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...'

Friday, July 29, 2011

FULL CIRCLE (#fridayslash)

Press play for some mood music

Patsy was born under a bad sign. That was painfully obvious.

His mother, a runaway, gave birth to him near a dumpster that she would eventually abandon him in. It worked out, though. She eventually would hitch her way into a cocaine overdose and he was handed over to a nearby soup kitchen on the down low. Turned out Patsy owed his life to a bunch of bums in the alley who, in between whiskey sips, noticed the wails of a crying newborn. For the record, they all thought it was a cat in heat -- all except for Rufus. He knew what a crying baby sounded like since he had around 20 of them scattered from Chicago to Tallahassee.

Back then, there wasn't a system set up to protect kids. Sure there were adoption agencies, but in Patsy's case, salvation came in the form of Madame Martha, headmaster of the soup kitchen. A former Army WAC, Martha didn't take shit from anyone and saw to it that Patsy had three meals a day, a place to sleep, dry socks and Sunday clothes.

Around the bums he fit in quite well and by the time he was five, Patsy served them cornbread with a smile. By thirteen he was in charge of certain delicacies -- namely a concoction he invented called 'Chicken Ball Soup.' At 19, he all but ran the place when Madame Martha fell ill from a foot infection that eventually took her leg. She was gone a year and a half later and for a while, her kids and Patsy tried to keep the kitchen open but it wasn't the same.

Patsy's only choice now was to hold a rifle but for whatever reason, the army didn't want him. Chalk it up to flat feet, bad eyesight or the possibility of being just plain ol' batshit.

There was only one thing to do. The only question was what brand?

* * *

He woke up drunk, disoriented and piss-stained and for the life of him, he swore he heard the wails of a dying cat. But it was no cat...

Patsy walked up to the dumpster, looked at the newborn, saw himself and wept. He watched the baby a bit more, its wails growing louder and more pathetic. He thought of his own life and how nothing much had come of it and Patsy knew what he had to do. He left the baby where he was, stumbled on home to his flophouse and called the Police.

That sad baby, Patsy thought, will get it's own family. He'd make goddamn sure of it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

KEN BURNS' PROHIBITION (watch the first 22 min.)

This one is right up The Basement's alley. No one chronicles America better than filmmaker Ken Burns. If you've never seen any of his work I urge you to rent (or Netflix srteam) his groundbreaking documentaries "The Civil War," "Baseball" and my personal favorite, "Jazz."

His next film "Prohibition" is a three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary that I'm stoked for -- and documents the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Via PBS: "The culmination of nearly a century of activism, Prohibition was intended to improve, even to ennoble, the lives of all Americans, to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. But the enshrining of a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution paradoxically caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality.

Thugs became celebrities, responsible authority was rendered impotent. Social mores in place for a century were obliterated. Especially among the young, and most especially among young women, liquor consumption rocketed, propelling the rest of the culture with it: skirts shortened. Music heated up. America’s Sweetheart morphed into The Vamp.

Prohibition turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system, caused illicit drinking to seem glamorous and fun, encouraged neighborhood gangs to become national crime syndicates, permitted government officials to bend and sometimes even break the law, and fostered cynicism and hypocrisy that corroded the social contract all across the country.

With Prohibition in place, but ineffectively enforced, one observer noted, America had hardly freed itself from the scourge of alcohol abuse – instead, the “drys” had their law, while the “wets” had their liquor. The story of Prohibition’s rise and fall is a compelling saga that goes far beyond the oft-told tales of gangsters, rum runners, flappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation.

The film raises vital questions that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago – about means and ends, individual rights and responsibilities, the proper role of government.

It premieres October 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 2011 at 8 PM on PBS.

Watch the full episode. See more Ken Burns.

Watch the full episode. See more Ken Burns.

Watch the full episode. See more Ken Burns.

Watch the full episode. See more Ken Burns.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Press play for some mood music

I remember my baby boy. I remember feeding him and I remember his sweet little laugh every time I tickled under his chin. I miss reading him the funnies and showing him the colorful pictures afterwards.

I remember we used to listen to the radio as the wife washed dishes. My lap was a horsey and he would dutifully ride as "The Lone Ranger" trickled out of the Crosley.

"Hi-Ho, Silver!!" he'd laugh, and I would always pretend to be Tonto.

I remember East Coast weekends at Coney Island and the Jersey shore. My baby boy would build the biggest sand castle he could muster only to push me into it. He'd giggle as it crumbled and I would wipe sand from my trunks.

I remember getting him ice cream on hot summer nights. The two of us would share a large cone while the misses devoured a lemon ice. He'd skip a few paces in front, as the three of us walked home.

As I sit up in my wheelchair, I find an odd comfort that my baby boy is now the one who's feeding me. The wife has been long gone and these days there's not much left that's working inside of me. I can't say much but I can certainly hear my boy remind me of our life.

But then it gets fuzzy all over again.

"I'll be back tomorrow, pop..." is the last thing I hear every night.

I remember my baby boy...

Monday, July 4, 2011


Here's wishing everyone in 'The Basement' a healthy, safe and festive Fourth of July holiday.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Press play for some mood music

She woke up that day on a mission. And meaner than usual.

She was looking to snake her way across the country and meet up with Hawthorne, a fellow swindler who had the fix on some new scam in California. Wind energy. That's what they were calling it. She didn't get it but truthfully didn't care. The outfit needed a shape in a drape and she fit the bill just fine.

She looked in the mirror and applied her makeup. She was sexy, sure, but certainly could have been prettier. Didn't matter though. Those cookies of hers worked just fine.

She was instructed by Hawthorne via Western Union to arrive as a ghost. So out came her purse, burning everything with her name on it in a tiny waste pail. No traces. In fact, Hawthorne once said that if you doused your fingers with hot candle wax nightly, eventually the pigment in your fingertips would be useless.

She lit a kick stick and slipped into a lime green pair of twin trees and strutted out of her apartment. She knew she wouldn't be back. In fact, she thought twice about burning down the whole kit and caboodle.

She flicked off her her light switch, kicked the cat out of the way and left.

* * *

Four days later, she was pinched just a hair within the city limits in Minneapolis. It seems the rubber checks she used to pay for her flophouse wasn't exactly jiving with the owner. When the fuzz knocked on her door, she almost halfway expected them. They, however, didn't expect the nudity.

"What took you so long?" she asked them, putting on her dress.

At the station, her fingerprints were a splotchy mess. That 'ol hot wax trick came through.

"We need your name," The booking officer said. She just snarled.

He lowered the clipboard. "What's your name, Missy?"

She spat in his face and that snarl turned into a smile. The cop tossed her back in the holding cell. "We'll just have to give you a name..."

"I got a name," she said. "It's Donna... Donna Lethal. Like it?"

As she waited to see the judge, she still thought about that mission she was on. La-La Land was still very much in her cards and wind energy was going to be her business. A prison escape was just a minor setback.

Being a fugitive was fun, Donna thought. It kept her on her toes.

California awaits.

Music: "Twilight" by Daniel A. Stafford. It can be downloaded HERE.