of a pin?

Are extra-terrestrials just space perverts? If not, why all the anal probes?

When, exactly, did it become known as World War ONE? When, exactly, will it become known as World War THREE? Or will the government just call it "Operation Whole Earth"?

Why in hell did it take so long for someone to throw a forward pass in football?

Latin is a dead language, right? What did it die of? And why has it persisted as the language of doctors, lawyers, priests, and pretentious blowhards?

(Of course, if you like Latin, De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum, as my grandfather said when he was arrested for putting LSD in the town water supply.)

I know the biological processes involved in an acorn becoming a tree, but where did the processes themselves come from? Everything evolving from some sort of primordial soup is a better explanation for animals than for plants. I mean, why would you evolve roots and seeds when you could just as easily have evolved legs along with a penis or vagina? While we're on this ridiculous train of thought, did penises evolve or were they there on the first creatures to crawl onto land? If they weren't there, then vaginas evolved simultaneously with penises, right? I mean, one is of no earthly use, in a reproductive sense, without the other. And what about bees, he inquired in a non-sequitorish sort of way. What did they do before the flowers decided to become flowers and not naked mole rats? Or, if you want to go with the flowers evolving first, what did they do while they waited for the bees to get their act together? Play canasta? There are far too many things that need other things to propagate their species for me to buy into the supposition that they evolved together. If you've got the answers, lay them on me. Until then, I believe in creation.

(By the way, is it just my perception, or do the folks who most strongly believe in evolution seem to get the most upset when a species becomes extinct? Isn't that the way the whole thing is supposed to work? Conversely, why don't religious folk get more upset about the lack of dodos and passenger pigeons? God must have put them here for some reason, but we went and killed them all, anyway. The whole thing is bollixed up.)

How much would automobiles cost if they weren't advertised? If the costs of airing the commercials, creating the commercials, having advertisements in print media, etc., were removed, how much lower would the prices be? My suspicion is "significantly lower", but does anybody have decent math on this? And, as an aside, how much tax revenue would various state and local governments lose via lessened sales taxes on the lower-priced vehicles? When you give it the same few seconds thought I've invested in the matter, it seems that a high rate of inflation is in the best interests of those states that have sales taxes. That's rather scary.

Where did the Pharisees and Sadducees go? They were big stuff during the time of Jesus, but there don't seem to be any around now. What became of them?

If we made Mexico the 51st state, would we suddenly have a huge influx of Guatemalans coming across our southern border?

An awful lot of people say, "That tastes like shit!", but how many of them really know?

If you wash dirt, what's left?

If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, does that mean the road to Heaven is paved with bad intentions? And what about the road to Purgatory? What's that paved with? Indifference?

Why doesn't anybody take the best idea I've ever had seriously?

If circumcision is such a swell idea, why don't those in favor of it do it to all the male animals they own?

(My luck, that's the idea that will get taken seriously...)

Here's one for the topologists in the crowd: If you print a dialogue on a piece of paper, then twist that paper into a Möbius strip, does it become a monologue?

Okay, so the glass is either half-empty or half-full. Does a pessimist think an optimist drank the other half? Does an optimist think it will become fuller? Does Fuller think it will become a brush?

Is anybody listening? If so, why?

Soon, with less vexing stuff.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Too Cute For Words



Or maybe, just cute enough.

What you are about to see originally appeared in Woman's World magazine. Some of you may be familiar with that publication. It's one of those magazines that puts contradictory blurbs on the cover. You can find 25 superb dessert recipes inside, and also how to lose 10 pounds quickly. That seems to be the modus operandi for quite a few magazines aimed at the female audience, so it's no wonder a large percentage of women have hideous self-image problems.

(Also, most women's magazines - if they don't have food on the cover - have women on the cover. Men's magazines usually have women on the cover, too. What's up with that? I know why women on the cover make men's magazines sell, but why in hell do women snap up magazines with other women on the cover? I would think they'd like to see handsome men on the cover, but apparently that's not how it works.)

(And, of course, I'm just talking about your average run-of-the-mill heterosexual women here. What lesbians have on the cover of their magazines, I don't know. Maybe it's all women there, too? Let's have a look...



Hmmmmmmmmmm. You make the call.)

(Yes, I know. I'm a heteronormative sexist pig. Anything for a laugh!)

My Mom had a small story published in Woman's World in 1992.

(Imagine that. My Mom had something published nationally 17 years ago. I'm still waiting for my first acceptance. I don't know what the problem is. Perhaps I've misjudged the public taste. I thought stories about big rubber dicks would be just the thing to get me into Good Housekeeping.)

So, anyway, My Mom had a story published in Woman's World. Why, here it is now!



Is it at all possible that anything I have to say could add value to that? No, certainly not. However, I would like to point out, for the record, that was the last time to date I've chirped.

Soon, with more better stuff.

(By the way, this is what I was going on about all of last week when I was verklempt about not having a scanner available. Was it worth the wait? Before commenting, keep in mind we're talking about My Mother here, you snarky bastards.)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Comfortably Numb Redux



A faithful reader (Michelle Hickman, who is writing some great stuff these past few days, so you should visit her soon) came upon this old post yesterday while perusing my archives. After reading it, she had questions. Most concerned whether the three intervening years would have changed anything within the post or actually did change anything within me. I'll attempt to answer those questions here.

The original post is in plain type and italics. New musings are as this, in bold.


***************************************************************

The lyrics are by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. This one has always spoken to something inside of me.

The stream of consciousness is mine. I have laid out the lyric in portions and will fill in the spaces between with type-as-I-think-it ramblings. I might get at what makes the lyric talk to me. I am going to start with an image of me during my cocaine days and see where it leads. It might get hairy. I am going to publish it as soon as I am finished typing.

