NEW FICTION: Bourbon & Blondes has arrived!

From the bus stations of Rt. 66 to the smoky, neon-tinged jazz dives of the big cities, these wanton tales of longing introduce us to vixens on the fringe and those shifty men that drove them there.

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Watch: The 'Bourbon & Blondes' Book Trailer

Get your shot glass ready because you're about to enter a retro world of showgirls, drifters, barmaids and thieves.

The eternal question for scribes?

In this new social media landscape, the question becomes: Is blogging dead? It just may be...

Watch: The 'Front Page Palooka' Book Trailer

Read the pulp novella that one reviewer called 'A potboiler in the style of old school writers like Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler...'

Monday, May 31, 2010


On this Memorial Day, let's take a moment to cast aside what we thought of the "Lost" finale; stop debating whether Lee should've beat Crystal; and pause searching for those "Diff'rent Strokes" reruns on Hulu.

The holiday today is not about cookouts or barbeques or treks to the Jersey Shore or the Hamptons.

Yes, drop your iPad and for a second, remind yourself why we're able to do all those things to begin with and pay tribute to those fallen soldiers who fought defending our very freedoms.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Just a quick note: While I have made many videos/slideshows here on Bukowski's Basement, I didn't make this one. I was so taken with it that I embedded it. I should've clarified above.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

A GOSSIP NATION (flash fiction)

He said he had something for me.

Meeting one of the snitches for my column always made for interesting conversation. Especially with this one.

I was late and Auggie was already eating at the diner counter. God forbid he waited. As I approached, it dawned on me that I never saw him in a suit. A tie with a short sleeve shirt maybe, but never a full-fledged suit. Now this was odd considering he was a limo driver. He usually opted for gargantuan bowling shirts.

I squeezed his tie when I sat down. "What's with this look?" For the record, the knot sucked. It looked like two broken knuckles wrapped in an ace bandage.

“Huh?” he asked. It was hard to hear over the clanking of dishes and glasses that came from the kitchen.

" You look like a fucking encyclopedia salesman," I said.

Auggie tried to flag down a waitress, pointing to his coffee. "You remember my cousin Joe?"

"The gay one?" I asked.

He got mildly irritated, chewing his food. "Uh-uh... The one who said you were a stand up guy," he answered, emphasizing 'the stand up guy' part.

"Oh yeah, I like him. He came with us to Atlantic City a couple years ago when I covered Miss America. Good guy. Is it his birthday or something?"

"I'm going to the schmuck's funeral..."

Shit. It was always weird finding out when distant acquaintances bought the big one. "Jesus, Auggie, I'm sorry.”

I looked out towards the parking lot and had to ask. "Uh, so why'd you call him a schmuck?"

He settled in and took off his jacket, revealing yellowish armpit sweat stains on a wrinkled oxford. "About a year ago, he finds out he has lung cancer. The five-year survival rate is something like 18 percent, so he figures he's already six feet under, right?"

I nodded, chomping on his crunchy bacon. “Who wouldn’t?”

"So the morning after Joe hears the news, he goes and gets a blow job from a hooker."

"No shit?" I couldn't keep from laughing. "Are you serious?"

"Wait,” Auggie said to me. “It gets better."

"It gets better than just having lung cancer and getting a blow job from a hooker?"

Auggie nodded. "Get this -- he goes down to the projects to where they have them crackheads. You know, the ones that'll turn tricks for ten beans? When I asked Joe 'What the fuck for?' he said he always had the urge. The urge. Not so much for the hummer itself, but for acting on the desire."

I nodded in agreement. "The impulse of doing something taboo..."

“Exactly," Auggie said pointing his finger at me.

"Must be liberating," I said, sounding like a fucking idiot.

But wait. Auggie doesn't tell stories unless there's a rub.

"So..." I said, expecting him to sock it to me. "I know this is going somewhere..."

"So he gets his rocks off. Months go by, ya know? Chemo. Radiation. Another round of chemo. The works. Three-Mile Island. By the way, that shit alone'll fuckin' kill you," he said, breaking his stride and motioning once again for a refill.

"And..." I ask, waiting for the infamous rub.

"He beats the cancer," he said, slapping the formica.

I was sorta confused. "So how'd he die?"

"AIDS. From the hooker."

I thought it was a joke. It was the kind of story where I was waiting for the baa-dump-bump from a set of drums hidden in the kitchen.

