Friday, October 16, 2015


In which we pause for an unknown interval. Might return, might not. On the other hand, the world's not gonna satirize itself—so probably I'll return. (Betcha thought I was gonna mimic Schwarzenegger.) Thanks for visiting. Don't forget to switch off the lights.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My wife Leanne has been diagnosed with Stage-two breast cancer, and we would be grateful for any donation, no matter how small.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LOL Over My WTF Response to DFW

CN ("C'mon now"), WTF ("What the fuck") am I STD ("Supposed to do")? HaHaHa—you thought I meant sexually-transmitted disease. Admit it.

I JDGI ("Just don't get it"). Seriously. Do you? Man...

For example, WWSD ("What would Shakespeare do")? I'll tell you WGWD ("What Grabowski would do"). In a nut (back off, Ians of the world!), I might HTLMM ("Have to lose my mind") over this HHS ("Happy horse shit").

IF ("In fact"), I just did.

POYLP ("Proud of yourselves, little people")?

YSB ("You should be").

GALYCAO ("Go ahead, laugh your collective ass off").

YS ("You've succeeded").

NGRAB ("Now go read a book").

WAIASPBAIP ("What am I, another sock puppet bitching about Internet 'Protocol'?)

WY ("Well, yeah.")

Lighten up! Simply appreciate my well-intentioned jest! It means nothing. NOTHING, I tell you. Ignore my words. You don't have time for this self-indulgent noodling.

YIVOLIKEWVALNPDAUM ("Your intentional vandalization of language is killing everything we value about lyricism, nuance, poetic depth, and ultimate meaningfullness.") Crapshinski—is "meaningfullness" even a valid word?


Figure it out (or FIO)....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Laugh at Current Safety Measures

And why not? Someone must—so let it be me.

The late, much-lamented, Michael Crichton (author of The Andromeda Strain, Prey, and others) wrote a novel titled State of Fear (2004), a devastating indictment of how government, media, and corporate mandates conspire to make us believe in the so-called Dangerous World Syndrome. For those not gripping the book at this moment, State of Fear will not only scare the sloppy joes outta you, it will soberly inform you why such fear is (mostly) unwarranted.

Despite Mr. Crichton's obvious high-level intellect, writerly skills, and bar-none research, he never had the experience of attending the 1973 Grabowski family reunion. Ah...if only he had, civilized people might have been spared the horrific events of that dark summer.

A mere slip of a lad at 15, I knew nothing of future safety guidelines—nor did any of my relatives. Uncle Steve, a tad over six-feet-five and roughly 270 pounds, seemed cheerfully in line not only with roaring out a greeting ("Billy! Where's yer girlfriend?!), but youth-oriented by vising my hand in a manly shake that left several of its 27 bones functional. Pretty much everyone didn't notice when I sprinted into the house to change my underwear. Cold water arrested the swelling of my fingers, and before I knew it I returned to the kielbasa and sauerkraut-laden picnic table for more of his aggressive blandness.

Thank God for Aunt Dottie. If not for her, my face never would've known the greasy smear of her ruby lipstick, nor her Polish-accented cry: "Beely! BEELY! You are so BEEG!"

Nothing personal, but probably a dust speck looked as large as a manhole cover in her Hubble Space Telescope-sized glasses. We all should be so loved, eh? At least she'd brought her fruitcake, a stomach-imploding disc seemingly composed of walnuts, honey, and NASA-sanctioned epoxy resin. Even our dog ran in terror from the slice I dropped. At least she'd planned ahead, even providing the game of Jarts—steel-tipped "darts" weighing each a solid two pounds, including blue plastic fins as large as those on Uncle Steve's 1968 Cadillac. Trust me, these babies could penetrate armor on a Soviet tank, or my neighbor's aluminum shed. DOH!

Perhaps I protest too much, as thrice-divorced Uncle Fred saw potential in handing me starter fluid for the flying saucer-shaped grill. "Bill, I shit you not," he slurred, resting his 9th beer on my freshman photo. "This stuff'll light up a Cleveland police station." I took him at his word, because I'd seen the article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. Inexplicably, my father's liquor cabinet was found pried open shortly after this ritual grill-lighting.

