Such a busy Friday!

There’s so much going on today, I scarcely know where to begin. I’m excited, to say the least.

First of all, my new column of Popshifter has started to run. It’s called “New Country for Old Men,” and it’s about the current spate of country music the radio won’t stop playing. Some of it is good. Most of it is not good at all, and at its worst, it is misogynistic, culture appropriating garbage. Very little of it sounds like country. 
Of course, I’ll still be dealing with my love of New Wave in the “Waxing Nostalgic” column, and this week I’m looking at The Fixx. Not an obscure band, but they are more than the one-hit wonder some people seem to take them for. 

Logo FinalSecondly, our new podcast is out in the open! That’s right, Cootie and I have unleashed our own show upon an unsuspecting world. Called “Kiss the Goat,” the show takes a look at Devil movies, a weird sub-genre that we both love. We’ll also be taking some sidequests, like how Satan is viewed in popular culture. I’m sure we’ll meander into some world religion conversations, too, and that’s part of why I think the show is going to be interesting. Will it be a really deep episode? Or will it just be Cootie and X getting a little tore up and talking about the old boogah-boogah? You won’t know until you listen. As of this writing, the show is only available on PodOMatic, but it will soon be accessible on iTunes and Stitcher Smart Radio. 

Hopefully, you’ll be able to hear two SixPointFives this month. The one for July was postponed due to bad weather. We’ll be recording that one later this month. I’m hoping to pull another one together, where you, the listener, will take a larger part. I’m looking for serious questions about genre film from you! Send ’em in to sixpointfivepodcast@gmail.com. My panel and I will be pleased to answer your questions… once I decide who my panel is going to be. You’ve got until August 15th to send in your questions. 

Take a read and give a listen! It’s all for you guys, and I hope you enjoy it. And as always, I humbly ask that you spread the word. 

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I Cannot Keep My Own Secrets.

I am really shitty at being my own publicist. When I come up with a new project that I’m ready to release, I want to get it out there now, now, now. I don’t want to wait. I devise my own street dates and they become my enemies. I irritate myself.

It’s not braggadocio. It’s a child-like over-exuberant personality. This is my new shiny thing. I’d like to show it to you.

So, let’s see who really reads this blog. I’m going to tell you a secret.

I’m starting a new podcast. Yes, this makes three. One that I am a constant guest on, and two that I host and produce myself. It really doesn’t take that much time. As my patroness saint, Amanda Fucking Palmer, says, “Stop pretending art is hard.”

There is an art to a good podcast.
It’s not hard. It just takes a little time, is all.

The podcast I introduced this year, The Six and a Half Feet Under Podcast, has been reaching really high numbers. I attribute this to two things: it only comes out once a month, which makes it more of a “prestige” podcast, and people perceive it as a “serious” podcast. It is that; we go into a lot of issues that most podcasts shy away from. I give no fucks; I’ll talk about anything.

If you’ve read my fiction, you already know that. I ain’t skeered.

While the Six Point Five is still going strong, I decided to go ahead and bring out a new podcast, sort of a dream project of mine.

Logo FinalThe show is called “Kiss the Goat” and it is all about those crazy Devil movies that saw their heyday in the late Sixties and early Seventies, but which had new life breathed into them by the Italian market during the Eighties. Possession, exorcism, crazy nuns, badly dressed cult members… we’ll get to all of that eventually on “Kiss the Goat.”

Go ahead and join the Facebook group. Just do a Facebook search for “Kiss the Goat” and you’ll find us easily enough. The first episode drops on August 1.

I’m extremely pleased and proud of this because my co-host is my wife. This is a project we get to work on together. Refining, writing, choosing which piece of garbage to review next: we get to do that all as a couple. We already like each other. Hopefully that chemistry comes across during the show.

Also, Cootie has a sweet voice and the sort of openness you don’t often find on podcasts. She’s something else.

I hope it’s something you dig. All of these things — the podcasts, the stories, the blog itself — are all things designed to entertain you, the audience, my loyal Heathens. Aw, hell… they’re fun for me, too. I’ll quit doing it when you quit reacting.

Come to Hell with us, won’t you? It won’t take long and you just might have a good time. 

Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?

I have nightmares. Every night.

You kind of expect that from a bloke like me, I guess. The guy who writes the scary stories. Nightmares must be part of the job description, right?

nightmare1Well, they aren’t just nightmares.

They are night terrors. I have had them since I was five years old. They are recurrent. They make me sweat; when I wake up, my pillows are soaked with perspiration. It’s uncomfortable, to say the very least.

