Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Fuzzy Grape Drink" by Austin Al Ackerman

Fuzzy Grape Drink

    And as my doggy link drops behind garage
my stone box rotted like a frog wet with what
I clawed forgot like head a box of matches
filled with
       buttons barking making those who come
to peddle
       flat pants and piles peddle flat pants and
piles plus certain large black face phones
paragraphs. The Purple Big Heads with my ghost
sit there
       tantamount so that in the file cabinet
where my tongue sits greased you may find a little
laughter in your life.
          Still, you can't have everything,
I'm no Ray Bolger.
          I'm no collection of gopher holes
       I'm a believer! which is to say you can have
an OK time
       if you'll just realize that suddenly everyone
starts screaming.
       Because you might say dung clock radish
the size of a door while through it the noodles creep on an
adorable high
       as an enormous root begins breaking the walls

(from jmb of 1/17/11 etc)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Somewhere In the Back of Beyond: The Sublimely Strange Stories of Robert Aickman

Reading someone's "Top 20 Horror Writers Of All Time" list online that left off my favorite, Robert Aickman, completely inspired me to post this old piece I did for The City Paper a while back when I had hair. Aickman is one of a kind, in my top ten of any kind of writers.

Somewhere in the Back of Beyond

The Sublimely Strange Stories of Robert Aickman

Chuck Shacochis

Imprints Literary Supplement 1999

Our Favorite Things Writing about books for a living means reviewing new releases, covering publishing-house hijinks, an...

Bright Lights, Big City Dawn Powell and the Glory of Revival | By Heather Joslyn

A Time to Be Reborn How Dawn Powell Came Back | By Heather Joslyn

Memphis in the Meantime Peter Taylor and the Pleasure of Elegant Fiction | By Eileen Murphy

Somewhere in the Back of Beyond The Sublimely Strange Stories of Robert Aickman | By Rupert Wondolowski

California Dreaming The Old and New Worlds of John Fante | By Patrick Kenndy

Life During Wartime Nuruddin Farah's Nation of Horror and Hope | By Frank Diller

This is Not Your Father's Homer Mark Merlis Separates the Gods From the Boys | By Karl Woelz

The Rest of the Story Tracking Down Out-of-Print Books | By Eileen Murphy

The Best Books You've Never Read 1066 and All That | By Miles Anderson

The Best Books You've Never Read Fisher's Hornpipe | By Carl Davies

The Best Books You've Never Read Suds in Your Eye | By Faye Houston

The Best Books You've Never Read The Thirtieth Year | By Sandy Asirvatham

The Best Books You've Never Read Now in November | By Richard Gorelick

The Best Books You've Never Read Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me | By Michael Anft

The Best Books You've Never Read The Gormenghast Trilogy | By Mahinder Kingra

The Best Books You've Never Read A Treasury Of Railroad Folklore | By Joab Jackson

The Best Books You've Never Read Borstal Boy | By Jack Purdy

The Best Books You've Never Read Forms of Verse: British and American | By Jenny Keith

By Rupert Wondolowski | Posted 10/13/1999

The only players in "Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen," one of Robert Aickman's most chilling short stories (included in The Wine-Dark Sea, a posthumously published collection of his writings), are a lonely translator named Edmund, a humming telephone, and an oafish intruder named Toby. There is no squirting, squelching blood or exploding body parts, and the action never leaves its studio-apartment setting until the story's last page. Still, this is one of the most disquieting tales ever written, a story of the disintegration of a mind that begins with Edmund hearing "a rather high pitched gabbling" on the telephone. "It occurred to him even that the sounds might not be vocal, but might come from the telephone system itself."

Critics often compare Robert Aickman to M.R. James and Walter de le Mare, two authors of classic ghost stories, but his work also fits well spiritually with that of Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett, writers who depict the agony of human communication in a mechanized world. As Paul Kincaid wrote in a review of Aickman's Night Voices: Strange Stories in British Book News: "He writes a precise and elegant prose, full of sharp perceptions of the ordinary, so sharp that a niggling sense of unease slowly develops without anything out of the ordinary actually happening." Most of Aickman's horror is of a clean, well-lighted madness, made all the more painful by the perceptive characters' awareness of their psychological descent.