Minutes before noon, all 20 of us settled down to eat kielbasa, sauerkraut (really delicious), hamburgers, hot dogs, cabbage salad, cole slaw, stuffed cabbage, baked beans, bean salad, egg salad, fruitcake (except for my mother, who knew better), and Uncle Fred's patented gin-marinated blue-gill fillets (don't ask—ever). My favorite Uncle—Ted—was very quiet, until dessert. "Dottie," he rasped, "this fruitcake—"

To this day, none of us is certain whether some chemical fermentation occurred between various species of cabbage, meat, beans, etc., and Aunt Dottie's signature fruitcake. But I can say my dearest uncle's WWII experience paid off, because he ran through our screen door without a blink on his way to the bathroom.

I loved them all, and we had a good time—until the beer ran out, and someone moved Uncle Fred's Chevy four blocks away so he wouldn't be pulled over for DUI.

Thanks, Dad and Mom. I love you, and miss you. Dad (Stanley), you sure understood your brothers. Sorry about the liquor cabinet.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Clean Reader: Please Exit the Fuckin' Planet

The title of this blog pretty much covers it, people. Some "moral" morons have decided that profanity doesn't sit well with them and, therefore, should be ripped out of eBooks to protect the precious bodily fluids of all children and adults. How noble!

I realize you and your app are the easiest of targets, and others have responded by effing this and effing that and mothereffing everything about you. I applaud them. But that's too obvious and easy, like letting a bully know his horses**t is getting under your skin. I make my living as a writer and editor, and reside in America. Despite all I loathe about my birth-country, the benefits still outweigh the hazards. Are you not aware that "censorship" in America ended with the supreme court ruling William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch not obscene? Do you even know the work of Burroughs? Perhaps not, and that's okay. It isn't for everybody, and I would never hold that against you. Some people like anchovies, some don't. In my experience, if I don't care for a thing, I avoid it. Period. I certainly don't presume moral superiority over any man, woman, or child. It's not my place; nor is it yours.

I'll even spot you a bit of agreement. Sometimes profanity bothers me. It's all about context. You're mature adults and should know this. There's a vast difference between my writing, in a fictive work, "That motherfucker pissed me off, and I'm gonna fuckin' kill him," and me in "real life" having so severe a problem with someone to go so far as to utter that specific threat. In a book, it's okay. It isn't real. It's fiction. It ain't true. It's a dramatic device to evoke genuine emotion. Not to mention our quickly dying Bill of Rights sorta allows this freedom people in other countries lack, and can in fact be killed for employing.

What's wrong with you? You should be thanking your stars to have this freedom, and not tied up in some imagined privilege that's supposed to protect you from harsh reality. You don't have the right to project your fear and intolerance on others. You do have the right to express those fears, and that should be enough. Be very glad of that—thanks to you, it might not last. I'm not important enough to even show up on your filth-radar, but I fear for your children.

If you slip, and the hammer hits your hand, what do you shout? "Gosh"? "Golly"? I doubt that very much. You don't know me, I don't know you. But I'm reasonably sure you're just as human and prone to pain as the rest of us.

I'm begging you, get this Clean Reader notion out of your very human head. Please. Because if we lose our right to swear, curse—call it what you f***in will—what's next?

Think about it. Please.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Words and Phrases We Need to Vaporize, Dude

Pre-Internet, our world was relatively free of highly annoying verbal tics and cliches. Now, of course, we're deluged with them. I'll preface this "rant" by admitting to frequent use of "cool" throughout the 1970s—but that's all we had.

Examples: "Hey, Vince's parental units are gonna be outta town all weekend. He's havin' a PARTY!"
ME: "Cool."

"Our douche-rocket gym teacher fell and broke his arm!"
ME: "Cool!"

"They're showing Bava's BLACK SABBATH Friday night on the Ghoul's show, man." [The Ghoul—Ron Sweed—was a late-night TV show host in Cleveland and Detroit.]
ME: "Cool!"