And they terrify me.

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I’d rather have a bottle in front me than have to have a Hobby Lobby-otomy.

bush

There are those who are constantly super-pissed about some political issue going on in this country. How do you do that? How do you keep up the energy to remain so mad, all the time? Is there some kind of Lazarus Pit of hate y’all draw from? Is there a purity to your depth of patriotism that I’m not privy to? Or do you just like to argue?

HL1I’ve only been talking about this whole Hobby Lobby thing for a couple of days, and I’m over it. Exhausted. Done. I would much rather talk shitty movies and horror stories than get involved in gigantic slabs of political polemic.

Besides… no one seems to be mad about what I’m mad about, which makes it frustrating for me. There’s something more nefarious going on here than a woman’s right to behave as she sees fit sexually and whether or not an insurance company should be forced to pay for that. There’s something going on that affects everyone, regardless of gender or behavior.

They’re taking our language.

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The existential dread of Mondays, Part I: The helplessness of Internet friends.

I’ve always believed that friends are where you find them, especially in the Internet age. I have a lot of friends that I consider to be very close that I’ve never met in real life. I’ve Tweeted them. I’ve talked to them on Skype. But I’ve never shaken their hands or been able to smell their cologne or perfume. I don’t think that matters. The internet allows you to cut through that bullshit and get to the heart of the matter. When all you have is conversation, your on a direct road into someone’s brain. From the brain to the heart is not a long trip. And you can tell a faker or a tourist just as well online as you can in real life.

That’s what I think, anyway. I’ve never been catfished. I would like to think I can tell the difference between a real person and a person who wants to be real.

Having said that, someone that I believe to be real is having chemotherapy for the first time today. Because Mondays don’t suck bad enough, right? This woman has always been exceeding kind to me. She’s a fantastic writer, and she’s given Jim Branscome and I good, helpful notes on the scripts we’ve sent her for peer review. She always seems to want us to do well. She’s also incredibly funny, and seems to get my random, poorly timed jokes better than most.

I hate that she is going through this. I’m angry that something as small as cells can rebel against someone, turn against their host and become something dark and festering. I’m frustrated that words do not and can not make things better. I’m mad that I am here and she is there; that I can’t bring my whole family together and show up at the hospital with terrible things like sparkly shoes and 80’s wigs and cake and a shitty Michael Bay movie, and that we can’t hang out with her family and get to know each other while all this other bullshit goes down.

I am daunted by distance and by knowing just enough, but not enough.

I hope she’s reading this. If nothing else, I hope someone is reading it to her. I hope someone tells her that a lot of people think she’s brave, and that a sense of humour is the best thing to have in a situation like this. I hope someone is doing her makeup. I have reasons to believe that all these things are happening, and I am pleased by that.

I hope, also, that someone tells her there a lot of people online who think she’s real, and are thinking about her. Wishing nothing but good things for her. Ready to see her survive.

We’re writers. We tell stories, even when they’re difficult to tell. I’ve been reading the blog.
I’m looking forward to a few years from now, when the book comes out.

 

Pardon me, do you have any sorts? I seem to be out of them.

I had a birthday this past Sunday. I turned… an age. Everybody was cool about it, didn’t bring numbers into it all.
Except my dad.

My dad kept reminding me how old I am all throughout the phone call we had. I wasn’t sure if he was amazed I have lived as long as I have, or if he was amazed he lived to see me be this old. Regardless, he sang “Happy Birthday” to me while playing his ukelele. I don’t care how old you are: that’s pretty awesome.

AmbroseI got a video game for my birthday from the young’uns. It seems like an odd thing for a man my age to receive, but fuck. John Carpenter spends his time playing Dead Space 3 and watching basketball. I could do worse. Besides, they got me the WWE 2013 game. And it’s fun as hell. I could spend days playing that damned thing. I guess I have done that for a couple days anyway.

I love pro wrestling. I don’t have any guilt. I love to play the game, I love to watch the shows, I’ll go see it live, I don’t care. I know more about the history of that particular thing than I do most things.

Wrestling. Horror movies. World religions.

Even to me, I seem odd. In a lot of ways, I’m still coming to terms with myself. Maybe I’m the embodiment of the New South; still clinging to the old ways, like watching NWA legacy families rise through the ranks of WWE, a distinctively Northern company, yet embracing the new ways, like computer technology and not lynching people because they’re a little bit different.

