We Were Cowboys Once, and Brave


My Grandad cowboyed on the McIntyre ranch – the largest ranch in Alberta – back in the 1930’s. For extra money he’d hunt coyotes for a bounty – the ranch paid $5 per pelt. (It might have been $2 – the financial details are lost to time at this point.) To hunt coyotes you need dogs – coyotes can stay out of rifle range easy enough on the prairie but dogs – the right dogs – can run’ em down. My Grandad had 5-6 greyhounds and they’d run the coyote. Coyotes are cagey and will run along the fence line, under the wire, around and about the posts, creating obstacles for pursuers who aren’t as agile. But the greyhounds were faster and with the hounds on either side of the fence there was nowhere to hide. He had a wolfhound too. I’ve heard family members recollect that it was in Irish wolfhound, but then others say that no, it was a Russian wolfhound.  At any rate, once the greyhounds had run the coyote down and brought it to bay the wolfhound would move in for the kill. It was born and bred for that one singular purpose, and Granddad had a little extra cash at a time when extra cash was hard to come by.

In the picture above the wolfhound is at his left foot.


This picture is my Great Grandfather. He was a blacksmith by trade. I look at that picture and think he cut a fine figure atop a horse. I bet he hunted coyotes with his steely gaze alone. Drove ’em off the land and they didn’t return until ’76.

At any rate, we were Cowboys and Blacksmiths once – the goddamn manliest of men. Now I write fiction – typically about shady deals with girls that end with me the narrator crying alone on public transit.

The other night Great-Grandad came to me in a dream and just stared at me, not speaking. Someone had to say something, so I told him I wanted to try a new slow cooker chicken soup recipe that day – something with fennel and maybe even tarragon. His expression never changed. The phrase ” … DaFuq?” didn’t exist back then but the facial expression certainly did.

Over and out little dogies, I gotta giddy-on



Rock and Roll and Comic Books

Every writer has their reason they write – mine is Rock and Roll and Comic Books. If I struggle with a passage, a sentence, a sense of “feel” – I always remind myself that Rock & Roll & Comic Books is the esthetic core of what I write.


Because like the song says: You can’t kill Joey Ramone.  So I’m going to hold up my end of the bargain.

“No no no
Joey don’t go
Hey hey hey
Don’t take Joey away”

The band is Sloppy Seconds.

Rock on.


All of the Words to All of the Songs

Cover Art for Chicago Literati

My short story “All of the Words to All of the Songs” is up on Chicago Literati’s website in their “Damaged Goods: The Break-Up Issue” today. Click on the title to read.

Factoid that may interest only me: There are no Drive-Thoughs in Palm Desert, CA. It’s the law.

Much thanks to Abigail and the Crew and Chicago Literati.

I am not sure where they got the cover art for the story but I like it.


Interview With Myself, November 2nd, 2015


I get asked a lot of questions and can’t always get to them as they come in – thus I’m gonna compile them all in one handy note. Basically this is a long-from “Status Update” so y’all know what I have been up to.

I thought it would be easiest to rephrase all of the question and my answers in the form of a “dialectic” – Which if you ever read a book you would know what it was, you unwashed hillbilly scum.

So without further adieu – here it is (questions in boldface, answers in regular type):

Your girlfriends are much better looking than you relatively speaking. I mean really hot. On scale of 1 – 10 they generally run an 11 and if you were a number you’d be “fug”. First of all, I bow to your superior bastardry. Secondly, How the hell do you do it?


Yeah – It’s German for “4”.

First of all, the German word for the number “4” is “Vier”, not “fug”. Secondly – yeah. How do I do it? Hmmm … I’m not sure I do anything. I have never made the 1st move in my life – too big of a chicken. I think that with all women they are either repeating a dating pattern (we all know a girl that has the same boyfriend all the time – just the name changes) or reacting to it and going total opposite.

I think any girl I have dated is probably reacting to a previous relationship and going opposite. In all cases you would have to say their previous b/f was rich, had a six-pack, and a great sense of humor. Probably sharp as a tack and hung like a goddamn bear too. Then, when that went bust, she found me – the total opposite.

I mean, I’m about as sharp as a bear.

Rock On. But hey – C’mon – you must have a few great pick up lines at the very least. Or maybe a six-pack after all.

No no no – no six-pack. Please. I like to deadlift and I like burgers. As for pick up lines … I don’t think that they work. If I could rate pick up lines from “Never works” to “Get’s your ass beat/jailed” the former would be “If you were a booger, I’d totally pick you first!’ and the latter would be “What’s a guy got to do to get into your guts?”

Everything in between is just a different degree of failure.

You disgust me. Moving on – what’s the toughest thing you’ve been through in the last little while?

Well, I’d have to say it was when my dog had something called a “Rectal Prolapse”.

“Rectal Prolapse?”

Yeah, he literally crapped himself inside out. It happened late at night in a driving sleet storm. To make a long story short I had to press the prolapse back in with a clean cloth and …

Gaaaaaaaah! Stop! No details! Did he live?

Oh yeah – he’s fine. I took him to the Vet the next day and she said I did the right thing. Of course, things were awkward between he and I at first. I’d get up in the morning and say “Hey Buddy! How are ya?” and he’d say “Let me out, you fucking rapist” but we’re cool now. I think he’s forgotten the whole thing.

But it made quite an impression on me.

Note: He’d eaten part of a Nerf basketball. Thus the “difficult time in our lives.”

Made quite an impression on all of us. How are the kids? What’s the latest with Matty?

He’s doing well. He played football and has discovered lifting weights. The other night he told me that he was going to walk to Mac’s (a convenience store) “to get a slurpee with Kendra.” He grabbed some 25-lb dumbells I have and banged out a dozen reps and then ran out the door.