Robert Fordyce Aickman was born in 1914 in London and died in 1981. He was the son of an architect, whom he described in his autobiography, The Attempted Rescue, as "the oddest man I have ever known"; his maternal grandfather was the noted Victorian novelist Richard Marsh. Starting in the mid '60s, Aickman produced 11 short-story collections, two novels, the autobiography, and two books on England's waterways. He founded the Inland Waterways Association in 1946 and is widely credited with saving the British canal system for future generations. He was also a drama critic for the British magazine Nineteenth Century and After and a film critic for another periodical, Jewish Monthly.

His strengths as a writer of self-aware horror are evident in one of his signature pieces, "Never Visit Venice." The tale depicts an introverted man nearing 40 named Henry Fern, who has reached the point in his life where he "simultaneously matured and withered." All his life he has felt "something in him which made him different from most of the people he encountered in the office or in the train or in the park or at the houses of others. He could not succeed in defining what this difference was, and he simultaneously congratulated and despised himself for having it." For many years Fern glides through his gray office-worker existence with only a recurring dream of riding in a gondola with a beautiful woman in Venice to console him. When this dream stops occurring "its place was taken in the back and at the edges of Fern's mind by the sentiment of death. . . . It was a soft-footed, never-absent familiar."

With omnipresent thoughts of death prodding him and a promotion at work making it financially possible, Fern decides to visit Venice and make peace with himself. Once there, the reality of modern Venice crushes him. "Venice was rotted with the world's new littleness. To many her beauty was actually antagonistic, as imposing upon them a demand to which they were unable to rise. Soon the Lagoon would be "reclaimed' and the Venetian dream submitted to a new law of values; a puritan law antithetical to the law of pleasure that had prevailed there for so long."

Depressed and making no friends with fellow travellers ("sentimental, self-satisfied philistines," he calls them), Fern decides to go back home early after a perfunctory ride on the city's famous gondolas. He meets a woman in a hooded black cloak who tells him, "The city of Venice would like to invite you for a gondola trip." Believing she works with some sort of tourist agency, Fern goes along with her on a gondola ride. They quickly hit it off and trade mawkish romanticisms, including calling each other Tristan and Isolde. At one point the strange cloaked woman tells him, "Venice is everyone's dream. Venice is a dream."

"With no reality?"

"The reality is what you call a nightmare."

Their gondola glides further and further from the city, paddled by "the gondolier, with strokes as strong and regular as if he were swinging a scythe." As they approach the Porto di Lido, "that notorious wilderness of pleasure," they make love and Fern believes "he was proving himself right and the rest of the world wrong." When Fern awakens from his postcoital nap, he discovers the small craft is drifting at sea; the mysterious gondolier has disappeared. When he reaches for his beloved he finds that she is only a skeleton inside a cloak. "And now there was only the Lido breakwater and, afterwards, the turbulent, nocturnal Adriatic. The gondola sped on like a black leaf on a millstream."

This is classic Aickman. An aging protagonist who feels alien in a world grown flat encounters an apparition or a different dimension. It seems at first to be paradise, but he is ultimately received into nature through death.

A similar trajectory drives the story "The Stains" (from The Wine-Dark Sea), in which Stephen, a recently widowed man, goes to visit his brother in the country in search of emotional succor. During a walk, Stephen encounters Nell, a young woman gathering moss and lichens for her father. She seems to know little of civilization and Stephen considers her "a part of nature . . . perhaps because she lived without contamination, merging into the aspect and mutability of remote places." The two make pleasant small talk and plan to meet again the next day. In no time they feel a mutual bond and Stephen realizes that "[f]or so long he had been isolated, insulated, incarcerated." They decide to set up house together in one of the old, abandoned stone houses they see in their wanderings. During their first act of love Stephen notices a "curious, brownish, greyish, bluish, irregular mark or patch" on Nell's skin. Soon similar patches start forming on the walls of their house and then on the walls of Stephen's apartment, where the couple briefly returns to set his affairs in order. When Stephen goes swimming, a co-worker points out something on his back, "rather like the sort of thing you occasionally see on trees."

