Friday, July 27, 2012

Melanie Mills Confidential: The Irish Radio Interview



  • As the story goes I wrote a novel - started in the infamous Y2K, sitting alone and naked in a cubicle on the 4th floor of the Tivoli Building, just north of the 465 "Circle" freeway that circles "The Circle City", Indianapolis, IN. When I got writer's block I would press my flabby butt cheeks against the window just in case somebody looked up from their cell phone. Fortunately nobody did, or there might have been a horrific bloody wreck right up the street from the famous Indianapolis Speedway and the other place where Reggie Miller used to hang out. Also,  there was nobody else on the entire fourth floor, which I guess isn't that surprising given that I was prancing around in my birthday suit. (One of these days I'll tell you all about Indy. But not now.)
  •  This novel, entitled Hack (which can be procured on Amazon - http://amzn.to/Mx7k0y - or B & N - http://bit.ly/LCdGHL) is accused of inspiring my literary agent  to misbehave rather dramatically. I wrote about my bizarre experience right here in Limboland last March or April, and Andrew Losowsky, the books editor at the Huffington Post, texted me and said "That IS bizarre. Would you like to blog about it for us?" Uh gee. I guess. 
The result is here: http://huff.to/PHXDhM.
 
  • The day after the blog ran in the HuffPo, I received an email from Brian O'Neill  at Radio Newstalk Ireland in Dublin who wanted me to appear on the Sean Moncrieff afternoon drive show at...7:30AM. Boy was I a chipper little nipper as you can hear, here!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Batman Massacre - Life Imitating Art in the Worst Way ?

I recently wrote a blog for the Huffington Post that chronicled the events of what some commonly call "life imitating art". In it, I told the true story of my first literary agent, after reading my novel about an artist who fakes his own death to drive up the value of his paintings, theoretically imitates my story, faking her own death and bilking hundreds of people in a literary conference scam.

James Holmes, the young man accused of pretending to be The Joker and shooting up a theater in Aurora, CO, has been said to have spent many hours alone at his computer engaged in violent role-playing games. Thus, it might appear that we have another case of life imitating art on our hands. (I would argue that DOOM and it's video game offshoots are "art" as they are created by artists. The subject just happens to be violence.)

The Melanie Mills story is entertaining and it's interesting to hypothesize about the possibility that my novel inspired her to do what she did. In the case of Jame Holmes, the argument over who is imitating what is akin to fiddling while Rome burns: it looks at symptoms and ignores the disease.  

Yet here we are, numb and reeling after yet another crazy motherfucker goes postal and wastes as many people as he possibly can in an act of war on humanity, and we watch the debate rage over gun control. Again, and again. Obviously.

Whether you are a proponent of guns for everybody all the time or no guns for anybody ever, James Holme's access to weapons of mass destruction is indefensible. There is no reason an AR-15 assault rifle should be available to anybody who is not a soldier fighting a war. What civil use does such a weapon have? If we can buy those, why not rocket launchers, grenade launchers, helicopter gunships? Technically if we're going to play the "my gun is bigger than yours" game we should legalize all forms of weaponry, in which case someone in the theater that night might have had a few grenades in their pocket, just for such a situation, and would have been able to toss one at Mr. Holmes and blow him and the first three rows to smithereens.

By the same token, we could say that morphine should not be available to anyone that isn't under a physician's care. But it is. And so would AR-15 assault rifles. When has legality mattered? Don't we live by the law of supply and demand?


But I'm not interested in debating gun control. I think everybody can agree that guns are a symptom of much more serious disease  - hatred for humanity in whatever form it takes: old, young, white, of-color, fat, skinny, grandmothers and their grandbabies - everybody qualifies. This is hatred inclusive perhaps of all living things and may be hatred of life itself. Some would call it pure evil. Others might call it The Devil.

My thoughts about the nature of this epidemic of hatred, this evil, and what to do about it,  are as uninformed as they are unformed. I have not read treatises, essays, blog posts or otherwise on the topic, though I know they exist. I'm not a psychologist, psychiatrist, sociologist or even an in-depth follower of American culture or lack thereof. I am a writer that has made a living in advertising/marketing, a professional musician, a family man, and I daresay a humorist, as I have been accused of never taking anything seriously (so not true!), but more importantly agree with many that laughter is always good for what ails you and attempting to stimulate the funny bone is my expression of compassion for my fellow humans.