"Fucked up, huh?" Auggie said.

I nodded, thinking there was a sick sense of poetic justice in what happened to Joe. God's way of reminding us that we're all just animals at heart. I could say nothing so I kept nodding my head. I only met him once but could tell he'd be the kind of guy who'd take up for you in a bar fight after only knowing you a couple of minutes. Poor Joe.

"Now our family's living in shame," he went on.

"Shame? Why's that?"

Auggie brought his voice to a whisper. "Come closer," he said.

I reluctantly brought my torso over the counter and caught a glimpse of us in the mirror. His breath stunk.

He looked both ways. "We're not even sure that crackhead was even a chick."

"Okay...," I said searching my pocket for change and tossed up some tip money. I was a gossip columnist and this is the shit I had to put up with. "That's a sick fucking story, Auggie. I thought you said you had a tip for me."

"I do," he said stopping me. "I know the crackhead."

Oh yeah, and how is that?

"Blake Stevens" he said.

"The Oscar winner? What about him," I asked.

"Yup..." I drove him there last week. Seems like he has the same fetish as 'ol Joe."

Bingo. Sizzle had its next cover story.

Did I feel bad taking his tip? No. Would I have to prove it somehow? Sure. But that was the easy part.

People tell me I have a dirty job. Maybe. I tell people to scoff all you want. I also tell them to think of me when they're on line at the supermarket, flipping through our pages, just jonesing to find that one juicy bit before the cashier asks for coupons. And don't forget to turn your nose up before bagging your groceries. Just be sure not to bend the magazine as you stuff it into the bag.

You're a nation of gossip junkies and you love it. Our five million circulation proves it.

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OK... so after an earlier video mishap for which I blame YouTube and their music rules, I'm reposting this video I made that most of my Basement dwellers might enjoy and that many probably haven't seen since I posted it over at the Six Sentences Ning site.

With the help (and glorious sounds) of Tom Waits, this is my ode to the diner lifestyle. Let's face it, we've all been there...

After a night of boozing or fun on the town, we seek out the comfort of the nearest 24 hour joint that serves up "eggs and sausage with a side of toast."

Be sure to take a look at the subjects and faces in the vid - they all have stories to tell and it's primarily why I think it came out pretty good.

Oh -- and extra points if you recognize the celeb in the last shot -- before the Bukowski's Basement logo. (It's an easy one, but a great pic nonetheless and one that I've never seen before of said celeb.) As always, please enjoy. It was one of the more fun video slideshows I've made...

Find more videos like this on The 6S Social Network

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Monday, May 24, 2010


Let's face it. Ed Hardy T-shirts are for frikkin' tools. There. I said it. They took distinctive vintage tattoos and slapped them on overpriced shirts so that all the L.A. wannabes could look cool as they troll the Sunset Strip.

Well, I have a secret for all of you Basement dwellers: Out of Print Clothing, a T-shirt company that tags itself, "Books on shirts. Shirts on a mission."

They celebrate the world’s great stories through fashion by featuring iconic and often out of print book covers by the likes of Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Orwell et al.

The company works closely with artists, authors and publishers to license the content that lands in their collection. The best part? Each shirt is treated to feel soft and worn like a well-read book. Me, myself? I love the feel of a thin, well-worn t-shirt. Nothing better...

With iPads and Pods, tweets and pokes, Nooks and Kindles, who knows what form books will come in a decade from now. With that said, Out of Print feels it's more important than ever to reflect on an individual's experience with great literary art before it's forever changed. And better way than to immortalize it all with a cool T-shirt?

What’s your story? Wear it proud.

And remember... Burn your Ed Hardy shirts. You don't wanna look like this guy:

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Friday, May 21, 2010


Click for some mood music

He was tired.

He'd been travelling too long without a decent bed. Just after lunch, he crossed the California-Nevada line and as he saw it, was headed towards Las Vegas.

He hitched a ride with an Indian native to the state. He asked the Indian what tribe he was from and the Indian welcomed the opportunity to speak of his land and people. As they drove past the Hoover Dam, the Indian told him that the state was thriving and that all the new gaming halls, kept everyone busy and employed.

Getting day work was all he worried about for the time being.

They drove.


By midday, the Indian had dropped him downtown in Las Vegas and he hit the first dice joint he saw - the El Cortez. The Indian told him that the place was built around seven years ago for $245,000 and was "The Bee's knees..."