When they return to their house in the wild Stephen's hands are covered with "horrid subfusc smears" and at night "the eyes that were watching from behind the marks on the walls and ceiling and utensils glinted back at him, one and all." The couple's love has taken on the mutually beneficial relationship of a fungus and an algae—the fundamental description of a lichen, which Nell was collecting for her father.

The story ends abruptly when they hear a snuffling, wolflike creature outside their house which they suspect to be Nell's supernatural father. They descend into the basement to hide, and the perspective of the story changes. We learn that Stephen's body was found at the verge of a small, lustrous pool, one of the first places he and Nell had visited together. It's left unclear whether the whole story was a hallucination, a nightmare, or a tale of love too great for this earth.

Aickman received only one literary prize in his lifetime, the World Fantasy Award in 1978; it was for his only vampire story, "Pages From a Young Girl's Journal." Like his two novels, The Late Breakfasters and The Model, "Pages" is lighter in tone and more humorous than his main body of stories. A tale of vampirism as the ultimate adolescent rebellion, it should find an audience today among the many fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although "Pages" takes place in the time and hometown of Lord Byron, the legendary poet who arouses in the story's teenage heroine the same adoration bestowed on today's rock stars.

Aickman referred to his work as "strange stories" and considered ghosts to be "creatures we once knew . . . things within us which we have, as psychologists say, projected outside us." In his introduction to the anthology The Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories, he wrote, "The ghost story hints to us that there is a world elsewhere." Aickman's own approach to the form was summarized by Peter Straum in his introduction to The Wine-Dark Sea: "What attracted Aickman to ghosts was not the notion of dripping revenants but the feeling—composed in part of mystery, fear, stifled eroticism, hopelessness, nostalgia and the almost violent freedom granted by a suspension of rational rules—which they evoked in him."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Great Review of The Tinklers' The Elements In Chicago's "Roctober"

To the left is "Portrait of The Blogger As An Auxiliary Tinkler On The Way To Jersey City". This new issue of Roctober with a great review of The Elements by The Tinklers on Shattered Wig Press was a good excuse for me to pull out this old snapshot of me with Chris Mason in the parking lot of a New Jersey rest stop on the way to play legendary WFMU.

I got to play both as a member of The Tinklers Auxiliary and in The Diana Froley 3. These were the days when Tinkler Charles Brohawn was in his retiring "T.S. Eliot" phase and refused to leave his ivy covered cottage to take the stage. Now he not only is playing many gigs with the reinvigorated Tinklers, but also rocking out in Elvis shades with David Fair's Coo Coo Rockin' Time.

If you're not familiar with it, Roctober is a thick classic "punk" zine that does feature articles and also reviews a heady mix of music and books and zines and movies. And I say punk in kind of a catch-all philosophical DIY way of life manner. This issue not only boasts a fine review of The Tinklers, but has a well written article on the Cleveland '80s punk band The Easter Monkeys. I hadn't heard of them before I read the article, but it excited me and reminded me of Baltimore's Marble Bar period. There are also articles on Chicago soul music and Ian Whitcomb. Also, there's an article about White Sox organist Nancy Faust, who has been active with that team for four decades. Below is an illustration of her:

But enough of hawking Roctober! On to their great review of The Tinklers' The Elements!!

"The Elements by The Tinklers (Shattered Wig Press). I was surprised to see this book because I knew The Tinklers from a couple of great albums I bought years ago at the space that sold Shimmy Disc albums next to CBGB's. But according to the press release and clippings, and part of a documentary I saw on The Documentary Channel (which I didn't even know was a channel until I stopped to watch this movie) The Tinklers have been around for over thirty years and have done as much writing, art, and happenings as music.

"This book is a brisk, triumphant morsel of edutainment that imparts information about several elements occupying the periodic table. This is done through a narrative that is sort of like a Dick and Jane old time book where a guy and gal go around meeting people who conversationally, indirectly, teach them things. But in this case as we learn about the remarkable properties of magnesium from a Milk of Magnesium swilling Magnesium Unlimited intern or sodium's benefits from a little girl at the saltwater beach doing a science fair project, each impartation of scientific knowledge also reveals the damage our country suffers because of problems in industry and labor, and we get a glimpse of the inevitable erosion and dysfunction in our protagonists' relationship (that science fair girl gets Mary's biological clock ticking, forcing Steven to make a heartbreaking false promise).