Which is all to say I am hardly qualified to intelligently address the topic on the table. But dark forces are afoot, if I may echo a popular theme. Dark forces in the form of a culture that has decided that it's okay - even laudable - to profit from the portrayal of violence. But it goes way beyond portrayal: the real profit lies in facilitating the virtual participation in violence in the form of video games. And what controls has our society deemed proper? A warning on the package.

If you give someone whose grip on what's real vs. what's fantasy the ability to virtually experience those fantasies, you have given the genetic junkie a lifetime supply of smack. You have given someone who is already predisposed to hate and killing the opportunity to see what it feels like. To James Holmes and many who are unable to distinguish between right and wrong, it feels good. Really good.

We live in a society that allows the perpetuation of evil by making it a source of profit.  Don't those who profit from the glorification of violence, crime, gang culture, drug abuse and porn know that even though they claim to be giving the audience what it wants, they are ultimately addicting the audience to not-so-cheap thrills? Don't they know that the addiction could compel those with the inability to distinguish between the role-playing game on the computer screen and their own real lives to pull a James Holmes?

Underneath the perpetuation of evil lies what many would characterize as The American Way, which is built on the notion that competition is healthy. Competition brings out the best, it drives progress, it rewards hard work! A competitive society breeds winners! And...losers. Would the vanquished in real life perhaps find some solace in virtually blasting the imagined victorious into dust?  Or is the virtual violence intended to be some sort of safety valve for those that might be inclined to go postal?  

James Holmes is a sick guy that nobody - even a policeman in full riot gear with all his firepower - would have been prepared to deal with. James Holmes is the intelligent, calculating evil, inspired by the likes of The Joker, that is evidently unable to distinguish between the character on the screen (the late Heath Ledger in this case), and what we call "real" life. The game industry has made the violence so real, so believable, and ultimately so easy to copy that those that for whatever reason are suffering from the Hatred of Humanity disease can easily execute their fantasy. And ultimately their power, for the ability to kill is perhaps the ultimate power, or the ultimate victory, one human can have.


I don't have the answers, though I think there's a possibility that virtual violence creates the opportunity for life to imitate art in the worst possible way. But it may be that outlawing the games that allow players to virtually kill would only mean that outlaws have those games. And the AR-15 assault rifles. And they can practice to their heart's content until they're ready for the show.

In my mind, being a responsible citizen means that, even though you may not have the answers, it's a responsibility to ask the questions. I've asked. What are your thoughts?

Now I'm gonna take the rest of the day off and read Richard Ford's latest novel by the pool.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Twitter is The City, Facebook is The Burbs. Your opinion?

Hey kids it's time to play "Petite fours and Metaphors". This is all about YOUR COMMENTS so get your little fingies warmed up and ready to type!

I was cogitating about blogging on "Shysters on Twitter", because there seems to be as many two-bit hustlers on Twitter as there are legitimate Tweeps. Not surprising: the open platform simply lends itself to that. I've also heard several folks say in passing that Twitter is low-life, and even dangerous, and that users risk getting the online equivalent of STDs by hanging out there. I can see how someone could feel that way - particularly someone on the outside looking in. I chalk it up to "fear of the unknown".

Then it occurred to me that Twitter, as an environment and as an ecosystem, is somewhat like "The Big City". It's all there:  sinners, pimps, hookers, schlock-peddlers, and hustlers all mixed in with evangelists, how-to doctors, humorists, authors, celebrities, businessmen, healers, and folks just generally having fun with social networking. If you walked 10 blocks on Broadway or any big city street you would see much of the same. It can be a little scary, it can be exhilarating, or both.

Of course I couldn't help but compare the Twitter experience to Facebook, which is really the suburbs to Twitter's big city. On Facebook, the user defines the environment, and the interaction is more like a conversation in a neighbor's kitchen. The no-character limit allows for thoughtful exchange, vs. someone blurting something out in a crowded crosswalk.