It’s that weird feeling of being half a step behind that plagues me. A little off kilter. Dancing to the wrong beat.

The part of my brain in charge of writing feels like hot Silly Putty, a little melty and weird. It still is what it is, and knows what it is designed to do, but it’s not quite up to doing it yet. I need to absorb things for a while, not constantly put out, like a cheerleader with horrible self-esteem and an amazing reputation.

I haven’t had to do anything. And I haven’t done anything. It’s a weird feeling. Puts me out of sorts.
Yet I understand that a pitcher that does not get refilled will have nothing to pour out.

So I’m refilling. Might be a couple days, might be a few weeks. Who knows? I don’t. I can’t predict this shit.

Gotta go find my sorts.

 

In defense of “Motherf***er.”

A minor kerfuffle started on Twitter last night. Nothing huge, mind you, but it was enough to make me think about words and language and stuff.

samOne of my Twitter friends was complaining because he had a moment of realization: that most of the people he followed on Twitter were “cynical motherfuckers.” Someone replied that any male tweeter who has a child can rightfully be called a “motherfucker.” I, too, have thought this, and responded that I fuck a mother as often as I can. Which I do. My wife’s daughter is eighteen.

My wife is a mother. She is also hot. We have sex. Therefore, I am a motherfucker.

For some reason, this made everyone else in the conversation feel “icky.”

How does sex still make adults, presumably non-virgins, feel weird? I understand not wanting to have the mental image of my hot wife and I going at it, but I wanted a little more information from my Tweeps. I asked why that admission made people feel weird. The only response I got was that it sounded like I was hanging out in gynecologists’ offices, hoping to get lucky. “Hey, gurl, how’d that ultrasound go? Wanna try my pre-natal vitamins? Come on, get in my mini-van.”

I find myself unsatisfied with this answer.

I want to know why it’s not okay to use “motherfucker” in a positive fashion.

After all, we’re the society that embraced the concept of the MILF (Mother I’d Like to Fuck). There is (or was) a television show called “Cougar Town,” which is about older women, who have had children, hooking up with younger men. Remember the song “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne? It was a hit, this song, this ode to having sex with women who have kids. In fact, I would say there’s a bit of societal pressure to, in fact, be a motherfucker.

Not your mom, obviously. Your mother is a pristine untouched woman, who can’t be sullied by such things as secretions and bodily fluids, right? If someone says they’re going to fuck your mom, that becomes a reason for violence and anger. It’s an insult. This hearkens back to a time when Motherhood got the capital “M.” It was a calling, something to be honored and sainted for. Everyone who gave birth was placed on a pedestal. You get your own day, you get your own advertising demographic, you get your own kind of blog.

This tendency to protect our mothers is natural. However, what if your mom really wants to sleep with someone? What if she is sleeping with someone? The person she’s schtupping is definitely a motherfucker, but is he/she a motherfucker?

We’ve got to stop thinking we’re all the product of some Immaculate Conception. You were conceived amid sweating and grunting and odd smells. Get used to it, human. There can be no mothers without mother fucking.

slitherSome women look at motherhood as a competition, like a “guess how many things are in this jar” contest. Nadya Suleman, the Octomom, whose gigantic pregnant stomach reminded me of a scene from the movie “Slither,” used in vitro fertilization to have her grand total of fourteen children. Really no motherfuckers involved in that situation, and no one has ever been called a “mother implanter.”

There are also women in the Quiver movement, who have as many children as possible, because it’s their religious belief. Believe me, I’m not in a position to make fun of anyone else’s religious beliefs, but they seem less like mothers and more like insect queens. Those aren’t families; they’re colonies.

And you can’t tell me Jim Duggar isn’t a motherfucker.

Is it simply the inclusion of the word “fucker” in that particular compound word? Really, is “fuck” still THE bad word? Is it even a bad word at all? Do we still believe in the concept of “bad” words, as a society? It certainly seems like we’ve moved on since George Carlin first confronted us with the Seven Words You’ll Can’t Say on Television (which are now the words you almost always hear on television). I’m sure people are still offended by the word, “fuck,” but I’m not sure I understand why.

Our bad words are all political now. “Liberal” is a bad word. So is “Conservative.” You can’t say the words “Tea Party” anymore without starting an argument. It’s hard enough using the words “Left” and “Right.” You have to point to make sure others know you’re talking about directions, not ideological leanings. Once again, we’ve taken words and redefined their place within our language, and given them a moral value.

A moral value is a silly thing to give words.

