It’s Deja Vu All Over Again: TREE OF SMOKE by Denis Johnson, a Review (of sorts)

As I sit and watch the surreal press conference between Trump and Putin after their so-called historic summit, where, after recently treating our allies like dog shit, Trump behaves like a sycophantic lapdog to a murderous dictator who wants nothing more than to destroy and subjugate the U.S. of America in retribution for how the U.S. of America destroyed and subjugated his beloved U.S.S.R., I am reminded of how I felt, or better yet, how my fuzzy, nightmarish memories leave me feeling from the surreal and tumultuous times in the U.S. of America during the late-Sixties through the mid-Seventies, you know, the era of national madness beginning with the Tet Offensive through the Watergate break-ins and subsequent hearings to Nixon’s humiliating yet palliative resignation and ending with America’s humiliating yet palliative retreat from South Vietnam.

Continue reading


Love is the answer?


There’s a rather talkative pigheaded brute of a character in my WIP whose name is Rick, Happy, Henderson. Happy loves to philosophize and pontificate to…at?… his work partner about whatever the latest topic is he’s studying during night school as if he’s now a subject matter expert. He’s not of course and he always manages to maneuver whatever it is he’s rambling on about toward a general diatribe of how the weak with their Rule of Law and “societal norms” have managed to upend the universal natural order of might makes right, which, in the end, as he sees it, limits his ability to pick up chicks.

Continue reading

A Web Security PSA Because I Love You

Okay, I’ve never used Cloudflare before and I don’t own any stocks in it that I know so I’m passing this info along simply because I’m a dude* who hates having my cookies tracked and Facebook selling me out to the Russians and all the other creepy Dark Web stuff (or is it Deep Web stuff?) that I always feel threatened by and I assume you’re of the same mind, may god bless your poor soul if you are.

If you’re not familiar with Cloudflare, here is what pops up when asking Bing, what is Cloudflare:

Continue reading

The Lullaby Effect of Carter & Lovecraft versus When Nietzsche Wept

I’m only a so-so fan of HP Lovecraft. I guess I’ve read as much of him as I have more out of a sense of allegiance to the horror genre than a sense of loyalty to his literary acuity.

Which is why I was somewhat surprised when I found myself selecting Jonathan L. Howard’s CARTER & LOVECRAFT the other night when cruising my Overdrive app looking for an audiobook fix for which to fall asleep to…

Which, to me, is the primary purpose of audiobooks – literary lullabies.

And most of the audiobooks I listen to do a great job of it.

In fact, they do such a great job of it that most audiobooks I listen to, I don’t finish because each night I always have to go back to the last point in the book I can remember before drifting off to sleep the night before, which is, more often than not, only a minute or two after I started listening.

And the books I do manage to get through before the loan ends I often only remember in sketchy patches.

The last audiobook I checked out before CARTER & LOVECRAFT was Irvin D. Yalom’s WHEN NIETZSCHE WEPT: A NOVEL OF OBSESSION.

I picked the book because I loved the premise: some dude analyzing Nietzsche. Awesomeness.

It starts out strong, even has a cameo with a young Sigmund Freud. But, with each passing night, it began to drag on more and more and I found myself falling asleep faster and faster, which, while not good for my literary needs, is a boon for my physiological ones.

But it’s not just the author’s fault that his or her book literally puts me to sleep. The reader’s ability and voice is nearly just as critical to the evolution.

The reader for CARTER & LOVECRAFT is Ari Fliakos. He’s perfect for Carter, the book’s gumshoe narrator and he rocks it… and he just happens to be Audible’s 2017 Narrator of the Year. So yeah, Fliakos’ award-winning voice probably has something to do with the fact that, since I’ve started listening to C&L, I’ve been listening much more and sleeping much less.

The narrator for WHEN NIETZSCHE WEPT is Paul Michael Garcia and he’s pretty good, too. But he’s nowhere near as good in WNW as Fliakos is in C&L. My biggest problem with Garcia’s narration is that he makes Nietzsche sound very effeminate. Now, I know Nietzsche wasn’t the most manly of men, plus he had his health issues, but how Garcia read him was a distraction for me… and pretty much a sleep sedative.

Come to find out, Garcia might have been on the mark with his Nietzsche voice acting, though, at least according to a bunch of nerds who scraped together some of Nietzsche’s DNA and put together what they say is a prediction of what he sounded like.

Not that it matters (except in keeping me awake at night), but his writing is much more masculine than his voice.


Back to C&E…

Yes, it is good, genius, in fact, as is evident by the dark circles under my eyes.

It is a superior mashup of a Dashiell Hammett hardboiled gumshoe vibe and HP Lovecraft creepy horror vibe.

It’s one of those rare audiobooks finds that I like so much I spend time listening to it during the day.

I could try to explain to you what it’s about but, I’m sleepy from… lack of sleep so, if you’re interested, forgive my laziness and just check out its book description at Amazon or other fine bookstores everywhere.