They are both social networks, often mentioned in the same breath (usually with Linked-In which to me is like the online version of Rotary Club. Oh and what was that other one...MySpace?), yet they are so different. I haven't seen any statistics that illustrate how many FB users are also Twitter users - I'm sure they exist - but in my experience folks from the Burbs are often scared to death of the Big City, and Big City folks are bored to death in the Burbs.

How would you characterize the differences in a metaphorical fashion? Does Big City vs. The Burbs work for you or is there a better metaphor?

Please add your comment below. Better yet, join Limboland above ("join this site") and do the "lighten up"!

That's all for now, kids. This is de Limboman, signing off from Limboland!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's All About the BIZ in Limboland!


Greetings All! Welcome to "Adventures in Limboland", home of the BIZ and realm of pure madcap whackiness, a virtual Pee Wee's Playhouse for twisted adults.

Our latest adventure is a social silliness shout-out when Sock Monkey Gets Social with a characteristically acerbic rant. Take a break and have a laugh (and if you're in the office turn the volume down for in Limboland there will be F-bombs!). I don't expect Sock Monkey to quiet down any time soon. In fact he told me that he plans to read "Hack, The Novel" and pan the living shit out of it. No surprise. He is one grumpy monkey.  

You'll also want to check in regularly with our favorite internet scammer Yeung Lap Ming and all his sidekicks, Asha Rajaratnam the Poonjabbi Poontang, the kind, gracious and ever generous Pastor Kelvin, the mysterious Major Martha, the US Postal Service and more as they each try to trick the PWT in their tornado-twisted trailers out of their hard-earned welfare checks.
 
 If that's not enough, very soon we will get our first dose of that batty Brit, Tweed MacFecal! Dr. MacFecal is coming out of retirement to join the ranks of the Limboland Loonies with his completely daft and irrelevant drivel. Oh boy! Or should we say, "bloody smashing!"

Of course there will always be the various and sundry rants and musings of The Limboman, whether it's a day-by-day, blow-by-blow chronicle of The Cleanse, an indictment of Farmville, or just garden-variety self pity.
And Limboland is always open to guest bloggers who are not opposed to ingesting psychotropic chemicals to give their profound and life-threatening insights some sparkle! Just become a follower and add a comment to this post. We'll be in touch!
Speaking of comments, pour 'em on Limbolanders! If there's one place you can let your freak flag fly, it's Limboland.  We love your comments and participation, because when you're a Limbolander it's all about the BIZ! (Oh and...tell a friend).
 

Friday, July 6, 2012

And Now a Word From SOCK MONKEY!



Jeez I'm tellin' ya it's about time I got a little airtime in this goddamn limbo circus. Limboland! What the hell is that, anyway? Does anybody even know what the limbo is these days? I don't know about you but I went to Catholic school and if there's one place you do NOT wanna go when you die it's Limbo! There ya are, stuck between heaven and hell, ya can't hang out with those pretty little angels, ya can't hang out with those nasty little hotties, ya can't drink, ya can't get laid, ya can't even eat a goddamn banana! No when you're in Limbo, you're fucked, lemme tell ya. So, who the hell wants to go to Limboland, fer chrissakes? Well, I guess that's just what you expect from old shit for brains - somethin' stupid. Gump says stupid is as stupid does well I give to you Limboland. Huh? How's that for fuckin' stupid!?

Speakin' of stupid, how about this social networkin' business? I was workin in the office the other day, tryin' to put together a major deal with a banana distributor down in Costa Rica - let's just say he knows how to grow one good banana. Anyway I had been workin' on this deal all week, calculating ROI and running the SWOT analysis and all that business horseshit, when I just had to take a break. But the boss was breathin' down my neck, so after I see him sneak into the broom closet with this cute little howler - he's a big old ape but all the girls love him around here, and it's really not too hard to tell why, us monkeys being all naked and shit most of the time. Anyway I see 'em sneak in there and pretty soon the little howler monkey is howlin' away so I figure hey, why not try some of this social networking everybody's been yammerin' about? Well why yammer about it when you can just watch the video? So...go on!


video





I apologize Limbolanders it's been a rough evening. Tonight I had just sat down to fill everybody in on the latest exploits of the Lap Wiggler and my little Ponjabbee Poontang, who by the way has a BIZ for Major Martha Davis, who is about as much of a Martha as I am a Lil' Debbie (even though that's what Sando Man Jerry Sandusky used to call me back in "shower for an hour and you'll feel my power" days). Just as I am getting all soaped up who waltzes in but Sock Monkey, all drunk and belligerent. Well, you have now seen for yourself what that little sumbitch can do when he gets a few banana daiquiris under his belt.