Hello.
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?


Line after line after line, up my nose and then washed down the back of my throat by huge gulps of vodka straight from the bottle. Why?

Come on, now.
I hear you’re feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.


When I played in bands, it wasn't so much the music as it was the performance - the being in front of a crowd and the adrenaline rush. It's the same rush that can get me into trouble gambling. Or sexually. Playing ball, too, but on a much smaller scale. I'm always attempting to fill the same void.

Cocaine filled that void for me. Cocaine was applause in a baggie. When I did it, it felt like everything I did was a bravura performance. There was a constant standing ovation in my head.

Relax.
I need some information first.
Just the basic facts:
Can you show me where it hurts?


This writing thing is totally different. There is little immediate gratification. I can imagine the reactions of certain people (for instance, sometimes I imagine my Mom fainting dead away, unfortunately) but there is no way to feel the moment with another person or group of people as there is with the other things I've mentioned. I could hover over someone's shoulder as they read, but that's too creepy. Anyway, it changes the reaction.

I've become more comfortable with the delayed reactions. My readership has increased quite a bit since then, so that helps. These days, I know that it won't be too long before I start getting comments. When this was originally written, it received only TWO (very nice, very much appreciated) comments.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’.


Always something. Always a need. This fills the need for now, but when will I go off the tracks again?

MY WIFE is it for now and for as long as she lives. She is just herself and that is enough for me. Without her, I would have killed myself years ago. Not intentionally, but through some stupid thing I would have done if I didn't have her to come home to. Leave me alone for too long and I'm looking for something to connect the dots in my subconscious; I'm fucking up in one dangerous way or another.

She still is. I still am.

What is the solution? What is the secret? Why do I need to look over the edge?

Is my fear of heights a part of this? Roofs, fire escapes, bridges; I'm afraid I'll end up over the edge somehow. Am I afraid of heights or am I afraid of me?

I can't quite grasp it.

When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I got that feeling once again.
I can’t explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.


More lines. Every cent I have and then as much credit as anyone foolish enough to give it to me is willing to extend. I can't get enough. I am running away running in place. I am trying to escape by moving closer. I am consolidating my psychoses.

That was then. Now I am blowing up every day, cursing, swearing, obscenities just blasting from my mouth like some poor Tourette's sufferer, except I can stop it. Except I can't stop it. This job is driving me apeshit fucking insane lately. I am not a nice person to be around for much of the day. And the people here don't deserve it. They are way too nice.

I'm not in that state of mind at present, nor have I been for the majority of time since original publication. Thank God for that. It's never too far away, though. A few days running of poor reads by talents, expedited orders that have to go on a day already filled with regular orders, inane questions, not enough sleep, and perhaps news that the Celtics traded Rajon Rondo, and I'll be back there temporarily, making an ass of myself.

I want the feeling I get from the white powder, without actually taking the white powder into my body. It has to be out there somewhere. Where is it?

Ok.
Just a little pinprick.
There’ll be no more - aaaaaahhhhh!
But you may feel a little sick.


Love. I have plenty of it. My parents loved me and gave me what I needed, including education. So did many other relatives and friends. And I'm not a stupid person. It isn't because I don't know what the risks are. And I can be very happy just reading a book or having a quiet dinner or listening to music or watching some lovely silly cartoon with MY WIFE.

Music. I search out fast beats and discordant arrangements. Sure, I appreciate some mellow stuff, but I come alive when the music matches the tempo of the cocaine experience. More adrenaline. More. I play the bass and I can't play fast enough. I literally can't play fast enough. I hear notes in my head that I can't play because I can't play fast enough, damnit. I've been playing for close to 30 years and I could play for another 600, but I can't play fast enough.

Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working. good.
That’ll keep you going for the show.
Come on it’s time to go.


I've been clean of cocaine for about 17 years. The void is still in me. I will not fill it. I cannot fill it. Nobody else can fill it for me, though some can make me forget about it for long stretches. I live with it. I'm OK.

I live with it. I'm OK.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’.


I've been given way too many good things in my life to complain. Way too many. I've thrown away a lot of them without realizing until they were gone just what I had. Whenever I've needed something, I've gotten it. Sometimes not as fast as I would have liked, but I got it before it was too late. God takes care of me for some reason. I am a Sullivan. We do not hit lotteries, but we never starve.

I can't fill the void. I want to eliminate the void. I have to eliminate the void without filling it. I have to rip out an empty space and throw it away. How does one do that?

Don't send out the medics. I'm not going to rip out anything.

I am happy, overall. But... what?

I can't quite grasp it. I want dreams, but I also want the numbness that comes with acceptance of loss of dreams. Above all, I don't want to be forced into one or the other. I want choice, always. I am getting older and I fear that I have less choice as the years pass.

I can't quite grasp it.

I am Jim. I am OK. If you love me, you should not worry. This is just opening up the valve and letting off some pressure. I will type happy tomorrow.

Indeed.

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How To Make $1,000,000 By Doing Nothing



Still no scanner available here at work, so I can't scan what I need to scan in order to complete the piece I would like to put out here.

(By the time I actually get it posted, you'll already be sick of hearing about it. Poor little post! Hasn't even been given birth yet and it's already facing a comments section filled with flames...)

Since I can't post anything original, here's something non-original. Well, no, actually it used to be original. When I first published it, way back in 2006, it was... no, even then it wasn't all that original. It's the best I can come up with from the archives, however, from among those pieces not already listed in one of my self-aggrandizing 'best of' sections, so it will have to do.

With a build up like that, you're sure to enjoy it!

Without any further ado (except for the piece itself, which is pretty much all ado) here's...

