Friday, April 28, 2017

Toughing it out like a REAL man. Hell yeah!

Two months ago, I was screwing around in the garage, standing on a stepladder, reaching high, straining, trying to shove heavy sheet-rock into the rafters. 

Huh, I thought, maybe I need a little more support. So with my arms full, stretching on the top ladder rung, I extended my right foot to the two steps leading into the house. That's it...just a little farther...almost there...
Clatter! Bang! Crash! Snap!

I ate the concrete floor. Pain shot through me, even more so when I noticed the odd angle my leg was positioned beneath me, a position not even a contortionist would attempt.

Screams went up. Pleas for help to my wife inside the house. And a string of obscenities that would make a sailor blush.

Finally--finally!--my wife came searching for me. Found me in a heap on the floor. After a bit, I got up, brushed myself off. Looked at the dangling sheetrock and thought the job needed to be completed.

"Oh no, you're not!" exclaimed my wife. "Can you move your leg?"

I wiggled it. Sure, the pain was excruciating, but it wiggled just fine. "No problem," I said.

My wife wasn't convinced. But I wanted to be as tough as the guys in movies who sew up their own bullet-wounds. No pain, no gain! Bite down on leather! Tough it out! Hoo-hah!

Cut to two months later.

Hmm, I thought, my leg still really hurts.

My wife had had enough, scheduled an appointment for me. Because, really, going to the doctor is for wusses and hypochondriacs.

"Well," the orthopedic surgeon explains, "you broke your leg."

Huh. Fancy that. For two months I've been driving, walking the dog five times a day (because he, too, had shattered his knee irreparably), dragging my mother through weekly grocery store runs, even walking on the treadmill, for God's sake. 

They fit me with what they call a "boot." It's more like Frankenstein footwear, blocky and cumbersome . I can't drive. I can't walk. Can't do anything. Which is really kinda' dumb when you consider how active I was for the prior two months.
Das Boot der Frankenstein!
Bah. What do orthopedic surgeons know, anyway? Time to go mow the lawn!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Behold the beauty of CHILI RUN!

Not a hoax! Not a prank! Not a bad dream brought on by lousy nachos!


About that last part... My newest book, Chili Run, was actually based on a nightmare I had.
A really, really dumb nightmare. I started thinking about it (never a good idea).

In my dream, for some reason I was forced to run across downtown Kansas City in my tighty-whities to get a bowl of chili. Running against the clock or face severe consequences.

As dreams go, it made perfect sense at the time. They usually do. Very intense actually. Sure, sure, there's the usual dream dealio about being in your underwear in front of people. But this was the ultimate in underwear dreams. The idea stuck with me like...well, like three-day-old bad chili.

I just had to come up with a reason behind it, see if I could sustain the idea for a novel. Make it interesting, hopefully entertaining. Logical.


Whether I succeeded or not of course is in your hands/minds.

And just like a dream, just like my protagonists' run, the story kept going. Before I knew it, the damn book became a comedy-thriller-suspense-love story with lofty themes such as racism, bullying and writing.

I know, right?

But don't let the pretentiousness shove you off. It's really just a high-concept, low-brow shaggy dog tale about a guy running through town to get a bowl of chili. In his tighty-whities. Or his brother dies.

It made me laugh and I was kinda on the edge of my seat while writing it. Hope it puts you there, too. In a good kinda' way, I mean. While wearing pants so you don't get chafed.

(And yes, I'm aware of the bad connotation/pseudo pun of the title and a little bit of the kid in me giggles over it! That's kinda what you're in for.)

Chili Run: The perfect thriller for the reader on the go! 

Um, in case you didn't get it, CLICK HERE.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Hippity hoppity, here comes Trumpity!

Honestly, the state of America right now's so depressing and ludicrous, the only way I'm able to handle it without a nervous breakdown is to envision our orange president as something benign, something friendly.

Behold the Easter Trumpy!

You feel it?

That nice, calming mood... The mood the friendly Easter Bunny evokes when it drops off eggs (and for God's sake, why does the Easter Bunny do that anyway? Wait! There I go again, getting upset...calm...find my center...). But do kids really like eggs all that much, consider them yummy?

Speaking of dropping off things, Trump recently made the decision to drop some bombs on Syria. To tell you the truth, for once he may've made the right decision. The gassing needed some sort of retaliation, the Trumpster Bunny was caught between a rock and a hard place. Still...that fear of another impending war causes me anxiety!

Okay, I'm back. Relaxed. I'm swinging with that groovy Easter Bunny now, the most benevolent creature on the planet. Hell, I'm sweating unicorns of peace and farting haloes!

Then again, I'm gonna' wake outta my temporary tranquility and realize that no matter how many Easter eggs I color, it's not gonna tie a pretty bonnet upon the sad state of America.

Dang it!

Sorry. No more digressions...

The world's a lovely, pastel colored place. The Easter Bunny is a beautiful sentiment. Kinda' disturbing, though, if you get right down to it--I mean, what's the reason behind a giant, creepy bunny delivering chocolate? And who likes marshmallow eggs anyway? And the Bunny, like Santa Claus, breaks into people's houses! (Agh, I'm getting sideswiped again!).

Alright. Peaceful. Cool. Finding my core. (And what does that mean anyway? Only core I'm worried about right now is the nuclear core which is minutes away from going full-on inferno!)