"In other words: awesome book. (sidenote: Microsoft Word spellcheck had no problem with the word 'Edutainment'. Apparently Bill Gates is a KRS-ONE fan.)"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Morning Arrives With John "Beltway Sniper" Muhammad and The Arrival of Dusk Is Heralded By Burt Reynolds In His Plum Dandies

Notes of An Aged Bookseller Told That Books Will Shortly Be Extinct

Ah, the snow day. Often slightly magical as long as there isn't ice in the mix or too many desperate drug addict sellers panicking at the thought of being cut off from the world and the juice for a day or two.

I'll never forget digging out my car AT MY HOME, many blocks from the store, when one of our pushier sellers saw me bundled up scraping at my car. He started a sales pitch of his books on me in the blinding snow without even knowing who I was. Then once he did recognize me he was like a pitbull who had just settled onto a good leg joint.

Of course a year later, when The City Paper ran a feature article on him as a long time repeat felon charged with rape and murder who keeps slipping through the disjointed jaws of the system, we discovered that he was something beyond a daily pushy seller of horror novels. Here we'd been haggling with and telling our correct buying hours to a man who had drained life itself from fellow beings. But at first when he started coming around I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he was selling and had obviously read Le Fanu, Maugham, E.T.A. Hoffman, M.R. James and Algernon Blackwood. Good stuff.

This snow day, a mid-sizer - somewhere in the 4" zone, started with the first customer being the guy who looks like John "Beltway Sniper" Muhammad coming in darting around and looking anxious. "I'm just going to leave my bag up here to perhaps deflect any suspicion you may have of my darting eyes and then wander into the back with my bulky coat and when I leave I will be walking like a hunchback who has a load in my pants. But do not get distressed, the square book-like humps in my shorts and back will only be true loads in my pants and exploded postules, nothing for you to be concerned about." At least John Muhammad's song and dances are brief. He doesn't do the added indignity of dragging them out so that not only does he decrease your stock, but he also attaches onto your time and pretends to be your bud. Luckily, the false "John" was followed by two friend Johns, cultural power hitters who shall be named in no more detail, other than one of them has and one of them used to have a long flaxen ponytail and both would look at home riding steeds through a lost kingdom. They circled each other quietly, giving each other sidelong glances. Suffice it to say that other than the tales the two Johns spun for me, one of them involving historic moments with Baltimore legend Ethel Ennis, the day drifted like the flakes outside as I dreamt of finishing my cyber thriller novel where the world turns out to be a chip inserted into a hedgehog which is the only thing of flesh that truly exists. Or something like that. Finally around 4 I acknowledged that Nature had beaten Retail thoroughly this day and even though I've been in this game for decades I still had a fierce battle with my conscience to close early so I could hit the post office. As I made peace and worked on counting out the drawer, in walked Burt Reynolds, the star of our stable of Duckville regulars who pride themselves on coming here for 20 years without buying anything. Impressive. But even more impressive than his withholding of his wallet essence was the fact that he was sticking to his plum dandy shorts, despite the blustery snowy weather. He is of the School of Playboy Jazz whose main tenet is that if a man is able to wear shorts on a daily basis he is one smooth badass dude. The irony was that when I told him I was closing early he was taken aback: "What, now?" "How much time do you need for your invisible purchases sir? Should one of our non-existent elves carry the many tomes and vinyl slabs to your jazzmobile?" He sulked back out and I slowly skidded my way to the post office. Beginning the day with John "Beltway Sniper" Muhammad and ringing it out in the gray dusk with the fading legend of Burt Reynolds.

Later that night I dusted off my sled, wired it beneath a Colt 45 truck with deliveries to make and for four hours I breathed the lightning cold air of the gods, my lungs and head exploding with true life.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wildman of Literature Cort McMeel Returns Triumphant For a Shattered Wig Night Reading

Old friend of Normal's Books & Records and Shattered Wig, former Baltimorean and co-editor of the dear departed Murdaland magazine, Cort McMeel returns to town triumphant after St. Martin's Press published his first novel, Short. The picture of Cort here is taken from a Baltimore City Paper article about Murdaland. Here is a link if you want to read more:

If you've ever met Cort before - say, at a bar, literary salon or howling drunkenly outside Melville's home - you surely remember him. He is an exuberant burly gent who is outspokenly passionate about literature like your old High School football coach on a few hits of mescaline is about Joe Namath's skills with the ladies. And he knows his shit, as they say. His magazine Murdaland is much missed (and not just because they were wise enough to solicit a piece from yours truly) and he now teaches modern literature - like Hammett, Chandler, Fat City, and of course Melville, in Colorado.