He spent the better part of the afternoon courting Lady Luck, and after realizing he was up about what was worth a carton of cigarettes, he found the casino's coffee shop to get his first meal of the day.

Her name was Joy and she was the hostess at the El Cortez Coffee Shop. He asked her for a quiet table away from the counter and as she seated him, poured him some coffee. Black.

""You look like you can use some high-test," she said with the slightest hint of an accent.

He tried to place it but couldn't and asked,

"Where are you from? That's an awfully sweet voice you have."

She explained that her family was part of the early spice trade in St. Croix and her island accent was a mish-mash of every country that flew it's flag on the tiny caribbean isle.

"You can hear everything from French to Spanish to Dutch," she explained.

"It's gorgeous," he said.

She smiled. "Thank you..."

"-- Jack," he said. "I'm Jack..."


He rented a room in the Red Light district of town, not far from Freemont and was pretty excited that Joy actually agreed to grab a bottle after her shift and join him.

Granted, the room looked like Louella Parsons' armpit but he was tired and needed something with springs to sleep on. He poured some of the Canadian Club into a mug left behind on the room's dirty sink and offered it.

Kicking off her heels, she scoffed. "I'll drink from the bottle, thanks."

"My kinda girl..." he said swigging the mug before handing over the bottle.

He turned on the radio. Tinny speakers bled the horn of Charlie Parker. Jack shut his eyes and it seemed for a moment, he needed the music more than the whiskey.

Bird spoke to him and he plucked his notebook from the satchel, scribbling something furiously.

Joy arched her eyebrow and then cocked her head, unsure now, of why she was even there.

"I'll be one second, darlin. Just gotta get this down...."

"Well, If you're gonna write, I'm gonna read," she said pulling a small hardcover from her purse.

That peaked his interest. He walked over to her and inspected the spine which read: 'The Naked and the Dead.'

"What's a cupcake like you doin' readin' a war novel?"

"Norman Mailer is a genius," she said snatching back the book.

He giggled condescendingly. "He's a horse's ass is what he is. He was a fuckin' cook. What combat did he see? Anyone who reads a newspaper could've written that."

"Oh, and I suppose you're a writer," Joy snapped, a little more than half-insulted.

"Damn straight, sweetie..." he winked.

"So what do you write about?" she asked swigging a little more hooch.

"I write about real stuff. Me. My friends," he answered. "... And women."

"So what's this great book going to be called?"

He shrugged. "I'm thinking of calling it something like 'On the Highway."

"Were you on many highways?"

He bent over to tie one of his shoes. The lace was about to snap. "More than I can remember, darlin'."

"I like 'On the Road,' better," she said. "Snappier..."

He wasn't sure what to make of her suggestion and kept repeating to himself and then got lost in an approving knod. Then he wrote it down.

He took one last swig from the bottle and kissed her forehead. "I can't hang with a chick who reads Mailer. No offense."


After he left, Joy just stared at the door for what seemed to be something like a half hour. Did that bastard really leave? She thought of leaving herself but the room, shitty as it may be, was paid for. So she decided to finish the Canadian Club and pondered her mystery man.

Some writer, she kept thinking.

"'On the Road' ... Who would ever read that?"

About the artist: If you recognize the style of the amazing painting above it's because it's by Rudy Nappi, the talented illustrator who painted a plethora of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book covers. Read more about him HERE.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Discovered a little bit of gold tonight... While most Bukowski enthusiasts either own or have seen the excellent 2003 documentary "Bukowski: Born into This," I just stumbled across what I believe to be a BBC documentary "The Ordinary Madness of Charles Bukowski."

I don't know much about it, nor can I find information on it. In any case, I've embedded them here for everyone to peruse -- after the jump.


...Cyrus Garza, as played by Emmy winner Jimmy Smits. As 'Upfronts' week continues from networks and announce what they have in store for us on the boob tube next year, I think think I'm instantly stoked for the hour-loung drama "Outlaw."

We here at Bukowski's Basement love hard-drinkin', gamblin' and womaninzin' protagonists and Smits may have found his best role yet... Like I said, maybe the next Denny Crane.

Here's the official scoop from the Peacock network:
Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a U.S. Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now that he's quit the bench and returned to private practice, he's determined to represent "the little guy" and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today's biggest legal cases - and he's making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way. Jesse Bradford ("The West Wing"), Carly Pope ("24"), Ellen Woglom ("Californication") and David Ramsey ("Dexter") also star. "Outlaw" is a Universal Media Studios production along with Conaco productions. Eisendrath is executive producer along with Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda," "Reservation Road"), Conan O'Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger ("Andy Barker, P.I."). "Outlaw" is written by Eisendrath and directed by George.