I bet she never noticed at all and I bet he felt great.

Go Matty.

What’s the most outrageous thing any woman has said to you lately?

One called me “fat, deceptive, and narcissistic” and that I was “on the autism spectrum.” She then told me I had a “kind heart” and wanted to see me again.

Truthfully. I’m not that fat. I lift weights.


That’s good. Second most outrageous?

“I want to discuss the symbolism in your stories.”  


I know, I know – but she’s really good looking, and therefor  I’m going to cut her some slack … Holy Crap. I just learned something about myself.  

So with two boys and a male dog your house must be like that scene in “Stepbrothers” where John C Reilly is trying to talk his dad out of marrying and having the new wife move in right?  The one where he says “Dad! We shit with the door open, talk about pussy, and make our own beef jerky!”

Yeah except we actually do none of those things. Plus it’s never just 2 boys – with friends over it’s more like 4 or 5.

It’s like “300” here but without the thin veneer of civilization women provide.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has done for you this year?

It has to be the “Autism Spectrum” diagnosis. And she did offer me weed. The former I deferred, the latter I declined – but still – nice.

Any Notable Passings?

Mrs. Fisher – my Grade 1 teacher – passed away. She lived to be a little over 100. I always felt sorry for her because her husband passed away in his 60’s (40 years ago) and her two daughters had passed before her – and they lived into their 60’s. So she was all alone.

A while ago while working for a mid-size corporation I attended a conference on the most cost-efficient method of torturing people who ask for raises. I was seated at the same table as the president of the company – his dad and my dad were both teachers too – and the subject came up. Turns out his Grade 1 teacher lived to be a little over 100 as well. We figured it must be the infectious joy of small children – they’re always in a good mood and excited to be there. It’s uplifting. Good for body and soul. The discussion evolved and we reached a sort of consensus where we figured middle school teachers might get to 50 – but only if they are lucky enough to die of natural causes.

What’s your training regime like now?

5 sets of 5 at a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 7. Will tough it out until January. My shoulders are older than Leviticus and I get that ulnar compression thing – the ring and little fingers in either arm “fall asleep” if I’m lying on that side – so no heavy singles. Also no flat benching – just inclines.

We’ll see if I heal at all and can try and chase bigger #’s in January. 2016 will be the year I bench 400! Word!

Speaking of Lulu Lemon – ever try Yoga?

Lulu Who? What? No – not my thing. The ladies at the office told me to go and even got me a pass for one free session. “It’s good for anger management” they said. But I’m not very angry. Plus – someone told me that there is a lot of farting in yoga. I was appalled. I was raised in a house full of boys and I just did not realize ladies did that. I actually didn’t think they could. Biologically impossible. Anyways, upon investigation I realized that Yoga is all about farting. Stretch and fart, stretch and fart, streeeetch … hoooold …  fart!

When 7-11 has a burrito special the yoga group gets together to chow down then they roll on into yoga. They close the doors and steam ‘er up. That’s called “Hot Yoga” apparently.

Hey man – count me out!

I guess I’d have to summarize it by saying that there are some things men are better off not knowing.

Ok – what’s this with your Top Ten favorite songs list having bands like Led Zep, Slayer, AC/DC, Kings of the Sun, Metallica etc – hard rocking stuff all of it … and then Paula Cole’s “Feelin’ Love”? 



Yeah – he was the guy that taught dogs to drool – made their lives better. You see – I don’t have a ton of experience with girls but I found out that when they put on “Feelin’ Love” they are about to get jiggy with it and won’t take “no” or “the game is still on” or even “please, just let me go and I promise I won’t tell anyone” for an answer. So when you hear that song … you gotta go with the flow. Know what I mean? So when that song breaks on … Scha-whiiiing. A type of Pavlovian response. Sorry – no pictures.

It’s like a cell phone – you can’t listen to it while driving anymore. Illegal. For good reason

Wow. That Pavlov was one smart dude. 

Yep. He was related to Eisenstein – the guy who invented gravity or 7-up or something like that. They might have been cousins. You know those Europeans – they’re even more inbred than the judges and contestants @ the Miss Kentucky pageant.

Speaking of hair – you look like a damn dirty hippie. How long is your hair now?

I last got it cut in Palm Springs, CA in June of 2014. The woman who pretended to be nice to me until she could chloroform me, stuff me in a trunk, and drive around in circles all day until I agreed to apologize to her on behalf of every previous boyfriend she’d ever had (they’d all done her wrong, then fled without apologizing) – we went to a really good stylist named Tamiphene, (Tam-IF-Fanay) – A rockabilly chick with purple hair and lots of tatts. She gave me the best haircut of my life. As I am now banned from SoCal I can’t get Tamiphene to do it again. It just seems like … settling … to get anyone else to cut it.

Sweet goatee though. Love those grey highlights and hey! Is that a nacho crumb?

Grey? Hell. It’s white.  Thanks and … probably.

You still writing those stupid Facebook “notes”?

Nope. Upgraded to stupid blog-posts.

I want the “Prophet of Regret” blog post back.

Sorry – deleted it and I actually didn’t keep a copy. I normally do these over time on MS Word and then copy and paste into wordpress and publish. That one I just sat down and typed out and yeah – it’s history.

It was a moment in time anyways – you’ll remember it as being better than it really was.

Any of those girlfriends mentioned track you down and beat the shit out of you for that post?

Not yet but I am sure it’s coming.

What about your serious stuff? Still working on short fiction?

Yep – the usual themes, i.e shady deals with girls and the sublime terror of creation. You know the drill.

Ever submit blind?

Yes – except where I took my name off of the front page and then forgot to delete it from the other pages.

Some days I am not just stupid but a special kind of stupid.  

We consider ourselves updated!

Rock on.