HOW TO MAKE $1,000,000 BY DOING NOTHING


This is NOT a scam. I am really, honestly, truly going to show you how to make $1,000,000 by doing nothing.

(When you make your million, please have the common decency to send me a few bucks. I'll probably be living in a sewer by that time, eating discarded popsicle sticks and using a rat for a pillow. It's the least you could do.)

(Since I won't have what you'd call an "address", you'll have to hand deliver the money. Just yell down every sewer you pass, "Suldog, you down there?" and when you get an answer, it'll be me. Then chuck your money down the sewer. That's pretty much what I did in learning the secret I'm now going to pass on to you, so it will be kind of like poetic justice.)

I absolutely guarantee that, by NOT doing the things I'm going to describe to you now, you will become a millionaire. And the beauty of it is, you don't have to do anything. All you have to do is NOT do what I did.

1 - Do NOT Smoke Cigarettes

That is, of course, generally good advice, but it is also the first step on your road to a cool million.

By not smoking cigarettes, you will be saving $5 a pack at current prices. Let us say your habit would have been similar to mine and you would have smoked a slight bit more than one pack a day. We'll call it 400 packs a year to make the math easy. Well, that's $2,000 a year you can sock away. Smoke for 35 years like I've done so far and that's $70,000 in the bank.

You're well on your way! Ready for step two? Alrighty then; let's go!

2 - Do NOT Become Addicted To Cocaine For Four Years

Again, generally good advice. However, if you don't become addicted to cocaine at age 28 and pretty much spend every dollar you make until the age of 31 on the stuff, you'll have saved a big old wad of cash.

By my estimation? About ANOTHER $70,000! I'm figuring that you'll have a job that pays as little as mine did and you'll make about $340 a week. If you have a better-paying job by the time you're 28, all the better. For goodness' sakes, a particularly energetic paperboy can make that kind of money nowadays, so you have no excuse.

Wowzers, Chumley! Add that to the $70,000 you made by NOT smoking cigarettes and you can easily see where this is headed, but I'm going to continue on anyway because I've got space to fill.

3 - Do NOT Try To Be A Rock And Roll Star

This inaction will net you another $10,000 or so. You won't be buying guitars, strings, keyboards, drums, or sheet music. In addition, you won't be getting poofy haircuts or wearing silly clothes, unless that's the sort of thing you like anyway.

(I could add on another $150,000 or so that you'd make by flipping burgers for ten years instead of thinking you're the second coming of Mel Schacher and Bootsy Collins rolled into one, but this plan is based on doing nothing so I won't. How fair is that?)





4 - Do NOT Try To Become A Professional Bowler


A string of bowling in my day cost about a buck. In this day, it costs at least three times as much. Think of it! You're already three times better off than I would have been at a similar age. And, again, you've done NOTHING!!!

Let's say you aren't going to be a fanatic about it, like I was. You won't bowl 20 strings three times a week at $3 per string, so that's $180 or so times 50 weeks in a year - you're taking two weeks off to make the math easier - and that's another ten years, which makes it $90,000 you've got in your pocket and you did NOTHING!!!

Add up everything you didn't do and you've socked away about $240,000, my friend. A somewhat modest 5% compounded interest for 35 years? Bingo! $1,000,000 big smackeroonies in YOUR VERY OWN POCKET!

And what did you do to get that million? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

You're welcome.

By the way, it will take you 35 years to become a millionaire. Oh, yeah, some of you are now crying, "Fraud! Swindler! Jackanapes!" Well, fraud and swindler perhaps, but while jackanapes might be true, it is not well used in this context, so there!

And if you're 20 now, by the time you reach my age $1,000,000 will buy you a Snickers bar and it will be about two-thirds the size of a current Snickers bar, if past history is to be trusted.

See you in the sewer! I'll save you a comfy rat to lay your head on.


Friday, August 07, 2009

THE GAFFY AWARD (Not Safe For Work, Unless You Work In A Swedish Sex Shop)



[I am going to repeat the warning that was blared at you in the header - NOT SAFE FOR WORK. If you have this post on your screen and you get fired, it's nobody's fault but your own for having lousy reading comprehension skills.]

[Background: You may remember THIS. If not, what follows will be somewhat incomprehensible. By now, you should be used to that here, but let's pretend I'm coherent sometimes. If you don't remember that post, you should read it. And then read the comments, too, with a special emphasis on those left by Eeka, Expat From Hell, Janet, and Lime.]

[Also, if you're a skimmer? Then skim your ass down to the final two paragraphs before commenting and making an idiot of yourself.]

**************************************************************

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages - and kings..."


And dildos.

(OK, last warning. Here’s where some of you better cut and run. If the addendum to Lewis Carroll didn't clue you in, then this photo certainly will.)








[space added intentionally to keep it off your screen before you know what it is]















That, my friends, is THE GAFFY AWARD.

(Its real name is The Jelly Clitterific, and it's available from Eden Fantasys. Reasonably priced, too, I might add.)

THE GAFFY AWARD (or, 'THE GAFFY', for short - which it isn't, as it falls well within the normal size range for jelly-filled ersatz penises) is a solution to a problem of mine. Let me explain.

Several weeks back, I received the following e-mail:

Jim,

Hey there, I wanted to say you have a great blog. I love it. I clicked over from the comments you left on Ciara's Ramblings about a review she was doing for us. Thanks for the fun comments. It is nice to see her blogging community supporting her. She was a blast to work with.

Now on to Suldog -- I was cracking up about A Night at the Opera. The picture alone is funny, but a Springer Musical sounds hilarious to me. I never was one for those shows, but if anything can be lampooned for a laugh it is definitely Springer. I love the whole story though, the auction, I never win those things when I bid and you won them all! Great post!