Check out the entertaining trailer (and pretty funny stuff at 3:05)...

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Sometimes a story is all about context. Well that, and good editing. In the case of a TV show or movie, the way it's spliced together with music is also just as important.

Take this new film "George" about an average middle-aged man who seems to have it all. He just got engaged to the girl of his dreams and it's right then and there, the plot thickens.

Tragedy strikes.

His finance suddenly dies and George is pulled into a massive depression. He can't sleep, eat or do anything. He needs an epiphany and it's right around the corner. That epiphany is named Joey and it's the little boy he's about to adopt. It opens up his world.

While the film is just the kind of thing you would see in theaters circa late'90s, it's not what you might expect. It also doesn't star Kevin Spacey or Sean Penn or any of the other A-listers that you might find in this schlockfest.

Am I serious or is this a joke? Click after the jump to see what exactly this new film is . You won't be sorry...

Monday, May 17, 2010


Heavy Metal legend Ronnie James Dio died yesterday. And that reminded me of Muppet Master Jim Henson ... which reminded me of... Rat Pack legend Sammy Davis, Jr.

Why? Because they all died on May 16. For me, however, Sammy will always have a special place in my heart and will resonate the most. As a child, one of the first songs I remember hearing was Sammy's "Candy Man." Granted, the addicting tune can be somewhat annoying but let's face it, to a little kid, a song about candy was the friggin' bomb...

I had older parents and the New York radio station WNEW-AM was always on in the house. Back in the '70s and '80s, the station was best known for its "Milkman's Matinee" and their "Make Believe Ballroom" standards which included everything from Benny Goodman and Sinatra to Sammy and Nat King Cole. Great stuff. That music was in my consciousness from when I was in grade school and I don't regret it for a second.

In 1987 when Sinatra, Sammy and Dino embarked on their Rat Pack Reunion tour, I was lucky enough to have a chick who, like me, also enjoyed that era's music. We snagged tickets for Radio City Music Hall in March of '88 and in the last frikkin' row, there we were seeing them: Frank Sinatra (who I would see several more times) and Sammy Davis, Jr. Dean Martin had backed out by then and would eventually be replaced by Liza Minnelli.

I saw Sammy again, however, later that year but it wasn't in concert. In September, the same gal encouraged me to volunteer with her to work on Jerry Lewis' Muscular Dystrophy Telethon on Labor Day. I'm sure I scoffed. But then she told me: Sammy would be emceeing the New York part of the show which really shot in Secaucus, New Jersey. That's all I had to hear. I prepped my wool double-breasted blazer and I was in.

Now this is where it gets fuzzy. I don't remember much from that day. I remember being there at WWOR backstage but truth be told, I don't remember working much, if at all.

I do remember seeing Sammy, however. And man, was he little. I was in college and a little guy at that and I remember Sammy being smaller than me. I also remember my chick telling me to go up to him but I punked out. It was Sammy... What would I say to him? I mean, he was like, three feet from me. What a mistake.

I'll never forget the next day. Many of the audience members were probably taken with Sammy's gaunt appearance on the telecast and the cat, by that point, was let out of the bag. That morning, I remember seeing the front page of The New York Post that read:

Sammy Has Cancer

A blow to the gut. My hero was sick and I never said hi. Nor would I ever...

Davis died in Beverly Hills, California on May 16, 1990, of complications from throat cancer. Earlier, when he was told he could be saved by surgery, Davis replied he would rather keep his voice than have a part of his throat removed; the result of that decision seemed to cost him his life.

This is my favorite Sammy tune by far...

A few things about "Mr. Bojangles" that some may not know. For me, it has to be one of the most powerful songs with the most poignant lyrics I've ever heard. Listen and you'll see why.

The popular country folk Song was written and recorded by country music artist Jerry Jeff Walker in 1968 and covered by many varied artists including Harry Chapin, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Jim Croce and Frank Sinatra. Sammy's rendition is most poignant. He always said the song was a rough for him to perform because, in essence, he could have become Bojangles at any time.