Emotional depth? Yes. Do words have weight and power? Absolutely. You can destroy or empower a kid depending on which words you choose when you speak to him/her. But can words be good or bad? I don’t think so. Words are a tool. A misuse of words is like trying to open a can with a flat-head screwdriver. You might get the point across. You might also stab right through the palm of your hand. But those two options don’t negate the fact that you are using the tool incorrectly.

The intention behind the word decides the effect of the word.

If you come at me with your fists raised and you call me a “motherfucker,” I can rightfully make the assumption that you are upset, and your intent for that word was to hurt me somehow (it doesn’t). If you are in my home, enjoying the company of my children and my hot wife, and you call me a “motherfucker,” I can take that as a term of good intention (e.g. “Look what you have accomplished simply by choosing to spawn; you are a motherfucker”). If you call me a “motherfucker” and you are Jim Morrison, then you should take a face from the Ancient Gallery and walk on down the hall. Also: stay out of Miami.

Maybe I take things too literally. When someone calls me a bastard, I laugh. I know both my parents. That statement is categorically untrue. Telling me to go to hell is like telling me to go to Narnia or Westeros. Calling me a motherfucker is just a true statement. It’s neither an insult nor a compliment (unless you are also complimenting my hot wife).

Got kids? You’re a motherfucker.
In a relationship with a woman who has children? You’re a motherfucker.
Your dad? He’s a motherfucker.

The world needs motherfuckers like me. Sorry if that offends you.

This one is different because it is mine.

I’ve been doing a lot of podcasts lately, mostly in support of “Short Stories About You,” but the last one I did was just for fun.

Logo FinalOf course, I’m talking about the podcast I created and host, The Six and a Half Feet Under Podcast (where we dig just a little deeper into the mass grave of genre cinema). This particular episode gets a little weird. The subject is Giallo films, but it isn’t an introduction to Giallo. There are already plenty of those. This episode assumes you know the major players in the field, have seen a Gialli besides “Deep Red” and are not easily offended by long, protracted discussions of pubic hair.

Please give it a listen, if you are interested by such things. As of this writing, we’re sitting at #125 in the TV & Film category of Podomatic. For only having new episodes once a month, the show keeps debuting higher and higher. It’s almost like people are waiting for it. Won’t you help me push it into the Top 100? You want to hear me talk about giant wooden dildos, don’t you?

Because that happens. And not just on the podcast, either.

If you’d rather, you can also find the show on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Just do a search for “The Six and a Half Feet Under Podcast” and you should go right to the thing. That’s one of the joys of having a long unwieldy title for your show; no one else is going take it.

Thank you, Heathens, for not only placing me in your eye sockets, but for shoving me into your ear holes as well.

 

I’ve Been Everywhere, Man — The Weekly Roundup

It’s been a busy week for me, Heathens, which is far better than being not busy. Idle hands may be the Devil’s workshop, but I’ve spent most of my time running my mouth. Let me show where you can find me this week on the world wide web of internets.

Cinema Beef Jeff_WillisFirst of all, you can check out an interview with me by Grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs. We talk about the book, “Short Stories About You,” which you really should buy if you haven’t yet.

Then you can hear me rant and rave and use terrible language on the Cinema Beef Podcast with host Gary Hill and his other guest, Wildman Willis Wheeler. I had a lot of fun with this one, because I got to defend one of my favorite John Carpenter movies, “Prince of Darkness,” and brutally attack a movie I have never liked, “The Neverending Story.” I love to talk about movies and Gary just let me run riot, which I appreciated. Maybe not for sensitive listeners, but if you were that sensitive, you wouldn’t be reading my stuff.

Hey! I’ve still got three books for sale and there’s plenty of word of mouth for you to spread about those. Pick one up or help a brother out, won’t you? As always, I appreciate it greatly and I thank each and every one of you who has dropped dime on any of my stories or spent your time reading my horrible words. You’re the best.

Have a good weekend!

Hawk and Combs: Private Investigators at Law!

Not really. Actually, they’re podcasters who recently interviewed me about “Short  Stories About You.” It was a really good time. Both Grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs are really cool guys. There were about ten minutes after the interview where we just shot the shit about wrestling, and that was a lot of fun. They’re just personable dudes, both of whom I would love to grab a drink with at some point.

The podcast is live now, and if you would like to hear me practicing my region-free dialect, certainly give it a listen! I come in around twenty minutes in, but you really should listen to the whole thing, because it’s a highly entertaining show.