If you are ever interested in working with Eden Fantasys, I would be thrilled. You have a great blog and a great sense of humor, which is always a good combination. Please email me anytime and maybe we can figure out a fun promo to do together.

Sincerely,

Drew G.
Eden Fantasys
www.edenfantasys.com


My first thought was, "I guess I don’t have quite the same demographic as George Will." My second thought was, "That could be fun, but My Mother reads this stuff." My third thought was, "Well, I suppose it won’t hurt to keep the avenues of communication open. Who knows? I might score some free samples!"

Little did I know.

I wrote back and conveyed my thanks for the compliments, but didn’t commit to anything. About three weeks ago, this e-mail arrived.

Jim,

We are working on a fun new campaign with some of our favorite guys out there. We want people to know what is in their vibrators - so we are asking guys to take vibes and smash them open with hammers, blenders, run them over in their cars or anything else fun, and show us the results and let us know what they look like inside.

It seems like something you can have fun with for sure. What do you think?

Email me anytime.

Drew G.
Eden Fantasys
www.edenfantasys.com


Now, imagine that you’re me.

(I know. It’s painful, at best, but it’s important.)

Do you believe, for even the tiniest fraction of a second, that I could have passed up an opportunity to make scads of jokes about dildos, especially when I’d be able to post accompanying photographs? I could no more ignore it than a Democratic congressman with an opportunity to vote for a tax increase. Plus, I get to demolish the dildo in whatever way I see fit? I might as well have been Pepe Le Pew in a room full of black cats with painted white stripes down their backs. The temptation was too much. I told him to send it.

The only thing I didn’t consider was MY WIFE. What would she think of me being delivered a huge pink rubbery schlong with the proviso that I decapitate it, write about the results and take photos? I decided to do what I always do in such situations: tell her about it after the deed was already done and it was too late for her to object.

So, I was sitting on the couch watching the British Open when I heard the front door open and something heavy hit the porch. I got up, opened the inner door, and there was the Jelly Clitterific, although I didn’t immediately know that's what it was. It was discretely packaged. Until I opened the Priority Mail box, I didn’t know for sure what was inside. It could have been rosary beads (although I hadn’t received any e-mail from The Pope inviting me to have fun smashing some up, so it was doubtful.)

I opened the box and...

Can I tell you something, in the strictest of confidences? I had never had my hands on a dildo before. I had seen them, I had read about them, and I had enjoyed their presence in a number of stunningly graphic and completely enjoyable films, but I had never actually hefted one. I was amazed at the weight. The damn thing was as heavy as a Wagnerian opera. I had never before considered the weight of a dick, but if all dicks weigh that much, then it’s no wonder men have an expected lifespan some seven years lower than women. These things must be putting an amazing strain on our hearts.

I’m standing in our kitchen, staring at this thing in my hand, when it occurs to me that the shades are up on the kitchen window and my next door neighbors might be looking at me holding this huge goo-filled phallus. Well, I'm no shrinking violet - and neither is the Jelly Clitterific - but those folks have three small daughters, so I figured discretion would be the better part of valor. I put it back into the box and put the box in the bedroom.

And there it stayed. I got cold feet. I couldn't figure any way to do the post without utterly mortifying MY (somewhat conservative) WIFE. I was on the verge of sending it back, with a sheepish apology to Drew, when, lo and behold, Eeka came to the rescue!

I wrote about how I was never going to accept another award. Eeka, being Eeka, toyed with me in the comments. She gave me an award. Here it is.


Now, I know she only gave me this award in order to push my buttons. I know it, but I still have to accept it. My ego - which is even bigger than the Jelly Clitterific - won’t let me pass up ANYTHING that names me something of the year. And, take another look at her award. I don't know about you, but to me the graphic appears rather... erect. Light bulbs went off in my head.

Eeka knows me too well from the great Boston-centric site, Universal Hub. She and I hold some differing political views, and we’ve had some gentle battles over there. I’m proud to say we’ve given each other respect and always kept overt insults out of it. She tweaks me on occasion, which keeps me from always being a pompous ass, something I might easily do if I knew that nobody would challenge me. I don’t know what she gets out of the relationship, but maybe she just likes pricking my balloons (which would be the only thing she likes involving pricks, so far as I know, her being a lesbian and all.)

I know that Eeka reads my stuff on a semi-regular basis, so surely she knows what I usually do to awards and award-givers. The parenthetical above was a start down that road, but I’m hesitant to continue. The reason? While it would be tremendously easy for me to jam on her lesbianism for, say, 28 paragraphs, I honestly try not to cross into territory where I might cause someone real mental anguish. My insults are usually ones I know the person can take, and I generally throw enough of them at myself, during the course of a tirade, to let everybody know that I’m just kidding. Here in Massachusetts, though, things being what they are, I don’t want to cause some poor misguided dyke any extra heartache, you know? I mean, sure, I could make jokes like this...

Q: Why did the lesbian throw a clock out the window?

A: She didn't realize it was spelled with an "L".

...but that barely makes sense. And Eeka is a cunning linguist, a veritable master of tongues, so such an obviously flawed attempt at humor would probably enrage her so much she'd feel like munching on a rug or something. So, let's try this one, instead!

A lesbian comes home, screeches her car into the driveway, and runs into the house. She slams the door and shouts at the top of her lungs, "Pack your bags! I won the lottery!"

Her partner says, "Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?"

"Doesn't matter. Just get out."

Of course, make it a plain old hetero couple and that one dates back to Henny Youngman.

(At this point, for no good reason whatsoever, I need to tell you about a spam I received this morning. It was for some Viagra-like substance. The subject line said: She Will Lose Her Mind From Your Great Size!!! Yes, that's just what every man dreams about, his partner left with no mental faculty merely from the sight of his humongous tool.