The ditty was inspired by an encounter with a street performer in the New Orleans First Precinct jail and does not refer to the famous stage and movie dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

According to songwriter Walker, a murder on the 4th of July weekend in 1965 precipitated the arrest of all the street people in the area. In the crowded cell, a disheveled homeless old man began to talk to Walker, who had been arrested earlier for drunkenness. The man told various stories of his life, but the tone darkened after 'Mr Bojangles' recalled his dog who'd been run over. Someone then asked for something to lighten the mood, and the man obliged with a tap dance. Wow...

I've always maintained (and you can tell at around at around time 1:26), that Michael Jackson was undoubtedly inspired by Sammy's performance of this song. The hat. The fluid movements. Watch and you'll see.

So why did I love Sammy so much and even have a denim jacket with Sammy airbrushed on the back (!!)? He did it all. A child performer/hoofer; a teenage crooner; perfected his talents in the Will Mastin Trio as a young adult before going into the army (where he was confronted by strong racial prejudice); endured an awful car crash in 1954 that took his eye; became a charter member of Sinatra's Rat Pack; married white actress May Britt to the disdain of a racially-divided nation; famously supported Republican President Richard M. Nixon and endured lung cancer. What more he danced his booty off, did awesome impressions, churned out tune after swingin' tune. And sang 'em right up until the day he got sick.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A BOX FULL OF WATCHES (flash fiction)


Blacksmith James Warren Sears reached for his newspaper. It was the only thing he looked forward to all day.

He read of the The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. It would aid in the construction of a continental railroad and telegraph line. It said that Lincoln and his Union promised it would span from the Missouri river all the way to the Pacific ocean. They claim it would change the country.

The blacksmith scoffed and went back to reading about the war. Roughly 23 years later, his son Richard Warren would find himself at a crossroads and the blacksmith wanted to make sure that his son took advantage of what Lincoln had once promised the nation.

"You need to wear a suit, son," the blacksmith told his boy. "I've got soot under my nails from before you were born."

So the only logical prospect in Redwood Falls, Minnesota came in the form of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. The day before he started, the young man had trouble finding a suit that fit him at the general store. He was of average build and most of the town's average men bought them all up. So he wore his father's pathetic baggy suit the day he started as a station agent.

Young Richard loved to listen to passengers, who were thankful that the horrid tribulations of stagecoach convoys were no longer a reality. What once took seven weeks now took seven days. Travel had become elegant with tea cars and whiskey bars boasting plush leather seating.

But every now and then Richard found himself a bit bored and one day, happened upon a small box of gold pocket watches on the train. Unwanted by a local retailer, Richard struck a deal with him. He had plans for the watches.

At the station, Richard prided himself on being practically the fastest telegraph reader and transmitter on the nation's grid. Using that code called morse, Richard offered the watches to other station agents on the line who needed precise timepieces because of the newly applied time zones throughout the country.

Richard also marketed his wares to local farmers who also needed to keep proper time as a result the new zones. What's more, the elegant timepieces were also a mark of the new American urban sophisticate and other station agents bought them from Richard to sell to their passengers.

Six months later, Richard made $5000 and started his own watch company, placing several ads in farming almanacs and newspapers. He would urge the homespun folk to purchase by mail because if anyone could utilize the railroad for shipping, it was Richard.

By 1887, Richard would move his operation to Chicago and hired his first employee - Alvah Curtis Roebuck. Ten years later, their Sears catalog offered much more than watches and was sent to over 300,000 homes.

The 500-page tome offered up everything from plows to bikes to athletic equipment and he owed it all to the blacksmith and the railroad.

Looking at his catalog, he was finally satisfied. He sold it all with great service and speed.

And why not, he thought, somewhere a young man needs a suit that fits.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Hopefully, many 'Basement' dwellers know all about "American Masters." If you don't, hop on board and start watching the PBS series and put it in your Netflix que.

The groundbreaking show produces biographies on American artists, actors and writers that have left a profound impact on the nation's popular culture. It is produced by WNET in New York City and debuted in 1983.

Such writers from Truman Capote to Papa Hemingway to Rod Serling to Willa Cather have been spotlighted.

And tonight (sorry for the short notice), "When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors" premieres. The flick opened last month in selected theaters in New York and Los Angeles and I've been waiting to see it ever since.

The creative chemistry of drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and singer Jim Morrison made The Doors one of America’s most iconic and influential, theatrical and mysterious and sometime frightening rock bands.