Again, my apologies. I won't let it happen again. 




Oh. The blog pundits are saying I should ask for your comments, though I'm not sure what there is to comment on, unless of course you've heard from the Lap Dingler, Asha, Major Martha, Pastor Kelvin or any of that gang lately and would like to share it with the fan club here.

Or perhaps you have some advice for dealing with an obnoxious, beer-guzzlin' Sock Monkey who likes to butt in on your blogs. I'm sure all the little Limbolanders would be thankful for that!!

The Limboman

Monday, July 2, 2012

Free Shipping of Hack The Novel EXTENDED -


Hey Limbolanders it looks like it will be a few more days before Hack hits the virtual shelves, so we've extended our offer of FREE SHIPPING!

Here's why pre-ordering is a win-win: 

  • You'll have HACK in your hot little hands two days after release. If you woof it down (it is a very quick read - a real page turner) you can be one of the first to review it. Good for literary types that are looking for exposure. 
  • You'll have a brand-spanking new book delivered to you right before you leave for vacation. Hack is the perfect 4-hour flight read, and is also very complimentary to poolside lounging. 
  • You will have saved about 8 bucks in shipping. Granted that's the same 8 bucks you'll save when Amazon discounts the book a week later. So, see benefits 1 and 2. 
  • You will contribute greatly to the overall success of the novel. Why? Because when I drop a big mess o' orders on the first day the book is available Amazon will smell green and start promoting the book more aggressively.
You can get this done right now at www.hackthenovel.com. But be sure to read below and answer the question so you can get your free eBook too!

Oh...one more thing: many of my fellow Limbolanders don't know me, but they do know that I am fascinated by internet scams, and particularly the characters or personas doing the scamming. I just think it's great fodder for goofy stories. So I can understand why you might be hesitant to drop a few shekels in my PayPal account, figuring I'll go buy a castle in Spain with all the money I make. Don't worry! I don't want to go to jail. Besides, the amount of money we're talking about wouldn't be enough to buy a Greyhound bus ticket to El Paso!


Why offer free shipping before the book comes out? Well, Limbolanders have put up with a lot of shameless self-promotional bullshit from me from the time I got my publishing contract in Apr. 011. Not to mention YEARS of promoting this gig or that band or this CD or those paintings or whatever else I'm trying to shove down the throats of Limbolovers. So as "some sort of silly little consolation"* for those of you that have expressed an interest in reading about the travails of our hapless landscape painter Hack, the homeless vet Mr. San Anselmo, Karl the bobbleheaded "Herr Doktor" of the WWF, Razor Rick Morgan the new media magnate and his puzzling wife, the biker chick Hadley, as they all make a mess of their lives in downtown San Anselmo, boy have I got a deal for you! (ha!) 
 .
If you want to see a little more street cred, check out some of the chatter .


To get FREE SHIPPING, all you need to do is pre-order your books via PayPal. On the day that it becomes available I'll have it shipped to the address you've indicated. It's a win-win cuz you get the free shipping and I get to drop a buncha orders (hopefully) on  day one which may open a few eyes in the BIZ and grease the skids for the next novel, which is even goofier than Hack!

Please head on over to www.hackthenovel.com   and claim your free shipping today!

Thanks all you crazy cats and kittens! I hope to hell that you enjoy Hack's story!



*Be the first to identify the song, artist and album that has this line "as some sort of silly little consolation" + follow Limboland and I'll buy ya an eBook! 

And DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW THIS CRAZY BLOG!! This selling business is an isolated phenomenon. Also, I have discovered a rare conversation between Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein when they hung out in Paris in the 20s and will publish it soon!