Well, OK, yeah, that might be fun, but what happens afterward? Will she regain her senses enough to be able to dress herself and maybe go out for a burger? Or are you stuck from that point onward with a quivering and crying mass of female flesh, barely recognizable as a human being, eating her own waste products and mumbling, "Too big... Too big... Too big..."? Seems to me that would be more trouble than the initial fun was worth.)

Anyway, Eeka giving me her phony-baloney award was just what I needed. Now I knew how to get rid of the motorized pseudo-penis without sending it back to Drew at Eden Fantasys. I'd get him his publicity, and also have some fun. I would make the thing into an award, giving it to my most irritating award-giver. Thus, THE GAFFY!

(Another aside: The Jelly Clitterific is made in China. Can you imagine working in a Chinese dildo factory?

"Hey, Wong, where's that batch of wangs?"

"Suck Me!"

"Oh, OK, I'll check with him."

And they ship these things off to the United States by the thousands. They must think we do nothing but play with ourselves over here - which isn't too far from the truth, I suppose.)

As easy as it would have been to just stuff the obscene thing back into its box and mail it off to Eeka, there were more nominees to consider.

Expat From Hell gave me this award.

(Ugh. This is turning into such a gay post! Ginormous dorks, semi-nude wrestlers... I sure hope MY WIFE doesn't divorce me when she reads this. I desperately need someone to reaffirm my straight manhood.)

Expat is a guy, by the way. And from Texas, where men are men and women are glad of it (and sheep say "thank you" to the women.) None of that swishy stuff for them, by gum! Their women would no more think about kissing another woman than they would a New Yorker. They take their beef straight up, thanks, and no chaser. They don't call their football team the Longhorns for nothing, you know.

Seems like a nice fellow, but Bobo Brazil? Definitely worth a nomination.

Next on the dissing list is Janet.




Now, Janet is one of my all-time faithful readers. She's sweet, kind, a nice mom, never has a bad word for me, and her award may actually have posted prior to my warnings about what would happen should I receive another one. All of that won't save her, though.

What will save her from too bad of a beating is the fact that she lives in the Appalachians. Too easy a target. I mean, sure, I could sit around all day bashing hillbillies, but where's the sport in that? I'd have them skewered before they could wipe the tobacco drool off of their chins. It would be like... well, like making fun of Texans or lesbians. All they have to do is show up and it's funny. I don't have to say a damn thing.

Our fourth nominee, Lime, didn't even give me an award. Well, at least she didn't give me one this week. She gave me the following one - The Zombie Chicken Award - a couple of months ago.


So, why is she a nominee for THE GAFFY? Well, she made the comment that now I'd be getting more awards than I could handle, putting that idea into easily impressionable heads, like Eddie Bluelights. For that alone, she deserves to be tied to an anthill and drenched in honey (and, knowing her, she'd probably get some jollies from that.) But, more important, I was just over at her place and I saw that she doesn't even have that damn award on her own sidebar. In other words, she foisted it off on me and never really accepted the thing herself. If that isn't worth a GAFFY nomination, what the hell is?

(Also, she's a liar. I've met her, and she's not a small green oval-shaped sour fruit at all! Eeka is, of course, but I've already ragged on her for being queer, so why pile on?)

The envelope, please!

[*rip*]

And the winner is...

Eeka! Her award was given with the express purpose of dissing me, so she basically started the whole thing. Anyway, all of the other nominees either have an actual dick between their legs, or can get one there on a regular basis, so Eeka would appear to have the most use for the award. It will be winging it's way toward you via the United States Postal Service this weekend, Eeka, batteries included! Enjoy it in good health!


Oh, I suppose there's one unanswered question. Why is it called THE GAFFY AWARD? It's an acronym. It stands for Go And Fuck Yourself.

(If you insist on telling me that 'Go And Fuck Yourself' has only one 'F' in it, then go and fuck yourself.)

***************************************************************

And here is the most important part of this whole post: All participants in today's reamings were asked if they'd be willing to participate. All of them, being exceedingly good sports, said 'yes'. As a matter of fact, they all seemed rather thrilled with the idea. Eeka, especially, loved it, and her plan is to pass THE GAFFY on to some other deserving soul, who will then pass it on to another, and so forth. Thus, good friend Drew at Eden Fantasys (and that's his spelling, by the way, not mine) will get the benefit of multiple exposures (so to speak.)

My readers are the best people in the world, and I would no more really tell one of them to go and fuck him/herself than I would tell my own mother (who is probably passed out on the floor, since she reads my stuff regularly and, though she has come to expect odd and possibly disquieting things here, probably had no idea that a huge red rubber dick would pop up on her screen today.)

Soon, with more better stuff (and an iron-clad guarantee of no putzes, aside from yours truly.)


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Notes From A Small Wife




MY WIFE rarely deigns to speak here. She figures I do a swell job of making a fool out of myself without her help. However, she looked over my 15 Books post, and decided that her commentary was necessary. So, without a nyfur the rado, here is MY WIFE.

Although I have read few of MY HUSBAND's choices, they are his opinion. However, I do have to take exception with his ending remarks regarding the Adrian Mole series.

I happen to know he never finished Adrian Mole - The Cappuccino Years and didn't even begin Adrian Mole And Weapons Of Mass Destruction.


[That is a slight exaggeration. I read the first 3 or 4 pages.]

While Cappuccino Years doesn't have one snorting laughter as the original book does, the last book, Mass Destruction, is worth a fun weekend read.

[In defense of my taste, I'll note that MY WIFE enjoyed the sequel to A Christmas Story, also. It was called It Runs In The Family, and I thought it was fair, at best. If you've seen both, you now have a basis on which to judge both her criticism and mine.]