Written and directed by American film director, screenwriter and cinematographer Tom DiCillo, and Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek has stated, "This will be the true story of the Doors," and that the film will be "the anti-Oliver Stone," obviously referring to the 1991 Doors film which drew quite a bit of criticism from many fans for certain departures from the truth in Stone's screenplay.

Narrated by Johnny Depp, it tells their story using only original footage – much of it previously unseen – shot between their formation in 1965 and Morrison’s death in 1971. “From the outset I decided to use only original footage of this astonishing band,” said Tom DiCillo, director and writer of When You’re Strange in a press release.

"When You're Strange" was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 2009. If you can't find the "American Masters" film on your local PBS station, look for it on DVD on June 29

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the novel "Ask the Dust," by John Fante.

While today it's recognized as a pre-Beats classic of American literature, it may not have been so if it had not been for Bukowski.

As a struggling young writer trolling the streets of Los Angeles, (just like 'Dust' protagonist Arturo Bandini), Bukowski had stumbled upon a copy of the book in the public library. Fante immediately became a huge influence on the younger man's writing, to the point where Bukowski would later declare that "Fante was my god."

Buk went on to introduce the novel to his publisher, John Martin. Martin recognized the novel as a classic and Fante as a major writer, and soon republished it from his Black Sparrow Press where, over the next three-plus decades it would slowly gather a large, adoring audience, while reaping seemingly endless critical praise.

To read all about it, click HERE.

Without Buk's endorsement it probably wouldn't have been made in a feature film with Colin Farrel and Salma Hayek, available on DVD. Check out this trailer to the pretty damn good film.

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Blogger Buddy Bish over at Bish's Beat gave my the skinny on this a while back. It seems that some industrious sorts have composed a plethora of stories of poems in the Bukowski vein and titled them "What if Bukowski wrote PEANUTS." It's simply hilarious and I'll post an excerpt. Somewhere we think Charles Schultz is rolling over in his grave.


It began as a mistake.

The first time that Charles Branaski met Lucy Van Pelt, she was holding a football. He didn’t care for the game, baseball was his thing. Still, she held out that old football.

“Just kick the fucking thing,” she said.

“Listen, babe. You just hold that thing steady and I’ll kick the shit out of it.”

She threw her head back and laughed. She laughed long and hard and propped up the football. Charlie took a running start and he reared back his leg and kicked as hard as he could. Lucy was laughing too hard to hold the ball steady and it slipped out of her hand. Charlie missed the ball and flew straight up in the air and landed flat on his back.

“AUUUGGGGHHH,” he said.

“You should have seen your face, Charlie Branaski,” she said. Then she laughed twice as hard.

“Listen, you crazy bitch. I think I broke my ass. Jesus Christ!”

She helped him up. “Look, I’m sorry about that. You try it again and I’ll hold it real steady this time.”

“O.K., Lucy. I’ll do it on more time, but that’s it. You hold it this time, got it?”

“I promise,” she said.

He dusted himself off. God o mighty, his ass ached! He walked a little ways away and Lucy set up the old football again. He took a deep breath and a running start. He could see she was holding it tight. He was really going to kick the shit out of that old football! He threw his leg forward with all his might and Lucy yanked the football away just as he kicked at it. He landed on his ass again.

“AUUUGGGGHHH,” he said again.

Lucy laughed and laughed and left with the football. Charlie laid there and groaned. Good grief, he thought. What a cunt.

Monday, May 10, 2010


After spending most of my weekend at a very unBukowski-like amusement park, I really feel under the weather. Being that its cold and allergy season, I feel like I'm fighting something off. And losing. Throw in a sick kid and sick mom and I'm just waiting for the seconds until I'm doctor-bound.

But forget all that...

Lena Horne, one of the world's pre-eminent ladies of jazz, has died at 92. After a quick YouTube search, it's astounding to see her body of work. What a legacy.

She joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the tender age of 16 and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies and more substantial parts in the films "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather."

Sadly, due to the Red Scare and her left-leaning political views, she found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood. As a result, she returned to her roots as a nightclub performer. She released several well received albums and announced her retirement in March 1980.

The next year, she starred in a one woman show, "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music," which ran for more than three hundred performances on Broadway, and earned her numerous awards and accolades, and she would continue recording and performing sporadically into the 1990s.

MORE Lena Horne videos after the jump

Friday, May 7, 2010

CONTINENTAL DRIFT (flash fiction)

Harold C. Gregorian never invited recognition to rear its ugly head.

