Quote of the Day, Kurt Vonnegut

Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him.

It was music.

I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.

— Kurt Vonnegut, Armageddon in Retrospect

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Secrets of a Winner (a short story) by Michael Konik

Secrets of a Winner, from Becoming Bobby by Michael Konik

Until someone actually hands you $602,400 in cash, you can’t quite understand how special you feel. Let me tell you: Pretty special.

The money doesn’t weigh much. Ten bricks of $10,000 in $100 bills for each 100K. And then 24 hundreds in a paper clip. You keep feeling like there should be more, like perhaps they forgot the rest. But after you count it five or six times, it finally hits you: $602,400. In cash. Continue reading Secrets of a Winner (a short story) by Michael Konik

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Dick-lit Tracy – Here Goes Nuthin’

I was sitting in my office late one night, staring at the pile of bills stacked up on my desk, wondering if I’d ever see another payday.

In walked a tall blonde in a short skirt.

“Mr. Snyder?” she said. “I need help.” Her lipstick was red. Her eyes were blue. Her voice was like maple syrup dripping down the side of a stack of flapjacks.

“It’s my husband,” she said. “I think he’s a vampire.”

A vampire? I can do vampires. I’m a write-aholic. I can write anything—for money. Continue reading Dick-lit Tracy – Here Goes Nuthin’

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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?

I read this book the way I watch grizzly slasher films. I squint my eyes so they’re barely open and quickly scan over the gruesome parts, trying not to comprehend too much, but for some godawful reason, I’m unable to just turn the page and move on to the next scene. Bret Easton Ellis will be remembered for this book—one of the strangest “horror comedies” ever to spew from a mind more twisted than Edgar Allan Poe’s, more macabre than H.P. Lovecraft’s, and more harrowing than Stephen King’s. With American Psycho, Ellis raised the bar for thriller writers.

Allow me to reproduce here just a few sentences of a scene that goes on for a number of pages. WARNING: I’m not joking. Continue reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?

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Chad Kultgen’s The Average American Male – What Salinger Couldn’t Say

This novel by Chad Kultgen reminds me more than any other book of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. The main difference is that The Average American Male is simply more honest about the way young guys think about sex. I’m sure just about every guy who reads The Average American Male starts cracking up almost immediately because he relates to the way the narrator’s mind works, mentally undressing every attractive female he sees and imagining raunchy sex acts. It may be a slight exaggeration of the “average” American male’s mind—granted:  most men don’t masturbate ten times a day—but the mental activity itself is not that far from average. This really is how guys think, all guys—I suspect even gay guys think like this, except that their fantasies are about men instead of women.

Continue reading Chad Kultgen’s The Average American Male – What Salinger Couldn’t Say

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Scarlett Johansson sings
Tom Waits: Singin’ in the Pain…

After posting my review of Bukowski’s Post Office on Monday, I became curious about what average readers were saying about Bukowski these days, so I went to goodreads to check out the reader reviews. One interesting thread started when a reader posted a comment that reading Bukowski always made her think of Tom Waits. The thread went on for some time as many others agreed.

I’ve long been a Tom Waits fan and just reading the reviews made me want to listen to one of his old albums. Looking through my CD rack, I had to laugh when I came upon “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” a CD I’d purchased a couple years ago and had forgotten about. Continue reading TOM WAITS GETS LOST IN TRANSLATION

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Charles Bukowski’s Post Office – Through Rain, Sleet, Snow and Booze

Charles Bukowski is primarily known as a poet. He was also a lifelong alcoholic and often wrote about his drinking in both his poems and especially in his prose. Post Office was his first novel.

Although it’s labeled “a novel,” Post Office is really a memoir. (I think the only actual novel Bukowski ever wrote was Pulp, a parody of a detective novel, “Dedicated to bad writing,” that was published in 1994, the year he died. I’ll review Pulp in the future.) There’s no plot to Post Office, hardly even a story. A man hires on as a letter carrier, works a few years then quits. He hires on again as a clerk, works a lot more years, then quits again. That’s the story.

In this time frame of some 14-15 years, he goes through a number of wives and lovers, drinks, has a kid, drinks, plays the horses, and drinks. I’ve heard many people say they love Bukowski’s poetry, but hate his prose. In my opinion, they’re not reading him right. His prose is poetry. I’m not saying that every word Bukowski has ever written is poetry. But there are hundreds of poems, disguised as prose, throughout his “novels.” Post Office is a book you can flip open to any page and start reading and you’ll soon find yourself engrossed.

Continue reading Charles Bukowski’s Post Office – Through Rain, Sleet, Snow and Booze

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Robert Devereaux’s Santa Steps Out – Silent Night, Horny Night

In Santa Steps Out, Robert Devereaux restores the lust and raging lunacy of classic Greek mythology to our most cherished, and sanitized, contemporary American fable.  Robert Devereaux is now often classified as a bizarro author, though I think he was initially categorized in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres. I just discovered him some months ago. Here’s the basic story of his 1998 novel, Santa Steps Out:

Santa Claus, while making his rounds one Christmas Eve, bumps into the Tooth Fairy who happens to be making her rounds, depositing coins under children’s pillows in exchange for teeth. (We learn a lot of juicy facts about the Tooth Fairy in this book. For example, she actually eats the teeth she picks up, and then excretes the coins she leaves behind.) The Tooth Fairy is a hot babe and she seduces Santa multiple times in the first chapter. But, we also learn that Santa is married to Anya and he is filled with remorse for having cheated on his ever-loving, ever faithful wife. Continue reading Robert Devereaux’s Santa Steps Out – Silent Night, Horny Night

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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk – A First Novel with Punch

We are getting into some serious dick-lit here. There’s so much testosterone gumming up the pages of this thriller, you could tear ’em out, chew ’em up, and throw away your Cialis prescription. Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Guy can’t sleep. Chronic insomnia. He’s suffering. Shrink tells him he’s a wimp. “Why don’t you go to a cancer patient support group so you can see what real suffering is?” Guy goes to a testicular cancer support group. The ploy works. Guy sees that men with no balls are in bad shape, making his complaints about sleeplessness pale by comparison. What’s insomnia compared to having your nuts chopped off? Continue reading Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk – A First Novel with Punch

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