Another note worth mentioning is regarding Adrian Mole, Aged 13-And-3/4 vs. The Thunderbolt Kid by Bryson. While Suldog was a baby boomer boy, and could have written a book very similar to Bryson's (sans the grandmother with a fondness for 'nigger babies' candy) he was never a 13-and-3/4-year-old acne-inflicted British boy. But, neither was Sue Townsend, who wrote Adrian, and who manages to capture Adrian's voice to a T (and the British, I'm told, are very fond of tea.)


Speaking of the British, our first introduction to Bill Bryson came from reading his Notes From A Small Island (our edition actually published in the U.K., but subsequently re-published in the U.S. with changes to make it more comfy for we less-literate Americans.) Travel adventures are Bryson's forte. As wonderful as Thunderbolt Kid is, his entire collection of travel books are worth the read. I should know. I've been reading In A Sunburnt Country for 8 years now.

Never again, with any stuff.

Wifey




If you don't understand why we're married, after reading this, then you never will.

Soon, with... well, you know.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

15 Books



[This is long. Way long. "Oh my God, when will it end?" long. The good thing is I won’t be mad if you skim it. I do that when I come upon something like this, so why shouldn't you? I usually find the things I like, see what the person has to say about them, and then comment accordingly. You can do the same. Or you can read every word. I’ll be amazed if it’s the latter, but will hold no ill will towards you if it’s the former.]

Librarian On The Run (love her photo) got an idea for a post from Rhea at The Boomer Chronicles (who got the idea from someplace else, Teh Interwebs being the incestuous place that it is. Whoever originated it, a big ‘thumbs up’ from me. I greatly admire original thoughts, not having had one myself since 1982 or thereabouts.)

Here is the idea: List 15 books that had a dramatic impact on your life, or that make you happy in your pants, or that you took out of the library and never returned, or something like that. Anyway, list 15 books. Folks who are looking for a good read will find some worthy choices, while folks who like lists will be gratified.

(I love lists. In this case, of course, I list loves.)

I’ll put my choices more-or-less in order according to when I first enjoyed them.

The Golden Book Encyclopedia by Bertha Morris Parker

If I wanted to be done with this list quickly, I could stop right now. This is a collection of sixteen volumes, so it fulfills the requirements all by itself. I’m counting it as one selection, though, and too bad for you because that means there’s another 3,000 words ahead. If you never want to read ANY books, just keep coming here and I’ll do my best to keep you occupied.

The Golden Book Encyclopedia, more than any other thing in my life – with the possible exception of Mister Ed reruns – has been my go-to source for information. If I spout off about something, chances are good I picked up my information from those books.

I spent countless hours reading these things as a kid. I still consult them occasionally when sources that are more ‘adult’ aren’t readily available. Published in 1959, thus slightly outdated in some regards and slightly racist/sexist in others, they have provided me with more pleasure than anything on earth outside of naked women and guitars.

I can’t end without noting that the entire thing is credited to one writer. There’s a list of some 25 or 30 ‘consultants’ on the frontispiece, but Ms. Parker (either ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs.’ Parker, in those days) is given the byline. Marvelous! I’d probably be willing to give up my left nut in order to be credited as the sole author of an entire encyclopedia. As a matter of fact, since it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever have to consider such a deal, let’s make it both nuts.

Also - Thanks, Grandpa! He gave me these. They were his, but I liked to read them so often when I was visiting, he made me a gift of them. He also made me a gift of never worrying about what 'normal' people might think about an adult enjoying things supposedly meant solely for children. As I say, these books were his. He also liked to come home from his job as senior claims attorney for the MBTA and watch The Electric Company. I wish he were still around.

Winnie-The-Pooh by A. A. Milne

And, of course, its sequel, The House At Pooh Corner.

If you didn’t read them as a child, then your childhood was incomplete. Do so now. And don’t think that having seen the Disney versions will suffice. Disney did a creditable job, but the original illustrations, by Ernest Sheppard, are as integral to my enjoyment as are Milne’s words. Quite simply, the best children’s books ever written (although I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane, comes close.)

The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Twain’s best book.

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Twain’s second-best book.

I give Tom primacy, always. While Huck is full of great moral dilemmas, and receives much of its acclaim for the way the main character resolves those, Tom is the more realistic book. I also consider it the funnier book, overall, although certain passages of Huck are more explosively hilarious. In addition, Huck’s ending, as has been pointed out by many others before me, is somewhat contrived and veers dangerously close to minstrelsy, which is truly unfortunate given Twain’s well-meaning and loving heart concerning the Negro in America.

Tom is often relegated to a second-class status by virtue of its being a children’s book, but I think that’s an unfortunate misrepresentation. It can be read by children, but it is much more valuable to adults. It is, in my estimation, the most useful book ever written for the purpose of recapturing, in the reader, the inescapable pains and ineffable joys of childhood. It will not resonate with all, but it should. The fault is in the reader if it doesn’t.

Ball Four by Jim Bouton

If you love baseball, but haven’t read this book, then you are willfully ignorant. There is no good reason for a baseball fan to have not read this book. The historical implications alone make it a must.

At the time of Ball Four’s publication, in 1970, there had never been a book like it. It was the first of the ‘tell-all’ variety of sports books. Whereas before, sporting literature consisted mostly of ghostwritten tales of heroism, Bouton’s book was raw, and had more failure between its covers than glory. It was the distillation of his season-long diary kept during the only year of the Seattle Pilots existence. It chronicled, with great honesty and depth of feeling, his attempt to refashion his major league baseball existence as a knuckleballer, having fallen from the heights of his success as a New York Yankee flamethrower some five years previous.