Be good people. Tolerate others' opinions. It's what the Easter Bunny would want.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 7, 2017

When Cats Talk, Worlds Collide!

My cat's been long gone for many years.

Yet the other night, I had a dream. He and I were back at my parent's house in my bedroom. A tough "teddy" gang of Latino cats started hooting from the street. I whipped up the blinds, saw all kinds of bling and attitude. Cats weren't just frontin'. Truth up, yo.
"C'mon, Tiger, come out and play-ay-ay!" the cats said, evoking that annoying guy from the movie, The Warriors. "Run with us!"

My cat, Tiger, turned to me, said, "Stuart, can I go out with them?"

In astonishment, I replied, "I didn't know you could talk!"

"You never asked me."

You know, some of my dreams just shouldn't be turned into books. Unlike the upcoming Chili Run, a true Freudian nightmare.

But more on that soon... 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pay Attention!

This weekend I went on a wife-commissioned emergency egg purchase to the grocery store.

In front of me stood a huge massive slab of man (twice as large as I am and I'm pretty big). The manager/stock-boy made the mistake of asking Sasquatch how he was doing.

"Well, my back hurts," he says.

"That's great," the stock-boy replies.

Clearly, neither one was engaged in the conversation. They didn't hear each other, communication nil and rote. But I was there, Johnny-On-The-Spot, so you don't miss a scintillating moment.

Communication is important. Often, I see people--couples--sitting at a restaurant, not chatting. Tap-tap-tapping away on their phones as if they can't tolerate one another's company. Sad and silent.

I have an old-fashioned flip-phone. Texting is a tedious nightmare (tap, tap, tap...crap!...start over...tap, tap, tap...). But the stone-age phone helps me communicate, engaged with my wife when we go out.

I'm there.

If I see you in public engaging in such activity, I'll be forced to make a citizen's arrest. "Public Rudeness." You've been duly warned.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Some things just don't jell well with testicles...

Testicles are an important topic, one overlooked by many people. Others would rather just skirt the issue entirely. In this day and age where every Terribly Important Issue has a cable "news" show devoted to it, it's about time testicles came out of the shadows and thrust into the open.
If I have to be the brave journalist (everyone else is one these days, so I'm tossing my hat into the ring) to cast the much needed spotlight on testicles, so be it.

They're here, not very pretty, get used to it!

Sadly, testicles have been reduced to a comic device in films, the (literal) punchline in crappy comedies (see the unfortunate Home Alone series). In what world is groin damage considered comical? Apparently many people find blows to the junk the height of hilarity. YouTube and America's Home Videos are living proof of this sadistic anomaly.

But any guy who's ever suffered testicular embarrassment or irritation, not to mention full-on injury, will testify there's nothing funny about such shenanigans

For example... 

Not too long ago, I developed "jock itch."

I said, "But, doc, I'm not a jock. I don't even watch sports! My idea of sports is gambling!"

My doctor shook her head, wrote me a scrip. Couldn't wait to get me out of her office.

Even with the prescription filled, I couldn't scratch that itch. It kinda' scared me. I became desperate: cooking home remedies, sacrificing kittens, studying Scientology, watching late night infomercials. Anything.

One day I found a tube of ointment in the medicine cabinet, a sample my wife, a knowledgeable medical professional, brought home from a conference. I found the timing fortuitous.

"Soothes skin itching and burning," the label proudly proclaimed.

Hoo-hah! Celestial trumpets! (Just as long as it's not that "wah-wah-wahhhh" insulting, cartoon trombone). A dream come true! I couldn't wait to apply the miracle salve!

After I lathered it on my testicles, my wife says, "Wait! It's not for that! Don't--"

Too late. Fire ripped through my nether regions. I jerked, shimmied, frugged like I was in one of those stupid '60's beach movies ("Hey, Moondoggy, my 'nads are wayyy gone, baby!"). Fanning the area for all the good it did me.
Photos to follow...

Whoever thought it was a good idea to apply menthol to testicles needs to seriously do some reexamining. (It's kinda' like "Ben-Gay." Why in hell the ubiquitous "Ben" is so gay--as in "happy"--is beyond me.)

Frankly, America needs to hear more about testicles. I'm thinking of doing a pod-cast.

"You're on the air with Testicle Talk..." 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Smush-faced, violent kissing on screen!

This goes out to all the ladies. Looks painful, doesn't it?

The '50's and early '60's presented a line of cinematic leading men who really threw themselves into their kissing scenes. What gusto!

I'm talking smashed face, violent, lips out of whack, full-on kissing that didn't look comfortable at all. The man would just thrust his lips and mouth all over his poor unsuspecting costar and hold her tight, captive, by the shoulders. Painful.

Was this considered romantic back then?

Let's see...we had George Peppard. Man, he liked to really get in there, smash, wiggle about, do some serious lip damage. Bogart always looked like a very uncomfortable kisser, but Lauren Bacall apparently disagreed. Gregory Peck, stalwart that he was, always looked ill at ease making out. Sure, his characters were always supposed to be rock solid moral, but his kissing scenes appeared just as wooden. James Dean always looked like he was kissing himself. Anthony Quinn and Ernest Borgnine are probably better left unmentioned (but some time look up how Ernest used to torture his wife with a "dutch oven." The horror, the horror!).
Movies taught me how to romance women. So I smooshed my way through high school, into early college. Sorry for the bruised lips, girls.

Probably shoulda' watched different movies.