This colorful writer will be returning to Harm City on February 25th like the bulls in Pamplona chasing Hemingway's tired old ass to read from his new novel at Shattered Wig Night. His novel masterfully depicts a brutal cluster fuck in the world of energy traders. Here is an excerpt from the Denver Post's review of the novel:

The floor at a trading company is alive with a crazed energy, one that is captured to perfection in Cortright McMeel's engaging debut, "Short." A writer who has worked as a commodity broker and energy trader, he knows well the world he writes. This novel in stories juggles the lives of a multitude of rich and deeply drawn characters, all fueled in varying degrees by ego, alcohol and cholesterol.

McMeel's novel, if it were focused on the details of trading energy futures, would have limited appeal. It is not, and it does not. It is, instead, about the people who inhabit this world. The structure of the work, in which each chapter can stand on its own as a story, supports the actions of a huge cast of characters. The main players are seen off- stage as well as on: Gallagher with his artist wife, who feels smothered in Boston; Andrews with his family; the Ghost in his Boston penthouse, with a sweeping view of the harbor, one he cannot appreciate due to his failing eyesight.

It is this approach that spotlights the complexities of character, revealing the whole as a sum of the parts, much as a prism reveals white light comprising a rainbow of colors. The result is fueled by resonant high-octane prose that glues the reader to the pages; the temptation is to immediately go back and reread this singularly rich and satisfying work. The world in which these characters operate may be initially unfamiliar to the reader, but it is nothing that stands between the reader and the character. In the end, each character is rewarded for his choices, and the reader will care deeply about whether these rewards are just. That is the measure of the work, coming to live along side these characters in their often tawdry but addicting world.

Read more: Book review: "Short" takes look at electric, excessive trading life - The Denver Post
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

I'm really excited for Cort and to be honest, envious! The book is a great read, fortuitously timed to come out right after the tanking of our odd Wall Street economy. Told believably in great detail through the eyes of many well drawn characters it's a great read. I have got my "office" all set up at home now, life is calming down, it is time for me to buckle down and do "The Great Used Bookstore Novel". Lurkers and Duckvillers beware!

The Shattered Wig Night featuring Cort will be Friday, February 25th and so far the lineup includes The Go Pills, led by Skizz Czyzyk with one of the best pedal steel players in town, Randy Austin, right up there with Susan Alcorn.

(Photo From the Baltimore City Paper)

Buff Joe Medusa Has Left His Post at The Shattered Wig Empire Building

The job of "Door Man" is a brutal, thankless job. Frequent gunplay defending the bankroll that each Wig Night brings in, mopping up the frequent vomit of performers (Aye, we could fill the Baltimore Aquarium with Chris Toll's "green slushies" alone!), having to listen to angry paying customers demand their money back, or worse yet - read aloud their own poems, saying it should be them up there on that glittering stage.

And unlike some clubs (Not to name names, but let's say THE OTTOBAR, at least back when I was an active youngster), the door man at Wig Nights and Cabarets does not receive two or three times the pay of the performers. Buff Joe Medusa, who is himself an amazing theatrical performer and director (in fact, when my fancy new phone, with an extra very expensive "app" that the salesman hooked me where it tells you who is calling, told me it was Buff Joe calling my heart skipped a beat! Surely this is the big call I was hoping for, where he asks me to play the Richard Burton role in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"! But no....) has steadfastly worked the doors at 218 W. Saratoga Street for decades. But enough is enough! His doctor will no longer write the script to make this bearable and he has decided he has "better things to do on a Friday night"(??)(!!!)

We heartily thank Buff Joe for doing us the huge favor of performing this task over the years and do not blame him one bit for bowing out now in his Golden Years. We will miss him up there, but hopefully now he will attend Shattered Wig Nights as an audience member or performer.