The story of the struggle, in the midst of the mediocrity that was the Pilots, would have been enough to make it a worthwhile read. However, what puts it over the top, and makes it a must, is Bouton’s telling of clubhouse tales, full of ribald humor (and unvarnished grossness in some instances.) He gave the public its first inkling that baseball players were actually human beings, subject to the foibles and shortcomings of us all, and not the demigods they had been made out to be, for so many decades, in the popular press. For this, Bouton was vilified and ostracized by both the baseball establishment and his fellow players. He was booed by the purists, cheered by the counterculture. He was out of baseball soon after publication (although the case can be made that this was not a blacklisting but just a natural result of his diminished skills, and Bouton always acknowledges that possibility. My feeling is that he still had something good to offer a team, but I base that only on his stats and not from having seen him play during that time period. He made a brief comeback, some eight years after publication, in a short stint with the Atlanta Braves. Later editions of the book – usually labeled Ball Four, Plus Ball Five - contain additional material concerning this, and are definitely worth reading if you became a fan of Bouton’s via the original.)

Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

The book on which the movie Charly was based.

Tremendously heartfelt and moving. Anyone who doesn’t find himself sniffling a bit by the final pages is insufficiently supplied with empathy. Grandly executed original idea for a story; a tour de force for Keyes, who had to write it in several differing voices. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. If not, you don’t, but I can’t tell you much else without giving away the plot and I wouldn’t do that, denying you the pleasure of the read, to save my own soul.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Jack Nicholson was entirely miscast in the movie. McMurphy, in the book, is a robust and muscular redhead.

The book is excellent, of course. The story is told by Chief Bromden, another thing you wouldn't get from the movie (although that's a forgivable offense, I suppose.) Terrifying in spots, poignant in others, funny as hell intermittently, it can be read as allegory or just as a plain old good tale.

(I get really pissed about Nicholson in the movie. I mean, yeah, he gave a really good performance, but McMurphy is my all-time favorite fictional character and it took me half the film just to get used to the fact that he didn't look anything at all like how he was described in the book.)

Breakfast Of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

If you’re familiar with Vonnegut, then you know that, in many ways, he wrote the same book over and over. After his successful start as a short story writer for magazines, and the publication of his first (rather conventional) novel, Player Piano, he began simplifying his work. He returned to the same themes – depersonalization, loneliness, the overall sense that nothing made sense in the long run – with an increasingly minimalist style. He relied rather heavily upon the reader being able to infer the small details.

And so on.

Breakfast Of Champions achieves a perfect balance between craft and sloth. It is a funny book, but extremely dark. It is profuse with the author’s charmingly immature line drawings. The central character, Kilgore Trout, had appeared (and would appear) in other of Vonnegut’s novels, but always as a supporting player. Here he takes the main stage and, to our delight, is spectacularly uncomfortable in doing so. Vonnegut himself becomes a character in his own work of fiction, a conceit so spectacular that it deserves a standing ovation simply for the audacity.

He considered other of his work better, and the general opinion of critics would probably be that Slaughterhouse Five is his most important work, but I consider this his masterpiece.

(I can’t leave Breakfast Of Champions without commenting upon Venus On The Half Shell. It is a hilarious science fiction novel, published after Breakfast, purportedly written by Kilgore Trout, the main character in Breakfast. It’s a real book, a cult classic, and many people believe Vonnegut wrote it. I only recently found out that this was NOT the case, and that, in fact, it was written by Philip Jose Farmer. Vonnegut supposedly was not pleased by it. If so, this lowers my estimation of Vonnegut considerably. Venus is brilliant, a superb parody of both Vonnegut’s style and of the supposed style of Trout, as given via many examples in Breakfast and other of Vonnegut's work. If you can find a copy, read it after you’ve finished Breakfast. You won’t be disappointed.)

The Rape Of The A*P*E* (American Puritan Ethic) by Allan Sherman

If all you know of Allan Sherman is his work as a song parodist ('Hello, Muddah! Hello, Faddah!') then you’ve been deprived of a great joy. This is, for my money, the funniest book ever written. As a bonus, it is also one of the filthiest.

Unfortunately, it is out of print, and has been for many years. Existing copies go for outrageous amounts from used booksellers. I lost two copies via loaning them out, was lucky enough to find a reasonably priced used hardcover, and will never let anyone borrow it again, so don’t ask unless you’re on your deathbed.

The book is a history of sex, from Adam & Eve up to the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, told in Sherman’s unabashed, utterly frank, and entirely hilarious style. I don’t believe I can do it justice without quoting extensively from it. On the off chance that you’ll be able to latch onto a copy, I wouldn’t want to ruin too much of the good stuff, so I won’t do the quoting. Just take my word for it. It’s laugh-out-loud funny AND titillating, mostly at the same time.

A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The funniest book ever written.

(I know. I just now said that about The Rape Of The A*P*E. I vacillate, usually just before masturbating. And if this doesn’t count as that, I don’t know what does. Hell, for some people – and I use the term loosely - Mein Kampf is the funniest book ever written. Just be thankful I’m not one of those and quit complaining about the hobgoblins of my little mind.)

Rollicking farce. Let’s call it the funniest novel ever, and give Sherman’s book the award for funniest non-fiction. Anyway, the main character, Ignatius J. Reilly, is unmatched. There has never been a more pompous, vile, ill-behaved, utterly reprehensible - and deeply funny - protagonist. The supporting cast is superbly detailed, and most are near to being as flawed as Ignatius is (although they go to great lengths to conceal their hideousness, whereas Ignatius more-or-less flaunts his own grotesquery.) The magical thing about Toole’s writing is that he has you rooting for, rather than against, most of them.

Toole takes all of his bizarre, yet realistic, characters, and interweaves their stories, bringing them together at the climax in a comic explosion. Masterful work, and the only example of Toole’s comic genius extant, unfortunately.