By trade he was a pencil pusher and worked the doldrums of the middle management ladder all the way up to Vice president of development for Hughes Research Laboratories in California. The event at The Continental was supposed to be special because his firm was celebrating their crowning achievment, the first working laser.

Gregorian was 61 and found that things changing all around him more and more. On the way over to the event, he heard newsman John Cameron Swayze on the radio talking about some bright young senator from Massachusetts named Kennedy. Earlier that day, the young WASP announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination and claimed he had big plans for the country. Gregorian thought, good luck...

It was a charming night filled with conversation. Gregorian and friends - which consisted mostly of military types - chatted mostly about the Antarctic Treaty which was basically some bullshit agreement that set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and banned military activity on that continent. They all joked it wouldn't be banned if their cuckoo boss needed the land for one of his cocamamie ideas. He'd just buy it. They all laughed. Around round of martinis.

Gregorian was starting to feel woozy and fixated on the banner above the podium. It read:

'Behold the LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
The future is now... '

He scoffed as he chewed his olive. Probably because he knew that those were his words on that majestic-looking piece of cotton and silk. You see, Harold C. Gregorian claims that he coined the term 'laser' and truth be told, he very well could have.

But tell that to special guest Gordon Gould, who originally published the term in one of his many widely-read science journal essays. Gould, a consultant for Hughes Research, claims he came up with the acronym while on a flight to Indonesia.

Another martini.

Just before dinner, Harold C. Gregorian shifted in his seat in preparation for the keynote speaker. He watched his boss Howard Hughes address the crowd and marveled at how regal the billionaire still appeared to be, wacky rumors and all. It was then that Harold C. Gregorian had a severe moment of clarity.

He pondered the great men. Hughes. Gould. Even that young Massachusetts Senator. Harold C. Gregorian knew he could never be one of them. So he raised his glass and from his seat, gave perhaps one of the most eloquent retirement speeches that any of those grizzly army engineers have ever heard.

Within the month, Harold C. Gregorian sold his house, liquidated most of his assets and bought a remote mountain cabin in Big Bear.

No more martinis.

While Harold C. Gregorian might not have been a great man, one thing was for sure and he repeated it to himself every morning at the lake, "I'm a God Damned great fisherman..."


Until I get my #Fridayflash fiction in order, I'm dropping this hilarious lil' vid on everyone...

Both Bukowski and Marlon Brando were men's men. They both possessed pure genius and defined their generation within their work. Time capsule stuff.

I came across this precious, short video made by the San Francisco Children's Theater that overdubs a dramatic reading of Marlon Brando's famous monologue from "On the Waterfront" performed by kids.

So I ask...

Fresh off the heels of Pre-schoolers doing 'Scarface' from a few weeks ago, check out this new video. Does great dialogue sound the same when delivered by little kids?

Funny stuff, indeed... Enjoy!

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

A RADIO STATION YOU NEED TO KNOW (on the dial and streaming)

Some scribes listen to music when they write. For me, it depends if the writing gods are kind, I can sort of let it flow and listen to some tunes.

If you're a fan of jazz, big band and swing, read on...

Don't know how-in-the-heck did it, but I managed to stumble upon this oldies station online -- WKHR 91.5, based out Bainbridge Township, Ohio and serving the greater Cleveland area.

This just isn't another oldies station, mind you. There's no doo-wop, girl groups or rock 'n roll here. No, we're talking big band, swing, blues, jump-blues and jive from the '20s through the '40s. Amazing.

When I first stumbled across it, it felt like I was in some sort of time warp and truthfully, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Now even though you can hear this stuff uninterrupted on satellite radio, it was completely refreshing to hear voices after these grand swingin' tunes as if the jocks were slingin' pop tunes of the day.

I imagined myself myself sitting somewhere at a drugstore counter, sipping a vanilla Coke and eyeing up a cutie-pie waitress. ... Before heading back to the flophouse to write that is.

The station relies entirely on donations from listeners so please consider making a donation to keep WKHR on the air and commercial free

Even better, they're streaming. Click HERE to listen online. And please, donate if you enjoy them. Let's keep this music alive.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Wow ... Growing up I used to LOVE Popeye. LOVE him...

Even though Bukowski had a bitter hatred towards Mickey Mouse, I think it's safe to say that he probably would've dug the one-eyed sailor. He had an undeniable heroic nature. What's more, Popeye was a military man, a loner who talked to himself and was quite the scrapper (like Buk). Check out some Popeye flash I wrote HERE.)