We love you Buff Joe!

Monday, January 10, 2011

John M. Bennett Is Hoisted Aloft By The Shattered Wig Dancers

(From Piedra Portatil by Sheila E. Murphy and John M. Bennett)

John M. Bennett is not only the hardest working mench in the poetry avant-garde and just retired curator of the experimental writing wing of the University of Ohio library, but his long running and vital magazine Lost & Found Times, which ran from 1975 until 2005 (54 issues in all! The last few assembled while Professor Bennett was undergoing all kinds of hellish eye surgery), was the conduit for me to discover the weird and wonderful world of Blaster Al Ackerman.

(Sheila E. Murphy & John M. Bennett)

"From its origins in mail art to its more recent participation at the edges of language (and what is coming to be called post-language) poetry, Lost and Found Times provides a model of how marginalized cultural workers can create productive areas of engagement within a network of activity." — from Loose Watch.

Although Bennett no longer publishes his magazine Lost & Found Times, his press, Luna Bisonte Productions, continues to crank out tiny beauties like the above Piedra Portatil and Benzene, his collaboration with Musicmaster, below.

But of course the meaty core of Bennett's production is his own slippery writing. Shattered Wig was very pleased to just receive a thick packet of new work by Bennett and we feel it sings among his finest. Here are a few. And although it's too soon to call this a Shattered Wig Review #29 sneak peek because God only knows when I will arise from sluggardness to put that one together, I guess that's what this sort of is.


Numb Thorn

the jerky suit the chest of hair
and socks .blast of number phone
called my I you did .your did
my unit clamber .dice and dime
.dressed in lieberwurst conejo !mine
dusted ,bash what spoon nimbles the
thoughtless dust ,I dressed ,you
dreamed I pulled you pilled .ah
epiphyte rolling down the steps !



chased my cloudburst you a golf
ball mildewed in my soapdish
what the mist dried like ziti
in your lap a dozen masks g
runt and chain inside the soup
closet dribbly with your dogwash


Check out John M. Bennett's Luna Bisonte/Lost & Found Times website at:

There are video poems, text poems, a catalog of the immense amount of titles published by John and some history of the press and its mission/passion.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Letter From Our Pal Blaster Al

Dear Rupert -

Many thanks for the swift WIG mailing. I've been enjoying that ever since it arrived, beginning with the RANDY GEORGE cover, one of his best. Right off the bat, I read my letter because I'd forgotten most of it. Golly it sure did bring the nightmare aspects of that trip steaming back, especially the really awful parts such as RICHMOND, and the fatties and their palm-pals in Nashville, etc. I only wish I'd had time to whine at greater length about the long, long delay in WASHINGTON, DC, a true downer interlude in a city that should be expunged from the map. Makes me wonder how I survived it, but that's the thing about being too tired to register the truly awful - you wind up being only able to blow your nose and nod, as I said in my BERT'S story. Too true.

So anyhow, it was a long wait between issues but worth it, as this #28 is one of the all-time best. I've been reading and savoring a few pages at a time every day snce the bugger arrived. I was happy to see "GLORIOUS MOST HOLY INMATES" a real Editorial with a lot to say. I appreciate your kind words about Blaster Al and will promise to return sometime next year when the sky looks free of the awful white stuff. People still don't believe me when I talk about the awful weather Dec-Feb in Baltimore last year and how the city under snow had even Alaska beat hands down, but we were there and we know, he said wildly.

Anyhow, issue #28 has a lot of good, surprising reads in it. When you see Chris Toll be sure to tell him I thought his 1845/1776 was one of his best-ever pieces. Also got a kick out of Stephanie Barber's stuff. Enjoyed quite a few names who were new to me. Amelia Gray's GHOST was one of the most pleasantly confusing reads I've come across since the hogs ate my brother (but you're crazy f you think I'll buy that "Chandler did it" explanation, for I know it was none other than Melvin Starr, my old delinquent high school chum who once got thrown out of Jefferson High when he jimmied the lock on the principal's door, let himself in to the office at the end of the school year, broke into the files and changed all his "F's" to "A's", which ended when his name and big punkin head appeared in the school list of "Most Outstanding Students" and was recognized by many as a grade A fraud. I always wondered what happened to Melvin. He was certainly a dead ringer for MAD MAG's "Alfred E. Newman". And as Melvin himself liked to say, "When you got it, flaunt it.")