Toole was unable to sell the book. He committed suicide. I don’t blame him. If I had written such a magnificent piece of work and couldn’t sell it? I would have offed myself, too.

After his death, his mother kept shopping the manuscript, finally getting a university press to go for it. And it then went on to become a #1 New York Times bestseller, winning a Pulitzer and making everybody who reads it wonder just what in hell the editors who didn’t buy it were smoking. I don’t know if the title of the book was chosen by Toole prior to his suicide, or tacked on by his mother afterward, but it describes those editors perfectly.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

Written as a satire of American middle-class values, that’s how I took it on my first reading. As I’ve grown older, however, each re-reading has found me yearning more for Babbitt’s lifestyle than being derisive concerning it. I’m pretty sure that says more about me than it does the book, and probably not to my benefit.

As you may have noticed to this point, my taste runs to the funny. I find most serious novels boring in the extreme, full of unnecessary exposition and other Victorian bric-a-brac crowding the landscape. While a satire, there are few laughs here. There are one or two snickers if you bring a certain snarky mindset to it. Overall, though, it is dark, somber, and unrelenting in painting a tedious existence, although Babbitt himself only comes to the realization fleetingly. The point is that I don’t recommend too much serious stuff, so I hope my doing so in this instance will give the choice added weight.

The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole, Aged 13-And-3/4 by Sue Townsend

More funny stuff, this time via the diary of a pubescent English boy. The genius comes from the boy not realizing half of the hideous shit going on around him.

Townsend followed this masterpiece with five or six others, all in the same general format of a diary kept by Adrian. Each succeeding entry in the series was less funny, less poignant, less original, and less worth reading. The immediate sequel was good, and I’d recommend it if you like the first and find yourself jonesing for more, but it’s quite a bit more depressing than the original. Do yourself a favor and stop after that one, by all means.

IT by Stephen King

I don’t usually like horror, so fans of the genre may have a different opinion, but for me this is the best horror novel ever written. It is long – some 1100 pages, as I remember – but gripping throughout.

If you’ve only seen the made-for-TV movie, you’ve been recipient of a pale, weak rendering of this story. The power, in the book, comes from the very nebulousness of the creature, of IT, whereas the TV movie presented a more-or-less concrete form. And the climax of the book is absolutely impossible to put on film. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean; if not, you’ll find out the truth of the statement if and when you DO read it. While getting to that, King perfectly captures some childhood experiences of American Boomer youth.

Well worth the investment of time needed to get through such a lengthy read (unlike what you're slogging through right now.)

Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do by Peter McWilliams

Speaking of lengthy reads...

McWilliams was a victim of AIDS and cancer. The United States government killed him. That’s one hell of a statement, but I believe it to be true.

While fighting his ailments, McWilliams became nauseous when he took the necessary drugs. He couldn’t keep his medications down. They did him no good when he vomited them back up, which he often did. In order to alleviate the nausea, he smoked marijuana. The marijuana relieved the nausea and allowed him to get the benefit of the vicious drugs he was taking to combat the cancer and AIDS.

Marijuana was legal for medicinal use under California law, but still illegal under federal law. McWilliams was busted by the feds, and went to trial. While in confinement, he could not smoke marijuana and often puked up his drugs. At trial, he was not allowed to mention California’s marijuana laws. Upon conviction, he was ordered to not use marijuana. He was compliant. He followed the court’s orders.

He died from inhalation of his own vomit.

I met him briefly. He had joined the Libertarian Party, the only political party in the United States that fully supported his right to ingest whatever he felt like ingesting or needed to ingest. I was a member, too, and he spoke at a national convention in Washington, DC, which I attended. After his speech, he had a meet and greet where he autographed the free copies of his book that he had given to EVERY PERSON WHO ATTENDED THE CONVENTION. He was sweet, generous, funny, highly intelligent, and committed 100% to individual freedom.

He’s dead because the United States government decided that his smoking of a weed was somehow detrimental to society and had to be stopped even at peril of his life.

This book, his last published work, was his argument for absolute individual freedom to eat what you want, drink what you want, have sex with whom you want, and engage in all other manner of what we generally refer to as victimless crimes. Peter preferred the term 'consensual crimes,' and that may give a better picture of them, as it keeps in mind the fact that all of the activities he refers to come about because the people involved choose to engage in them. The only people who want to see these things remain crimes have no real stake in the matter other than their own puritanical mores. None of these activities harm anyone other than the participants, if they harm anyone at all.

(I feel compelled to point out that he made one or two mistakes in his reading of biblical texts – at one point, for instance, he refers to Peter as Jesus’ brother – but those errors don't make a difference concerning the principles he is espousing.)

The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

MY WIFE, bless her, tried for years to get me to write this book. It’s too late now. Bill Bryson wrote my book. I will probably never write a book now. Bryson wrote my book better than I ever could have.

The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid is THE definitive book about growing up as a middle-class white male baby boomer. If you were one, as I was, this book will speak to every part of your soul. I would go so far as to call it an essential read for anyone from my generation and basic social strata. And, funny? It will leave you gasping for air.

Buy it. Make him as rich as I should have been...

Finally, I’ll give you one bonus book, a sixteenth.

The Bible by God, et al

You’re probably familiar with it, or at least you think you are. Nothing I have to say about it will probably change your opinion of it. You either get it or you don’t. I’d prefer that you did, but that’s entirely up to you. A lifetime of experience, however, has taught me to always give at least a cursory glance to instruction manuals, and this is the one for life. As with most instruction manuals, you needn’t read every warning, or raft of legal mumbo-jumbo, but it is always a good idea to make sure you know the important stuff before operating heavy machinery. If you don’t, the likelihood of death is much higher.

Soon, with more better stuff.