"Tom's sellin' some cosmic trip-weed in the park—I got the live Hawkwind eight-track too!"
ME: "Huh? Oh—cool..."

You get it. We easily could have substituted "awesome" for "cool," but that had two syllables—one too many for our stoned, orange barrel mescaline-zapped brains. Social media consisted entirely of telephone, TV, and tell-yer-pals in the park. Computers were seen only on Star Trek, and in science fiction films. Oh, and in that second-floor high school room only pure future geniuses were allowed entry, the machine itself an IBM card-puncher roughly the size of a Chevy.

Compared to this, our present world might as well exist in some other-dimensional universe. Cool.

While I completely understand that language is a plastic, ever-evolving (well, maybe) aspect of human existence, infinitely complicated by the poetic cultural mulch, it does get stuck in OCD-type ruts alien to my 1970s self and associates in casual intoxication. "Cool" wasn't an all-size-fits term for things "uncool," in the way "awesome" apparently is today. Awesome, accurately used, defines that "1. Inspiring awe. 2. Displaying or marked by awe. 3. Outstanding." Webster's II says so. Cool.

This does not include: 1. Shoes. 2. Meals. 3. Pets. 4. Clothing. No, for these are the quotidian elements of life. Well, in that case, what does qualify as awesome?

1. The Chelyabinsk asteroid fragment (aka superbolide, or luminous meteor) that caused serious human and infrastructural damage on 15 February 2013, lollygagging through the atmosphere at 42,900 mph, exploding the equivalent of 500 kilotons of TNT—20 to 30 times more powerful than the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima. Awesome.
2. The forthcoming water-cooled NSA supercomputer, capable of processing 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one quintillion) operations per second. Terrifying. Awesome. It's now reading this blog.
3. Every time someone wrongly uses the word "awesome," my life-span loses 1 year. Awesome. But not so cool.
4. I might have been a bit harsh with my take on "dude," as it seems to have become an accepted mark of punctuation. The instant Obama utters it, I'll convert to Dudaism. No fair bringing my love for The Big Lebowski into this.

Along these lines, there is never ever a reason to employ the phrase "That being said." Ever. That being said, the phrase is inherently redundant. Akin to saying: "Hey, man, even though I just said your new spatula is awesome, well—it's awesome." I mean, WTF dude?

Finally, why must weather reporters (some of who are certified meteorologists) refer to atmospheric phenomena as "Your weather"? Aren't we all subject to living in it?

Cool. That being said, dude, I'm stoked we had this little "talk."

Yours in awesomeness....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I'm not sure, but could Twitter conceivably be boring?

I don't know. It sure is annoying, even though I need it to exist if only to promote my work. Gosh.

I had an idea only to write Zen koans there. You know what those are, right? Brief, enigmatic word strings that might mean something you'll never figure out. Like a Kelly Link story, but shorter.

Example: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Now you get it.

Here's the thing: very few on Twitter would "get it," and might blow them off as self-indulgent noodling. They'd be correct.

Akin to the writing style I'm using here. Precise. Lean. Fat-free. Dead.

My initial awareness of "koans" came via Hollywood, and the 1970s TV series Kung Fu. Great show. Carradine before...whatever. Kicks and punches delivered with some humanity to the torso and face, as such things ought to be. Quietly too, as was I during those years. One of my favorites: "There are three parts to a man. How he sees himself. How others see him. And who he really is."

Still digesting that as genuine wisdom, and I honestly believe it is. Bit of the old-school Existentialism, with no binders. Feel free to use it while standing in line at the grocery store, DMV, wedding buffet, etc. It's fun. True, not quite up there with "My powers are beyond your understanding."

But how to employ this ancient wisdom on Twitter with the twit-nits? One of which I am whom. Not easy, Skippy, when every other 20-something waxes wise-ass and stamps same with inexplicable "hash tags," which remain utterly incomprehensible to me. Say your deal, and shut up. Word. Log off, please, and go back to capturing moody images of your new shoes in order to flummox people like me who'll say "Why the screamin' hell should I give one actual fuck?"

If at first you don't succeed, go read a book.