Speaking of which, is that HAIKU FOR GLENN BECK by YOUR Everly? (ed.: yes indeed!) Quite liked that one.

OK, more about the issue next time.

"O yeah Baby - your old thang, Blaster Al"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Conflicting Mayan Prophecies & Start Your New Year With Blaster's "Great Yellow Hairs"

Well, what a year it was indeed. I bought a house at "George Bush Destroyed The World Cut-Rate All Houses Must Go" prices, got married, turned motherfucking FIFTY! (My legs, bring me my legs!), Normal's Bargain Cobbley World got a new landlord (praise him and his new roof and new Red Room and new facade soon to come) and turned 20!, Blaster Al moved back to Texas after a brutal winter of record breaking blizzards and the economy hit what I hope was the bottom of the Catfish Pond, rising, at least for Normal's, gloriously in time for Christmas just as my nails were eaten down to my hairy knuckles. And I finally put out a new Shattered Wig Review after a two year hiatus, my first as a domestic man, shredding papers from the couch as my beloved sipped a martini from the easy chair, watching Mrs. Minerva and eyeing my feverish actions warily. "No honey, I think it's good you have this outlet, no matter how futile and despised it is."

But, what about that Mayan prophecy, that our already tenuous time is about over? That the Cosmic Eggtimer sand is running as thin as my once glorious Glen Burnie 'fro? As it states in the sacred Popol Vuh: "well, it looks like we have run out of tablets and cave walls upon which to paint. Sacrifices just don't provide the rush to our groin like they used to. The skies roar no more, but kind of bleat. We seem to be at about 2012 White Man Time on this calendar, maybe we should just call it quits. After all, by then they will most likely have Mother Gia covered head to corns with Great Marketplaces filled with shoddy clothing that was made by enslaved peoples and will fall apart after three wearings, as opposed to one of our decorative huipil that will last for a dozen harvests. Let's just erase time after that, even though it will wash the Brown and Yellow down the Blackhole along with Whitey. Aaghh, I just had a vision of a woman resembling an Itzam Cab Ain and with the mindset of the young boy who hangs about the ceremonial platform in Tikal trying to lick the severed heads dripping from the tzompantli. She is wearing great spectacles that mask her face like a war eagle and she is laying down great stalks of corn and heralding them as wisdom. Apparently if we don't end the world she will rule "North America" and collapse the sky. Oh, I am in great need of many Balche and I must erase Future Time."

But also in the Popol Vuh there is talk of "The Decade that ends with Saint Roland delivering the Spaniel to the compact Asian car" will herald a new decade of great bounty and world peace. Above is a photo of just that act indeed happening. Perhaps, as it says in this kind of New Agey but fairly level-headed statement - - the Mayan calendar has been misinterpreted by Westerners and it's just the end of a World Cycle, which it really does feel like we're at the end of something. Could we ever turn away from putting all our resources into endless fruitless war, or will we just start cranking out robot soldiers that will save the lives of some of our broke-assed young people that have no other career options, but kill lots of broke-ass people in other countries without the bother of emotions.

The Hell with all this. It is a glorious new year and new decade not yet tainted, though the cabbagey smell of the last one can still be detected, and the Blaster Al mail is rolling in from down South. Austin, to be precise, the oasis of Texas. Here is a new piece by him that he called his recent favorite:

POEM (The Great Yellow Hairs)
The great yellow hairs are not so different from the tiny yellow hairs/
so long as you're sorta slow and mistake the whistle in your elbow/
for one whose budget rent-a-car tumbles down the drain cute as cute can be,/
and all the dopeadicto logs wait for you as my crispy thumb peddles drugs./
No yellow hairs, no whistle from your elbow, these were using drugs long before
you knew it. The trout house madly bangs outside while you get your act together/
finally knowing that anything this "flabby-strong" rates an invite down the street/
to the birthday party where all the children watch you chew all the candles
not knowing you do this at every meal because every meal's a party
and because it is my chalchihuti.

Blaster Al Ackerman (from jmb of 11/24 etc.)