So why do I dig Popeye? Dunno why exactly. Deep down, he seemed like a sweetheart of a guy. I remember many a morn getting up around 6 a.m. to catch him. In fact, I'll go as far as to say I ate green construction paper from time-to-time, pretending it was spinach. (But try to forget I just told you that.)

Anyway, check out this WWII-era B&W short of Popeye doing his thing for Uncle Sam. Whew. How we've come a long way in so many respects...

Caveat: The video is not to most PC stuff to watch - so apologies if it offends anyone.

Check it out after the jump as well as a few other very UN-PC vintage cartoons.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I think if I could be any type of scribe, it would be that of a screenwriter. While I love the notion of locking myself in a private hideaway and churn out The Great American Novel, I've always had an affinity for the craft. It also helps that I'm a huge movie and TV buff. Television, by the way, is churning out some of the best writing I've seen in years. "Treme," anyone?

I've dabbled in the form (check it out HERE), have been read by some agencies (bog whoop, I know) and in my younger days turned down an offer on one of my scripts from a small production outfit. Dumb mistake, I know, but that's another post.

I say screenwriting is a craft, because that's exactly what it is. The script is a blueprint for a film -- the guide for the actors, director et al. That said, I was more than stoked to see a recent article in Variety about a type of writer most people are unaware of: the rewrite scribe, that last-minute gun-for hire who gets none of the glory and a whole mess of dough. An added plus? The rewrite scribe gets NONE of the grief if the film tanks.

According to the piece, the most frequently tapped polishers haven't had official onscreen credits in years. Jim Uhls, who has only one screenplay credit since penning "Fight Club" more than a decade ago, works regularly as an uncredited gun-for-hire. Shane Black, who once earned the distinction as Hollywood's highest-paid screenwriter, also is high on many studio wish-lists for being a closer.

Not that I'm exactly a whore for the benjamins, but alot of A-list scribes like John August, Jamie Vanderbilt, Steve Zaillian, Scott Frank, Akiva Goldsman, Brian Helgeland, Eric Roth, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, Paul Attanasio, Aaron Sorkin, Susannah Grant and Ron Bass are on many a studio speed dial and have been polishing many hits through the years.

Despite earning up to $60,000 a day, the piece says the gig isn't right for everyone.

As a lit manager remarks, "You don't see Diablo Cody doing polishes. Her voice is too original, and if she came in and punched up dialogue on someone else's script, it would probably sound out of place."

Check out the full-length fascinating piece HERE.

And while we're talking screenwriting, check out a few vids from the cool video series "Learning From the Masters" after the jump.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I don't live in San Marino, California but dammit, this just may be worth a trip to the Left Coast. It's been a while...

The Huntington Library exhibit "Charles Bukowski: Poet on the Edge," will feature corrected typescripts of Bukowski’s poems and such novels as his autobiographical work, "Ham on Rye" (1982), and his screenplay "Barfly," made into a film in 1987, starring Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke. There also will be early periodicals containing his poetry and rare special editions of his writings published by John Martin, proprietor of the Black Sparrow Press, as well as memorabilia and photographs of Hank...

The exhibit is organized in cooperation with his widow Linda Lee Bukowski and will run Oct. 9 to Feb. 14, 2011. Linda loaned the library many of Buk's personal items to complement the already-extensive literary collection she donated to the library.

Another gem of the exhibit? Hardcore Bukowski enthusiasts will be able to view his annotated racing forms at the exhibit.

As it stands, it owns more than 2,700 Bukowski items, including more than 500 books, drafts of poems. Fewer than 100 of those items will be on display in the exhibit. That said, all of the items have all been available to scholars since last summer.

Ok, so for those living under a rock... Charles Bukowski, who died in 1994, was a pre-eminent voice in 20th-century American literature. In his poetry and prose, Buki used experience, emotion, and imagination, along with violent and sexual imagery, to capture life at its most raw and elemental -- and all with unflinching honesty. His voice was for the social outcasts, drunks, hookers, addicts, bums and petty criminals.

The library is located on the former estate of railroad mogul Henry Huntington in San Marino and is renowned for its rare books collection -- which also includes a Gutenberg Bible.

The Huntington Library is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California.

Check out a couple special Buk videos where he reads his poetry after the jump.